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Subwoofer stolen from Nutley resident’s home, police say

July 5 Someone swiped a Kicker Subwoofer Speaker valued at $700 from a Passaic Ave. residence, the occupant told police. The theft was logged at 1:10 a.m. ***   ***  *** A William St. resident told police that after loaning their […]


Ridge Road closed 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today from Pike to Jauncey Ave.

Ridge Road will be closed today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from the Belleville Turnpike to Jauncey Ave. for the funeral of Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago, the NAPD says. Limited local traffic may be permitted along Ridge […]


Dawn of an era

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  BELLEVILLE –  “This is where it all started. Belleville, N.J. A thousand years ago. Eisenhower. Rocky Marciano. And a few guys under a streetlamp singing somebody else’s latest hit.” That’s part of the intro to the Broadway production of “Jersey Boys” — and […]


New job for Doran … for now

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  HARRISON – The Harrison Board of Education is working on plans to remedy overcrowding in its elementary schools but who exactly will be in charge of seeing those plans through isn’t clear as it continues to grapple with its leadership issue. Its five-year […]


Suspect ID’d in bank heist

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Authorities have identified a Paterson man as the prime suspect in the robbery of the PNC Bank at Kearny and Midland Aves. last Wednesday afternoon. Kearny police reported on Friday that they were hunting Carnie Monts, 28, in connection with the […]


‘The play’s the thing,’ in West Hudson


Photo by Ron Leir/ Gerald Ficeto (l.) and Mark Morchel anticipate the upcoming curtain-raiser for West Hudson Arts & Theater Company at the Arlington Players Club.


By Ron Leir

Citizens of West Hudson: Give me your ears! List’ and you shall hear of great plans to revive the state of public revels in the Town of Kearny.
And so, look to the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company (W.H.A.T., for short) for inspiration.
This group of volunteers is taking the lead in a public-spirited effort to return the performing – and allied – arts to a prominent place in the region.
Gerald Ficeto, a member of the W.H.A.T. founding committee who is a veteran area music educator (he’s directed Kearny High School spring musicals for the past decade) and professional percussionist with 45 years’ experience in the performing arts, says he and his colleagues “had a mutual goal of bringing live theater back to our towns (East Newark, Harrison and Kearny, in particular).”
Kearny has enjoyed a tradition of adult theater – dating from the old Half Penny Playhouse on Midland Ave. and the Arlington Players Club on Washington Place – and, in more recent years, the annual Kearny High School shows and Teen Drama summer theater program for younger participants.
The Half Penny has helped launch several noted thespians on their careers: Ken Jennings, who originated the role of Tobias in the Broadway production of Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd,” and Nathan Lane, featured in “The Producers” and “The Addams Family,” among other Broadway shows; are examples.
Arlington Players Club was converted to a private tennis club and Half Penny Playhouse expired around the mid-1980s.
W.H.A.T. has filed incorporation papers for nonprofit status with the state Treasury Department’s Division of Taxation and is awaiting certification from the IRS as a 501(C) (3) tax-exempt organization, according to committee member and attorney Mark Morchel.
Morchel, who performed at the Half Penny, will be directing the group’s inaugural venture, “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Arlington Players Club, 12 Washington Place, Kearny.
The production is based on Frank Capra’s beloved holiday movie classic, with script adapted by Liz Zazz and original music by Jason Neri.
“The show will be presented as a 1940s-style live (simulated) radio broadcast in front of the audience, complete with live sound effects, microphones and a dozen actors playing a variety of different roles,” Morchel said.
There will be only one performance and tickets are very limited.
“This is quite a special event and we are hoping it turns into an annual tradition for W.H.A.T.,” Morchel said.
W.H.A.T. is currently in the process of planning its 2012 season.
The group is hoping to incorporate both adult and teen theatrical components, and eventually one for children, as well, possibly including a theater camp and/or theater workshops for kids. Additionally, the group plans to display works by West Hudson-based visual artists wherever it has its future performances. Poetry readings and musical recitals are also being contemplated.
Other W.H.A.T. founding committee members are: Margaret Berko, Kearny school nurse; Leo daSilva, Harrison High School music teacher and musical director; Linda Kraus D’Isa, public relations and marketing specialist; Joseph Ferriero, Teen Drama co-director; attorney Cecilia Lindenfelser, W.H.A.T. treasurer; Michele Sarnoski, Teen Drama co-director; Mary Pat Shields, Harrison High School fine arts teacher, and Kearny Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle.
Also helping as volunteers are Maureen Morchel, as registered agent, and attorney Thomas McKeon.
Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos called the group “an incredibly talented” array and said that the town would assist in helping find a permanent home. Reintroducing Community Theater in Kearny will be a welcome plus, the mayor said.
Doors open for “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” at 7 p.m. for a pre-theater Wine and Sweets reception. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. To purchase tickets or to make a donation to the group, call (201) 467-8624 or email info@whatco.org.
“In the fast paced world of today, there really is no better time than now to lend a hand and help the rapidly shrinking and under-funded world of the arts – it’s an investment in the community,” Ficeto said.


W.H.A.T. Factsheet Mission Statement:

To be a cultural resource that will enrich and invigorate the West Hudson community as a whole, while embracing, educating and entertaining people of all ages, cultures and abilities.
To stimulate, celebrate and enhance the understanding of theater, while fostering and inspiring growth and creativity in our members through a range of quality theatrical productions.
To act as a resource for the residents and businesses of the greater West Hudson area, and to enrich the cultural depth, education and vitality of the community at large.
To enliven and enhance the cultural life of the community and its visitors.
To contribute to the economic vitality of the East Newark, Harrison and Kearny downtown regions.
To secure a local facility/building to better facilitate W.H.A.T.’s performance and educational goals, and to provide fiscal and housing security for the future.
To develop an educational program to help potential performers and crew to increase self-confidence; to enrich their understanding and appreciation of the arts, and to prepare them for future opportunities at W.H.A.T. and elsewhere.
W.H.A.T. hopes to emerge as a significant arts facility known best for quality productions that seek to enhance the community as a whole, and foster a caring approach to theater and theatrical education within the West Hudson community.

In the dark



By Lisa Pezzolla

Last week brought us back in time as we brought out battery-operated radios (if you own one), candles, flashlights, and used wood and gas fireplaces to keep warm. It gave families time to talk face-to-face without the distractions of the television, cell phones and all the technology that we use on a daily basis. The storm brought kids out of the bedroom, game boards took the place of computer games, and the postal service became our e-mail.  What a culture shock? Each day we use our phones, computers and televisions in order to get news, forgetting the simple things in life like a book or a newspaper. Once again, technology shows us that without it, daily life comes to a stop. We need to remember the basics. One thing for sure we were all able to do was go out and pick up a newspaper to catch up with what was going on around town or read up on current news. It shows the strength of the newspaper. Even with our advances in technology, we can still reach you the old fashioned way!

Don’t discount Occupy Wall Street protests

The Occupy Wall Street (O.W.S) protests have affected individuals in wildly different ways.  If we take the nation’s pulse and describe the prevailing mindsets in their simplest terms, it becomes apparent that right-leaning types tend to question the movement, while those to the left generally welcome its emergence. But that’s the problem with oversimplification and blindly aligning with any single ideology. Such lazy thinking stifles compromise, allows for little nuance, and rarely gets at the truth.
If the message of the O.W.S. activists sounds jumbled and lacking in focus, the impetus behind the action seems valid. Not many will argue that the quality of life in these United States has decreased sharply over the past few decades. Lower salaries, dwindling benefits and vanishing overtime have now become the sad norm for the vast majority of working Americans. Unemployment now flirts with or tops the dreaded 10% figure nationwide, and this excludes the underemployed and those defeated souls who have given up the work search entirely. A demoralizing number of home foreclosures have sent many good, honest people back to square one, and the average college loan weighs in as heavily as a home mortgage – without the benefit of said dwelling when the balance is finally paid off.
To many, the situation seems bizarrely incongruent with the America that they once knew, or at least thought that they knew. Could this really be happening here in the richest of all nations, where the streets were once said to be paved with gold? The disparity seems all the more curious when it’s learned that only a few hundred individuals hold nearly half of the nation’s accumulated wealth. It’s not too much of a stretch for some to imagine such fat-cats – “one-per centers” in protester-speak – peering down at the struggling masses from their lofty mansions and arrogantly declaring, “Let them eat cake.”
In a country that has long stood for fairness, it’s easy to see why people have grown suspicious. Republicans and Democrats alike took part in the great bank bailout, yet hordes of middle-class citizens – the hard-working, self-sacrificing “cogs” that drive our nation’s economy in the first place – were allowed to go belly-up when they couldn’t make their mortgage payments. Sound a bit lopsided? It certainly does to the protesters. In fact, this is one of their favorite battle cries.
Those who lived during the Vietnam era may feel a sense of déjà vu these days. Back then, scruffy hippies in tie-died shirts decried the ongoing war in Southeast Asia on a number of grounds. To say that their brazen movement was questioned by the establishment would be like saying that Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman – a member of the infamous “Chicago Seven” – was a rebel. In fact, many were labeled cowards, bums, or traitors for questioning America’s role in the war. Now, nearly four decades  later, we realize that our nation was indeed involved in a politically questionable and highly unwinnable effort, just as the protesters had asserted. What if, this time around, the protesters have it right again?
Recently I overheard a group of middle-aged men discussing the O.W.S. protests. One man denounced the activists as nothing more than “spoiled brats.” Another said that the protesters “should get off their lazy butts and find a job.” Then, a more reasonable man spoke up.  “Come on guys, let’s be honest about this,” he said to his friends. “This thing [the movement] goes well beyond some punk college kids looking for attention. Life in America has eroded for most people since we went looking for our first jobs – you guys know that! If it keeps going like this, I doubt that a middle-class will exist much longer.”
To a rag-tag, disenchanted group that sleep in tents and refer to themselves as the “99%,” more valid words have never been spoken.

— Jeff Bahr


The Veteran

Let us never forget their sacrifices.
It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the veteran, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag.
Oh Lord, grant eternal rest to them and let the perpetual light shine upon them.

(Submitted on behalf of the North Arlington Elks)
Pete Blair,
North Arlington

Nutley Blotter: Under the Influence, Under Arrest

October 28
10.58 a.m. – Police stopped a vehicle on River Rd. that was attempting to get onto Route 21 South The officer observed the vehicle driving haphazardly and conducted a traffic stop. The officer found that 32-year-old Jennifer Tuscano of Nutley was unable to perform field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested. Tuscano was found to be in possession of prescription medication without a valid prescription and was charged for possession of CDS. She was transported to an area hospital for a blood sample.
12:39 p.m.– A Nutley resident who had reported to the police that he had lost his ATM card later discovered that over $4,000 was missing from the account. Police are investigating.
1:45 – p.m. A Franklin Ave. resident reported that he paid a service man $6,500 for a boiler installation on October 17th, and that work has yet to commence. The resident asked for his money back, but was told the serviceman no longer had it and that the parts were on order. The resident was advised how to proceed with charges.

October 29
12:35 a.m. – Two Nutley juveniles being questioned reported that they were involved in a motor vehicle accident along Rt. 21 in Passaic. The two youths told Police that another motorist brandishing a handgun caused them to crash and that they fled in fear of the motorist. The incident was turned over to the Passaic County Prosecutors Office for further investigation. It’s unknown if it relates to the shooting involving the Nutley Police officer.
1:32 a.m. – Police were dispatched to a Cleveland Ave. residence after a woman called to report that her two daughters hadn’t returned home from school that day. After a short police investigation, officers were told that the 14 and 16-year-old returned home unharmed.
4:16 a.m. – Police questioned three young men who were spotted amongst the power lines between Milton Ave. and Wilson St. All parties checked out and were released on scene.
10:35 a.m. – A Franklin Ave. tenant entered into a shoving match with his landlord. Police called to the scene were able to diffuse the situation and advised each party how to proceed with the signing of complaints.
12:24 p.m.– A Hopper Ave. resident allegedly tapped into another tenant’s electric meter. Police arrested 56-year-old Thomas Stanley and charged him with theft of service.  Stanley carried a $5,000 outstanding Newark warrant and a $500 warrant from East Orange. He was subsequently turned over to Newark Police.

October 30
6:47 a.m. – A Franklin Ave. b usiness that was using a generator to support itself told police that the unit had been stolen. Police are investigating.
8:00 a.m. – Police were able to track down a fleeing motorist that allegedly struck several items, including a planter, street sign and garbage can at the intersection of Franklin Ave. and Harrison St. The driver was issued a summons for failure to report an accident.
10:52 a.m. – Police were called to an E. Centre St. residence in response to a burglary. Detectives are investigating.
11:36 a.m. – Police responded to a Harrison St. residence as a follow-up to a past burglary. The investigation continues.

October 31
9:35 a.m. – A Columbia Ave. resident reported that his 2008 Toyota had been damaged over the evening hours. Police are investigating.
10:58 a.m. – A Nutley Ave. resident reported the theft of a $500 ladder.
11:14 a.m. – Police responded to a Passaic Ave. location after a resident dropped an air conditioner out of the window onto a parked motor vehicle.  No injuries were reported.
11:57 a.m. – Nutley officers stopped a speeding motorist on Rt. 21. She was found to have a suspended driver’s license and was operating an unregistered vehicle. The car was impounded and she was issued several summonses.
1:21 p.m. – A traffic stop for a speeding motorist resulted in the vehicle being impounded for lack of registration, and the driver, 31-year-old Kareem Jefferson of Harrison, was taken into custody for an outstanding $500 warrant out of Ridgefield Park. He was later released with summonses after posting bail.

November 2
12:28 a.m. – Police were called to a King St. residence in response to a missing 15-year-old juvenile. She was finally located at a Belleville location with a friend and was removed from the missing person database on November 3 at 6 p.m.

Message for the Soul


Shweta Panjabi’s credits are as numerous as they are varied. In addition to her skills as a renowned Tarot Card reader, Panjabi has also prepared daily horoscopes for Mid-Day, DNA, and Yuva newspapers, and Seventeen India magazine. Panjabi has also functioned as a television host for Walt Disney Television, India. Ms. Panjabi’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. Visit Shweta at her website solutionsbyshweta.com for more information or email her at magictaara@ yahoo.com

The Observer is proud to welcome Swetta Panjabi as our newest columnist. Hailing from India, Ms. Panjabi is well versed in a host of alternative living/healing philosophies and concepts. With this column, she hopes to share these lesser known (by American standards) but promising principles with Observer readers.
It’s our pleasure to welcome her aboard!

Here is her first column:
Every day gives us a choice to either live it in a fulfilling way or end it feeling all so distressed and lonely. If we choose to smile and brave the storm we are only giving ourselves ‘Hope’ that we can survive through the day and live for a better day tomorrow.
Things always have a way of working themselves out. We may not realize it while we are amidst the pain but as all things in the universe, we know that it will pass! A new chapter shall begin.
In times of recession and increasing unemployment, keeping a positive frame of mind may be difficult indeed, but by focusing on making every day count and living it right today, the cosmic universe will reward us with its bounty tomorrow.
I truly believe in having the positive attitude. It may not miraculously change things in a minute, but it surely helps you focus what needs to be done right. As my great-grandfather used to say, “Believe! And it will happen!”
And for me personally, it did! It’s been a long journey coming from India to a foreign land—America—and then to make this country my own. But amidst the hurdles and the hardships one faces of adapting to any new country, I knew that this phase would pass too. There will come a time when everything will fall in its place once again. I believed in it… And it happened. So I recommend you try it just once. In doing so, you are giving yourself another chance at life, at living your life just right!

Shweta Punjabi is a motivational speaker who believes in alternative healing. You can visit her website www.solutionsbyshweta.com for more information.

Around Town

It’s time for the second annual Belleville Rotary Club Chocolate Turkey Hunt on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 9:30 a.m. at the Clermont Field, Belleville School #8, 183 Union Ave.  Join Rotary for this free event.  It is just like an Easter egg hunt, but you will be looking for as many chocolate turkeys as you can find.  There will be music, prizes and more as the Rotary Club of Belleville celebrates its 90th anniversary.
Free informational seminars on bariatric (weight-loss) surgery are offered the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Clara Maass Medical Center Founders Room (located off the main lobby), 1 Clara Maass Drive, Belleville. The next session is scheduled for Nov. 16. Dr. Naveen Ballem, medical director of the Weight Loss Institute of New Jersey, will discuss what to expect before and after surgery.  At 7 p.m., following the seminar, there is a support group for post-bariatric patients. For more info or to register, call Kathrine Berdebes at 973-289-7127 or e-mail kberdebes@barnabashealth.org.

The Bloomfield Public Library , 90 Broad St.,  is pleased to present Financial Aid and Admission Workshop/Express College Tune-Up Workshop on Nov. 16 from  5 to 6:30 p.m. The Urban League of Essex County will provide current high school students with tips and advice for the admission process with the assistance of college admission representatives.
For more information on this event or upcoming programs please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.
The Bloomfield Public Library will host a seminar on personal finance on Tuesday Nov. 15, at 3 p.m.  The seminar will be presented by Nutley’s Citibank. For more information on this event or upcoming programs please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.
On Saturday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m., the library will present a concert featuring award-winning saxophonist Shenole Latimer. The program is entitled “Our Music, Our Culture,” a journey through jazz history from the early 1900’s to today, exploring the lives and struggles of many jazz artists including Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane.  Visit the African American roots of jazz.  Learn why jazz has been called, “America’s Classical Music.”
The Bloomfield Public Library will celebrate all superheroes on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m.  After sharing a superhero story, Superheros ages 4 and up will design their own super logo, make and race their superhero figures, then enjoy face painting and refreshments. Come in costume! Remember that pillowcases and old sheets make great capes! Please register at the children’s desk or by phone at 973-566-6200, ext. 507.
Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave., Bloomfield, will host “Murder under the Mistletoe” on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. Toy company owner Harry Humbug has been murdered and it will be up to the audience to help the detective figure it out as they form mini CSI teams at each table and try to win clues before time runs out. Tickets are $64.95 per person and includes dinner, show, tax and gratuity. A cash bar will be available. Call 973-429-0960 for reservations or more information.
Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center is hosting “Tea with Mrs. Claus” on Saturday, Dec. 3. Participants will enjoy a story, tea and finger sandwiches, cookies, and more with Mrs. Claus. There will be two seatings: at noon and at 3 p.m. The event will include arts and crafts, while each child will receive a framed picture with Mrs. Claus. The event is recommended for children ages 2 to 8. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Seating is limited. Tickets are $12 for adults and $15 for children. Payment must be received within five days of reservation. For more information or to make reservations, call Oakeside at 973-429-0960.
A Veterans Day celebration will be held on Friday, Nov. 11, in Bloomfield at the Township Hall at 10 a.m. The group assembled will march to the Veterans Monument at Broad and Liberty Sts. for the ceremony.

East Newark
The East Newark Senior Club will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Senior Center, 37 President St., East Newark, at 1 p.m. The following topics will be discussed: identity theft prevention, medical identity theft and senior fraud. All seniors are invited to attend.

Harrison Cancer League is holding a Thanksgiving pie sale fundraiser with fresh-baked 10-inch-deep dish pies by Harvest House Brick Oven Bakery. Choice of apple, cherry, blueberry, lemon meringue, three-berry, peach, key lime, pumpkin and coconut custard. (All fruit pies are available with crumb topping). Pies are $12 each. All pie orders and payments must be received by Wednesday, Nov. 16. Mail orders must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 14. Checks should be mailed to: Harrison Cancer League, PO Box 741, Harrison, N.J. 07029. For more information, call Maria Bradley at (973) 485-5143 or (862) 763-0047. Pies will be available for pick-up on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the Harrison Senior Citizens Center, 221 Harrison Ave., Harrison, from 2 to 5:30 p.m.
Harrison Cancer League is sponsoring a toy drive for The Valerie Fund, for young people (infants to age 21) who have been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing treatment. Donations of unwrapped new gifts and gift cards can be dropped off at the following locations, Monday through Friday, now through Nov. 30: Harrison Community Center, 401 Warren St., 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Harrison Board of Health, 318 Harrison Ave. Annex, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Harrison Senior Center, 221 Harrison Ave., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Harrison Veterans Association will hold its Veterans Day tribute on Friday, Nov. 11, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Plaza on Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. South. The program will include Mayor Raymond McDonough and Town Council members, VFW Post 340, American Legion Post 282, Harrison/East Newark Elks Lodge and members of the community.

Pathways to Independence is sponsoring a flea market and collectible show on  Sunday, Nov. 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., outdoors, at Frank V. Marina, 205 Passaic Ave., Kearny (next to Applebee’s and Burger King). Admission is free.
The Kearny Public Library Children’s Room announces free events for children in November:
At the main library, 318 Kearny Ave., Play/Story Times for preschool age children will continue on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to noon, and also on Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The Branch library, 759 Kearny Ave., will have Play/Story Times for preschool age children on Thursdays from 10:15 to 11 a.m.
Children are invited to hear a Thanksgiving story and design a Thanksgiving art project to take home for the holiday. The library will provide the materials. This program will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16, in the lower level of the main library.
On Thursday, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m. the library will host a special Thanksgiving placemat art project for children ages 4 and up at the branch library, 759 Kearny Ave.  The program will be free of charge and supplies will be provided by the library.  However, space is limited.  Please call the main library children’s room at (201) 998-2666 to reserve your spot. Check the library’s website www.kearnylibrary.org for more program information.
A musical puppet show will be held from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the main library. Uncle John of Uncle John’s Puppets will perform with his puppet friends, Hershey the Chocolate Lab, Ollie the Owl and characters from Sesame Street. Enjoy music and comedy to warm the heart on a chilly day. Registration is not needed.
For more information, visit www.kearnylibrary.org or call 201-998-2666.
The Rotary Club of Kearny will have Richard Dwyer of PSE&G at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 12:15 p.m. to speak about PSE&G’s investments in the replacement and upgrade of electric transmission systems. Come join us to find out more about the grid that powers your businesses and homes and how PSE&G wants to make it better for the future. Kearny Rotary meets at La Fiamma Italian Restaurant Bar and Grill at 440 Harrison Ave., Harrison (Corner of 5th Street). Call President José Fernandez at 201-991-1040 to let him know you are coming or for additional information about Kearny Rotary.
Trinity Episcopal Church, 575 Kearny Ave., Kearny will hold a flea market on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Tables are still available at a cost of $15 each or two for $25.  For more information, call the church office at 201-991-5894.
Kearny UNICO will meet on Monday, Nov. 14, at 7:30 p.m.  Anyone interested in attending the meeting and/or learning more about Kearny UNICO should contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409.  New members are welcome.

The Polish American Club, 730 New Jersey Ave., Lyndhurst, will hold a beer pong tournament on Friday, Nov. 25. All players must be signed in by 9:15 p.m.  The price is $20 per person to play. The first 16 teams will be guaranteed a spot to play. Call Amy at 201-927-0833.
The Polish American Club of Lyndhurst, 730 New Jersey Ave., will host Lunch with Santa on Dec. 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. Those attending are requested to bring a wrapped gift with your child’s name on it. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children. For tickets, call Amy at 201-927-0833 or call the club at 201-438-9723.
The Lyndhurst Health Department will offer a blood screening on Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning at 8 a.m.  This program is open to all Lyndhurst residents age 18 and over.  There is a $20 fee, payable by cash or check, to cover lab costs.  Please call 201-804-2500 to make an appointment.
Join Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC) nutritional and medical experts for a heart healthy holiday cooking demonstration on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Lyndhurst Health Department, 253 Stuyvesant Ave. Bring your appetites to sample the chef’s heart healthy creations and questions for a heart health discussion with a panel of CMMC medical experts. There is no cost to attend this event. Registration is suggested. Please visit www.barnabashealthcalendar.org or call 1-888-724-7123, prompt 4, to register.
The Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst will host “Astrobiology: The Search For Life” on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m.  This lecture will introduce audience members to some amazing creatures that would make good spacefaring candidates and will delve into some of the planetary objects that may have the right stuff to support life. Admission is $5 per person and $4 for NJMC members. For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.
“Planting by the Stars: Bio-dynamic Gardening And Plants of the Zodiac” will be held at the Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m.  Food historian Judith Krall Russo will lead the discussion. Admission is $5 per person and $4 for NJMC members. For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.
The Third-Tuesday-of-the Month nature walk, with the NJ Meadowlands Center and the Bergen County Audubon Society, is set for Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 10 a.m., at Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus. The group will meet at the trail’s entrance or at the visitor’s parking lot at DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst at 9:30 a.m. Check 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. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@aol.com or 201-230-4983.
Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst, will host Art of the Heavens with Dr. Victoria Madden on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m.  Learn how early humans created art from inspiration from the cosmos.  Admission is $5 per person and $4 for MEC members. For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.

North Arlington
Join Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC) medical experts for a diabetes education series to be held at North Arlington Health Department, 10 Beaver Ave.  You may register for one or both of the classes, scheduled for Thursdays, Nov. 10 (Control Your Blood Sugar) and 17 (Diabetes Medication Management) at 10 a.m. Light breakfast will be served at each event. There is no cost to attend these events. Registration is suggested. Please visit www.barnabashealthcalendar.org or call 1-888-724-7123, prompt 4, to register.
North Arlington High School Varsity cheerleaders are hosting an event to celebrate cheering on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. at North Arlington High School. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Participating along with the cheerleaders will be the North Arlington Junior Vikings. All of the teams will be performing their routines. Members of the community are invited.
Queen of Peace CYO is sponsoring its second annual alumni basketball game to benefit the Timothy Nolan CYO Scholarship Fund on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Sonny Connors Gymnasium at Queen of Peace High School.  Doors open at 6 p.m.   All CYO basketball alumni of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s are welcome to participate in the basketball game.  The $30 admission covers entry to participate in game, T-shirt and post-game party.  This will be a co-ed game and any monetary donation would be greatly appreciated.   For registration information, contact the Rev. Scott Attanasio at Queen of Peace Church at 201-997-0700 or Ed Foster at 201-991-3280. Visit www.qpgs.org/cyo for additional details.

A program on navigating through Nutley Public Library’s BCCLS website will be held at the library on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. Do you want to improve your library catalog search or renew your borrowed items from home? Get answers to these and other questions as we help you navigate through the BCCLS catalog and site. Registration is not required.

Kearny girls capture third straight Hudson County tourney title


Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny’s Nicole Kelly (23) moves her way up the field against West Orange’s Barbara Balanos (12) during Kearny’s 2-1 win in the North 1, Group IV state playoffs last Friday. Kearny’s girls also won the Hudson County Tournament, their third straight, over the weekend.


By Jim Hague

There’s nothing like the championship season in high school soccer. The intensity builds with every play. The fans get to a fever pitch and the players can actually
taste the tension. It creates an atmosphere not found in any other local sport.

And it was definitely evident over the weekend, especially with the NJSIAA state and Hudson County Tournaments taking center stage.

On Friday and Sunday, both Harrison High School’s field and Kearny’s Harvey Field were locations of such passion and emotion, as both fields were the setting for both the state and county tournaments.

On Friday, it was a tripleheader of success for the local teams, as the Kearny girls started the day at Harvey Field with a very physically demanding North Jersey Section
1, Group IV quarterfinal contest against West Orange, a game the Kardinals won, 2-1, thanks to a highlight-film variety goal from Stefanie Gomes with about five minutes to play. Brianne Nieto also scored for Kearny.

Almost at the same time, the Harrison boys were defeating a very stubborn North Arlington squad, 2-0, in their first round North Jersey Section 2, Group I state playoff game at Harrison High. Joao Conceicao and Michael Barbosa scored for the Blue Tide.

Then, it was time to hop back to Harvey, where the Kearny boys were defeating Montclair, 2-0, to advance in the North Jersey Section I, Group IV bracket. Junior Batista and Abdellah Bouzidi each scored a goal in the win.

However, on Sunday, the success rate was not the same, as both the Harrison and Kearny boys’ teams, perhaps anticipating a rematch in the title game, both lost shockingly in the Hudson County tourney semifinals.

Photo by Jim Hague/ Harrison’s Leandro Gonzalez (18, right), tries to make a move on North Arlington’s Kevin Geofredo (20, left) during the Harrison 2-0 win over the Vikings in the North 2, Group I state playoffs last Friday.


The Kearny boys lost to upstart Union City, 1-0, in their semifinal, knocking the top-seeded and defending champion Kardinals out of the tourney. Harrison, the third seed, lost to St. Peter’s Prep, 1-0, in the other semifinal match.

Harrison coach Mike Rusek was not sure whether both teams were looking ahead to a
possible rematch of the two neighboring rivals.

“It’s always on your mind, but we played a very good team in St. Peter’s,” Rusek
said. “We gave it everything we have. It was a really good game. We had some scoring
chances. I can’t say we didn’t play well.”

However, the Kearny girls did manage to play well on Sunday, defeating St. Dominic
Academy of Jersey City, 3-0, to capture their third straight Hudson County Tournament championship.

Mercedes Lois, Ashleigh Amadeo and Melisssa Pineda all scored goals for the Kardinals, who won for the 20th time this season against just three losses.

Kearny girls’ head coach Vin Almeida was a little concerned about how his team
would do, especially after seeing the boys get stunned by Union City.

“It was very shocking,” Almeida said. “I was worried about having a little hangover after the big win against West Orange. It was very dangerous, facing St. Dominic, a team that we beat only 2-1 the first time we played them. So we were concerned about the possibility of being flat. It was a little scary. There (the boys’ team loss) was proof that anything could happen.”

But the Kardinals took care of business and won the county trophy for a third straight year.

“I give credit to the girls for staying focused and having the discipline needed to stay
successful,” Almeida said. “I was concerned about them coming back and not being
focused, but they picked it up from the start.”

Almeida said that winning a third straight county crown is something to behold, simply because you can never predict what might happen during the championship season.

“If you let someone stay in the game, after a while, it gets scary,” Almeida said. “But our girls wouldn’t let that happen.”

Almeida credits the play of his seniors who carried the team down the stretch.

“Ashleigh Amadeo has done a great job,” Almeida said. “Mercedes Lois has been exceptional. Stefanie’s goal against West Orange was just incredible. Sometimes, she
just wows you with the things she does. At any point of the game, she can strike a dagger into the opponent. It really looked like an impossible angle, but she nailed it. It was incredible.”

Almeida also credited the play of Haley Durning, who has been unflappable in net.
Durning, who started the season as a forward, managed to convince Almeida to become a goalie.

“It’s amazing in today’s day and age to find someone so unselfish to want to stand up and say she could be the goalie,” Almeida said. “She saw that we had a need and she was the one who suggested it. She’s been fantastic and keeps getting better and better each day.”

All three teams live on in the state tournament. The Kearny girls were slated to face Livingston Monday afternoon, which meant that they would have played three games in four days.

“We were hoping to face Livingston on Tuesday, but that didn’t work out,” Almeida said. “Sometimes, things in life just don’t work out. We gave them the day off on Saturday to let them try to recuperate, because they do need rest. We have to go with the flow, even when times are tough.”

The Kearny boys were set to face West Orange in the North 1, Group IV semifinals on
Tuesday. The same for Harrison, facing Whippany Park in the North 2, Group I semis.

“We’re still right on pace to contend for a state championship,” Rusek said. “It’s what
we always hope to do. If we play with the same intensity we had against St. Peter’s, we should be alright.”

Intensity. Championship season soccer. Those two terms are almost synonymous, certainly in these parts. No better proof than last Friday, with three championship-style do-or-die playoff games were played about a quarter-mile apart in two soccer-rabid locations.

Three local squads head to state football playofs

Photo by Jim Hague/ Lyndhurst running back Danny Nahra.


By Jim Hague

Before the high school football season began, Lyndhurst head football coach Scott
Rubinetti called his good friend, Rutherford head coach Andy Howell, and joked about the future.

“I called him and told him that since they dropped down to Group I, maybe we could meet in the state playoffs,” Rubinetti said.

After all, at the time, it was a little bit of a stretch, considering Rutherford had been a fixture in the North 1, Group II bracket. With the dip in enrollment, Rutherford was placed in the same bracket with Lyndhurst in North Section 2, Group I.

But the Golden Bears had not been a state playoff participant since the 2004 season, so Rubinetti’s words to Howell didn’t exactly have a lot of steam behind them.

However, as it turns out, Rubinetti was more like a prophet than anything. That’s because the Golden Bears did qualify for the North 2, Group I playoffs and who do the Golden Bears get as a firstround opponent Friday night? None other than the neighboring Bulldogs.

“I think it’s pretty ironic,” Rubinetti said. “I never thought we’d end up facing them in the playoffs. When I said it to Andy, it was more like a joke.”

Lyndhurst is one of three local teams headed to the postseason and all three will have to be road warriors. Nutley, which made it all the way to the North Section 2, Group III finals last year, has qualified once again and will travel to Parsippany to take on Parsippany Hills in the first round of the state playoffs on Saturday.

Queen of Peace, which had not qualified for the states since 2005, makes a return
appearance in the Non-Public Group 2 bracket. The Golden Griffins will face Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, more than likely on Saturday as well.

The NJSIAA had not made the official statement about days and times for the first round playoff matchups by press time Monday.

For many years, Rutherford- Lyndhurst was a long standing rivalry, because of their general proximity.

“It brings back an old football rivalry,” Rubinetti said. “I told our kids that Rutherford and Lyndhurst was once more of a rivalry than what we have with North Arlington. There was a trophy that went to the winner of the game every year.”

Rubinetti, whose team lost to Garfield last Friday night in their final game before the playoffs to drop to 7-2 overall, doesn’t mind facing the old foe and his good friend in the first round.

“I can’t think of us having a better situation in the playoffs,” Rubinetti said. “We’re not traveling far to a place like New Providence. We’re happy to be playing Rutherford. It’s
a nice, easy commute for us and our fans. It’s going to be exciting. I know they’re a very good football team, but we’re ready for the challenge. The kids are excited and the town is excited. It’s going to be a great night.”

Rubinetti isn’t worried that his team enters the playoffs off a loss.

“I wish we could have executed a little better,” Rubinetti said. “I would have liked to
see us play a little better going into the playoffs. It was a little bit of an emotional letdown, knowing we were already in the playoffs. Not making any excuses, we would have liked to win the game. But Rutherford is coming off two losses, so maybe we can catch them being a little down.”

The Golden Bears had been receiving great play from quarterback Danny Kesack
and running back Danny Nahra of late. The Danny and Danny Show had led the Golden Bears to the state playoff berth and will have to be at top performance this weekend against Rutherford.

“We’re looking at it as a onegame season,” Rubinetti said. “We just want to play well and live to play another day. It’s been a great experience.”

Rubinetti said that he didn’t fully realize the Golden Bears were indeed in the state playoffs until he saw the bracket posted on the bulletin board.

“Then it hit me,” Rubinetti said. “The bracket looked awesome with our name on it.”

Rubinetti has enjoyed the state playoffs before, as a head coach at Northern Valley/ Demarest and as an assistant coach at Ramapo, but this is special because it’s his high school alma mater. Rubinetti played in the state playoffs for Lyndhurst and now gets to take a Lyndhurst team there as head coach.

For Nutley, the Maroon Raiders earned the fifth and last spot in the North 2, Group
III bracket. Only five teams qualified with .500 records or better. The top three teams, West Morris, Colonia and Cranford, all earned byes in the first round.

The lone first-round game in that bracket is the Maroon Raiders facing the Vikings of Parsippany Hills.

It’s the fourth straight NJSIAA playoff appearance for the Maroon Raiders and head coach Steve DiGregorio, who is also coaching at his alma mater. The Maroon Raiders enter the tourney on a bit of a roll, having defeated Barringer and Irvington in consecutive weeks after three straight losses.

The Golden Griffins of Queen of Peace, who lost a tough one to St. Mary’s of Rutherford over the weekend, make their return to the state playoffs, hoping that Torre Johnson can perform some of his magic in the postseason. Johnson had another 200-yard performance against St. Mary’s and now has an amazing 1,667 yards and 13 touchdowns for the season.

It won’t be easy, considering MKA is 8-1 this season and defeated rival Montclair Immaculate, 49-7, last weekend.

But there are three local squads with the hope of being crowned a state champion
come the first week of December.

Lyndhurst boys’ cross country fails to repeat at state sectionals

Photo by Jim Hague/ Lyndhurst senior Thiago Fernandes pushes it as he crosses the finish line at the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I championships at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth. Fernandes finished ninth overall and the Golden Bears finished second as a team.


By Jim Hague

The Lyndhurst boys’ cross country team headed to Warninaco Park Saturday morning with the hopes of successfully defending the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state championship the Golden Bears won a year ago.
Unfortunately, they didn’t win.
It wasn’t that the Golden Bears performed poorly. In fact, they ran fairly well as a team. It was just that another team, in this case McNair Academic of Jersey City, ran better.
“We got beat by a better team,” Lyndhurst head coach Michael Picardo said. “I thought we had a chance to win again and our guys ran well. You can’t ask for anything else. It is what it is. Sure, we’re bummed out and disappointed, because our goal was to win again. We just weren’t good enough and just got beat. That’s what it really came down to.”
The Golden Bears lost to McNair by 19 points, 43-69. Palisades Park, which also had hopes of winning the title, finished third, seven points behind Lyndhurst.
McNair had the individual winner in Kevin Ratigan and the runner-up as well in Omar Lopez. That was tough for the Golden Bears to overcome.
Senior Dan Gaspar led the way for the Golden Bears, finishing fifth in 17:51.73.
“I’m really pleased with him,” Picardo said of Gaspar. “He ran a great race.”
Fellow senior Thiago Fernandes finished ninth overall in 18:07.38. It was another solid performance.
Ricky Suarez was 14th overall and Max Estevez was 15th, both crossing the finish line within three seconds of each other.
The next three finishers for the Golden Bears were all freshmen, showing the immense future of the program.
Andre Francisco, 21st overall, followed by Stephen Covello (29th overall) and Kane McDermott (45th overall) are all first-year harriers, a point that Picardo pointed out.
“We ran three freshmen today,” Picardo said. “It’s a sign of things to come. Our kids were able to beat some people out there.”
Picardo said that McNair Academic, which previously finished second three years in a row, including last year to his team, just wanted it a little more this time around.
“Their kids were hungry today and you could see it,” Picardo said. “When you see that kind of determination, it’s tough to beat.”
Picardo made no excuses. Sure, the Golden Bears no longer have three-time defending sectional champ Patrick Rono, since last year’s Observer Male Athlete of the Year has moved on to the University of Arkansas.
“Sometimes, things like this happen,” Picardo said. “Somebody is better than you. But we’re excited where we are. It’s amazing to see where this program has come to, compared to where we were a few years ago.”
Led by Brittany Levario, who finished 14th overall, the Lyndhurst girls’ cross country team finished fourth in the section, so both the boys’ and girls’ teams will head to Holmdel this weekend to compete in the overall Group I championships at Holmdel Park.
Emily Prieto was 17th overall, Lexus Lopez, definitely the most diversified athlete in the school right now, was 18th and Alexandra Karowski was 19th overall, all crossing the line within 30 seconds of each other.
“The girls were fourth, the boys were second,” Picardo said. “And they both get to go to Holmdel. That’s not bad at all. I’m happy we got second with the boys. We knew that if we were going to win, it would take a Herculean effort. It didn’t happen. It is what it is. We got beat.”
And yes, in sports, sometimes you can’t beat the opponent, especially if they’re better.