As part of the observance of UV Safety Month, St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark, is urging its patients and members of the community to take precautions this summer against exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays which can result in serious skin damage and in some cases, skin cancer. “Skin cancer […]
Belleville Belleville UNICO sponsors a bus ride fundraiser to the Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Sunday, July 27. Cost is $30 prepaid or $35 the day of the trip. The bus will leave at 8:50 a.m. from the Senior Citizens Center, 125 Franklin Ave. A continental breakfast will be served […]
KEARNY – Less than a week after the robbery of a PNC bank in Kearny, the suspect in the holdup was in custody, arrested when he showed up for a court appearance in Passaic, Kearny Police Chief John Dowie reported. Carnie Monts, 28, of Paterson, was booked […]
July 12 A motor vehicle stop on Washington Ave., at 3:59 a.m., led to the arrest of James Washington, 38, of Irvington, for two active warrants from Newark and Irvington. He was also ticketed for driving with unsafe tires. Washington was turned over to Irvington PD after failing to post bail. […]
July 5 Someone swiped a Kicker Subwoofer Speaker valued at $700 from a Passaic Ave. residence, the occupant told police. The theft was logged at 1:10 a.m. *** *** *** A William St. resident told police that after loaning their […]
By Karen Zautyk
On Friday afternoon, as police from various jurisdictions headed for a Mountain Lakes real estate office where a woman employee had been fatally shot by a co-worker, Kearny police were converging on a Woodland Ave. apartment building, “vested up and guns drawn,” in the words of Chief John Dowie.
At the time, the killer’s whereabouts were unknown, but the man had made a call to the State Police dispatcher, stating, “I just killed someone.” He also reportedly warned the dispatcher that he was heavily armed and that the situation could “escalate.”
State Police traced the cell phone he used to the Kearny address and warned local authorities that the killer might possibly be there.
As it turned out, he was in a car in a Rt. 46 parking lot, armed with a rifle and a handgun. And when Morris County law enforcement officers approached the vehicle, he began shooting. They returned fire, and he died in the gun battle. It appeared to be a case of what has become known as “suicide by cop.”
The killer was identified as Leonardo Parera, 39, of 6 Woodland Ave., an agent with Exit Realty Gold Service at 100 Rt. 46 in Mountain Lakes.
Authorities said Parera entered the office Friday and fatally shot office manager Christine Capone King, 47, of Jefferson Township.
At press time, authorities were still attempting to determine the motives behind Parera’s actions, which remained a mystery.
According to published reports, fellow employees insisted there had been nothing but a professional relationship between the two and that Parera had never been violent or even displayed anger while at work.
Dowie told The Observer that shortly before 5 p.m., the KPD got the alert from Hudson County 911 to respond to the Woodland Ave. building regarding an individual who had just killed someone and was in possession of multiple weapons.
The only information the dispatcher had at that point was that a call to the state police had come from a phone listed at the Kearny address and that authorities wanted to know if Parera was in the apartment.
Officers secured the street since it was not known if Parera’s windows overlooked Woodland, and checked the apartment and cleared the roof.
Approximately 10 minutes after arriving on the scene, Dowie said, the State Police radioed that a suspect “was down” in Mountain Lakes.
Kearny officers were asked to see if Parera had left any explanatory notes in his home, but none was found. Dowie said they did find an empty case, apparently for the handgun that was registered to Parera.
Parera shared the apartment with his mother, and Morris County authorities went there later that night to personally inform her of her son’s death. The distraught woman was taken to Clara Maass Medical Center by Kearny EMTs for treatment of trauma and for observation and was released the next day.
Kearny police officers transported her back home and offered to contact a priest, pastor or friend to stay with her. Sources said that apparently her closest relative was in Indiana.
By Karen Zautyk
A Newark man who was released on bail after being arrested for a North Arlington bank robbery last year wasted no time getting back into the sting of things, robbing eight more banks – and attempting to rob a ninth – over a two-month period, authorities reported.
The culprit, Nathaniel Barreto, 29, pleaded guilty in Federal Court in Trenton last week to one count of bank robbery, but admitted to the others, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.
The saga began March 26, 2010, when a lone gunman held up the Bank of America branch at 119 Ridge Road, North Arlington.
Less than two weeks later, on April 7, Barreto surrendered to North Arlington police after township detectives had identified him and tracked him to Florida. He was arrested and remanded to Bergen County Jail in lieu of $350,000 bail.
Lesson learned? Not quite.
Barreto’s bail reportedly was reduced, and he walked out of jail on April 22. Two months later, almost to the day, he revived his criminal career, launching a five-county spree that lasted from June 25 to Aug. 17, 2010. It also included two heists in one day – one in Bergen County, one in Hunterdon.
Court records show that Barreto’s targets were as follows:
• June 25 – Wachovia Bank, 1080 Broad St., Bloomfield
• July 8 – Mariner’s Bank, 242 Oradell Ave., Paramus
• July 8 – Bank of America, 396 Route 22, Whitehouse
• July 23 – Kearny Federal Savings, 487 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange
• July 28 – Lakeland Savings Bank, 321 Main St., Boonton
• Aug. 2 – Bank of America, 32 Route 46, West Pine Brook
• Aug. 4 – Sovereign Bank, 541 Rahway Ave., Woodbridge
• Aug. 9 (attempted) – PNC Bank, 424 Broad St., Bloomfield
• Aug. 17 – PNC Bank, 500 Route 10, Whippany
The banditry binge ended after the Whippany holdup, when a witness saw Barreto get into a car driven by an accomplice and noted the license plate number, Fishman’s office said.
The vehicle was found abandoned near a wooded area, and Barreto and his buddy were apprehended among the trees.
During the two-month crime wave, Barreto apparently took to wearing a black stocking mask over his face, but in North Arlington, despite a hooded jacket, hat and ski mask, his eyes and nose had been visible. And he was clearly caught on security video.
In the North Arlington incident, Barreto had entered the bank at about 3:15 p.m. and announced a holdup, brandishing what appeared to be a large black and silver automatic.
He handed a teller a plastic shopping bag, ordered her to fill it with cash, and then fled with an undisclosed amount.
After his subsequent surrender at North Arlington police HQ, officers armed with a search warrant went to Barreto’s address in Newark where they reported finding six bundles of cash, each wrapped in a Bank of America currency band. The total amount recovered was $1,114, police said.
Barreto’s biggest haul was approximately $42,500 from the bank in Whitehouse.
Last week, North Arlington Police Chief Louis Ghione credited now-retired borough Det. James Gangi with “dogged police work” that helped authorities finally nab the serial bandit. Gangi “was monitoring bank robberies in the tri-state area” and saw that there were several with “a similar M.O.” to that of the local heist, the chief said.
Barreto faces 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced Jan. 13.
By Ron Leir
When Kearny Firefighter Martina Smith was hired in 2009, she became the department’s only female and one of only two African-Americans represented among the current 98 departmental employees.
The town’s Police Department, with 114 members, has four African-Americans.
Seventeen years ago, Kearny and the NAACP were parties to a federal consent order approved by U.S. District Court that sought to improve the recruitment of minorities among both the uniformed and civilian ranks. No hiring quotas were specified. Approximately 4% of Kearny’s population is African-American, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.
Before the consent order, job applicants had to be Kearny residents to be eligible for employment opportunities.
Under the consent order, candidates for positions within the Police and Fire Departments and for non-uniformed jobs were required to be residents of Hudson or Essex counties.
But Mayor Alberto Santos said that the effort to achieve diversity by drawing a bigger pool of job applicants backfired.
“The majority of those people hired in the Police and Fire Departments after the residency requirements were revised were non-Kearny residents and non-African Americans,” he said. “Diversity was not achieved.”
Santos said that it turned out that “significant numbers” of people from towns such as Bayonne in Hudson County and Roseland and Verona in suburban Essex County were achieving high scores on state Civil Service competitive exams and landing at or near the top of appointment lists for Kearny police and firefighter positions.
“We feel Kearny residents should have a chance to be hired,” the mayor said.
So town officials approached David Rose, the NAACP’s Washington-based attorney, and asked if the organization would be open to tweaking the terms of the consent order to give “residential preference for Kearny and Newark residents” on the hiring of police officers, firefighters and non-uniformed employees in competitive and non-competitive titles.
Under this scenario, Civil Service would be asked to draw a list of job candidates limited to Kearny and Newark residents.
Failing to draw sufficient numbers of applicants from such a list, Kearny would then ask Civil Service to revise the list to include a second tier of candidates who are residents of Hudson and Essex counties; then, a third tier of candidates who live in New Jersey; and a fourth tier of people living outside New Jersey.
“We welcomed it,” said Rose. “It gives the town a little more latitude to treat equally people from Newark. It’s a fresh idea and it might improve what’s going on in Kearny. It’s innovative and worth a try. We do think that because there are a lot more African-Americans in Newark, that the applicant pool will be more heavily black and will increase the chance of more blacks being hired.”
On Aug. 15, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine S. Hayden, sitting in Newark, gave her blessing to the proposed changes in the consent order and on Oct. 11 the Kearny Town Council voted unanimously, with one member absent, to implement the changes.
“I look at it as an opportunity to get more minorities in Kearny,” said Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl.
Job applications are available at all town firehouses, as well as schools, the Public Library and Town Hall, he said.
Martina Smith, meanwhile, appears to have settled in very well in her job at the Davis Ave. firehouse.
The Jersey City resident and St. Anthony’s High School Class of 1996 alumna enlisted in the Navy in February 1998 for a four-year tour and re-upped for a second.
“I did it for the education opportunity,” Smith said. Using the G.I. Bill, and on the advice of a family member, she took fire science courses at New Jersey City University, earning a B.A. in 2009.
“Two years prior,” she said, “I had applied for a job with the Jersey City Fire Department.”
Asked about her career choice, Smith said: “I’ve never been an office-type person.”
To her surprise, Smith ended up on the Kearny Fire Department appointment list as well and was tendered a job offer and, after successfully completing two months training in the fire academy and one month in EMT school, she began working.
Smith did a year’s service at Engine 3 at Fire Headquarters and is now assigned to Squad 2 on Davis Ave. where, when she takes her turn as firehouse cook, she likes to grill chicken and veggies for her Bravest crew.
So far, Smith has responded to a fire at the Arlington Bridge, a few car fires but, as yet, no buildings. “We train for it, though, so I’m ready when it happens,” she said.
By Ron Leir
The cell tower battle is over . . . at least for now.
An opening salvo was made by T-Mobile Northeast of Parsippany in February when it filed an application for use and height variance approval with the township Zoning Board of Adjustment to “construct a new monopole for wireless telecommunications.”
That proposed 120-foot-high pole, and equipment cabinets, were to be installed on the grounds of a private garden center owned and operated by the O’Boyle family at Broad St. and Bay Ave.
Members of the Zoning Board were due to hear more testimony – and probably vote on the plan – on Oct. 20.
But after neighbors organized vocal opposition to the project, the applicant opted to bow out, informing the board of its decision in an Oct. 10 letter from Rockaway attorney James K. Pryor.
“I have been authorized by T-Mobile to advise you that the Applicant desires to withdraw this case without prejudice. Obviously, this will render the Oct. 20, 2011, hearing date moot,” Pryor wrote.
That means that T-Mobile can re-file the application at some later date without penalty but, at least for now, the company isn’t going forward with the proposal.
And that’s just fine with more than 200 neighbors of the proposed tower site who signed a petition urging the Zoning Board to deny the application.
“The No Broad Street Cell Tower Group would personally like to thank everyone for their support in spreading the word in fighting the T-Mobile Cell Tower at the Brookside Garden Center and coming to all the meetings to show your opposition,” said a statement released by Maria Probst, Sandra Cummins, Pat Gilleran and Megan Wiley.
“As residents of Bloomfield,” the petition said, “we strongly oppose the construction of this cell tower in a residential area that (is near) a park, an elementary school, and the Brookside and North Center shopping areas.
“In addition to questionable health effects, the construction of said monopole will negatively impact neighboring property values,” it added.
Probst asserted that a 120-foot-high monopole just “doesn’t fit in this neighborhood.”
To install the pole, Probst said, T-Mobile planned to “go down 40 feet from the water table” in an area “already overwhelmed with flooding issues.”
Moreover, Probst added, “we don’t know about the long-term health effects” from the wireless equipment.
That uncertainty was disturbing for Cummins, a breast cancer survivor whose property shares a common border with the site that was targeted for the wireless materials.
“Why should I have to live with it?” Cummins asked. “It would offer no benefit to anyone living in the area.”
Cummins alleged that T-Mobile failed to document that subscribers had complained about a service coverage gap in the area.
And, she said, if the company’s proposed merger with AT&T doesn’t go through, “we don’t even know if they’ll still be in business a year from now.”
If the tower had been built, Cummins said, the “aesthetics of an obelisk eyesore” would have been “detrimental to the nearby town park and restaurant row.”
Fairfield attorney John Dusinberre, who represented the owner of a medical office adjacent to the proposed tower site, said concern for public safety and health ought to “outweigh the need for (improved) coverage.”
T-Mobile “shouldn’t just get carte blanche to put its cell tower anywhere it wants,” he said.
Dusinberre recalled testimony offered at one of the several zoning hearings that referenced leakage from an apparently abandoned underground storage tank on the property where the pole was to be placed. Test borings showed the presence of petroleum, he said.
“Our concern now is that this leakage is not forgotten,” Dusinberre added.
Residents also expressed fears about ice forming atop the pole in winter and possibly falling on people below, or the pole itself falling. They also asked whether other locations might better serve T-Mobile’s coverage needs.
Bloomfield residents have been part of a growing chorus of naysayers fighting proposed wireless cell towers around the state in such communities as Woodbridge, Manville, Scotch Plains, Cranford, Basking Ridge and Harding Township, among others.
A statement released last week by company spokeswoman Jane Builder said: “T-Mobile is committed to providing the highest quality of wireless service to our customers in Bloomfield. We’re in the process of evaluating our projected construction schedule for our site on Broad St.
“As the recent experience with Hurricane Irene reminds us, families are best served when comprehensive wireless coverage improves access to emergency services for personal and public safety purposes as well as the ability to stay connected to the important people in their lives. It takes a robust network and new wireless facilities to reliably make all of those wireless connections.”
By Karen Zautyk
‘You could take 100 people,” Paul “Doc” Gaccione told us the other day, “and every single one of them would see me in a different way.”
Odds are those perceptions will be even more varied, and complex, now that Gaccione has told his story in a book.
Or is it his story, an autobiography? Perhaps it’s a novel? A mystery? Something else?
Gaccione himself refuses to label it, asking merely that his readers use the book, “Beyond the Beyond,” to sit as jurors “in the trial which is his life.” And “Beyond the Beyond” refers to what is out there after death. The book is a personal record of the author’s spiritual journey.
As of now, Gaccione, 63, is scheduled to face actual jurors at a real-life trial in January. He is currently free on $1 million bail on a charge of murder in the second degree in connection with his alleged role in a Mafia hit in 1992. He was not arrested until April 2010, when federal authorities showed up at his Lyndhurst home and he landed in Rikers Island jail.
Back in ’92, a man named Angelo Sangiuolo was shot dead in the Bronx on orders from a cousin, Genovese crime family capo Angelo Prisco, who is now serving life in prison. The triggerman, John (Johnny Balls) Leto, was convicted in 2009.
Gaccione is accused of being the getaway driver. He faces 25 to life if convicted.
As noted in the book, it’s not the first time the author has faced a serious criminal charge. As a young man – one who was an amateur boxing champion – he got into an altercation in the parking lot of the Lyndhurst Diner. The other guy threw the first punch, Gaccione writes, but he responded, and the combatant “went down, hit his head on the ground, and died.”
Gaccione stood trial for manslaughter, but the jury found him not guilty, deciding he had acted in self-defense. But he gave up all his “childhood dreams” of a pro boxing career.
Are you inclined to judge him yet? You shouldn’t. Not until you read the book.
One of the most moving chapters, a look into the heart, describes Gaccione’s reaction to a sermon in his local church. He had sent his manuscript to his pastor for reaction, but had received no response. Then, one Sunday, this same priest spoke from the pulpit about people who use God for their own glorification, their own ego.
Gaccione took this as a personal message, shaking him to the core and filling him with doubt and guilt and a sickness of the soul. It is painful to read the words as he sits in judgment of his own motives in writing. When we spoke of this incident the other day, Gaccione told me, “the closest thing” to this sickness he experienced “was the feeling I had when I heard that the man at the Lyndhurst Diner had passed away.”
Gaccione came to terms with his self-criticism over the writing of the book, noting that “only God knows what is in my heart and mind, and we can’t fool Him.”
“Beyond the Beyond” recounts a number of extraordinary events that prompted the writing of a book by someone who admits to never having read a book in his life. He has, though, been especially influenced by author Dinesh D’Souza, whom he quotes. So he read D’Souza, right? “I listened to the CD,” he explained.
There is one incident, in particular, which Gaccione believes was a glimpse into the “Beyond the Beyond,” that will give you chills. And, perhaps, hope.
Gaccione is a great believer in destiny, and the book – which was born in a moment of suicidal despair – is part of his, he says. He believes, too, in our own ability to influence our destiny – and of the power of the positive over the negative.
It is also filled with some humorous accounts of his growing up in Lyndhurst, and longtime residents may recognize some of the characters.
And for someone who says he “ain’t the smartest guy,“ Gaccione can be deeply intellectual. Not in the pompous ivory-tower way, but in the way that makes you think. Ponder. Examine your own beliefs and emotions.
Writing about the funeral of a close friend, a popular man whose death drew lines of mourners to the funeral home and a cortege that stretched for what seemed like miles, Gaccione notes that “soon he will be forgotten.”
“It might take a couple of decades for family and close friends to slowly lose his memory, but like every other person, that is what will happen. Yes there are people whose memory lives on, like Michelangelo or George Washington. It could be for 100 years or a thousand years, but it’s all a drop in the bucket when we speak of ‘eternity.‘ And, when we get down to it, what is a memory, if that’s all there is to eternity?”
Now that is profound.
“Beyond the Beyond,” from Brighton Publishing, has been released as an eBook and will be available in print form by the end of October.
By Karen Zautyk
Nutley police are hunting three men who robbed a Centre St. convenience store at gunpoint last Wednesday night.
Police said the masked trio entered the Quick Buy store shortly before 10 p.m. Oct. 12, forced one of the two clerks on duty to lie on the floor and demanded money from the one at the cash register. One of the bandits was brandishing a small black revolver.
Police said the robbers made off with an undisclosed amount of money and phone cards, fleeing on foot through the store’s parking lot and residential yards, heading west towards Woodland Ave., where they presumably had a car for a getaway.
The suspects were described as black males, all about 5’-5” and all wearing black wool caps , all-black clothing and cloth covering their faces.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Nutley Detective Bureau at 973-284-4940.
Other incidents from the Nutley police blotter for the week ending Oct. 13 included, but were not limited to, the following reports:
10:10 a.m. — Police received a walk-in report of a dog bite. The victim did not require any medical attention but did want the incident documented. It was found that the dog was current with its vaccinations but did not have a license. The owner was issued a Township Ordinance violation and advised to keep the dog under quarantine until contacted by the Health Department.
5:38 p.m. – Police were called to a residence regarding a dispute that ended in the arrest of Nicholas Zappulla, 23, of Nutley. He was issued a summons for theft and was also found to have a warrant from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office. He was turned over to the ECSO.
6:11 p.m. – Illegal dumping was reported on Harrison St. A Budget rental truck was seen in the area where a couch and TV were left at the curb.
12:39 a.m. – Police responded to Route 21 on a call of a vehicle stopped, running and possibly on fire in the middle lane of the highway. Officers found the car smoking, possibly from engine failure. There were no keys in the ignition and the owner was nowhere in the area. The car was towed and contact was made with the owner by the Newark Police Department.
2:05 a.m. – An officer on patrol observed two males engaged in a dispute in the middle of Franklin Ave. and witnessed one push the other into a parked vehicle. William Cordoba, 36, of Kearny was charged with simple assault and resisting arrest and was also found to be wanted on a Montclair warrant. Cordoba was able to post bail and was released with his mandatory court date.
6:04 p.m. – A resident of Ravine Ave. reported criminal mischief to his auto, which had been keyed from front to back sometime during the afternoon.
12:14 a.m. – Police responded to a residence regarding a report of missing checks. The victim stated checks were missing from their checkbook and that their bank statement included record of a check not written by the account holder. The Detective Bureau is following up on the incident.
9:37 a.m. – A Whitford Ave. resident reported a burglary to their automobile. The victim stated that they found their car with the doors slightly ajar and several items, valued at more than $1,700, missing.
10:23 a.m. – Police responded to a report of several suspicious parties — two juveniles and an adult male. The juveniles were found to be out of school without parental permission. The adult, Musa Ibrahim-Vann, 30, of Nutley, was found to have a warrant out of Newark, and a pat down allegedly revealed two bags of marijuana in his possession. He was charged with possession of CDS.
8:44 a.m. – A resident reported that a plastic no-parking sign had been glued to their car‘s windshield sometime during the night.
10:10 a.m. – A fraud was reported by a Satterthwaite Ave. resident who had received a check from the IRS made out to an unknown party but with the address of the victim. This is the second check mailed by the IRS to this residence. Both were mailed back to the IRS.
10:26 a.m. – A teacher found a clear plastic bag containing five smaller bags of marijuana lying in the Nutley High School parking lot. The bag was given to the school security officer and the police were contacted.
2:55 pm – Police received a report of criminal mischief to an auto. The owner said all the tire caps were missing and the left rear tire was flat.
10:13 p.m. - Police responded to a Centre St. home when a landlord reported that a new tenant had an electrical cord plugged into his outlet and was stealing electricity. Police investigated and found no cord at the time of arrival.
By Lisa Pezzolla
Why do we procrastinate?
Why do we put off what needs to be done?
So often we have to get things done and instead we put it off and get caught up in what is not important at the time, only to make it more difficult and harder in the long run.
We don’t actually enjoy what we are doing but don’t want to focus on what needs to be done. It builds more anxiety and stops us from enjoying ourselves as well; it becomes a vicious cycle and only you have control over it.
I have found myself procrastinating.
I am not lazy, but I find myself overwhelmed and not sure which way to turn at times. I am very fortunate to have a few close friends and new friends who have entered my life and have been a big support system in helping me focus and set my priorities.
We so often put off what we need to do – as simple a thing as telling a friend, family
member or loved one that you love them. Picking up the phone up and telling that
person you were thinking of them, because tomorrow they might not be there to tell.
Or the project that is due at the end of the week and you still are pondering the thought two days before. It drains you of energy and is so unnecessary.
We can’t always enjoy what we are doing all the time, but what I have learned this past
year – as I begin knocking off what I have procrastinated – is that I made it more difficult in the long run and I wasted more energy thinking about what I should be doing, instead of doing.
So I end this by pledging to tackle the paper work that I have been procrastinating doing for the past two weeks.
Last week, I noted my deep affection for animals (except monkeys; monkeys creep me out; they are too much like people) – for birds and fish and even insects (except roaches and waterbugs; they are too much like . . . ).
If I had the money, I would buy a small farm and bring there all the stray creatures
that no one wants. In the meantime, I must make do with house pets (cats, dogs,
clams) and the occasional feral fauna that come to my door.
I have had one such visitor all summer. At 11 p.m. or so, I will turn on the backyard
light, and there he is. Waiting patiently on the doorstep to be fed upon kibble and bits of Entenmann’s golden loaf cake.
He has gotten quite plump, and is now larger than any of his species that I have ever seen. (The Entenmann’s might be at fault there.) Where he spends his days, I haven’t a clue.
At first I thought that, despite an obviously tiny cranium, he must be incredibly smart to find his way back to my door every night. Then I did a bit of research. Seems that all he has to do is follow the trail he left the night before.
Now, this is not exactly the cutest creature, but at least I don’t have to keep him on a leash or clean a litter box. However, he doesn’t provide much companionship either. You can’t pet it (ick!) and I have failed in my efforts to teach him to fetch, sit up or come when called.
He is a wild untamable beast. If he could move at rate faster than three inches per hour, he might even be dangerous.
As the weather cools, I fear he will be leaving. Online, I found info that most of these
creatures do not hibernate but die in autumn. However, they are all hermaphrodites (which explains why I have heard him arguing with herself about whose turn it is to take out the garbage), so all of them lay eggs, and these should hatch in spring.
Maybe come May, Bullet’s offspring will come here to feed.
That’s what I call him. Bullet. Not for his speed, of course, but because he is, after all, a slug.
— Karen Zautyk
P.S. Speaking of critters: The groundhogs that live in the park along Passaic Ave. in Kearny have been out feeding in the mornings, putting on their winter weight in preparation for hibernation, and they graze perilously close to the curb. At least one has already been squashed by a car.
To the Publisher:
I’ve always respected Karen Zautyk and her excellent reporting. I still do, but my enthusiasm is somewhat jaded after reading her scathing attack against Governor
Christie. All the anti-Christie people call him a bully. He is at times bombastic and crude, but I believe he sincerely wants to help our state. He is the first governor to attack the sacred cows in state government. He desires to help save taxes. He is trying. Would Ms. Zautyk criticize a Democratic governor in the same caustic way? I think not.
By Karen Zautyk
Add one more to the Asking-to-be-Arrested file. Actually, make that two more, since a pair of suspects ended up in cuffs.
At 4 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, KPD Officers Chris Medina and Ben Wuelfing responded to a report of a car blasting music and blocking a driveway on Windsor St. The sounds “could be heard a block away,” Police Chief John Dowie reported.
The cops approached the vehicle, a 2008 BMW, and asked the driver — twice — to lower the volume, Dowie said. Upon the third request, the 33-year-old Newark man got out of the car, giving the officers a clear view of his passenger, who was reportedly taking a few slugs from a can of Four Loko, another can of which was on the curb.
Wuelfing attempted to give the driver field sobriety tests, but the man refused to cooperate and insisted he hadn’t been driving, Dowie said. Taken to police headquarters, he reportedly refused a breath test.
Medina questioned the passenger, who was found to have no ID and who, when asked his name, replied, “Obama.” As the officer began a pat-down, Dowie said, the man asked, “Do you want me to take off my pants?” and then did so. And bent over. Redressed and also taken to headquarters, the passenger, a 35-year-old from Newark, again removed his pants and refused to be fingerprinted and photographed, police reported.
He was charged with obstructing and hindering apprehension, littering, and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
The driver was charged with DWI, refusal to take a breath test, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and prohibited parking.
The BMW was impounded.
• • • • •
In other Kearny police news, officers were called to the Devon St. footbridge at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, to help Harrison cops break up a “large brawl.” Dowie said a crowd was watching several separate fights when the KPD arrived.
Officers Paul Bershefski and Dave Rakowski physically separated two of the combatants, a 16-year-old from Harrison and a 17-year-old from Kearny. Another Harrison 16-year-old reportedly became defiant and profane when Officer Sean Kelly attempted to disperse the crowd.
All three youths were charged with disorderly conduct.
The cause of the melee is not known.
• • • • •
At 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6, the Vice Squad, in the course of an ongoing investigation, executed a search warrant at an Elm St. business suspected to be a drug distribution center. Dowie said his officers targeted the place after making several controlled buys of the prescription painkiller Oxycontin.
During the search, they reportedly confiscated marijuana and $700 in cash, and arrested a 37-year-old Kearny woman on charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession with intent to distribute.
• • • • •
On Oct. 8, Officers Richard Pawlowski and Pete Jahera were on patrol in South Kearny at 4:40 a.m., when they received an alert about a theft in progress at a Hackensack Ave. business.
On the property, they found a white van parked next to a Dumpster, and two Jersey City men, aged 40 and 46, behind the container. Dowie said the pair admitted to being there to steal scrap metal.
Both were charged with trespass and theft. The 40-year-old also was found to be wanted on two Jersey City warrants.
• • • • •
At 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 9, Officer Cesar Negron was advised by a concerned citizen of a possible drug transaction at Hickory St. and Pierce Place. The witness gave a description of the suspected dealer, whom Negron located and confronted on Forest St.
When the suspect refused to remove his hands from his pockets, Dowie said, Negron did a pat-down and found a glass vial containing marijuana. At headquarters, the 18-year-old Kearny resident was also reportedly found to have a large bag filled with pot stuffed down the front of his pants.
With the suspect’s consent, Dowie said, police searched his home, and while no additional drugs were found, they did confiscate a replica handgun and three rounds of .22 caliber ammunition.
The teen was charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute, possession of paraphernalia and intent to distribute in or near a public park.
Investigation of the gun is continuing.
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On Oct. 10, at 4 p.m. Officer Jay Ward stopped a motor vehicle near Halstead St. and Kearny Ave. after the driver failed to yield to a pedestrian. The 36-year-old Bridgewater motorist produced an international driver’s license, but upon questioning, admitted he had bought it in Newark, Dowie said.
He was charged with possession of a false government document, and was turned over to Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents.
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A car parked in a secluded area at the Arlington Dog & Cat Hospital on Passaic Ave. at 7:30 p.m. last Wednesday drew Officer Mike Andrews’ attention. As he approached the vehicle on foot, he observed the a male passenger holding what appeared to be a silver marijuana grinder and a cigar. Additionally, Dowie said, the car “reeked of pot” and the man had loose particles of pot on his lap. A search reportedly produced a bag of the drug on his person.
The man, a 22-year-old from Paterson, also had warrants from Clifton and Elmwood Park, the chief said. He was charged on those and for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.
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Last Thursday brought a 1-2-3 punch: three arrests in two locations in the span of one minute.
At 2:50 p.m., Officers Mike Andrews and Neil Nelson spotted two suspicious individuals on Highland Ave. near Liberty St. who appeared to be peering into homes and driveways.
Asked for ID and run for warrants, both were found to be wanted. One of the men, a 26-year-old from East Orange, had two no-bail warrants–one from Essex County and one from Burlington County–along with a $350 warrant out of Lyndhurst.
His companion, 21 and also from East Orange, had warrants out of Ho-Ho-Kus and Pequannock.
At 2:51, Officers Bershefski, Rakowski and Steve Hroncich arrested another wanted man, a 22-year-old from North Arlington, after they spotted him near the Burger King on Passaic Ave. That suspect had a Bloomfield warrant.
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Finally, at 7:10 p.m., Thursday, Officer Nelson apprehended a 33-year-old from Kearny, who was wanted on a $1,000 Fair Lawn warrant, after the cop observed him leaving a Kearny Ave. bar. Stopped at Windsor and Grove, the man was allegedly found to be in possession of suspected cocaine. He was charged with possession of drugs and paraphernalia, plus the warrant.