web analytics

Category: Opinion & Reader Forum

Coping with another senseless school shooting

There is nothing rational to explain this past Friday’s shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 young children and seven adults dead.

Since the shooter, Adam Lanza, killed himself, we will never know what led him to commit such a horrific deed.

“It’s just a tragedy beyond even understanding,” is the way Kearny Interim Superintendent of Schools Ron Bolandi put it. “It left me speechless. Kids, five and six years old, and staff, getting gunned down for no apparent reason is scary.”

President Barack Obama has vowed to use “whatever power this office holds” to keep children safer.

American history is replete with episodes of school violence dating from the 1700s, with what Wikipedia categorized as the “deadliest act of mass murder” taking place on May 18, 1927, when Andrew Kehoe, treasurer of a school in Bath, Mich., detonated dynamite in the school basement, killing 38 people, most of them children.

Is gun control the answer? Second Amendment advocates, like the National Rifle Association, argue that Americans have been given the right to bear arms. Others say nothing can justify putting automatic weapons into the hands of civilians.

Bolandi says, “The problem is bigger than our schools – it’s society – the U.S. is just a violent society. Kids see so much violence on TV and video games and they accept it.”

Asked if he felt gun control would make a difference, Bolandi said he’s been trained in weaponry as a hunter, but added that, “I don’t think anybody should have an assault weapon” without being required to undergo psychological screening.

“Since ’97, I’ve heard politicians say something should be done,” Bolandi said. “Let’s stop the talking and do something about it.”

Meanwhile, our prayers go out to the families who’ve lost loved ones in the Newtown massacre.

Students in Kearny public schools were offered this message by administrators and guidance staff this week: “The tragic events of Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., have touched all of us. Our hearts go out to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School who have lost so much through this senseless act and for all the children in the school who suffered through this extremely frightening experience.”

Kelly Lindenfelser, director of special services for the Kearny school district, advised parents to check with the National Mental Health Association for strategies on helping a child cope with tragic news such as the school shooting.

– Ron Leir

WE’VE GOT MAIL

Kudos to Holiday In The Park sponsors

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Lyndhurst Board of Commissioners and the Lyndhurst Fire Department, I would like to publically thank and acknowledge the many generous sponsors who donated the funding to support our 2012 annual holiday festivity, and to everyone who participated to make our Holiday In The Park a successful event which was enjoyed by all.

Thank you, with best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year to all.

The sponsors were: Bogle Agency, Neglia Engineering, Di Maria & Di Maria, Phil Ciarco, Russo Developers, Porro, Wells, Janorski & Liebman, Smith Sondy, Inserra Shop Rite, Lyndhurst Auto Body, Frank’s Truck Center, Lyndhurst Italian American Club, Investors Bank, Lyndhurst Pastry, Jarvis Plumbing & Heating LLC, Mazur’s Bakery, Lyndhurst Diner, Prism Technology, J. Verona Electric, Lassoni Restaurante, John Sofia Jewelers, Knights of Columbus, N & A Arts, Montana, Kearny Federal Savings, Starbucks, Clifton; Dunkin’ Donuts, Lyndhurst ; Lyndhurst High School Choir, Lyndhurst Veterans’ Alliance, Tommy Heil and Girls’ holiday dance routine.

Robert Giangeruso

Mayor of Lyndhurst

. . . And a post-Sandy thank-you

Dear Editor:

As we know, the devastation of Superstorm Sandy affected 24 states, with it striking a tremendous blow to our state of N.J. and also to our hometown of Lyndhurst; especially to the residential homes and businesses damaged and flooded along the Passaic River area.

I would like to publicly acknowledge the determined will and efforts of those Lyndhurst residents and business owners who were directly affected with severe property damage and losses.

I also extend my appreciation and sincere thanks to all our first responders; OEM and the Lyndhurst Police Department, the Lyndhurst Fire Department, Lyndhurst Auxiliary Police, Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad, Community Emergency Response Team, Department of Public Works, Department of Parks and Recreation and our Health Department for their motivated humanity efforts in ensuring the safety, security and well-being of our residents.

My office will be contacting legislators for me to meet with a designated committee regarding future positive resources in regard to our township’s problematic flooding of the Passaic River.

In appreciation to residents, first responders, outside responders and volunteers coming together in a time of need, I am proud and grateful to be a member of this community.

Robert Giangeruso

Mayor of Lyndhurst

Help Wanted! Freelance Reporter

The Observer newspaper is looking for a part-time general assignment reporter who will cover hard news stories as well as take accompanying photographs. Candidates must have a flexible schedule that may include nights and weekends. They must also be able to follow strict deadlines – stories must be completed two days after the event or interview. Knowledge of AP style is preferred as is previous newspaper experience. Send a cover letter, resume with references and at least three clips to:

The Observer

531 Kearny Avenue Kearny, N.J. 07032

Attn: Robert Pezzolla

You may also e-mail jobs@theobserver.com.

No phone calls please.

World ending? Here’s a different spin

As you may remember, the Long Count of the Mayan calendar is predicting the end of the world – or at least the world as we know it – for Dec. 21, the ushering in of our winter season.

Just wanted to remind you, in case you like to plan New Year’s festivities in advance so you may want to get a pre- New Year booking.

I don’t mean to make light of such a dire prophecy – an omen they’re taking pretty seriously in some parts of Russia, as reported in Sunday’s New York Times.

Reporter Ellen Barry tells us that the warden of a women’s jail near the Chinese border had to call for a member of the clergy to preach to the collectively psychotic inmates. And, in a town near Moscow, residents were engaged in panic buying in retail shops.

So much upset was stirred that the Russian government has advised the comrades to put a lid on what they insist is ill-founded concern. So far, I don’t recall having heard similar reassurances from Barack Obama or even the sober-minded members of the Tea Party.

Still, it wouldn’t surprise me much to learn that people from any part of our ever-shrinking globe might be loading up the family automobile and heading for some bucolic spot – if one can be found – before we are lost for all eternity.

When Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air put out a live radio broadcast, “War of the Worlds,” in the form of news bulletins detailing a presumed invasion from Mars in October 1938, many in the U.S. and Canada believed the worst and headed into the streets before learning the truth.

Today, we have plenty of real-life crises – including the “fiscal cliff” dilemma facing Americans of every stripe – to keep us occupied, not to mention the ever-present powder keg of the Middle East, with a disastrous war in Syria, tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, the nuclear adventure in Iran, Egypt’s constitutional confrontation and, of course, religious zealots continuing to self-implode in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then, too, there’s the fighting in Kenya, threats and violence from Mexican drug cartels and Europe’s Euro Zone countries entangled in the debt crisis.

And, right here in the Garden State, we have the post-Sandy recovery effort to deal with.

Bottom line is, don’t put all your eggs into one Mayan basket: We’ve got a surfeit of potential world-ending situations to choose from – all equally deserving of our attention.

And that’s the point: Yes, it’s certainly important to pay attention to these hot spots around the world. But, instead of putting ourselves in a depressing stew over the world’s warts, we should seek out constructive strategies to positively deal with them.

Write a letter to your congressperson, take part in a demonstration, make a donation to a worthy cause.

But don’t hide under the covers and hope for better times coming. Take positive action as a responsible citizen of the world!

– Ron Leir

WE’VE GOT MAIL: KEARNY’S BRAVEST MERIT KUDOS

Dear Editor:

In this difficult time that when so many have suffered such an enormous loss due to the devastation from “Super Storm Sandy” it’s wonderful to know that there are people who are giving so much.

A group of Kearny firefighters have been spending their days off helping the victims of the storm. They send out an e-mail with an address and those who can, show up to work. I have a home that had so much damage to the first floor; it all had to be removed. Early in the morning, 14 firefighters and even one of their wives were at my door and within five hours my home was torn out and the damage removed. This is what they have been doing since the storm. They are not being paid, and they are not doing it for recognition. They are just giving of their time and of themselves. This is what they do. I believe that the people of Kearny should know this. I am a resident of Kearny and I am so very proud to know that these firefighters do this just because they want to help.

Jarlynn Hyde

Kearny

Help Wanted! Freelance Reporter

The Observer newspaper is looking for a part-time general assignment reporter who will cover hard news stories as well as take accompanying photographs. Candidates must have a flexible schedule that may include nights and weekends. They must also be able to follow strict deadlines – stories must be completed two days after the event or interview. Knowledge of AP style is preferred as is previous newspaper experience. Send a cover letter, resume with references and at least three clips to:

The Observer

531 Kearny Avenue Kearny, N.J. 07032

Attn: Robert Pezzolla

You may also e-mail jobs@theobserver.com.

No phone calls please.

HELP WANTED! FREELANCE REPORTER

The Observer newspaper is looking for a part-time general assignment reporter who will cover hard news stories as well as take accompanying photographs. Candidates must have a flexible schedule that may include nights and weekends. They must also be able to follow strict deadlinesstories must be completed two days after the event or interview. Knowledge of AP style is preferred as is previous newspaper experience. Send a cover letter, resume with references and at least three clips to:

The Observer 531 Kearny Avenue Kearny, N.J. 07032 Attn: Robert Pezzolla

You may also e-mail jobs@theobserver. com. No phone calls please.

‘Tis the season: remembering those in need

Sandy has come and gone, having left in tatters an extraordinary number of homes and businesses, particularly along the Jersey Shore where many of us enjoy summer sun and sea.

Now those Shore folks are trying to pick themselves up and start over again and they need all the assistance they can get.

Everywhere, folks are responding – wherever the help is needed.

For example, The Star Ledger reported Sunday that a former Sayreville resident, Ed Kloskowski, is running the 200-plus-mile length of New Jersey as a way of raising funds for Sandy victims through Architecture for Humanity’s Restore the Shore program, Catholic Charities and the borough of Sayreville.

Elsewhere in the region, many communities are extending helping hands and Kearny is no exception.

Kearny Federal Savings Bank has undertaken a food drive at all of its 41 branches in New Jersey. The bank will donate its collections to the Community Food Bank in Hillside for distribution to Sandy victims.

In particular, there is a need for meals in a can, canned soup, shelf-stable milk, cereal, canned tuna, diapers, peanut butter, granola bars, canned fruit and canned vegetables and baby food (no glass jars, please.)

In this area, people can bring items to the bank’s branches in Kearny (614 Kearny Ave.); Harrison (534 Harrison Ave.); North Arlington (80 Ridge Road); Lyndhurst (307 Stuyvesant Ave.); or Rutherford (252 Park Ave.).

Over the past week, contributors brought in “a quarter of a truckload” of supplies, estimated Kearny Federal Vice President Georgiana McDonough. “Our first big amount came from a customer whose daughter was without power in Toms River,” McDonough recalled. “She brought in two dolly carts full of items.”

With the Thanksgiving holiday upcoming, the timing of the drive is especially poignant, McDonough said. “This year, there are going to be some people who are not going to gather around the Thanksgiving table because there’s no table to gather around. People have lost their homes,” she said.

At the Kearny branch of the Salvation Army on Beech St. much of the food pantry stock intended for the Thanksgiving needy ended up getting spread among local Sandy victims, explained Major Alberto Flores. “People were kind of desperate,” Flores said.“There was no power so food in the fridge was gone. We distributed food to about 60 people in need.”

There were also folks who brought in food and clothing for distressed residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties. One woman insisted on driving supplies to the shore areas herself, Flores said.

Now the nonprofit is gearing up to replenish its emergency pantry for the holiday and local schools are stepping up to fill the gap, Flores said. “Kearny High is coming Tuesday with its collections, Roosevelt School is in the process of collecting and also Franklin School will be participating,” he said.

“My wife (Brenda) and I are now in our fifth year in Kearny and we have a feeling of gratitude toward this very generous community,” Flores said.

Another local organization lending a hand is City of Hope International Church, which is associated with Kearny Christian Academy. “Two weeks ago, we opened our food pantry to help those in need, particularly people in Harrison who were hard hit, without power,” said church representative Marian Schreck. “We also gave them extra food, clothing and blankets.”

“We’re also continuing to meet individual needs as people let us know about them,” Schreck said. This week, for example, the church was preparing to give out more than 100 turkey meals to those in the community in need, she said. “And the need has grown over the course of the last two years.”

And, lest we forget, the Hudson County chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which is developing a residential project in Kearny, has also been a booster for Sandy victims.

Last Wednesday, the chapter sponsored a fundraiser for Jersey City Sandy Recovery and raised “just under $3,000,” according to chapter co-director Greg Strid. The money will go to help downtown Jersey City residents affected by the storm.

The chapter is also acting as a facilitator for folks looking to contribute to the Sandy recovery effort, Strid said. “We get calls from volunteers and we’ve been putting them in touch with various organizations and letting them know who to call, what to bring.”

Strid said the chapter is awaiting guidance from Habitat International on strategizing the organization’s participation in rebuilding efforts in central and south Jersey.

If you want to help with monetary contributions, contact the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, P.O. Box 95, Mendham, N.J. 07945-0095 or visit sandynjrelieffund.org.

– Ron Leir

WE’VE GOT MAIL

Skip the turkey this year

Dear Editor:

With his recent re-election, President Obama has won the power to pardon more turkeys on Thanksgiving. But so does every one of us, by choosing a nonviolent Thanksgiving observance that gives thanks for our good fortune, health, and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free feast of vegetables, fruits, and grains. And here are more terrific reasons:

• You will stay alert through the entire football game.

• You are what you eat. Who wants to be a “butterball”?

• Your vegetarian kid won’t have to boycott the family dinner.

• You won’t have to call Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.

• Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels.

• You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.

• You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.

• Your body will welcome a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones. Our own dinner this Thanksgiving will feature a “Tofurky,” lentil roast, mashed potatoes, corn stuffing, stuffed squash, candied yams, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. An internet search on “vegetarian Thanksgiving” got us more recipes and other useful information than we could possibly use.

Cory Baker

Kearny

A nation salutes you

 

This past Sunday marked Veterans’ Day, with the day of observance continuing over onto this past Monday. As a country filled with millions of individuals swamped and overwhelmed by many responsibilities, daily routines, and life callings we must, at least for this one day, take the time to truly contemplate the men and women who have served this country during our most dire of needs and those who currently do so.

Yes. Those who serve both previously and currently are ordinary people like you and me. However, in my eyes they are an exceptional kind, possessing a trait that lack. Their loyalty and allegiance to this great nation is present in all that they do.

Like many in this great nation I know of at least one person currently serving or who has served. These are our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and friends. When speaking to a veteran or a current serviceperson one quickly grasps a vital and unequivocal point –their love of America.

This point was made perfectly clear to me a few years back. I remember speaking with a good college friend who served overseas. While sitting at our university’s student lounge our group’s conversation slowly turned sociopolitical when one asked, “You probably believed in the war. Isn’t that why you enlisted?” My friend, ever so eloquent and articulate, simply something along the lines of, “It’s not whether you agree or not with war because , in reality, no one likes war. The issue has to do whether you will stand up for your country in good times and in bad. In a way it is like a marriage between you and your country.”

This conversation struck a cord with me. Since that day I somewhat started to comprehend the deep commitment those who have served and continue to serve have for this great nation without reservations.

These brave individuals risk it all –putting their lives on the line to protect their families, friends and a slew of strangers they will most likely never come across. Their love, respect and deep commitment for their country and everything that it stands for is admirable. Their devotion is complete, unconditional and long-lasting.

Because of all you have done and continue to do serving this country, I thank you. This nation thanks you.

-Jennifer Vazquez