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Relief for commuters

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  LYNDHURST –  After what Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Giangeruso characterized as “33 years of starts and stops,” the township – with help from Bergen County – is finally beginning to see the start of improvements to the intersection at Kingsland and Riverside Aves. The changes […]

Convicted in mortgage swindle

A Belleville man was among three defendants convicted earlier this month in federal court for their roles in a $15 million mortgage fraud scheme involving condominiums in New Jersey and Florida, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman reported. Last month, another Belleville resident pleaded guilty in the same scam. According to […]

Walmart is keeping cops busy

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  The Walmart in Kearny is conveniently located on Harrison Ave., with easy access to Rt. 280, the N.J. Turnpike and feeder roads to Newark and Jersey City. This is a boon for shoppers. However, according to Kearny police, it is […]

2011 layoffs affirmed

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – Four former Kearny workers, including a union chief, have lost the first round of a bid to reverse their New Year’s Eve dismissals nearly three years ago. In a 21-page ruling issued Sept. 3, the state Office of Administrative Law […]

Go pink at St. Michael’s

Don your favorite pink attire and join St. Michael’s Medical Center for a Breast Cancer Awareness Month event — Breast Health & You — on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at SMMC’s Connie Dwyer Breast Center, 111 Central Ave., Newark. Dr. Nadine Pappas, director of […]


Kearny girls poised for county, state title runs


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer 

Make no bones about it. The Kearny High School girls’ soccer team will be one of the finest contingents in New Jersey this fall.

The Kardinals have it all. They have experience, they have offensive scoring power, they have ball handlers and a rock solid defense.

“We have a nice, fast moving, exciting team,” said veteran head coach Vin Almeida. “We have to get the ball moving forward and the let them guide the offense.”

The Kardinals, winners of an incredible five straight Hudson County tournament championships, have all the ingredients of making a long run in the NJSIAA Group IV state tournament come November.

Leading the way is senior forward Barbara Paiva, who scored more than 20 goals a year ago.

“She’s a fantastic player with great ability,” Almeida said. “There are not too many girls who can strike the ball with both feet the way Barbara does. She’s one of the better ones. She’s so creative with the ball.”

Senior midfielder Kathleen Dos Reis returns. She was injured for most of last season with ankle problems, but she’s back and better than ever.

“She’s playing very well,” Almeida said. “We have to get her in the attack.”

Junior forward Amber Crispin is also back. She scored 16 goals last year.

“Amber is also one who can strike with both feet,” Almeida said. “She’s going to drop some balls into the net, because she can hit it hard.”

Almeida likes the offensive approach the Kards have.

“We’re coming back with a good amount of offensive firepower,” Almeida said. “We also have some young kids who can assist in that area. We have a nice rhythm offensively and we’re going to score a lot of goals.”

The lead goalkeeper will be junior Laura Vilar, who started in goal last year, but she will receive assistance in net by senior Amanda DeSousa.

“We should be solid with the experience we have coming back,” Almeida said.

The Kardinals return four starters along the defensive back line.

Senior Dana Green has tremendous size and skill to play a center back position. Senior Eliza Rodrigues is another solid experienced defender. Senior Salma Bouzidi has tremendous ball skills and speed for a defender. Sophomore Isabel Fernandez rounds out the contingent of strong defenders. All four earned accolades last season for their prowess in a 19-3 campaign.

“We have a lot of talent back there,” Almeida said. “Dana Green can be intimidating on the back line. Salma has great skill with the ball and we get her involved with the attack. It’s a good group.”

Dos Reis keys the midfielders, but the talent doesn’t stop there.

Senior Taylor Munro is a returning starter in the midfield. Senior Amanda Eustice returns strong after missing last season with a torn ACL in her knee.

The Kardinals would have had even more talent in the midfield if not for the injuries to Sydney Pace and Breanne Rodriguez. Both will not be able to play this season due to injuries.

“We have a nice competition going on for the last spot in the midfield,” Almeida said.

Junior Ryelle Seda and sophomore Merrin Keim are in the hunt, as well as freshman Natasha Magee.

Up front, the Kardinals have Paiva, Crispin and sophomore Lily Durning, who Almeida called “a good contributor.”

The Kardinals will also get assistance from sophomores Victoria Van Riper, Rachel Nieto and Sydney Viscuso on the back line, and seniors Cindy Guzman, Nicole Sanchez and twin juniors Ashley and Alexis Castaneda along the midfield.

“The challenge is to get them all some good playing time,” Almeida said.

The Kardinals have it all. “It should be a good one,” Almeida said. “We’ve looked good in the preseason. The girls just have to believe.” The Kearny girls’ soccer booster club is sponsoring the third annual beefsteak at the Scots-American Club at 40 Paterson St. in Kearny on Friday from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $40.

But it should be an exciting season for the Kardinals.

“We’re due for a win on that side (penalty kicks in the state tournament),” Almeida said. “We’re hoping to finish it off in regular time. I think we can be a force to be reckoned with if we keep the right mind set.”

And as for a state championship? “There’s surely that possibility,” Almeida said.

Everyone in Kearny is hoping for that possibility to become a reality.

NA grid Vikings: Vow to improve in 2014


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

The North Arlington High School football team posted a 2-8 record in 2013.

“We had a pretty tough schedule and played well at times, but we couldn’t finish,” said North Arlington head coach Anthony Marck, who enters his ninth season as the head coach at his alma mater.”We just didn’t have depth to compete. We’ve talked about finishing all during the offseason. It’s become the main point of our program, to finish everything. In the weight room, every repetition, make sure you finish what we start.”

The Vikings will eventually have a new home to start the 2014 season as improvements to Rip Collins Field continue toward the scheduled opening in two weeks.

So it’s a new start for the Vikings all around this season.

“You can sense it completely,” Marck said. “That’s the best part about this team. They’re all in. They genuinely like each other and get along incredibly well. They buy into what the other guy is doing. They enjoy each other’s company, on and off the field. I have no worries about who’s getting credit for doing what.” So Saturday afternoon, when the Vikings head to the new athletic facility in Riverside County Park to take on neighboring rival Queen of Peace at 1 p.m., they will be ready as a unit, ready to move forward, ready to forget what took place last year.

“We have a group of unselfish football players,” Marck said.

Leading the way is junior quarterback Mike Paolello (5-9, 165), who Marck cannot stop raving about.

“I’ve watched him since he was little,” Marck said of Paolello. “He was on a team in eighth grade that went undefeated and he was the quarterback throughout his whole life. His football knowledge is through the roof. His athleticism is almost freakish. I truly believe he’s a special player. He can throw it, he can run it. He’s the fastest player on the team and he can throw it on a dime.”

To feature Paolello’s skills, the Vikings will be more of a spread team offensively this year.

“We’ll be in the spread, running and throwing,” Marck said. “With him there and the ball in his hands, we can be so much more dangerous.”

The running back is junior Joe Morales (5-10, 185), who Marck likes for his toughness. “He’s a downhill runner,” Marck said of Morales. “He’s a strong, physical runner.

He just loves the game of football.”

The Vikings feature a bunch of talented performers at wide receiver and slot receiver. One of them is junior Edgar Carranza (5-11, 175), who has been a standout in basketball and now takes his talents to the gridiron.

“He has excellent hands,” Marck said of Carranza. “He has a knack for the football. We talked him into playing and he’s shown me a lot.”

Junior Kevin Sequeira (5-9, 160) is another basketball player who is playing football.

“He is an outstanding route runner,” Marck said. “He’s shown a lot of ability.”

The slot receiver is Alex Samaan (5-10, 180), who has been moved to slot from running back.

“He’s a good athlete and super fast,” Marck said.

The second slot is being shared by senior Giuseppe Gugliuzza (6-0, 200) and junior Tim Ford (5-8, 165), who Marck said is “a lot like Wes Welker.”

The offensive line features three returning starters in senior Danny Goffredo (5-10, 190), who is a four-year starter at guard, senior Brandon Pipher (5-9, 205) at guard and senior Dominic Reo (6-2, 210), who Marck said is “an athletic lineman,” at center.

Junior Brandon Dickson (5-11, 235) and senior Cesar Ramos (6-1, 185) are the bookend tackles.

“It’s a little easier having that experience upfront,” Marck said. “They are athletic and tough.”

The Vikings’ 4-4 defense features a lot of the same personnel.

Reo is a returning starter at defensive end, along with senior Colin Clifford (5-8, 165).

Pipher and Goffredo are returning starters at defensive tackle.

Morales is at outside linebacker along with senior Michael Cammett (5-8, 180). Gugliuzza is at inside backer with junior Devon Lopes (5-10, 180).

Carranza and Ford are the cornerbacks with Samaan at safety.

It’s only fitting that North Arlington kicks off the season against the Golden Griffins. It’s a natural rivalry that has been instituted thanks to the new North Jersey Interscholastic Conference.

“I’m excited about the season,” Marck said. “I’m excited about the speed that we have. We have a new team, a new field, a new field house. I think we have a chance to make some noise.”

Golden Griffins gridiron group move on without Momnohin


By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer

The Queen of Peace football team enjoyed a resurgent campaign in 2013, winning six games, including a first round NJSIAA Non-Public Group 1 state playoff game against St. Anthony.

“Without a doubt, it was a success,” said Bob Kearns, who returned to his coaching roots last year to take over the QP program once again. “Coming back for me with a team in turmoil and not knowing where we were going to go. We kept a lid on things and had a very successful season, going back to the state playoffs and winning a game.”

The Golden Griffins also had the state’s leading rusher in Kevin Momnohin, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards and scored 35 touchdowns last season.

“You never replace anything like that,” said Kearns, who guided the Golden Griffins to a 6-5 record last year. “He was a coach’s gift. The football gods were good to me, getting a kid like that. That’s for sure. But you can’t replace blue lightning. I can’t stop talking about him. I may never stop.”

Momnohin is now at Scottsdale Junior College in Arizona, hoping to hook on with an NCAA Division I program in the future.

In the meantime, the Golden Griffins have to move on without their franchise running back.

“I hope we can find another one like him,” Kearns said. “Maybe there’s another one. Who knows? He was just a coach’s dream, a special kid.”

Leading the Golden Griffins this season is sophomore quarterback Derick Suazo (6-1, 175), who Kearns said has the potential to be a good one.

“He’s a tough kid who has really picked up the offense quickly,” Kearns said. “He’s very composed at a very young age. He’s a leader. He’s very mature.”

Senior Brandon Cummings (5-9, 160) is one of the team’s running backs. He was Momnohin’s backup last year.

Senior Shaquan Chavis (5-7, 155) is a little scat back who adds speed. Muadh Abdus Salaam (5-7, 155) is another sophomore in the Griffin backfield.

Sophomore Javon Turner (6- 2, 175) is one of Suazo’s main targets at wide receiver.

“He has good hands and is a great route runner,” Kearns said. “He knows how to get open. He looks like he’s a winner on the field. He’s going to be a star. We have to get him the ball.”

Jasiah Provillon (6-0, 150) is another sophomore wide receiver.

“He has great hands and is a good possession receiver,” Kearns said. “When we need the tough yards, he’s the one we’re going to.”

The tight end duties are being shared by a pair of sophomores, namely Donte Small (5-11, 170) and Chad DiCastro (6-2, 170).

The offensive line features promising freshman Deshawn Brickhouse (6-2, 190) at tackle. Senior Peter Haas is the other tackle, with solid player Chima Dunga (6-2, 230) at guard. Joshua Fedd-Jackson, a 6-foot- 2, 310-pound sophomore, is the other guard.

Defensively, the Griffins fea ture a 4-4 formation, with freshman Kenyon Bowman (6- 1, 175) showing a lot of promise at defensive end, where Dunga also plays. Brickhouse will also get time at defensive end.

Jackson and freshman Rajohn Jones (5-8, 280) are the defensive tackles, giving the Griffins a lot of bulk along the defensive line.

Sophomore Ali Beh (5-10, 165) is a player to watch at linebacker.

Cummings and Chavis are also linebackers. The cornerbacks are junior Mike Scaravilli and freshman Michael Fields (5-10, 160), with Turner at safety.

Yes, the Golden Griffins kick off the 2014 season Saturday afternoon at Riverside County Park against neighboring rival North Arlington in what should be a barnburner of a contest to start the year.

“I love this team,” Kearns said. “They’re young and energetic and have a ton of speed. They want to learn.”

And all that talk about QP either dropping football or the school closing? It’s all hogwash, in the eyes of Kearns. “

We’re here to stay,” Kearns said. “We had to do something to keep going.”

So there is a relationship between a local Pop Warner coach in Newark and the QP grid program. Several of those players are now at QP this fall.

“We had to do something to survive,” Kearns said. “We had nothing. The young kids are going to get a baptism by fire this year right away.” Kearns also likes Suazo and what he brings to his program. “He’s a pleasure to coach,” Kearns said of his quarterback. “He carries himself well. Once you see him, you’ll see he can handle it. We just have to try to keep other teams off him.” Needless to say, the Golden Griffins will be a grid team to watch this fall.

Collect pledges for Pathways

Get involved in a worthy charity cause and collect a free T-shirt. To encourage participation in next month’s Pathways to Independence Walk-A-Thon, Silva Construction is sponsoring a free event T-shirt for each participant who turns in $100 or more in pledges.

It’s easy to participate in the Oct. 4 Walk-AThon. Just register yourself or your team in advance by obtaining registration forms at Pathways to Independence, 60 Kingsland Ave. (at Bergen and Schuyler Aves.), Kearny, or call 201-997-6155 to have them mailed to you. You can also register before the walk at the Schuyler Ave. entrance of West Hudson Park, starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4.

The walk will start at 10 a.m. and takes only about an hour to complete, but it will make a big difference to Pathways. The event also includes food, drinks, tricky tray raffles, special item raffles, craft items for sale that were made by Pathways consumers and a goody-bag for each participant.

Pathways to Independence is a not-for-profit organization that has been providing life skills, job training and work for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for the past 37 years and serves Hudson, Bergen and parts of Essex County.

For more information, contact Alvin Cox, executive director of Pathways to Independence, at 201-997-9371 ext. 18.

Are your supplements working?

Dr. Richard Ekstein hosts a bio-photonic event Monday, Sept. 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at 312 Belleville Turnpike, Suite 3B, North Arlington, when guests will receive interesting information about the capability of the bio-photonic scanner.

Learn if your body is receiving enough anti-oxidants to support a healthy body. Learn why anti-oxidants are a necessary ingredient in obtaining optimal health benefits. Learn how to enhance and maximize the absorption rate of these necessary nutrients.

During this event, guests will discover their body’s anti-oxidant level and learn how to increase their personal levels. Admission is $20 for the event and a personal scan. The program is limited to 30 people. For more information or to register, email your name and phone # to antioxidantseminar@ gmail.com.

Then & Now

Photo by Karen Zautyk

Photo by Karen Zautyk


What you are looking at ‘Then’ is a photo taken at the 1921 Kearny High School cornerstone laying ceremony, which, considering all the bunting and banners, was quite a do. Look also at the height of that grandstand, which is holding not only the stone itself (on the right behind the long poles) but lots of people, including a whole passel of top-hatted men. The gentleman in the center of the speakers’ stand we presume to be Kearny Mayor Robert E. Torrance, who presided at the program.’Now’ the school is only partially visible from the Devon St. viewpoint, abutted as it is by a bunch of trailers. These house temporary classrooms, necessitated by an ongoing construction/sound proofing project. The trailers have been there for awhile and will likely remain indefinitely, since there is no projected completion date for the work. (There have been difficulties.) We tried to find the cornerstone, but we didn’t know which side of the facade it was on, and we didn’t want to get arrested for trespassing in the trailer park.

– Karen Zautyk 

Final salute to veterans’ champion


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


Joseph T. Fornarotto, a lifelong resident of Belleville and a tireless advocate for America’s veterans, passed away on Monday, Aug. 25.

To say that his death came as a shock is an understatement.

Usually such sentiments are expressed when the deceased is young. Joe Fornarotto was 88.

But he was so full of energy and life, news of his sudden demise was still difficult to accept.

Fornarotto was a frequent visitor to The Observer offices. He had been here on Friday, Aug. 22, just three days before his death, to meet with general manager Robert Pezzolla. It was a stunned Pezzolla who gave your correspondent the sad news last week.

On July 16, The Observer had featured Fornarotto in a front-page story about his links to those “Jersey Boys,” The Four Seasons, dating to the 1950s when he owned Joe’s Lunch at 90 Franklin St. in Belleville. The place was a popular gathering spot for teenagers, among them Francesco “Frankie” Castelluccio, better known now as Frankie Valli.

That, however, was only one brief chapter in a life rich in memories.

Fornarotto and his wife Jeanne (nee Rosamilia), who predeceased him in 2011, were married for 61 years and raised four children. He is survived by his son, Joseph Jr.; daughters, Kathy Mazur and her husband Walter, Joni Lewis and her husband Jim, Jeanne Finnan and her husband Kevin; a sister and five brothers, five grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.

After his stint in the luncheonette business, Fornarotto worked for the Township of Belleville and later Essex County, retiring just four years ago.

He also served a term as a Belleville commissioner and was a member of the township Senior Citizens and the Italian American Civic Association. In 2009, he was honored as Belleville Man of the Year at the Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade.

But Fornarotto — a U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Pacific during World War II — was probably best known in his hometown, and surrounding communities, as commander of Disabled American Veterans Belleville/ Nutley Chapter 22, of which he was a founding member.

Any time there was any sort of event honoring or involving veterans, Fornarotto was there.

In 2011, Chapter 22’s headquarters at 612 Mill St., Belleville, which he was instrumental in getting constructed, was formally named the Commander Joe Fornarotto Disabled American Veterans Building.

Among the dignitaries attending the ceremony was Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., who cited the commander’s unwavering commitment to those who have served our country.

“To the hospitals he’s visited, to the veterans he’s reached his hand out to, to those who are homeless, to those who’ve lost faith and hope, to those who are addicted, to those who continue to experience the pains of war, Joe has not forgotten anybody,” the congressman said.

Those sentiments were echoed last week by Nutley Commissioner Steven Rogers, himself a dedicated proponent on veterans’ issues. The weekend before Fornarotto’s death, the commissioner and his wife were in the Nutley Diner when they saw Fornarotto up by the cash register. “I saluted him, and he saluted me,” Rogers said. “It was a nonverbal expression of the mutual respect we had as veterans.”

“Joe was a veteran to his last breath,” Rogers said. “He served and fought for this country, and well into his elder years, he continued to fight for this country by working very hard to ensure that American veterans would be treated well.”

Read at the 2011 DAV dedication ceremony was a message co-written by chapter members. It said, in part:

“For many, many years, Joe championed the cause of disabled veterans, assisted his comrades in Chapter 22, fund-raised for our hospitalized and institutionalized comrades and led the efforts to bring the fight for disabled veterans to public attention.

“For many of us, his achievements seemed virtually unattainable before he accomplished them.

“Joe, we love you and salute you. Thank you for all you have done.”

Fornarotto was buried Friday, with military honors, in Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Montclair.

Those who wish to honor his memory are asked to make a donation to the Veterans Administration Hospital, 385 Tremont Ave., East Orange, N.J. 07018.

Joe, we love you and salute you.

Thank you for all you have done.

Upscale rentals enroute


By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent

Two West Hudson communities will see their populations grow a bit thanks to a pair of residential developments being undertaken by an area builder.

Russo Development of Carlstadt, which completed Vermella Lyndhurst, a 296- unit, four-building apartment complex with a clubhouse, in March 2013, is now moving ahead with two new upscale rental projects.

In Kearny, the company, led by Ed Russo, is in the beginning phase of Vermella Crossing, a six-building, 150-unit apartment cluster, off Bergen and Schuyler Aves. All six residential buildings should be completed by summer 2015. An Investors Bank and a CVS, both built by Russo, sit just west of the residential construction site.

And, to the south in neighboring Harrison, the company is putting up Vermella Harrison, a single five-story, mixed-use development with 400 apartments and 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail, off Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. South, next to the Red Bull Arena and just across from the Harrison PATH station. The first 100 apartments should be finished by July 2015.

One-bedroom apartments will range from 713 to 972 square feet of space while two-bedroom units will be anywhere from 1,197 to 1,236 square feet. Studio apartments will range from 451 to 587 square feet.

The name Vermella is being used to establish the “Russo residential brand,” according to Lisa Sikora, director of marketing for the company. “The goal is to build a portfolio of high-quality apartments that are designed and maintained to Russo family standards,” she said.

That brand will feature such apartment amenities as “gourmet kitchens with quartz countertops, stainless steel Energy Star appliances, hardwood floors in living areas, 9-foot ceilings, in-residence washer and dryer, ceramic tile in kitchen and bath and surround-sound,” she said.

All apartments will be equipped with central air and heating and most pets will be allowed at both Vermella Crossing and Vermella Harrison, with a “pet fee” to be charged, Sikora said. And there will be on-site property management, she said.


Photos by Ron Leir One of the six residential buildings going up at Kearny construction site (bottom). Russo Development is also building new apartments in Harrison (top), from which tenants will have view of downtown Newark skyline.

Photos by Ron Leir
One of the six residential buildings going up at Kearny construction
site (bottom). Russo Development is also building new apartments in Harrison
(top), from which tenants will have view of downtown Newark skyline.


Vermella Crossing will have a total of 222 parking spaces for residents and guests.

The first of the Kearny apartments – all of which will be spread among six three-story buildings – will front along Bergen Ave. As construction progresses, those that follow will be set up further to the back of the property.

A clubhouse and fitness center, available to tenants, a rental office and community room are expected to open by January 2015.

Each building will contain 25 apartments: 13 one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units. Monthly rental fees have yet to be fixed; those amounts figure to be set by November or December 2014. An amenity fee will be assessed for the use of the fitness center.

At the Harrison development, which tenants will access via the extension of S. Fifth St., plans call for 121 studio apartments, 263 one-bedroom units and 18 two-bedroom units. No rental prices have been announced yet.

Residential units will be spread, primarily, from the second to the top floor of the building with ramped parking to be “wrapped inside” the apartments, so that tenants can conveniently access parking on each level of the building, said Michael Pembroke, Russo executive vice president.

Access to the garage will be via Crucible Drive.

Plans call for 400 parking spaces for residents and 60 retail spaces.

The ground-floor retail portion will front mainly along Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. S. and partly on Riverbend and Crucible Drives. No leases have yet been signed for the retail space.

Amenities may include a courtyard pool, a dog run, a putting green, bocce ball court and shuffleboard court in a second courtyard, plus a clubroom and gym for tenants only.

Gearing up for ‘antidote’ drug


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


North Arlington is among the first communities in Bergen County – and New Jersey – to undertake proactive efforts to save the lives of people who overdose on heroin or opioids by outfitting EMS and police with an “antidote” drug.

On July 31, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder set the stage for a nationwide response to the growing numbers of drug overdoses – many triggered by street dealers’ sales of heroin or prescription pain relievers – when he called for law enforcement agents to “arm” themselves with naloxone.

If administered correctly, naloxone (also known as narcan) can revive someone from an overdose.

So far, 17 states, including New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, have authorized cops’ use of the drug and state and municipal police have amended their operational policies accordingly.

The U.S. Justice Department has reported that, on average, 110 Americans die from drug overdoses each day – more than the number of fatalities resulting from gunshot wounds or car crashes. And more than half of those overdoses are attributed to heroin or other opioids.

Between 2006 and 2010, heroin overdose deaths alone rose by 45%, according to the Justice Department.

In North Arlington, Councilman Richard Hughes, liaison to the borough First Aid Squad, said the borough’s paid Emergency Medical Service and the Volunteer Ambulance (First Aid) Squad recently completed training in how to administer naloxone to “reverse the effects of opioids including respiratory depression, sedation and hypotension.”

Both the EMS and First Aid Squad applied for – and received – permission from the state Department of Health to administer the drug.

Hughes said that all borough emergency responders have been trained in the use of naloxone by paramedic Dennis Kruk, a member of the borough EMS, and Dr. Joseph Katora, an emergency medicine specialist with the U.S. Navy who has volunteered to serve as medical director for the local EMS teams.

Jim Sackerman, a borough EMS supervisor, said that North Arlington’s four ambulances and a first responder vehicle have all been equipped with naloxone kits “and we have two back-up units in our office.”

The drug – which costs about $20 for a 2mg dosage – should remain effective for a year and a half to two years, he said.

Sackerman said the drug is administered as a nasal spray – 1mg through each nostril – “the maximum dosage we are permitted to give. My understanding is the [borough] police have a higher protocol.”

“The aim is to get the person’s respiratory count back up to normal,” Sackerman said. “It is not a cure for drug addiction,” he added.

Hughes said the drug’s use is to be limited to cases where it appears that someone’s life is in danger due to an overdose. “Hopefully, the emergency responders will have to use naloxone no more than five or 10 times a year. It’s a treatment of last resort,” he said.

Just in the last two months, based on what he’s observed during his EMS shifts, Sackerman said, “There were three situations where naloxone could have been used. … “There’s definitely a need for this program.”

Meanwhile, Police Chief Louis Ghione said he has sent borough Police Officer Thomas Farrell for naloxone training, sponsored by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, and conducted by Dr. Marc Dreier, director of the mobile intensive care unit at Valley Hospital, Ridgewood, so that Farrell, in turn, can help train other borough officers.

Ghione said the prosecutor’s office has acquired 325 naloxone kits, to be spread among municipal police departments around Bergen County who opt to participate in the training. “We got eight of those kits,” he said, “which we will distribute among our patrol units. Training of our officers is the next phase of the operation we’ll be participating in.”

In neighboring Lyndhurst, about one-third of the Police Department has been trained in the use of the drug, according to Det. Capt. John Valente. The department has obtained five naloxone kits, he said. “Once everyone has been trained, we’ll be out there with the drug.”

Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, said: “We’re in the early stages of pulling together a [naloxone] training program and we’ve been in touch with the local departments about that.”

And Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Staff Gene Rubino said the office has completed a “first round” of training with Dr. Kenneth Lavelle, an emergency medicine specialist for Jefferson University Hospitals, who has provided extensive training in Ocean County. “We are currently surveying the needs of our 12 municipalities and we expect to implement the program in late fall.”

DWI cited in 2 crashes

By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


Two local men have been charged criminally with assault by auto following separate accidents in the township, a hit-and-run and a headon collision, Kearny police reported. Both are also accused of driving while intoxicated.

At 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23, Officer Brian Wisely responded to the report of a pedestrian having been struck by an auto in the area of Schuyler Ave. and King St. and found a “severely injured” man in the roadway on John Hay Ave. Police said the vehicle had fled the scene.

The officer summoned Kearny EMS, which took the victim, a 42-year-old Kearny resident, to University Hospital, Newark, for treatment of head and arm injuries.

Processing the scene of the hit-run, Wisely located evidence, including a sheared-off side mirror, that the vehicle involved was a blue Subaru, police reported. A short time later, Officer Daniel Esteves spotted a blue Subaru with fresh damage near Quincy Ave. and Windsor St., and he and Officer Sean Kelly located and arrested the owner, Luciano Sanchez, 20, of Kearny, after he failed field sobriety tests, police said.

Accident investigator Sgt. Richard Poplaski later interviewed the victim at the hospital and also located witnesses to the accident who identified Sanchez as the driver, police said.

In addition to assault by auto, Sanchez was charged criminally with endangering an injured person and with possession of a CDS (suspected marijuana) and drug paraphernalia. Motor vehicle charges included DWI, DWI in a school zone, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Police Chief John Dowie said the victim was reported in stable condition.

The head-on collision, which sent three people to the hospital, occurred at about 6:50 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, on Bergen Ave. between Schuyler and Harrison Aves.

Officers T.J. Hernandez and Stephen Hroncich and Sgt. Paul Bershefski arrived at the scene to find two heavily damaged vehicles, a 2013 BMW and a 2009 Honda, and several victims lying on the sidewalk, police said.

It was determined that the BMW driver, Jonathan Quevedo-Garcia, 27, of Kearny, was responsible for the crash, police said.

Quevedo-Garcia, who reportedly failed field sobriety tests, was charged with DWI, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and failure to surrender same. Criminally, he was charged with three counts of assault by auto.

The injured, all of whom had been in the Honda, were three North Arlington residents — two males and a female. They were taken to Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, for treatment.