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Will KHS project run out of cash?

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Is the Kearny High School improvement project budget set to spiral out of control?

No one at the Kearny Board of Education is saying that – not yet, anyway – but the district is reaching out to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – one of the primary funders of the project – to learn how much leeway, if any, might be available if costs exceed the $44 million allocation.

If the project runs over budget, and if the agencies pay for the work won’t provide bailout money, the BOE may have to go hat in hand to local taxpayers for help.

The Federal Aviation Administration and state Department of Education are partners with the P.A. in the KHS Noise Abatement and Exterior Renovation-Addition job that has been sputtering along since 2010. Read more »

Close call for 2 school kids

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

BELLEVILLE – 

Potential tragedy was averted in the aftermath of the armed robbery of two Belleville teens on the morning of Friday, May 16.

The incident unfolded, police said, shortly before 8:30 a.m., as a group of youngsters waited for the bus in front of 64 Franklin St., near Lake St., that would take them to Belleville Middle School for morning classes.

Police said a male and female, both African-American, approached the group and asked for the time.

In response, police said, a 14-year-old boy pulled out his cellular phone to check. At that point, police said, the male suspect brandished a handgun and grabbed the phone.

Seeing that another boy, 13, had an earplug in his ear, the male suspect demanded what he figured was another phone but, after finding it wasn’t, punched the boy in the face.

Luckily, police said, the boy who was struck wasn’t seriously hurt and declined medical attention. Read more »

Court: Red Bulls must pay taxes

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

HARRISON –

A key legal referee’s call has gone against the New York Red Bulls soccer team.

A state Appellate Court ruled May 12 that Harrison has the right to tax both the Red Bull Arena, the stadium where the professional soccer team plays its home games, and the land occupied by the stadium.

The team has 20 days from the time it was served with the court’s ruling to ask the state Supreme Court to consider hearing the case. That would give the Red Bulls until early next month to decide whether to call for a legal replay.

Red Bulls attorney Thomas Denitzio Jr. declined comment but team spokesman Brian Tsao said: “We respect the court’s decision and will discuss our legal options internally. As always, we look forward to continue being a partner for the Town of Harrison and its development for the many years to come.” Read more »

Committed to strong coverage

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By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent

KEARNY — 

Because not all editions of The Observer can be found in the library or even in our own archives, no one is exactly sure this number is correct: But if there was a newspaper printed every week leading up to today’s edition, today marks the 6,560th print-edition of The Observer newspaper.

And next week will signal the unofficial start of the 127th year of The Observer as well.

What started out as an experiment in delivering the news to the people of Arlington has evolved into coverage in three counties and eight towns: Kearny, Harrison, East Newark, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Bloomfield, Belleville and Nutley.

When the newspaper launched in 1887, it was a single- page broadsheet, packed with stories about the town and its residents. Bylines were not published with stories, and the “journalists” wrote mostly about Arlington, the section of Kearny along the Greenwood Lake Branch of the Erie Railroad, which gave the newspaper its first name — The Arlington Observer. Read more »

Kimble, Kennedy & Longo victorious

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

BELLEVILLE –

After a brutal, mudslinging campaign, Belleville Mayor Raymond Kimble will remain in office after fighting off a challenge by Councilwoman Marie Strumolo-Burke in last Tuesday’s municipal election. But a member of the Strumolo- Burke ticket did claim a victory: Joseph Longo edged out Kimble running mate Charles Hood for one of two Township Council slots on the ballot. Kimble ally Councilman Kevin Kennedy retained his seat, outdistancing opponent William Freda.

A tally sheet released Wednesday night by the Township Clerk’s Office had the machine and absentee totals (provisionals hadn’t been counted yet) this way: Kimble the victor with 2,277 votes and Strumolo-Burke with 1,900.

In the council race, again, according to the Clerk’s Office, Kennedy led with 2,110 votes; next was Longo with 1,895; then Freda with 1,681; and Hood with 1,149 – all write-in votes. Hood was a last-minute replacement for Councilman Michael Nicosia, who withdrew his candidacy after the filing deadline, opting to devote more time to his business and family.

Despite her mayoral defeat, Strumolo-Burke is expected to continue to serve on the Township Council. She has two years remaining in her term of office. Read more »

Searing memories of long-ago fire

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY –

Intriguing photograph, isn’t it?

Who is that man? Where was that fire? And when?

Along with the old photos for The Observer’s ‘Then & Now’ feature, we sometimes receive a stand-alone picture that’s worth a story in itself. This is one.

The scene is Kearny Ave. — 5 Kearny Ave., to be specific. The date was March 21, 1963. And the man is longtime Kearny mayor, Joseph M. Healey, who was in office at the time and who apparently often went to the scene of local fires to offer support. Read more »

KPD blotter: Can you top this?

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A Kearny woman who wanted to add some edible ornamentation to her homemade donuts is now facing robbery charges after she tried to take toppings from a local yogurt shop, Kearny police reported.

At 1 p.m. on May 12, Sgt. Michael Cardella and Officer Steve Hroncich responded to the Yo-Lish store on Kearny Ave. on the report of a “disorderly and combative female” on the premises, Chief John Dowie said. They arrived to find that Officer Jordenson Jean, who had heard the radio call while on an offduty assignment in the area, was already there and was detaining Domenica Ferro, 42, of Kearny.

Dowie said Ferro had reportedly entered the shop with “a plateful of her own donuts — undecorated” and had “attempted to adorn them” with toppings (i.e., sprinkles, nuts, etc.) that Yo- Lish uses on its yogurt.

Advised by the proprietor that she would have to pay for the goodies, Ferro allegedly refused. Asked to leave the premises, she allegedly began kicking him.

Since any theft (even of sprinkles) that is accompanied by an assault (even kicking) is categorized under law as robbery, that is the charge on which she was booked.

It is not known what became of the donuts.

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

Thoughts & Views: A poet for Memorial Day

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Joyce Kilmer, New Jersey native and long-time Garden State resident, is most famous for his poem “Trees,” memorized by numberless schoolchildren and, unfortunately, mocked by latter-day writers who find it too precious.

Columbia University, his alma mater, had (maybe still does have) an annual Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest.

For shame, Columbia. How about an Allen Ginsberg Memorial Bad Poetry Contest? Oh, I forgot. Ginsberg personified liberalism. Liberals can’t write bad poetry.

Despite his misguided literary critics, this week’s column is dedicated to Kilmer.

His poem “The House With Nobody In It” still makes me a bit weepy. I always wanted to see that house, located somewhere between Mahwah, where Kilmer lived, and Suffern, “along the Erie track.” Supposedly it was at 150 Franklin Turnpike, for years the site of a tavern cleverly named “Nobody’s Inn,” however there are conflicting reports that it was elsewhere on the road.

But I digress. Read more »

‘Law & Order UK’ brings twists that couldn’t work in the USA

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By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent 

If you’re a fan of the “Law and Order” series — and let’s face it, who in America hasn’t at one point or another sat down to watch one or more episodes of the many versions of the show? — you certainly know how intense the show is here stateside.

What many don’t know is that for the last six years, there’s been a British version of “Law and Order” — all episodes are based on the original American version — and it’s by far the best created to date.

As is often the case in the U.K., the seasons of “Law and Order UK” are quite short. There have been eight “series” or seasons and the most there’s ever been in a series is 13 episodes. The current series, the eighth, ended late in April with eight episodes.

There are some major parallels in the show. And some noticeable differences.

The show starts off with the words familiar to American viewers: “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups.” But it changes here. “The police who investigate crime, and the Crown Prosecutors who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”

In the U.K., the Crown Prosecutors handle prosecutions. Read more »

Double duty for deli owner

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By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY –

How Frank Riposta, owner of D&F Deli on Davis Ave., gets any sleep might just be one of the great mysteries of life. He and his wife, Diane, have owned the deli since 1983.

But since 2006, Riposta has also served as a real estate agent for Century 21 Semiao and Associates. And in that time, not only has he continued to operate one of the most successful and noted delis in Kearny, he’s also been one of the most successful real estate agents in the area.

And he credits a lot of his real estate track record to the success he’s experienced in 30-plus years of operating D&F.

“It’s really remarkable,” Riposta said. “So many of the people who I’m selling homes to now were kids who were carried into D&F as babies in diapers. Now, here they are, ready to buy their first homes, and they’re coming to me. It’s something special.”

Indeed it is. Read more »