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Ferrarro resigns, takes buyout

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  After months of wrangling with his employer, the Kearny Board of Education, Frank Ferraro has tendered his resignation as Kearny superintendent of schools, effective Nov. 1. Ferraro, who was facing the threat of being fired after the board had brought tenure charges […]


New high school VP named

KEARNY – A 13-year school employee has been promoted to vice principal assigned to Kearny High School. Paul Measso, 37, was appointed to his new job Oct. 20 at an annual salary of $128,163 (pro-rated), pending receipt of his principal certificate of eligibility from Trenton. He completed a master’s degree […]


Lottery for senior apts. next month

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  HARRISON – The town’s first affordable residence for senior citizens at 774 Harrison Ave. is getting ever closer to reality. As construction of the 15-unit building nears completion, the sponsor, Domus Corp., the housing arm of Catholic Charities of Newark, has begun the process […]


Heroin/gun rap for felon

      By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  When Kearny Vice Squad detectives busted a Newark man for drug possession/distribution Oct. 17 on Maple St., they reported recovering 135 folds of heroin. While the suspect was languishing in the Hudson County Jail on $40,000 bail, the KPD […]


Borough voters getting school question

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  EAST NEWARK –  A court ruling has cleared the way – over objections by Harrison – for a Nov. 4 nonbinding referendum asking borough voters, “Should East Newark high school students be sent to Kearny High School instead of Harrison High School?” Harrison Board […]


Good weekend of football for Lyndhurst, Kearny


Tuero earns first coaching win; Kardinals now 3-1


By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

The first three weeks of the high school football season weren’t as trying as one might think, as Lyndhurst lost all three times.

“The spirits were high,” said Lyndhurst first-year head coach Rich Tuero. “We were always moving forward. The kids were all about getting Coach Tuero’s first win, but it wasn’t about me. We just had to keep trying, because we were so close.”

The Golden Bears gave undefeated powerhouse Waldwick- Midland Park all it could handle, before falling short in the fourth quarter.

“That was the frustrating part,” Tuero said. “There wasn’t one bit of letdown or giving up. They were always so great.”

At Kearny, the spirits were a little different. The Kardinals were enjoying a fine start to the 2014 season and wanted to continue that positive vibe.

“We have tough kids who want to win,” said Kearny second-year head coach Nick Edwards. “They want to compete and be football players. They fight and do the best that they can.”

So the 0-3 Golden Bears took on Harrison and the 2-1 Kardinals faced Newark Collegiate last weekend. And both local teams emerged victorious.

The Golden Bears were finally able to get new coach Tuero his first win, defeating Harrison, 49-21.

The Kardinals won a tough one, taking a 10-6 decision to improve to 3-1, which are completely unchartered waters for the Kards in recent years. It’s been more than 20 years since Kearny had three wins by the first week of October.

Needless to say, it was a great weekend of football for the Golden Bears and the Kardinals.

Lyndhurst saw its quarterback Pete Guerriero enjoy  a game of a lifetime. Guerriero had 200 yards rushing on 14 carries and three touchdowns and passed for 140 yards and another touchdown. On defense, Guerriero had six tackles, two passes defended and an interception.

“He ran the quarterback trap and was gone in five seconds,” Tuero said of Guerriero. “We knew he had the talent. We just didn’t know what his role was going to be with us.”

Guerriero is a transfer from St. Mary’s of Rutherford, where he only played defense.

Tuero said that Guerriero reminds him of Brian Kapp, the former Observer Athlete of the Year from 2004-2005.

“This kid is a stud,” Tuero said of Guerriero. “(Former Lyndhurst head coach Jim) Vuono told me that he’s the fastest kid he’s ever seen at Lyndhurst. That says a lot.”

The Golden Bears wanted to win for junior captain Matt DeMarco, who suffered a thumb injury and is now lost for the season.

“Matt has been all in and is all about the team,” Tuero said. “He had 90 yards rushing and a touchdown and made 12 tackles before he left. The kid was possessed.”

Tuero said that the victory was big, not only because it was his first ever, but because an 0-4 football team hardly ever recovers for the rest of what becomes a losing season.

“The one thing the win does is give the kids confidence that they can win,” Tuero said. “They now can’t wait to get back into the weight room, get back to practice. They all have their heads held high as they walk around the school and hear all the good stuff.”

Photo by Jim Hague Kearny quarterback David Nash passed for 200 yards in Kearny’s 10-6 win over Newark Collegiate last weekend, pushing the Kardinals’ record to 3-1, the best mark for a Kearny football team since 1994.

Photo by Jim Hague
Kearny quarterback David Nash passed for 200 yards in Kearny’s 10-6 win
over Newark Collegiate last weekend, pushing the Kardinals’ record to 3-1, the
best mark for a Kearny football team since 1994.


Tuero also credited Jordan Stewart, who scored a defensive touchdown for the second game in a row. Stewart, the Bears’ outside linebacker, had a 57-yard fumble recovery for a score after having a 38-yard interception return the week before.

“He’s playing very well,” Tuero said.

The Kardinals are sitting pretty, as they try hard to gain the program’s first-ever NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group IV playoff berth. They’re not there yet, but it’s not too early to dream.

“The defense has definitely stepped up,” Edwards said. “They (Newark Collegiate) had fourth and goal and we stripped the ball. We got lucky there. It’s a big win. All the kids want to do is win.”

Sophomore Niko Yamba Mamba (yes, that is his real name) was all over the field at his middle linebacker slot.

“He’s a special kid,” Edwards said of Yamba Mamba. “He works hard in practice and in the classroom. He’s just a great kid to coach. You want 11 kids like him.”

Thiago Teixiera scored the Kards’ lone touchdown. David Nash, the savvy quarterback, threw for 200 yards and Sammy Sanchez had five receptions for 85 yards.

The Benavides twins, Mike and Chris, keyed a defensive effort which did not allow a single pass completion the entire game.

“They were awesome back there,” Edwards said.

Both teams have tough opponents this weekend. The Golden Bears have to face Garfield, while the Kardinals take on former head coach Oscar Guerrero and the Tigers of Memorial of West New York.

But there’s joy and hope this week on the two local gridirons.

“Our kids aren’t happy about being 3-1,” Edwards said. “We think we should be better. But I’m happy. We’re going forward. We have a good football team.”

When is the last time a Kearny coach said those words?

New coach Jelcic leads Lyndhurst boys’ soccer through tough times


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

Dennis Jelcic did a fantastic job building the Lyndhurst-Paramus hockey cooperative program, so he believed he could weave some magic in turning the boys’ soccer around at Lyndhurst High School.

It certainly made Jelcic one of the most unique coaches in New Jersey. There aren’t many – if any others at all – that coach soccer in the fall and hockey in the winter. It’s definitely a different mix.

“I don’t know of any others,” Jelcic said.

Jelcic was eager to take on the challenge.

“I’m very excited,” Jelcic said before the start of the season last month. “We have a lot of young players who are doing whatever I ask of them. They’re staying late after practice.”

Jelcic also brought on veteran Ken Van Rye as an assistant coach.

“He’s been nothing short of excellent as an assistant,” Jelcic said. “I’m excited to have a young team that will be competitive for many years to come.”

Jelcic is also optimistic about the plethora of young players participating in soccer in town.

“We have a lot of young talented players coming up,” Jelcic said. “The program is looking up.”

So there’s no way that Jelcic will look at the Golden Bears’ current 3-7 record as a setback.

The Golden Bears showed some promise when they defeated Bergen Charter, 7-4, two weeks ago. But they have lost four of their last five games.

Jelcic has a lot of faith in his goalkeepers, namely senior Thomas Hooper and sophomore Milton Rua.

Hooper is a former cross country runner who decided to switch to play soccer this season. He has collected 41 saves in seven games. Rua has made 19 saves in three games.

“Hooper has been like a fish in water,” Jelcic said. “But he’s tall and athletic and learning as he goes along. Milton is a quality keeper.”

The Golden Bears will continue to use both net minders.

Junior Ryan Brown has returned to Lyndhrrst after a year away. He’s been an anchor to the Golden Bears’ defense and has collected a team-high six assists.

Junior Motana Thungason is a returning starter and is a member of the defender contingent.

Senior Edgar Bravo is another veteran member of the Lyndhurst defensive unit.

Junior Giovanni Arcentales is the key playmaker in the Golden Bears’ midfield. Arcentales scored 10 goals last year and has tallied three goals and added three assists thus far this season. He’s a dangerous offensive threat for the Golden Bears.

Sophomore Nick Pacheco and sophomore Doug DaSilva are also promising members in the midfield, along with returning senior starter Christian Formoso. DaSilva has collected three assists this season.

Sophomore Raymond Valenzuela is the Golden Bears’ leading goal scorer thus far, tallying four goals this season.

Notice the names and the respective years in school. The Golden Bears have a host of sophomores. One after another, they’re all young.

“We’re going through a lot of growing pains,” Jelcic said. “We’re a little inexperienced and rough to start.”

The forward line is also young, with Marildo Mera and Luis Yolinares as sophomores and Adrian Baronowski and Vincent DiTonto as freshmen.

So the Golden Bears’ record might be under .500, but the promise is there for a bright future.

“We’re going to be fine,” Jelcic said. “We definitely have a lot of kids who are interested in playing and who want to play. They practice hard all the time and play hard.”

That attitude will certainly lead to better results in the future. For now, the Golden Bears have to build on the wins they enjoyed against Bergen Charter, Ridgefield and local rival Queen of Peace.

“I like the direction of the program,” Jelcic said. “We’re moving forward.”

North Arlington’s Seca enjoys goal scoring outburst


By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

North Arlington’s Joanna Seca will be away from the Vikings’ girls’ soccer team for the next two weeks. She’s off to play at a higher level, joining the Portugal national 17-and-under team play.

“It’s a huge step and a golden opportunity for me,” Seca said. “Hopefully, it will lead to bigger and better things.”

It’s going to be a big loss for the Vikings, who are enjoying a fine 8-3 record thus far. But first-year head coach Dan Farinola realizes that he has to allow Seca to get the chance to play at such a prestigious level.

“It’s unbelievable,” Farinola said. “I can’t even imagine what that must be like for her. We have to change our game plan a little without her and in these five games, we’re certainly going to miss her.”

That’s an understatement, because Seca was in the middle of an incredible season.

In just 11 games, Seca had scored 20 goals and added 18 assists. In the week prior to her departure across the Atlantic, Seca scored nine goals and added six assists.

Seca had an incredible five goals and two assists against Weehawken, added two goals and two assists against Immaculate Conception of Lodi and had two goals and two assists against St. Mary’s of Rutherford.

That’s some offensive explosion and certainly a tremendous sendoff.

For her efforts, Seca has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.

“It feels awesome,” Seca said. “It shows that my hard work pays off. I had the right hungry mentality to get those five goals. I’m very happy with the way the season is going.”

Seca said that she had a lot of confidence coming into her senior year because she played with the top club soccer team in New Jersey, namely the Player Development Association (PDA).

“It helped with my skills and helped me improve tremendously,” Seca said. “It gave me a tremendous amount of confidence. I was really excited coming into the season, but I didn’t know what to expect. We lost a lot of seniors from last year. I knew I had to step up a little.”

Seca said that she has been holding control of the ball more and finding teammates like Taylor Barth, who has also scored 20 goals thus far.

“I bring the ball up myself,” Seca said. “That takes a little getting used to. I used to pass the ball a lot, but now, I look to take the ball and shoot as well. After a while, that gets natural.”

Seca said that she will miss playing with her team for the next two weeks.

“It’s tough, because we’ve all been working so hard,” Seca said. “I hate to leave. I want to be able to help the team. It stinks that this is taking place now and I can’t be a part of what my team is doing. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime dream.”

Farinola is happy having inherited a talented player like Seca.

“She’s really been like having another coach on the field,” Farinola said. “She has helped me tremendously. It’s a nice gift to have as a new coach. She’s fabulous. She worked so hard in the offseason.”

Farinola said that Seca’s work ethic in the offseason served as an inspiration for the other members of the Vikings.

“She got her fitness level up,” Farinola said. “She worked on her speed. She worked on her feet with the ball. She moves the ball effortlessly. And she can use both feet and can shoot from 30 yards out with either foot. It’s hard to see anyone else with that ability and it’s really cool to watch.”

Farinola heard some good things about Seca when he took the head coaching position.

“But she’s better than I thought,” Farinola said. “I knew she was going to be the center midfielder, but she’s outdone my expectations.”

Farinola said that the attention Seca commands has made her other players, like Barth, better performers.

“Other teams can’t help but to give all the attention to her, so she’s helped the others,” Farinola said. “It wasn’t her team at the beginning of the year, but it is now. And now she knows it’s her team.”

Remarkably, Seca has not received any offers from colleges, despite her soccer prowess and her academic status. Seca is currently ranked second in the North Arlington Class of 2015.

“I’m sure she’ll get some attention soon,” Farinola said. “I think she’s a Division 1 player. If she played any sport, she’d be an All-League player. That’s how good of an athlete she is. She’s a special girl. Someone has to give her a look now.”

“That’s the ultimate dream,” Seca said. “My goal has always been to play at the college level.”

Seca was asked if her 5-foot- 2 stature hurt her chances of getting recognized by colleges.

“No, not at all,” Seca said. “I don’t really think about that. Whenever I hear that I’m too short, I use that for motivation.”

Needless to say, Seca is sitting atop the world. She’s scored five goals in a game, knocked in 20 goals in 11 games and is now headed to Portugal to play for that nation’s top U-17 program. Life is good for Joanna Seca.

“It’s really been a fun year,” Seca said.


Dorothy N. Belbey 

Dorothy N. Belbey of Brick passed away Oct. 1 at Ocean Medical Center, Brick.

She was born in Long Island, N.Y., and lived in Kearny prior to moving to Brick in 1982. Dorothy was a parishioner of St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church, and a graduate of Georgian Court College.

She was predeceased by her husband John T. Belbey and all of her brothers and sisters. Dorothy is survived by her two sons Jack F. Belbey and Kevin D. Belbey and his wife Donna; she is also survived by her three grandchildren, Kevin, Ryan, and Shaun.

Arrangements were by the Weatherhead Young Funeral Home, 885 Mantoloking Road, Brick. A funeral Mass was offered at St. Dominic’s Church, 250 Old Squan Road, Brick.

Donations can be made in Dorothy’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105.

Alice C. Belfiore 

Mrs. Alice C. Belfiore, 92, died peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

The funeral Mass was offered on Oct. 3 at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, at 10 a.m. Interment followed in Holy Cross Cemetery. Calling hours were held from the Condon Funeral Home (condonfuneralhome.com) 684 Kearny Ave., Kearny.

Mrs. Belfiore was born in Jersey City and has lived in Kearny for many years.

Alice had been the office manager for Arlington Tax and Bookkeeping for 29 years. She was a past president and member of the Ladies of UNICO and the Arlington Woman’s Club. And she was also involved in many other civic organizations over the years.

She was predeceased by her husband, Sebastian (Buster) Belfiore in 1993. Surviving are her children Celeste (Lou) Pandolfi, Bernadette (Tom) Antonelli, Joseph Belfiore and Patricia (Dave) Despotovich. Also surviving are her siblings, Mary and Molly Cancia, Dominick Cancia and Rosemarie Latini as well as her grandchildren, Chris and Jennifer Szpila, Brianna and Michael Antonelli and Alex and Dana Despotovich.

John J. Blevis 

John J. Blevis died peacefully on Oct. 4 in Clara Maass Medical Center. He was 87.

Born in Harrison, he lived most of his life in Kearny.

Visiting will be on Wednesday, Oct. 8, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 10 a.m. at St. Cecilia’s Church and burial will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

John served in the Navy during World War II. He owned Mr. Dry Clean in North Arlington and had been an operator at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.

Husband of Jeanette (nee Amato), he is survived by his sons John and Michael Blevis and his grandchildren Jonathan James, Elizabeth Ann, Michael Charles and Charles Francis. He was predeceased by his daughter June Rose, his son Joseph and his grandson Anthony John. I

n lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to The Wounded Warrior Project www.WoundedWarriorProject.org.

Dorothy DePaolo 

Dorothy DePaolo died Oct.1. She was 47.

Born in Belleville, she had been living in Seaside Heights. Dorothy was the daughter of June McCain and the late Charles DePaolo.

The arrangements were private. Condolence may be left at www.armitagewiggins.com.

William Kosciuch 

William Kosciuch died peacefully on Sept. 26. He was 90.

Born in Jersey City, he lived in Kearny for 64 years. Private arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home in Kearny. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Bill served in the Army during World War II and was a retired dairy manager from the A & P in Belleville.

Husband of the late Theresa (nee Paschenko), he is survived by his children and their spouses John and Molly Kosciuch and Elaine and William Lombardi. Also surviving are his grandchildren Liza, Sara, Nicole and Michele and his great-grandchildren Noah and Dean.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to The Alzheimers Foundation.

Patrick J. Manley 

Patrick J. Manley, 68, passed away at Community Medical Center, Toms River, after a short illness on Saturday, Sept. 27.

Funeral services were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church. His interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information, please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Born in Newark, he lived most of his life in Harrison. Afterwards, he lived in various states due to his work, eventually settling in Toms River in 2011. He worked as a senior underwriter for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for many years, retiring in 1998. He served his country in the United States Army, and was honorably discharged as a 1st lieutenant. He received a bachelor’s degree from St. Peter’s College, Jersey City.

He is survived by his sister Sheila Botch and her husband Chester, his three nephews Chester Jr., Brian and Kevin, his great-nephews and nieces Michael, Analyssee and Lea. He is also survived by many cousins and friends.

James A. Ortel 

James A. Ortel died Oct. 3. He lived in Elizabeth before moving to Bloomfield 18 years ago.

Arrangements are by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 11 a.m. at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, and burial will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolence please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Jim was a retail sales director for Acosta Sales and Marketing in Hackensack. He was active with Bloomfield Recreation Sports and The Queen of Peace C.Y.O. in North Arlington.

Beloved husband of Joan (nee Smith) he is survived by his loving parents Ramon and Joyce Ortel and his stepmother Maureen Ortel. He also leaves behind his cherished daughter Mary Elizabeth, his brother Ramon Jr. and sister Cynthia McCain, his beloved nieces Erin Smith and Ashley and Brooke Ortel. Also surviving is his mother-in- law Dolores Smith and his brothers-in-law Benjamin and Michael Smith.

In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to the American Heart Association.

Gertrude H. Rush 

Gertrude H. Rush (nee Lyons) entered into eternal rest on Monday, Sept. 29 at Alaris Healthcare, Kearny. She was 97.

Funeral services were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church. Her interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information, please visit www. mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Born in Newark, Gertrude was a lifelong resident of Harrison. She was a keypunch operator for RCA, Harrison, for 25 years retiring in 1976. She was a parishioner of Holy Cross Church and a member of the following church organizations: Holy Cross Seniors, Vincentian Society and Rosary Society. She was also a member of the Harrison Senior Citizens. In her free time, Gertrude enjoyed crocheting.

Predeceased by her husband William (1975), She is survived by her children, William J. Rush (Margaret), Marilyn Bruce (Douglas), Judith Noniewicz, grandchildren Tara Brown (Scott), Eric Bruce (Kimball), Rene Forsythe (Michael), William Rush (Meredith), Thomas Noniewicz (Monica), Tracy Proscia (Joseph), Michele Bruce, Laura Rush, Jill Galvin (Timothy) and great-grandchildren Steven, Michael, Chasse, Kiera, Kailey, Josephine, Emily, Timothy, Brooke, Colin, J.T., and Lindsey. She was predeceased by her son-in-law Thomas F. Noniewicz in 2000.

For those desiring, the family requests donations to: The Valerie Fund, 2101 Millburn Ave., Maplewood, N.J. 07040, in loving memory of Gertrude.

Adeline Ryan 

Adeline Ryan (nee Dini) passed away at home on Oct. 2. She was 97.

Arrangements were private. Condolences may be sent to www.armitagewiggins.com.

Adeline was survived by her sons Charles and John Ryan, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Noe Villafuerte 

Noe Villafuerte, of Kearny, died Sept. 26. Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home in Kearny.

Noe is survived by his mother Flora, sons Jonathan, Bryan and Antonio and eight siblings.

A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church in Harrison and burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Audrey J. Zeoli 

Audrey J. Zeoli (nee Kluge), 78, died on Sept. 28 in the Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service was held from the funeral home, followed by interment in Glendale Cemetery, Bloomfield. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.

Mrs. Zeoli lived in Kearny for most of her life before moving to Rockaway Township 19 years ago.

She was a tube maker at R.C.A. in Harrison for 30 years, retiring in 1975.

Audrey was an avid bingo player.

She is survived by her daughters Diane MacMillan and her husband Thomas and Cindy Davidson and her husband Chris; one sister Carol Whitehead; grandchildren Raymond Waters and his wife Jennifer; Shaun MacMillan and Erin Davidson and one great-grandchild Brennan Waters.

Audrey was predeceased by her husband Charles J. Zeoli Jr. and her son Charles J. Zeoli III and her siblings and their spouses Jack Kluge and his wife Helen and Robert Kluge and his wife Muriel.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Fla. 32256.

Harrison police blotter

Sept. 29 

Two shipments delivered by UPS on different days to a residence in the 300 block of Jersey St. were reported stolen, police said. One package containing two pairs of men’s shoes valued at $269 that came on Aug. 29 was reported missing, as was a package with a set of $20 head phones, delivered Sept. 22, police said.

Sept. 30 

At 3:18 p.m., police separated two girls fighting in the 700 block of Hamilton St. Officers separated the two Harrison High School female students, processed them at headquarters and released them to their parents.

Oct. 2 

Police responded to a residential burglary reported by tenants in the 700 block of William St. The tenants told police they’d left their apartment at 11 a.m., and upon returning at 8:40 p.m., they found in the hallway near the door a piece of wood shaped in the form of a small pry bar type tool and discovered that two Lenovo laptops, with a total value of $1,600, had been taken, along with two necklaces, removed from a jewelry box in a bedroom.


Gerald Stewart, 39, of Kearny, was issued three summons for alleged violations of failure of observe a signal, DUI and reckless driving after police say he was observed disregarding a traffic signal at Hamilton St. and Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. North, while traveling east toward N. Fifth St. Police said they detected a strong odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath.

Oct. 5 

At 2:28 p.m., police were sent to the Rite Aid Pharmacy, in the 700 block of Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. North on a report of shoplifting. The store manager told police that he saw a man, later identified as William Ferguson, 51, of Newark, remove six bottles of Lubriderm Moisture Lotion from a shelf and conceal them in a black backpack. When confronted, the manager said Ferguson emptied the contents of the bag on the floor. Police said Ferguson also had two outstanding warrants, $250 from Kearny and $500 from North Arlington. He was arrested on the warrants and issued a summons for shoplifting.

– Ron Leir 

Then & Now

Photo by Karen Zautyk (top photo: Town of Harrison)

Photo by Karen Zautyk
(top photo: Town of Harrison)


This week’s ‘Then’ photo is of Harrison Ave. in Harrison and dates from 1895. We have scant information about it, so we can only hazard a guess, comparing it with similar pictures, that this is a view looking east from somewhere near Second St. Or thereabouts. However, in the distance on the right, at what was then Fourth St., one should be able to see the massive Holy Cross Church, completed in 1888, but we can’t pinpoint it. Note, though, the variety of architecture and the awnings (cloth and wooden). Just barely visible in the street are trolley tracks. The horse-dawn wagon is sharing the road with the trolleys and appears to have crossed within the track line. An eastbound trolley would have approached it from behind. Did wagons have rear-view mirrors? 

– Karen Zautyk 

Goodwill gesture


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent


In front of Goodwill Industries’ building on Supor Blvd., there is a brand new sign. “Palisades Regional Academy,” it reads.

Has Goodwill moved?

Only in the sense of moving forward in its stated mission “to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment to gain independence through the power of work.”

GoodwilI remains at its Harrison headquarters, but it has moved onward in the realm of education, partnering with Palisades Regional Academy, which serves students in grades 6 through 12 According to the school’s website, these are youngsters who “demonstrate more serious learning and behavioral disabilities,” which might be compounded by psychiatric issues, substance abuse or trauma.

In other words, they need more help than most public school special education programs might offer. Palisades Regional, in operation since 1970, provides that help.

In addition to an academic curriculum, the school offers counseling (on a one-to-one basis) and guidance services and an emphasis on positive-behavior encouragement and reinforcement.

Originally located in Lodi (hence the reference to the Palisades), it moved to Paramus in 1975, and now it has relocated to Harrison, where it will share the Supor Blvd. site with Goodwill.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Sept. 16 to welcome the school, which currently has an enrollment of 25 students, each of whom was referred and placed by a local school district, Palisades Regional Executive Director Jeffrey Kahn said. Those districts are in five counties: Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Passaic and Union.

Tuition is $58,000 per year for “an educational and therapeutic environment” designed, as the website notes, to help those enrolled “develop the academic, social, behavioral and life skills needed to become independent and successful.”

Hence, the partnering with Goodwill, which has been devoted to helping individuals become self-sufficient since its founding in 1915. At the ribbon-cutting, William Forrester, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater N.Y. and Northern N.J., cited the upcoming centennial birthday and noted that the organization has always served people with special needs but over time it has branched out.

“We have broadened our mission to now include wounded warriors, the unemployed, the underemployed, the immigrant population and returning veterans,” Forrester noted.

“We’re very happy to have the academy here,” he said. “It fulfills part of our mission.”

Kahn called the new partnering “an amazing collaboration.”

Evelyn Bilal, director of adminstration at Goodwill, said that Palisades Regional students have been coming to the Harrison headquarters for several years for “job shadowing.” This is a way for young people to explore career options by observing the day-to-day activities of employees in various fields.

The academy’s goal is “to prepare students for the life that comes after school,” Kahn said. And since PRA was considering expanding its transitional services, he thought, “Why not bring the school here?”

Kahn purchased the academy in 1977 after working seven years in special education with the New York City Board of Education as a teacher, consultant and administrator.

He explained that the students his school is helping are “socially and emotionally struggling, or depressed, or oppositional to authority or routine.”

Palisades Regional, he said, is an approved private school–approved by the state. “It’s not an experiment. It’s not a pilot program. It’s a fact.”

As for the partnering with and moving to Goodwill, Kahn commented, “This is the best thing I’ve done in a very long time.”

(Editor’s note: For more information about Palisades Regional, visit www.palisadesregional.org. For Goodwill: www.goodwillnynj.org.)

Holy Cross relic is recovered


By Karen Zautyk

 Observer Correspondent 


The sacred relic of the Holy Cross stolen last month from the church that bears its name has been recovered and returned to its Harrison home, and police believe they have a line on the thief.

“It is undamaged, and we’re happy about that,” said the Rev. Joseph Girone, pastor.

The wooden relic, believed to be from the actual cross on which Jesus was crucified, disappeared from the rectory the evening of Sept. 10 and was found Sunday, Sept. 21, by two Port Authority police officers patrolling PA property in Harrison, police reported last week.

Harrison Det. Sgt. David Doyle told The Observer on Friday that the PAPD cops had been walking along the tracks in the area behind the Bank of America off Frank E. Rodgers Blvd.-South when they spotted a trash bag. Opening it, they found the cross-shaped brass reliquary containing the sacred artifact. Also in the bag were three wax candles, a first-aid kit and a set of keys.

Doyle said the officers brought their find to Harrison PD headquarters, where it was identified as belonging to Holy Cross Church.

On Sept. 12, other items — two prayer books and a banner honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe — that had been stolen along with the relic were found by Port Authority police on the PATH tracks in Jersey City. These have also been returned to the church.

“We are developing a suspect and hope to have a warrant drawn up by the middle of the week,” Doyle said.

The culprit is thought to be the same person the Rev. Francisco Rodriguez encountered in the rectory the night the relic went missing.

After a church volunteer reported seeing a stranger in the sacristy at about 7:15 p.m., the priest went to investigate and found a man rifling through cabinets in the kitchen.

Asked what he was doing, he said, “I’m hungry.”

The intruder, who is thought to have entered the rectory through a side window, was escorted out the kitchen door. Rodriguez then went to the sacristy and discovered the relic was gone.

The reliquary is normally kept in a safe, but it had been brought out to be polished in anticipation of the Feast of the Holy Cross on Sept. 14, when the relic it contains would be used to bless the parish faithful.

Before it was found, Rodriguez said, the Harrison police, armed with photos of the reliquary, “were hitting all the pawnshops.”

Girone said that when it was returned, he realized that a few small pieces the relic had fallen to the bottom of the “glass eye” through which it is viewed. It has been sent to an artist for restoration. “It should be back in our hands shortly,” the pastor said.

“We will reschedule the blessing” Girone noted. He said the Pastoral Council would be meeting this week to discuss the date.

Drive-time perils on Davis St.


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Every weekday morning when the East Newark Public School is in session, some Davis St. commuters enroute to work face an early nightmare just leaving their block.

That’s because from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m., as children file into the elementary school for the start of classes, crossing guards set up barricades at the intersection of Davis and N. Third St., preventing residents of this block-long stretch of Davis – which runs one-way west – from turning onto Third during that critical rush hour period.

So, if those residents are late out of the gate, their only “option” is to make an illegal U-turn and/or try to back out along Davis – also illegally – onto the heavily-traveled Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. North, creating the possibility of an accident.

Those residents face the same situation twice in the afternoon, when the street is closed during the school lunch period, from 12:30 to 1 p.m., and again, from 2:50 to 3:30 p.m. as youngsters leave school for home.

Persistent traffic headaches notwithstanding, residents and local governments alike have put up with the situation for years … until this summer when Harrison and East Newark mobilized legislative efforts to change the status quo.

Both municipalities had to act since half of this section of Davis lies in Harrison and half is in East Newark.

A resolution passed by the Harrison mayor and Town Council on July 29 lays out the action plan: “reversing the direction of Davis St. between Third St. and F.E. Rodgers Blvd. N. from one-way going west to one-way going east.”

The traffic shift is justified, the resolution states, because it “will assist to ensure the safety of the public school children who utilize Davis St. to enter and exit the East Newark Public School.”

A similarly phrased resolution was passed by the East Newark governing body on Sept. 10.

Joint legislative action by the two communities will also bring Hudson County into the act since it has jurisdiction over F.E. Rodgers Blvd., a county roadway, and, according to county spokesman James Kennelly, Hudson will pay $10,882 to J.C. Contracting of Bloomfield for “striping, signs, police traffic directors and traffic signal head [retrofit]” to accommodate the change of direction on Davis, between N. Third and F.E. Rodgers Blvd.

Harrison’s Julie Walsh, a Davis St. resident, hopes the plan works. Now, she says, “you have to go out the wrong way — there are people on the block with children who go to other schools.”

East Newark Police Chief Anthony Monteiro said that maintaining the status quo would only continue to open the door to “a chance of a head-on collision” at the F.E. Rodgers intersection while Harrison Police Chief Derek Kearns said, “We’ve had situations where motorists who have to leave in the morning have removed barriers to go against the one-way flow,” Kearns added. “Once we get the reversal of direction in play, the situation is going to improve.”

Kearns said that several months ago, a Harrison motorist received traffic tickets for having allegedly violated the one-way restriction and “I pledged to her we’d make changes.”

Kearns said that residents will get “ample notice” of those changes with public postings on the block.

Whether residents on the block will be satisfied remains to be seen. Members of one family who live on the East Newark stretch of Davis seemed to be divided on the subject.

Maria Arias told The Observer she believes the plan to reverse direction is a good one. She said she has seen Harrison police officers ticket drivers “if you go the wrong way.” And stubborn drivers desperate to get out onto F.E. Rodgers use private driveways on the block to make U-turns, damaging curb cuts and sidewalks, she said.

But Arias’s daughter, Kristine, feels the communities are “making a mistake” by shifting the traffic flow. She said she’s adjusted to the current system by giving up driving to her morning class at Rutgers’ Newark campus. “I’d have to make illegal turns to get out and I’d almost gotten into accidents doing that,” she said. “Now, I walk. It only takes me 15 minutes.”

Kristine said the current one-way regulation is inconsistently enforced. Sometimes, she said, crossing guards let some drivers go through the barrier to Third St. and other times, “the crossing guards are not here.”

“So there are still going to be problems,” she concluded.

Animal, family event is Oct. 4 at Library Park, Harrison


There will be a pet and family event on Saturday, Oct.  4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Library Park, 415 Harrison Ave.,  Harrison.  This is a free  event for the whole family and their pets and animal venders from all over NJ, rescues and shelters and events for kids, at 1 p.m. will take place. There will also be a blessing of the animals and a concert by Jo-Ann & The Converters.