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23-year-old Nutley man charged with sexually assaulting 14-year-old girl

A 23-year-old Nutley man has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting and endangering the welfare of a 14-year-old girl, Nutley police say. Jonathan Matos was taken into custody by police on Friday, Oct. 10, on Spring Street, and is […]

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Bloomfield’s Cunningham on watch in the Indo-Asia Pacific region

Quartermaster Seaman Fayden Cunningham, of Bloomfield, assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89), stands watch at night in the bridge. Mustin is currently on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting regional security and […]

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NAPD: Don’t fall for phone scams

North Arlington residents have reported to police that they’ve received phone calls, mail and email from people reporting to be from the IRS and other governmental agencies. The caller will report delinquencies  in paying taxes, credit card bills or make a […]

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2nd Harrison hotel

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide opened its 14th Element hotel in Harrison last Thursday with members of the development team pedal-powering a virtual ribbon-cutting at the new location, 399 Somerset St., just off Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. South. Starwood CEO Fritz van Paasschen told visitors that that the company is “looking to […]

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A first for Kearny VFW Post

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  When Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1302 elected its new commander in May, it also made local history. Jennifer M. Long, who was installed in office at the state VFW convention in June, is the first woman to head a […]

 
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Town urging action on meadows properties

Photo by Ron Leir/ A view of the Turco tract from the Belleville Turnpike.

 

Photo courtesy EPA/ Buildings on the Standard Chlorine site that were due to be torn down.

 

 

By Ron Leir

KEARNY –

Two industrial eyesores on the town’s outskirts could get much-needed attention soon.

At its Feb. 7 meeting, the Kearny Town Council took aim at the old Standard Chlorine/ Standard Naphthalene property, a 30-acre meadows property in South Kearny that has been classified as a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The council voted to petition the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC), which has zoning jurisdiction over the property, to investigate the possible designation of the site, which lies off Fish House Road and which adjoins the old Koppers Coke property, as “an area in need of redevelopment.”

Mayor Alberto Santos said that since Hudson County – through the county Improvement Authority – is now actively soliciting potential development proposals for the Koppers site, “we want to make sure our parcels are also positioned for development and put back on the tax rolls.”

Santos said the area is currently zoned for heavy industrial use. Warehousing might be the most productive way to go, particularly for future employment, he said.

Santos said the town acquired a lien on the property after the former owners failed to pay $7 million in delinquent taxes. Kearny foreclosed about two years ago, the mayor said.

Brian Aberback, a spokesman for the NJMC, said last week it would be premature for the commission to respond to the town’s petition at this point.

According to an EPA fact sheet last updated in July 2011, the Standard Chlorine site, a peninsula along the Hackensack River, supported several chemical manufacturing companies from the turn of the last century to the 1990s, including production, storage and packing of moth balls and flakes.

“EPA added the site to its National Priorities List in September 2007 after samples indicated the release of dioxins, benzenes, naphthalene, PCBs and other semi-volatile or volatile compounds into the Hackensack River and adjacent wetlands,” the fact sheet said.

Discovery of these contaminants have prompted fish consumption warnings, particularly crab, and a health advisory has been issued for the river, “potentially due in part to contamination from the Standard Chlorine site,” the EPA said.

Contamination of the river has come from ground water and from overland runoff from a drainage ditch along the southern property line, two lagoons on the eastern part of the site, and from tanks and drums containing dioxin-tainted asbestos and other pollutants, according to EPA.

“The dioxin-contaminated asbestos has been collected and placed in shipping containers waiting for eventual transport, and all remaining tanks have been emptied,” EPA said. “… EPA is currently is working with NJ DEP (Dept. of Environmental Protection) to prevent the spread of additional contamination to surrounding areas….”

EPA’s Community Involvement Coordinator David Kluesner said that under DEP’s lead, workers have cut off the flow of some pollutants by installing a slurry wall at one site, by removing some contaminated soil and capping some areas with an impervious liner covered by dirt, and by dismantling some on-site structures and removing asbestos.

Now, he said, it falls to EPA to come up with a plan and design for final remediation. “We could be ready with such a proposal by 2014,” Kluesner said, “but that’s really hard to predict.”

Parties responsible for the cleanup, known collectively as the Peninsula Restoration Group, are Tierra Solutions, Inc., Standard Chlorine Chemical Company, Inc., and Beazer East, Inc., according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We’re also asking the NJMC to look at other parcels along the Belleville Turnpike west of the railroad bridge in addition to the ones we own to see if they meet the commission’s redevelopment criteria,” the mayor said. “We’re encouraging them to address all unused property, much of it vacant, and do it as coherent whole.”

On a second front, the Town Council voted to direct the Kearny Planning Board to investigate whether the area commonly known as the Turco tract at Belleville Turnpike and Sellers St. and a nearby twoacre property “qualifies as a redevelopment area.”

Kearny Town Administrator Michael Martello, who also serves as construction code official, characterized the eight-acre Turco property, listed as owned by Jeryl Industries, as “a hodgepodge of (land) uses. Conditions are deplorable from the tenants operating there.”

The property, which, according to Martello, carries a tax delinquency of $271,276 for 2011 and $135,638 for the first two quarters of 2012, has been cited for various local construction code violations and is involved in litigation with the town, Martello said.

Part of the industrial park includes a privatelyoperated roadway, Turvan Road – that snakes down from Schuyler Avenue past Arlington Cemetery through the rear of the industrial property and ending at the diner on Belleville Turnpike – which is in very bad shape, Martello said.

Newark attorney Howard Wachenfeld, who is now president of Jeryl Industrial Park, wrote Martello last September that he had two prospective buyers for the property willing to invest in “substantial” improvements, including the road.

But, Wachenfeld advised Martello he would likely be scaring off those purchasers “… if you are going to deny the issue of any Certificates of Occupancy (CO) to (my) tenants … because of the general condition of the Park, mainly the poor condition of the road” (which, Wachenfeld said, he paved in 2009 but was torn up by the “harsh winter of 2010- 11.”)

Asked about the situation last week, Martello said that his position hasn’t changed. Asked how many CO applications from Jeryl tenants are still pending, Martello replied: “There’s a bunch.”

“Any tenant who wants to occupy a building at the Park must first have site plan approval or approval for a variance,” Martello said. “Everything at that location is unsafe and I’ve told (Wachenfeld) that until you address those problems, I’m not going to issue any COs.”

National Wrestling Superstars come to Bloomfield

Photos courtesy of Joe Panzarino/ Crowbar and Short Sleeve Sampson will deliver athleticism in hopes for raising money for Bloomfield charities.

Pro wrestling show to benefit Bloomfield charities

By Jeff Bahr

The National Wrestling Superstars (NWS) All- Star Pro Wrestling show is coming to Bloomfield High School on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7:35 p.m. For local fans of professional wrestling, this annual pilgrimage of oversized warriors with matching egos is long anticipated. For those not yet acquainted with the kicks, stomps, punches, throws, and over-the-top trash talk that define the sport of professional wrestling, the event makes for an ideal primer.

One of this year’s original headliners, Fit Finlay, known simply as Finlay during his headlining days with Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), has been replaced by Tommy Dreamer of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and WWE fame due to a scheduling conflict, according to NWS Events Manager Joe Panzarino.

Put another way, fans will now miss out on the “Celtic Cross” – a finishing move where Finlay hoists a competitor behind his back up to shoulder level and promptly drives him fullforce into the mat. Instead, they will see Dreamer, the self-billed “Innovator of Violence” as he attempts to execute a “Tommyhawk” – a floor drop move that produces a whiplash effect to an opponent’s head.

In addition to Dreamer, four other former and current TV wrestling stars are scheduled to headline the event in the school’s gymnasium – with each bringing his own brand of bravado and wrestling expertise to the party.

Marty Jannety, an alumnus of the WWE, and ECW hardcore icons the Sandman and Crowbar will work their violent magic for fans, while Short Sleeve Sampson, a wrestler of diminutive stature who appears on “Hulk Hogan’s Micro Championship Wrestling” TV show, will deliver similar elements of athleticism in a pint-sized package.

Finally, Danny Inferno, the self-proclaimed star of the National Geographic Channel pro wrestling documentary “Slammed,” promises to ignite the crowd with his wrestling skills and oversized ego.

The event which helps to raise money for Project Graduation, the Foley Field Foundation and various Bloomfield UNICO beneficiaries, has been coming to Bloomfield for “five or six” years now, according to Panzarino, who said that the events are “well received” in the Township. “They (the shows) are always very successful and very entertaining,” said Panzarino. “I know one year the show raised $16,000 – last year the show raised $10,000… If you get four-, five- or six-hundred people in there (the auditorium) at those ticket prices, it’s a pretty good fundraiser for them.”

Aside from the headliners, the event will also feature an eclectic group of wrestlers from assorted wrestling companies. Mor-ta-da (a “tribute” to the former WCW “Mortiss” character) will appear with newly crowned NWS Tag-Team Champions “Bounty Hunter” Johnny Ringo and “Hockey Goon” Rocco Dorsey. The Two Rick Rudes (“Corrupted” Corey Havoc & “Rampage” Rogers), Team Casanova (“The Love Machine” Nicky Oceans & Damian Darling), Mister Stars and Stripes, The Atomic Dog, Smiling Smith James, Fast Eddie Franken, and many more will round out the bill. Bloomfield’s own “Vicious Vinny” will return in the role of “special enforcer” referee.

Photo courtesy of Joe Panzarino/ The Sandman (l) and Tommy Dreamer will continue their vaunted rivalry when the NWS comes to Bloomfield on Saturday

 

“It’s a top notch show,” said Panzarino of the event. “It’s a lot more intimate than the large arena-type shows, even though it’s (held in) a large gym. The wrestlers meet and greet the fans prior to the show and during intermission. You can come up, shake hands, and get a picture with them.”

Memorabilia including Tshirts, autographed photos and the like will be available at the show, according to Panzarino. Tickets are priced at $25, for a limited number of “golden ringside” seats, and $20 for bleacher seats. Tickets are available by calling the NWS box office at 732-888-1704 or by visiting the following area businesses.

Bloomfield:

•Power House Gym 465 Bloomfield Ave.

•Vinnie’s Pizzeria 414 Broad St.

•Hot Bagels Abroad 1129 Broad St.

Belleville:

•Rosebuds 52 Joralemon St.

•Maniero’s Sports Shop 465 Franklin Ave. (behind Nutley Diner)

Kearny Police Blotter

On Friday, Feb. 3, Officer John Fabula was on patrol in the area of Afton and Maple Sts., a place where Fabula has had past experience dealing with people who engage in the use of controlled substances. In the area, he saw two juveniles sitting on a porch and felt that they didn’t belong there. Officer Frank West arrived as back up, and the two began to interview people as to their presence and reasoning for being in the area. While questioning the juveniles, A 17-year-old Newark male took out his identification and in the process, the officers observed a hand-rolled “blunt” generally used to ingest marijuana. The officers seized the cigar and confirmed that it did contain marijuana. The juvenile was placed under arrest and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

At 7 p.m. that same day, Officers Mike Andrews and Sean Kelly responded to the Wal-Mart on a report that an individual might be armed with a knife. Andrews encountered the individual in the pharmacy area of the store that fit the description and began to conduct an inquiry. During the course of the interview, the officer found the individual in possession of four cell phones and a used razor knife, similar to those found on a box cutter, that the individual used to cut the phones open. Once cell phones were uncovered, the officers were able to safely assume that he was in the store to steal items and placed him under arrest. A further search of his person uncovered a small metal container with 14 pills of alprazolam, a prescription drug used to treat anxiety, and five wax folds stamped Miami Heat. The stolen cell phones totaled $950. The man, 28-year-old Newark resident Ray Rivera, was charged with shoplifting, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of paraphernalia.

In what was a busy day for Kearny’s Finest, Officer Neil Nelson was on patrol in the area of Kearny and New Lawn Aves.  around 9 p.m. when he observed a vehicle with no rear license plate. Nelson called in back up, in the form of Sgt. Charles Smith, and initiated a motor vehicle stop at Oakwood Ave. and Beech St. While stopped, Nelson noticed the passenger of the vehicle pushing an item between the seat, but the passenger was not quick enough to remove the hypodermic needle from his lap. Upon seeing the needle, Nelson went to the area where the individual was stuffing items between the seat and uncovered an unzipped black pouch found to contain 13 wax folds with “Vercase” stamped on them containing heroine. The passenger was placed under arrest and transported to headquarters. The driver was not found to be involved and was issued a summons for a license place violation. The passenger, 34-year-old Jacinto Robles, of Kearny, was placed under arrest and charged with possession of heroine and possession of paraphernalia.

A half hour later in the same location, Patrol Officers Paul Bershefski and Dave Rakowski saw a 21-year-old individual known to them for previous police encounters yelling loudly and attempting to get other individuals into arguments. The officers sat in the vehicle until the individual got closer and observed him in possession of a 24 oz. can of Milwaukee’s Best, which he tried to conceal. The man apologized for being so loud, but told the officers “he has a right to freedom of speech, which is one of the Ten Commandments.” The 21-year-old was given a summons for drinking in public.

On Feb. 5, Officers Angelo Palagano and Mike Santucci responded to the Quick Chek on the corner of Kearny and Bergen Aves. where they arrived to find a large amount of people who were very eager and willing to tell them about an individual who trashed the inside of the store. After obtaining a description, the officers canvassed the area and found an individual fitting the description walking north on Kearny Ave. by the Dunkin Donuts. The officers attempted to stop the man and conduct a field inquiry, but the man would not stop and when Officer Palagano attempted to block off his path, the man said, “Don’t touch me” and pushed Palagano in the chest. At that point, Palagano and Santucci placed the subject on the ground and placed him under arrest. He was transported back to the Quick Chek, where the man was positively identified. Wayne Curtis, a 21-year-old Kearny resident, was taken to Headquarters and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and shoplifting.

The following night, Officers Sean Kelly and Jason Ward were on patrol on Tappan St. and observed a vehicle in front of them pull over and double park. The driver got out of his vehicle and got between his car and another car, attempting to urinate in public. The officers stopped him before he was able to relieve himself, and questioned him. He admitted that he was consuming alcoholic beverages. The man showed signs of drinking, and after administering tests, the officers were able to confirm their suspicions and placed the man under arrest. Alberto Vaca, a 51-year-old Kearny resident, was charged with driving while intoxicated.

In another DWI case following Super Bowl XLVI, Sgt. John Becker observed a vehicle traveling on Devon Terrace around 1:55 a.m. at a fast rate of speed with no brake lights. The vehicle drove north on Schuyler Ave. before Becker pulled it over near King St. While the vehicle was pulling over, the vehicle jumped up on the curb. Upon approach, the officers smelt a strong odor of alcohol and conducted a roadside sobriety test, which the driver was unsuccessful in completing. Emilio Monroig, a 22-year-old resident of Kearny, was taken to Headquarters and charged with driving while intoxicated, careless driving, and failing to maintain his vehicle lamps.

Police responded to the corner of Duke and Devon St. on a report of a man exposing himself to schoolchildren while urinating. Officer Sean Kelly, who was one of the responding officers, saw the man who had moved to a different spot, but had been repeating the same act. Kelly had had several experiences with the man prior to this incident and observed two alcohol containers, a “Natty Buddy” beer and a small bottle of vodka. The individual appeared visibly intoxicated and was detained for questioning and a warrant check. The man, 47-year-old Kearny resident Arthur Smith, was arrested after a warrant had been found on him out of Newark. He was also charged with urinating in public and drinking in public.

Finally, Officer Nelson was on patrol on Feb. 9 at 11:30 a.m. in the area of Highland Ave. and Rose St. when he saw two suspicious individuals. The area had been plagued by burglaries and Nelson conducted a street inquiry of the individuals. When Nelson approached them, the male individual became extremely nervous, and was very hesitant about questioning, at one point even attempting to put the female between him and Nelson. Nelson moved around the female as the male had been fidgeting with something in his pocket. Before the man could drop what was in his hand, Nelson took control of six wax folds containing heroine stamped “Income Tax. The individual, Edward Pancaro from West Virginia, was taken under arrest and charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. A warrant check of Pancaro revealed five warrants, two from Belleville, two from Howell Township, and one from Nutley.

– Anthony J. Machcinski

Belleville Police Blotter

Feb. 8

At 3:12 p.m., officers noticed a suspicious person walking on and off the train platform at Watchung Ave. Because the area has recently experienced a high level of robberies and burglaries, they stopped the man for an identification check. It was learned that Louis B. Jordan, 40, of Newark had an outstanding warrant for $208 out of Paterson. He was later released on his own recognizance by Paterson authorities.

Feb. 7

A motor vehicle theft at 24 Carpenter St. was reported at 9:55 a.m. The victim stated that their blue 2002 Subaru Impreza had been parked on Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m. and was found missing the following morning.

Feb 6

At 7:28 a.m., an officer patrolling Magnolia St. observed a vehicle drive past a stopped school bus near Belleville School #4. After stopping the vehicle at 84 Magnolia St., the driver, Jared Serrano, 32, of Belleville was asked for his license. Serrano stated that he didn’t have the license in his possession. A subsequent check revealed an outstanding no-bail warrant from the Somerset County prosecutor’s office, and a suspended license. Serrano was arrested, issued several motor vehicle summonses, and transported to headquarters where Somerset officials later retrieved him.

At 11:21 a.m., officers were dispatched to Watchung Ave. after a complaint of suspicious persons looking into motor vehicles. When an officer tried to approach an individual who fit the description, the man began walking at “a quick pace” toward the light rail station. When police stopped him at 70 Watchung Ave., he identified himself as Reggie Blaine, 36, from Irvington. Blaine was found to have two outstanding warrants out of Irvington totaling $1347. He was taken to headquarters and later handed over to Irvington officials.

Feb. 5

Officers responded to 45 Continental Ave. at 2:33 a.m. on a report of a man brandishing a handgun. While en route, they were advised that a motor vehicle repossession employee had delivered paperwork for a vehicle at that address. When units arrived, the repo employee stated that the resident had pointed a handgun at him when he attempted to take possession of the vehicle. He explained that as he backed his tow-truck up to the silver 2004 Mercedes in an attempt to hook it, Belleville resident Paul Deluck, 64, exited his house and pointed a handgun at him. Deluck was placed under arrest for two counts of possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, and two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon.

Feb. 4

A property damage call from 9 Carpenter Terrace was received at 9:40 a.m. The property owner pointed to a grassy area where a Ford UHaul truck was parked. Police spoke with the driver who said that he was moving and loading his truck at that location. The man was issued a motor vehicle summons for parking on the grass.

An auto theft victim flagged down a police cruiser at 347 Union Ave. The man said that his silver 2009 Nissan Versa had been left unlocked at that location on the prior evening. He claimed that he heard an alarm sound at about 11 p.m. that night but thought that it was his children checking the vehicle, so he didn’t bother to investigate. Items inside of the stolen car include a debit card, cosmetic case and sets of keys. Police are investigating.

– Jeff Bahr

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Prevent a tragedy

publisher@theobserver.com

 

How ironic that on Saturday we heard of Whitney Houston’s death and Sunday was the annual Grammy awards. Houston’s voice was one that brought chills up your spine and tears to your eyes. Simply, it touched your soul.

Growing up in the ‘80s, Houston’s voice and style was one that many wanted to mimic. How many couples danced to her famous 1992 hit from The Bodyguard, “I Will Always Love You.”

When the news went across the screen Saturday evening, I was not shocked. I felt a deep sadness for the family. We could not fathom the fight that Houston has been fighting over the years with addiction, despite her fame and fortune. While we are still waiting for toxicology results, the nation is still baffled by yet another possible celebrity meltdown.

What we need to do is look around us in our everyday life and wonder many sad souls are hiding behind some form of addiction, whether it be from prescription or street drugs. Over the years, acid, pot and pills, have consumed the lives of many. For some, they’ve managed to get past it while others didn’t quite make it. Nowadays, help is all around us. If you or someone you love is in need, get the help.

A new holiday would be ‘Super’

Around this time every year, I always end up asking myself the same question, why can’t the day after Super Bowl be a national holiday?

I know I’m not the only one who thinks this, as nearly seven million Americans annually conjure up the best excuse they can just so they can lay in bed all day in celebration of the biggest sporting event of the year.

As a Packers fan and having one class on Mondays at this time last year, I definitely “called in sick” (Sorry Mom, you didn’t just read that) the day after Jarrett Bush picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the final play of Super Bowl XLV.

However, now that the Giants have won this year and our whole area has apparently caught Giants fever, I think it was worthwhile now, more than ever, that I write this column, because there has to be a day off after the Super Bowl next year.
Belmar attorney Thomas Ehrlich noted in a Google posting that in New Jersey alone this year, there were 96 DWI cases on the day after the Super Bowl reported by the State Police. Ehrlich goes on to say the volume of DWI incidents gets even bigger if you include local arrests, which are presumed to number more than 300.

I know that the people who drive are doing so at their own risk of arrest, but think about the amount of people who could simply stay at a hotel or wherever their party may be, instead of attempting to drive back to their homes, saying, “I can’t stay; I have to be up in the morning for work.”

Americans consume millions of gallons of booze each Super Bowl, leaving mighty hangovers on “Super Mondays.” Can anyone say productivity really rises on days when people are hung over just trying to stay awake, and can barely look at the computer screen?

Even those who refuse to partake in the drinking aspect of Super Bowl festivities will still stay up later that usual just to catch the end of the game.

Again, this is still a choice people who watch the Super Bowl will have to make, but with an estimated 111.3 million people watching Ahmad Bradshaw fall into the end zone this year, that’s a lot of decision making turned one way.

The question is: What day would people choose to give up in exchange for “celebrating” Super Monday?

Would anyone actually care if Columbus Day was taken away and shifted to February to become Super Monday? Workers still get the 10 federal holidays off a year and wouldn’t be forced to give up a day of vacation in the process.

Moving a meaningless holiday like Columbus Day (celebrating a guy who never really discovered the United States and really just got lost, finding a cool place in the process) would allow Americans to move an off-day to a day when the nation could really take full advantage.

Even businesses across the nation would see an increase in sales. This year, Modell’s saw their sales skyrocket based on the Giants’ victory and could do even better the next day, provided the day after the Super Bowl is a federal holiday.

On a totally different point, couldn’t a presidential candidate make this one of his or her issues and grab a large portion of the 111.3 million people who watched the Super Bowl? I will never say that I understand politics and am currently not a registered voter; however, I feel like this is an issue that I could get behind.

Instead of honoring a man who has been completely miswritten by many grammar school history books (Columbus), make the day after the Super Bowl a day not only for adults to recover, but another day for children to honor the freedoms we have as Americans to be able to put on such a worldwide spectacle.

And if you dislike sports (which cannot be many of you because we all know loving sports and being American are one in the same) just claim the day as whatever you want, whether its “Do Some Laundry Day,” “New Years Resolution Catch Up Day,” or my personal favorite: “ I Don’t Have Work, Let Me Sleep In Day.”

-Anthony J. Machcinski
entertainment@theobserver.com

Try Tequila Rose for modern country approach

Photo courtesy Rick Newport/ Tequila Rose after a recent performance (l. to r.): Gary Holly, Rick Newport, Mike Smith and John Brite.

 

 

By Anthony J. Machcinski

While country music can’t be listed as one of the more popular music genres today, a resurgence in country music, led by artists like Toby Keith, the Zac Brown Band, and Lady Antebellum is creeping onto radio airwaves. A country band from an unconventional Northern home hopes for this trend to continue.

Tequila Rose, based out of Central Jersey, was created in 2001. Since that time, it has been one of the bands taking an underground approach in the latest country movement.

“I go to Sirius radio and I can hear a new country hit every day,” said Tequila Rose vocalist/guitarist Rick Newport. “There is just so much great, new music written. Since we are a cover band, it’s the stuff people ask for.”

Country, however, was not something that came naturally to Newport. A rock ‘n’ roll guitarist before the creation of Tequila Rose, Newport was initially reluctant to switch genres, but rose to the challenge.

“I was a little hesitant at first because a guitar player, when you get into country, it’s a lot more challenging,” Newport said. “There’s a lot of fast guitar playing. I spent a couple of years really studying country guitar playing. It’s a completely different style and I put a lot of work into it. It’s certainly paid off very well.”

Tequila Rose, which initially had two girls in their lineup, switched to a four piece, four-man lineup a few years back and has performed at gigs all over New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

The band has made its name performing with a modern country style and staying true to the covers that it performs.

In the popular song “Toes,” written by the Zac Brown Band, Tequila Rose provides the same relaxing feeling as the original. The band’s range is demonstrated in its performance of Blake Shelton’s, “Hillbilly Bone.” The song is much edgier than “Toes” and Tequila Rose is able to make the transition between the two songs a seamless affair.

Newport and the rest of the band even manage to pour a little Tequila Rose into Jimmy Buffet’s “Margarittaville.” With the ability to perform vastly different songs in its repertoire, Tequila Rose has become one of the more popular cover bands in the area, playing gigs in both South and North Jersey. Even so, their musical career isn’t yet something that the band can make into a full time job.

“None of us are making a living strictly off of (performing),” Newport said. “If you were trying to make a living, you would struggle. There just aren’t enough places that have live bands at night. Even if you were playing modern rock, it’s not like it was 15 to 20 years ago.”

Despite the difficult climate for all musicians, Tequila Rose still manages to get a full slate of shows for the summer months. Whether it’s at a festival in Pennsylvania or New York, or performing in front of a small crowd at a local summer concert, Tequila Rose puts on great shows for their dedicated fans.

“Country music crowds are by far the most responsive and dedicated fans I’ve ever seen,” Newport explained. “There are dedicated fans who try to make it to every event. Quite often, they’re traveling an hour to an hour-and-a-half to see us.”

While Whiskey Café is one of the band’s favorite spots, there are plenty of other places that Tequila Rose hopes to get to.

“One place we would love to play is the Colorado Café (in Watchung),” Newport explained. “They have a huge hall in the back where they have a lot of line dancing. We’d all love to bring our band in there.”

Wherever and whenever their next show takes place, the band hopes to continue playing in front of its fans and to continue to gain exposure for modern country music.

“Our future plans are to play bigger and better festivals and more summer concerts,” Newport said. “We hope that a country radio station will appear in New York so more people can become exposed to it. We just hope that it continues.”

After having played the Whiskey Café in Lyndhurst on Feb. 9, the band will head to another favorite spot, Prospector’s, in Mt. Laurel. For more information on Tequila Rose, visit the band’s website at www.tequilaroseband.com.

Harrison Police Blotter

Feb. 7

A vehicle parked in a private lot was broken into and a GPS unit was stolen.

A 2000 Honda Civic was stolen from a private parking lot at Second and Essex Sts.

Three cars were broken into while parked on Bergen St. under Rt. 280. A GPS unit was reported stolen from one of the vehicles.

Feb. 5

A patron passed two fake $20 bills at a local gas station. After paying for gas and leaving the station, the attendant realized that the two phony bills were folded up with two real $1 bills.

A vehicle parked on the 400 block of Hamilton St. was broken into during the night. The intruder got away with a GPS unit and textbooks.

Feb. 4

A N. Fifth St. resident reported that someone entered his unlocked vehicle during the night and removed cash from the glovebox.

Feb. 2

Police arrested Nathan Hulstrum, 24, of Kearny, on DWI charges after his vehicle hit a street light on Frank Rodgers Blvd. South. Hulstrum also received summonses charging him with careless driving and driving while suspended.

At 7:30 p.m. someone skateboarding grabbed the headphones off the head of a juvenile walking in the area of Hamilton St. and Kingsland Ave. and fled. The juvenile was unhurt. The headphones were valued at $350.

Juan Guarnizo, 27, of Newark, was arrested on shoplifting charges after police said he tried to walk out of a local business with eight soccer jerseys without paying. Police said Guarnizo was also wanted by Newark police on an outstanding warrant. Guarnizo was released pending separate court appearances.

Angela Perez, 21, of Harrison, was arrested after police said they discovered a hypodermic syringe and five packets of heroin among items that Perez reportedly left in a relative’s home. She was released pending a court appearance.

Around Town

Bloomfield

Bloomfield Public Library Book Club will meet on Monday, March 12, from 6:45 to 7:50 p.m. in the conference room to discuss “Lake Wobegon Days” by Garrison Keillor.

The book contains a series of linked stories, both funny and poignant, about a rural community where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

For further information or to request help in locating a copy of the book club selection, please call the Reference Desk at 973-566-6200, ext. 502.

New Jersey’s premier business to business directory Corfacts is now available online from the Bloomfield Public Library.

Access more than 64,000 N.J. company profiles and 30,000 email addresses. Locate new customers by company name, city, county, zip code, revenues, employee size, and key description word. Convert any of your results into detailed custom reports or pre-formatted mailing labels.

To utilize this service, connect to www.bplnj.org/ databases.html and click on the Corfacts link. This service is available from within the library and remotely with a valid Bloomfield Library card.

Harrison

Molly the Therapy Dog will be back at the library’s children’s room on the following dates: Thursday, Feb. 23; Thursday, March 15; Thursday, April 19 and Thursday, May 27, each date 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Due to the huge interest in the Paws to Read program, space is limited to the first 25 children each month. Story hour will start promptly at 3:30 p.m. Parents will be asked to wait in the upper level of the library. If you have any questions, email mdunphy@harrison.k12.nj.us or call the library.

Kearny

First Presbyterian Church, 663 Kearny Ave., is holding a Winter Blowout Sale on Saturday, Feb.25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sale items include clothing for the whole family, small household items, books and more.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, at 4:30 p.m. art teacher Desiree Mills will host a special art project honoring Dr. Seuss’s birthday for children ages 4 and up at the Kearny Branch Library, 759 Kearny Ave. The program will be free of charge. All other sup – plies will be provided by the library. For further information, please call the Main Library at (201) 998-2666. Check the library’s website <www.kearnylibrary.org> for more program information.

Kearny Seniors Inc. has lowered the age requirement for membership. Now, anyone age 50 or older may join the club. The group meets every Thursday morning at the Henrietta Benstead Building, 60 Columbia Ave., Kearny. Meetings start at 11:30 a.m. Hospitality, coffee, rolls and donuts are available, starting at 10 a.m. Members need not be Kearny residents.

Trinity Episcopal Church, 575 Kearny Ave., Kearny, welcomes all members of the community to celebrate Mardi Gras on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 6 to 10 p.m. The menu will feature buffet favorites, beverage and dessert. Following the dinner will be the crowning of the Mardi Gras King and Queen, the Mardi Gras procession to New Orleans style jazz, games, prizes and fun for all ages. A free-will donation will help cover the cost of the dinner. For more information, call the church office at 201-991-5894 on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1 to 6 p.m.

Roosevelt School PTA will host a Tricky Tray on March 22 to raise funds to support the purchase of educational tools, equipment and assemblies for the students, defray the cost of class trips and finance many family activities held at the school.

The PTA is asking local businesses for merchandise, gift cards/certificates or monetary donations to fill the prize baskets. All donations are tax deductible and all contributors will be recognized in a program for this event.

Donations may be sent to: Roosevelt School PTA, 733 Kearny Ave., Kearny, N.J. 07032. Make all checks or gift certificates payable to the Roosevelt School PTA.

Lyndhurst

The Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Ave., Lyndhurst, has a supply of both canned and dry dog food available to anyone that due to financial situations cannot feed their dog. Just stop by Mondays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or for more information, call 201-896-9300.

A Great Backyard Bird Count Walk will be held on Friday, Feb. 17, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst. This free, 90-minute guided walk will include keeping track of the number of species seen and the totals for each of those species, and sending them into the event organizers, the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This familyfriendly event is sponsored by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society. Check meadowblog. net for last-minute weather updates. Participants will have 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@ aol.com or 201-230-4983.

Lyndhurst V.F.W. Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., will host Karaoke on Friday, Feb. 17, starting at 7:30 p.m. The VFW hall is also available for rentals for all occasions. For more information, call the post at 201-939-3080.

A veteran’s ward party will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Chestnut Hill Extended Care facility, in Passaic, starting at 2:30 p.m. This party is being co-sponsored by Frances Cantore in memory of her husband James and by Vincent Troncone Sr. and his wife Vera in memory of his father Sabino Troncone If you would like to support these monthly programs, please contact American Legion Post 139, Rehabilitation Committee, Lyndhurst at 201-438-2255.

North Arlington

North Arlington Knights of Columbus, Queen of Peace Council #3428, will host its sixth annual Shrove Tuesday celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 21, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall on the corner of Belmont Ave. and River Road in North Arlington. The event will feature a traditional pancake meal along with foods representing different cultures from around the world. A video history and presentation on the background of this special day and its roots in the Christian calendar will also take place at the event.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for children 12 and under and can be purchased at the Queen of Peace Church rectory during regular operating hours or at the Council’s hall, Wednesday through Saturday after 4p.m. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Nutley

St. Mary’s Rosary Society in Nutley is hosting its second annual fish and chip dinner on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22. The dinner entrees are being prepared by The Thistle restaurant of Lyndhurst and will be served in Msgr. Walsh Hall in the basement of St. Mary’s Church, 17 Msgr. Owens Place in Nutley.

Take-out orders may be picked up between 4 and 5 p.m. that afternoon. From 5 to 6:30 p.m. that afternoon guests may pick up orders or dine in the Hall. A dult portions are $15 and child portions (for those under 14) are $7. Proceeds will benefit St. Mary’s Parish.

To place an order, please call the Parish Center at 973-235-1100. Tickets must be purchased before the event.

Nutley Public Library’s first annual Wii Winter Olympics will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. Healthy snacks and juice will be available. This event is for children only. Registration is not required.

Compete in a live action Angry Birds challenge at the library on Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m. Children must be age 12 and up to compete. Registration is required. Feel free to bring in plush Angry Birds. Check the teen website for further details at http://nutleypubliclibraryforteens. wordpress. com.

The Nutley Department of Park and Recreation announces registration is open for spring tennis lessons. The program will be directed under the supervision of Barry Rubach, an accredited member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and former Collegiate Champion. Classes range in age groups starting in first grade to adult sessions. The program will run for five weeks.

Online registration is now available for recreation programs at www.NutleyNj.org or forms may be turned in to the Parks and Recreation Department, 44 Park Ave., prior to the first session on April 13 at Msgr. Owens Park. Class sizes are limited and are filled on a firstcome, first-served basis. All rain dates will be made up at the end of the session.

For more information on this or any Recreation Program, please contact the department at (973) 284- 4966, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Kearny’s Gamero gets chance to play with Puerto Rican national soccer team

Photo courtesy NJIT Athletics/ Kearny’s Franco Gamero, now playing soccer at NJIT, will travel to play with the Puerto Rican national soccer team later this week.

 

By Jim Hague

When Cesar Markovic was hired last year as the new head soccer coach at New Jersey Institute of Technology, he told Kearny’s Franco Gamero that he had connections with the Puerto Rican national soccer team.

“It was the first day I met him,” said Gamero, who was a standout soccer player at Kearny High School before moving on to NJIT. “He asked me if I was Puerto Rican and he told me he had a friend involved with the Puerto Rican national team.”

Gamero’s mother is from Puerto Rico. His father is from Argentina, but he was born in the United States. When Markovic made that statement when the coach met the player for the first time, Gamero didn’t think much of it.

That is, until recently.

“I struck up a friendship years ago with the vice-president of the Puerto Rican Soccer Federation, Dariel Collazo,” Markovic said. “We became good friends. A couple of years ago, I had an opening at Stony Brook (where Markovic coached before NJIT) for an assistant coach and I brought Dariel in. He stayed with me for six seasons, then he went back to Puerto Rico.”

Collazo called Markovic and asked if he knew of any players who were of Puerto Rican descent. Markovic immediately thought of Gamero, a junior at NJIT who led the Highlanders in scoring last fall.

Markovic told Collazo that Gamero would be a good addition to the Puerto Rican national team, so Collazo invited Gamero to come to train with the squad for some international friendly contests against El Salvador and Nicaragua later this month.

“Honestly, when I first heard of this, I thought Coach (Markovic) was joking,” Gamero said. “I never thought I would get this kind of opportunity. But when he said it, then he called the coach and put me on the phone with him, I realized it was for real.”

Gamero leaves later this week for San Juan and will join the Puerto Rican national squad for the two contests and another opponent to be determined.

In essence, it’s like a tryout for Gamero, but it’s coming on the international soccer scene.

“They’re bringing in five or six guys from the United States who are Puerto Rican,” Gamero said. “It’s definitely the biggest opportunity of my life. There is nothing in my life I’m looking forward to more.”

“It’s a tremendous experience for Franco,” Markovic said. “He’s getting a chance and we’ll see where it goes. At the very least, he’ll get an international cap (appearance) out of it and that’s a tremendous experience in itself. No one will ever take that away from him.”

Markovic said that Puerto Rico is trying to develop its national team, so it’s a good situation for Gamero to be in.

“Puerto Rico is a country that is still trying to develop the game of soccer,” Markovic said. “But over the years, they are getting better. They are working their way up the ranks. They’re still a developing soccer country and it’s different than the other Latin American countries. But the growth has been tremendous and they’re developing a good soccer background.”

Gamero was asked if he would be ready to play competitive soccer again. After all, the Highlanders’ season ended in October.

“Coach Markovic has us all in full training mode, like it’s preseason,” Gamero said. “We’re doing workouts at 6 a.m. three times a week. We’re working with a strength and conditioning coach. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we have two-a-days. I feel like I’m in good stamina shape. We’ve also been working outside, because the weather has been nice. I’m pretty sure I’ll be alright, even though I really haven’t been playing.”

Gamero will be gone until the end of the month, traveling to Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

“This is definitely a door-opening situation, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Gamero said. “I have to take advantage of it. I honestly thought that it was first the U-23 (under 23) team, but it’s the real national team. I’m traveling to Central America with a chance to play internationally. This is the kind of stuff I only dreamed of. I’m thankful it’s happening.”

Markovic believes it’s a blessing for the entire NJIT soccer program.

“It gives us exposure and gives him tremendous experience,” Markovic said. “It gives Franco more of an understanding about international soccer and he can share that with his teammates. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

And definitely a dream come true for a kid from Kearny.

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