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Obituaries

Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Bulkowski 

Elizabeth “Betty” Bulkowski, of Harrison, entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, Feb. 18. She was 67.

Born in Newark, she was a lifelong resident of Harrison and a parishioner of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, Harrison.

She was predeceased by her loving parents William and Helen Bulkowski and her brother Thomas.

She graduated from Queen of Peace High School, North Arlington, in 1965 and attended Lyons Institute in Newark. After a dedicated career in the medical field as an assistant to numerous doctors, she retired from Heart and Lung Center in Hawthorne three years ago.

Elizabeth is survived by her loving cousin Veronica Coladarci, her second cousin and godson Joseph Coladarci III and his wife Drea, along with their children Abigail and Joseph IV. She is also survived by her second cousin Janet Torres and her husband Elias as well as their children Christian and Brielle, along with many other cousins and friends.

The funeral will be conducted from the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison, on Monday, March 2, at 10:45 a.m. A funeral Mass will follow at 11:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, Harrison. Her interment will take place in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Viewing hours will be on Sunday, March 1, from 2 to 6 p.m. and Monday at 10 a.m. For information, directions, or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

Patti Parker-Hudson 

Patti Parker-Hudson, 44, of New Port Ritchie, Fla., formerly of Belleville, passed away on Feb. 12. She is survived by her sons Christopher and Ryan; parents Bernard and Patricia; sisters Barbara and Bernadette. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 1848, Longmont, Colo. 80502.

Logged on the Harrison police blotter

Feb. 17 

A man came to Harrison police HQ to report that someone had broken into his blue 2001 Ford Van while it was parked in the municipal lot at Central and Kingsland Aves. He said he’d parked it there at 4 p.m. the day before and when he returned the next day at 8:30 a.m., he found its rear window smashed in and a portable power generator removed from the van. He also reported that his second work van that he’d parked there the day prior was missing.

Feb. 19 

Police responded to a report of a theft from a motor vehicle at S. Fifth and Sussex Sts. Upon arrival, the victim told officers that he’d parked his Audi S4 on the 500 block of Sussex St. at 9:30 p.m. overnight and that when he returned at 8:33 a.m. this day, he discovered that someone had broken into the vehicle and took a Pioneer touch screen radio valued at $700, a Pioneer sub woofer worth $400 and a $100 MP3 player. He also found that the steering wheel column had been damaged, apparently in an attempt by the burglar to steal the car.

Feb. 22 

At 1:41 a.m., HQ received a call about a two-car accident on Cleveland Ave. and dispatched officers to investigate. At the location, police said they observed a man behind the steering wheel trying to move a vehicle which looked like it had been in a collision with another vehicle. Police said the driver, Luis Lescanoguzman, 35, of Kearny, was revving the vehicle but it would not move while in drive. As the driver tried to speak to the officers, police said the officers detected the odor of alcohol coming from him. When he was asked to exit the vehicle, the driver could barely open the door because of extensive damage to the front wheel and quarter panel, police said. Using the vehicle for support, the driver tried to move away from it but, in doing so, lost his balance and fell. Lescanoguzman was charged with DWI and given additional summonses.

Feb. 23 

At 3:10 a.m., police said an officer on patrol spotted a parked vehicle straddling the sidewalk and the street near Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. and Riverbend Drive. Activating emergency lights, the officer pulled up behind the vehicle, a 2012 gray Jeep Liberty, exited his patrol car and approached the driver’s side where he observed the driver asleep behind the wheel with the vehicle in drive. Police said the officer knocked on the window but, after getting no response, opened the door and saw that the driver had vomited on the driver’s door and could detect the odor of alcohol. Eventually, police said, the officer roused the driver, Jorge Torres-Monteverde, 24, of Newark, and ticketed him for DWI and other motor vehicle violations.

– Ron Leir 

Fire empties fast food business

LYNDHURST – 

A fire erupted at a fast food eatery in Lyndhurst over the weekend, according to the Lyndhurst Police Department.

At 10:43 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, the Lyndhurst Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the Burger King, 2 Park Ave., just off Valley Brook Ave., on a report of fire.

Police Capt. John Valente said that the Fire Department extinguished a grease fire in the kitchen of the establishment which was closed during the fire.

Valente said the Fire Department determined that the cause of the fire was an electrical surge to the business, causing a malfunction in the fryer.

“The oil in the fryer became superheated and boiled over the sides of the container and were ignited by the heating element,” Valente said.

No injuries were reported.

As of Monday, the township Health Department reported that work crews were still in the process of cleaning up damage from the fire and hoped to reopen by Tuesday, Feb. 24.

– Ron Leir 

Abducted Delaware child could be in NJ, NYC

Top: Elinor Trotta; Bottom: Michael Trotta.

Top: Elinor Trotta; Bottom: Michael Trotta.

NEW CASTLE, Del. —

The New Castle County, Del., police seeks your help in locating a missing child.

Elinor Trotta, a 3-year-old, 60-pound girl with brown hair, was last seen wearing a purple coat, pink pants, and “Frozen” shoes.

The New Castle County Police Department is investigating a domestic-related incident that occurred in the community of School Side Apartments in New Castle, Del. At approximately 6:48 p.m., county police responded to the 800 Block of East Basin Road on a report of a domestic-related assault. The reporting person advised that her ex-boyfriend, 39-year-old Michael Trotta, came to her residence, assaulted her and took their 3-year-old daughter.

Police are currently looking for Mr. Trotta. He is a white man, 5’8” tall, approximately 160 pounds, balding/short haircut, scruffy beard and mustache last seen wearing all black clothing. The suspect fled the scene in a 1989 gray Mazda 626 bearing Delaware registration 247457 with his 3-year-old daughter.

Police believe the child is in imminent danger and that Mr. Trotta may have fled with her to the state of New Jersey, possibly heading to New York City.

Anyone with information is asked to call 9-1-1 immediately, the New Castle County Police Department at (302) 573-2800 or visit www.nccpd.com.

Nutley police: Did you witness Centre St. robbery?

A surveillance image of a man who is alleged to have robbed a Centre St. convenience store in Nutley.

A surveillance image of a man who is alleged to have robbed a Centre St. convenience store in Nutley.

NUTLEY —

Police are seeking the public’s help locating a man they say robbed a Centre St. convenience store over the weekend.

On Sunday, Feb. 22, at 8:30 a.m., a man entered the convenience store, placed his hand into his jacket pocket and demanded money from the store clerk, police said.

He stated: “I don’t wanna hurt you.”

Police said the clerk told them no weapon was displayed, and the suspect made no threats.

The suspect is described as a white man, 18 to 25 years old, 5’3″-5’5″ tall, thin, wearing a tan jacket with a gray hooded sweatshirt under it, a dark cap with some type of symbol on it, a face mask and blue jeans with brown boots.

Police said they followed footprints in the snow to Union Ave., but didn’t locate the suspect. They continue to investigate.

Police are actively following all leads and ask that anyone with information about the incident call detectives at 973-284-4940.

NAPD sees upswing in residential burglaries

napd-shield-transparentThe North Arlington Police Department wants to ensure residents are aware that there have been a series of residential burglaries in recent weeks that had similar characteristics and asks that all necessary precautions be taken to aid in preventing further incidents.

Five burglaries have taken place in apartment building/complex facilities in the last several months.

The suspects identify units that have unlocked doors and/or windows. They have focused on ground-floor apartments with air conditioning window units in which they’ve been able to push (or pull) the unit out of the window to gain entry, or have entered through unlocked windows.

All residents are asked to identify and correct any issues that may make their residence a potential target.

Anyone with any information, or assistance needs, can contact Det. Feola with the North Arlington P.D. at 201-991-4400, ext. 139.

As always, immediately contact the police to report suspicious activity.

NA’s Ryen Pezzolla a semi-finalist for ECRHA’s top award

Ryen Pezzolla

Ryen Pezzolla, center, whilst playing a hockey game for St. Peter’s Prep at Yankee Stadium last winter.

Ryen Pezzolla, of North Arlington, a graduate of St. Peter’s Prep and the grandson of Observer GM Robert Pezzolla, who is currently a student at Rutgers University, has been named a semi-finalist for the Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association’s Division 1 Player of the Year. He faces competition from three other universities. The winner will be announced at the association’s annual awards banquet later this year. Click here to read the announcement.

Up and running

9-11_web

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

The Kearny Police Department’s enhanced 911 emergency communications system at its South Kearny Precinct that Super Storm Sandy wiped out two and a half years ago has finally been finally restored.

“Tuesday, Jan. 13, we went live,” said Police Sgt. John Manley, deputy coordinator for the Kearny Office of Emergency Management. “It’s been a long haul.”

As part of the recovery effort, the town ended up ordering several trailer units that it had installed inside the combined police/ fire facility to provide separate offices for firefighters and police and space for fire rigs.

Then the town had to shell out $240,000 just to replace the 911 system which took months to set up, with the vendor Carousel Industries of Bensalem, Pa., working with Verizon to get everything humming. Kearny has applied for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The last step was the KPD’s training superior officers in using the new system so that a rotating schedule of officers assigned to the precinct for 911 duty could be set up.

From the precinct, the officers can handle not just 911 calls – medical calls are routed from a 911 center at the Jersey City Medical Center and nonmedical calls from the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office in Jersey City – but also regular police calls.

For emergency situations, the system allows the officer handling the calls to link up with the appropriate outside law enforcement or local and/ or regional civilian agency to respond.

All 911 calls are logged and can be played back as needed. The system is also outfitted with TTY capability, a telecommunications device for the hearing impaired.

The system also is equipped with a video mapping capability that can help an officer trace the location of a caller, should that communication be interrupted or abruptly ended.

“We have 98 surveillance cameras positioned around South Kearny so that area, (which is largely industrial), can be monitored from our 911 center,” Manley said. “And because the town arranged to run fiber optic cable through the area, we’ll be getting a better picture quality.”

With the trailer units situated three feet above ground level, the hope is that elevation will protect officers and the electronic gear against an incursion of flood water. And KPD has backup phone lines for its 911 and regular police communications, both in South Kearny and uptown at KPD headquarters on Laurel Ave.

However, if another monster storm hits the area and the precinct is inundated again, there is a fail-safe system in place, Manley said.

Part of the 911 system features new technology – a portable unit designed so that it can be disconnected from its precinct-based housing and re-attached to a laptop computer for operation on a mobile basis and continue to provide a 911 capability.

“So if we get another surge from the (Passaic) river that’s going to flood us out of South Kearny, we will pull out the portable unit and our vehicles – as well as the Fire Department rigs – to redeploy uptown,” Manley said.

Other safeguards being taken by the town in case of heavy flooding include readying the installation of backup and/or new generators at various pumping stations and other critical local facilities, he said.

For example, Manley said, the town will be arranging for the placement of a backup generator at Schuyler Elementary School in the event that the school is put into service as an emergency shelter. Neglia Engineering, the town’s consulting engineers, is drafting specifications for that project, he added.

Does girls crew row vs. bias?

Crew_web

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

A Kearny parent has filed a federal civil rights complaint against the Board of Education.

The complaint, filed in December 2014 by Paula Cavalier, alleges that the high school has violated Title 9 of federal education law which forbids discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-supported education programs.

Cavalier’s complaint alleges that the high school is favoring the boys crew over the girls crew team by denying the girls the chance to participate in regionally competitive races in which the boys crew participates.

And, the complaint says, the school discriminates against the girls crew by giving the male crew priority access to equipment.

Kenneth Lindenfelser, attorney for the school board, said that, “there was a complaint filed by a parent alleging Title 9 violations” and that the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights “has asked for information that we are in the process of gathering and which we will be providing.”

Lindenfelser said the feds wanted the materials “by Feb. 18” but because the scope of the information sought involves all interscholastic sports activities in which Kearny High participates, collecting all the information – items including each program’s “budget, number of participants, age of uniforms and type of equipment” – collection of the data has become “tedious to assemble.”

For that reason, he said, he is asking the feds if the district can limit its research to crew but, if not, “we’ll probably ask for an extension.”

The district, the attorney said, “is confident we’re in compliance, but we’re going to cooperate with them and if they find that some type of adjustment is needed, we’ll make it.”

He declined to elaborate. In her complaint, Cavalier attached a spread sheet detailing the boys and girls crew competitions for 2014. From an analysis of those events, Cavalier drew this conclusion:

“The boys raced against 151 more teams than the girls, mainly because they raced on Sunday, when the most competitive races occur. These are the races most likely to draw college recruiters, so that girls who cannot race on Sundays have reduced access to scholarships, as compared with boys. This is mostly due to the fact that the girls’ crew coach declines to work on Sundays, for religious reasons. The majority of competitive rowing on the east coast occurs on Sundays. … Under Title 9, the school district is required to afford equal opportunities to female athletes. Because the Kearny school district could easily find a solution to this inequality, I have contacted the Office of Civil Rights ….”

Ironically, according to logs obtained by Cavalier, more girls participated in crew than boys last year. “For 2014, 40 girls signed up, as compared with 36 boys,” she told The Observer.

Under the projected schedule for 2015 competitions, Cavalier said, “The boys will be racing 296 more teams than the girls, which is worse than last year’s inequality of 151 more teams.”

And getting less exposure than the boys crew in bigger competitive races “attended by regional, Ivy League college recruiters” means that girls’ chances of landing athletic scholarships are negatively impacted, she said.

Although her daughter is a member of the girls crew team, Cavalier said that she filed the discrimination complaint as an advocate for the entire girls crew team, and not just as her daughter.

“I hope she realizes that sometimes, you have to do what you might be afraid to do for the bigger picture, to right a wrong,” she said.

Last year, Cavalier said, it was embarrassing for the girls crew members when “our immediate regional competition, like the girls teams from Nutley, Belleville, Rutherford, for example, were at the Sunday Philadelphia Rowing Association races, and Kearny was not represented.”

Possible solutions, Cavalier suggested, include allowing assistant crew coaches for boys and girls to “work out a schedule so that both teams can attend the same competitions,” merging the boys and girls crew “so that they can compete in the same races as a unit” or replacing the girls’ crew coach.

Back in 1983 when Cavalier was a student at Kearny High and an avid cyclist, she asked if she could go out for crew, only to be told there were no girls permitted “because they had no separate showers or bathrooms.”

Three years later, she recalled, a girls crew team materialized.

“Today, ironically, more than 30 years later, we’re still running into a situation of inequality for girls,” she said.

Last year, Cavalier revived her high school dream by taking lessons with the Passaic River Rowing Association and has relished the experience. “When you’re a crew and rowing as one unit, it all clicks together. Together, you become one quiet, beautiful machine.”

How to ward off the cold

With predictions of continued frigid weather, including wind gusts of up to 40 mph and wind chills of -15 to -20 degrees, across The Observer’s coverage area, here are some tips from the Essex County Office of Emergency Management.

* Clothing: Dress in layers. Cover exposed skin, and wear a hat and gloves.

* Stay dry: Moisture, even sweat, increases heat loss. * Stay hydrated: Increased hydration means increased blood flow and less chance of frostbite.

* Frostbite: Signs of frostbite include white, gray, numb, or waxy skin. Victims are often unaware of frostbite until someone else notices it. Frostbite victims should be brought indoors and gently warmed with body heat or warm water. Never use a heating pad, oven or other source of extreme heat, as numb skin will burn easily.

* Hypothermia: Persons with a low body temperature will exhibit slurred speech, drowsiness, low energy, or shaking of the hands. Hypothermia victims should be brought to a warm indoor location as quickly as possible and have their body warmed as quickly as possible. Body temperatures below 95 degrees require immediate medical attention.

And from The Observer: During extreme weather, you might also consider checking up on your neighbors, particularly senior citizens. Do they need any help? Do they have heat and hot water? If they are unable to leave home, offer to run errands, such as food shopping.