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George W. Mathers

George W. Mathers of Kearny died on Aug. 4 at his home. He was 91.

A funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 9:30 a.m. in St. Stephens Church, Kearny, followed by interment in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover. To leave an online condolence .please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

George served in The Army during World War II. He was a member of the Benstead Center Seniors and was an accomplished musician. He was past president and a member of the Essex County Musicians Union. He was a retired Relay Technician from Westinghouse.

Husband of the late Florence (Sroka), he was the father of Alice M. Zeller, Linda Santiago, George Mather and the late Marilyn Mather; brother of the late Harry A. Mather and Helen Aumack. He is also survived by six grand and five great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his granddaughter Claire “bear.”

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to The D.A.V.

Laura McKay

Laura McKay (Everetts) 57, died on Saturday, July 28, at her home in Seaside Park.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, followed by a private cremation. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com

Laura was born in Newark. She lived in Kearny for 35 years before moving to Seaside Park eight months ago.

She is survived by her husband Francis; daughters Nicole McKay and Ashley McKay; her siblings Dean Everetts, Karen D’Alessandro, Veronica Zeichner; grandchildren Tyler McKay and Gia DeAquino. Laura also leaves behind her parents Gene and Theresa (Hughes) D’Alessandro.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the ASPCA at www.aspca.org.

Carmen Ruiz

Carmen Ruiz of Springfield died at Overlook Hospital in Summit on Wednesday, Aug. 1. She was 50. Born in Medellin, Colombia, she came to the U.S. when she was 7, was raised in Sunnyside, Queens, N.Y., and lived in Springfield for the past 20 years.

Carmen is survived by her husband Paul Polukord; children, Justin and Ashley of Springfield; mother Celina Ruiz of Queens, N.Y.; sister, Beatriz Ruiz of Queens, NY, and brother, Carlos Ruiz of Pendergrass, Ga. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, friends and her loving pets.

Carmen was a passionate, loving mother and loving friend of many. Graduate of Baruch College in N.Y., she was a financial analyst for GlaxoSmithKlein in Parsippany for 24 years. She also volunteered her time at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside and at the St. Claire’s Home for Children in Newark.

A funeral Mass was held on Aug. 6, at St. James Church, Springfield. Arrangements were by Bradley, Smith & Smith Funeral Home, 415 Morris Ave., Springfield. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation, 150 New Providence Road, Mountainside, N.J. 07092. To send condolences or for further information, go to www.bradleyfuneralhomes.com

Estelle Rydberg

Estelle Hope Rydberg (Schaaf), 94, passed on Monday, July 30, in the Andover Subacute and Rehab Center in Andover.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, followed by interment in Arlington Cemetery, Kearny. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com

Estelle was born in Kearny and resided there until moving to Newton in 2008. She was a member of the Home League of the Salvation Army in Kearny.

She is survived by her nieces, grand-nieces and grand-nephews and was predeceased by her parents Herbert and Mable (LeVan) Schaaf and later by her husband Albert in 1990.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Salvation Army of Greater Kearny, 443 Chestnut St., Kearny, NJ 07032 or to Domestic Abused and Sexual Assault Intervention Services, P.O. Box 805 Newton, N.J. 07860.

Bernadette Tietjen

Bernadette Tietjen died on Aug. 4 at Clara Maass Medical Center. She was 62. Born in Newark, she lived in Harrison before moving to Kearny 20 years ago.

A funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 10:30 a.m. in St. Stephens Church, Kearny, followed by interment in Hillside Cemetery, Lyndhurst. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

Bernadette is survived by her mother Helen Wieczenski; her children Heather Crist and Jason (and Sheetal) Davitt; her brothers and sister Michael and Tommy Wieczenski and Andrea Kustosz. Also surviving are her grandchildren Alexis, Madison, Jonathan, Aanya and Saheli. Bernadette’s husband Dave Tietjen died only eight months ago.

Back-seat occupant foils would-be car theft, Kearny cops say

A man tried to steal a vehicle left by the driver with the motor running but apparently didn’t realize that someone else was in the car at the time, police said.

Police said the episode unfolded in the early morning hours of Aug. 2 as a Harrison female was driving around town delivering newspapers.

At around 3:15 a.m., police said the young woman double-parked her vehicle along a section of Hamilton Ave. and exited, carrying some newspapers, while leaving the ignition on.

Meanwhile, police said, another vehicle pulled up nearby with two men inside. One of the men got out and jumped into the front of the double-parked car, apparently intending to steal the car, according to police.

But sitting in the rear seat was the young woman’s father, who was occupied folding bunches of newspapers, police said. As soon as he saw the stranger at the wheel, police said the father reached over the seat and began struggling with the intruder.

As this was happening, police said Officer Christian Medina, who was patrolling the area, spotted the two vehicles while looking north up Hamilton and began approaching the location.

By that time, police said the intruder had apparently given up trying to take the vehicle and fled to the waiting car which then sped away.

However, police said Medina was able to get a partial description of the vehicle as white or light-color, possibly a Honda, with New Jersey registration and broadcast an alert to police in surrounding communities.

Police said that detectives are working with the state Div. of Motor Vehicles to try and match up the plate letters and numbers to the vehicle’s make and model to get a trace on the vehicle and possibly its occupants, described as two young black males.

Police Chief John Dowie said that the town has periodically been hit by waves of motor vehicle burglaries and thefts.

“We, like other towns in the area, got hammered last year,” he said, noting that GPS units, in particular, and other electronics devices, are targeted by thieves. He cautioned the driving public to avoid leaving valuables in open view inside their vehicles and to always lock their cars.

Here’s a sample of other incidents logged by police during the past week:

Aug. 2

At 5:30 p.m., following up on a tip from an out-of-town investigative unit, members of the P.D.’s Vice Squad converged at Midland and Kearny Aves. to confront an individual, who had reportedly been involved in a recent drug transaction in Newark, and who had just returned to Kearny, to quiz him about that activity. In response, police said, William Hancock, 60, of Kearny, turned over three glassine envelopes containing suspected heroin labeled “Miami Heat” and “OKC.” Hancock was charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia.

At 3 p.m. vice detectives confronted Scott McCurley, 31, of Kearny, in the 600 block of Belgrove Drive about recent suspected narcotics activity and, in searching him, found 35 glassine bags labeled “Best Buy,” 10 bags with the brand name “Show Me the Money,” and three bags with the label “Guerilla,” all containing heroin; and one glass vial containing a substance believed to be cocaine. He was charged with possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Aug. 1

After watching a hand-to-hand exchange between a driver and a female passerby in a parking lot at Duke St. and Kearny Ave. at 9 p.m., police approached and confronted both individuals. Police said the driver, Luis Matos, 21, of Kearny, had a $20 bill and, a large plastic bag wedged between his legs. Inside that bag, police said, were several smaller bags containing suspected marijuana. Police said Matos handed over two additional bags, also believed to contain marijuana. He was charged with possession of drugs with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and within 500 feet of a park. Police said Matos’ apparent customer, Caitlin Gil, 20, of Bloomfield, had two bags of suspected marijuana and she was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

July 31

Carlos Guzman, 28, of Kearny, was arrested at Duke St. and Kearny Ave. at 5:30 p.m. after police said he was confronted by vice detectives and turned over a Ziploc bag with suspected marijuana and two cigars typically used to package marijuana. He was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

At 4:30 a.m. police arrested a 17-year-old Kearny male who was found sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2001 Chevrolet double-parked at Devon and Hoyt Sts. and who was found to have a strong odor of alcohol and slurred speech. Police said the teen admitted to having consumed “a few beers” earlier. Police noted that a nearby parked car had been sideswiped. The teen was arrested on charges of DWI, underage DWI and careless driving.

July 30

At 11 p.m. Jamal Shelly, 29, of Kearny, was stopped in his vehicle at Forest and King Sts. and charged with driving while suspended.

Freddy Thomas, 27, of Kearny, was busted by vice detectives at 4:10 p.m. at Devon and Duke Sts. after a search uncovered a black bag containing 59.5 grams of suspected marijuana. Police said Thomas was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Newark and was charged with possession of in excess of 50 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and within 500 feet of a park. He was taken to Hudson County Jail, Kearny, on $10,000 bail with a 10% cash option.

July 27

Police stopped Steve Nash, 49, of Kearny, at 10:30 a.m. at Kearny and Linden Aves. on a charge of driving while suspended and placed him under arrest for an outstanding warrant for $4,000 from Brick Township. He was released after posting $1,000 bail, police said.

– Ron Leir


Schuyler Ave. crash triggers downed wires, road closure

Photo by Ron Leir

A Kearny man was hurt shortly after 2 p.m. this past Friday when his car crashed into a utility pole at Schuyler Ave. and Carrie Road in North Arlington, causing the pole to sag and phone and cable wires to hang across the road, prompting police to block north and southbound traffi c on Schuyler, between the Belleville Pike and Noel Drive. Police said the mishap occurred when Raul Wong, 76, fell asleep at the wheel. Wong was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center for treatment of injuries. Public Service and cable personnel responded and the road was reopened about six hours after the crash, police said.

– Ron Leir

Kearny mom left baby in car to shop, police say



Were it not for the active intervention of a good Samaritan, the life of a baby left in a broiling car might not have been spared, according to authorities.

Lyndhurst Police are crediting resident Karen Wagner and Volunteer Dep. Fire Chief Daniel Rente for their actions in helping save a 17-month-old child in an incident that played out on the afternoon of July 21 in the parking lot of the mall next to the Municipal Building off Valley Brook Ave.

It was shortly after 1 p.m. when Wagner recalled she’s just come out of the Mandee shop in the mall and was walking toward T.J. Maxx when “a Spanish woman came up to me and said, ‘Baby in car. Alone.’ ” “I asked her to show me, we walked to the car (a 2002 Hyundai Sonata parked in front of T.J. Maxx),” Wagner said. There Wagner saw little Gabriel Deleao in a car seat in the passenger side of the back seat. All windows were closed. “The baby moved its head but its eyes were shut. I turned around and now, the woman was gone.”

Acting on instinct, Wagner ran into T.J. Maxx and asked a cashier to alert the manager to the situation. At the same time, she called police, describing the car where the baby was, and ran back outside, where a township fi re vehicle happened to be passing with Dan Rente inside.

Wagner, whose husband and son are volunteer Lyndhurst firefighters, yelled to Rente, “I need you right now!”, and led him to the Hyundai. “I back off and he starts flipping (door) handles until finally, he gets one open, goes inside and checks out the baby.”

Photo by Ron Leir/ Good Samaritan Karen Wagner.


Rente “gets on the radio and says, ‘Baby unresponsive,’ ’’ Wagner recalled. Hearing that, Wagner – the mother of three children – put her hand on the baby’s chest. “His heart was racing and he was soaking wet in sweat, beyond drenched. Inside the car, it was hot, like opening an oven door. Because the car was in full sun.”

Noticing a water bottle on the front seat, Wagner – with Rente’s consent – grabbed it and gently rubbed water on the baby’s head. She said she could see the baby’s eyes open briefly before a township ambulance crew rushed the baby to Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville.

Meanwhile, police, after recovering the car’s registration form in the car – registered to the baby’s father – began going store to store asking managers to seek out that individual. Inside the T.J. Maxx, Tatiana Deleao, the baby’s mom, heard her husband’s name announced over the store’s P.A. system and responded.

Police said Deleao told them she’d been shopping for about a half hour. Deleao, 31, of Kearny, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a second-degree crime, and was released on bail.

If found guilty, she could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, according to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. The state Division of Youth & Family Services is investigating the incident, police said.

As of last week, police said that the baby was back home and appeared to be healthy.

– Ron Leir

Trying to untangle tie-ups

Photo courtesy Lyndhurst Mayor’s Office/ Mayor Robert Giangeruso at the intersection of Kingsland and Riverside Aves. near DeJessa Bridge.



By Ron Leir


Question: How many times does a traffic light need to change from red to green before a motorist can cross the DeJessa Bridge linking Lyndhurst and Nutley?

Answer: Just how patient can you be before you explode?

Lyndhurst Mayor/Public Safety Director Robert Giangeruso understands the frustration drivers go through every day when they approach the dreaded intersection of Kingsland and Riverside Aves.

As evidence of that concern, Giangeruso pointed to his posting – “for the fi rst time in recent memory” – of traffi c cops at that often-nightmare intersection where the new Rt. 3 bridge project to the north and the closing of the Clay St. Bridge to the south have contributed to congestion.

Another development that, according to Giangeruso, has complicated matters is the timing of the new traffic signal installed by the state Department of Transportation on the northbound side of Rt. 21 across the Passaic River. Just when motorists have managed to clear the light at the Kingsland Ave. intersection, they have to stop before exiting the bridge.

“The combination of projects and the associated traffic rerouting have caused excessive delays at the intersection,” the mayor said.

Police have been enforcing traffic laws – such as “don’t block the box,” the prohibition of left turns off Riverside into the Exxon gas station and prohibition of right turns off Kingsland when the light is red.

Members of the Lyndhurst Police Dept. and Bergen County Police have teamed to handle a traffic detail at the bridge during the evening rush hours, from 4 to 7 p.m., in an effort to expedite vehicular flow.

Lyndhurst has also installed traffic signs and “delineator” posts to help guide vehicles along as best they can, given the forces working against them, Giangeruso said.

With daily traffic flow on Riverside Ave. estimated at 20,000 vehicles and 40,000 vehicles on the bridge, Giangeruso said he’s been pushing for the design and construction of an improved intersection but it has taken Lyndhurst many months to acquire easements from the owners of seven properties bordering the intersection.

As reported by the Meadowlands Mirror website – and echoed by the mayor – plans call for the dedicated turning lanes and adjusting the timing intervals of traffic signals on and off the bridge.

Now that the easements have been nailed down, PSE&G can start the job of relocating utilities and once that work is done, it’s up to Bergen County to handle improvements on its end, Giangeruso said. At that point, the bridge can become a truly “welcoming gateway to our town,” the mayor added.

And, down the road, the mayor said he’s hopeful of making a case for the state to take down the existing span and put up a new multi-lane bridge “that will better serve the residents of Lyndhurst and Southern Bergen.”

In another ongoing traffic situation, Giangeruso said his department has been managing and monitoring the periodic closing of Orient Way to allow for construction of new utilities and access of construction vehicles for the new residential project, Meadows Crossing, being built by Russo Development Co., of Carlstadt, on the site of the former concrete reclamation yard.

One-stop health care prescribed for residents

Photo by Ron Leir/ Health Dept. offices will be reconfigured to accommodate proposed new primary care facility.


By Ron Leir


With or without Obamacare – the outcome in New Jersey depends on whether Gov. Chris Christie and the Legislature treat the President’s prescription for reform – the Town of Harrison is looking to improve health care opportunities for its residents.

Down to only two full-time employees (a nurse and a sanitary inspector) under the wing of its Board of Health, the town is lookingto retain the services of North Bergen Health Officer Richard Censullo as its health care overseer after the retirement of Karen Comer on Dec. 1, 2011.

Now, with a strong push from Mayor Ray McDonough, Harrison is planning the second phase of a revamped local health agency.

Initially, the town had weighed the notion of issuing a Request for Proposals from outside health care providers equipped to provide a wideranging menu of primary health care options for free or at low cost to local residents, said Town Attorney Paul Zarbetski.

At the time, Zarbetski said the town was aware that at least two entities had expressed interest in offering such services to Harrison: the privately-owned Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center and the North Hudson Community Action Corp. (NHCAC), a health and social service agency that targets assistance to low-income residents in Hudson, Bergen and Passaic counties.

Zarbetski said that NHCAC is designated as a “Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC),” a community-based organization that provides primary and preventive health care, including dental, mental health, substance abuse care and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, regardless of patients’ ability to pay, to medically underserved, underinsured and uninsured populations.

As such, the agency is eligible for reimbursement from the federal health insurance programs. Patients are charged on a sliding scale keyed to family income and size.

For these reasons, Zarbetski said, Harrison deemed NHCAC the town’s best choice to engage as a health care partner.

To that end, Zarbetski and Rocco Russomanno, the town’s construction official, met last week with an architect representing NHCAC at the Harrison Health Dept. offices, next to Town Hall, on Harrison Ave. to survey the physical layout.

“We’ll probably do a little bit of reconfiguring the space, maybe removing a wall, allowing them to install some equipment,” Zarbetski said. “The architect is coming up with a concept.”

“We’d like it done as soon as possible,” Zarbetski said, “but we’re just in the beginning stage. We haven’t had any discussion with them about when they’d actually move in or how they’d compensate us for the use of town space or the terms of a contractual agreement for the operation.”

The key feature for Harrison, of course, is the benefit to its residents, many of whom are hardworking, blue collar folks. Instead of having to schedule an appointment with a doctor at a clinic, the expectation would be that someone could simply show up, Monday to Friday, and get the service required, Zarbetski said.

Censullo said he’s all for the town engaging NHCAC’s services. “It’s working here (in North Bergen), in Union City, in West New York – it’s a no brainer to have them in Harrison.”

The beauty of it, Censullo said, is that residents “will receive full and primary health care, including immunizations for children, wellness care for babies, blood pressure screening, different types of monitoring.”

“But go beyond that,” Censullo continued. “If, for example, you come into the health center with hypertension, with our model, we don’t refer to you to an outside physician – we treat you, we give you a prescription right then and there.”

When the agency came into North Bergen, Censullo said, “they supplied two doctors here five days a week, all day, a nurse practitioner, a phlebotomist who takes blood one day a week, all at no (or little) cost to residents. … (NHCAC) get their money because unlike regular doctors, they can ask for enhanced reimbursement (as a) Federally Qualified Health Center. No co-pay or if you do have insurance, it will be on a sliding fee scale but a very reduced scale. We’re providing access to health care to people who if they were having chest pains, they wouldn’t see a doctor until it was too late. If we can work on prevention, early detection, we’re ahead of the game. Pregnant women – how many women go nine months without being checked. We have a women’s health section to test for HIV and if the woman does have HIV, we get her early intervention, get her AZT to, hopefully, prevent the child from being born with AIDS.”

For Censullo, the bottom line with going the NHCAC route, is that, “Harrison residents will have access to primary care without needing to call an ambulance if they have chest pains, for example.”

If the town’s governing body approves the move, Censullo said that Harrison might be eligible for federal Community Development Block Grant funding “to help make any minor renovations needed” to accommodate the transition to access full primary care.

Censullo said the existing Harrison health offices are already outfitted with impairedaccessible bathrooms, examining, waiting and conference rooms. “The place was built to be a free-standing health center,” he added.

If things go as expected, the reconfigured health setup could be operating by early October, officials said.

Asked what would happen to the current town health personnel, Zarbetski said: “We’ll find an alternate space for them, probably at our senior center. This is not a layoff plan. It’s just enhancing what we have.”

“We’re very excited about (the project),” Zarbetski said. “It will be a nice addition to the town and they’d maintain the space for us.”


Want to cheer lonely senior? Just call! Follow The Observer

By Jeff Bahr 


A lot can be learned when a politician leaves the offi ce to go walkabout. So says Nutley Public Affairs Commissioner Steven Rogers of his experience while conducting a walking tour of the community, and learning along the way of a legitimate problem that he felt contained a simple answer.

“As a military commander, I learned that the only way to get a good feel on how the troops feel is to get out from behind your desk and get out into the fi eld,” explained Rogers. True to his beliefs, that is precisely what he did.

“I started a walking tour this summer, during which time I am personally visiting the homes of nearly 1,000 Nutley veterans to thank them for their service to our country,” said the commissioner in recalling how the problem first came to his attention.

“While visiting them, I learned that many senior citizens had not seen or heard from anyone in weeks. Some of them no longer have family members alive; some of them have been forgotten by family members; others have no contact with friends; the list goes on,” he explained.

“Additionally, what really moved me was when visiting some senior citizen veterans at their homes, a few of them broke down and told me that they did not believe anyone cared about them. In fact, a comment made to me by one woman haunted me (for) a few days. She looked at me right in the eyes and said, ‘we are old and worn out and nobody cares about us.’ I lost sleep over than one.”

Identifying a problem is one thing. Taking action, quite another. Rogers moved toward the latter by implementing a call program for senior citizens.

“These experiences got me moving on this initiative,” said Rogers. “These people may be older than us, but they are not worn out and we do care. In fact, our seniors have a lot to offer our younger generation. I intend to call upon these seniors in the near future to help us at the Dept. of Public Affairs.”

The Senior Call Program, while profound in its intent, is the model of simplicity. Trained volunteers will place calls to Nutley citizens age 65 and older who have requested telephone contacts.

“Many seniors who live alone do not interact with anyone for weeks,” said Rogers. “This program is a friendly way of asking, ‘how are you doing?’ and then providing them with assistance once they answer that question.”

The initiative, kicked off just recently, has already acquired a dozen or so seniors, according to Rogers. He expects this number to “grow rapidly” after seniors are made fully aware of the service.

Participants will include those who may or may not have friends or family, and/ or those who fi nd it diffi cult to get out of their homes easily – virtually everyone and anyone who might benefit from knowing that someone in the community cares about them.

Seniors will chat with trained volunteers that include a doctor in clinical psychology, nurses, and social workers. The calls will be conducted “Monday through Saturday throughout the day,” according to Rogers.

In addition to providing a caring voice at the other end of the line, the initiative will also provide seniors with much-needed assistance on other fronts. “Some seniors need help completing forms — perhaps some minor legal assistance; some need fi nancial aid; maybe they need to contact a carpenter, plumber, and even some training on how to use a computer,” said Rogers. “The Dept. of Public Affairs will help them with these issues and many more.”

“If senior citizens want a call from our offi ce, all they need do is call us at 973-284- 4976. We will return their call and inform them as to the process we have established as part of our program. Anyone who wishes to refer us to seniors, or seniors to us, just give us a call,” concluded the commissioner.

Long-vacant KMUA post soon to be filled

Photos by Ron Leir

Photos by Ron Leir/ The cramped offices at the KMUA on Central Ave. await a new executive director.


By Ron Leir


After doing without someone at the helm for more than a year, the Kearny Municipal Utilities Authority (KMUA) has decided it needs to make a change.

It has undertaken a search for a new executive director but details around the position itself are still sketchy.

KMUA counsel Gregg Paster and part-time financial officer Shuaib Firozvi, who also serves as the town’s CFO and tax collector, said that the KMUA commissioners are undecided on a pay range and whether to designate it a full- or part-time post.

Authority records show that Joseph Skelly, who held the job since the KMUA’s inception back in May 1988, was earning $109,625 a year at the time of his retirement in spring 2011. (When he left, Skelly negotiated a terminal leave package with the commissioners for $35,000, according to Paster.)

Mayor Alberto Santos, who was out of the country on vacation last week but reached via texting, said that since Skelly’s departure, the authority has been “filling in day to day administrative functions with the KMUA engineer – a cost issue – and the KMUA clerk – an authority issue with respect to KMUA laborer and plant operator.”

Santos didn’t say and neither Shuaib nor Paster could quantify how much the authority had been billed for these administrative functions, but Paster said the commissioners felt that the KMUA – with only four employees – could be run more effectively with an administrator on hand.

“The authority thinks it’s important to have chain of command,” Paster said. “For (the engineer and clerk) to handle (administrative matters) a la carte is not an efficient way of doing business.”

In a posting for the job, the KMUA said it was looking for a “licensed professional engineer with civil engineering background” or someone with a “bachelor’s degree with at least 3 years’ utilities authority experience.”

Applicants, the posting added, “should have familiarity with sewer authorities, public contracting process, the Town of Kearny and possess strong oral and written communications skills.”

“The successful candidate will be responsible for day to day operations of the Authority and for implementing policy decisions of the Authority commissioners and to attend and report at monthly meetings on such operations and policies,” the posting said.

As of a July 17 application deadline, “15 submissions” had been received, according to Firozvi.

Interviews with applicants are scheduled by mid-August, Paster said. “Then it’s at the discretion of the commissioners,” he said, as to when they would appoint someone to the position.

It’s conceivable that the commissioners could act as early as their next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 22 but it’s also possible they may hold off until the September session, Paster said.

KMUA Chairwoman Stephanie Santos (no relation to the mayor) couldn’t be reached for comment.

The KMUA, which has a budget of about $3.3 million supported by user fees, is responsible for the collection of combined storm water drainage and sewage from 58 industrial customers in South Kearny and for the operation of a separate sewage system that serves eight customers in a portion of the Meadowlands section of Kearny.

After removing solids from the waste water via primary treatment, the KMUA pumps the water to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission for secondary treatment and discharge. The PVSC bills the KMUA for its services and the KMUA pays those fees through its collection of user fees set by an annual rate structure.

According to the Town of Kearny website, the KMUA “maintains one 17.5 million gallon per day capacity pumping station in South Kearny and three smaller pumping stations in the Kearny Meadowlands.”

The KMUA, which operates autonomously, is currently undertaking improvements to the North Hackensack Ave. drainage catch basin system at a cost of more than $1 million, Shuaib said.

If and when the authority does decide to hire a new leader, that individual is likely to be up against it when the time comes to move into his or her offices at the KMUA plant, located at 39 Central Ave., where, Paster said, improvements are needed and being considered by the commissioners.

“There are ventilation issues – there is, essentially, no functioning air-conditioning – and fire safety concerns,” Paster explained. “The (KMUA) plant is over 55 years old and hasn’t had any substantial rehabilitation during that time.”

However, to date, the authority has yet to authorize plans to proceed with renovations, he said.


Bomb scare forces evacuation of postal complex in Kearny

U.S. postal inspectors are continuing to investigate who is responsible for a threat to blow up the North Jersey Logistics & Distribution Center at 1200 Harrison Ave. on Friday, July 27.

Various law enforcement agencies, along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, converged at the Kearny-based facility at around 9:30 a.m. after postal officials discovered graffiti on a bathroom wall inside the building warning that a bomb was set to go off that day, according to U.S. Postal Service spokesman George Flood.

Flood could provide no further details about the message.

At that point, Flood said, postal officials “launched into an evacuation process” involving “225 postal employees who were on the clock” at the Kearny facility.

Initially, employees were seen standing outside, across the street from the Harrison Ave. building, but Flood said that because of the extreme heat and humidity, the Postal Service opted to transport many of the workers to the Dominick V. Daniels Processing & Distribution Facility at 850 Newark Turnpike, about a mile further east.

Among the police agencies responding were canine units from Essex County Police, Bergen County Police and Hudson County Sheriff, along with dog-sniffing details from NJ Transit and Amtrak, according to officials.

Members of the Jersey City Police EMS Bomb Squad and Kearny Police also were on the scene.

Flood said it took about an hour and a half for police and dogs to go through the main postal building, the parking lot and tractor trailers parked on the site before issuing an “all-clear” at about 1 p.m.

A complete probe of the incident will likely take “months” before any findings are reported, Flood said.

The Harrison Ave. facility is one of 49 postal locations being considered for possible “consolidation” as part of a nationwide downsizing planned by the financially challenged Postal Service.

“We’ve put a hold on the Kearny site right now,” Flood said, “but it’s still on a list of facilities to be studied.”

In another disturbing incident that happened on July 19 at 6 p.m, police were called to a rooming house at 344 Kearny Ave., at Halstead Ave., on a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, police found James Hamilton, 21, a resident of the house, lying on the sidewalk in front of the location and bleeding badly from the face as a result of what police characterized as an accidental “self-inflicted” wound.

Police said they traced a trail of blood leading back to the rooming house and to a second-floor apartment rented to Hamilton where they found copious amounts of blood on the floor and streaks of blood on the walls.

By this time, police said, a crowd had gathered outside the building and a man identified by police as Ariel Cantillo, who, police said, was visiting Hamilton at the time of the shooting and had blood on him, shared information about the incident and the weapon involved. Cantillo, 21, of Kearny, was charged with tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm. Cantillo, who also had a contempt of court warrant outstanding from Kearny, is being held in Hudson County Jail on $50,000 bail pending court action.

At about 6:30 p.m., police said Det. Ray Lopez recovered the weapon believed to have been used in the accidental shooting after climbing a tree near the rooming house onto the roof of an adjacent garage where he spotted a handgun, later identified as a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. Police said the gun was empty but there were signs that it had been fired recently.

Police Chief John Dowie said that as the victim was being transported to the hospital, he told a police officer that he’d shot himself by accident.

Police said the bullet went through Hamilton’s jaw and out a nasal cavity, then passed into the dropped ceiling of Hamilton’s apartment and lodged in some framing. As of last week, police had yet to interview Hamilton who remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition, with his jaw wired shut, and haven’t yet criminally charged him. But, as a minimum, police said Hamilton will likely face charges of discharge of a firearm within 300 feet of a residential area and reckless endangerment. Police are still investigating how Hamilton acquired the weapon. And in another incident on July 21, police said Officer Chris Medina narrowly avoided serious injury in a confrontation with a motorist at 9:15 p.m. in the midtown area. Police said the incident began when Medina, who was on patrol duty, had to brake hard to avoid being struck by a 2005 Toyota wagon that cut him off, turning from Quincy Ave. onto Belgrove Drive, then proceeding at a high rate of speed to N. Midland Ave. off Terrace Place, where Medina exited his car and approached the driver and detected a strong odor of alcohol from the driver who began cursing and suddenly cut his wheel to the left and accelerated, jumping the curb in the process and swerving onto the sidewalk, then continued down to Passaic Ave. and headed south.

Medina broadcast an alert including a description of the vehicle. At 10 p.m. Medina found the empty vehicle parked on Devon St. and learned that it was registered to someone on the block. Police said Offi cers Ben Wuelfi ng and John Travalino went to that location, and, after being admitted inside, heard someone shouting from behind a closed door, “Tell the police I’m not home!” A bit later, a man partly opened the door, cursed the cops and slammed the door shut. Finally, police said, the man emerged, was positively identifi ed by Medina, but then became combative and had to be forcibly subdued by the offi cers who used MC spray on him.

The man arrested, Wilmer Quispe, 41, of Hawthorne, was issued summonses alleging DWI, failure to submit to a breathalyzer test, disregard of a traffic signal, failure to display documents, reckless driving and driving while suspended. He was also charged with aggravated assault on a police offi cer, possession of a weapon (the vehicle) and obstruction of justice. Police said Quispe was also wanted on two warrants out of East Newark and Newark.

– Ron Leir

Grand jury indictment for ex-coach

Scott Rubinetti


A Bergen County grand jury voted July 25 to return a criminal indictment of Scott M. Rubinetti, the former Lyndhurst High School football coach, for allegedly having sex with a Lyndhurst High female student, when she was age 17.

No trial date has been set.

Rubinetti, a Nutley resident who was arrested six months prior to the indictment on charges of sexual assault, child endangerment and witness tampering, remains free on $150,000 bail pending disposition of his case.

The five-count indictment, a copy of which was obtained from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, alleges that Rubinetti – while employed as coach and physical education instructor by the Lyndhurst Board of Education – committed the following offenses between Oct. 1, 2009, and March 30, 2010:

Had “inappropriate communications and/or contact” with the student, including “in-person, telephonic, text or other means,” using marijuana with the student, and engaged “in sexual contact” with the student.

Caused harm to the student, “making (the student) an abused or neglected child … by performing an indecent, immoral or unlawful act or deed in the presence of (the student) … including kissing and performing oral sex on the student.

Committed “sexual assault upon (the student), date of birth March 31, 1992, by performing an act of sexual penetration … upon the victim, the victim being at least sixteen but less than eighteen years of age and the actor having supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim when he was employed by the Lyndhurst Board of Education….”

Engaged in sexual conduct “which would impair or debauch the morals of the said child….”

“ … (O)n or about January 18, 2012, … believing that an offi cial proceeding or investigation was pending or about to be instituted, did knowingly attempt to induce or otherwise cause (the student) … to testify or inform falsely and/ or withhold any testimony, information, document or thing ….”

The prosecutor’s office said the alleged actions took place when the student was a high school senior.

Lyndhurst Schools Supt. Tracey Marinelli said that Rubinetti’s employment with the district was discontinued June 30 after the school board voted not to renew his annual contract. He was a non-tenured employee at the time, she said.

The board has named Rubinetti’s predecessor, Joseph Castagnetti, as the new high school football coach and, in the aftermath of several physical education teacher retirements, has hired several new P.E. teachers, one of whom will cover Rubinetti’s instructional slot, according to Marinelli.

-Ron Leir