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Pardon us as we get a new look

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We’re in the midst of giving TheObserver.com a brand new, fresh look — so please pardon us as we make adjustments. We should be done by the end of the day Monday or sometime tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

Correction

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A story in last week’s edition misidentified the first name and job location of one of the candidates being considered for an open First Ward council seat in Kearny. The candidate, Jenny Mach, teaches in the Tenafly School District.

Easing the way over

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

LYNDHURST –

State officials are still pondering what to do about the century-old DeJessa Bridge which links Lyndhurst and Nutley across the Passaic River but, in the meantime, Bergen County has done its part to try and relieve congestion there.

At the urging of Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Giangeruso, the county undertook – and has now completed – improvements to the Kingsland and Riverside Aves. intersection on the Lyndhurst side of the bridge.

The work, performed by JCC Contracting of Bloomfield, which, according to township engineer Brian Intindola, cost the county about $814,000, had several components:

Creating three separate eastbound lanes coming off the bridge into Lyndhurst dedicated to left turns onto Riverside, continuing straight onto Kingsland or turning right onto Riverside. Read more »

Last chance to sound off on dog park

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent

KEARNY – 

The town is preparing to let the dogs out but first it wants the owners in.

For a public meeting, that is, on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m., in the second floor Town Council chambers at Town Hall on the proposed Kearny dog park targeted for Riverbank Park.

Council President Carol Jean Doyle, who has been leading the charge for the enterprise, encouraged those interested in the project to come out to hear how the park would be laid out and to offer any tweaks on some of the amenities associated with it.

“Neglia Engineering (the town’s consulting engineers) has incorporated all the suggestions we’ve received to this point into a ‘final’ plan,” Doyle said. “It’s a preview before we put a shovel in the ground.” Read more »

Ice storm took its toll on local roads

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

By the time you read this, we all may be trapped inside by a blizzard — if the current weather forecasts are correct. But it doesn’t necessarily take heavy snow to create havoc. Sometimes, a coating of ice is sufficient.

Last week began with an ice storm on Sunday. By the end of the day, there were news reports of more than 400 motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey.

That’s frightening enough, but consider this: That tally of 400, law enforcement told us, was likely just the number recorded by the State Police. It would not have taken into account all the accidents reported by the local police departments in all the communities throughout New Jersey.

In Kearny, on Sunday, Jan. 18, there were 48 reported MV accidents between 7:16 a.m. and 5:11 p.m. Repeat: 48. The first was on Fish House Road; the last, on Hackensack Ave. Those were both in South Kearny, but don’t think the residential area of town was spared. Read more »

Bracing for funding shift

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

For the past 37 years, the Kearny nonprofit Pathways to Independence Inc. has helped those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live independently in their communities.

Currently, from its 3-level, 18,000 square foot headquarters at Kingsland and Bergen Aves., it offers on-site adult training skills for 78 clients, along with job skills, extended employment and paid sub-contract work for 66 individuals, said Pathways Executive Director Alvin Cox.

It also arranged for the placement of 12 clients at “supportive employment” opportunities at job sites in the community, he added.

And, “within the next year,” Cox said that Pathways hopes to be expanding to afford more on-site day training “for those not ready to get a job in the community.” Read more »

A new ‘acquisition’

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Tim Bixler, of The Bixler Group Real Estate and Insurance and his wife, Charissa Bixler, welcomed their daughter, Addison Paige Bixler, on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 1:20 p.m. Big brother Brayden is beyond excited. Only a few more years until she will be able to help you with your real estate and insurance needs.

‘He knew he’d be caught’

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent

KEARNY –

On Christmas Eve, Kearny police reported, a Windsor St. home was burglarized by a thief who gained access through a window after stacking a bunch of pavers below it and climbing in.

The perp took jewelry and $100 in change.

The police took fingerprints, which Det. Ray Lopez found on the windowpane and on a glass jar that had held the coins, The prints were sent to the State Police, which confirmed they belonged “to a local resident we were familiar with,” Capt. Stephen Durkin told The Observer.

The KPD then obtained both an arrest warrant and a search warrant for the suspect’s home.

Last Thursday, at 5:30 p.m., Dets. Michael Gonzalez and John Telle arrested 22-year-old Joseph Ferguson of Kearny at Wilson Ave. and Maple St. At headquarters, Ferguson reportedly admitted to not only the Dec. 24 crime but also four other burglaries in the town: Dec. 19, on Halstead St.; Dec. 30, on Windsor St.; Jan. 2, at Belgrove Drive and Bergen Ave.; “and a Maple St. burglary that was never reported to us,” Durkin said. That one, the captain said, occurred “a couple of months ago.” Read more »

3 nominees vie for vacant council seat

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY –

Three political novices – all women – were under consideration for appointment to the First Ward seat on the Kearny Town Council that was left vacant Jan. 5 by the resignation of Alexa Arce.

A decision was expected by the council at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 27. The council was due to interview the nominees, before the meeting, at 6 p.m., in the council chambers.

“These are three good candidates,” Mayor Alberto Santos told The Observer last week after local members of the county Democratic Committee (chaired by Santos) convened Jan. 20 at the American Legion post to choose three people whose names would be presented to the council for its review.

“This will be difficult to choose,” the mayor added, referring to the list of nominees selected by the committee. “They are all First Ward residents and all involved with the community.”

They were: Marytrine DeCastro, Sonia Hill and Jenny Mach. Read more »

Facing Sandy-recovery aid fraud charges

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TRENTON – 

A Nutley woman is facing up to five years in prison and fines totalling $25,000 for allegedly filing fraudulent applications for federal and state relief funds related to Superstorm Sandy, the state Attorney General’s Office reported last week.

According to Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman, Kathleen F. Ambro, 58, received a total of $12,270 in aid. She was charged criminally last Thursday with thirddegree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.

Following the October 2012 destruction, Ambro allegedly filed false applications for a FEMA grant and for state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program.

Authorities said Ambro claimed that a storm-damaged home she owns on Rosewood Drive in Bayville was her primary residence, when, in fact, her primary residence was a home she owns with a relative in Nutley.

Ambro reportedly received $2,270 in FEMA rental assistance and a $10,000 RSP grant.

The theft-by-deception charge carries a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000; the unsworn falsification count, a prison term of up to 18 months and a fine of $10,000.

Since March 2014, the Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against 23 people for allegedly engaging in fraud related to Sandy.

Cases were investigated by detectives of the N.J. Division of Criminal Justice and special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

– Karen Zautyk