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Want to eat healthy? ShopRite can help


ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, is hosting a series of nutrition and wellness events for February led by Julie Harrington, in-store registered dietician.

The programs are free and are being held at the Lyndhurst store, 540 New York Ave., for local residents. All programs are open to the public and do not require advance registration unless otherwise noted.

Here’s the list:

Julie’s Walking Club meets Thursdays at 8 a.m. for a one-mile trek through the store, starting at the Dietician’s Corner. Membership cards and prizes are provided to all participants. Julie’s Produce Pick will have ShopRite’s dietician mixing the week’s produce pick into a delicious new dish on Tuesday, Feb. 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. Stop by for samples and recipe cards.

Sweets for Your Sweetie provides free samples and a recipe for a dark chocolate concoction that’s rich in antioxidants on Thursday, Feb. 12, to mark Valentine’s Day.

Breakfast with the RD allows guests to start the day with a heart-healthy breakfast with ShopRite’s dietician on Monday, Feb. 16, from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

ShopRite Cooking Class: Heart-Healthy Edition provides a new dinner recipe featuring heart-healthy ingredients on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m. Because space is limited, pre-registration is required. Try Something New by heading to the Dietician’s Corner to sample new items now available in ShopRite on Friday, Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Get the Skinny on Fats by dropping by the Dietician’s Corner to get all of the facts on fats on Monday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon.

ShopRite Cooking Class: Wonderful Whole Grains Edition explains how to prepare a whole grain dish featuring tasty grains on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 5:30 p.m. Space is limited so pre-register.

High Fiber Friday gives visitors to the Dietician’s Corner a chance to learn about fiber’s important role in heart health and how to meet fiber requirements in a delicious way on Friday, Feb. 27, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

LiveRight with ShopRite Kids’ Day Cooking Class offers little chefs ages 6 and up a chance to create and try new health foods on Friday, Feb. 27, starting at 4 p.m. Pre-register for this event.

ShopRite’s retail dieticians can also serve as guest speakers/ instructors at wellness events hosted by local organizations. For more information or to pre-register for a program, call Harrington at 201- 419-9154 or email her at Julie. harrington@wakefern.com.

Kearny’s Tom Schnauz back on small screen
with ‘Better Call Saul’

Schnauz's name in the opening credits of episode 1 of 'Better Call Saul.'

AMC Screenshot — Schnauz’s name in the opening credits of episode 1 of ‘Better Call Saul.’

By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent

Had an email exchange the other day with Kearny native Tom Schnauz, a co-executive producer and writer for the new TV show “Better Call Saul.”

He was also the same for the wildly popular “Breaking Bad.”

Schnauz reports that he wrote the episode that will air Feb. 16 — and he directed the episode that will air seven weeks from today, March 30.

Schnauz (r) on the set of 'Breaking Bad' with actor Aaron Paul [Jesse Pinkman] (l).

Schnauz (r) on the set of ‘Breaking Bad’ with actor Aaron Paul [Jesse Pinkman] (l).

“Better Call Saul” is a spin-off of “Breaking Bad,” and, like its original, was created by Vince Gilligan.

Its timeslot is 10 p.m. Monday nights on AMC.

Schnauz, who we featured in a story in May 2014, was born and Kearny and spent the first few years of his life here before moving to South Jersey with his family.

He went to Garfield School through the fourth-grade.

His aunt and uncle, Ann and Drew Taylor, still live in Kearny.

Smoky blaze shuts Skyway


By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 


On Saturday afternoon, with temperatures well below freezing and the wind-chill well below that, the Kearny Fire Department responded to a blaze at a South Kearny truck-repair business. With flames apparently fueled by stored tires and motor oil, the fire grew to four alarms and, at its height, was being battled by 75-80 firefighters from seven municipalities.

During the blaze, a portion of the steel building “twisted and collapsed,” KFD Chief Steve Dyl reported. As a result, an emergency demolition of the structure was ordered, which the owners, Kephart Trucking, carried out on Sunday, Dyl said. The chief said the initial alarm came in at 1:53 p.m. and the fire was declared under control shortly before 5 p.m. However, KFD crews remained on the scene — on Second St. near Adams St. — into Sunday afternoon. Although the cause is undetermined, Dyl said the blaze appeared to have started in the Kephart building housing tractors and tires. Read more »

ATMs in stores targeted

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent


2700CEIf you’re a store owner who has an ATM near the front door, you might consider moving it.

In northern New Jersey since August, there have been 12 incidents — including four in the last week — involving smash-and-grab thefts. What gets smashed is a store’s front door, or maybe a picture window. What gets grabbed is an ATM. The whole machine.

The smashing is done with a motor vehicle — usually a Jeep or pick-up truck — which the bandits drive (often backwards) through the glass and into the shop.

Then they load the ATM into it, or another vehicle waiting outside, and make their getaway.

The culprits usually strike in the pre-dawn hours. The amount of money stolen is a lot less than the amount of damage they cause to the premises.

On Saturday, Jan. 24, it was Kearny’s turn.

At 4:47 a.m., KPD Officer Thomas Sumowski responded to a burglar alarm at the Buy Rite Liquor Store on Harrison Ave., near the Walmart. He arrived to find the glass front doors broken and the wall heavily damaged. He also found a green Jeep Cherokee, unoccupied and with its motor running, parked in front, Capt. Stephen Durkin reported. The vehicle, he said, had heavy damage to the rear. Read more »

Tomko is new schools chief


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Richard Tomko came up unlucky in the race for state senate in the 24th district in 2013. As the Democratic nominee, he lost to GOP incumbent Steven Oroho by about a 2-1 margin.

But last Thursday, Tomko, 42, a product of Queen of Peace High School, North Arlington, emerged from a field of nearly 50 candidates as the pick for Belleville’s chief schools administrator.

At a special meeting, the Belleville Board of Education voted 5-1 to appoint Tomko to the post, starting Feb. 15, giving him a 3-year-plus contract running through June 30, 2018, at $167,500 a year, with an opportunity for annual merit increases of up to 14.99% after his first year of service.

The only dissenting vote came from Ralph Vellon, who was elected to the board this past November. (Board member John Rivera did not attend the meeting but later told The Observer he was caught up in work and couldn’t get away but added that he felt that Tomko was “one of the stronger candidates” and felt he was “fully qualified as superintendent.”) Read more »

PJs & reading: perfect together


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Some folks probably were scratching their heads after seeing adults and children toddle into East Newark Public School while dressed in PJs in the early evening hours Thursday, Jan. 22.

No, it wasn’t for a sleepover. And it didn’t signal the opening of the first-ever night school session.

Give up? It was “Pajamarama.”

But nobody was sleeping, a visitor from The Observer can assure you. Instead, there was a whole lot of reading going on. Parents, teachers and staff were reading aloud – some in Spanish and some in English – from age-appropriate books to students in their classes for 20 minutes. Read more »

Check how town’s plowing … from home

snow map_web

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


That big Nor’easter that was supposed to whack The Observer’s territory last week turned out to be a big bust for snow enthusiasts.

At the same time, those Kearny residents fretting about the perils of maneuvering around the mounds of white stuff were treated – for the first time – to an insider’s look at how quickly the streets were being cleared of the estimated 7.5 inches that fell in the area.

All they had to do was log onto the town website – kearnynj.org – and click on the “Snow Plow Map” icon.

From there, the viewer could choose any of three options to access a web map that graphically displayed color-coded route statuses of routes for plowing, brining and salting showing real-time positions of GPS-equipped vehicles on each route. Read more »

9 displaced by Brown St. fire



A fire at a multi-family residence at 12 Brown St. broke out in the early morning hours last Tuesday, forcing its occupants to scramble out of bed and into the cold.

Some 35 firefighters from Nutley, Bloomfield and Montclair overcame frozen hydrants and freezing temperatures to beat down the two-alarm blaze, just down the block from Lincoln School, said Nutley Fire Lt. Dave Hollywood.

An alarm of fire came in at 3:18 a.m. and as the first Nutley FD units responded, right away, Fire HQ alerted members of the DPW – who had been on duty in the aftermath of the snowstorm – so that the fire rigs would have a clear path to the scene, Hollywood said.

“So by the time we got there, Public Works had the street plowed for us,” he said. Read more »

Serial robber gets 20-year prison term


A Newark man who robbed a Harrison pharmacy — and 10 other establishments in Hudson and Essex counties over an eight-month span — was sentenced last week to 20 years in prison,

Christopher Mojica, 24, had pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy, robbery and discharging a firearm in connection with the crime spree that began Sept. 14, 2012, and ended April 19, 2013. He was arrested April 27, 2013, following the final heist — at a Delta Gas Station on Bloomfield Ave. in Newark. In that incident, Mojica fired a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun as he fled the scene.

The Harrison robbery was reported Feb. 21, 2013, at Pharmacy Plus, 234 Harrison Ave.

Authorities said Mojica and his conspirators primarily targeted pharmacies, including five in Newark and one in Jersey City, taking cash and oxycodone tablets. They also robbed a jewelry store, a barber shop and “a gambling operation,” all in Newark.

All the establishments were reportedly robbed at gunpoint.

U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano imposed the prison term Friday in Federal Court in Trenton. In addition, he sentenced Mojica to five years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a later date.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman cited the FBI, the Harrison, Newark and Jersey City police departments, and the Essex and Hudson County prosecutors’ offices for their work on the case.

– Karen Zautyk 


Welsh joins Brady, Brady & Reilly firm

James C. Welsh, supervising judge of compensation, has joined Brady, Brady and Reilly of Kearny as head of the Workers’ Compensation Department. Judge Welsh has more than 43 years of experience in handling workers’ compensation cases, with the last 22 years as the supervising judge in Hudson County.

He has received various awards from the Hudson County Bar Association including:

May 3, 2006 – For commitment to fair and legal treatment to petitioners and Respondents alike. Read more »