web analytics
2014-12-21 18_18_32-Greenshot

Clerks tied up, shots fired at Belleville Radio Shack armed robbery Sunday morning

BELLEVILLE — The following report was issued by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday (Dec. 21): At 11:22 this morning, officers from the Belleville Police Department were summoned by a 911 caller to a possible armed robbery at the […]


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 […]


Around Town


Join Clara Maass Medical Center nutritionist Liz Nossier, for an informational and lively Lunch-N-Learn, “Healthy Diets for Diabetics” April 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Clara Maass Medical Center’s Greifinger Lecture Hall, located at 1 Clara Maass Drive, Belleville. Please park in the parking deck and enter through the Continuing Care Center Building.

To register, please call 1-888-724-7123, prompt 4. There is no cost to attend this event and parking is available in the parking deck and will be validated.


Trinity Episcopal Church, 575 Kearny Ave., Kearny, will hold a Flea Market Saturday, April 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tables are still available at a cost of $15 each or two for $25. For more information, please call the church office at 201-991-5894.

The next meeting of the St. Stephen’s Seniors will be held Tuesday, April 17, at 1 p.m. in Hedges Hall.

Trips to Atlantic City are planned for April 25, May 23 and June 27.  Please call Peggy for reservations at 201-998-9443.

The anniversary party will be held April 27 at the San Carlo at noon.

The trip to Monmouth Racetrack will be June 29.  Please call Tom at 998-8258 for further information.

A trip to Jefferson House in Lake Hopatcong is scheduled for July 11.  Please call Joan at 998-3578 for further information.


Hop on board to see the new $2 billion Revel Casino located in Atlantic City – next door to the Showboat Casino where your bus stops, compliments of St. Michael Leisure Club, Lyndhurst. The bus leaves St. Michael’s Church parking lot on Page Ave. at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 19. Price: $20. For more information, call Georgiana at 201-438-7847. Seats are going fast.

A spring auction, sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Masonic Club of Lyndhurst, 316 Riverside Ave., will be held Sunday, April 15. Doors open at noon. Donation is $5. Call 201-998-8248.

Lyndhurst Knights of Columbus Council 2396 hosts a Communion Breakfast Sunday, April 29, at the Senior Citizens Building, 250 Cleveland Ave., Lyndhurst. Tickets are $7. No tickets will be sold at the door.  Breakfast is served from 10 to 11 am. For tickets, contact Sal Russo 201-446-7244 or Nick Garafolo 201-893-2849.

A veteran’s ward party will be held Tuesday April 24, at the Chestnut Hill Extended Care Facility, Passaic, starting at 2:30 p.m. The American Legion Post 139, Lyndhurst rehabilitation committee will use the donation for this party to give out cash prizes and for treats for the players and also include those bed-ridden veterans that cannot participate.

The party is sponsored by Rebecca Brugaletta in honor of all the veterans that have served and especially those that gave their lives or were wounded.

For more information or to support these programs, please call 201-438-2255 John Deveney, American Legion post commander.

Birding for Beginners (Bird Identification)
A free two-hour Birding for Beginners class starts with a short session on birding basics at the Meadowlands Environment Center on Sunday, April 15, 1 p.m., in Lyndhurst, followed by a 90-minute walk in surrounding DeKorte Park. The event is run by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute weather updates. You will have to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@aol.com or 201-230-4983.

The City Winds Trio will be performing Strauss’ “The Blue Danube Waltz,” Handel’s “Water Music” and more at the Meadowlands Environment Center on Sunday, April 15, at 1 p.m. Hear classical favorites with a “water view” as this trio of flute, oboe and bassoon perform songs of the sea from around the world. Admission is $7/person; $5/members. For more information, call 201-460-2431, 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec

The Third-Tuesday-of-the-Month Bird Walk with the NJMC and BCAS, will be held on Tuesday, April 17, at 10 a.m.
This free two-hour guided nature walk will include the Harrier Meadow  in North Arlington. The 70-acre site, usually off limits to the public, features ponds and tidal impoundments and birds aplenty – including a bird-banding demonstration.  The group will meet at 10 a.m. at the entrance to Harrier Meadow on Disposal Road or at the visitors’ parking lot at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst at 9:40 a.m. and to carpool. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute updates. You will have to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@aol.com or 201-230-4983.

A program on Northern New Jersey’s Textile Workers & their Unions in the early 20th Century will be held at the Meadowlands Environment Center on Tuesday, April 17, 2 p.m. Northern New Jersey’s labor history is rich with the stories of the lives and struggles of immigrant textile workers.  Through historic photographs, artifacts and oral histories, Evelyn Hershey, of the American Labor Museum, explores the working conditions of the silk mills of Paterson and the woolen mills of Passaic, in the early 20th century.  Free admission Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst 201-460-8300 or njmeadowlands.gov/ec

North Arlington

Queen of Peace High School Girl Scout Seniors Troop 125 will be collecting items for Bergen County Children Services’ community group homes for youth in foster care.

These children, ages 5 to 12, have suffered sexual abuse and other trauma and receive intensive treatment services at these centers.

Gently used donations can be dropped off at the Queen of Peace Rectory garage, North Arlington, Saturday, April 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 22, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Items desired are: games and toys, such as bikes, helmets (for ages 5-12), roller skates, board games, jump ropes, arts and crafts projects, coloring books/crayons/markers/glue, backpacks, duffle bags and small luggage for transporting personal items; household items, such as white sheets (twin), bedroom curtains (pink, purple, green, red), removable character stickers, bedroom wall decorations (wall letters to spell names) and colorful pictures.

North Arlington High School is having a spring book fair event to be held at the Barnes and Noble store, located in Clifton Commons. The event will be held on Wednesday, April 18. All are invited to visit the store or shop online to support the school’s literacy goal. Student work will be displayed and a surprise guest will be there.


American Red Cross’ Montclair Chapter, 169 Chestnut St., Chatham Room, first floor,

Nutley, hosts a blood drive Tuesday, April 17, from 3 to 8 p.m. Individuals who are age 17 and above, weigh at least 110 pounds and are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors age 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Please make an appointment to donate blood today. Eligible donors can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information and to make a blood donation appointment.

Matinee Fridays: Classic Films will be shown at Nutley Public Library April 13, 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. Please check the monthly calendar, flyer or Facebook for the titles of the films.

Pen to Prose Writers’ Group will meet at the library on Monday, April 16, from 6 to 8:30 pm. The group was formed to read works in progress, share accomplishments, critique works, give writing instruction, and provide encouragement and inspiration to aspiring authors. The group is free and open to the public.

The library will host a Teen Video Game Tourney Friday, April 20, at 3 p.m. Play Wii, Xbox or bring your DS to play each other.

Bloomfield’s baseball team poised to take next step

Bengals have veteran roster returning from 16-win team last year

Photo by Jim Hague/ Sophomore right-hander James Torres has already proved to be a fi nd for the Bloomfield baseball team, firing a superb game in his varsity debut against Morris Knolls last week.

By Jim Hague

Ask any high school baseball coach and they will all tell you the same thing. There is no substitute for experience.

That’s why Bloomfield High School coach Mike Policastro likes his team’s chances in 2012. Policastro has a host of players on his roster that have played at least one year with the Bengals’ varsity squad. Some have two years experience, with others having been part of his program for three years.

It’s an experienced bunch that not many teams have the luxury of having.

“We lost only three starters from last year,” said Policastro, who guided the Bengals to a 16-12 record last year and has led the Bengals to a 2-1 record in the early going thus far. “We have a bunch of guys who have played together for quite some time.”

If there’s one aspect to the game that Policastro has been stressing to his team, it’s being more defensive minded.

Policastro did some research about last year’s team and found out that the Bengals could have changed the results in eight of their 12 losses if they made fewer errors.

“It was definitely our weakness and it cost us in a lot of situations, especially in the counties (the Greater Newark Tournament) and the states (the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group IV),” Policastro said. “Our pitching wasn’t bad. We just could have played better defense behind the pitchers.”

One of the main reasons why Policastro likes his team this season is the pitching depth, led by senior lefty Zeb Smith, who won five games as a sophomore, but only two last year as a junior. Again, having the ace of your pitching staff with three years varsity experience is a blessing.

“We didn’t play well behind him last year,” Policastro said. “We should have won more games when Zeb pitched. He’s our top pitcher and has been throwing well.”

Senior Andrew Coco, who was the Bengals’ No. 3 pitcher last year, has been elevated to the No. 2 position in the rotation. Coco struck out 11 in his first outing against Columbia.

Another solid pitcher is sophomore righty James Torres, who pitched a gem in his first varsity start last Thursday against defending state sectional champion Morris Knolls, scattering six hits and striking out seven.

“James has been pretty impressive,” Policastro said. “We knew coming into the season that he was a proven pitcher, from what we saw in American Legion over the summer and in the fall. We just had to get his confidence up. Once he had the confidence, we knew he was going to be a good one.”

Junior left-hander Christian Ferri is the team’s No. 4 pitcher.

“I’m ecstatic about our pitching,” Policastro said. “I think we have a nice staff.”

Junior Michael Carter, the son of Bloomfield head football coach Mike Carter, is the team’s leadoff hitter.

“When Michael was in seventh grade, we had him play Junior American Legion,” Policastro said. “When he was in eighth grade, he played Senior Legion. He started for us right away as a freshman and we knew right away that he was going to be a good one. He’s been very consistent.”

Need proof? Well, as a freshman, Carter had 35 hits on the season and batted .388. Last year, as a sophomore, Carter batted .382 with 36 hits. That’s uncanny consistency.

Second baseman Devin Radziewicz is another key returnee. Radziewicz earned All-Super Essex Conference honors last year, batting .370.

“He’s a four-year starter and a two-year captain,” Policastro said of Radziewicz. “He’s batted third for us since he was a freshman. He’s a good leader and he’s going to have a good senior season, because he’s gotten bigger and stronger.”

Radziewicz is slated to play at William Paterson University in the fall.

Shortstop Jared Guglielmino is another key returnee. Guglielmino has been on the Bengals’ varsity roster for three years. He belted a solo homer against Morris Knolls Thursday.

Senior Josh Caruso is the first baseman. He’s off to a solid start, having a two-run double against Columbia and a two-run single against Morris Knolls.

Senior Matt Chiaravolotti is the team’s starting third baseman who also serves as the team’s closer. He’s another who has three years of varsity experience.

“There are not many teams around who can put a team on the field that has played together like this one,” Policastro said. “They know the game and know how to play the game.”

Senior Anthony Giamo is the team’s catcher who has been improving with every game. Giamo never caught before high school, but has developed into a fine backstop.

“Each year, he’s gotten better and better behind the dish,” Policastro said.

Policastro knows that he has the makings of a special team.

“We’re trying to instill the importance of pitching and defense with this team,” Policastro said. “I think they’re starting to believe in the things we preach. We had 11 scrimmages in the preseason and we didn’t hit well. We’ve played good defense so far and I love the way we’ve been pitching.”

The Bengals have a highly competitive independent schedule, facing perennial state powers like Bayonne, Old Tappan, Roxbury, Wayne Valley and Pequannock. They will also square off against local rivals Belleville and Nutley in the weeks to come and will face Montclair and West Essex in Super Essex Conference divisional games.

“So far, so good,” Policastro said. “It’s just a matter of staying together and making sure that they believe in themselves and believe in each other. I think if that happens, then good things will happen.”

Count on good things happening with the Bengals all season long.





Hall of a year for retired Kearny tennis coach Venezia


Photo courtesy Kearny High School/ Long-time Kearny High School girls’ tennis coach Ray Venezia (c.) was presented with a plaque for being inducted into the NJSIAA New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the Pines Manor in Edison last month. Flanking Venezia are Kearny athletic director John Millar (l.), a fellow member of the coaches’ Hall, and Kearny guidance counselor Tom Fraser.


By Jim Hague

He spent 42 years as a teacher in the Kearny school system and devoted a good portion of that time teaching and coaching tennis.

So when Ray Venezia announced that he was retiring last year as a teacher and as the girls’ tennis coach at Kearny High School, there had to be a fitting sendoff. It came when the Kardinals won the Hudson County Tournament last spring, the first time ever that Kearny won the county crown after competing for many years in the rough-and-tumble world of the Watchung Conference.

“We went like 35-1 over the last two years in Hudson County,” Venezia said. “If we had been in the county all these years, we would have done well.”

Venezia was enjoying retired life, doing an assortment of things.

“I’ve been keeping busy,” Venezia said. “There’s always something to do. And I’ve been playing tennis quite a lot.”

But for all intents and purposes, Venezia thought his career was over and his association with Kearny athletics had come to an end.

That was, until Kearny athletic director John Millar contacted Venezia, asking for a resume.

“He was going to nominate me for the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame,” Venezia said. “I had no idea if I had a chance.”

Sure enough, Venezia’s incredible resume was sufficient enough for the NJSIAA to elect him into the Coaches’ Hall of Fame. Venezia received his award last month at a luncheon at the Pines Manor in Edison.

Venezia became only the second tennis coach from Hudson County to ever receive the award, joining Bill Broderick of Bayonne.

“I was happy,” Venezia said. “I was surprised and I was honored. It’s a great achievement, considering that there haven’t been many for tennis.”

Venezia, who retired with more than 400 career victories under his belt, coaching both the girls at Kearny High and the boys at Rutherford, is a member of the Kearny High School Athletic Hall of Fame, earning entrance in 2005.

“But this is an honor from the entire state,” Venezia said. “I couldn’t believe that there are 8,000 varsity coaches in New Jersey and to be among the best is an amazing honor. I went to the luncheon and saw all the coaches from all over the state. It really does make everything worthwhile.”

Venezia was fortunate enough to coach several players who went on to play collegiate tennis, like Jayne DeMichele (Rutgers-Newark), Dragona Trivic (Drew), Angie Garma (St. Peter’s) and Kate Sudol (NYU).

“But the thing I’m most proud of is that I had four players chosen as News 12 Scholar-Athletes,” Venezia said.

Nadia Oliveira (1996), Trivic (2003), Jane Ronan (2008) and Lauren Ronan (2010) were all featured among the state’s best scholar/athletes on the weekly segment on News 12 New Jersey.

Venezia also spent a lot of his time teaching tennis to others. For 10 years, he was the director of the Arlington Players Club Junior Development Program and ran the Kearny Recreation summer tennis program for eight years.

Now, Venezia is enjoying life in retirement, but got to enjoy the fruits of his hard work one final time last month. He became only the eighth Kearny coach in history to gain induction into the NJSIAA Coaches’ Hall of Fame.

“It’s nice that you can get recognized for doing something you did for so long,” Venezia said. “Kearny is really not a tennis town. It’s a blue-collar town. But getting recognized for coaching tennis is such a great feeling.”

Venezia wasn’t the only local coach to gain induction to the NJSIAA Coaches’ Hall of Fame last month. Former Lyndhurst girls’ soccer coach Lori DeLuca, who also retired last year, was honored as well as part of the presentation. There were 21 coaches statewide who gained induction this year, a great way to honor and recognize the incredible talents of New Jersey’s dedicated coaches.





Homers come to those that wait

Photo by Jim Hague/ North Arlington junior outfielder Katie Rouski.


By Jim Hague

As the North Arlington High School softball team played Becton Regional last week, junior outfielder Katie Rouski strode to the plate with the bases loaded.

Rouski’s teammate, Ashley Gandulla, offered some encouragement.

“She said, `Hey, Katie, why don’t you hit a home run?’” Rouski said. “I said, ‘I’ll be lucky just to get a base hit.’”

Gandulla was asking a lot, considering that Rouski had never hit a home run in an official varsity softball game before.

“I hit one in a scrimmage, but I don’t know if it counts,” Rouski said.

It doesn’t.

As it turned out, Rouski belted a grand slam for her first-ever varsity home run.

Her next time up, Rouski came up with two runners on base. Gandulla barked out the same words she did to Rouski just an inning before.

“She said the same thing and I said, `Now, you’re really crazy,’” Rouski said.

Sure enough, Rouski did it again, this time hitting a three-run homer. For a girl who never hit a homer before, she was certainly collecting homers in a rapid pace.

“I remember running off the field and hearing my mother (Carol), yelling, ‘Hey, what did you eat for breakfast,’” Rouski said.

Rouski’s day wasn’t done. Later on, she belted an RBI single, giving her three hits, two homers and an astounding eight RBI.

There was only one down side to the day. The Vikings lost the slugfest, 20-17.

“It felt great, but if we won, it would have been better,” Rouski said. “It just didn’t work out that way.”

However, nothing is going to diminish Rouski’s coming out party at the plate.

“I really didn’t think much about it, but after the game, when we put it all together, it was pretty amazing,” Rouski said. “In fact, it was surreal.”

What capped her day was a sensational catch that Rouski made in right field. She dove for a sinking line drive and made a backhand grab.

“I hit the ground and my knees were all cut up, but I held onto the ball,” Rouski said.

“She made that catch like Ron Swoboda in the 1969 World Series,” veteran North Arlington coach John Galante said. “It was one of the best catches I’ve ever seen. She had the two homers, the RBI single and capped off the day with the fantastic catch. She definitely had one of the best all-around games I’ve seen in a very long time.”

For her efforts, Rouski has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week, the first honoree in the spring scholastic sports season.

Rouski has been a jack-of-all-trades since she joined the NA softball program. She was a third baseman and outfielder in the past, but last year, she stepped up and volunteered to be the team’s catcher when no one else would do it. It made her mother, Carol, a former standout catcher during her playing days at North Arlington, eventually earning a place in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, very proud.

“I was fine with it,” Rouski said. “It was something I always wanted to try. I like being able to play multiple positions, because I get to see different things. It’s fun.”

Rouski, who also plays volleyball and basketball at North Arlington, said that she spent a lot of last summer getting ready for this softball season, playing for a travel team in Lyndhurst that featured players from rivals Lyndhurst and Queen of Peace.

“It was definitely interesting,” Rouski said. “There was no pressure. We were fine and we all got along. I guess all the pressure of being rivals was off. It was really good for me to get better in softball, keeping my softball skills going.”

Rouski also has a personal softball coach in her mother, who owns a softball training facility called Diamond Academy in Westwood, where both Rouskis work together.

“My mother has always been a great influence on me,” Rouski said. “We’re always together, catching, hitting. She still has it. She’s the one who encouraged me to be active.”

The elder Rouski played the same three sports during her days at NA, graduating in 1977.

The younger Rouski also takes hitting lessons from personal coach Lisa Rizzo, who works at Diamond Academy with the elder Rouski.

“It’s definitely helped,” Katie Rouski said.

Galante saw glimpses of Rouski’s improvement last year, when she batted .340.

“She always had a good swing, but now, she has power with that swing,” Galante said. “This was definitely a breakout game for her. She was our No. 5 hitter last year and was third on the team in RBI. Because of her mother, she knows the game. But Katie is a workaholic and always wants to get better. She’s improved a lot and in order to strengthen the team, I put her in right field this year. I’ve moved her around a lot and she’s never complained.”

Rouski knew that she needed to improve her game this season.

“I’m the only junior on the team, so I knew I had to step it up,” Rouski said. “I’m still working on it. I guess people are going to expect more from me, expect me to do this every game.”

Well, if Rouski was able to duplicate this game again, it might raise just a few eyebrows.

“It’s definitely a game I’m always going to remember,” Rouski said.

As well she should.

Control your emotions

Troubles! Problems! Worries! Stress! If you think these emotions have become a part of your life, then you really need to sit back, pause and think about what matters to you the most. If this is work related, then you are probably carrying your burden home to your loved ones. Similarly, if you are having domestic problems, then your work and professional aspects will suffer.

It is best to compartmentalize your emotions and to help you do that I suggest a technique that has worked well for a lot of people including myself: Take any small plant of your choice and have it grow in a planter just outside the door to your home. I like to call it my “Problem Hanger.” Before you enter your house, be sure to leave your work issues and problems outside by touching a few leaves of your plant, thereby hanging all your worries onto them before you enter your place to be with family. Next morning, on your way out to work, touch the plant again to pickup your worries and you can work on them once you are at work.

This strategy may sound silly at first, but it does help in training your mind and yourself to keep your office problems away from your personal life. And there will be a few times where you may feel like you had too much on your mind when you chose to hang those worries onto your plant but the next morning, you may have fewer problems than the night before. This is because when the mind starts working, there is no end to the material it can keep creating, but when you choose to come back to a certain issue after some time has passed, you begin to look at it in another light and surprisingly it may not look as intense as it probably did before.

This is the beauty of time. It helps you deal with your situation. But the true art of living lies in the fact that one must learn to never let your emotions control you. You need to be constantly checking yourself. You should be the one holding the reins to control your emotions and not vice versa. This can be easily achieved with a little effort and mind training, but it is possible. Try it. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. Trust your instincts. You can do it.


Visit Shweta Punjabi at her website solutionsbyshweta.com for more information or email her at magictaara@yahoo.com

Kearny Police Blotter

Early on March 30, the Kearny Vice Squad intercepted a 57-year-old Kearny resident they had placed under surveillance after observing what appeared to be a drug transaction at Kearny and Stuyvesant Aves. A search of the man, identified as Clifford Boan, turned up 19 glassine folds containing heroine stamped “Chris Brown.”

Boan was arrested on charges of possession of CDS, possession with intent to distribute, intent to distribute in front of a library, and intent to sell in a school zone, and taken to Hudson County Jail, Kearny, where he was held on $75,000 bail.

That night, Officer John Fabula and Sgt. Anthony Limite responded, separately, to a report of a domestic dispute on Chestnut St. Limite arrived first and came upon an individual armed with a knife. Limite, along with Officer Fabula pulled out their service weapons and de-escalated the situation, disarming the man without the use of force. But even after being taken to the ground and handcuffed, the man continued to be combative.

At one point, the man pushed Fabula in an attempt to get away, only to be forced back to the ground by the officer. The 21-year-old Kearny man was charged with terroristic threats, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, violation of a restraining order and found to have two outstanding warrants from Jersey City and Kearny. No bail was set based on the restraining order violation.

On April 1, Officer Jay Ward reported to K-Mart where a security employee had detained a customer for allegedly taking $125 worth of Nicorette lozenges and a box of Nicorette gum. The man was then placed under arrest. During a search, Ward discovered that the man, 26-year-old George Sousa of Kearny had three small bags of heroin stamped “Big Blue.” Sousa was charged with shoplifting, possession of heroine, and possession of paraphernalia.

On April 1, just before midnight, Officers Chris Medina and Dean Gasser were on patrol on Bergen Ave. in the area of Schuyler Ave. traveling westbound when they saw a car traveling the opposite way with its headlights turned off. After finding a safe place to make a U-turn, the officers caught up to and stopped the vehicle. During the pursuit, they saw the vehicle pass over the double yellow line. After they stopped the vehicle near Schuyler and Bergen Aves. and asked the driver for his license, the man produced an expired license and insurance card. The man continued to rummage through an empty glove box. The man finally produced an Essex County ID card identifying him as Martin J. Richard. A check of the name found that he had a suspended license. The man was taken from the car and placed under arrest. Officers detected a heavy odor of alcohol on him. Based on failed sobriety tests, the officers confirmed suspicion that he was intoxicated. The man, 47-year-old Martin Richard of Elmwood Park, was charged with DWI, careless driving, improper passing, failing to exhibit a registration or insurance card, driving while suspended, failing to use headlights, and refusing to take an alcohol test.

On April 3 around 3 p.m., Officer Sean Kelly responded to Bergen Ave. and Belgrove Dr. on a report of a melee involving a baseball bat. Kelly then received backup from Sgt. Charlie Smith and Officer Pat Becker and Brian Wisely. They found the combatants. The man wielding a bat was disarmed and, after questioning everyone, officers arrested two men: 20-year-old slugger Hugo Villanueva of Kearny was charged with possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. The intended victim, 22-year-old North Arlington resident Derek Gaters was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Lyndhurst. Both were taken to headquarters and processed.

Later that day, at 11 p.m., Officers Mike Santucci and Tim Castle responded to the 300 block of Forest St. on a call of a disordery resident in a dwelling. The officers were directed to the second floor where they encountered Brandon Tice, 18, of Kearny, who was highly intoxicated. The resident didn’t want him in the house because of his disorderly behavior.

Given his state of intoxication, the officers attempted to get him help and assisted him down next to a wall but Tice told them he didn’t want their help and punched Santucci in the groin. Santucci and Castle then attempted to take Tice into custody, but Tice tucked his hands underneath his body in an attempt not to be cuffed. The officers eventually got his hands behind his back and cuffed him. Tice was taken to headquarters and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.

Officers Brian Wisely and John Fabula responded to Davis Ave. on April 4 around 8:30 p.m. on a report of a dispute. In a hallway, they encountered a highly distraught individual in possession of a large knife. The man informed the officers that he wanted to die. After the officers calmed him, the man put the weapon down. Police called for an ambulance to transport the man to Bergen County Hospital. The weapon was confiscated.

One–way ticket to Palookaville?


By Randy Neumann

The above is a line from the classic film, “On the Waterfront,” when Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), a fighter who almost made it, decries his fate to his brother Charley (Rod Steiger) who convinced him to dump a fight for a bet. In one of the best scenes in the movie, shot in one take in the back of a taxi cab, Terry says to Charley, “I cudda been a contenda. But now I’m a bum. I got a one way ticket to Palookaville.”

Well, a lot of life’s happenstance can provide that dreaded ticket. What can happen? You can become ill or disabled. You can die young with others depending on you. Your property can be stolen or damaged. You can be sued for liability. And, at the end of your life, you can blow all of your money on a nursing home.

What are you doing about these perils?

In the absence of good planning, most people accumulate a hodgepodge of insurance policies that may, or may not, adequately cover their risks. This column is about an oft-overlooked risk – long-term disability.

Let me pose a question. If you had a goose that laid a golden egg once a week, would you insure that goose? Of course you would. Well, if you have a job or a business, you are the goose because it is you who produces a paycheck every week.

Have you insured your own goose? Perhaps you should? According to the American Society of Actuaries, the risk of disability is greater than the risk of death between age 25 and 65 at every age. Chances are one in two that a 30 year old will be disabled for more than three months before age 65. What would happen to you and your family, should you become disabled for more than 90 days?

A financial planning basic is that most people should set aside an “emergency” fund equal to three to six months living expenses for a “rainy day.” An emergency fund is a liquid (easily turned to cash) asset. Examples of emergency funds are money markets and savings accounts. An emergency fund can also be a line of credit, preferably secured by your house for tax purposes. But what if you become disabled? What if it rains for a long, long time?

Well, you may be able to generate income from your assets. This assumes, however, that 1) you have assets, and 2) you are willing to invade monies, which may have been earmarked for college education(s) or retirement in the event of your disability.

It also assumes that those funds are liquid, and are generating current income. If they are not liquid, selling long-term assets, prematurely, can cause significant losses. Having to trespass on assets that were set aside for other purposes is like hopping a train with Marlon Brando, as in “It’s a one way ticket to Palookasville.”

If you find the foregoing disturbing, you might consider insuring against the catastrophe of a long-term disability.

The first place to look is on the job. Many employers provide some long-term disability benefits as a paid benefit or it may be available for purchase in a cafeteria plan. These would be in addition to state cash sickness benefits, which are short-term. Look closely at your coverage. The insurance may cover only a small portion of your income and peter out in a couple of years. Also, group coverage usually has offsets. That means if you receive a benefit from another source, for example, private insurance, your group payments will be reduced.

Although Social Security pays a disability benefit, counting on it is chancy. They turn down two-thirds of all claims (which is why you always see ads in newspapers from lawyers who want to plead your case). One reason that they don’t pay most claims can be found in their definition of disability. It includes the words “totally and permanently” and “expected to die.”

OK, let’s say you’ve analyzed your current group and government benefits and find that there is a $1,000 shortfall between what you need to pay your bills and what would be available should you become disabled. What to do?

If you can, increase your company benefits. If you can’t, you might consider purchasing an individual disability policy from an insurance company. Shop carefully because what you buy may have to last for a long time (typically to age 65), and, someday, you may really need it.

P.S. In the 1990s, I met Bud Schulberg at a book signing in East Hampton. After introducing myself, he said,” I love to watch you referee and I loved to watch you fight.” Needless to say, I almost fell over because here was “The Man” who wrote “On the Waterfront,” “The Harder They Fall” (Humphrey Bogart’s last movie), “What Makes Sammy Run” and other great works.

For the next 10 years, I got to hang out with him and his son, Benn, who was 28 years old when we first met (he has a sister 39 years his senior) at the Irish pub in Atlantic City after the fights. Bud died in 2009 at the age of 95 – still sharp as a tack.

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® is a registered representative with and securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 600 East Crescent Avenue, Suite 104, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, 201-291-9000.


Ellen T. Murphy Cicchino

Ellen T. Murphy Cicchino, 71, of Toms River, passed away Monday, April 2, at Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch.

She was born in Newark and lived in Kearny before moving to Toms River 14 years ago.

Ellen worked in the accounts payable department for the Archdiocese of Newark and spent 31 years as an accounting department executive for Continental Insurance in Newark, Piscataway and New York City before retiring. She was a parishioner of St. Joseph’s Church, Toms River.

She was predeceased by her parents John and Anne Murphy and her sister Roseanne Barton. She is survived by her loving husband John Cicchino (Buddy) of Toms River and his children John Cicchino III of Neptune Beach, Fla., Catherine Fowlie of Concord, N.C., Suzanne Cicchino of Toms River; her brother John (Jackie) Murphy of Harrison; her niece Kimberly Barton of North Arlington; her nephew John Barton of Harrison; seven grandchildren Kristen, Erik, Maxwell, Angela, Neil, Andrew and Charlie. Viewing was held on Tuesday April 3, and Wednesday April 4, at DeGraff Lakehurst Funeral Home, 119 Union Ave., Lakehurst, with a funeral mass at St. Johns Church, Lakehurst followed by a committal service at Ocean County Memorial Park, Toms River.

 Silvana DeOliveira

Silvana (Corsi) DeOliveira, 47 died on Wednesday April 4, in the St. Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care Center, Newark.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The funeral service was held on April 7 in the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, 663 Kearny Ave., Kearny, followed by interment in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.

Silvana was born in Brazil, immigrating to this country at age 4.  She lived in Newark before moving to Kearny in 1988.

She was employed as an accounts payable clerk for Care Station in Linden for four years.

Silvana is survived by her beloved children Stephanie and Richard DeOliveira; parents Antonio and Maria (Ottoboni) Corsi; sister Sonia Hill and her husband James and niece Sarah Marie Hill. She was predeceased by her sister Sylvia Corsi.


John Gallagher 

John “Jack” Gallagher, 76 died on Friday April 6, in the 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’s Church, Kearny, followed by private cremation. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com

Jack was born in Dundonald, Scotland, and immigrated to this country in 1963 settling in Kearny. He served for the British Army in the Republic of Malta from 1952 until 1954.

He was a union painter employed by IUPAT Local 1004 in Bloomfield for 40 years retiring 14 years ago.

Mr. Gallagher was a proud member of the Scotts American Athletic Club and the Irish American Club both of Kearny.

He is survived by his wife Margaret “Rita” (Murray); his children Angela Sylvester (Anthony), Jacqueline Boyle and John C. Gallagher; his siblings Kathleen Gallagher, Sheila McGinn (Ian) and his grandchildren Alyssa, Amanda and Andrea Sylvester and William J. Boyle.

He was predeceased by his brothers Anthony and David and his sister Eileen Mullen.


Euphemia ‘Fay’ Hill

Euphemia “Fay” Hill (nee Hunter), died on April 3 in St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic. She was 83. Born in Brooklyn, she lived in Colonia before moving to Lyndhurst 53 years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny.  A funeral service was held on Monday, April 9, in the funeral home. The service will begin at 11 a.m. and burial will follow at Hillside Cemetery in Lyndhurst. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

Fay was an executive secretary for Arbitron in New York City and was very involved with the Rutherford Bible Chapel.

Wife of the late Benjamin, she is survived by her children Kathie Di Lascio, Jane Gabriele and Douglas, David and Evelyn Hill. She was the sister of Marjorie Mitchell, Robert Hunter and the late Roberta Zine. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren. Fay was predeceased by her son Benjamin and his children Benjamin and Mary Hill.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Gideons.


George Henry Horn

George Henry Horn, 68, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., formerly of Kearny, passed away from pancreatic cancer on March 26.

Born in Newark, George resided in Kearny, and after graduating from Kearny High School, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps. George was part owner in Towne Clothiers and was married to the former Doreen Ostrom. He later lived in New York City and Laguna Niguel, Calif., before settling in Rancho Mirage. George was a sales representative for Vintners International, a Bronco Wines Corp.

George is survived by his life partner of 28 years, Jonathan Brown; a sister, Barbara Lindsay of West Orange.; five nephews Hugh Lindsay of West Orange, Andrew Lindsay of West Orange, Charles Horn of Denville, David Horn of Forked River, Robert Horn of Brick; and a niece Catherine Bochantin of Jefferson and their families.

George was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Helen Horn, and a brother, Charles Horn Jr.

Services will be held April 10 in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Elsye E. Lamego

Elsye E. Lamego, Ti, 85, passed away on March 27.

Born in Danbury, Conn., she resided in Kearny for 60 years.

She worked in accounting at the Star Ledger for 40 years. She was a volunteer at West Hudson Hospital, a parishioner of St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, and a member of Henrietta Benstead senior Citizen’s Monday and Thursday clubs and also a league bowler in North Arlington.

She was the beloved sister of Danny Lamego (Betty), and the late Theresa L. Nunes (Mario), loving aunt of Kathy Baker (Barry), Marion Narucki (Leon), Janet Basile (Joe), Sandy Nunes (Lu), Danny Lamego Jr. (Carmelita) and many great-nieces and nephews. All who knew her loved and respected her. She was known at work and by family as an angel on earth and a saint by many. She was a very charitable person and will be missed greatly by all.

 Sophie Lombarski

Sophie Lombarski, (nee Gulan), 88, formerly of Harrison passed away on Saturday, April 7.

The funeral will be conducted from the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave, Harrison, on Thursday, April 12, with a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. on Thursday at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church.  Interment to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.  Friends may call on Wednesday, April 11, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. For directions, information to send condolences to the family please visit: www.mulliganfuneralhome.org

Sophie was born in Carteret, the daughter of the late Florian and Maryann and beloved wife of the late Rudolph.

She was a member of the Polish American Women’s Club of Harrison, St. Theresa Society, Polish American Center Women’s Auxillary of Harrison and a life member of the Harrison / East Newark Elks Lodge.


Teresa Porfido

Teresa Porfido (nee Kish) died on April 4 in Cedar Grove. She was 92. Born in Brownsville, Pa., she lived in Florida and Woodland Park.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service was held on Thursday, April 5, in the funeral home, followed by a private cremation. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Wife of the late Michael, she is survived by her sons and their spouses John and Judy Porfido and Richard and Kathy Porfido; also surviving are her grandchildren Richard, David, Christopher and Jonathan Porfido and her great-grandchildren Rebecca, Emily and Julia.

 Robert Edmund Torrance III

Robert Edmund Torrance III, died on Sept. 24, 2011 in Florida Memorial Hospital. He was 81. Born in East Orange, he lived many years in Kearny. He retired to Encampment, Wy., and Datona Beach, Fla.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, April  21, in the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington. Bob’s ashes will be interred in the family plot at Arlington Cemetery in Kearny. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

A 1948 Kearny High School Graduate he earned an associates degree at Farleigh Dickenson University and a bachelor degree at Maryville College. He married Carol Louise Schade on June 28, 1958 and they raised their family together in Kearny while Bob worked in the engineering Department of Acme Supermarkets, purchasing store equipment. He also worked in real estate and ran his bookkeeping business from his home before his retirement.

Bob was an elder, choir member and treasurer at the First Presbyterian Church in Kearny as well as being active with the West Hudson South Bergen Optimist Club. After moving to Wyoming, he became very involved with the Presbyterian Church serving as an elder and finance committee chairman. He enjoyed singing in the Encampment Community Choir and volunteering at the Encampment Museum where he served on its board of directors. His interests included keeping up with current events over morning coffee with his friends at the Sagebrush Senior Center in Encampment. He had an undying love for all things related to airplanes. A recent highlight of his life was a ride on a World War II B17 Bomber.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Carol, his three children, Robin Wintersen-Stock of New Mexico, Robert E. IV of New Jersey, and son John with Gina, of Colorado. His grandchildren are Mike Machado, Mamina Cordova, Sidhu Wintersen-Stock and Emmet and Teague Torrance. He has four great-grandchildren. His surviving sister Carol Lundquist is of Glen Rock,

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Grand Encampment Museum, P.O Box 43, Encampment, Wyoming 82325. Arrangements were handled by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny.


Happy Easter

Photo by Paul Velicky/ Youngsters line up for the start of the hunt.


West Hudson Christian Center (WHCC), located at 557 Kearny Ave., hosted its first annual community Easter Egg Hunt celebration at Riverbank Park in Kearny on Saturday March 31.

Despite the rainy cold weather, kids ages 2 to 11 from all over came out to hunt for eggs filled with candy and prizes. The church also gave away free 5×7 family spring portraits, face-paintings, and a take home gift for each child.

This Easter Sunday, April 8, the church will be having an Easter Play for the community at 10:30 am including a Children’s Church celebration with crafts and fun refreshments for kids ages 5 to 12 with child care provided for children ages 5 and under.

–Paul Velicky

All aboard for new Harrison PATH

Renderings courtesy the Port Authority/ Perspectives of how the new Harrison PATH station will look when construction is finished.

By Ron Leir


All systems are go for the long awaited upgrade of the Harrison PATH station now that the Port Authority of New Jersey and New York Board of Commissioners voted March 29 to appropriate $256.2 million for the project.

Bill Baroni, the P.A.’s deputy director, told The Observer that the replacement of the existing station, which was built in 1932, should start by January 2013 with completion anticipated by late 2016 or early 2017.

When the project’s done, Baroni said, commuters can expect a “modern, state-of-theart” station with new mechanical and electrical systems that will be outfitted with new stairwell approaches to extended canopied platforms long enough to accommodate 10-car trains for the Newark/World Trade Center run, instead of the current eight – a reflection of the station’s growing popularity with commuters. The new construction will extend to both sides of Frank Rodgers Blvd. South.

Between 2010 and 2011, P.A. PATH logged an increase in average weekday ridership, from 6,409 to 6,965 – an 8.7% spurt. “That’s the highest growth of all 13 stations in the PATH system,” Baroni said.

That increased ridership figures to continue upwards over the next decade with the presence of Red Bull Arena and the start of new residential and commercial construction within Harrison’s waterfront redevelopment district.

P.A. designers have also planned for the installation of an elevator to transport impaired riders. “Right now,” Baroni acknowledged, “people who are disabled can’t take the PATH to Harrison.” But the new station is being designed to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, he noted.

And there will be commuter pickup and dropoff points for taxis and buses bound for outlying regions, Baroni said.

There will also be retail space as part of the new station, Baroni said. How much space and what types of operations have yet to be scoped out, he said.

Baroni said the project will generate more than 1,000 “jobyears” that will account for an estimated $72 million in wages over the life of the project.

Commuter service through Harrison won’t be disrupted as the upgrade proceeds in stages, Baroni said.

Breaking down the project cost, the P.A. has allocated $153.8 million for actual construction costs, about $27 million for three acres of land acquisition, subsurface environmental remediation and demolition of existing structures and $5.9 million for professional and advisory services.

Critical to the success of the mission, according to Harrison Mayor Ray McDonough, was the willingness of various Harrison developers to work with the P.A. in conveying pieces of their land or granting easements to the bi-state agency to facilitate the project.

In particular, McDonough credited developer Jeff Melanick of the Heller Group in agreeing to yield some of his land at the likely cost of losing the chance to build 100 units of new housing on the site of the old Hartz Mountain property.

Without that consent, McDonough said, the Harrison PATH funding commitment would likely have faded away indefinitely.

“But Jeff stepped up to the plate,” the mayor said.

And that’s good news for current and future commuters using the station, especially with the Harrison Planning Board actions on March 28 permitting the Advance Co. to build 600 rental apartments in the redevelopment zone on Blocks E and F (bordered by Cape May St., Rodgers Blvd., Pete Higgins Blvd. and Riverbend Drive) and on March 29 allowing the developer of River Park homes on First St. to build 140 new units – the balance owed on the first phase of that project’s development which was originally approved for 313 units.