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Category: News

Care for Kentucky ARRIVES!

Photos by Anita Madden


By Anthony J. Machcinski

Imagine graduating high school, being handed your diploma and essentially being told, “Here’s a shovel – time to go work in the mines,” without vacations, days off, holidays, for the next 50 years or so while making next to nothing. This is the everyday life of the men, women, and children who live in Appalachia.
A couple of months ago, The Observer asked for volunteers and donations for Kentucky Care and our readers responded. All three of the 53-foot trailers were filled,
from floor to ceiling with donated items. In total, approximately 108,000 pounds
of donations were given to families in Appalachia.
We at the Observer wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to all who donated. In the
words of Gino Montrone, who orchestrated the first donations to Kentucky some
26 years ago, “You’ll never understand fully until you go down there.”
With that statement in mind, The Observer wanted to extend special thanks to several
people who were able to make this possible as well as to make our readers feel just
a little bit closer to the people in Kentucky who so greatly appreciate our help.
When Gino started donating 26 years ago, he got in contact with Bill Madden, who was
the principal of a school in Cordia, Kentucky. Bill’s wife, Anita, is one of the people
who have helped to organize the project in Kentucky.
“I’ve been working with Gino for 20 plus years,” explained Anita with her warm southern drawl. “He wanted to help underprivileged people in Eastern Kentucky. He came down with one truck the first time and it has grown since then.”
Anita has amassed several memories of the project over the years, but seeing these families each day while working as a school teacher has allowed her to gauge the
reactions of people who have received the donations.
“They’re just so appreciative,” Anita explained. “They’re face just lights up when they
see the truck. I mean, it really helps out a lot of people. They just can’t afford the things that are given to us.”

Local volunteers who helped pack the truck (from l.): James, Steve, Shawn, Bob


At the Lotts Creek Community School, Alice Whitaker works beside Anita. Alice, who
functions as the school’s Director and lives on the school’s campus, has spent as much time with the families as Anita has.
“The need is here and the fact that the New Jersey folks were so anxious to help, it’s
been wonderful,” Alice said happily.
Those involved in the effort have seen the issues down there and understand how
truly large the need is.
Alice described the problem with firsthand knowledge: “The economy here is coal
or no coal. It’s boom or bust,” she explained. “Most people don’t even profit when there is a boom. When it goes away, it leaves devastation behind.”
In Knott County, Kentucky, where Cordia is located, the average household income
was $11,297 according to the 2000 Census. Over a quarter of the population is below the poverty line.
While many of us here in the north are barely scraping the edge of knowledge of what
its like to see friends and family members lose jobs because of failing business, Observer Publisher Lisa Pezzola was able to go to Cordia, Ky. to see it firsthand.
“They don’t have much there, but they don’t know what they’re missing,” explained
Lisa, who first got involved with Kentucky Care after being friends with Gino.
“They’re just happy about the little things. The kids around here don’t realize what they have. I ordered a pizza and they loved it. It broke my heart.”


Photos by Anita Madden/ Kentucky residents enjoy Thanksgiving bounty from Kearny area donors

This lack of firsthand knowledge has not stopped people from volunteering. Shawn
Riordan was one of the people who volunteered to load the trailers here in Kearny. While Shawn states his reason for volunteering as working for a good cause, one particular experience stuck out in his mind.
“One gentleman brought a box of food,” Shawn said. “He told me when he was young
in Poland that the Americans who came brought food and he never forgot it and that he wanted to give back. I thought that it was nice the way he did it.”
Next to Shawn, helping to pack the truck and accept donations was Bob Hallenbeck.
“This is the third year I’ve been able to help out,” Bob said as he began to describe
a memorable moment. “This one woman who took all the clothes that she donated and
took them to the cleaners. She said she wouldn’t give someone dirty clothes.”
While giving to the needy, especially at this time of year and during this depressed
economy, it’s really the children that have the most effect on the volunteers.
“Its just the kids, they’re my main thing,” Gino said. “A bicycle to them is just the best. We had a total of almost 50 bikes this year, from tiny to nice off-road bikes.”
Gino even remembers things as little as a tube of lipstick that was exciting
to the children.
“The children were so excited that they took the stuff while they were working and
they were on the side putting lipstick on and laughing the whole time,” Gino
remembered. “They were so excited!”
“There was one little kid that was so excited to get some cowboy boots,” Alice
explained. “He was thrilled to death with those. ‘I can dance now,’ he said to me. Little
things like that tug at your heart.”
“There’s no place to go to eat. No buses, No transportation,” Gino said. “These kids
can’t go anywhere. They’re trapped.”
While many of us in New Jersey may fail to understand the happiness that our donations will bring to the nearly 1,200 people helped by this Care, you had only to be there with the recipients to understand the impact of these gifts.
“People who benefit directly are just in tears of joy,” explained Alice. “I remember
one little lady who just had tears streaming down her face.”
While only a few people are mentioned in this piece, so many more people helped out.
“I personally want to extend our thanks to the community because they did a tremendous job,” Lisa said. “If it wasn’t for the communities, we wouldn’t be this successful, and all the time the volunteers gave…It was everyone, from the people who
helped out loading the truck, to the police who helped with traffic, people like Chief Fire Inspector Chuck Kerr who helped get furniture from people’s homes. It really was a community event.”
“They’re the heroes, not me,” Gino said. “Alice, Anita, Bill. That’s all them, plus the people that donated.”
So from Gino, Lisa, Anita, Alice, Bill, and especially all the families who suffer day by day just to get by in Cordia, Kentucky, thank you. Without you, our loyal readers and those in our community, none of this would be possible.

Contract parleys collapse

Dr. Frank Romano



KEARNY – Kearny Board of Education’s efforts to land a new schools administrator have failed – at least for now.
The board, which has been searching for a permanent superintendent since the retirement of veteran educator Frank Digesere in June, had focused on the candidacy
of Frank Romano, currently superintendent of Franklin Lakes public schools in Bergen County.
To that end, in recent weeks the board had met several times in closed session to discuss possible terms of employment with the candidate.
But in a phone interview on Monday, Board President George King told The Observer
that: “I think we’re going to re-advertise (for the superintendent’s job). We weren’t able to take anything public to vote on.”
Asked if that meant that the board and Romano were unable to nail down an agreement on a potential employment contract, King said: “It looks that way. We’re back to square one.”
Efforts to reach Romano at press time on Monday were unsuccessful. An aide in the
Franklin Lakes public schools’ superintendent’s office said that Romano was “out of
King said that he was hopeful that the board could authorize extending the search
for a permanent superintendent sometime this week.
In the meantime, Ronald Bolandi continues as interim superintendent. Bolandi was hired in that capacity on June 20.
Romano is no stranger to Hudson County.
While working as an assistant superintendent for the Fort Lee public schools, he applied for the then-vacant post of schools’ superintendent with the Hoboken Board
of Education in 2010.
In February 2010, by a 7-2 vote, the Hoboken school trustees gave Romano a 3-year
contract at an annual salary of $190,000 with guarantees of 3.5% annual pay raises for
his second and third years on the job.
But, a short time later, Romano decided to withdraw, and, by the end of the school
year opted to accept an offer from the Franklin Lakes school district for a 4-year contract as top schools administrator at $189,000 a year.
Although the Franklin Lakes district is only K-to-8 with an enrollment of about
1,500 (as reported for the 2008-2009 school year) with no high school, as contrasted
with Kearny’s school population of more than 2,300 including a high school, King
said the Kearny trustees took into consideration Romano’s previous administrative experience with Fort Lee, with its approximately 3,500 students, including a high school.

Land parcels remain on selling block

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ View of Porete Ave properties as seen from the ridge above, looking east.

By Chris Neidenberg

NORTH ARLINGTON - Two potentially lucrative parcels located off of Porete Ave.
continue to wait for buyers after the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) failed to sell them.
The properties – totaling over 71 acres – will hopefully be turned into ratable plots for the borough.
In fact, a municipal development report describes the former Bethlehem Steel and old Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA) sites as key properties that could promote “the effective non-residential use of all the redevelopment area property, and to increase the property tax base. We had put them up for bid for a time last month but there were no parties interested in acquiring them,” NJMC spokesman Brian Aberback told The Observer, noting that had the properties been sold, North Arlington would
have had to approve any development plans.
Though NJMC negotiated receipt of the sites from the former owner, Aberback noted that they fall outside of the commission›s defined zone of jurisdiction.
He declined to elaborate or speculate on why there were no takers, saying only, “The commission is analyzing what its options are at this point.”
Previously, the NJMC negotiated to obtain the large properties from Cherokee Investment Partners, parent company of the now-defunct Encap Golf Holdings. The latter once proposed a massive residential development for the area, known in the borough as “Arlington Valley,” and extending into Lyndhurst and Rutherford. The plan also included entertainment and recreational uses, including a golf course. Yet, it fizzled due to various problems and was eventually scuttled.
In North Arlington, it prompted the borough to negotiate a settlement of its liabilities in the matter. Previously, the NJMC agreed to take ownership of the two major North Arlington parcels from Cherokee.
During the Encap controversy, borough officials refused to invoke eminent domain to force existing businesses off Porete Ave. to surrender their properties so the “Arlington
Valley” initiative could proceed.
With the collapse of Encap, the Borough Council opted to support the addition of new light industrial uses in the region, with the two larger sites serving as the anchor and the municipality›s biggest assets.
According to North Arlington’s Amended Redevelopment Plan, prepared by Heyer, Gruel and Associates of Red Bank, “The plan envisions the properties to create a regional light industrial area, encouraging infill development and rehabilitation of the
existing industrial buildings and lots on Porete Ave.”
The report continues, “The proposed concept for the Bethlehem Steel and BCUA sites envisions an attractive campus setting with landscaped buffers that will not detract from the views of the New York skyline from the residents on the ridge.”
The report describes the former Bethlehem Steel site encompassing approximately
41.2 acres and containing only a pumping station in the southern section.
It characterizes the old BCUA tract as comprising roughly 30 acres and being “irregular in shape,” with frontage along Schuyler Ave.
It contains the former BCUA transfer station, non-operational since 2002, as well as
the James Zadroga Soccer Field. The station is approximately 35-feet-tall with 166,000 sq. ft. of floor space.
Neither Mayor Peter Massa nor Councilman Joseph Bianchi, both of whom serve on
the borough Planning Board, could be reached. But Councilman Steve Tanelli said he
was “disappointed that the Meadowlands Commission could not find buyers and we
need to see why. For example, do they have a valid marketing plan to try attracting

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ A view of part of North Arlington parcels that the NJMC tried, unsuccessfully, to sell.

In a telephone interview, Planning Board Chairman David Chamrowsky noted that,
after the Amended Redevelopment Plan was published, a board majority recommended a totally different type of use which the borough’s governing body has rejected, opting instead to stick with the light industrial approach.
The board subsequently voted to recommend rezoning the area for retail-type use,
featuring a “Clifton Commons’- type development,” he explained. “It would contain
businesses of the nature of a Sam’s Club, Costco and Home Depot, but the mayor and
council oppose it.”
Asked why this alternative was proposed, Chamrowsky replied, “Because the members
who voted for it felt it could generate more tax revenues than a light industrial use.
Thom Ammirato, spokesman for the mayor and council, said local elected officials
feel the site does not have good access for a major retail complex.
While Clifton Commons sits right off Rt. 3, a major state highway, that’s not the case in this location, Ammirato said. “It is not easily visible and the council feels that’s a
Further, in terms of erecting “big box developments” like a Home Depot, Ammirato said the mayor and council do not believe tax revenue would be substantially improved.
You need to maximize your ratables and the mayor and council feel there’s a better
chance to do that with light industrial uses,” he explained. “If you put in a Home Depot, you are going to have to also include a large parking lot.”

Bloomfield’s Wright’s Field holds groundbreaking ceremony

Photos by Jeff Bahr/ At groundbreaking, from l., are: Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, District 28; Mayor Raymond J. McCarthy; Michael Sceurman, Director of Recreation; Sabina O’Brien, Recreation Board Chairwoman; Nick Joanow, Bloomfi eld Councilman; Mark Wannat, American Little League President; Ben Contella, Recreation Board Vice-Chairman, and Megan Schaffer, Recreation Supervisor.




By Jeff Bahr

On a rainy and raw Tuesday, November 22, the Bloomfield Recreation Dept. held a
ground breaking ceremony at the Wright’s Field playground area.
The happy event was held in response to a $230,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) aimed at refurbishing the playground area. Bloomfield Director of Recreation, Michael L. Sceurman, moved the proceedings along swiftly to help avoid heavier rains that were forecast for the region. He pointed toward the recently bulldozed playground area and explained that the previous “outdated”
equipment had simply outlived its “service life” and that much of it wasn’t ADA
compliant: a situation that will be rectified with the new setup that will include “transfer stations” for those visitors in wheelchairs. Sceurman credited Director of Community Development Glenn Dominick as “instrumental” in furthering the development of Wright’s Field, as well as other parks and play areas in Bloomfield.
Before turning over the first spade of dirt, a jovial Mayor Raymond McCarthy spoke
about the project. “It was about 34 years ago that I came down here and I met my wife and we came down to play softball down here,” said Mayor McCarthy. “And I thought then, coming out of Hoboken, I thought it was Yankee Stadium. Now as I look around at all the work that’s been done, with the Babe Ruth field, the Little League field and now this field, I don’t know what to describe other than this is a great accomplishment!”
According to Sceurman, the new playground will be divided into three distinct areas: A section for children ages 2-12, another for kids 5-12, and an area that will feature
spring-loaded animals for children to ride on. Sceurman added that “barrier-free rubberized safety tiles” will be used throughout, and that the new facility would be finished in time for the opening day of Little League season.

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Delivering holiday joy




By Lisa Pezzolla

Deep in the hollows of- Kentucky, Thanksgiving was celebrated bigger and better
then ever by the folks in Knott County.
This year, the Kentucky Care trucks arrived late due to the overwhelming outpouring of donations and organizer Gino Montrone had a little setback.
Before heading down, Gino had to coordinate with the kids at the school to help unload the trucks. When I spoke to them the day after, the excitement in the voices of Cordia liaison Anita Madden and Gino were heartwarming.
This year, we doubled the number of families helped. The children were so excited with all the toys, clothes, and bikes. The simple things we take for granted on a daily basis are the greatest gifts these kids can get; new or used, it means something.
Please read the story in full and see the photos that the folks from Kentucky shared with us.
I want to thank everyone who donated and a special thank you to James, Shawn,Steve, Bob, Norman (Bogie), and Chuck Kerr for all the time they volunteered. To the firefighters and police, thank you for all the valuable time. It was a community effort all and all. Once again, thank you for putting a special smile on the faces of our friends in Kentucky

A message for the soul: Show that you care

Perhaps the quality most responsible for success is humility.
A caring word and a warm smile can go a long way in developing new relationships
and enhancing the ones we already have. Pride, on the other hand, can destroy
all that we have built over the years and leave us feeling lonely. It is in our hands to control our moods.
We must learn to rise above our problems and tame our temptation to unleash
our anger upon others. It is important to pause for a moment and think before we act.
We all lead stressful lives but it is the art of handling this pressure that distinguishes
a sage from others more ordinary. We must strive to be more patient with our own frustrations.
This is when we need to tell ourselves to calm down and reflect on our actions.
It is believed that meditation helps in clearing our thoughts. Inhaling therapeutic vapors can also be helpful to the human psyche. Ginger scent can help one deal with feelings of loneliness, whereas sandalwood has been known to combat fear and confidence issues, and to improve selfesteem.
There is a solution to every problem; all it takes is some effort and perseverance
to survive the storm while looking forward to a brand new day.
Today, I encourage you to start afresh. Bring your mind, body and soul together. Try to be nice to others and to do a good deed selflessly. This act will heal you. It will help you
deal with your own insecurities.
Few people make their dreams come true, yet each new day gives you a chance to do just that. Be the person you have always wanted to be. Don’t let your anger, pride or ego deter you from your goals. You have it inside you to nurture your business and personal relationships. Doing so will not only help you gain respect among your peers,
but will establish your credibility within society. It is all within reach if you are willing
to give yourself another chance at living the life you have always imagined for



About the author…

Shweta Punjabi’s credits are as numerous as they are varied. In addition to her skills as a renowned Tarot Card reader, Punjabi has also prepared daily horoscopes for Mid-Day, DNA, and Yuva newspapers, and Seventeen India magazine.
Punjabi has also functioned as a television host for Walt Disney Television, India.
Ms. Punjabi’s offerings will include horoscope and dream interpretation, principles of numerology and color therapy: in short just about anything and everything that currently carries an “alternative” tag.

Visit Shweta at her website solutionsbyshweta.com • For more information or email her at magictaara@yahoo.com

Around town


Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC) and Bethany Lutheran Church will present a breast health awareness program on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Bethany Lutheran Church, 188 New St., Belleville. Anabela Cunha-Almeida, RN, will discuss the importance of breast health awareness and answer your major questions and concerns. Light dinner will be served. To register, please call Anabela Cunha-
Almeida at 973-844-4173.
The Chorus of Communities presents its 21st Christmas concert “Gaudete!” Midnight Mass for Christmas by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, based on French carols and other Christmas music, on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. The concert will be held at the Church of St. Peter, 155 William St., Belleville. Advance tickets are currently on sale for $15, seniors and students $12 and at the door on concert day $15. For reservations, call 201-472-9362.

Bloomfield Public Library announces the following schedule for its Monday Afternoon at the Movies program: Dec. 5 – “The Bishop’s Wife” (NR) (Cary Grant; Dec. 12 – “White Christmas” (NR) (Bing Crosby); Dec. 19 and 26 – Library closed for the holidays.
The library’s Thursday Afternoon at the Movie schedule is as follows: Dec. 8 – “A Christmas Carol” (NR) (Alastair Sim), Dec. 15 – “March of the Wooden Soldiers” (NR) (Laurel & Hardy). The library will be closed on Dec. 22 and 29. All films start at 12:15 p.m. in the library theater. Admission is free and all are welcome.
Bloomfield Recreation Department will have its annual tree lighting ceremony on Monday, Dec. 5, at Bloomfield Municipal Plaza at 7 p.m. The Recreation Department will also host its children’s holiday celebration on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Civic Center. Residents are welcome to drop by to join the festivities and to meet Santa Claus.

Harrison Lions Club will host a Winter Wonderland fair on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to
4 p.m. at the Harrison Community Center, 401 Warren St. Over 40 tables of vendors
will be available. Santa will also be there to take pictures for $5 a picture and Harrison
High School’s Soundwaves will perform Christmas carols. Spots are still available for
interested vendors for $25 for a 6 ft. long space. Vendors must supply their own tables and chairs. Interested vendors can reserve their spots by emailing harrisonlionsclub@yahoo.com, visiting the Harrison Lions Facebook page or calling 201-618-9545.

Paula Reyes and George Rosko of Coccia Realty, are currently conducting a Toys
for Tots Drive, in conjunction with the United States Marines. New and unwrapped
toys are being collected until Dec. 20 at local Coccia Realty locations: 636 Kearny Ave.,
Kearny; 273 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst; 11 Park Ave., Rutherford. For more information call Paula or George at 201-320-2958 or Coccia Realty’s Lyndhurst office at 201-939-8900.
The Salvation Army, 28 Beech St., Kearny, is offering computer classes on Monday
and Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon. A $30 fee is charged per 12 hours of instruction. The classes cover basic computer skills (mouse, keyboard, Internet), email, as well as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
West Hudson Christian Center, 557 Kearny Ave., presents “A Night in Bethlehem”
on Friday, Dec. 2, from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. Visitors are invited to journey through time as they tour live nativity scenes. Bring the family and receive a special gift (one per family) and a complimentary photo.
The Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., will host its annual carnival on Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. The event will include over 100 games of skill, an arts and crafts table, homemade toys and baked goods. The carnival is under the direction of PBGC Executive Director Thomas Fraser, Co-Chairman Richard Wagner and Chairman of the Board Paul Vieira.
The Friends of the Kearny Public Library will host a special event at the Kearny
Public Library to salute and celebrate our veterans on Dec. 7, the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. At 10 a.m., light refreshments will be served and at 10:30 a.m., “The Story of the Intrepid,” a documentary on the history of the famed aircraft carrier, will be shown. All are welcome to this special event, which will take place at the Main Library, 318 Kearny Ave.
The library also announces the continuation of the free museum pass program, which
includes a pass to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. For more information, contact the library at (201) 998-2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.
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.
Lunch With Santa will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Boystown Gym, 499 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The event will include lunch, door prizes, bouncy ride, pictures with Santa – don’t forget your camera, 50/50, Christmas movies, and bringyour-own decorated ornament contest. Admission is $10 per person. For more information, call 201-998-0088, ext. 4145 or register at www.newarkoym.com (All children must be accompanied by an adult.)
The next meeting of the St. Stephen’s Seniors will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the church’s Hedges Hall. There will be a board meeting at 10:30 a.m. The St. Nicholas party will begin at noon for paidup members only. Scheduled events include a trip to Atlantic City on Dec. 28. Bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. sharp. For club information, please call Tom at 998-8258.

St. Michael’s Senior Leisure Club, Lyndhurst, announces a bus ride to Showboat Casino in Atlantic City on Wednesday, Dec. 28, leaving the church parking lot, 624 Page Ave., Lyndhurst, at 10 a.m. Cost is $20 with $30 slot cash-back. For information, call Georgiana at 201-438-7847.
The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society will
have its first Sunday-of-the-month Nature Walk on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 10 a.m. This free two-hour program at DeKorte Park features a short talk and slide show on raptors and winter waterfowl of the Meadowlands by the NJMC’s Jim Wright, followed by a walk along Disposal Road. We’ll meet just inside the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. Check http://meadowblog.
for last-minute updates and weather advisories. You will
have to sign a standard liability release for 2011 if you haven’t already. For further information, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at: greatauk4@aol.com or at 201-230-4983.
The Home School Association of Sacred Heart School, Lyndhurst, will host its annual
Tricky Tray on Friday, Jan. 20, at Sacred Heart School, 620 Valley Brook Ave., at 6 p.m. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed. Raffles are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and are non-refundable. No one under 18 will be admitted. Ticket deadline is Jan. 10. For tickets, call Patty at 201-939-4277 or 201-803-9580.

North Arlington
Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus will have a celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 7
p.m. at the council hall, 194 River Road, North Arlington. The event will include the
lighting of the manger scene, Christmas carols and refreshments.

Thursday, Dec. 1, is Adult Scrabble Night at Nutley Public Library, starting at 7 p.m. Prizes are awarded for first and second place scores. Films are shown every Friday at the library at 2 p.m. Please check the monthly calendar, flyer or Facebook for the titles of the films.
Nutley High School student Danielle Louise Ciminnisi will perform solo compositions
from her CD “Piano Sketches” at the library on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. Saturday Story Time and crafts for all ages is scheduled at the library for the following Saturdays: Dec. 3, 10, 17 and 31 at 10 a.m. Registration is not required.
BabyGarten, for children from birth to 22 months and their caregivers, is scheduled
at the library for the following Mondays: Dec. 5, 12, 19 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Enjoy great books, nursery rhymes, playtime, and meet other babies from the Nutley area. Registration is required.
The library’s Manga and Anime Club will meet on Mondays, Dec. 5 and 19, from
3 to 4:30 p.m. The group will watch anime, read Manga and advise the library on its Manga collection.
Pajama Story Time, for children of all ages is scheduled at the library for Mondays, Dec. 5, 12, 19, at 7 p.m. Registration is not required. Experienced and non-experienced
players are welcome to play Bridge at the library every Tuesday at 1 p.m. No registration is required.
The library’s Tuesday Evening Knitting Club will meet on Dec. 6 from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Both beginning and experienced knitters are welcome. Please bring your own supplies. The group meets on the first Tuesday of every month.
The Wednesday Afternoon Knitting Club meets every week at the library from 1 to 3 p.m. Both beginning and experienced knitters are welcome. Please bring your own supplies.
An origami holiday ornament workshop will be held for teens only at the library
on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. Registration is required online through the Teen Blog.

The dangers of disability


By Randy Neumann

In the past, when you went to a bar or restaurant for lunch, all you had to watch
on television (that is, if they had a TV) was sports and sports reporting. That’s because
sports is a medium that sells commercials, i.e., soap, deodorant, airline travel, etc. Well, times have changed.
The number of channels has increased exponentially and television now uses politics and finance, predominantly, to sell its commercials. Interestingly, many of the
commercials (especially on the financial networks) want you to buy gold. Unfortunately, the horse is likely out of the barn with the price of gold at $1,300 an ounce, but that won’t stop them.
Financial planning covers a lot more than just investments, but the other topics
of the trade aren’t as sexy, so they don’t sell as many commercials. Nonetheless, they
are important. Listed below are the five tenets of financial planning: Tax and Cash Flow Planning; Investment Planning; Retirement Planning; Risk Management and Estate Planning.
This column will focus on the area of risk management. What is risk management?
Risk management is the calculation of things that can happen to you. I used to be able to count these risks on one hand. Some of these risks are: you can get sick or disabled; you can die; your property can get damaged or somebody can sue you.
However, in the new normal (a catchy current phrase), we have to include another
risk – a long-term care stay in a facility can deplete your assets. This column is about
the dangers of disability.
Let’s begin with, “What are your chances of becoming disabled?” According to the
Counsel for Disability Awareness, “Almost 1/3 of Americans entering the workforce
(3 in 10) will become disabled before they retire.” Interestingly, freak accidents are not
usually the culprit.
Are you prepared if this happens to you? Probably not. If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have disability insurance, or enough emergency savings to carry you through 2 1/2 years. Yes, that’s the duration of the average long-term disability.
Put another way, if you had a goose that laid a golden egg once a week, would you insure that goose? Of course you would. Well, if you have a job or a business that generates a weekly paycheck, you are the Golden Goose.
What are the most common causes of disability? As mentioned above, they are not
freak accidents, nor are they injuries at work. The majority of disabilities come from
illnesses like cancer, heart attack and diabetes. Back pain, injuries and arthritis are also significant causes. Most are not work-related, and therefore not covered by workers compensation. Additionally, lifestyle choices and personal behavior that lead to obesity are becoming major contributing factors.
Disability is already a widespread problem, and the threat is growing at an alarming rate. More than 30 million Americans between the ages of 21 and 64 are disabled according to the most recent U.S. Census. In 2008, 2.3 million disability claims were filed with Social Security.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 25-plus million American lives are restricted by the effects of disability. Now, to get down to brass tacks. What are your chances of becoming disabled?
The following statistics come from CDA’s Personal Disability Quotient disability risk
• A typical female, age 35, 5’4″, 125 pounds, non-smoker, who works an office job, has some outdoor physical responsibilities, and leads a healthy life style, has the following
risks: A 24% chance of becoming disabled for three months or longer during her working career; with a 38% chance that the disability will last five years or longer, and with the average disability for someone like her lasting 82 months. If this same person used tobacco and weighed 160 pounds, the risk would increase to a 41% chance of becoming disabled for 3 months or longer.
• A typical male, age 35, 5’10″, 170 pounds, non-smoker, who works an office job,
has some outdoor physical responsibilities, and leads a healthy lifestyle, has the following risks: A 21% chance of becoming disabled for three months or longer during
his working career; with a 38% chance that the disability would last five years or
longer, and with the average disability for someone like him lasting 82 months. If this
same person used tobacco and weighed 210 pounds, the risk would increase to a 45%
chance of becoming disabled for three months or longer.
OK, we have identified the problem. Come back next week for the solution.

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.


New Jersey residents whose homes and properties sustained damage in Hurricane Irene have until Nov. 30 to register for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Even if an insurance settlement has not been determined, individuals must register before the Nov. 30 deadline or face losing the opportunity to be considered for federal assistance. Though FEMA will not duplicate insurance benefits, expenses not covered by insurance may be eligible for federal grants after the claim has been paid.

Two remaining Disaster Recovery Centers in Essex and Passaic counties will also close Nov. 30. The centers, which operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., provide face-to-face answers to questions for those who have already registered. Applicants are reminded to keep their FEMA information updated, register before visiting the centers, but not to register more than once. Duplicate registrations will delay processing an application.

To register or to contact FEMA: Go to www.DisasterAssistance.gov, m.fema.gov or call FEMA toll-free, 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Those with access or functional needs and who use a TTY may call 800-462-7585 or use 711 or Video Relay Service to call 800-621-3362. Telephone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET; multilingual operators are available.

DRC locations:

Fairfield Community Center
376 Hollywood Ave.
Fairfield, NJ 07004

Paterson Museum
2 Market St.
Paterson, NJ 07501

Residents with flood insurance claims have until Jan. 23 to submit complete, signed and sworn-to proof of loss claims to their National Flood Insurance Program providers.

Hey, kids: Hearty appetite


Photo by Ron Leir/ Lincoln School kindergarteners hold packets containing cereal and graham crackers, watched by, from l., teacher Carina Gomes, Principal Joann Dignzaio-Botch and teacher aide Deborah DeCarvalho.



By Ron Leir

Harrison –
Public school kids in one West Hudson community are getting an amenity that hungry guests in many hotels can only wish for … free breakfast.
For Harrison Schools Supt. James Doran, the free meal is more of a necessity than a luxury, given the practical realities facing many of the district’s youngsters.
“We get a sense that a lot of our kids are either not eating breakfast or, if they are eating something, it’s likely to be a buttered roll and soda,” Doran said.
“And if you’re eating sugar, that stuff burns off around 9 or 10 a.m. and that’s when kids start fidgeting and losing attention,” he said. “There’s less disruption and kids are better prepared for the day when they eat a good breakfast.”
The district started its “Universal Breakfast” experiment on Oct. 1 – helped along by a small U.S. Department of Agriculture grant – and Doran says the kids seem to have taken to it pretty well.
The district’s contracted food services caterer, Pomptonian, of Allendale, provides the hot and cold meals.
Some adjustments had to be made to accommodate the approximately 15-minute food distribution and consumption time allotted for the younger children in Hamilton and Lincoln Schools.
As negotiated in a new labor contract, teachers and staff agreed to an expanded school day, starting at 8:20 a.m. (instead of 8:30 a.m.) and ending at 3:05 p.m. (instead of 3 p.m.) so the morning meal can be served without disrupting classes.
Students at Washington Middle School and the high school eat in their school cafeterias. At Hamilton and Lincoln Schools, maintenance staff wheel food on carts to classrooms where teachers and aides dole out meals to students.
Last school year, about 77% of the district’s approximately 2,000 students were deemed eligible for free and/or reduced-price lunches under federal household income guidelines that entitle the district to government reimbursement.
Now, Doran said the district is kicking in some funds to supplement the federal grant to fund the Universal Breakfast program.
The Observer visited Lincoln School last Tuesday to check out the breakfast menu. Kindergarten and third-graders got juice, cereal with milk and a whole grain snack, while second-graders enjoyed juice, a small plate of silver-dollar-sized pancakes or French toast and milk.

Photo by Ron Leir/ Lincoln School second-graders display their packaged hot breakfast. Standing, from l., are teacher Daniella Melo, Principal Joann Dignizio-Botch and Schools Supt. James Doran.

Kids don’t have to eat if they don’t want to but, on average, 95 to 100% accept the morning meal, according to Lincoln Principal Joann Dignazio-Botch.
Hot meals are served, typically, once or twice a week at Lincoln, she said.
“The children are very excited about this new undertaking and about the choices they have,” Dignazio-Botch said. “And feedback from parents has been very positive.”
With a decent morning meal, children are “more calm, more attentive” in class, she said.
Doran said that studies have shown that kids who have breakfast in school “increase their math and reading scores as well as improve their speed and memory in cognitive tests. Research also shows that children who eat breakfast at school – closer to class and test-taking time – perform better on standardized tests than those who skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home.”
What’s more, he said, kids who have in-school breakfast “are less likely to be overweight and have improved nutrition – they eat more fruits, drink more milk, and consume a wider variety of foods …”