The state Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is investigating a fatal shooting of the driver of a stolen SUV at the Lyndhurst-Rutherford border early Tuesday, Sept. 16, according to a press release issued by the AG’s Office. The driver, identified […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent KEARNY – The corner house at Grand Place and Stewart Ave. doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, but it’s drawn a lot of attention from neighbors – and not in a good way. Many packed the assembly chambers at […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent HARRISON – The town of Harrison, with a current population of about 14,000 but growing thanks to several new residential projects rising in its waterfront redevelopment area, now has a second hotel. It is the Element Harrison, the brand’s second hotel in New […]
By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent HARRISON– Somewhere in Harrison, there is a magical place. If we were telling this story as a fairy tale, it would begin: Once upon a time, there was a small plot of land on which a happy home had stood. […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent KEARNY – Starting next month, the Kearny Farmers Market will be offering a new, sweet treat as part of the fresh, Jersey-grown produce for its patrons. We’re talking vino, folks. The town governing body voted last Tuesday night to permit the Four […]
A performance by the Library Players, a children’s acting troupe, on Aug. 18 and a Science Fun Workshop on Aug. 25 will be the next installments of the Eight Great Live Monday nights series at Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave. Both programs begin at 6:30 p.m. Registration is required. Call 973-450- 3434. These programs are for the entire family.
Belleville UNICO sponsors a bus ride to the Taj Mahal Sunday, Aug. 24. A donation of $30 – or $35 if paid the day of the trip – is requested. A continental breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. at the Senior Citizens Center, 125 Franklin Ave. The bus will leave from the center at 8:50 a.m. Call 973-759-9259 to reserve seats (no last minute cancellations). Mail checks, payable to Belleville UNICO, to: Gene Antonio, 436 Joralemon St., Belleville, N.J. 07109.
The Fab Four come to Bloomfield in a free concert Friday, Aug. 8, when the Essex County SummerMusic Concert Series hosts the Beatles tribute band, featuring former cast members of the Broadway show “Beatlemania,” at 7:30 p.m. in Brookdale Park. For more information, call the Department of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs at 973‑239-2485.
The Harrison Downtown Community Development Partnership and Neighborhood Preservation program co-sponsor a flea market and collectible show Saturday, Aug. 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the parking lot at 401 Bergen St. Admission is free. Any school/local organization interested in having an exhibitor space to sell their items and/or promote their club are welcome to reserve one of the four spaces that will be offered free. Call 201-998-1144 or visit events@jcpromotions. info to make a reservation.
Summer vacation Bible School will be open from Sunday, Aug. 10 to Thursday, Aug. 14, 6 to 8 p.m. nightly, at Calvary United Methodist Church, 342 Elm St. All ages are welcome.
The Lyndhurst Health Department is collecting donations for students in need. Backpacks, marble composition books, notebooks, dividers, loose paper, crayons and 3-ring binders are welcome. Donations can be dropped off at the Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., Suite 1, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Aug. 31. Parents with children in need of school supplies are asked to contact the Health Department at 201-804-2500 to schedule a pick-up of the needed supplies. The child’s gender and grade level are requested.
The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission presents a three-hour guided tour of the Hackensack River and its marshes Aug. 16, departing at 8:30 a.m. from River Barge Park, 260 Outwater Lane, Carlstadt. Paddlers will learn the basics of salt marsh ecology. Admission is $15. The event is recommended for ages 10 and up. Pre-registration is required. For a complete schedule of trips, directions, and to register, visit www.njmeadowlands.gov and go to the Parks and Nature Programs tab at the top of the page, or call 201-460-4677.
Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., announces:
• A watermelon craft program for pre-k to grade 3 is slated for Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. Registration is required.
• A sea crab craft program for grades 1 to 4 is offered Monday, Aug. 18, 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. Registration is required.
• Walk-in story time is held every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for children in grades pre-K to 2. No registration is required. The program also includes coloring time. To register, call 201-804- 2478.
Openings are available for the Queen of Peace Ladies Bowling League. The season starts Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 12:45 p.m. at North Arlington Bowl, 200 Schuyler Ave. To join, call Betsy at 201-997- 3914.
The North Arlington Woman’s Club holds a flapjack breakfast Saturday, Aug. 23, 8 to 10 a.m., at Applebee’s Restaurant, Kearny. The cost is $10. For tickets, call 201- 889-2553.
Knitting group, bridge and ESL classes are available for adults every week at the Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive.
• Patrons can play bridge Tuesdays at 1 p.m.
• Conversational ESL classes meet Wednesdays at 10 a.m.
• Wednesday Afternoon Knitters meet at 1 p.m. Beginning and experienced knitters are welcome. Bring your own supplies.
No registration is required for these programs. For more information, call the library at 973-667-0405 or visit http://nutleypubliclibrary.org.
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
Ten-year-old Jonathan Muller of Kearny loves playing basketball, but there was one aspect to young Jonathan’s game that needed a little refining.
“My dribbling was a little hard to control,” said Muller, a student of Roosevelt School. “I had to work on that.”
Esteban Martinez is a 13-year-old student at Lincoln School in Kearny. Another avid fan of basketball, Martinez said that there was a part of his game that was lacking.
“My defense is something I needed to get better at,” Martinez said. “I had to learn how to stay down on defense and not stand up.”
Muller and Martinez were just two of approximately 50 local youngsters who participated in the recent Kearny boys’ basketball camp, sponsored in part by the Police Athletic League, at Kearny High School.
Under the direction of Kearny High School head coach Bob McDonnell, the youngsters learned a lot about the fundamentals of basketball while having a lot of fun at the same time.
In a town where soccer is first, followed by soccer and then soccer, it was refreshing to see so many kids interested in playing another sport, other than, say soccer.
“I would definitely say numbers are up,” said McDonnell, a long-time youth and underclass coach in Kearny before taking over the varsity program last year. “The interest is definitely there. We had at least three kids stay home from their family vacations in order to come to the camp. It was a really nice week. We have so many kids who are eager to learn, want to know the basics of basketball. I didn’t have any misconceptions about what it would be like, but seeing the joy in their faces when they do something correct is so rewarding.”
Added McDonnell, “We tried to give them something different to learn each day, whether it’s shooting, passing, rebounding. It varied from day to day. You could see that the kids never got bored. They were into it, especially the young kids. I give them credit. They really worked hard.”
The staff featured Kearny assistant Mike Reilly, a former head coach at McNair Academic in Jersey City for three decades, as well as former Kearny High players Mike Trama and Dylan Hoch and Mohammed Farih, who went from Kearny High to walk on to the roster at St. Peter’s University.
“They do a great job of helping with the young kids,” McDonnell said.
Another Kearny High grad Tommy McDermott, who went on to play at New Jersey City University and still plays on a semi-pro level, was another counselor.
Farih brought a lot of the knowledge he’s gained as being part of the St. Peter’s program for the last three years.
“We did a lot of the drills that they do at St. Peter’s, thanks to Mo,” McDonnell said. “It’s a fresh perspective for all of us. You need to keep it fresh for the kids.”
McDonnell said the campers could relate to people like Farih and Hoch.
“It has been a great week,” McDonnell said. “It refreshes me, dealing with the younger kids.”
McDonnell said that at least five former campers have moved on to become members of his varsity squad.
“It’s one of the first times I get to see these kids play,” McDonnell said. “It’s like getting a head start.”
Isiah Wheeler is a 14-yearold student from Lincoln School.
“I needed help working on my shooting form,” Wheeler said. “I was shooting with my arm too far to the left, so I had to work on that. Coming to the camp really helped me become a better player. It was a lot of fun and it encourages me to want to play more. It also helped me to get to know others.”
Like 16-year-old Steven Velez, who is a resident of North Arlington. Velez has been attending open gyms that McDonnell ran and felt comfortable with McDonnell so much that he decided to come to the camp again.
“I still have a lot to learn and I like what Coach McDonnell has to offer,” Velez said. Velez played for North Arlington in the summer league (also at Kearny High) all summer. “We all know our roles. I plan on playing a little more now to get ready for the season,” he said.
Velez said that “McDonnell is a great person and he’s willing to help everyone.”
“He knew me since I was like in seventh grade,” Velez said of McDonnell. “I went to his first camp when I was in seventh grade. I plan to keep coming back.”
Jason DaSilva is a 12-yearold student of Lincoln School.
“Coming to the camp has really helped me improve my game,” DaSilva said. “I wanted to play against my friends and I did.”
DaSilva also attended the Kearny Kids Kamp for baseball a few weeks ago.
“I kept busy this summer,” DaSilva said. “I knew this camp would keep me busy and help my game. I want to play more basketball.”
That was the ultimate goal – giving kids a chance to embrace the game of basketball.
After spending several years as a youth and AAU basketball coach, as well as the last few seasons as the junior varsity girls’ basketball coach at Fair Lawn High School, Rob Ledo wanted a new challenge.
“I felt like I was ready for the next step,” Ledo said. “And that was to be a head coach on the high school level. I was told by someone that if I really wanted to get my foot in the door, I had to get a head coaching job at a smaller school.”
So when the head coaching position with the North Arlington High School girls’ squad opened up, Ledo was quick to apply for it.
“It was a great opportunity for me to get in and see what I could do as a head coach,” said the 31-year-old Ledo, who works full-time as a supervisor for the Fair Lawn Parks and Recreation Department.
“I’ve put in a lot of time coaching boys and girls on the travel level, then girls AAU (for the Wayne PAL). I’ve been coaching all year round,” he said.
Ledo, a native of Ridgefield, said that he was knowledgeable about North Arlington sports from his high school days, when he attended Ridgefield Memorial.
“I’m aware of North Arlington’s previous successes in all sports,” said Ledo, who graduated from Ridgefield in 2001. “It wasn’t just girls’ basketball. I did my research before I went for the interview. I was also aware of what they did the last few years.”
The Vikings struggled a year ago to a 3-18 record.
“The Board of Education basically told me what their expectations are,” Ledo said. “They definitely want to see the program succeed. I’m a winner and I come here with that same mindset. We’re all on the same page. I’m completely aware of what has happened. But in my eyes, the past is in the past. I’m not worried about that.”
Since his appointment in June, Ledo has overseen regular workouts as well as monitoring the progress of the Vikings in the recently completed Kearny High School girls’ summer league.
“I expect to succeed right away and I explained that to the girls,” Ledo said. “We need to have that mindset. We have a team with a majority of juniors and sophomores, so we have a young team. They really dedicated their time over the summer and I think they’re beginning to see the potential that they have.”
Ledo said that he has been impressed with the Vikings’ talent level thus far. “I really do like what I see,” Ledo said. “We do have some good pieces to this team. I look at it like it’s a puzzle. We have an inside presence and some good guards. I just have to put the pieces of the puzzle together and have them put their trust in me.” Ledo attended East Stroudsburg University for a year, then eventually graduated from Rutgers in New Brunswick with a sports management degree. He interned at Fair Lawn and returned to work there after a year at Leonia.
Ledo has just one goal as he begins his new challenge at North Arlington.
“I just want to teach them fundamentals of basketball,” Ledo said. “We’re going to work on passing, shooting, the little details that are so important. That’s what we’re focusing on. I’m going to teach them how to play basketball.
They’re catching on. They’re understanding the way I want them to play basketball.” Ledo is pleased with the overall athletic ability of the Vikings. “They’re a very athletic group of girls,” Ledo said. “I can see they have put in the work to get better. They’re working on their fundamentals and I like that.”
Ledo said that he’s eager to begin working with his new team on a regular basis, other than outdoor workouts and summer league play.
“I’m very excited,” Ledo said. “This all came rather quickly for me. I’m still a young guy, but I have put the work in and deserved the chance to coach. I’ve been coaching year-round non-stop. I’m very excited to start implementing things I’ve learned over the years. I wanted to see what I can do as a high school coach. I think it’s going to be an exciting year. I want to see if I can right the ship a little bit and bring success back to North Arlington.”
Ledo said that he hopes to at least be very improved this season.
“We want to aim high,” Ledo said. “That’s the first thing, to be better than last year. Then we want to at least be .500 and be competitive, before we start aiming for titles. But I want them to come in with a good positive mindset more than anything. We will see what happens, but the summer workouts have been going well.”
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
In 2011, Rip Collins Field on Passaic Ave. in North Arlington, the borough’s main athletic facility, was severely damaged due to a flood, forcing the North Arlington High School athletic teams to look elsewhere to play. The floods ravaged the locker rooms, concession stand and offices that were also at Collins Field.
Then, after repairs were made to the facility, Hurricane Sandy arrived in 2012, which made the Passaic River rise to horrendous flood levels once again.
Sure enough, the North Arlington fall sports teams, especially football, were sent to play at other local fields for two seasons.
In 2013, the town passed a referendum that called for a $3.2 million renovation and restoration project to Collins Field, an improvement that included a new FieldTurf playing surface, a state-of-the-art facility for track and field and a new field for baseball.
The work on Collins Field has been ongoing since the beginning of spring and made some people wonder whether the improvements would be completed by the time the fall seasons commence in September.
Then last week, the turf field was laid down and suddenly, everyone in North Arlington could see that the improvements are becoming a reality.
“The reality is coming now,” said North Arlington High School athletic director Dave Hutchinson said. “Once the turf went down, reality set in. It’s a real positive feeling. I’ve been getting calls from alumni members and parents, coaches, everyone. We’re just not getting a brand new field, but we’re getting an all-weather six-lane track, so we can actually hold track meets. We’re also going to have night soccer games. It’s going to be a beautiful facility and we’re all really excited.
Added Hutchinson, “It’s really nice to finally be back into our home. It’s been hard to do without for the last two years.”
Hutchinson was quick to point out that the new locker rooms, offices and concession stand will all be raised by a few feet to avoid future flood situations. There will also be a weighted tarpaulin that will protect the field from possible flooding as well.
“The tarp is going to save us a lot of money,” Hutchinson said.
Joseph Riccardelli is the North Arlington Board of Education president and the chairman of the Athletics and Facilities Committee.
“It’s amazing and outstanding,” Riccardelli said. “It’s going to be one of the best, if not the very best, facilities in Bergen County. Getting this referendum passed was huge. This is a big thing in the history of North Arlington.”
Riccardelli said that the facility will also be used by the Junior Vikings youth football program as well.
The football team will christen the new Rip Collins Field Sept. 26 in a game against Cresskill.
Head football coach Anthony Marck is overjoyed to be able to go back to Collins Field.
“You can’t imagine how excited we are,” Marck said. “It’s been a long time coming. We have a very close-knit community and everyone felt that this was the best thing for everyone.”
Marck said that he has been driving past Collins Field to monitor the work ever since the construction company started work in March.
“I would drive into work and then take a detour to go past the field,” Marck said. “Then, either at lunch time or going home, I would drive by again to take a second look. I would go by there two or three times a day. I wanted to stop and get the workers coffee. It was one thing to see the work in progress, but once the turf went down, it just added to the excitement.”
Marck is astounded by the work.
“The buildings are beautiful structures,” Marck said. “The Board of Education did an excellent job, taking every step with proper precaution. I have to credit the Board of Education and the people of North Arlington for passing the referendum. I don’t think flooding water will ever be a problem there again.”
Marck is hoping to get approval to begin practices at the new facility as soon as possible. “We don’t have a certain date, but we’re hoping for the end of August,” Marck said. “Whenever it’s ready, we’ll be happy. It’s so exciting to see it coming together. I know it’s really hard to hold the excitement back until we can get on the field.”
Needless to say, the last two years of being a vagabond football program with no true home has been extremely trying.
“It’s been quite the while,” Marck said. “We had our share of distractions last year. I’m not an excuse maker, but it’s relief to know we’ll have our own place again. It’s only going to make us a better football team.”
Boys’ soccer head coach Jesse Dembowski is also excited about the improvements.
“We’re very lucky and fortunate,” Dembowski said. “We’re excited about having a new state-of-the-art home. We don’t have to worry about playing all away games anymore. We also haven’t had a night game in years, so that will be exciting. It’s very uplifting for the players.”
Dembowski thinks that the turf field is a little bigger than the grass field the Vikings played on in Riverside County Park.
“I think the bigger field suits our style more,” Dembowski said. “I know a lot of my players will be ready to play there. It’s the talk of the town, getting to be on that field. I think now all we need to do is get some wins.”
First things first. It’s time to get the Vikings back home where they belong.
Officially, it was known as the Catholic Protectory, an orphanage for boys in the Diocese (later, Archdiocese) of Newark.
Eventually, it was called Boystown, and for a century it offered a home to generations of youths. The postcard photo is from 1906, which surprised us because we hadn’t realized Boystown was that old. Then we learned it was even older.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Newark Bishop Winand M. Wigger ‘removed the Catholic Protectory to Arlington’ in 1883 and ‘established the Sacred Heart Union to aid in its maintenance.’ Initially, the Protectory, launched in 1875 by then-Newark Bishop Michael Corrigan, was located in Denville. Boystown closed its doors in1984, but the property on Belgrove Drive is still used. It is now the headquarters for the Archdiocese Youth and Young Adult Ministry and serves as the CYO Retreat Center. The Victorianera housing is long gone, but the lovely church still stands. And recently, a refurbished meditation garden opened just to the north of the church. It is a place of peace and beauty and contemplation. And you don’t have to be Catholic to visit.
– Karen Zautyk
Isaletta Candeliere (nee Nastri) died at home on July 28. She was 91.
Born in Italy, she lived in Harrison before moving to Kearny 55 years ago.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Cecilia’s Church, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Wife of the late Dominick, she is survived by her children John Candeliere, Rose O’Donnell and Angela Porcelli. Also surviving are her grandchildren Patrick, Michael, Heather, Lisa and Christina and her great grandchildren Quinn and Molly.
William J. Devine
William J. Devine died July 27 at Clara Maass Hospital. He was 75.
Born in Jersey City, he was a lifelong Kearny resident.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at Queen of Peace Church, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Bill was the owner of William J. Devine and Son Trucking in Kearny for many years.
He is survived by his wife Lynne (nee Wardell), his children and their spouses Christine A. and Larry Triguero and William J. Jr. and Ellen Devine. Brother of Carol Synnott and brother-in-law of Barbara Morrell, he is also survived by his grandchildren Noel Triguero and William J. Devine III, along with many nieces and nephews.
William S. Garry
William S. Garry died July 31 in Mountainside Hospital. He was 72.
Born in Irvington, he lived many years in Bloomfield before moving to East Orange two years ago.
Memorial visitation will be on Wednesday, Aug. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, in Kearny, followed by a private cremation. To leave online condolences and view more details please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Bill leaves behind his sisters, brother and their spouses Barbara and Bill Sweeney, Judy and Joe Schubert, Deborah Garry and Steve Gabel and Philip and Lorraine Garry.
In lieu of flowers, please consider The N.J. Audubon Society.
George Henry McCafferty
George Henry McCafferty, of Howell, passed away on July 23, surrounded by his loving family, at Kimball Acute Specialty Hospital in Lakewood. He was 75.
George was born in Jersey City and was raised in Kearny before he moved to Howell 45 years ago.
George was a salesman of office furniture before entering the banking industry where he worked for Wachovia and Wells Fargo.
George was a standout athlete at St. Cecilia’s High School, Kearny, where he earned 12 varsity letters while captaining the baseball, basketball and soccer teams before graduating in 1957. George was recruited by and had a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
He attended Norwich University in Vermont before transferring to Rutgers College where he earned a B.S. in business.
George was devoted to the game of ice hockey and was the former president and coach of the Brick Hockey Club where he coached his three sons. He was also involved in many other hockey clubs and coached for the Monmouth Hawks, the Toms River Black Hawks, the Shore Point Sharks, the American Eagles and the Red Bank Generals. In 2014 the N.Y. Rangers awarded George their coveted Emile Francis Award, which he accepted on the ice of Madison Square Garden during a Rangers game this past February. George was nominated by the youth hockey community for this award, which is given to the individual who exemplifies selfless community outreach, integrity and passion for the growth of youth hockey, and generously gives their time to the next crop of NHL hopefuls.
George is predeceased by his beloved son George H. McCafferty Jr. He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Elaine (Ryan); his daughter and sonin- law, Diane Strawinski and Stefan of Manchester; his son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Ryan J. McCafferty and Trisha of Wall Township; his son Christopher Connor McCafferty of Red Bank; and his three sisters, Margaret Magulliam of Spring Lake Heights, Betty McCartin of Toms River, and Joan Luchese of Watersound. Fla. He will be dearly missed by his 12 grandchildren, Stefan and Shannon Strawinski, Erin, Helen, Harry, Mary Elizabeth, Jack and Grace McCafferty and Katie, Meghan, Erin and Connor McCafferty.
A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on July 31 at St. Elizabeth’s Church, Avon. Arrangements were by the Reilly- Bonner Funeral Home, 801 D St., Belmar. Entombment was in St. Anne’s Mausoleum, Wall Township. In lieu of flowers, donations to Catholic Charities, 383 W. State St., Trenton, N.J. 08618 would be greatly appreciated.
Albert ‘Al’ Zarbetski
Al Zarbetski entered into eternal rest on Sunday, July 27 at his home in Harrison, surrounded by his loving family. He was 84.
Born in the small town of Plymouth, Pa., to Jennie and Ignatz, Al headed east in 1950 in search of a better life following the tragic deaths of his father and stepfather in the coal mines. While working as a silk-screen printer in Newark, Al was drafted into the Army, where he served the U.S. during the Korean War. Upon discharge, he landed in Harrison where he found a job at RCA and, more importantly, Irene – the “love of his life.” In 1955, Al and Irene married, embarking upon a month-long cross-country honeymoon that turned into a 59- year adventure.
In order to better himself and provide for his growing family, Al worked at RCA during the day and attended Seton Hall University at night, pursuing a degree in education. In 1964, he started his second career as a teacher for the Harrison Board of Education, which lasted 29 years, during which he taught 8th grade and Introduction to Vocations. Countless former students fondly remember their time in Mr. Z’s class, and many still have the “spoon rings” they made 30 years ago. A proud Harrisonian for over 60 years, Al also served as the “official” photographer to Mayor Frank E. Rodgers, during which he met many politicians including former Gov. Thomas Kean, and he even ran his own darkroom.
Al was always up for an adventure with his family. At the drop of a hat he would take a ride to Bear Mountain or the Delaware Water Gap or Lake Wallenpaupack. If he was driving, he was happy, and often wound up in interesting places (such as the runway at Newark Airport). Al was a bit of a Renaissance Man—he was a woodworker, a jewelry maker, a leather crafter, a painter, a fisherman, a cook, a photographer, and a metalsmith, just to name a few. Always a sharp dresser, Al prided himself on dressing his best for every occasion. He became an avid fresh water fisherman later in life, often towing his small boat in the early morning dark and hitting the lake just as the sun rose. In true Al fashion, he even made his own fishing poles and lures.
Above all else, Al loved his “Irene,” his six children, and his seven grandchildren. His love of his family was legendary –there was nothing he would not sacrifice for his beloved family. As his body gave out in his later years, “Grandpa” always got a smile and had his spirits lifted by the grandkids. After family, Al’s passions included Atlantic City and Cape May, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy. Although Al could not drive towards the end, he did not miss a beat, as Al Jr. and Mary took the wheel and continued the “road trips.”
Al’s philosophy of life was summed up by the song “What a Wonderful World,” and Irene sang this to him during his final hours.
Al is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Irene (nee Kohanski), his loving children Albert and his wife Maryanne, Richard and his wife Lara, Mary McManemin and her fiancé Victor, Lisa, Paul and his wife Anne-Marie, and his cherished grandchildren Jillian and Christine McManemin, Julia, Edward, Paul, Averi and John Zarbetski, and several loving nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his dear sister Mary Lullman.
He was predeceased by his son Christopher Zarbetski and son-in-law Robert McManemin.
Funeral services were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. A funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kearny. His interment took place in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.
For information, please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome.org.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to: Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (www.tsalliance.org) 801 Roeder Road, Suite 750, Silver Spring, Md. 20910 or Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., Kearny, N.J. in memory of Al.
By Karen Zautyk
The three young men, pictured above in their Kearny High School yearbook photos, had their whole lives ahead of them.
Who knew where the future would take them? No one would have guessed that, a bit more than a decade later, it would take them into a Manhattan courtroom, where they would be charged in connection with an international cybertheft ring.
Last week, Laurence Brinkmeyer, 29, Bryan Caputo, 29, and Daniel Petryszyn, 28 — all members of KHS Class of 2003 – were indicted on charges of money laundering and criminal possession of stolen property.
Caputo and Petryszyn were arrested and arraigned last Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court. Brinkmeyer was in court Friday after he voluntarily returned to the U.S. from Aruba, where, according to published reports, he had been on his honeymoon.
All three have pleaded not guilty.
Bail was set at $2 million for Petryszyn; $1 million for Brinkmeyer, and $500,000 for Caputo.
Sources told The Observer that the trio had grown up together in Kearny, where Caputo still lives. According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Petryszyn currently resides in New York City. The office would identify Brinkmeyer’s place of residence only as Bergen County, but he is thought to have a North Arlington address.
The three were among six individuals indicted in connection with a cybercrime ring that allegedly illegally accessed more than 1,600 user accounts on StubHub, a website where users can buy and sell tickets to various entertainment and sporting events.
According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the ring was able to “steal personal identifying information, use victims’ credit cards to make fraudulent electronic ticket purchases [with a reported value of $1.6 million] and transfer the proceeds through a global network of accomplices in the United States, United Kingdom, Russia and Canada.”
The local trio apparently are suspects only in the resale of stolen tickets, not in the hacking of the StubHub accounts.
Defendants and Russian nationals Vadim Polyakov, 30, and Nikolay Matveychuk, 21, are accused of using information from StubHub accounts and stolen credit card numbers to buy “more than 3,500 e-tickets that were then sent to individuals in New York and New Jersey to be resold within hours of an event.”
Those events ranged from Marc Anthony and Justine Timberlake concerts to Yankees, Giants, Jets, Knicks and Nets games to the Broadway show “Book of Mormon.”
Petryszyn, Brinkmeyer and Caputo are accused of reselling stolen tickets that they received from Polyakov and his associates.
“As instructed by Polyakov, criminal proceeds from the resale of stolen tickets were divided and directed to multiple PayPal accounts controlled by Polyakov and his associates, as well as multiple bank accounts in the United Kingdom and Germany,” a statement from Vance’s office said.
The statement continued: “One of these bank accounts belonged to Sergei Kirin, 37, a Russian national who advertised his moneylaundering services online. Polyakov directed Petryszyn, Brinkmeyer and Caputo to send payments to Kirin, who retained a percentage of the money as his fee.
“Thousands of dollars were also split into separate payments and sent by wire transfer to other moneylaunderers in London, England and Toronto, Canada.”
After Interpol confirmed that Polyakov was traveling in Spain, he was arrested July 3 outside a Barcelona hotel by Spanish authorities working with U.S. Secret Service agents.
According to a July 24 report from the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, “Matveychuk and Kirin remain in Russia, but the U.S. authorities hope they will be brought to justice.” At press time, no further information was available on their status.
Vance’s office reported that London police, “investigating what they suspect to be the proceeds of criminal activity being laundered through legitimate U.K. bank accounts,” had arrested and were questioning three men.
In Toronto, an additional money-laundering suspect was taken into custody by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Observer readers who saw TV news footage of last week’s arraignment had to notice that one of the defendants appeared in court wearing a bright red T-shirt reading “KEARNY UNITED.” That was Caputo. We contacted representatives of Kearny United, who said they were not aware of any affiliation he might have with the soccer club.
An accused serial robber has admitted to playing a role in 11 robberies, primarily of drug stores, in Harrison, Newark and Jersey City over a period of eight months, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
On July 21, Christopher Mojica, 23, pleaded guilty to an information presented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office charging him with one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy, one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Mojica was arrested April 27, 2013, in connection with the robberies and was ordered to be held at Essex County Jail, Newark, on $150,000 bond.
Mojica, represented by Woodbridge attorney Paulette Pitt, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton Federal Court. The government’s case was presented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dara Aquila Govan of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
The government alleged that Mojica conspired with others to rob Pharmacy Plus, 234 Harrison Ave., Harrison, on Feb. 21, 2013.
Additional robberies to which the government has linked Mojica include these: New Barbershop, Sept. 14, 2012; a “gambling operation,” Sept. 2012; Amcare Pharmacy, Nov. 13, 2012; Summer Pharmacy, Dec. 11, 2012; Community Health Pharmacy, Jan. 19, 2013; Delson Jewelry, Feb. 8, 2013; Forest Hill Pharmacy, April 4, 2013; Harris Pharmacy, April 16, 2013; and Delta Gas Station, April 19, 2013, all in Newark; and Montgomery Pharmacy, Jersey City, April 15, 2013.
According to the government, “Mojica and his conspirators robbed each of these establishments at gunpoint, stealing cash, oxycodone pills, jewelry and other items.” And, the government said that at the time of the robbery of the Delta Gas Station, 466 Bloomfield Ave., Newark, “… Mojica fired a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun during his flight from the scene of the robbery.”
The government said that Mojica could draw a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy and robbery charges and that the discharging a firearm charge carries a “minimum consecutive term of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.”
“Each of these charges carries a statutory maximum fine of $250,000,” the government said.
Mojica, who has waived prosecution by indictment, will be sentenced Dec. 8 before Judge Pisano in Trenton.
Fishman credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to the plea. He also thanked the Newark, Harrison and Jersey City Police Departments for their work on the case.
By Ron Leir
Talk about parallel life paths: Joseph White and Matthew Giunta went to pre-school (St. Michael’s) together, then to Franklin Elementary School, then Lyndhurst High.
And, last Friday, they entered the Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah to begin 22 weeks of training to become accredited municipal police officers in their hometown.
Joining White, 25, and Giunta, 24, in the training class will be Nolan James, 33; and Michael Giangeruso, 27. Those four, along with Nicholas Abruscato, 23, were sworn in as newly hired Lyndhurst cops in an outdoor ceremony in the park outside the Municipal Building July 22.
The additions to the police roster brings the strength of the department up to 48 – four short of the maximum permitted by township ordinance under its Table of Organization, according to Police Chief James O’Connor.
Asked if any further appointments were planned, O’Connor said: “I’ve had a conversation with the mayor about that and it’s possible that we may see something happen around the first of the year.”
Abruscato, son of former Township Commissioner and current Board of Education vice president Joseph Abruscato, has already graduated from the police academy, having served the past year and a half as a police officer in Bergen County. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in national security studies, both from New Jersey City University in Jersey City.
“He will go on the road immediately,” said O’Connor.
Giangeruso, whose dad Charles is a retired deputy chief with the Lyndhurst PD and whose brother Charles is a Lyndhurst police officer, has an associate degree in criminal justice from Bergen County Community College and is pursuing a B.A. in psychology at Montclair University where he’s a dean’s list student, according to O’Connor. He’s a cousin of Mayor Robert Giangeruso, a former Lyndhurst deputy police chief.
“Law enforcement has been in my family forever,” Michael Giangeruso told The Observer. When asked whether he felt any pressure to follow the blue path, though, “Not in any regard,” was the rookie’s reply. “I’m just altruistic,” he said. “I enjoy helping people.”
James has been an officer with the state Corrections Department for more than six years, assigned to the Adult Diagnostic & Treatment Center in Avenel, and was a recipient of “numerous letters of exceptional duty” from the DOC, O’Connor noted.
James, who attended the University of New Haven in Connecticut, holds a New Jersey teaching certificate. With his new appointment, James said he was “happy to be further along in my law enforcement career.”
White has served as a member of the Lyndhurst Police Auxiliary and has a B.A. in criminal justice from Montclair State University and Giunta is pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
“I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement,” Giunta told a reporter. “I love the work and I look forward to a long career.”
Also beaming was White, who, after being handed his badge, said he was “on cloud 9. I’ve worked for the department as a maintenance officer, in charge of the vehicle fleet, traffic signs and barricades, as a member of the police auxiliary for several years. I’ve been the court bailiff. I’ve played sports here – baseball, basketball – and I want to give back to my community what they gave to me.”
Addressing the crowd of relatives, fellow officers, township officials and well-wishers, including Rutherford Police Chief John Russo, attending last Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, O’Connor said the five new hires were judged to be the best of some 100 applicants for the job.
O’Connor reminded the rookies of the challenges they’ll be facing. “You’ll be a “teacher, parent, problem solver, negotiator and be expected to solve everyone’s problem in several minutes,” he said.
Remember, O’Connor told the rookies, an officer has to react to a situation in a clearheaded fashion with no emotion. “There are no do-overs. … Go out in our community and enforce the law. But also be good to your families, your friends and your neighbors. Become proud members of this profession.”
By Ron Leir
It’s been a year and two months since Gov. Chris Christie presided at a ballyhooed groundbreaking for Franklin Manor, an age-restricted 137-unit apartment complex for those 55 and over – the first such senior development for Belleville in more than three decades.
Since then, there’s been some land clearance work at the 2.5 acre site, Franklin Ave. and Mill St., but little else has happened except a lot of commotion over the project being gifted $6 million from a federal Sandy-relief pot for the project – even though Belleville homeowners were spared much of the storm’s wrath.
It was shortly after the $6 million was committed that Mayor Ray Kimble, a Democrat, endorsed Christie for re-election. Kimble and other township officials have said that it was the developer – not Belleville – who applied for the Sandy funds.
Last week, when The Observer called Robert Ricciardi, secretary to the Mill St. Development Urban Renewal Corp. and architect for the project, and asked when work would resume, he refused to comment and Paul DeBellis Sr., president of the corporation, couldn’t be reached.
But on July 22 there was some stirring … of paperwork at least … involving the project as the Belleville Township Council voted to authorize the mayor and township clerk to sign off on an amended redevelopment agreement and financial agreement with the developer who will be providing a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) to the township.
According to Township Attorney Thomas Murphy, “The project is being done in two phases [86 apartments are scheduled for phase 1 and 51 for phase 2] which the developer needed to clarify to get financing and tax credits. The revised agreement will reflect an increase in longterm payments to be received by the municipality, from $2.8 million to $3.5 million.”
Murphy said the township has “already been paid for the land” secured by the developer for the project.
The township Construction Department issued two permits for work at the site: one on Feb. 26 for demolition of an overhead railroad bridge and a second on May 22 for partial footing and foundation only.
Aside from $6 million from the state Community Development Block Grant program (via federal Sandy aid), project funding was also expected from the N.J. Housing Mortgage Financing Agency Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and the Essex County HOME program, in addition to developer equity. Construction and land costs were pegged at about $18 million.
DeBellis’s Franklin Development Group has partnered with the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency to build several mixed-income apartment clusters in the city’s Heights section and has also developed Willow Manor, luxury duplex townhomes in Bloomfield.
Meanwhile, at the nearby Roche Diagnostic tract, Belleville continues in negotiations with David A. Mack Properties of Southport, Conn., for development of that 18- acre property which is being vacated by its owner. Mack was designated redeveloper in December 2013.
Township Manager Kevin Esposito said last week that there’s now some uncertainty about whether the Mack group would want to invest in the Roche site because of what he characterized as “longterm liability.”
The Mack group, Esposito said, “caters to residential and commercial-residential” development “but, based on restrictions for the site’s development, that site will not be residential, by the seller’s desire. We should know how this plays out within 30 days.”
There is, however, some movement at the former Soho hospital building at Franklin and Belleville Aves., which Essex County sold to Alma Realty of New York to redevelop. Esposito said that Alma has been issued local permits to clear out broken windows and frames and secure access points to the structure.
“Next step, we expect, will be submission of an application for site plan approval,” he added. Township officials said that Alma has talked about adapting the building to accommodate market rate residential units and possible ground-floor commercial use.
And, in another prospective development-related move, the township governing body has accepted the Planning Board’s recommendation to designate Kidde Place and adjacent land at the old ice house property on the west side of Washington Ave. near the Nutley border as an “area in need of redevelopment” in anticipation of development plans by investors for the proposed “Imagine Center,” envisioned as a multimillion dollar, mixed-use project consisting of hundreds of residential units and thousands of square feet of commercial/ retail space with a rail connection.