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Relief for commuters

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  LYNDHURST –  After what Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Giangeruso characterized as “33 years of starts and stops,” the township – with help from Bergen County – is finally beginning to see the start of improvements to the intersection at Kingsland and Riverside Aves. The changes […]

Convicted in mortgage swindle

A Belleville man was among three defendants convicted earlier this month in federal court for their roles in a $15 million mortgage fraud scheme involving condominiums in New Jersey and Florida, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman reported. Last month, another Belleville resident pleaded guilty in the same scam. According to […]

Walmart is keeping cops busy

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  The Walmart in Kearny is conveniently located on Harrison Ave., with easy access to Rt. 280, the N.J. Turnpike and feeder roads to Newark and Jersey City. This is a boon for shoppers. However, according to Kearny police, it is […]

2011 layoffs affirmed

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – Four former Kearny workers, including a union chief, have lost the first round of a bid to reverse their New Year’s Eve dismissals nearly three years ago. In a 21-page ruling issued Sept. 3, the state Office of Administrative Law […]

Go pink at St. Michael’s

Don your favorite pink attire and join St. Michael’s Medical Center for a Breast Cancer Awareness Month event — Breast Health & You — on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at SMMC’s Connie Dwyer Breast Center, 111 Central Ave., Newark. Dr. Nadine Pappas, director of […]

 
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News in brief

HARRISON –

The Town of Harrison is now the “owner” of Red Bull Arena.

Technically, Harrison holds the tax lien on the stadium and, again technically, if no taxes are paid on the property, the town could foreclose on the property and take possession.

That’s made possible as a result of a special tax sale the town held Feb. 10 for the stadium occupied by the New York Red Bulls professional soccer team at Frank Rodgers Blvd. South and Cape May St. for which the town says it’s owed more than $3 million in property taxes covering part of 2010 and all of 2011.

No one showed up at the sale to redeem the taxes or to bid for the tax lien for the stadium, according to town Tax Collector Anna Nicosia.

“I still have high hopes they (the Red Bulls) will come at some point and pay us,” she said.

The Red Bulls’ owners have contended they owe nothing because both the land and stadium, in their opinion, is exempt from taxes and the team’s owners sued the town over that issue.

But N.J. Tax Court Judge Christine Nugent ruled that not only was Harrison entitled to taxes on the stadium, it could also tax the land on which the stadium sits, even though it’s publicly-owned, because the Red Bulls are a private, profit-making enterprise.

The team owners are asking the state Appeals Court for an expedited hearing to challenge Nugent’s decision and, at the same time, are asking Nugent to “stay” her ruling so they don’t have to immediately pay the taxes demanded by the town, pending their continuing legal battle with Harrison.

At the same time, the town’s special counsel Norman Doyle Jr. has petitioned Nugent to deny the Red Bulls a stay, arguing that they shouldn’t be allowed to slide now that Nugent has ruled that the stadium isn’t tax-exempt.

If, down the road, the appellate court should reverse Nugent’s opinion, the Red Bulls can get a refund at the appropriate time, Doyle reasoned, but they should be compelled to pay now. Or, if the appeals court upholds Nugent’s decision, then the Red Bulls can petition the Hudson County Tax Board for tax appeal.

Meanwhile, the owners have until April 12 to contest their taxes for 2012, noted Harrison Tax Assessor Al Cifelli.

BLOOMFIELD –

If you’re an out-of-town motorist driving in Bloomfield and you’re in an accident, you could be twice unlucky.

The township governing body has voted to introduce an ordinance that would assess non-Bloomfield residents a $100 “response fee” if their car is involved in an accident that requires township police, fire or emergency vehicles to respond.

Township Administrator Yoshi Manale said that proof of residence would be determined by the driver’s license.

During 2011, there were about 1,800 traffic accidents logged by the Bloomfield Police Department that tied up township public safety/emergency workers for countless hours, Manale said.

How many of those accidents involved out-of-town drivers is impossible to tell, Manale said.

Manale said he recommended the proposal to the mayor and Township Council after reading about a similar action implemented by New York.

The Township Council was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed law on Feb. 21.

One nabbed, one sought in Harrison jewelry heist

Police collared one suspect and are seeking a second in connection with the daylight burglary of a Harrison Ave. jewelry store on Sunday, Feb. 12, Lincoln’s Birthday.

Angel Colon, 19, of Kearny, has been charged in the burglary and is being held in Hudson County Jail, Kearny, on $57,000 bail. His alleged accomplice, believed to be a Jersey City gang member, was still at large as of press time.

Police said the burglars broke through a sheetrock wall of Harrison Jewelry, on Harrison Ave. near Third St., at around 1 p.m., via an adjacent multi-family residence ground-floor hallway, removed an unknown amount of gems and fled.

A witness spotted two men inside the adjacent building and, suspicious about their presence there, contacted police who went to the location and discovered the crime’s aftermath.

As police were broadcasting a report of the burglary over the police radio, Officer Corey Karas happened to spot a man, later identified as Colon, standing under the Rt. 280 overpass on Warren St. between Second and Third Sts.

According to the officer’s report, Colon was sweating profusely and was squeezing a juice box in his mouth. As Karas approached, Colon ducked behind a concrete wall and when the officer got to him, Colon was covered with sheetrock dust, police said.

Colon was placed under arrest and, when searched, police said they found six pieces of jewelry in his pocket and they recovered a seventh item from the ground. Police said Colon also had some marijuana.

Those gems, all identified as being stolen from the store, were listed as five charms, one earring and one bracelet, all made of gold, police said.

Other pieces believed to have been taken are still unaccounted for, along with the second suspect, police said.

Here’s a sampling of other criminal activity logged by Harrison Police in recent weeks:

Feb. 13

Jose Duarte, 33, of Harrison, was arrested after a motor vehicle stop on Frank Rodgers Blvd. South revealed that his vehicle was unregistered, his license was suspended and he had an outstanding warrant issued by New Providence. Duarte posted bail and was released pending court action.

Feb. 12

Enrique Gomez, 34, of Harrison, was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly struck a 44-yearold Harrison man in the back of his head as he was leaving the Meson De Luis bar on Harrison Ave. between Second and Third Sts. in the early morning.

The victim was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital, Newark, for treatment of his injury.

Gomez, who had outstanding warrants from Jersey City and Newark, was committed to the Hudson County Jail, Kearny.

Police said the incident may also involve a “possible robbery investigation” following the discovery that the victim was found to be missing some gold jewelry. But police there was no connection with the jewelry store burglary that occurred later that day.

Feb. 11

Carlos Delgado, 24, of Newark, was arrested on a DWI charge after he crashed his car into a street sign on Frank Rodgers Blvd. South. Delgado was released, pending a court appearance, after police issued him several motor vehicle summonses.

Feb. 10

After responding to a three-car accident on Frank Rodgers Blvd., police discovered that one of the drivers, Duanta Edwards, 34, of Newark, had multiple outstanding warrants. He was arrested on the warrants and also charged with presenting a forged automobile insurance card to the investigating officer. Edwards was turned over to Holmdel Police on one of the warrants.

Feb. 9

A UPS delivery was stolen from a Harrison Ave. multifamily residence after the package was left at the front door.

Lyndhurst Police Blotter

Feb. 19

Maryanne Machiaverna, 55, of North Arlington, was charged with shoplifting $30 in miscellaneous items at the ShopRite on New York Ave. at 9:11 a.m. She was given a summons and released pending a court appearance.

Feb. 18

Christie DeMarco, 25, of Rutherford, was stopped on Stuyvesant Ave. near Page Ave. at 3:51 a.m. after police said she was traveling 40 mph in a 25 mph zone.

DeMarco was ticketed for speeding, driving while suspended and possession of drugs (suspected marijuana) in a motor vehicle.

Police said DeMarco also had an outstanding warrant from Clifton for $165.

After posting the warrant amount, she was released pending a court appearance.

In another traffic incident, at 1:16 a.m., George Rausch, 50, of Lyndhurst, was stopped as he was turning onto Kingsland Ave. near Sallas Court while doing 42 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to police.

Rausch was ticketed for DWI  and his vehicle was impounded. He was released pending court action.

Feb. 15

Police pulled over a car operated by Kennyne Boyle-Greene, 37, of Keansburg, at 1 a.m. after found to be traveling 50 mph in a 40 mph zone on Garland Way.

Boyle-Greene was given summonses for hindering apprehension after giving officers a false name, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving while suspended and speeding.

Feb. 14

In an apparently ill-fated Valentine’s Day effort, Jorge Yika, 36, of Belleville, was charged with shoplifting after attempting to leave the ShopRite on New York Ave. with a dozen roses without paying at 6:28 p.m. Yika was released on a summons pending a court appearance.

Gustavo Hernandez, 22, of Lyndhurst, reportedly drove through a red light while turning into a Paul St. driveway at 3:18 a.m., then exited his vehicle and failed to heed an officer’s instructions to stop. He was ticketed for hindering apprehension, failing to observe a traffic control device and driving an unregistered vehicle.

Speed: Not ‘King’ of the road

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ KING ST. NEIGHBORS, (L. TO R.) LAURA SANTOS, ELLEN MCLAREN, KATHY DERAY, ROSE AWWAD AND DOROTHY MARFLAK WANT THE TOWN TO STOP SPEEDERS.

 

By Ron Leir

KEARNY–

Driving on King Street? S L O W D O W N! Residents on the east-west corridor say enough’s enough and they want the town to accelerate into taking action to stop the errant motorists who, they say, are using that route as a speedway.

“If something is not done,” resident Laura Santos warned the governing body last Tuesday night, “I don’t want to be the one to come here and say, ‘I told you so.’

’’Ellen McLaren, who lives at King and Hickory Sts., recalled the time a driver plowed through her front lawn, crashing into her porch. “That’s what I fear happening (again),” she said. “The street is very narrow,” pointed out Dorothy Marflak. “Nobody wants to slow down.” And many times, impatient motorists “take out a lot of mirrors off cars” as they drive by, she said.

Kathleen DeRay said she’s seen cars and trucks “fl ying around” the intersection at Schuyler Ave. and King St. Her car, parked at King and Ivy St., a block in from Schuyler, “got hit four times in the last two years.”

And, from her vantage point on her porch, near the Schuyler crossing, Rose Awwad said she’s witnessed a number of hit and runs, including one vehicle that whacked her friend’s parked van.

In considering the residents’ demand for relief, Mayor Alberto Santos said that virtually every street in Kearny has issues with careless drivers and that the town has employed varying strategies to deal with the situation, ranging from speed humps to four-way stops to police enforcement.

Typically, Santos said, the Police Department will do a traffic survey of a particular street to determine how serious a problem exists.

For King Street, Police Chief John Dowie said the department found that on the basis of a survey done in August 2010, 85% of the traffic followed the 25 mph speed limit although there were exceptions to that pattern.

On days when there is no street sweeping and cars are parked on both sides of King St., it can be tough for vehicles approaching from opposite directions to negotiate the right of way, Dowie said.

That can be particularly difficult, Dowie said, when an SUV and a big truck hauling dirt and construction debris from the Kearny High School renovation site come together. Somebody has to back up and let the other driver pass, he said.

Dowie said the contractor at the high school job site has cooperated by diverting trucks to Davis Ave. and then to Midland and/or Bergen Aves., which are wider and offer more room to maneuver.

After hearing from the town’s consulting engineers what options might be available to help curtail would-be speeders, Santos recommended for the council’s consideration, installation of non-blinking, four-way stop signs – each sign measuring about 3 feet-by-3 feet – along King St., between Hickory and Ivy Sts.

The same strategy has worked at the intersection near Schuyler School, Santos said. “I think it will be effective (on King St.).”

Third Ward Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle suggested that a police presence – at some point – could also be helpful, if the chief had anyone available.

For the time being, the governing body voted to introduce an ordinance – up for adoption on Feb. 21 – to authorize the placement of the four-way stop on King St.

When the mayor invited further discussion about speeding issues around town, Tappan St. resident Paul Desousa voiced concern about driving conditions on his block, especially between Schuyler and Davis Aves.

“Every night, it’s horrible,” Desousa said. “Unbelievable.”

Some weeks ago, he said, “a little kid got hit” by a speeding driver but, fortunately, the child wasn’t seriously hurt. Dowie, recalling the incident, said the culprit was a juvenile operating a stolen car.

Aside from the safety hazards, Desousa said, residents are awakened in the early morning hours – between midnight and 2 or 3 a.m. – by the loud noise from the speeding vehicles. “Some of the cars don’t have catalytic converters for their mufflers,” he said. “You can’t sleep.”

Second Ward Councilwoman Madeline Peyko, who lives on the block, readily agreed. “You feel like it’s a drag strip,” Peyko said. “You sit there and wait for a crash. They have to be doing 60, 70 miles an hour.”

And, Desousa reminded the council, “there are no stop signs” on that stretch of Tappan to warn drivers to slow down.

Santos said the town would review the situation to see what, if any, remedy could be applied there.

Another intersection that the town targeted for enforcement is Bennett Ave. and Pleasant Place near a town playground. Dowie said a police traffic detail has been assigned to that location for the past few weeks since the loss of a crossing guard previously assigned to that post.

“We’re doing it for the public’s education and to see if concerns about safety were borne out,” Dowie said. “It is a hill street, newly paved and a conduit to avoid traffi c on the Belleville Turnpike. We have issued some (speeding) summonses. So we feel there is some credence about those concerns.”

Other intersections which, according to Dowie, are no longer covered by crossing guards, are: Chestnut St. and Columbia Ave.; Belgrove Drive and Quincy St.; and Hoyt St. and Kearny Ave.

All are what police categorize as relatively “low-volume” traffic spots, the chief said.

There are no plans to assign replacements at those intersections, Dowie said. “It’s all part of the (personnel) downsizing,” he said, including his own department.

New cop long time coming

Photo courtesy Town of Harrison/ Police Officer Frank Narvaez (2nd from l.) is congratulated on his appointment by (from l.) Chief Derek Kearns, Mayor Ray McDonough and Councilman James Doran.

 

By Ron Leir

HARRISON –

It was about 11 years ago that Harrison last hired a cop.

Now, finally, the long drought is over: As of Monday, Jan. 30, Frank Narvaez was named the town’s newest police officer. His hiring was ratified by the Town Council on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 7.

But the 24-year-old Paterson native didn’t come to the Police Department in the normal way, off of a state Civil Service appointment list.

Instead, illustrative of the tough economy, Harrison plucked Narvaez from a list of New Jersey cops laid off for economic reasons who, under legislation sponsored by State Sen. Ronald Rice Sr. (D-Essex), a former Newark cop, can be rehired by any municipality without having to reapply through Civil Service.

Narvaez started his law enforcement career at age 18 when the Paterson Police Department hired him as a dispatcher and booking officer. He then entered the Police Academy and successfully completed training that qualified him for appointment as a police officer.

He served as a Paterson cop for three years, only to lose his job in April 2011 when the city laid off 125 officers, about a quarter of the force, as economic casualties.

While looking for work Narvaez enrolled at Passaic County Community College to study business administration, which he says he’s considering pursuing as a second career after his police days are completed.

Married with a four-year-old son, Narvaez is bilingual with a fluency in Spanish. He is American-born; his dad was born in Spain.

On the basis of his prior police experience, Narvaez was placed on the second step of the union salary guide for police officer, so his annual base pay is $48,000 plus health benefits.

Narvaez and his family are still living in Paterson but the officer said he’s thinking of relocating to Harrison, particularly with the signs of development activity getting off the ground.

Last fall, Police Chief Derek Kearns had to accept a downsized department and a revised Table of Organization – dictated by a state monitoring agreement – that calls for a police department of “no more than” 46 members, but which now totals only 38.

“Since July 2011, I’ve lost eight positions through attrition,” said Kearns. Those slots include one captain, three lieutenants, three sergeants and one police officer, he said. Except for the one rank-and-file slot, none has been replaced, he added.

Asked about the new appointment, Joseph Nigro, president of Patrolman’s Benevolent Association Local 22, which bargains for the rank-and-file members of the Harrison force, said: “Hopefully, it’s the start of more hires. We are busy. We do need more manpower, particularly with all the new development we’re seeing and the new residents coming into the town.”

While there are a total of 22 officers on the departmental roster, not all of them are out on the street, Nigro noted. That total, he said, includes two detectives, a third “on loan” from Homeland Security plus one officer assigned to school detail.

Nigro acknowledged that the department is utilizing surveillance cameras to help deter crime, “but cameras don’t replace officers on the street,” he said.

Meanwhile, in other personnel moves, the Harrison Town Council voted last Tuesday to introduce an ordinance that creates “permanent Civil Service positions” to bring back retired Fire Chief Tom Dolaghan as a part-time aide to the mayor at $30 an hour for 20 hours a week and to hire retired municipal court employee Julie Walsh as a municipal court attendant at the same pay rate.

The ordinance is slated for a public hearing on March 6.

Mayor Ray McDonough said that Dolaghan would be assigned projects, as needed, such as serving as the town’s liaison to the newly reconstituted Board of Health, now under supervision of North Bergen Health Officer Richard Censullo.

Dolaghan would also be compiling state-mandated reports for the Office of Emergency Management and Meals on Wheels, filling out grant applications for various departments and following up with Public Service Electric & Gas on getting non-operating street lights replaced, McDonough said.

Dolaghan, who retired as fire chief Aug. 1, 2011, with a hefty terminal leave package and pension, said that the mayor asked him to return. “I’m glad he called me,” Dolaghan said. “Some departments are short of personnel to prepare reports and grant applications.”

Dolaghan said the requirements for the aide position called for “a four-year (college) degree and suitable management experience, which I have.”

At least one Harrisonian – who has previously tangled with the former chief – won’t be happy to see him back.

Dave Prina, president of the local unit of the Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association, which negotiates labor contracts on behalf of Harrison firefighters, griped that given the ex-chief’s retirement compensation and in light of the recent cutbacks in both the Police and Fire Departments and layoffs of civilian workers, Dolaghan “should be ashamed to take a job like that.”

Town urging action on meadows properties

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

 

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

 

 

By Ron Leir

KEARNY –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Wrestling Superstars come to Bloomfield

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

Pro wrestling show to benefit Bloomfield charities

By Jeff Bahr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Bloomfield:

•Power House Gym 465 Bloomfield Ave.

•Vinnie’s Pizzeria 414 Broad St.

•Hot Bagels Abroad 1129 Broad St.

Belleville:

•Rosebuds 52 Joralemon St.

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

Kearny Police Blotter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Anthony J. Machcinski

Belleville Police Blotter

Feb. 8

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

Feb. 7

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

Feb 6

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

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

Feb. 5

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

Feb. 4

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

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

– Jeff Bahr

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Prevent a tragedy

publisher@theobserver.com

 

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

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

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

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

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