web analytics
Google+

Category: News

Now he’s a lieutenant

Promotion_web

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

The Kearny Police Department has scored an additional police superior but it still leaves the department scrambling for more bodies, according to Police Chief John Dowie.

For now, though, the chief said he’s thankful that the town governing body has seen fit to promote Sgt. John View, 45, to the rank of police lieutenant. View was sworn in at the June 24 meeting of the mayor and Town Council, at an annual base pay of $124,608.

Because the town has applied for state transitional aid, View’s promotion was contingent on approval by the state Division of Local Government Services but no objections were foreseen.

At last week’s meeting, Dowie, addressing Mayor Alberto Santos and members of the council, said that when he recommended the move to them, he realized that the town was under fiscal restraints. “This was not easy to sell,” the chief said, “but my hat’s off to you for rising above it.” Read more »

Layoffs, loan seen as deficit remedies

deficit_web

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

BELLEVILLE –

Last week, the Belleville school community learned the awful truth: The township’s public school district is $3.6 million in the red and deep cuts are being made to get the district right for the coming school year.

And the situation could actually have been worse: CPA Jeffery Bliss, a partner with Lerch, Vinci & Higgins, the Belleville Board of Education’s Fair Lawn auditors, told a massive crowd assembled in the high school auditorium June 23 that overexpenditures for the current school year totaled $4.8 million.

But to soften the blow, the board is applying its surplus funds to restore a portion of the money it now needs to balance its budget by June 30, according to BOE Secretary/ Business Administrator Raymond Jacobus.

In a phone interview last week, Jacobus told The Observer that in April, he met with Executive County Schools Superintendent Joseph Zarra and Belleville Schools Superintendent Helene Feldman to sound the alarm of a looming deficit and to outline specifics. Read more »

Artistic and adorable

Art_web

HARRISON –

See that creature in the photo at top right? That is the beloved and legendary “Pig Chicken With Round Hands.”

You never heard of it? Well, more’s the pity.

We made its acquaintance last week in Harrison, where students in kindergarten through third grade were exhibiting their work in Lincoln School’s annual art show.

Although we have written about prior shows, we never cease to be delighted, and amazed, at the creativity and imagination evident in the sculptures, paintings, collages, etc.

The aforementioned being, for example, was the creation of a third-grader, who envisioned it and then brought it to life, so to speak, using everyday, mundane recyclables.

(Look closely. It is obviously a rotund, white pig. With chicken “feathers.” And circular hands.)

The halls of the building on Cross St. were lined with such gems, some displayed on tables, some hanging on the walls. A visitor walking through the doors couldn’t help but smile as soon as the art came into view. And then you read the titles: “The Cow From the Moon,” “The Big- Eyed Hungry Animal,” “The Happy Snowman That Loves to Play,” “The Flying Long- Tailed Cat With Antenna.”

Did we say the children were imaginative? Read more »

Doggedly pursuing animal complaints

Animal_web

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

KEARNY –

Summer has barely begun but already Kearny has seen plenty of the season’s “dog” days … and lots more.

Just ask William Pettigrew, public health inspector for the Kearny Health Department, who’s been scampering around, responding to a series of incidents involving dog bites and barkings, a cat scratch, even a stray chicken, plus lots of overgrown grass and weeds in yards.

On June 4, the Health Department was notified by Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, that the hospital had treated someone bit by a pit bull-type dog on Chestnut St. the day prior.

After learning the dog owner’s identity, Pettigrew said he phoned the owner and advised that he’d be stopping by to talk and to arrange for a home confinement for the owner’s unlicensed pet for 10 days as a precaution. Read more »

‘Novelties’ & smoke shop had folks fuming

adult_web

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY –

Kearny residents have apparently been spared the appearance of an “adult novelties” shop on the town’s main retail district where many tenants live above the stores.

At the June 24 Town Council meeting, Mayor Alberto Santos said that First Ward Councilman Albino Cardoso had gotten calls from some worried constituents about a sign posted in the window of the former Hot Nails salon at 257 Kearny Ave.

That sign advertised a “Smoke Shop & Adults Novelties Store Coming Soon…” Upon hearing the news, Cardoso told The Observer, “I was appalled. I never thought that would happen in the First Ward in the main avenue. In a residential area, it shouldn’t be allowed.”

And it won’t – at least not on Kearny Ave., the mayor maintained, because such a proposed use there doesn’t conform to the town’s zoning code — which, as the result of a 2007 amendment — credited to Councilwoman Susan Mc- Currie’s initiative “restricts sex-oriented businesses” to a part of the South Kearny industrial area, Santos said.

Actually, Santos was out of town – a weekend trip to Dallas – when word reached him about the prospective enterprise and he immediately alerted Town Administrator/ Construction Code Official Michael Martello about the situation.

“I call it the ‘Saturday night panic,’ ’’ quipped Martello. “The mayor reached out to me from Texas.”

So, on Monday, Martello said he went to the location and spoke to the property owner who told him that his new tenant had put up the sign in anticipation of opening the business which, according to Martello, the tenant planned to call “Sexy Smoke.”

The owner was instructed to have the sign removed, which he did, Martello said.

Should the tenant want to pursue the “adult novelties” pitch, the individual could file an application with the town Zoning Board of Adjustment and seek a variance from the existing zoning code restriction, Santos said. So far, though, that hasn’t happened.

But even if the individual were successful in persuading the zoning commissioners to allow the operation at the Kearny Ave. site, town Health Officer Kenneth Pincus cautioned there would still be an obstacle to installing the proposed “smoke shop” if it involved patrons’ use of “hookahs,” typically, smoking of flavored tobacco or nontobacco products through heated water pipes.

“Unless it’s a pre-existing use, you can’t have a hookah lounge in New Jersey,” Pincus said.

A 2011 public health administrative health advisory circulated by the state Division of Health & Senior Services advises local health agencies that in hookah bars or lounges, “… the use of hookahs for smoking – whether tobacco or non-tobacco products – is strictly prohibited by the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act [which took effect in 2006].…”

The law further defines smoking as “the burning of , inhaling from, exhaling the smoke from, or the possession of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any other matter that can be smoked.”

In the Garden State, smoking is banned in “in any indoor public place or workplace,” except in casino floors, cigar bars and lounges that make 15% of their income from tobacco products and tobacco retailers whose primary sales (equal to or greater than 51%) are from tobacco products.

More than a fender-bender

crash_web

 

KEARNY – 

As motor vehicle accidents go, the one pictured here may not appear very serious. But appearances are deceiving. This Hickory St. crash put a driver in a life-threatening situation, police reported.

At about 5 p.m., June 21, Officer Frank West responded to the 400 block of Hickory, where a ‘95 Buick was reported to have hit an unoccupied, parked SUV. Police said he found the Buick’s driver, a 69-year-old Kearny woman, incapacitated and unconscious in the locked auto, its engine still running.

After summoning an ambulance and the Kearny Fire Department, West and Officers Jay Ward and Jordenson Jean tried to gain access to the car and had to break its windows to reach the victim. West immediately began CPR. When EMS and the KPD arrived, they helped remove her from the vehicle to render further aid, including use of a defibrillator, police said.

An ALS (Advanced Life Support) unit was also called and stabilized the victim at the scene before transporting her to Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville for treatment.

Police Chief John Dowie reported that West, Ward and Jean all suffered lacerations from smashing the Buick’s windows but required no medical assistance and remained on duty.

– Karen Zautyk 

School board post open

The Belleville Board of Education is seeking candidates to fill a vacancy on the board, following the resignation of member Joseph Longo, who was elected to the Township Council in May.

Anyone interested in serving is asked to send a letter of interest with a resume to the attention of Raymond R. Jacobus, Acting Interim Board Secretary/School Business Administrator, by July 8.

For more information, call the Board of Education office at 973-450-3500.

Doran’s return still up in the air

HARRISON –

Whether Harrison Schools Superintendent James Doran will return to his job remained in limbo as of last week. Board of Education members met June 25 in hopes of resolving the unsettled issue but came away empty. Doran’s contract was to expire June 30, the end of the school year. He’s been at the district’s helm for the past five years.

At stake, aside from the question of who would lead the district if Doran departs, is the salary for the chief school administrator, which is regulated by state law. If he stays, Doran – whose current pay is more than $200,000 a year – would have to take a big cut in salary in order for the district to comply with the mandated pay restrictions keyed to a district’s enrollment.

Also up in the air is a new contract for Christine Griffin, the board secretary/business administrator.

But the school board did come to terms with two other school officials, one an educator and the other in the business office.

It reappointed Michael R. Pichowicz as assistant school board administrator, tendering him a one-year contract running through June 30, 2015, at a yearly salary of $173,748, reflecting a 2% increase from his previous salary.

And it ratified the appointment of Michael Landy as principal assigned to Washington Middle School for the 2014-15 school year, at an annual pay of $131,626. Landy, who also serves as a member of the Kearny Town Council, had been serving as the school’s “administrator-in- charge.”

At the meeting, Doran announced that the opening of the community pool at Washington School for the summer season was slated for July 1 and that the pool would have afternoon hours on July 4. The pool is available for use, at a nominal fee, for both adults and children. Swimming lessons are provided for $10.

In other summer activities, the Harrison Recreation Volleyball Camp is running at the Harrison High School gym, July 1 to Aug. 7; and the Harrison Recreation Tennis Camp will operate at the high school tennis courts, July 7 to Aug. 1.

– Ron Leir 

KPD: Beware of phone scam

Kearny detectives are investigating the attempted extortion of more than $1,300 from a local woman by telephone scamsters, one of whom pretended to be a police officer.

Police Chief John Dowie said the 30-year-old target was first contacted June 11 by a caller who identified himself as “Jimmy Brown,” representing an online loan company, and who demanded immediate repayment of borrowed money.

Suspicious of the call, she hung up, only to be contacted several hours later by another man who identified himself as a police officer phoning on behalf of Brown. If she did not make immediate restitution, the “cop” warned, she would be arrested.

The woman was advised to buy several hundred dollars’ worth of Green Dot Money- Pak prepaid debit cards and then phone back for more instructions. When she did so, the “cop” asked for her address, saying he would be mailing her pertinent documents. After no documentation arrived, she phoned the number from the initial call, only to be told by yet another man, “Julius,” that she now owed an additional penalty and should buy more debit cards, Dowie said.

In total, the intended victim reportedly purchased $1,357 worth of cards, but wisely never mailed them. Instead, last week she filed a report with the KPD.

The case has been turned over to the Detective Bureau.

Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

June 21 

Officers Jose Canela and Pat Becker responded to an 8:45 a.m. report of a boyfriend/girlfriend dispute near Elizabeth Ave. and Morgan Place, where the male had allegedly pushed the female to the ground and fled with her cell phone.

Located and arrested in the area was Michael Vargas, 32, of Kearny, charged with assault and robbery and on two outstanding Kearny warrants.

 June 22 

Officer David Rakowski, on patrol at 8 a.m., saw an SUV run a red light and make an erratic turn from Belgrove Drive onto Bergen Ave., police said. When the cop stopped the vehicle on Bergen, the driver allegedly identified herself as Sandra Ezpinoza. The SUV was impounded when headquarters reported Ezpinoza had no license. Further investigation revealed that the woman was actually Sandra Arevalo, 38, of Harrison, who had a revoked license, police said. When she showed up at HQ to claim the SUV, she was charged with driving while suspended, disregard of a traffic light and careless driving.

 June 23 

At 6:30 a.m., Officer Tom Bannon, Sgt. Paul Bershefski and Chief Dowie responded to a report of a disorderly man at Elm St. and Quincy Ave. and encountered an “intoxicated” Nelson Santiago, 51, of Newark. He was warned about his behavior and sent on his way. Shortly after, however, Bannon saw him walking in traffic on Kearny Ave. near Quincy. Advised to get out of the street, he allegedly became defiant and profane and, with Bershefski and Officer Joseph Vulcano providing backup, was arrested for disorderly conduct and interfering with transportation.

At 9 p.m., Vice detectives witnessed what they believed to be a drug transaction in a double-parked car on Halstead St. near Kearny Ave. Approaching the vehicle, they reportedly saw a clear plastic bag containing suspected marijuana on the occupant’s lap. Hugo Villanueva, 22, of Kearny, was charged with possession of pot and drug paraphernalia.

June 25 

At 3:40 p.m., Officer John Fabula was checking Sanford Ave. near the railroad tracks, an area police say is known for criminal conduct and drug use, when he encountered Christopher Horn, 34, of Harrison, who was reported to be the subject of a $2,500 warrant out of Caldwell. Horn was arrested, and Caldwell authorities were notified.

– Karen Zautyk

 (Editor’s note/public service announcement: In recent days, a number of vehicles, most of them left unlocked and with valuables clearly visible inside, have been hit by thieves in the northern section of town, from Midland Ave. to the Belleville Pike. Once again, the KPD politely requests that you lock your cars. Your correspondent not so politely suggests that you unlock your brains.)

Around Town

Belleville

Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., hosts:

• The Mad Scientist’s Laboratory on Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m., offers crafts and activities, open to all ages. Topics covered for  July will be: Planet Earth on July 8, The Seasons on July 15, Rocks  on July 22 and Water on July 29.

• School-Age Children’s Storytime is open to K to grade  6, every Wednesday, beginning July 9.

• Children’s films will be screened Fridays at 2 p.m. Here’s the schedule: July 11 – “Frozen,” July 18 – “Wall-e” and July 25 – “Finding Nemo.”

For more information on these programs, call the library at 973-450-3434.

Belleville Dutch Reformed Church, 171 Main St., kicks off Independence Day festivities at 10 a.m. July 4 at the church’s cemetery. The annual event honors Belleville’s first troops, the 66 Revolutionary War  soldiers buried there, one of the largest group of 1776 patriots buried at any one site in the U.S. To participate or for more information, call Michael at 973-780- 7852 or email bell1776patriots@  yahoo.com. After the ceremony, the Belleville Historical Commission and Historical Society  host the designation of the former Dutch Reformed Church, which is now known as Iglesia Pentecostal “ La Senda Antigua” C.L.A. as a historic landmark.

Bloomfield 

Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., offers the following:

Adult Programs:

• Summer Yoga Class is held  for one hour on the second and fourth Mondays at 6 p.m. on July 14 and 28 and Aug 11 and 25. Registration is required. To register, call 973-566-6200, ext. 602, or visit http://www.bplnj. org/programs/.

• Author Rick Wright dis cusses his newly-released birding field guide on Tuesday, July 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. Books will be available for purchase.

• The library Board of Trustees meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. The public is welcome.

• Monday and Thursday movies are screened at 12:15 p.m. The schedule: July 3 – “White House Down,” July 7 – “Nebraska,” July 10 – “Lone Ranger,” July 14 – “Wolf of Wall Street,” July 17 – “Prometheus,” July 21 – “American Hustle,” July 25 – “Book Thief,” July 28 – “Catching Fire” and July 31 – “Saving Mr. Banks.” Children’s programs:

•Kids ages 10 and up can learn cartooning skills and make a comic on July 16 at 4 p.m. Participants can register online at www.bplnj.org/programs.html for this program.

• Kids in Pre-K and up can meet Ronald McDonald  on Wednesday, July 9, at 2 p.m. Registration is required.

• The Essex County Environment Center presents a pro gram on “Drummer Birds” for children ages 5 to 8 on Wednesday July 16 at 2 p.m. Registration is required.

To register, call 973-566-6200, ext. 212. Participants must  be Bloomfield residents and library cardholder for programs where registration is required. All other programs are open.

Kearny 

Kearny Health Department, 645 Kearny Ave., offers the following programs for Kearny  senior citizens:

• Vouchers for the Kearny Farmers Market are now avail able for low-income senior citizens. Vouchers are limited  and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants must be age 60 and over, show proof of residency and of limited income. Applications will be accepted until all vouchers have been distributed. All applicants  must also sign statements attesting to their income qualifi cations for the vouchers. Each qualified senior will receive four $5 vouchers to be used  only with the farmers signed up with the voucher program. Interested seniors may apply at the Health Department, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, excluding holidays. For more  information, call the Health Department at 201-997-0600.

• Cruise aboard the Spirit of New Jersey on the Hudson River. Tickets are limited and advance sign-up is required. Buses will depart from the  Henrietta Benstead Senior Citizens Center, 60 Columbia Ave., at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 30. Lunch is included. Tickets  will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 9 a.m. Monday, July 7, at the Kearny Health Center. Anyone unable to walk unassisted is  advised that there is a long two-block walk from the bus parking area to the ship’s docking area.  For more information, call the Health Department.

Lyndhurst

New Jersey Meadowlands  Commission hosts the following:

• First Sunday-of-the-Month Bird Walk, with the NJMC and Bergen County Audubon So ciety, features a free two-hour guided nature walk in DeKorte Park on Sunday, July 6, at 10 a.m.

• Butterflies for Beginners, with the NJMC and BCAS, is a 30-minute talk and slide show about butterflies, and a walk around DeKorte Park, set for Sunday, July 6, at 1 p.m. For both these programs, check meadowblog.net for last-minute updates and weather  advisories. Guests must sign a standard liability release. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatawk4@ aol.com or call 201-230-4983.

• Pontoon boat rides for  seniors, offering two-hour cruises along the Hackensack River, depart from River Barge Park, Carlstadt, Monday, July 7, at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (Rain date – July 15). Admission is $7 . Bring cameras and sneakers. Note: The boats cannot accom modate wheelchairs. Advance registration and payment are required. To register, call 201- 777-2431.

• Seniors are invited to join staff from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC)  and learn about the mysterious lives of marine mammals and sea turtles, and the problems  facing these creatures and their environment Thursday, July 10, at 7 p.m., at the NJMC Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park. Reg istration is recommended and appreciated. To register, call 201-777-2431 or 201-460-8300.

The Lyndhurst Public Library Children’s Room, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following  events during July:

• Children in pre-k to grade  2 are invited to hear a story and do some coloring Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. No registration is required.

• Children in pre-k to grade 6 can learn how to make origami every Monday and some  Wednesdays (July 2, 7, 9, 21 and 30), from 3 to 4 p.m. No registration is required. Registration is required for the following programs. Call the library at 201-804-2478 to  register.

• Children of all ages may  register for a screening of the Disney movie “Finding Nemo,” set for Tuesday, July 8, 2:15 to 4 p.m.

• Children ages 7 to 14 will  get a chance to become a scientist as they erupt volcanos, examine a geode mineral and more at Art Kids Academy Thursday, July 10, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

• Children in grades 2 to 6 get some insider tips on playing checkers Tuesday, July 1, Thursday, July 3 and Monday, July 7, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

• Children in grades 2 to 6, can be part of a checkers tournament and must be committed to all three rounds. Tournament schedule: First round – Wednesday, July 9; semifinal round – Tuesday, July 22; and the final round – Tuesday, July 29, 2 to 4 p.m. each day. A prize  will be awarded to the champion Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2 to 4 p.m.

North Arlington 

Chief Louis M. Ghione of the North Arlington Police Department announces that applications are available for residents to sign up for a block party during National Night Out, Tuesday, Aug. 5. That evening,  residents are encouraged to meet their neighbors and leave a porch light on overnight as a  show of unity against crime.

Stop by the Police Department, 214 Ridge Road, for an application. The Police Department will seek borough approval for closing down a street to traffic from 5 to 9 p.m.

The first 10 blocks organized  will receive a free barbecue package, courtesy of the Borough’s Crime Prevention Unit.

Police officers and elected officials will visit block parties  with giveaways.

Nutley 

Total Soul takes the stage at Memorial Park I (Mud Hole) July 17 for a Recreation Department sizzling summer concert. The free show, which begins at 6:30 p.m., includes everything from Motown, to today’s pop and R&B, to the jazz/Big Band standards of the 1940s. The rain  date is July 28. For further information, call 973-284-4966 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Nutley Public Library, 93  Booth Dr., announces the following programs:

For children:

• Babygarten is available only to township residents  who can register children ages 23 months and under for this program, set for Tuesdays, starting July 8, at 10 a.m.

• For “Lego Movie,” children of all ages can make a movie-themed craft (while supplies last) Tuesday, July 8, at 2 p.m. No registration is required.

• For Preschool Storytime, registration is open for Nutley residents only, ages 3 to 5. The program will be held Wednesdays, starting July 9, at 10 a.m.

• Tech Workshop: “Lego Robots” for ages 3 to 6 is set for Wednesday, July 9, at 2:30 p.m. Kids ages 3 to 6 may be registered for this program.

• Essex Environmental Workshop on “Drummer Birds” is open to ages 5 to 8  who must be registered to participate in the program scheduled for Thursday, July 10, at 11 a.m. • Science Workshop: “Magnets” is open to ages 8 and up and will be offered Thursday, July 10, at 2:30 p.m. Registration is required.

• Two-Year Old Story Time is for Nutley residents only, ages 24 to 35 months, Fridays, starting July 11, at 10 a.m. Registration is required.

• Play Fridays, with Legos,  tech gear, toys and video game, is held Fridays, starting July 11, at 1 p.m.

• Science Scavenger Hunt, with registration open to library patrons ages 4 and up, is set for Monday, July 14, at 2 p.m.

For adults, the library offers First Friday Films, with a new film shown the first Friday of each month, opening  with a screening of “Philomena” Friday, July 11, at 2 p.m. Check the library’s event  calendar for a schedule.