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When a house is not a home

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Nobody lives on either side of Carol Pavolic but her absentee neighbors still drive her batty. The Kearny resident, who lives between two abandoned 2-story homes at 365 and 369 Forest St., has had her fill of issues from those buildings […]


Blood: ‘Enrollment up, class size stable’

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  As she starts her first full year as acting head of the Kearny public school system in the new Board of Education administrative office center on Midland Ave., Superintendent Patricia Blood is optimistic that students and staff will fare well. That’s not […]

Around Town

Belleville Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., offers storytime for toddlers and preschoolers beginning Oct. 8 and every Wednesday at 11 a.m. No registration is required. For more information, call the library at 973-450-3434. All civic associations, classic cars and motorcycle clubs are invited to participate in […]


A healthy attitude at ShopRite

ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, and Ultra Fitness Center/ The Unique Women’s Gym recently hosted an Outdoor Exercise Extravaganza at ShopRite’s New York Ave. store. Zumba and strength-training classes were offered to the public as part of National Cholesterol Education Month and ShopRite’s annual Partners in Caring program. Participant donations benefited Partners […]


It’s been a blessing for 75 years

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – On Sunday afternoon, at a Mass of Thanksgiving marking the 75th anniverary of the dedication of St. Stephen’s Church, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda stood in the sanctuary and gazed up at the breathtaking Gothic architecture and told the congregation that what he was viewing wasn’t […]


Scary welcome to New Year’s

Police are investigating a carjacking incident that took place on the Harrison border of West Hudson Park on New Year’s Day.

Police said they were called to the 600 block of Central Ave. at 9:11 p.m. on Jan. 1 on a report of an armed robbery.

The victim told officers he was talking to a friend on his cell phone while sitting in his 2006 Pontiac GTO in a Central Ave. parking lot, west of Kingsland Ave., with the driver’s door open, and the engine running, when he heard a voice say, “Get out of the car!”

He then felt an object pressed against his head and a man ordered him out of the car. As he did so, the holdup man pulled the victim’s jacket over his head and ordered him to lie on the ground with his hands over his head.

The suspect then directed a second man to check the victim’s pockets and his partner removed $200 and four New Jersey Lottery tickets. The holdup man then turned the victim over onto his back while his partner continued to search him.

The victim could now see that the holdup man was armed with a shiny gray handgun, possibly a semi-automatic, which was pointed at him.

The holdup man then moved the victim to the front of the car and ordered him to lie on the ground. Both the armed man and his partner then jumped into the GTO and sped away south on Kingsland Ave.

As the incident unfolded, the victim’s friend could hear bits of the comments made by the holdup man on his end of the cell phone until the connection was lost. The friend told police he tried to call back, but the call immediately went to voice mail.

Police described the man with the gun as a light-skinned Latino, 5 feet-6, about 25, wearing a dark hoodie, baseball cap, with a mustache, light beard or goatee. His partner was listed as Latino, wearing a dark-colored hoodie.

Police broadcast a statewide alert about the carjacking and an investigation is continuing.

Here’s an accounting of other recent criminal incidents in Harrison:

Jan. 3

A 2008 Chevrolet was “keyed” while it was parked on the 800 block of Hamilton St. overnight.

Tanza Singletary, 21, of New York, was arrested for allegedly shoplifting a $1.29 package of cookies from a Bergen Mall business. He was also charged with hindering apprehension before being released on a summons.

Jose Rodriguez, 38, of Newark, was arrested for shoplifting 12 cans of Red Bull from a Harrison Ave. store. Rodriguez was given a summons and released.

Jan. 2

Rocco Spinelli, 52, of Newark was arrested outside Popeye’s restaurant on Passaic Ave. on a drug offense warrant issued by Wall Township. Spinelli was subsequently released by Wall Township on his own recognizance with a new court date.

A 1999 Honda Civic was stolen from the 300 block of Essex St. sometime between Dec. 28 and Jan. 2.

Jan. 1

Someone smashed the window of a 2000 Ford Explorer while it was parked overnight on the 200 block of Warren St. and ransacked the interior. The owner couldn’t determine whether anything had been taken.

An Ohio resident’s 1998 Honda Civic was stolen from the 300 block of Essex St. Dec. 31 A postal delivery that was left at a Franklin Ave. residence was reported stolen. A resident’s bank account information was obtained and $8.99 was illegally withdrawn from the account via a bank in Denver, Col. A Pennsylvania resident’s 2000 Honda Civic was reported stolen from the municipal parking lot at Frank Rodgers Blvd. and Essex St.

Dec. 29

A Warren St. residence was burglarized when a rear entry to a basement apartment was forced open. Musical recording equipment was reported stolen from the apartment.

— Ron Leir

Around Town

Do you Knit? Scrapbook? Write the great American novel?  The Bloomfield Public Library is your one-stop community center for sharing your interests and hobbies with like-minded people.
The library’s Friday Morning Knitting Club is going strong every week at 11 a.m. in the conference room.  Bring your latest project, and look forward to a couple of hours of making new friends and sharing creative ideas. Beginners are welcome!
Beginning on Feb. 16, scrapbookers are invited to the library’s new Scrapbooking Crop, which will begin on Thursdays at 11 a.m.  What is a crop?  It’s where a group of people get together and work on their scrapbooking projects. Beginners are welcome!  Bring your supplies if you have them and a willingness to learn or teach your craft and share your ideas with like-minded crafters!
For those who like to piece together words, the library is beginning a writer’s workshop as well.  Come in and share your ideas and writings beginning Feb. 6 at 10 a.m.  The Get it Write sessions will be meeting on the first and third Mondays each month at 10 a.m.
Do you have a skill or hobby you’d like to share with the community?  Consider doing so at the library.  The above programs are all led by volunteer community members.  Consider sharing your interest in a club or a one-time program.  Interested?  Call or email Lisa Cohn at 973-566-6200, ext. 217 or lcohn@bplnj.org.

Harrison Public Library will be offering “PAWS to Read” program to Harrison and East Newark Children, ages 4 through 7, on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 3:30 to  4:45 p.m. Come meet and read with Molly, a certified therapy dog. This will be a monthly event at the library and dates for Molly’s future visits will be distributed.

The PBGC, 663 Kearny Ave., will hold its annual winter dance on Friday, Jan. 13, from 7 to 10 p.m. Guests are restricted to teens only. The dance will be supervised by Tom Fraser, former Lincoln School guidance counselor; Paul Viera, chairman of the board and members of the Board of Directors.
The Kearny Public Library Children’s Room announces free events for children in January.
At the Main library, Play/Story Times for preschool age children will continue on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. – noon, and also on Thursday mornings from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Branch library Play/Story Times for preschool age children will continue on Thursday mornings from 10:15 to 11 a.m. The Branch Library is located at 759 Kearny Ave.
In honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the library invites children ages 3 1/2 and older to create floats of respect from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, art class with Mrs. Mills. Please bring a shoebox or two for creating your float. The library will provide all the additional art supplies. The class will be held on the lower level of the Main Library, 318 Kearny Ave. Space is limited, so please try to arrive on time. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis until available spaces are filled. The art class is free.
Registration is not needed for any program. The Main Library is located at 318 Kearny Ave. For more information, visit the library on the web at www.kearnylibrary.org or call 201-998-2666.
Kearny UNICO is sponsoring a fund-raising winter doldrums bus trip to the Showboat Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on Sunday, Jan.  29.  Cost is $30 per person with $30 in slot credit back from the casino.  Bus will depart at 8:30 a.m. from the VFW parking lot on Belgrove Drive in Kearny.  Coffee will be served to participants in the VFW hall prior to departure.  For tickets, please contact Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409.

St. Michael’s Leisure Club, Lyndhurst, will have a bus ride to Mt. Airy Casino in Pennsylvania on Thursday, Jan. 19, leaving the church parking lot on Page Avenue at 10 a.m. For price and reservation, please call Georgianna at 201-438-7847.
The Third-Tuesday-of-the-Month Bird Walk, with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society, is set for Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m. This free two-hour guided nature walk will take place at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus. The group will meet at the big parking lot by the Laurel Hill ball fields at 10 a.m. or at the first parking lot in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst, the home of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, at 9:20 a.m. 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 Lyndhurst High School Academic awards dinner will be held May 1. Each year the dinner honors a former graduate of Lyndhurst High School who demonstrated scholastic excellence in high school, as well as in higher educational, career endeavors and community service. Each honoree should serve as a role model for the current student body.
The committee has established a “pool” of qualified candidates. Each year names are added to that “pool.” Candidates must have graduated at least 10 years ago from Lyndhurst High School. Anyone that knows of a person or persons whose name should be added to that “pool” please submit your recommendations to: Mrs. Lisa Klein, Academic Awards Committee, Lyndhurst High School, 400 Weart Ave., Lyndhurst, N.J. 07071. Please submit your recommendations no later than Jan. 26.
The Lyndhurst Public Library invites the community to join in a continuous program titled “Connecting With Your Inner Self”.  This program is geared for those 50+ years old.  The purpose is to get people to talk about topics such as fears, aging, changing obstacles into opportunities, dealing with problems optimistically and appreciating where you are in life.  The next meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 12, from 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.  For more information, please call the library at 201-804-2478, ext. 7.

North Arlington
The North Arlington Board of Health will sponsor a free hearing screening for North Arlington residents on Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 9 a.m. to noon at the North Arlington Health Department, 10 Beaver Ave., North Arlington.  The screening will be done by audiologist Kirk Knutsen, MA, MS. For an appointment or further information, please call the North Arlington Health Department at 201-955-5695.

A blood drive will be held at the Nutley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 169 Chestnut St., Chatham Room, 1st floor, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 3 to 8 p.m.

Vikings trying to stay in contention

Photo by Jim Hague/ The North Arlington boys’ basketball team is off to a 4-4 start, thanks to the exploits of junior forward A.J. Nocciolo (left) and senior guard Tyler Krychkowski (right). Head coach Dave Walsh is in the middle.

By Jim Hague

A few years ago, there was a popular biography of country and western music superstar Johnny Cash, starring Joaquin Phoenix and eventual Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon called “Walk the Line.”
Well, that has been the battle cry of the North Arlington High School boys’ basketball team this season. The Vikings are trying to walk the line around the .500 mark in order to remain in contention for a possible NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I playoff berth.
“We’re trying to hold the line at .500,” said North Arlington head coach Dave Walsh, whose team improved to the even-water mark at 4-4 with a solid win over neighboring rival Queen of Peace last Thursday night, taking a 69-57 decision. “We’re in the midst of a stretch where we have seven of our next 10 games on the road, including being away for the next four. So it’s important for us to get wins now.”
Walsh said that he began the season a little concerned about the Vikings’ inexperienced roster.
“I was worried about our lack of varsity experience,” said Walsh, who returned only two starters from the team that went 7-17 a year ago. “We had leads in the fourth quarter of our first two games and lost both of those games (to Secaucus and Becton Regional). We had to learn how to finish out games and win.”
Walsh knows that his young team has been improving.
“We’re definitely getting better,” Walsh said. “The more we play, the better we’ll get. We’re making better decisions with the basketball lately. I can sense that we’re getting better as we go along.”
Leading the way has been senior guard Tyler Krychkowski, who was the Vikings’ leading scorer a year ago. The 5-foot-11 Krychkowski, the soccer standout, has been equally as brilliant on the hardwood, averaging nearly 19 points per game. He had 27 in the win over QP last Thursday.
“Tyler has had to learn to do it with three different kids in the lineup, so it’s been a challenge for him,” Walsh said. “We have an idea that we have to get Tyler the ball. He knows how to score and knows what to do. I always tell him that the bottom line is simple. When in doubt, shoot the ball. He’s been getting his shots and he’s been making the shots.”
The Vikings’ other returning starter is 6-foot-3 junior forward A.J. Nocciolo, who has been averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds per game.
“He plays hard,” Walsh said of Nocciolo, who is also the Vikings’ quarterback during the football season. “He’s someone who is capable to score inside for us. When he’s not in the game, we miss him out there. He’s a key player for us.”
Sophomore Thai Scott is the team’s starting point guard. The 5-foot-8 Scott is gradually getting better at running the Vikings’ offense and he scored 13 points in the Vikings’ tough loss to Lyndhurst last week.

Photo by Jim Hague/ Sophomore point guard Thai Scott has been rapidly improving, helping the North Arlington boys’ basketball team get off to a solid 4-4 start.

“He’s still learning the game,” Walsh said. “He’s learning that there’s a big difference between junior varsity and varsity. He’s learning how to handle the pressure and learning to cut down on his mistakes. He’s also making better decisions with the ball.”
Junior Julian Ortiz is a 5-foot-10 guard who handles a variety of responsibilities for the Vikings.
“He’s our best defender,” Walsh said. “He also handles the ball pretty well and helps with the offensive flow. He’s just a good steady player.”
The fifth Viking starter is 6-foot-4 freshman center Jose Checo, who has made the leap right into the varsity fray.
“He’s finally starting to take some shots and help out the offense,” Walsh said of Checo. “He’s doing a great job defensively, averaging like five blocked shots per game. He knows where to go on defense. He’s just young.”
Off the bench, Walsh calls upon the services of two football players in 6-foot-2 sophomore Nick Martin, who has been averaging nearly eight points per game as a reserve, and 6-foot senior Jesse Groome, who gives the Vikings more of an inside presence.
“He holds his own down low,” Walsh said of Groome. “He gives us a good physical presence off the bench and he’s a good leader in practice.”
Jeff Frytek, a 5-foot-11 junior shooting guard, is the Vikings’ version of instant offense.
“He’s our bomber,” Walsh said. “He comes in and starts launching shots from everywhere. He’s also able to give us good energy defensively.”
So the Vikings are taking a page from the man in black and walking that .500 line. So far, so good.
“We look at games now differently,” Walsh said. “We look at them having a chance to win. We have a better outlook in the long run.”
If the Vikings can survive the tough road stretch of games upcoming, they could be in the hunt for a state playoff berth in March.

Kearny girls’ basketball team enjoys solid start

Photo by Jim Hague/ The Kearny girls’ basketball team is off to a solid 6-2 start, winning six of their last seven. Front row, from left, are Angel Conde and Vanessa DaSilva. Back row from left are Mercedes Lois, Stefanie Gomes, Michelle Goncalves and head coach Jody Hill.


By Jim Hague

The girls’ high school basketball season was only one game old and already Kearny head coach Jody Hill had some worries.
Her Kardinals started off the season with a loss at Marist, so Hill had to wonder whether her team was headed for a tough campaign.
“I was concerned,” Hill said. “We were definitely not ready to play the first game. I didn’t know what to expect. We had to find our identity a little bit, with some new faces. We had to go through a little of an adjustment.”
Hill was also worried about senior point guard Vanessa DaSilva, who was still recovering from off-season knee surgery.
“We needed a lot of work,” Hill said. “I knew we had no place to go but up.”
The Kardinals showed a lot of improvement in wins over Ferris and Dickinson of Jersey City, then headed to the Paterson Eastside Christmas Tournament.
Little did Hill know that the tourney would become an absolute blessing.
The Kardinals won three games in the tourney, defeating University Charter of Jersey City, then Plainfield and finally Hackensack in overtime.
“I was pleasantly surprised to go 3-0 in that tournament,” Hill said. “I couldn’t be happier. After the first game, we completely got our confidence back. It was the team that I thought we could be.”
The Kardinals lost a heartbreaker to Bayonne, considered by many to be the top team in Hudson County this year. They were up by three at the half, but managed to score just seven points in the second half to fall, 42-30.
“It was tough to take, because we knew we could compete with them,” said Hill, whose team shut down Bayonne standout guard Tara Flynn, holding her to just four points. “I think we all wish we could have that one back.”
The Kardinals then rebounded to defeat neighboring rival North Arlington, 55-22, last Friday to improve to 6-2 overall. Not a bad start for a team that was in trouble in the coach’s eyes to start the year.
“The key to us is that we have five senior starters,” Hill said. “We have to rely on their leadership and their senior composure. We also needed to believe in ourselves. If we do that, we can compete with the best. We proved that against Bayonne. We’re starting to get there and showing improvement.”
Leading the way is senior forward Stefanie Gomes, the soccer standout who continues her prowess on the hardwood. Gomes is averaging 17 points per game and had 21 points in the win over North Arlington Friday, a game where the 5-foot-9 Gomes also had eight rebounds, six steals and four blocked shots.
“She’s doing a good job letting the game come to her,” Hill said of Gomes. “She’s definitely more team oriented and has become more of a leader. Her shot selection is better. There’s never been a question about her ability to run the floor.”
DaSilva, the 5-foot-4 point guard, has returned from the off-season surgery well. DaSilva is also learning a new position, taking over the role that former Observer Female Athlete of the Year Janitza Aquino held before she went off to play at Montclair State. DaSilva was the off-guard to Aquino last year, but she’s had to learn to handle the ball more and become more of a playmaker.
“She’s doing a great job running the floor and running the team,” Hill said of DaSilva, who had 18 points in the big win over Hackensack and had 11 assists and five steals in the win Friday over North Arlington. “She’s had to make a tough transition, but she’s done a great job.”
DaSilva is averaging a little better than 10 points per game.
The third senior starter is 5-foot-5 swing player Michelle Goncalves, who is the team’s best defender. Goncalves was the one responsible for putting the clamps on Flynn last week.
“I think she may be the best defensive player in the county,” Hill said. “She wants the challenge of guarding the best.”
The fourth senior is Mercedes Lois, a 5-foot-8 forward.
“I say that she’s our gamer, because when the game is on, she’s ready,” Hill said of Lois. “When it’s a big game, she’s ready to step up to the challenge.”
The fifth senior is 5-foot-5 Angel Conde, who does a host of duties for the Kardinals.
“When we need her at point guard, she can play the point,” Hill said. “When we need her inside, she’s there. She can play anywhere and she’s the most well rounded player we have. She’s very versatile and can step up into any role.”
Junior Noura Farih is the team’s first player off the bench. The 5-foot-8 Farih, the younger sister of the St. Peter’s College walk-on, is a fierce competitor inside the paint.
“She loves to bang around inside,” Hill said. “She’s a smart kid and extremely coachable. She’s also ready to play every single day.”
Another key player off the bench is junior Mandy Jaing, a 5-foot-6 guard.
“She may have the smoothest shooting stroke on the team,” Hill said. “She also has good court vision and can see the floor.”
Other bench players include junior Jaime Carlen, who has six points off the bench against North Arlington, and junior Sylwia Kolodziej.
With a record of 6-2, Hill has to like the way her team has evolved.
“I definitely believe in my team,” Hill said. “With the seniors we have, we definitely can make some noise this year.”

Kearny High freshman Valdez making mark in gymnastics

Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny resident Favian Valdez shows off the hardware that he’s won thus far this season as a highly respected gymnast.


By Jim Hague
It all began as a way to try to curtail the hyperactive tendencies of a 5-year-old.
When Favian Valdez was just entering kindergarten, he could not sit still for any extended period of time.
“He always had so much energy,” said Favian’s father, Fernando. “He was such a hyper kid that we needed to find a way to get him to sleep.”
At the time, the elder Valdez took his toddler son to a playground in the Bronx, where the family lived.
“One gentleman at the playground saw Favian playing and he asked if Favian was doing gymnastics,” Fernando Valdez said. “He told me that he was a natural and he recommended that I should take Favian to do gymnastics.”
Fernando Valdez didn’t know a single thing about gymnastics. He made a career out of being in the U.S. Army, spending 25 years in the military, including a stint in Iraq.
When the gentleman at the playground recommended that young Favian should go to the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan to learn more about gymnastics, Fernando Valdez knew it would be a costly experiment. So Valdez took his son only once a week to start.
Little did Fernando Valdez know that it would be the beginning of a budding career, one that could eventually lead Favian one day to the Olympic Games.
As it turned out, Favian Valdez loved gymnastics, becoming a daily obsession.
“I really liked it a lot,” the younger Valdez said.
“His coaches loved him,” the elder Valdez said. “They could tell he was a hard worker.”
Except there was one obstacle. Favian had a tough time with one event, the pommel horse.
“I was very close to quitting,” Favian Valdez said. “I couldn’t do it.”
Fernando Valdez purchased a special piece of gymnastic equipment, called a “mushroom.”
“Every day, I came home and worked on the mushroom,” Favian Valdez said. “I made sure I worked until I got that skill.”
“He overcame it and gave him a sense of accomplishment,” Fernando Valdez said.’
“It’s still my favorite,” Favian Valdez said.
By the time Favian was seven years old, he was already entering competitions. By the time he was nine, he was competing in a regional competition and recording perfect scores of 10 – yes, on the pommel horse. That same year, Valdez finished third in the country overall.
“After I got that first 10, I worked even harder,” Favian Valdez said. “I knew I was really improving.”
After doing well in the Future Stars regional tournament, Valdez was invited to train for a week at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
By that point, gymnastics became a full-fledged, all consuming activity. He was living in Orlando, Florida at the time, but making his mark as a nationally respected gymnast.
“I would train five or six days a week, maybe five hours a day,” Valdez said.
It paid off. At age 10, Valdez won the national overall gymnastic championship for his age group. He duplicated the feat again at age 12. At age 13, he earned a berth in the United States Junior Nationals, competing against athletes much older and bigger in stature. He was the youngest competitor in the field. Competing with a broken finger, Valdez finished 13th in the nation.
In March, Valdez moved with his family to Kearny. Fernando Valdez is a Jersey City native, so he was familiar with the area. After graduating in June from Lincoln School, Favian Valdez enrolled in Kearny High School, where not many of his fellow students realized that there is a nationally-ranked gymnast in their midst.
“I don’t like to talk about it too much,” the younger Valdez said.
What makes Valdez’ ascent to the national ranks even more impressive is that he’s not the biggest kid in the world. He stands about 5-feet tall and weighs just 73 pounds.
“I’ve always been a little short,” Favian Valdez said. “When people see a small guy like me, they don’t expect much.”
But Valdez is fluent in all aspects of gymnastics _ the rings, the parallel bars, the vault and of course all-around. Now 14 years old, Valdez is taking a step up and competing against older athletes.
Valdez has been competing with the United States Gymnastics Development Center in Mahwah, where he continues his rigorous training schedule, training with approximately 10 other top gymnasts. He works daily with respected Russian coach Genadi Shud.
“I wake up and go to school,” Valdez said. “Then, I come home and try to take a nap. I then go to Mahwah and train every day from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., then have to do my homework. It’s not easy. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices, like going out with my friends and doing other things.”
However, training with the U.S. Gymnastics Development Center has paid off, because Valdez has enjoyed an excellent start to the competition schedule.
On Dec. 3 and 4, Valdez competed in the Greater New York Invitational in Suffern, N.Y. and won his age group, capturing the gold medal in the floor exercise, the pommel horse, the rings, the parallel bars and all-around.
A week later, Valdez competed in the Valeri Liukin Invitational in Frisco, Texas and enjoyed similar success against tougher competition and a deeper field of 36 competitors. Valdez won the pommel horse and all-around titles, while finishing second in the parallel bars and third in the rings, vault and high bars.
For his efforts, Valdez has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.
There’s a slight break in Valdez’s competitive schedule for the holidays. His next challenge will be the Brian Babcock Invitational in Allentown, Pennsylvania Jan. 20.
He will also compete in the New Jersey championships in March, the regional championships at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point in April and then hopefully, the Junior Nationals in Cincinnati in May.
Valdez has an ultimate goal in mind _ the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
“I’ll be 17 at that time and just graduating high school,” Valdez said. “Hopefully, I’ll be ready. But that’s what I’m concentrating on, working on. I want to go to the Olympics and I definitely feel it’s a legitimate goal.”
And it’s one worth watching for the next few years, knowing that a budding Olympic star is right in the same neighborhood. It’s definitely a far cry from the hyperactive kid in the playground nine years ago.

The Healing Helpers

Our friends bring us joy. They guide us, protect and support us through good times and bad. Many would agree that without these special people to celebrate with, our lives would be incomplete. But having given our human friends their due credit, it is important that we also thank our furry and feathered friends who bring us much joy and delight. What I love about animals is that they live in the moment and love us unconditionally. For many of us, our pets are nothing short of earth angels. In fact, “pet therapy” is an alternate form of healing now widely accepted as one of the most unusual but effective techniques in the healing of emotional and mental behavior.  Companion animals are being introduced into therapeutic programs at hospitals, rehabilitation and behavioral-health centers. In some cases these loving beings help in the coordination of the physically challenged and also help those with special needs.

Pets have a brilliant knack of making space for themselves in your heart and your home. They get you to fall in love with them as much as they love you and soon become a part of your family. The benefits are plenty, but it comes with a big responsibility too. It is our duty to look after our friends and not abuse or mistreat them in any way. Let’s begin the New Year with compassion. I urge you to do something special for these loving souls. Be kind to them. Let us understand that we have the power to bring about a change in the society. A small step at our end may see a change in attitudes of the people around us. We can set an example in our own little ways. I suggest we take a stand against cruelty. If there is one thing these loyal lives deserve, it’s our protection!

Let’s spread the message of love. Let’s extend our care and appreciation to all beings, big and small. Let’s make a change!


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

Brand new year, same criminal mentality

By Anthony Machcinski

The New Year started bright and early for Kearny Police this year. Officers Melinda Esposito and Cesar Negron responded to the corner of Halstead and Maple Sts. in response to an attempted robbery.
When the pair arrived on the scene, they encountered two would-be robbers who had attempted to take an off-duty Newark Police officer’s wallet. Instead of producing his wallet, the cop grabbed his service pistol and held the surprised men at gunpoint until Kearny officers arrived. Lusi Duran and Bruce Cabides, both 19 and both of Kearny, were charged with robbery and sent to the county jail.
Listed below are other incidents from the Kearny Police Blotter.
On the morning of Dec. 30 at around 1:45 a.m., Det. Michael Gonzalez was at the corner of Elm St. and Quincy Ave. when he saw a car traveling at a high rate of speed heading westbound on Quincy Ave. After Gonzalez ordered the driver to pull over, the two men inside said they’d just been robbed and were fleeing the scene. One of the victims had facial injuries consistent with being on the wrong side of a fight and was able to provide the name of one of the possible muggers. With that information, police sent additional units were sent to the Hickory St. location of one of the potential suspects. After police brought one of the victims past the Hickory St. location, the victim was able to positively identify the two suspects who had robbed him earlier. Kearny Police then put under arrest 19-year-old Kearny resident Victor Calderon and 18-year-old Orlando, Fla. resident Joseph Betancourt were charged with robbery. Bail was set at $75,000.
In the third robbery in three days, officers responded to a woman who was accosted on Woodland Ave. near John St. The 50-year-old victim fought off a would-be robber before the suspect fled down John St.
After giving police a description, Officers Rich Pawlowski and Ben Wuelfing observed a male in the area of Johnson Ave. who matched the description. Before questioning even began, the suspect, a Kearny resident, claimed that he “didn’t do anything wrong.”
Police did a weapons search and found a replica handgun in the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt.
The victim positively identified the 14-year-old suspect. He was charged with attempted robbery.
In what could be an audition for the television show “Cops”, Officer Mike Andrews was patrolling Harrison Ave. on Jan. 2 near Rt. 280 conducting random registration checks via his onboard computer. After observing a vehicle exit Rt. 280 to travel eastbound on Harrison Ave., he realized the car was stolen from North Arlington.
The car picked up speed, blew through a red light, and began to drive recklessly, passing cars on the right and moving into oncoming traffic heading east. As the chase got closer to the Kearny/Jersey City border, the individual lost control of the vehicle and slid into a pole. This led to a foot chase where Andrews took the suspect down, much like they do on TV. He was subsequently taken into custody.
The suspect, 45-year-old Robert Pagan from Newark, had a lengthy history of auto theft. In the vehicle, police found a crack pipe, latex gloves, and some implements known to be used for vehicle burglaries. Pagan was charged with possession of stolen property, eluding a police officer, resisting arrest, possession of burglary tools, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while license is revoked, reckless driving, and outstanding parole warrant.
In what could be one of the weirder incidents of the week, Officers Tom Pontrella and Tom Sumowski responded to the corner of Boyd and Devon Sts. at about 1 a.m. on Jan. 3 after an observer said an individual was inside a parked car. The officers responded and detained the suspect. After admitting that the car wasn’t his, the officers asked him what he was doing inside of it. The man replied, “Seeing what I can find” in what Kearny Police Chief John Dowie later described as a “nonchalant manner.” After finding the insurance card on his person, confirming he wasn’t the owner of the car, police charged him with burglary and theft. The suspect is 21-year-old Kearny resident Daniel Almeida. There were a series of similar break-ins in the area preceding Almeida’s arrest. Det. Ray Lopez is following up.
Officer Andrews would make yet another appearance in a car chase last week as he was patrolling the Shop Rite parking lot randomly checking registrations. One such inquiry showed that the owner of the vehicle had a suspended driver’s license as well as an obstructed rear license plate. When he asked the driver for his license and registration, the driver feigned compliance, looked at his passengers, and then tore off while Officer Andrews was standing at the side of the vehicle.  Andrews detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle before it bolted. The car fled the parking lot through the southernmost exit and continued south on Passaic Ave.
After notifying headquarters, Andrews pursued the car until it crossed the Clay St. Bridge and went onto Route 21. Noting the time of day, Andrews terminated the pursuit. Kearny Police notified their Newark colleagues.
After investigating, Andrews was able to obtain an arrest photo that matched the description of the driver. Four officers, Andrews, Paul Bershefski, Steve Horoncich, and Dave Rakowski, responded to an area in East Orange where the vehicle was registered and found the vehicle in question parked on the street near the location. Upon entering the residence, the suspect was found in a rear bedroom and placed under arrest for his actions earlier that day, and for an outstanding bail warrant from a June 2011 incident. Bail was set at $35,200 and 21-year-old Bilal Rodgers, who is listed as an East Orange resident, was charged with driving while license is revoked, driving while unlicensed, reckless driving, disregarding a traffic signal, and eluding a police officer.

Millionaires, billionaires beware


The rhetoric coming from Washington these days about “millionaires and billionaires” is not just rhetoric.  How do I know this?  As the baseball sage Casey Stengel said, “You could look it up!”
The IRS 2010 Data Book, released in March, provides a lot of interesting information.  For the year beginning Oct. 1, 2009 and ending Sept. 30, 2010, the IRS processed 230 million tax returns.  They provided $467 billion in refunds and collected $2.3 trillion for the federal government.  They assisted more than 78 million taxpayers through telephone help lines or at walk-in sites.
The publication also mentions, “The IRS pursued its international agenda to ensure that taxpayers cannot walk away from their responsibilities by hiding money in offshore accounts.  Over the past few years, our voluntary disclosure program and enforcement efforts have brought thousands of taxpayers back into the system, and those numbers are growing.”
Curiously, there are also some interesting statistics in the report that are not specifically mentioned.  For instance, in 2009 the odds of being audited were 1 in 100 according to a Bloomberg report.  In 2010, the overall rate moved up to 1.11%.  Up 11%: not such a big deal.  However, the number of “millionaire and billionaire” (those with incomes above $10 million) audits moved up to 18.4% in 2010 from 10.6% in 2009, which is almost double.
As IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said at a meeting of the New York State Bar Association Taxation Section, “We’re looking for and finding points of leverage – what some call ‘nodes’ of activity – where multiple people not paying taxes can be detected.  Financial institutions are one such potential node of activity. Promoters of evasion schemes are another.”
The IRS has started an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, providing information in eight different languages to reach taxpayers and preparers who are non-native English speakers.  By coming forward about undisclosed offshore accounts, they stand a chance of avoiding criminal prosecution.
Fair enough.
So, with the increased scrutiny through audits from the IRS, how do you protect yourself from being one of the unlucky?  Well, most audits are not purely attributable to bad luck.  There are things you can do to help decrease your odds of being selected.  One is to document all expenses related to your business.  Another is to report every nickel of income.  Claim sensible, not outlandish, deductions.  Avoid portraying a hobby as a business venture.  Sign your return, and work with a really good tax preparer.
Clever boxers learn how to knock out their opponents.  One strategy is to throw incessant jabs at their foe for several rounds and lull them into a false security that your only weapon is a jab (I used this against Jimmy Young in Madison Square Garden).  This provides the element of surprise when you follow a jab with a right cross and a left hook.  Similarly, the IRS is not the only government agency going after “millionaires, billionaires and business owners.”  The Department of Labor (DOL) has promised to update the retirement plan landscape.  Three major rule changes are scheduled for the near future.
1.  Covered Service Providers (CSP) must fully describe their services and fees.  This rule was supposed to take effect in July, but the date has been pushed back to January 1, 2012.  It requires CSPs (financial advisors, financial consultants or third-party administrators who expect to receive $1,000 or more in direct or indirect compensation for their services) to detail their compensation and/or fee structure to fiduciaries.  CSPs also include financial advisors or Third Party Administrators who act as fiduciaries or Registered Investment Advisors for plan sponsors.  If applicable, the CSP must detail any fees that may be charged for recordkeeping along with recordkeeping methods.
2. Fiduciaries must detail plan and fee information for plan participants (employees).  If such information isn’t provided to plan participants after Nov. 1, 2011, then a plan participant or beneficiary may claim a violation of fiduciary duty on the part of the plan sponsor (that’s you, if you’re a business owner).
The new regulations require fiduciaries to disclose (and update) the following:  Rules related to the dissemination of investment instructions for the plan; plan fees and expenses paid from participant accounts (along with a breakdown of these fees, i.e. investment management fees, administration fees, cost of advice fees); and any other specific fees or charges that may be drawn from a plan participant’s account.
3. The DOL wants to expand the definition of an ERISA fiduciary.  Under this planned rule change, anyone who advises a retirement plan would be considered one.  A group of nearly 30 Congressional Democrats have protested this expanded definition in a letter to Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, contending that it would backfire and eventually reduce access to investment education and information for plan participants.  The concern is that the definition of “fiduciary” will become so vague that even the most basic education and advice could fall under ERISA status.
As Ronald Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

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 securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial.  Member FINRA/SIPC.  He can be reached at 12 Route 17N, Suite 115, Paramus, 201-291-9000.

Nutley PB: Drug dealers beware

On Dec. 30 at 8:21 p.m. a Nutley Police detective observed a suspicious man standing in the shadows of a guard shack in Municipal Lot 1. The detective then observed a taxicab enter the lot and take on passengers. He questioned the man and the passengers and determined the rear seat passenger, 21-year-old Jorge Jimenez of Newark, was there to sell drugs The Newark man was found to be in possession of crack cocaine and heroin. A 16-year-old female friend, also from Newark, was found in possession of marijuana and released to a parent. Jiminez was charged with possession of CDS, possession with intent to distribute, and possession within 1000-feet of a school. He was issued summonses and a court date for the offense and released on his own recognizance.

Police Director Alphonse Petracco said if anyone thinks they can come into Nutley and sell or use drugs they are sadly mistaken. He has directed township police to enforce any and all drug violations encountered in an extra effort to make sure that these offenders realize this will not be tolerated.

In other Nutley Police happenings:

Jan. 6

1:46 a.m. – A traffic stop on Franklin Ave. and Chase St. found that the driver was operating an unregistered vehicle without insurance. The vehicle was impounded and the driver issued summonses.

3:43 a.m. – An officer observed an occupied vehicle parked in the lot of a closed convenience store on Washington Ave. When the occupants saw the officer they left the area and traveled towards Passaic Ave. As they drove off, they committed traffic violations. The officer initiated a stop which found the driver, 23-year-old Julian Cruz of Montclair with a suspended driver’s license and warrants out of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office for a civil contempt charge. Cruz was placed under arrest while officers checked out the passengers. It was discovered that 23-year-old Marc Banks of North Carolina had warrants out of Montclair and Paterson totaling over $1,000. Both men were transported to headquarters and the vehicle impounded.

7:54 a.m. – Newark Police recovered an Audi that was stolen from Nutley and used in a Jersey City robbery two weeks ago. The Newark officers are holding the vehicle for Jersey City Police to complete an inspection for trace evidence. Nutley removed the vehicle from the stolen vehicle database.

Jan. 5

5:55 a.m. – A caller reported a man on Hetherington Lane attempting to gain entry into several parked vehicles. The witness reported that the white male, approximately 5’11” tall, was wearing dark colored clothing and tried several door handles on parked vehicles before gaining entry into one. It was confirmed by the owner of the vehicle that the man was indeed an intruder. The witness reported that the suspect fled the area in a small grey or silver vehicle.

8:28 a.m. – A High St. resident reported their vehicle damaged and burglarized over the evening hours. The caller reported that their Audi, which had been parked on Renner Ave., had its window broken and several items taken, including temporary registration plates. Police are investigating.

10:43 p.m. – Police responded to an armed robbery on Spur Pl. when a man reported that a black male had entered his vehicle and robbed him of his money and cell phone at knife point. Police and detectives arrived on scene and initiated an investigation into what occurred and the identity of the fleeing suspect. Essex County

Sheriffs Officers arrived on scene with a K-9 unit to search for the suspect. When the victim saw the initiative that was set forth by the Department in response to his claim, he admitted that he was in the process of purchasing narcotics from the man identified as 21-year-old Raymond Cooley of Nutley.  Police detectives responded to a River Rd. location and placed Cooley under arrest when he answered the door with a knife in his hand. Cooley was charged with possession of a weapon, terroristic threats, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and robbery. He was placed in jail with bail pending.

Police Director Alphonse Petracco remarked that nothing good comes from a situation in which people are involved in narcotic transactions, whether they are buying, selling or using. Chief John Holland said that although the victim was engaging in illegal activity and initially misled Police, he was unsure if he will be charged at this time.

Jan. 3
1:58 p.m. – A Manchester Ave. residence burglar alarm sounded five times in a matter of several hours causing police to respond on each occasion. The homeowner was issued a summons for false alarms.

9:38 p.m. – An Edison Ave. resident, who peered out of her window when she heard dogs bark, observed a black male looking back at her. She claims the man fled southbound on Edison Ave. Police were unable to locate the man.

Jan. 2
1:02 p.m. – Police and fire departments responded to a home on Friedland Ave. after the homeowner reported smelling smoke. The owner also reported that one of his three dogs was lost as a result of the fire.

1:51 p.m. – Police were flagged down on Vincent Pl. when a young woman reported that her brother had injured himself while playing in Yantacaw Park. The 16-year-old boy was bleeding from his head and transported to an area hospital.

10:45 p.m. – A Wayside Lane. resident reported to police that there were several fraudulent attempts made on his ATM card including almost $400 withdrawn from a bank in Glen Ridge. Police are investigating.

11:46 p.m. – Mr. James Cox, 55, of Nutley turned himself into Police Headquarters on outstanding warrants out of Clifton. He was transported to Clifton and turned over to their custody.

Jan. 1
12:42 a.m. – Police responded to a Washington Ave. bus terminal when a commuter became unruly. Police advised the commuter to leave and advised the parties on how to proceed with charges.

1:27 p.m. – An officer observed a white vehicle fleeing south on Rt. 21 that was allegedly wanted in connection with a Clifton armed robbery. The officer pursued the suspect vehicle as far as Exit 4 in Newark where it escaped from his sight.  As the officer was heading back to town he spotted the vehicle and pursued him.

Unfortunately, the suspect once again eluded capture. The vehicle had Pennsylvania license plates and blue headlights.

3:12 p.m. – A Mountainview Ave. resident reported that several Arborvitae trees had been cut in the rear of his property. Police spoke to the adjoining neighbor who stated they had no knowledge of the trees being cut. The trees are valued at close to $2000.

Dec. 31
12:31 a.m. – A disturbance call by a Centre St. pub resulted in the arrest of Karl Francis, 21, of Nutley. Police attempted to break up a fight between Francis and another man but Francis continued despite police warnings. He was subsequently arrested and charged with a disorderly person offense and later released with a summons issued.

12:36 a.m. – A Centre St. resident reported chairs had been thrown about their driveway.

10:07 p.m. – A Franklin Ave. resident reported fraudulent charges on her credit card totaling over $600. Police are investigating.

12:58 p.m. – Police responded to a local business after a customer wearing a ski mask handed the cashier a suspicious note. The customer paid for products then left the store without making any threats or demands. The Detective Bureau is investigating the note’s contents.

Dec. 30
8:00 a.m. – A Nutley car dealership reported a 1989 Oldsmobile stolen from their establishment. Police entered the vehicle in the Stolen Vehicle Database.

10:23 p.m. – A Rhoda Ave. resident reported suspicious activity after his doorbell rang and he witnessed a vehicle fleeing his residence. He reported that this has happened before in addition to his home being egged.

Dec. 29
A Hawthorne Ave resident, who reported his Mercedes Benz stolen last week, received some personal belongings in the mail. The man reported that a driver’s license and other personal documents had been mailed back to him. Police are still searching for the vehicle.

2:00 p.m. – A Park Ave. man reported his 23-year-old girlfriend as missing. An investigation led by the Detective Bureau found the woman unharmed with friends in New York City a day later.


Susan  Bianchi
Susan  Bianchi died on Jan. 2 in University Hospital in Newark. She was 55. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she lived in Kearny before moving to Belleville 20 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 private cremation.
Susan was employed by the Star Ledger Newspaper and owned and operated two delivery circulation routes in Belleville and North Arlington.
She is survived by her husband Chris Bianchi; her children Brett Bianchi, Mandy Still and Kevin Strode; sister of Becky Elder, Mary Cunningham and David, Danny and Cindy Wood; also surviving is a granddaughter, Avery. Susan was predeceased by her daughter Shannon Strode.  To leave online condolence please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Jack Fitzhenry
Jack Fitzhenry died on Jan. 4 in Clara Maass Hospital. He was 74. Born in Jersey City, he lived in Bayonne before moving to North Arlington 48 years ago.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington.
A proud graduate of St. Peters Prep, Jack was a retired toll collector and also owned the Cedar Bar in North Arlington. He was a member of the Queen of Peace Council Knights of Columbus #3428 and was a Eucharistic Minister at Queen of Peace Church. He was a CYO volunteer and football coach. He also coached football for Boystown in Kearny. Jack loved his Irish heritage and was a member of The Ironbound Irish American Club.
He is survived by his wife Maureen (nee Meehan), his children and their spouses Brian and Donna Fitzhenry, Jeff and Kelly Fitzhenry and Beth Anne and Greg Fylak; brother of Lawrence and Kevin Fitzhenry and the late Mary Elizabeth Parks; also surviving are his grandchildren Brian, Thomas, Erin, Mallory, Mary Katherine, Sarah, Nicholas and Amanda.
In lieu of flowers kindly make a donation to St. Peter’s Prep or Queen of Peace Church c/o the funeral home.

Lena Gregory
Lena Gregory, 88, passed away peacefully with her niece Karen Davies by her side on Saturday Dec. 31.
Born in Harrison, she was a lifelong resident. She worked for ITT Electronic Systems, Clifton.
He was a member of the Harrison Senior Citizens, the Harrison Cancer League, and was the Harrison Senior of the Year in 2008.
She was the loving daughter of the late Jack and Louise (nee Trangone), dear sister to the late Ms. Dora (Ture) Tulimiero, Mary Nicosia, Ida, Nickolas, and Charles, and Jack Gregory.
Lena is survived by many loving nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews whom she cherished.
Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church, Harrison, followed by interment in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Orange.
For directions, information or to send condolences please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Harrison Cancer League, and send to the funeral home in memory of Lena.

Doris L. Murphy

Doris L. Murphy (nee Shafer) died on Dec. 31 in The St. Joseph’s Hospice in Wayne. She was 87. Born in Jersey City, she lived many years in Kearny before moving to North Arlington 22 years ago.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The funeral service was held in the funeral home, followed by private cremation and burial.
Doris was a retired secretary from Chemplast in Wayne. She was very active with the Grace United Methodist Church in Kearny.
Wife of the late Dennis, she is survived by her sons Dennis T. and John L. Murphy; her sister Lois Blasco; her grandchildren Jennifer, Shannon, Melissa and Daniel; also surviving is one great-grandchild Zoe. In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to Grace United Methodist Church or your own favorite charity. To leave online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Iain Junner
Iain Junner died Jan. 5 in University Hospital in Newark. He was 58.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he lived in Kearny before moving to North Arlington 30 years ago.
Arrangements were by Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service will be held at the funeral home, followed by a private cremation. To leave online condolence please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Mr. Junner was a head custodian for the North Arlington Board of Education.
He was the son of John Junner and the late Mary (nee McFarlane); he is survived by his wife Debbie (nee Costa); his daughters Jessica (Jason) Klein and Melissa Junner; brother of Anne Craggan and Janette Junner; he is also survived by his grandchildren Anthony, Angelo and Jason along with loving nephews and  niece.
In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to the American Cancer Society.

Robert “Bob” Doran
Robert “Bob” Doran, 76, of Harrison, formerly of Newark, passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, Jan. 5.
Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral, Newark, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For directions, information or to send condolences, please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org.
Bob is survived by his devoted sons John W. and his wife Vilma, James P. and Eddy Carnevale, William M. and Denise, Kenneth J. and Peter Chattergoon; his dear stepchildren John, Janice, Dave and Bobby; his cherished grandchildren Melissa, Jonathan, Stephanie, John M., Love Elizabeth, William C. and Nicholas C.; he is survived by many step grandchildren and great-grandchildren, his loving sister Bernice Markowski, her daughter Kimberly Woods and many beloved nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by: Sandra Ann (nee Kennedy), Dolores Bielaszewski and Robert, Jr.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Harrison Education Foundation in care of the funeral home in memory of Bob.

Edward J. Solinski
Edward J. Solinski died on Jan. 7 at the Cusak Care Center in Jersey City. He was 91. Born in Newark, he lived the past 40 years in Kearny.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive,  Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in St. Stephen’s Church, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Mausoleum. To leave online condolence please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Mr. Solinski served in the Army during WWII and is a retired machinist from Stanley Tools in Newark.
Husband of the late Elizabeth (nee Pignatora), he is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Judith and Robert Ryan; his grandchildren and their spouses Robert and Ann Ryan, Stacy and Nicholas Prato and Edward and Erin Ryan; also surviving are his great-grandchildren Angelo, Anthony, Michael, Nicholas,  Emma and Ella. He is also survived by many loving relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to Compassionate Care Hospice c/o the funeral home.

John J. McKenzie
John J. McKenzie “Jack” died peacefully on Jan. 7 at the Community Hospital in Toms River. He was surrounded by his loving family.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, followed by interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover.   To leave online condolence please visit www.armitagewiggins.com
Jack served in the Navy from 1946-48 and graduated from Seton Hall University. He is a retired accountant last working for Buchanan Products in Hackettstown. Jack’s gentle, classy manor and and unique sense of humor will be missed but always cherished by his beloved family.
He is survived by his devoted wife Joan (nee Hinchcliffe); his loving daughters Maryann Haberthur, Michelle Mackenzie, Maureen (Northern) Agens and Laurie Horn; brother of George McKenzie and the late Margaret Stoney; he is also survived by 13 grand and four great-grandchildren. He was sadly predeceased by his daughter Margie McKenzie.
In lieu of flowers kindly make a donation to Van Dyke Hospice c/o the funeral home.

Anthony Simone
Anthony Simone, 87, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison.  A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at Holy Cross Church, Harrison, followed by interment to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For directions, information or to send condolences please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org.
Mr. Simone was a lifelong resident of Harrison and, upon retirement, worked at Holy Cross Church for many years.
He loved his daily walks around Harrison and was known throughout the community.
“Uncle Tony,” now reunited with his parents and siblings, will be fondly remembered by his nieces and nephews including Jeanne Kappel, Harry Bataille (wife Janice), Anton Burwan (wife Kim), Karen Davis (husband Stewart) and William Virgo and great nieces and nephews Christi Kappel, Kevin, Brian (wife Lisa) and David Bataille, Gabe and Charlie Burwan.
He was predeceased by his parents, Rachel and Anthony Simone, his siblings Rose Duda, Anna Bataille, Carmen Simone, Jean Smith, Patrick Simone and Mary Simone.
In lieu of flowers, donation can be made to Hudson County Animal League or a charity of your choice in care of the funeral home in memory of Anthony.