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FERRARO

Ferrarro resigns, takes buyout

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  After months of wrangling with his employer, the Kearny Board of Education, Frank Ferraro has tendered his resignation as Kearny superintendent of schools, effective Nov. 1. Ferraro, who was facing the threat of being fired after the board had brought tenure charges […]

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New high school VP named

KEARNY – A 13-year school employee has been promoted to vice principal assigned to Kearny High School. Paul Measso, 37, was appointed to his new job Oct. 20 at an annual salary of $128,163 (pro-rated), pending receipt of his principal certificate of eligibility from Trenton. He completed a master’s degree […]

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Lottery for senior apts. next month

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  HARRISON – The town’s first affordable residence for senior citizens at 774 Harrison Ave. is getting ever closer to reality. As construction of the 15-unit building nears completion, the sponsor, Domus Corp., the housing arm of Catholic Charities of Newark, has begun the process […]

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Heroin/gun rap for felon

      By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  When Kearny Vice Squad detectives busted a Newark man for drug possession/distribution Oct. 17 on Maple St., they reported recovering 135 folds of heroin. While the suspect was languishing in the Hudson County Jail on $40,000 bail, the KPD […]

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Borough voters getting school question

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  EAST NEWARK –  A court ruling has cleared the way – over objections by Harrison – for a Nov. 4 nonbinding referendum asking borough voters, “Should East Newark high school students be sent to Kearny High School instead of Harrison High School?” Harrison Board […]

 
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Social Security gets adjusted

By Randy Neumann

Over the many years that I have been presenting retirement seminars at Bergen Community College and the Ridgewood Public Library, I have learned that most people cannot get enough of Social Security information. Therefore, I always make sure I have a Social Security expert on hand. Last month was no exception. We had a large turnout at the Ridgewood Library and our guest speaker was from BlackRock, the largest investment company in the world that sponsors a cadre of SS specialists who make presentations to the public. During his presentation, he mentioned that there would be an important update regarding Social Security. Here it is:

The Social Security Administration announced in a press release last October, the first Cost-of-Living Adjustment since 2009.

“Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 60 million Americans will increase 3.6 percent in 2012, the Social Security Administration announced today. The 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that nearly 55 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2012. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2011.”

That’s the good news.

The bad news is, “Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $110,100 from $106,800. Of the estimated 161 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2012, about 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.”

Now, for an interesting tidbit. I recently discovered, while working with a new client that once you reach full retirement age (66 for us baby boomers), if you have children below the age of 18, they are entitled to one-half of your monthly retirement benefit until they reach age 18. Additionally, if they are full-time students, they can collect until they become 19.

Further, benefits paid to your child will not decrease your retirement benefit. In fact, the value of the benefits he or she may receive, added to your own, may help you decide if taking benefits sooner may be more advantageous.

Within your family, each qualified child may receive a monthly payment of up to one-half of your full retirement benefit amount. However, there is a limit to the amount that your family can collect. Totals vary, but, generally, the total amount you and your family can receive is about 150 to 180 percent of your full retirement benefit.

When you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. Your eligible child can be your biological child, adopted child or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also qualify.

To receive benefits, the child must: ·

Be unmarried; and

· Be under age 18; or

· Be 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or ·

Be 18 or older and disabled from a disability that started before age 22.

A detailed review of the changes made by the new cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) including estimated average monthly Social Security benefits payable in January 2012:

All retired workers: $1,186 before 3.6 percent COLA; $1,229 after 3.6 percent COLA.

Aged couples, both receiving benefits: $1,925 before 3.6 percent COLA; $19,994 after 3.6 percent COLA.

Widowed mother and 2 children: $2,455 before 3.6 percent COLA; $2,543 after 3.6 percent COLA.

Aged widow(er) alone: $1,143 before 3.6 COLA; $1,184 after 3.6 percent COLA.

Disabled worker, spouse and one or more children: $1,826 before 3.6 percent COLA; $1,992 after 3.6 COLA.

All disabled workers: $1,072 before 3.60 percent COLA; $1,111 after 3.6 percent COLA.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual. Randy Neumann CFP (R) is a registered representative with securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 600 East Crescent Ave., Upper Saddle River 201-291-9000.

Obituaries

Eleanor Jablonski

Eleanor Jablonski died on Feb. 17. She was 86.

Born in Harrison, she lived in Kearny before moving to Pt. Pleasant 27 years ago.

Private arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny.

She is survived by her husband Francis and her children Janice Riepe and Frank, Ray and John Jablonski and seven grandchildren.

Julia C. Petrocelli

Julia C. Petrocelli (nee Hernon), 81, died on Feb. 21 at the Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville.

Born in New York City, Mrs. Petrocelli lived in North Arlington for the past 42 years.

She was the beloved wife of Vincent T.; the cherished mother of Catherine Venezia of Cedar Knolls and her husband the late Louis, Richard Petrocelli of Lyndhurst and his wife, Kathi, Sandra Cuozzo of Ridgefield Park and her husband Joseph, and Joan Petrocelli Doumas of Midland Park and her husband George; the adored grandmother of Louis John, Michael, Stephanie, Mark, Kevin, Joseph, Vincent, Nicholas, Evan, Elizabeth, Michelle, and Daniel, and the loving aunt of many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital , P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, Tenn. 38148-0142.

Donald A. Pollock

Donald A. Pollock died on Feb. 19 at home. He was 81.

Born in Newark, he lived in Kearny and Nutley before moving to Manchester Twp., 18 years ago.

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

Donald served on The U.S.S. Durke DD 783 during the Korean Conflict and was involved with the pre invasion strike and the actual invasion itself. He was a member of The Tin Can Sailors. He is a retired microwave engineer from Bell Telephone and is a member of The Pioneers of America. Don was known as WA2MHA and was a member of Ocean County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, R.A.C.E.S. and A.R.R.L. He was a volunteer with the Red Cross Emergency Service, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and M.S. 170. He was a lifelong O negative blood donor.

He is survived by his wife Emily (Vay), his children Alan Pollock and Nancy Ann Mangham, his brothers Thomas and Archie, his grandchildren Dawn, Jason, Elizabeth and Melody, his great grandchildren Christopher, Mark, Joshua, and Madeline Rose. He is also survived by his nephew Robert Pollock.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Albertina Rebimbas

Albertina Rebimbas died on Feb. 23. She was 87.

Born in Portugal, she lived in Kearny for the past 26 years. Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in St. Cecilia’s Church. Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery.

She is survived by her children Maria Cunha and Manuel Rebimbas, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

George D. Rutan

George D. Rutan, 74, died on Tuesday, Feb. 21, in St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark.

Arrangements were by the Thiele- Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral liturgy was offered in St. Cecilia Church, Kearny on Friday, Feb. 24, followed by interment at St. Gertrude Cemetery, Colonia. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid. com.

Mr. Rutan was born in Newark and has lived in Kearny for the last 41 years.

George was an assembler at Hudson Milestones in Jersey City for many years. Prior to that, he worked in the same capacity at Pathways to Independence in Kearny.

He is survived by his brother Norman R. Rutan and his wife Therese and nieces Michele Preston and Veronica Baran. He was the cousin of Arlene Labaj. He was predeceased by his parents George H. and Mary D. (Horwat) Rutan.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to Hudson Milestones, 356-381 Clendenny Ave., Jersey City, N.J. 07304 or at www.hudsonmilestones.org.

Charles E. Scalley

Charles E. (Chicky) Scalley a lifelong Harrison resident, died on Friday, Feb. 17, after a long battle with cancer, surrounded by loving family and friends. He was 68. At his request, the funeral arrangements were private.

Charles is survived by his beloved sister Eileen Epifanio and her family, two nieces and their spouses Michelle and Gregory Rasp, Adele and J.D. Nielsen. Also, surviving are great niece and nephew Brittany and Matthew Rasp.

Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, 332 Cleveland Ave., Harrison.

Guido A. Tango

Guido A. Tango, 83, died Thursday, Feb. 16, at Park Manor in Bloomfield, with his family by his side.

Born in Newark, he lived in North Arlington since 1955.

He was partners with Elliot Anelle in A Supplementary Data Processing, Inc. in Bloomfield, for many years before retiring. He was also the owner of Casa Di Guido in North Arlington.

He proudly served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council No. 3428, and the Italian-American Club, both of North Arlington. He served on the board of governors for West Hudson Hospital in Kearny, He was a member of the Republican Party of North Arlington, where he served as a councilman, and also the Rotary Club of North Arlington, where he was the recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow. In his spare time, Mr. Tango was an amateur chef, who won many culinary contests and prizes.

He was the beloved husband for 57 years of Adrienne (nee Matusz); the devoted father of Doreen Tango Hampton and her husband, Jack Hampton, Mark Tango and his wife, Joelle Tango, and Tracey Tango and her husband, Michael Amend; the cherished poppy of Mark John, Alex, Olivia, Grace, and Hope; the adored brother of Ralph Tango, and the late John Tango; loving brother-in- law of Veronica and Angela Tango, and dear cousin of Vincenza Farco, and the late Mario and Lucille Farco. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and godchildren.

Funeral arrangements were by the Parow Funeral Home, 185 Ridge Rd., North Arlington, with services held on Saturday, Feb. 25, followed by a funeral Mass in Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington. Entombment is at Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital , 501 St. Jude Way, Memphis, Tenn. 38105, or the charity of your choice .

Salvatore S. Tornello

Salvatore S. Tornello, 82, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Brighton Gardens, Florham Park. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and has been a lifelong resident of Kearny.

He was an assembly worker for Bergen Brunswick Drug Co. of Pine Brook for 30 years, retiring at the age of 62. Salvatore enjoyed the outdoors where he loved to camp, scuba dive and hunt.

Beloved husband of Matilda “Tilly” (nee Maddy); devoted and loving father of Susan Galada and Diana Entwistle (Richard); brother of the late Jean Spilotras; dear grandfather of Timothy, Alyssa, Rebecca, Michael, Tristan and Nicholas; uncle of Dolores Rhinsmith; cousin of Lydia Crouch.

Arrangements were by the Shaw-Buyus Home for Services, 138 Davis Ave., Kearny, followed by a funeral service at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kearny. Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Grace Health Care Services, 105 Fieldcrest Ave. Suite 402 Edison, N.J. 08837 would be appreciated. For more information, visit www.buyusfuneralhome.com.

Zoila Yantuche

Zoila Yantuche died on Feb. 22. She was 64.

Born in Guatemala, she lives in Kearny.

She is survived by her children Walter and Juan Diaz and Maritza Diaz Rivera.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A service was held at the funeral home followed by burial at Arlington Cemetery.

Death knell for Catholic education in W. Hudson?

 

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Mater Dei Academy has announced it will close at the end of this school year.

 

By Anthony J. Machcinski

Thus, it becomes our sad duty to inform you that the Archdiocese of Newark has concluded that Mater Dei Academy will cease operations at the end of the current academic year.”

This statement, from a letter to parents of Mater Dei school children, conveyed the grim news that their children would be unable to attend the school next year.

“I was shocked,” said one parent of a seventh-grader who requested anonymity. “My child was upset. He wanted to graduate with his classmates.”

The school, which was created three years ago with the merger of St. Stephen’s in Kearny and Holy Cross in Harrison. According to Archdiocesan spokesman Jim Goodness, the decision had been finalized by the Archdiocese within the last month and communicated to the administration at the school.

In the letter sent to parents, Pastoral Administrator Rev. Michael G. Ward, V.F., and Principal Deborah DeMattia, wrote: “Unfortunately, due to our poor economy, competition from charter schools and other factors, enrollment has continued to decline, not just at Mater Dei, but other area schools as well. The financial stability of the Academy has become unsustainable. We believe these trends will continue for the near future, thus making it necessary to significantly increase tuition. We all know that such an increase would be prohibitive for you.”

Goodness echoed the letter’s dire forecast.

“You’re looking at a decline in enrollment over the three years of about 80 students,” Goodness said. “It opened up in 2009-2010 and had 250 students and this year there are only 170…Having said that, the next step would have been to look at an increase in tuition in the per student charges in the school…It creates an excessive burden and would have made continuing prohibitive.”

Nonetheless, parents are doing everything in their power to keep the school open.

“We made $86,000 in fundraising alone last year,” said Cindy Schirm, a school board member the past two years whose daughter – at this point – figures to be in Mater Dei’s final graduating class. And some parents have begun a petition drive in hopes of keeping the school open.

Others, however, have already started planning for their children’s education in a post-Mater Dei universe.

“I’m most likely going to put them in Queen of Peace,” said Adriana Anders, a mother who currently has a third- and sixth-grader in Mater Dei and another child currently in Queen of Peace High School. “I can’t put them in public school because they would have to go to three different schools (based on Anders’ residence).”

In an effort to address parents’ concerns about where their children can go next school year, Goodness says the Archdiocese has something already in the works.

“What will be happening is parents will have an opportunity to meet with schools in a much higher position in terms of numbers and be able to transition into another school for September,” Goodness said. He was unsure when these meetings would take place.

While many students were upset about the school’s closing and not having the opportunity to graduate with many of their friends, they were unhappy for their teachers, who according to parents, created a “family-like” atmosphere.

“(My son) enjoyed going to school with the teachers,” explained the anonymous parent. “They made it more of a family place.”

Teachers, who will lose their jobs at Mater Dei, will have the opportunity, according to Goodness, to apply for jobs inside the archdiocese.

“They can apply for any open position in the archdiocese,” Goodness explained. “However, should a job not be available, there is a severance program in place for those teachers. That’s all something we discussed through human resources. Some of that has already started.”

The demise of Mater Dei would mark the closing of the last Catholic school in West Hudson, since the merger of St. Stephen’s and Holy Cross in September 2009

News in brief

KEARNY –

Real-life spouses Mary Costello and Jim Hague will share the stage in the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company’s production of A.R. Gurney’s play, “Love Letters.”

Performances are Friday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 10, at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., at the Arlington Players Club, 12 Washington Place. Tickets are $20.

In the play, Costello portrays an artist, Melissa Gardner, and Hague is cast as an attorney, Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, who begin a longterm correspondence as second-grade classmates and continue – even as they lead separate lives – for a halfcentury.

Both Costello and Hague said they welcomed a chance to participate with W.H.A.T. in helping revitalize the performing arts in the region.

Costello, a Kearny resident who was raised in Harrison, is a Hudson County Superior Court judge. In her only prior acting experience, she played a judge in a 2008 Attic Ensemble production of “Night of January 16th.”

Several years ago, Costello saw “Love Letters” performed at the Attic Ensemble by her current director, Mark Morchel, and Joanne Smith. “I was one of many wiping tears away. I think if you can watch (the play) and not be moved – either to laughter or tears – because there are also lighthearted moments in the play – there’s something wrong with you,” Costello said.

And “Love Letters” resonates personally with Costello for another reason. “It’s a play about two people who love each other – and that’s us – Jim and I – so it’s not too big a stretch,” she says.

Hague, a sportswriter for The Observer and for other papers, said he relates well to one of the show’s themes, a faithful partnership kept alive by the couple’s exchange of the written word.

Elaborating, Hague said that in the play, his character explains his preference for writing rather than telephoning is based on the fact that, “letters are more personal, part of your personality, which is what writing is all about and, as a writer myself, I can relate to that.”

Picking up on that notion, Costello says she finds relevance to today’s technologypaced word. “These days, everybody’s texting, blogging, calling each other on the cell phone,” she says. “(Jim and I) are guilty of it, too.”

Hague’s prior stage experience includes two stints as Norman Bulansky in “The Boys Next Door” in 1991 and 1993. He also played legendary Mayor Frank Hague in “The Chase and Sanborn Mystery Hour” for the Attic in 1994.

“I’m excited about this new venture,” Hague said. “It’s huge to have theater out here. I’m all for it.”

And, he confesses, it could have something to do with the fact that “I’m a huge ham.”

JERSEY CITY –

Carlos Campos, the accused killer of his parents and niece in Harrison last summer, was arraigned last Tuesday, Feb. 21, before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Arre, sitting in Jersey City.

Campos’ court-appointed lawyer, Hudson County Dep. Public Defender Joseph Russo, told the court he hadn’t yet received all the discovery he’d requested from the state’s representative, Asst. Hudson County Prosecutor Michael D’Andrea.

“And some if it is not readable,” Russo added.

D’Andrea, meanwhile, advised the judge that he had made “no offer at this time” for plea bargaining the case.

D’Andrea said he’d be filing an application for a “forensic examination” of the defendant which, he added, would include a request for a “bite mark.” Later, outside court, the assistant prosecutor declined to elaborate.

Campos is charged with murdering his parents, Carlos A. Campos-Trinidad, 57, and Ruth Pereira, 58, and his 3-year-old niece, Gabriella Morales, Aug. 16, 2011, at the family home on Hamilton Street.

Campos, who remains in Hudson County Jail, Kearny, on $1 million bail, is due back in court Sept. 10.

-Ron Leir

HOME PARISH PLANS ‘4 CHAPLAINS’ TRIBUTE

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski; sketch & portrait of Rev. John Washington courtesy St. Stephen’s Parish/ THE REV. JOSEPH MANCINI STANDS IN SPACE RESERVED FOR “FOUR CHAPLAINS” MONUMENT, REPRESENTED, PARTLY, BY SKETCH AT LEFT. INSET, AT RIGHT, A PHOTO OF THE REV. JOHN P. WASHINGTON, ONE OF THE HERO CHAPLAINS.

 

By Ron Leir

KEARNY –

For many years, St. Stephen’s Church in Kearny has offered a special Mass in February dedicated to the parish’s former curate, the Rev. John P. Washington, one of the “Four Chaplains” who gave their lifejackets to others during the sinking of the USAT Dorchester in the North Atlantic on Feb. 3, 1943, by a German U-boat.

With the 70th anniversary of the chaplains’ deaths to be observed next year, St. Stephens’ parish will be raising money for the design and construction of a monument honoring Rev. Washington and his colleagues.

Together with Rev. Washington, the other chaplains ship were the Rev. George L. Fox, a Methodist; Rabbi Alexander D. Goode; and the Rev. Clark V. Poling, of the Reformed Church of America.

John DelMonaco, president of the parish council, said that St. Stephens pastor, the Rev. Joseph Mancini, came to the council with the proposal “and we were very impressed and excited about it. We recommended that he proceed.”

The ambitious plan was disclosed to St. Stephens’ parishioners at the Mass honoring Rev. Washington earlier this month.

DelMonaco said that the monument project was being undertaken, not only for the local parish but also for the Town of Kearny and the larger community “to recognize the bravery and heroism of Father Washington and the other chaplains on the Dorchester … and to remind us of the sacrifices those in the armed services today make for all of us.”

“It is our intention to finish the project and have its dedication in time for next year’s Mass,” DelMonaco said.

John P. Washington was born July 18, 1908, in the Roseville section of Newark, the first child of Frank and Mary Washington. Six more siblings followed. The family’s home parish was St. Rose of Lima where young John served as an altar boy and, early on, aspired to the priesthood.

After graduating from Seton Hall College in South Orange in 1931, Washington entered the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, became a deacon in 1934 and a priest in 1935. He was assigned, initially, to St. Genevieve’s in Elizabeth and then to St. Venantius in Orange before arriving at St. Stephen’s in 1937 as the parish was in the process of relocating from Midland Ave. to Washington Ave.

St. Stephen’s parish trustee, retired Municipal Court Judge John McLaughlin, says he was in kindergarten or first grade at the time and he recalls that, “Father Washington used to take the altar boys and various classes from school to Bertrand’s Island, an amusement area in Lake Hopatcong. I went. He was pretty good at working with kids.”

Parishioner Paul Shalvoy, one of the altar boys who helped Rev. Washington serve Mass at St. Stephen’s, said that when the priest was in charge of the local Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), he arranged to transport a St. Stephen’s youth team to Ruppert Stadium in Newark’s Ironbound area to participate in CYO track meets. “I was in St. Stephen’s grammar school at the time and I ran in the relay races,” Shalvoy recalled. “And I remember that Father Washington bought us hotdogs and sodas and in the late ‘30s, that was a treat. He was a very nice guy.”

Sketch courtesy St. Stephen’s Parish/ A frontal view of the proposed Four Chaplains monument designed by Timothy Schmalz.

Revs. Washington and Byrne used to go house-to-house to take the parish census, McLaughlin recalled.

At St. Stephen’s, Washington developed a reputation as a “forward thinking” cleric, Mancini said. “He integrated public and parochial school children for social gatherings, for example, which was unheard of for that time.”

As the story goes, Mancini said, on Dec. 7, 1941, Washington had taken his mother out to dinner in North Arlington and, on their way back to Kearny, heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was then, Mancini said, that the young priest decided to enlist.

He very nearly didn’t make it.

According to Shalvoy, Washington wanted to go into the Navy but was rejected because of flawed sight in his right eye.

“Well,” Shalvoy said, “one of our other priests, Father Gordon Byrne, who was home on military leave at the time, suggested trying the Army, instead, because they gave the physical in a darkened room and when you read the eye chart, you could hold the card over the same eye for each reading, so that’s what Father Washington did – he covered the same (bad) eye twice” and passed the physical and was appointed an Army chaplain, assigned to the 76th Infantry Div.

On Nov. 13, 1942, Washington was sent to Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Mass., and on the train ride there, relates St. Stephen’s parishioner Nancy Waller, Washington encountered her husband’s parents who were then enroute to Boston for their honeymoon.

“They were probably the last parishioners to see Father Washington before he shipped out,” Waller said.

It was in New England that Washington made his final stop on the road to war: He went to Military Chaplains School at Harvard where he met Fox, Goode and Poling.

In January 1943, all four sailed out of Boston Harbor on the Dorchester, a converted luxury liner, as part of a threeship Army Transport convoy, bound for Greenland.

They would never reach their destination.

According to Mancini, survivors’ accounts indicate that Washington went to bat for Jewish servicemen looking to hold Sabbath services Friday night in the ship’s mess hall. Non-Jewish soldiers playing cards there weren’t inclined to move but Washington reportedly persuaded them to take their game elsewhere.

Early on Feb. 3, 1943, a German sub fired three torpedoes into the Dorchester, quickly sending the vessel to a watery grave. Of some 900 men aboard, only 230 survived.

In 1944, the Army awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart to the four chaplains, presenting the medals to family members; in 1948, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating their selfless actions; and in 1961, Congress authorized a Special Medal for Heroism awarded by President Eisenhower.

After the tragedy, Waller said, “Clubs were formed in the parish in Father Washington’s name. They put on performances, fundraisers.” McLaughlin remembers parishioner Irma Long spearheaded a campaign to have Father Washington canonized by Rome, “but it never got off the ground.”

And St. Stephens began a practice of holding an annual Mass in Father Washington’s memory. Last year’s service, for example, drew close to 400 attendees, including about 100 members of veterans’ organizations, Mancini said.

Mancini said the idea for the monument came about as a byproduct of a conversation he had last October with Brooklyn artist Fred Moshey, who does reproductions of religious statutes and other items.

“At the time, I was thinking of establishing a (religious) gift shop here at the parish,” Mancini said, “and I was giving Fred a tour of the church and I showed him the granite tablet there honoring Father Washington.”

Moshey happened to mention his visit to St. Stephen’s and the connection to the Four Chaplains to a Canadian sculptor colleague Timothy P. Schmalz who expressed his desire to memorialize the quartet with a 12-foot-tall, 2,000 pound bronze monument.

As envisioned by Schmalz, the front of the monument would depict the chaplains, praying, in the stern of the Dorchester and the back would present an angel holding the four life vests and, enclosed in the center of the angel’s spreading wings, an image of the Dorchester sinking beneath the waves.

Mancini proposes to install the memorial on the front lawn of the church, close to Kearny Ave. and just off the Centennial brick walkway, near the flagpoles.

The pastor said he’s considering relocating the 9/11 steel beam cross to that area, together with the Four Chaplains monument, to create a “memorial garden reflection area.”

A “core committee” of Deacon Earl White and parishioner Nancy Waller has been appointed to flesh out those plans and to raise the estimated $97,000 needed to pay for the monument.

“We plan to raise a portion of that from our parishioners,” Mancini said. “We would also reach out to local businesses and we want to talk to veterans’ groups about enlisting their support.”

The local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization, has also volunteered to help, he said.

Parishioners are being invited to participate in the Four Chaplains Memorial project via a “three-tiered level of giving” as follows: A gift of $125 to $249 entitles the donor to a 12- inch replica of the monument; for $250 to $399, the donor receives the 12-inch statue and a paver in the walkway; people who give $400 or more get the statue, paver and an invitation to “Meet the Artist” at a wine and- cheese reception the eve of the dedication.

With the number of World War II-era veterans dwindling, Mancini said the monument will serve “to keep the story of the Four Chaplains going” and to reinforce the message of the chaplains’ “bravery, courage and sacrifice, which kids today especially need to hear.”

“Today,” the pastor said, “there’s a lot of emphasis on ‘I’ – we have the I-Pod, I-Pad, I-Max – there’s no sense of ‘you’ or ‘us.’ We read about multi-million dollar sports celebrity heroes. But we need genuine heroes who embody truth. And I know of no better example than this excerpt from the Gospel of St. John: ‘Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends.’ ’’

Native son going west for new job

Photo by Ron Leir/ Victor Canning

 

By Ron Leir

BELLEVILLE –

From Essex to Morris.

That’s the route being taken by Township Manager Victor Canning who is resigning his current job in Belleville on March 14 and, the next day, will take over as the new township administrator in Montville, where he also happens to live.

Canning, who was hired by the Montville Township Committee on Feb. 14 at a yearly salary of $144,000, submitted his letter of resignation to the Belleville Township Clerk’s Offi ce on Feb. 15, thereby giving one month’s notice of his departure.

Belleville Mayor Raymond Kimble said: “I’m sorry to see Victor go. He’s been here (as township administrator) six years. I think we worked well together and I wish him the best in his new job.”

Kimble said he would form a search committee – “probably Councilman (John) Notari, Councilman (Michael) Nicosia and myself” – to find a replacement for Canning.

“If no one’s been hired by March 15, we’ll probably make an interim appointment,” the mayor said. Another key fiscal employee preparing to leave is Township Tax Collector Joan Conway, who has also been functioning as an interim chief fiscal officer since August 2008. She’s been the collector for the past nine years. Kimble said that Conway’s slated to retire the end of April.

Kimble said he was “a little surprised” by Canning’s decision to move on “but I don’t blame him,” he added. “I believe their (Montville) manager makes more (than in Belleville) and it’s where he lives so I would expect that he would take advantage of that. I hope that our next manager will know Belleville the same as Victor which would be a plus for us.”

Canning currently earns $129,557 a year.

When a reporter visited him last week at the Belleville Municipal Building, Canning – who says his family “goes back 100 years” in Belleville – already had his desk cleaned out and most of his personal items packed in boxes.

“I want to thank the mayor and council for affording me the opportunity to lead Belleville the last six years and for affording me life lessons,” Canning said. “This is where I’m from and I’m always going to hold a special place in heart for Belleville. Even after I’m gone, I want the town to know I’m only a phone call away.”

Canning started his career as a civil servant as a member of the Township Council from 1994 to 1998, serving as mayor from 1996 to 1997 in the process. In 1998 he was appointed to the Belleville Police Department and was a police officer through 2006 when he was appointed township manager.

Recently, Canning – as the township’s policy executor – ran into opposition from some council members on funding certain capital projects and was forced to back away from a $3.45 million bond ordinance after those members organized a residents’ petition drive to block it.

As a result, Canning now concedes that plans for a new firehouse in the Silver Lakes section are dead “because of the petitions.” Councilmen Steve Rovell and Michael Nicosia objected to what they considered awkward location for the new facility and questioned whether the Fire Dept. would have enough personnel to staff two companies there.

But for Canning, the plan still made sense. “To give up $634,000 that NJ Transit was willing to give us for the project doesn’t make sound economic principle but the voters have spoken,” Canning said. “We have met with NJ Transit asking them to reconsider using that money for rehabilitating our existing firehouse,” he said. “I think we’re missing a golden opportunity here.”

In the meantime, Canning said he believes the township will find a way to proceed with some of the other projects that were included as part of the now-defeated bond ordinance, such as the rebuilding of the Friendly House as a one-story facility with the help of $400,000 in county CDBG funding. But instead of using the facility for community recreation, Canning figures it can accommodate an expanded early childhood program. “We can double our pre-school program,” he said. And part of the new building can be opened to seniors for such activities as line-dancing and yoga, he said.

As for other items included in the ill-fated ordinance, Canning said the township will reallocate about $600,000 in capital money to buy public works equipment, repave various streets, build a new playground, fix municipal properties with leaky roofs and install an new HVAC system at Township Hall.

Despite his differences with the manager over the bond issue, Rovell credited Canning for his hard work. “He’s done the best job he could possibly due,” Rovell said.

Still, Rovell noted, “It’s an untimely departure, given that you’re in the midst of putting a budget together for the new fiscal year. But I think we’ve got some talented people who can see this through.”

An adversary in labor negotiations, PBA Local 28 President Bobby Kane, called Canning “a very fair man who looked out for the township of Belleville in tough financial times. Victor did an admirable job, considering the situation.”

“We’ve had our battles, of course,” Kane added, “but he was fair and easy to work with. He always had an open door policy. He did a good job for the township.”

Of the push-back he sometimes experienced, Canning was philosophical. “It’s like a family – you don’t always agree,” he said. “Sometimes the road gets bumpy. But I’m leaving Belleville a lot better place than when I found it. For the most part, I’ve managed to keep taxes under control, we’ve just fixed up our stadium with our turf project and we’ve been fixing our infrastructure – new water meters and water lines.”

In the last few years, Canning had prepared municipal layoff plans for both uniformed and civilian employees but the township averted those economic dismissals after Canning negotiated union concessions and allowed positions vacated via retirements or death to go unfilled.

Employee morale has improved under his watch, Canning asserted. “This place was a dysfunctional family until I got here,” he said. “I’ve given it a sense of government service.”

In the time left for him in Belleville, Canning hopes to wrap up bargaining with the unions representing rank-and-file and superior officers in the Fire Dept. for new labor pacts.

“I may be able to get those done before I leave,” he said. “Then I’ll have all my (employee labor) contracts done without having to go to arbitration.”

Local biker killed enroute to work

By Anthony J. Machcinski

North Arlington man riding his bicycle to work in the early morning hours of Feb. 16 was struck and killed while trying to cross Rt. 7. Leonard Jeffrey, 57, North Arlington resident, was riding his bike from his home to his place of employment in South Kearny when he was hit trying to get to the Fishhouse Road exit of Rt. 7. It is unclear whether he tried to ride across the highway or was walking his bike across, but around 4:10 a.m., was knocked down by a man in a pickup truck, also attempting to get to work.

The truck driver immediately stopped, blocked traffic to protect Jeffrey and called police. The victim was transported to University Hospitial in Newark where he was pronounced dead at 8:50 a.m.

The case is still pending review by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, but according to Kearny Police, no criminal charges are expected to be filed against the driver at this point, as the driver was doing the speed limit or lower and no alcohol or drugs were involved.

Traffic on Rt. 7 eastbound was closed at the Fishhouse Road ramp from 4:15 a.m. to about 7:30 a.m. that morning

St. Patrick’s Day parade expects record turnout

Photo courtesy Miss New Jersey Education Foundation/ Parade Grand Marshal Laurence Bennett (l.) and Dep. Grand Marshal Michael O’Donnell

 

By Ron Leir

HARRISON –

It’s almost time to get out the green.

Yes, the United Irish Associations of West Hudson will again sponsor the 39th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 11 and Harrison Councilman Laurence Bennett will be leading the way as this year’s grand marshal.

“It’s a great honor to be chosen grand marshal,” Bennett said. “It’s important that we continue this parade and to make sure our younger people appreciate what our heritage means to this country. The Irish helped build our country. And we still have a lot of local Irish – and Scots – living here in West Hudson.”

Michael O’Donnell, a decorated East Newark police officer, will be the deputy grand marshal. “Unbelievable! It’s a great honor, growing up in town, to march in this parade,” he said.

Of Bennett’s selection as grand marshal, Quinn said: “Larry’s very deserving. I’ve known Larry about 30 years and he’s always been a guy who’s wanted to help people. Aside from his impressive resume, he also does a lot of things people don’t know about.”

This much is known: Bennett’s family owned and operated the Dairy Delight on Harrison Ave. Bennett recently retired as a supervisor from the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission. Since 2008 he has been a Third Ward Councilman in Harrison and, as recreation chairman, he helped secure lights for the Little League field. Bennett has served on the Planning Board, the Housing Authority and the Board of Adjustment.

Bennett has volunteered for the Harrison/East Newark Elks, serving currently as Exalted Ruler and chairing the Thanksgiving Day Meals on Wheels program, aided by the Knights of Columbus; and the Harrison Lions Club which has provided glasses to the needy and eye readers to the Public Library and Senior Center.

 

Parade revelers marching for the ‘green”

 

After the death of his son from an asthma attack at age 18, Bennett led a campaign to bring a paramedic unit near West Hudson Hospital, Kearny. He has chaired the Harrison/East Newark Drug Awareness and National Night-Out Committee. He has served the Volunteer Harrison Medical Reserve and Harrison Office of Emergency Management. A past president of the Holy Name Society, Bennett served on the board of directors of Pathways to Independence.

Larry and Rosemary Long Bennett have been married for 24 years. They have a daughter, Elizabeth; their son, Larry Jr., is greatly missed. Dep. Grand Marshal Michael O’Donnell, a Kearny High School alumnus, began his career in law enforcement in 1999 as a state correctional officer. In 2005 he joined the East Newark Police Dept. for whom he served as the DARE officer. He received the Hometown Hero/Police Officer of the Year award from the Harrison/East Newark Elks lodge and he was recognized by Kearny Police Chief John Dowie for his arrest of armed robbery suspects.

For the past six years, O’Donnell coached Pop Warner Football. In 2009 and 2010 he coached the Junior team to the Pop Warner League Super Bowl. He also coaches Little League baseball and, most recently, he coached his Little League team to an undefeated season.

As a member of the Harrison/ East Newark Elks, O’Donnell helps his father-in-law Terry Gilmore cater the Harrison Senior Citizens St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties.

Michael and Donna Gilmore O’Donnell have five children: Christina, Briana, Amber, Michael and Haley.

On March 11, a “Peace in Ireland” Mass will be offered at noon at Holy Cross Church, Harrison Ave. and Frank Rodgers Blvd., with the Rev. Michael Ward, pastor of St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, officiating. And the Irish flag will be raised.

Photo courtesy Miss New Jersey Education Foundation/ Miss New Jersey 2011, Kathryn Nicolle

 

Then, at 2 p.m., the parade begins. More than 1,000 marchers are expected to turn out for what UIA of West Hudson President Kevin Quinn predicts will be “one of the largest since our beginning in 1973.”

“With over 50 marching units taking part, the parade has been expanded (from four) to five divisions,” said Quinn.

Among the groups confirmed to march are the Color Guard of the West Hudson Marine Corps League, the St. Columcille United Gaelic Pipe Band, the Hudson County Police and Fire Pipes & Drums, the Kearny High School Band, Friends of Erin, Military Transport Association of Northern N.J., Hudson County Sheriff’s Dept., Monmouth County Police Pipe Band, WCBS 101.1 FM, Cifelli Association, Ragtimers Band, East Newark Volunteer Fire Dept., Harrison/East Newark Elks, Newark Bears Baseball Organization, Irish American Cluba and Knights of Columbus. Kearny High School will also send a float whose theme will reflect the musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” sponsored by Teen Drama, which students will perform March 22-24 at the high school.

Returning to the parade is Miss New Jersey 2011, Kathryn Nicolle, who marched in 2008 when she was chosen Miss New Jersey Outstanding Teen.

And the U.S. Navy Submarine School Silver Dolphin Drill Team will also be part of the mix. The Silver Dolphins are active sailors training to be submariners at the Navy Submarine School in Groton, Conn.

The march, which proceeds through Harrison, East Newark and Kearny, starts at Third St. and Harrison Ave., proceeds on Frank Rodgers Blvd., then to Central Ave., then Second St., then Sherman Ave., back to Frank Rodgers Blvd., then over the bridge to Kearny Ave., ending at the reviewing stand in front of Kearny Town Hall at Quincy Ave.

Michael Conlon is parade adjutant.

After the parade ends, marchers will disperse to events sponsored by members of the UIA.

This hunter can really rack ‘em up

Photos by Anthony J. Machcinski

 

Photos by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Bob Norcia Sr. displays some of the trophies and deer antlers he’s collected over the years.

 

By Anthony J. Machcinski

Unlike its portrayal in movies, archery is a skilled sport. Unlike the movie “300” where Persian archers simply launch thousands of arrows into the air and hope to hit their target, hunters who use a bow are, typically, only able to manage one shot to hit their target. This is usually done by sitting above the target in a tree and by using silence and precision to achieve their goal.

Not only does archery require a patient and a steady hand, but the strength to draw the bow back and being able to climb into a tree.

At age 75, North Arlington’s Bob Norcia Sr. can be considered somewhat of a freak of nature.

“I stay in shape by exercising, weightlifting, crabbing, fishing, and hunting,” Norcia said when asked how he manages to hunt as a septuagenarian.

A hunter since 1969, Norcia has used his skill to take down over 200 deer, while hunting in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Unlike many inhumane hunters who hunt simply to kill, Norcia eats or gives away the meat from the deer.

“(The) majority of the deer is prepared in sausage fashion and given away to people that could use the meat,” Norcia explained. “I take great pride in giving people something they could use and I take pride in always helping other people.” Norcia’s charity was evidenced when he donated the meat from two whole deer to a dinner for Gail’s Angels, an organization that supports women with breast cancer and autistic children. The event, held April 23, 2011, which was organized by Norcia, Jim Babai, and Pat Bikoff, drew well over 100 people and generated more than $4,500 in donations for Gail’s Angels.

What makes Norcia’s talent so extraordinary is the type of bow he uses. Norcia uses a recurve, a traditional bow where the tips curve forward, instead of a compound, which uses a series of pulleys that make drawing the bow easier. For example, a compound bow with an 80% let-off and a 50 lb. draw would take 10 lbs. of resistance to draw. With a recurve, the same 50 lb. draw would take the full 50 lbs to draw. “

I feel like its great sport to go with the bow,” said Norcia, who switched to a bow from a 12-gauge shotgun around the early ‘80s. “It’s a bigger thrill [taking down a deer] than with a gun, especially with a recurve.”

Anyone touring Norcia’s basement can see his success with the Sumi Bowman, an archery club where Norcia was classified as a class B archer, the second highest level.

Norcia’s basement and garage is filled with deer antlers from his adventures. One new addition to the garage is what Norcia calls “The Perfect Eight.”

In hunting, a deer with a symmetrical antler rack is considered perfect. Norcia’s symmetrical eight-pointer was one of the more recent additions.

“The deer had to be a little over 200 lbs,” Norcia recalled. “All I know is, I broke my butt trying to get it in the car.”

Norcia plans to mount the rack from “The Perfect Eight” on a plaque he’ll make by hand.

While hunting is perceived as a pastime for many of the inhabitants of the American South and West, Norcia is a case in point that proves passion for the sport isn’t limited to those regions. With skill, precision, and health, Norcia hopes to continue to hunt as long as he possibly can.

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: The Observer Pub Crawl

publisher@theobserver.com

 

By Lisa Pezzolla

The Observer’s first pub crawl was successful, so we will be planning for our second annual pub crawl, which luckily lands on a Saturday this year. If anyone has suggestions or wants to join in the fun, facebook or get onto our twitter account so you will be able to follow us.

These pub crawls are held all over the world. Maryborough, Queensland, Australia holds the Guinness World Record for the largest pub crawl in 2005 which with 4,718 people attending.

We will have a pull-out section showing advertisers who will be participating in our pub crawl and we will have a map showing where it will begin and end. We will also have a scavenger hunt and teams that will be attending each pub.

If you are interested in participating, please contact The Observer at 201-991- 1600 and leave a message or email entertainment@theobserver.com.

Bags will be given to the participating pubs to gather items that will be hidden for the scavenger hunt. Some items may be easier to find than others.

Bags will be brought to The Observer and we will have a drawing for the most items found.

In future issues of The Observer, we will announce the schedule along with a list of the items that will be hidden.

This is a great way to meet new friends or have fun with old ones. If you are a local pub and want to join the fun, call The Observer at 201- 991-1600 and we will keep you posted in the weeks ahead.

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