web analytics

Category: News

Medical school will be Roche tenant


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Roche USA, the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company that is marketing its 118-acre property straddling Nutley and Clifton, continues to seek a buyer for the site but has inked a tenant for part of the site.

Roche spokeswoman Darien Wilson said last week that the Tom Lyon, vice president of Roche Nutley (as the property is designated), has signed a “letter of intent” with Robert C. Garrett, president/ CEO of Hackensack University Health Network, for the leasing of one of Roche’s former research buildings for the operation of a medical school.

Terms of the lease remain to be negotiated, Wilson said.

At the same time, Wilson said, Roche — which last year paid $7.1 million in taxes to Nutley (supplemented by $2.7 million in special state transitional aid) — is “still in the process of identifying a buyer for the [entire] site.” Asked when Roche anticipated a sale, Wilson said: “We’re very close …. We expect to identify a new owner by middle of the year.”

Asked why the company was entering into an lease agreement for just a small part of its property (about 13 acres) before disposing of the whole site, Wilson acknowledged it could be considered an atypical approach, but that “all of the potential buyers were fully aware,” along with the Nutley- Clifton Joint Repurposing Committee, “that this was an opportunity that Roche wanted to pursue.”

Wilson said that talks with HackensackUHN “have been going on for a year and a half.” She added that the lease between the parties “would be assigned to whoever the new owner is.”

The new four-year medical school, according to a statement posted on the Hackensack University Medical School website, will be a joint venture by HackensackUHN and Seton Hall University and will be “the only private school of medicine currently in the state.”

The statement said the new facility would be an economic boost to the region by attracting other health-care related businesses and would “help curb the critical physician shortage that the state and the nation currently face. By 2020, it is estimated there will be a shortage of 2,500 physicians in the Garden State.”

Said Garrett: “New Jersey has long been known as a home to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, and it is imperative we continue to support our future workforce through a premier school of medicine.”

Seton Hall President A. Gabriel Esteban said the university plans to integrate its graduate programs in Physician Assistant, Athletic Training, Occupational and Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology and Health Administration, doctoral program in Health Sciences and Health Law to the new partnership.

A joint statement by HackensackUHN and Seton Hall said the new venture “will allow us to create a world-class network of academic, research and clinical expertise to educate the next generation of physicians to advance our reputation as a health science leader.”

None of this will happen overnight, the partners acknowledge. The school’s first class isn’t expected through the doors until fall 2017, according to HackensackUHN’s statement.

“There are a lot of steps they’ll have to go through before the school can open,” Wilson said.

For one thing, the six-story, 432,000 square foot Building 123 – designated as the medical school site – “will have to be fitted out as if it were a medical school” before the operators can apply for accreditation, Wilson said.

The partners are applying to the N.J. Economic Development Authority (EDA) for assistance in this process and the EDA’s approval “is expected to be finalized in early 2015,” their statement said.

Interestingly, Wilson said, the Nutley/Clifton property lines goes right through the center of Building 123 so the partners may have to seek local zoning and/or building approvals from both communities as they prepare to reshape the building to their needs.

Built in 1994, Building 123 is outfitted with a six-story atrium and roof-top solar panels, a 130-seat auditorium/conference rooms, tele-presence and video conference rooms, chemistry and biology labs and other research-related facilities, according to the Roche website.

The partners have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the medical school. Still to come is a formal agreement spelling out terms of the partnership.

County and local officials hailed the news as a big step forward for the region.

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said the new venture “will be a tremendous asset both to the health care industry in this state but also will replace the economic void created [the loss of 1,000 jobs] when Hoffman-LaRoche relocated from the area.” It will also “create new jobs, enhance the housing market and create limitless economic development opportunities for local businesses.”

And Nutley Public Affairs Commissioner Steven Rogers called the partnership “the culmination of a great team effort that will benefit our township for many years to come. … No doubt, this institution will attract people from all over the nation. This is the beginning of a great future for Nutley, in the area of jobs, economic growth and financial stability. We have a lot of work to do as we move forward. But this was a great way to start the new year.”

Fitzhenry picked for vacant seat


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent


Republican loyalist Brian Fitzhenry was rewarded for his longtime service to the party with an appointment to the North Arlington Borough Council last Thursday.

Fitzhenry, 50, a Jersey City native and St. Peter’s College alum who has spent most of his life in the borough, was named to fill the seat vacated by Mayor Joseph Bianchi when Bianchi mounted a successful campaign for mayor.

Fitzhenry, marketing director for NewRent Inc., a Kearny-based semi-trailer rental and sales business, was one of three candidates put forward for the empty council seat by the North Arlington Republican County Committee. He was nominated for the appointment Thursday night by fellow Republican Councilman Richard Hughes and was unanimously voted in.

The GOP now enjoys a 5-2 majority, including the mayor, on the borough governing body.

“I want to thank the Republican Party for having faith in me to do the job,” Fitzhenry said, after being sworn into office by Bianchi. “I also want to thank the North Arlington Volunteer Fire Department. It’s good to have two families. (He’s been a volunteer since 1991 and a former chief.) And I thank my family.”

Fitzhenry had two prior unsuccessful bids for public office, the first in 2004 with a try for Borough Council and then in 2013 for State Senate in the 36th District.

Still, the Republican is no stranger to public service, as he noted in his public remarks following his appointment. During the last 24 years, he said he’s been a member – and chairman – of the borough zoning board, helped acquire gear and equipment for the Fire Department and coached recreation sports. Currently an assistant fire chief with the volunteers, he is a former Board of Education member.

A key goal Fitzhenry said he has set to work on with the rest of the Bianchi administration is putting a lid on rising property taxes while continuing existing public services.

After congratulating the new appointee, Bianchi reminded the audience that, as the community’s chief executive, “You’re only as good as the people who surround you and with this council in place, I have the best. This is the tops. We have a great nucleus – young and old – to start the new year. These are workers and you can always access them. They’re here.”

In other municipal action, the mayor and council split on partisan lines on the appointment of James Herrmann as borough recreation director at $7,500 a year. Democrats Al Granell and Tom Zammatore opposed the move. Herrmann has four prior years of service in the post. Last year, a Democratic majority replaced him with Michele Stirone.

But the Dems did not contest the appointments of Firefighter (and former chief) Mark Zidiak as OEM (Office of Emergency Management) coordinator for three years at $2,500 a year, Lori Fischer as secretary to the Rent Leveling Board, Barbara Octubre to the Library Board and Fitzhenry to the Planning Board.

Borough Attorney Randy Pearce advised the governing body that the Dec. 29 council appointment of Kathy Kartanowicz to the Library Board was “done incorrectly” because it “should have been a mayoral appointment” and it “was not listed on the [meeting] agenda.” The only way to remedy it now is by someone filing a legal action with the court and getting “a judicial determination.”

Brian Intindola, of Neglia Engineering, the borough’s new consulting engineering firm, told the mayor and council that he’ll work with the county ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) coordinator to get approval for work to be done on new disability access corner ramps for the North Arlington side of Jauncey Ave. as a precursor for paving that street. “If you don’t have your ADA ramps, your paving gets held up,” he said. The borough must lay out the money for the ramps and then apply for county reimbursement, he added.

In other business, the council heard a pitch by Bergen County Freeholders Maura DeNicola of Franklin Lakes and Steve Tanelli of North Arlington asking the borough to get behind an advocacy effort for county residents with disabilities, who, DeNicola noted, “are one of the fastest growing segments of our community.”

Tanelli agreed that with the increasing numbers, “it’s almost becoming an epidemic.” But, he added, the county offers a helpline to these constituents. “They have a lot of programs I never knew existed and a lot of them are free. Try to buy in so we can answer the call.”

Bianchi recalled that the borough had been seeking a grant to provide a recreation program for those with autism but had been shut out. At his mayor’s urging, the council passed a resolution to create a committee to work with the county to explore avenues for county and/or state grant funding to support those with special needs. The committee members will include a council liaison selected by the mayor, representatives of the Planning Board, Health Department, Recreation Department, OEM, the Board of Education and the business community. So far, 21 municipalities in Bergen have signed on.

And the council deferred action on a request by Ridge Park/Arlington Park Apartments for a capital improvement rent surcharge over and above the allowable 30% for 10 vacant apartments that are being upgraded pending additional testimony by the applicant.

around town


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., hosts a Book Club meeting Feb. 2, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m., in the conference room to discuss “The Shack” by William P. Young. For more information or for help in locating a copy of the book, call the reference desk at 973-566-6200, ext. 219 or 220. Admission is free.

 East Newark 

West Hudson Brave Women Fighting Breast Cancer meets the last Friday of every month, 7 to 9 p.m., at the East Newark Senior Center, 37 President St. For more information, call Emma at 201-998- 6828, Rosa at 201-246-7750, Fatima at 973-485-4236 or email emidura2@yahoo.com.


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

Kearny UNICO sponsors a bus trip to the Tropicana Casino on Sunday, Jan. 25. The cost is $30 with $25 in slot play back from the casino. The bus leaves from American Legion Post 99, 314 Belgrove Drive, at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served at the hall at 7:30 a.m. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at either 201-368-2409 or lpandolfiverizon.net.


The Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Ave., is offering a supply of dog food, both canned and dry, to anyone who cannot afford to feed their dog, due to unemployment, disability or any other financial difficulty. Just stop by or call 201-896-9300 for more information. Hours are: Mondays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Knights of Columbus Council 2396 has rescheduled a Tricky Tray, for Friday, Feb. 20, at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. The $10 admission includes coffee plus one prize sheet of tickets. No alcohol is permitted. No tickets will be sold at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call Steve Cortese at 201-657- 0800 or Sal Russo at 201-446- 7244.

Lyndhurst American Legion Post 139 Rehabilitation Committee holds a ward party for veterans at Chestnut Hill Extended Care Facility, Passaic, Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 2:30 p.m. This event is sponsored by Joan Waltman in honor of her brother Reid M. Waltman who served gallantly in the U.S. Navy in World War II and is enjoying retirement. Post members play games of chance with hospitalized veterans and distribute treats to them. Anyone interested in sponsoring a ward party is invited to call John Deveney at 201-438-2255.

Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad holds its annual Tricky Tray fundraiser Feb. 19 at The Fiesta, 255 Rt. 17 S, Wood-Ridge. Doors open at 7 p.m. Drawing starts at 8 p.m. A variety of ticket packages are available at different prices. For more information, call 201-804-2469, email trickytray@emergencysquad.com or visit lyndhurstnj.org.

Lyndhurst Department of Parks and Recreation sponsors a trip to Caesar’s Casino in Atlantic City Friday, Jan. 30. Tickets are $22 each. To buy tickets, visit the Parks Department or call 201-804- 2482 to reserve a seat.

The N.J. Meadowlands Commission announces the following events:

  • The Third-Tuesday-of-the- Month Nature Walk through Laurel Hill County Park, Secaucus, co-sponsored by the Bergen County Audubon Society, is set for Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to noon. Admission is free. Participants are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events year-round. To register, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4gmail.com or call 201-230- 4983.
  • Join NJMC staffer and veteran rock journalist/author Brian Aberback Sunday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m., for “Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Meadowlands.” He’ll offer a slideshow presentation covering Frank Sinatra’s Hoboken roots and the Jersey City doo-wop scene to present-day hard rock guitar virtuoso/Carlstadt native Marc Rizzo and more. Admission is $6; $5 for MEC members.

Pre-registration for both programs is recommended and appreciated. Register online at www.njmeadowlands.gov by clicking on “Events,” by bringing a registration form to the Environment Center, or by mailing the form to Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, P.O. Box 640, Lyndhurst, N.J. 07071. Make checks payable to Meadowlands Environment Center. Program brochures, which include the registration form, are available at the Environment Center or may be requested by email by visiting communications@njmeadowlands.gov. There is no phone registration.

For more information, call 201-777-2431. Those interested in receiving email alerts about NJMC public programs are asked to email communications@njmeadowlands.gov or call 201-460-4619.

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

  • Winter/Spring Storytime, for ages 3 to 4 1/2, is available for two sessions at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and will be offered every Thursday from Feb. 19 to May 14. Registration deadline is Feb. 13.
  • A snowman craft, for pre-k to grade 3, will be held Thursday, Jan. 29, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

To register for programs, call the library at 201-804- 2478. St.

Michael’s Angel Academy, 624 Page Ave., hosts an open house with registration for the 2015-2016 school year for its pre-k-3 and pre-k-4 programs Wednesday, Jan. 21, 4:30 to 7 p.m. Use the Page Ave. entrance, next to the Angel Academy sign. For more information, call 201- 438-3809.

North Arlington 

North Arlington Seniors Inc. (Tuesday Club) sponsor a trip to Sands Casino in Pennsylvania Feb. 5. The bus leaves at 9 a.m. Non-members are welcome. Call Rose Florio at 201-991-2423.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, announces the following events:

  • A screening of the documentary “Inheritance”(90 minutes) is set for Friday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m.
  • Story Time, open to ages 2 to 5, is held every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m.
  • Lego Club, open to grades 1 and up, meets Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 6:30 p.m.

No registration is required unless otherwise noted. For more information on library programs, call 201-955-5640.

Nutley police, Essex prosecutor, investigating apparent murder-suicide


Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Nutley Police Chief Thomas Strumolo announced today that the Nutley Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force are investigating what appears to be a murder/suicide, according to reports.

A man and a woman were found dead in the 300 block of Hillside Avenue. Both were suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, reports said.

The investigation is active and ongoing, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

Keeping rail talks on track


By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent 


A renewed push for a rail link. More tax abatements.I nfrastructure improvements. These were some of the priorities for 2015 and beyond highlighted by Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos as the town held its municipal reorganization meeting last Tuesday night.

Town Council members Albino Cardoso (First Ward), Jonathan Giordano (Second Ward), Eileen Eckel (Third Ward) and Susan McCurrie (Fourth Ward) – all elected in November – were sworn into office. For Giordano, it marked his first time sitting on the governing body.

The council has a vacancy in the First Ward, created by the resignation of Councilman Alexa Arce, who gave birth to her first child – a girl named Alessandra Klein – at 11:22 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Arce has two years’ remaining in her term.

Santos said the Kearny Democratic County Committee will meet soon to vote on three nominees to present to the council for a final selection that “should be made by the end of the month.”

And, by the end of February, the mayor said he hopes to have in place a committee to begin planning for Kearny’s 150th anniversary which the town will observe in 2017.

Cardoso – who celebrated his 60th birthday last Tuesday – pointed to the town’s creation of a new municipal parking lot in the First Ward at 101 Kearny Ave., repaving of sections of Highland Ave. and other streets in the ward the start of commercial reconstruction on Passaic Ave. as improvements achieved during 2014.

Eckel cited the development of the Library Reading Garden and the leadership of Library Director Josh Humphrey as having “exceeded our expectations.” He and his staff, she said, “have put us up against any library in Bergen County.” Eckel also credited the Fire Department with “working hard to keep us safe,” despite fiscal restraints.

Santos urged his council colleagues to “look beyond the next election cycle and lean times” to “commit to a shared vision of building our future that will benefit our residents in the years to come.”

To that end, the mayor said he intended to focus his energies on the following priorities:

• Completing the design of a “long overdue” storm water pump station to stop flooding along Devon Terrace, Hoyt, Tappan and Dukes Sts.

• Resurfacing potholestrewn streets, many of which “are deteriorating faster than we can pave them,” he said.

• Undertaking an extensive makeover of the Gunnell Oval complex off Schuyler Ave. If the town can find the estimated $14 million-plus to elevate the site to mitigate flooding and install a new turf field, “the Oval will be enjoyed by thousands of residents in the years to come,” Santos said. Also on the drawing board are upgrades for playgrounds in back of Washington School and on Hickory St. and the development of a dog run in Riverbank Park.

• Completing negotiations with the N.J. Meadowlands Commission (or its successor organization) on the further raising of the former Keegan landfill and eventual conversion to town recreation fields.

• Reversing the “depletion” of the town’s public safety ranks. “We need to make sizeable progress in closing the gap for both our Police and Fire Departments,” Santos said, particularly given the pace of retirements in both departments.

• Ensuring that Kearny “remains affordable.” Since 2008, by restraining municipal spending with a 2% cap, Santos said the town has seen signs of progress in comparison with neighboring communities. For 2014, he said, Kearny’s average property tax of $9,282 was lower than Harrison and Bloomfield, about the same as North Arlington and “we’ve narrowed the gap with Lyndhurst.”

In 2014, the mayor noted, the town granted its first PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) to a corporate property owner, Kearny Point Industrial Park, which will be “a key part of raising revenues for the coming year and [an action] we will have to increasingly rely on for the coming years.”

• Reviving the idea for  a commuter rail station in Kearny. Had Gov. Christie not killed the proposal for an ARC (Access to the Region’s  Core) tunnel, Kearny would have seen a rail station surface at Bergen Ave., Santos said. Now with the Port Authority talking about scrapping overnight PATH service, coupled with P.A. surveys pointing up the need for repairs to existing rail tunnels and frequent overcapacity on PATH, Santos said the time is ripe for reminding state and federal officials that Kearny should be on track for a rail connection.

“I’m confident we will make progress on achieving these priorities for the generations that will come after us,” he said.

No commitment yet on school occupant


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Holy Cross parish, which has been seeking a new tenant for its former parochial school building on Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard South since the Lady Liberty Academy charter school left last summer, has been attracting a lot of interest lately from neighboring school districts and others.

But, so far, the parish is keeping an open mind, according to the Rev. Joseph Girone, pastor of Holy Cross Church. Two possibilities for renting the facility came to light recently, he said.

One, he said, was a proposal by the Northern New Jersey Hua Zia Chinese School, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 which currently offers Chinese language classes for children and adults, along with karate, Chinese painting, calligraphy and dancing, chess, violin, fitness and singing, at Verona High School.

Harrison may offer the school an attractive alternative location because of its increasing Asian demographics. The 2010 U.S. Census reported that 16.3% of Harrison’s population was Asian and, according to Wikipedia, the 2000 Census had 7.2% of the town’s residents being of Chinese ancestry. “This was the fifth-highest percentage of people with Chinese ancestry in any place in New Jersey with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry,” Wikipedia noted

“They were looking for a space to use on Saturday afternoons, from 1 to 4 p.m.,” Girone said.

However, that may not offer the optimal use of the space, in terms of potential rental revenues, he suggested.

The other, somewhat more enticing opportunity, Girone said, came from a visit a few weeks ago by East Newark Public School Superintendent/ Principal Patrick Martin, an attorney and architect.

“They have no gym and no cafeteria and they had an interest in renting space here,” Girone said. “We toured the school building and we showed them our gym and classrooms.”

But, Girone said, “This is not the first time East Newark has approached us” about the notion of acquiring additional educational space. A few years ago, similar overtures were made, he recalled.

When asked about the visit, Martin told The Observer that, without any coaxing from his school board or municipal officials, he had reached out to the priest and asked to check out the school in the company of attorney Vito Gagliardi, who advises the school board on special projects, and an architect who came as a personal favor.

“This [East Newark Public School] is a wonderful building we’re in,” Martin said, “but it is 118 years old and we make the most of it. We have no gym, no auditorium, no science lab, no media center. So, over the years, the school administration has been looking for additional space and now we’re looking once again.”

Another issue that the school has to deal with, he said, happens at lunchtime, “when we bring children to the borough Rec Center where they can walk around and play a bit but that’s four blocks away and in the cold weather we’ve been having recently, that’s a hardship for our kids.”

Still, Martin said, “We’re nowhere near making a commitment [to rent the Harrison space]. It’s still very much in the exploratory phase. We could end up staying where we are for the next 50 years – we’re just exploring all possibilities.”

Next step for East Newark, Martin said, “is to see if it’s possible if we could fit into the school.” The architect will advise how much it would cost to retrofit the building as a school facility to the most current state standards and codes, as, for example, compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), he explained.

Given the age of the building, that could be an expensive proposition, Martin said.

Some months ago, representatives of the Harrison Board of Education came to the parish to discuss the possibility of the BOE buying the school building and using it as a school for early grades and special needs kids who are currently bused out of district but Girone said, so far, nothing has come of it. In any event, Girone said, “I’m not crazy about the idea of selling the (school) building because we have our own religious education classes there Friday nights and some parish events on other days.”

Harrison and East Newark schools are also competing on another, more significant level, with the borough looking to send its high school age population to Kearny High, instead of Harrison High – where they’ve been going for over a century. A state decision is awaited.

around town


Belleville Elks Lodge 1123, 254 Washington Ave., holds its monthly breakfast Sunday, Jan. 18, 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for children under age 10; and free for children under age 3. In case of inclement weather, the breakfast will be cancelled. Call the lodge at 973-759-9623 to check if the event is still on.


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., hosts a Book Club meeting Feb. 2, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m., in the conference room to discuss “The Shack” by William P. Young. For more information or to request help in locating a copy of the book, call the reference desk at 973-566-6200, ext. 219 or 220. Admission is free.


Presbyterian Boys and Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., hosts its annual winter dance Friday, Jan. 16, 7 to 10 p.m. This dance is for teenagers only and will be supervised by PBGC Executive Director Tom Fraser and board members.

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

Kearny UNICO sponsors a bus trip to the Tropicana Casino Sunday, Jan. 25. The cost is $30 with $25 in slot play back from the casino. The bus leaves from American Legion Post 99, 314 Belgrove Drive, at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served inside the hall at 7:30 a.m. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409 or lpandolfi@ verizon.net.


The Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Ave., is offering a supply of dog food, both canned and dry, to anyone who cannot afford to feed their dog, due to unemployment, disability or any other financial difficulty. Just stop by or call for more information 201-896- 9300. Hours are: Mondays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The N.J. Meadowlands Commission announces the following events:

  • The Third-Tuesday-ofthe- Month Nature Walk with the NJMC and Bergen County Audubon Society through Laurel Hill County Park, Secaucus, is set for Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to noon. Admission is free. Participants are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events year-round. To register, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@ gmail.com or call 201-230- 4983.
  • Join NJMC staffer and veteran rock journalist/author Brian Aberback on Sunday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m., for “Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Meadowlands.” The slideshow presentation will cover Frank Sinatra’s Hoboken roots and the Jersey City doo-wop scene to present-day hard rock guitar virtuoso/Carlstadt native Marc Rizzo and more. Admission is $6; $5 for MEC members.

Pre-registration for all programs is recommended and appreciated. Register online at www.njmeadowlands.gov by clicking on “Events,” by bringing a registration form to the Environment Center, or by mailing the form to Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, P.O. Box 640, Lyndhurst, N.J. 07071. Make checks payable to Meadowlands Environment Center. Program brochures, which include the registration form, are available at the Environment Center or may be requested by email by visiting communications@njmeadowlands. gov. There is no phone registration.

For more information, call 201-777-2431. T

For more information, call 201-777-2431. Those interested in receiving email alerts about NJMC public programs are asked to email communications@ njmeadowlands.gov or call 201-460-4619.

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

  • Winter/Spring Storytime, open to ages 3 to 4 1/2, is available for two sessions at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and will be offered every Thursday from Feb. 19 to May 14. Registration deadline is Feb. 13.
  • A snowman craft, open to pre-k to grade 3, will be held Thursday, Jan. 29, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

To register for programs, call the library at 201-804- 2478.

Lyndhurst Health Department will conduct a rabies clinic Thursday, Jan. 15, at the Community Center on Riverside Ave. (behind the Little League fields), 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Township residents can also license their dogs and cats at these clinics. Licensing deadline is Jan. 31. Call the Health Department for more information.

Knights of Columbus Council 2396 has rescheduled a Tricky Tray, originally set for Friday, Jan. 16, to Friday, Feb. 20, at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. The $10 admission includes coffee plus one prize sheet of tickets. No alcohol is permitted. No tickets will be sold at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call Steve Cortese at 201-657-0800 or Sal Russo at 201-446-7244.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3549, 586 Valley Brook Ave., hosts karaoke on Friday, Jan. 16, at 7:30 p.m. The post hall is available for rental for all occasions. For more information, call the post at 201-939-3080.

St. Michael’s Angel Academy, 624 Page Ave., hosts an open house with registration for the 2015-2016 school year for its pre-k-3 and pre-k-4 programs Wednesday, Jan. 21, 4:30 to 7 p.m. Use the Page Ave. entrance, next to the Angel Academy sign. For more information, call 201-438-3809.

North Arlington 

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, announces the following events:

  • A screening of the documentary “Inheritance”(90 minutes) is set for Friday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m.
  • Story Time, open to ages 2 to 5, is held every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m.
  • PJ Story Time, open to ages 4 to 7, is set for Thursday, Jan.15, at 6:30 p.m. • An Origami class, open to grades 4 to 7, is set for Friday, Jan.16, at 3:30 p.m. (registration required, visit: http://bit. ly/1Kig3jK)
  • The Computer Coding Club, open to ages 8 to 13, meets on Saturday, Jan. 17, 1 to 3 p.m. (Registration is required; visit:http://bit. ly/14sfXpv).
  • Lego Club, open to grades 1 and up, meets Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 6:30 p.m.

No registration is required unless otherwise noted. For more information on library programs, call 201-955-5640.

North Arlington Woman’s Club meets Jan. 17 at 1 p.m. at the Senior Center, 10 Beaver Ave. New members are invited to attend.


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, announces the following programs:

  • Patrons are invited to play bridge at the library every Tuesday at 1 p.m.
  • Conversational English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are offered every Wednesday at 10 a.m.
  • Wednesday Afternoon Knitters meet weekly at 1 p.m. Both beginning and experienced knitters can meet fellow knitters, brush up on their skills, and learn some new techniques. Bring your own supplies.

No registration is required for any of these programs.

For more information on library programs, visit http://nutley.bccls.org, email library@nutleynj.org

Join the Lions & become a volunteer

ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, is hosting a full roster of “New Year, New You” health and wellness events throughout January. Julie Harrington, in-store registered dietitian, will lead each of the LiveRight offerings and provide easy-to-implement nutrition and wellness advice. The following free events are being held for local residents. All programs are open to the public, held at the store and do not require advance registration, unless otherwise noted:

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

• Julie’s Produce Pick fea tures ShopRite’s dietitian mixing the week’s produce pick into a delicious new dish on Wednesday, Jan. 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. Stop by for samples and recipe cards.

• LiveRight with Shop – Rite Kids’ Day Cooking Class allows youngsters age 6 and up to try and create new things while preparing a simple, healthy snack on Wednesday, Jan. 28, from 4 to 5 p.m. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required.

• ShopRite Cooking  Class: Veggie Power Edition invite folks to join Shop- Rite’s dietitian on Thursday, Jan. 29, from 2 to 3 p.m., to learn how to prepare a vegetarian meal while gaining the inside scoop on how going meatless once a week can improve one’s health. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required.

ShopRite of Lyndhurst is located at 540 New York Ave. In addition to developing a full roster of store-based wellness programs, ShopRite’s retail dietitians can serve as guest speakers/instructors at wellness events hosted by local organizations. For more information or to pre-register for a program, contact Harrington at 201- 419-9154 or email Julie.harrington@wakefern.com.

Bianchi focused on meadows redevelopment, spending checks


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


North Arlington selected a group of new professional staffers at the borough’s reorganization meeting Jan. 6.

After the victors in the November election were sworn in – Joseph Bianchi as mayor and Daniel Pronti and Kerry Cruz as Borough Council members – the governing body approved a slew of appointments of new professionals, reflecting the new 4-2 Republican majority. And the council picked Republican Richard Hughes as council president.

Among the changes: Hackensack attorney Randy Pearce, who had served as borough attorney a few years ago, was returned to that post on the recommendation of Bianchi and his fellow Republicans. Pearce, who takes over for Doug Bern, had represented the borough in an expensive lawsuit against the Passaic Valley Water Commission which the borough ended up settling last month.

The borough hired the Saddle Brook law firm of Eastwood, Scandariato & Steinberg to provide the services of municipal prosecutor at $15,000. And it hired Wiss & Bouregy of Westwood as labor counsel and Rogut McCarthy LLC of Cranford as bond counsel.

Lerch Vinci & Higgins of Fairlawn is the new borough auditor.

Brought back as borough engineer was Neglia Engineering Associates of Lyndhurst, replacing Remington Vernick of Secaucus. Neglia had many years of prior borough service. And the Alaimo Group of Mt. Holly was hired as consulting engineer.

In his public remarks – his first as the borough’s new chief executive – Bianchi pledged to make every effort to find redevelopers for the borough’s meadows area, to control municipal spending and to maintain municipal services.

Bianchi also sent kudos to all borough employees and volunteers “for the excellent work they have undertaken over this past year, under very difficult circumstances.”

In the future, to try and tackle “financial problems that we have been left with,” such as rising water rates – resulting from the borough’s sale of its water system – Bianchi said the borough “must be smarter and not play politics” and “cannot continue to push [its] financial problems down the road, from budget to budget.”

The borough, Bianchi said, must find a way “to find new ratables … by using our redevelopment powers while at the same time, keeping the character of the community.” That, he said, means “that we are not planning to build any high-rise, high density or low-income housing” because “that would change what North Arlington is about.”

Borough Council committee assignments were parceled out this way: Hughes will chair Finance; Pronti heads up Public Safety; Cruz leads Recreation; Democrat Al Granell gets Administrative & Executive; Democrat Tom Zammatore leads Health, Transportation & Welfare. The chair for Public Works, Buildings & Grounds is currently vacant.

Still to be determined is who will be picked by the council to fill the unexpired term of Bianchi’s council seat.

Elsewhere, Harrison’s governing body also convened its reorganization meeting last week, swearing in James Fife as mayor and Town Council members Jesus Huaranga, Anselmo Millan, Laurence Bennett and James Doran.

Photos courtesy Borough of North Arlington TOP: Mayor Joseph Bianchi and family members at reorganization meeting. From l., are grandchildren Isabella and Frankie, spouse Kathy and grandson Anthony. ABOVE: From l., are Councilman Dan Pronti, Fire Chief John Inzinna, Assistant Chief Brian FitzHenry, Deputy Chief Robert Kairys and Freeholder Steve Tanelli.

Photos courtesy Borough of North Arlington
TOP: Mayor Joseph Bianchi and family members at reorganization meeting. From l., are
grandchildren Isabella and Frankie, spouse Kathy and grandson Anthony. ABOVE: From
l., are Councilman Dan Pronti, Fire Chief John Inzinna, Assistant Chief Brian FitzHenry,
Deputy Chief Robert Kairys and Freeholder Steve Tanelli.


Villalta was picked as the new council president.

Several of the town leaders talked about seeing come to roost much of the hard work by the late Mayor Raymond McDonough in promoting the Harrison Waterfront Redevelopment Area and luring redevelopers to the sprawling site.

As examples, Fife mentioned the Pegasus Group/ Ironstate starting phase 3 of its mixed-use project for more than 1,000 new apartments (studios and one-bedroom units) next to the PATH station; Advance Group preparing for a new A.C. Marriott hotel at Guyon Drive and Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. and Carlstadt developer Ed Russo moving ahead with construction of a 5-story, 400-unit apartment building with 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail near the Red Bull Arena.

In considering its list of professional staff, the town was continuing to review four bid proposals submitted for town attorney: the incumbent Robert Murray of Shrewsbury, who proposed an hourly fee of $165; Cleary/Giacobbe/Alfieri/ Jacobs LLC of Oakland, who bid $150 an hour; DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole of Teaneck, $175 an hour; and Eric M. Bernstein & Associates of Warren, $125 an hour.

The town is also reviewing four proposals for the services of tax appeal attorney received from the incumbent Castano Quigley of West Caldwell, who offered to work at the bid criteria specified by Harrison; William J. Rush of Wayne, $125 an hour; Eric Bernstein, $125 an hour; a

Have you seen this alleged NA shoplifter?


On Jan. 7  at 5:20 p.m., an individual described as a white man,  approximately 5’10” with short brown hair, wearing a black jacket with blue hoodie, is alleged to have shoplifted from a CVS at 579 Ridge Road. Police say the man fled on foot west on Jauncey Ave. toward River Road.

If you have information to report that could help lead to an arrest in this crime/crime activity, please contact the North Arlington Police Department at 201-991-1400 or by sending an email to napddispatch@northarlington.org.