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NAPD seeks man who allegedly passed 4 fake $100s

The North Arlington Police Department  is currently investigating an incident involving use of counterfeit $100 bills at a 7-Eleven on Ridge Rd. A man, approximately 6′  in height, 150 lbs., wearing a baseball cap  with a Seattle Mariners logo, a […]


W.H.A.T. presents ‘The Addams Family’ July 30-Aug. 5, including preview tonight at Angry Coffee Bean

KEARNY — Teen Drama, a theater company for teens celebrating its fifth anniversary this summer, in association with the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company (W.H.A.T.) presents the modern classic Broadway musical “The Addams Family” this summer. The smash-hit musical […]


Images from funeral procession for Jersey City police Detective Melvin Santiago

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Farewell to a brother in blue

On Friday afternoon, regular traffic came to a halt on the Belleville Pike and Ridge Road to open the route for the funeral procession of slain Jersey City Police Detective Melvin Santiago. The 23-year-old rookie, promoted posthumously to detective, had been ambushed early Sunday, July 13, when he […]


State eyes raising part of Pike

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – The Rt. 7/Belleville Turnpike corridor which runs through Kearny’s meadows area and beyond is getting a lot of attention these days from state and federal transit agencies. For the past couple of years, contractors hired by the state Department of Transportation have […]


Real Estate Review: How to make your home

Paolo Pinto
Paolo Pinto

house logo (store)

Yes, I can’t believe it’s Summer already! Great time of the year with sunny day, heat, beautiful landscapes and flowers; makes summer the best time of the year. Just as summer brings its beauty, shouldn’t a home bring forth its beauty? Yes, especially if you are considering selling your home this year. From my experience as real estate professional I have found that a “well-polished” house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price in today’s real estate market. Buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is maintained, what they can’t see has probably also been properly maintained by the homeowner as well. Consider the following in readying your house for sale this year, consider:

How much should you spend on the exterior and curb appeal and in preparing the interior?

How much should you spend In preparing your home for a market sale? It’s really in the spending factor. Spend as little money as possible. Buyers will often be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren’t likely to give you enough extra money for your investment. There is a big difference between making a minor inexpensive polishing and what is called touch-ups. For example, painting your house, or putting new knobs on cabinets and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen would be considerations for how much should actually be invested to sell your home. Paulo Pinto, broker/ owner of Campion Realty LLC, is familiar with buyers’ expectations in your neighborhood and can advise you specifically on what improvements need to be made so don’t hesitate to ask for more information.

Maximizing exterior and your curb appeal

Before putting your house on the market, take as much time is necessary (and as little money as possible) to enhance your exterior and interior appeal. Here are some tips that will help enhance your home’s exterior and curb appeal:

Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered regularly.

Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly.

Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling.

Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint.

Clean and align gutters.

Inspect and clean your chimney.

Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.

Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.

In northern winters, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice.

During spring and summer months consider adding a few showy annuals, perhaps in pots, near your front entrance.

Re-seal an asphalt driveway.

Keep your garage door closed.

Store RVs or old and beaten up cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.

Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door.

Maximizing interior appeal

Enhance your home’s interior by:

Giving every room in the house a thorough cleaning, as well as removing all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company.

Remove the less frequently used, even daily used items from kitchen counters, closets, and attics; make these areas less cluttered. Since you’re anticipating a move anyhow, holding a garage sale at this point is a great idea, especially in the summer months approaching.

Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork. Inspect and repair the plumbing, heating , cooling, and alarm systems.

Repair dripping faucets and showerheads. Buy showy new towels for the bathroom, to be brought out only when prospective buyers are on the way.

Spruce up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by investing in new cabinet knobs, new curtains, or a coat of neutral paint.

The summer is considered the most productive months for real estate sales and purchases. Having a realtor like Paulo Pinto, broker/owner of Champion Realty LLC, who has served the Kearny, North Arlington and the surrounding areas for more than nine years, makes the difference in your home selling or purchasing endeavors. For more staging, home selling tips and purchasing questions don’t hesitate to contact Paulo Pinto at 201- 283-2188


Concetta T. Arnone

Concetta T. Arnone died May 3 at home. She was 85.

Born in Kearny, she was a lifelong resident prior to moving to Georgia five years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Concetta was a retired clerk from Prudential Insurance Company and was Bingo assistant at St. Cecilia’s Church.

Sister of Mary Elizabeth Gattone and the late Caroline Jerry, she was also the aunt of Dr. Garri-Anne Jerry Austin, Paul Jerry and Bernadette Dolan Jerry; also surviving are her great nephews JD and Charlie Jerry.

Mary Anna Malecki

Mary Anna Malecki ( nee Cebula ), 90, died Sunday, May 5, at the Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville.

Born in Dupont, Pa., she lived in North Arlington since 1955.

She worked as a light bulb maker for General Electric in Newark for nine years before retiring in 1956. She was a member of the North Arlington Senior Citizens. Mary loved cooking and canning and spending time with her wonderful neighbors.

She was the beloved wife of the late Fred C. Malecki, the devoted mother of Dolores Spivack and her husband Paul, the cherished grandmother of Michael, Anne and Jonathan Spivack , the loving aunt of Nancy Faulent, Mary Ann Massina and many other nieces and nephews, the adored friend of Janina Dorosczyk and the dear neighbor of the Iannacone family.

The funeral was from the Parow Funeral Home, 185 Ridge Rd., North Arlington on Friday, May 10, at 11 a.m., followed by a funeral Mass at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, at noon, followed by entombment Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington.

Elisa Prystauk

Elisa Ravo Boucher Prystauk, 77, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, May 6, surrounded by her loving family. A funeral service was held on Thursday, May 9, at 11 a.m. at the Norman Dean Home For Services, 16 Righter Ave, Denville. Interment followed at the Denville Cemetery. Visiting hours were he ld on Wednesday, May 8, from 4 to 7 p.m. For further information, or to send a message of condolence, please go to www.normandean.com.

Born in Newark, Elisa lived in Kearny most of her life. She married William Prystauk in 1951 and the couple started their family. Elisa was an exceptional mother and homemaker. She worked at Bamberger’s in Newark when her children were young and then at Ben Franklin in Kearny. In her spare time she enjoyed reading and crocheting blankets and dolls for her family and friends.

Predeceased by her husband William, her mother Elvira Ravo and her brothers Nelson and David; she is survived by her loving children Helen (Harry Anderson), Elissa (Peter Spero), William Jr., Mark (Brenna Krause), and Ana LaTournous (Allen); her grandchildren Allen James and Adam LaTournous; sisters Alberta Burns (Ron) and Elvira Ravo; brother Ron Boucher; and many other loving relatives caretakers and friends.

Richard A. Richardson

Richard A. Richardson entered into eternal rest on May 5 at home. He was 74.

Born in East Orange, he lived many years in Kearny before moving to Watchung in 1992.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Rich served in the Army from 1964 until 1969 and was a retired marketing director from Federal Pacific Electric in Newark.

Beloved husband of Anne (nee Sheldrick), he was the son of the late William and Helen Richardson and the late William Ott. He is survived by his loving sons and their wives Stephen and Maria Richardson and Michael and Sandra Richardson, his brother Frederick and his cherished grandchildren Alyssa, Brittany and Hannah. He was predeceased by his brother Bill. Rich also leaves behind many nieces and nephews. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to Wounded Warriors.

Mary Louise Witt

Mary Louise Witt (nee Jardin) died, surrounded by her loving family, on May 7 at home. She was 69.

Born in Newark, she lived most of her life in Kearny.

A funeral Mass was held in St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, with burial following at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Mary was a retired secretary from American Strip Steel in Kearny and enjoyed her trips to Atlantic City.

Beloved wife of Thomas C. Witt, she is survived by her children and their spouses Thomas and Maureen Witt, Kenneth and Marianne Witt, Sandra and James Hodnet and Joseph and Jeannie Witt. Sister of Manny Jardin and Rosemarie Alves she is also survived by her grandchildren Kenny, Thomas, Jimmy, Allyssa, Haylee, Travis, Joey and Trayton along with many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Groceries, fresh produce now at expanded Walmart


Walmart opened its new 40,000 square foot grocery and fresh produce wing on May 8. The store, which will now be open 24 hours per day, also features a pharmacy and offers customers a variety of merchandise, including apparel, electronics, toys, sporting goods, and lawn and garden items.

Walmart opened its new 40,000 square foot grocery and fresh produce wing
on May 8. The store, which will now be open 24 hours per day, also features a
pharmacy and offers customers a variety of merchandise, including apparel,
electronics, toys, sporting goods, and lawn and garden items.


Eighty new jobs have been created by an expanded Walmart, 150 Harrison Ave., Kearny, which held a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 8.

The enlarged store, which adds about 40,000 square feet to the existing store, will provide Kearny residents with one-stop shopping convenience for their grocery and general merchandise needs, and is open 24 hours a day. The store also offers pharmacy services.

New departments include fresh and full grocery.

The store features quality, value-priced general merchandise, including apparel, electronics, toys, sporting goods, and lawn and garden items. It also offers a full line of groceries, including organic and natural selections in addition to local favorites.

The pharmacy offers a full range of products and services. Pharmacy team members can answer product and prescription questions and offer health and wellness solutions.

The store now employs approximately 300 full- and part-time associates, including the new positions created by the expansion. Store manager Tim Peterson began his Walmart career in 1997 as a sporting goods associate.

Walmart invites Kearny shoppers to share their instore experience on Facebook and Twitter. Visit the My Local Walmart Facebook page at http://www.facebook. com/walmart5447. Fans of the local page can receive information about rollbacks, in-store events, meal solutions and more.

Discarded cigarette suspected cause of fire

Photos by Ron Leir Fire scene at 610 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. North.

Photos by Ron Leir
Fire scene at 610 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. North.



An alert police officer is being credited with getting a quick jump on a fire that broke out at 610 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. North this past Monday, May 13.

Tour Commander Fire Capt. Robert Gillen said that an alarm of fire came in at about 2:45 p.m.

Gillen said the fire appeared to have originated at a first-floor wooden rear porch area at 610 Rodgers Blvd. N., just south of Scott Mobus Place, East Newark, at the Harrison border.

Gillen said that Harrison Police Officer Paul Yarznbowicz, who was on patrol duty at the time and near the scene, grabbed the fire extinguisher from his vehicle and, while helping evacuate the building, used the extinguisher to knock down the fire.

“He succeeded in isolating fhe fire to a minimal damage area,” Gillen said

Harrison Police Chief Derek Kearns said: “It’s part of our protocol to have an extinguisher in the trunk of our patrol cars.”

In the meantime, Harrison Fire Department responded with a ladder truck, engine and safety officer, with assistance from Kearny Fire Department, which sent four rigs, Gillen said.

Gillen said firefighters managed to douse the remnants of the fire within about 15 minutes with only “minimal” property damage to the three-story stucco residential structure.

Gillen said that the cause of the fire is being investigated by Fire Official George Kondek but said there is speculation that a discarded cigarette or match from someone smoking on the wood porch could have ignited the blaze.

About 20 firefighters responded to the fire which, Gillen said, resulted in no injuries to civilians or firefighters.

— Ron Leir

Photos by Ron Leir  View of rear brown wood where fire

Photos by Ron Leir
View of rear brown wood where fire

Highlights from the Nutley Police blotter

May 10

A motor vehicle stop, at 1:07 a.m., on River Road resulted in the arrest of Rolando Diaz, 37, of Wallington, on charges of possession of drugs and two tickets charging him with failure to observe a traffic control device and failure to exhibit registration.

May 8

At 7:10 a.m., police were called to a Prospect St. location on a report of criminal mischief to an auto. The vehicle’s owner told police that sometime during the night someone slashed the rear driver’s side tire of their vehicle while it was parked in their driveway causing $180 in damages. It was the third time in three weeks the vehicle had been vandalized, the owner told police.

May 7

Three apparently unrelated cases of suspected fraud were reported by three victims, police said.

In the first, logged at 10:04 a.m., the victim told police they purchased a Green Dot MoneyBack gift card, coded to a card number, from Dish Network to get additional channels through a promotional offering and received a credit to their account. But several days later, they received a bill for nearly $1,000. The victim surmised that someone hacked into the Dish Network site, showed the credit and removed the money. Police advised the company of the scam.

Next, at 12:53 p.m., a victim told police that someone claiming to be their grandson told them they were in an accident and broke his nose but, when told he didn’t sound like the victim’s grandson, said he’d call back after getting a lawyer.

And, at 1:35 p.m., police said a resident told them they paid a company $2,000 for work performed but after checking their bank statement, noticed that $4,000 had been removed from their account and that a copy of the check appeared to have been tampered with. The bank issued a stop payment and the resident was advised to file a complaint with the court.

May 5

A Whitford Ave. resident called police at 4:48 p.m. to report that someone had removed the passenger side headlight and assembly from their vehicle. Nothing appeared to be missing from inside the vehicle, police said.

• At 2:36 p.m., a Forest Ave. homeowner told police that while in their backyard, they saw several golf balls arching over their fence. One ball, they said, landed on the roof of their child’s toy car in which the child was sitting. The child wasn’t hurt, they said. They told police they saw a group of juveniles with lacrosse sticks running from the field behind Spring Garden School toward the stairs to Overlook Terrace. Police said they searched but couldn’t find them.

• At 12:42 p.m., police traveled to a Plymouth Road location on a report of a theft from a resident who told police their bank text messaged them about two charges to their account totaling about $1,000 made at an NJ Transit station. Police said the victim realized they’d lost their wallet, a black Kenneth Cole wristlet, in a car wash. The victim canceled the account.

Five incidents of criminal mischief were reported within a seven and a half hour period, police said. At 1:29 a.m., a Bloomfield Ave. resident told police they heard voices and then a vehicle drive away. Looking outside, they noticed that one of their $10 flower pots had been broken. At 6:36 a.m., police on patrol discovered a broken flower pot in the middle of a Prospect St. site and were advised by the owners – who didn’t see or hear anything during the night – that the pot was worth $30. At 7:13 a.m., a Beech St. resident reported that their ceramic bird bath and flower pot had been broken, causing $100 in damages. And, at 8:09 a.m., police received a report from a Coeyman Ave. resident that their $80 goose statue had been vandalized overnight.

May 4

At 2:59 a.m., police responded to a report of criminal mischief at a Spring St. location. A resident told police they were inside their home when they heard a crash and found one of their front windows was broken and a rock eight inches wide was on the living room couch, directly behind the broken window. The resident told police the rock appeared to have been taken from the front yard.

— Ron Leir

Meet the ‘Ghost Army’

Photo courtesy John Jarvie Artillery piece used in training looks lethal, but it isn’t

Photo courtesy John Jarvie
Artillery piece used in training looks lethal, but it isn’t


By Karen Zautyk

Observer Correspondent


In June 1944, not long after the Allied forces’ D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy, another 1,100 American soldiers crossed the Channel from England to France. Their task: “To create a traveling road show of deception.”

From ‘44 until the end of the war in Europe in 1945, the men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops carried out their mission through France, Belgium and Luxembourg and into Germany, misleading the Nazis about the size, strength and whereabouts of various American units.

The 1,100 were capable of “impersonating” up to 30,000 troops. And they did it with sound effects, false radio transmissions, phony command posts, deliberately misleading chatter in civilian areas — and, most ingenuous, inflatable tanks, trucks, artillery pieces and airplanes. Even inflatable soldiers.

Yes, inflatables. To be blown up with compressors, positioned in a field, deflated, packed up into little bags and moved to the next decoy position.

The 23rd would set up a fake landing field or would place the tanks and artillery somewhere in the countryside and imperfectly camouflage them with the intent that they be visible to German reconnaissance. The Nazis would then report the strength, location and identity of the U.S. unit — all of which was a ruse.

Photo courtesy National Archives Somewhere in France circa 1944: A convoy of American tanks, trucks, jeeps and artillery -- none of it real.

Photo courtesy National Archives
Somewhere in France circa 1944: A convoy of American tanks, trucks, jeeps and artillery — none of it real.

Now, there has been military deception at least since the time the Greeks rolled that big wooden horse up to the gates of Troy, but it’s not likely there was ever anything of the magnitude and complexity of the 23rd’s operation.

It helped win World War II. And then it remained an official military secret for nearly a half-century.

Now, as they say, the story can be told. It will be told in a documentary, “The Ghost Army,” set to air May 21 from 8 to 9 p.m. on PBS.

But it was told to us last week by lifelong Kearny resident John Jarvie, 91, a veteran of that “Ghost Army” whose predilection for memorabilia was a direct cause of the documentary’s being created in the first place.



Photo courtesy National Archives Somewhere in France circa 1944: A convoy of American tanks, trucks, jeeps and artillery -- none of it real.

Photo courtesy National Archives
Somewhere in France circa 1944: A convoy of American tanks, trucks, jeeps and artillery — none of it real.

Ghost_web4Jarvie has scores of photo albums and scrapbooks, preserving the history of his family (one album is dated 1881) and his exceptional military service.

Jarvie’s niece, Martha Garvin of Massachusetts, had borrowed one of the WWII scrapbooks for her son, who had asked if he could use it for a high school project.

Garvin showed it to a Massachusetts filmmaker, Rick Beyer, who came hurrying down to Kearny in 2005 to meet Jarvie, see the rest of the collection and learn more about the 23rd’s mission.

Beyer wrote, produced and directed the upcoming documentary, which features Jarvie, and he co-authored, with illustrator Elizabeth Sayles, a companion book.

The 23rd comprised the creative: artists, set designers, fashion designers (Bill Blass was a member and so was the latter-day Audubon, famed painter Arthur Singer), sound effects specialists and the like. Most of the artists were part of the unit’s 603rd Engineer Battalion, in charge of staging each deceptive deployment. “Every operation was different,” Jarvie noted.

Among the unit’s other three companies was the 3132 Sonic Service, which recorded the sounds of real troop/ equipment movement and mixed them to fit whatever scenario was being created to fool the enemy.

Tanks can’t just appear in a field; it’s more believable if they were “heard” rumbling through the countryside during the night.

The Signal Company specialized in “spoof radio” transmissions and deceptive Morse code messages regarding troop movements. Apparently, every telegrapher has an individual touch, sort of an audio fingerprint. “The Germans were adept at detecting this,” Jarvie explained, “so our operators had to have the same touch as the one they were impersonating.” The Germans would listen, secure in the knowledge they had pinpointed an American unit but, as Beyer’s book notes, “never catch on that the real unit and its radio operator were long gone.”

The 406th Engineer Combat Company executed construction and demolition tasks and, most importantly, provided perimeter security for the Ghost Army.

Jarvie had heard about the Army’s needing artists in 1942, although the concept of the Ghost Army (also called the “Blarney Units”) would not be authorized until 1943. The enlistees’ initial primary job was creating and painting camouflage art.

News of the need “was circulated in art schools,” Jarvie recalled, “and you could get into the unit only if you enlisted.” You also had to be cleared by both the local and State Police. In one of Jarvie’s scrapbooks is the 1942 letter signed by then-Kearny Police Chief John N. Hemsley attesting to the applicant’s sterling character.

So, at age 20, he left the family home at 4 Madison Ave. for basic training at Fort Meade in Maryland. Then it was on to Camp Forest in Tennessee, and eventually to England. It was only in England that the companies that would make up the Ghost Army came together, Jarvie said, since they had all been trained in different places stateside.

When they were given their assignment, “we were told, ‘Chances are you’re not going to come back from this’,” Jarvie remembered.

“We carried very light arms and were sent into places where there was no army to make believe there was an army there.”

“We set up fake artillery to draw fire.”

“And we got shelled. We got shelled a lot.”

They had 300 rubber tanks, each of which could be folded into a 2.5-foot x 3-foot bag. They also had to transport the inflatable artillery, jeeps, planes, tanks, trucks, et al.

“We got artillery fire all the time,” Jarvie said. “The inflatables used to leak regularly, but sometimes it took out our guys, too.” And he wasn’t talking about the inflatable soldiers.

Why use artists for this work? “Because you have to have a concept of how this is going to look,” Jarvie said. “When you want concept, you get artists. Your concept is everything. You ask, ‘What is this going to look like from the air?’”

So when a troop emplacement was set up, it had realistic touches. The rubber trucks and tanks had “left tracks” in the soil, tracks created by bulldozers.

The vehicles, the artillery, the planes were hidden, “but ‘hidden’ so the Germans could see them,” Jarvie said.

When the Germans returned, ready to attack, “there was nothing left but the tracks,” Javie said. “The Ghost Army was gone.”

But not all the Ghost Army’s time was spent in foxholes and among the hedgerows. Part of their job was to spread false information by word-of-mouth, and this they did by patronizing the bars and cafes in nearby towns and villages and talking among themselves.

“France was loaded with spies,” Jarvie said. “There was always someone listening. But the stuff we dropped for them to hear was all phony.”

They had to look the part of whatever American unit they were impersonating at any given time. Although the Ghost Army had its own insignia (see illustration that accompanies this story), it wasn’t seen until after the war.

Instead, the soldiers carried patches of various U.S. units and would sew them on their uniforms as needed for a particular deception.

In all, they took part in over 20 decoy operations. Among them was Operation Brittany, which led the Nazis to believe that Gen. George Patton’s troops were heading west. They weren’t. Patton was moving east to encircle the German 7th Army. And in 1945, as the American 9th Army prepared to cross the Rhine into Germany, the Ghost Army impersonated two full U.S. divisions, 30,000 troops, diverting German attention and allowing the 9th to carry out its attack with minimal resistance.

On July 2, 1945, Jarvie and the others returned to U.S. soil — but not to the end of war. They were sent to Pine Camp (now Fort Drum) in upstate New York, there to start training for the invasion of Japan. Training that about a month later became moot due to the explosion of two atomic bombs.

Mark your calendars for May 21 and check your TV listings. There’s much more to learn about the Ghost Army—and the artwork they created while fighting a war.

And as described in the book, along with danger, there could be humor. One anecdote: “Two Frenchmen on bicycles accidentally got through the perimeter. And what they thought they saw was four GI’s picking up a 40- ton Sherman tank and turning it around.” Ghost Army soldier Arthur Shilstone told the bewildered civilians: “The Americans are very strong.”


Meet Cpl. Jarvie

Courtesy of John Jarvie Jarvie created this image of another Ghost Army G.I. sketching in a tent in 1944.

Courtesy of John Jarvie
Jarvie created this image of another Ghost Army G.I. sketching in a tent
in 1944.



John Jarvie, 91, proud wearer of the Ghost Army insignia, is a true son of Kearny.

The child of Martha and Alexander Jarvie, who immigrated from Paisley, Scotland, to Kearny in 1910, he was born in 1922 in the family home at 20 Halstead St., at the corner of Brighton Ave.

In 1927, the Jarvies moved to 4 Madison Ave., the home from which he left to join the Army. John attended Roosevelt School, Kearny High School and Cooper Union in New York.

Following the war, he spent 30 years as art director at Fairchild Publications in New York, supervising 10 artists and six to seven writers. He later moved on to become vice president and art director of an automobile agency.

He has lived on Grand Place since 1960 – in a home featuring his art and those of his war buddies, stained glass that had been salvaged from the shattered windows of bombed-out churches and sold to soldiers by French children, and books, books, and more books. Along with three glass and silver liquor decanters that had belonged to Gen. George Patton. These were presented to Jarvie by the general’s daughter-in-law, Joanne Patton.

“She is a big fan of the Ghost Army,” Jarvie said.

Also among his treasures are two empty champagne bottles, which he had shipped (not empty) to his family from France. Incredibly, they arrived intact, and were finally opened in celebration when Jarvie returned home.

Memories, memories.

It’s all a reminder that there are extraordinary people with extraordinary stories living right here, among us.

Your correspondent feels privileged to have met this one.

– Karen Zautyk



Kearny immigrant fighting deportation


Photo courtesy Rudy Rodas Leandro Jose Frageri-Carlo, fiancee Flaviane de Souza and daughter Giovana.

Photo courtesy Rudy Rodas
Leandro Jose Frageri-Carlo, fiancee Flaviane de Souza and daughter Giovana.


By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent


A Kearny man accused of entering the U.S. illegally now faces deportation but his supporters have circulated an online petition calling on the federal government to stop the proceedings.

The alleged undocumented resident has been identified by his Jersey City immigration attorney Rudy Rodas as Leandro “Leo” Jose Frageri Carlos.

According to Rodas, Frageri- Carlos, 30, came here from Brazil, and, until his recent apprehension by federal immigration agents, was living in Kearny with his fiancee, daughter and stepdaughter.

Harold A. Ort, spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Newark, said Frageri- Carlos “entered the U.S. illegally in 2004 and was subsequently ordered removed in March 2005 by an immigration judge with the Executive Office for Immigration Review.”

Ort added: “ICE has adopted common sense policies nationwide that ensure our immigration laws are enforced in a way that best enhances public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system.

“As part of this approach, ICE has adopted clear priorities that call for the agency’s enforcement resources to be focused on the identification and removal of those that have broken criminal laws, recently crossed our border, repeatedly violated immigration law or are fugitives from immigration court.

“As an immigration fugitive, Frageri-Carlos is a priority for removal by ICE. He was arrested by ICE officers April 16, 2013, outside his home in Kearney [sic], N.J. He is currently detained at Delaney Hall [a federal detention center on Doremus Ave. in Newark] pending removal from the United States.”

In a phone interview, Rodas said his client “doesn’t have any criminal history. The removal order wasn’t because he committed a crime.”

Asked if the ICE allegation about illegal entry to the U.S. was accurate, Rodas said: [Frageri-Carlo] did enter the country without permission, looking for a better life. He has been working recently as a laborer, in construction, in Essex and Hudson counties. In the past he worked as a waiter and bartender. That’s how he supports his daughter and fiancée.”

According to his attorney, Frageri-Carlo is from Cuiaba, capital of the Brazilian state Mato Grosso in the western part of the country. After graduating from secondary school, the equivalent to high school in the U.S., he sold appliances.

Rodas said Frageri-Carlo’s mother left Brazil when he was 17 and five years later, when both his mother and sister had settled in the U.S., he decided to join them. Since then, he’s lived in Newark’s Ironbound section, Elizabeth and Kearny.

Rodas said his client “didn’t have anyone that could help him with his legal status.”

Frageri-Carlo’s fiancée, Flaviane de Souza, said she came to the U.S. in 1996 with her parents from San Paolo, Brazil. Her mother has since become a U.S. citizen and de Souza has applied for a visa.

De Souza’s family settled in Massachusetts and Flaviane’s “introduction” to Leandro came on a social website and an online relationship developed. Their first face-to-face meeting, she said, came in April 2009 at a rodeo which is held annually in Brockton, Mass.

“After I got pregnant [with Giovana, now age 2],” Flaviane said, “I decided to join Leo in New Jersey.” She also has another daughter, Leticia, now age 10, whose biological father lives in New Hampshire.

If Frageri-Carlo is forced to leave the U.S., de Souza and her fiancé face some hard choices. If de Souza opted to follow Frageri-Carlo back to Brazil, she said it‘s unlikely that Leticia’s dad would object to her taking his daughter with her.

“My 10-year-old has been crying,” de Souza said. “She understands [what could happen]. She barely sees her [biological} dad. Now she may lose her new dad.”

Following her fiancé back to their native country is a no-win proposition, she said. “Look at the crime rate in Brazil – it’s horrible. The health system, too. It’s going to be a hard choice for us to make. I just don’t want to think about it. A lot of people are going to get hurt. I’m just trying to think positive for now.”

Joanne Gottesman, clinical professor at Rutgers University Law School/Camden and director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic, said that the Frageri-Carlo situation isn’t an isolated occurrence these days. ICE enforcement of federal immigration laws in New Jersey and elsewhere “is continuing and expanding under the Obama administration, even now, on the verge of immigration reform.”

And although the expectation is that ICE would prioritize going after criminal suspects in the enforcement of immigration laws, Gottesman said the patterns of cases show that enforcement laws “are not being uniformly or systematically applied.”

Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, who has seen the online petition, said he doesn’t know the individuals involved but he believes that the number of ICE cases have “more than doubled under Obama.”

Santos recalled a case four years ago when Sen. Robert Menendez interceded on behalf of an undocumented Uruguayan family in Kearny facing deportation, despite the fact that their child, a student at Franklin School, was on dialysis and “near death.” Fortunately, Santos said, a year’s deferment was granted and the child “got surgery and survived.”

That case, he said, illustrated that sometimes a “compelling reason” for staying in the U.S. can save an individual or family from deportation. “Just because you’ve been here and established roots doesn’t do it,” he said. A life-threatening illness that can’t be treated in one’s native country or the threat of being politically or religiously persecuted in your country of origin, for example, can save the day, he added.

Santos said Congress needs to bear in mind that, “we have a very large population throughout the country of undocumented individuals who are performing jobs that are very hard to staff, usually in the service trades, such as the restaurant and landscaping industries, typically working off the books. They should be paying taxes and their employers should be paying taxes, not having them work off the books. There should be a way to grant those individuals work status and, later, we can debate whether that should lead to a path to citizenship – and I think it should. If we had mass deportations in the agriculture industry, many farms would shut down.”

Santos, himself an immigrant whose family had to wait two years before it could get into the U.S. from South America in 1970, said there’s something else to bear in mind: America’s birth rate has slipped to “just about 2%. If we fall below that, admitting more immigrants could be the way to sustain the country’s growth rate” – ultimately, vital to the U.S. economy.

“This country was built by immigrants,” Santos said. “We have to provide a path [to citizenship]. We can’t make it so restrictive that we close the door.”

Meanwhile, Rodas is doing what he can to keep his client in the U.S. “I filed a motion to reopen his case with the Immigration Court in Boston,” the attorney said. “Legally, ICE can only hold someone for 180 days and execute an order for removal [from the country] within that time. But, also by law, a stay [of removal] automatically goes into effect when the Court receives the motion.” The paperwork was delivered last week, he said.

Belgrove 2-family rejected

By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent


You could say the deck was stacked against them before they got to the table.

First, the new owners of 612 Belgrove Drive were mistakenly told by the town construction office that their newly acquired property was in an R-2 zone, and that it could accommodate a 2-family home, which was their intent.

Then, after they closed on the property and they applied for permits to build, the town informed them, oops, forget about that 2-family; that property is zoned for a medical office/1-family use so you’ll need to apply for a use variance.

Now the die was cast: Belgrove Drive residents, led by two politically-connected neighbors, lined up in earnest against the owner’s proposed split-level duplex with high steps and a garage in front and persuaded the seven members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment to shoot it down, unanimously.

All the zoning commissioners said they felt for the plight of the owners but still concluded that the proposed duplex with garage out front would clash with the existing neighborhood.

Kearny attorney Gary Bennett, who advocated for principal owner/applicant Maria Domingues, an optometrist, said he’d confer with his client on a possible appeal to the state Superior Court.

Afterwards, Domingues, a Lyndhurst-based optometrist with offices at 348 Ridge Road, said: “I feel that for the most part, the board did what they could. But I also feel that, unfortunately, because of a lot of political pressure by the councilwoman [Carol Jean Doyle] and the mayor’s aide [Lyla DeCastro] who went knocking on my neighbors’ doors, I don’t know if I got a fair hearing. It seems to me there was a preconceived notion because of friendships and relationships with board members [who were] maybe not basing my case on the testimony that was presented.”

The testimony elicited by Bennett from his witnesses indicated that the new owners of 612 Belgrove wanted to demolish a small single family home that had also served as a dental office until the dentist’s retirement and build a two-family, side-by-side split level duplex with three master bedrooms and a garage to accommodate Domingues and her sister.

“I loved the location,” Domingues said. “It had a big lot for a big house.”

At least twice before closing on the property in July 2012, family members were told by town construction office employees the property was zoned for R-2 use – and presented with a zoning certificate reinforcing that claim.

It wasn’t until late September 2012 – after the family had engaged a Lyndhurst architect for the project – that Domingues’ brother-in-law, Ricardo Esteves, was told he couldn’t build a 2-family house. “When they told me that, I was very confused,” Esteves said.

Bennett reasoned that the site, a 10,600 square foot lot, was “particularly suited to an R-2 use, being larger than most of the adjacent properties, and [would] not represent introduction of a new nonconforming use.” Further, he said, it would “preserve the character of the neighborhood, maintain and improve the quality of housing, and protect against infill of the residential neighborhood.”

But neighbors weren’t having any of that.

Calling Belgrove Drive a “special street” in Kearny, Councilwoman Doyle said the block has “no duplexes” and that most homes there are “Victorians.” She said that given that a member of the family was an experienced contractor, she found it “curious” that the owners would “go back to the construction office several times and ask the same questions two, three, four times.”

DeCastro said “many homes” on Belgrove “have beautiful large lots with one-family homes. That’s how it should remain.” When it was noted by one of Bennett’s experts that a building directly across from the former dental office was a multi-family, De- Castro said it’s been used for that purpose “since the 1930s – it’s not new construction.”

Deirdre Sullivan said she was owner of a huge “pagoda” home on Belgrove. “It’s a one-family home,” she said. “I’d like to see it stay that way.” Other neighbors, including James Lawless, George Fernandez and Paul Shalvoy, all agreed with that central premise.

In summary, Bennett asked the board to show some leniency to the owners, who, he said, purchased the property for $225,000 with the expectation that they’d be able to put up a 2-family home. “A mistake was made,” he added. “That happens. But it precludes them from doing what they want without your permission.

“These people aren’t investors,” Bennett continued. “They want to live in the property. And, he noted, they did their best not to overextend the footprint of the house, by providing for “only 23% lot coverage. … This isn’t Clinton Ave.; it’s not Grand Place – it’s a little different.”

As the board voted, member Sebastian Viscuso seemed to set the tone when he said: “I totally feel for these people because I have in my hand a document signed by [Town Construction Official] Michael Martello stating that [612 Belgrove] is in an R-2 zone. They went under the assumption they could build a 2-family home. They spent a lot of money. But I’d prefer to see the garage flipflopped.”

Board member Cecilia Lindenfelser said she, too, felt “empathy” for the applicants but she said she wasn’t convinced that 612 Belgrove was “the only place you could go” to build the duplex. “And there’s no basis to say it benefits the neighborhood [because] it doesn’t fit in. And I’m concerned about setting a precedent,” inviting other property owners to follow suit.

“Kearny is becoming dense,” said board member James Hill. “We have unique neighborhoods and we need to preserve those neighborhoods.”

Board Vice Chairman Tony Capiti said that he, too, sympathized with the applicants “but I can’t see changing the [property’s] use because you’re setting a precedent.” Board member Janice Barton found herself of two minds on the issue. While she objected to the duplex’s design – “I don’t like to see two front doors and steps going up that high” – she told the applicants: “You got bad information and something should be done about it.”

Board member Joseph Slavik found himself befuddled. “I don’t know what to say,” he said.

But Board Chairman Richard Konopka didn’t hesitate when he observed that the applicants’ duplex would be “a beautiful home but not good for Belgrove Drive. Putting this up would not be conforming to the neighborhood.”

By a 4-3 margin, the board voted to reject the application. Konopka, Capiti, Lindenfelser and Hill opposed the project, while Barton, Slavik and Viscuso favored it.

Domingues said she was mulling over what, if anything, to do with the property. “I do have the option of building a one-family house – a nice modern home in the style I want – it’s not going to look like a ranch or Victorian home. I’m also considering putting my professional office there. And if I do that, I work six days a week, so I want the neighbors to know that plenty of parking on the street will be taken up by my patients. I have to weigh my options. … If I do build a home, I will build a massive home, within the limits for a 1-family home. I am not selling that house.”

Last week, Martello was on vacation but Assistant Construction Official Anthony Chisari said that when the applicants brought 612 Belgrove, a “typographical error” was to blame for the change to “the previous R-2 template on the certificate of occupancy.

“That’s where we went downhill and it snowballed from there,” Chisari said.

Asked how that sort of error could be prevented in future, Chisari said: “It’s just a matter of scrutinizing the paperwork.”

Windows on a world of shopping


Photo courtesy KHS

Photo courtesy KHS


By Karen Zautyk

Observer Correspondent


Blossoms are blooming all over town these days, and it’s all thanks to the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ) and some artistically talented students from Kearny High School. Not to mention a bunch of cooperative buinesses that have allowed their windows to be transformed from plate glass to, figuratively speaking, canvases.

Over the course of two days last week — Wednesday and Thursday — some 60 to 70 KHS kids took to the streets with brushes and paint, creating colorful floral displays as part of the KUEZ’s second annual Windows of Spring project.

First launched last year, it proved to be a popular and successful promotion, prompting residents and visitors alike to tour the town to view the murals and patronize the participating businesses.

Part of the project involves a contest: a hunt for Kearny Kardinals hidden among some of the flowers.

There are 18 KUEZ businesses with decorated windows, but only five will feature the KHS mascot. Find all five (look sharp!), and you can be eligible to win a KUEZ shopping spree.

Photo by Karen Zautyk

Photo by Karen Zautyk


John Peneda, KUEZ coordinator, said Windows of Spring arose from a brainstorming session last year. He and KUEZ publicist Linda Kraus-D’Isa were discussing promotional projects, “and Linda came up with this idea,” Peneda said. “She knew it had worked in another town.”

The KUEZ then recruited the KHS students, most of whom are enrolled in at least one art class at the school.

With the cooperation of Martin Hoff, chairman of the Department of Music/Art/ Media, and art teacher Chris McShane, the project was organized and brought to fruition.

Last week, two contingents comprising 30-35 different students per day completed the task, in teams of three to five per window. They worked during school hours and can include the time as community service hours if they wish, a school spokesman noted.

“I love this whole event,” Peneda told us, “not only because of the Kearny High School students’ involvement but also because it encourages people to go all over town.

Photo by Karen Zautyk

Photo by Karen Zautyk


“They might go to an area that they normally don’t frequent and find a store they didn’t know existed — and, hopefully, go in and shop.”

The Windows of Spring contest runs May 7-21.

The participating businesses are:

• Applebee’s (175 Passaic Ave.)

• Cathy Hair Fashion (828 Kearny Ave.)

• Classic Dry Cleaners (374 Belleville Tpk.) • Cleaner America (787 Kearny Ave.)

• Clydesdale Auto Body (471-481 Schuyler Ave.)

• Coccia Realty (636 Kearny Ave.)

• Fruit Cholada (4 Kearny Ave.)

• G & M Garcia Agency (439-457 Kearny Ave.)

• Irish Quality Shop (465 Kearny Ave.) • LF Signs & Hobbies (124 Schuyler Ave.)

• Mace Brothers Fine Furniture (512 Kearny Ave.)

• Metro PCS (350 Kearny Ave.)

• Midtown Pharmacy (581 Kearny Ave.)

• Neno-Rosa Agency (551- 553 Kearny Ave.)

• Piper’s Cove (212 Kearny Ave.)

• Sajonia Delight Spa (856 Kearny Ave.)

• ShopRite of Kearny (100 Passaic Ave.)

• Yo-Lish Yogurt (252 Kearny Ave.)

Remember, only five of these windows feature a Kearny Kardinal. You must find all five birds and ID their location. Winners will be chosen from correct entries received. Entry boxes will be located in businesses participating in the promotion.

Happy hunting!

2 rescued in Belleville house fire

Two civilians were rescued from a Belleville fire last Wednesday, May 1.

Belleville Fire Capt. Scott Wentworth said the Fire Department received a 911 emergency call at 11:37 p.m. about people trapped in a singlefamily wood frame house at 16 Hickory St., off Chestnut St., near the Nutley border.

Wentworth said the fire originated on the first floor and extended up the attic.

He said a 43-year-old grandmother and 2-year-old female toddler had climbed out a second-floor bedroom window onto the rear roof of the building and Belleville Police officers used a neighbor’s ladder to climb up and safely escort the pair down to safety.

Additionally, Wentworth said, three dogs were safely removed from the building and were administered oxygen outside.

Wentworth said the civilians were taken, initially, to Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, where they were stabilized and then transferred to St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston for more entensive treatment.

As of Monday, both were listed in good condition, fire officials said.

No injuries to firefighters were reported.

Wentworth said the fire was brought under control by midnight and wrapped up at 1:30 a.m. Cause of the fire remains under investigation, he said.

The building, which suffered interior damage, was tagged as an unsafe structure, Wentworth said.

Battalion Chief Richard Cavanagh served as tour commander at the fire scene. Ten Belleville firefighters aboard two engines and a ladder truck were assisted by 15 mutual aid firefighters. Nutley supplied an engine and ladder truck; Bloomfield, a pumper; and Kearny, a ladder truck.

— Ron Leir