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Category: News

Mayoral election challenge

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

HARRISON –

A newly minted Republican has thrown his hat in the ring for Harrison’s mayoralty.

In November, Erik Brachman, the president of the Harrison Board of Health, will oppose the Democratic nominee James Fife, who was appointed mayor by the Town Council after the sudden death of Raymond McDonough Feb. 12.

Three years ago, Brachman, 53, ran in the Democratic Primary as a candidate for a Second Ward seat on the Town Council and was defeated by Victor Villalta. Read more »

Now, there’s a ‘jury duty scam’

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent

Recently, The Observer warned readers of a nationwide phone scam in which fraudsters pretending to be IRS agents are bilking money from unsuspecting taxpayers.

Well, there’s another phone scam out there, one that should be of specific interest to our readers in the Bergen County communities of North Arlington and Lyndhurst. However, everyone should be wary. The fraud is spreading to other areas.

Authorities have reported that Bergen County residents have been receiving calls from phony “Sheriff ’s Office” employees threatening them with arrest because they allegedly failed to show up for jury duty. It’s all a fraud. Read more »

KBOE OKs borough ‘transfer’

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

EAST NEWARK –

East Newark public school children have now officially begun their climb up a long ladder that could lead them to taking high school classes in Kearny.

That happened March 24 when the Kearny Board of Education voted 6-0 “… that, contingent upon the severing of the sending-receiving relationship between East Newark and the Harrison Public School District, the Board is ready, willing and able to receive and educate the students from East Newark in grades 9 through 12 at the Kearny High School.”

East Newark Mayor Joseph Smith characterized the KBOE’s action as “the first favorable step” along the path to possible separation from Harrison that would end a century-plus-old tradition.

“My understanding is that if we couldn’t overcome this hurdle, we couldn’t go any farther,” Smith said. “There’d been no sense spending any money [to continue the separation process] until we had that step completed.” Read more »

9 Nutley home burglaries solved, cops say

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They got the accused burglars but, unfortunately, none of the loot.

Nutley police said they’ve broken a string of residential burglaries, dating from late 2013, involving nine separate cases throughout the township, with the arrests of seven suspects.

On March 21, Nutley PD, working with Rutherford PD, arrested Wayne resident Steven Benedek, 61, on charges of burglary to three Nutley residences: one on Edison Ave. on Dec. 19, 2013; one on HIghfield Lane on Dec. 20, 2013; and one on Kingsland Ave. on Jan. 31.

Police said Benedek has a long history of burglary arrests in Nutley dating from 1972 and 1973. Read more »

Siblings busted by KPD

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent

KEARNY –

An investigation that began in late February has resulted in the arrest of two Kearny brothers on drug and weapons charges, Kearny Police Chief John Dowie reported last week.

Dowie said the probe was launched after Vice Unit detectives developed information that drugs were being sold out of a residence on the 200 block of Chestnut St. Patrol units had also been called to the location in response to disorderly-conduct complaints from neighbors, Dowie said.

After surveillance and inquiries, detectives reportedly confirmed the sales and learned the occupants were allegedly in possession of at least one firearm.

On March 20, police applied to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office for a probable cause, no-knock search warrant, which was granted and authorized by Superior Court Judge Fred Theemling. Read more »

DNA helps nab ‘Manor’ suspect

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent

Photo courtesy KPD Carlos Camacho

Photo courtesy KPD
Carlos Camacho

KEARNY –

A series of 2013 burglaries in the Manor section of town has been solved thanks to DNA evidence collected at one of the crime scenes, Kearny Police Chief John Dowie reported.

The suspect, already incarcerated in the Essex County Jail, has a criminal history dating to 1996, Dowie said. The break-ins occurred last summer and were concentrated in the residential area west of Kearny Ave., between Bennett Ave. and the Belleville Turnpike. Kearny police increased their uniformed and plainclothes presence in the neighborhood and were also making vacant-house checks.

“In one of the cases, the detailed crime-scene processing paid off,” the chief said.

Lt. Anthony Gouveia, checking a house whose owners were on vacation, discovered a break-in, advised headquarters and secured the scene. Dets. Ray Lopez and Stephen Podolski responded and collected DNA specimens, which were sent to the N.J. State Police lab for processing.

“We were notified recently that the DNA belonged to a career criminal with an extensive burglary history,” Dowie reported last week.

The suspect was identified as 45-year-old Carlos Camacho, who was found to be a current inhabitant of the Essex County Jail, having been charged in connection with a recent Newark robbery, police said. Read more »

News from the KPD blotter

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March 28

At 11:20 a.m., Officers Ben Wuelfing and Vanessa Sevillano were dispatched to the 700 block of Forest St. to assist a Hudson County court officer with an eviction order. When the occupant of the residence, Jacquelin Nurkette, was advised that she would have to vacate the premises, she became hostile, threatened the officers, and then resisted being cuffed, police said.

Nurkette was charged with contempt of court, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Read more »

Logged on the Lyndhurst Police blotter

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March 26

At 2:03 a.m., police began pursuit of a vehicle traveling northbound on Summit Ave. after the driver made a sharp left turn onto Sixth St. and came to a stop at Jackson Place. The driver, Frank Erminio, 49, of Lyndhurst, was charged with DWI and reckless driving. He was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia (a purple fold with a white powdered residue suspected of being cocaine), possession of drugs and possession of drugs in a motor vehicle.

At 3:48 a.m., police found two males sitting in a vehicle parked in a lot in the 300 block of Valley Brook Ave. After learning that the driver, Jonathan Loewing, 20, of Manchester, was wanted on a $350 arrest warrant out of Point Pleasant, police arrested Loewing on the warrant. He was also charged with hindering after he allegedly gave police a false name. Read more »

News from the Nutley Police blotter

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March 30

At about midnight, police were called to a Franklin Ave. location on a report of a hazardous condition. The caller told police the parking lot in front of a building was flooding, causing two to three inches of water to leak into the basement where, it was feared, the water could damage a boiler. The Fire Department responded and was advised by the building supervisor to shut it down, which they did. Fire officials told the supervisor to contact PSE&G to activate the boiler after the water is removed from the basement. At 6:06 a.m., police and fire personnel went to a Union Ave. residential building on a report of a carbon monoxide alarm. After confirming readings of CO inside the building, the Fire Dept. alerted PSE&G which remedied the problem. All tenants were notified of the situation, police said.

At 9:29 p.m., an attendant at a Franklin Ave. gas station contacted police to report he’d been assaulted by a customer. Police said the attendant told them that while pumping gas into a vehicle, he slipped, causing the nozzle to strike the vehicle, at which point, the driver – described as a bald, heavyset white male — exited a dark colored Hummer and hit the attendant once with a closed fist in the left side of his head and then drove away. Police said the attendant declined medical attention. Police said a review of the station’s video surveillance tape confirmed the altercation. Police then broadcast an alert to surrounding police agencies with no result.

March 31

At 9:08 a.m., police received a report of criminal mischief at a Franklin Ave. location. The owner of a vehicle parked on the block told police that during the night, someone had smashed his front windshield.

April 1

At 2:01 a.m., police said they found a vehicle with its windows heavily fogged and a male sleeping in the passenger seat while the vehicle was parked in a lot on Monsignor DeLuca Place. The occupant, Ashton Ailey, 23, of Howell, was arrested after police learned he had two outstanding warrants from Howell. He was released after posting bail and advised to contact Howell for a new court date.

At 6:54 p.m., a Washington Ave. resident called police to report the theft of a white wicker table valued at $200 from a backyard patio.

April 2

At 10:45 a.m., police received a report of criminal mischief at a Park Ave. location. Police said the victim told them that while they were at their landscaping storage area, someone cracked the windshield on a C5500 Chevrolet truck, causing $300 in damages, and had also tampered with the fuel tank on their Bobcat Skidsteer on two different occasions, causing a total of $931 in damages.

Also at 10:45 a.m., a burglary to an auto was reported at Bloomfield Ave. and High St. Police said someone cut out and removed the plow controls from the interior of a vehicle while it was parked on the property. Damage was estimated at about $500. Police are reviewing surveillance tape from the area.

At 4:46 p.m., police responded to a Franklin Ave. location on a report of a vehicle’s damaged rear window. The owner told police their car was parked at that location, opposite the Middle School, when his rear window was struck by a baseball, shattering it. Police said the ball had been hit over the fence during a practice being held by the high school baseball team. The owner was advised to contact the Board of Education.

– Ron Leir

Around Town

Bloomfield

Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., will hold an egg hunt for kids ages 18 months to 5 only on April 16 at 11 a.m.

The library said that Monday and Thursday movie programs are postponed until May while the theater stage is under construction.

Belleville

Belleville Elks Lodge 1123, 254 Washington Ave., hosts a fish fry on Friday, April 11, from 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $6 for a children’s chicken dinner. Proceeds will help send a special needs child to Elks Camp Moore.

Harrison

Holy Cross Church sponsors an Atlantic City bus trip on Sunday, April 13, to the Taj Mahal, leaving at 10 a.m. from Holy Cross School. Refreshments will be served starting at 9:15 a.m. in the school basement. A donation of $30 is requested ($25 return in slot play). For reservations, call Joan at 973- 481-2434 or Marie (Spanish) at 973-481-1799. Leave your name, phone number and number attending.

Harrison Business Connections hosts a luncheon April 10 at noon at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Harrison- Newark Riverwalk. Harrison Mayor James Fife will provide an update on Harrison redevelopment projects. More information can be found at http://HBCevents. eventbrite.com. Harrison Business Connections can be found online at www.HarrisonBusinessConnections.com and www.facebook. com/HarrisonBusinessConnections.

Kearny

Comunidade Evangelica Vida Abudante (Abundant Life Evangelical Community Church), 151 Midland Ave., hosts a blood drive on April 14 from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Donors must be age 16 (with parental consent) and older and weigh at least 110 pounds. People ages 75 and older can donate if they bring a doctor’s note.

Franklin School PTA hosts Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Applebee’s on April 12, from 8 to 10 a.m. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased at the door.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., announces:

• Art for pre-schoolers will be held on Tuesday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to noon. The library supplies materials. Art class for ages 5 and older will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

• A performance by Uncle John’s Puppets will be held on Thursday, April 17, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

• Disney Double Feature screens “The Jungle Book” at 1 p.m. and “The Jungle Book 2” at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16.

Registration is not required for these programs, but seating is limited.

Kearny High School’s Project Graduation sponsors a volleyball tournament on Friday, April 25, in the school’s gymnasium, 336 Devon St. Contact Melissa Dyl for information at 201- 978-8257. There will be a 50/50 raffle Friday, June 20, following graduation ceremonies. The winner need not be present. Tickets are $10. To purchase or sell tickets, contact Sandy Hyde at 551-265-8969.

Kearny High School PTA presents “Rocking with Rod Stewart,” a performance by Jay Gates, on April 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Irish American Club, 95 Kearny Ave. The $25 admission includes refreshments, cash bar and a small raffle. Call Denise at 201-428- 8572 for more information or to purchase tickets.

St. Cecilia Church, 114 Chestnut St., holds a flea market on Saturday, April 12. For more information, call 201-991-1116. Vendors are welcome. All proceeds benefit St. Cecilia Parish. Donations are kindly accepted.

Volunteers are invited to help clean up the Passaic River and surrounding area at the Frank Vincent Marina on Saturday, April 12, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. For more information, call Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle at 201-991-4795.

West Hudson Christian Center, 557 Kearny Ave., hosts a rock n’ roll Easter event for families on Saturday, April 12, from 1 to 3 p.m., with an indoor Easter egg hunt for ages 2 to 10, starting at 2 p.m., plus crafts, games, egg painting and refreshments. All families receive a free 8-by-10-inch digital photo for stopping by. To pre-register or for questions, visit www.whccag.org.

Lyndhurst

The Lyndhurst Food Pantry, 253 Stuyvesant Ave., is collecting hams, turkeys and lasagna for the holidays and non-perishable food items (dry cereal, peanut butter, puddings, juices, etc.). Donors are reminded to check expiration dates on food. Expired items will be discarded. Woman’s Club volunteers are at the pantry Monday to Thursday, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Anyone in need of food is asked to contact Sarah at the Lyndhurst Health Center, 601 Riverside Ave. Recipients must show proof of residency and need. Once registered, recipients are entitled to food once a month. Call Sara at 201-804-2500.

Registration is required for the following children’s programs at the Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave.

• Screening of “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown” for pre-k to grade 4 on Monday, April 14, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

• Ladybug Craft – Children in grades 1 to 4 are welcome on Monday, April 28, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

• Comic/manga and anime trivia contest on Wednesday, April 16, from 6 to 7 p.m., for grades 6 to 8. Email lyndref@ bccls.org or call 201- 804-2478, ext. 4 to register.

Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Avenue, Suite 1, offers:

• Thyroid Health Forum, hosted by Lyndhurst chiropractor Marco Ferrucci, on Friday, April 11, at 10 a.m. A light breakfast and refreshments will be served.

• Free Women’s Health Clinic, in partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center, on April 25, at 9 a.m., providing education on breast self-examination and a pap smear. This event is open to female township residents age 18 and older.

For appointments and reservations, call the Health Department at 201-804-2500.

Polish American Citizens Club, 730 New Jersey Ave., presents a Polka Mass dinner dance on Saturday, April 26, from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Tickets are $35. For tickets, call Alice at 201-935-3830 or Loretta at 201-438-3513.

Ticket deadline is April 12 for Sacred Heart Home School’s Calendar Party Tricky Tray fundraiser on Friday, May 2, at the school, 620 Valley Brook Ave. Tickets are $20 and non-refundable. No one under 18 will be admitted and no alcoholic beverages are permitted. For tickets, call Patty at 201-803- 9580 or the school at 201- 939-4277.

New Jersey Meadowlands Commission announces:

• Mixed Media Nature Sketching for teens and adults on Saturday, April 12, from 1 to 3 p.m., weather permitting, at the NJMC Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza. No experience necessary. Experiment with pencil, charcoal, ink, and watercolor pencils. Borrow basic art supplies or bring your own. Cost is $20/person; $16/MEC members. To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.

• Free Birding for Beginners class at the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park, on Sunday, April 13, at 1 p.m. To register, contact Don Torino of the Bucks County Audubon Society (BCAS) at greatauk4@ aol.com or 201-230-4983.

• Third-Tuesday-of-the- Month Bird Walk with the NJMC and BCAS on Tuesday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Harrier Meadow in North Arlington. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute updates. Participants are asked to sign a standard liability release good for NJMC/BCAS events year-round. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@aol.com.

North Arlington

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Rd., announces:

• Author Michael Heath discusses his book “Garlic Bread for Eugene” on Tuesday, April 15, at 6 p.m. This program is recommended for children ages 9 to 12. Books will be available to purchase.

• Friends of the Library meets Friday, April 18, at 10:30 a.m.

• “Woman’s Club Craft” for grades K to 5 meets on Tuesday, April 22, at 6 p.m. Registration is required. Call 201-955-5640, ext. 126. To register, just leave a message.

Senior Harmony Club announces the following trips:

• Sands Casino on Thursday, April 24. For reservations or information, call Florence at 201-991-3173.

• Westchester Broadway Theater to see the musical “Ragtime” on Thursday, May 1. Reservations must be made ASAP. Call Anna at 201-939- 2960.

Nutley

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 120 Prospect St., hosts the following:

• Fish-Fry, catered by Thistle Restaurant, on Friday, April 11. Tickets are $15. Take-out is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and dining- in from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are for sale in advance only. To purchase tickets, visit the rectory Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or after any weekend Mass.

• Home-made Pasta Dinner on Saturday, May 3, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $6 for children age 12 and younger. Visit the rectory to purchase tickets. All proceeds benefit the church’s CCD program.

Registration is open for the Nutley Parks and Recreation Department’s “Let’s Get Moving,” for ages 3 to 5, to refine motor skills and increase balance. Classes begin April 22. Two sessions are available: Tuesdays at 1 p.m. or Thursdays at 9:15 a.m. Online registration is available at nutleynj. my.gov-i.com/recreation or at the Recreation Department, 44 Park Ave, reachable at 973-284-4966.

Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Dr., announces:

• Donations for a book sale will be collected from Monday, April 21, to Wednesday, April 23. The sale is April 24-26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Proceeds help support library programs and collections. For more information, call the library at 973-667-0405 or email library@nutleynj.org.

Registration is required for the following Nutley resident children’s programs:

• Earth Day Story Time, for children under 18, on Monday, April 14, at 7 p.m. Register online at http://nutleypubliclibrary.org/youthservices. • Lego Scavenger Hunt on Tuesday, April 15, at 11 a.m.

• Independent readers ages 5 to 12 can improve their literacy skills by reading to a certified therapy dog on Saturday, April 19, at 2 p.m.

• Babygarten, for ages 23 months and under, will be held at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, April 11.

• Paint a Pot, Plant a Flower, for ages 12 and under, on Wednesday, April 16, at 1:30 p.m. Sign-Up at http://nutleypubliclibrary.org/youthservices.

• Preschool Story Time, for ages 3 to 5, on Wednesday, April 23, at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

• Two-Year-Old Story Time on Friday, April 25, at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

• Lego Live Action Game on Thursday, April 17, at 2 p.m. No registration is required.