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NAPD seeks man who allegedly passed 4 fake $100s

The North Arlington Police Department  is currently investigating an incident involving use of counterfeit $100 bills at a 7-Eleven on Ridge Rd. A man, approximately 6′  in height, 150 lbs., wearing a baseball cap  with a Seattle Mariners logo, a […]


W.H.A.T. presents ‘The Addams Family’ July 30-Aug. 5, including preview tonight at Angry Coffee Bean

KEARNY — Teen Drama, a theater company for teens celebrating its fifth anniversary this summer, in association with the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company (W.H.A.T.) presents the modern classic Broadway musical “The Addams Family” this summer. The smash-hit musical […]


Images from funeral procession for Jersey City police Detective Melvin Santiago

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Farewell to a brother in blue

On Friday afternoon, regular traffic came to a halt on the Belleville Pike and Ridge Road to open the route for the funeral procession of slain Jersey City Police Detective Melvin Santiago. The 23-year-old rookie, promoted posthumously to detective, had been ambushed early Sunday, July 13, when he […]


State eyes raising part of Pike

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – The Rt. 7/Belleville Turnpike corridor which runs through Kearny’s meadows area and beyond is getting a lot of attention these days from state and federal transit agencies. For the past couple of years, contractors hired by the state Department of Transportation have […]


A salute across the sea


By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 


Last Friday afternoon, a simple but moving ceremony was held at the World War II monument in Town Hall Park.

Members of veterans groups from Nutley and Belleville gathered to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day, to honor the troops who took part in the invasion, and, in a gesture of continuing brotherhood, to thank their counterparts across the Atlantic.

On June 6, 1944, as some 57,000 American soldiers were storming Omaha and Utah Beaches and the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, more than 54,000 of their British counterparts were braving the German guns at Gold and Sword Beaches. (The Allies also sent a combined total of 23,000+ airborne forces into the enemy-held territory inland, and 21,000 Canadians landed at Juno Beach.) Read more »

Writer explores how we approach death


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent


A Kearny woman has selected a topic for her first book that, perhaps at first glance, a typical reader might find rather uninviting. Karen B. Kaplan’s work, “Encountering the Edge: What People Told Me Before They Died,” is a memoir recalling the seven years she spent as a hospice chaplain for United Hospice of Rockland in New York and Princeton Hospice in New Jersey. But, despite the heavy-sounding title, Kaplan says there’s no reason folks should be put off by it. “It’s a gentle, light touch on a serious subject,” she says.

And, yes, she notes, there’s even room for some humor.

Kaplan grew up in Erie, Pa., before moving further east and settling into life as an academic, completing a doctoral degree in linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984. She did her dissertation on “conversational analysis between speakers of different backgrounds.” Read more »

Belleville teen shines on NJPAC stage


A budding entertainer from Belleville is beginning to build a “show biz” resume.

Belleville High School freshman Najalis Gual captured first place in the Junior Teen Vocal Category (ages 13 to 15) of the Hispanic Youth Showcase, the longest running Latino children’s talent show on PBS.

She did that by singing “California King Bed” by the pop star Rhianna while accompanying herself on piano at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on May 23.

Najalis was one of four finalists culled from a field of competitors from the tri-state area in that age grouping. Read more »

Deliberations continue on 9/11 steel



As the nation prepares to observe the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, North Arlington officials remain divided over how to deploy the section of World Trade Center steel beam the borough Volunteer Fire Department acquired from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

Councilman Thomas Zammatore, a member of the Democratic majority, is proposing that the borough take steps to set up the firefighters’ memorial on a platform at the Schuyler Ave. firehouse by September, to coincide with the observance date.

The borough engineer has estimated the cost of a full-scale mounting of the beam to run $68,000, according to borough spokesman Thom Ammirato. A more practical approach, Zammatore has reasoned, is to put off the extras – such as granite monuments and paving stones – until the borough – ideally with help from local businesses and the Fire Department – can find the money to pay for them. Read more »

Thoughts & Views: Before you take that overseas trip, read this


With the summer vacation season upon us, those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford it will be booking flights to destinations around the globe.

So a reminder: Make sure your passport is up to date.

Should be pretty simple to check, you would think: If your passport hasn’t expired, stands to reason you should be good to go, right?


Don’t get caught like a fool holding your luggage at the airline terminal and being told in no uncertain terms that even though your passport is in good standing, you can’t get on the plane because your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure.

That’s right, folks. So says the U.S. Department of State. Read more »



A story in last week’s issue of The Observer incorrectly reported that Ponte Romana Restaurant in Kearny was charged with having low-proof bottles. The actual ABC violation to which the licensee pleaded guilty was contaminated bottles.

‘Unsafe’ slope targeted for improved path



For the past five years or so, township residents without wheels have had to plod down Valley Brook Ave. to get to practices or games at the Lyndhurst Recreation Center complex.

That’s hardly a good option since that section of Valley Brook lacks sidewalks and is a conduit to the approach to the industrial area and access to Rt. 3.

But now the township is taking steps to provide an improved and safer approach to the playing fields hosting recreation soccer, softball and baseball, and also used by Lyndhurst High School, Felician College, the New York Red Bulls, and for county girls’ softball and baseball tourneys.

This month, Cifelli & Son General Contracting, Inc., of Nutley is preparing to tackle the job of creating the “Lyndhurst Recreation Center Upper Access Way Improvements” project by smoothing out and making more navigable a dirt/rock/grass path that slopes down the backside of Valley Brook Ave. from the Orient Way intersection – with access via Newark Ave. – to the athletic complex. The township governing body awarded Cifelli a contract for $248,839 on Feb. 11 to do the job. Read more »

Tribute to Portuguese community



An estimated 300 dignitaries and guests turned out June 1 for the dedication of the Portuguese- American monument, designed by Thomas Meloro & Son Monuments of North Arlington, in a section of Riverbank Park in Kearny.

The Portuguese Cultural Association of Kearny, led by Board of Trustees President Carlos J. Cunha and Executive Board President Jose Maria Matos, organized a fundraising drive in support of the stone structure which honors the Portuguese community.

It bears the inscription quoted from the Portuguese epic poem, “Lusiadas, Canto VII,” by Luiz Van De Camoes, published in 1572, translated as: “… and if there had been more world, they would have reached it,” referring to the early Portuguese explorers.

First Ward Councilman Albino Cardoso, a member of the PCA who had pushed for the tribute, said he was “very pleased it is now done. It is something that has been envisioned for quite some time.”

Of the approximately $20,000 budgeted for the project, “more than half” has been collected to date, according to Cardoso.

Principal speakers were Portuguese Consul General Dr. Pedro Soares De Oliveira, Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, Hudson County Freeholder Albert J. Cifelli and Hudson County Executive Thomas A. DeGise.

The Rev. Adauto Alves, of St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, blessed the monument.

Our Lady of Fatima Band of Newark and Sonhos De Portugal, a Kearny-based Portuguese folklore dance troupe, performed.

W.H.A.T. is going on in the arts scene in West Hudson? ‘The Fantasticks’ is, for starters


By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent


While West Hudson County hasn’t quite been noted for being a hotbed for the arts over the years, perhaps now it should be — and that’s all thanks to the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company — or W.H.A.T.

Last weekend the company produced “The Fantasticks: A Musical.” (The play can also be seen this weekend.)

And yet so much more has happened and is to come with W.H.A.T.

This season alone, W.H.A.T. has put on “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Cinderella,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Back to the ‘80s,” “The Cat in the Hat,” and “Steel Magnolias” in addition to “The Fantastics.” Read more »

No upsets in W. Hudson primaries

The opposition slate pounded incumbent East Newark Borough Council members Hans Peter Lucas and Jeanne Zincavage with a huge majority on absentee ballots but it wasn’t enough to unseat them.

Voting results from the June 3 municipal Democratic primary election showed Lucas netting a total of 310 machine votes and Zincavage, 305, with challengers Gianni Donates and Michael Magliotti collecting 62 and 67 votes, respectively. (No Republicans ran.)

Mail-in (absentee) ballots, however, were another story. According to Borough Clerk Robert Knapp, the tally reported by the Hudson County Board of Elections had Donates and Magliotti credited with 102 absentee votes each, while Lucas and Zincavage had just seven apiece.

Provisional votes weren’t available.

Knapp certified the election results last week, with the total vote recorded as follows: Lucas, 317; Zincavage, 312; Magliotti, 169; and Donates, 164. So, the incumbents carried the day by a margin of a bit less than 2-1 and will run unopposed in the November general election.

The challengers outspent the incumbents on election-related expenses, including newspaper advertisements that faulted the Democratic establishment for, in their view, mismanaging borough funds and causing taxes to rise. Mayor Joseph Smith, who campaigned for Lucas and Zincavage, countered that his administration was spending prudently and resorting to shared services when feasible to save money.

Knapp said that the challengers have, thus far, not requested a recount.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Harrison, a unified team of Democratic incumbents, led by Mayor James Fife, will be seeking voter approval to continue in office in November.

Fife, who was appointed to fill the seat of the late Mayor Raymond McDonough earlier this year, will be running for a full term as the town’s chief executive. He’ll be opposed by Eric Brachman, who garnered 31 machine votes in last Tuesday’s primary as the Republican nominee.

On the Town Council front, independent Ramon Rodriguez will face off against Councilman Anselmo Millan in the Second Ward, while Councilmen Jesus Huaranga, Laurence Bennett and James Doran, in the First, Third and Fourth Wards, respectively, have no opposition.

No Republicans filed to run for the council in Harrison.

And, in Kearny, where all Democrats sit on the governing body, incumbent Town Council members Albino Cardoso, Eileen Eckel and Susan McCurrie will be running unopposed for seats in the First, Third and Fourth Wards, respectively, while newcomer Jonathan Giordano will be seeking a Second Ward seat in place of incumbent Laura Pettigrew, who is not seeking re-election, in November.

 – Ron Leir