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2014-12-21 18_18_32-Greenshot

Clerks tied up, shots fired at Belleville Radio Shack armed robbery Sunday morning

BELLEVILLE — The following report was issued by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday (Dec. 21): At 11:22 this morning, officers from the Belleville Police Department were summoned by a 911 caller to a possible armed robbery at the […]


Have you seen this alleged Nutley burglar?

NUTLEY — Police say they are investigating a diversion burglary that allegedly occurred on Fischer Ave. on Dec. 9. An elderly resident told police that a man banged on her front door at 3 p.m., Dec. 9, claiming there was […]


Help sought in cold case

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Somebody knows something. Six years ago, an 87-year-old man was deliberately run down by a car in a South Kearny parking lot and robbed while he lay helpless on the ground. He died of his injuries the next day. Authorities ruled the death […]

100G for Arena tax case

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  Now that the state Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the New York Red Bulls professional soccer team should pay taxes on the stadium and the land it occupies in Harrison, the town has hired an outside law firm to […]


Staffing Skyway fire-watch

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – For the first time, members of the Kearny Fire Department will have a shot at off-duty pay, much like their counterparts at the Police Department have enjoyed for many years, although there is a sunset provision for the privilege. This opportunity […]



Catherine Bradley 

Catherine Bradley, 85, died peacefully at home, surrounded by her loving family on Nov. 11.

Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, to Joseph and Rose McSherry, she was raised in Scotland and lived in Ireland during World War II. She emigrated to the U.S. and lived in North Arlington before moving to Manalapan in 2011.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, www.armitagewiggins.com. A funeral Mass was held at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Catherine worked for the Bergen County Senior Citizens program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and was a member of The Seniors, both in North Arlington. She loved to bowl and play bingo.

Wife of Bertie Bradley, she is also survived by her children Colleen Courter, Bart Bradley, Catherine Trillo (Louis) and Tina Bradley, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Dennis W. Carbone Sr. 

Dennis W. Carbone Sr., formerly of Kearny, died Nov. 12 at his home in Stillwater Township.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Dennis was a machinist/ inspector at Reagan Precision Industries in North Arlington. Prior to that, he worked for August Spinler. During his 27 years at Reagan, he had become a manager of a Reagan Nuclear Division and had government clearance. He was also a quality control inspector on the Sea Hawk submarine and oversaw its launch. He traveled to inspect major parts of submarines and aircraft carriers. Dennis loved to do endless projects in his home and yard. He was happiest fixing whatever needed to be fixed.

Dennis is survived by his wife Alana (nee Guertine), formerly Calderone. He was the father of Dennis W. Carbone Jr. (Sherre), Michelle M. Carbone, Joseph D. Calderone (Dawn), Dennis F. Calderone (Stephanie). He is also survived by his twin brother Edward (Betty), 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Thomas P. Cassels 

Thomas P. Cassels, of Bronxville, N.Y., passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 7.

He was the son of the late Edward and Margaret Cassels. He is survived by his wife of 43 years Charlotte (née Finnegan); his children and their spouses Ellen and Martin Kenny, Thomas M. and Alison Cassels and Colleen and T.J. Crawford; and his adored grandchildren Maeve and Katherine Kenny, Colin and Nicholas Cassels and Peyton and Avery Crawford. He was the loving brother of Edward and Peter Cassels, Maryanne Costigan and the late Donald and John Cassels.

Arrangements were by the Fred H. McGrath and Son Funeral Home, Bronxville, N.Y. The Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated at St. Joseph’s Church, Bronxville. Memorial contributions are welcome and should be sent to the Friends of the Bronxville Public Library , 201 Pondfield Road, Bronxville, N.Y.

Claudette Cataldo 

Claudette Cataldo, 57, died suddenly on Nov. 15.

Arrangements are by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The funeral service will be held at the funeral home on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 10 a.m. Interment will follow in Arlington Cemetery, Kearny. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com

Miss Cataldo was born in Newark and lived in Kearny her entire life. She was a counter clerk at Sunset Deli in Kearny for over 30 years, retiring 5 years ago. Previously, she was a beautician at Teddy’s Bullpen Salon and Carmella’s Salon, both in Kearny.

Claudette is survived by her sister Constance Paglio and her husband Victor and her brother Joseph Cataldo and his wife Marie. She was the aunt of Dena-Marie, Toniann and Victor Paglio III and Ginamarie and Nicole Cataldo as well as the great-aunt of Nicholas Paglio and Hera Haffner.

She was predeceased by her parents Joseph and Carmella “Millie” (nee Nigro) Cataldo and her nephew Nicholas Paglio.

Diane Lynn Kenyon 


Diane Lynn Kenyon (nee Kolakowski), 60, of 23 Groton Drive, Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., 11776, and formerly of Kearny, died on Nov. 5.

Diane was a librarian’s assistant for Norwood Elementary School, Comsewogue School District.

She was the beloved wife of John, loving mother of Jason, Mathew and Ashley; cherished grandmother of Aubrey Rose; dear sister of Henry, John and Stephen.

Cremation services were held at Washington Memorial Park Chapel.

Donations can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, Tenn. 38101-9908.

John C. McCarthy 

John C. McCarthy entered into eternal rest on Nov. 10, surrounded by his loving family at St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark. He was 62.

Funeral services were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral service was held at the funeral home. His interment was in Hollywood Memorial Park, Union.

For information or to send online condolences to the family go to: www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Newark, John lived most of his life in Kearny. He worked as a bridge operator for Hudson County for the last 24 years. He was a member of the Harrison/East Newark Elks. He also was a member of Local 1199J, Newark.

John was the beloved husband of Suzanne (nee Vaber) for 27 years. He is survived by his loving children Heather McCarthy and fiancé Lupe Santiago, Lance Cpl. Thomas John McCarthy and his fiancé Ashley Dunwoodie and Steven Jackson; his cherished granddaughter Savannah, the love of his life; his dear siblings Michael, Dorothy, Linda, David, Barbara and Debbie, his brother-in-law Ricky Vaber and his wife Caryn and his best friend Eddie Raimo. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

He was predeceased by his brother Thomas McCarthy.

(Updated 11/15 @ 11 p.m.) Nutley police need public’s help finding van that left scene of fatal hit and run



On Saturday, Nov. 15 at 11:40 a.m., Nutley police responded to a call of a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Centre Street and Ravine Avenue.

The woman was crossing the street and was struck, she sustained serious injuries and later died, reports said.

The vehicle fled the scene and is described as an older model Ford Econoline van, possibly blue or black, police said.

Police are actively trying to identify the vehicle.

Chief Thomas Strumolo says a witness at the scene told police the van took off traveling west on Centre Street and made a right turn on to Franklin Avenue. Anyone who was in the area at the time and who may have witnessed the accident is asked to call the Nutley Police Department immediately at 973-284-4940.

Marching in March


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


The Nutley Irish American Association last week introduced to the public the dignitaries who will lead its 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Those among you not of Celtic blood are likely thinking, “Already? But the parade isn’t until March.”

What you should know is that planning for the annual celebration usually begins about five minutes after the previous parade ends. And it’s already more than halfway to St. Patrick’s Day! Selection of the dignitaries is in no way premature.

Leading the line of march will be Grand Marshal Charles E. O’Mara. Deputy Grand Marshal is Ann E. Morris. The organization’s Member of the Year is Joe Milbauer, and the 2015 Parade Queen is Diandra Kelly.

In 2015, for the first time, the Nutley Irish will also begin honoring members of the local uniformed services. The inaugural choice is Lt. John E. Redstone, as Firefighter of the Year.

Grand Marshal O’Mara is a third-generation Irish American whose maternal great-grandparents emigrated from County Wicklow in 1888. His paternal great-grandparents also came a long way, from Tipperary.

O’Mara notes that he also “hails from a long line of Teamsters.” A member of the union since 1976, when he worked for the Wakefern Food Corp., he has served as business agent/delegate for Teamsters Local 863 for the last 10 years.

O’Mara and his wife, Eileen (nee Maher), and their children Charles, Carly and Casey live in Nutley, in the same house where he grew up, the one his parents purchased when they moved to the town in 1963.

Deputy Grand Marshal Morris, who retains a lovely Irish lilt in her voice, came to the United States — and Belleville — in 1961 and is very active in the community. Asked to list her affiliations, she started to name them: “The Belleville Irish, the Nutley Irish, the Giblin Association, the . . . oh, anything Irish!”

She’s originally from Kells in County Meath, the town from which the exquisite medieval illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, takes its name. With Morris’ selection as the parade honoree, Kells can now boast that it was home to two treasures.

Milbauer is a resident of New Providence but is also part of the Nutley business community. He is president of J. Milbauer Solutions LLC, an insurance agency with offices on Franklin Ave.

A member of the Nutley Irish for seven years, he has been a club trustee for the last three and is the 2015 post-parade chairman, which means he will be organizing the extremely popular after party.

Kelly was born and raised in Nutley as one of six siblings — five girls, one boy. She graduated from Mount St. Dominic Academy in Caldwell and received her degree in 2012 from Georgia Tech. She is now a consultant with Deloitte & Touche.

Kelly told The Observer: “I’m honored, and humbled, to have been chosen [as Parade Queen], because my grandfather [John V. Kelly] was one of the founders of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.” That was back in 1979, and the Nutley Irish have been the organizers ever since.

Redstone moved to Nutley in 1994 and joined the Volunteer Fire Department the following year. He served as a volunteer for eight years and in 2002 was hired as a paid member of the NFD.

Recently promoted to lieutenant, he is the department’s chief fire inspector and housing inspector.

By the way, he also plays the bagpipes. He’s a member of the Essex County Emerald Society Pipes & Drums, a band comprising police officers and firefighters.

And before you ask (everyone does), he’s 6-foot-10.

 (Editor›s note: The Nutley Irish meet on the third Thursday of the month at 8 p.m. at the VFW on Washington Ave. New members are always welcome. For more information, visit www.nutleyirish.com

Massa out; Fife stays in


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

One mayor was displaced and an acting mayor became permanent following municipal elections held in The Observer coverage area last Tuesday.

In North Arlington, Republican Councilman Joseph Bianchi, a Republican, defeated Democratic Mayor Peter Massa, who was seeking his third four-year term as the borough’s chief executive by a vote of 2,211 to 1,737, including absentees. Provisional votes were unavailable at press time.

And in Harrison, Democrat James Fife, who was appointed acting mayor following the death of Mayor Raymond Mc- Donough in February, fought off a challenge from Republican Erik Brachman by a more than 2-1 margin, with Fife collecting 1,388 machine votes to Brachman’s 600.

Fife, who was nursing a bad cold last week was unavailable for comment, but Brachman, who said he spent “about $30,000” on his campaign – versus the approximately $20,000 reportedly spent by the Fife team – said that he planned to remain active politically and was considering a run for the Second Ward council seat now occupied by Victor Villalta next year.

Brachman’s pitch had been “to integrate redevelopment with the rest of Harrison on the other side of [Rt.] 280. Those residents think they’re being ignored.” And while he was “certainly disappointed” in the election results, Brachman asserted that “the numbers at the polls don’t indicate the true undertone of the people of Harrison.”

Fife’s Democratic Town Council running mates, incumbents Jesus Huaranga (256 votes), Laurence Bennett (432) and James Doran (372) in the First, Third and Fourth Wards, respectively, were unopposed; Second Ward incumbent Anselmo Millan outpaced independent Ramon Rodriguez, 373 to 101.

In North Arlington, Bianchi’s Borough Council running mates, Daniel Pronti and Kerry Cruz, also won, ousting Democratic incumbents Mark Yampaglia and Daniel Castro. Pronti polled 2,169 votes and Cruz had 2,132; Yampaglia, 1,742; and Castro, 1,657.

As of Jan. 1, 2015, when the winners get sworn into office, the GOP will boast a 4-2 majority, including the mayor. At that point, the council seat current filled by Bianchi – who was re-elected to a third term last year – will become vacant and the Republicans will have 30 days to recommend a temporary placeholder for the seat. Then, in November, there will be a special election to fill the unexpired term.

Spending by the opposing campaigns was fairly even, judging by reports filed with the N.J. Election Law Enforcement Commission: the Committee to Elect Massa, Castro & Yampaglia garnered $27,195 while the Committee to Elect Bianchi, Pronti & Cruz netted $25,635.

Bianchi told The Observer he was “kind of shocked by the amount of votes I won by. I thought it would be closer. I never dreamed I’d get this many but I think the results show that people want change.”

“As mayor in the next four years, I want to try to turn things around in North Arlington and start getting redevelopment,” Bianchi said, “because if we don’t start moving forward, [property] taxes are going to slowly but surely keep going up and up.”

“On the Kearny side of the meadows, they’re building warehousing and industry and on the Lyndhurst side, they’re putting up townhouses and condominiums,” Bianchi said. “We have nothing in North Arlington.”

Starting in January, Bianchi said he would revive the concept for a North Arlington Redevelopment Board. “We had it years ago but it was dismantled around 2003 when the mayor and council became the redevelopment entity.”

But that’s the wrong approach, he said, because “the mayor and council have enough to do to run the town. You need business people from the town, regular people, former councilmen, real estate people [to serve on a redevelopment board] and that’s their sole job. They would arrange meetings with the [New Jersey] Meadowlands Commission, builders, to reach out to entrepreneurs,” possibly to encourage construction of “solar farms or windmills” on the landfills.

As for the 2014 municipal budget, which has yet to be adopted, Bianchi said he anticipated that the state Department of Community Affairs would shortly appoint a monitor to draft a spending plan that, so far, has eluded feuding Democrats and Republicans.

After the election, Massa posted a statement on the NAToday. net web congratulating his opponent and his running mates. “I have served with Joe for many years and I believe he will do the best he can to make North Arlington a better place for all residents. The campaign is over and now is the time to rally around Joe so that governance comes first.”

Massa thanked his family, running mates, the Democratic Party, borough employees and volunteers for their support over the years.

2 killed in Rt.21 accident


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


Authorities continue to investigate a fiery multi-vehicle crash that killed two people on Rt. 21 in Belleville last week. As of press time, the identity of only one of the victims was available.

Jonathan Fontenot, 26, of Newark, was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene of the Nov. 3 accident, but his name was not released until Thursday.

According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, which is handling the case, the 7:25 p.m. crash involved a tractor-trailer and two passenger vehicles — a 2013 Dodge Dart and a 2004 Chevy Cavalier.

Fontenot and the other fatality, also pronounced dead at the scene, were the sole occupants of the Cavalier, authorities reported, but they have not yet said which of those victims was the driver and which the passenger.

The driver of the Dart was identified only as a 27-yearold Bloomfield man; the truck driver, as a 48-year-old man. Both were said to be uninjured.

The accident occurred in the southbound lanes of Rt. 21, south of the Main St. exit in Belleville. From Main St., the truck could be seen toppled over onto the guard rail on the elevated section of the highway, directly across from the State Fair mini-mall.

Photo by Karen Zautyk Firetrucks along Main St. Other engines and emergency vehicles filled the highway.

Photo by Karen Zautyk
Firetrucks along Main St. Other engines and emergency vehicles filled the highway.


The exact cause of the collision is not yet known. The Prosecutor’s Office said that the tractor trailer and one of the passenger vehicles were on fire when the initial first response units arrived.

By 8 p.m., when this correspondent was at the scene, the flames appeared to be out, but, as seen from below, clouds of smoke continued to rise from the truck and firefighters were still hosing it down.

A small crowd was gathered in the mall parking lot to watch as members of the Belleville Fire Department climbed ladders to reach the underside of the vehicle, which apparently was otherwise inaccessible. Up on the highway itself, firetrucks from Belleville and Newark, along with ambulances and Belleville, Newark and State Police vehicles filled the roadway — their emergency lights visible for miles.

The Belleville PD redirected traffic on Main St. and blocked the southbound entrance to the highway, which was closed for several hours. The Nutley PD also prevented access to Rt. 21 from that township.

The accident is being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Task Force and the Belleville Police Department. Anyone with information is asked to contact Task Force detectives at (877) 847-7432 or (973) 621-4586.

At last word, the investigation was ongoing and no charges had been filed against anyone in connection with the crash.

Longtime retailer bids adieu


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


One of Kearny’s few remaining longstanding retailers is closing.

Mace Bros. Fine Furniture, whose showroom has occupied the southeast corner of Oakwood and Kearny Aves. for 62 years, plans to discontinue all sales by year’s end, store owner Diane Miller said last week.

However, Miller added, “We’ll be here for another year” to be available to customers who’ve made purchases with one-year warranties to take care of any issues that may arise in connection with the items they’ve bought.

That’s the kind of service patrons have come to expect from Mace over the years and that’s certainly one of the reasons those patrons or members of their families – even those who’ve moved out of town – have kept returning to shop for that exquisite sofa or dining set.

“In all these years, we’ve never advertised,” Miller noted. “I’d say 85% of our sales resulted from word-of-mouth business.”

So why call it quits? “It’s time,” Miller said. “I’m here 43 years – when my aunt Ruth [O’Connor] retired, I came over.” Miller’s daughter Michele also works at the store. And so does her mother, Lillian Mace, who, with her husband Rich, opened the store in 1952 – with a moving business on the side, run by Rich’s brother Vince – so it’s always been a family-run enterprise.

But a combination of high overhead at the company’s two warehouse properties on the west side of town and local real estate taxes have taken their toll, Miller said.

“We’ve been trying to sell our warehouses for the past four or five years and we’ve had prospective buyers – one was a ceramics company and another repaired motors – but the town has another concept for that redevelopment area,” Miller said. “They’re making houses the preferred use.”

“Small businesses are having a tough time today,” she continued. “And Kearny was built on small businesses but a lot of them are barely making it. There’s got to be a way to help them. We love our governor and he’s trying to do his best but we all have to work to make it better.”

Mace Bros. has sought to buy “mostly American-made” merchandise, Miller said, but the industry has changed in recent years, with a lot of the old North Carolina-based furniture manufacturers having been supplanted by Asian and Canadian markets.

The company, Miller said, is still trying to market its warehouse buildings – a 22,000 square foot facility at Passaic and Johnston Aves. and a 16,000 square foot facility at Lincoln Ave. and Belgrove Drive, while plans for the three and a half-story main showroom on Kearny Ave. are unsettled for the time being.

Of late, she said, the store has been operating with between 20 and 25 employees, including retail sales, billing and bookkeeping, and trucking.

Over time, the store has made a conscious effort “to try to get people from the area” as its work force and, as Lillian pointed out, a good portion of the store’s personnel have stayed a long time.

Mother and daughter both extended thanks “to the people of Kearny” for their loyalty to the store. “And the members of the Police Department and Fire Department have been exceptional,” Miller added.

Lillian, who came to Kearny as a child, remembers when her father, “Pop” Mace, ran a moving business that specialized in relocating folks to New York City and “turned two trucks over to Rich and Vince.”

After her graduation from the Traphagen School of Design in New York, where she studied art, she got a job at the old Western Electric plant in Kearny where she handled payroll and cost accounting duties. “I was always good in math,” she said. “And I’m a good painter.”

A bit later, she brought her layout and business skills to the Mace Bros. furniture showroom and she’s been at it ever since, although now it’s slowed a bit to weekly visits to the store.

“We’ve had a lot of fun here with our customers and employees,” she said.

2 young jaywalkers injured

By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


Two township youngsters were reported to be recovering from injuries sustained when they were struck by automobiles in separate incidents — one on Oct. 31; the second, last Wednesday. Police said both victims had been jaywalking when they were hit.

The first accident occurred at 12:26 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31, near 495 Kearny Ave., south of Oakwood Ave., in the vicinity of Lincoln School.

According to police, a 12-year-old boy had been attempting to cross Kearny Ave. from east to west when he was hit by a southbound car.

Police said the youth sustained minor injuries. He was transported for treatment to Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville by Kearny EMS.

No summonses were issued to the driver, an 82-year-old man from Beach Haven.

At the time of the accident, police said, a crossing guard was on duty at Kearny and Oakwood, where there is also a traffic light, but the boy apparently chose to enter the roadway “well south of the intersection.”

The second accident was reported at 8:15 a.m., Nov. 5, when an 11-year-old girl was struck by a northbound car in the area of 134 Belgrove Dr., near Washington School.

Police said the child, crossing Belgrove from west to east, had apparently entered the northbound lane after walking behind southbound cars that were stopped in traffic.

The victim sustained injuries to her right leg, arm and upper body and was taken to University Hospital in Newark. Police said none of the injuries was considered life-threatening.

The car that hit the girl was taken to KPD headquarters “for investigative and inspectional purposes,” but the driver, a 47-year-old Kearny woman, was not issued any summonses.

According to police, witnesses confirmed “that the pedestrian entered the roadway in an unsafe manner.”

Police said that in this incident there was also a controlled intersection, with a crossing guard, nearby — at Belgrove and Woodland Ave.

Police Chief John Dowie emphasized that the KPD Traffic Bureau “constantly monitors” the area of schools, enforces violations and ensures that “crossing guards are properly positioned.” In addition, he noted, the officers provide safety lectures to students, speak to PTA groups and school administrators regarding traffic and pedestrian laws and have fielded pedestrian safety details throughout town.

Water rates going up again

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


To plug a deficit in its water utility account, the Town of Kearny proposes to hike water rates for local homes and businesses, starting Dec. 1.

The municipal governing body voted Oct. 19 to introduce an ordinance that would boost those rates, by 8% for residential users to 12% for local industries.

And, barring any major objections, the mayor and Town Council are expected to adopt the new rates at a public hearing slated for Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.

For an “average” single-family homeowner who pays about $50 every three months, that water bill figures to go to $54 per quarter, according to Mayor Alberto Santos. That would translate to $16 more per year.

Santos said the fiscal monitor the state assigned to Kearny as a condition for awarding the town $2.5 million in transitional aid for 2014 recommended pushing up the rates as a mechanism for the water utility to balance expenses with revenues.

Reinforcing the monitor’s proposal is a recommendation contained in the town’s 2013 audit – prepared by accountant Steven Wielkotz of the firm Ferraioli, Wielkotz, Cerullo & Cuva – to “take the necessary steps to ensure the water utility operating fund is self-liquidating and to fund the current year’s operating deficit.”

Given the recurring deficits in recent years, the town has been compelled to make up the gap with money from its municipal budget.

Data provided by town CFO Shuaib Firozvi shows that for the past five years, including 2014, the water utility will have been subsidized by the town. In 2011, the utility ended up $463,000 in the red and this year, it will show an imbalance of more than $900,000, he said.

The largest chunk of the utility’s expenses is the town’s contractual obligation to its water provider, the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, of which Kearny is a member, along with 11 other municipalities and United Water of N.J.

In return for receiving 13 million gallons a day of water from the Wanaque Reservoir, Kearny is paying the NJDWSC an annual fee of $3,763,000. For 2013, the fee was $3,765,000 and for 2012, it was $3,821,000.

However, according to Santos, Kearny only consumes about half the amount of water it gets from the NJDWSC so when the utility sends out its water bills (under a contract with United Water), it invariably lags in revenues for lack of sufficient customers.

Part of the problem, Santos said, is that the town has to deal with an “historical legacy of many local industries that relied on an intensive use of water.” But with a number of those old plants no longer around, Kearny has struggled to find replacement water customers.

For a while, the utility was selling part of its water “surplus” to Nutley and Cedar Grove but when they discontinued using the water a few years ago, that alone accounted for a $500,000 loss of revenue, Firozvi said.

“We were in negotiations with Montclair as a potential water customer,” Firozvi said, “but that never materialized.”

The utility also has to meet other expenses, such as payroll for an engineer and a small staff, billing and collection services, water quality testing and maintenance of water lines. In recent years, the town has undertaken emergency repairs of leaks and breaks in lines and expensive upgrading of aging water mains.

Santos said the town is looking to find a way to renegotiate its contract with the NJDWSC to achieve some type of cost savings and is continuing to explore opportunities to snag other outside water customers.

The town last raised water rates in 2012.

Santos said the utility should receive new revenues from new residential and commercial developments now under way “but that’s still a couple of years away.”

For the record, here’s what the ordinance stipulates what the town proposes to charge residential, commercial and manufacturing water users:

“A rate of $2.43 per 100 cubic feet for use not exceeding 18,000 cubic feet.

A rate of $3.14 per 100 cubic feet for use in excess of 18,000 cubic [feet], but not exceeding 75,000 cubic feet. A rate of $3.64 per 100 cubic feet for use in excess of 75,000 cubic feet.

The minimum quarterly charge shall be $20.

Hydrant or standpipe use shall be charged $78.75 per use.”

Nutley man is suspect in multiple thefts

Anthony Cervino

A Nutley man is being held as a suspected serial “snatch and grab” thief allegedly linked to nearly 30 thefts in 12 communities spread over eight counties in New Jersey.

Anthony Cervino, 43, was arrested Nov. 5 in Parsippany after police say he was caught running from a store with stolen merchandise by detectives from the Wayne Police Department and the Paramus Police Department.

Police said Cervino was observed parking his Toyota 4Runner in the fire lane in a shopping center in front of a Modell’s Sporting Goods store. Police said he entered the store and, about 45 seconds later, ran out with an armful of Nike hoodies. After hearing the store security sensors sounding, police said they collared Cervino as he was about to enter the parked Toyota.

Questioning the suspect, police said they were able to connect him to “over 28 snatch and grab thefts” in multiple jurisdictions throughout the state dating from Aug. 4, 2014. As of last week, he has been charged with the theft of “an armful” of North Face jackets valued at more than $2,800 from the Ski Barn store on Rt. 23 North in Wayne at 8 p.m. on Oct. 15 and has also been charged in connection with thefts in Paramus and East Brunswick.

After sending out a TRAKS message to surrounding police jurisdictions and retailers, police said they were notified by the Sports Authority stores that the suspect posted in the message appears to have used the same M.O. – keeping his car (believed to be a blue Toyota 4Runner) running in the fire lane and stealing North Face jackets – in multiple thefts at their retail outlets, most recently on Oct. 16 in Secaucus.

During an investigation led by Wayne PD, in consultation with detectives from various jurisdictions, police traced the alleged suspect’s vehicle to Cervino and set up surveillance on the suspect, leading to the arrest in Parsippany.

According to Wayne Det. Capt. Mark McGrath, Cervino has been lilnked to nine thefts in Paramus, four in Woodbridge, three in Clifton, two in each of East Brunswick and East Hanover and one apiece in Union, Secaucus, Springfield, Brick, Parsippany and Wayne.

Cervino is bloodied in the mug shot supplied by Wayne PD, because he has visible sores on his face and a staph infection and when detectives “had him face down on the sidewalk as they were handcuffing him … Cervino turned his head and scraped his forehead on the sidewalk which caused the bleeding,” McGrath said.

He was treated by paramedics but when he removed a bandage, it began to bleed again, McGrath said. Cervino is currently being held at the Passaic County Jail on $20,000 bail, pending court action.

– Ron Leir 

Thoughts & Views: The debt we owe is forever


The poem that accompanies this column was found among the papers of the late Luke A. Kenney of Nutley. I recently wrote about him after his daughter, Pat Rush, donated the former Army sergeant’s World War I uniform to the Nutley Museum.

Rush is not certain her father composed the verse, but I have not been able to find any evidence of another poet.

In any case, when I read it, I knew I wanted to use it for Veterans Day because, although written specifically about the veterans of World War I, it is — unfortunately — timeless.

On Tuesday, small groups will gather at various war memorials to remember American vets, living and dead, and to thank them for their service. But the number of those paying honor will, sadly, be minuscule. How quickly we forget.

Worse, over the generations, we have tended — after the welcome-home parades were over — to ignore the needs of those who served. Some vets never even got that parade.

As Kenney’s post-WWI poem notes, “future care” was promised. But the pledges were abjured, recanted, retracted. If you think that criticism is no longer valid, consider the recent scandal surrounding the VA medical system.

Today, veterans’ organizations have launched their own programs to offer counseling and job support to the men and women returning from deployment, and groups like Wounded Warriors are doing yeoman work. But despite all this, I wonder how many do not seek help, and who see themselves as “discards.”

The Great War troops, who came home to adulation, were eventually selling apples on the streets. There is one story that personalizes the “discards” description as it applied to them:

In 1918, during the Meuse- Argonne offensive, Lt. Col. George S. Patton lay gravely wounded in a battlefield shellhole. Braving heavy German machine-gun fire, a soldier named Joe Angelo dragged him to safety, saving the life of the future four-star general. For his heroism, Angelo (who hailed from Camden, N.J.) was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Patton later said that Angelo was “without doubt the bravest man in the American Army. I have never seen his equal.”

In 1932, Joe Angelo was among 43,000 people — 17,000 of them World War I veterans — who marched on Washington to demand payment of bonus money the government had promised the vets, most of whom were unemployed and struggling with Great Depression poverty. The Bonus Army, including the men’s wives and children, set up camps in the capital, where they lived for several weeks. But then these were destroyed in an infamous action by the U.S. Army.

Infantry and cavalry led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, himself a veteran of the Great War, drove the men, women and children from sites and burned their shelters and belongings. MacArthur’s troops were supported by six tanks, commanded by Maj. George S. Patton.

The following day, in an attempt to plead the case of his fellow marchers, Joe Angelo personally approached the officer whose life he had saved. Ordering his minions to take Angelo away, Patton declared: “I do not know this man.”

When I read that account, I immediately thought of Peter.

“But he began to curse and to swear, saying, ‘I know not this man . . .’” (Mark 14:71,72)

According to biographer Stanley Hirshson, Patton later told his fellow officers that, since the war, he and his mother had often given Angelo money and “set him up in business several times.” He explained his conduct thusly:

“Can you imagine the headlines if the papers got word of our meeting here this morning? Of course, we’ll take care of him anyway.”

I hope that was the case.

Peter repented. Did Patton?

– Karen Zautyk