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Category: News

ShopRite of Lyndhurst aids food banks

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ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, recently collected donations to help fill the shelves of community food programs. The “Help Bag Hunger” event, held every September as part of National Hunger Awareness Month, included community leaders and groups committed to highlighting the need for food assistance in their neighborhood.

ShopRite associates and community volunteers partnered to collect non-perishable items and monetary donations for food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, child-care centers, battered women’s shelters, senior citizens programs, drug rehab centers, programs for the mentally and physically disabled, after-school programs and other organizations that aid those in need.

“Help Bag Hunger” is part of the ShopRite Partners In Caring program. Since its inception in 1999, more than $27 million has been donated to 1,700 hunger relief agencies in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Around Town

Belleville  

Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., offers the following programs. No registration is required.

• Storytime for toddlers and preschoolers is offered, starting Oct. 8, and every Wednesday at 11 a.m.

• Pajama Storytime is held on Tuesdays, Oct. 14, Nov. 18 and Dec. 9, all at 6 p.m.

• Saturday crafts are planned for Oct. 11, Nov. 8 and Dec. 13, all at 3 p.m.

• Children’s computer classes on Microsoft Word and online research skills is available by appointment. To make an appointment, call 973-450-3434.

Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade will step off Sunday, Oct. 12, with special guest Kacy Catanzara of “American Ninja Warrior,” a sports entertainment competition series. Catanzara will kick off the parade at School 7 at 1:30 p.m.

All civic associations, classic cars and motorcycle clubs are invited to participate in the Belleville Veterans Day Parade slated for Sunday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. Those interested may contact Bill Steimel at 973-759-4692 (home) or 973- 955-7211 (cell) no later than Oct. 17.

Bloomfield

Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., hosts a program on hypnosis with certified hypnocounselor Kathy Lindert on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m. Oakeside

Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave., announces the following events:

• A Garden of Pink Dedication celebrating the center’s “Sponsor a Tulip” program for its Breast Cancer Awareness garden is slated for Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. A one-time $25 fee buys a bulb and assures its care.

• Children ages 3 to 9 are invited to “Party with the Great Pumpkin” and enjoy snacks, crafts and a chance to take a picture with the pumpkin on Oct. 18 at 11 a.m. Reservations are required. For tickets, reservations or information, call 973-429- 0960.

Harrison  

Mayor James Fife and Harrison Town Council announce its second annual Harrison Community Day on Saturday, Oct. 11, in the library park and soccer court. The event begins at Guyon Drive and Peter Higgins Blvd. (Red Bull Arena) with a walk for Autism Speaks, starting at 10:15 a.m. Registration for the walk begins at 9:30 am. The event also includes a children’s soccer tournament and a Health and Business Expo.

A rummage sale is slated for Saturday, Oct. 11, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Church (lower basement), 16 Church Square.

Kearny  

The Kearny Fire Department will host an Open House on Sunday, Oct. 12, noon to 4 p.m., at Fire Headquarters, 109 Midland Ave. View the fire apparatus and equipment, meet the firefighters and see live demonstrations, including a “Jaws of Life” automobile extrication. A Fire Safety House from The Burn Center at St. Barnabas and the Fire Sprinkler Burn Trailer will also be there. There will be free handouts and light refreshments.

The Woman’s Club of Arlington meets on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. at The Girl Scout House, 635 Kearny Ave.

The Salvation Army of Greater Kearny, 443 Chestnut St., offers classes in basic computer skills plus Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The fee is $30 for 12 hours of instruction. For more information, call 201-991-1115 or Pete at 201- 889-1352.

Good Shepherd Church, 780 Kearny Ave., will conduct a blood drive, in conjunction with New Jersey Blood Services, Oct. 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Grace United Methodist Church, 380 Kearny Ave., sponsors a turkey dinner Friday, Oct. 17, from 5 to 6:45 p.m. Admission to the dinner is $10 but there is no charge for a live auction beginning at 7 p.m. Dinner tickets may be purchased at the door. Takeout orders will be available. For more information, call 201- 991-1132.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., will offer free nobake cooking classes for ages 4 to 8, every Wednesday, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., beginning Oct. 22. The class will meet for four weeks. Recipes will take food allergies into consideration. Space is limited. To reserve a spot or for more information, call 201-998-2666.

The Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., sponsors an Oktoberfest, with live music and food, Friday, Oct. 24, in the church basement. (BYOB). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $25. For tickets, call 201-991-2808 or 201-998-4616.

A Doggie Halloween Parade and Festival, sponsored by the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone program, is set for Saturday, Oct. 25, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Arlington Depot Park, off Midland Ave., between Forest and Elm Sts. Dogs can be registered for a costume contest. Current dog license and proof of rabies vaccine are required. Forms are available at www.kearnynj.org, the KUEZ office at 410 Kearny Ave., or K-9 corner, 169 Midland Ave. For more information, call 201-955- 7985 or email Halloweenpawrade@ kearnynj.org. All dogs either attending or participating in the festival must be leashed.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1302 and American Legion Post 99, in conjunction with the Kearny Police and Fire Departments, host Octoberfest Saturday, Oct. 18, noon to 6 p.m., at Veteran’s Field, Bergen Ave. and Afton St. Proceeds will be used to send items to send N.J. National Guard soldiers deployed overseas. Bring non-perishable items to send to troops. The event features live music, food and displays from both the Kearny Fire Department and the N.J. National Guard. Vendors and sponsors are needed. Contact the post at 201-991-9645.

Lyndhurst  

ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, 540 New York Ave., hosts the following free programs, each led by in-store registered dietician Julie Harrington, R.D. Advance registration is not required, unless otherwise noted. For more information or to pre-register for a program, contact Harrington at 201-419-9154 or email julie. harrington@wakefern.com. ShopRite’s retail dietitians can serve as guest speakers/ instructors at wellness events hosted by local organizations.

• Walking Club, a one-mile trek through the store, starting at Dietician’s Corner, is held every Thursday at 8 a.m. Membership cards and prizes are awarded to all participants.

• Flu-Fighting Foods, an opportunity to learn and taste foods that will help keep you healthy during cold and flu season and all year-round, is offered on Thursday, Oct. 9, noon to 2 p.m.

• Produce Pick presents Harrington preparing a new dish featuring October’s produce pick on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and 21, noon to 2 p.m.

• Cooking Class with Chef Joe will help you learn how to cook up a healthy dish on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 1 p.m. Recipe cards will be available. Pre-registration is required.

• Fall Harvest Cooking Class teaches how to use fall’s fresh bounty to prepare a delicious and nutritious meal on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

• Scary Facts about Sugar are shared at the Dietitian’s Corner on Thursday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• High Fiber Friday at the Dietitian’s Corner explains how to meet your fiber requirements on Friday, Oct. 24 and 31, noon to 2 p.m.

• Soups and Stocks Cooking Class offers tips on how to make a tasty stock and a new soup recipe on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 353 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following events:

• Fit4Kids Magic Show is open to ages 3 to 10 Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 3:30 p.m.

• “Belinda Bumble Bee” author Jennifer Katafigotis meets with children ages 3 to 10 Wednesday, Oct. 22, 4 to 4:30 p.m. Registration is required for both events. To register, call 201-804-2478.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst sponsors a children’s Tricky Tray Oct. 18, at the Senior Building, 250 Cleveland Ave., at noon. Tickets are $5. For tickets, call Janet at 201- 935-1208.

Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., hosts a dinner and osteoporosis seminar Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m., at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. Call 201-804-2500 to register.

 North Arlington  

Queen of Peace Rosary Society sponsors a Tricky Tray Friday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m., at San Carlo Fine Caterers, Lyndhurst. The $40 admission includes a four-course dinner and one sheet of small prize tickets. Among the prizes are gift baskets, gift certificates and more. Grand prize values start at $500, which includes an iPad and much more. For more information and tickets, call Betsy at 201-997-3914 or Pegeen at 201-246-1030.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, offers the following programs:

• A lecture on coin collecting will be held Saturday, Oct. 11, at 11 a.m.

• An SAT practice test open to grades 9 and up is offered Saturday, Oct. 18, at 1 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.formstack.com/ forms/?1774866-DWur9MjZPt.

Note that the library will be closed to the general public after 1 p.m., as usual and will only be open for students taking the practice test.

• Story Time for ages 2 to 5 is held every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m.

• Pumpkin Decorating is available Tuesday, Oct. 14, for kindergarten to grade 5. Registration is required. To register, call 201-955-5640, ext. 126.

• Music and Craft for ages 2 to 5 is held Thursday, Oct. 9, at 11:45 a.m.

• Young Adult Movie Day features a screening of “The Fault in Our Stars” for grades 6 and up Friday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m.

• Teen Girls Group, moderated by a licensed social worker, is offered for grades 7 to 12 Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 3:30 p.m.

• Tween Book Club, open to grades 4 to 7, meets Thursday, Oct. 16, at 3:30 p.m.

• Origami, open to grades 4 to 7, is held Friday, Oct. 17, at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, call 201-955-5640.

North Arlington Elks, 129 Ridge Road, hosts a fish fry Oct. 10, 4 to 7 p.m. Admission is $12. Shrimp cocktail and clams on the half-shell will also be available for $5 for a half-dozen and $8 for a dozen.

The Senior Harmony Club of North Arlington sponsors a trip to Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Tuesday, Oct. 21. Cost of the trip is $25. Attendees will receive $30 in slot play and $5 for food. Nonmembers are welcome. For reservations or more information, call Florence at 201-991-3173.

Woman’s Club sponsors a beefsteak fundraiser Friday, Oct. 24, 7 to 11 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus hall, 194 River Road. Tickets are $40. Proceeds benefit various local charities. For tickets and more information, call Christine at 201-577-1088 or Fran Sardoni at 973-818- 6421.

Nutley 

The Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, offers the following programs.

• For children:

• Drop-In Craft is open to all ages every Saturday while supplies last. Drop in anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

• Teen Book Club meets Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 3:30 p.m.

For adults:

• Conversational ESL meets every Wednesday at 10 a.m. No registration required.

• Wednesday Afternoon Knitters meets weekly at 1 p.m. Bring your own supplies.

• Play Bridge at the library every Tuesday at 1 p.m. No registration required. For more information, on any program, call 973-667- 0405

The Tri-County Camera Club meets Tuesdays two-to-three times per month in the teacher’s cafeteria at Nutley High School, 300 Franklin Ave., at 8 p.m.Beginners and advanced photographers are welcome. For more information and a full schedule of meetings, visit: tricountycameraclub.com.

Mid-Realty supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Mid-Realty, 572 Kearny Ave., will sponsor a fun-filled family event Oct. 18 to raise funds to support local residents struggling with breast cancer.

The event — including music, entertainment, face painting, a photo booth and much more — will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at the agency’s office.

Breast Cancer Awareness merchandise will also available for purchase. All proceeds will go to two Kearny families.

Mid-Realty continues its fight against cancer after losing one of its most valued agents to the disease and lending support to another through her struggle. She is now a survivor.

Goodwill gesture

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By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent

 HARRISON – 

In front of Goodwill Industries’ building on Supor Blvd., there is a brand new sign. “Palisades Regional Academy,” it reads.

Has Goodwill moved?

Only in the sense of moving forward in its stated mission “to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment to gain independence through the power of work.”

GoodwilI remains at its Harrison headquarters, but it has moved onward in the realm of education, partnering with Palisades Regional Academy, which serves students in grades 6 through 12 According to the school’s website, these are youngsters who “demonstrate more serious learning and behavioral disabilities,” which might be compounded by psychiatric issues, substance abuse or trauma.

In other words, they need more help than most public school special education programs might offer. Palisades Regional, in operation since 1970, provides that help.

In addition to an academic curriculum, the school offers counseling (on a one-to-one basis) and guidance services and an emphasis on positive-behavior encouragement and reinforcement.

Originally located in Lodi (hence the reference to the Palisades), it moved to Paramus in 1975, and now it has relocated to Harrison, where it will share the Supor Blvd. site with Goodwill.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Sept. 16 to welcome the school, which currently has an enrollment of 25 students, each of whom was referred and placed by a local school district, Palisades Regional Executive Director Jeffrey Kahn said. Those districts are in five counties: Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Passaic and Union.

Tuition is $58,000 per year for “an educational and therapeutic environment” designed, as the website notes, to help those enrolled “develop the academic, social, behavioral and life skills needed to become independent and successful.”

Hence, the partnering with Goodwill, which has been devoted to helping individuals become self-sufficient since its founding in 1915. At the ribbon-cutting, William Forrester, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater N.Y. and Northern N.J., cited the upcoming centennial birthday and noted that the organization has always served people with special needs but over time it has branched out.

“We have broadened our mission to now include wounded warriors, the unemployed, the underemployed, the immigrant population and returning veterans,” Forrester noted.

“We’re very happy to have the academy here,” he said. “It fulfills part of our mission.”

Kahn called the new partnering “an amazing collaboration.”

Evelyn Bilal, director of adminstration at Goodwill, said that Palisades Regional students have been coming to the Harrison headquarters for several years for “job shadowing.” This is a way for young people to explore career options by observing the day-to-day activities of employees in various fields.

The academy’s goal is “to prepare students for the life that comes after school,” Kahn said. And since PRA was considering expanding its transitional services, he thought, “Why not bring the school here?”

Kahn purchased the academy in 1977 after working seven years in special education with the New York City Board of Education as a teacher, consultant and administrator.

He explained that the students his school is helping are “socially and emotionally struggling, or depressed, or oppositional to authority or routine.”

Palisades Regional, he said, is an approved private school–approved by the state. “It’s not an experiment. It’s not a pilot program. It’s a fact.”

As for the partnering with and moving to Goodwill, Kahn commented, “This is the best thing I’ve done in a very long time.”

(Editor’s note: For more information about Palisades Regional, visit www.palisadesregional.org. For Goodwill: www.goodwillnynj.org.)

Holy Cross relic is recovered

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By Karen Zautyk

 Observer Correspondent 

HARRISON – 

The sacred relic of the Holy Cross stolen last month from the church that bears its name has been recovered and returned to its Harrison home, and police believe they have a line on the thief.

“It is undamaged, and we’re happy about that,” said the Rev. Joseph Girone, pastor.

The wooden relic, believed to be from the actual cross on which Jesus was crucified, disappeared from the rectory the evening of Sept. 10 and was found Sunday, Sept. 21, by two Port Authority police officers patrolling PA property in Harrison, police reported last week.

Harrison Det. Sgt. David Doyle told The Observer on Friday that the PAPD cops had been walking along the tracks in the area behind the Bank of America off Frank E. Rodgers Blvd.-South when they spotted a trash bag. Opening it, they found the cross-shaped brass reliquary containing the sacred artifact. Also in the bag were three wax candles, a first-aid kit and a set of keys.

Doyle said the officers brought their find to Harrison PD headquarters, where it was identified as belonging to Holy Cross Church.

On Sept. 12, other items — two prayer books and a banner honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe — that had been stolen along with the relic were found by Port Authority police on the PATH tracks in Jersey City. These have also been returned to the church.

“We are developing a suspect and hope to have a warrant drawn up by the middle of the week,” Doyle said.

The culprit is thought to be the same person the Rev. Francisco Rodriguez encountered in the rectory the night the relic went missing.

After a church volunteer reported seeing a stranger in the sacristy at about 7:15 p.m., the priest went to investigate and found a man rifling through cabinets in the kitchen.

Asked what he was doing, he said, “I’m hungry.”

The intruder, who is thought to have entered the rectory through a side window, was escorted out the kitchen door. Rodriguez then went to the sacristy and discovered the relic was gone.

The reliquary is normally kept in a safe, but it had been brought out to be polished in anticipation of the Feast of the Holy Cross on Sept. 14, when the relic it contains would be used to bless the parish faithful.

Before it was found, Rodriguez said, the Harrison police, armed with photos of the reliquary, “were hitting all the pawnshops.”

Girone said that when it was returned, he realized that a few small pieces the relic had fallen to the bottom of the “glass eye” through which it is viewed. It has been sent to an artist for restoration. “It should be back in our hands shortly,” the pastor said.

“We will reschedule the blessing” Girone noted. He said the Pastoral Council would be meeting this week to discuss the date.

Drive-time perils on Davis St.

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By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

HARRISON/EAST NEWARK – 

Every weekday morning when the East Newark Public School is in session, some Davis St. commuters enroute to work face an early nightmare just leaving their block.

That’s because from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m., as children file into the elementary school for the start of classes, crossing guards set up barricades at the intersection of Davis and N. Third St., preventing residents of this block-long stretch of Davis – which runs one-way west – from turning onto Third during that critical rush hour period.

So, if those residents are late out of the gate, their only “option” is to make an illegal U-turn and/or try to back out along Davis – also illegally – onto the heavily-traveled Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. North, creating the possibility of an accident.

Those residents face the same situation twice in the afternoon, when the street is closed during the school lunch period, from 12:30 to 1 p.m., and again, from 2:50 to 3:30 p.m. as youngsters leave school for home.

Persistent traffic headaches notwithstanding, residents and local governments alike have put up with the situation for years … until this summer when Harrison and East Newark mobilized legislative efforts to change the status quo.

Both municipalities had to act since half of this section of Davis lies in Harrison and half is in East Newark.

A resolution passed by the Harrison mayor and Town Council on July 29 lays out the action plan: “reversing the direction of Davis St. between Third St. and F.E. Rodgers Blvd. N. from one-way going west to one-way going east.”

The traffic shift is justified, the resolution states, because it “will assist to ensure the safety of the public school children who utilize Davis St. to enter and exit the East Newark Public School.”

A similarly phrased resolution was passed by the East Newark governing body on Sept. 10.

Joint legislative action by the two communities will also bring Hudson County into the act since it has jurisdiction over F.E. Rodgers Blvd., a county roadway, and, according to county spokesman James Kennelly, Hudson will pay $10,882 to J.C. Contracting of Bloomfield for “striping, signs, police traffic directors and traffic signal head [retrofit]” to accommodate the change of direction on Davis, between N. Third and F.E. Rodgers Blvd.

Harrison’s Julie Walsh, a Davis St. resident, hopes the plan works. Now, she says, “you have to go out the wrong way — there are people on the block with children who go to other schools.”

East Newark Police Chief Anthony Monteiro said that maintaining the status quo would only continue to open the door to “a chance of a head-on collision” at the F.E. Rodgers intersection while Harrison Police Chief Derek Kearns said, “We’ve had situations where motorists who have to leave in the morning have removed barriers to go against the one-way flow,” Kearns added. “Once we get the reversal of direction in play, the situation is going to improve.”

Kearns said that several months ago, a Harrison motorist received traffic tickets for having allegedly violated the one-way restriction and “I pledged to her we’d make changes.”

Kearns said that residents will get “ample notice” of those changes with public postings on the block.

Whether residents on the block will be satisfied remains to be seen. Members of one family who live on the East Newark stretch of Davis seemed to be divided on the subject.

Maria Arias told The Observer she believes the plan to reverse direction is a good one. She said she has seen Harrison police officers ticket drivers “if you go the wrong way.” And stubborn drivers desperate to get out onto F.E. Rodgers use private driveways on the block to make U-turns, damaging curb cuts and sidewalks, she said.

But Arias’s daughter, Kristine, feels the communities are “making a mistake” by shifting the traffic flow. She said she’s adjusted to the current system by giving up driving to her morning class at Rutgers’ Newark campus. “I’d have to make illegal turns to get out and I’d almost gotten into accidents doing that,” she said. “Now, I walk. It only takes me 15 minutes.”

Kristine said the current one-way regulation is inconsistently enforced. Sometimes, she said, crossing guards let some drivers go through the barrier to Third St. and other times, “the crossing guards are not here.”

“So there are still going to be problems,” she concluded.

Animal, family event is Oct. 4 at Library Park, Harrison

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There will be a pet and family event on Saturday, Oct.  4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Library Park, 415 Harrison Ave.,  Harrison.  This is a free  event for the whole family and their pets and animal venders from all over NJ, rescues and shelters and events for kids, at 1 p.m. will take place. There will also be a blessing of the animals and a concert by Jo-Ann & The Converters.

Tight lid on trash

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By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Tired of seeing a plethora of overflow trash cluttering the sidewalks in the town’s retail district, especially after weekend deposits, Kearny is unleashing a new weapon to counteract the unseemly collections.

It’s the solar-powered Big- Belly trash receptacle. The town got four of the 4-footplus tall, hefty “cans” which, according to the vendor’s specifications, weigh in at a nifty 270 pounds apiece.

Kearny Health Officer Ken Pincus thinks they’ll make a huge difference over the old cans they’re replacing on Kearny Ave. because the cans are actually mini-compactors, crushing the mounds of garbage as they are tossed in by passers-by.

“Overflowing trash cans, litter and illegal dumping of trash have been a continual problem on the sidewalks and streets of the town of Kearny. The town needed a new tool to address this concern. The BigBelly Solar solution provides the town an efficient way to manage our waste collection that reflects the town’s overall commitment to sustainability while keeping our streets and sidewalks cleaner,” Pincus said.

Because the new cans are sealed, animals should have little chance to gain access and the stink from any overflow garbage should be significantly reduced, if not eliminated, he added.

Each of the can’s bins hold the equivalent of 33 gallons of trash – up to five times more than the capacity of the old cans – thanks to the internal compaction system, which is designed to crunch the stuff when the receptacle is full.

The device, which has the appearance of a mailbox, seems simple enough to use: You open the “door,” drop in your trash and close the door. The trash drops down the chute and into a liner collection bag.

A wireless signal technology alerts the town’s garbage hauler, Cali Carting, how full the cans are at any given time to allow for more efficient pickup scheduling by the hauler.

Each compacting cycle takes about 40 seconds, according to the specifications prepared by the manufacturer, BigBelly Solar of Newton, Mass.

The cans even come equipped with a GPS tracking system so that if someone somehow manages to remove them, the town’s Public Works Department will be able to hunt them down, Pincus noted.

Uprooting the receptacles will be hard to accomplish, however, not only because of their weight but also because the town’s DPW has bolted them down to the sidewalk.

“My concern was that kids would be leaning on them,” Pincus said, so he decided to go the extra step and lock them into place.

The cans have been placed in four locations along Kearny Ave., between Bergen and Garfield Aves.: One is in front of the Kearny Public Library, one is directly across the street near northwest corner of Afton St., another is about a block away in front of the Chase Bank and the other is in front of the Dunkin’ Donuts shop.

These spots were selected because they are in a retail area that draws a lot of consumer traffic, Pincus said.

DPW has keys to open the galvanized sheet metal steel trash units and replace liner bags as needed. DPW will make arrangements with Cali for easy access to the units.

Total cost for the units and bags, including bolting, was $3,429 each, or a total of $14,539, including a one-year warranty for any defects in materials and/or workmanship, plus one year free for the wireless notification system transmission to Cali. The unit vendor is Direct Environmental Corp. of the Bronx, N.Y.

Pincus said the cans were acquired with a grant awarded Kearny from the state Clean Communities program.

Direct Environmental Corp. offered the town an option to purchase a double set of units, one for regular trash and a second for recyclables, but Pincus said the cost would have been $6,000 for each of the dual units so, instead, he said the town has bought “green recycling units separately, for about $200 each, which will be placed alongside the BigBelly cans.”

Mayor Alberto Santos said he welcomed the new cans, adding that, “Litter and improper disposal of garbage is a very significant quality of life concern. If these four new cans help in the battle against litter, we will expand the program to other locations.”

In the past, Pincus said, the town has tried to attack the trash issue by hiring extra part-time employees to issue summonses for failing to maintain property “and we’ve tried doing extra trash pickups,” but those efforts have had limited success.

Asked whether the town was looking at beefing up litter enforcement activities as another anti-litter strategy, Pincus said: “We’re currently reviewing potential changes to our litter ordinance.”

When a house is not a home

House1_web

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Nobody lives on either side of Carol Pavolic but her absentee neighbors still drive her batty. The Kearny resident, who lives between two abandoned 2-story homes at 365 and 369 Forest St., has had her fill of issues from those buildings in recent years and she unloaded a litany of complaints at a recent meeting of the town’s governing body.

“The grass at 369 is three feet high – it’s a mess,” Pavolic said. “Now there’s no roof, no chimney – the tarp on the roof is ripping out, it’s all over our alleyways. We’ve got to sweep it every day.”

With the house empty for the past seven years, termites have been busy inside, according to Pavolic. “There’s nothing in there but beams. It’s all rotted.”

Meanwhile, she said, “The back door is blowing back and forth. It’s right by my bedroom. I can’t sleep at night.”

On the other side of her property, at 365 Forest, Pavolic said, “There’s a broken drainpipe in the alley. You got possums, everything, back there.” On weekends, she added, “The wise guys come drinking. They burned two trees in front of the house.”

Town Administrator/Construction Code Official Michael Martello said that, “365 Forest is in foreclosure; 369 is not in foreclosure yet.”

“When I call the bank [about the maintenance problems],” Pavolic told the local lawmakers, “they say, ‘Call your town.’ ’’

That comment prompted Mayor Alberto Santos to respond: “More and more we see banks want to spread out their losses so they don’t foreclose right away …. We have ‘zombie’ foreclosures where properties just sit there.” But some, he added, “are slowly coming back.”

Because the taxes are being paid, the town is limited as to what it can do to ensure that the property is well maintained if the owner is laggard, other than to have the work done and place a tax lien on the property.

Santos assured the frustrated resident that the town would follow up on her complaints, along with similar maintenance issues with “other properties on both sides of the street.”

In the meantime, Pavolic said, “I cut the grass, I pay for shoveling snow [on the neighboring properties]. It’s a shame we got to live there.”

Complaints about property maintenance are directed to the town’s Board of Health and The Observer checked with local health officials for a history on the Forest St. properties causing Pavolic distress.

Photos by Michael Martello  365 Forest.

Photos by Michael Martello
365 Forest.

 

For 369 Forest:

• July 28, 2006: Complaint  is received about holes in a wooden fence. Termites are suspected as the cause.

• Aug. 3, 2006: A new owner  appears on the scene and has overgrown grass cut.

• March 30, 2007: Complaint  is received about “refrigerator, old furniture, debris in yard.” Owner removes refrigerator. A summons is issued but is dismissed on May 24, 2007,  after property is cleared.

• June 25, 2010: Complaint  is received about “high grass, weeds, construction debris and wood” on the property. Summons is issued but no court appearance after mail is returned as undeliverable, resulting in dismissal of summons by court.

• April 28, 2011: Complaint  received about “high grass.” Property placed on list for town to hire landscaper to deal with but, in the meantime, neighbor arranges to cut lawn. Town has backyard shed sealed up.

• May 30, 2014: Notation  that property is “still vacant” and that “locks changed by bank.”

For 365 Forest:

• May 2, 2011: Complaint  received about overgrown weeds and grass. Notation  that “owner moved out one to two months ago.” Town arranges to have grass and weeds cut.

• May 30, 2012: Complaint  received about high weeds. Notation that Bank of America now holds mortgage on property. Complaint addressed.

• May 16, 2013: Complaint  received about dead branches in rear yard. Town hires contractor to remove the tree limbs. May 30, 2014: Complaint  received about overgrown weeds on “abandoned property.” No violation notice issued.

• On Sept. 15, Martello  advised The Observer that “the town is cleaning up the properties and placing liens on them for the cleanup. In addition, the town will be securing the property.”

Blood: ‘Enrollment up, class size stable’

Blood_web

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

As she starts her first full year as acting head of the Kearny public school system in the new Board of Education administrative office center on Midland Ave., Superintendent Patricia Blood is optimistic that students and staff will fare well.

That’s not to say that the district won’t be facing any challenges, she said, noting that since June 30, enrollment has climbed from a bit over 5,800 to the current level of about 6,000 and could go higher – which is what a demographer retained by the district predicted would happen over the next few years.

“We’re reading growth across the district,” Blood said, “and we’ve tried to anticipate that with our new middle school planning and re-drawing school boundary lines to create better-balanced class size in every school building.

“This was feasible because we worked as a team – administrators, teachers, custodial personnel and staff – to get it done.”

It was also accomplished, Blood said, despite having lost 28 teachers from last school year through retirements. At this point, she said, “we have 11 fewer teachers district-wide,” but the system absorbed the loss and still managed to even out class size by reconfiguring the number of class sections and redistributing assignment of teachers.

And Blood said she’ll continue to tweak the system as needed to maintain that continuity. For example, she said, “we may hire a new science teacher for the middle school to reduce class size in that subject.”

As part of the new middle school program for grades 7 and 8 at Lincoln School, Blood said all students will be getting computer classes plus 15 days of swim instruction, parceled out in 64-minute sessions per day.

“We’re also introducing intramural programs in volleyball, indoor soccer and basketball,” she said. “And for our 400 seventh-graders, 60 have signed up for instrumental music as an elective, 75 will be taking vocal instruction and the rest will be in art.”

As a district-wide safety measure, Blood said, “We’ve been putting in key swipes at all elementary school facilities for staff access under a state contract. We want to make sure every door is secured and locked. At the high school, we have security guards who control access.”

On the academic front, Blood said students at various grade levels are being exposed to new approaches to language arts (reading and writing) and math mastery skills.

Currently, for example, 60 teachers of kindergarten, first and second grades and special education aligned with those levels are undergoing 30 hours of training in the Orton & Gillingham reading program which, Blood said, “we felt was best suited to our needs to create a good reading foundation for our students.”

And this month, teachers in grades 6, 7 and 8 will begin training in Larson’s Big Ideas Math program, supplementing the Go Math instructional program in elementary school grades and Algebra in middle school grades.

Students in grades 6 through 8 are being exposed to the Harcourt Collections Anthology in a new language arts program while kids in kindergarten through grade 5 will be honing their language arts skills through the Being A Writer methodology.

“We’ll be piloting a new social studies series involving three different instructional companies for grades 6 through 8,” Blood said. “We’ll be continuing to use the Achieve 3000 computer-based interdisciplinary reading comprehension program for grades 2 through 8 and for high school special education students,” she said. “I’m seeing significant gains in reading performance in the last two years using this program.”

Blood said she’ll be seeking Board of Education approval to secure the use of Interactive Achievement, a system that collects and analyzes student performance data, to provide middle school teachers with another resource to better assess students’ strengths and weaknesses, as measured by the state-mandated Common Core standards.