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

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


Have you seen this alleged Nutley burglar?

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


Help sought in cold case

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

100G for Arena tax case

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


Staffing Skyway fire-watch

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


Nov. 12 hearing on feral cats


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Oct. 29 was National Cat Day, and Kearny feline lovers were purring with delight over the town’s move to implement a TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) policy for feral cats – something advocates been clamoring about for months.

It’s not quite official yet: The mayor and Town Council will hold a public hearing on the ordinance, introduced Wednesday, that details how the program will work at their next meeting on Nov. 12 but no roadblocks are anticipated.

The policy, which, Mayor Alberto Santos heralded as a potential “model for the state” if adopted, allows for “feral cat colonies” and designates citizen “caregivers” to “maintain them” as per the rules set out in the ordinance.

Here’s how the policy would work:

The town’s animal control provider, the Bergen County Animal Shelter, would train caregivers in caring for the cat colony, help resolve any complaints over the colony’s operation and assume costs associated with the TNR program, such as traps, vaccinations, neutering/spaying. (Those expenses would be included as part of the town’s roughly $92,000 a year contract with the BCAS, Santos told The Observer.)

A TNR Committee, whose members are to be appointed by the mayor and council, would use standardized forms to “maintain records provided by colony caregivers on the registration, size and location of the colonies, as well as the vaccination and spay/neuter records of cats in the caregiver colonies.”

The TNR Committee would also report to the town Health Department, every six months, with help from colony caregivers, on the “number and gender of all cats in the colony, the number of cats who died [or left the colony], the number of kittens born to colony cats and their disposition, the number of cats and kittens spayed and neutered and the number of cats and kittens placed in permanent homes….”

Volunteer feral cat caregivers would register a colony with the TNR Committee, have the colony vaccinated against rabies and get “all cats” in the colony spayed/ neutered; maintain a digital photo record of all colony cats and a record of cats having been “vaccinated, spayed/ neutered and ear tipped [to identify cats that may roam from the colony]” and provide food and water during daylight hours and winter shelter for colony cats.

They would also “keep a record of any illnesses or unusual behavior” observed in any colony cats, secure medical care for ill cats, and secure “written approval” of any property owner “to which the caregiver requires access to provide colony care.”

They would also be charged with placing any kittens born to a colony cat in “homes, foster homes, or with animal shelters, rescue organizations or veterinary offices for the purpose of subsequent permanent placement.”

The town would reserve its right to remove from a colony any cat that hasn’t received a rabies shot and is showing signs of the disease or any cat “creating a nuisance” unless the caregiver can resolve the issue within 60 days. The town could shut down a colony for failure to comply with the regulations. It could also “replace or remove” a caregiver for failure to comply with the rules. If the town gets a nuisance complaint about an ear-tipped feral colony cat, the Health Department can remove the cat if the TNR Committee can’t resolve the issue within 60 days. Sick or injured cats or cats deemed a public threat may also be removed under certain time conditions.

“Not later than Jan. 31, 2016,” the town is to evaluate the policy to determine whether to continue, modify or terminate it.

Asked who would sit on the TNR Committee, Santos said the council would be asked to deal with that shortly by acting a resolution for the appointment of between three and five nonsalaried members who, he added, would likely include TNR advocates Leonard Twist and Kathy DeRay. “We would probably leave it to them to choose the others,” he said.

The mayor credited Flanders attorney Michelle Lerner, legal adviser for the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, for help in drafting the ordinance.

After the council voted to introduce the ordinance, Twist and DeRay lauded the lawmakers and Health Director Ken Pincus for their efforts. “You put your nose to the grindstone on this one,” said Twist. “We’ll make it work.”

Added DeRay: “You’ve turned Kearny from a ‘trap and kill’ community to a ‘trap and no kill.’ ’’



PHOTO: Wikipedia



Old enough to know better?

By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


Last Wednesday, Oct. 29, Kearny police contacted the Hudson County Juvenile Intake Unit regarding a 16-year-old township boy whom they had arrested for receiving stolen property.

According to Police Chief John Dowie, rather than acceding to the request to send the teen to the Juvenile Detention Center, officials advised the KPD to release him to his guardian. Apparently, the county did not consider the offense serious enough to warrant detention.

But the kid ended up at the center anyway. The very next day. Following a new arrest — this time, for robbery.

Dowie said it marked the 50th “encounter” Kearny police have had with this juvenile since 2010.

Last week’s drama started at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, when Officer Steven Hroncich took a report from a Johnston Ave. resident regarding a bicycle stolen from her yard sometime overnight. The woman noted she had registered the bike with the Montclair PD when she was living in that town, and she provided a detailed description, including the make, the model, the color — and the ID number the MPD had inscribed on it.

At 3:15 p.m., Officer John Fabula, who had read the theft report after coming on duty at 2, spotted a cycle matching the description being ridden by the aforementioned 16-yearold at Kearny Ave. and Beech St. When Fabula inspected it, he found the Montclair ID number, police said.

Since there was no direct evidence linking the boy to the actual theft, he was charged with receiving stolen property and was brought to headquarters. It was then that the request to county was made, and denied.

The juvenile was released to the custody of his grandmother.

On Oct. 30, at 6 p.m., a 17-year-old from Kearny notified police that he had been robbed near Belgrove Drive and Afton St.

Sgt. Charles Smith and Officer Chris Levchak responded to the scene, where the victim told them he had been walking across the athletic field when he was assaulted. He said he was punched in the head and knocked to the ground and was robbed of his cell phone and $5.

A description was obtained and a short time later Sgt. Peter Gleason detained suspects at Kearny Ave. and Afton St. The victim was brought there and provided identification, police said.

Charged with robbery and conspiracy were Jomar Diaz, 21, of Newark, and the same 16-year-old apprehended the previous day with the bicycle.

Diaz was remanded to the Hudson County Jail on $25,000 bail.

The juvenile was finally sent to the Youth House.

Dowie said the KPD›s file on the teen dates to June 2010, when the boy, then 13 years old, was charged with assault. Subsequent charges have reportedly ranged from curfew violation to armed robbery (with a firearm). The 50 “encounters” have also involved allegations of theft, robbery, harassment, trespass, making terroristic threats, and aggravated assault, the chief said.

Thoughts & Views: We can all walk that tightrope

This past Sunday evening, a global audience tuned in to the Discovery Channel to watch the aerialist Nik Wallenda tackle another death-defying stunt.

On this occasion, Wallenda – of the Flying Wallendas circus family – would walk along a tightrope linking two 500-foot-plus high skyscrapers in Chicago – the Windy City – sans harness or safety rope.

And (drum roll, please) he would do part of the walk up an incline and another while wearing a blindfold.

This is the same fellow who, two years ago, strolled across Niagara Falls. (ABC insisted he wear protection for that one.)

“If I want to inspire others, I feel like I have to continue to push myself,” Wallenda told The New York Times in its Saturday edition. “I thought a blindfold would be very exciting.”


To me, exciting is managing to get out of bed in the morning without tripping over my own feet. Or pitching a softball without getting whacked by a line drive back through the box. Or performing on stage and not forgetting my lines.

Why push it?

Well, obviously there are some among us for whom life just ain’t worth living unless you do all you can do – however that translates in your own universe.

If you happen to be an entertainer on a world stage like Wallenda, I guess it’s the notion of rising to ever greater challenges that keeps you going.

Some people might see that as ego satisfaction – and there’s probably a pinch of that influencing the man on the wire – but if we are to accept his words, “inspire others,” as truthful, then we can look beyond personal acclaim to the idea that he’s taking us mere mortals along with him on his perilous journey.

That he’s putting the notion in our heads that we, too, have it in us to rise to the occasion, to be all that we can be, in the noblest and finest way in serving our fellow creatures.

Take, for example, the health care professionals – like Doctors Without Borders and their attending nurses like Kaci Hickox – who have put their lives on the line to work with the unfortunate victims of Ebola in West Africa.

There is the great courage of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani girl shot and nearly killed by the Taliban in October 2012 for daring to advocate for a girl’s right to an education in her country and continuing to speak out in the face of persistent death threats.

Let us not forget the contributions made by test pilots, like co-pilot Michael Alsbury, who was killed this past Friday in the crash of Virgin Galactic’s experimental Space- ShipTwo in the Mojave Desert, and pilot Peter Siebold, who was seriously hurt after parachuting from the plane. And, before them, of course, Amelia Earhart and countless others who risked their lives … yes, probably for fame, but also for the advancement of aviation.

Let’s not forget Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, the Mississippi Freedom Fighters who were an inspiration to the cause of civil rights.

Yes, they all walked their own type of tightrope because they believed that in pursuing something bigger than themselves that the world would be better for it.

– Ron Leir 



To the editor: 

In response to Karen Zautyk’s column on Ebola, I think much of the media coverage to date and the statements of some politicians have promoted a climate of confusion and fear. The following points are important:

1. The current strain of Ebola is not airborne. Exposure is through direct contact with infected bodily fluids such as vomit, diarrhea, blood or saliva.

2. All major medical organizations, including the American Medical Assoc. and the American Hospital Assoc., agree that involuntarily quarantining someone not exhibiting symptoms is unnecessary. Only symptomatic individuals are contagious. Govs. Christie and Cuomo did not base their mandatory quarantine policy for health-care workers returning from West Africa on medical science. In my opinion, it was done for political reasons.

3. Nurse Kaci Hickox did not exhibit any symptoms. When the governors announced that she was being quarantined at University Hospital, they ignored the fact that she did not have a fever and was not contagious. Isolating her in a tent with no heat, A/C or a toilet was an overreaction and contributed to the climate of fear.

4. New York’s only Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, rode the subway, jogged several miles, visited a bowling alley, walked the High Line and patronized restaurants with his girlfriend before he exhibited any symptoms. The media contributed to the climate of fear by tracing his whereabouts, even though no one in the general public was at risk when he was asymptomatic.

5. The Dallas hospital exposures demonstrate that there are unacceptable deficiencies in protocols and training for nurses, doctors and first responders who may come in contact with Ebola patients. Instead of focusing on those gaps, most media and many politicians on TV continue to stoke a climate of fear by conjuring unreal risks to the general public.

We should listen to what the medical experts say about this deadly virus and base our public health policies on medical facts, not fear, and certainly not politics.

Mayor Alberto G. Santos 


Shoplifter had taste for fine wine: NPD blotter

NPD blot_web

A thief with a craving for the classic vino got away with a $1,900 bottle of wine from a Nutley liquor store last Tuesday, Oct. 28.

Police said that a man described as either a light-skinned black or Hispanic, about 6 feet-four, more than 200 pounds, wearing a grey sweatshirt with a dark colored vest, light colored cap, black shoes, Bluetooth headset on his right ear, possibly having keys hanging on a front right belt loop, and possibly driving a black Land Rover, entered the Franklin Ave. shop at 8:21 p.m. and asked the manager if he could check out some of the better wines.

He was shown one selling for $500 which he placed back on the shelf and then began looking at even more expensive brands, police said.

At some point, police said, the manager went to check on something and, when he returned, the customer was gone, along with a bottle of 2005 Chateau Haut Brion, Pessac-Leognan, France valued at $1,900 kept in a cabinet with expensive wines.

A store surveillance system captured an image of the alleged shoplifter.

Detectives are investigating.

Police are asking anyone who may know the identity of the man in the photo to call them at 973-284-4940.

In a separate incident, during the early morning hours on Oct. 29, an officer on patrol observed a 2006 Chevrolet with its engine running on the 300 block of Walnut St. and stopped to investigate.

Inside, police said, the officer discovered Melvin Roman, 24, of Hopatcong, allegedly under the influence of synthetic marijuana, with his girlfriend, Ann Montalvo, 25, of Newark.

Police said the officer also found, inside the car, 11 GPS units. Detectives later determined that three of the units were reported stolen out of two vehicles on Highfield Lane and one on Edgewood Ave., both in Nutley.

Investigation further determined that the units had been in Linden, Elizabeth, Westfield and Clark but police said Roman told them he was only targeting for entry vehicles in Garwood and Nutley.

Roman and Montalvo were each charged with possession of CDS and burglary to autos. Roman was held in Essex County Jail on $25,000 bail while Montalvo was released, both pending court appearances.

Between Oct. 26 and Oct. 30, Nutley PD also responded to 10 “suspicious” incidents, 19 motor vehicle accidents, 15 disputes and the following incidents:

Oct. 26 

A Passaic Ave. resident reported an apparent fraud, stemming from having misplaced their credit card. When the resident tried to cancel their account, they found an unauthorized charge of more than $100 from the Extra Supermarket in Newark. The account was subsequently canceled.

Oct. 27 

An Oakridge Ave. resident complained they were getting harassing phone calls during the past several weeks, all from the same number from someone who called himself “Steve,” seeking access to the family’s home computer to address a problem with the Windows program. The resident said that three calls came that night, with the last one being verbally abusive.


Police said a Hawthorne Ave. resident was an apparent victim of identity theft. After reporting the loss of their Visa debit card to the bank, the resident discovered that there were three unauthorized charges made to the card totaling about $120. Two other transactions were declined, they said.

Oct. 28 

Police said a case of an apparently mistaken address left a local resident without a delivery. The resident told police they’d ordered two coats, valued at $990, from Bloomingdales for shipment to Nutley but UPS allegedly delivered the shipment to the wrong address and, when the driver returned to retrieve the packages, they weren’t there.


The victim of an identity theft told police that someone had used their debit/credit card to make four unauthorized transactions in Lyndhurst and Hoboken totaling more than $300. Police said the card, which was inadvertently left at a local store, has been canceled.


A Centre St. resident reported that a female was observed having keyed and kicked their car, leaving scratches and dents on the rear passenger side quarter panel, along with key marks to the truck and a large dent on the rear driver’s side quarter panel and key marks on the entire driver’s side.

Oct. 29 

Someone threw a rock at a Harrison St. resident’s vehicle, breaking the rear windshield. Police noticed a large rock on the ground under the car window and the point of impact on the windshield the size of the rock.

Oct. 30 

Residents told police that someone in Texas had cashed a check for $13,980 from their savings account and that their bank had advised them the check was fraudulent.

– Ron Leir 

Cops stop menacing intruder: HPD blotter


An East Newark man was grabbed by cops early on Monday, Oct. 27, after police said he threatened people in a Harrison multi-family dwelling, left and then returned carrying a shard of broken glass.

Harrison Police Det. Dave Doyle said the incident began at around 2 a.m. when a man, later identified as Michael Caldera, 35, burst into a building on Grant Ave. and made his way to the second floor and started making a racket, screaming for his girlfriend.

Tenants, roused by the commotion, tried to get Caldera to leave but police said Caldera refused and tried to force his way into a second-floor apartment where, police surmise, he apparently thought his girlfriend was staying.

Police said two tenants, a woman from the second floor and a man from the first floor, responding to the incident, managed to drag Caldera away from the apartment and down the stairs to the front of the house.

There, police said, Caldera allegedly shouted, “I’m going to hurt everyone in this house.”

Witnesses told police that Caldera began running toward East Newark and was seen at the intersection of Grant and Central Ave. before returning to the Grant Ave. house while brandishing a large glass shard before being apprehended by police from East Newark and Harrison.

Caldera was arrested on charges of burglary, possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and terroristic threats. He also had an active warrant from Newark, police said.

Caldera was taken to Hudson County Jail to await court action after failing to post total bail of $75,000 for all the charges and the warrant.

In other Harrison incidents logged by Harrison PD during the past week:

Oct. 27 

At 9:54 a.m., while on patrol, an officer saw an orange forklift traveling backwards, north on Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. N., through the Central Ave. intersection against the light, nearly causing an accident.

Northbound traffic was backed up for nearly two blocks behind the forklift, police said. When the driver, later identified as Alberto Badillo, 60, of Paterson, stopped in front of 505 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. N. to deliver a supply of wood, the officer advised Badillo he would be getting two traffic summonses by mail so that he could continue his delivery.

At that point, police said Badillo began protesting loudly, stepped off the sidewalk and confronted the officer, prompting the officer to arrest him and charge him with disorderly conduct.


At 1 p.m., a woman came to HQ to report that she’d placed an order for several online items valued at $46 that were scheduled to be delivered to her home on the 700 block of Bergen St. on Oct. 20 but which she didn’t receive. After informing the company from which the items were ordered, she was told that delivery was made on Oct. 20. Police said the woman told them this was the third time that a package had been removed from her porch.

Oct. 30 

A woman reported a theft from her vehicle, which she valet-parked at 8:30 p.m. at the Red Bull Arena. After returning from the soccer woman noticed several items missing from the car. Police said she listed those items as: one Think Pad Laptop X-61 with charger, valued at $510; and one Galaxy cell phone charger valued at $20. She reported the incident at 5:50 the next morning.

Nov. 1 

At 4:34 a.m., an employee of a garbage carting company was struck by an auto on Harrison Ave. between Third St. and Church Square.

Police said the employee, 55, of Belleville, was picking up trash when the accident occurred. He was taken by EMS to University Hospital of Medicine & Dentistry, Newark, for treatment of his injuries.

The victim was unable to describe the vehicle that hit him; however, a review of surveillance footage from a street camera indicated that the suspect vehicle had traveled east on Harrison Ave. past a red traffic signal, then north on Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. towards Kearny.

Police said a witness described it as a black four-door vehicle, possibly a Toyota.

– Ron Leir

KPD blotter: Some make it easy

A township man who allegedly held a stolen cell phone for ransom and arranged a rendezvous to collect the cash wins this week’s Catch Me If You Can — And You Definitely Can award.

On Oct. 28, Officer Daniel Esteves responded to a Kearny residence to interview the victim of the theft, a 17-yearold girl who reported that an unknown man had contacted her, demanding $100 for return of her iPhone and providing a location on Pavonia Ave. where they could meet.

The girl did not keep the appointment. But Esteves did. And at the site, he encountered Michael Henriques, 27, of Kearny, who was allegedly in possession of the iPhone that had been used to call a number supplied by the victim.

Henriques was promptly arrested for receiving stolen property.

(Runner-up for the Catch Me If You Can prize goes to a man who reportedly tried to outrun police while they were in a car and he was on a bicycle. See Oct. 28 notes.)

• • •

Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

Oct. 24 

Dets. Michael Gonzalez and Bryant Obie, on patrol at Kearny and Oakwood Aves. at 10:30 a.m., saw a female pedestrian drinking from a 24-oz. can of Steel Reserve malt liquor. While confirming her identity in order to issue a summons for public consumption of alcohol, they learned she had four outstanding warrants — two each from Union Township and Clark. Theresa Rossi, 58, of Lakewood, was arrested, and the aforementioned communities were notified.

• • •

At noon, Officer Damon Pein was dispatched to Walmart, where security had detained alleged shoplifter Yvonne Barnes, 54, of Newark. In a search incident to arrest, police said, nine hypodermic needles were found in her purse.

She was charged with their possession, shoplifting and on an outstanding Kearny contempt- of-court warrant.

• • •

Officer Jordenson Jean, patrolling at Schuyler Ave. and Hoyt St. at 3 p.m., stopped a passing motorist for talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving.

Paul Saracino, 29, of Jersey City, was charged with that MV violation and also for driving while suspended and failure to surrender a suspended license.

Oct. 26 

At 10:20 a.m., a concerned citizen alerted police to possible drug use at Brighton and Bergen Aves. In the area, Officer Esteves found Abdel Muhammad, 20, of Kearny, detected the apparent odor of marijuana and saw him discard a plastic container. This was recovered, along with a still-burning marijuana blunt, police said. Muhammad was charged with possession of pot and drug paraphernalia. Oct. 27  Shortly after midnight, Officers Ben Wuelfing and Chris Medina were called to Walmart to take into custody 31-year-old Ron Sampson of Montclair for allegedly attempting to shoplift clothing and a TV. Police said a warrant check revealed he had two — one each from Newark and Bloomfield. (Sidelight: At KPD headquarters following his arrest, Sampson reportedly refused to remove the drawstring on his sweatpants — said removal of which is a standard precautionary measure when incarcerating a prisoner. Police therefore removed the sweatpants, and he spent the night in a cell in his shorts. Boxers or briefs? Talk amongst yourselves.)

• • •

A Kearny man wanted in connection with a July robbery at Rite Aid was arrested by Officers Brian Wisely and Kevin Arnesman, who spotted him at 3 p.m. on the 400 block of Kearny Ave. Police said Paul Spana, 49, was the subject of multiple theft-related warrants, including two from Kearny and one from North Arlington. He has been remanded to the Hudson County Jail on $50,000 bail, with no 10% option.

• • •

At 10:30 p.m., Wuelfing and Medina were back at Walmart to arrest Oscar Cruz, 30, of Newark for allegedly shoplifting sneakers, clothing and a TV. Cruz was also charged on a warrant from Newark.

Oct. 28 

At 7:30 p.m., Vice Squad detectives observed a man they suspected of having engaged in a recent drug transaction pedaling a bicycle at Passaic and Johnston Aves. Pulling their car alongside him, they told him to stop. He reportedly ignored this directive, rode through a gas station and headed north on Belgrove Drive. Pulling their car alongside him, they noted he was now under arrest for fleeing.

The cyclist then led them on a serpentine course, down Lincoln Ave., to Johnston, back to Belgrove and onto Woodland Ave.. At the Highland Ave. intersection, the officers alighted from their vehicle, pursued him on foot and tackled him to the ground.

During the slowspeed chase, police said, the suspect was seen discarding a brown paper bag. Det. Ray Lopez, who had responded as backup, recovered it and reportedly found it to contain suspected marijuana.

Kini Crawford, 22, of Kearny, was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia, obstructing the administration of law, resisting arrest and hindering apprehension by discarding evidence.

Both Crawford and his bicycle were impounded.

Oct. 30 

At 12:30 a.m., Officer Thomas Sumowski was driving south on the 500 block of Kearny Ave. when a Kia in front of him suddenly swerved, mounted the sidewalk, struck a parking meter and light pole and came to rest against a tree.

Sumowski immediately summoned medical aid and then approached the car.

Reportedly detecting the odor of alcohol on the driver, he and backup officer Wuelfing conducted field sobriety tests and, at HQ , an Alcotest. Rosalba Georgallis, 24, of Kearny was charged with DWI, DWI in a school zone and careless driving.

– Karen Zautyk 

Al Cifelli tapped as Knight of the Year


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Harrison attorney Albert J. Cifelli will be honored as Knight of the Year at the Harrison Knights of Columbus Our Lady of Grace Council 402 Shield Awards celebration on Dec. 2, it was announced by Grand Knight Tom Dolaghan.

This year’s event will be held at the Harrison/East Newark Elks hall, 406 Harrison Ave., from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Refreshments will be available.

Dolaghan said that Cifelli, who serves as a Ninth District representative on the Hudson County Board of Freeholders, has been advocate for the K of C in Harrison for many years, providing legal services to the organization at no cost for many years.

Raised in Harrison, Cifelli was a magna cum laude graduate of Rutgers University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, and received a law degree from Rutgers Law School, Newark. He practices law with partner Ken Davie in Harrison.

A past president of the West Hudson Bar Association, Cifelli has served as public defender and municipal prosecutor in Kearny and public defender in Harrison. He sat on the old West Hudson Hospital Board of Governors for 10 years, including two as chairman.

At the event, Dolaghan said the Knights will announce the presentation of a $10,000 donation to the Harrison Public Library “in honor of a brother Knight, the late Mayor Raymond McDonough,” to help with the conversion of the top floor to accommodate new quarters for the Harrison Museum.

The Knights will also fete newly retired Harrison High School Principal Ronald Shields as Educator of the Year and the high school faculty and Harrison Education Association for having won Blue Ribbon School designation from the U.S. Secretary of Education last school year. A plaque commemorating their achievement will be presented for display at the high school.

The Policeman of the Year award will go to Harrison Police Chief Derek Kearns in recognition of the strides made by the Harrison Police Department in cutting crime. Kearns will accept the award on behalf of the entire department.

Between January and June 2014, Kearns said that Harrison has seen an overall reduction in crime of nearly 31% from the same period last year, and a drop in violent crime by nearly 56%, with 15 incidents of robberies and aggravated assaults reported the first half of 2014 compared with 34 for the same time period last year; and non-violent crime (auto thefts, burglaries and larcenies) down by almost 27%, from 236 such incidents reported the first half of last year to 163 this year.

Members of the Harrison Fire Prevention Bureau will share the Firefighter of the Year award in recognition of the Fire Department achieving an annual 5% reduction in the total number of fire-related incidents for the past five years. Fire Director Harold Stahl will be asked to accept the award on behalf of the bureau.

The Outstanding Citizen of the Year award will be presented to Jorge J. Tena, corporate manager of GEO Specialty Chemicals, 8 Essex St., Harrison. He’s being feted for permitting Harrison Recreation teams access to the company’s property to play and for extending the property’s use to community groups such as for the Second Ward Family Carnival Fest.

Special recognition is being given to the Knights’ Ladies Auxiliary and to Katie Darmetko Walker in particular for spearheading fundraising drives on behalf of disabled Kearny student-athlete Steve Koziel that netted more than $10,000 in the past two years for special athletic gear that facilitated Koziel’s ability to compete successfully in track and field events around the world.

There is no admission fee for the Shield Awards event but anyone interested in attending is asked to call Dolaghan in advance at 973- 766-6458.

Ease your pain with Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture in Harrison


By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 


There’s an epidemic in this country — and sadly, it involves millions of people who suffer from chronic pain. To treat the unbearable pain — caused by a myriad of complications from Sciatica to simple work-place accidents — many people have no other choice but to use very strong pain medication.

And often enough, that use of pain pills leads to outright addiction.

But there are alternatives to using pain meds — and one of those alternatives is right in your backyard in Harrison.

Dr. Weiping Li runs the Lee Traditional Chinese Medicine Health Center in town — and she’s got another office on Grove Street in Downtown Jersey City. Li is a licensed acupuncturist in New Jersey and New York and also earned a diploma in acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine more than 20 years ago. She’s specially trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine and western medicine.

Li recently sat down with The Observer to discuss the beneficial uses of acupuncture — and some of those uses might be surprising.

“We specialize in Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, but have many other ways we serve patients,” Li said. “From Chinese herbs, to teas to massage to foot reflexology, we use all different kinds of methods to alleviate all kinds of pain.”

Li says most of her patients come to her complaining of chronic back pain, muscle pain, knee and elbow issues, Carpal Tunnel syndrome, Sciatica and muscle spasms.

Her methods also help people with allergies, asthma, stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression.

But it’s women with fertility issues who she says benefit greatly from her work.

“Most people don’t know that infertile women can be helped by acupuncture,” Li said. “Of late, gynecologists recommend acupuncture to women who have trouble getting pregnant. The treatments can balance hormone levels, give women more confidence and make irregular periods more regular.”

The treatments for women with fertility issues, she says, help to relieve poor circulation of blood in the pelvic area, a common cause of infertility, and can boost the percentage of women who have had trouble getting pregnant.

“Not so long ago, a patient of mine, who was an oncologist, came to us after trying 10 times to get pregnant with in-vetro fertilization,” she said. “She was frustrated and ready to give up, but then her gynecologist suggested she try acupuncture. So that is what she did — she came to us for a few months of treatment.

“The 11th time she tried in-vetro fertilization, she got pregnant. It was a great story. And it can happen to others in a similar situation.”

Li also says acupuncture and TCM can also help people who are overweight and who want to stop smoking.

“In Chinese medicine, we say the body doesn’t get enough balance when people are overweight,” Li said. “Sometimes, people are overweight and they don’t even eat a lot of bad food. It’s a slow process — many months maybe — but after and during acupuncture treatment, there’s more of a balance. The fat doesn’t stay just around the belly. It balances better to all parts of the body and slowly, people see the weight go down.

“It really helps the digestive function.”

Of course, patients also have to commit to a more healthy diet, regardless of how they’ve eaten in the past.

“No sweets!” she said, laughing. As for smoking, Li says there are special points in the human body that control addiction. With acupuncture treatment, cravings for nicotine and other drugs can subside.

“It has helped people quit smoking and other drugs,” she said. “And for others, it’s controlled the desire for the drugs.”

To experience what Li has to offer, you don’t need insurance, and treatments are reasonably priced. She says most insurance plans don’t cover acupuncture, but if yours does, it’s accepted. T

he Harrison Lee TCM Health Center is located at 215 N. Second St., and the Jersey City center is at 293 Grove St. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and weekends, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For additional information, to see a menu of services and costs, or to make an appointment, call the center in Harrison at 973-482-1530, or the center in Jersey City at 201- 915-0710 or visit www.leetcmhealthcenter.com.

From the lam to the slammer



The Enfamil cans can sleep soundly now on their shelves at Walmart, secure in the knowledge they are no longer in danger of being abducted by a serial shoplifter.

Suspect Danny Morales, 36, of Newark — who has been making regular appearances in the Kearny police blotter — was apprehended last Wednesday, Oct. 29, by Officer Daniel Esteves, who spotted him at 10 p.m. near the Quick Chek at Kearny and Bergen Aves.

Morales had been on the lam since Oct. 20, when he fled Walmart after attempting to (yet again) steal several cans of the baby formula from the store, police said. In that incident however, he reportedly assaulted a security guard, which elevated a simple shoplifting charge to robbery. A $50,000 warrant had been issued for his arrest. Police said he also had a $500 warrant out of Bloomfield.

Prior to the Oct. 20 incident, Morales had been taken into custody three times — on Oct. 2, 14 and 17 — for allegedly stealing Enfamil from Walmart. The product is said to be popular among pilferers because it can be readily fenced for cash.

Last week, Morales was remanded to the Hudson County Jail in lieu of $50,600 bail, with no 10% option. Considering the fact that, when nabbed by Esteves, the suspect had been panhandling for change outside Quick Chek, one can assume he is still languishing in a cell.

– Karen Zautyk