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Post 99 is 95!

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY -  Ninety-five years ago this week — Aug. 19, 1919 — 13 veterans of the Great War, as World War I was then known, gathered in the Kearny home of Fred E. Portz to organize a local chapter of the American Legion. […]


Pressing for bridge funding

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  LYNDHURST –  Lawmakers from all levels of government, led by State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney, assembled for a press conference on the banks of the Passaic River Aug. 12 to declare their support for a replacement for the 109-year-old DeJessa Memorial Bridge that links […]


Facing a new gun charge

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – A Kearny man, who two years ago accidentally shot himself in the jaw with a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver, was arrested last week in Newark on weapons charges. This time, authorities said, he was in possession of an AR-15 assault rifle. […]


New spin on house party

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY– A house-party host got a bit more than he bargained for when he hired a disc jockey for the festivities and an “associate” robbed him at knifepoint, Kearny police reported. Thanks to some determined detective work, the alleged assailant was tracked (pun intended) down […]


Cops nab suspects in stabbing, theft

LYNDHURST – The Lyndhurst Police Department last week announced the capture of suspects wanted in connection with a stabbing at a local entertainment spot and with a residential theft. On Monday, Aug. 11, at about 2 a.m., police were called to the Riva Blue night club, 525 Riverside Ave., […]


Welcome Special Olympics USA


By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 


If you were on Kearny Ave. late last Friday morning, you most likely saw a group of men, one of them holding a torch, jogging down the street.

The runners were members of the Kearny Police Department, and the torch — the “Flame of Hope” — represented the law enforcement community’s support of the Special Olympics, which this year has special meaning for our state.

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the summer games of Special Olympics New Jersey took place at the College of New Jersey in Pennington, with the athletes competing in aquatics, gymnastics, track and field, softball, tennis, powerlifting and even bocce. Read more »

Cans aplenty to feed the hungry



A second West Hudson public school district has successfully taken on the challenge of collecting perishable foods for the hungry in the community.

Harrison’s Washington Middle School sixth- , seventhand eighth-graders partnered with freshmen from Harrison High School’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) program to develop a three-structure Canstruction project.

Canstruction is a national charity that promotes the construction of giant structures made up of stacks of full cans of food which, after being publicly displayed, are distributed to community-based hunger relief facilities. Read more »

Thoughts & Views: In Normandy, ‘Longest Day’ lives on



That’s not a real paratrooper hanging from a church steeple. It’s a representation of one – and it’s a memorial to all the American paratroopers who liberated the French town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise on June 6, 1944.

Our p. 1 story this week acknowledges the 70th anniversary of D-Day, but there is so much, much more to tell — literally entire libraries are devoted to the Allied invasion. So we thought we’d focus on just one incident, which most Americans likely were unaware of until it was portrayed in the 1962 movie “The Longest Day.” Many still may not know about the memorial. Read more »



Last week’s issue of The Observer contained a photo display of the new Portuguese monument slated for dedication in Riverbank Park, Kearny, on June 1. The text accompanying the photos should have mentioned that Thomas Meloro & Son Monuments of North Arlington was the designer of the structure.



To the Editor: 

Several friends e-mailed, called and sent the link to a story (“Searing Memories of a Long-Ago Fire,” May 21) containing a photo of my father, the late Kearny Mayor Joseph M. Healey, taken in 1963 at the Thompson Fish and Chip fire at 5 Kearny Ave.

Fittingly enough, the story appeared just as I’m about to mark my 25th year as a firefighter in Plainsboro Township, N.J., and I have been reflecting on the important role my father and then-Chief John Sherlock played in creating a strong interest in firefighting and the fire service.

It was a different time in government and politics and, after leaving office, my brother and I spent the better part of a day engaging my father in a dialogue about his career. Police dispatchers were instructed to notify him about any working fire or significant police incident on a 24/7 basis. I asked him why he responded, even though I had loved going with him, and he said that he felt responsible as mayor for the firefighters and police officers and he wanted to make sure anyone burned out of their home would be taken care of. In this age, that’s a refreshing approach.

The picture and the story also give me the opportunity to express my thanks to the members of the Kearny Fire Department, then and now. It has always been a great fire department and, in a younger day, I envisioned myself as a member. That didn’t happen, but I took what I learned from you and put it into work down here in Central Jersey.

Thomas C. Healey 


Plainsboro Fire Company 

KPD blotter: What’s in a name?

A simple matter of a double-parked car led to the arrest last week of a 23-yearold Perth Amboy man who had not only an outstanding warrant, but also a double identity, Kearny police reported.

The story began unfolding at 7:30 p.m., May 29, when Officer Daniel Esteves spotted an illegally parked Mitsubishi in the area of Windsor and Afton Sts., checked his mobile computer and found that the registered owner was wanted by Sayreville authorities, Chief John Dowie said. The man thought to be the owner/operator returned to the car with two other individuals but this time got into the passenger seat, and the vehicle drove away.

Esteves stopped it on Wilson Ave., asked the man for I.D. and was handed a New Jersey driver’s license in the name of Rafael Rodriguez – the same person with the Sayreville warrant, Dowie noted. The suspect was arrested and taken to headquarters, where he was found to be in possession of “conflicting documentation” regarding his identity, the chief said.

In addition to the Rodriguez license, he reportedly had: a N.J. identity card in the name Eduard Contreras; a District of Columbia I.D. card for Rodriguez; a U.S. Immigration green card for Contreras; a Visa debt card for Rodriguez; two Social Security cards, one in each name, and a Dominican Republic passport issued to Contreras. Dowie said it was determined that Eduard Contreras was his real name.

He was charged with four offenses involving false government documents and one count of impersonation relative to identity theft. Plus, he got a summons for being an unlicensed driver. And for double-parking.

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

May 24 

Officer Angelo Palagano and Sgt. Michael O’Neill, responding to a 3:45 a.m. report of a man and woman arguing in a car on the 200 block of Hickory St., found that the male party had three outstanding warrants — two from Newark and one from Passaic, police said. Juan Quinones, 22, of Belleville was arrested and, at 5:30 a.m., was turned over to Passaic authorities.

At 7:30 a.m., Officer Peter Jahera responded to a burglary report at a business on the 500 block of Schuyler Ave. where an employee had found that, sometime overnight, the front door had been kicked in and three boxes containing computer equipment were missing. The case is being investigated by the Detective Bureau.

May 25 

Officer Esteves, patrolling on the 300 block of Kearny Ave. at 2:40 p.m., saw an occupied car in a prohibited area and asked the driver for credentials.

William Vlado, 62, of North Arlington was found to have a suspended license, police said. He was summonsed for that offense, for failure to surrender a suspended license and for improper parking.

At 8 p.m., Sgt. Peter Gleason and Officers Esteves, Jay Ward, Sean Kelly and Jose Resua were called to a Linden Ave. address on a report of a fight.

Reportedly battling in the backyard were two brothers, Michael Nee, 20, and Sean Nee, 22, both of Kearny. The cops separated the bloodied combatants and “attempted futilely” to determine what happened, Chief Dowie noted.

Ward was allegedly shoved by Michael and then by Sean, and when Kelly went to Ward’s aid, a struggle ensued involving all four, police said. The brothers were wrestled to the ground and taken into custody.

Meanwhile, in front of the residence, Esteves and Resua encountered William Nash, 23, of Kearny, who reportedly became hostile and combative when they tried to interview him and had to be tackled.

When all the dust settled, Michael Nee was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one of resisting arrest; Sean Nee, with one count each of aggravated assault, simple assault and resisting arrest; and Nash with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

May 27 

Officer Chris Levchak was monitoring traffic on the 800 block of Passaic Ave. at 4:30 p.m. when he observed a woman driving while talking on a cell phone. Stopping the car to issue a summons, Levchak found that driver Victoria Martinez, 46, of Harrison, had a suspended license, police said. She was charged with the cell phone violation, driving while suspended and failure to surrender a suspended license.

At 10:15 p.m., Officer Derek Hemphill responded to a complaint by a 22-year-old Kearny woman, who said she had been walking on Schuyler Ave., just north of Bergen Ave., when a Hispanic man in his 20s, sitting in a parked car – a dark, four-door vehicle – asked her for directions to Jersey City. As she approached the car, she saw that he was not wearing pants and was fondling himself, and she quickly left the area. Police said they have been checking with surrounding jurisdictions to see if they have had similar reports, but as of last Friday, it appears to have been an isolated incident.

 May 29 

At 8:30 p.m., vice detectives in the area of Elm St. and Seeley Ave. observed Daniel Ortiz, 37, of Kearny, who they had reason to believe might be in possession of cocaine, police said. While stopping his car, they reportedly saw him attempting to conceal something in his pockets. He was allegedly found to be in possession of two plastic bags of suspected coke and was charged with possession of the drug, of drug paraphernalia and of driving while in possession of a controlled substance.

– Karen Zautyk  

‘Outstanding’ seniors of W. Hudson


A modest Monsignor John J. Gilchrist, of Kearny, a priest for more than half a century, was honored for “outstanding achievements and contributions to his community” as the Hudson County Senior of the Year at a luncheon held May 28 at Casino-in-the-Park, Jersey City.

Other West Hudson seniors recognized for dedication to their communities were Harrison Councilman Victor B. Villalta and James Lynch of East Newark.

Villalta, a decorated Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War, is active with the Marine Corps League and chairs the council’s senior citizens committee. Lynch has served as a youth soccer coach and is active with the local seniors.

“Monsignor Gilchrist was especially dedicated to seniors – of all religions and of all ethnic backgrounds – whose rights as tenants were being ignored. He realized the need to be ‘a voice for the seniors who felt they had no voice.’ He formed the Hudson County Tenants Association and fought for a protection act for senior citizens,” Hudson County Executive Thomas said. Read more »

Jack Bauer returns in new version of ‘24’


By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent 

6-4 24_web

Photos Courtesy of Fox Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) with President James Heller (William Devave)

There’s no question that when “24” went off the air after eight seasons a few years ago, most had some glimmer of hope that Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) would somehow return.

Now that he has, this time in London, he and “24: Live Another Day” have not disappointed one bit.

Without giving too much away, if you were a fan of the show before, you’re going to love the new incarnation. In this season’s 12-episode run, we’re reunited with Jack who was last told by the former president and utter weasel Allison Taylor he would never be able to return to America.

The White House is now occupied by James Heller (William Devane), father of Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), who before this was the Secretary of Defense. The brilliance of having Heller as president is heightened by his past interplay with Jack, who was once his daughter’s sole love — and who was once his special assistant.

The two had such a terse relationship in seasons past, so their connection this season, before anything starts, is already well-defined. There’s no love lost between them — and it shows in their first London encounter (we won’t go beyond saying that … other than you should look carefully for something being quite off about Heller from the get-go that isn’t related to Jack or Audrey at all). Read more »

At Bellavia, it’s all about the customer


By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent 

Bellavia Chevrolet Buick has finished construction of its all-new facility, now open at 199 Rt. 17 South in East Rutherford — and customers should really like what they see.

Kevin Holdorf, the general manager of Bellavia Chevrolet Buick, says that with the completion of the new facility, the dealership believes it has raised an already-famous customer service to new heights.

Holdorf says from the dealership’s inception in 1972, the Bellavia family made customer service more than a priority — they made it a way of life. The family’s philosophy: “Treat people the way you want to be treated, and do it on a daily basis.”

Bellavia's new, state-of-the-art showroom.

Bellavia’s new, state-of-the-art showroom.

This approach to customer service at Bellavia Chevrolet Buick means, among other things, that the dealership’s sales and service personnel are empowered to deal with customer issues right away, before they become serious problems.

As a result of this environment, a bond of loyalty exists between the store, its customers and its employees, many of whom have been with the dealership for 20 years or more, Holdorf says. Read more »

Around Town


Job Haines Home, 250 Bloomfield Ave., will host these programs:

• FreeArthritis Exercise Program starting on Wednesday, June 11, will be offered for eight consecutive weeks from 10:30 to 11:30 am. The class will be taught by a certified instructor and conducted in accordance with the guidelines established by the National Arthritis Foundation.

• AARP Safety Driving Program will be held Tuesday, June 17, and Wednesday, June 18, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for both days. Attendance is required for both days. The cost is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members.

Checks should be made payable to AARP. Those who complete the course will receive a certificate that may lead to lower auto insurance premiums.

Light refreshments will be served. To RSVP, call 973-743-0792. For more information, visit www.job-haines.org.

Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., screens the following movies in June: June 5 – “The Monuments Men” (PG-13) (George Clooney), June 9 – “Young Cassidy” (NR) (Rod Taylor), June 12 – “Gravity” (PG-13) (Sandra Bullock), June 16 – “Admission” (PG-13) (Tina Fey), June 19 – “12 Years a Slave” (R) (Michael Fassbender), June 23 – “Man of Steel” (PG-13) (Henry Cavill), June 26 – “American Hustle” (R) (Christian Bale) and June 30 – “The Lone Ranger” (PG-13) (Johnny Depp).

Films start at 12:15 p.m. in the library theater. Admission is free.

Bloomfield Cultural Commission hosts “Songs of Spring,” featuring soprano Zuzanna Ducka Thursday, June 12, 7 to 9 p.m., at Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave. Admission is free.


Washington Middle School PTO will host its second annual Tricky Tray Thursday, June 5, at Harrison High School, 800 Hamilton St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase in the main office of Washington Middle School. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $15 at the door.


Trinity Episcopal Church, 575 Kearny Ave., will hold a flea market Saturday, June 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both new and used items as well as crafts will be on sale. There will be a snack bar selling breakfast and lunch foods. Tables are still available at a cost of $15 each or two for $25. For more information, call the church office at 201-991- 5894.

New Jersey Blood Services will conduct a blood drive at Domingo’s Bakery, 160 Passaic Ave., June 4, 2 to 8 p.m.

The Salvation Army, 443 Chestnut St., offers computer classes in these areas: basic computer skills (mouse, keyboard, Internet), email and Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel and Powerpoint). Classes are held Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to noon. The class fee is $30 per 12 hours of instruction.

Contact Pete at 201-889-1352 for more information.

Join Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., to kick off the World Cup Tournament Wednesday, June 11, at 7 p.m. Rutgers professor and author Thomas McCabe will present a program on Kearny’s Road to the World Cup, covering the early history of soccer in our area all the way up to the 1990 and 1994 United States teams, which featured three all-star players from this area. A reception with coffee, tea and international desserts will follow.

The first match of the 2014 World Cup Tournament in Brazil will be June 12. Join the library throughout June and July to watch World Cup matches live in the library’s lower level assembly room. Check the library’s website (www.kearnylibrary.org) and calendar for a listing of the matches to be shown.

Junior Women’s Club hosts a crafting event and clothing drive Sunday, June 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Kearny Senior Center, 60 Columbia Ave. Come in and craft or just drop off old clothes to be sent to Africa. Donations of old bikes will also be accepted to send to children in Ghana.


Lenape-Delaware Indian Heritage, a program for seniors will be presented Wednesday, June 11, at 1 p.m., at the NJMC Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza. John T. Kraft, director of Lenape Lifeways Inc., presents a slide show and discussion that provides a comprehensive overview of the life of the Lenape-Delaware people who once populated New Jersey. Registration is recommended and appreciated. Call 201-777- 2431 or 201-460-8300 to register.

Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., hosts:

• A blood screening Friday, June 6. Appointments begin at 8 a.m. Staff will screen for chemistry profile, cholesterol level, blood count, and thyroid level. This service is available to Lyndhurst residents ages 18 and older for a $20 fee. To preregister for an appointment, call the Health Department at 201-804-2500. Payments can be submitted in cash or checks made payable to Medical Laboratory Diagnostics.

Starting Monday, June 9, the Lyndhurst Food Pantry will be operating only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Normal hours will resume on Sept. 8. The Lyndhurst Food Pantry is staffed by volunteers from the Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst. Patrons must submit proof of need and proof of hardship to the Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., Suite 1. Call the Health Department at 201-804- 2500 with any questions.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., offers the following children’s activities for which registration is required:

• Father’s Day Craft, for pre-k to grade 3, Thursday, June 12, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

• Summer Mobile Craft, for grades 1 to 4, Wednesday, June 18, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

• Summer Reading Registration, for pre-K to grade 6, for “Fizz, Boom, Read,” the library’s summer reading program. Registration concludes June 14. Activities may include science experiments, robot building, Grossology fun, nature explorations, plus programs, prizes drawing, contests, and more. For more information, call the library at 201-804-2480, ext. 3, or visit http://www.lyndhurstlibrary.org/.

Mary Lou Mullins’ monthly bus trip to Atlantic City is set for Sunday, June 29, leaving St. Michael’s Church parking lot, Ridge Road and Page Ave., at 10:30 a.m. Cost is $30, cash return is $30. Only 10 seats left so make reservations early. Call Mary Lou at 201-933-2186 for more information.

North Arlington 

During Library Fine Amnesty Week, June 9 to 14, North Arlington Public Library patrons can return overdue materials, no matter how overdue they are, and not pay any fines. Just a few rules: Materials must be owned by and returned to North Arlington Public Library only. The library cannot waive fees for lost items or fines assessed for overdue items already returned. Materials must be returned during regular operating hours and items left in the drop box will not be eligible. Call 201-955-5640 for operating hours and more information.

The library also hosts the following events:

• The Fault in Our Stars Dutch Culture Trivia Contest – Children in grades 7 and up, who are fans of the book, “The Fault in Our Stars” are welcome Wednesday, June 4, at 3:30 p.m. for trivia about Dutch culture, snacks and prizes.

• Jazz at the Angry Coffee Bean: Visit the Angry Coffee Bean, 89 Ridge Road, Thursday, June 12, at 6 p.m., to learn about Newark and the importance of jazz to the city’s culture.

• Registration is open for the Summer Reading kick-off event. Youth Stages will present a play shop for ages 3 to 9, Wednesday, June 25, at 4 p.m. To register, call 201-955-5640, ext. 126.

• Handwriting expert James Mihnerick discusses graphoanalysis - the analysis of handwriting Monday, June 16, at 6:30 p.m.

Arlington Youth Center, 1 Legion Place, (behind Borough Hall) conducts registration for its 2014 summer program through Wednesday, June 11. Sign up Monday to Friday, 2 to 5 p.m. This seven-week program is for borough residents only between ages 5 and 10, costs $40 per week and runs Monday to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Fridays, 9 to 11:30 a.m. Space is limited and registrants can pick and choose their weeks of enrollment. For more information, call 201-997- 7709.

North Arlington Fire Department Eagle Truck Co. #3 Ladies Auxiliary hosts an art auction fundraiser on Saturday, June 7, at 7 p.m. at NAFD Eagle Truck Co. #3, 3 Legion Place. The event art in all media and price ranges, door prize, wine and cheese, light hors d’oeuvres, dessert and coffee. Admission is $15 per person/$25 per couple. For tickets or information, contact Kelly King at 201-889- 9052.


Mayor Alphonse Petracco and Chief Thomas Strumolo announce the Nutley Police Department’s Bike Rodeo for children ages 12 and younger Sunday, June 8, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 45 New St. (between Vincent Place and Franklin Ave. next to Nutley High School). The event includes: obstacle course, safety inspections, helmet fit and information on bicycle safety. The first 100 children to arrive receive a free bicycle helmet.

Nutley Recreation Department is accepting applications through June 30 for the 2014 Recreation Cheerleading Program at the Recreation Department, 44 Park Ave. Or, register online at www.Nutleynj.org. This program is open to Nutley youngsters who will be in grades 3 through 8 as of September. The fee is $35. For more information, call 973-284- 4966 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Nutley’s 49th annual Recreation Golf Tournament – including golfing, lunch, dinner and prizes — will be Monday, June 23, at Hendrick’s Field Golf Course in Belleville. Shotgun start is at 1 p.m. The fee is $125 per player. Participants will have dinner, which costs $65, after golf at The Chandelier. For more information, or to sponsor a hole, contact Frank DeMaio at 973-284-4900, ext. 2512, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.