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Classmates in court

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY–  The three young men, pictured above in their Kearny High School yearbook photos, had their whole lives ahead of them. Who knew where the future would take them? No one would have guessed that, a bit more than a decade later, it […]

Serial robber guilty

TRENTON – An accused serial robber has admitted to playing a role in 11 robberies, primarily of drug stores, in Harrison, Newark and Jersey City over a period of eight months, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. On July 21, Christopher Mojica, 23, pleaded guilty to […]


Blue ranks get reinforcements

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent LYNDHURST – Talk about parallel life paths: Joseph White and Matthew Giunta went to pre-school (St. Michael’s) together, then to Franklin Elementary School, then Lyndhurst High. And, last Friday, they entered the Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah to begin […]


Slow-paced developments

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  BELLEVILLE –  It’s been a year and two months since Gov. Chris Christie presided at a ballyhooed groundbreaking for Franklin Manor, an age-restricted 137-unit apartment complex for those 55 and over – the first such senior development for Belleville in more than three decades. […]


Still waiting for wall’s restoration

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  A property dispute between a longtime Harrison business and some neighbors that has been simmering for a few years now appears to be coming to a boil. Smack in the middle of the controversy are Bergen St. homeowners Victor and Eleanor Villalta […]



To the Publisher:
While President Obama is pardoning two turkeys for Thanksgiving, every one of us has that same presidential power by choosing a non-violent Thanksgiving observance that spares a turkey’s life.
And here are some good reasons:
•You are what you eat. Who wants to be a “butterball”?
• Your kids can tell their friends about their cool “Tofurky.”
•You won’t have to call Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.
• Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels.
• Animal advocates, including some of your best friends, will cherish you.
• You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.
• You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.
• Your body will appreciate a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones.
Seriously, this Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health, and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free feast of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Our own dinner will feature a “Tofurky,” lentil roast, mashed potatoes, corn stuffing, stuffed squash, candied yams, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.
An internet search on vegetarian Thanksgiving provides more recipes and other useful information than you can imagine!

Kenneth Miller

Happy ending to church’s dilemma

By Ron Leir

Kearny –
On the surface, the job seemed simple enough.
The City of Hope Church International, a non-denominational Christian house of worship that occupies the old Sacred Heart orphanage facility, wanted to convert its heating system from oil to gas so it needed a connection to a gas line.
Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) was ready and willing to supply the connection by digging up a section of Wilson Ave. and installing the pipe.
But here’s where the complications entered.
The Town of Kearny, which has to issue a permit for a street excavation, has a law on the books which prohibits opening a street “into the driving lanes” for five years after it’s been paved over, unless there’s an emergency situation or unless it’s authorized by the mayor and Town Council.
And if there is a reopening permitted, either the utility or the customer must pay for a “curb-to-curb” repaving of the street.
The proposed street cut, to accommodate City of Hope Church, involves a section of Wilson Ave. that was last repaved two years ago, according to Town Administrator/Construction Code Official Michael J. Martello.
Given the restrictions of the town ordinance, it appeared that the church was stuck.
If the town governing body were to bend and allow the digging to go forward, PSE&G spokesman Deann Muzikar said that the utility, “provided an estimate to the customer for the gas service installation … (at) 22 Wilson Ave. … for open trench excavation, which is the guaranteed method for this type of project.”
However, Muzikar added, “The associated road restoration does not include milling and paving, which is preferred by Kearny.” And that method “could result in a potential cost to the customer …,” Muzikar said.
The utility would pay for labor, materials, traffic-control and road restoration,  Muzikar said. The church’s “non-fuel revenue credit” would cover those costs, Muzikar said.
City of Hope decided to go public at the last Kearny Town Council meeting with its hard luck story in hopes that municipal officials would come to its support since that expense would be something City of Hope would be “uncomfortable” with, said Marian D’Alessandro, a member of the church’s leadership group.
“As someone who’s lived here all my life, and as a property owner, I applaud the efforts of the town to keep our streets safe,” D’Alessandro said. “But we still need heat for our school and day care program which operate five days a week, as well as Sundays for worship services and Sunday School.”
D’Alessandro said the church has already invested $75,000 in the heating system changeover from oil to “a green and clean gas unit.” Now, all that’s needed to make it complete, she said, is the installation of a gas pipe from the street to the church property.
In the meantime, City of Hope has continued operating with the existing oil heating system.
As a conciliatory gesture to the church, Martello said the Town Council was conditioning approval of four road opening permits sought by PSE&G – for locations on Johnston Ave., Rutherford Pl. and Wilson Ave. (not the church site) to install gas service and on S. Hackensack Ave. to relocate a gas service – on the church “being appropriately serviced.”
The council did grant the utility permission to dig at Davis Ave. and Tappan St. to replace a 16-inch gas main to correct a leak there.
D’Alessandro said that the town’s action “has made the situation more palatable and we hope to get this resolved as soon as practically possible. … Between the church, the town and PSE&G, we hope to resolve this in a fair and just manner.”
And, in fact, that’s just what happened.
PSE&G and Kearny agreed on the use of a pneumatic piercing tool, “which requires only excavating one single hole in the roadway,” explained Muzikar. And, “the town is allowing PSE&G to restore the roadway using infrared paving technology, which keeps the cost … free of charge to the customer.”
The work was done this past weekend.
The Rev. David Manzo, the church’s senior pastor, thanked Martello and town officials for their cooperation.
Now grateful church workers are busying themselves with the preparation and distribution of more than 100 turkey baskets from their pantry to the needy for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Nutley high school girl dies suddenly

By Ron Leir

The November 17th passing of a Nutley high-school girl, 17, is under investigation. The cause of death hasn’t been released and members of the Nutley Police Dept., Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and North Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office are reviewing the case.
Police said that officers and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were called to the Oakridge Ave. home at 11:00 p.m., Nov. 16 to aid an “unresponsive female.” There they attempted to revive the victim, identified as Danielle Orna, 17, but were unsuccessful. The young woman was transported to Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville where she was pronounced dead on the following morning.
Thus far, police have declined to disclose the cause of death, or whether an autopsy has been conducted, despite repeated attempts by The Observer to gather such information. Nutley School Board president James Kuchta had no comment.
An official police statement said: “Police and High School administrators have been working together in an effort to console and counsel family and friends.
“Police Chief John Holland and Police Director Alphonse Petracco extend condolences to Danielle’s family and friends and offered any assistance that they may need in this time of sorrow.”
At press time, Nutley High School’s website still carried the original statement issued on Thursday, Nov. 17:  “Tragically, one of our Nutley High School students passed away unexpectedly earlier this morning. All of our thoughts and sympathies are with the family. Counselors have been made available throughout the day to assist students throughout the district. We are acting as one community, supporting everyone through this difficult time. “
The school district listed a number of outside resources where students and staff can locate grief-counseling services. Nutley Schools Supt. Russell Lazovick said he met with members of the Orna family last Thursday morning. He said Danielle was a “very strong student, on the honor roll,” whose death came very hard to the high school where she was well liked. “ Everyone’s in a state of shock.” Lazovick added that the district is working with the family to arrange a memorial observance in Danielle’s honor at some point.

North Jersey country to play Donegal Saloon

Photo courtesy of Mike Martello/ Members of Secret Country, from l., are: Joe Hart, Jason Monaco, Eric Mason, Tim Siegle, Yan Izquierdo, Matt Siegle


By Anthony J. Machcinski

While Donegal Saloon in Kearny has featured several bands with musical influences tied to southern rock and country, not many of these country bands have hailed from North Jersey. On Nov. 23, Secret Country, featuring several Kearny residents, will play Donegal Saloon and bring a country twang from north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Started by vocalist/guitarists Eric Mason and Jay Monaco, Secret Country originally formed after Mason and Monaco’s reggae band had broken up.
“We would just have our acoustic guitars, showing how simple and catchy country songs could be,” said Mason. “We just started playing and it was a natural progression.”
As random as the band’s roots and transition may have been, their success surely hasn’t been as random. With two CD’s since their inception in 2008, as well as several successful shows, the band has started to gain popularity.
“Very favorably,” answered Mason after he was asked how the band has been received. “It’s something new for people around here. A North Jersey country band isn’t something that you see. We have a very entertaining live show and it gets a little rowdy.”
The rowdiness of the shows has been a constant since the band played its first gig at Donegal Saloon a few years ago.
“Our first show we had was at Donegal and it was about two weeks after the band was formed,” Monaco remembered. “We just all could remember everything. We were flying by the seat of our pants. People started dancing right away and we had that great response.”
While initial response to the band has been favorable, the members realize that attracting future fans might not always be as easy.
“At first, people are hesitant to be there listening to a country band but when they listen to it they love it,” explained Monaco. “We just got to think to ourselves that we have to be ourselves.”
If this band follows Monaco’s dictum and maintains their integrity, they can be a largely successful country band.
The band has an undeniable chemistry that shines through in their music. Country music is a simple yet complex art form. If even one member of the band is off slightly, the music will sound like a train wreck.
Secret Country is able to use their unique chemistry to perfect the timing it takes to be successful. This timing is exceedingly evident in the songs, “Temptations” and “Women and Whiskey and Nightlife.” These two songs, both with vastly different tempos, still sound great, despite all the synchronization needed to give their songs the proper melody.
Another song where the band shows off their talent is on their version of the Charlie Daniels’ song, “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” As in the original version, the mandolin is still the featured instrument. Staying in line with the original version, Secret Country mandolin player Yan Izquierdo never overshadows the band’s performance with his solos.
While it takes many years for most bands to find this rhythm and chemistry, Secret Country has done this in only two, which can be attributed to the bands varying musical interests and appreciations.
“We were all in different bands (before Secret Country),” explained Monaco, who pointed out that these included musical forms like reggae, punk, and progressive-rock. “Little by little we all just started bringing our influences into the band,” Monaco added.
With the show at Donegal just around the corner, Secret Country grows more and more excited at the prospect of playing in front of their hometown crowd.
“It’s great to be there for when people come home and to see the same people all the time who notice our progression,” explained Mason.
“This is like home base,” Monaco said. “We’re playing the show next week. We always have a great reception and everyone is home for the holidays. It’s great to play a show in Kearny!”

Lyndhurst blotter: Pursuing a lead pays off

Photo courtesy of Lyndhurst PD/ Orlando Valle

Follow-up investigative work helped lead to the arrest of an accused thief who, Lyndhurst police suspect, had been targeting older female shoppers as his prey.
On Nov. 10, at around 6 p.m., two women shopping at the ShopRite on New York Ave. reported to store security that someone had removed wallets from their pocketbooks while they were moving about the store.
Some of the contents from those wallets were later recovered in the store but one of the women told police she lost $120 in cash.
On Oct. 26, a similar theft was reported by another Shop-Rite patron who lost credit cards in the process. Soon after, police learned that someone had used one of those cards to make a purchase at a store in Clifton.
Fortunately, police said, that person was captured on the store’s surveillance camera videotape and they were able to extract an image of him from the tape. They subsequently shared this image with ShopRite security employees in case the man returned to the store.
Which, apparently, he did, police said.
At 3:40 p.m. on Nov. 12, ShopRite security personnel pounced on Orlando Valle, 52, of Rutherford, after Valle had allegedly taken the purse of an 88-year-old Belleville female shopper.
Valle was charged with theft and ordered held at the Bergen County Jail on $10,000 bail, no 10%, pending court action.
He will likely face theft charges from police in other towns where stolen cards were used, police said.
Police encourage shoppers to exercise caution when carrying their valuables.
In other criminal activity during the past week, police reported these items:

Nov. 15
2:22 a.m. — Police pulled over the driver of a 2010 Honda traveling east on Kingsland Ave. near Weart Ave. after being clocked doing 46 mph in a 25 mph zone.
Tara Bruce, 21, of Nutley, was issued summonses for speeding and DWI. Police impounded her Honda.

Nov. 13
11:35 p.m. — The owner of a 2010 Nissan reported the removal of several shopping bags containing $770 worth of clothing, electronics items and sunglasses from the Nissan while it was parked in the 700 block of Fifth St. There was no sign of forced entry, police said.
2:38 p.m. — The owners of a house in the 500 block of Chase Ave. told police that someone had pilfered two cast-iron patio chairs, valued at $100 apiece, from their property. Police said the homeowners had just returned from a 2-week absence and realized that the chairs were gone.

Nov. 11
Someone carted off sections of aluminum scrap metal, valued at $400, from the 200 block of Ridge Road. The theft was reported at 2:34 p.m. The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office sent its criminal investigations unit to check the scene.

If you have information on any of the events posted in this blotter please contact the
Lyndhurst Anonymous Tipline:

Time to Meet the Muppets


By Louis Sullivan

‘It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights. It’s time to meet the Muppets…” So begins the theme song of the classic 1970’s-era “Muppet Show” and so too begins the real action of 2011’s “The Muppets.” A staple of 70’s and 80’s entertainment, Jim Henson’s Muppets have been absent from the silver screen for more than ten years, since Muppets from Space was released in 1999. Older fans, raised on their madcap antics, have sorely missed them, while a younger crowd, to whom the film is equally directed, may be less familiar with Kermit the Frog and his zany cohorts.
“The Muppets,” under the masterful guidance of devoted Muppet fan Jason Segel, caters to both audiences perfectly. For the old-school folks, there are countless allusions to The Muppet Show, ample nods to the fame that the Muppets once enjoyed (and hopefully will again), and revisited musical favorites like “Mahna Mahna,” the aforementioned “Muppet Show Theme,” and “Rainbow Connection,” the tune that started it all in The Muppet Movie of 1979.
For those to whom the Muppet culture is fresh, there are several celebrity cameos in “The Muppets”. These include turns from “The Office’s” Rashida Jones and John Krasinski, and “The Hangover’s” Ken Jeong and Zach Galifianakis.  Toe-tapping musical numbers like the opening duet, “Life’s A Happy Song” and the moving “Pictures in My Head,” add to the lures. And finally, there’s Walter.
Walter is a brand new Muppet who was introduced for this movie. More than any other character in “The Muppets” he seems to represent exactly what this film stands for. Somehow, he manages to bridge the gap between old and new Muppet fans by providing a fresh face for newcomers to familiarize themselves with, while establishing, within the first five minutes of the film, that he is indeed a Muppet fan himself – a sentiment that is certain to delight old time Muppet fans.
The Muppets follows Walter in his quest to get the Muppets back together after they’ve gone their separate ways. He tries to reunite the old gang for one last show, so they can raise $10 million to buy back Muppet Studios from greedy tycoon Tex Richman (played by Chris Cooper) who wants to destroy the property for oil. However, Walter’s twin goals— inspiring the Muppets to regroup, and actually raising the money— prove quite difficult, and Walter, his brother Gary (Jason Segel), Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams), and of course, Kermit the Frog, all end up on a madcap journey of uplifting self-discovery.
“The Muppets,” with its touching emotion, laugh-out-loud comedy, and show-stopping musical numbers, greatly exceeded my expectations. It not only blends perfectly with the fantastic Muppet canon already in existence, but also serves as an excellent introduction to Jim Henson’s hilarious and heartwarming characters. Whether it’s your first time meeting the Muppets, or a long-overdue revisit, “The Muppets” is definitely worth seeing!
“The Muppets” opens nationwide on November 23.

The Energy Within

It’s quite a quandary. A meal with excess salt is scarcely welcomed, and a meal with little to no salt added for flavoring is rarely appreciated. What is most talked about and remembered, however, is a meal that is cooked well with the correct combination of condiments.
We can make our lives better if we apply the same formula to our existence. We must learn to create a balance in our lives. We must live to the fullest, laugh whole-heartedly and forgive easily. This mantra not only helps us purify body and soul, but also enables us to understand ourselves better and to become better people.
In some countries around the world, such as India, it is believed that every human form is born with seven energy centers within them. As long as these energy centers are in balance with one another, one is destined to live a fulfilling and a joyous life. Conversely, it is believed that even a minor imbalance in any one will throw things out of whack; leading to elevated stress levels and ill-health. If left unchecked, this will ultimately result in a sorrowful life.
This explains why we sometimes encounter people who talk negatively, or wish ill upon others. Since they are unhappy and out of balance, they simply strike out at others.
It is important to rise above your situation and take control of the things that make you smile. If fortune doesn’t favor you, don’t give up! Find an alternative. Don’t let obstacles cloud your thinking. In such times, I highly recommend energizing your will power. When you do that, success will be within reach.
Your life is in your hands. Try carrying along the right intentions and you will see how different the air feels around you. Refresh yourself, enable your mind, body and soul to function in balance. Do what is right to rebuild from the scars of past betrayals. In this way, you will live a life that is truly worth living.


About the author…

Shweta Punjabi’s credits are as numerous as they are varied. In addition to her skills as a renowned Tarot Card reader, Punjabi has also prepared daily horoscopes for Mid-Day, DNA, and Yuva newspapers, and Seventeen India magazine. Punjabi has also functioned as a television host for Walt Disney Television, India.
Ms. Punjabi’s offerings will include horoscope and dream interpretation, principles of numerology and color therapy: in short just about anything and everything that currently carries an “alternative” tag.

Around Town

The date for the Fun Auction, held by Friends of the Belleville Public Library has been changed to Thursday, Dec. 8, at 1:00 p.m.
The event is free.  Laugh along with Library Director  and auctioneer Joan Taub, as you bid on the best restaurants and services in the area, while enjoying delicious desserts.  There is something for everyone and all profits go to the library.
Did your house sustain damage during Hurricane Irene? You can link to help from the library’s website at: www.bellepl.org.
Library cardholders who wish to download a wide selection of EBooks, are encouraged to visit the library’s website at  HYPERLINK “http://www.bellepl.org” www.bellepl.org.
If you’d like to learn how to surf the Internet and/or to set up an email account, call Librarian Karyn Gost at 973-450-3434.  Tutoring is for library cardholders only.
Need help with your resume and other career information? Call the circulation desk at the library, 973-450-3434, to reserve time with library staff member Angela Digoino. Library cardholders only.
The Essex County Passport Outreach is available every second Thursday of the month at the library.  Application and renewal of passports, notary public oaths, veterans’ peddler licenses and physician license filing services are available.
Volunteers from the New Jersey State Health Insurance Assistance Program are ready to help with any Medicare questions that you may have.  Call the library at 973-450-3434 for an appointment.
The library has added the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum at Pier 86 in New York City to its museum membership collection. Library members may make reservations for free passes at the library’s circulation desk. Tickets are also available for the American Museum of Natural History at a cost of $7 per person. Call the library at 973-450-3434 to make reservations.
Join the Friends of the Belleville Public Library and Information Center. Membership fees are as follows: Student $1; Individual $5; family $7; business $25; organization $25; Lifetime $50.  All proceeds from Friends programs benefit the library.

In celebration of Thanksgiving, the Bloomfield Public Library will be offering a “Food for Fines” amnesty from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2. Any patrons who return overdue books, CD’s, DVD’s, videocassettes or audio books during the amnesty period may clear their fines by bringing in one food item per overdue charge.  Food will be donated to the United Way for distribution to local food pantries. This amnesty applies only to current fines due on Bloomfield Public Library materials returned during the amnesty week.  Previously accrued fines and charges for items lost, damaged or borrowed from another library are not included.  For the safety of those who need this food, please do not bring in any spoiled, opened, or expired food or anything in a glass container.
The library will host a series of three classes on linear algebra on Tuesdays, Dec. 6, 13 and 20, at 6:00 p.m.  Registration is required. To register, call 973-566-6200, ext. 502. Anyone is welcome, including middle-school children, teens or adults who want to brush up on their linear algebra skills. A local volunteer, Carol Morgan-Brown, MSFE, will lead these classes. Morgan-Brown is an  NYU graduate, manager of Carol’s Green Chip Index and director of “The y=3x+2 Scholarship Fund.” To learn more about the fund, visit:  HYPERLINK “http://www.y3x2sf.org” \t “_blank” www.y3x2sf.org. She is currently a New York State Permanent Certified Secondary Mathematics Teacher, New York State Permanent Certified Business and Distributive Education Teacher, and New York State Provisional Certified Attendance Teacher.
The library’s book club will meet on Monday, Dec. 5, from 6:45 to 8:00 p.m. in the conference room to discuss “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene. Set in war-torn London, this account of an adulterous affair and its aftermath     explores the boundless capacity of the human heart for love, hate, and the acceptance of God. 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.  Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

East Newark
West Hudson Brave Women Fighting Breast Cancer meets on the last Friday of every month from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the East Newark Senior Center, 37 President St. The group will provide an atmosphere of warmth and comfort for patients and family. For more information, call Emma at 201-998-6828, Rosa at 201-246-7750, or Fatima at 973-485-4236, or email HYPERLINK “http://us.mc574.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=emidura2@yahoo.com”emidura2@yahoo.com. Together we will fight this disease.

Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., will host its annual Turkey Day dance on Friday, Nov. 25, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Prizes will be given to the best dancers. This event is recommended for grades 6-9. Executive Director Tom Fraser, Chairman Paul Viera, and Rich Wagner will supervise the dance.
The Scots American Club, Kearny, thanks two distinguished lifetime members, Claude Neilson and Jerry “Skeeter” Leahy for their long and dedicated service to the Scots Club at its 80th annual banquet on Saturday, Nov. 26, in the Fiesta Banquet Hall, Wood-Ridge. Reservations for tables are being accepted with payment of $75 per person.
The Scots American Club’s semi-annual blood drive is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 29, in the St Andrew’s Lounge at the club, 40 Patterson St., Kearny, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The Scots Club annual Kiddies Christmas party will be held on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3:00 p.m. A sign-up list is posted at the bar. All members and their families are invited to receive a gift from Santa Claus.
The Cecilian Seniors has scheduled a trip to Mt. Airy Casino on Dec. 14.  Cost is $30. Bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. from the front of St. Cecilia’s Church. If interested, call Johnnie B. at 201-997-9552 between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Kearny Recreation Commission has planned a trip to Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular on Wednesday, Dec. 28, for a  1:00 p.m. performance. Tickets are $50 apiece, which includes mezzanine seating and transportation. The bus will leave Town Hall at 11:30 a.m. and return to Kearny by 4:00 p.m. Ticket sign-up is available to Kearny residents only (up to two tickets per household) beginning Monday, Nov. 28,  through Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Kearny Recreation office at Town Hall. Tickets are limited and will be issued on a lottery basis. The drawing will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 4:10 p.m. Proof of Kearny residency is required. All winners will be notified by phone and/or mail. For further information, call the Kearny Recreation Department at 201-955-7983.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society will have its first Sunday-of-the-month Nature Walk on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 10:00 a.m. This free two-hour program at DeKorte Park features a short talk and slide show on raptors and winter waterfowl of the Meadowlands by the NJMC’s Jim Wright, followed by a walk along Disposal Road. We’ll meet just inside the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. Check HYPERLINK “http://meadowblog.net/”meadowblog.net for last-minute updates and weather advisories. You will have to sign a standard liability release for 2011 if you haven’t already. For further information, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at: HYPERLINK “mailto:greatauk4@aol.com”greatauk4@aol.com or at 201-230-4983.

North Arlington
Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus Council #3428 will sponsor a blood drive at the Council Hall,194 River Road, N. Arlington, on Friday, Nov. 25, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The Nutley Jaycees Senior Miss Scholarship program will be held on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 7:30 p.m. at Nutley High School. Representing the Nutley seniors are contestants: Alexandra Aiery, Jessi-lynn Minneci, Rikako Nishimura, Kieran Swanson, Monica Benitez, Amy Conte, Dahee Sung, Sara Centrulo and Lee-Ann Ellison. The contestants will be judged on fitness, poise and talent. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.
The library’s Monday Night Book Club will meet to discuss “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson on Monday, Dec. 5, at 7:00 p.m.  The group meets on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Newcomers are welcome.
Registration for the Township of Nutley’s 4th Annual Mayor’s Wellness Challenge is scheduled for Dec. 1 through Jan. 2.
Register online at HYPERLINK “http://www.nutleynj.org/”www.nutleynj.org or at the Mayor’s office,
149 Chestnut St., Nutley. Registration fee is $15. The challenge lasts 18-weeks. It starts on Jan. 9, 2012 and finishes on May 14th.
Santa’s Express Mailbox will be available from Friday, Santa’s Express Mailbox will be available from Friday, Nov. 25 to Tuesday, Dec. 20, at the Nutley Park Oval entrance on Chestnut St., Nutley. Remember to put your name, age and return address on your letter for a response from Santa.
The Township of Nutley’s Annual Holiday Lighting is set for Sunday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the John H. Walker Middle School and Nutley Park Oval.

Kardinals fall short in quest for Group IV state title

Lose to Bridgewater-Raritan via penalty kick shootout


Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny senior striker Almir “Junior” Batista (left) scored 65 goals in his career, tying Sergio Ulloa for the school record.


By Jim Hague

It’s a hard idea to fathom, but it’s true.
The Kearny High School boys’ soccer team played five games during this year’s NJSIAA state playoffs and did not surrender a single goal in any of those contests.
Yet, the Kardinals did not come away with an overall Group IV state championship.
The Kardinals continued the postseason shutout streak last Tuesday when they faced Bridgewater-Raritan in the overall Group IV semifinals. Kearny earned a berth in the overall state semifinals by defeating Randolph to capture the school’s first North Jersey Section 1, Group IV sectional title since 2004.
In the semifinal game against Bridgewater-Raritan, senior goalkeeper Tyler Anderson recorded 11 saves in regulation and overtime to keep his shutout streak going.
However, the game ended after 100 minutes with no scoring by either team, sending it to the penalty kick shootout.
That’s where Bridgewater-Raritan managed to find the net five times compared to Kearny’s three tallies and the dream of another overall Group IV state title died last Tuesday at Watchung Hills High School in Warren.
“You’re always going to hate to lose by the penalty kicks,” Kearny head coach Bill Galka said. “It has to come down to some way to get a result. We’ve been on both sides of it in the past. It’s not the perfect way to get a result.”
From a personal point of view, Galka has no qualms with the rules to break a tie in the state playoffs.
“I don’t really have a problem with it,” Galka said. “There has to be a winner and if you can’t decide a winner in 100 minutes (80 minutes of regulation, followed by two 10-minute extra sessions), then something has to be done. You can’t keep playing. It definitely hurts when you lose by it.”
The Kardinals knew that they would have to capitalize on their recent defensive prowess if they were going to be successful against Bridgewater-Raritan, which entered the game with 20 wins and only two setbacks during the season.
“It was a very well played game,” Galka said. “They definitely did their homework scouting us, because they did a good job marking Junior (Batista). I thought we had a few more chances to score. We played equal to them, if not better. We went back and forth and had some good possessions, but we just didn’t get the goal.”
Galka knew the formula for winning in the state tournament.
“We needed good defense, a good goalkeeper and be opportunistic with your goal scoring chances,” Galka said. “That’s how you win in the states and that’s what we were doing. Of course, you have to get a goal to win and we didn’t get it.”
But nothing will take away from what was a great season for the Kardinals.
“We won the state sectional and it was my first as a head coach,” Galka said. “It was a great accomplishment to get that far. I’m proud of the kids. They got through some tough games against some good competition. They bounced back after a tough loss (to Union City in the Hudson County Tournament semifinals) and played five good games in the state tournament. I don’t know if there’s ever been a team not to give up a single goal in five straight state tournament games.”

Photos by Jim Hague/ Defender Joao Parreiras emerged as a steadfast defender for the Kearny boys’ soccer team. Goalkeeper Tyler Anderson (back) looks on.


Nicholas Coelho (16) was one of the key contributors in Kearny’s NJSIAA state sectional championship run.


Galka credited his 16 seniors who provided stellar leadership throughout the course of the season.
“We’re going to miss those players,” Galka said. “They contributed a lot. We created a lot of good memories with those guys.”
One of those is striker Batista, who ended his career with 65 goals, tying Sergio Ulloa for the school’s career scoring mark.
“Without a doubt, Junior proved himself to be a fine goal scorer and one of the best we’ve ever had. It’s a sign of a quality player to be able to score that much in just three years.”
Another key contributor was senior center midfielder Abdellah Bouzidi, whose tireless energy was a driving force in the Kardinals’ success.
“He was fantastic all year,” Galka said. “He didn’t play much as a junior, but he was determined to get on the field this year and wanted to give playing center midfield a chance. His energy level was tremendous, chasing guys down all over the field. I told friends and other coaches that you had to see him to believe it.”
The defense was also tremendous. Anderson proved to be an All-State caliber net minder. Sweeper Ryan Wilson was the last line of defense and was almost flawless in doing so.
“We lost Eric Castellanos to an injury and the rest of the team rallied around it,” Galka said. “It’s never easy to lose a good, veteran defender. But guys like Gabriel Frietas, Joao Parreiras and Michael Dias all did a terrific job. It’s a great sign when you can lose a player like Eric and still come back strong.”
Galka also received contributions from a deep and talented bench, playing many of the members on the Kardinals’ roster all season.
“That’s a good thing to have,” Galka said. “We had a good, solid team.”
Galka said that he met with the team after the loss to Bridgewater-Raritan.
“I told them that it was a good year for us,” Galka said. “We had a great run. It was an enjoyable year. We had the great win against Harrison at Red Bull Arena. We won a state sectional title, beating quality teams. We’ll have to rebuild a little, but we’ll be back.”
One thing is for sure: The Kardinals haven’t relinquished a goal in almost a month. But the season still ended. Sometimes, soccer isn’t a fair sport at all.

Best football season in 28 years comes to end for Lyndhurst


Photo by Jim Hague/ Junior Marcus Brandon scored a touchdown in the North Jersey Section 2, Group I semifinals for Lyndhurst last Saturday, but unfortunately, his team lost to Weequahic, ending the Golden Bears’ season to remember at 8-3.


By Jim Hague

Scott Rubinetti tried to rationalize with what went wrong in Lyndhurst’s lopsided 53-14 loss to Weequahic in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I semifinals Saturday afternoon.
“We made some unfortunate mistakes,” said Rubinetti, who guided his high school alma mater to its first state playoff win since 1983 a week earlier against Rutherford. “We fumbled the ball inside the 30-yard line. We fumbled a kickoff. We made some mistakes we don’t usually make.”
And Weequahic played a little uncharacteristically as well.
“They usually play with the philosophy of running the Wishbone right at you,” Rubinetti said. “They try to punch you in the face over and over to see if you can handle it.”
But Weequahic caught the Golden Bears off-guard with some play-action passes early on. Quarterback Will Robinson threw out of the predominately run offensive set, completing 10 passes for 257 yards, three of which went for touchdowns. Robinson also scored a touchdown on the ground.
“It just didn’t work out well for us,” Rubinetti said. “Our kids played hard the whole time. But to be honest, they were bigger, stronger and more athletic. They were the better team.”
A guy with the very unique name of Kadarious Bullock caught three TD passes and also ran for a touchdown. It was not a very pretty event for the locals. They were playing for the chance to end their season at MetLife Stadium next week, playing for a state title and instead, they ended up having the dream all blow up in horrific fashion.
The Golden Bears did get touchdowns from Marcus Brandon and Danny Kesack, but not much else.
In fact, Weequahic did an excellent job of keeping the multi-talented Kesack in check. In the Golden Bears’ upset 38-13 win over Rutherford, Kesack had 153 yards rushing and three touchdowns as well as throwing for two touchdowns. But no such success against Weequahic.
“They came into the game, wanting to stop Danny and they did that well,” Rubinetti said. “They came out and hit him. It was part of their game plan to go after him.”
Despite the setback, nothing was going to take away from the Golden Bears’ highly successful and history making season.
“I’m proud of our kids,” said Rubinetti, who guided the Golden Bears to 3-7 and 4-6 records during his first two seasons as head coach at his alma mater. “To bounce back after a 4-6 season and go 8-3 says a lot about our coaches, but it says a lot about our kids as well. These kids took some lumps over the last two years, but they acquired a boatload of experience in doing so. They jelled over that time as a unit and had a tremendous amount of success, beating some good teams along the way. I’m super proud of them.”
The Golden Bears completed the 2011 season with an 8-3 record, the best mark of any local team. They defeated teams like Becton Regional, Park Ridge, Hasbrouck Heights and finally Rutherford, which entered the NJSIAA North 2, Group I playoffs as the top seed of the section.
“I really think we opened up a lot of eyes this year, not only in Lyndhurst,” Rubinetti said. “They put in the time necessary to have success and the record is a direct result of the hard work. They had the right work ethic in the weight room, in training. They understood the time it takes to have a good team.”
Rubinetti doesn’t want the 2011 season to be a “one-and-done” campaign.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to talk about with the entire team,” Rubinetti said. “We’re talking about the entire program. We talked about how much this senior group did, but we need the program to take the extra step. We’re already motivated for next year.”
Rubinetti has a right to be excited about the 2012 season. The team’s best player, Kesack, returns. So do two of his main targets, Kyle Pollio and Brandon. Standout running back Bobby DeMarco will be back to take over the rushing load that will be left by the graduations of Danny Nahra and Marc Carrier. Ian Cairns, only a sophomore, solidified the defense. Nick Galvez is a standout two-way lineman and has been since his freshman year. Nick Coviello, all 6-foot-3, 295-pounds of him, will return next year as a strong college prospect.
“We have 26 members of our sophomore class and our junior varsity went 8-1 this year,” Rubinetti said. “We have the pieces to keep things going, if the kids continue to work hard. The kids have to be the ones to do it. They have to be the ones to buy into it, buy into each other. We had a great run this year, but we have to keep it going forward.”
Needless to say, Rubinetti is pleased to be able to see the excitement that comes with taking a Lyndhurst team to the state playoffs and winning a playoff game. He’s Lyndhurst through and through.
“My grandfather was part of the booster club and my father (John) was a team captain (in 1963),” Rubinetti said. “All of my father’s good friends played at Lyndhurst. I played here (Class of 1990). I grew up with the history and tradition of Lyndhurst. It’s always been a part of my family. It’s great to see this all happen. I’ve always had a sense of pride about Lyndhurst. I got to be a part of it as a player, now I am part of it as a coach.”
So there was a sense of disappointment that the season came to an end before reaching the pinnacle, but there was nothing to be ashamed of in what turned out to be a season to remember.
“We put Lyndhurst back on the map,” Rubinetti said. “Where it should be.”
And where it should be again next season, provided the program keeps moving in the right direction. With a proud Lyndhurst guy leading the way, it definitely seems possible for more of the same success in 2012.