web analytics

Ferrarro resigns, takes buyout

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  After months of wrangling with his employer, the Kearny Board of Education, Frank Ferraro has tendered his resignation as Kearny superintendent of schools, effective Nov. 1. Ferraro, who was facing the threat of being fired after the board had brought tenure charges […]


New high school VP named

KEARNY – A 13-year school employee has been promoted to vice principal assigned to Kearny High School. Paul Measso, 37, was appointed to his new job Oct. 20 at an annual salary of $128,163 (pro-rated), pending receipt of his principal certificate of eligibility from Trenton. He completed a master’s degree […]


Lottery for senior apts. next month

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  HARRISON – The town’s first affordable residence for senior citizens at 774 Harrison Ave. is getting ever closer to reality. As construction of the 15-unit building nears completion, the sponsor, Domus Corp., the housing arm of Catholic Charities of Newark, has begun the process […]


Heroin/gun rap for felon

      By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  When Kearny Vice Squad detectives busted a Newark man for drug possession/distribution Oct. 17 on Maple St., they reported recovering 135 folds of heroin. While the suspect was languishing in the Hudson County Jail on $40,000 bail, the KPD […]


Borough voters getting school question

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  EAST NEWARK –  A court ruling has cleared the way – over objections by Harrison – for a Nov. 4 nonbinding referendum asking borough voters, “Should East Newark high school students be sent to Kearny High School instead of Harrison High School?” Harrison Board […]


Don’t expect cops at grid games

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


On Saturday, Oct. 17, the normal presence of local bluecoats to provide security for Kearny High football games was missing. Nor were they available for the Kearny High girls soccer tourney Oct. 19 at Cochrane Stadium in Jersey City.

And they will likely be missing for the balance of the season – and for all other Kearny school-related events – because the Kearny Board of Education is unwilling to pay the going hourly rate.

Provisional Superintendent of Schools Patricia Blood told The Observer last week that the amount of money now sought by the police for off-duty work simply wasn’t anticipated in the district’s budget when it was adopted in April.

Blood said the district brought in additional school security personnel to cover for the absent cops at the weekend games, “which, by the way, were incident-free,” she added.

Off-duty pay for Kearny police officers is set by the labor contract between the town and the police unions and the current contract calls for cops to be compensated for that work at the rate of $55 per hour, except for school-related jobs which are to be compensated at $40 an hour.

That $40-an-hour rate has been in place since September 2012. Before that, it was $25 an hour.

However, according to Blood, this September, the district was contacted by Sgt. John Manley, on behalf of the Police Department, “who told us they were planning to raise the [school] rates.”

To that end, the mayor and Town Council were asked to introduce an ordinance to increase the rate from $40 to $55 an hour at their Oct. 14 meeting, which they did but the new rate cannot go into effect until it is adopted at a public hearing that was tentatively scheduled for Oct. 29.

There were no plans by the district to send anyone to the meeting to oppose the proposed rate hike. Instead, Blood said, the district is “working on an alternate [security] plan, including the possibility of bringing on more teachers [to supplement school security]. They’re familiar with our students who generally respond positively to them and, between the two [security and teachers], we should be able to ensure a safe environment.”

Under their union contract, teachers are entitled to $36 an hour for overtime work while security personnel get less, so the district will likely be able to afford such a deployment scenario, she said.

District records supplied by School Business Administrator/ Board Secretary Michael DeVita show that the district spent $21,000 for “police charges” in 2010-2011, $20,970 in 2011-2012, $19,980 in 2012- 2013, $25,360 in 2013-2014 and $11,715 through fall 2014.

For many districts comparable in size to Kearny, it’s quite common to get by with one person in uniform and several staff to cover an event, Blood added.

Asked his take on the cops’ school rate predicament, Police Chief John Dowie said: “It’s a matter of being competitive” with what the private security market will bear. And, he said, there are always plenty of off-duty jobs available, “so I can assure the Board of Education they’re not being snubbed.”

On a typical day, Dowie said, “I have six contractors, be it ShopRite, Walmart, Fletcher Creamer, Public Service, looking to get police employees. Besides that, I have eight men assigned to Pulaski Skyway details between 6 a.m. and midnight.

“Plus, every week it seems, there’s some kind of public event – whether it’s a 5k run or a religious procession or July 4th fireworks – those posts have to be manned,” he added.

In Kearny, Dowie said, cops “have always worked Board of Education details for less [money]” in deference to giving back to local schools, but “if they can get a job paying more, why not?”

Generally, he said, Board of Education off-duty jobs “are designated to one individual but if that individual doesn’t want the job, you can’t order a guy to do it.” Such assignments are voluntary, he added.

And even if no uniformed personnel are on site for a schoolrelated event, “we certainly have patrols in area, if they need assistance,” the chief said. Plus, he added, even with the Police Department’s ranks “stretched too thin,” the department “still has a Cops in School program in place every day.”

Kearny High PTA President Irene Olawski couldn’t readily be reached for her assessment of the students’ safety situation.

Halloween Pawrade in Kearny











Photos by Karen Zautyk

Top r.: KUEZ Among 50+ pups at KUEZ costume contest Saturday were a cat, a cheeseburger, a trio of lobsters, a bumble bee, a ladybug. Shepherd (r.) wore robe and shower cap. One pooch even turned green for the occasion. Top r.: Winners Harry Potter, elephant, hot potato, spaghetti platter.

Once around the park, please



Northbound traffic on Davis Ave. in Harrison has been detoured around West Hudson Park for several months pending completion of work being done in the county park.

Hudson County spokesman Jim Kennelly said the re-routing of traffic is related to a $1,657,395 bridge project in the park which began on May 15.

“The project ran into a problem with a 16-inch gas main on Davis Ave. that needs to be relocated,” Kennelly said.

He said that PSE&G’s contractor Fletcher Creamer is expected to start excavation shortly to install a new pipe.

The county anticipates that the contractor will complete the relocation of the gas main by mid-November, Kennelly said.

Other work remaining to be done as part of the county bridge project includes new curbing, curb wall, sidewalks, pavement and ornamental fencing, he said.

All of that work should be finished before Christmas, Kennelly said.

– Ron Leir 

KPD: A formula for crime


If you see the gentleman in the photo accompanying this week’s blotter — particularly if you see him in the babyfood aisle — you might give the Kearny police a call. They would like to chat with him.

The man in the mugshot is Danny Morales, 36, of Newark, who has made two prior appearances in the KPD blotter this month. On Oct. 2, he was charged with shoplifting $88 worth of Enfamil from Walmart. On Oct. 14, he allegedly stole $80 worth of the baby formula from the same store and was again arrested.

On Oct. 17, the KPD had, concidentally, their 17th encounter with Morales, Chief John Dowie reported. Officer John Travelino was called to Walmart at 7:15 p.m. and took into custody the same suspect, this time for allegedly shoplifting four Enfamil cans, worth $63. Morales was charged and released on a summons, only to return to Walmart on Oct. 20 and allegedly steal four more cans.

Officer Daniel Esteves responded to that 7 p.m. report and was told by loss prevention that this time Morales had pushed one of the security officers and fled through the parking lot. That push elevates simple theft to a charge of robbery.

Det. Scott Traynor is handling the case, and a robbery warrant has been issued.

In case you’re wondering about the strange affinity for baby formula, it apparently is readily fenced to certain smaller stores for cash.

• • •

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

Oct. 16 

Officer Jose Resua took a 6 p.m. report of a 2002 Jeep having been stolen from the 100 block of Windsor St. After a review of security videotapes and further investigation, Officer John Fabula and Det. Michael Gonzalez developed as a suspect Douglas Welfl, 29, of Kearny. A warrant has been issued for his arrest on charges of burglary and theft.


At 7:30 p.m., Vice Squad detectives observed Ernesto Rosabal, 47, of Kearny riding a bike at Chestnut and Boyd Sts. with what appeared to be a capped hypodermic needle protruding from his sock. After this was confirmed, police said, a search incident to arrest produced seven folds of suspected heroin, stamped “No Good Deed,” and a bag of suspected cocaine. He was charged with possession of the needle, the drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Oct. 19 

Officers Tom Pontrella and Tom Floyd responded to a 10:30 p.m. report of of an armed assault at an Exxon station on the Lincoln Highway in South Kearny. The victims, two truckers from Texas, said they had been sleeping in the cab of their vehicle when they were awakened by a gunman who ordered them to get out and lie face down on the ground. After striking one of the truckers on the head with the gun, the assailant fled, taking with him only the keys to the vehicle. The victim was treated at St. Michael’s Medical Center and was released. Det. Ray Lopez is investigating the case.

Oct. 20 

Officers Glenn Reed and Jay Balogh, patrolling in South Kearny at 11:30 p.m., pulled over a 2004 Lexus that ran a stop sign at Rts. 1/9 and Hackensack Ave. Motorist Keith Rodriguez, 23, of Jersey City, was charged with that offense and driving with a suspended license.

Oct. 21 

At 4 p.m., a teenager reportedly stole a tip jar from the counter of a cafe on the 100 block of Kearny Ave., struck the proprietor and fled on foot, pursued by the cafe owner and a good Samaritan. They chased him to Patterson St., where he escaped by climbing onto a garage roof and jumping off the other side, police said.

Detectives canvassed the area, recovering the jar, viewed security videos and identified as a probable suspect a 17-year-old from Newark.

Police said he was the same youth recently apprehended for trespassing in yards on Ivy St. and for possession of a weapon, a knife, outside Kearny High School.

At 9 p.m., police said, the teen returned to the scene of the theft, where he was arrested by Det. Ray Lopez on a robbery charge and a Hudson County Family Court warrant. He was remanded to the county Juvenile Detention Center.

Oct. 22 

Shortly after midnight, Officers Frank West, Ben Wuelfing and Chris Medina were called to the 100 block of Brighton Ave. on a report of two suspicious individuals, who were then spotted near Liberty St. One managed to flee, but the second, who identified himself as Jason Bryan, 27, of Newark, was detained — and arrested after a warrant check showed Bryan was wanted by Newark.

The detainee turned out not to be Bryan at all. A fingerprint check at headquarters showed he was Anthony Booker, 27, of Newark, himself the subject of three warrants: two from Newark, one from Essex County.

Booker was charged on those and with hindering apprehension and was held for the Essex County Sheriff ’s Office.


Officer Rich Carbone, on patrol at 9:30 p.m., saw a 2003 Nissan — with no front license plate — speeding west on Quincy Ave. at Devon St. Stopping it at Devon and Bergen Ave., he reportedly detected the odor of marijuana and observed in the car a partially smoked joint, a pipe and a marijuana grinder.

Driver Yannick Benavides, 19, of Kearny, was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia and was issued summonses for careless driving, being an unlicensed driver, the missing plate and possession of a CDS in a motor vehicle.

–Karen Zautyk 

Around Town


Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., hosts a Saturday craft program on Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. For more information, call the library at 973-450-3434 or visit www. bellepl.org or belleplcr. blogspot.com. T

he Woman’s Club of Belleville meets the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at its clubhouse, 51 Rossmore Place. Prospective members are welcome. For more information, contact Terry Landon at 973- 751-6529.


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., will host a Halloween blood drive Oct. 31, from noon to 4 p.m. All donors must present signed ID, know their social security number and weigh at least 120. For more information, call 973-676-4700, ext. 144.

East Newark

West Hudson Brave Women Fighting Breast Cancer meets the last Friday of every month, 7 to 9 p.m., at the East Newark Senior Center, 37 President St. For more information, call Emma at 201-998-6828, Rosa at 201-246-7750, Fatima at 973-485-4236 or email emidura2@yahoo.com.

Borough Council urges residents to sign up for free breast and prostate cancer screenings by filling out an eligibility form at the Municipal Building, 34 Sherman Ave., on Mondays and Wednesdays, between 5 and 7 p.m. Screenings are open to women ages 35 and 64 for mammography, women ages 21 and 64 for pap smear and men ages 50 and 64 for prostate/colon screenings. Eligible participants must have no insurance or indicate that their current insurance will not pay for these screenings. Income limits vary with the degree of insurance, so those with limited or no insurance are advised to fill out an initial eligibility form.


Harrison American Legion Post 282, 8 Patterson St., hosts a Harrison Police Department vs. Harrison Fire Department chili cook-off on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. Representatives from both departments will bring their best chili to be judged by a few locals. All are welcome.


Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/Coccia Realty continues a coat drive for the area’s less fortunate, through Nov. 15, at its Kearny, Lyndhurst and Rutherford offices. Drop off gently used or new coats between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays or from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends at any of these participating offices: 636 Kearny Ave., Kearny; 273 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst; or 11 Park Ave., Rutherford. For more information, call Randy Wine at 201-939- 0001.

First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, 663 Kearny Ave., will hold its annual fair on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy a bake table, tricky tray, Christmas crafts and more. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Raffle drawings are at 4 p.m.

First Baptist Church of Arlington, 650 Kearny Ave., holds a free clothing giveaway on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The church holds worship services Sundays at 11 a.m. with Spanish worship at 5 p.m. and Bible study on Fridays at 8 p.m.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts the following free programs:

  • The movie premiere series continues with a special screening of Disney’s “Maleficent” (PG) featuring Angelina Jolie on Friday, Nov. 7, at 4 p.m.
  • Saturday Family Film Matinees continue on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 11 a.m., with a screening of “Planes: Fire and Rescue” (PG).
  • An Adult Painting Party, open to ages 14 and up, is set for Saturday, Nov. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A $5 registration fee helps cover the cost of paints and canvases. Class size is limited. To reserve a spot, call the library at 201-998-2666.

For more information on any library programs, call 201-998-2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

Trinity Church, 575 Kearny Ave., will hold its monthly flea market on Nov. 8. Refreshments are available. Vendors are invited. Tables are one for $15 or two for $25. Call the church at 201-991-5894 to schedule your table or call Annamarie at 201-998-2360 after 5:30 p.m. Walk-in vendors are welcome.


Lyndhurst Public Library, 353 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following events:

  • Kids in pr e-k to grade 3 will step off in a Halloween Parade Friday, Oct. 31, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Book Club discusses “The Body in the Library” by Agatha Christie Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. Call the library to obtain a copy of the book. Space is limited.
  • LetHistoryLive.net presents “The Real History of Thanksgiving” on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 6:15 p.m. Space is limited. To register, call the library or email romeo@ lyndhurst.bccls.org.

Registration is required for all of these events. To register, call the library at 201-804-2478.

New Jersey Meadowlands Commission announces the following programs:

  • The Beauty of Gray: Charcoal Still Life with Shells and Skulls, a sketching and drawing class for ages 12 and up (including adults), is offered Saturday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Science Center, 2 Dekorte Park Plaza. Takehome supplies are provided. Cost is $20; $15 for MEC members. Registration is recommended. To register, go to http://mec.rst2.edu/ environment. For more information, call 201-460- 8300.
  • Free First-Sunday-ofthe- Month Bird Walk, held in conjunction with the Bergen County Audubon Society, runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Nov. 2, at Harrier Meadow, on Disposal Road near Schuyler Ave., North Arlington. Check meadowblog.net for lastminute updates. Walkers are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS or call 201- 230-4983.
  • Art of the Heavens, a program open to all ages on how humans created art as inspiration from the cosmos, will be held on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 2 to 3 p.m., at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 1 DeKorte Park Plaza. Cost is $5; $4 for MEC members. Registration is recommended and appreciated. To register, go to http://mec.rst2.edu/environment. For more 201-460- 8300.

North Arlington 

American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37 meets on Monday, Nov. 3, at 3 p.m. at the VFW hall, 222 River Road. For more information, call 201-214-8253.

North Arlington Recreation Department’s Halloween costume parade and Trunk or Treat celebration is set for Oct. 30. Participants will assemble in the Boston Market parking lot at Ridge Road and Bergen Ave. at 6 p.m. The parade will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and will end behind North Arlington High School, where the Trunk or Treat celebration will be held.

Donations of candy or snacks are welcome. Parents are asked to bring canned food that the Recreation Department is collecting for the local food pantry.

For more information, call Recreation Director Michele Stirone at 201-852- 0119.


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, announces the following programs.

Registration is not required unless otherwise noted. To register, call 973- 667-0405:

  • The Monday Night Book Club welcomes author Lisa Gornick to discuss her book “Tinderbox” on Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. Copies of the book and discussion guide are available at the library. This event is free and open to the public.
  • Conversational ESL takes place every Wednesday at 10 a.m. No registration is required.
  • Wednesday Afternoon Knitters share their love of knitting and crocheting with both beginning and experienced knitters every week at 1 p.m. Bring your own supplies.
  • P.J. Story Time, open to all ages, offers songs, stories and a craft, on Mondays, Nov. 3, 10 and 7, at 7 p.m. • Preschool Story Time, open to ages 3 to 5, includes picture books and arts and crafts on Wednesdays, Nov. 5, 12, 19, at 9:30 a.m. aand 10:45 a.m. Registration is required.
  • Two-Year-old Story Time, open to ages 24 to 35 months, offers picture books and arts and crafts on Fridays, Nov. 7, 14, 21 at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Registration is required.
  • First Friday Films continue with a screening of “Godzilla” Friday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m.
  • A Drop-in Craft Saturday, open to all ages, takes place Nov. 8 and 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No registration is required. Offered while supplies last.
  • Author Janet Mueller reads and signs copies of her book “Gradie Girl” on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 11 a.m. Create a cat craft and enjoy refreshments.

Kearny is ‘Soccertown, USA’ for a reason


Boys’ and girls’ teams both win Hudson County Tournament championships

By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer

Kearny is certainly called “Soccertown, USA” for a reason.

The Kearny High School boys’ and girls’ soccer teams both won their respective Hudson County Tournament championships Sunday afternoon.

The girls’ team won their sixth straight Hudson County championship with a 3-0 victory over Memorial.

Then the boys’ team finished off the clean sweep by defeating North Bergen in their championship game by a 2-0 score.

It’s definitely a reason for celebrations at Kearny High.

Kearny girls’ head coach Vin Almeida had some concerns, because his team was trying to defeat Memorial for the third time this season – and there’s an old sports adage which states that it’s very hard to win for a third time against the same team.

“Memorial over the last several years has become much improved and they’ve become a dander in the county,” Almeida said. “They have tough competitors who fight until the last minute. It was a challenge to play them. It’s always tough to get that third one. They have some good players, but our girls were able to shut them down. They didn’t produce many threats.”

Almeida credited his veteran group of midfielders for their prowess defensively, namely Amanda Eustice, Kathleen Dos Reis, Taylor Munro and Amber Crispin.

“They were asked to play as a unit and cover for each other,” Almeida said. “They had to be patient and did a great job of taking away everything.”

For Eustice, the victory was certainly redeeming, considering she missed all of last season due to a knee injury.

“It was a huge goal for me,” said Eustice, a senior. “I made sure that I came back and made a difference. I made sure each time I stepped on the field that it counted. I know now that you never know when it’s going to go. I missed it all last season. I wanted to be alongside my teammates and couldn’t, so to come back and make a contribution really feels great. We have a six-peat. How awesome is that?” Eustice said that it was a goal from the start of the season to go for No. 6 in a row.

“We wanted to be the first class to win all four years,” Eustice said for the rest of the seniors. “To finish off our senior year with another county championship is just awesome. We worked very hard for this.”

Senior Barbara Paiva scored a goal, the 34th goal of her season, breaking the single season scoring record in the process. Crispin and Natasha Magee scored the other goals.

Kearny boys’ head coach Bill Galka knew that his team was going to have a tough time with North Bergen.

“We knew that they were a good team and it was certainly going to be a battle,” Galka said. “We felt better playing them on a bigger field (at Harrison High). If we opened up the field, it was to our advantage. It would benefit us all around.”

Photos by Jim Hague The Kearny girls’ soccer team won the Hudson County Tournament for the sixth straight time. Front row, from l., are Amanda DeSousa, Eliza Rodrigues, Amanda Eustice, Barbara Paiva, Taylor Munroe, Kathleen Dos Reis and head coach Vin Almeida. Second row, from l. are Megan McClelland, Dana Green, Nicole Sanchez, Salma Bouzidi, Ryelle Seda, Breanna Costa, Isabel Fernandez and Laura Vilar. Third row, from l., are Sydney Viscuso, Sydney Pace, Natasha Magee, Amber Crispin, Merrin Keim and Rachel Nieto. Back row, from l., are Cindy Guzman, Lily Durning, Victoria Van Riper, Brianna Rodriguez and Nawal Farih

Photos by Jim Hague
The Kearny girls’ soccer team won the Hudson County Tournament
for the sixth straight time. Front row, from l., are Amanda DeSousa,
Eliza Rodrigues, Amanda Eustice, Barbara Paiva, Taylor Munroe, Kathleen
Dos Reis and head coach Vin Almeida. Second row, from l. are
Megan McClelland, Dana Green, Nicole Sanchez, Salma Bouzidi, Ryelle
Seda, Breanna Costa, Isabel Fernandez and Laura Vilar. Third row, from
l., are Sydney Viscuso, Sydney Pace, Natasha Magee, Amber Crispin,
Merrin Keim and Rachel Nieto. Back row, from l., are Cindy Guzman,
Lily Durning, Victoria Van Riper, Brianna Rodriguez and Nawal Farih


Senior Danny Vicente, who was not with the program last year as he was part of a soccer academy, scored both goals in the win over North Bergen. Vicente, who missed most of the week because of a rib injury and illness, came off the bench to score the game’s first goal on a header, then later added a penalty kick.

“I knew I was going to play, but I didn’t know how much,” Vicente said. “This was the county championship. It’s my senior year and I wasn’t going to miss it. It was a good feeling to share this with my friends. I didn’t think I’d score at all. But to come off the bench and lead the team is amazing.”

Senior goalkeeper Sebastian Ferreira echoed Vicente’s sentiments.

“It’s a perfect story line,” Ferreira said. “It’s a perfect setting for us. You can’t write it any better than that. To win this again makes it so much sweeter.”

The Kardinals won for the third time in the six-year history of the county tourney. They last won in 2012.

Galka credited the work of his backline, namely Michael Almeida (no relation to the coach), Adrian Velazquez, Andrew Quintos and Damian Kolodziej for their defensive work.

“Adrian really stepped up and won a lot of balls for us,” Galka said. “That got us going. They’ve all been solid all year.”

The seniors all had it in mind that they wanted to win the county title after losing last year in the semifinals.

“They all said that it was a goal to win the county tournament,” Galka said.

Almeida also credited his defensive line, namely goalkeeper Laura Vilar and defenders Dana Green, Lisa Rodrigues and Salma Bouzidi for their efforts.

“We thought by now that someone might have caught us sleeping,” said Almeida, whose team is 85-0-1 against Hudson County opponents over the last six years. “It’s a tribute to our girls, because we never let our guard down.”

Eustice said that her comrades actively cheer for the boys’ team.

“We are all good friends,” Eustice said. “We always talk to each other. Our goals are always the same. Both teams are extremely close. Some of my closest friends are on the boys’ team.”’

“It’s always good when the girls win, because if they win, then we’re expected to win,” Ferreira said. “It’s always a good feeling when we both win.”

Like it was destined to be, in the beautiful world called “Soccertown, USA.”

Harrison native Martino a credit to athletics, academics


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

Although he’s a key player on one of the top high school football teams in New Jersey, Tyler Martino believes that his work in the classroom is far more important.

“I always think academics are far more important than football,” said Martino, a Harrison resident who plays football at St. Peter’s Prep. “I want to make a good living when I’m done playing football. I don’t have the size to play football for a long time. So academics have always come first and foremost. It’s the reason why I went to (St. Peter’s) Prep in the first place, to get a great education.”

Last week, Martino received the ultimate honor as a student/athlete. He was inducted into the National Honor Society, the lone member of the Prep grid team to become a member of the NHS.

“It means a lot to me,” Martino said. “Usually, people say that athletes don’t do well academically. But I’m proud to represent my team, my hometown. I’m the only one from Harrison in my class to go to Prep. It’s a great honor.”

Prep head football coach Rich Hansen had nothing but praise about his undersized senior running back.

“He’s a great kid who works very hard,” Hansen said of Martino. “He makes the most of his ability and is in there every day, grinding it out, making contributions. He definitely helps us be more competitive. He’s one of those players where height and weight don’t matter. It’s not a big distraction. I’ve had other smaller kids who played big roles.

Added Hansen: “Tyler has that competitive fire. He’s a tough minded kid. He’s the kind of kid who you have to find a place on the field for.”

Hansen was asked about Martino’s induction into the National Honor Society.

“That’s what this is all about,” Hansen said. “He has that ultimate balance, the combination of athletics and academics. Every single student is challenged when they come to Prep. It takes a lot of maturity and mental toughness. For him to achieve what he did academically is the pinnacle. It’s what it’s all about.”

Martino stands only 5-foot-2 and weighs only 150 pounds. But that is not a deterrent to him. He runs like the wind – and shows that speed during the indoor track season, running the 55-meter dash.

“When you’re not blessed with size, you have to go harder than most,” Martino said. “I have to give 100% every play. I spend a lot of time in the weight room, so I can have somewhat of an advantage. I get really low and run hard and fast, so teams have a tough time trying to handle me.”

Martino spoke of his academic commitment.

“I have a couple of advanced placement classes, so it’s tough to come home after practice at 8 p.m. and then do my schoolwork,” Martino said. “Once I learned how to manage my time, it got a lot easier.”

Martino is also civic minded.

“I want to give back to Harrison,” Martino said. “I like to go help at the Pop Warner program. I try to stay as close to my community as possible. I love Harrison. We have a really close knit community.”

Despite his size, Martino has been looked at by some colleges.

“I’m being recruited a little,” Martino said. “I think I’ll be able to play somewhere in college.”

Martino is looking at Lehigh, Lafayette, Monmouth and Fordham.

“We’ll see what happens,” Martino said. “I think I’ll get my chance to play.”

Martino said that he’s blessed to be on one of the state’s best football teams.

“It’s awesome,” Martino said. “It’s crazy how good this team has become. We’ve been together for four years and it’s like a brotherhood. We have a really good chance to win a state championship. Everyone is so talented. When you play football at Prep, people want to come up to you and talk to you. It’s a great honor to play for Prep and it’s always been a lot of fun.”

Martino said that he is looking into studying business or engineering in college.

Needless to say, Tyler Martino is enjoying things right now.

“I’m living the life,” Martino said. “It’s great.”

Kearny’s Rodriguez becomes instant quarterback in big win

10-29 AOW_web

By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer

The entire Kearny High School football season was hanging in the balance. The Kardinals trailed Dickinson, 20-6, at halftime last Friday night, watching their faint hopes of finally qualifying for the NJSIAA state playoffs fade into the dark night.

With that, Kearny head coach Nick Edwards knew that he had to make a change, putting starting fullback Christian Rodriguez in as the Wildcat formation quarterback.

In the Wildcat, the quarterback takes a direct shotgun snap and then determines to either run the ball or throw a pass.

“I knew we were struggling and I knew we had to step up,” Rodriguez said. “I loved the idea of playing the Wildcat. I liked being the general of the offense. I know that there’s a responsibility, but I loved it.”

Rodriguez said he had one reaction when Edwards told him he was going in as the Wildcat signal caller.

“It is very tough,” said Rodriguez, who was once a quarterback earlier in his life. “But I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

“We have the Wildcat package and Christian is the one to run that,” Edwards said. “He’s a strong kid with good speed. He also has good vision. He’s played about three years at quarterback in his life, so we knew he could do it.”

So Rodriguez took over the signal calling responsibility in the second half of the Dickinson game. The results were staggering.

Rodriguez carried the ball 12 times for 120 yards and completed five passes for 73 yards. More importantly, he guided the Kardinals to 34 unanswered points in the second half, keying Kearny’s gigantic 41-20 victory.

And the Kards are in position for their first-ever state playoff berth. If they win this weekend against Bayonne, the Kards are in. Simple as that. A loss last week would have destroyed those hopes.

So for his all-around effort, Rodriguez has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.

Rodriguez said that he was up for the challenge to fill in at quarterback.

“I was once the starting quarterback and then I got moved to fullback,” Rodriguez said. “I was excited to get the chance to play quarterback again. It was fun.”

Football is always more enjoyable when your team is winning.

“He played a big part in the second half comeback,” Edwards said. “We had 230 yards rushing in the second half. He’s perfect at that position. The more experience he gets there, the better he is. If we need a short screen pass, he’s capable of doing it.”

Rodriguez said that the hardest part of the Wildcat offense is reading the opposition defensive formation.

“I have to try to find the reads,” Rodriguez said. “I can’t have anything distract me. I have to have the right vision so I can see the play develop.”

Rodriguez said that he has watched other Wildcat quarterbacks, like former New York Jet and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.

“I see them running it and it motivates me to want to do it as well as they did,” Rodriguez said. “It blew my mind how well we did it. We just ran the ball right in their faces and they couldn’t stop us.”

Rodriguez said that he never played organized football before entering Kearny High School.

“I was more into skateboarding,” Rodriguez said. “That was what I did.”

Rodriguez was also hanging out with a wrong crowd. It forced Rodriguez’s mother, Maria, to step forward and put her foot down.

“She wants me to go to college,” Rodriguez said. “I started to think I could play football in college. I learned my lesson and realized that I couldn’t hang out with the wrong kids. I had to make a change in my life.”

Rodriguez has played quarterback in a triple option offense, then a fullback and now a Wildcat QB. Defensively, Rodriguez has played linebacker and defensive end, but does not play defense when he’s calling the signals.

“I got a little taste of everything,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t mind, because I love playing football. I like being with my teammates. They’re like my family. That’s why I stuck with it.”

Rodriguez is also a member of the Kearny wrestling team in the winter months.

“It helps my conditioning,” Rodriguez said of wrestling after football season is over. “It makes me stronger.”

Edwards likes what Rodriguez brings to the table.

“He’s a very respectful kid,” Edwards said. “He’s always at practice and he’s a very vocal kid. He’s become a leader.” That’s quite a compliment for someone who is only a junior.

“He also does well in the classroom,” Edwards said. “He’s the one getting us through the season.”

And yes, if the Kardinals get a win this weekend, they’re in the state playoffs for the very first time.

“None of these kids ever thought of being in the state playoffs,” Edwards said. “If we do win, we’re in. We definitely will talk about it. By telling them about it, it gives them something to shoot for. It’s good that this team is getting some recognition. They’re also getting some good support from the school and their families.”

Rodriguez was asked what it would be like to be part of the state playoffs.

“That would be so awesome,” Rodriguez said. “Next year, we’ll be even better. But this has been a fun year. I never expected all of this. “

Rodriguez has hopes of majoring in business management in college at either Montclair State or William Paterson. Of course, football will be a part of his life.

“I would love to play in college,” Robinson said. “I want to keep playing. Whatever position they want to put me at, I’ll play it. But this has been an awesome year. It’s one of the best years of my life.” And maybe the best is yet to come for Christian Rodriguez.

Chiropractic treatment of auto injuries


Injuries to the neck and back as a result of a motor vehicle accident can leave patients with serious and permanent injuries when left untreated. The most common types of car accidents are rearend and side impact collisions. The greatest types of injury are to the neck, mid-back and lower back. Pain medications and muscle relaxers are only just temporary solutions to reducing pain and discomfort and do not treat the structural trauma and stress placed on the spine, muscles, nerves and joints. Although initially helpful, these medications eventually lose their effectiveness and the patient realizes that their injuries are more serious than a gentle bruise or muscle sprain/strain. Chiropractic physicians are highly trained specialists experienced in diagnosing and treating traumatic injuries to the spine, muscles, nerves and joints.

When the neck and back are subjected to a traumatic injury, there are usually a combination of factors that contribute to intense pain and discomfort. The doctor of chiropractic treats the body without medication using a “holistic” and natural healing approach. Chiropractic physicians treat neck and back pain, headaches, arm, shoulder and leg pain along with numbness and tingling caused by auto accidents in a gentle and painfree manner. Left untreated, these types of symptoms can lead to permanent injuries and chronic nerve and muscle inflammation causing severe pain and suffering.

The force of an auto accident can also cause injury to the discs between the vertebrae where small tears can develop. If the gelatinous middle of the disc seeps out, it can irritate the nerve endings in this area. Occasionally, the gel material can seep all the way out and press on a nerve root exiting the spinal cord behind the disc known as a disc herniation. A disc bulge, although not as serious, can also cause pressure and irritation to the nerves. A herniated disc can cause pain in the neck as well as sharp, shooting pain down the arm into the hands and neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling and muscle weakness. A herniated disc in the lower back can cause back pain as well as sharp, severe shooting pain into the buttocks and legs with neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling and muscle weakness into the legs and feet.

One area chiropractor who treats people involved in a motor vehicle accident is Dr. Louis Stimmel, D.C. at Harrison Spine & Rehabilitation Center for a free consultation and evaluation. Stimmel is board certified with over 25 years of clinical practice experience. Stimmel has been board certified as a chiropractic sports physician and in hospital protocols and privileges. He has frequently lectured to orthopedic surgeons and medical physicians on the benefits of chiropractic care. Stimmel says he is highly trained and experienced in treating injuries caused by an auto accident utilizing a variety of safe, gentle and painfree techniques along with the latest physical therapies to relieve your pain and discomfort. Contact our office today at 973-483-3380 for your free consult and evaluation.

– Louis Stimmel, D.C. 

Harrison Spine & Rehabilitation Center 

Diabetes screening




St. Michael’s Medical Center will offer free blood pressure and glucose screenings on Friday, Nov. 14, from 9 to 11 a.m., in the main lobby at 111 Central Ave., Newark.

November marks American Diabetes Month. According to the American Diabetes Association, 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, 67 million have hypertension (high blood pressure).

A two-hour fast is recommended for glucose screenings. Walk-ins are welcome and attendees will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more about this event or the Diabetes and Hypertension Care Program at SMMC, call 973-690-3604.