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Category: News

KPD: He ran, but couldn’t hide

Just before midnight on March 11, security at Walmart reported to Kearny police that they were hunting for a shoplifter in the store’s parking lot. KPD headquarters notified patrol units. First to arrive at the scene was Sgt. Michael O’Neill, who saw a man attempting to conceal himself underneath a parked vehicle, police said.

After being ordered from his hiding place, the suspect stood up and, right in front of the officer, tried to discard a clear plastic bag containing suspected marijuana, Chief John Dowie reported.

Issack Perez, 32, of Newark, was subsequently charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia — and also with shoplifting. According to security, he had tried to steal two television sets and some coffee, worth a total of $745.

Other recent reports from the KPD blotter included the following:

March 8

At 3:45 a.m., Officer Chris Medina came upon a car, its engine running, stopped in the middle of Beech St. near Midland Ave. The driver, police said, was sound asleep behind the wheel. After field sobriety tests, and an Alcotest at HQ , 42-year-old Jorge Nobre of Kearny was charged with DWI, DWI in a school zone, and obstructing other vehicles.

March 9

Officer Ben Wuelfing was on patrol on Bergen Ave. near Kearny Ave. at 5:30 a.m. when an eastbound car with Illinois plates reportedly passed him at a high rate of speed, with its headlights off. When Wuelfing stopped the vehicle, the driver produced a New Jersey license that turned out to be suspended, police said, and was allegedly found to be in possession of a small plastic bag of suspected cocaine. Pedro Carmenate, 21, of Hillside was charged criminally with possession of coke and drug paraphernalia and with being under the influence of a CDS. He was also given motor vehicle summonses for: careless driving; DWI; possession of a CDS in a motor vehicle; driving while suspended; driving an unregistered vehicle, and having fictitious plates.

March 10

At 10:20 p.m., Vice Unit detectives were at Kearny and Johnston Aves. when they spotted Frank Sullivan, 38, of Harrison, whom they confirmed to be the subject of an outstanding warrant from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, police said. Sullivan was also reportedly in possession of a small bottle of liquid that proved to be ketamine. He was charged on the warrant and with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia.

March 11

At 2:40 p.m, Officer Brian Wisely was on the 500 block of Elm St. when he saw Michael Boguszewski, 21, of Kearny, whom he confirmed to be the subject of an outstanding Kearny warrant, police said. Boguszewski was also allegedly found to be in possession of a pen apparently altered for the ingestion of a CDS. He was charged on the warrant and with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Vice detectives, on the 100 block of Tappan St. at 6:15 p.m., observed a pedestrian, Luis Vargas, 28, of Kearny, with whom they were familiar and who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police said. After they approached him, he allegedly gave them a fictitious name, but they knew it to be false, and a check revealed he was wanted by Orange on a $50,000 warrant for terroristic threats, police said. Vargas was charged on that warrant and with hindering apprehension.

March 12

At 5:40 p.m., a merchant on the 700 block of Kearny Ave. reported that a man had entered her establishment and asked to use the restroom, and when told it was not for public use, walked outside and smashed the front window. Officer Brian Wisely and Sgt. Anthony Limite searched the area and found 35-yearold Newark resident Sterling Crawford, who was police said was identified as the culprit. Crawford was charged with criminal mischief.

–Karen Zautyk

Around Town


Belleville Irish American Association sponsors a trip to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston and Mohegan Sun Casino, June 2-6. Cost is $485 double occupancy and includes transportation, sightseeing, four dinners, four breakfasts and one lunch. For an itinerary or additional information, call Pat at 973- 751-5308 or email patn139@aol. com.


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., announces the following: Children’s programs:

• Bedtime Storytime, for ages 2 and up, on March 24 at 6:30 p.m.

• Toddler Time, for ages 19 to 36 months, at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays

• PreK Story & Craft, for ages 3 to 5, at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays

• Baby & Me, for ages 0-18 months, at 11 a.m. on Thursdays

• Science Friday, for ages 5 and up, on March 21 at 4 p.m.

• The library has added 16 new foreign language courses to its Mango online learning course including Armenian, Scottish Gaelic and Yiddish and English as a Second Language for speakers of modern Arabic and Armenian.


Registration is open until March 28 for Harrison Recreation T-Ball, Minor and Little League at the Community Center, 401 Warren St. Ages: T-Ball, 5 to 6; Minors, 7 to 8; and Little League, 9 to 12 (cannot turn 13 before May 1). For more information, contact the center at 973-268-2469.

Holy Cross Church sponsors a fundraising bus trip to the Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, plus outlet shopping, set for Sunday, March 23, leaving Holy Cross School, 15 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd., at 10 a.m. Refreshments will be served in the school basement starting at 9:15 a.m. A donation of $30 is requested (return of $25 in slot play). For reservations, call Joan at 973-481-2434 or Marie (Spanish) at 973-481-1799. Leave name, phone number and number attending.


Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts two free screenings of the Disney film “Frozen” (PG) on March 21 and 28 at 4 p.m. on both dates. Popcorn and light refreshments will be served.

Good Shepherd Church, 780 Kearny Ave., launches an English-speaking service on March 22 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 201-997-4369.

Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., is conducting a canned food drive this month on behalf of the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington. Children are invited to donate two canned foods as their admission to the club. Club hours: 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

A pancake breakfast fundraiser to benefit the American Diabetes Association will be held at Applebees, 175 Passaic Ave., on Sunday, April 6, from 8 to 10 a.m. Admission for adults is $10 and $5 for children age 2 to 9. Door prizes will be included. For tickets, contact Janice at 201-362-2958 or by email at shnanny@aol.com.

Kearny High School’s annual Project Graduation Volleyball Tournament will be Friday, April 25 in the school’s gymnasium, 336 Devon St. Contact Melissa Dyl for information at 201-978-8257.

Tickets are being sold for Project Graduation’s 50/50 raffle and the drawing is scheduled for Friday, June 20, following graduation ceremonies. The winner need not be present. Tickets are $10 each. To purchase or sell tickets, contact Sandy Hyde at 551-265- 8969.

Project Graduation meets the last Thursday of each month in the school’s faculty lounge and next meets March 27 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact President Steve Dyl at 201-991-7467.


Join the Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., for the following:

• Free arthritis and joint pain management forum hosted by Clara Maass Medical Center on Friday, March 21, at 10 a.m. A light breakfast will be served. Call the Lyndhurst Health Department at 201-804- 2500 to reserve a seat.

Mary Lou Mullins’ monthly bus trip to Atlantic City is set for Sunday, March 30, to Resorts Casino. Cost is $25 (with $30 cash return). Reserve early. Call Mary Lou at 201-933-2186 for information.

Lyndhurst Emblem Club 72 offers a $1,000 scholarship to a township resident graduating in June and planning to enter the medical or educational field. Deadline to apply is April 1. For an application, contact Pat McPherson at 201- 355-8582 or email trdmome@ aol.com.

New Jersey Meadowlands Commission hosts “Watercolor Pencils for Kids: Signs of Spring” for ages 5 to 12 (accompanied by an adult) on Saturday, March 22, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza. Children will learn how to create a colorful seasonal drawing and then turn it into a painting, all with the same pencil. Supplies provided for the session. Admission is $12 per child; $10/MEC members (no fee for adults). Registration is recommended and appreciated. To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst hosts a children’s Tricky Tray on Saturday, March 29, at the Senior Center on Cleveland Ave. Doors open at noon. Admission is $5. Lunch is available at a nominal cost. No outside food allowed. Numbers will be called starting at 1 p.m. For tickets, call Janet at 201-935-1208.

North Arlington

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

For children and teens:

• Comics Club, for grades 6 and up, meets on Wednesday, March 26, at 3:30 p.m.

• Origami, for grades 4 and up, is offered on Friday, March 28, at 3:30 p.m. For adults:

• Historical Fact and Fiction Book Club meets on Thursday, March 27, at 10 a.m.

• Friends of the Library Book Club meets Friday, March 28, at 10 a.m.

In celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, Garden State Rollergirls welcomes Bergen County United Way residents to enjoy its home opening bout on April 12 at the Inline Skating Club of America (ISCA), 170 Schuyler Ave. The event includes a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Bergen County United Way. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and the first whistle blows at 8 p.m. This event is open to all ages. Tickets can be purchased at the door ($15 for adults, $10 for kids under 12) or online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/ event/601006 ($10 for adults, $5 for kids under 12).


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Dr., announces: • The Jane Stuart Jazz Quartet performs on Saturday, March 22, at 2 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

• A Women’s history panel discussion is set for Thursday, March 27, at 7 p.m. A panel of notable Nutley women will reflect on gender issues and discuss topics relevant to women in the 21st century.

• “Library Catalog 101” explains the latest tips and strategies to effectively search for and request items, how to share what you are reading on Facebook and manage your online library account on Friday, March 28, at 10 a.m. Call the library at 973-667-0405, ext. 2604, to register no later than one week before presentation.

Nutley Elks Lodge, 242 Chestnut St., presents The Cameos on April 26 at the lodge, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. The $45 admission includes a hot buffet and open bar. Proceeds benefit veterans’ programs. For tickets, call Frank Zatorski at 201-207-2743. R.S.V.P. by April 15.

The Women’s Auxiliary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church sponsors a bus trip to Hunterdon Hills Playhouse on Wednesday, May 7 to see the comedy-mystery play “Busybody.” The $60 cost includes transportation, lunch and play. The bus will leave from the church, 120 Prospect St. at 9:45 a.m. and return approximately at 4:45 p.m. For more information or reservations, contact Linda at 973-661-0090.

News from the Nutley Police blotter

March 10

Police received a report of theft of services from a Centre St. gas station at 4:06 p.m. Police said the attendant told them a customer received $82 worth of fuel for their vehicle and their credit card was declined. The customer then left their license with the attendant and promised to return with the money but never did so. Police said they went to the address listed on the license and were told by the customer they would satisfy the debt before the end of the day.

After being asked for help, at 11:39 p.m., in finding a stolen i-Pad, police obliged. Police said the victim, who had flown into Newark Airport, was missing their i-Pad from their luggage but was able to pinpoint its location in the area of River Road and Grant Ave. Police said they could detect a beeping sound on the west side of River Road, about 150 feet south of Grant Ave., coming from inside a sewer, from which they managed to retrieve the i-Pad, which was found in two blue bags.

March 12

At 9:07 p.m., police responded to an E. Centre St. location on a noise complaint which resulted in the arrest of Arthur Karapetyan, 35, of Nutley, on a charge of possession of drugs, which, police said, tested positive for methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia. Police said Karapetyan was released, pending a court date, after posting bail, which was set at $5,000 with a 10% cash option.

March 14

Police received a report of fraud from a victim who told them they’d been contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS who told them they’d be contacted by an IRS investigator to avoid a criminal procedure for violating tax law. A man identifying himself as “Mr. Crouz” told the victim that the IRS would be freezing their bank accounts, credit cards and passports if the victim didn’t resolve the issue in the next half hour. The victim was told to go to a Clifton CVS and buy eight Green Point money pack cards, with seven in the denomination of $500 and the eighth for $186. After complying with this request, the victim was then advised to scratch off the cards and read the account numbers over the phone. After doing so, the victim was called back and told that a supervisor identified as “John Brooks” had refused to accept the money and wanted an additional $6,292.73. At this point, police said, the victim became suspicious and refused to send more money.

– Ron Leir

Highlights from the Harrison Police blotter

March 13

At 7 p.m., a couple came into headquarters to file a theft report. The husband told police that they’d parked their 2001 Ford Explorer in the Bergen St. mall parking lot and entered the Radio Shack to shop. When they returned to the lot, about 25 minutes later, they discovered that someone had gotten inside their vehicle and removed some prescription medication, one Garmin GPS and an I-pad tablet from the glove compartment, the husband told police. They found the empty medication bottles on the seat of the car, he said.

Three Wabash trailers were reported stolen from a business on Cape May St., police said.

March 14

At about 3 a.m., police responded to a location in the 400 block of Cleveland Ave. on a report of an individual who was described as standing in front of a residence and yelling and throwing garbage. When they got there, police said they observed a man acting in the manner described by the caller. Police said the man, identified as Luciano Yuelling, 30, of East Newark, continued his disruptive behavior and ignored the officers’ order to stop. He was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

– Ron Leir

Armed robbery suspect caught

Photo courtesy North Arlington PD Ahmed N. Alaidy

Photo courtesy North Arlington PD
Ahmed N. Alaidy



An out-of-state man was taken into custody soon after he allegedly held up and robbed two young borough residents in the early hours of Sunday, March 9, police said.

North Arlington Police Chief Louis Ghione credited Kearny PD’s quick response to an alarm broadcast after the incident as leading to the apprehension of the suspect.

According to NAPD Capt. James Hearn, headquarters received a 9-1-1 emergency call at 3:41 a.m. that two 20-year-old North Arlington males had been robbed at gunpoint on the street on Harding Ave. near Morgan Place.

The victims told police that the suspect pointed what appeared to be a silver revolver at them and demanded cash. The robber got away with $15 from one victim and $26 from the other, they told police. The victims weren’t harmed, police said.

North Arlington PD then put out a radio broadcast of the robbery, along with a description of the suspect, and, soon after, Kearny PD had located a man matching the description on the Belleville Turnpike a couple of blocks from the bridge, seemingly trying to hide.

Picking up the story, KPD Police Chief John Dowie said that Police Officer Derek Hemphill was on patrol along the Pike observed the suspect acting suspiciously and asked him what he was doing there. The suspect replied that he was looking for a particular store and, when asked his identify, gave Hemphill a fake name, leading the officers to charge the man with hindering apprehension, Dowie said.

A search of the suspect yielded the proceeds of the robbery, Hearn said.

Police called in the Bergen County Sheriff BCI’s canine unit for an assist and, at around the same time, according to Dowie, KPD Officer Glen Reed found a weapon, believed to have been used in the robbery, which, Hearn said, turned out to be a starter’s pistol – in the bushes near a medical office at 12 Belleville Turnpike.

The suspect, Ahmed N. Alaidy, 21, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged by NAPD with two counts of robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and terroristic threats.

Ghione said that Alaidy was ordered held at Bergen County Jail, Hackensack, on bail of $100,000, with no 10% cash option, pending court action.

– Ron Leir

Probing public relations services


The borough’s public relations employee – who also works for Bergen County and Hackensack – is reportedly the focus of several subpoenas issued by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and served on those employers, according to published reports.

The Record and NorthJersey. com reported last week that office is seeking information about the employment of Thomas Ammirato as it relates to all three of his jobs. They listed his yearly pay as $21,600 from North Arlington, $35,000 from Bergen County and $78,000 from Hackensack.

Ammirato told The Observer that none of his employers had mentioned any problems with him and that he knew nothing about the subpoenas until he’d read about them in the press.

“I’ve consulted an attorney,” he said last week. “I don’t know what they’re looking for.”

In North Arlington, where he’s worked “on and off for several years,” Ammirato said, “They’re happy with my work product. I produce everything I’m supposed to. I’m always available to members of the press. I just want to do my job to the best of my ability.”

Asked about the subpoena served on the borough, North Arlington Mayor Peter Massa said he inferred that, “It’s part of a wide-ranging investigation. We’ve complied.” Massa said he was legally precluded from saying what specific information the borough was asked to provide but said it was in the category of “general business records.”

Massa added: “We don’t have an issue with [Ammirato’s] work. He does what he’s supposed to do for us. He works well within the scope of services of his [one-year] contract, which is for $1,800 a month.”

Ammirato said he has “the same sort of contract with Hackensack, but it’s a lot more work.” He said he’s worked for the city since the end of July 2013.

He said he’s worked for the county, as an employee, since Memorial Day 2012.

A registered Republican, Ammirato said he’s also done “project work,” periodically, for various GOP officials in the state.

– Ron Leir

Free Dentistry Day

Free Dentistry Day copy


Continuing to give back to the community, Dr. Rich Ekstein of Smile Design Specialists, 312 Belleville Turnpike, Suite 3B, North Arlington, will offer his second annual free “Dentistry Saturday” on April 12.

Ekstein and his staff say they’re excited to be part of this Pay-It- Forward day. They have been trying to find a way to help local families and thought that offering their skills and services may help ease the stress of unforeseen dental expenses.

Smile Design Specialists will provide, at no cost, teeth cleaning, fillings, extractions and any other necessary dental work which can be performed in one visit to people who are unemployed or who are the spouse or child of someone who is jobless.

Those wishing to participate are asked to schedule their visit by calling 201-991-1228 and pressing 2 for Stephanie, to reserve an appointment time for between 9 a.m and 3 p.m. on April 12.

Anyone with questions about services and/or eligibility is invited to call the office.

Harrison woman nabbed in bank jobs

Main photo courtesy Harrison PD Inset photo courtesy Newark PD Bank security photo. Inset: Police mug shot of bank suspect Valeria Parziale

Main photo courtesy Harrison PD
Inset photo courtesy Newark PD
Bank security photo. Inset: Police mug shot of bank suspect Valeria Parziale


By Karen Zautyk

Observer Correspondent


A 34-year-old Harrison woman was being held in the Essex County Jail on $300,000 bail in connection with the Jan. 30 hold-up of a Harrison bank — and of two Newark banks in February, authorities have reported.

The suspect, Valeria Parziale, was arrested Feb. 24 on a street in Newark by officers of the Newark Police Department Street Crimes Unit, Harrison police said.

A spokesman for the Harrison PD said it had been working closely with the Newark police in cooperation with the FBI on the investigation into the robbery of the Valley National Bank at 433 Harrison Ave.

Police said Parziale, who was captured on security video, had entered the bank near S. Fifth St. at 1:30 p.m., Jan. 30, and handed a teller a note demanding $3,000. She reportedly claimed to be armed, but no weapon was seen.

The bandit fled with $2,550, police said, and investigation later revealed that she had entered a cab several blocks away and was driven to Newark.

According to reports, Parziale has also been linked to a Feb. 14 robbery of a Wells Fargo Bank and a Feb. 20 heist at a Banco Popular, both located on Bloomfield Ave. in Newark’s North Ward.

In both of those incidents, tellers reportedly were presented with notes and the robber claimed to be armed, but no weapon was displayed.

Parziale, who allegedly has 15 aliases, has made headlines in the past.

According to published reports, in October 2009, she escaped from a Trenton halfway house, where she had been serving a three-year sentence for violating parole from a Hudson County drug conviction.

However, she was soon back in custody. In a 2012 story on New Jersey halfway houses, the New York Times wrote: “Nine days later [after the 2009 escape], in a Newark liquor store, Ms. Parziale . . . attacked a man with a folding knife, cutting off part of his ear and slashing his face, prosecutors said. She was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon.”

Disposition of that case is not known.

Hoping for tax relief

By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent


With its back against the wall, Kearny’s municipal government is poised to go with hat in hand to the Christie administration and beg for financial help.

Mayor Alberto Santos said he’s asked the town auditor and CFO to draft an application to the state Local Finance Board for “transitional aid” by the March 14 deadline, conditional on first getting Town Council approval.

The council was expected to consider the matter at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, March 11. Reportedly, the mayor can count on at least four members’ votes which, combined with his own, would provide the required authorization to file.

How much the town will be asking for was still up in the air, as of last week, but one insider reported that it could be as much as $3 million – less than 5% of its $75 million municipal budget.

Even if Kearny manages to persuade the state’s fiscal overseers to hand over the cash, it would still mean that local property owners would face a tax increase – the owners of a house assessed at $10,000, for example, could expect their 2014 tax bill to rise by about $70 for municipal purposes, according to Santos.

And it could be even more, the mayor acknowledged, depending on spending blueprints of the local school system and the county for this year.

But without an infusion of state aid, the outlook will be grimmer, Santos said, with financial experts projecting a 10% municipal tax increase based on current spending levels.

That’s an alternative that Santos said he finds unacceptable because it would force Kearny to “slash municipal services, which I would oppose.”

Asked about the possibility of asking voters to allow the town to increase spending above the state-mandated 2% budget cap, Santos said: “I don’t want to go to referendum. We can’t afford an increase.”

Santos said his administration has done everything it can to keep a lid on local property taxes by effecting municipal cutbacks through attrition, by hiring only part-timers to fill vacancies and by negotiating employee contracts with minimal raises, extended salary guide steps and reduced longevity pay.

With personnel levels in the Police and Fire Departments well below what’s permitted by town ordinance, “we can’t go any lower” without compromising the expectations of residents and business owners to public safety protections, the mayor said.

And, even though – as a condition of getting transitional aid – Kearny would have to accept being under the thumb of a state fiscal monitor who could veto any hirings, purchases or any significant spending proposed by the town, Santos said that restriction is preferable to “undergoing further costs.”

To be eligible for transitional aid, under rules set by the state Division of Local Government Services, a municipality must, among other things, submit its budget to the state for review; show that it achieved savings via “limited increases” in pay scales, reduced staffing levels, modified work rules and benefits; and “must demonstrate severe fiscal distress that will result in a constrained ability to raise sufficient revenues for meeting budgetary requirements.”

Santos said the state has “reduced to zero” the money Kearny was supposed to get in annual Consolidated Municipal Tax Relief Aid and has “frozen” the amount of annual utility revenues at $18 million “when we should be getting $24 million a year.”

Council President Carol Jean Doyle, who chairs the council finance committee, said she supports the application. “We’re in a position where we don’t have a lot of options,” Doyle said. “I think this is the best way to go for the taxpayers of Kearny – we owe that to the residents. It’s so difficult now to keep taxes as close to flat as possible. We’re doing everything we can to control costs, I don’t know what else we can do.”

Doyle acknowledged that Kearny may just be going through an exercise in futility. “I don’t think the governor is a friend,” she said. “I don’t see any help coming from him. I’d rate our chances as slim to none.”

“But this is the prudent thing to do,” Doyle said. “I can’t see us raising taxes any more than we have and nobody is in favor of laying anyone off. … The finance committee talked about making this application four weeks ago. But well before that, we knew this day was coming.”

Asked about regionalization as a money-saving strategy, Doyle said the town tried to negotiate a deal with its neighbor Harrison to consolidate municipal Fire Departments but couldn’t come to an agreement on dollars.

Neither Santos nor Doyle had any answers to what the town would do if its application is denied.

Pothole needs filling? Call hotline

Photo courtesy Kearny DPW DPW employee Brian Paul applies fi nishing touches to pothole on Davis Ave. near Laurel Ave.

Photo courtesy Kearny DPW
DPW employee Brian Paul applies fi nishing touches to pothole on Davis Ave. near Laurel Ave.



Kearny’s beleaguered public works crews have been up to their collective ears in snow and brine and, now in the aftermath of cleaning up the white stuff, they’re busy filling in potholes.

Since folks began digging their way out of snow-packed streets, some 500 holes all over town had been filled with 35 tons of asphalt, by the reckoning of Assistant Public Works Superintendent Kevin Murphy.

If there are still some that remain unattended, Mayor Alberto Santos and Public Works Superintendent Gerry Kerr are inviting people to call a telephone hotline at 201-955- 7889 and leave a message giving the nearest street address or nearest cross street for that pothole.

Residents can also use their mobile devices to report a pothole by downloading the Town of Kearny’s SeeClickFix app which allows the user to either manually enter the location or, within the town’s boundaries, to use the system’s GPS technology to pinpoint its location. The app is available, for free, at the App Store or can be downloaded at http://www.seeclickfix.com/ apps.

This winter, Kearny DPW has responded to more than a dozen storms that dumped in excess of 55 inches of snow, officials said. For the recent three-day period when the town got hit with a cumulative total of 17 inches, the DPW logged nearly $38,000 in overtime, working consecutive 12-hour shifts in rotation.

A press release issued by the mayor and public works offices said that temperature variations during the winter “cause the water that seeps under pavement to freeze and then thaw, resulting in cycles of contracting and expanding water [which] can cause the pavement to crack. Once cracked, the pavement deteriorates quickly under the weight of traffic. Water underneath pavement can also weaken the road by eroding the material underneath, causing the pavement to sink and break.”

One such episode was noticed by Santos while driving through town last Thursday at the intersection of Kearny Ave. and Liberty St. where stone and fill were brought in to fix what the mayor described as a “small sinkhole” before topping it with asphalt.

Among the many craters that have cropped up, Santos said, are “serious potholes” on Bergen Ave. between Schuyler and Harrison Aves. “That’s probably our busiest local road where a lot of traffic goes to get to Rt. 280 and the Turnpike and temperature fluctuations plus the weight of vehicles caused the holes to form,” he said.

Santos said the town didn’t begin filling the holes earlier “because asphalt wasn’t available.” Some years ago, Kearny acquired a furnace-like unit in hopes of making its own asphalt but the equipment didn’t live up to its billing, the mayor said.

This spring, Santos said, the town hopes to repave a section of Kearny Ave. between Linden Ave. and the Jones Bridge. Also, the town has secured $200,000 to repave part of Midland Ave., “but we’re applying for more [state Department of Transportation] funding to do as much of the street, from Schuyler Ave. to Kearny Ave., as we can. We’re also looking at the condition of the water line under Midland to determine how much money we’ll need for everything. We’ll probably do the job in several phases.”

– Ron Leir