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Category: News

In KPD database, they’re #busted


Following a nearly threemonth investigation, Kearny police have arrested two suspects in connection with the theft of 158 computers from a local business. Some of the stolen Panasonic Toughbooks, with a total value of $286,000, later showed up for sale on the internet, KPD Chief John Dowie told The Observer.

The equipment was reported missing from a South Kearny company March 17. After the initial report was filed by Officer Jack Corbett, the case was turned over to Det. Ray Lopez, who started putting together the pieces of a complicated puzzle, Dowie said.

During the investigation, the Toughbooks started turning up on sites such as eBay, offered for sale by a “Jersey Joe,” police said. Lopez reportedly also tracked 17 of the computers to North Carolina and worked with the NYPD to gather information. Eventually, the detective narrowed his focus to two employees of the company that had been hit.

On June 9, suspect Ricardo Guzman, 37, of Elizabeth, turned himself in at KPD headquarters, police reported. Lopez and Det. Sgt. John View arrested the second alleged thief, James Steen, 43, of Hackettstown, on June 12 at the South Kearny business.

Both men have been charged with theft and conspiracy.

Charges are pending against at least two other individuals, Dowie said

 – Karen Zautyk 

KHS graduation day marred by mishap





Two Kearny teenagers were shaken up after their vehicle was involved in an accident on Kearny Ave. this past Friday afternoon, police said.

The accident, which occurred near the Locust Ave. intersection, involved two cars, one of which was rear-ended, according to police, who detoured traffic away from the location.

Police said the two teens – who, according to friends at the scene, were Kearny High seniors – were taken by Kearny EMS ambulance to Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville for evaluation.

The teens’ car was towed while the owner of the second car drove that vehicle away, police said. An engine crew from the Kearny Fire Department responded to hose down the street.

The accident happened only a few hours before the scheduled Kearny High School graduation ceremony and, in what has become an annual custom, many Kearny High seniors typically ride up and down Kearny Ave., the main street in town, honking their horns and shouting greetings as they go. Whether this was the case in Friday’s incident, police couldn’t confirm.



One student on Kearny Ave. said he didn’t see the accident but sometimes, he said, the seniors who ride along the avenue “are honking their horns and shouting out the windows and they don’t pay attention to traffic.”

On Friday, police said they didn’t know the extent of any injuries the teens may have suffered but Kearny High Principal Al Gilson, reached over the weekend, said the students “did attend graduation and we’re really happy about that.”

Mayor Alberto Santos said the mishap brought to mind an incident that, he said, happened on a high school graduation day in 2008 in which a student “surfing” on a pickup truck fell from the vehicle and was killed.

When informed about the “tradition,” Gilson – who is completing his first year in the Kearny school district – said he was unaware of the history but it was “something I’m going to address with the [acting] superintendent (Patricia Blood).”

 – Ron Leir 

Longtime coach promoted in police ranks




By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


He’s been a longtime West Hudson youth coach, a Hometown Hero, a ground zero volunteer. And now, he’s known as Police Sgt. Michael J. O’Donnell, having been installed in that rank by East Newark’s governing body on June 11.

O’Donnell, 43, had been serving as a police superior in an acting capacity, since Oct. 9, 2013, and now that he’s passed his probationary period, he’s been made permanent in the position.

Aside from the chief, O’Donnell is the only other superior officer in the borough’s small Police Department.

“He’s a hard worker, great with kids and good with people,” said his boss, Police Chief Anthony Monteiro. “In a community our size, a sergeant has a lot more responsibilities than in the larger departments, whether it’s making out reports or calling a judge for bail in the middle of the night. In this town, he is it.”

A 1989 Kearny High School graduate, O’Donnell served in the U.S. Navy about three and a half years as a non-combat veteran, mostly in Japan, completing with an E-3 pay grade.

He spent seven years as a corrections officer with the state Department of Corrections, assigned to East Jersey State Prison, Rahway.

It was during that period that O’Donnell volunteered with many other law enforcement agents in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center, for which the DOC honored him with an award for exceptional conduct. Nine years ago, O’Donnell successfully applied for a position as an officer with the East Newark Police Department and he’s never looked back. This is his sixth year running the Police Department’s DARE program, which makes kids aware of the dangers of substance abuse, in partnership with the borough Public School.

O’Donnell and Monteiro both received citations from Kearny Police Chief John Dowie for their arrest of four suspects wanted in connection with the armed robbery of an Exxon service station on Passaic Ave. on Feb. 28, 2007.

In 2008, O’Donnell was named a Hometown Hero in recognition of his police work and dedication to local youths.

For some time, he’s been an active supporter of area youth recreation programs as a coach and umpire. “I ran the Pop Warner program in Harrison for 16 years and I just got hired by the Harrison Board of Education as an assistant high school football coach,” O’Donnell said.

In 2005 the United Irish Association of West Hudson selected O’Donnell as deputy parade marshal for its annual St. Patrick’s Parade.

O’Donnell and his wife, the former Donna Gilmore, have four daughters – Christina, 23, who is graduating from Kean University; Briana, 20, completing her second year at Bergen County Community College; Amber, 16, a Harrison High School junior; and Haley, 11, a fifth-grader at East Newark Public School – and a son, Michael, 15, a Harrison High freshman.

A special day for N. Arlington child





A 10-year-old borough lad was the center of attention recently when he was selected “Chief for the Day” by the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association in cooperation with Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino.

Now in its third year, the program seeks to recognize youngsters with special needs from around the county and make them feel good about themselves in their home communities.

On June 6, with the help of input from the borough Board of Education and the child study team at Washington School, fifth-grader Miguel Vega, a special needs youngster, was ceremonially sworn in as North Arlington’s chief by Mayor Peter Massa at Borough Hall and met borough employees.

Then, Miguel was taken to the borough Police Department where he “took over,” sitting in the private office of Chief Louis Ghione, and, after being outfitted with his own special police uniform, with the chief’s guidance, delivered “orders of the day” to the rank and file and “signed off” on purchase orders and sorted through official police reports.

Miguel was also able to phone his dad, a truck driver on the road, and identified himself as “Chief Mike.”

During an “inspection” of the police motor pool, Miguel found out what it felt like to sit on a police motorcycle and inside a patrol car where he activated the lights and siren.

Next stop for Miguel was the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack where he was introduced to, and mingled with, some 35 of his peers from around the county who were also honored that day.

Photos courtesy North Arlington PD TOP: Miguel and the chief share time in Ghione’s office. BOTTOM: Miguel tries out a police motorcycle on his special day.

Photos courtesy North Arlington PD
TOP: Miguel and the chief share time in Ghione’s office. BOTTOM: Miguel tries out a police motorcycle on his special day.


He was photographed with Chief Ghione on the courthouse steps and that picture was incorporated into a framed plaque that the borough presented him as a souvenir of his special day. As the culminating event for the day, Miguel and his mother Lilia were given a motorcycle police escort to the Empire Club in Little Ferry for a luncheon.

Johnston Communications, a North Arlington firm that does a lot of charitable work, paid for Miguel’s uniform and plaque and the meals for Miguel and his mom, according to Ghione.

“This is our third year participating in the program and each time it’s more rewarding for me because we’re focused on what’s important – the people in this community,” the chief said.

 – Ron Leir

KPD blotter: Accosted by gunman

A Kearny man was robbed at gunpoint in the early hours of Saturday, June 14, in the area of Sanford and Harrison Aves., police reported.

The 19-year-old victim told responding Officer Dean Gasser that at about 1:40 a.m., he had just parked his car on Sanford when he was approached by two males, one of whom displayed a handgun and demanded, “Give me everything you’ve got.” The victim turned over a small amount of currency, his driver’s license and college ID and an iPhone.

The robbers fled west on Harrison Ave. in a newer model SUV, police said.

Det. Ray Lopez is conducting the investigation.

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

June 12 

Vice detectives, conducting surveillance at Kearny Ave. and Halstead St. at 5:15 p.m., saw what they believed to be a drug transaction taking place in a double-parked car. They stopped the vehicle at Garfield Ave. and Forest St., where the driver, Isael Aquino, 27, of Kearny, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and operating a motor vehicle in possession of a CDS.

Police said Aquino was also found to have a suspended license and an outstanding Kearny warrant. His passenger, John Arboleda, 24, of Kearny, was charged with possession of the drug and paraphernalia and possession with intent to distribute.

June 13 

At 2:30 a.m., Officer Ben Wuelfing was dispatched to Kearny and Wilson Aves. on a report of a person asleep in a car. He arrived to find a man snoozing behind the wheel of a Hyundai that was stopped in the northbound lane of Kearny Ave., the car still in drive and the man’s foot on the brake, police said. Wuelfing put it in park, removed the keys, awoke the driver and conducted field sobriety tests, after which Javier Solano, 22, of Belleville, was charged with DWI, DWI in a school zone, being an unlicensed driver and obstructing traffic.

Office Jay Ward responded to Devon Terrace at 2:40 p.m. on a report of people removing items from a home believed to be vacant. Ward reportedly saw two individuals loading household goods into a parked pickup truck and contacted the realtor, who told the officer the property was in foreclosure and no one had authority to take anything. Nicholas Reinoso, 54, of Newark, was charged with theft. Gladys Perez, 62, also of Newark, was arrested on an outstanding warrant from that city.

June 14 

At 9 p.m., Officer Daniel Esteves responded to the 800 block of Kearny Ave., where a southbound Nissan pickup truck had rear-ended a Honda Accord.

The truck’s driver, Tyler Mills, 19, of Douglasville, Ga., was charged with DWI, underage consumption of alcohol, having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle and careless driving.

 June 16

An off-duty state trooper alerted the KPD at 10:30 p.m. to a suspicious vehicle and two individuals who were looking into cars and driveways near Kearny and Stuyvesant Aves. While Officer Chris Medina gathered information from the trooper, Officer Ben Wuelfing checked the area and found a parked white Ford van with New York plates. He also encountered Wilmer Barona, 25, of Queens, who police said could not provide a legitimate explanation for being there. Barona was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Elizabeth. Also arrested, on a warrant from Leonia, was Brayan Castano, 25, of Queens.

June 17 

A Jersey City man had a bit of bad luck when his car broke down in South Kearny at about 10 a.m., and it involved more than just a disabled vehicle.

Officer Joseph Vulcano found that the driver, 29-year-old Darrow Younger, was wanted by the Hudson County Sheriff ’s Office, police said. Younger, who reportedly also had a suspended license and suspended registration, was arrested.

June 18 

Officer Richard Carbone was on patrol at 3:30 p.m. when he saw three individuals trespassing on railroad property near Schuyler Ave. and West Hudson Park. While interviewing them, he noticed a strong odor of raw marijuana and one of the trio was found to have four large plastic bags of suspected pot in a backpack, which also contained a marijuana grinder, a pipe, a digital scale and numerous empty plastic bags, police said.

Joseph Lamboy, 29, of Harrison, was charged with possession of more than 50 grams of the drug, possession with intent to distribute, and possession with intent near a school and a park. He was remanded to the Hudson County Jail on $25,000 bail.

 – Karen Zautyk  

News from the Nutley police blotter

June 14 

A mishap, at 5:18 a.m., involving a tow truck ended up damaging a vehicle being towed, police said. The tow truck driver told police that the cable/chain securing the vehicle to the deck broke loose, causing the vehicle in tow to roll forward when he applied the brakes, in the process, striking the crash barrier between the cab and flatbed, denting the front end of the vehicle, a Mustang.

At 7:55 a.m., a Weston St. homeowner called police after finding a small glass vial, with a plastic pink cap, containing several crystalized white rocks (a suspected narcotic), on a retaining wall near their home. The vial was confiscated by police.

After being alerted to an individual wearing what appeared to be hospital wristbands and EKG pads walking north on Washington Ave., at 9:58 a.m., police located the person in a store parking lot. The man told them he’d just been released from a hospital and had nowhere to go. Later, police said, after learning that the man, identified as Hassan Kemp, 52, of Paterson, was wanted on an outstanding warrant from Paterson, arrested him and then turned him over to Paterson PD.

At 6:47 p.m., a Franklin Ave. business owner called police to report that somebody has been stealing bread from in front of their store during the early morning hours. Police are reviewing surveillance footage for possible clues.

June 16 

A badly maintained vehicle tripped up the driver when police made a traffic stop at Nutley Ave. and River Road, at 1:09 a.m., and arrested Johnny Loor, 29, of Clifton, after confirming that Loor had outstanding warrants from Passaic and Clifton. He was also issued summonses charging him with driving while suspended and noisy muffler before being released to Clifton PD.

A Columbia Ave. resident called police at 5:39 a.m. to report that someone had stolen their black Jeep Grand Cherokee from their driveway.

At 11:31 a.m., police responded to a store at Harrison St. and Franklin Ave. where the manager reported having seen a male with a large build remove a can of Arizona ice tea from the cooler and then heard the sound of a can being opened. The manager then spotted the can, still cold and partly empty, sitting on a shelf. He then saw the male entering a white Honda. On June 14, the manager said, he saw the same person chewing something in the store and, after the person left, he found a candy bar wrapper in the aisle. Police advised the manager he could file a court complaint against the person.

The would-be victim of an apparent scammer reported receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be from the Nutley Police Department asking for money for the victim’s grandson to be released from jail. After the victim refused, police said a second caller tried to get the victim to send money by claiming they were a Nutley police captain. But the victim refused and the calls ended, police said. Detectives are investigating.

June 17 

At 11:15 p.m., police responded to a report of criminal mischief to an auto parked on King St. Police said they observed multiple cigarette burns to the vehicle’s cover as well as burns in the vehicle’s paint, plus multiple scratches and a depression in the hood.

June 18 

A theft at a local coffee shop was reported to police at 1:24 a.m. The victim told police a man not known to them bumped into them as they were entering the bathroom and, a bit later, the victim discovered their wallet was missing. The wallet contained between $450 and $500 and several credit cards which the victim has canceled.

At 2:48 p.m., police responded to the aftermath of a report of a dispute at a Washington Ave. gas station. Police said a customer, apparently upset over the attendant too hastily taking his $20 payment for gas from his hand, got out of his car, yelled at the attendant, spit in his face and punched him in the face and then drove away. Police said the driver was described as African- American, between 30 and 35. Nutley EMTs treated the victim. Police said they determined the assailant’s identity and advised the victim of his right to sign a complaint.

A construction team working on Centre St. dropped debris on air-conditioning condensing units of a neighboring property while working on a demolition project, police said. Police said the construction company’s owner agreed to pay for the damage. The incident was logged at 3:35 p.m.

At 4:23 p.m., police received a report that someone stole a mailbox and damaged some metal garbage cans at a King St. location.

At 10:10 p.m., William Woodkotch, 21, of Nutley, was stopped by police as he was leaving a Franklin Ave. pizzeria and accused of stealing a phone and credit card reader from the business. Woodkotch was arrested on charges of theft. Detectives recovered the phone and reader and released the man after he was given a court date.

June 19 

At 12:22 p.m., police responded to the Raceway gas station on Washington Ave. after receiving complaints about a man panhandling there. Police said they located a man matching the description given by callers who told them he didn’t have a job and needed money for the bus. Police said they advised the man not to continue begging for money or he’d be arrested.

June 20 

At 7:55 a.m., a Whitford Ave. resident called police after hearing a loud bang at their door and, looking out their window, said they saw a white 2-door vehicle drive away from the front of their home. After opening their front door, they noticed that a trash can had been thrown at the door.

At 8:55 a.m., a Rutgers Ave. resident reported someone stole their garbage can sometime during the night. The trash receptacle was valued at $20.

A resident reported a phone scam to police. The caller advised the resident to contact a “Robinson Cooper” to receive a government check for $6,700 for “always paying their bills on time.” After providing “Mr. Cooper” with their name and last four digits of their Social Security number, the caller was told they’d first have to send $200 to receive the check. At that point, the caller hung up and called police, who contacted “Mr. Cooper,” who denied it was a scam and then hung up.

– Ron Leir

Around Town


Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., announces its Eight Great Live Monday Nights series, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, with a new show every Monday at 6:30 p.m. during July and August. Registration is required. Call 973-450-3434. These programs are for the entire family, unless otherwise noted. The first two shows will be: “Outragehiss Pets,” a live animal presentation with various creatures, on July 7 and “Lasermania,” a laser show featuring current top music hits, on July 14.

Children of all ages can sign up for the Library Players and act in a play that patrons can attend for free. Rehearsals begin July 10 and will be held every Thursday at 3 p.m. The play will be presented on Monday, Aug. 18, at 6:30 p.m., as part of the library’s Eight Great Live Monday Nights series. To sign up, call the library.


The Financial Book Club at Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., meets 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesdays, June 24 to Aug. 26. Beginners are welcome to join and all reading materials can be obtained through the library with a valid library card. The club will examine how budget (income), balance sheet (net worth) and cash-flow impact managing expenses, debt, value of money, investment selections, etc., for companies and consumers. Register online at http://www.bplnj.org/programs. For more information, call 973-566-6200.

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 starting June 30. Classes are held Monday to Friday. Cost for the first session is $250; sessions 2 through 5 cost $275 (materials included). 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.


Harrison Public School district will participate in a summer food service program, open to children age 18 and under, July 7 to Aug. 7, Monday to Thursday, at Washington Middle School, 1 N. Fifth St., 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. each day. The program is offered through the Food and Nutrition Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Harrison Public Library, 415 Harrison Ave., presents its summer reading program on “mad science.” There will be sessions on Thursdays, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., for ages 4 to 6; and Tuesdays, 3 to 4 p.m., for ages 7 and 8. All sessions begin July 8 and run through August.

The library’s Young Adult Reading Group for ages 9 and up meets Wednesdays, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., starting July 9 and runs through August. Selection of a novel to be read will be announced July 9.

Sign up in person at the library. Space is limited. For more information, call the library at 973-483-2366


Children ages 8 to 15 are welcome at the Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club (PBGC), 663 Kearny Ave., July and August, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 to 9 p.m., for a summer program of basketball, dodge ball, arts and crafts, electronic games and more, under the supervision of a professional staff led by former Lincoln School counselor Tom Fraser.

The PBGC also sponsors the following trips: State Fair on July 2, Mt. Creek Water Park on July 9, Seaside Heights rides and water park on July 16, Walking with Dinosaurs at the Prudential Center, Newark, on July 25, Yankee game on Aug. 7 and Jersey Jackals game on Aug. 13. All trips are chaperoned by Kearny teachers.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts an appearance by local author Karen B. Kaplan, who will read from and sign copies of her book, “Encountering the Edge: What People Told Me Before They Died,” Wednesday, July 2, at 6 p.m. Copies of her book will be available at a discounted rate. Kaplan will lead a discussion on her book Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Check out Kaplan’s blog at offbeatcompassion.com. Call 201-998-2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org for more program information.

The main library offers these upcoming children’s programs:

• Pre-school and elementary school-aged children are invited to join “Fizz, Boom, Read” summer reading program, starting June 25. Youngsters will receive a free reading log, choose whatever they want to read, including at least one science book, and track their progress in their reading log. Reading logs must be returned to the children’s room no later than Aug. 15 to be eligible for a prize for completing the reading challenge.

• Family Fun Night is held Wednesday, June 25. Flow Circus will perform juggling and more, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This show is recommended for age 4 and up.

• The Spoon Man performs rock, rap and folk music on kitchen spoons Monday, June 30, 4 to 5 p.m. This show is recommended for ages 4 and up.

• Free No-Bake Cooking Classes, open to children ages 4 to 8, will meet for five weeks, on Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to noon, beginning July 2, in the Main Library’s newly renovated lower level kitchen. Recipes offered will take food allergies into consideration. Class size is limited to 12. To reserve a spot, or for more information, call the library at 201-998-2666.

Free programs for children will be available at the library throughout the summer. Check the library’s website www.kearnylibrary.org for program information. Keep watching the website as new programs will be added during the summer.

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.

West Hudson Christian Center, 557 Kearny Ave., presents Weird Animals Vacation Bible School, from Sunday, July 20, to Wed., July 23, 6:30 to 9 p.m., for ages 3 to 12. To pre-register in advance (space is limited), visit whccag.org or call 201-997- 7762. Registration is also open each night of the program at the door.


Seniors are invited to wear their red, white and blue and bring a flag to a free Fourth of July Band Concert by the North Jersey Concert Band Wednesday, July 2, at 7 p.m., at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza. Registration is recommended and appreciated. To register, call 201-777-2431.

North Arlington

North Arlington Woman’s Club has designated Wednesday, June 25, as “Joshua’s Day,” on behalf of 6-year-old North Arlington resident Joshua Piperato, who, was involved in an accident in March that resulted in the partial amputation of his leg. The club is fundraising to help with any uncovered medical bills or treatments to help subsidize any unexpected costs his family faces due to his injury.

Participating businesses will have a Joshua’s Day flyer displayed in their window. People patronizing those businesses are asked to mention “Joshua’s Day” and a percentage of their bill will be donated to the fundraiser.

Any local organization or individual wishing to donate is invited to send checks, payable to the N.A.W.C., P.O. Box 7274, North Arlington, N.J. 07032, with the words “Joshua’s Day” written in the memo line. For more information, call Christine at 201-577-1088.

Children can spend summer with exciting weekly classes and special events at North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road. Registration is required for all of these programs.

To register for classes, visit: http://bit.ly/11uEKUz.

Registration will be open from June 26 to July 3. Weekly programs run from July 8 to Aug. 8. Special events are scheduled every Wednesday from July 9 to Aug. 6.

For additional information or questions, call 201-955-5640, ext. 126.

Here are some upcoming programs:

• Music n’ Movement, interactive play with music and movement for ages 2 to 5, is held on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.

• Fizz Boom Story Time for ages 2 to 5 gives kids a chance to listen to and enjoy imaginative stories on Mondays at 11:30 a.m. (On July 28, there will be a special story time all about nutrition.)

• Boomtastic Crafts for ages 6 to 10 allows kids to make a variety of cool and exciting crafts on Tuesdays at 3 p.m.

• Lego Club for ages 6 to 10 provides an opportunity to build with Legos on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. (No class July 15.)

• Tween Book Club for ages 10 to 13 offers the opportunity for kids to read, discuss and discover great books every Wednesday at 1 p.m.

• Young Adults Writing Club is a creative writing group for ages 14 to 18 that meets Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.

• Reading Club will award prizes to children ages 2 to 18 who read, log their books and visit the library each week, July 8 to Aug. 8. Kids can log their books online or ask a librarian to help. Kids should pick up a paper reading log in the Juvenile Department. Read 10 books this summer to receive an invitation to the library’s summer reading program’s closing ceremony on Aug. 12 at 6 pm.

• Fizz Boom Wednesday Special Event features “Vibrant Volcanoes,” when kids entering grades 1 to 4 will make a working miniature volcano, learn the hula dance and hear the story of Pele, the goddess of fire Wednesday, July 9, at 11 a.m. This program is limited to 25 children so register early.

• Thursday Night Drop-in Activities has no registration requirement.

• Movie Nights feature movies appropriate for the entire family July 17, 31 and Aug. 7.

• Movie Story Time allows kids ages 4 to 6 to read a story and watch a movie July 10 and 24.

Then & Now

6-25 ThenNow_web



If you lived in the northern section of Kearny in the late 19th century, this is where you would go to mail a letter. This photo, circa 1882-86, was taken when James Freeman, postmaster, ran the Arlington Post Office — in the rear of his grocery store. The structure itself is called  The Freeman Building, and, despite having passed by it innumerable times, we never knew it had a name. If we had been more observant, we might have noticed ‘The Freeman’ engraved in stone at the roofline. The imposing red-brick structure is still standing on Midland  Ave. at the corner of Devon St. and over the decades has continued to be home to a variety of commercial tenants. We know that there was once a theater on an upper floor. Is it still there? The awnings and  sidewalk signs are long gone, and an SUV occupies the horse-and-buggy’s parking spot, but look at the chimneys! 

– Karen Zautyk 

Cali renewed for trash pickups



The Town of Kearny has renewed its contract with Cali Carting of Kearny for the collection of trash and recyclables, effective July 1, which will cost nearly $1 million more over the life of the agreement, according to Finance Director Shuaib Firozvi.

As explained by Firozvi, the new deal calls for a 3-year contract for a total of $4,195,800, with options for renewing for a fourth year at a price of $1,160,000 and a fifth year at $1,490,000.

Over the 5-year period, Firozvi said, the cost works out to $119,096 per month versus the $102,500 per month that the town paid during its last contract with the vendor.

That difference, he said, will account for a total increase of $985,800 over the last contract with Cali.

Cali was the lone contractor to bid on the town’s garbage/ recyclable contract, according to Firozvi.

The mayor and Town Council awarded Cali its new contract at the June 10 meeting.

In other business conducted at that session, the governing body:

• Extended a janitorial services contract with Ocean Clean of Cedar Grove for an additional one year for $83,549.

• Agreed to refund a towing/ storage fee of $91.75 to resident Keira Gruber for charges incurred as a result of a tow from Dukes and Chestnut Sts. Feb. 20 during a snow cleanup. Gruber had previously won a municipal court dismissal of the ticket she’d been issued for parking on a snow-covered street, claiming there was insufficient notice to residents.

• Appointed Sylvia Alvarez part-time clerk typist/bilingual in the construction code enforcement department for 24.5 hours a week at about $11 per hour.

• Acknowledged receipt of a request from the Rev. Manual Duenas, vice rector of Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary of Kearny, to host a 5K run on Sunday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m., along S. Midland Ave., Belgrove Drive and Passaic Ave., with proceeds supporting its missionary efforts worldwide.

In closed caucus, Police Chief John Dowie asked the governing body to consider asking state Civil Service to call for an appointment exam for the rank of deputy chief. The Police Department currently has one deputy chief but its T.O. allows for up to two. Later, Mayor Alberto Santos said the town would pass on the chief’s request for now due to budget restraints.

– Ron Leir 

Belleville pair in meth takedown

Two Belleville residents were among 14 suspects charged last week in connection with a multi-state drug trafficking ring that supplied large quantities of methamphetamine to northern New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Taken into custody were Ricky (“Ricky Belleville”) Tulud, 43, and Janice Vidallon, 31, both of whom are accused of distributing the drug in N.J.

Vidallon also allegedly brokered shipments of meth from suppliers in northern California.

The others suspects are from Jersey City, North Bergen, Bergenfield, Union, and Queens — as well as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

According to Fishman, one of the network’s coordinators was a former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration officer — John Freehauf, 36, of Jersey City – who reportedly negotiated the price of the meth and ordered multiple pounds per month from interstate suppliers between July 2013 and April 2014.

In N.J., Freehauf was the supplier to both Tulud and Vidallon, authorities said.

Packages of the drug were sent here via the U.S. mail, and a postal worker, Maria Lisa Pascual, 36, of North Bergen, allegedly used her position to track the parcels. She was recently terminated by the Postal Service.

If convicted, Tulud, Vidallon and the other defendants each face 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.

– Karen Zautyk