By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent LYNDHURST – After what Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Giangeruso characterized as “33 years of starts and stops,” the township – with help from Bergen County – is finally beginning to see the start of improvements to the intersection at Kingsland and Riverside Aves. The changes […]
A Belleville man was among three defendants convicted earlier this month in federal court for their roles in a $15 million mortgage fraud scheme involving condominiums in New Jersey and Florida, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman reported. Last month, another Belleville resident pleaded guilty in the same scam. According to […]
By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent KEARNY – The Walmart in Kearny is conveniently located on Harrison Ave., with easy access to Rt. 280, the N.J. Turnpike and feeder roads to Newark and Jersey City. This is a boon for shoppers. However, according to Kearny police, it is […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent KEARNY – Four former Kearny workers, including a union chief, have lost the first round of a bid to reverse their New Year’s Eve dismissals nearly three years ago. In a 21-page ruling issued Sept. 3, the state Office of Administrative Law […]
Don your favorite pink attire and join St. Michael’s Medical Center for a Breast Cancer Awareness Month event — Breast Health & You — on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at SMMC’s Connie Dwyer Breast Center, 111 Central Ave., Newark. Dr. Nadine Pappas, director of […]
By Ron Leir
A proposed bank-to-bank cleanup and cap is no way to treat a river. That’s the reaction by a private corporate group that has agreed to pay for work to remediate a portion of the contaminated Passaic River.
The CPG, isn’t prepared to accept a $1.78 billion U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plan to remove 4.3 million cubic yards of sediment from the lower Passaic, from Newark Bay to the Newark/Belleville border.
The CPG, more than 60 companies who’ve accepted the collective responsibility of funding remediation of industrial toxins that compromised the river, have filed an 87-page response to the EPA plan slamming it from every conceivable angle.
CPG’s response, filed Aug. 20 – the deadline set by EPA for submitting commentary on its plan – was prepared by the global corporate law firm K&L Gates, with offices in Newark and elsewhere. According to its website, the law firm offers “global boardroom risk solutions” to “such areas as corporate governance, anticorruption, competition, antitrust and regulatory, insurance coverage, workplace safety, environment, product liability, cyber risk and data privacy, among others ….”
The same group recently concluded a dredge/cap operation, removing more than 16,000 cubic yards of toxins from a 5-acre section of Lyndhurst mudflats along the banks of the river.
In its response, the CPG makes these points:
The EPA plan for the Passaic is misguided and “inconsistent with” the goals set by the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation & Liability Act of 1980.
The EPA plan is “legally indefensible and must be withdrawn.”
The EPA plan “is scientifically and technically unsound based upon the current understanding of the river ….”
Despite EPA’s assertions that its plan would be the largest cleanup in the agency’s history and that the sediment collected would “fill MetLife Stadium, twice over,” the CPG insists it won’t do the job intended and will be a waste of money.
The CPG contends that EPA “misrepresented the conditions of the river sediments and the effectiveness of the remedial alternatives that were evaluated,” and that it “has made a series of incorrect and scientifically unsupportable assumptions and interpretations that demonstrate a clear preconceived bias for a bankto- bank remedy … despite the fact that there are now legions of data, collected over the last seven years, demonstrating that the disruption and cost of a bank-to-bank remedy are not needed to protect human health and the environment.”
Since 2007, the CPG says it “has spent more than $100 million” on a remedial investigation feasibility study with oversight by EPA” but the CPG says EPA’s actions have only “increased the likelihood of expensive and time-consuming litigation” by all parties involved.
The CPG contends that the EPA’s plan relies on a bank-to-bank strategy, keyed to “massive sediment removal,” that will only lead to “recontamination,” that the EPA’s assessment of ecological risks in the river were based on creation of “a fake generic fish that does not exist and is not representative of the life histories of the fish population that does inhabit the river,” and that it “failed to consider … the enormous logistical nightmares [from] many thousands of bridge openings with resulting traffic congestion and rail transportation delays.”
In the end, implementing the EPA plan will leave the river in no better condition for “being fishable or swimmable,” the CPG asserted.
“Selecting a massive dredging remedy … is inconsistent with adaptive management and precludes the requisite flexibility and adjustment during remedy selection,” it said.
The CPG says its plan – still evolving – will work better by “targeting specific areas” for cleanup without needlessly disrupting other areas “not contributing to [sediment-related] risk” and with “less disruption to the community,” all at a quicker pace and for less money.
EPA spokesman David Kluesner declined to respond to CPG’s allegations. He said the agency is reviewing “over 200” public comments sent to the EPA, along with comments from three public meetings. Some “will require additional research,” he added. Asked when EPA would publish a final plan, Kluesner said: “We don’t have a time frame on that.”
A 63-year-old Belleville man faces up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to his role in a $15 million mortgage fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced last week.
Appearing Sept. 2 in federal court in Camden, defendant Larry Fullenwider admitted conspiring to defraud financial institutions as part of the scheme that made illegal profits on overbuilt condominiums at the Jersey Shore and in Florida, Fishman said.
Fullenwider, charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, admitted purchasing four condos in North Wildwood after presenting a false identification and using fake documents to support fraudulent loan applications, Fishman said. He was among 13 persons arrested in the case.
According to Fishman’s office, the scheme masterminds located oceanfront condos built by financially distressed developers and negotiated a buyout price. They then caused the sales prices for the properties to be much higher than the buyout price, to ensure large proceeds.
Fishman said Fullenwider’s role was as a “straw buyer” who, using an alias and false Social Security number, bought the North Wildwood properties at the inflated rates in 2007. To qualify for mortgage loans, Fullenwider and the other conspirators also created fake W-2 forms, pay stubs, bank statements and investment statements, authorities said.
Once the loans were approved and the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with real estate closings, Fullenwider and the others reportedly received a portion of the money from conspirators who had funds wired or checks deposited into various accounts.
Fullenwider faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he is sentenced in January.
– Karen Zautyk
By Jim Hague
It was a night six years ago that touched the hearts of many local residents, especially people who live in his hometown of Kearny.
June 9, 2008, was a very stormy night and Victor Muniz, a former standout basketball player at Kearny High School, was making his way home through West Hudson Park when a huge tree branch snapped and landed directly on him, paralyzing him from the waist down for the rest of his life.
Muniz spent the next five months at the Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation in West Orange, where he received many gifts and had plenty of visitors, including then-New Jersey Nets All-Star guard Devin Harris, who presented Muniz with an autographed pair of his sneakers.
“When I got there, I was practically a vegetable,” said Muniz, now 28 years old. “I couldn’t move at all.”
But Muniz worked diligently through his rehabilitation, eventually gaining use of his upper body, especially his hands and arms.
“I couldn’t grip anything at all, but now I can write,” Muniz said. “I can use my hands.”
Never once has Muniz’s spirits wavered.
“He’s come a long way,” said Joseph Sgalia, the president of UNICO of Kearny, a social group that helps benefit the community any way possible. “His determination is outstanding and his resilience to keep on going is amazing.”
Of course, Muniz needs help. Sgalia worked hard to find Muniz a more suitable place to live with limited stairs and easier access.
But Sgalia wanted to do more.
“There had to be something we could do for him,” Sgalia said.
On Sunday, Oct. 5, the Kearny UNICO will hold a special fundraiser/ tricky tray to help raise funds to purchase a motorized wheelchair for Muniz. The event is called “Wheels for Vic.”
“You should see how bad his hands get from trying to push the chair around,” Sgalia said. “It’s not easy.”
The fundraiser will be held at the Kearny Boystown gym on Belgrove Drive from 1-5 p.m. Tickets are $30. All the proceeds of the event will go to purchase Muniz a motorized chair that costs approximately $11,000.
Muniz still hopes for the day that he could walk again, even six years after that fateful night.
“I’ve learned to never say never,” Muniz said. “Because unless the Big Man upstairs comes down and tells me something different, I will never say never. That’s just a just a waste of time and effort.”
Muniz has been attending Bergen County Community College in pursuit of a degree in hospitality management.
“I’m a people person,” Muniz said. “I deal with a lot of people. It’s perfect for me. I’ve always been interested in hotel management, because you get to meet a lot of younger people that way.”
Muniz is grateful to Sgalia and the people of Kearny.
“It’s been six years and people are still willing to help me,” Muniz said. “What people have done for me already is tremendous. It’s amazing that I still have a lot of friends and teammates that want to help. It motivates me and gives me the direction to go.”
Sgalia said that the UNICO members were all in support of the cause.
“We all wanted to make sure we did something worthwhile for Victor,” Sgalia said. “He’s a special young man and we’re all willing to help him.”
If anyone is willing to purchase tickets for the event, contact Sgalia at (201) 998-6879 or you can send a check to “Wheels for Vic” c/o Kearny UNICO, 11 Terrace Place, Kearny, NJ 07032. Make the check out to Kearny UNICO.
“We really wanted to do something special for Vic,” Sgalia said. “Now, we think we have.”
If anyone wants to just make a donation, they can do so as well, sending a check to the address above.
“It’s hard to explain how I feel,” Muniz said. “It’s really difficult to come up with the emotions. All I can do is say thanks.”
A man described as a known shoplifter” called attention to himself last week when he went into a local Radio Shack carrying a slender backpack and emerged with a chubby one, Kearny police reported.
Chief John Dowie said Det. Michael Gonzalez was on patrol in an unmarked car on Passaic Ave. on Sept. 1 when, at 2:15 p.m., he recognized Leroy Holmes, 43, of Newark, whom he saw enter and leave several stores without apparently making any purchases. Then Holmes visited the electronics store, and his backpack no longer appeared empty, police said. Gonzalez stopped the suspect and advised him of his observations. From the backpack, Holmes, who allegedly identified himself as “Eric Mendoza,” produced two sets of headphones, but no receipts, police said.
After it was confirmed that the merchandise belonged to Radio Shack, police said, Holmes was charged with shoplifting and hindering apprehension.
Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:
Det. Gonzalez was on assignment on Harrison Ave. at 1 a.m. when he stopped a car for a lighting violation and found that the driver had a suspended license.
Donnell McAllister, 29, of Jersey City was arrested for that offense.
Officer Jordenson Jean responded to a 2:15 a.m. collision at the Belleville Pike and Schuyler Ave. between an SUV and a Mercedes. After conducting field sobriety tests, he arrested Susana Erazo, 23, of West New York, the driver of the latter vehicle, on a DWI charge. She was also charged with failure to take an Alcotest, careless driving and failure to maintain a lane. Police said Erazo was not injured and the SUV driver refused medical attention.
Just 10 minutes later, at 2:25, Lt. Anthony Gouveia witnessed a Ford Explorer nearly hit a parked car in the area of Bergen and Highland Aves., turn onto Maple St., and almost hit another, police said. With Officer Ben Wuelfing as back-up, Gouveia stopped the SUV and questioned the driver, Electerio Videz, 58, of Kearny, who allegedly became uncooperative when asked to perform FSTs. Videz was subsequently charged with DWI, driving with a suspended license and refusing to take an Alcotest.
At 2 p.m., Officer Jean responded to Walmart after store security reported that a man, carrying some sort of blade, was opening packages and concealing items. Police said Jean approached suspect Valentino Rogers, 27, of Newark, and found him to be in possession of a box-cutter, a cell phone and two Bluetooths. (Blueteeth?) Rogers was charged with shoplifting, possession of burglar tools and on an outstanding Irvington warrant — for shoplifting.
Officer Brian Wisely responded to a 6 p.m. report of a woman screaming on the 500 block of Forest St. and found her to be involved in a verbal altercation with Danny Vincente, 26, of Kearny. As Wisely tried to mediate, Vincente entered a motor vehicle and sped away, police said.
The officer intercepted him on Brighton Ave. and asked for his driving credentials, but Vincente reportedly ignored him and tried to enter a dwelling. He was again stopped, but continued to be uncooperative, police said.
When advised by back-up Officer John Fabula that he was under arrest for failure to comply, he resisted being cuffed, scratched Wisely and had to be wrestled to the ground and forcibly placed in the patrol car, police said. Vincente was charged with obstruction, aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting arrest, along with being issued several MV violations.
Officer Fabula, answering a 4:45 p.m. call about a large, disabled truck at Schuyler and Bergen Aves., arrived to find a 2000 Kenworth (check Google Images) blocking the intersection. Police said the behemoth was found to have been unregistered since January 2013, and the driver, Ronald Smith, 63, of Willingboro, to have a suspended license. He was charged with that offense, and the truck was towed from the scene.
At 8:45 p.m., Officer Daniel Esteves arrested 27-yearold Stephanie Dealmeida of Kearny on three outstanding Kearny warrants. After transporting her to headquarters, he searched his patrol car and found that she had apparently discarded marijuana in the back seat. Along with the warrants, she was charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia.
At 11 a.m., Officer Jack Grimm, on patrol near the Harrison Ave./Belleville Pike viaduct, found a disabled Honda operated by Shamar Johnson, 21, of East Orange. Checking his mobile computer, Grimm found that the car’s registration was expired and that Johnson’s license was suspended. Further inquiries revealed an outstanding East Orange warrant for the driver, who was arrested and taken to HQ. The Honda was impounded.
At 10:30 p.m., relative to an ongoing prostitution investigation, Vice Squad detectives arrested Adora (a/k/a Tiffany) Sparks, 25, of New York City after she allegedly solicited one of the officers. A search found her to be in possession of more than $500 in cash, presumed to be the proceeds of prostitution, said $500 to be forfeited to the prosecutor’s office.
Officer Wuelfing, patrolling at Kearny Ave. and Duke St. at 2:30 a.m., found a Mazda, parked but running, with the driver asleep behind the wheel. After Wuelfing managed to awaken him, the man reportedly tried to drive away, but this was futile since his emergency brake was on. The driver then stumbled out of the car, police said, and when asked for his license, began to unzip his pants.
Wuelfing asked that he cease and desist, and he complied. But Marshall King, 25, of Hillside, was still charged with DWI and DWI in a school zone.
A police chase of a suspect from Newark ended with a multi-car crash at the Nutley exit of Rt. 21 North that led to the temporary shutdown of the De Jessa Memorial Bridge and lengthy commuter tie-ups last Friday.
Nutley police responded to Park Ave., at 11:54 a.m., on the heels of a radio broadcast from Newark PD that they were in pursuit of a maroon pickup truck traveling north on Rt. 21.
Newark PD terminated the chase prior to entering Nutley but police said the pickup, driven by Clarence Bowie, 49, of Newark, continued driving at high speeds and ended up crashing into four vehicles stopped at the highway exit ramp in Nutley.
Newark PD took custody of Bowie prior to transporting him and his female passenger to University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Newark for treatment of their injuries.
Bowie was charged by Nutley PD with aggravated assault, four counts of assault by auto, four counts of causing injury while operating a vehicle with a revoked or suspended license and with nine motor vehicle violations: driving while N.J. privileges are suspended, reckless driving, unlicensed driver, unsafe vehicle, bald passenger front tire, loaded as to spill, no visible passenger tail lamp lens or housing on vehicle, unclear plates and operating uninsured vehicle. Nutley Police Sgt. Anthony Montanari said the bridge remained closed to vehicular traffic until nearly 2 p.m. “It was a real mess,” he said.
At press time, it couldn’t be readily learned why Bowie was being pursued by Newark PD.
Among other goings-on logged by Nutley PD during the past week were these incidents:
A Walnut St. resident returning home reported finding a bag of empty beer cans left at the curb in front of their house. The resident told police this was a repetition of a similar incident that happened about two months ago.
Investigating a property damage report on Washington Ave., police said they were told by a female visiting a friend that they’d decided to “bedazzle” a resident’s vehicle by applying spray paint. Police observed several cans of spray paint on the blacktop and, after being advised they couldn’t leave the items on private property, the female removed the paint from the vehicle with a brush and nail polish remover and left the area.
A Franklin Ave. resident reported that a tree had fallen from an adjacent property, damaging a Dumpster.
A large tree branch fell on a River Road property, damaging the rear end of a resident’s 2013 Toyota. Officers removed the branch from the vehicle.
Someone stole a bicycle parked outside a Franklin Ave. business. The bike’s owner told police they were inside the store for five minutes and when they came out, the bike was gone. It was described as a custom-built Subrosa Villicus with a gray frame, green splatter pattern and purple handlebars, valued at more than $1,500.
Three incidents involving tree branches that fell from township-owned properties were reported. One large branch fell on a Nutley Ave. resident’s 2007 Toyota, damaging the rear hatch; another large branch from an unhealthy township tree was found lying in a Howard Place driveway where only last week, a grill and tables had been set up for a block party; and a large limb from a town tree on Race St. fell on a resident’s parked vehicle, scratching the front hood, roof and both sides of the vehicle, police said.
Searching for someone who’d been injured, officers discovered a broken glass storm door at the main entrance to an Essex St. residence. Police said they located the injured party checking into an area hospital for treatment. Police said he was hurt punching a window during a domestic incident for which charges are pending.
A River Road tenant told police they’d gone home to return some equipment and found the rear door kicked in but a search of the interior indicated that nothing appeared to be missing.
A tree on county property fell, blocking Park Way, and landed atop a vehicle causing extensive damage. The Essex County Sheriff’s Department arranged to remove the limb.
A Lloyd St. resident reported that the passenger side mirror had been knocked off their parked vehicle.
Someone caused $1,200 in damage to a Washington Ave. business ATM and removed an unknown amount of money, the business owner told police. Detectives are investigating
– Ron Leir
By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Some of the comments were disturbing and beyond ignorant.
“But he was so good in ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ how could he ever be depressed?”
“He had so much money, what was there for him to be depressed over?”
“He was a funny and talented actor — there’s no logical reason whatsoever that he should have been depressed.”
And there were other comments that were worse, really. But these were the most stark, because it’s 2014, and there are, honestly, people in this world who do not understand depression.
It can hit anyone. Finances have no correlation to depression. It doesn’t always take bad experiences to make people depressed. And being a famous actor with immense worldly talent makes not one bit of difference.
I say this with authority because like Robin Williams — and millions of others in this country — I’ve been there before. There is nothing worse. And it doesn’t require a trigger to be set in motion.
The first time I recall being depressed, I was 14 and a freshman in high school. I recall waking up one day and – literally – not being able to get out of bed. Nothing but good things precipitated this. I was having the time of my life at a new school at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. And the feeling was immense and outrageously intolerable.
On any given day, it could come and go — especially if funny things happened in a class. But without fail, by the time I was on the No. 22 bus heading from Journal Square back home to Kearny, it would resurface.
Occasionally, it would last weeks at a time. Sometimes less. Sometimes, more.
And yet here I was, in as positive an environment I could ask for — and the sadness, the dreariness, the feelings of despair, were so strong. And because this was 1989, there was nothing I could do, because no one talked about depression then, no one at school ever addressed the notion of depression and quite frankly, no one anywhere really thought it would be possible for a 14-year-old to be depressed — especially when everything else in life was otherwise fine.
This initial span lasted, on and off, until 1991, the beginning of my senior year of high school. It went away until around 1999 — and came back with vengeance.
But being older, and sick and tired of its effects, I did something about it. First, I confided in a friend about it. It was the most important conversation I’ve ever had, because for the first time ever, someone else knew what I was going through. And this person constantly kept on me about it — and still does to this day.
The next thing I did was acknowledging I had an illness by seeing a doctor for help. I went for a visit to the late Dr. Peter Taddio in Kearny, and immediately, he put me at ease. He gave me his ear. And he prescribed me a medication that, quite frankly, I believe saved my life.
First it was Zoloft, and then it was Cymbalta. Zoloft didn’t work for me. It works for others. But Cymbalta did. It changed everything.
It seems a lot of people who suffer from depression keep their illness deeply secretive. Though he wasn’t exactly secret about his illness, I wonder how much people really knew about the depth of Williams’ depression just before he took his own life. Because the truth is, if there were even just one person who knew how badly things were going, I can’t imagine something couldn’t have been done to help Williams.
Perhaps it’s the stigma. Perhaps it’s that many don’t realize it’s actually an illness, one that’s biologically based. Perhaps it’s a myriad of reasons. But way too often, in this country, people with any kind of mental illness don’t do enough to get help, whether it’s taking medication or seeking psychological help — or a combination of both.
Whatever the reason is, most vitally, people who don’t suffer from depression need to understand the severity of the problem. It could be someone in your family. It could be a spouse. Worse, it could be your child. And with that realization comes the responsibility to do something to help. Because far too often, it’s so bad for the sick person that nothing gets done at all.
The day Robin Williams took his own life, it was so brutal, so horrid, that he made the decision that being dead would be the far better option than remaining alive without someone’s help.
There were others in the house the day Williams died — his wife included — and the chances are they were unaware of just how serious the scope of his depression really was.
If one person — one — had known, perhaps he’d still be alive today.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
But it’s the most overt sign that depression can and does affect all types of lives.
It could affect a 14-year-old high school student. It could affect a 63-year-old world-famous comedian and actor. It could affect someone sitting in the same room as you as you read this.
And frankly, it’s up to all of us to admit there’s a huge problem in this country with depression. And it’s up to all of us, once and for all, to do something about it.
Before another life ends far too soon than it should have.
ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, 540 New York Ave., hosts a wellness series throughout September to help mark National Cholesterol Education Month.
Julie Harrington, in-store registered dietician, will run the series.
All of the following programs are free and do not require advance registration, unless otherwise noted.
• Join a weekly Walking Club for a one-mile trek throughout the store, starting at Dietitian’s Corner on Thursdays, Sept. 11, 18 and 25, at 8 a.m. Membership cards and prizes are awarded to all participants.
• Learn easy-to-incorporate heart-healthy cooking methods at a Heart-y Cooking Class on Monday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Preregistration is required.
• Help combat heart disease and fight hunger with an Exercise Extravaganza class as a fundraiser for Partners in Caring. Two classes will be offered on Wednesday, Sept. 17: a strength class from 5 to 5:45 p.m. and a Zumba class from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Participants pay a $5 fee per class, which will be donated to Partners in Caring, plus purchase canned goods to use as weights which are then donated to a local food pantry. Raindate: Wednesday, Sept. 24.
• Learn how to cook up a healthy dish with Chef Joe on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. Pre-registration is required.
• Stop by the Dietitian’s Corner for the latest high-fiber finds and “how to” tips for increasing fiber intake on Friday, Sept. 19, from noon to 2 p.m.
• Youngsters can learn to prepare a simple, healthy snack at the LiveRight with ShopRite Kids’ Day Cooking Class (ages 6 and up) on Friday, Sept. 19, from 4 to 4:45 p.m. and 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Pre-registration is required.
• Each week’s produce pick will be the “star” of a new dish prepared by the dietitian on Thursday, Sept. 25 and Tuesday, Sept. 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Learn how to prepare a vegetarian meal at a Veggie Power Cooking Class on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 3 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required.
In addition to developing a full roster of store-based wellness programs, Shop- Rite’s retail dietitians can serve as guest speakers/instructors at wellness events hosted by local organizations.
For more information or to pre-register for a program, contact Harrington at 201-419-9154 or email Julie. firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ryan Sloan
If you’re looking for big time banking, but in a smaller setting — where everyone gets to know your name and your needs (go ahead, break into song with the theme to “Cheers”) — you needn’t look further than right here in West Hudson at Schuyler Savings Bank.
That’s because for decades, they’ve been offering customers all the amenities large-scale banks offer and then some without the hassle of having to deal with a huge corporation and the red tape that often comes with it.
The main Kearny office at 24 Davis Ave. first opened in 1924 — and just a few years ago, Schuyler Savings opened a branch office at 203-205 Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard in Harrison. In all those years, the bank’s President and CEO George Halski says one thing has never changed: a commitment to offering personal service to every single customer.
“What sets us apart, as well, is that we have had generations of customers,” Halski said. “We have customers whose grandparent and parents were also customers — and now their own children are our customers. We’re able to bring that personal touch and service in ways bigger banks just cannot.”
So how does Schuyler Savings achieve that?
It’s pretty simple, Halski says.
“What you’ll find here, year after year, is that it’s the same people behind the window or at the counter who offer that personal touch,” Halski said. “We rarely have turnover here. So our customers take pride in coming in and seeing the same people week after week after week.
“Our employees take pride in developing relationships with the customers, and we know the customers appreciate that as well.”
Halski says it’s never more evident than when customers pop into the bank having no business to conduct.
“Occasionally, people will come in to share stories … how their vacation was … or they’ll want to know how one of our vacations went,” he said. “That rarely happens in larger-scale facilities.”
Halski also says referral business has kept Schuyler Savings competitive in a fierce banking market.
“We pride ourselves on that. Our customers love to refer new business to us,” Halski said. “There have been so many instances where our customers have told family friends to go see so and so — he’ll take good care of you. That’s unbeatable.”
Indeed it is.
And remember, just because Schuyler Savings is smaller in size, it doesn’t mean the perks of big-time banking aren’t there, either.
The bank offers all of the usual banking services — from mortgages, to auto loans, to checking and savings accounts with debit cards and more. And they do so with a modern flare. Electronic banking is available, as is phone banking. So if it’s 2 a.m. and you need to check your account balance, you can do so with ease with the company’s modern platforms.
“The younger people often prefer to do their banking at 11 p.m. in their pajamas in front of the computer screen,” Halski said. “And that’s just fine — we offer all the tools to do just that.”
Lastly, Halski says he takes pride that Schuyler Savings is consistently rated a five-star bank by Bauer Financial, a financial-services industryrating organization.
“Their rating lets our customers know we’re one of the strongest banks in the country,” Halski said. “We’ve been able to, over the years, keep that rating because we treat the money we have with respect. I personally would never do anything with anyone else’s money that I wouldn’t do with my own.
“That philosophy, along with our strong board of directors, has kept us successful, even in the years when the economy wasn’t strong.”
To contact Schuyler Savings Bank, call 201-991-0001 or visit www.schuylersavings.com to find out all of the services the bank offers beyond what’s already been mentioned.
The Harrison branch can be reached at 973-412-1266.
Hours of operation at both offices are:
Banking: Monday to Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Loan-Department: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those who need the loan department after 6 p.m. may call 201-991-6078 to schedule an after-hours appointment.
Walk-up window: Monday to Saturday, 8 to 9 a.m.; and Monday to Wednesday, 3 to 6 p.m.
Drive-through: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The township hosts its annual 9/11 memorial ceremony on Sept. 11 at 8 a.m. at Franklin Ave. and Chestnut St. For more information, call Tom Grolimond at 973-460-7891.
St. Peter’s Rosary Confraternity hosts its annual Communion Breakfast, Sunday, Oct. 5, after the 8:30 a.m. Mass, at the Chandelier Restaurant, 340 Franklin Ave. Tickets are $22 and will be available at the rectory.
Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., hosts these upcoming events:
- A free screening of “9/11,” a documentary by Jules and Gedeon Naudet, will be offered on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 12:15 p.m. Warning: This film contains strong language and subject matter that may not be suitable for all audiences.
- Financial Book Club resumes Sept. 18. The club meets Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Registration is required. To register, call the library at 973-566-6200.
- Animal cartooning class, for ages 4 to 6, meets Sept.17, from 4 to 6 p.m. The library will provide materials or participants can bring their own. Children can draw animals from memory, learn about animals in mythology and art history and create their own animal/ creature.
- Celebrate the genius of Robin Williams with screenings of the following films: “One Hour Photo” (R) on Sept. 15, “The Birdcage” (R) on Sept. 18, “Mrs. Doubtfire”(PG-13) on Sept. 22, “Dead Poet’s Society” (PG) on Sept. 25 and “Awakenings” (PG- 13) on Sept. 29. All films start at 12:15 p.m. Admission is free.
Harrison/East Newark Elks present a 9/11 Memorial ceremony at Public Library Park, 415 Harrison Ave., on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m.
The Class of 1964 of St. Cecilia High School is holding a 50th reunion dinner Saturday, Oct. 4, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., at Mama Vittoria Restaurant, 160 Franklin Ave., Nutley. Those interested in attending are asked to contact Kathy McCourt Jackes at kathyjackes@yahoo. com or 908- 303-9993; Kathy Walsh Vecchio at katvec46@ gmail.com or 973-865-0402 or Nancy Branin Waller at email@example.com or 201-889- 6229 by Sept. 25.
St. Cecilia Church, 114 Chestnut St., sponsors a flea market on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors are welcome. For more information, call 201-991-1116. All proceeds benefit the parish.
Kearny High School’s classes of 1954 and January 1955 host a 60th reunion luncheon on Sept. 19 at the Spring Lake Manor, Spring Lake, at noon. For information and reservations, contact Phyllis Glass McCartin at 732-458-5162 or phylpmae@ aol.com. Guests are welcome.
New Jersey Blood Services will conduct a blood drive at Comunidade Evangelica Vida Abundante Sede (CEVA), also known as the Abundant Life Evangelical Community Church, 151 Midland Ave., on Sept. 15, from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
Kearny UNICO hosts these events:
- Bus trip to Caesars in Atlantic City departs Sunday, Sept. 14, from the parking lot of Kearny Federal Savings, 614 Kearny Ave., at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $30, with $25 in slot credit back from the casino. For tickets or additional information, contact Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409 or 201-693-8504.
- “Wheels for Vic,” a fundraiser to purchase a power wheelchair for Kearny resident Victor Muniz, will be held Sunday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m., in the former Boystown gym, 499 Belgrove Drive. Tickets are $30, which includes a raffle, lunch and live music. Muniz was paralyzed after a tree branch fell on him during a 2008 summer storm. For tickets or more information, contact Pandolfi, or Joseph Sgalia at 201- 998- 6879, Rossana McLaughlin at 201-407-7262, or Judy Hyde at 201-991-5812. The committee also welcomes both monetary and/or gift donations for this event.
Trinity Church, 575 Kearny Ave., hosts these programs:
- A flea market will be held Sept. 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tables are available for vendors at a cost of one for $15 and two for $25. Call the church at 201-991- 5894 to schedule a table or call Annamarie at 201-998-2368 after 5:30 p.m.
- A fish, chicken and chips dinner is slated for Friday, Oct. 3, 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and two for $30. Take-out will also be available. Tricky Tray will follow from 8 to 9 p.m. For tickets, call Annamarie.
The Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., offers a free screening of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (PG-13 / 136 minutes) Friday, Sept. 19, at 3:30 p.m.
Pathways to Independence sponsors its 13th annual Walka- Thon Saturday, Oct. 4, 10 a.m. to noon, at West Hudson Park, Schuyler Ave. entrance. All are welcome. Proceeds benefit adults with disabilities who attend Pathways programs. For more information, call Pathways Executive Director Alvin Cox at 201-997-9371, ext. 18.
The Masonic Club, 316 Riverside Ave., hosts all-you-can-eat crabs and cole slaw (chicken available for non-seafood eaters) Saturday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 and must be paid in advance by Sept. 14. Admission is $20 at the door. For reservations, call the club at 201-933-1330.
The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst sponsors these events:
- An indoor garage sale is slated for Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Senior Building, 250 Cleveland Ave., from 9 a.m to 3 p.m.
- A children’s Tricky Tray is set for Oct. 18, at the Senior Building, at noon. Tickets are $5. For tickets, call Janet at 201- 935-1208.
Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts an Apple Craft open to pre-K to grade 3, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration is required.
The library also hosts “The Importance of Exercise as We Age,” presented by Kessler Rehabilitation Center Physical Therapist Ellen Ross, Thursday, Sept. 25, at 11:30 a.m. She will discuss the benefits of exercise for adults and demonstrate a general stretching/strengthening program. Space is limited and registration is necessary. To register, call the library at 201-804-2478, ext. 7, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lyndhurst Health Department announces the following programs. To register, call the department at 201-804-2500.
- Registered dietician Elizabeth Nossier offers healthy diet tips at a breakfast forum hosted by Clara Maass Medical Center, at the Health Department, Friday, Sept. 12 at 10 a.m.
- A bi-annual chiropractic screening, conducted by Lyndhurst chiropractor Marco Ferrucci, is also set for Sept. 12 at 8:45 a.m. The screening includes a digital postural analysis.
- A bi-annual women’s health clinic, arranged through a partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center, is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. It includes education on breast self-examination and a PAP test and is open to township residents ages 18 and over.
- A free meditation course will be offered Sept. 17, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the department’s new location, 319 New York Ave. For more information, call the Health Department.
The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission invites all ages to “Get to Know N.J. Black Bears,” presented by the Manalapan-based Bear Education and Resource program, on Sunday, Sept. 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., at 2 DeKorte Park Plaza. Live bears will not be part of the program. Admission is $5; $4 for MEC members. Registration is recommended and appreciated. To register, go to www. njmeadowlands.gov/ec.
For more information, call 201-460-8300.
Other NJMC events include the following:
- The Third-Tuesday-of-the- Month Bird Walk starts with a bird-banding demonstration on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Harrier Meadow on Disposal Road near Schuyler Avenue, North Arlington. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute updates. Guests are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS or call 201- 230-4983.
- The Bergen County Audubon Society presents a free talk and reception at the Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park, on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 8 to 9:30 p.m., to launch “Bald Eagles in the Meadowlands and Beyond,” sponsored by the N.J. Meadowlands Commission and Conserve Wildlife Foundation. The free ebook features images by 19 mostly local nature photographers, as well as chapters on the Bald Eagle’s amazing recovery in the region, the state and nationwide.
To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS or call 201- 230-4983.
Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a karaoke party on Friday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. The VFW hall is also available for all occasions. For more information, call the Post at 201- 939-3080.
North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, offers the following programs for adults and children:
- Museum of the City of New York passes are available at the library. Each pass admits two adults and four children. A $50 cash deposit and an adult library card in good standing are required to borrow. Passes are available through July 31, 2015.
- Knitting Group meets on Thursdays – Sept. 18, Oct. 9, Nov. 13 and Dec. 11 – from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
- Friends of the Library meet on Fridays – Sept. 19, Oct. 17 and Nov. 14 – at 10 a.m.
- Tween Book Club for grades 4 to 7 meets Thursday, Sept. 18, at 3:30 p.m.
- Origami, also for grades 4 to 7, meets Friday, Sept. 19, at 3:30 p.m. The following is a list of dates and times for Back-to-School Nights at North Arlington Public Schools:
- Wednesday, Sept. 17: North Arlington High School, 222 Ridge Rd., at 7 p.m.
- Wed. Sept. 24: Middle School, 45 Beech St., at 6:45 p.m.
- Thurs. Sept. 25: Roosevelt School, 50 Webster St., at 6:45 p.m.
- Tues. Sept. 30: Washington School, 175 Albert St., at 7 p.m.
- Wed. Oct. 1: Jefferson School, 100 Prospect Ave., at 6:45 p.m.
Registration is open for the fall session of the Recreation Department’s Mad Science Program for Nutley youngsters in grades 2 to 5. Handson activities cover such topics as rocketry, magnets, polymers and even the science of toys.
The 5-week program will be held Tuesdays, from 6 to 7 p.m., starting Sept. 16.
The fee is $50 per child. Register online at www.nutleynj.org or at the Rec Department, 44 Park Ave. Space is limited, and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, call 973- 284-4966.
The Department of Parks & Recreation is accepting Recreation Basketball registration for the 2014-2015 season. This program is open to Nutley youngsters in grades 3 through 8. Teams compete in a recreational league format and are grouped in divisions by grade. Boys and girls will play in separate leagues. The aim of this program is to provide ample playing time for all participants, teach the fundamentals of individual and team play and encourage sportsmanship.
The deadline to register is Oct. 17. The fee is $40 per player. For more information, visit www.nutleynj.org or call 973- 284-4966 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The Manga/Anime Teen Club, open to grades 7 to 12, meets on Friday, Sept. 19, at 3 p.m., at the Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive.
Most of Kearny’s public school seventh- and eighthgraders showed up for the first day (actually, it was a half day) of classes at the newly designated Lincoln Middle School last Thursday.
And four brand new classrooms – created this summer following the Board of Education’s administrative staff moving to their new quarters on Midland Ave. – opened at the Franklin Elementary School campus, housing two pre-Ks (morning and afternoon sessions), a bilingual first grade and a sixth-grade science/math.
Franklin Principal Yvonne Cali said the town Building Department granted a temporary certificate of occupancy, pending adjustment of the height of toilets for the younger children.
Lincoln Middle School’s administrators, Principal Robert Zika and Vice Principal Patrick Ragnoni, said their first day went fairly smoothly, made a bit easier, they noted, by the fact that about 550 of the school’s 850 students had arrived the day before to pick up classroom schedules.
They said that most of their peers got their schedules on Thursday and if any problems popped up, school guidance counselors jumped in to remedy any confusion within minutes.
They estimated overall attendance on Thursday at “about 90%” but anticipated that figure would be adjusted upwards within the next few days as parents and/or guardians took care of any last-minute residency issues while other families returned from extended Labor Day vacations.
Teachers and non-instructional staff assigned to the middle school showed up as expected, they said.
Acting Superintendent of Schools Patricia Blood, making the rounds of schools in the district, stopped at Lincoln to extend greetings. At a well-attended public forum in mid-June, Blood had assured parents that Lincoln would be ready to receive students by the opening of the fall term.
Still, one nagging question raised by several parents couldn’t be satisfactorily answered, at least from some parents’ perspective – busing of kids to and from school – a practice the Kearny Board of Education has not adopted a school district is only obliged to provide school transportation if the distance between any elementary school and residence exceeds two miles, and that’s simply not the case, Blood said.
But, inspired by Elva Tineo and Oscar Riva, whose two daughters attend Lincoln, 15 parents of children who had to transfer from Washington Elementary School near the Harrison border to Lincoln have petitioned the Kearny BOE and superintendent to reconsider.
The petition reads: “We parents are worried about the distance between our houses to Lincoln School. The students used to go to Washington School which was in the neighborhood but with the new restructuring, Lincoln School is too far from our homes.
“The distance from our houses to Lincoln School is 1.8 miles and it will take 42 minutes in a good weather condition just to walk to the school. We do not have a budget for a $56 monthly bus fare for each kid just to get to school.
“Please consider the dangers and safety of our kids walking for almost an hour to school. How is a parent supposed to feel safe and comfortable, when our kids can encounter anything or anyone, i.e., sex offenders, heat exhaustion, irresponsible drivers … and so much more.”
Tineo said the parents would be happy with a shuttle bus that ran along Kearny Ave., the main north-south artery in town, to transport the children.
Asked if the town could take on such an enterprise, Mayor Alberto Santos told The Observer, “Transportation of school children is a school function. We can’t assume that responsibility unless there’s a compelling need.”
But even assuming deployment of a Kearny Ave. shuttle, Santos said, “you’re going to need multiple buses and drivers and that’s a significant cost.” And, Santos said, it could open a Pandora’s box because, “Once you do it for one group of children, you’ve got to do it for all.”
Asked if the Police Department would be adding or reconfiguring existing school crossing guards to adjust to the redistricting, Santos said: “We asked the district to supply us with information on that but we never got the data from them on whether student commuting patterns would change. However, the police are monitoring the situation.”
– Ron Leir