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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Officially, it was known as the Catholic Protectory, an orphanage for boys in the Diocese (later, Archdiocese) of Newark.
Eventually, it was called Boystown, and for a century it offered a home to generations of youths. The postcard photo is from 1906, which surprised us because we hadn’t realized Boystown was that old. Then we learned it was even older.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Newark Bishop Winand M. Wigger ‘removed the Catholic Protectory to Arlington’ in 1883 and ‘established the Sacred Heart Union to aid in its maintenance.’ Initially, the Protectory, launched in 1875 by then-Newark Bishop Michael Corrigan, was located in Denville. Boystown closed its doors in1984, but the property on Belgrove Drive is still used. It is now the headquarters for the Archdiocese Youth and Young Adult Ministry and serves as the CYO Retreat Center. The Victorianera housing is long gone, but the lovely church still stands. And recently, a refurbished meditation garden opened just to the north of the church. It is a place of peace and beauty and contemplation. And you don’t have to be Catholic to visit.
– Karen Zautyk
Isaletta Candeliere (nee Nastri) died at home on July 28. She was 91.
Born in Italy, she lived in Harrison before moving to Kearny 55 years ago.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Cecilia’s Church, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Wife of the late Dominick, she is survived by her children John Candeliere, Rose O’Donnell and Angela Porcelli. Also surviving are her grandchildren Patrick, Michael, Heather, Lisa and Christina and her great grandchildren Quinn and Molly.
William J. Devine
William J. Devine died July 27 at Clara Maass Hospital. He was 75.
Born in Jersey City, he was a lifelong Kearny resident.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at Queen of Peace Church, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Bill was the owner of William J. Devine and Son Trucking in Kearny for many years.
He is survived by his wife Lynne (nee Wardell), his children and their spouses Christine A. and Larry Triguero and William J. Jr. and Ellen Devine. Brother of Carol Synnott and brother-in-law of Barbara Morrell, he is also survived by his grandchildren Noel Triguero and William J. Devine III, along with many nieces and nephews.
William S. Garry
William S. Garry died July 31 in Mountainside Hospital. He was 72.
Born in Irvington, he lived many years in Bloomfield before moving to East Orange two years ago.
Memorial visitation will be on Wednesday, Aug. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, in Kearny, followed by a private cremation. To leave online condolences and view more details please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Bill leaves behind his sisters, brother and their spouses Barbara and Bill Sweeney, Judy and Joe Schubert, Deborah Garry and Steve Gabel and Philip and Lorraine Garry.
In lieu of flowers, please consider The N.J. Audubon Society.
George Henry McCafferty
George Henry McCafferty, of Howell, passed away on July 23, surrounded by his loving family, at Kimball Acute Specialty Hospital in Lakewood. He was 75.
George was born in Jersey City and was raised in Kearny before he moved to Howell 45 years ago.
George was a salesman of office furniture before entering the banking industry where he worked for Wachovia and Wells Fargo.
George was a standout athlete at St. Cecilia’s High School, Kearny, where he earned 12 varsity letters while captaining the baseball, basketball and soccer teams before graduating in 1957. George was recruited by and had a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
He attended Norwich University in Vermont before transferring to Rutgers College where he earned a B.S. in business.
George was devoted to the game of ice hockey and was the former president and coach of the Brick Hockey Club where he coached his three sons. He was also involved in many other hockey clubs and coached for the Monmouth Hawks, the Toms River Black Hawks, the Shore Point Sharks, the American Eagles and the Red Bank Generals. In 2014 the N.Y. Rangers awarded George their coveted Emile Francis Award, which he accepted on the ice of Madison Square Garden during a Rangers game this past February. George was nominated by the youth hockey community for this award, which is given to the individual who exemplifies selfless community outreach, integrity and passion for the growth of youth hockey, and generously gives their time to the next crop of NHL hopefuls.
George is predeceased by his beloved son George H. McCafferty Jr. He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Elaine (Ryan); his daughter and sonin- law, Diane Strawinski and Stefan of Manchester; his son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Ryan J. McCafferty and Trisha of Wall Township; his son Christopher Connor McCafferty of Red Bank; and his three sisters, Margaret Magulliam of Spring Lake Heights, Betty McCartin of Toms River, and Joan Luchese of Watersound. Fla. He will be dearly missed by his 12 grandchildren, Stefan and Shannon Strawinski, Erin, Helen, Harry, Mary Elizabeth, Jack and Grace McCafferty and Katie, Meghan, Erin and Connor McCafferty.
A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on July 31 at St. Elizabeth’s Church, Avon. Arrangements were by the Reilly- Bonner Funeral Home, 801 D St., Belmar. Entombment was in St. Anne’s Mausoleum, Wall Township. In lieu of flowers, donations to Catholic Charities, 383 W. State St., Trenton, N.J. 08618 would be greatly appreciated.
Albert ‘Al’ Zarbetski
Al Zarbetski entered into eternal rest on Sunday, July 27 at his home in Harrison, surrounded by his loving family. He was 84.
Born in the small town of Plymouth, Pa., to Jennie and Ignatz, Al headed east in 1950 in search of a better life following the tragic deaths of his father and stepfather in the coal mines. While working as a silk-screen printer in Newark, Al was drafted into the Army, where he served the U.S. during the Korean War. Upon discharge, he landed in Harrison where he found a job at RCA and, more importantly, Irene – the “love of his life.” In 1955, Al and Irene married, embarking upon a month-long cross-country honeymoon that turned into a 59- year adventure.
In order to better himself and provide for his growing family, Al worked at RCA during the day and attended Seton Hall University at night, pursuing a degree in education. In 1964, he started his second career as a teacher for the Harrison Board of Education, which lasted 29 years, during which he taught 8th grade and Introduction to Vocations. Countless former students fondly remember their time in Mr. Z’s class, and many still have the “spoon rings” they made 30 years ago. A proud Harrisonian for over 60 years, Al also served as the “official” photographer to Mayor Frank E. Rodgers, during which he met many politicians including former Gov. Thomas Kean, and he even ran his own darkroom.
Al was always up for an adventure with his family. At the drop of a hat he would take a ride to Bear Mountain or the Delaware Water Gap or Lake Wallenpaupack. If he was driving, he was happy, and often wound up in interesting places (such as the runway at Newark Airport). Al was a bit of a Renaissance Man—he was a woodworker, a jewelry maker, a leather crafter, a painter, a fisherman, a cook, a photographer, and a metalsmith, just to name a few. Always a sharp dresser, Al prided himself on dressing his best for every occasion. He became an avid fresh water fisherman later in life, often towing his small boat in the early morning dark and hitting the lake just as the sun rose. In true Al fashion, he even made his own fishing poles and lures.
Above all else, Al loved his “Irene,” his six children, and his seven grandchildren. His love of his family was legendary –there was nothing he would not sacrifice for his beloved family. As his body gave out in his later years, “Grandpa” always got a smile and had his spirits lifted by the grandkids. After family, Al’s passions included Atlantic City and Cape May, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy. Although Al could not drive towards the end, he did not miss a beat, as Al Jr. and Mary took the wheel and continued the “road trips.”
Al’s philosophy of life was summed up by the song “What a Wonderful World,” and Irene sang this to him during his final hours.
Al is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Irene (nee Kohanski), his loving children Albert and his wife Maryanne, Richard and his wife Lara, Mary McManemin and her fiancé Victor, Lisa, Paul and his wife Anne-Marie, and his cherished grandchildren Jillian and Christine McManemin, Julia, Edward, Paul, Averi and John Zarbetski, and several loving nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his dear sister Mary Lullman.
He was predeceased by his son Christopher Zarbetski and son-in-law Robert McManemin.
Funeral services were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. A funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kearny. His interment took place in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.
For information, please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome.org.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to: Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (www.tsalliance.org) 801 Roeder Road, Suite 750, Silver Spring, Md. 20910 or Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., Kearny, N.J. in memory of Al.
By Karen Zautyk
The three young men, pictured above in their Kearny High School yearbook photos, had their whole lives ahead of them.
Who knew where the future would take them? No one would have guessed that, a bit more than a decade later, it would take them into a Manhattan courtroom, where they would be charged in connection with an international cybertheft ring.
Last week, Laurence Brinkmeyer, 29, Bryan Caputo, 29, and Daniel Petryszyn, 28 — all members of KHS Class of 2003 – were indicted on charges of money laundering and criminal possession of stolen property.
Caputo and Petryszyn were arrested and arraigned last Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court. Brinkmeyer was in court Friday after he voluntarily returned to the U.S. from Aruba, where, according to published reports, he had been on his honeymoon.
All three have pleaded not guilty.
Bail was set at $2 million for Petryszyn; $1 million for Brinkmeyer, and $500,000 for Caputo.
Sources told The Observer that the trio had grown up together in Kearny, where Caputo still lives. According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Petryszyn currently resides in New York City. The office would identify Brinkmeyer’s place of residence only as Bergen County, but he is thought to have a North Arlington address.
The three were among six individuals indicted in connection with a cybercrime ring that allegedly illegally accessed more than 1,600 user accounts on StubHub, a website where users can buy and sell tickets to various entertainment and sporting events.
According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the ring was able to “steal personal identifying information, use victims’ credit cards to make fraudulent electronic ticket purchases [with a reported value of $1.6 million] and transfer the proceeds through a global network of accomplices in the United States, United Kingdom, Russia and Canada.”
The local trio apparently are suspects only in the resale of stolen tickets, not in the hacking of the StubHub accounts.
Defendants and Russian nationals Vadim Polyakov, 30, and Nikolay Matveychuk, 21, are accused of using information from StubHub accounts and stolen credit card numbers to buy “more than 3,500 e-tickets that were then sent to individuals in New York and New Jersey to be resold within hours of an event.”
Those events ranged from Marc Anthony and Justine Timberlake concerts to Yankees, Giants, Jets, Knicks and Nets games to the Broadway show “Book of Mormon.”
Petryszyn, Brinkmeyer and Caputo are accused of reselling stolen tickets that they received from Polyakov and his associates.
“As instructed by Polyakov, criminal proceeds from the resale of stolen tickets were divided and directed to multiple PayPal accounts controlled by Polyakov and his associates, as well as multiple bank accounts in the United Kingdom and Germany,” a statement from Vance’s office said.
The statement continued: “One of these bank accounts belonged to Sergei Kirin, 37, a Russian national who advertised his moneylaundering services online. Polyakov directed Petryszyn, Brinkmeyer and Caputo to send payments to Kirin, who retained a percentage of the money as his fee.
“Thousands of dollars were also split into separate payments and sent by wire transfer to other moneylaunderers in London, England and Toronto, Canada.”
After Interpol confirmed that Polyakov was traveling in Spain, he was arrested July 3 outside a Barcelona hotel by Spanish authorities working with U.S. Secret Service agents.
According to a July 24 report from the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, “Matveychuk and Kirin remain in Russia, but the U.S. authorities hope they will be brought to justice.” At press time, no further information was available on their status.
Vance’s office reported that London police, “investigating what they suspect to be the proceeds of criminal activity being laundered through legitimate U.K. bank accounts,” had arrested and were questioning three men.
In Toronto, an additional money-laundering suspect was taken into custody by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Observer readers who saw TV news footage of last week’s arraignment had to notice that one of the defendants appeared in court wearing a bright red T-shirt reading “KEARNY UNITED.” That was Caputo. We contacted representatives of Kearny United, who said they were not aware of any affiliation he might have with the soccer club.
An accused serial robber has admitted to playing a role in 11 robberies, primarily of drug stores, in Harrison, Newark and Jersey City over a period of eight months, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
On July 21, Christopher Mojica, 23, pleaded guilty to an information presented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office charging him with one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy, one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Mojica was arrested April 27, 2013, in connection with the robberies and was ordered to be held at Essex County Jail, Newark, on $150,000 bond.
Mojica, represented by Woodbridge attorney Paulette Pitt, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton Federal Court. The government’s case was presented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dara Aquila Govan of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
The government alleged that Mojica conspired with others to rob Pharmacy Plus, 234 Harrison Ave., Harrison, on Feb. 21, 2013.
Additional robberies to which the government has linked Mojica include these: New Barbershop, Sept. 14, 2012; a “gambling operation,” Sept. 2012; Amcare Pharmacy, Nov. 13, 2012; Summer Pharmacy, Dec. 11, 2012; Community Health Pharmacy, Jan. 19, 2013; Delson Jewelry, Feb. 8, 2013; Forest Hill Pharmacy, April 4, 2013; Harris Pharmacy, April 16, 2013; and Delta Gas Station, April 19, 2013, all in Newark; and Montgomery Pharmacy, Jersey City, April 15, 2013.
According to the government, “Mojica and his conspirators robbed each of these establishments at gunpoint, stealing cash, oxycodone pills, jewelry and other items.” And, the government said that at the time of the robbery of the Delta Gas Station, 466 Bloomfield Ave., Newark, “… Mojica fired a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun during his flight from the scene of the robbery.”
The government said that Mojica could draw a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy and robbery charges and that the discharging a firearm charge carries a “minimum consecutive term of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.”
“Each of these charges carries a statutory maximum fine of $250,000,” the government said.
Mojica, who has waived prosecution by indictment, will be sentenced Dec. 8 before Judge Pisano in Trenton.
Fishman credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to the plea. He also thanked the Newark, Harrison and Jersey City Police Departments for their work on the case.
By Ron Leir
Talk about parallel life paths: Joseph White and Matthew Giunta went to pre-school (St. Michael’s) together, then to Franklin Elementary School, then Lyndhurst High.
And, last Friday, they entered the Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah to begin 22 weeks of training to become accredited municipal police officers in their hometown.
Joining White, 25, and Giunta, 24, in the training class will be Nolan James, 33; and Michael Giangeruso, 27. Those four, along with Nicholas Abruscato, 23, were sworn in as newly hired Lyndhurst cops in an outdoor ceremony in the park outside the Municipal Building July 22.
The additions to the police roster brings the strength of the department up to 48 – four short of the maximum permitted by township ordinance under its Table of Organization, according to Police Chief James O’Connor.
Asked if any further appointments were planned, O’Connor said: “I’ve had a conversation with the mayor about that and it’s possible that we may see something happen around the first of the year.”
Abruscato, son of former Township Commissioner and current Board of Education vice president Joseph Abruscato, has already graduated from the police academy, having served the past year and a half as a police officer in Bergen County. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in national security studies, both from New Jersey City University in Jersey City.
“He will go on the road immediately,” said O’Connor.
Giangeruso, whose dad Charles is a retired deputy chief with the Lyndhurst PD and whose brother Charles is a Lyndhurst police officer, has an associate degree in criminal justice from Bergen County Community College and is pursuing a B.A. in psychology at Montclair University where he’s a dean’s list student, according to O’Connor. He’s a cousin of Mayor Robert Giangeruso, a former Lyndhurst deputy police chief.
“Law enforcement has been in my family forever,” Michael Giangeruso told The Observer. When asked whether he felt any pressure to follow the blue path, though, “Not in any regard,” was the rookie’s reply. “I’m just altruistic,” he said. “I enjoy helping people.”
James has been an officer with the state Corrections Department for more than six years, assigned to the Adult Diagnostic & Treatment Center in Avenel, and was a recipient of “numerous letters of exceptional duty” from the DOC, O’Connor noted.
James, who attended the University of New Haven in Connecticut, holds a New Jersey teaching certificate. With his new appointment, James said he was “happy to be further along in my law enforcement career.”
White has served as a member of the Lyndhurst Police Auxiliary and has a B.A. in criminal justice from Montclair State University and Giunta is pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
“I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement,” Giunta told a reporter. “I love the work and I look forward to a long career.”
Also beaming was White, who, after being handed his badge, said he was “on cloud 9. I’ve worked for the department as a maintenance officer, in charge of the vehicle fleet, traffic signs and barricades, as a member of the police auxiliary for several years. I’ve been the court bailiff. I’ve played sports here – baseball, basketball – and I want to give back to my community what they gave to me.”
Addressing the crowd of relatives, fellow officers, township officials and well-wishers, including Rutherford Police Chief John Russo, attending last Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, O’Connor said the five new hires were judged to be the best of some 100 applicants for the job.
O’Connor reminded the rookies of the challenges they’ll be facing. “You’ll be a “teacher, parent, problem solver, negotiator and be expected to solve everyone’s problem in several minutes,” he said.
Remember, O’Connor told the rookies, an officer has to react to a situation in a clearheaded fashion with no emotion. “There are no do-overs. … Go out in our community and enforce the law. But also be good to your families, your friends and your neighbors. Become proud members of this profession.”
By Ron Leir
It’s been a year and two months since Gov. Chris Christie presided at a ballyhooed groundbreaking for Franklin Manor, an age-restricted 137-unit apartment complex for those 55 and over – the first such senior development for Belleville in more than three decades.
Since then, there’s been some land clearance work at the 2.5 acre site, Franklin Ave. and Mill St., but little else has happened except a lot of commotion over the project being gifted $6 million from a federal Sandy-relief pot for the project – even though Belleville homeowners were spared much of the storm’s wrath.
It was shortly after the $6 million was committed that Mayor Ray Kimble, a Democrat, endorsed Christie for re-election. Kimble and other township officials have said that it was the developer – not Belleville – who applied for the Sandy funds.
Last week, when The Observer called Robert Ricciardi, secretary to the Mill St. Development Urban Renewal Corp. and architect for the project, and asked when work would resume, he refused to comment and Paul DeBellis Sr., president of the corporation, couldn’t be reached.
But on July 22 there was some stirring … of paperwork at least … involving the project as the Belleville Township Council voted to authorize the mayor and township clerk to sign off on an amended redevelopment agreement and financial agreement with the developer who will be providing a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) to the township.
According to Township Attorney Thomas Murphy, “The project is being done in two phases [86 apartments are scheduled for phase 1 and 51 for phase 2] which the developer needed to clarify to get financing and tax credits. The revised agreement will reflect an increase in longterm payments to be received by the municipality, from $2.8 million to $3.5 million.”
Murphy said the township has “already been paid for the land” secured by the developer for the project.
The township Construction Department issued two permits for work at the site: one on Feb. 26 for demolition of an overhead railroad bridge and a second on May 22 for partial footing and foundation only.
Aside from $6 million from the state Community Development Block Grant program (via federal Sandy aid), project funding was also expected from the N.J. Housing Mortgage Financing Agency Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and the Essex County HOME program, in addition to developer equity. Construction and land costs were pegged at about $18 million.
DeBellis’s Franklin Development Group has partnered with the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency to build several mixed-income apartment clusters in the city’s Heights section and has also developed Willow Manor, luxury duplex townhomes in Bloomfield.
Meanwhile, at the nearby Roche Diagnostic tract, Belleville continues in negotiations with David A. Mack Properties of Southport, Conn., for development of that 18- acre property which is being vacated by its owner. Mack was designated redeveloper in December 2013.
Township Manager Kevin Esposito said last week that there’s now some uncertainty about whether the Mack group would want to invest in the Roche site because of what he characterized as “longterm liability.”
The Mack group, Esposito said, “caters to residential and commercial-residential” development “but, based on restrictions for the site’s development, that site will not be residential, by the seller’s desire. We should know how this plays out within 30 days.”
There is, however, some movement at the former Soho hospital building at Franklin and Belleville Aves., which Essex County sold to Alma Realty of New York to redevelop. Esposito said that Alma has been issued local permits to clear out broken windows and frames and secure access points to the structure.
“Next step, we expect, will be submission of an application for site plan approval,” he added. Township officials said that Alma has talked about adapting the building to accommodate market rate residential units and possible ground-floor commercial use.
And, in another prospective development-related move, the township governing body has accepted the Planning Board’s recommendation to designate Kidde Place and adjacent land at the old ice house property on the west side of Washington Ave. near the Nutley border as an “area in need of redevelopment” in anticipation of development plans by investors for the proposed “Imagine Center,” envisioned as a multimillion dollar, mixed-use project consisting of hundreds of residential units and thousands of square feet of commercial/ retail space with a rail connection.
By Ron Leir
A property dispute between a longtime Harrison business and some neighbors that has been simmering for a few years now appears to be coming to a boil.
Smack in the middle of the controversy are Bergen St. homeowners Victor and Eleanor Villalta and Harrison Equipment Co., which rents and sells air compressors, welders, generators and pumps from its Essex St. facility, across from the backyards of several residents.
Villalta, a councilman who represents the Second Ward, said that the trouble began a few years ago when a concrete retaining wall put up many years ago by the company bordering five residents’ yards began to “tilt.”
That concerned the Villaltas – as it did their neighbors – because of the possibility that the wall could topple over and cause damage so the couple asked the municipal construction office to check out the wall’s condition.
That, in turn, led to Construction Official Rocco Russomanno issuing a “notice of unsafe structure” to the company on June 26, 2012, noting that the “retaining wall at Essex St. parking lot has developed vertical cracks and has begun to overturn due to lateral loading. [The] wall must be repaired or reconstructed.”
The notice directed the company to “demolish [the wall] … or correct the … unsafe conditions by no later than July 24, 2012.” Failure to do so, the notice said, can result in “assessment of penalties up to $2,000 per week per violation.”
In a July 6, 2012, letter, Harrison Equipment President Robert Koones asked Russomanno “for an additional 90 days” beyond the July 24 deadline “to have the property surveyed, discuss the options to correct the issue with a qualified engineer, discuss all legal matters with our attorney, and finally to obtain permits and perform all necessary work to correct the problem.”
Koones then asked Russomanno’s office to “advise [neighbors] of the potential impact on their properties of the retaining wall correction ….”
In a Sept. 19 letter, Koones’ attorney told the Villaltas that his client was awaiting an engineering report on how to proceed with the corrective work and that because part of the company’s property “extends beyond the retaining wall and abuts your property … it will be necessary for the individuals doing the necessary work to access [that part of the property]. It is not expected that this should materially impact your property.”
Nothing happened, Villalta said, until “three days before Christmas in 2013,” when a work crew showed up and took down the wall. But nothing was put in its place, he said.
In the meantime, he said, signs of erosion in residents’ yards were evident: cracks developed in the couple’s backyard concrete patio and separation began to occur in their cinderblock wall bordering their neighbor’s property to the east.
Two yards down, a shed perched on the rear edge of the property line started slipping over.
Sometime in early spring, Villalta recalled, the company sent another work crew to install a “safety” orange plastic fence along the edge of the property which, Villalta said, offered little security, especially with “a lot of kids who use our yard.”
A bit later, as reinforcement, the company also put up a chain link fence which Villalta said was “stretched out,” without metal poles to anchor the fence end to end.
Recently, Villalta said, Harrison Equipment auctioned off much of its inventory and is seeking a buyer for its property so he’s wondering “who’s going to take responsibililty” for the wall. Last week, Koones said that Custom Bandag, a local tire and truck repair shop, “is buying the property and he’s taking over responsibility for the wall after he gets environmental approvals from the state” for a cleanup of the site.
As Bergen St. residents wait, Eleanor Villalta lamented the loss of several rose bushes and decorative brick latticework from the back of the yard that had to go when the wall was removed.
And, about a month ago, neighbor Susan Meneses of 515 Bergen said she was told by the company that she had to take down her backyard shed, because “they were going to be starting to work on [restoring] the wall,” forcing her to place storage items on her newly sodded lawn.
Despite repeated warnings from the Department of Environmental Protection, some anglers seem determined to harvest crabs from the Lower Passaic River.
One more time: DON’T! It is illegal. And hazardous to your health.
Note also, that there are consumption limits on fish caught in the river.
The blue claws that dwell in the Lower Passaic — which is the part that runs through North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Kearny, Nutley, Belleville, East Newark and Harrison — “are bottom-dwellers that absorb cancer-causing dioxins and other contaminants in high levels,” notes the DEP, which has issued yet another warning.
The crabs should not be consumed.
They should not even be caught.
To emphasize the hazards, the agency notes that anyone found illegally harvesting blue claw crabs may be fined $100 to $3,000. And that’s for a first offense.
DEP conservation officers are patrolling the waters, including Newark Bay and surrounding areas, to ensure compliance with the ban.
Despite ongoing efforts to clean the Passaic, it remains polluted, thanks to sediments containing “highly toxic dioxins resulting from the production of Agent Orange many decades ago,” the DEP notes.
Considering the pollutants, it is amazing that the Passaic River and Newark Bay crabs have not developed fins, and the fish, claws.
“Crabs in these waters are abundant and appear healthy, but they are not safe to eat,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.
“We have to be vigilant about preventing people from eating crabs caught in these waters because they can be harmful to those who consume them, especially vulnerable populations such as infants and children, expectant mothers and women of child-bearing age,” Martin noted.
He added, “In concert with the federal government, we are now working to develop a massive cleanup project that will make these waterways safe for generations in the future, but the warnings remain in effect now.”
The agency reports that it and the N.J. Department of Health are working with local municipalities to distribute informative literature and signs about the crab consumption ban and fish consumption advisories.
Warning signs and informational literature are available in English, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Korean and Tagalog.
“By heeding the ban on blue claw crabs, anglers can protect the health of themselves and their families,” said Michelle Mc- Bean of Future City Inc., a partner in the outreach initiative.
“These blue claw crabs contain toxins that cannot be removed by cooking,” she cautioned. “It’s important that the public observe the ban.”
In addition to the Lower Passaic and Newark Bay, tidal waters affected by the crab ban and fish advisories include the Hackensack River, the Arthur Kill, Kill Van Kull, Elizabeth River and Rahway River.
For more about the ban on blue claw crabs, visit: www.state.nj.us/dep/dsr/craboutreach/alert-english.htm For a full list of fish consumption advisories in New Jersey, visit: www.FishSmartEatSmartNJ.org.
Call 1-866-DEP-KNOW to learn about where to harvest seafood in New Jersey’s waters.
To learn more about the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project, visit: www.ourpassaic.org.
– Karen Zautyk
NORTH ARLINGTON –
Borough Hall is taking action on two fronts to try and figure out how to stop sewage backups into residents’ basements.
Last week, borough engineer Tom Lemanowicz began a camera inspection of sanitary sewers on Geraldine and Carrie Roads on the borough’s western edge bordering the meadows.
At the same time, the borough wants residents in that area to ‘fess up if they’ve put in basement sump pumps attached to the sanitary system without having secured local permits from the building department.
Running a camera through the sewers should help reveal how well the pipes are holding up and to what extent ground and rain water are infiltrating the sanitary system, Lemanowicz said.
The engineer suspects that water infiltration from leaky manhole covers, cracked pipes, sump pumps and roof drains from residents’ homes is the reason for sewage being forced into basements in heavy storms.
One option that may be explored to remedy the problem is creating a water collection system for storm water runoff with the help of state and federal funding, suggested borough spokesman Thom Ammirato.
Having reviewed local sewer maps, Lemanowicz said that the developer of the homes in the western neighborhood may have tied drainage systems installed around those homes to the sanitary sewer line.
It is the engineer’s judgment that sewage pumps at the bottom of the hill near Geraldine Road have enough capacity to handle the sanitary flow from the homes in the area; therefore, he believes that sump pumps and roof leaders tied to the sanitary system over the years have increased water flow beyond the ability of the sewage pumps to process it.
To determine how many residents have those sump pumps and roof drains linked to the sanitary system, Mayor Peter Massa has delegated Councilman Tom Zammatore and three resident volunteers to go door-to-door in the neighborhood to ask residents if they improperly hooked up drainage to the sewer pipe.
“We’re not looking to punish anyone who has a sump pump in their basement,” Massa said, “but we do want to inform residents that part of the problem with sewage backups is likely due to illegal sump pumps.”
Lemanowicz said that once the data is collected from the cameras, he’ll be able to come up with the best strategy to remedy the backups.
In another public works-related matter, the borough governing body voted July 17 to contract with Downes Tree Service of Hawthorne for tree trimming and removal.
Downes was low bidder on a menu of tree services for which the borough solicited perunit prices in hopes of better controlling tree service costs which, according to Council President and Finance Chairman Al Granell, climbed from $200,000 in 2012 to $300,000 last year.
“We need to manage those costs and this bid award will help give us some predictability on the cost of tree management,” Granell said.
Putting a lid on those expenses is becoming particularly critical now that the borough is reaching the point where many of its larger street trees – like sycamores – are nearing the end of their life expectancy, noted Ammirato.
A few weeks ago, I did a column on “essential” movie quotes, which was prompted by newfound awareness of a growing lack of cultural consciousness, especially among the younger generations.
My “oy vey” moment came when I realized a coworker had never heard of the film “Apocalypse Now,” much less the unforgettable line uttered by Robert Duvall:
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”
I printed a little quiz, but did not provide the answers, assuming that anyone interested enough would find out for themselves. However, not everyone has ready access to the Internet, even these days, and in any case readers have been requesting answers. So here they are, citing both the movies from which they came and the actors who spoke them:
• “What do you mean, I’m funny? … Funny how? Funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?”: Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas”
• “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”: Peter Sellers in “Dr. Strangelove”
• “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender”: Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront”
• “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”: Peter Finch in “Network”
• “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night”: Bette Davis in “All About Eve”
• “I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.”: Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard”
• “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli”: Richard Castellano in “The Godfather”
• “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”: Gary Cooper in “The Pride of the Yankees”
• “Snap out of it!”: Cher in “Moonstruck”
• “You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here.”: Robert DeNiro in “Taxi Driver”
• “Round up the usual suspects.”: Claude Rains in “Casablanca”
• “The stuff that dreams are made of”: Humphrey Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon”
• “Say ‘hello’ to my little friend!”: Al Pacino in “Scarface”
• “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”: Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry”
• “Oh, no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”: Robert Armstrong in “King Kong”
• “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”: Vivien Leigh in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
• “We rob banks.” : Faye Dunaway in “Bonnie and Clyde”
• “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”: Keir Dullea in “2001: A Space Odyssey”
• “The calla lilies are in bloom again.”: Katharine Hepburn in “Stage Door”
• “Attica! Attica!”: Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon” I also cited “What a dump!”- – noting that no one recalls the movie, but you should know the actress. I have found that readers did recall both the movie, “Beyond the Forest,” and Bette Davis’ role.
My special thanks to Adele Koci of Nutley, who also knew that the co-stars were Joseph Cotten and David Brian. Thanks, too, to the anonymous gentleman caller who wanted to make sure I wasn’t confusing Davis with Elizabeth Taylor, who parodied “What a dump!” in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
The headline on the column, “Go ahead, make my day,” was from Eastwood’s “Sudden Impact.”
In addition, scattered throughout the column were paraphrased quotes. How many of these did you catch?
• “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”: Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke”
• “You can’t handle the truth!”: Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men”
• “Life is like a box of chocolates”: Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump”
• “I’m walkin’ heah!”: Dustin Hoffman in “Midnight Cowboy”
•”Houston, we have a problem.”: Hanks in “Apollo 13”)
• “Well, nobody’s perfect.”: Joe E. Brown in “Some Like It Hot” (It was the very last line in the film.)
• “ . . . liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”: Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs”
As for, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” if you can’t ID that, you’re hopeless.