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‘Ninja Turtles’ slowed up drug suspects

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Two East Orange men who abandoned their car in a Kearny intersection following an accident ended up in the county jail thanks to some “Ninja Turtles,” police reported.

The adventure began at 2 p.m. on Jan. 3 when Officer Rich Carbone found an unoccupied 2008 Honda sitting in the middle of the intersection of Highland and Oakwood Aves. It apparently had become disabled after hitting two parked cars.

Police said that witnesses described two men who had fled on foot south on Highland.

A BOLO was issued, and Officer Jay Ward spotted the pair “huddled around some bushes” on a residential lawn about a block away, “frantically” emptying their pockets, Chief John Dowie said.

They reportedly attempted to run but were caught. And Ward, police said, recovered “numerous” packets of drugs, specifically: 45 glassine folds of heroin stamped “Ninja Turtles” and 13 bags of cocaine.

Both men, driver Gibril Young, 23, and passenger Jamil Ware, 22, were arrested on charges of heroin and cocaine possession.

In addition, Young was charged with motor vehicle offenses: driving while suspended, driving without insurance, leaving the scene of an accident, careless driving and operating a motor vehicle while in possession of a CDS. Police said he also had two outstanding warrants from East Orange. B

ail for each suspect was set at $25,000, and they were remanded to the Hudson County Jail.

– Karen Zautyk

Suspected ‘batter’ busted & more: KPD

You can credit a sharp-eyed Kearny police officer with the arrest last Thursday of a Harrison man wanted in connection with the baseball bat attack on another man in Kearny nearly two weeks earlier.

Police said the assault occurred about 4 p.m., Jan. 3, on the 200 block of Passaic Ave., near Bergen Ave. The victim, a 25-year-old also from Harrison, told Officer Luis Moran and Sgt. Peter Gleason he had been confronted by his attacker, who was known to him, and another male, was knocked to the ground, kicked, and hit repeatedly with the bat.

EMS was summoned to the scene, but the victim reportedly declined transportation to a hospital.

Police said the assailant was identified as John Fay, 20, and a warrant was issued for his arrest for aggravated assault and on weapons charges.

At 4 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15, Officer John Fabula was on patrol when he saw Fay in the passenger seat of a car near Schuyler and Oakwood Aves. and took him into custody without incident.

Fay was remanded to the Hudson County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

•••

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

Jan. 4 

Shortly after midnight, Officers Tom Floyd and Ben Wuelfing responded to the Old Lincoln Highway in South Kearny on the report of an unconscious man in a vehicle. They, along with the KFD and EMS, arrived to find Ravinder Singh, 33, of Jersey City, asleep behind the wheel of a Ford Explorer, police said. Also reportedly found: an open bottle of brandy in the SUV. Following field sobriety tests, Singh was charged with DWI, careless driving and having that open container of alcohol in a MV.

Jan. 6 

At 4 p.m., at Kearny and Oakwood Aves., Vice Squad detectives observed a pedestrian hand-rolling and then lighting a cigar, from which reportedly wafted the strong odor of marijuana. Benjamin Simmons, 22, of Newark, was charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphenalia.

 Jan. 7 

Officer Fabula, dispatched to the 990 block of Davis Ave. at 3 p.m. on multiple complaints of cars blocking driveways (school was letting out), was dealing with the problem when a 2006 BMW jumped the line of traffic and drove past the patrol car. While so doing, the Beemer also set off Fabula’s onboard computer with an alert that the registration was suspended. He stopped the vehicle at Davis and Wilson Aves. and also found that driver Josue Corredor, 24, of Kearny, had a suspended license, police said. Corredor was charged with that offense, operating an unregistered vehicle, failure to surrender a suspended license, and the violation that had triggered all this trouble, improper passing.

Jan. 8 

An investigation launched by vice detectives in October into cocaine distribution in Kearny, culminated with the arrest of Jon Verastegui, 25, of Kearny on charges of possession and distribution of the drug. He was taken into custody at 6 p.m. on the 100 block of Bergen Ave.

 Jan. 9 

Officer Daniel Esteves, approaching a man at Kearny Ave. and Halstead St. at 8:45 p.m. for violating a town ordinance by publicly guzzling from a 32-oz. can of Bud Light, found that the individual had a drug-possession warrant out of Newark, police said. Francisco Gomez, 26, of Newark, was booked at headquarters and turned over to the Newark PD.

Jan. 10 

At 3:15 a.m., Officers Wuelfing and Floyd found a Chevy Blazer with Pennsylvania plates and a shredded rear tire stuck atop a high curb on Fish House Road. Its occupant, Alberto Vargas, 33, of Union City, was unable to produce a driver’s license but reportedly admitted he had consumed “10 beers,” police said. Following FSTs and an Alcotest, he was charged with DWI, careless driving and being an unlicensed driver.

Jan. 11 

Officer Jordenson Jean, responding to a 12:30 p.m. accident at Devon and Tappan Sts., arrested Miguel Redonda, 26, of Hillside, who reportedly had hit a parked car, for driving while suspended. In a search incident to arrest, police said, Redonda was found to be in possession of 90 oxycontin pills. He was then also charged with that offense and possession of a CDS in a motor vehicle.

•••

Officer Floyd responded to the report of a robbery at 2:30 p.m. at Beech St. and the Belleville Pike. The victim, a 28-year-old Bloomfield man, said he was parked in a lot, taking a photo with his cell phone, when a Hispanic male got out of a dark SUV, punched him in the face, took the phone and fled west on the Pike. Detectives are investigating and trying to track the phone.

•••

At 3:15 p.m., Officer John Travelino was patrolling at Kearny and Bergen Aves. when he observed Sidnei Antunes, 29, of Kearny, whom he knew to have multiple warrants. Antunes was arrested on five — four from Harrison, one from East Newark — taken to HQ and turned over to Harrison police.

Jan. 12 

Officer Jean responded to the 200 block of Stewart Ave. at 7:45 p.m. on the report of a suspicious person in a backyard. Found hiding in the yard, police said, was Miguel Vargas, 50, of Harrison, who “could offer no credible explanation” for being there. He was charged with criminal trespass.

•••

Officer Fabula, responding to a 9:30 p.m. accident on the 100 block of Rutherford Place, was told by the driver of a passenger car that it had been hit by a white SUV that had fled the scene. A BOLO was issued, and the suspect vehicle, with heavy front-end damage, was stopped at Chestnut St. and Columbia Ave. by Sgt. Charles Smith. With Officer Brian Wisely as backup, driver Roni Plunkett, 26, of Kearny, was given FSTs, arrested and taken to HQ for an Alcotest. She was charged with DWI, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

Jan. 15 

A burglary was reported at 8 p.m. on the 20 block of Grove St. by a resident who, after being out most of the day, returned to his apartment to find a side window pushed in, dresser drawers rifled and items missing. The victim told responding Officer Jay Ward that at least one Xbox system was taken from the first-floor residence, along with some games, watches and jewelry. Det. Scott Traynor is investigating.

– Karen Zautyk 

Fatal shooting ruled suicide by police

KEARNY – 

The death of a 60-year-old Garfield man, found mortally wounded in his car in Kearny last week, has been ruled an apparent suicide, Police Chief John Dowie reported.

At 2:42 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 13, Officer Michael Santucci was on patrol when he observed a blue Mazda in the parking lot of a closed business, the Route 7 Grille, located at 590 Belleville Turnpike.

Police said that upon further investigation, the officer discovered the seriously injured man in the driver’s seat, bleeding from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A revolver was found on his lap, police said.

Kearny EMS and paramedics were dispatched and transported the victim to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead at 3:30 that afternoon.

The victim’s family had been notified immediately upon confirmation of his identity, which, other than his age and place of residence, is being withheld.

Detectives were conducting a follow-up investigation, but “no foul play is suspected,” Dowie said.

– Karen Zautyk 

around town

Bloomfield 

Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., hosts a Book Club meeting Feb. 2, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m., in the conference room to discuss “The Shack” by William P. Young. For more information or for help in locating a copy of the book, call the reference desk at 973-566-6200, ext. 219 or 220. Admission is free.

 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.

Kearny 

The Salvation Army, 443 Chestnut St., offers computer classes Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to noon. The fee is $30 for 12 hours of instruction. The course includes instruction in basic computer skills plus Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. For more information, call the office at 201-991-1115 or Pete at 201-889-1352.

Kearny UNICO sponsors a bus trip to the Tropicana Casino on Sunday, Jan. 25. The cost is $30 with $25 in slot play back from the casino. The bus leaves from American Legion Post 99, 314 Belgrove Drive, at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served at the hall at 7:30 a.m. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at either 201-368-2409 or lpandolfiverizon.net.

 Lyndhurst 

The Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Ave., is offering a supply of dog food, both canned and dry, to anyone who cannot afford to feed their dog, due to unemployment, disability or any other financial difficulty. Just stop by or call 201-896-9300 for more information. Hours are: Mondays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Knights of Columbus Council 2396 has rescheduled a Tricky Tray, for Friday, Feb. 20, at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. The $10 admission includes coffee plus one prize sheet of tickets. No alcohol is permitted. No tickets will be sold at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call Steve Cortese at 201-657- 0800 or Sal Russo at 201-446- 7244.

Lyndhurst American Legion Post 139 Rehabilitation Committee holds a ward party for veterans at Chestnut Hill Extended Care Facility, Passaic, Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 2:30 p.m. This event is sponsored by Joan Waltman in honor of her brother Reid M. Waltman who served gallantly in the U.S. Navy in World War II and is enjoying retirement. Post members play games of chance with hospitalized veterans and distribute treats to them. Anyone interested in sponsoring a ward party is invited to call John Deveney at 201-438-2255.

Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad holds its annual Tricky Tray fundraiser Feb. 19 at The Fiesta, 255 Rt. 17 S, Wood-Ridge. Doors open at 7 p.m. Drawing starts at 8 p.m. A variety of ticket packages are available at different prices. For more information, call 201-804-2469, email trickytray@emergencysquad.com or visit lyndhurstnj.org.

Lyndhurst Department of Parks and Recreation sponsors a trip to Caesar’s Casino in Atlantic City Friday, Jan. 30. Tickets are $22 each. To buy tickets, visit the Parks Department or call 201-804- 2482 to reserve a seat.

The N.J. Meadowlands Commission announces the following events:

  • The Third-Tuesday-of-the- Month Nature Walk through Laurel Hill County Park, Secaucus, co-sponsored by the Bergen County Audubon Society, is set for Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to noon. Admission is free. Participants are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events year-round. To register, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4gmail.com or call 201-230- 4983.
  • Join NJMC staffer and veteran rock journalist/author Brian Aberback Sunday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m., for “Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Meadowlands.” He’ll offer a slideshow presentation covering Frank Sinatra’s Hoboken roots and the Jersey City doo-wop scene to present-day hard rock guitar virtuoso/Carlstadt native Marc Rizzo and more. Admission is $6; $5 for MEC members.

Pre-registration for both programs is recommended and appreciated. Register online at www.njmeadowlands.gov by clicking on “Events,” by bringing a registration form to the Environment Center, or by mailing the form to Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, P.O. Box 640, Lyndhurst, N.J. 07071. Make checks payable to Meadowlands Environment Center. Program brochures, which include the registration form, are available at the Environment Center or may be requested by email by visiting communications@njmeadowlands.gov. There is no phone registration.

For more information, call 201-777-2431. Those interested in receiving email alerts about NJMC public programs are asked to email communications@njmeadowlands.gov or call 201-460-4619.

Lyndhurst Library Children’s Room, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following events:

  • Winter/Spring Storytime, for ages 3 to 4 1/2, is available for two sessions at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and will be offered every Thursday from Feb. 19 to May 14. Registration deadline is Feb. 13.
  • A snowman craft, for pre-k to grade 3, will be held Thursday, Jan. 29, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

To register for programs, call the library at 201-804- 2478. St.

Michael’s Angel Academy, 624 Page Ave., hosts an open house with registration for the 2015-2016 school year for its pre-k-3 and pre-k-4 programs Wednesday, Jan. 21, 4:30 to 7 p.m. Use the Page Ave. entrance, next to the Angel Academy sign. For more information, call 201- 438-3809.

North Arlington 

North Arlington Seniors Inc. (Tuesday Club) sponsor a trip to Sands Casino in Pennsylvania Feb. 5. The bus leaves at 9 a.m. Non-members are welcome. Call Rose Florio at 201-991-2423.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, announces the following events:

  • A screening of the documentary “Inheritance”(90 minutes) is set for Friday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m.
  • Story Time, open to ages 2 to 5, is held every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m.
  • Lego Club, open to grades 1 and up, meets Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 6:30 p.m.

No registration is required unless otherwise noted. For more information on library programs, call 201-955-5640.

Lyndhurst North Arlington wrestling co-op moves forward

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By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

Mike Goff is in his third year coaching the Lyndhurst-North Arlington High Schools wrestling cooperative and the energetic coach feels much more at home now.

“I’m a little more settled in,” Goff said. “The kids all know me. The team is made up of juniors that I had as freshmen. I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re still a work in progress, but we’re much improved. We’re fighting and going into matches thinking we can win. We’re putting ourselves in situations where we can win.”

That was evident on Saturday, when the Golden Bears/ Vikings defeated Kearny and Orange and battled perennial Group IV playoff contender Livingston down to the final bout.

“I think we’re at the point where we’re starting to break through,” Goff said. “We’re in a good position right now.”

Lyndhurst-North Arlington, which features wrestlers from both high schools, lost close matches to Belleville and Lodi in the last few weeks.

“We were in both matches,” Goff said. “I think that shows the kids that we’re moving in the right direction.”

The interest is definitely there as well. Goff had a total of 31 prospective wrestlers try out for the team last month.

“It’s the most we ever had,” Goff said. “I do like the makeup of this team. There’s good chemistry.”

So much so that they went to a wrestling team camp at The College of New Jersey last summer – despite the fact that the team is comprised of kids from two different neighboring schools that are generally archrivals.

“They all hang out together and get along so well,” said Goff, who took his entire team bowling Sunday afternoon.

There’s another aspect to the team’s camaraderie – namely their hair color. More than half of the team has dyed their hair bleach blond as a sign of unity.

“It’s a close-knit group,” Goff said. “We have a group of juniors who have been doing it (dying their hair) since fifth grade. I didn’t think we’d have that many this year, but 16 kids have done it.”

As long as the Golden Bears/ Vikings continue to win, they could dye their hair green and it wouldn’t matter to Goff.

“It just shows that we’re all on the same page together,” Goff said.

A quick glance of the Golden Bears/Vikings’ roster right now shows a very young team with a good balance of both Lyndhurst and North Arlington students.

Freshman Matt Daub is the team’s 106-pounder.

“He’s doing very well,” Goff said. “He wrestles all year round, so he has good experience as a wrestler. There’s still a big learning curve as a freshman.”

Sophomore Conor Yunis is a fixture at 113 pounds.

“He had a good year for us last year at 106 pounds,” Goff said of Yanis.

Junior Corey Leclerc is one of the team’s top returning wrestlers. Leclerc holds down the 120-pound weight class. “Corey was third in the districts and made it to the second day of the regions,” Goff said. “We’re expecting bigger things from him this year.”

Junior Devin Yunis is the team’s 126-pounder.

“He’s come a long way since freshman year,” Goff said of the elder Yunis. “Now, he’s quick on his feet and picked up from where he left off last year. He’s a tough kid.”

All four of the aforementioned wrestlers attend Lyndhurst High School.

The team’s 132-pounder, Louis Arzuaga, is from North Arlington, so he has to commute daily from NA to Lyndhurst for practices. Now that’s dedication.

“Louis has picked up where he left off last year and he’s part of the junior class I have that is rock solid,” Goff said. “Louis is another tough kid who puts up a fight every time out. He’s a fighter.”

Photo by Jim Hague Lyndhurst/North Arlington head coach Mike Goff has revitalized the program and has the team geared toward respectability.

Photo by Jim Hague
Lyndhurst/North Arlington head coach Mike Goff has revitalized the program and has the team geared toward respectability.

 

 

Junior Andrew Fernandez is another North Arlington student. Fernandez is a junior at 138 pounds.

“He’s very strong and very agile,” Goff said of Fernandez. “He uses his strength to his advantage.”

Christien Campana is a newcomer to the local scene. Campana, the team’s 145-pounder, is a transfer from Pennsylvania.

“He’s a very technical wrestler and fits in well with the rest of the team,” Goff said of Campana.

Nick Fernandez, a freshman and the younger brother of Andrew, is the team’s 152-pounder.

“He’s jumping into a tough weight class,” Goff said of the North Arlington freshman. “But he’s holding his own.”

Senior Rocco Russomano is the team’s 160-pounder. Russomano missed all of last year with a foot injury that required surgery.

“He’s back and on the right path,” Goff said of Russomano, a Lyndhurst student. “It helps us a lot having Rocco back.”

The team’s 170-pounder is perhaps the team’s best wrestler in junior Matt DeMarco, who finished second in the District 15 last year and was a qualifier for the Region 2 tournament.

“If we have him healthy, it means a lot to the team,” Goff said. “I’m expecting a lot from Matt.”

North Arlington High School senior Giuseppe Gugliuzza is the team’s 182-pounder.

“He’s a tough kid and a very strong kid,” Goff said. “He knows how to use his strength to his advantage.”

Junior Michael Cooper is the team’s 220-pound student. Cooper attends Lyndhurst.

“He’s improved like five times more than he was last year,” Goff said.

Junior Ryan Smith, also a Lyndhurst student, is the team’s heavyweight.

“He’s a new kid that I got from off the football team,” Goff said. “He fits in well with our lineup.”

Even though Smith is brand new to wrestling, he won all three of his matches Saturday in the tri-meet at Kearny with Orange and Livingston.

“He’s done pretty well so far,” Goff said.

The team holds a 5-6 record, which isn’t good enough to qualify for the NJSIAA team sectional championships.

“We don’t think the idea of being in the state tournament is farfetched,” Goff said. “It can happen. We’ve been in every match this year. There have been no blowouts. We set the goal of competing for a state sectional title. We just need a little patience.”

The team faces Becton on the road Wednesday, followed by a matchup with 13-3 Garfield at the North Arlington gymnasium at 7 p.m. That should be a treat for the North Arlington contingent, getting a chance to wrestle on their home floor.

The team then returns to action Saturday in a quad meet with Vernon, Cliffside Park and Hasbrouck Heights at Hasbrouck Heights. Sure looks like a make or break week for Goff and his young team of blond merry men.

“It’s a big week for us,” Goff said. “There’s no question we have to do well this weekend.”

At least the term winning is being associated with Lyndhurst wrestling once again.

QP boys’ hoops: Getting better with time

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By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

The Queen of Peace boys’ basketball team continues to work its way through major growing pains, but head coach Tom McGuire is hopeful that the tough times are behind the Golden Griffins.

“Absolutely, our best basketball is ahead of us,” McGuire said. “We haven’t played our best yet. The one thing I appreciate about us is that we always tend to get better as the season goes on. We’re never the same team that started the season.”

The Golden Griffins now own a 5-5 record after soundly defeating Bergen Charter, 73-37, last Thursday night.

McGuire said that the Golden Griffins are still relatively young.

“We’re pretty green,” McGuire said. “We start a freshman and play another one. I didn’t realize how big of a loss that the seniors from last year would be. It’s a chemistry thing right now. We’re still working on the chemistry. We’re working hard in practice and trying to get everything we can out of this team. We haven’t had a signature win yet, so that’s something we need.”

The Griffins are fortunate enough to have 6-foot-3 junior forward Jeremy Joseph back from last year. The talented Joseph is averaging 19 points and seven rebounds per game. Joseph had consecutive games against Dwight- Englewood and Rutherford where he tallied 27 points and 11 rebounds (Dwight-Englewood) and 28 points and 12 rebounds (Rutherford).

“He’s done everything we’ve asked of him,” McGuire said. “He’s such a team player. You like players who are pass first and shoot second. Well, Jeremy is pass first and pass second. We need him to be more selfish. We’re also trying to establish him more down low, get him more involved in the paint. He’s so strong that he can handle it. He’s starting to get it.”

McGuire knows that Joseph is definitely a college prospect.

“Without a doubt, we’re working on college already,” McGuire said. “He’s a very good student, so that helps. I think playing AAU ball in the summer (with the Wayne PAL) has also helped him.”

Another key contributor is 6-foot senior guard Joe Cook.

“He was the off-guard (shooting guard) last year and this year, he’s playing more of the point guard role,” McGuire said. “He has that point guard mentality. He’s such a tough kid, a tough player. He gets the job done.” Cook is averaging eight points and four assists per game.

Another solid contributor is senior guard Mike Pettigrew. The 6-foot Pettigrew, a standout baseball player in the spring who has already committed to playing baseball at Drew University in the fall, is averaging seven points per game this season.

“He’s our shooter,” McGuire said. “He’s done a good job from the outside. If he’s shooting well, then we’re a better team. He’s also a good defensive player who goes up against the other team’s best player and holds his own against the best.”

One of the key freshmen is 6-foot-3 forward Raphael Castillo.

“He has a lot of promise,” said McGuire of Castillo, who is averaging 10 rebounds per game. “He’s going to be one of the better players in the county. He has a ton of potential.” Castillo is also averaging nine points per contest this year.

Senior James Lia, another fine baseball player, is a 5-foot-7 guard who has been battling an ankle injury.

“We want to make sure he’s healthy before we put him back out there, because he is such a good baseball player and don’t want to jeopardize that,” McGuire said.

Sophomore Dante Small is a 5-foot-11 guard.

“He’s been a little bit of a surprise, because I didn’t know whether he could play,” McGuire said. “I like his athleticism and intensity. It’s only his second year of organized basketball, so he’s still learning. But he’s a very athletic kid who could become a very good player.”

Senior Sammy Tait is a 5-foot-11 guard who comes off the bench. The same for 5-foot-7 junior Jordan Moran. Both add depth at the guard position.

Another freshman who is getting considerable playing time is 6-foot-3 Jasiah Provillion, who had 12 points in the win over Bergen Charter.

“He also has a lot of promise,” McGuire said. “He just needs to develop. He’s starting to get meaningful varsity minutes. He’s extremely athletic and working on all facets of the game with him.”

The Griffins were bolstered recently by the return of former head coach and QP standout athlete Christian Boyce to the sidelines as an assistant to McGuire. A few years ago, the roles were reversed, with Boyce as the QP head coach and McGuire as the assistant.

“Oh, God, yes, he’s helped coming back,” McGuire said. “He’s helped a lot with our post players. He’s a basketball coach and needed to be back coaching.”

The Golden Griffins have an important stretch of games coming up this week, facing off against Leonia, New Milford and Kinnelon. While qualifying for the Bergen County Jamboree might be a little bit of a stretch right now (the Griffins need wins in all three games this week to have an outside shot), the NJSIAA Non-Public B North playoffs are still a strong possibility.

“We want to think we have a shot of playing well this week,” McGuire said. “It is an important week for us. We want to make sure we get into the states.”

If the Griffins keep moving in the right direction – and get that quality, signature win – they should be in good shape.

Ford’s long-range shooting boosts Vikings

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By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

The high school basketball season had yet to begin, but the North Arlington boys’ team was in a bit of a bind.

Two key players, Edgar Carranza and Kevin Cerqueira, were sidelined due to injuries.

It left the door open for another junior Tim Ford to step in and make a major contribution.

Ford was a member of the NA junior varsity squad a year ago.

“I learned a lot from being on the JV,” Ford said. “I just kept trying to get better. I knew I had to build up my confidence a little. I learned a lot from dealing with a lot of adversity. I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team.” Veteran coach Rich Corsetto, in his second year at North Arlington, was hopeful that Ford could step in and contribute.

“He proved to me last year that he could help us,” Corsetto said. “Timmy is a football player as well and sometimes it takes time for the football player to get going after their season is over.”

After a little bit of a sluggish start to the season, Ford has picked it up of late, especially in the last week – and especially with his proficiency from behind the 3-point circle.

“He’s unbelievable right now,” Corsetto said. “He’s stepped up tremendously.”

Ford connected on nine 3-pointers last Tuesday in a 63-54 win over Hasbrouck Heights en route to a 33-point explosion. He followed it up by connecting on five long-range shots for 15 points in a win over Wood-Ridge and added five more treys and 15 points in a 61-45 win over Montclair Immaculate last Friday night, helping the Vikings to improve to 7-4 overall.

Not bad for a kid who scored all of four varsity points last season. The three big games gave Ford seven straight con- tests where he reached double figures in scoring.

For his efforts, Ford has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.

Corsetto said that he’s not shocked at all by Ford’s offensive output.

“I’m really not surprised at all,” Corsetto said. “I knew that he had the ability. He works hard and he’s not a quitter. He’s a gutsy kid who does a lot with heart, desire and determination.”

Ford said that he did put a lot of time into honing his long-range shooting ability.

“I took a lot of shots to help me get better,” Ford said. “Whenever I had the chance to get better, I took advantage of it. Shooting is something that I’ve always been pretty good at. I’m lucky to have teammates who find me and get me the ball. That gives me confidence.”

Corsetto realizes Ford’s contributions to the team and how vital they have been.

“He’s been very important,” Corsetto said. “Because of what we’ve gone through with the injuries, if Timmy doesn’t make those shots, we’re in trouble. He’s really stepped up nicely. He’s also doing a nice job rebounding as well.” Corsetto noted that the undersized Ford, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs about 160 pounds, also collected seven rebounds against Hasbrouck Heights and six in each of the wins over Wood-Ridge and Montclair Immaculate.

“He’s a nice young man,” Corsetto said. “He’s a hard worker who does everything you ask him to do. No matter what it is Timmy will do it. We haven’t had a full team all year yet, so Timmy has really done a great job helping to lead us.”

Ford is averaging close to 13 points per game as the Vikings’ shooting guard. He said that he just felt comfortable shooting the ball last Tuesday against Hasbrouck Heights.

“I was feeling it,” Ford said. “The coaches told me to keep doing it, so I just kept doing the same thing. My teammates were finding ways to get me open. I was kind of surprised with what I did. It was clearly my best game. It is kind of shocking, but I just kept hitting shots.”

Ford has not stopped since, connecting on 19 3-pointers in the last three games.

“It’s definitely given me a lot of confidence moving forward,” Ford said. “I knew I was capable of doing it. But this now gives me a boost of confidence, which I needed.”

Ford is a fine receiver on the North Arlington football team as well. He can’t decide which sport he likes better or which one he thinks he excels in more.

For now, Ford doesn’t want to disrupt the good thing that’s going on.

“I just knew I had to make those shots,” Ford said. “It feels good right now. It’s good to get recognized for my hard work.”

3 plead guilty in teen killing, accused shooter awaits trial

KEARNY – 

According to published reports, three suspects in the Jan. 17, 2013, murder of 16-year-old Alishia Colon in Kearny, have pleaded guilty to various charges, and the fourth, the alleged gunman, will stand trial in April for felony murder. Colon was shot dead in her bedroom in her Belgrove Drive home as a result of what authorities said was an ongoing dispute between her family and members of the Latin Kings street gang. The girl herself reportedly had no involvement in that dispute.

The suspected triggerman was identified as Cruz Martinez, 43, of Hazleton, Pa. He faces life in prison on murder, burglary and weapons charges.

Those who reportedly have already entered guilty pleas in connection with the crime were identified as getaway driver Kyeeth L. Smith, 23, of Willingboro, weapons possession and hindering apprehension; Eric L. Shelton, 21, of Orange, burglary and conspiracy; and Lamar D. Farrar, 24, of East Orange, weapons possession and conspiracy.

The Observer has attempted to independently confirm the information with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, but as of press time this had not been possible.

– Karen Zautyk 

Obituaries

Michael Angelo Cowley 

Michael Angelo Cowley entered into eternal rest on Monday, Jan. 12, surrounded by his loving family. He was 57.

Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Avenue, Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church, Harrison. For information, or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Jersey City, Cowley was a lifelong resident of Harrison. He worked as a roofer and sider for his family construction business, Cowley Construction, for many years. He was a member of the Harrison/ East Newark Elks B.P.O.E. Lodge 2326. His pastimes and hobbies included playing baseball, basketball, bowling, darts, and karaoke. He was a diehard N.Y. Yankees fan.

He is survived by his loving daughter Samantha Vieira and her husband, Danny, grandchildren, Eann “Little Buddy” and Jenna “Ya Ya” Viera, dear siblings Robert, Gary and Patrick “Pee Wee” Cowley, Carol Sheridan, and George and Edward “Shitter” Cowley. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his sister Joann Villaronga, and his parents, Robert and Agnes (nee Ritchie) Cowley.

In lieu of flowers, for those desiring, memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association P.O. Box 3049, Syracuse, N.Y. 13220-3049 or at www.heart.org in loving memory of Michael.

Francisco DaSilva 

Francisco DaSilva passed away on Jan. 13. He was 60.

Born in Azambuja, Portugal, he lived in Harrison before moving to Kearny in 2002.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Cecilia’s Church, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Francisco loved sports and enjoyed being involved with his Portuguese community and especially loved playing soccer for Lisa.

Husband of Rosa (nee Seco), he is also survived by his sons Rodrigo (Michelle) and Danny DaSilva and his grandsons Bryan and Brandon.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in his memory.

Joseph D. Dreisbach

Joseph D. Dreisbach, 49, of Kearny died on Saturday, Jan. 17, at home.

The viewing will be held in the Condon Funeral Home (condonfuneralhome.com), 684 Kearny Ave., Kearny, on Tuesday, Jan. 20, from 3 to 7 p.m. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery. Joe was a client of Pathways to Independence, Inc., in Kearny for over 30 years where he enjoyed working with his friends and devoted staff.

Joe was the son of Julia (nee McMillan) Dreisbach and the late Albert W. Dreisbach Jr. He is survived by his siblings Dr. Albert W. Dreisbach, Elizabeth Dreisbach, DVM, Grace Mack (Dave), Jack Dreisbach (Diane) and Rich Dreisbach (Tina). Also surviving are his nieces and nephews Scott, Kate, Megan, Jake, Eric, Skyler, Kyle, Jordan and Riley. He also leaves his beloved caregiver Margaret Flomo.

In lieu of flowers, kindly make donations in Joe’s memory to Pathways to Independence, Inc., 60 Kingsland Ave, Kearny, N.J. 07032.

Margaret E. Fix 

Margaret E. Fix, of Kearny, passed away on Jan. 13 at St. Michael’s Hospital, Newark. She was 83.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Cecilia’s Church and followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Margaret was the executive secretary at St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, having assisted dozens of priests over many years. She was proud to still be working.

She was an avid sports fan.

Margaret was the sister of the late Charles, Lawrence, John and Edward Fix. She is survived by her sister-in-law Gloria Fix and many nieces and nephews along with their families.

In lieu of flowers, please support the Wounded Warrior Project.

Linda A. Hudanich 

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Linda A. Hudanich, entered into eternal rest on Saturday, Jan. 17, at Alaris Health Care of Kearny. She was 64.

The funeral will be conducted from the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison, on Tuesday Jan. 20, at 9:45 a.m. A funeral Mass will follow at 10:30 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny. Her interment will take place in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Olyphant, Pa. Viewing hours will be Tuesday, starting at 9 a.m. For information, directions, or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Lackawanna County, Pa., she lived in Kearny before moving to Harrison eight years ago. Linda was a devoted teacher with Harrison Board of Education for more than 30 years, retiring in 2013. She was a member of the New Jersey Education Association.

She took post-graduate studies at New York University, N.Y., and she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kean University, Union.

Linda is survived by her loving niece, Juliana Marie Trovato (nee Petrokowitz) and her husband, Andrew, and a sister, Sandra Petrokowitz. She was predeceased by her parents, John Hudanich and Helen (nee Rutkowski)

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105 or in care of the funeral home in loving memory of Linda.

Malcolm M. McCallum 

Malcolm M. McCallum, 86, of Toms River, passed away on Jan. 9 at his home.

He was born Dec. 22, 1928, in Kearny.

Malcolm was the son of William and Margaret (Rainey) McCallum.

The Grand Masonic Lodge honored Malcolm as a Master Mason for 60 years of masonic service.

Malcolm was predeceased by his wife Katherine (Elliot) McCallum and son William McCallum. He is survived by his son Robert McCallum and wife Viviana of Kearny and daughter June Michael and her husband Bill, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Cross Junction, Va.

Francis (Frank) McConville 

Frank McConville was born Dec. 22, 1939, and passed away Dec. 21, 2014, in Madeira Beach, Fla.

He was born and raised in Harrison. He lived in Kearny where he raised his family until he moved to Madeira Beach in 2000.

He worked for Supermarkets General before retiring in the late 1990s.

He loved soccer, the beach and, most of all, watching his grandchildren play soccer and run marathons.

Frank was predeceased by his wife Gloria and son Frank He his survived by his daughter Gina Anderson (Allan), grandchildren Alana Kandt (Ben), Brianne Anderson, Ian McConville and sister Cathy Bimble.

Recaredo Munoz 

Recaredo Munoz died at home on Jan. 12. He was 86.

Born in Cuba, he lived in Harrison before moving to Kearny.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. (www.armitagewiggins. com) A funeral Mass was held at St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Recaredo owned Florida Shoe Store and Bostonian Shoe Store, both in Newark.

Husband of Nora (Sanchez), he is survived by his children Nora Delgado and Gabriel Munoz, his brothers Ramon, Juan and Raul and his grandchildren Gabriel, Lauren and Brendan.

John I. Passerella Sr. 

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John I. Passerella Sr. passed away at 97 on Jan. 12.

A funeral Mass will be held Friday, Jan. 23, in the chapel at St. Gregory the Great Church, 4620 Nottingham Way, in Hamilton Square, at 11 a.m. All are welcome.

John was born in Staten Island, N.Y., and later moved to Kearny. He was an active member of the Kearny community for many years. He served as the president of the Italian- American Marconi Club and was the Grand Marshal for the Columbus Day parade back in the 1980s. He even wrote a few stories for The Observer.

In 1984, John retired at the age of 67 from Goodyear in Newark. Two years later, he moved to Stirling, and then to Tucson, Ariz., in 2003 with his beloved wife, son and daughter-in-law where he happily lived out the rest of his days building model ships, attending a senior center where he sang songs, made friends and called bingo numbers, and he loved baking cheesecakes and cookies right until the end. He had an amazing passion for life.

John was predeceased by his cherished wife Angelina (Lee) and is survived by his son John Passerella Jr. and daughter-in-law Josephine (Tucson, Ariz.) and grandchildren Debbie Muscara with her husband Alessio (Hamilton) and John B. Passerella with his wife Karrie (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and his daughter Rita Larkin (Clifton). John also had seven great-grandchildren and two greatgreat- grandchildren.

John always had a joke to tell or a magic trick to show and was loved by everyone who met him. He is dearly missed.

Ruth Polinski 

Ruth Polinski (nee Davis) 86, died on Jan. 11 at her home in Kearny.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was offered at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kearny. Private interment was in Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Wrightstown. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thielereid.com.

Mrs. Polinski was born in Kearny and raised in Harrison. She had lived in Kearny since 1956.

She was a member of the Rosary Society of Our Lady and St. Anne.

Ruth is survived by her husband Edward, daughter Maria Lockard and her husband Patrick, son Edward N. and one sister Shirley Leckner. She was the beloved grandmother of Sarah Mould and her husband Peter, John Lockard (Camila Rocha), Patrick Lockard (Luisa Colorado), Daniel Lockard (Jess Jutkiewicz) and Kayla McAlinden and her husband Shane. She was the great-grandmother of Connor and Liam Lockard and Landon and Ian Mould.

Nutley police, Essex prosecutor, investigating apparent murder-suicide

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Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Nutley Police Chief Thomas Strumolo announced today that the Nutley Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force are investigating what appears to be a murder/suicide, according to reports.

A man and a woman were found dead in the 300 block of Hillside Avenue. Both were suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, reports said.

The investigation is active and ongoing, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available.