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23-year-old Nutley man charged with sexually assaulting 14-year-old girl

A 23-year-old Nutley man has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting and endangering the welfare of a 14-year-old girl, Nutley police say. Jonathan Matos was taken into custody by police on Friday, Oct. 10, on Spring Street, and is […]


Bloomfield’s Cunningham on watch in the Indo-Asia Pacific region

Quartermaster Seaman Fayden Cunningham, of Bloomfield, assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89), stands watch at night in the bridge. Mustin is currently on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting regional security and […]


NAPD: Don’t fall for phone scams

North Arlington residents have reported to police that they’ve received phone calls, mail and email from people reporting to be from the IRS and other governmental agencies. The caller will report delinquencies  in paying taxes, credit card bills or make a […]


2nd Harrison hotel

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide opened its 14th Element hotel in Harrison last Thursday with members of the development team pedal-powering a virtual ribbon-cutting at the new location, 399 Somerset St., just off Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. South. Starwood CEO Fritz van Paasschen told visitors that that the company is “looking to […]


A first for Kearny VFW Post

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  When Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1302 elected its new commander in May, it also made local history. Jennifer M. Long, who was installed in office at the state VFW convention in June, is the first woman to head a […]


Nutley police arrest suspicious man who had warrants


During the past week, the Nutley Police Department responded to 120 calls for service, including 14 motor vehicle crashes and 38 medical calls. Among those responses were these incidents:

Aug. 23

Officers on patrol came across a man walking north on Franklin Ave. who fit a description broadcast by detectives of someone who had committed acts of criminal mischief on Aug. 15 on Franklin. The suspect was described as an African-American man with dreadlocks. Officers interviewed the man, identified as Earnest Bradley, 33, of Newark, and learned he was wanted on a warrant from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office. He was later turned over to that agency for processing. Read more »

Kearny man collared in Lyndhurst home invasion



A suspect in a home invasion incident in Lyndhurst has been placed under arrest, according to the Lyndhurst Police Department.

Evanalain Sieberkrob-Hershman, 24, of Kearny, has been charged in connection with the incident, which happened Friday, Aug. 29, at a Bogle Drive residence.

Police said they responded to the location, at about 4:45 p.m., on a report of a robbery and assault.

Police said an unknown man had entered the house through an unlocked rear door, grabbed a 74-year-old woman who lives there and demanded money. At that point, police said, the woman’s husband, also 74, entered the kitchen and tried to intervene but was struck in the head by the intruder. Read more »

UPDATE: Missing Nutley woman found safely in Newark


Nutley Police have located Juilia Dellaguzzo, the 85-year-old missing woman who wandered off  yesterday.

Police say it appears she walked several miles south into Newark, and was found sitting inside a parked vehicle near her childhood home.

She appears to be in good condition, and is being treated to dinner by her family, police say.

The Nutley Police Department wishes to express thanks to all our media and publication partners for getting the word out so quickly.

Koppers developer picked


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Hopes by Kearny to secure a developer for the old Koppers Coke Peninsula Redevelopment site have taken one step forward and two steps back. Kearny and Tierra Solutions, the owners of two of the three parcels in the South Kearny meadows area targeted for redevelopment, teamed with the Hudson County Improvement Authority, the third property owner, to jointly market the moribund site for new ratables in hopes of maximizing the future value of the property.

To that end, the HCIA – acting on behalf of all three – invited prospective developers to submit proposals which were eventually narrowed to a short list of two: The Morris Companies and Cleaner/Matrix.

On Aug. 13, the HCIA board of commissioners authorized its representatives to designate The Morris Companies as the prospective developer – but only for the HCIAowned Koppers site – and to proceed with negotiations for 180 days for a sale/purchase agreement.

Morris’s legal representative is Theodore A. Schwartz, a former deputy state attorney general and environmental law pioneer who is now a partner in the Lyndhurst law firm of Scarinci Hollenbeck.

HCIA Executive Director Norman Guerra said that when it came down to adding in costs to remediate the environmentally compromised 25-acre Kearny-owned former Standard Chlorine parcel and the 30-acre former Diamond Shamrock property owned by Tierra Solutions, the developer wasn’t persuaded to buy in to the concept of an all-inclusive project.

By contrast, Guerra said, the county has already invested in extensive cleaning of the HCIA property and “we’ll be raising our portion of the [redevelopment area] 13 feet above sea level in compliance with the latest FEMA flood control guidelines.”

Those improvements to be undertaken by the developer would be expected to serve as a “cap” for the property, he added.

Guerra said that Kearny representatives “did sit with [the developer] on their piece” in an effort – thus far, unsuccessful – to include the town’s property as part of the company’s overall development plan. The town may continue to press its case with the developer, he added.

As for the Tierra parcel, Guerra said that, “there was no offer for that property by any of the [prospective developers].”

If and when the HCIA and The Morris Companies can nail down a deal, Guerra said the 40-year-old company – which has offices in Rutherford and Florida – figures to build “close to 2 million square feet of big box warehousing” on 138 “buildable” acres of the Koppers site.

With additional work like “infrastructure and road access” to be undertaken by the company, Guerra figured that total build-out would “take a good six months,” once the project got off the ground.

Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, reached on vacation, had this observation on the situation: “We’re exploring with Tierra developing our two sites together. … There is a developer interested but not from Morris. … The town doesn’t oppose the Morris designation; however, it’s in the town’s interest to explore other developer interest for the town-owned Standard Chlorine site. I think the town can achieve better financial terms that way.”

Incidentally, the mayor added, “Any matters relating to utilities or PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) on any of the sites, including Koppers, can’t be done without the town’s agreement.”

Asked by The Observer why the HCIA elected to go with Morris over their competitor, Guerra said that while the overall “numbers from both were pretty comparable,” the rival firm’s submission proposed “phased” payments whereas with Morris, “we’d get paid up front.”

Among the completed industrial developments Morris lists on its website are: a 440,000 square foot Barnes & Noble facility, a 420,000 square foot Canon USA building and a 605,732 square foot Proctor & Gamble warehouse, all in South Brunswick; and a 733,688 square foot Wakefern building in Jamesburg.

Looming over the whole situation is a plan by NJ Transit to develop a micro-grid as a power source in the Peninsula redevelopment zone which is pending a federal funding review. And, if the agency gets its way, it’s unlikely that any new tax revenues will be generated from that use.

“If [NJ] Transit wants the property,” said Guerra, “they’re just going to have to take it through condemnation.”

School getting facelift

EN School_web1

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent


As summer’s clock winds down to the start of classes for the fall term, East Newark Public School is making all kinds of preparations to welcome students and staff back in style.

Newly installed Superintendent/ Principal Patrick Martin recently ticked off a list of improvements that staff and borough workers have done to enliven the century-plus-old building.

“We’ve undergone a huge facelift,” said Martin. Among the improvements he listed were these:

* All classrooms have gotten new window shades. “Many didn’t have any to begin with,” he said.

* The school’s early childhood center, located in the borough rec center, had a new air-conditioning system and a new refrigerator installed.

* A borough maintenance crew was doing some repairs in the school’s boys’ bathroom and came across original floor tiles, Martin said, so that flooring has been restored.

* The school’s kindergarten classroom – whose wall coloring probably has remained untouched for many years – is being painted, along with a staff conference room.

* An ancient cloakroom that had been used for storage for years has been emptied and cleaned, to be converted to a small group instruction area. With all other available rooms occupied, this was seen as the best alternative for the use of this space, Martin said.

* Ninety laptops and mobile carts priced at $120,000 that were ordered months ago – but whose delivery was delayed – have finally arrived.

“These are very important,” Martin said, “because our students will be using them this school year for the new state-mandated PARCC [Partnership for Readiness of Assessment for College & Careers] testing.”

When teachers report on Sept. 2, they’ll have two days of in-service technical training so they will also get oriented to the use of the new computer equipment, Martin said.

The first round of PARCC testing is scheduled in March 2015 and the second round in May. But, to help students acclimate to the computers and to use another measurement to see whether they are achieving state benchmarks, the school will administer an in-house practice run of a PARCC-like test in November 2014 and February 2015.

If there are marked differences between scoring results on the practice tests and the PARCC tests, Martin said school staff will have some basis for making an independent assessment of the results.

EN School_web2a

Photos by Ron Leir Superintendent/Principal Patrick Martin and staff are doing what they can to make East Newark Public School more academically successful with new laptops and more aesthetically palatable with student creations and a new coat of paint for an old kindergarten classroom.

Photos by Ron Leir
Superintendent/Principal Patrick Martin and staff are doing what they can
to make East Newark Public School more academically successful with new
laptops and more aesthetically palatable with student creations and a new
coat of paint for an old kindergarten classroom.


Students return for a halfsession of classes on Sept. 4 and, the next day, the fall semester swings into full session for everyone.

But before everyone gets down to the business of education, the school is throwing a welcome-back party for its 200-plus youngsters. “We’re calling it an ‘ice-cream social, ’’ Martin said. “We’ll close off N. Third St., between Davis and Central Aves., to traffic and give the students a chance to enjoy ice cream and music to kick the school year off on the right foot.”

On July 23, the East Newark Board of Education authorized a field trip for 60 students and 15 staffers to the Central Park Zoo in New York as the culminating activity for the school’s summer school program. For many of the kids, it marked the first time they’d traveled across the Hudson River, according to Martin.

For many, it was also their first exposure to a llama, goats, sheep and other animals which they were allowed to feed and pet.

Their journey to Manhattan also took them down Fifth Avenue for an up-close look at landmarks like Tiffany’s, Rockefeller Center, the New York Public Library’s main branch and Empire State Building, all of which they’d researched before the trip.

Martin said the school is hoping to expand its offering of field trips during the school year as a way of widening children’s awareness of the world outside East Newark.

As morale boosters, Martin has welcomed public displays of student art work along interior school stairwell walls and has, himself, taken a hand in not only brightening school décor but also adding to students’ cultural appreciation, by posting photos and capsule biographies of such artists as Billie Holiday and Renoir.

And he’s experimenting with subtle ways of prompting youngsters to begin thinking about future careers by hanging in hallways, at kids’ height, small mirrors with printed tags below, reading, for example, “Possible future Attorney.”

Too many birds of a feather flock to Nutley


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


Fire hoses didn’t work. Boom-boxes didn’t work. Will “fogging” do the job? Only time will tell.

The “job” is to drive the starlings from DeMuro Park, where they reportedly have been roosting in massive numbers.

Roosting and pooping. It’s the pooping that has the township concerned.

“They’re lovely little birds,” said Nutley Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci, “but when they roost in the thousands, they create a problem.” Which is why, for several nights last week, the park was temporarily closed for “fogging,” the spraying of an “environmentally responsible” aerosol called Methyl Anthranilate.

On Aug. 11, Tucci, director of Parks & Recreation, sent out an email alert to Nutley residents explaining the situation and noting that the town had contracted with a company called the Bird Doctor Nation wide (birddoctorinc.com) to apply the aerosol at DeMuro on the evenings of Aug. 18-23.

The area treated borders Wilson St. and Van Winkle, Margaret and Bloomfield Aves., where park neighbors reportedly have had to repeatedly clean extensive guano from cars and roofs and lawns, etc. (If you’d like to see what a mess masses of starlings can create, search Google Images for “starling droppings.” You might be surprised.)

In addition to being unsightly, the starlings’ excrement can pose a health hazard, Tucci said, since the spores become airborne. Besides, he added, “the smell is unbelievable.”

According to the commissioner’s email, the EPA has classified Methyl Anthranilate “as a naturally occurring flavorant and it has been declared GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) by the FDA.”

“It’s a food-based chemical,” Tucci told The Observer, noting that it is used to flavor grape gum and candy.

The alert explained, “Methyl Anthranilate’s method for bird control is a pain stimulus in the trigeminal nerves which are found in the throats and mucus membranes of the beak and eyes.” (Tucci put it in layman’s terms: “It irritates their nasal passages.”)

“Almost all animals have these nerves,” the email noted, “yet only birds have a negative response to Methyl Anthranilate. Birds ‘feel’ Methyl Anthranilate as pain, while mammals, including humans, sense it as a grape scent.”

When an area is “fogged,” the “target birds begin to associate the pain to the site. They are trained, with multiple applications, that the site is painful and they seek a new location.”

“Until now,” the email said, “there have been few options for the control of flocks of birds that invade and contaminate a site other than killing them. This fogging method will not kill the birds, it will simply cause them to not like coming to this area anymore.”

Tucci assured your correspondent that the chemical irritates the birds, but “it doesn’t harm them.”

“I would do anything not to harm them,” he said.

The Bird Doctor “fogged” the park at dusk, when the starlings come home to roost. Tucci had described prior roostings as resembling “something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’.” We visited DeMuro on Sunday evening and saw some sort of feathered creatures flocking to the trees, but we could not tell if they were starlings. In any case, there did not seem to be an inordinate number. so perhaps the project has been a success. We await word.

Tucci told us that the township had previously tried to drive away the starlings with the help of the Nutley Fire Department’s hoses. Do not fret. This did not resemble riot control. “It was a gentle hosing,” the commissioner said.

“We just sprayed them with water.”

When that didn’t work, the town installed sonic boomboxes in the park, not for music, but to play the call of a predator bird. This was supposed to stress the starlings. It did not.

“We’ve called everybody” for advice, Tucci noted. Fish & Wildlife, the Audubon Society, et al. The Bird Doctor was finally contacted after a Nutleyite made that suggestion at a Township Commission meeting. Tucci said each “fogging” application was costing $895, for a total of $4,475.

By the way, according to its website, the Bird Doctor Nationwide is the “Official Pest Control Company of the N.Y. Yankees.”

Too bad it can’t control Orioles or Blue Jays. Or Red Sox.

To catch a raccoon


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


On an early August night, a few weeks ago, Kearny’s Julie Kelley recalls her husband Ed calling her to the window of the couple’s Morgan Place home and inviting her to look next door where the beacon from his flash light was focused.

It was there, caught in the glow from the beam, that she saw them – two raccoons straddling the space between the attic and roof of 47 Morgan Place.

After the couple snapped a photo, Kelley downloaded the image from her camera and sent it to Mayor Alberto Santos, who, in turn, forwarded it to the town’s Health Department.

“It worries me,” Julie Kelley told The Observer. “I have to live here. I don’t want raccoons in my house.”

Bill Pettigrew, a municipal public health inspector, said: “It was brought to our attention by a neighbor that a family of raccoons – a mother and two offspring – were living inside the home at 47 Morgan Place.”

That location has been well-known to the department since fall 2010 when the house was vacated and the Kelleys began to be plagued by various property issues: water spewing from a broken pipe in the basement, rats occupying a dilapidated garage, an unsafe exposed outdoor pool, backyard overgrowth, and now, animal squatters.

To deal with the prior problems, the town capped the leak, tore down the garage, filled in the pool and cut the grass, placing tax liens on the property owner’s tax bill for the cost of the work.

Photos by Ron Leir The town boarded up holes along the base of the porch and along the roof eaves of 47 Morgan Place to keep out critters and it set up traps outside the attic and in the backyard.

Photos by Ron Leir
The town boarded up holes along the base of the porch and along the roof eaves of 47 Morgan Place to keep out critters and it set up traps outside the attic and in the backyard.


As for the raccoons, Pettigrew figured the animals were getting in and out of the building through gaps in the roof eaves, in the front and rear of the house. So he enlisted the aid of the town’s public works crew to cover up the gaps with plywood and, with an assist from Bergen County animal control officer Bob Harris (contracted by Kearny on an as-need basis), rigged an outside trap with cat food and water along the eaves designed to allow an animal in but once inside, it could not return; it could go only one way – out.

“I also saw an opening at the base of the first floor where the siding meets the porch and we boarded that up, too,” Pettigrew said. “We also set up three traps on the grounds in the backyard.” It was in one of those traps that, soon after, “one of the offspring was caught,” he said. And, a few days after that, a skunk was found in a trap.

The Kelleys were concerned that possibly the mother raccoon and her other offspring remained inside the house, but Pettigrew told The Observer he felt that wasn’t the case.

“I put out more food inside the trap, plus food and water outside the ledge, about a foot away from the trap, as a lure, and, next day, I saw fresh claw marks on the siding and I saw that the food was gone and the water dish was tipped over on its side, so my guess is they got outside and we won’t see them inside anymore,” Pettigrew said.

“There are raccoons all over town,” he said. “It’s just nature. They even travel through the sewer system.”

And – like other animals in the wild – they may carry rabies or other diseases so it’s best to avoid contact with them, Pettigrew cautioned.

Massa names sewer committee


North Arlington Mayor Peter Massa has appointed an eightmember committee to interview Geraldine and Truman Road residents to learn the extent of sewer backups into basements and to team with the borough engineer to communicate possible solutions to residents.

In the meantime, the borough awaits the results of a camera inspection of the sanitary sewer system in the Geraldine Road area to ascertain the reasons for the backup flows.

The committee members are residents Mark Tylenda, Craig Josloff, Lenny Aluotto, Ray Martin, Steve Delpome and Lawrence Maleszewski, along with Borough Councilmen Richard Hughes and Tom Zammatore.

Hughes said sanitary sewer problems in the area date back decades. “The sewer backups in that neighborhood are probably 40 years old. We need to determine if the problem has gotten worse over the years and, if so, how many people are impacted by sewage backups.”

Zammatore said: “I believe we first need to determine the cause and scale of the problem and then determine the best, most cost-effective solution.”

At the Aug. 14 mayor/council meeting, the borough’s consulting engineer Thomas Lemanowicz said the camera inspection appeared to show no major structural problems with the sewer line that would explain the backups.

Councilman Joseph Bianchi wondered if rain water was contributing to the problem, based on a recent visit to the area during a heavy rain storm when he said he saw four inches of rain coming off the hill across Schuyler Ave. and onto roads in the neighborhood.

Whether that’s the case or not can’t yet be determined, according to Lemanowicz, who added that efforts will be made to stem the inflow of rainwater into the sanitary sewer line.

Kardinal 5K Race set for Sept. 6


Kearny High School is seeking entrants for its second annual Kardinal 5K, slated for Saturday, Sept. 6, with proceeds to benefit KHS student activities. Walkers are also welcome. The start and finish line will be at the KHS track.

Here’s the schedule: registration is at 7 a.m.; the 5K Race begins at 8:30 a.m.; a 1-mile Run for Kids starts at 9:30 a.m.; and a Kids Fun Run gets underway at 10 a.m.

Immediately after the Kids Fun Run, 5K Race awards will be given to the top participant in each age division: 9-12, 13- 19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60-plus.

The cost is $25 for preregistration on or before Sept. 1; $30 on race day; $5 for each additional family member; and $5 for students. Checks payable to Kearny High School will be accepted. A free T-shirt will be given to the first 100 participants who register.

For online registration, go to www.eliteracingsystems.com.

For more information, call John Millar at 201-955-5050, ext. 1, or email kardinal5k@kearnyschools.

Alert citizen alerts the KPD

A call from a concerned citizen about a suspicious individual led to the early -morning arrest Aug. 18 of a Kearny man on multiple charges, Kearny police reported.

The caller notified headquarters at 5:20 a.m. that a man was possibly breaking into vehicles in the area of Chestnut St. and Oakwood Ave. Officer Ben Wuelfing saw and detained the suspect, Andrew Worth, 22, at Midland Ave. and Beech St., and also saw a clear plastic bag containing suspected marijuana protruding from Worth’s backpack, police said.

After arresting him on the drug charge, Wuelfing searched the pack. Police said it was found to contain: a Garmin GPS, a Magellan GPS, a Verizon cell phone, sunglasses, a digital camera, a wristwatch, a new padlock still in its packaging, a silver ring, two iPods, a Bank of America Visa card and more than $300 in loose change and currency.

Sgt. Paul Bershefski, who had responded to the original call and checked parked vehicles, located an owner who said his car had been entered and some of the items were his, police reported.

Worth was charged with receiving stolen property, credit card theft and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Other recent reports from the KPD blotter included the following:

Aug. 15 

At 10 p.m., a call came in from Quick Chek reporting that a shoplifter had just fled the store. Officer Glenn Reed got a description and direction of flight, and Officer Wuelfing spotted the suspect on Chestnut St. Jose Rodriguez, 40, of Newark — allegedly in possession of 27 packs of gum and four cans of Red Bull — was brought back to the store, identified and arrested. Police Chief John Dowie said this marked the 15th time since 2009 that Rodriguez was arrested by the KPD for shoplifting or on warrants for same.

Aug. 16 

Officer Daniel Esteves, responding to a 6:20 p.m. accident on the Passaic River bridge in South Kearny, found that an SUV operated by Jackeline Garcia, 31, of Elizabeth had rearended an auto. He also found that a 2-year-old boy in Garcia’s vehicle was not in a proper car restraint, and that she had a suspended license and a warrant out of Fairfield, police said. She was charged on those violations and also with careless driving and failure to exhibit vehicle documents.

Aug. 18 

At Kearny and Midland Aves. at 7:45 p.m., Officer John Fabula spotted a man whom he knew to be the subject of a Kearny warrant for terroristic threats stemming from a domestic dispute. After this was confirmed, Hector Reyesvendrell, 32, of Newark was arrested and brought to headquarters.

Aug. 19 

Following an investigation, Det. Michael Gonzalez arrested Carlos Flores, 39, of Newark in connection with the theft of a purse from an 82-year-old Kearny woman at ShopRite on Aug. 7. Police said Flores had also used the woman’s credit card in Newark. He was charged with credit-card theft and theft of property lost or mislaid. The purse and its contents were recovered and returned to the victim.

Aug. 20 

Det. Gonzalez and Lt. Tim Wagner, on assignment in the area of Walmart at 3 p.m., saw a Honda with a broken windshield and missing vent window enter and leave the store lot. Stopping it on Harrison Ave. for the vehicle violations, they reportedly detected a strong odor of raw marijuana and saw drug paraphernalia in plain view.

Police said the driver, Christian Rosa, 21, of Harrison, admitted to pot possession and produced from the console two digital scales and a container with four large plastic bags of the drug. He also consented to a search of a backpack that reportedly held four more bags of the suspected drug, six packs of glassine bags, a marijuana grinder, a box of 80 sandwich bags, a bag with pot residue, and 43 rounds of 9 mm. blank ammunition.

Rosa’s car was impounded and he was taken to HQ, where the marijuana was weighed and found to amount to 56.3 grams, police said. He was charged with possession of the drug and paraphernalia, possession of more than 50 grams, possession with intent to distribute, driving with a suspended license, operating a MV while in possession of a CDS and operating a MV with a cracked windshield.

Officer Peter Blair was on Pulaski Skyway traffic duty at 5 p.m. when he spotted a 2008 Audi with no front license plate. Checking the vehicle on his mobile computer, he found that the registered owner had a suspended license and a Cranford warrant, police said. Carlos Gonzalez, 30, of Belleville was charged on the aforementioned offenses and with failure to surrender a suspended license.

At 9:40 p.m., Officers Brian Wisely and Tom Sumowski responded to a noise complaint at Davis and Wilson Aves. and arrived to find two men “screaming at each other” on the street. As the officers tried to separate them, Juan Ramirez, 18, of Kearny reportedly hit the other man, a 39-year-old township resident.

Ramirez was arrested for simple assault.

 Aug. 21 

Officer Wisely, on patrol on the 500 block of Devon St. at 3 p.m., observed 19-year-old Fabian Arroyo of Kearny, who he knew was wanted on a $10,000- bail burglary warrant from Kearny. This was confirmed and Arroyo was arrested.

Aug. 22 

Officer John Travelino, on Pulaski Skyway traffic detail at 8 a.m., saw an individual walking near the now-abandoned Skyway Diner while apparently rolling a marijuana cigarette. Police said after the officer’s olfactory senses confirmed his suspicions, he recovered a joint and a small baggie of pot and arrested Angel Cotto- Reyes, 30, of Newark for possession of the drug and paraphernalia

– Karen Zautyk