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This week’s e-Edition, classifieds are now posted

This week’s e-Edition and classifieds are now posted. We apologize for the delay.

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Blood appointed

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Take away the “acting” title: the Kearny Board of Education has formally installed Patricia Blood as its official superintendent of schools. The board took the action at a special meeting held last Thursday night at the Lincoln School. The vote was […]

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Kearny unveils new monument

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  On May 27, 1922, an estimated 25,000 people gathered in the streets around the small park where Kearny Ave. and Beech St. meet, to witness Gen. John J. Pershing personally dedicate the towering granite monument honoring the Kearny men who died […]

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Nutley cops hunt driver in fatal hit-run

A photo (above) of the suspect van was released Nov. 19 by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.   NUTLEY –  Nutley police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating the motor vehicle that struck and killed a 77-year-old woman on Centre St. on […]

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School is more than books for these kids

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  At Washington Middle School in Harrison, nearly 75% of the more than 400 enrolled are just as busy with school-related projects after 3 p.m. as they are during their regular day of classes. And that’s partly by design of the school […]

 
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NA’s Cordeiro signs letter with NJIT

Photo by Jim Hague North Arlington senior Danny Cordeiro (seated l.), flanked by his dad, Carlos Cordeiro, signs his national letter of intent to attend the New Jersey Institute of Technology and play soccer at the Newark school in the fall. Standing, from l., are: Vice Principal Dennis Kenny, Head Soccer Coach Jesse Dombowski, Principal Lou Manuppelli, Athletic Director Dave Hutchinson and Track and Field Coach Joe Cioffi.

Photo by Jim Hague
North Arlington senior Danny Cordeiro (seated l.), flanked by his dad, Carlos Cordeiro, signs his national letter of intent to attend the New Jersey Institute of Technology and play soccer at the Newark school in the fall. Standing, from l., are: Vice Principal Dennis Kenny, Head Soccer Coach Jesse Dombowski, Principal Lou Manuppelli, Athletic Director Dave Hutchinson and Track and Field Coach Joe Cioffi.

 

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

Danny Cordeiro had given a verbal commitment to attend the New Jersey Institute of Technology in November, but it wasn’t really official until the talented North Arlington High School senior put his signature on a national letter of intent.

Cordeiro will play soccer at NJIT in the fall.

The letter signing took place last Thursday afternoon at North Arlington, with school officials, Cordeiro’s coaches and his father, Carlos, present.

“Once you put the pen to paper, it’s different,” Cordeiro said. “It’s the kind of thing that happens only once in a lifetime.”

That is certainly true when it comes to athletes from North Arlington. It’s not often that a student/athlete from a Group I school gets a chance to become a scholarship recipient.

Cordeiro was sent the letter of intent by the NJIT coaching staff last week. He was not able to officially sign until Wednesday. The signing took place Thursday, because school was closed Wednesday due to the snowstorm.

Some athletes change their mind after giving a verbal commitment. That was not the case with Cordeiro. He was sold on NJIT from the beginning.

“The coaches contacted me to make sure I got it,” Cordeiro said. “But I’m interested in studying engineering in college, so I wanted to go through with that.”

Cordeiro scored 30 goals and had 19 assists last fall for the Vikings. He is currently running indoor track for North Arlington.

Last weekend, Cordeiro won the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I championship in both the 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs. It’s the first year that North Arlington has featured an indoor track team and the school already has a two-time state sectional champion, thanks to Cordeiro’s efforts.

Cordeiro won the 800-meter run in 2:00.99 and the 1,600-meter run in 4:37.97.

Not a bad week, winning two gold medals at the state sectionals in his first-ever attempt and signing a college scholarship letter.

“Not a bad week at all,” Cordeiro said. “It’s pretty amazing and definitely memorable. I was pretty happy winning in the first year of indoor track. I liked running in Toms River (the Bennettt Center). I never ran in a dome like that before. It was pretty impressive.”

Cordeiro didn’t get caught up in the aura of a state championship.

“I just ran it like it was a regular race,” Cordeiro said. “I always have the same game plan. I try to win every time. I don’t get caught up in times. I was definitely surprised to go there and win both races. I was just trying to do my best.”

North Arlington head soccer coach Jesse Dombowski was present for the letter signing.

“It’s fantastic,” Dombowski said. “I think it opens up a lot of chances for other kids in our program to get Division I scholarships. Danny is one of the most determined athletes I’ve ever coached. He knows what it takes to get to the next level and I’m so glad he got the chance to go to a Division I school. By far, he’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached and that the school has had.”

To permanently honor Cordeiro, the school plans to put a plaque with his picture near the entrance of the school as a reminder of his accomplishments.

“It can only raise some school spirit,” Dembowski said of the plaque.

“I only heard about that today,” Cordeiro said. “That’s going to be awesome. I’d like to come back to the school and see that in the hallways. That’s pretty special.”

Just like Cordeiro, who is truly a special athlete in every sense of the word.

Obituaries

Hannah Gaffney Killeen

Hannah Gaffney Killeen, 79, passed away on Feb. 6 at her home in Burlington Township. Funeral services were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. A funeral Mass was offered at Holy Cross Church, Harrison. Cremation was at Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside.

Hannah was born in Dublin, Ireland, and came to the United States in 1960. She lived in Hudson County, Belleville and Colonia before retiring to Manahawkin. She worked at McGovern’s Traven in Newark for many years.

Hannah was the beloved wife of the late Patrick Killeen; loving mother of Angela Schimenti, devoted mother-in-law of Lou Schimenti and adoring Nana to Patrick James and Diana Eileen; and dear sister to May Feeney, Monica Roche and Annie Ivory. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, Hannah requests a donation be made in her name to St. John’s Feed the Hungry, P.O. Box 200147, Newark, N.J. 07102 or Deborah Heart and Lung Hospital, 200 Trenton Road, Browns Mills, N.J. 08015.

William LeVan

William LeVan, 79, died of Feb. 3 at his home in Kearny.

Relatives and friends may call the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrave Dr., Kearny, on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. The funeral service will begin at 7:30 p.m. Cremation will be private. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thielereid.com.

Mr. LeVan was born in North Arlington and lived in Kearny his entire life.

He served in the Army during the Korean conflict.

William worked for waste management for 20 years before retiring. Previously, he worked for the Kearny D.P.W.

He is survived by his sons William J. (Rosemary), Michael J. (Lisa) and Robert P. LeVan (Sonia); two sisters Dorothy Rue and Cynthia LeVan and three grandchildren Michael, Robert and James. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

Eugene Lysak

Private arrangements by Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home in Kearny, were handled for Eugene Lysak, who passed away on Jan. 23. He was 66.

Eugene was a Vietnam veteran and had been a postal manager in Hackensack. He is survived by his son David M. and his sister and brother Olga Musto and William Lysak.

Michael J. Russell

Michael J. Russell died on Feb. 4 in Philadelphia, He was 52.

Born in Newark, he lived in Kearny before moving to Lanoka Harbor in 1988.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at Our of Lady Sorrows Church, Kearny, followed by a private cremation. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Mike was a warehouseman for Benjamin Moore Paint in Clifton. He was an avid sports and Kiss fan. He was a member of The Elks and loved to watch his nephew at Vets Field and The Oval.

Beloved son of Joseph and Barbara (nee Sateary) Russell, he also survived by his wife Lori-Anne (nee Smith), his sisters Karen Cannizzo and Donna Esteves and his brother David and his wife Leslie. Brother-in-law of Eddie and Dawn Smith, he is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews and his pals Mikki and Petey.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to your own local animal shelter.

BCPO arrests 3 more in connection to bar melee

From left, Pate, Venegas and Carrion

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli announced today the charging of three additional individuals in connection with the bar brawl that occurred outside the Twins Plus Lounge located at 2 South Main St., South Hackensack.

During the incident, five people were injured, three critically. The case is being investigated by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Major Crimes Unit, and the South Hackensack Police Department, Detective Bureau.

As previously reported to the press, at 1:44 a.m. on Jan. 27, SHPD and surrounding towns responded to a reported bar fight at Twins Plus Lounge. Read more »

‘Capital’ ideas abound at D.C. confab

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

KEARNY –

Making music, manufacturing and meeting the vice president were themes that resounded for Kearny’s chief executive during a trip to the nation’s capital.

Mayor Alberto Santos was among the participants in the 82nd annual winter U.S. Conference of Mayors, held Jan. 22-24, in Washington, D.C., where municipal leaders learn how federal policies or grant programs may impact their communities.

Topping the list of high profile items on the agenda for the winter meeting, Santos said, were panel discussions on combating poverty in the big cities and, in particular, improving the graduation rate for low-income kids in urban schools. On that topic,newly-elected New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio talked about his plan to provide universal pre-school for the city’s public school system.

If Santos picked up any tips for helping Kearny’s school system upgrade its testing profile – a goal that Superintendent- on-leave Frank Ferraro has underscored – he didn’t say.

But some other notions about what cities can do to improve the quality of life for its residents and businesses attracted the mayor’s attention, one of those being a pitch that was made during a panel session on kick-starting America’s sagging manufacturing base.

A federal initiative known as IMCP – Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership – promotes links between the government and the private sector by awarding competitive grants, through the U.S. Economic Development Administration, to communities for site development and job training leading to new and/or expanded manufacturing clusters that would employ skilled labor. Last year, the feds gave out 26 grants, including one to Rutgers University to develop technology to strengthen the food industry. Read more »

Liquor stores lax on ID checks

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent

The legal drinking age in New Jersey is 21. Alcohol is not to be sold, in bars or stores, to anyone younger than that. According to the rules of the N.J. Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC): “If there is any doubt that the purchaser is under 21 years of age, the sale should not be made.”

Hence, the practice of asking for proof of age.

On Dec. 30, the eve of New Year’s Eve, when lots of folks were stocking up on alcohol for their celebrations, the Hudson County Coalition for Drug Free Communities (HCCDFC) conducted an interesting experiment in Kearny, Harrison and East Newark.

The results were discouraging.

In the three towns are a total of 21 liquor stores. Read more »

2 banks robbed in 3 days

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent

Local banks suffered a one-two punch last week when both a Chase Bank in Kearny and a Valley National Bank in Harrison were robbed within three days, apparently by different bandits.

The latest crimes bring to four the number of bank robberies in West Hudson since late December.

Last Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 9:48 a.m., an individual wearing a black jacket, gray hat and purple scarf entered the Chase facility at 11 Kearny Ave. and passed a note to a teller demanding money, which he wanted in “large denominations,” Kearny Police Chief John Dowie reported.

Tuesday was one of those bone-chillingly cold days, so someone so bundled up that only their eyes were visible would not necessarily arouse suspicion, even in a bank. Dowie said it was initially difficult to tell if the robber was male or female, but it is now believed the culprit was a Hispanic man in his 30s. Read more »

Sacred Heart Church getting attention

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KEARNY –

The Archdiocese of Newark is undertaking repairs to Sacred Heart Church at the Archdiocesean Youth Center on Belgrove Drive at Quincy Ave.

Archdiocesan spokesman Jim Goodness said: “We’re in the middle of a major restoration project. Repairs are needed to the steeple and façade to make sure the structural integrity [is maintained].”

Goodness said that private contributions are financing the project.

“We’ve known for a couple of years that the work was needed,” Goodness said. “Our property management people, an engineering consultant and contractor were involved in the planning and execution of the work.” Read more »

BOE head defends surveillance

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

BELLEVILLE –

The union representing Belleville public school teachers is waging war with the Board of Education, claiming that the board is punishing its members for speaking out, failing to negotiate working conditions and spending big money on surveillance instead of on classroom teaching tools.

But Board President John Rivera said the board is acting in good faith on all fronts, particularly on investing $2 million over five years in a sophisticated video tracking system that, he says, is designed to keep everyone in the school system safe.

Meanwhile, in a puzzling personnel move, only five months after appointing Michael Vezza as board secretary/ business administrator at $123,103 a year, the board is seeking new candidates for that job and for an assistant business administrator. Applications were due by Feb. 1.

When asked about this development last week, Vezza simply shrugged and referred a reporter to Rivera, who said: “The current business administrator, with all the technological updates that are going on, due to personal obligations, doesn’t have enough time to give the services we need.”

As for the assistant B.A. posting, Rivera said: “We had a senior accountant who left us for a job in California. We don’t know if we’ll fill the position but we thought it would be prudent to advertise for one in the meantime.” Read more »

Very ‘digestible’ Kearny promotion

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

KEARNY –

Now appearing in highway rest areas, area airports, bus depots, train stations, hotels – seemingly omnipresent in northern New Jersey – it’s the Kearny Digest.

This year’s new version of the Kearny Magazine, underwritten by the town’s Urban Enterprise Zone board, has been disseminated hither and yon in hopes of getting the attention of the tourist trade expected to pour into the meadowlands area to catch the SuperBowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford and beyond.

“We had 100,000 copies printed,” said Kearny UEZ Director John Peneda. Of those, he said, “we kept 2,000 in town” to spread among municipal facilities like Town Hall and local eateries, drug stores and shops.

Snapshots from the digest are also posted on electronic bulletin boards at N.J. Turnpike and Garden State Parkway rest areas where commuters can also pick up the free booklets from magazine racks inside, Peneda said.

“If we can get 1,000 people visiting Kearny, hopefully, as a result of effort to promote the town, it would be worth it,” Peneda said. “It’s a way to put Kearny on the map.” Read more »

Hope that town’s value will rebound in ‘14

Photo by Ron Leir Demolition proceeds at Jeryl Industrial Park in Kearny.

Photo by Ron Leir
Demolition proceeds at Jeryl Industrial Park in Kearny.

 

By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent

KEARNY –

An unhealthy combination of Superstorm Sandy and real estate tax appeals and settlements dealt Kearny’s total valuation a bad blow in 2013, reports John Peneda, the town’s tax assessor.

But Peneda predicts that with the beginning of new construction, the town should rebound somewhat in 2014.

Between 2013 and this year, according to Peneda’s calculations, Kearny’s tax ratables dropped, from $1,057,904,400 to $1,050,881,600, a roughly $7 million decline, which, in turn, translated to a $685,000 loss in tax revenues – enough to pay the salaries of 20 new police officers.

A good chunk of the hit taken by the town can be attributed to the loss in income absorbed last year by RTL Services at Kearny Point Industrial Park, opposite Hudson County Jail, in South Kearny, where several of the company’s tenants vacated flooded warehouses in the aftermath of Sandy.

Tenants would be unable to remain without securing flood insurance, the cost of which – given the low-lying condition of their rented facilities – would be prohibitive, according to Peneda.

Following a tax settlement with the company, the town reduced the assessments on two warehouse buildings by a total of $5.5 million, causing a drop of $530,505 in yearly taxes.

Now, after the town’s governing body has put in motion a proposal by RTL to designate those properties as areas in need of redevelopment, the company has begun to demolish them in favor of erecting new structures that will be raised above the flood zone so that new tenants can be secured, Peneda said.

Similarly, the owners of Jeryl Industrial Park off the Belleville Turnpike and the town came to an agreement on a lower assessment on the grounds that their business income has plummeted because they’ve had few tenants occupying their crumbling buildings. With the reduced assessment, the town is netting about $258,000 less in taxes on the property, Peneda said.

The town’s construction enforcement office had waged a running battle with the site’s prior owners, having denied certificates of occupancy to prospective tenants, citing code violations.

But nw, the new management is in the process of ripping down most of the buildings on the site and has pledged to build a new, state-of- the-art industrial park and to fix the interior, pothole-filled roadway that winds through the sprawling site between the Pike and Schuyler Ave.

Last year’s tax slump notwithstanding, Peneda sees cause for hope. “Although the short-term looks tough,” he said, “the horizon looks bright,” given future tax revenues that he sees coming from several new two-family homes being built around town, the mixed-used development at Schuyler and Bergen Aves. with an Investors Bank already built and a multi-family apartment complex now being constructed by Carlstadt developer Ed Russo, the newly opened Wawa and the Walmart expansion, both on Harrison Ave., and a new 7-eleven at the Pike and Schuyler.

And the town is keeping its fingers crossed that, soon, the Hudson County Improvement Authority, Kearny and a private owner can successfully market the Koppers Koke meadows site in South Kearny to a private sector developer for additional tax revenue to the town.

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