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Have you seen this alleged Nutley burglar?

NUTLEY — Police say they are investigating a diversion burglary that allegedly occurred on Fischer Ave. on Dec. 9. An elderly resident told police that a man banged on her front door at 3 p.m., Dec. 9, claiming there was […]


Help sought in cold case

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Somebody knows something. Six years ago, an 87-year-old man was deliberately run down by a car in a South Kearny parking lot and robbed while he lay helpless on the ground. He died of his injuries the next day. Authorities ruled the death […]

100G for Arena tax case

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  Now that the state Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the New York Red Bulls professional soccer team should pay taxes on the stadium and the land it occupies in Harrison, the town has hired an outside law firm to […]


Staffing Skyway fire-watch

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – For the first time, members of the Kearny Fire Department will have a shot at off-duty pay, much like their counterparts at the Police Department have enjoyed for many years, although there is a sunset provision for the privilege. This opportunity […]


New No. 2 has seen it all

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  LYNDHURST –  The Lyndhurst Board of Education has revived the position of assistant superintendent, albeit on an interim basis, with the hiring of 50-year educator Jeffrey P. Feifer. Feifer, who came aboard Sept. 25, was appointed to serve “no more than 120 days,” to […]



Michael Ache

Michael Ache died April 16. He was 86. Born in Lebanon, he lived in Kearny and Florida.

Service was April 21 at 9 a.m. in the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny. Burial was in Glendale Cemetery.

Mr. Ache is survived by his sons Jalil and Pedro Ache, three sisters and four grandchildren.

Elvira Castellano

Elvira Castellano, of Kearny, died on April 15 at home two days short of her 93rd birthday.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, with a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Stephens Church, Kearny. Entombment was at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Born in Positano, Salerno, Italy, Mrs. Castellano lived in Kearny for the past 40 years. She was a seamstress and homemaker.

She is the wife of the late Joseph Castellano (1994); dear mother of Florence (John) Castellano-Ferrandino, Angelo (Mary) and David (Rosa) Castellano; grandmother of Daniella (Craig) Ferrandino-McDonald, Frank (Laurie) Ferrandino and Julia (Robert) Ferrandino-Franz; great-grandmother of Frankie, Tyler, Alexandra, Jack and James.

Lillian Davidson

Lillian M. Davidson (nee Daves) died April 20 in Isabella House in NYC. She was 87. Born in Kearny, she moved to Clearwater, Fla. in 1985 and then to New York City five years ago.

Memorial visitation will be on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. The funeral service will take place at 12 noon. To leave online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Mrs. Davidson was a retired survey abandoned property technician for Prudential Life Insurance Company.

Wife of the late Andrew, she is survived by her children Dr. Andrew R.Davidson, Susan Davidson and Diane Hindman and her grandchildren Dr. Andrew C. Davidson and Timothy and Erin Hindman.

Frank Gogal

Frank J. Gogal, 85, died on Friday April 20 in Mountainside Hospital, Glen Ridge. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral from the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on April 25 at 9 a.m. A funeral liturgy will be offered in St. Cecilia Church, Kearny at 10:00 a.m. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Visiting will be on Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.

Frank was born in Kearny and was a lifelong resident.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Frank was a machinist for Continental Can Company in Paterson for 26 years, retiring in 1982.

He is survived by his children Susan DiIorio (Rich) and Frank Gogal Jr.; sister Josephine Shakarian and his grandchildren Alexandra DiIorio and Jonathan DiIorio and his fiancé Amanda Clark. Frank was predeceased by his wife Elsie (Cisco) Gogal in 2011.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517 Topeka, Kan. 66675 or at www.woundewarrioeproject.org.

William Lotzer

William M. Lotzer, 84, of Edison, passed away on Sunday, April 15.

The funeral will be conducted from the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave, Harrison, N.J. 07029. A prayer service was held on Thursday, April 19 at the funeral home. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. To send condolences to the family please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome.org.

He was born in Clifton and was the son of the late Anna and Michael and devoted husband of the late Katherine (2003).

William served in the Navy from 1944-1946 in World War II. He worked many years at the Serta Mattress Co. as a tape edge operator. In 1969 he became East Coast Representative for Bechik Mattress Products and retired in 1994.

William is survived by his sisters-in-law Bella Pirrello, Mary Seconish, JoAnna Conrad and Gloria Ehehalt. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews.

He was also predeceased by his daughter Debrah and his brother James Lotzer.

H.Leslie McCurrie

H. Leslie McCurrie died April 19 at home. He was 73. Born in Newark, he was a lifelong Kearny resident.

Visiting will be on Sunday from 2-6 pm at the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. Service was Monday in the funeral home. Entombment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery Chapel.

Les was a business representative for Operating Engineers Local 825. He was a proud member of The Friends of Erin, He was active in Democratic politics, he was the 1991 Cifelli Association Irishman of the Year and was a steady participant in the Sunset Deli Coffee Club.

He is survived by his wife Claire (McKechan), sons Michael F. and James P. McCurrie, sisters Carol Pankuck and Nancy Feeley and his three grandchildren Brian, Matthew and Erin.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to Wounded Warriors or St. Barnabas Hospice.

Rose Russomano

Rose Russomanno (nee Catrambone) died April 16 in the Pine Acres Nursing Facility in Madison. She was 98. Born in Dennis Twp., she lived most of her life in Harrison and Kearny.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in St. Cecilia’s Church, followed by interment in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online, condolence please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Rose owned The 31 Club in Harrison for many years.

Wife of the late Daniel, she is survived by her son Frank Catrambone and his wife Lois. Her two sisters and brother Margaret Johnson, Theresa Sgro and John Catrambone; also surviving are her grandsons Jeffrey and his wife Lisa and Gary Catrambone and her triplet great-grandsons Michael, Matthew and Daniel.

In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to Rett Syndrome, 4600 Devitt, Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio 45246.




Photo by Ron Leir/ Ryan Raimo (r.) and Daniel McClane of North Arlington.


By Anthony J. Machcinski

In a world where anyone can find a wealth of negativity, one group of young men continue to show that no matter how young you may be, you can make a difference.

The Boy Scouts often are the ones who undertake several projects throughout their communities, without asking a reward in return. These projects can be anything from simply cleaning an area around a church to participating in the Passaic River cleanup.

In order to achieve the highest rank in scouting –Eagle Scout–, an award only a small percentage of scouts achieve, the scout must prepare and execute an Eagle Scout project. Applicants for the Eagle project must demonstrate to a scout council that they provide a direct benefit to the community.

On Saturday, April 14, three scouts from Troop 305 in Kearny achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

“Just making Eagle (has been my most rewarding experience),” explained Kevin Ciesla, a senior at St. Peter’s Prep and one of the three Eagle Scouts honored. “It showed me that I can stick to a commitment and that I can do anything if I stick to it.”

Ciesla, along with Daniel Negroni and Robert Matos, completed their Eagle Scout projects. Negroni built memory boards for mentallyhandicapped patients while Matos repainted the Soccer Fieldhouse at Gunnel Oval.

“It was a good experience that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” Matos said. “The leadership skills I got were so valuable and I was able to have fun while doing it.”

While no one may be as proud as the Eagle Scouts being honored, parents share in the honor, watching their boys grow into young men right before their eyes.

“I remember being here two years ago when my son earned Eagle,” Kearny Police Chief John Dowie remembered, speaking to the crowd on hand. “It was one of the proudest moments of my life.”

With their Eagle Scout behind them, all the boys have college aspirations. Matos is currently a freshman at the College of New Jersey, while Negroni and Ciesla are finishing their senior years of high school and will be attending college in the fall.

In other scouting news from the area, several other potential Eagle Scouts are in the process of advancing towards their Eagle rank.

For his Eagle Scout project, Ryan Raimo, 16, a member of Queen of Peace Boy Scouts Troop 120, elected to repaint the yellow curbs along Ridge Road and all corners, plus Jauncey and Union Aves., and all the corners of Schuyler Ave., River Road and Belleville Turnpike.

Ryan said he came up with the project after talking to Public Works Supt. Jim McCabe.

“He and his helpers have done three-quarters of the town in three days,” McCabe informed the borough governing body at its April 12 meeting.

A modest Ryan insists that the credit for the job must be shared with group leader Daniel McClane, 16, a Queen of Peace sophomore and a group leader on the project, and the entire 21-member paint crew, which included two girls.

The back-breaking work was performed in three shifts during Easter break, Ryan said.

“We did it from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and from about 9 a.m. to about noon on Thursday,” he said.

Ryan, whose favorite school subjects are science and math, acknowledges that painting doesn’t happen to figure into his future plans. After graduation, he’s considering computer graphics as a possible career choice.

Fire Dept. upper ranks face shakeup

By Ron Leir


Fire Capt. Bruce Kaufman Jr. ranks first on the Civil Service appointment list for deputy fire chief with the Kearny Fire Department and Fire Chief Steve Dyl has asked town officials to promote him. (He’s been serving in an “acting” capacity as deputy chief, getting extra pay in the process.)

Instead, the town governing body is looking to cut the number of deputy fire chiefs permitted by town ordinance, from the current five slots to just one, and to chop the number of fire captains, from 25 to six, as part of a proposed restructuring of the department.

In tandem with that downshifting, the town proposes to create the ranks of battalion fire chief and fire lieutenant and, eventually, appoint up to four battalion chiefs and no more than 15 lieutenants.

Salaries for those new ranks would be negotiated with the Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association, the fire officers union.

Mayor Alberto Santos defended the plan as a necessary strategy to prevent payroll costs from spiraling out of control and added that the town was eyeing possible restructuring “in all departments.”

The ordinance calling for the downsizing of the Fire Department’s Table of Organization was introduced by the mayor and Town Council at the April 10 meeting. It’s slated for a public hearing and adoption on May 22.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Barbara McCurrie, who chairs the council ordinance committee, said that “no one would be demoted” and that the new lieutenant and battalion chief slots “would be filled through attrition” – meaning as retirements occur, the town would make appointments, as needed, over time.

Both union leaders and Fire Chief Steve Dyl were unsettled by the town’s plan.

Jeff Bruder, president of FMBA Local 218, which represents fire officers, griped that town officials had sprung the news without the “courtesy” of first alerting the unions. Santos said he was at a loss to explain why no advance word had filtered to the FMBA.

The mayor noted that Bayonne, with a fire department of about 160 members, “had only two deputy chiefs” and that the 120-member Hoboken Fire Dept. had “no deputies.”

But Bruder countered that Kearny’s plan was unworkable because “we’re too small a department for this type of setup.”

And Chief Dyl, who has asked the mayor and council to name a fifth deputy chief, urged the governing body to “hold off” on the ordinance’s introduction to allow additional time to hash out a possible alternate strategy.

“We all understand there’s a budget crisis in Trenton and in Kearny,” Dyl said. And for any members of the Fire Dept. who may not be aware of that, “this (ordinance) is a wake-up call,” he said.

On the other hand, Dyl said, starting July 1, the Fire Dept. will be seeing a “13% reduction” in its work force due to retirements which, he said, will impact not only its ability to fight local fires but also its mutual aid obligations.

The Fire Dept., with its current complement of 90 members, is at a point where “we’re not cutting fat anymore, we’re down to the bone,” Dyl said.

With cooperation from all concerned, Dyl said, the department can survive. But the town’s present timetable “gives me two weeks to come up with a solution. That ain’t gonna happen.”

But Santos said the town can’t afford to linger.

“At the heart of this (are) salary levels that can’t be sustained,” the mayor said, and “to say, ‘keep promoting,’ brings the day of reckoning that much sooner.”

Come July 1, 2012, when the FMBA contract runs out, Santos said, the annual pay of the current four deputy chiefs and the chief, combined, will total $867,000; add on benefits and pension costs and that figure rises to more than $1 million; then throw in a fifth deputy chief and the total goes to $1,150,000.

Additionally, the mayor said, 19 of the department’s 25 captains are “at top step of the (salary) guide,” $137,000 a year. That comes to about $2.6 million annually.

After a new labor contract is negotiated, those pay levels are likely to go even higher (the current Fire Dept. payroll is about $10.5 million), and if the department’s T.O. remains unchanged, the town probably won’t be able to comply with the state-mandated 2% budget tax cap, unless it closes a firehouse or opts for layoffs, Santos said.

Santos said the proposed T.O. changes were recommended by a public safety consultant in the early 1990s and were echoed by the state Dept. of Community Affairs in 2011 during discussions of a proposed “merger or consolidation” of fire protection services with Harrison.

Asked by The Observer to project how much Kearny would save by adopting the proposed changes, Santos said: “Savings depends on the number of retirements and we don’t know what that looks like yet. But I can say that if we don’t do this, we’ll be in a worse off position. The risk of layoffs or a firehouse closure becomes higher by not doing this.”

The bottom line, Santos said, is “preserving our residents’ safety while achieving savings.”




Here’s your chance to shed old prescription drugs

Photo from Observer photo archive/ Unused prescriptions like these are accepted at Operation Take Back.


By Anthony J. Machcinski

It is no surprise that prescription drug usage has risen in America over the past few years. According to a federal Center for Disease Control 2008 study, over 2.3 billion drugs were ordered or provided to patients nationwide and that number was expected to climb in future years.

With that in mind, law enforcement officials have taken steps in order to prevent the abuse of these prescription drugs.

Operation Take Back is an initiative by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to discard expired, unwanted, and unused medications. Many local area towns are participating this month in the semi-annual event including Kearny, Harrison, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Nutley and Bloomfield.

“We take any unused prescriptions, everything except for needles,” explained Kearny Police Patrolman John Corbett. “We’ve taken everything from unused prescriptions to basic over-the-counter stuff.”

The DEA launched the program two years ago as a national effort to curb prescription drug abuse.

“They started this program because you find prescription abuse comes from having pills in your house. This helps just in case you have someone who is addicted to medications,” Corbett said, adding that it also helps people dispose of the medication the right way instead of throwing it out or flushing it down the toilet.

Last October, Kearny Police collected over 100 pounds of unused prescriptions while nationally the DEA collected over 188.5 tons.

The fourth semi-annual event will take place on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at several area locations including the Kearny and Harrison Police Stations as well as H&B Pharmacy in North Arlington and the Mobile Command Post in Lyndhurst.

One benefit of the program is the no-stress method for tossing medications, described by Corbett as a “drop-and-go” sort of operation.

“It’s no questions asked, no identification needed,” Corbett said. “We have a box set up right by the door. We’re just there for security reasons.”

Only one request is made of participants: remove personal information from the prescription bottle.

Once handed into Kearny Police, the police turn it over to the DEA, who then perform a controlled burn of all the narcotics.

To get more information about Operation Take Back, go to http://www.justice.gov/dea/.




Future park project to commence soon; Town may name after Dep. Mayor Cardoza



By Ron Leir

Photo by Jeff Bahr/ Park site to be prepared during summer.




A municipal facility still in the formative stages is already targeted to bear the name of a dedicated Kearny activist.

Sian Doran Schoendorf, granddaughter of the late Deputy Mayor Frank Cardoza, appeared before the governing body April 10 to ask its members to consider naming a future park site on Passaic Ave. – the former Maguillian Fuel & Oil property – in his honor.

According such a tribute would be in recognition “for his many years of service to the community,” Schoendorf said. Cardoza, who died Jan. 19, 2012, at age 93, was also a World War II Navy veteran.

Mayor Alberto Santos and the Town Council were inclined to agree but also wanted input, as per town protocol, from the Kearny Recreation Commission and the United Veterans Organization before formally acting on the recommendation.

It has been the town’s policy to name public spaces for Kearny residents with wartime service and Cardoza, who saw action in the Pacific Theater, certainly qualifies in that respect.

A Massachusetts native, Cardoza lived in Kearny most of his life. His daughter, Veronica “Sandy” Doran, recalled that Cardoza played professional soccer for Portuguese and German teams during the 1940s but gave up the game to become a fulltime dad.

Cardoza, who ran a Kearny Ave. laundromat and served as a Hudson County sheriff ’s officer, never sought public offi ce but the way he responded to friends’ and neighbors’ concerns, you’d easily believe he was working for constituents.

Photo by Ron Leir/ Sian Doran Schoendorf stands beside future park.



“At his funeral,” Schoendorf recalled, “there must have been 400 to 500 people who came and talked to me about my grandfather. Whatever people needed, he would go out and get. It was my grandfather who made the phone call. He fought for what he believed in. … He wasn’t a showy guy but if you wanted something done, he’d do it. They called him ‘the godfather.’ ’’

For many years Cardoza was the Third Ward Democratic chairman and it was in that capacity that he engaged in the constant give and take with residents and mentored younger political novices, always putting others first.

Two who credit Cardoza with “being instrumental” in energizing their political careers are former Councilwoman Barbara Cifelli Sherry and current Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle, both representing the Third Ward.

“As one of the first Americans of Portuguese descent to settle in Kearny – he was a co-founder of the Kearny Portuguese Cultural Association – Frank took me around and introduced me to many of his (Portuguese- American) friends during my first run for office,” Sherry said. “He was extremely helpful and he helped me in every election subsequent to that.”

For Doyle, who also was the benefi ciary of Cardoza as an escort for her initial campaign, it was more than just a political exercise. “He wanted his friends to embrace both (American and Portuguese) communities,” she said. In 2012, the KPCA marked its 33rd anniversary.

Appointed deputy mayor in 2000, Cardoza took the volunteer job “extremely seriously,” Sherry said. “He reported every day to the mayor’s office, give progress reports, visited construction sites. He was very conscientious because he was invested in the life of the town. He loved the people and anything he could do to make their lives better, he’d do.”

“He was very supportive of everything pertaining to our community,” Doyle agreed. “And he never ‘retired,’ he always attended town meetings, he stayed committed to the town of Kearny. He was one of the biggest assets of our community.”

And now, if the Recreation Commission and UVO go along, the town is poised to memorialize his civic contributions by attaching his name to the Passaic Ave. park site, just across from the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.

The town used a combination state Green Acres grant/loan to purchase the 1.5-acre waterfront property for $751,501 in October 2010 and will use $300,000 in county Open Space funding to develop a “passive park” with a walkway, benches and lighting.

Now that the Town Council has authorized Neglia Engineering to prepare plans and specifi cations for the park, Santos anticipates going out to bid by next month and awarding a development contract by June.

Said Sherry: “I don’t think it’s a big enough tribute for Frank, but it’s a good start.”


Meadowlands Hospital offers much to area residents

By Jeff Bahr

In addition to a recent management change and expansion that saw Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center (MHMC) in Secaucus beef up many of its services to the public, the hospital opened a surgery clinic on April 9 that offers free consultation and guidance to patients contemplating surgery.

“We know that people who have been told they need surgery often have many questions and are not always sure where to turn,” explained Dr. Ghassan Khani, a board-certified surgeon and the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer who is now in charge of the clinic. “Our clinic will offer consultation in a comfortable setting. People can come to us for a second opinion, or to arrange for surgery, and to get answers to their questions,” said Khani.

“Everyone is welcome for a free surgical consult,” said Lynn McVey, acting president and CEO of MHMC. “Sometimes people who know they need surgery put it off. Others who need surgery are not sure where to begin to find the surgeon they need. We think Dr. Khani and our new surgical clinic will help everyone contemplating surgery and start them on the road to recovery and better health,” she said.

MHMC is also offering patients in the Meadowlands region access to state-of-theart, comprehensive heart and vascular care at its Cardiology Institute. “Now we can see all our hospitalized patients here at the hospital for follow-up and our patients don’t have to leave Secaucus,” said institute Director Dr. Brendan Sullivan, a board-certified doctor in internal medicine, cardiology and nuclear cardiology.

According to a recent MHMC press release, the newly renovated center will provide a range of cardiology treatments as well as diagnostic services including stress testing, echocardiograms, EKGs, Holter monitors and other crucial tests. Minimally invasive vascular treatments that have revolutionized the field in recent years will also be offered to patients.

“We work to find the least invasive way to treat vascular blockages,” explained team member Dr. Tarek A. Alshafie; who is boardcertified in both vascular and general surgery. “When you find a blockage in the heart you may also find blockages in the neck or elsewhere,” he pointed out, “so cardiologists and vascular physicians work together very closely.”

“Getting younger people in for heart, lipid and blood pressure screening for primary prevention is one of the big goals of cardiology,” according to Sullivan. “And if there is a problem, then at the Cardiology Institute here at Meadowlands we can identify it and provide critical treatment and prevention.”

MHMC has also expanded its maternity services. In fact, it might be said that it has gone positively “upscale” on this front as the hospital now offers mothers-to-be such niceties as private delivery rooms replete with Tuscanstyle bathrooms and chef-prepared candle-lit champagne dinners to honor the major event. Such amenities make the facility “ more “hotel” than “hospital” according to the press release. But frills aren’t the only things that have been added at the maternity wing according to the press release. The expansion also includes:

• An in-house obstetrical group, led by Dr. Lev Kandinov, board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, providing a wide range of maternity services on the hospital campus.

• A maternity anesthesiology group provides services 24 hours each day, every day. • Board certified obstetricians are available 24 hours every day.

• The purchase of the latest, fully equipped ultrasound machine and other technologies to perform necessary tests right at the hospital. • Other investments made at the hospital include:

• Expanded outpatient services, which now include endocrinology, cardiology, internal medicine, and pulmonology. The services are available to patients on an everyday basis.

• Updated the Department of Neuroscience and Cognitive Rehabilitation to provide significant medical and technological support for patients suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and post stroke.

• Purchased general chemistry, histology and microbiology laboratory equipment to provide accurate and timely test results to patients.

• Made necessary investments and renovations throughout the hospital.

• Created the most up-todate electronic medical records system that makes the hospital entirely paperless.

• Recruited obstetricians, renovated its labor and delivery rooms, and provided new services for mothers and their babies as part of a major expansion of maternalchild health services.

“Wide-ranging investments in technology, services, and infrastructure” have become the order of the day at the hospital, according to the press release. Since the management change, “more than 250 board-certified primary and specialty physicians have joined Meadowlands Hospital and Medical Center,” it concludes.

In addition to the aforementioned, the hospital offers free parking to visitors and free lunch and/or dinner at its cafeteria to visitors or patients who receive sameday treatment.

Man sought in Kearny deli robbery try

Kearny Police are looking for a man suspected in the attempted robbery of Tony’s Deli on Kearny Ave. The man entered through the back of the store from Maple St. wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a mask. During a confrontation with the man, the proprietor of the store was able to partially pull off the mask; however, the actor was able to break free and exited the store through the rear of the building.

Officer Phil Finch responded to a panic alarm and took the initial report. Det. Ray Lopez was assigned to the follow up investigation and through his research, was able to draw up a warrant for 42-year-old Kearny resident Angel Matos and police are actively seeking him for robbery.

On Friday, April 6 at 3:30 a.m., Officers Chris Levchak and Dean Gasser responded to a burglary in progress in a 400 block of Devon St. where an individual broke into the home. At some point, the male resident was awakened and confronted the burglar, who ran away. A description was given to police and broadcasted. Officers Tom Sumowski and Tom Floyd, en route to the scene, spotted an individual run from the area to Halstead before heading onto Kearny Ave. The man, Alexander Rodriguez, 36, was chased into a hallway on Kearny Ave. and was placed under arrest. The man, 36-year-old Alexander Rodriguez was charged with burglary and theft.

The next morning, Officer Cesar Negron, who was made aware of the previous nights burglary, was patrolling the same area when he came upon a vehicle parked in the area that didn’t belong to anyone in the area. While investigating the vehicle, Negron was able to see inside the vehicle, finding a lot of Army equipment within the vehicle. Negron made contact with several residents in the area and was able to find the neighbor of the burglary the previous night who identified the gear as his. A check of the temporary registration found that Rodriguez had obtained the car illegally. The information was then relayed to Det. John Plaugic who then charged Rodriguez with an additional burglary charge and a charge of receiving stolen property.

Later on April 6, Officer Jay Ward was patrolling Gunnel Oval around 8 p.m. when he came upon an intoxicated male teen. Ward confronted the teen and asked questions that he was unable to answer. The teen had a strong odor of alcohol and was taken to headquarters, where he admitted drinking vodka. The mother was contacted and she responded to HQ to take custody of the 16-year-old.

On Saturday, April 7, Officer Dean Gasser observed a vehicle went through a traffic light at Bergen and Kearny Aves. at around 1:30 a.m. Gasser then caught up to the vehicle and stopped him by Halstead St. During the course of giving the man a red light summons, he found that the man, 25-yearold Kevin Ortega from Newark, was driving with a suspended license and had four warrants from Newark and another from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office. Ortega was arrested and taken to Hudson County Jail and charged with disregarding a traffic signal and driving while on the suspended list. He was booked on the four warrants and was taken to Hudson County Jail waiting for pickup from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.

Later that same night, Officers Mike Andrews and Tom Sumowski were on patrol on Passaic Ave. near Laurel Ave when they were almost struck head on by a vehicle driving at a high rate of speed. The officers took evasive action and went after the vehicle, which they were able to stop in the area of North Midland Ave. When they approached the vehicle, the man was unable to open his window, and opened the door, eventually needing help from Sumowski to be unbuckled.

The man was unable to stand without assistance and was placed under arrest. He was taken to headquarters where he admitted he had been drinking in North Arlington. The man, 31-year-old Cesar Flores, was administered a series of breath tests and issued summons for reckless driving and driving while intoxicated.

On Sunday, April 8, Officers Tom Pontrella and Tom Sumowski were alerted to a strong-arm robbery in the Burger King parking lot. Upon arrival, they located two were Kearny juveniles, who stated that they had been surrounded by a group of kids who beat and robhed them, then headed south on Passaic Ave. Officers John Trevelino and Mike Santucci found four members of the group on Passiac Ave and three more were found by Officers Dean Gasser and Chris Medina. In all, seven individuals ranging from ages 15 to 17 were taken to the Hudson County Youth House and charged with criminal intent, conspiracy, and robbery.

-Anthony J. Machcinski

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Watch those barbecues




By Lisa Pezzolla

As you drive down the street, you see folks out enjoying the weather, taking brisk walks or riding motorcycles and bicycles. Camping season is also in full swing, as are barbecues. Unfortunately, we have not had much rain and the dry ground increases the risk of brush fires. Lately, we have seen much fire damage locally and nationally. Unfortunately once these fires start they are difficult to control, especially when the wind shifts or changes direction. Enjoy the great weather but think safety; don’t leave fires and barbecues unattended. Keep your cigarettes to yourself, don’t throw them out the window of your vehicle. You never know where they might land and what they will fuel.

Hatred– alive and flourishing, alas

I recently wrote an opinion piece that examined the Trayvon Martin shooting (Let justice rule the day for Trayvon: April 4, 2012). To date, it has garnered more reader response than any other opinion piece or news article that I’ve prepared.

In some ways, this isn’t surprising. This case has captivated people at a level rarely seen, so a big response was to be expected. What I did not expect, however, was the level of hatred and outright racism that spewed forth from some of the readers who wrote in (the most hateful of whom refused to sign their names – no surprise there).

While leafing through their sickening rants (one actually referred to African-Americans as “animals”) I honestly thought that it was 1963, not 2012, and that Birmingham, Ala., Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor and his goons would soon deliver fire hose justice to those who dared to march for equality. That’s how bad these bile-inducing racist-rants were.

Like Martin’s parents, I believed then as now that the known facts of the case were compelling enough to arrest Zimmerman. I wasn’t alone in such thinking. Just last Wednesday, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder. He was arrested and taken into custody.

So, what do these bigoted letters of hatred mean in the grand scheme of things? They show us that we still have a long way to go in the tolerance and understanding department – particularly where racial differences are concerned.

In my opinion political correctness is at least partially responsible for spurring such anonymous hatred.. This mindset has driven them underground where they seethe and become frustrated by their inability to voice their hatred. Every so often their abhorrence bubbles to the surface and they dash off ignorant letters like the ones that I received. As crazy as their logic is, it’s obvious that they do feel shame, at least on some level. Not signing their letters and emails is proof positive of that.

Zimmerman will now have his day in court. Facts will be presented by both sides, as is our American way. If the system isn’t hijacked on a technicality of some sort – always a possibility – a jury of Zimmerman’s peers will act as final arbiter in his culpability in Trayvon Martin’s death. It’s all that the dead boy’s parents ever asked for and it has now come to pass. For that shining moment of justice, may God truly bless America.

-Jeff Bahr


I want to first state I served in the United States Air Force and have nothing but the utmost respect for our veterans. With that said, I’ll get to my point.

The article states that there are petitions for the “renaming” of the Wittpenn Bridge on Route 7 connecting Kearny to Jersey City. This bridge was named for H. Otto Wittpenn a former mayor of Jersey City. Wittpenn was also a business owner, Hudson County Supervisor, naval officer of the Port of New York as well as a four-time gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey. In one campaign Wittpenn and Woodrow Wilson were both up for the Democratic nomination for Governor in New Jersey. Wittpenn stepped down to allow for a unanimous party nomination.

I was very displeased to see Mayor Santos ponder the question, “How many people today know who Wittpenn is?” I am very happy with the job the Mayor is doing in Kearny, but I feel he is taking the wrong direction on this. Rather than ask how many people know who (Whitpenn) is, why not propose a curriculum that teaches children local history as well as who the people are that have monuments and bridges named after them in the area. How many people can tell you who the Vice President is or who Schuyler Ave. is named after? Does this mean because no one today knows Arent Schuyler we should look to change the name of Schuyler Avenue?

It seems today there is so much change just for the sake of change! Don’t erase local history because people don’t know who these folks are, teach them what these people did that we decided to honor them in the first place with either a bridge naming, street naming etc. I love our veterans, and the same goes for them. Why would we name a bridge or dedicate a bridge to our fallen heroes if in 50 years someone comes along and says “well, who knows who that is anyway???”

Patrick Millar