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It’s been a blessing for 75 years

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – On Sunday afternoon, at a Mass of Thanksgiving marking the 75th anniverary of the dedication of St. Stephen’s Church, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda stood in the sanctuary and gazed up at the breathtaking Gothic architecture and told the congregation that what he was viewing wasn’t […]

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Relic is missing from church

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  A sacred relic has been purloined from Holy Cross Church in Harrison, according to police and church officials. The religious artifact is believed by the church faithful to be a piece of the original Cross of Christ from Jerusalem and has […]

Ruling due on high school vote

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  EAST NEWARK –  East Newark wants to ask its residents, through a non-binding referendum, this question: “Should East Newark high school students be sent to Kearny High School instead of Harrison High School?” The borough wants the question to go on the […]

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Loving life in Harrison

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON – When a young Theodore Plasky moved with his mother to the Kingsland Court apartments in Harrison in 1959, they found it a welcome refuge. “We were staying at my cousin’s house in Fairview and the house blew up – I […]

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190M could flow to the Passaic

The Occidental Chemical Corp. has agreed to pay the State of New Jersey $190 million to resolve the company’s liability in the contamination of the Passaic River, state officials announced last week. Occidental is the legal successor to Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Co., which had manufactured pesticides and herbicides at its plant on […]

 
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A fight in East Germany

By Randy Neumann 

In early May, I was reading the Wall Street Journal while on a flight to Berlin for a business trip to Germany. The story in the Journal concerned the upcoming mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley. It was written by a college professor, Gordon Marino, whom I boxed in the 1960s. My business in Germany was also related to boxing. I was there to referee a world championship fight between International Boxing Federation Champion Sebastian the “Hurricane” Sylvester and challenger, Daniel “Real Deal” Geale (rhymes with deal).

My readers know that I have been in the financial services industry for some time: I started in 1979 as a banker. However, I got into the business of boxing in 1967 when I was a college freshman in New York City. I went to the West Side YMCA to stay in shape and began what became a 10-year career during which time I was rated as the No. 6 heavyweight contender in the United States and No. 9 in the world. Some of the people rated above me were named Ali, Foreman, Frazier, Quarry, and Young.

In the early 1980’s I began refereeing professional fights. Since then, I have refereed over 1,000 fights in eight countries of which 41 have been for world titles. This column is about the business of boxing, or, as former British heavyweight contender Frank Bruno observed, “Boxing is just show business with blood.”

Boxing and television go way back. After World War II when television was in its infancy, Joe Louis sold a lot of TV’s based on the advertising idea, “Buy a television and watch Joe Louis fight in your home.” In the 1950’s, there were the “Friday Night Fights” from Madison Square Garden hosted by Don Dunphy. In the 1960’s everybody watched “Wide World of Sports” with Jim McKay. In the 1970s, I fought Boone Kirkman on a nationally televised fight from Las Vegas. Today, there’s not much boxing on network TV, but it is on cable and pay-per-view.

On Saturday, May 7, Manny Pacquiao was guaranteed a minimum of $20 million to fight Shane Mosley who was guaranteed a minimum of $5 million. They probably got more, but the final figures are not yet released. Interestingly, the fight was not televised in Germany; instead, they did a broadcast of the Sylvester/ Gaele fight of which I was the referee. For their fight, champion Sylvester was paid $404,253 and challenger Geale received $157,000.

Over dinner the night before the fight, I got some insight on German boxing from matchmaker, Hagen Doering. He said, in a thick German accent, “You will never see Pacquiao fight on German TV. He is too small.” Although Pacquiao fought Mosley as a welterweight (148 pounds), he started as a flyweight (112 pounds). Doering continued, “The smallest division that we put on television in Germany is middleweight” (160 pounds).

I found this very interesting. One of the reasons that the sport of professional boxing is way down in America is that we no longer have the heavyweight champion. Americans will watch smaller divisions, but they prefer heavyweights, especially American heavyweights. Not surprising since America controlled the heavyweight championship for over 100 years.

The storied John L. Sullivan brought the heavyweight championship to America from Europe in 1885 and it stayed here, with a few brief exceptions, until this century. Then the Europeans took over, again, with Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko claiming most of the championships.

There are four major sanctioning bodies recognizing champions today (another reason for disenchantment with boxing). There are 17 weight divisions (there used to be eight), so there are 68 champions floating around the globe. Eight of them are Americans. In the last century, when there was one champion and eight divisions, America had most of them. Unfortunately, boxing has gone the way of manufacturing in America. It will need to get back the broad exposure of network TV in order to make a comeback.

My fight was in Neubrandenburg in what was the old East Germany. The city is 100 miles north of Berlin, 55 miles from Poland and 40 miles south of the Baltic Sea. Neu, pronounced noi, means new, but it’s not really new as it was settled by monks in 1240. The city still has its medieval walls over 20-feethigh and four huge gates. There is also a cool, smoke-filled bar in town with pictures of Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev.

The fight was held on Saturday night at the Jahnsportforum in front of 4,000 screaming fans. Fortunately for the “Real Deal,” the “Hurricane” wasn’t blowing too hard. Sylvester started quickly and won the first few rounds with his plodding style. Gaele, the more natural athlete, figured Sylvester out and gave him a boxing lesson for the rest of the fight. I had the best seat in the house and only had to break up the fighters a few times.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual.

Obituaries

Randy Barkowski

Randy Barkowski died on Jan. 17 in St. Michael’s Medical Center. He was 56.

Born in Orange, he was a lifelong Kearny resident.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A prayer service was held at the funeral home, followed by a private cremation.

Randy was a truck driver for Barttlestone Glass in Belleville.

He was the dear companion of Kathleen Donnenberg; the son of Irene and the late Chet Barkowski; step-father of Joseph Donnenberg; brother of Bob (Aline) Barkowski and the late Richard. He is also survived by his two pals, Wishbone and Jazmine.

In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to the ASPCA. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Frank M. Cardoza

 

 

Frank M. Cardoza, 93, died on Jan. 19 at home.

Born in Falls Port, Mass, he lived the majority of his life in Kearny.

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

Frank was a Naval Chief Quartermaster in the United States Navy during World War II and was past commander of the American Legion, U.V.O. and Amvets. He owned and operated Bendix Automat in Kearny for many years and was a Hudson County Sheriff’s officer and constable. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and a founding member of the Portuguese Cultural Association. He was twice-honored as Grand Marshall of Kearny’s Memorial Day Parade and was the 2008 Senior Citizen of the Year. He was the third ward democratic chairman for over 25 years and was recently a member of the U.E.Z. Board and was Kearny’s Deputy Mayor.

Husband of the late Lillian (nee Kearns), he is survived by his daughter and her husband, Veronica “Sandy” and Jim Doran. He was the grandfather of Jim Jr. (Elaine) Doran, Brian (Amanda) Doran, Sian-Elizabeth (Bob) Schoendorf and Shannon (Ryan) Murphy; great-grandfather of Jimmy, Chris, Sianna-Lee, Lilli-Ana, Emily, Robert and Payton; also surviving is his beloved nephew and wife Butch and Viviane Puopolo.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. To leave online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

Jack “Pin” Conlin

Jack “Pin” Conlin died on Jan. 20 at home. He was 53. Born in Newark, he was a lifelong Kearny resident.

Arrangements are by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive ,Kearny. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 11 a.m. in the funeral home. Entombment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Jack was a crane operator for Sims Metal and Recycling in Jersey City. He served twice in the Army, first right out of high school and then re-enlisted some years later and served in Desert Storm. He was an avid sports fan.

He is survived by his sisters and their husbands Debra and Stephen Andrews, Diana and Jim Eggie, Donna Conlin-Sawler (the late Richard) and Denise and Juan Dominguez; also surviving are 11 nieces and nephews and three great-nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers kindly consider a donation to Kearny Little League c/o the funeral home. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Helene Poulos

 

Helene Poulos, (nee Hanna) 66, of Lyndhurst, died on Monday, Jan. 16.

Mrs. Poulos was born in Jersey City, lived in Kearny for 25 years, and was a current resident of Lyndhurst.

Helene was a real estate broker serving the West Hudson and South Bergen area for over 20 years, then became owner of Park Avenue Realty, East Rutherford, for the past few years.

She served as a director and member of the Meadowlands Board of Realtors and as chairperson of their educational committee. In Lyndhurst, she was a member of the Emblem Club and the Elks.

Helene is predeceased by her daughter, Renee in 1983. She is survived by her beloved husband, Dennis Poulos; her loving daughter, Denise King and her husband, Joseph; her dear granddaughters, Renee and Denise King; her brothers, Arthur Van Horn and his wife Linda and George Hanna and his wife, Barbara, and by many nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held in the Nazare Memorial Home, Inc., 403 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Greater New Jersey Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 2 University Plaza, Suite 312, Hackensack, NJ 07601 or Vitas Hospice, 70 S. Orange Ave., Livingston, N.J., 07039

Please visit us at www.nazarefuneralhome.com.

Catherine A. Riposta

Catherine A. Riposta (nee Aruscavage) died on Jan. 21 in Columbus Hospital in Newark. She was 82. Born in Duryea, Pa., she lived most of her life in Kearny.

Arrangements are by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 11 a.m. in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kearny. Interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Catherine is the wife of the late Louis Riposta. She is survived by her daughter Dawn Callahan, her brother Philip Aruscavage, along with her nieces and nephews Joyce Delguercio and Nancy Chippendale and Nicholas and Louis Callahan.

In lieu of flowers kindly consider a donation to the Diabetes Association. To leave online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Bertha Skiptunis

Bertha (Rock) Skiptunis, 85, died on Jan. 19 at her home in Kearny.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral liturgy was offered in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kearny, followed by interment in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.

Bertha was born in Center Township, Pa. She has lived in Kearny since 1981.

She was employed as a clerk at Engelhard Industries in Newark for many years.

Ms. Skiptunis is survived by her loving siblings Genevieve Stutz, Alice Fenton, Sophie Kurpell, Estelle Sofko , Edward Rock and many nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband Leo and sisters Mary Dewey and Virginia Borowski and brother Stanley Rock.

Michael J. Tortorello

Michael J. Tortorello, died on Jan. 16 in the Hackensack Hospice. He was 40.

Born in Belleville, he lived in Kearny before moving to Lyndhurst 12 years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny. Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Mike was a firefighter in the Town of Kearny and was a member of the Harrison Elks and Knights of Columbus.

He is survived by his wife Sharon (nee Gilmore); his father Michael; his children Michael, Alexa and Gina and his brother Mark and sister Carly. His mother, Carol, died only two years ago.

In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to Relay for Life c/o the funeral home.

 

Cops find man with loaded gun just 2 blocks from headquarters

By Jeff Bahr

On Jan. at 2:57 p.m., in the area of Williams St. and Washington Ave., police noticed a man as he entered an apartment building where an unknown tenant confronted him. After the conversation, he continued walking north on Washington Ave. and raised his hood over his head. He then slipped down an alleyway at 252 Washington Ave. When he emerged at the other end of the alleyway, police stopped him.

They noticed that the man was covering an area near his stomach with his hands. When he removed his hands from his pockets, at least one of the cops saw that the man was carrying a gun in his waistband. After shouting “gun!” police took the would-be assailant down to the ground. The man, Joshua Rafael Price, 21, of Newark, was subsequently arrested and taken to headquarters. He was charged with possession of a handgun and possession of a controlled dangerous substance. He carried a $15,000 warrant out of Newark, and a no-bail-warrant from Essex County. He is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the county jail.

The retrieved gun, a Smith & Wesson 9mm, was reportedly stolen from Greensboro, N.C. It contained 10 rounds of live ammunition in its chambers.

In other Belleville Police happenings:

Jan. 19

At 8:37 a.m., a motor vehicle was reported stolen at 28 Naples Ave. The owner of the vehicle said that she had started her 2006 Toyota Corolla to warm it up. She then went back inside her house. When she returned, the car was gone. The vehicle also contained her purse and cell phone.

At 11:20 p.m. Police noticed a man pacing back and forth at the 550 block of Washington Ave. They observed the man approach a parked Jeep, stopping to speak with its driver and another occupant. After walking around for a spell, the man returned to the Jeep and the trio drove away. Police stopped the vehicle. Inside they found two bolt cutters, assorted screwdrivers and a metal saw. None of the occupants would admit to owning the tools. After an I.D. check, police discovered that the driver had a suspended license and carried active warrants. One of the passengers was found with marijuana in his possession. He also carried outstanding warrants. The three men, all from East Orange, were arrested and processed.

Kaif Jones, 25, was charged with possession of burglary tools and released.

Juan Kinchin, 19, was found to have a $133 warrant out of Newark. He was charged with possession of burglary tools and possession of marijuana. He was taken to the county jail where his bail was set at $2,500.

Earl Hale, 22, was found to carry a $1,000 warrant out of Newark. He was charged with possession of burglary tools and driving while suspended. He was also transported to the county jail where his bail was set at $2,500.

Jan. 18

At 9:10 p.m., police observed a man lingering near parked vehicles in the Franklin Ave. area. Cognizant of the rash of auto thefts that have occurred there recently, officers approached the man. As they were asking him questions, the man blurted out, “I did time for car (expletive) already… I don’t mess around anymore!”

When it was learned that the man carried a $258 warrant out of Newark, police attempted to arrest him but the man became agitated and began resisting. He swung and struck one officer several times with his fists before he was finally subdued. As a result of the scuffle, the officer sustained a laceration on one of his fingers. Victorio Rios, 30, of Newark, was charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault on police. He is being held at the county jail in lieu of $15,000 bail.

Jan. 17

A man standing near parked cars at Watchung Ave. and Cross St. was stopped for questioning. He was found to have two outstanding warrants totaling $901 out of the Town of Englewood. Ramadeen Yancey, 37, of Newark, was turned over to Englewood authorities.

At 5:03 a.m., a victim at 24 Lloyd St. called police to report the theft of a 2001 gold Ford Taurus. Like the incident that occurred only two days before, the victim stated that the vehicle had been left unattended while it was warming up.

Jan. 16

At 9:52 a.m., police were driving down Watchung Ave. when they were flagged down by an apartment superintendant. He told police that a man he knew had stolen a coin box from a dryer. He also mentioned a previously unreported burglary of tools from the apartment’s tool room and said he suspected that the same man was responsible. As the superintendent gave his account, the man in question walked past the officers. Orlando Claudio, 41, of Newark, was arrested and charged with burglary, theft and receiving stolen property. He is being held on $10,000 bail at the county jail.

Jan. 15

When police performed a random plate check on a silver Mercedes Benz near 519 Washington Ave., the plates came back as belonging to a silver Jaguar. When officers pulled the car over and asked the man for his credentials, he replied that he “didn’t have them with him” and supplied police with a name that proved to be false. The man, 38-year-old Terrence L. Jones of Belleville was charged with hindering apprehension. He was also found to be carrying a $500 warrant out of Newark, and a $200 warrant out of Ocean County. He is being held at the county jail on undisclosed bail.

At 12:21 a.m., police pulled over a 2009 Mitsubishi at Newark Ave. and Rocco St. after they noticed that the driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt. A background check revealed that the man was driving with a revoked license and that he carried several outstanding warrants. Michael Nobre, 24, of Fairlawn, was arrested for warrants and issued several motor vehicle summonses. His vehicle was released to his girlfriend.

At 2:47 p.m., police were dispatched to the C&A Auto Shop at 127 Belleville Ave. where a burglar alarm had been tripped. When they arrived, they noticed that a garage door window was missing. Inside the building, a closet door and multiple drawers and cabinets had been opened. A window was found shattered, and a jar filled with change was found on the floor. The owner said he didn’t notice anything missing at this time.

At 10:24 p.m., a vehicle was reported stolen from 23 Brook St. It had been parked there only two hours earlier. The owner eventually found the car in Newark.

Fraudulent check leads to arrest in Lyndhurst

Jan. 18

At 5:14 p.m. police arrested Skye Rivera, 18, of Warwick, N.Y., on charges of trying to pass a bad check and forgery at the Chase Bank on Stuyvesant Ave. Police said Rivera tried to cash a fraudulent check made out to her in the amount of $1,087.82. She was sent to the Bergen County Jail, Hackensack, on $15,000 bail with a 10% cash option, pending court action.

Jan. 17

At 9:50 p.m., police discovered three Lyndhurst teenagers consuming beer while sitting in a car parked in the N.J. Transit lot on Park Ave. Three girls, two aged 16 and one, 17, and one boy, age 17, were charged with underage drinking in a motor vehicle and having open containers of alcohol in a motor vehicle. They were released pending appearances in juvenile court. Police said the car was registered to the mother of one of the teens.

Jan. 15

Police were called to the Sidowski Shell station on Ridge Road at 9:13 p.m. where an attendant told them that two males had just taken two cigarette lighters without paying and left. Police said the pair were spotted entering a residence about a block away and were grabbed there. Police charged John Sanchez, 19, of Fairlawn, and his pal, a 15-year-old Paterson boy, with disorderly conduct and shoplifting. They were released pending court action. Police went to the Lyndhurst Diner on Riverside Ave. at 3:51 a.m. to deal with an unruly customer. After she began yelling at the officers, Tiffany Crespo, 29, of Manhattan, was given a summons charging her with disorderly conduct and released pending a court appearance. Police said Crespo may have been intoxicated.

“Music at the Mansion” soars on Sunday, Jan. 29

Sean Harkness

 

Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, in association with NiCori Studios and Productions, announce a new installment of the monthly concert series, “Music at the Mansion”, on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3 p. m.  Performers to include January include singer Wendy Lane Bailey, the husband-and-wife cabaret and songwriting team of David Alpher (pianist/composer) and Jennie Litt (singer/lyricist), and solo bass and guitar recording artist with Windham Hill Records (BMG), Sean Harkness!

Wendy Lane’s performances in venues across the country have earned critics’ praises for her versatility and sophistication. She has appeared as a guest artist on multiple recordings including those of pop legend Leslie Gore and Broadway’s Susan Egan.

The cabaret and songwriting team of David Alpher (pianist/composer), an NYU graduate and Jennie Litt (singer/lyricist), a graduate of Harvard, have been hailed “among the premier cabaret acts,” and a “perfect musical ensemble”.   They have delighted audiences with cabaret shows that offer in-depth explorations of the Great American Songbook.

Guitarist Sean Harkness recently garnered both the Outstanding Instrumentalist of 2011 Backstage Bistro Award, and a MAC Award (Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets) for his New York solo shows.  Sean has appeared as an artist and sideman extensively in New York’s finest jazz venues including the Blue Note, Smoke, Small’s, the Jazz Standard, Birdland, Iridium, Feinstein’s, Edison Ballroom, Mile’s Café, the Metropolitan Room, St. Nick’s, and Top Of The Rock at Rockefeller Center.  He has six commercial recordings released to date.

“Music at the Mansion” is a series showcasing talented performers from NYC and NJ.  The series is hosted by NYC Cabaret singer and Bloomfield resident Corinna Sowers – Adler and features Deborah Martin on piano.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

Tickets are $10 per person and are available at the door or by calling 973-429-0960 to make reservations.  Seating begins at 2:30 p.m.  Light refreshments will be served.  Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center is located at 240 Belleville Ave., Bloomfield.  For more information, please contact info (at) corinnasings.com or call Oakeside at 973-429-0960.

 

 

Tri-County Camera Club to hold reception for members’ work at Nutley Library

Photos by Tri-County Camera Club members

 

The Tri-County Camera Club will exhibit members’ work at the Nutley Free Public Library during the month of February, and will hold a reception for the exhibit on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Attendees will learn what makes a good photograph, how camera clubs can help you to improve your photography, and how to turn your own successful photographs into coffee table books. They will also learn more about photography at a mini workshop given by a Tri-County member. Finally, members will review and critique single photographs or portfolios that photographers bring to the reception.

Subject matter on the walls of the library throughout the month will include nature images, such as flowers and birds, architectural images, and landscape and close-up images. All photographs have won ribbons in recent Tri-County competitions and provide an excellent sample of current work done in the club.

The reception has been designed to promote the club’s activities during the remainder of the 2011-2012 season, which will feature a series of informational programs designed to help amateur photographers take more creative and more professional pictures. Other meetings will feature regular club competitions.

All meetings begin at 8 p.m. at Nutley High School, and are held in the teachers’ cafeteria. The general public may attend all meetings at no cost, but must be members to compete.

For further information, please go to the club website at tricountycameraclub.com, or call 973-820-7111.

 

Lyndhurst Kindergarten registration

Superintendent of Schools, Tracey L. Marinelli has announced that Kindergarten registration for the Lyndhurst Public Schools will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, and Friday, Feb. 10, at the Lyndhurst High School Auditorium, Fern Avenue from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. respectively.

Students who will be five years of age by Oct. 1st, or up to seven years of age and entering the public schools for the first time, may register for Kindergarten.

 Please note: Students presently in Lyndhurst Township’s program for pre-kindergarten have to register for kindergarten.

Children within these age limits are to be registered and admitted only once during the school year, and then only until Oct. 1.

The following information is needed to register:  Birth certificate, record of immunizations (current physical exam required prior to 9/1/12), custody papers (if applicable), proof of residency (3 DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED): 

1. Deed or proof of mortgage or current lease or rent receipt

2. Utility bill

3. Driver’s license (preferred) or another form of identification showing Lyndhurst residency.

Students entering the Lyndhurst public schools for the first time are required to present documentation of a current medical examination and the required immunizations. Physician’s examination forms are included in the registration packets.  Please check that your kindergarten age child has had his/her last DPT or polio booster after their 4th birthday.  Additionally, every child born after January 1, 1990 will be required to have received three (3) doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine, and every child born on or after January 1, 1998 will be required to have received one dose of the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine prior to entry into Kindergarten. 

You will be required to present documentation of the above vaccination requirements and a physical examination by a medical physician in September prior to the 2012-2013 school year.

Registration packets will be available on Jan. 27 online at www.lyndhurstschools.net or at the Board of Education Office, 420 Fern Avenue, 2nd Floor.   Parents are urged to pick up the packet prior to registration dates; however, they will be available at the time of registration.  Packets must be returned in person during registration week (child need not be present).

 

 

Vet returns home

 

Photo courtesy Auri Retana/ From l.: Abrianna Rose, Carlos A. Pinto, Celina Pinto, Carlos M. Pinto and Auri Retana.

 

By Jeff Bahr

 EAST NEWARK - There is perhaps no day as special as that blessed day when a soldier finally returns from war. Just ask the family of Navy Petty Officer First- Class Carlos Pinto, 28, an East Newark resident who recently returned to his loving brood after various tours of duty, including stints in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.

When Auri Retana contacted The Observer only a few days before her brother’s Jan. 16 return from Afghanistan, she sounded upbeat. Like any concerned and loving sister she was thrilled that her sibling would soon be back, safe and sound with his family.

Auri told me of the many sleepless nights that her mother Celina and father Carlos Sr. spent while their son was serving in faraway and dangerous parts of the world. “It was a nervewracking experience for my parents,” said Auri, whose ebullient tone suggested that the lead weight of worry had finally been lifted from her family’s shoulders.

It’s been a long time in coming. Pinto, who graduated from Harrison High School in 2001, signed on with the Navy just a short time before the occurrence of the 9/11 attacks. After Congress authorized military action in Iraq, Pinto found himself in the thick of things serving aboard the U.S.S. Cowpens, a Ticonderogaclass missile carrier. The vessel, based out of Japan, became the first U.S. Navy ship to fire a missile salvo in the opening stages of the war when it launched 37 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Later in Pinto’s career, he saw his rank rise to E6 Petty Officer First-Class. His most recent deployment was a six-month tour in Afghanistan as a member of the joint U.S. Army/Navy Task Force Paladin where he functioned as a member of the Joint Command Supporting Staff E.O.D. (explosive ordinance demolitions).

Through all of this, Pinto’s five-year-old daughter, Abrianna, and his girlfriend, Emily, patiently waited for that special day when the family would be reunited. Their prayers were finally answered on Monday, Jan. 16 when Pinto returned to them.

When asked his personal feelings about returning home, Pinto, still stationed in Afghanistan, sounded relieved more than anything – not at all surprising given the stress associated with such perilous duty. “I’m just happy to be coming back,” said Pinto with a hearty chuckle.

He then offered up his thanks to his family for their “continued support” as well as the many others who stood by him along the way. “I’d like to thank everyone for all of their support,” said Pinto, “especially Ms. Shirley Becker (a Newark resident) who has sent countless care packages to myself and my military buddies.” Their “care and concern” was truly appreciated, added Pinto.

 

 

 

Another supermarket folding

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Store will be closing in March.

 

By Ron Leir

KEARNY — Kearny is losing a supermarket.

The Pathmark store, located next to Marshalls on the west side of Passaic Ave. near Bergen Ave., will be closing in early March, according to an official notice sent to employees.

That leaves ShopRite as the lone remaining supermarket on the west side of town and A&J Seabra on Schuyler Ave. on the east.

Kearny’s Pathmark is one of 14 stores owned by the parent company, A&P, spread among four states that will be shuttered as part of an economic restructuring of the company.

A&P stores in Garfield and Bayonne are among the casualties. Others are: Pathmarks in Manahawkin and Egg Harbor, in East Islip and Mt. Vernon, N.Y, and in Upper Moreland, Pa.; an A&P in Danbury, Conn.; and five Waldbaums in West Babylon, Rockville Centre, Lake Ronkonkoma, Huntington Station and Commack, N.Y.

In October 2010, the Pathmark in Belleville shut its doors and the property owner continues to search for a replacement retail tenant for that Washington Ave. space.

Management representatives at the Kearny Pathmark deferred comment to A&P corporate headquarters in Montvale which issued a press release Jan. 9 saying that A&P “… has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York seeking approval to close 14 stores in (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut) as the Company prepares to emerge from Chapter 11. The store closures are expected to be completed in the Company’s fiscal first quarter, subject to court approval.”

A&P President/CEO Sam Martin characterized the 14 stores as “underperforming locations.”

“While this was a very difficult decision that will unfortunately impact some of our customers, partners, (employees) and the surrounding communities, these actions are absolutely necessary as we continue to strengthen A&P’s operating foundation and improve our performance,” Martin said.

“As part of the store closing process, A&P will work to facilitate future store assignments based on (employees’) collective bargaining agreements,” he said.

No plans have been announced for what, if anything, will come to replace the 58,643 square foot retail property.

Vornado Realty Trust, which owns the land containing the store and parking lot, has declined comment on the situation, according to spokesman Mark Semer.

Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos called the pending closure “disappointing to hear. We’ll be losing a key retail establishment on Passaic Ave. I’m hoping we will work with Vornado to attract a quality retailer to that site.”

Santos added: “The supermarket industry in general is facing challenging times. When there were bankruptcies and a round of supermarket closings last year, we were all relieved that the Kearny location wasn’t on the list. The supermarket business tends to be competitive and we have a relatively high number for the small geographic area we’re in.”

A&P, once the owner of 16,000 stores in the 1930s, has a bit more than 300 left, according to Wikipedia. Faced with an increased debt load to complete the purchase of the Pathmark chain, it closed 25 stores in October 2010 and in December 2010 it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Thirty-two more stores closed in Spring 2011 and another 25 folded in July 2011. In November 2011, the company announced it would get nearly $500 million in debt and equity financing from private investors to facilitate a private restructuring, subject to Bankruptcy Court approval, by early 2012.

If A&P had been thinking of shedding its Kearny store, then one might wonder why the company only recently invested $65,000 in capital improvements to the facility, as reflected in records it filed with the Kearny UEZ (Urban Enterprise Zone) office in May 2011 when it looked to be recertified for inclusion in the UEZ zone.

UEZ files show that the Pathmark store employs 34 full-time and 82-part-time workers in various capacities but one union official said that as many as 129 employees, including managers and maintenance, would be affected.

Tommy Fuchs, a 38-year employee with A&P who has worked at the Kearny Pathmark since it opened 18 years ago and a shop steward with Local 1262, United Food & Commercial Workers union, which represents grocery and produce workers, said that members of his local and Local 464 (meat, deli and seafood) received federallymandated 60-day notices that the store will close March 10.

Fuchs, a Bloomfield resident, said that employees can exercise “bumping” rights by seniority to claim work in other stores “but there’s definitely going to be some job loss.”

Most of the workers live in Kearny, he said. “A lot of them drive,” said Fuchs, “but they could be transferred to stores in Ramsey or Elmora (a section of Elizabeth).”

Hourly wages range from about $10 to about $24 an hour, according to Fuchs.

Probably the most senior employee at the Kearny Pathmark is Belleville’s Frank Bambo, an assistant manager in the foods section now in his 41st year with A&P. “I never thought I’d see the day where they’d close,” he said. “The executives are still getting bonuses (but) in our last contract we gave back 4.8% of our pay because we were told if you don’t accept this, they’re going to close stores.”

It didn’t seem to matter.

Shoppers randomly interviewed at the store last week were all unhappy about the news.

Anne Caveney, who came with her twin sister Helen Caveney from Harrison, said: “I don’t want to see it close. It’s another loss for Kearny and for the economy and for the people working here.”

“It’s horrible,” said Newark shopper Yanya Lancaster, a loyal customer for the past 12 years. It’s her preferred store because “I know where everything is and I like the prices and the products.”

Kearny’s Dominique Zdichocki said she learned about the closing from two friends who work at the store, one for a decade and the other for about a year. Her friend Darlene Zuffanti added: “It’s just a shame it’s closing after all these years. It’s terrible what’s happening. The economy’s already bad and nobody’s hiring.”

Still, one employee managed to look back on his store experience with some pleasure.

Seafood clerk Paul Paternina posted this observation on Facebook: “As I speak with this elderly lady, as I steam her snow crab, I’m reminded why I stayed in this job in the first place: to help people, to help my customers, to make their lives a little better. It was never about the organization; it was always about helping others and putting smiles on their faces. No matter how small a position might seem, one is always in (a) position to make a difference in someone’s life.”

 

 

 

Man robs local bank; suspect still at large

 

By Anthony J. Machcinski

KEARNY — The Chase Bank, located on the corner of Kearny and Johnston Aves. was robbed in broad daylight on the morning of Jan. 10.

A male entered the bank around 10:03 a.m. and handed the teller a handwritten note, demanding $3,000. He then told the teller, “Don’t be stupid, I have a gun” – a claim that couldn’t be proven or disproven since he never physically produced the weapon.

The suspect (as described by Scene Incident Commander Det. Sergeant Robert Maguire) is described as a white or Hispanic male between 5’8” and 6’ tall and 35-45 years of age. Dressed in a 3/4 length jacket, dark pants and a wool hat with a scarf or a band covering his mouth, he has an average build and a larger than average nose. He walks slightly hunched over.

After leaving the bank with $2,000 the suspect moved south towards Johnston Ave. Initial reports mentioned that the suspect may have entered a car waiting on the Harrison border, but that report has since been disproved.

Kearny police and the F.B.I. are investigating the incident. Police collected evidence from the bank, as well as from the written note. It was then turned over to the F.B.I. in Washington, D.C. for analysis.

Maguire doesn’t feel that this robbery is part of a string. He believes that it was conducted as a “need for cash” robbery.

Officer John Plaugic will be the lead detective for the case.

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