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Category: News

Serial bandits sought in gas station heists

Photo courtesy Nutley PD Police released this security photo of suspect (wearing jacket) in June 24 hold-up of US Gas station at Passaic Ave. and Kingsland St., Nutley.

By Karen Zautyk

NUTLEY –
Police are hunting two suspects in the armed robbery of two local service stations last week and think the men may be linked to a series of Essex County holdups, including one in Bloomfield just days before.
The first Nutley crime occurred at 10:24 p.m., Wednesday, June 22, at the Raceway Station on Washington Ave. between Park Ave. and  E. Centre St.
Police said a dark-colored vehicle, possibly a Dodge Stratus, pulled up to the pumps and the driver requested  $5 worth of gas. Meanwhile, a passenger exited the car and placed a gun in the ribs of a station worker, demanding cash and his cell phone.
Witnesses described the gunman as a black male, 40-45 years of age, approximately 5-foot-10, with a heavy build. He was dressed in a black shirt, blue jeans and a black baseball cap.
On Friday, at 5:37 p.m., a US Gas station at Kingsland St. and Passaic Ave. was hit by bandits fitting the same description.

 

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

N.A. appeals arbitration award to PBA

By Ron Leir

NORTH ARLINGTON –
This borough is challenging a state arbitrator’s award that gives its cops 2.5% pay raises in 2012 and 2013, alleging that the police union gave the arbitrator misleading information on the police chief’s contract – info that likely swayed the arbitrator’s thinking.
Although both sides to an “interest arbitration” like this one are normally obliged to accept the arbitrator’s decision, the borough claims it has the right to appeal because the Police Benevolent Association submitted a “fraudulent document” to advance its bargaining position.
Neither David Ryan, the local PBA president, nor Richard Loccke, the PBA attorney, returned phone messages requesting comment on the  allegation.
It is unclear how the state Public Employment Relations Commission will deal with the borough’s appeal.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

Birds of a feather . . . and other blotter news

By Karen Zautyk

NUTLEY —
Regular readers of the various police blotters will know that sometimes a routine traffic stop produces unexpected results. Such was the case when Nutley police pulled over a 1997 Nissan on Warren St. at 7:28 p.m. June 18 because the driver was not wearing a seat belt.
That driver reportedly gave a fictitious name, a ruse discovered when another officer arrived and recognized the motorist as one Emmanuel Opoku, 22, of Belleville, authorities said. He was arrested for hindering apprehension. And his three passengers were collared, too, since all were found to have warrants, police said..
They said one rear-seat passenger, Nile Wooten, 22 of Nutley, was wanted by Essex County and was turned over to their custody. Sharing the back seat was 21-year-old Raequel Perkins of Dover, who was arrested on an outstanding warrant out of West Orange, police said.
The front-seat passenger also gave a phony name, police said, but officers were able to identify her as Canei Miles, 21, of Orange, who had an outstanding warrant out of East. Orange. She also was charged with hindering apprehension.
All parties were released on their own recognizance after posting warrant amounts.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

Around town

Belleville
Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., is offering patrons tutoring on surfing the Internet and setting up an email account. Call librarian Karyn Gost at 973-450-3434.

Bloomfield
The library’s Children’s Department hosts a book club for students in grades 4-6 on Tuesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. Students do not have to have read a book before they come and weekly attendance is not mandatory. For more information, call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.
The Bloomfield Public Library’s Poetry Club meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m. in the conference room, 90 Broad St.  No registration required; all are welcome to attend. For more information, call 973-566-6200, ext. 502 or email reference@bplnj.org.
The Bloomfield Public Library will kick off its summer reading program on Wednesday, July 6, at 2 p.m.  Singer/storyteller Kurt Gallagher will perform in the library’s theater. The event will include face painting, balloon animals and refreshments. Children can also meet with librarians to register for the reading program, which begins the week of July 11.
A free concert by Kenny Vance & The Planotones and The Brooklyn Bridge will be presented Thursday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. at Brookdale Park, Bloomfield, as part of the 2011 Essex County SummerMusic series.
A former member of Jay and The Americans, Vance originally founded The Planotones for the movie “American Hot Wax.” The Brooklyn Bridge was formed in 1968 and has been entertaining audiences for five decades.
Bloomfield PBA Local #32 is hosting its 10th Annual Golf Tournament on Aug. 2 at the Crystal Springs Golf Course in Hardyston.  This event is open to the public, and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $150 per person, which includes green fees, golf carts, continental breakfast, door prizes, lunch and refreshments as well as range balls.  The PBA would like to encourage sponsors and has several packages ranging from  $100 to $1,000. The deadline for participation is July 1. Contact Officer Joe Corio at 973-680-4116 or fax your requests to 973-680-4102. The local’s website is  www.bloomfieldpba32.com.

Harrison
Essex County College will begin offering classes to job seekers at the Harrison Public Library to improve their computer and job search skills. Classes are scheduled as follows: July 7, 14, 21 and 28. To register or for more information, call the library at 973-483- 2366.

Kearny
St. Stephen’s Seniors will meet on Tuesday, July 5, at 1 p.m.  There will be a board meeting at 10:30 a.m. Upcoming trips include Monmouth Racetrack – July 15, Atlantic City – July 27 and Hunterdon Hills – Aug. 23. Members are reminded that dues for this year are past due. For club information, call Tom at 201-998-8258; Atlantic City trips, call Peggy at 201-998-9443 and all other trips, call Joan at 201-998-3578.
Cecilian Seniors announce the following trips: Mount Airy Casino on July 13. Cost is $30 and the bus will leave at 9:30 a.m. from in front of St. Cecilia’s Church; Wildwood –Sept. 18 to 22. For more information on both trips, call Johnnie B., 6 to 9 p.m., at 201-997-9552.
Library patrons can now set-up a one-on-one half-hour session with professional librarians for help with putting together and typing a resume and applying for a job online. The sessions will be held at the main library. To sign up, call (201) 998-2666.
The Kearny Rotary Club meets every Wednesday afternoon at 12:15 at La Fiamma Restaurant, 440 Harrison Ave., in Harrison. Business leaders from Harrison are invited to attend to learn about the work that Rotary International accomplishes around the world and in local communities. For more information about the Kearny Rotary Club or to join them for a meeting, call Joe D’Arco at 201-955- 7400 or Jose Fernandez at 201-991-1040.
West Hudson Detachment of the Marine Corps League invites all former and active duty Marines and FMF Corpsmen to attend an open house, which will be held every Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. at 286 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. Guests are welcome.
The Kearny Senior Thursday Club is sponsoring a trip to Rocking Horse Ranch from Oct. 3 to 7. For more information, call Jenny at 201-991-8123.

Lyndhurst
The Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Ave., Lyndhurst,  has a supply of dry dog food, available to anyone in need who is unable to feed their dog due to unemployment, disability or any financial difficulties. Please stop by or call 201-896-9300 to pick up a supply of these goods.
A free two-hour guided nature walk will be held in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst on Sunday, July 3, starting at 10 a.m. The walk is run by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute updates and weather advisories. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino at greatauk4@aol.com or 201-636-4022.
The NJMC also announces the following free senior citizens programs to be held at the Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park:
Thursday, June 30, 7 p.m. – A Night of Bluegrass with The Mark Miklos Group, featuring traditional bluegrass with a semi-modern kick that gets the audience on their feet.  Enjoy an evening of down-home music!
Tuesday, July 5, 2 p.m. – Telling Your Story. Performance artist and storyteller Faye Lane leads a workshop in reminiscing and sharing your tales of significant events in your life.
For the senior programs, seating is limited and registration is required. Call 201-460-8300 or go to www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec,  click on “Community Programs” and select “register for a program.”
Lyndhurst Library will host Tea Knowledge: A Basic Tea Primer on Saturday, July 16, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Food historian Judith Krall-Russo will teach the differences among teas, what to look for when buying tea and methods of brewing and correct storage. The program includes a brewing demonstration and tasting of several teas. Space is limited and registration is necessary.  To register, please call Library Director Donna Romeo at 201-804-2478, ext. 7 or email romeo@bccls.org.
The library is collecting nonperishable food items for the Lyndhurst Health Department’s Food Pantry. The drop-off box is located inside of the library’s back entrance and it will remain there year-round. For questions regarding the Food Pantry, call the Lyndhurst Health Department at 201-804-2500.

North Arlington
The North Arlington Woman’s Club holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the North Arlington Senior Center, behind Borough Hall.  Guests are welcome.
Queen of Peace Class of 1981 will have a reunion on Saturday, Nov. 19, at LaReggia in Secaucus. For more information, email qpclassof1981@yahoo.com.

Nutley
Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, will show films on the following Fridays this month: July 1 – “City Island,” July 8 – “Grown Ups,” July 15 – “Knight and Day,” and July 22 – “Eat, Pray, Love.” Each film starts at 2 p.m.
Saturday story time, featuring stories and crafts for children of all ages, will be held every Saturday at the library at 10 a.m. Registration is not required.
Patrons may stop by the library to play bridge on the following Tuesdays, July 5, 12, 19 and 26 at 1 p.m.

Hunt is on for predator

BLOOMFIELD –
Local police, assisted by the State Police and the sex crimes unit of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, are actively searching for the man who sexually assaulted a Bloomfield woman as she returned home from work in the early hours of Saturday, June 18.
Bloomfield police said the victim, in her late 20s, was accosted at approximately 3:15 a.m. as she exited her car in the area of Franklin and Hill Sts.
The woman was dragged into and through several backyards, at which point she was physically assaulted and then sexually assaulted, police said.
The suspect fled the scene, heading east on Franklin St. The victim was treated at a local hospital.
The assailant was described as a black male in his early 30s, approximately 5-foot-7, with a stocky build, medium/dark complexion, and clean-shaven round face. He was wearing all dark clothing.

– Karen Zautyk

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

Arrested on child porn charges

Photo courtesy BCPO Thomas A. Pearn

NORTH ARLINGTON –
A 58-year-old borough man was arrested last week for alleged possession and distribution of child pornography, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli reported.
The suspect, identified as Thomas A. Pearn of  Ilford Ave., North Arlington,  was taken into custody Monday, June 20, at his place of employment, the U.S. Postal Service facility in Kearny. Authorities said Pearn, who is married and employed as a maintenance worker, was arrested without incident.
According to Molinelli’s office, Pearn was allegedly using the Internet to acquire and/or distribute images and/or videos of pre-pubescent children engaged in sexual acts.

– Karen Zautyk

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

Downsize house in retirement?

By Randy Neumann

You’re near retirement. Your large home is nearly or fully paid off. The kids are gone, but the high upkeep costs are not. Should you retire and keep your home or should you retire, sell your home and buy a smaller, less expensive, place, a.k.a. downsize?
This is a common quandary that many folks find themselves in today, based on financial and lifestyle trade-offs. There is no right or wrong answer; instead, there are many possibilities.
So, the way to begin your study of “Should I downsize my home?” begins with cash flow projections. Most medical examinations begin with blood pressure and heart rate tests. Similarly, since cash flow is the heart and circulatory system of financial planning, we begin a plan with a study of cash flow.
In scenario one, you have the big house in an “expensive” town with a good school system. The kids are gone so you no longer need a great school system. Property taxes are lower in nearby towns, so why not downsize and put the savings in your pocket?
Another consideration is your mortgage. If you have been in your current house for a long time, you could be at the “back end” of your mortgage. Mortgages are designed to be mostly interest payments at the front end and mostly principal payments at the back end. So, if you have a mature mortgage, you are paying mostly principal and little interest.
If you were to buy a new, less expensive home and finance part of it with a mortgage (not a bad idea with rates below 5%), you would reverse the trend and have the bulk of the payment applied to interest. Many people in retirement find tax write-offs hard to come by, so a mortgage deduction can be a welcome event.
Conversely, with the lack of prepayment penalties in today’s mortgages, if your mortgage payments become challenging, you can always pay off the mortgage without any penalties.
Another consideration is the cost of living. Here in the Garden State, we are among the highest cost of living states in the country. That’s fine when you are working and earning some of the best incomes in the country, but when you retire, it’s like being on a seesaw when your partner hops off. So, moving out of the area can really cut down the nut.
However, this decision (as many others in financial planning) is not just about money. Other considerations are about lifestyle. Maybe you can’t keep up with your present home, i.e., you have trouble with the stairs. Perhaps a 55 and over community appeals to you, or you want to escape the snow.
On the other hand, if friends and family here mean a lot to you, moving is out of the question.
Well, you could have the best of both worlds. If you don’t like the snow, buy another property in sunnier climes and go there in the winter, but be sure and do your homework. I have had clients who had a place in Florida and loved it in the wintertime, which was the only season that they stayed while they were working. When they retired, they pulled up the stakes and headed south. To their chagrin, they found that they hated it in the summer, when the humidity climbed up the walls and the palmetto bugs, a.k.a flying roaches, cruised the air.
Instead, be more like another client I have who set out on a mission to find a lakefront house in a warm climate for $750,000. Where did that number come from?  We ran several cash flows with different mortgage amounts, tax burdens, living expenses and other key factors until we got what was right for him.
He began his search in the Carolinas, where he found prices to be over $1,500,000. He headed farther south and hunted until he found his dream house on a beautiful lake in the great state of Tennessee for the price that was right for him and his wife.
The moral of the story – a lot of planning goes a long way.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual. Randy Neumann CFP® is a registered representative with securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 12 Route 17N, Suite 115, Paramus, 201-291-9000.

Oh, Rhett! Oh, Scarlett! Oh, Kearny!

 

By Karen Zautyk

KEARNY –
Next week marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War classic “Gone With the Wind.”  Specific date of its release: June 30, 1936.
“Fiddle-dee-dee,” you say?
Frankly, you don’t give a damn?
Well, you should.  Unless you have been living under the stalks in a Georgia cotton patch, you know that both the novel and the movie were, in today’s terminology, blockbusters. And they’re still popular. Even the 1,037-page book continues to briskly sell, worldwide. There’s no exact count on the total number of copies purchased over the decades, but estimates put the tally  at 10 million, minimum.
However, I bet you didn’t know this: “Gone With the Wind” has a direct and important connection to this town.
As explained to The Observer by a gentleman named Robert J. Callander – formerly of Kearny, now of Oldwick: “If not for two Kearny guys, ‘Gone With the Wind’ may never have seen the light of day.”
Those two men were Kearny residents Harold Latham, an executive at Macmillan Publishers, the man credited with discovering Margaret Mitchell; and Norman Berg, an agent for Macmillan whom Latham had sent to work at the company’s Atlanta office.

 

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

Keeping up appearances

Photo by Karen Zautyk Crumbling stairs and weedy walkway need attention.

By Karen Zautyk

NORTH ARLINGTON –
“Borough asks residents to maintain their property” read the headline on the press release sent out by municipal officials. “New effort on property upkeep initiated,” it said.
North Arlington has always looked pretty nice to us, but does this announcement indicate problems? Has the place become messy? Disheveled? Does it no longer care about its appearance? This could be a symptom of depression, right?
Symptom of recession is more precise.
Part of the problem rests with foreclosures and abandoned properties, where the hedges and lawns are left to their own devices and building upkeep is nil. Part may rest with a lack of financial resources among homeowners who have managed to make the mortgage payments but have little left over for, say, repainting their house or making other exterior repairs.

North Arlington has not become an eyesore.  Drive around town and you will see manicured lawns and pristine houses. The unkempt properties appear to be in  the vast minority – and the borough wants to keep it that way. Hence,  heading off problems before they mushroom.
The goal is not just maintenance of property, but of property values.
“We’ve had a property maintenance code for a long time,”  said Robert Kairys, the borough’s construction official, but now “we’re taking a more pro-active approach.”

 

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

 

Proposed lot sale irks neighbors

Photo by Ron Leir Roberto Villanueva (l.) and Antonio Fernandez oppose Harrison’s plans to sell lots where residents park for free.

By Ron Leir

HARRISON –
Nudged by the state to shed any excess public properties, this town several months ago announced plans to sell off several vacant lots on the east side for ready cash – money it needs to help balance its budget.
In a resolution adopted May 3, the mayor and Town Council declared that the five lots at 4-8 and 12-14 Franklin Ave. and two at 15-17 Kingsland Ave. are “not needed for public purposes, and due to the loss of state aid, and in order to minimize the layoff of town personnel, it is necessary for the Town to sell this surplus property.”
If the lots were auctioned off, the town would look to get $180,000 as a “minimum bid price” on each lot except for 8 Franklin Ave., for which it’s asking $160,000.
But since then, town officials have had second thoughts – particularly after some Third Ward residents submitted a letter of protest to Mayor Ray McDonough and members of the council.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.