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To the editor: 

On behalf of my wife Cathy and my entire family, I want to wish the residents of North Arlington a very happy and healthy New Year. I look forward to serving as your new mayor in 2015 and working with the Borough Council to bring you good, efficient government. My door is always open to anyone who has a concern, a complaint, or wants to share their ideas on how we can improve our community. May God bless all of you and our town and help guide us as we face the challenges of the new year.

Joseph and Cathy Bianchi 

North Arlington 

Foot issues? A podiatrist at your service

By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent


When Dr. Paul Latora, a podiatrist, was 20, he’d pretty much made up his mind he was going to school to become a pharmacist. But one day that year, he discovered he had a wart on one of his toes.

When he went to the podiatrist to get it removed, he knew, fairly quickly, that he no longer wanted to be a pharmacist – instead, he developed a fascination for the foot, and wanted to go to medical school to become a podiatrist.

And that’s exactly what he did.

“I never had had thoughts of going to medical school at the time,” Latora said. “I was going to pharmacy school – no question. But it all changed pretty quickly after the incredible treatment I received for the wart. The rest is history.”

And indeed it is.

Because Latora is now celebrating 25 years as one of the area’s most noted and well-liked foot docs.

Latora has been in his current office location for the last 15 years in North Arlington, preceded by 10 years in another locale in the borough.

“I’ve loved every minute of that time,” he said. “This is such a wonderful community to serve.”

But just what does a podiatrist do?

Many think of the podiatrist as the doctor to go to when you’ve got an ingrown toenail. Yet Latora says he (and others in his profession) do so much more.

“Some of the more common issues I deal with include heel pain, fungus on the toenail, infections, diabetic sores, sprains, strains, bunions (and) hammer toes,” Latora said. “I do see diabetics often, as well. And diabetics should see a podiatrist at least twice a year because of the potential ailments they could face.”

So in reality, Latora handles all facets of podiatry which, in New Jersey, also means he does ankle work. (Ankle work doesn’t fall under podiatry in every state).

In addition to his private practice, Latora is also Director of Podiatry at the Columbus Hospital Wound Center, Newark, a a position to which he was appointed on Oct. 1.

Latora’s North Arlington office is located at 312 Belleville Turnpike, Suite 1B. He can be reached by phone at 201- 998-3668. Visit his website at www.drlatorafootdoctor.com. Office hours are are: Mondays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Calls are answered 24 hours a day as needed. (Latora also has an office in Paramus that operates two days a week – see his website for details).

Cardoso calls for anti-speeding remedy


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


A First Ward lawmaker is pressing for four-way stops as a safety measure at several Highland Ave. intersections in Kearny.

But that’s something that won’t happen overnight, if at all.

At a recent Town Council meeting, Councilman Albino Cardoso said that residents had approached him with concerns about drivers speeding, both along and across Highland, one of the town’s north-south arteries.

As examples of some of the more egregious intersections where cars tend not to stop, Cardoso mentioned Afton St., Quincy Ave. and Patterson St.

He also said he’s looking at the entrance to West Hudson Park at Woodland Ave. and N. Fifth St. where, he added, “the traffic coming down Devon St. (toward the park) is going very fast and there’s been a history of accidents. We’ve got to look at what the accident rate is.”

One of the lawmaker’s constituents, Eddie Guerreiro, who has lived near the corner of Highland and Patterson for the past 15 years, agrees that something needs to be done at that location to put drivers on notice instead of watching them sail through the intersection.

“I saw a couple of accidents here at night,” Guerreiro said. Those incidents resulted from cars speeding – east and westbound – on Patterson through Highland, he said.

Currently, there are two stop signs at the intersection, at the northeast and southwest corners.

For motorists proceeding east and west, the visibility at the intersection is bad, especially if cars are parked near the corner, further blocking the view, said Guerreiro.

Morning and afternoon rush-hours become even more of a safety concern, Guerreiro said, “when you’ve got kids from Washington School walking to and from school.”

And, on the north side of the intersection, he added, there’s the Scots-American Club, which draws crowds on weekends, in particular.

Another neighbor, who lives across the street from Guerreiro, said that the existing stop signs aren’t much help.

“People don’t really stop,” he said, “and if they do, they’re already way out into the intersection. I’m guilty of it, too, at times. And it’s all day long. Like with some of the little cars coming up Patterson, the drivers see an incline as they approach the intersection so they give it more gas.”

But maybe a four-way stop would at least prod drivers to pay more attention, the resident said. “Any little bit helps.”

Conditions are “even worse” along Afton St., Cardoso said, particularly on the one-way stretch between Maple St. and Belgrove Dr. where there’s no stop sign and cars push on through.

A check of Kearny Police Department records showed there have been a total of three accidents at Highland and Patterson between 2011 and 2014, three accidents at Highland and Afton during that same period, and six accidents at Highland and Quincy over the past four years, according to research by Sgt. John Taylor of the Traffic Division.

Asking for – and getting – four-way stop signs at designated locations are two different things, Taylor pointed out.

Local police departments are guided in such matters by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), administered by the Federal Highway Administration, which “defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices … including road markings, highway signs and traffic signals … on all public streets ….”

A four-way stop can be implemented, Taylor said, only if certain traffic conditions are met, as per the MUTCD:

“Multi-way stop control is used where the volume of traffic on the intersecting roads is approximately equal.

“The decision to install multi-way stop control should be based on an engineering study.”

The manual says that among the criteria that “should be considered” in undertaking such a study are: whether “five or more reported crashes in a 12-month period” have occurred at a given intersection, whether the vehicular volume entering the intersection from the major street approaches “averages at least 300 vehicles per hour for any eight hours of an average day” and the “combined vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle volume” entering the intersection from the minor street approaches “averages at least 200 units per hour for the same eight hours.”

Other criteria that can trigger the study include whether “… a road user, after stopping, cannot see conflicting traffic and is not able to negotiate the intersection unless conflicting cross traffic is also required to stop” or whether the proposed sign would be located at “an intersection of two residential neighborhood collector (through) streets of similar design and operating characteristics where multi-way stop control would improve traffic [flow].”

New owner at The Smile and Implant Center


By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 


Generations of residents of West Hudson and South Bergen counties have come to know just how special a place The Smile and Implant Center is. Even people who often cringe going to the dentist will tell you that fear is rare when they enter this practice’s doors.

And while that same family and welcoming atmosphere is still as strong as it’s ever been — there’s been a significant change in leadership, as Dr. Blair Schachtel, D.M.D., has purchased the business and has taken over the practice with a partner.

Schactel is an experienced dentist, having successfully practiced in Livingston for 18 years. His practice there remains. But when he heard The Smile and Implant Center was on the market, he knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“I’d known about the place for many years,” Schachtel said. “I knew there was a wonderful staff and that patients were always treated like family — and they’d do anything for the patient. When I found out it was for sale, I made a quick call, and later that day, I was meeting with the then owners.

“We made a deal quickly. And here we are now.”

One of the reasons Schachtel says he was interested in taking over The Smile and Implant Center was because over the years, the practice had boomed.

“It just kept growing by leaps and bounds,” he said. “Plus any place that treats patients like family is a special place.”

And indeed, that family aura continues under Schachtel’s leadership.

But what sets this practice apart from many other dental practices is that if you go there — and need any kind of dental work, and we mean any — you won’t be shuffled off to specialists elsewhere. That’s because every kind of dental specialist is already on staff at The Smile and Implant Center.

“Patients never have to leave here and do their dental work in phases,” Schachtel said. “We’ve got on staff an oral surgeon, an anesthesiologist, a periodontist, a pediatric dentist. And we also have a dermatologist who perform Botox treatments right here on site.”

And it’s the people who have dedicated their lives to the practice that have impressed Schachtel the most.

“There are four people here who have been on the staff for more than 25 years. That’s incredible,” he said. “Even though I’ve only been here for a few days, I knew from day one that this place was different. The respect and care they’ve all shown me has been incredible — and I know that translates well with our patients.”

Meanwhile, Schachtel says that prospective clients should never tell themselves they can’t get dental work done because of finances. He said The Smile and Implant Center will work with patients to come up with a financial plan that’s comfortable for the practice and the patient.

“We don’t want to turn patients down because of the cost of dental care,” he said. “Think of it this way. When people need dental work — and they put it off — that care is going to cost a lot more down the line. So we want people to get done what needs to be done as soon as possible so the cost is less. Finances should never be a factor when determining whether to get dental care.”

So whether you’re a longtime patient — or someone in need of a new dentist — you’ll likely find The Smile and Implant Center is where you’ll want to go.

“They may come in nervous at first, but by the time they leave, they’ll be calm and looking forward to their next visit,” Schachtel said.

Indeed. The Smile and Implant Center is located at 837 Kearny Ave., Kearny. Call them at 201-991-1055. Hours of operation are: Monday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Visit them online at www.TheSmileAndImplantCenter.com for more details.

around town


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., announces the following programs:

  • The library presents its version of the traditional Italian legend of LaBefana with interactive storytelling, live musicians, singers and dancers, and more on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 2 p.m. Befana, like Santa Claus, delivers gifts to children on Epiphany Eve (Jan. 5). Children receive gifts from both Befana and Santa Claus. Reservations are required.
  • Book Club meets Jan. 5 at 6:45 p.m. to discuss “Riders of the Purple Sage” by Zane Grey. • Midday Movies are screened Mondays and Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. Here’s January’s schedule: Jan. 5 – “Sunset Boulevard,” Jan. 8 – “The Giver”; Jan. 12 – “Million Dollar Arm,” Jan. 15 – “Selma, Lord, Selma,” Jan. 22 – “Chef,” Jan. 26 – “Winter’s Tale” and Jan. 29 – “Dolphin Tale.”
  • Storytimes resume Jan. 12. Days and times will remain the same: Baby and Me, for ages up to 18 months, is offered on Thursdays at 11 a.m.; Toddler Time, open to ages 19 to 36 months, is held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m. Registration is not required unless otherwise noted. To register or for more information, call the library at 973- 566-6200.


Kearny UNICO is sponsoring 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 trip leaves from American Legion Post 99, 314 Belgrove Drive, at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served inside the hall beginning at 7:30 a.m. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at either 201-368-2409 or lpandolfi@ verizon.net.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., will screen the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (PG-13/101 mins.) on Friday, Jan. 2, at 2 p.m. Popcorn and light refreshments will be served. Admission is free. For more information on any of the library’s programs, call the library at 201-998-2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

West Hudson Arts and Theater, 65 Oakwood Ave., announces the following auditions: “Father of the Bride” on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 5 and 6, 7 to 9 p.m. each night, and early bird auditions for the June production of “Grease” on Sunday, Jan. 11, 3 to 5 p.m. each day, and Monday, Jan. 12, 5 to 7 p.m. Visit www.whatco.org for more information.


The N.J. Meadowlands Commission hosts a New Year’s Day Nature Walk with the Bergen County Audubon Society at Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus, Thursday, Jan. 1, 10 a.m. to noon. This event is free and open to all ages. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@gmail. com or call 201-230-4983.

The NJMC’s First-Sunday-of- the Month Nature Walk with the BCAS is set for Sunday, Jan. 4, starting at the Meadowlands Environment Center at 10 a.m. (directions are on meadowblog.net in the left-hand column.) This free two-hour guided walk in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst and nearby Disposal Road features raptors and waterfowl. Participants are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@ gmail.com or 201-230- 4983.

Registration is recommended and appreciated. Lyndhurst Health Department announces:

  • Flu vaccine is available for township residents. Call 201-804-2500 for an appointment. The CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older receive a yearly flu vaccine.
  • Rabies Clinics are set for Thursdays, Jan. 8 and 15, at the Community Center on Riverside Ave. (behind the Little League fields), 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Township residents can also license their dogs and cats at these clinics. Licensing deadline is Jan. 31. Call the Health Department for more information.

Sacred Heart Home-School Association, 620 Valley Brook Ave., hosts its annual Tricky Tray on Friday, Jan. 16. Tickets are $10. No one under age 18 will be admitted. Doors open at 6 p.m. Each ticket includes one sheet for first level prizes, coffee/tea and dessert. For tickets and information, call the school office at 201-939-4277 or Patty at 201-803-9580. Ticket deadline is Jan. 6. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Knights of Columbus Council 2396 sponsors a Tricky Tray Friday, Jan. 16, at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. The $15 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.

North Arlington 

American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37 meets on Monday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. at the VFW hall, 222 River Road. For more information, call 201-214- 8253.

Triumphs galore in high school sports


Area teams celebrate NJSIAA state glory

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer 

So what were the top local sports stories for 2014?

For one, it was an unprecedented year for local teams and individuals earning their fair share of NJSIAA state championships. There were a lot of celebrations to be found throughout the area all year long.

It was also a year for farewells and tributes, of traditions being restored and returned. It was also a World Cup soccer year, one that captivated soccer fans throughout the area for more than a month.

All in all, it was a year to remember.

So let’s take a closer look at the Top 10 Sports Stories of the Year for 2014.

Harrison wins NJSIAA Group I state soccer title 

The last time that Harrison High School, the most prolific high school soccer program in New Jersey state history, had captured a state crown, was back in 2008.

But led by the goal-scoring prowess of Ali Lakhrif, who ended up setting a new single-season school scoring record by knocking home 37 goals, and a stingy defense, the Blue Tide steamrolled its way through the NJSIAA Group I state playoffs, eventually defeating Haddon Township, 4-0, in November to win the 25th NJSIAA state soccer championship in the school’s history, the most ever in the history of boys’ high school soccer in United States history.

The Blue Tide won all six of their state playoff games by a combined goal total of 33-1. That’s utter dominance. For capturing the state championship, Harrison boys’ soccer team owns the No. 1 spot among local sports stories for 2014.

Nutley’s Montgomery wins NJSIAA Meet of Champions gold in the javelin 


Photo by Jim Hague Nutley’s Grace Montgomery was the queen of the javelin, winning the NJSIAA Meet of Champions in June.



Nutley’s Grace Montgomery, who was a standout three-sport athlete at Nutley High School and who would eventually go on to capture The Observer Co-Female Athlete of the Year for her athletic achievements, did the unthinkable in June, capturing the gold medal in the javelin at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions, becoming the school’s first-ever girls M of C winner.

Montgomery had captured the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group III gold medal, then placed third at the overall Group III meet, earning her place among the elite throwers in the state.

Before her final throw of the competition, Montgomery was 12th and appeared headed to finishing out of medal contention.

However, on that final throw, Montgomery unleashed a bomb, throwing the javelin 129 feet, further than any other girl competitor and earning her place in Nutley and Essex County history. By winning the gold at the M of C, Montgomery earns the No. 2 spot for sports stories in 2014.

Kearny wins Hudson County titles in both boys’ and girls’ soccer


Photo by Jim Hague The Kearny boys’ and girls’ soccer teams both won Hudson County Tournament championships. It was the sixth straight for the girls’ team.


It’s nothing new for Kearny to win county championships in soccer, but it’s pretty special when both the boys’ and girls’ teams win Hudson County Tournament titles in the same year.

The Kearny girls reigned supreme for the sixth straight time, defeating Memorial in the title game. Barbara Paiva, who set a new single-season school goal scoring record with 38 goals, led the way for the Kearny girls, who finished the season 18-3. Lily Durning scored 17 goals and Amber Crispin added 16 for the Kardinals.

The Kearny boys won the county title for the first time since 2012, defeating North Bergen in the finals. Danny Vicente scored two goals in the title game and Sebastian Ferriera posted a shutout en route to being selected to the First Team All-State squad.

Needless to say, it was a year to remember for both Kearny soccer programs.

Lyndhurst wins first-ever NJSIAA softball sectional crown

The Lyndhurst softball team enjoyed a historic moment in May, when the Golden Bears defeated Madison, 3-2, to the win the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state crown, the first state title in softball in school history, earning the No. 4 spot in our list.

First-year head coach Emily Ringen molded the team properly, with pitcher Jenn Tellefsen leading the way. First baseman Alyssa Pipon delivered the clutch RBI single that gave the Golden Bears the elusive state crown.

Lyndhurst wins cross country, outdoor state sectional crowns 

The Lyndhurst boys’ track team enjoyed a great run, winning both the NJIC-Colonial Division and the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state titles.

William Hooper was a key contributor to both the indoor and cross country championships. Jake Estevez won three medals at the North 2, Group I championships, beating Shabazz in the process.

Kearny softball wins first-ever county title 

The Kearny softball team earned a place of history as well, winning the school’s first-ever Hudson County Tournament title, rallying from a four-run deficit to defeat Bayonne, 6-4, in the title game. Pitcher Carolynn Rivera hit a home run in the title game to seal the deal, earning No. 6 honors in our year-end review.

Nutley girls’ soccer reaches state sectional title game 

The Nutley girls’ soccer team won 16 games and reached the finals of the North Jersey Section 2, Group III bracket, where the Maroon Raiders fell to Roxbury. But thanks to the play of scholarship players Victoria Kealy (Rider) and Zoe Steck (soon to pick the school of her choice) the Maroon Raiders moved a step closer to their elusive goal, a state title.

Lyndhurst’s Servideo retires 

The area lost a huge legend, when long-time Lyndhurst athletic director and head baseball coach Butch Servideo announced his retirement after giving 55 years of his life to Lyndhurst, the first 13 as a student, then 44 more years as a coach and administrator.

The Golden Bears won the overall NJSIAA Group I title under Servideo’s guidance in 2008 and won more than 500 games under Servideo’s leadership. He will be sorely missed.

North Arlington’s Keefe wins state sectional bowling title 

North Arlington junior Tyler Keefe created his slice of history, when Keefe won the NJSIAA North 1, Group IA state sectional championship in bowling. He rolled a 776 series and a 279 high game to secure the gold medal. He’s one of the top bowlers to watch this season.

Kearny volleyball reaches state sectional title game 

Under the guidance of head coach Bill Mullins and standout players Joel Vivas and Bryan Rodriguez, the Kearny boys’ volleyball team made it all the way to the NJSIAA Group IV finals, where they lost to nemesis St. Peter’s Prep. In fact, two of their three losses were to the powerful Marauders. Still, it was a great season for the Kardinals, a epic season, a 20-win campaign that will resonate for the years to come.

Just missed list 

There were several noteworthy events that just missed being among the top 10, like Kearny’s Steven Koziel winning six medals at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions for his work as a paraplegic; the Nutley football team reached the NJSIAA North 2, Group III playoffs for the first time in four years; Cristina Nardini of North Arlington won three medals at the Bergen County outdoor track championships; Kearny’s Corey Sawyer exploded onto the scene by throwing three no-hitters for the Kardinals’ baseball team; Nutley’s Joe Ferinde finished eighth in the state wrestling at 120 pounds; the North Arlington boys’ golf team qualified for the NJSIAA state sectionals for the firsttime ever; Queen of Peace’s Kevin Momnohin played in the annual New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Classic; North Arlington sent three athletes to the NJSIAA Meet of Champions for the first-time indoor track program; Kearny resident Tomasz Adamek lost a huge fight against Vlacheslav “Czar” Glazkov, more than likely ending his professional career; Lyndhurst resident Jim MacDonald, a legendary softball coach, died; Nutley East Little League repeated as District 8 12-year-old champions; the area was engulfed with World Cup fever, with Germany winning the Cup and the United States moving on to the quarterfinal round; Queen of Peace went through a host of coaching changes; Nutley won the Super Essex Conference cross country title, the school’s first cross country title in 32 years; Nutley’s Devin Ortiz earned a spot on the U-15 National baseball team; North Arlington’s “Rip” Collins Field got a $2 million facelift; North Arlington’s Danny Cordeiro, now on the NJIT soccer team, was named Observer Male Athlete of the Year; Nutley’s Grace Montgomery and Kearny’s Nicole Kelly were named Observer Co-Female Athletes of the Year.

All in all, it was definitely a year to remember for Observer sports.

Tax break for S. Kearny industrial park


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Still operating in Sandyrecovery mode, South Kearny’s Industrial Park is looking to take a giant step forward, now that the town is poised to grant what’s likely to be the first of several tax abatements to develop the 120-acre property.

At a special session held Dec. 16, the mayor and Town Council voted to introduce an ordinance to enter into a financial agreement with KPIP Urban Renewal 1 LLC, a subsidiary of RTL Services, for 78 John Miller Way on the east side of Central Ave. off the Hackensack River. The ordinance was expected to be adopted Dec. 29.

Although RTL plans to construct seven or eight new buildings on its site, the proposed abatement would, at present, be limited to its 4-story, 207,764 square foot Heller Way headquarters which will be partitioned into eight “commercial condominium units” targeted for lease to small businesses.

One of those units, for which 72,326 square feet of space is allocated, “will be immediately renovated” for use by Hugo Neu Recycling Co. which will be relocating from Mt. Vernon, N.Y.

Although the owner currently has no other signed leases, KPIP CFO/Principal Steve Nislick told the town governing body earlier this month that he was confident that the owners will have no trouble finding tenants for the other condo units.

Reportedly, KPIP is very close to locking in two prospective tenants: a gourmet bakery and a storefront window glass manufacturer. Other possible occupants include technology companies, post-secondary schools, food companies and a roof-top restaurant.

As many as 300 new jobs could be generated from this flex-space accommodation in what has been designated as “Building 78,” KPIP has predicted.

Kearny currently collects nearly $67,000 a year in nonabated taxes for the property.

But, under an abatement formula keyed to $1.50 per square foot (escalating 2% each year) or 14% of gross revenue, whichever is greater, the town would receive close to $300,000 as its first annual PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) when the building is fully renovated.

The PILOT agreement would continue for 30 years, at which point, the property would revert to full taxation.

As the rest of the industrial park is developed, if KPIP wanted to extend that PILOT arrangement, the owner would have to reapply for a new abatement agreement, Mayor Alberto Santos said. “Each application would be considered on its merits.”

Why a PILOT to begin with? A narrative attached to the financial agreement explains that, “In the current real estate marketplace, the rents likely to be achieved by this project are not sufficient to pay for the costs of construction and the payment of full taxes.”

But granting an abatement will allow the owner “to make a return on his investment that is sufficient to both warrant the risk and to convince the lending markets to provide the construction and permanent financing required by the project.”

And because Kearny believes it can absorb the cost of municipal services associated with the project even under an abated tax arrangement, “the town believes that it is in its interest to provide the necessary incentive that will cause the project to be constructed. Since the formulas used in the financial agreement provide for growth in the amounts to be paid over time, the town expects the project will continue to make payments that are greater than the costs [for municipal services] to be incurred.”

A full build-out of the entire 120-acre property is projected to take five to seven years, according to one person familiar with the project.

In the meantime, since the industrial park site is not linked to a mass transit connection, Santos said that KPIP is working with NJ Transit to try and arrange a shuttle bus service that would connect to Transit’s Light Rail station at West Side and Claremont Aves., Jersey City.

Additionally, KPIP is hoping that NJ Transit will consider a possible extension of the Light Rail to a station stop near the Hackensack River terminus. NJ Transit has looked at the possibility of extending the Light Rail from the West Side terminus to a Rt. 440 location, also on Jersey City’s West Side, which could provide a jumping off point for a spur line a bit further west.

That wasn’t Santa on the roof


A would-be burglar came up empty in a big way in Lyndhurst on Christmas Day.

Police said officers responded to a residence in the 100 block of Livingston Ave., at 5:14 a.m., on Dec. 25 on a report of an attempted entry.

The occupant told police that after hearing a loud noise from outside her third-floor apartment window, she looked outside and saw a man lifting up a screen and begin to open a window to the second-floor apartment below.

After a light came on in that apartment, she said, the intruder closed the screen and retreated across the roof, only to fall to the ground below, landing on a shrub. The man then got up and ran west on Lake Ave., she told police.

Police said a physical description of the man was radioed to responding officers who located a man matching the description on Stuyvesant Ave. near Lake.

The suspect, Andy Paredes, 30, of Elmhurst, N.Y., suffered what police described as minor injuries from the fall and declined medical attention.

Police said a check of the roof area and outside of the Livingston Ave. residence uncovered damage to a leader pipe and gutter and broken branches to the shrub consistent with the witness’s account of the incident.

Peredes was charged with burglary and criminal mischief and taken to the Bergen County Jail on $5,000 bail with no 10% cash option.

– Ron Leir 

Baby burned & more: NPD blotter

An infant was burned in what Nutley PD described as a freak accident.

Police responded to a River Road residence, at 11:30 p.m., on Dec. 21 on a report of a baby being hurt.

Police said the mother of the 1-year-old boy was heating milk in a bottle on the stove. But the bottle was sitting in a glass pitcher filled with water and, as the heat increased, the pitcher shattered, causing the boiling water to spill out, burning the baby.

The mother phoned 911 and Nutley EMS and Advanced Life Support teams were called to the scene and they transported the baby to St. Barnabas Medical Center Burn Unit, police said.

There was no immediate word on the baby’s condition.

Among other incidents logged by Nutley PD between Dec. 20 and 26 were these:

Dec. 20 

While assigned to a DWI detail, police said they observed a van parked illegally outside a Chestnut St. business and two men, later identified as Michael A. Smith, 39, and Alfredo Llivicota-Penafiel, 46, both of Newark, place a yellow drum filled with used cooking oil inside. Police later learned that the business contracts with a different company to retrieve the drums. Smith and Llivicota-Penafiel were both charged with theft. Smith also had an outstanding warrant from Jersey City. Both were released on bail pending court appearances.


Joseph Kaplan, 34, of Nutley, was arrested on Franklin Ave. on outstanding warrants from Roselle, Linden and Jersey City. He was turned over to Roselle PD for processing.


A Passaic Ave. resident reported that two packages delivered to their front porch between 10 and 11 a.m. were stolen. The items were valued at about $200.


Frank Carfagno, 30, of West Paterson, was arrested on Hancox Ave. after police said they found Carfagno had 20 folds of heroin and several hypodermic needles.

Police said each fold had a street value of between $4 and $10. Carfagno was charged with possession of heroin and possession of hypodermic needles.


Police responded to a Brookline Ave. residence on a report of explosion with fire. At the scene, the fire was out and police were told by the homeowner that a few minutes after they’d just returned home, they heard a loud explosion in front of the house and then saw a fire at the base of the front steps which they put out. Police, who found debris and paper wrapping in the front area, surmised that an M80 firework had been set off.

Dec. 22 

A Franklin Ave. business owner reported that someone had broken their front window.


An identity theft victim reported receiving a call about a transaction for close to $3,000 made on their credit card which, the victim said, was unauthorized. After the account was closed, the victim learned from Capital One that 13 attempts had been made to open up accounts using much of their personal information.

Dec. 23 

Police stopped a motor vehicle reported being driven erratically and nearly hitting a parked car along Franklin Ave. and issued the driver, Joseph Bravoco, 25, of Nutley, summonses charging him with DWI, reckless driving, disregard of traffic control device, speeding and failure to maintain lane. He was released pending a court date.


A Franklin Ave. business owner reported the theft of several tools: three nail guns, a compressor, an impact driver, jig saw, sawzall, two lithium batteries and charger, all of the DeWalt brand, and valued at about $800. Police said they found no sign of forced entry.


Police responded to a River Road location on a report of a vehicle driving on three tires. Police said the vehicle was initially believed to be involved in an accident but the driver, Mario Aymara Galvez, 24, of Carteret, told officers that he’d just been robbed during an attempted carjacking. However, police said an investigation revealed that Galvez fabricated this account to cover up his role in the accident in which he allegedly hit a concrete barrier after leaving a Clifton establishment. He was charged with filing a false police report, hindering apprehension and DUI.

– Ron Leir


Nellie Dames 

Nellie Dames (nee Dzekevich), 92, passed away on Dec. 25.

The funeral will be from the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 8:30 a.m. A funeral Mass will be offered at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, at 9:30 a.m. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Mrs. Dames was born in Providence, R.I., and lived in Kearny for the last 68 years.

She graduated from Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing in 1942 as a registered nurse.

Nellie served in the Navy as a registered nurse at the Naval Air Training Base in Jacksonville, Fla., during World War II. She later worked for 30 years as the evening supervisor at the former West Hudson Hospital in Kearny before retiring in 1985.

She is survived by her children, Suzanne Gibbs, Dr. Nancy Sweet, Maryann Mezan, Ralph Dames and Thomas Dames, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Nellie was predeceased by her husband, Ralph Dames, her daughter, Annella Dames, and her brother, Joseph Dzekevich.

Louis P. Saporito 

Louis P. Saporito, former chief of police of Harrison, died Saturday at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank at age 92.

He was born and raised in Harrison, where he resided for 65 years. His was a lifetime of service—to his country, to his community, and above all, to his cherished family.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Theresa, and four children: Jacque Piatkowski, of Carolina Beach NC and her husband, Stan; Bill Saporito, of Manhattan and his wife, Laurie; Francene Kanter, of Marblehead, Mass. and her husband, Todd; and Jane Green of Florham Park and her husband, Tim. He is also survived by 10 adoring grandchildren—Marc (Susan), Douglas (Shelley), and Elise Piatkowski; Garrett, Justin, Eric, and Danielle Kanter; Mitchell, Terri, and Tim Green; and four great-grandchildren— Mia and Maximo Piatkowski and Siena Grace and Barrett Piatkowski—as well as his wonderfully caring sister-in- law Kathleen Confroy, sister-in-law Pat and brother- in-law Joe Mango and family, and Maryann and Andy Boothroyd and family, who loved “Uncle Lou.” His brothers, Carmen and Max, and sister in law Elsa, predeceased him.

Chief Saporito was born Sept. 13, 1922, on Franklin Ave. in Harrison, the son of Mary and Joseph Saporito. For most of his life, he never lived far from the block where he was born. After moving to Tinton Falls in his retirement years, he would often talk about how great it was to have been raised in the town of Harrison. He was a small-town man through and through.

Like so many men of the Greatest Generation, he left home to serve his country. During World War II, he became a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, ultimately being trained as a flight officer of a B-29 bomber—the most complicated job on the ship, he would point out.

After the war, he returned home to Harrison to help take care of his mother. He joined the Harrison Police Department in 1947 rising first to sergeant, then to detective and deputy chief, and finally to chief of police. He retired from the force in 1987.

The funeral will be conducted from the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Avenue, Harrison, on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 9:15 a.m., followed by a funeral Mass at Holy Cross Church, at 10 a.m. Friends may call Tuesday starting at 8:45 a.m. His interment will take place in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information, directions or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice in loving memory of Louis.

Mia K. Schoeberle 

Mia K. Schoeberle of Kearny died on Christmas Day in St. Barnabas Medical Center. She was 54.

Relatives and friends may call at the Condon Funeral Home, 684 Kearny Ave., Kearny, on Tuesday, Dec. 30, from 9 to 10 a.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny. Cremation will follow at Rosedale Crematory in Orange.

Ms. Schoeberle had been a science teacher in Kearny High School for 25 years. Prior to that, she was employed in the same capacity for the New York City Board of Education.

She is survived by Joe Cravo and their sons, Paul, Brian and John Cravo. Also surviving is her mother, Celia Orr Schoeberle and her sister, Marsan Stromberg. In lieu of flowers it was Mia’s wish that donations may be made to the Salvation Army, 443 Chestnut St., Kearny, N.J. 07032 in her memory.

Thomas William Sheppard 

Thomas William Sheppard, of East Newark, died suddenly on Tuesday, Dec. 23. He was 33.

Funeral services were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. For information or to send online condolences to the family, please go to www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Newark, Tom was a lifelong resident of Harrison and East Newark. He worked as a warehouseman for Fedway, South Kearny.

What Tom loved most in life was spending time with the apple of his eye, his daughter, Madison. He was an avid sports fan, with his favorite teams being the N.Y. Mets and N.Y. Giants.

Tom is survived his beloved daughter, Madison Sheppard, cherished sister, Melissa Sheppard, and his loving mother, Kathleen Bell. He also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and many loving friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the family, in order to defray the costs of the funeral in care of Mulligan Funeral Home, in loving memory of Tom.

Carol I. Stec 

Mrs. Carol I. Stec, of Kearny, died on Dec. 26 in the Canterbury Care Center. She was 63.

Arrangements were by the Condon Funeral Home, 684 Kearny Ave., Kearny. The funeral service was held at Grace Episcopal Church, 200 Highfield Lane, Nutley, followed by a private cremation.

Carol had been the parish administrator of Trinity Episcopal Church in Kearny for 10 years before retiring last year. She served the parish for over 36 years.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Stec and her daughters, Eve-lyn Nixon and Liana Witthoeft and her husband Ian. Also surviving is her mother, Doris Nixon and a sister, Linda Nixon.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider donations to Episcopal Relief and Development, P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, Va. 22116-7058 in Carol’s memory.