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Category: News

‘Sober House’ rattles residents

Sober_web

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY –

The corner house at Grand Place and Stewart Ave. doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, but it’s drawn a lot of attention from neighbors – and not in a good way. Many packed the assembly chambers at last Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting to demand that the town take action to kick out its new occupants, clients of a “recovery house.”

And the town is taking steps to do just that if the building’s owner and tenant fail to comply with various building code and zoning-related violation notices.

But the new tenant insists that when the dust clears, folks will see there’ll be nothing to worry about. Read more »

2nd hotel signals growth

Hotel_web1

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

HARRISON – 

The town of Harrison, with a current population of about 14,000 but growing thanks to several new residential projects rising in its waterfront redevelopment area, now has a second hotel.

It is the Element Harrison, the brand’s second hotel in New Jersey, along with the Element in Ewing Township, just outside Princeton.

The 138-room facility off Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. S. is just steps away from the Harrison PATH station and across the street from the Red Bull Arena.

Its construction – developed at a cost pegged at $43 million – comes a decade after the development of the 165-room Hampton Inn & Suites on the Harrison Riverwalk, close to the border of downtown Newark. Read more »

A harvest of plenty in special garden

Garden_web

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

HARRISON– 

Somewhere in Harrison, there is a magical place. If we were telling this story as a fairy tale, it would begin:

Once upon a time, there was a small plot of land on which a happy home had stood. But one day, the king’s men came and tore the house down, leaving the land lonely and forsaken. Soon, bad people found the place and used it as a trash heap, and it got uglier and lonelier, because the king’s men didn’t do anything about cleaning it up.

Good people who lived nearby would try to remove the litter, but the bad people always came back and dumped some more.

Then, an angel appeared. We will call her a Gardening Angel. And she planted lots of wonderful things, which grew to giant size and which she shared with her neighbors. Read more »

Vino, verily, arriving soon

wine_web

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY –

Starting next month, the Kearny Farmers Market will be offering a new, sweet treat as part of the fresh, Jersey-grown produce for its patrons.

We’re talking vino, folks.

The town governing body voted last Tuesday night to permit the Four Sisters Winery in Warren County to conduct wine tasting and sales on specified Thursdays – Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 – at the Farmers Market on Garfield St.

That’s contingent on state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approval. Read more »

Town OKs Passaic Ave. builders’ deal

KEARNY – 

Kearny is another step closer to seeing new commercial development along its Passaic Ave. corridor, close to its East Newark border.

The town’s governing body signed off last Tuesday night on a three-year redevelopment agreement for a portion of the Passaic Ave. Redevelopment Area with DVL Kearny Holdings LLC and its principals Alan Casnoff of Philadelphia and Lawrence J. Cohen of New York.

Key to that mobilization is construction of a BJ’s Wholesale Club on the east side of Passaic Ave. which will be positioned as the “anchor” of several new retail stores planned for the area near ShopRite.

Eric R. Ballou, principal of InSite Engineering, the Wall Township firm hired by DVL to assist with the project, told the mayor and Town Council that DVL expected to begin disconnecting utilities at older retail properties on the mall site shortly before tearing down those structures, starting in November.

Then, the firm figures it will be undertaking “infrastructure, beginning early next year, for the BJ’s project,” Ballou said.

Under terms of the redeveloper agreement, DVL must pay the town $50,000 a year in “administrative fees” plus consultant fees by Oct. 1 and each year thereafter until the town has issued a certificate of completion for the project. However, the fee will be adjusted downward based on a formula keyed to the “gross building area of the new buildings” completed.

Those new buildings will be an 87,788 square foot structure to be leased to BJ’s Wholesale Club, a 35,000 square foot, one-story structure to house one retail client and a 17,000 square foot, one-story structure that will house five smaller retail tenants. Other than BJ’s, no other tenancies have yet been announced by DVL.

Additionally, the agreement calls for DVL to pay the town $90,000 in administrative fees owned for 2013 and 2014 for which DVL was “in arrears from prior redeveloper agreements.”

DVL must also provide to the town $184,000 as its contribution toward the eventual construction of a Passaic River Waterfront Park/Walkway within the next decade.

DVL has pledged to try to hire Kearny residents as construction workers for one out of every five jobs on the project.

DVL will put up $75,000 in “condemnation escrow” to acquire easements from Kmart.

Some history on the project: In December 2000, the town declared 86 acres in the southwestern part of Kearny to be in need of redevelopment, and in 2001, the mayor and council adopted the original Passaic Ave. Redevelopment Plan which was revised in 2007 and amended in 2014 to allow for the construction called for in the agreement approved last week.

– Ron Leir 

Around Town

Belleville

The Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee will hold a Halfway-to-St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser Wednesday, Sept. 17, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Belleville Knights of Columbus on Bridge St. The event will honor the past grand marshals and deputy grand marshals. Admission is $35 for adults ($15 for those under 21). Guests will enjoy corned beef and cabbage, dessert, beer, wine and soda. The Eamonn Ryan Showband will entertain.

The Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., will screen the animated musical fantasy/comedy “Frozen” (PG) Saturday, Sept. 20, at 2 p.m.

Belleville Elks Lodge 1123, 254 Washington Ave., hosts its monthly breakfast Sunday, Sept. 21, 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children under age 10 and free for children under age 3.

Bloomfield

Certified school counselor Allen Regar provides information on researching and applying to college at a seminar Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. at Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St.

Harrison

Harrison Downtown Community Development Partnership and Neighborhood Preservation Program sponsors a Flea Market and Collectible Show Saturday, Sept. 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Harrison Ave., between Second St. and Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. Admission is free.

Four exhibitor spaces are available for free to any school or local organization. Call 201- 998-1144 for a reservation.

Holy Cross Church sponsors a bus trip Sunday, Sept. 21, to the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, leaving from Holy Cross School, Frank E. Rodgers Blvd., at 10 a.m. Refreshments will be served in the school basement starting at 9:15 a.m. Cost is $30 ($25 returned in slot play.) Call Joan for reservations at 973- 481-2434 (leave your name, phone number and number attending).

Kearny

The Class of 1964 of St. Cecilia High School is holding a 50th reunion dinner Saturday, Oct. 4, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., at Mama Vittoria Restaurant, 160 Franklin Ave., Nutley. To attend, contact Kathy McCourt Jackes at kathyjackes@yahoo. com or 908- 303-9993; Kathy Walsh Vecchio at katvec46gmail.com or 973-865-0402; or Nancy Branin Waller at nancy.waller2@verizon.net or 201- 889-6229 by Sept. 25.

St. Cecilia Church, 114 Chestnut St., sponsors a flea market Saturday, Sept. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors are welcome. For more information, call 201-991-1116. All proceeds benefit the parish.

The Kearny Police Department, 237 Laurel Ave., in partnership with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, will once again be participating in Operation Take Back Sept. 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants are asked to use the department’s Forest St. door for the Juvenile Aid Bureau. Turn in expired, unused, or unwanted prescription or over the counter medication. This is an anonymous drop off. No ID required. For more information, call Officer Corbett at 201-998-1313, ext. 2820.

Kearny Lions Club sponsors a bus trip to Sands Casino, Bethlehem, Pa., Sept. 27, leaving from 60 Kingsland Ave. at 9 a.m. Price is $35. Tickets include $20 for slots and a $5 food voucher. For tickets, call Alvin at 201-997-9371, ext. 18, or Jo Ann at 201-998-3018.

Kearny UNICO hosts “Wheels for Vic,” a fundraiser to purchase a power wheelchair for Kearny resident Victor Muniz, Sunday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m., in the former Boystown gym, 499 Belgrove Drive. The $30 admission covers a raffle, lunch and live music. Muniz was paralyzed after a tree branch fell on him during a 2008 summer storm. For tickets or more information, contact Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409, Joseph Sgalia at 201- 998-6879, Rossana McLaughlin at 201-407-7262, or Judy Hyde at 201-991-5812. The committee also welcomes both monetary and/or gift donations for this event.

Trinity Church, 575 Kearny Ave., hosts a fish, chicken and chips dinner Friday, Oct. 3, 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and two for $30. Take-out will also be available. Tricky Tray will be held 8 to 9 p.m. For tickets, call Annamarie at 201-998- 2368 after 5:30 p.m.

Pathways to Independence sponsors its 13th annual Walka- Thon Saturday, Oct. 4, 10 a.m. to noon, at West Hudson Park, Schuyler Ave. entrance. All are welcome. Proceeds benefit adults with disabilities who attend Pathways programs. For more information, call Pathways Executive Director Alvin Cox at 201-997- 9371, ext. 18.

Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Kearny, sponsors a 5K run Sunday, Sept. 28, beginning on S. Midland Ave. at 6 p.m. This run is one of many events being held to raise much-needed funds for the seminary. There is a $25 registration fee. More information is available at www.rmnewark.org or fathermanuel@gmail. com.

Lyndhurst

The Lyndhurst Food Pantry, 253 Stuyvesant Ave., resumes normal business hours on Monday, Sept. 22. Pantry hours are Monday to Thursday, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Interested patrons must submit proof of need to the Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., Suite 1. For more information, call the department at 201- 804-2500.

United Presbyterian Church, 511 Ridge Road, hosts a Victorian tea, sponsored by the Meadowlands Museum, Sunday, Sept. 28, 3 to 6 p.m. The event includes a lecture on the history and preparation of tea, plus live music.

Tickets are $30 and available at the museum, 91 Crane Ave., Rutherford, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

New Jersey’s “Bat Man” Joe D’Angeli and his Batmobile will be at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 De- Korte Park Plaza Friday, Sept. 19, 6 to 9 p.m. D’Angeli will present a live bat exhibit. A portion of the proceeds go to bat conservation and rehabilitation groups nationwide. Suggested donation is $5. Registration is recommended and appreciated. To register, go www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec or call 201-257-2231.

The Masonic Club, 316 Riverside Ave., hosts all-youcan- eat crabs and cole slaw (chicken available for nonseafood eaters) Saturday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. Admission is $20 at the door. For reservations, call the club at 201-933-1330.

Lyndhurst Garden Club meets Monday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m., at the Senior Citizen Building, 250 Cleveland Ave. Topics include designed flower beds, gardening in pots, and more, plus a raffle and social hour. For more information, call 201-939-0033.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst sponsors an indoor garage sale Saturday, Sept. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Senior Building.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts an autumn craft program for grades 1 to 4 Monday, Sept. 29, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration is required. To register, call the library at 201-804-2478.

Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a karaoke party Friday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. The VFW hall is available for all occasions. For more information, call the post at 201-939- 3080.

The Lyndhurst Health Department announces the following programs. To register, call the department at 201-804-2500.

• A bi-annual women’s health clinic, arranged through a partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center, is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. The clinic offers education on breast self-examination and a PAP test and is open to township residents ages 18 and over.

• A free meditation course is offered weekly on Tuesdays, 6 to 7 p.m., starting Sept. 16, at the Community Center, Riverside and Tontine Aves. For more information, call the Health Department.

United Presbyterian Church sponsors a vintage marketplace and gourmet food truck fest slated for Sunday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1050 Wall St. West parking lot. Admission is free.

North Arlington

Learn all about the history of newspapers in the United States with journalist Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 6:30 p.m.

The library’s Historical Fact and Fiction Book Club meets Thursday, Sept. 25, at 10 a.m. and the Friends of the Library Book Club meets Friday, Sept. 26, at 10 a.m.

The library’s Comics Club for ages 6 and up meets Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 3:30 p.m.

Queen of Peace Church celebrates the 22nd annual International Prayer and Fasting Campaign Monday, Sept. 22, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the LaSalle Center, 200 Ridge Road. For more information, call 201-997-7000.

Nutley

The Art Workshop program for grades 1 to 6 resumes for an eight-week fall session Oct. 11. Classes will be held Saturdays at the Recreation Department, 44 Park Ave. The fee is $30 per child. Class size is limited and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Online registration is available at https://nutleynj. my.gov-i.com/recreation. For more information, call 973- 284-4966 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The Department of Parks & Recreation is accepting Recreation Basketball registration for the 2014-2015 season. This program is open to Nutley youngsters in grades 3 to 8. Teams compete in a recreational league format and are grouped in divisions by grade. Boys and girls will play in separate leagues. The program seeks to provide ample playing time for all participants, teach the fundamentals of individual and team play and encourage sportsmanship.

Registration deadline is Oct. 17. The fee is $40 per player. For more information, visit www.nutleynj.org or call 973- 284-4966 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Nutley residents, particularly parents, coaches and child-care providers, are encouraged to attend Heartsaver CPR & AED training to be offered at the Department of Parks & Recreation. A threehour class, taught by Lifesaving Techniques, is available Thursday, Sept. 25, or Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the Rec Department, 44 Park Ave.

The fee is $65. Class size is limited. Registration, on a first-come, first-served basis, is available online or at the Rec Department. For further information, call 973-284- 4966, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Children ages 28 months and under and their caregivers are invited to enjoy nursery rhymes, stories and playtime at Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Only Nutley residents may participate. Registration is required. To register or for more information, call the library at 973- 667-0405.

Rosko named Agent of the Month

LYNDHURST – George Rosko, who has spent seven years with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Coccia Realty, is the company’s Real Estate Agent of the Month for July in the Lyndhurst office, owner and President John (Jan) R. Kwapniewski announced.

Rosko, the agency’s top rental specialist, has closed 51 agreements to date in 2014, representing the most of any agent locally and the fourth-highest and top 1% of any agent in the region’s 500-plus agencies, according to statistics from the N.J. Multiple- Listing Service (NJMLS).

“His number of transactions are extraordinary,” said Lyndhurst Branch Manager Michael Amoroso. “George is a very hard worker, readily available to his clients. He is ethical and professional, and he works seven days a week. Whatever needs to get done, George gets it done.”

Rosko, a real estate agent for 16-plus years, lives in North Arlington and serves clients from Harrison, Kearny, Lyndhurst, North Arlington and Rutherford.

Rosko says he enjoys his work with BHGRE Coccia not just because of the people, but because he knows his voice is heard.

“I always know that when I have ideas or concerns, I can always bring them to our broker John,” Rosko said. “And he listens. If he believes it’s a good idea, he’ll run with it. If he doesn’t think it’s a good idea, he’ll say so, but he’ll always explain why he doesn’t think it’ll work. That’s very important to me.”

In addition to rentals, Rosko handles residential and commercial sales, leases and property management.

Kwapniewski, like Amoroso, sang Rosko’s praises. “We were very fortunate that George chose my company,” Kwapniewski said. “He’s one of the hardest workers you’ll ever find in this industry, and I am very happy to have him on board as long as we have.”

Rosko is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors, Garden State Multiple Listing Service and NJMLS.

With BHGRE and Coccia’s status as a HUD-registered broker, he has access to foreclosures and REO listings and can also offer relocation services and referrals throughout the country.

To contact Rosko, call his mobile at 201-218-0841 or the Lyndhurst office at 201-939- 8900.

For more information, call 201-997-7000, or visit www.cocciarealty.com or facebook.com/cocciarealty.

Remembering a local hero

Lt. Joseph E. Frobisher Jr. (inset) was a pilot with the U.S. 148th Aero Squadron. Those are the 148th’s Sopwith Camels, photographed in France in August 1918, a month before his death.

 

Lt. Joseph E. Frobisher Jr. (inset) was a pilot with the U.S. 148th Aero Squadron. Those are the 148th’s Sopwith Camels, photographed in France in August 1918, a month before his death.

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY– 

The following account of an air battle in France nearly 100 years ago is from Edgar Gorrell’s “History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919”:

“It was on 2 September that the 148th [Aero Squadron] suffered its greatest losses of the war in one disastrous patrol. “

A superior number of Fokkers were attacking several artillery observation planes. The 148th, knowing it was their duty to protect the observation planes, engaged the Fokkers, who were ready for the fight.

“The squadron attacked with five aircraft against 13 or 14 Fokkers, and soon the Germans, all good pilots, had most of the 148th’s [Sopwith] Camels in distress. Additional Fokkers then appeared out of the clouds until there were at least 20 of them. . . .” The Germans “. . . shot down all five of the American aircraft.

“One pilot performed a crash-landing on the British side of the line and was unhurt, however not a word was heard from the other four. Over a month later, it was reported that three of the pilots had crashed in enemy territory and were prisoners of war.

“The fourth was wounded and later died.”

If you are wondering what all this has to do with Kearny, the answer is:

Everything.

That fourth pilot was Lt. Joseph Edwin Frobisher Jr., a son of Kearny, and today, Sept. 10, is the anniversary of his death in 1918. He was just 22 years old.

When we visited American Legion Post 99, the Joseph E. Frobisher Jr. Post, to write about its 95th anniversary last month, we started learning his story, and we knew we needed to share it.

As a history lover, we cherish the chance to put a face to a name, to tell something of why that name means so much more than an inscription on a war memorial.

At the Post headquarters on Belgrove Drive, Commander Keith McMillan led us over to a sepia photograph, its wooden frame surmounted by a small cloth badge — U.S. Air Service wings. The wings from Frobisher’s uniform.

The Frobisher family bequeathed some of the pilot’s personal effects and papers, along with his military foot locker, to Post 99, which is the trusted custodian of these items and, more importantly, of his memory.

Among these treasures, not a word used lightly, are a number of letters, including two to the Frobishers from their son’s commanding officer, 1st Lt. (and later, Capt.) Morton L. Newhall

Photo by Karen Zautyk Frobisher’s foot locker, shipped home from France and donated to Post 99 by his family, holds photos, official papers, medals and mementos.

Photo by Karen Zautyk
Frobisher’s foot locker, shipped home from France and donated to Post 99 by
his family, holds photos, official papers, medals and mementos.

 

The letters are carefully typed on tissue-thin parchment — paper so fragile it is a wonder the typewriter keys did not punch right through. And they are still pristine white. Which is also a wonder, considering their age.

The first, dated Sept. 11, 1918, and sent from somewhere in France, reads as follows:

“It is with very deep regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son, Lieut. Joseph E. Frobisher, on September 10th from wounds received in aerial combat on Sept. 2nd.

“Two flights from our squadron were engaged that day, and Lt. Frobisher among others failed to return and was reported missing.

“On September 6th, his machine [plane] was seen by some of our men, not badly damaged on land, but recently regained from the enemy, and later your son was located in one of our hospitals, and we had hoped all would be well with him.

“Lieut. Frobisher conducted himself gallantly, as did all our men that day, against great odds. He performed his duties absolutely without fear, and had he been permitted to live, would have been one of the mainstays of our squadron. In landing his machine within our lines, altho [sic] sorely wounded, he performed a feat of which you may be justly proud.

“Mere sympathy is inadequate in such sorrow, but we wish to extend it to you for the loss of such a son.

“Lieut. Frobisher’s effects will be forwarded to you in due course.”

And after Newhall’s signature:

“P.S. Some officers from the Squadron and myself are attending your son’s funeral today.”

Photos by Karen Zautyk Lt. Frobisher’s grave in Kearny’s Arlington Cemetery

Photos by Karen Zautyk
Lt. Frobisher’s grave in Kearny’s Arlington Cemetery

 

Newhall was obviously concerned about not being able to give the family more information, for he wrote to Frobisher’s mother less than a month after the Nov. 11 Armistice ended the war — and wartime restrictions.

This letter was sent from Toul, France, on Dec. 6, 1918:

“My Dear Mrs. Frobisher,

“Your letter of Nov. 12 has just reached me and I greatly regret that strict censorship regulations would not permit me to give you full detaills at the time I first wrote you of the action in which your son, 2nd Lieut. Joseph E. Frobisher, received the wounds that afterwards proved fatal.

“On Sept. 2, 1918, at 11:45 a.m., two of our flights –your son’s led by Lieut. [Field] Kindley and another by Lieut. [Elliot] Springs — engaged a large number of Fokker biplanes that were attacking some artillery observation machines. The flight took place well over the line on the Arras Cambrai road, four miles southwest of Haricourt.

“A general mix-up or ‘dogfight’ ensued, and the original Fokkers were reinforced by more, badly outnumbering our two flights. The final result of the action was that three Hun machines were brought down, the rest were driven east over Cambrai and the artillery machines were left to carry out their important work unmolested.

“In other words, your son helped to carry out the very highest and most important function of a fighting pilot — namely, to drive the Hun out of the sky and permit our own observation machines to carry out their all-important mission.

“Your son did not return, and we could get no news of his whereabouts. It was not until the day of his death, Sept. 10th, that we got news that he had landed close to the front lines, wounded in the hip, back and right arm.

“The very fact that he landed his machine safely, though sorely wounded, showed the greatest courage and stamina, all of which was borne out by what the doctors told me at the hospital of his great fortitude and bravery.

It has always been a great source of regret to all of us that the C.C.S. [Casualty Clearing Station] did not notify us so we could have visited him in the hospital, but the fact is that the Cambrai battle was then at its height and they had not time to notify any units of the men they had.

“We were notified in time, however, for his Flight Commander, Lieut. Kindley and me to get to the funeral. Your son was buried in the Military Cemetery at Ligny, St. Flochel, Pas de Calais, near the town of St. Pol. The grave number is #12, Plot #4, Row D. All this information will be sent you in time, I am sure.

“I hope someday to meet you and Mr. Frobisher and will at that time give you any further details that I can.

Believe me,

Sincerely,

Morton L. Newhall”

It was later learned that Frobisher had managed to land his Sopwith in No Man’s Land, between the British and German lines, and British soldiers rescued him from the plane and got him to the CCS.

And just who was the gallant Joseph E. Frobisher Jr.?

The son of Emma Ferris Frobisher and Joseph E. Sr., he lived with them at 659 Belgrove Dr. and graduated from Kearny High School in 1912. In 1917, he earned a mechanical engineering degree from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

On April 6, 1917, the United States entered the Great War, and it was that month that Frobisher enrolled in the aviation training program of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the spring of 1918 and, after a stateside bout with scarlet fever, he did combat training in England and joined the 148th Pursuit Squadron at its base in Lens, France.

Frobisher’s body was returned to Kearny from the military cemetery in France in April 1921. Services were held at Trinity Episcopal Church, Arlington, where he had been a member, and he was reburied in Woodlawn Cemetery in Queens, N.Y.

That, however, was not his final resting place. When Joseph Sr., then the mayor of Kearny, died in 1939, father and son were both interred in the family plot at Arlington Cemetery in Kearny.

As we did for the Post 99 anniversary story, we thank founding member Fred E. Portz for recording that information in a Post history. And we thank the current members, especially McMillan and Walter Tomasheski, for giving us access to the letters quoted above.

One more thing: Along with Frobisher’s uniform wings, the framed photo at Post 99 bears another treasure.

When McMillan showed us the picture, we noticed what looked like some sort of medal hanging from the bottom. “What’s that?” we asked. And McMillan said, “Those are his dog tags.”

After receiving permission, we reached up and touched them, as one might touch a relic.

And what we felt was reverance, for a life lost too young, a life lost in the service of his country, one life representative of the more than 116,000 Americans lost in combat in World War I.

Ferraro facing firing

Ferraro_web

By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

The Kearny Board of Education is seeking to fire Frank Ferraro, the superintendent it placed on an involuntary paid leave in January, by bringing tenure charges against him.

At a special meeting held Aug. 12, the BOE voted in closed session 7-1, with John Plaugic dissenting, to certify to the state Commissioner of Education the charges of “conduct unbecoming a superintendent and other just cause for dismissal” against Ferraro.

Ferraro had been initially notified July 23 that the charges were being filed and Ferraro responded through his attorney Andrew Babiak on Aug. 8. That set the legal stage for the certification vote last month.

At the August meeting, the board – by the same 7-1 margin – also voted to suspend Ferraro’s pay for 120 days, the time set by state school law for the Commissioner of Education – once apprised of the charges – to assign an arbitrator to review the charges and make a ruling.

If the arbitrator finds that the charges have merit, then Ferraro’s contract with the BOE – which runs through June 30, 2016 – would be voided but if the arbitrator dismisses the charges, Ferraro could reclaim his job, according to an attorney familiar with the case.

Documents filed by the BOE with the state Department of Education show that Ferraro has been charged with “misrepresentation of experience and credentials to the Board of Education of the Town of Kearny” and with “knowing violation of board policy and New Jersey Statute.”

On the first charge, the BOE disputes Ferraro’s representations that he met its requirements for “a minimum of 10 years’ classroom teaching experience at the elementary and/or the secondary level” by having taught in New York for five years and in Kearny High School for five years, from 1983 to 1988, as a fulltime permanent substitute of “Home and Careers, Special Education.”

Ferraro advised the BOE that New York State Department of Education granted him a School District Administrator’s certificate, partly on the basis of his having satisfied the NYSDA’s teaching requirement. The Department advised the BOE in November 2012 that Ferraro had satisfied a three-year deficiency in teaching experience by “teaching at Kearny H.S. in Kearny, N.J.”

But the BOE contends that Ferraro failed to meet New York’s teaching requirement because, according to its files, Ferraro only worked “a total of 236 days over five school years” in Kearny and that “Ferraro’s experience fails to meet New Jersey’s requirements for even one year of teaching experience.”

On the second charge, the BOE allege that Ferraro violated the Open Public Meetings Act, the Open Public Records Act and Board Policy by discussing maintenance employee Brian Doran’s personnel information with the employee’s mother and tried to discuss it with the employee’s brother, board member James Doran Jr., who, the BOE says, refused to do so “as it was improper.”

In an email, Babiak, a staff attorney with the N.J. Association of School Administrators, advised The Observer that he will be filing an answer to the now-certified tenure charges but he declined to comment beyond that.

Meanwhile, Somerville attorney Kevin Kovacs, who is representing Ferraro in connection with a wrongful termination suit filed by Brian Doran against the BOE and Ferraro, said that Ferraro properly dismissed Doran because of his criminal background but now, according to Kovacs, the BOE is looking to “bring [Doran] back to work” so he will be suing the BOE, on behalf of Ferraro, under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (commonly known as whistleblower act) on the grounds that the BOE’s efforts to fire Ferraro is “retaliatory action” for Ferraro firing Doran.

Ebola scare at postal center

By Ron Leir

 Observer Correspondent

 KEARNY – 

The U.S. Postal Service, in concert with the FBI, is undertaking a criminal investigation into an Ebola scare at its Logistics & Distribution Center, 1200 Harrison Ave., Kearny, which handles priority mail.

Postal inspectors and FBI agents responded to the USPS facility last Thursday morning after a postal employee reportedly found a container with the word “Ebola” written on it.

USPS spokesman George Flood said the container “wasn’t a mail piece. It was dropped in a postal hamper.” The item was sent out for testing “and it was determined to be benign,” he said. He declined to reveal the contents. At any rate, according to Kearny Health Officer Ken Pincus and Monique Davis, risk communicator/health educator with the Hudson Regional Health Commission, the container had neither powder or liquid contents. and the container was sealed and airlifted out, via FBI chopper, for testing to a lab in the D.C.area.

However, “At no point did anybody at the facility risk harm to their health,” Davis said. If they had, “they wouldn’t be in the building,” she added.

Pincus and Davis said they were on a conference call with the FBI and postal investigators on Thursday and briefed on the situation. Pincus and Davis arrived at the DVD facility at around 3:30 p.m. and remained there for the next five hours to update postal workers on facts about Ebola and to field their questions.

“The Kearny Health Department has the lead in a [Kearnybased] public health response so we both delivered what we call a ‘stand-up’ talk to each of the three shifts or a total of 379 employees,” Davis said.

After outlining the bare facts on what they’d been told about the incident, the health officials explained how, in those African countries where the deadly Ebola has been contracted, the disease is transmitted when someone comes into direct contact with a victim’s blood or body fluid or a victim’s corpse during burial preparations, Davis said.

“We emphasized that, unlike  the cases of anthrax contained in mailings reported in 2011, Ebola is not transmitted as an airborne virus,” said Davis.

Postal employees were given Ebola “fact sheets” listing more information about the disease and were advised they could also consult a state Department of Health website that provides “frequently asked questions” and answers on Ebola, Davis said.

Several employees “wanted to know about the chances of Ebola coming over here,” Davis said, and the health officials told them that the federal government has plans set in motion to monitor airport “exit screening” of passengers arriving on flights from countries where Ebola has struck. And, she said, the federal Center for Disease Control & Prevention “has quarantine stations set up at airports like Kennedy and Newark.”

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have been trained to recognize Ebola symptoms, she said.

Employees were told that they’d be updated on the DVD incident as soon as more facts were known by investigators, Davis said.