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Category: News

Redistricting ‘lesson’ draws big crowd


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Kearny Schools Superintendent Patricia Blood unveiled her proposed redistricting plan for five newly reconfigured kindergarten to grade 6 elementary schools last Thursday night to mixed reactions from a packed house at Lincoln School.

The plan – a by-product of the new middle school program for grades 6 and 7 – was to be presented to the Board of Education Monday, June 16, for final approval before being implemented for the fall term in September.

Read more »

All bets off now for gambling ring


Four people from The Observer coverage area, and a relative of a North Arlington elected official, are among 29 suspects linked to what law enforcement officials characterized as “an illegal sports gambling enterprise operating in and around Bergen County.”

The arrests of 28 men and one woman were announced by Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli last Friday, June 13.

Molinelli said the venture “netted approximately $3 million during a 12-month period by accepting wagers on various sporting events including horse racing, football, basketball, hockey and baseball.”

The execution of 42 search warrants in Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Passaic, Morris, Union, Ocean and Monmouth counties and in New York resulted in the seizure of two vehicles and about $800,000, according to the prosecutor. Read more »

Owner now contesting bar closing

gin mill_web

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


A Kearny bar owner who consented to a 60-day closure after pleading guilty to violations of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) regulations has changed his mind.

John Hodnett, licensee for The Gin Mill, Brighton Ave. and Afton St., is asking the state Office of the Attorney General’s ABC Division to “stay’ the suspension, pending an appeal of the violations notice.

The governing body voted to implement the closure, that was to run from 2 a.m. June 5 to 2 a.m. Aug. 5, after a public hearing held May 27. Read more »

Back in action at Habitat property


At long last, there were signs of activity at the Habitat for Humanity’s Kearny construction site at 41 Kearny Ave. last week as J&F Concrete Pumping began pouring from Colonial of Newark for the installation of footings.

“Thank God for the break in the rainy weather we’ve had recently,” said Howard McPherson, owner of Champion Construction & Demolition, the general contractor in charge of the job. “Habitat is under way.”

It was back on May 30, 2013, that Habitat representative Tom Bruning joined with county and local officials for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project – involving the demolition of the one-story building that housed the former county TB center and construction of a new 3-family home.

McPherson said the next step will be framing for the new building which, he said, should take about a month to complete.

What follows, he said, will be siding, roofing, installation of windows, along with “rough” plumbing and electrical, then sheetrock, painting, insulation and installing wood flooring.

“Habitat volunteers [and apartment purchasers] will be brought in from time to time during the full construction process,” McPherson said.

McPherson extended thanks to the mayor and Town Council, Tony Chisari, the town’s assistant construction official, and the Kearny Police Department and PBA Local 21 for traffic control and safely securing the job site. “They were all a breeze to deal with,” he said.

Up in flames


By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent


A 22-year-old Kearny man was arrested last week on a charge of aggravated arson after he allegedly torched a car on a township street in the predawn hours of Sunday, June 8.

Police Chief John Dowie credited residents in the area with helping officers apprehend the suspect.

According to police, at approximately 4:30 a.m., a man was seen using a hammer to smash the windows of a parked car near Belgrove Drive and Peden Terrace and then setting the vehicle on fire.

Read more »

KPD blotter


Two motorists were injured in a harrowing head-on collision on Route 7 in Kearny last week, and police charged one of them with driving while intoxicated.

Police Chief John Dowie said the impact of the crash, which occurred at 3:20 a.m., Sunday, June 8, near the Harrison Ave. viaduct, “was so violent, the front wheels were sheared off both cars.”

Responding Officers Glenn Reed and Jay Balogh determined that the accident was caused by an eastbound driver, Roy Persaud, 30, of Clifton, who apparently crossed into the westbound lanes, his car smashing into an oncoming auto driven by a 24-year-old Jersey City man, police said.

Persaud was trapped in his vehicle and was extricated with the assistance of the Kearny Fire Department. Kearny EMS transported him to University Medical Center in Newark, where blood was drawn and he was subsequently charged with DWI. Persaud was also charged with reckless driving and, criminally, with assault by auto.

The other driver, described by Dowie as the “innocent victim,” was also taken to UMC for treatment. No charges were filed against him.

Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following: Read more »

News from the Nutley police blotter


June 5 

A customer tried to pass a counterfeit $10 bill to pay a tab at a local establishment, which wasn’t named by police. The bill was forwarded to the Secret Service for review and further investigation.

June 6 

A Kingsland Ave. resident’s Honda was scratched along the side of the vehicle while it was parked in the resident’s driveway.

June 7

A Montclair Ave. resident told police they were being harassed by a phone scammer. The caller wanted the resident to wire funds via Western Union for a Mega Millions winning but the resident refused, only to receive more than 10 repeated calls. Police reminded residents to never transfer or wire money to anyone without proper authenticity.

A Gless Ave. resident reported that a group of juveniles rolled a car tire down a hill, crashing into, and damaging, their Toyota.

Police recovered a broken No Turn on Red sign at Chestnut St. and Hillside Ave.

June 8

An intruder reportedly tried to steal a Myrtle Ave. resident’s dog. The resident told police they saw a man described as African-American, wearing a black shirt and blue jeans, in her backyard holding her dog’s chain. Police said the man fled north on Myrtle and couldn’t be located.

Police are investigating five separate auto burglaries that happened overnight and early morning on Hay Ave. Items ranging from GPS systems to personal items including keys were reported taken from the unlocked vehicles.

Police responded to a Centre St. establishment on a report of a fight. Police said one patron reportedly threatened another with a utensil knife but dropped the knife after exchanging words with the other patron.

June 9 

At 9:15 a.m., an officer separated two enraged motorists at Passaic Ave. and Centre St. and managed to calm them.

A Lafayette Ave. resident told police that someone claiming to be an IRS agent called their home to say that a warrant had been issued for their arrest regarding 2002-2013 taxes and that they were ordered to pay more than $2,000 via a voucher. Police determined the caller to be a scammer and noted that several residents have reported phone and internet scam attempts.

At a Lynn Road location, police arrested John Adkins, 27, of Union, who was wanted on various outstanding warrants from several communities. He was turned over to Roselle Park pending his posting the remaining $5,000 bail to other jurisdictions before being released.

June 10

Police recovered a Chevrolet, reported stolen from Lyndhurst several days previously, abandoned on Villa Place. The car’s back window was smashed out. Lyndhurst PD is investigating.

June 11 

A Hancox Ave. resident called police to report a man was banging on their door and subsequently ran south on Union Ave. The man was described as white,, wearing a blue baseball cap, a fluorescent yellow T-shirt with blue stripes on the sleeves and white khaki pants.

Police are investigating a theft of services and fraud reported by a Franklin Ave. eatery. A restaurant representative told police a River Road resident ordered a large delivery and paid with a stolen credit card.

A Centre St. resident reported their home burglarized, with jewelry and other items taken. The intruder apparently gained entry through a lower floor window, police said.

A Bloomfield Ave. resident called police to report seeing two individuals walking around a neighbor’s house in the 500 block. Both were described as white males, possibly driving a black BMW.

Police responded to Nutley High School on a report that one female student made threats against another. Police turned the matter over to school officials.

June 12 

Police are investigating a residential burglary of a Passaic Ave. apartment resulting in the removal of an undetermined amount of jewelry and cash.

– Ron Leir 

SMMC affiliates with leading N.Y. medical college



St. Michael’s Medical Center (SMMC), Newark, and New York Medical College (NYMC), Valhalla, N.Y., have announced an academic affiliation designating SMMC as a teaching site for NYMC’s medical education program.

Officials said the affiliation provides SMMC with worldclass academic resources and additional medical expertise to support clinical programs and assist in the recruitment of physicians. NYMC, in turn, will have access to a clinical venue in Essex County, expanding the residency options for its students, as well as access to a large group of experienced physicians in a spectrum of specialties.

“This is an exciting time for St. Michael’s Medical Center,” said David A. Ricci, president and CEO, SMMC. “We are proud to collaborate with New York Medical College in an academic affiliation that will continue our long-standing tradition as an academic institution, and enable us to enhance and expand our medical education program, including the addition of an undergraduate program.”

The new agreement sets forth SMMC’s participation in NYMC’s programs of undergraduate and graduate medical education, defines its responsibilities as a site for clinical rotations by medical students and describes how it will support various research activities.

“This partnership, based upon shared values, will benefit patients, promote a pipeline of new doctors and other health care providers to serve Newark and the surrounding cities and contribute to the generation of new knowledge about the causes, prevention and treatment of human disease and disability,” said Dr. Edward C. Halperin, chancellor and chief executive officer, NYMC.

“Our new partnership with New York Medical College will fill a vital need for educational experiences and physician training, and will provide many opportunities regarding collaborative research projects,” added Ricci. “We look forward to growing our academic program for students in the greater New York/New Jersey area.”

Proposed school boundary lines – K to 6


Beech St., south of Oakwood Ave.

Chestnut St., south of Oakwood to Bergen Ave.

Devon St., Elm St. and Forest St., south of Oakwood.

Davis Ave. and Hickory St., south of Midland Ave.

Pine St., Spruce St.

Quincy Ave., King St. and Garfield Ave., east of Kearny Ave.

Kearny Ave., between Afton St. and Bergen Ave.

All streets east of Devon St. and south of Oakwood.


All streets west of Kearny Ave., south of New Lawn Ave., and north of Bergen.

Kearny Ave., south of New Lawn and north of Afton.

All streets west of Belgrove Drive and south of N. Midland Ave.

Passaic Ave., south of St. Anthony’s.

NOTE: All current grade 5 students at Garfield will stay at Garfield for grade 6 regardless of where their new boundaries may be st, unless parents ask to have their child move to the new school.


All streets south of Belleville Turnpike and west of, and including, Beech St. and north of Midland Ave.

New Lawn Ave. Kearny Ave., north of Oakwood. Passaic Ave., north of St. Anthony’s.


All streets south of Belleville Pike, east of, and including, Chestnut St. and north of, and including, Midland and E. Midland. Beech St., Chestnut St., Devon St., Elm St., and Forest St., north of, and including, Oakwood.

NOTE: All current grade 5 students in Lincoln School will be moved as a class to Schuyler School regardless of where their new boundaries may be set, unless parents ask to have their child move to the new school.


All streets west of, and including, Chestnut St., and south of, and including, Bergen Ave.

Devon St., between Woodland and Johnson Aves.


All students in grades 7 & 8 will attend Lincoln School.

Around Town


Toddlers to sixth-graders are invited to participate in the “Fizz, Boom, Read” summer reading program sponsored by the Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave. To be eligible for prizes, children are invited to visit the library during the summer to read books for fun and/or read books from their school’s reading list. Children must keep a log of all books read to show their parents and teachers in September.

A Block Watch meeting will be held at the Belleville Senior Center, Franklin Ave. and Mill St., June 19, at 7 p.m. New members are welcome. For more information, call 973-759-0738.

Belleville UNICO sponsors a bus ride fundraiser to Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Sunday, June 22. The cost is $30 pre-paid or $35 at the door. Those attending will receive a voucher for $35. A continental breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. at the Belleville Senior Citizens Center, Franklin Ave. and Mill St. The bus will leave from the center at 8:50 a.m. Call 973-759-9259 ASAP to reserve seats. (No last minute cancellations.) Mail checks, payable to Belleville UNICO, to: Gene Antonio, 436 Joralemon St., Belleville, N.J. 07109.


Bloomfield historian Rich Rockwell will display and talk about historic photos of houses, dating from the 1880s to the 1920s, Thursday, June 19, at 7 p.m. at the Parish House at the Church on the Green, 147 Broad St. The program, with then-and-now comparisons, will focus on styles of architecture, building trends, remodeling trends and preservation efforts in Bloomfield’s Historic District and nearby neighborhoods.

Bloomfield Cultural Commission presents traditional Polish singing, dancing and food, plus arts and crafts for children, Sunday, June 29, 1 to 5 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 190 State St. Admission is free.

Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave. offers a children’s summer art camp, beginning June 30. All classes are held Monday to Friday at the air-conditioned Oakeside. The cost for the first session is $250; sessions 2 through 5 cost $275. All materials are included in the cost. Participants may register by calling the Oakeside office at 973-429-0960. Registration forms and class schedules and descriptions are available on the Oakeside website www.oakeside.org.

Oakeside is offering a bus trip to Caesar’s Casino, Atlantic City, on Wednesday, Aug. 6. The bus will leave Oakeside at 9 a.m. and will return at 5:30 p.m. The $30 cost includes round-trip bus transportation and $25 in slot play at the casino.

Reservations are required and must be paid within five days of booking to ensure a place.

There are no refunds on paid reservations. Call Oakeside at 973-429-0960 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday to Friday.


Harrison Public School district will participate in a summer food service program, open to children age 18 and under, from July 7 to Aug. 7, Monday to Thursday only, at Washington Middle School, 1 N. 5th St., 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program of the Food and Nutrition Services, United States Department of Agriculture, providing children ages 18 and under with the same free meal in accordance with a menu provided by the state agency.


The Salvation Army of Greater Kearny, 443 Chestnut St., will hold a flea market/bazaar Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds go to Salvation Army World Services. Vendor tables are available for $20 each or two tables for $30.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., offers a chess class for children, ages 8 to 15, beginning June 24. The class will run eight weeks on Tuesdays, 2 to 4 p.m., through Aug. 12. The class is limited to only 14 students. Call the library at 201-998-2666 to reserve your spot. Instructors from the Newark Chess Club will teach the classes. For more information, call the library or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

Kearny High School 60th class reunion for the classes of June 1954 and January 1955 will be held Sept. 19, at noon, in Spring Lake Heights. Admission is $32. For more information or to make reservations, email phylmae@aol.com or call 732- 458-5162.

Vendors are invited to participate in St. Cecilia’s Church flea market June 21 and 28, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, at the school building, 114 Chestnut St. Proceeds benefit the parish. Donations will be accepted. For more information, call 201-991-1116.

Teen Drama, presented in collaboration with West Hudson Arts and Theater Company will begin its summer camp, open to ages 13 to 18, on June 23, ending on Aug. 2, from 5 to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday at the West Hudson Arts and Theater Company, 131 Midland Ave. This summer’s show will be the Addams Family. Performance dates are set for Aug. 1 and 2. Tuition is $175. To join Teen Drama, request an application by calling 973-498-TEEN (8336), email info@teendrama. org or register at Teen Drama’s website teendrama.org.


Lyndhurst Health Department’s free meditation course originally planned for Wednesday, June 18, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, July 2. Led by certified oneness trainer Lyndhurst resident Parbatie Singh, this class will resume regular hours Wednesday, July 9, at 6:30 p.m., in the recreation room at 601 Riverside Ave. Enter the doors facing the Passaic River.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission will close the Saw Mill Creek Trail in DeKorte Park indefinitely, beginning Friday, June 20, while PSE&G replaces the power line towers on the trail. The trail is expected to remain closed for at least one year.

NJMC’s William D. McDowell Observatory, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza, is open to the public every Monday and Wednesday night year-long, weather permitting, excluding holidays. Summer hours are 9 to 10:30 p.m. in June and July, and 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. in August. The observatory features a research-grade telescope. The observatory also hosts “Let’s Talk Astronomy” learning sessions on most Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m. The sessions are $5; MEC members, free. Visitors must be able to climb 25 steps to reach the observatory.

A free Summer Solstice Celebration for seniors will be held at the NJMC Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza, Thursday, June 19, at 7 p.m. Celebrate the light with science by discussing why the Solstice is so long and enjoy sun tea, cookies and a surprise craft or two. Bring your grandchildren. Pre-registration required. Call 201-777-2431 to register.

NJMC hosts Saving the Delaware Bayshore June 23, at 6 p.m., at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Plaza, with a video screening and discussion on the efforts of a coalition of conservation groups and non-profit foundations to restore the ecologically important beaches of the Delaware Bay following Superstorm Sandy. Registration is recommended and appreciated. Call 201-777-2431 or 201-460- 8300 to register.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a Summer Mobile Craft, for grades 1 to 4, Wednesday, June 18, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

American Legion Post 139 sponsors veteran’s ward parties at extended care facilities, which include games of chance to allow veteran residents to win money to buy treats and personal items. Veterans in failing health in the nursing home section are also visited and given treats and personal items. The next ward party is set for Tuesday, June 23, at 2:30 p.m., at Chestnut Hill Extended Care Facility, Passaic, and is sponsored by Lyndhurst resident and Navy veteran Stanley Kaminski in memory of his wife Stella. To sponsor a ward party, call John Deveney, rehabilitation chairman, American Legion Post 139, at 201-438-2255.

North Arlington 

The Senior Harmony Club has scheduled a trip to Resorts Casino, Atlantic City, for Wednesday, July 9, and a trip to Mt. Airy Casino in Pennsylvania for Wednesday, Aug. 20. Mt. Airy will give $25 in slot play and a free buffet. For reservations or information, call Florence at 201-991-3173.

North Arlington Senior Activity Center, 11 York Road, hosts a Fourth of July Bingo luncheon Friday, June 27. Bingo starts at 10:30 a.m. with lunch at noon and more Bingo games and prizes from 1:30 to 3 p.m. For more information or for reservations, call 201-998-5636.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Rd., announces:

• Registration is open for the Summer Reading Kick-Off event. Youth Stages will present a special play shop for children ages 3 to 9. The event is set for Wednesday, June 25, at 4 p.m. To register, call 201-955-5640, ext. 126.

• Join local resident Anne Jenkins in a lecture about growing, canning, and preserving food at the library Tuesday, June 24, at 6 p.m.

• Conspiracy theories and mystery still surround the devastating assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Civil War expert Bill Gent will deliver a lecture about the national tragedy Wednesday, July 30, at 1 p.m.


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

• Explore the founding of the Township of Nutley Monday, June 23, at 7 p.m. with Nutley Museum director John Simko. This program is free and open to the public; no registration is required.

• Eighteen important paintings, prints and reproductions of artworks from the late 19th and early 20th century from the Nutley Museum’s collection are on view through June 30.

• Science Tellers and Summer Reading Kick-Off Party: The Science Tellers will perform “Fizz,Boom, Read!” a 45-minute interactive storytelling show, featuring hands-on science experiments, Thursday June 26, at 11:30 p.m. Open to children in grades K to 5, this program is sponsored by Spencer Savings Bank. No registration is required.

Call the library at 973-667- 0405 for more information.

The Nutley Museum and Historical Society, 65 Church St., houses a collection of town artifacts and artworks by former Nutley artists. The museum is open for special events and by appointment. Admission is free. For information or to arrange a visit, call  973-667-1528.