web analytics

Relief for commuters

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  LYNDHURST –  After what Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Giangeruso characterized as “33 years of starts and stops,” the township – with help from Bergen County – is finally beginning to see the start of improvements to the intersection at Kingsland and Riverside Aves. The changes […]

Convicted in mortgage swindle

A Belleville man was among three defendants convicted earlier this month in federal court for their roles in a $15 million mortgage fraud scheme involving condominiums in New Jersey and Florida, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman reported. Last month, another Belleville resident pleaded guilty in the same scam. According to […]

Walmart is keeping cops busy

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  The Walmart in Kearny is conveniently located on Harrison Ave., with easy access to Rt. 280, the N.J. Turnpike and feeder roads to Newark and Jersey City. This is a boon for shoppers. However, according to Kearny police, it is […]

2011 layoffs affirmed

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – Four former Kearny workers, including a union chief, have lost the first round of a bid to reverse their New Year’s Eve dismissals nearly three years ago. In a 21-page ruling issued Sept. 3, the state Office of Administrative Law […]

Go pink at St. Michael’s

Don your favorite pink attire and join St. Michael’s Medical Center for a Breast Cancer Awareness Month event — Breast Health & You — on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at SMMC’s Connie Dwyer Breast Center, 111 Central Ave., Newark. Dr. Nadine Pappas, director of […]


A great idea for retirement savings


By Randy Neumann

Recently, a client came in to discuss a retirement idea. Someone told him that, although he is still working, he is eligible to collect his Social Security retirement benefits. He said, “I’ve been making money for my employers all of my life, now I’d like to do something for myself.”

First a little background. Today, this situation is not unusual. Economic conditions have caused many baby boomers (the first wave turned 65 this year) to change their retirement strategies. Some are delaying retirement. Others are planning to work after retirement, or interrupting their retirement to take a job or start a business. For many, the question becomes whether they can work and still collect Social Security, and what happens if they do.

Social Security was created in 1935. Sixty-five years later, Bill Clinton signed the Senior Citizen’s Freedom to Work Act of 2000. This was a great piece of legislation. Times were quite different then: 2000 was the ninth consecutive year of economic growth. The unemployment rate was at 4%, its lowest level in more than three decades, and the overall poverty rate dropped to its lowest level since 1979.

With unemployment at a paltry 4%, compared to the present 9+%, businesses were desperately searching for workers. Somebody in Congress had a brilliant idea. Why not encourage seniors to go back to the workplace by removing the penalties for working while collecting Social Security.

It worked!

Many seniors were happy to get back into the workforce, and many employers were happy to have them. They did not need to learn new skills – they already had them. And, without fear of being called an “ageist,” ditto for their work ethic.

Getting back to my client’s situation. We went online to the SSA.gov website and entered his information. He was born in 1945, which makes him 66-years-old. Bingo! That is his full retirement age; therefore, he is entitled to $1,833 per month which is $21,996 per year.

Continuing the conversation I asked,” Does your company have a 401(k) plan?” The answer was, “Yes, and they match 3 percent if you put in 6 percent.” I reached into the conference room cabinet and pulled out a one-page tax summary. The maximum dollar contribution for 2011, for someone over the age of 50, is $22,000 which is four dollars more than his SS income. I said to my client, “I think someone is telling us something.”

I hypothesized, “Your salary is approximately $100,000 per year. You can collect $21,996 from Social Security without any penalties; therefore, your taxable income would be $121,996. However, only 85% of your Social Security benefits are taxable, so your taxable income is really $118,696.”

But wait a minute, he can contribute $22,000 to his 401(k) plan and get a deduction for the contribution. So, basically, he can sock away his Social Security payments into a retirement plan that will grow tax-deferred until he begins taking withdrawals.

And, let’s not forget about the company match of 3% which is $660. This does not come out of my client’s pocket; instead, it comes from the employer, but it goes into his account. So his annual contribution is $22,660. If he were to do this for five years, assuming a 6 percent return on the portfolio, the value of the account would be $158,060.

There’s one more wrinkle to this story. My client, like everyone else, must take Required Minimum Distributions from all of his qualified plans at age 70 1/2, except for one – his 401(k). A provision of the RMD rules say that if you are still working after age 70 1/2, and do not own more than 5% of the company, you are not required to take RMDs from the company retirement plan. You may continue making contributions and deferring the earnings in the plan until April 1 of the calendar year following the year in which you retire.

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 600 East Crescent Avenue, Upper Saddle River, 201-291-9000.


Chester W. Bielski

Chester W. Bielski, 70, of Pocono Lake, Pa., died unexpectedly on Sunday, Jan. 22, at home. He was the husband of Nancy (Starr) Bielski.

Born in Kearny, he was the son of Mary (Davis) Bielski and the late Chester M. Bielski. He received his masters from Rutgers University in 1978.

Chester was a police officer for the Kearny Police Department. He worked through the ranks to chief, and retired in 1995. A Navy veteran, he was a third class fire control technician and served on the U.S.S. DesMoines, U.S.S. Glacier, and the U.S.S. Denebola.

He was a member of St. Mark’s Church in Thornhurst, Pa., Benevolent Order of the Elks #754, and Moose Club in Danville, Pa. Chester was an avid hunter and fisherman.

In addition to his wife, Nancy, he is survived by two daughters, Linda Bielski of Lime, Conn., and Susan Moynihan and her husband, Timothy of Ocean Side, Calif.; two brothers, Robert Bielski and his wife, Mary Ann of Greendell and James Bielski and his wife Joan of Forked River; two grandchildren, Timothy Jacob Moynihan and Andrew Patrick Moynihan; mother-in-law, Arlene Starr; two nieces; one nephew; and a large extended family.

Arrangements were by Bolock Funeral Home in Cresco, Pa. A funeral Mass was held in St. Mark’s Church in Thornhurst, followed by burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to:Timothy Jacob and Andrew Patrick Moynihan College Education Fund, HC88, Box 655, Pocono Lake, Pa. 18347-9605.

Gregory Borkowski

Gregory Borkowski, 72, passed away at Clara Maas Hospital, in Belleville, on Jan.13.

Greg served in the U.S. Air Force with the Strategic Air Command during the Korean Conflict.

In his later years Greg drove for Harrison Cab in Harrison.

Greg was predeceased by his mother Josephine Borkowski, his father John and two brothers George and Edward Borkowski.

He leaves behind a brother Walter Borkowski and wife Catherine of Point Pleasant Beach; two aunts Stella Mikulicka and Irene Rockwell both of Spring Lake Heights; a nephew Thomas Borkowski; his wife Lori and two great nieces Taylor and Paige of Matawan, and a nephew Timothy Borkowski of Menlo Park.

A memorial service will be held at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, Harrison, on Feb. 4, at 11 a.m. Greg’s final resting place will be at General William Doyle Military Cemetery, Wrightstown, on a later date.

Nelson A. Coelho


Nelson A. Coelho, 23, of Kearny, died on Jan. 25 from injuries sustained from an automobile accident.

Arrangements were by the Wilfred Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny.

Nelson was a graduate of Kearny High School Class of 2006 and was currently attending West Virginia University majoring in psychology.

He is the son of Arthur and Maria Isabel Almeida Coelho; brother of Anthony and Jenny Coelho; maternal grandson of Antonio Costa Almeida and the late Maria Estela Almeida; paternal grandson of the late Manuel Coelho and Virginia Pereira; nephew of Carlos Almeida and his wife Nelly. Nelson is also survived by several aunts and uncles in Portugal.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Kearny High School Project Graduation Fund would be appreciated.

Nick W. Colanino

Nick W. Colanino died on Jan, 24 in St. Joseph Hospice in Wayne. He was 88.

Born in Newark, he lived in Kearny before moving to Wayne a year ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny with entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Nick was an inspector at Walter Kidde in Belleville; prior to that he was an executive vice president at ITT in Clifton. He served in the Army during World War II. He was a member of the Henrietta Benstead Center, Kearny.

Husband of the late Mary (Roio), he is survived by his son Edward and his wife Hannah, and two grandchildren Ken and Dan. He was predeceased by his sister Ina Albasi.

Eugene “Gene” Doherty Jr.

Eugene, “Gene” Doherty Jr., 48, of Seaside Heights, formerly of Harrison, died on Monday, Jan. 23.

Arrangements were by Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held in Holy Cross Church, Harrison.

For directions, information or to send condolences, please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Gene is survived by his daughter Jill, his parents Eugene and Mary Chup; his siblings Mrs. Ann Polukord and Frank; Gerry and Pam and Mrs. Pauline Soto and Anthony; his nieces and nephews Gary and Terry, Robyn, Ryan, Anthony, Jessica, Jenna, Kevin, Christopher, Holly, Shannen, Samantha, Christian and Luke; and is also survived by Joanne Turro and many aunts, uncles, cousins, back home.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Christopher Reeve Foundation, c/o the funeral home in memory of Eugene.

Barbara E. Egner

Mrs. Barbara E. Egner of Kearny died on Wednesday, Jan. 25, in the West Hudson Post Acute Care Center. She was 70 and a lifelong Kearny resident and a homemaker.

Funeral services were held privately.

Mrs. Egner was an active member of the Eagles Aerie # 2214 of Kearny for many years.

She is survived by her daughters, Valerae Pearn and Robin Vitale as well as her grandchildren, Derek Peltz, John Pearn and Hannah Vitale.

Abbie Johnson

Abbie (Mair) Johnson, 94, a long time resident of Kearny, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, Jan. 21, at The Springs at Lake Pointe Woods in Sarasota, Fla.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, followed by interment at Arlington Cemetery, Kearny.

Abbie was born in Dumbarton, Scotland, and came to Kearny as a 9-year-old. She left Kearny two years ago, moving to Florida to be closer to her daughter Roberta.

Mrs. Johnson was a graduate of Kearny High School. She worked for Western Electric for 45 years and was also a member of the Telephone Pioneers.

She is survived by her daughter Roberta and Louis Bevilacqua; grandchildren Charles and Erica Bevilacqua, James Bevilacqua and Connie Bacon, Robin Bevilacqua and great-grandchildren Nora and Abbie Bevilacqua and Emma Tremblay.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to a charity of your choice in her memory.

Charles F. Kishonis

Charles F. Kishonis, 92, died on Tuesday, Jan. 24, in the N.J. Veterans Memorial Home, Paramus.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral liturgy was offered at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, followed by entombment at Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.

Mr. Kishonis was born in New Philadelphia, Pa. He has lived in Kearny since 1969.

He was a Gunner’s Mate Third Class in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Charles was employed as a production mechanic for American Can Co. in Jersey City for 30 years retiring in 1975. He was a member of the Kearny Senior Citizens Club, Inc. and the St. Stephen’s Seniors.

Mr. Kishonis was the uncle of Diane (Katz) Coppola and her husband Anthony and their children Jessica and Alexa and the brother-in-law of Floyd and Ann Katz.

Baldomero Martinez

Baldomero Martinez died on Jan. 24 at the Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville. He was 66.

Born in Spain, he lived in Newark before moving to Kearny 38 years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, with entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Mr. Martinez was a longshoreman at Port Elizabeth in Newark and was a member of the International Longshoreman’s Association. Baldomero was a loving and dedicated family man.

Son of Rosario and the late Vicente, he is survived by his wife Maria Carmen Martinez, his daughter Christina and his sister and brother Oliva Cardona and Luis Martinez. In lieu of flowers kindly consider a donation to The Gilda Club. To leave online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

Olaf J. McLeish

Olaf J. McLeish died on Jan. 26 in St. Michael’s Hospital. He was 86. Born in Carnostie, Scotland, he lived in Kearny since 1942.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by private cremation.

Mr. McLeish was a member of the Scots Club, the Ulster Club, the Masonic Lodge in Scotland and Copestone Ophir Lodge in Kearny. He was a retired machinist.

Former husband of the late Bessie Nicol Dorney, he is survived by his children and their spouses June and Butch Marshal and Ian and Robin McLeish. Brother of Cynthia Taylor, he is also survived by his grandchildren Carrie and Elizabeth Buchanan and Chelsea and Cody McLeish.

In lieu of flowers kindly consider a donation to The American Heart association. To leave online condolence please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

Kenneth E. Russell

Kenneth E. Russell died in the home of his daughter on Jan. 26 after a courageous battle against cancer. He was 71. Ken grew up in Union City and moved to Kearny 48 years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was in Queen of Peace Church.

Kenny was then laid to rest alongside his two baby boys, Kevin and Jonathan in The St. Francis Church Yard Cemetery in Narrowsburg, N.Y.

Ken graduated from St. Michael’s Grammar and High in Union City and earned a degree in economics from Rutgers University. He also held a Series Seven License and Certificates in computers from the New School in New York City. He served in The United States Marine Corps.

He started his career as a runner on the floor and eventually owned a seat on The New York Stock Exchange. Ken worked for several investment firms on Wall Street, most notably becoming a partner at Loeb Rhodes and was vice president in charge of arbitrage for I.F.B. Corp. After retiring from Wall Street, he began to write bids for Johnston Communications.

Kenny, an Eagle Scout, was involved in scouting for most of his life. He was a cofounder of the Pioneer Boys of America and is the board’s current president. He loved the outdoors and ran canoe and camping trips for Operation Friendship. He recently completed the Delaware River Soujourn, having canoed from the start of the Delaware to Philadelphia. He was active with the C.Y.O. and ran the carnivals at Queen of Peace. He was past president of The West Hudson South Bergen Optimist Club and is a past State Lieutenant Governor. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and was most recently in his year of preparation for the Knights of Malta. Ken was trained in emergency disaster services with the Salvation Army and sat on its advisory board. He was on the Board of Directors of The Kearny Museum and the Hudson County Community College Foundation. He was a former board member of the YMCA. He was active with the General Philip Kearny Monument Committee and with St. Francis Church in Narrowsburg N.Y.

He is survived by his devoted wife Lillian (nee Kelly), his children and their spouses Noreen and Mark Wiggins, Paul and Karen Russell and Jason and Meriah Russell. He was the brother of Richard and the late Raymond; he is also survived by his cherished grandchildren Conor, Madison, Chloe, Emily, Shannon, Colleen, Miranda and Cordelia. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Salvation Army. To leave online condolence please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Jean E. Durkin

Jean E. Durkin, of Beachwood, formerly of Kearny, died on Jan. 29.

Arrangements are by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny. A funeral Mass will be officiated on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 10 a.m. at St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny. Interment is in Arlington Cemetery.

Mrs. Durkin was a secretary with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Newark, retiring after 25 years of service. Before that she was a Kearny crossing guard with her post at the corners of Elm Street and Stuyvesant Ave. After her retirement from Blue Cross & Blue Shield, she worked as a teacher’s aide at both Garfield and Washington Schools in Kearny.

She is the wife of the late Peter F. Durkin, Sr., Mother of Peter F. Jr. and James Durkin, Lynn (Bob) Sansone and Jean M. Durkin; sister of Muriel (Herb) Zack and the late Duncan MacPhail; grandmother of Pete Durkin, Becky (John) Spear, Mandy (Carl) Madsen, Donna (Alan Jr.) Masters, Andrea (Robert Jr.) Regan, Robert Sansone, Jr., Kyle, Haley and Faith Cook; greatgrandmother of Krystal, Cody, Gavin, Jon Kyle, Reilly, Alexandra, Jordan, Lila, Daniel, Mia, Gianna, Alan and Bobby.

In lieu of flowers, donation to the Salvation Army, 443 Chestnut St., Kearny, N.J. 07032 would be appreciated.

Robert Sullivan

Mr. Robert James Sullivan, 49, died suddenly on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Relatives and friends are invited to meet for the funeral liturgy at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 10:30 a.m. Cremation will be private. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.

Robert was born in the Bronx, N.Y. He lived in New York before moving to Kearny 17 years ago.

He was employed as an I.T. manager for Verizon in New York for the last 30 years. He played darts for Marty Gras in the Arlington Dart League.

Robert is survived by his wife Carol (Lauretta); his children Meagan Kathleen, Sean Michael and Lucas James Sullivan; step-son Giovanni Francesco Lauretta, his parents Raymond and Kathryn (Ludlow) Sullivan and his siblings Barbara Malabe, Bonnie Cirrincione and William Sullivan. He also leaves behind many nieces and nephews.

Carmen Sandle

Carmen (Grassman) Sandle, 93, died on Friday, Jan. 27, in the Sunrise Assisted Living at Wall.

A funeral Mass was held in St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, interment followed at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com

Carmen was born in North Arlington and lived in Kearny for over 40 years, before moving to Lakehurst. She lived in Wall Township for the last 15 years. Mrs. Sandle was a member of the St. Stephen’s Rosary Altar Society as well as a former volunteer in the St. Stephen’s School cafeteria.

She is survived by many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Michael Sandle in 1988.

Frances A. Sinibaldi

Frances A. Sinibaldi, 90, died on Jan. 20 peacefully at home.

Born in San Francisco, Calif., she served in both the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army as a communication technician. While serving in the Army, she met her husband, Michael Sinbaldi, and moved to New Jersey. After living in Newark a few years, she relocated to Kearny, where she raised her four children. She worked many years for Western Union and found time to serve as a Girl Scout leader.

Frances, a Gold Star member, is preceded in death by her son Michael Sinibaldi, who lost his life in the Vietnam war. Surviving are her daughters Carolyn Doerr, Linda Lopez and Nina Burke. She also leaves behind five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Services will be held in Delaware, where she lived for the past 26 years. She will be dearly missed.

Online Exclusive: Nutley Police Blotter

Nutley Police Blotter


Police went to a Hancox Ave. residence at about 1:50 a.m. where an individual was reportedly looking to harm himself and another occupant, both about age 50, but a police negotiator managed to calm him down. No weapons were involved and no charges were filed.

Jan. 27

At 1:58 a.m. police stopped a motor vehicle on Park Ave. after noticing its rear lights weren’t operational and then detected a strong odor of suspected marijuana. The driver, Victor Jiminez, 23, of Newark, was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia and received a motor vehicle summons before being released pending a court hearing.

Jan. 26

A Washington Ave. homeowner reported a burglary at 5:37 p.m.. The resident told police that a side door had been forced open and that a number of items had been taken from the home. Detectives are investigating.

Police assisted state Treasury Dept. agents in shutting down a Franklin Ave. gas station at 11:41 a.m.. The treasury agents took possession of the business and secured the property.

At 8:13 a.m., police mediated a dispute between two neighbors, one being upset with the other’s positioning a security camera (not yet operational) so that it focused directly on her home, invading her privacy. The owner of the camera agreed to relocate it.

Police responded to a complaint that someone was picking up recyclables from Nutley residents, other than the public works department. Police located the individual around 7:41 a.m. who told them that he was only collecting from private vendors.

Jan. 25

Relatives of a 79-year-old Nutley woman called police to report a scam around at 3:47 p.m.. They told police that the woman had received a call telling her that her grandson was in an accident in Peru and asked her to send money via Western Union, which she then did. The caller phoned back after the transaction to ask for an additional $2,800 but was told she couldn’t make another transaction the same date. It was then that a family member realized she’d been scammed and notified police.

Police pulled over a 2000 Nissan around 10:44 a.m. for a traffic stop on Union Ave. and found that the vehicle was unregistered. Police issued the driver a summons and impounded the vehicle.

At 2:26 a.m. police stopped a 2004 Saturn with a non-functioning tail light at the intersection of Union and Conover Aves. and learned that the vehicle was unregistered. Police issued a summons to the driver and impounded the car.

Jan. 24

Police were called to Nutley High School at 1:36 p.m. where a school employee told them someone had carved letters into their vehicle. Police are investigating.

Police searched the area around Yantacaw School after learning from a teacher that a 9-year-old girl on her way into school had been confronted by man believed to over age 50 who may have been power-walking and who asked the girl several questions but didn’t attempt to grab or harm the girl. Anyone with information that may help identify the man is asked to call Nutley Police at 973-284-4940. The initial incident was reported at 9:23 a.m.

At 1 a.m. police went to a Nutley home to investigate a report called into 911 that there was a hostage situation at the location. Police determined, however, that the alleged victim lived in Mt. Holly, was safe inside his home and had no knowledge of the call. Police are trying to learn how the call originated and, if they can identify the caller, they intend to charge the person with making a false report and creating a false public alarm. Police Director Alphonse Petracco and Police Chief John Holland said that such false reports are taken very seriously, particularly, when a phony distress call makes police unavailable to respond to a real emergency.

Jan. 23

Police responded at 12:51 a.m. to an activated alarm at the Old Canal Inn on E. Passaic Ave. where detectives discovered the front door had been smashed with a rock and a large-screen TV torn from its mount had been stolen. Based on investigation, police are seeking a man with dreadlocks driving a grey or silver Nissan Xtera. Anyone with information is asked to call Nutley Police at 973-284-4940.

Jan. 22

Police responded to an accident on High St. around 11:09 p.m. where they found Thomas Undegrove, 51, of Clifton, standing outside his vehicle. Undegrove was summonsed for DWI and released to his wife.

Jan. 21

At 8:28 p.m. police arrested Robert Pisarczyk, 41, of Clifton, on DWI charges.

A Hopper Ave. resident contacted police at 4:59 p.m. after reportedly being contacted by a U.S. military representative via the Internet and Skype with a request to go to the Ghanian Embassy in New York to pick up jewels and a large sum of money.

Police went to a Bloomfield Ave. residence around 1:21 p.m. where the homeowner showed them about nine paintball marks on the house. Police determined that the marks were made by a juvenile. Charges are pending.

Police were sent to Memorial Park at 10:19 a.m. to check a dispute between two people over a dog. One person had been hit in the face, accidentally, by a dog leash. Police advised both of their rights to sign complaints and issued a summons to the dog owner for having an unlicensed dog.

At 9:14 a.m. police impounded a snow-covered vehicle parked on the shoulder of Rt. 21. Police ticketed the vehicle for abandonment and secured it at their impound site pending release to the owner.

Jan. 20

Police went to a Bloomfield Ave. residence at 7:11 p.m. where the owner’s car had been “keyed” along its side. Police are investigating.

Police responded to a Franklin Ave. business around 4 p.m. where a food handler had accidentally cut his wrist with a knife. He was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Police and EMS went to a Washington Ave. auto repair garage around 12:20 p.m. where a tire had exploded, injuring a mechanic’s hand. The employee was transported to an area hospital for treatment.

Online Exclusive: Kearny Police Blotter

The Kearny Police Department aided their Harrison counterparts on Jan. 20th. At around 5:20 p.m., Officer Neil Nelson overheard broadcasts from the Harrison Police Department reporting a series of thefts in motor vehicles on the Kearny/Harrison border. Nelson then observed a man near some parked vehicles with a screwdriver in his hand. Upon seeing Nelson, the man slipped the screwdriver into his pocket. After conducting a field inquiry, the man blurted out, “I don’t got noting but a screw driver and I’m in computer school.”

The man volunteered he was 26-years-old but was unable to provide a date of birth. After Nelson was able to get enough information, he conducted a check for warrants, and the subject had three active warrants out for his arrest. A search of the man revealed a bag of suspected marijuana, a blunt cigar, and a screwdriver.

The man, 24-year-old David Castillo, of Kearny, was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. He was held pending pickup by other municipalities.

On the 22nd, Officer Pat Becker was dispatched to the gas station at Linden and Kearny Aves. on the report that a man was, “begging for alms,” to the point that the gas station attendant called the police because he was harassing customers. When Becker arrived on scene, the car the man had been in was gone, but got the description. A patrol of the surrounding area found a car fitting the description in a prohibited area at Seeley and Kearny Aves.  Becker approached the vehicle and questioned the driver, who admitted that he had been at the gas station. A check of the man’s identification revealed that he had a driver’s license number, but no license and that he was wanted by North Arlington on a $500 warrant. The 64-year-old North Arlington resident, Robert Clark, was arrested for the warrant and additionally charged with driving while suspended.

Later that afternoon, around 4 p.m., 2nd precinct patrol officers in south Kearny were alerted that there was a stolen tractor-trailer being operated within the area. Officers Giovanni Rodriguez and Frank West were supplied with the description of the 2012 Kenworth truck and eventually observed  the truck on Hackensack Ave. The truck was pulled over and confirmed stolen. The two men, 55-year-old Luis Berrios from Bayonne and 40-year-old Angel Dominguez from Union City were placed under arrest and charged with receiving stolen property.

In what became a busy afternoon for Kearny Police, Officer Pat Becker was sent to a dispute in the 700 block of Elm St. He arrived on scene and interviewed people in the area and compiled a description of the individual who fled the scene. A check of the surrounding area saw a man who fit the description and was stopped. The man admitted he had been involved in the fray and was placed under arrest. A search of the man found that he was wanted in Hawthorne and had a warrant for $15,000 from Bergen County. The individual, 58-year-old Kearny resident John Berry, was arrested for the simple assault and the two outstanding warrants.

On Jan. 23rd, officers received  a call from a frantic homeowner on Wilson Ave. stating that he had just had an encounter with an individual who had broken into his apartment about 1:40 p.m. Officer Jack Corbett responed to the scene and interviewed the individual. Corbett got a description of the suspect and broadcasted the information to responding units. One of those units, Det. Mike Gonzalez, confirmed there was a burglary and was fortunate enough to find video footage near the scene and gave a better description and the route that he took to escape. A wide perimeter was set up and a canvas of the area led to another residence on Wilson Ave. where Corbett and Gonzalez confronted an individual who fit the description. Corbett and Gonzalez confronted the individual in a hallway at the residence. After advising him of their reasons for being there and the evidence, he resisted violently and had to be forced to the floor to be handcuffed. 18-year-old Kearny resident Eric Wheeler was arrested for burglary and resisting arrest.

In the early morning of Jan. 25th, Sgt. John Becker was on patrol in the area of Kearny Ave. and Liberty St. when a citizen advised him that he saw individuals that he didn’t think belonged in the area. He drove to the area of the high school parking lot and placed the area under surveillance. It was then that Sgt. Becker saw three individuals breaking into a parked vehicle. Becker alerted headquarters and approached the individuals who began to flee the scene. Becker took a foot persuit and captured one of the individuals near the steps of the high school. Officers Thomas Floyd and Derek Hemphill responded to the area and took one of the individuals into custody. The third individual still remains at large. The vehicle was confirmed broken into and a screwdriver was found at the scene. Kearny Police arrested the two individuals, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old, both male residents of Newark, on possession of burglary tools, conspiracy to commit burglary, and criminal attempted theft of an auto. The men were released to their parents and guardians.

Later that day, Officer Cesar Negron was made aware of the situation and was patrolling the area of the 300 block of Forest St. Negron came on a vehicle that, based on his experience patrolling through the area, was probably stolen. Further observation of the vehicle found materials inside the vehicle indicative of theft and his follow up investigation concluded that suspicion. A look up of the car showed that the car had just been reported stolen in Newark. The items were recovered and are going to be used to attempt to link the individuals from earlier in the morning to this car. The investigation is still ongoing.

Also on the 25th, Officer Jay Ward responded to the high school on a report that several students had been accosted, assaulted, and robbed upon dismissal. After conversing with individuals who had been compromised, he obtained a description of the individuals, anywhere between four and six in number. Patrol units flooded the area. Officer Chris Medina, who was off duty but was monitoring the radio observed and intercepted two individuals fleeing Davis Ave. Detectives Mike Gonzalez and Ray Lopes responded as backup. The two individuals made statements indicating that they were in the area, but had no involvement and were willing to help. Based on the information they provided, hey narrowed their focus, got names of the indiiduals, and ultimately charged three individuals. A further follow up conducted by the Detectives and Detective Sgt. John View  with the assistance of OfficersPaul Bershefski and Steve Hroncich led hem to Nwark and found an adult who is believed to be the ring leader. A 20-year-old Newark resident who had a history of robbery could possibly be charged with the actual robbery. Ultimately, four Newark residents, two 14-year-olds, a 15-year-old, and a 16-year-old, were all charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.

Finally, around 2:30 a.m., a woman as arguing with a boyfriend on her cell phone while driving. The argument became so heated that the female struck several parked vehicles and overturned her vehicle. Officers Mike Santucci and Angelo Palagano responded to the scene to find the car overturned. The female had crawled out of the vehicle and had been unsteady at her feel. Officers smelt the odor of alcohol. After interviewing the woman, she admitted that she was traveling on Ivy St. while talking on her cell phone and lost control, swerved into and stuck several parked vehicles and had flipped over. The woman admitted she had been drinking in Newark prior to the incident. She was offered medical attention, but ultimately declined. The owners of the three struck vehicles were notified and the female was placed under arrest. The female, 30-year-old Newark resident Jessica Moreno, was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, talking on the cell phone while operating a vehicle, and failing to submit to a breath test.


– Anthony J. Machcinski

Aiming to be ‘safe at home,’ town seeking recreation aid

Photos by Anthony J. Machcinski/ A new playing surface may be in store for Veteran’s Field.


By Ron Leir

KEARNY – It’s a tie game, runner on second. The batter singles to right and the runner legs it to third, ready to dash home.

But as he rounds the base, his cleat catches in a hole along the baseline and he trips.

An unfortunate scenario, indeed, but one that’s happened more than once at the Little League East field at Kearny’s Gunnel Oval sports complex off Schuyler Ave.

Town officials are hoping to remedy that pitfall – and others – by installing synthetic turf there – and at Veterans Field off Belgrove Drive – if they can manage to finance it.

To that end, the Town Council voted Jan. 10 to apply for state Green Acres matching grants and for Hudson County Open Space funding to facilitate various recreation improvements.

Mayor Alberto Santos said that Neglia Engineering is now preparing an estimate for the turfing of Little League East field and building a track around the center portion of the Oval to submit to Green Acres by next month.

“We expect both of those projects to be in the range of our Harvey Field turf project, which was around $800,000,” Santos said.

If Green Acres agrees to fund the projects, Kearny would have to provide a 50% “match” of the amount funded and repay the state share at a low cost interest rate of probably below 2%, Santos said.

At the same time, Santos said, Kearny will seek $300,000 from the county’s Open Space trust fund to supplement municipal funds already budgeted for these projects: turfi ng of a multi-purpose playing surface at Veterans Field, completion of the Brighton Ave. playground and creation of an outdoor reading garden at the Public Library on Kearny Ave.

Replacing the grass and dirt Little League East and Veterans Field with synthetic turf should very much improve the lay of the land, said Ralph Cattafi , the town’s assistant recreation superintendent.

“It’s ideal,” Cattafi said, “because it cuts the cost of maintenance and it gives you a safer playing surface – it takes away the bad hops.”

No question about it, agreed Councilman Michael Landy, who chairs the council recreation committee. “Once you go turf, maintenance becomes non-existent.”

Photo by Anthony Machcinski/ Little League East fi eld will get turfed if Kearny can line up the fi nancing needed for the job.


As things now stand, Landy said, Veterans Field “gets beat up during football season” and also gets heavy use during the spring when baseball and girls’ softball take over. The fi elds are shared, to some extent, with the Board of Education. Several hundred kids participate year-round, he said.

Currently, the town recreation program operates two turf fields, both for soccer, at Harvey Field, at Schuyler and Bergen Aves., and at Futsal Field on Passaic Ave., Landy said.

“That would be a dream if you could turf everything,” he said. “If we could take care of one fi eld at a time, that would be a tremendous boon. As a high school coach, I would say you get fewer injuries on turf because it’s a flatter surface, you don’t have to worry about bumps or holes or the grass wearing out.”

“Plus it can rain all day and you can still play because there’s no accumulation of water,” Landy said. “They build the drainage underneath, with a layer of gravel above that, and sand over that. On the surface, you’re actually playing on pieces of rubber inside synthetic grass material.”

It can’t happen too soon for Little League coach Dan Elliott, whose team plays at the Oval’s East field.

“That field is dangerous,” Elliott said. “The way the grass and dirt is laid out, it’s not even – there are holes and patches on the edge of the infield grass – and the ball takes bad hops. Last season, a 9-year-old kid playing second base got hit under the eye (by a batted ball). Another kid rounding third twisted his ankle when his foot caught in a trench. The outfi eld grass has patches and little holes where kids can trip.”

Turf would certainly help, Elliott said. “I have played adult baseball on a turf fi eld and it’s like playing on a carpet. And my son, who’s on a baseball travel team, plays on a turf fi eld in Jersey City and he loves it.”

In the meantime, though, Elliott hopes something can be done to make the East fi eld safer. “This is my fourth year coaching on that fi eld and, since I started, it’s been the same (condition).”

Of course, even if Kearny gets the money it’s seeking, it won’t happen overnight.

“By the time the money gets awarded and the plans get approved and the contractor starts working, you’re lucky if you can do something by summer or fall,” Landy said. So it’s almost certain the work will cut into playing time at the Oval and Veterans Field, he said.

“We’ve got to arrange the schedule so the impact will be minimal,” Landy said.

Town mourns fireman

Photo courtesy of the Tortorello Family/ Tortorello in his firefighters uniform. Tortorello’s heart and passion was in the fire department.


By Anthony J. Machcinski

The Town of Kearny lost one of its fi nest members when Firefighter Michael Tortorello passed away Jan. 16 at the age of 40.

Tortorello, who lived in Kearny before moving to Lyndhurst 12 years ago, was with the Kearny Fire Dept. for 15 years before retiring last year due to illness. Well respected and loved by his peers, Tortorella was remembered as a hard worker.

“He was a hard working, dedicated, involved individual within the Fire Department whose heart and extra-curriculars (activities) were in the Fire Department,” said Capt. Daren Elliot. “I worked with him directly. He was always one of the first to grab a hose. He was a hard working and eager man.”

While Tortorello was a hard worker, his jovial attitude made working alongside him a fun time.

“He was a lot of fun around the firehouse,” Elliot explained. “He was an overall good guy.”

Fire Chief Steve Dyl recalled Tortorello’s fun-loving nature by telling a story about an annual fi shing trip Tortorello ran for the late Firefighter Kenny Kaufman.

“In 2009, my son won the pot for catching the biggest fish,” Dyl recalled. “Mike was so enthused that my son won it. He wanted to make a big deal of it and even got a trophy made. He kidded around a lot on who was going to get the money, me or my son. He made a point to give it to my son.”

Tortorello’s passion for children extended into his own life. He took great pride in his own kids, Michael, Alexa, and Gina.

“He talked about his kids a lot,” Elliot said. “He was so shocked when he found out he was having twins. He was talking about his kids and how much he loved being a father.”

Both on and off –duty firefighters were able to attend the funeral, which took place on Jan. 19. Dyl wanted to extend his thanks to the fi re departments from North Arlington, East Newark, Harrison and Jersey City for their overlap coverage which allowed the Kearny Fire Department to attend the ceremony. He also wanted to thank the Kearny Police Department for providing an honor guard, escort and the arrangements made throughout town.

Be the star of your story; put yourself on tape

By Jeff Bahr

Bloomfield resident Gene Nichols is teaming up with the Bloomfield Public Library in an effort to help preserve individual family histories. Nichols, a retired journalist and public relations executive, has offered to videotape community members, 65 and older, as they recount fond memories and major milestones in their lives.

Nichols says that he nursed the idea for some time. It stems from a yearning to know more about his father’s history. The little that he does know, however, is quite interesting.

Nichols’ dad, Russian military cadet Vladimir Yegorev jumped ship and entered America in 1917 while serving as a hand on a car go vessel. To say that he didn’t have much choice in the matter is an understatement. At the time, the Bolshevik Revolution was sweeping through Russia. After shipmates told Yegorev that the “Bolsheviks have probably murdered your family,” the young seaman realized how foolhardy it would be to return to his home country. When his ship docked in New Orleans, Yegorev made his bid for a new life in America and hopped off.

At first, Yegorev lived under an alias, but he eventually became naturalized under the name of Walter Nichols. From that point forward details about Nichols’ life turn somewhat sketchy, save for son Gene’s memory that his dad was a “very loving man.”

With a gnawing hunger to know more about his father acting as impetus, Nichols toyed with the idea of recording people’s history for posterity – but the project didn’t get off the ground until a pivotal event set Nichols’ creative wheels into motion.

Alfonso Queresimo, an Italian-American described by Nichols as the “Mr. Fix- It” of his neighborhood, was known not only as a giving person and “all around great guy” to Nichols and fellow neighbors, but as a man who could cook up some mean Italian dishes when he put his mind to it. Working as a chemist for the pharmaceutical giant Hoffman LaRoche, Queresimo would incorporate his natural affinity for combining disparate elements with his grandfather’s original Italian recipes. The final result was nothing short of “fabulous,” explained Nichols with reverence in his voice.

A modest man by Nichols’ account, Queresimo never spoke much about his own background. Only after he died did Nichols learn that he held a Ph.D in chemistry from Columbia University. He pondered how many other details he and others would miss out on when their loved ones were gone. This thought finally prompted Nichols to move forward with his idea.

Piggybacking off of the popular National Public Radio show StoryCorps – a series that recalls an episode in an individual’s life – Nichols decided to make his biographic effort even more comprehensive. With his videos, Nichols hopes to feature “many chapters from a person’s life” starting with the earliest events recalled by an individual and carrying through to the present day.

With a needed assist from Bloomfield Public Library Director Catherine Wolverton, and Lisa Cohn, who has volunteered her time to help out with online duties, Nichols’ brainchild is primed and ready to go.

In order to gather the rich moments that make up a person’s life, Nichols will conduct on-camera interviews with each participant, which he’ll then format, edit and store on a DVD. “If anyone is unhappy with the results, the material will be discarded,” says Nichols to help assuage fears of the camera-shy. If people like it, Nichols will then instruct them how to upload their personal story to a website that, with proper access codes, can be viewed by friends and family alike. Samples of the questions that Nichols will ask, as well as a video explaining the process can be viewed in advance on his website.

Probative questions including one’s education and school background, influential teachers, enduring friendships, circumstances leading to marriage, defining moments, etc., get down to the nitty-gritty of each person’s unique story. “The interview will mean something different to everyone,” said Nichols when asked about the impact of his new service.

Life StoryCam sessions are being conducted free of charge for anyone age 65 and over. They are currently available by appointment only. To learn more and/ or to arrange an interview, please contact Gene Nichols at 347-560-8056 or visit www.lifestorycam.com.

The Bloomfield Public Library is located at 90 Broad St., Bloomfield. For more information on this event or upcoming programs please call 973-566-6200 x 502. For notification of upcoming programs, visit the library’s Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. To receive notices of upcoming events directly in your email inbox, visit www.bplnj.org, and join the library’s Google group.

Call him ‘boss’ for next 3 months

Photo courtesy NJ Hometown/ Commissioner Mauro Tucci, shown here announcing his candidacy for reelection as township commissioner, has been picked as interim mayor of Nutley.


By Ron Leir 


The Nutley governing body has chosen Commissioner Mauro Tucci as interim mayor to serve until the May municipal election when a permanent chief executive will be picked from among the winners of the election.

Tucci, who will continue his duties as head of the Department of Parks & Public Property while he occupies the mayor’s seat, was the beneficiary of a 3-1 vote of the governing body.

Public Works Commissioner Dr. Joseph Scarpelli, Public Safety Commissioner Alphonse Petracco and Tucci voted for the appointment while Revenue & Finance Commissioner Tom Evans opposed it and Mayor Joanne Cocchiola abstained.

Township Attorney Kevin Harkins said that Tucci will take over as mayor Jan. 31, the same day that Cocchiola is stepping down to become the municipal court judge. Tucci will receive no additional salary, Harkins said.

Evans said that under the Municipal Vacancy Law of 1979, “it is optional” to appoint a commissioner as mayor but questioned the need for the governing body to rush to fill the mayor’s seat now.

“In about 90 days, the people of Nutley will decide who they want to be their commissioners and from that process we will know who our next mayor will be,” Evans said. “I am confident that a vacancy in the mayor’s office would not interfere with this government’s ability to handle any matter that could arise in the next 90 days.”

In a phone interview, Scarpelli, who introduced the appointment resolution, said he proposed Tucci because, “when we choose a mayor, we should look to the advice of the people and we should give the position to the highest vote-getter. In the last (municipal) election, that person was Commissioner Tucci.”

There is historical precedent for the Township Commission to vote for one of its own as interim mayor, Scarpelli said, as evidenced by “the last time we had a mayoral vacancy in 1935, in a similar situation to this one, when the mayor was in his last year and the vacancy occurred maybe five, six months before the scheduled election.”

Also, Scarpelli said, “there is a need to appoint a mayor from a good government aspect” – someone who will take a leadership role on behalf of the community – as, for example, in the wake of last October’s storm that caused “downed wires, fallen trees” and the mayor declared an emergency situation.


Photo courtesy NJ Hometown/ New Jersey Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, who now lives in Nutley, endorsed Mauro Tucci for re-election to the Township Commission.

“We need to appoint a mayor,” Scarpelli said. “The people deserve it and the law provides for us to do it.”

Tucci, who is completing his third 4-year term on the commission, said in a phone interview that he felt it was a “tremendous honor” to be placed in the mayoralty, even for a temporary term. He said Nutley has been fortunate to have had a tradition of excellent municipal leaders “and I’m very pleased to even be mentioned with that group.”

Tucci pledged to “work hard for our people. We’re going to do our darndest to control the tax rate. We need to start work on our 2012 budget and, with our state aid having been cut back this year, we’ll be lobbying our state legislators to see if we can get the formula corrected.”

Tucci said that he and his fellow commissioners would be monitoring pending development projects on Kingsland Ave., River Road and E. Centre St. to ensure that the integrity of the Nutley’s small town character isn’t adversely impacted.

Cocchiola said she abstained because she didn’t want to put herself in a possible conflict of interest position.

Cocchiola said the Walsh Act, under which Nutley was formed, does allow for the revenue and finance commissioner to be appointed mayor in the event of a vacancy. But, she added, “In this form of government, three votes means a majority, whatever change you want to make.”

In any event, Cocchiola added, “I wish Commissioner Tucci the best of luck. He’s certainly qualified for the position. I don’t have any doubt the township is in good hands.”

Aside from Cocchiola, all four incumbents are seeking re-election to the commission in May. Five other residents have picked up petitions to run. They are: Board of Education President Ken Reilly, Board of Education member Steve Rogers, former Assemblyman Fred Scalera, retired Fire Capt. Jon Cafone and Sam Fleitell, a local jewelry store owner.

In other business, the commissioners voted to introduce ordinances calling for the creation of an Historic Preservation Committee and providing for the designation and regulation of historic landmarks; changes to the law regulating peddlers and solicitors; and a renewal of the rent control law for another year.

Cocchiola said the proposed Historic Preservation Committee – which has been recommended by the township’s master plan – would look to identify local buildings for landmark status, subject to Planning Board approval.

“But if a (property) owner opted not to be placed on any landmark list, it would not be a mandatory thing,” the mayor added.

The committee would have five members and two alternates, all to be appointed by the mayor with the consent of the governing body.

“The committee would probably start with the naming of those historical buildings we already have designated on state or federal registers,” Cocchiola said, “and then maybe do studies of other structures. … I look at it as an educational and consultative resource.”

The committee would be empowered to issue “certificates of appropriateness” for work performed on an historic landmark that would change the exterior physical appearance, for demolition work, for “relocation of a principal or accessory structure,” or for “any addition or new construction of a principal or accessory structure.”

Applicants are entitled to a public hearing held by the committee, subject to the payment of a $50 fee by the applicant. Appeals may be made to the Planning Board.

Under the ordinance, the township construction official would be required to create a “photographic or video recording” of every historic landmark.

“This ordinance is something I’d committed to doing in this mayoral term and we’ve got it in under the gun,” Cocchiola said.

The ordinance is slated for a public hearing by the Township Commission on Feb. 7.

The proposed amendments to the peddler ordinance, introduced by Commissioner Petracco, would raise the peddler/ solicitor permit application fee, from the current $25 to $150, but would extend the permit’s duration, from 60 days to one year. The amended ordinance would also require that vendors wishing to participate in the township’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Memorial Day Parade, Fourth of July Ceremony and any other municipal event to pay a $100 fee per event.

Additionally, the amended ordinance would allow the township commissioners to restrict mobile food operations to “certain occasions” that the commissioners designate. But the law’s new wording goes on to say that, “This section shall not be intended to exclude frozen dessert trucks from the Township of Nutley.”

Finally, the revised ordinance would eliminate the requirement that peddler/solicitor applicants submit two passport- sized photos with their applications.

Bar could face 6-month shutdown

Photo by Anthony Machcinski/ Ambatenita’s could end up shut for half a year.


By Ron Leir 


A local tavern that has incurred the borough’s wrath for a series of past indiscretions may have shot itself in the foot.

Last November East Newark imposed a one-year closing of the Ambatenita Bar & Restaurant on N. Third St. for various liquor law infractions but the licensee appealed to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

So the borough and the licensee ended up with a settlement agreement that forced the bar to close for 10 days and, thereafter, put it on a sort of probation.

Under the agreement, which was signed Dec. 14, 2011, the licensee was bound to adhere to a list of conditions required by the borough through June 30, 2012, and if it failed to satisfy any one of those conditions, the borough had the right to close the place for six months.

Well, according to the borough, it didn’t take long for the licensee to break the agreement.

Borough Attorney Neil Marotta said that on Sunday, Jan. 8, a borough police offi cer who visited the bar that evening found that it was open past the designated 10 p.m. closing time.

Because the bar stayed open later than the consent order (settlement agreement) permitted, Marotta said, the licensee is charged with breaching the order.

Marotta said the borough has served notice of the alleged violation of the agreement on the licensee and the Borough Council will conduct a public hearing on the charge on Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the second-fl oor assembly chambers at Borough Hall, 34 Sherman Ave.

Marotta said that if the licensee is found guilty of the charge, the bar is “subject to a six-month suspension of the license,” as provided by the consent order, but added that, ultimately, it’s up to the Borough Council to determine the penalty.

Asked for more details, Borough Police Chief Ken Sheehan said that the police report documenting the incident indicated that the Police Department received a call from a resident alleging that the bar was continuing to serve customers after the mandated 10 p.m. closing.

When a police officer went to the bar at 10:20 p.m. to check, the offi cer “found that patrons were still in the establishment,” Sheehan said.

Newark attorney Fausto Simoes, listed as representing Ambatenita’s, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Borough officials said they were prompted to impose special conditions on the bar in response to neighbors’ quality of life complaints about loud noise and music coming from inside, disruptive patrons hanging outside and urinating in an alley next to the bar, and fights in the bar that sometimes spilled outside into the neighborhood.

The borough instructed the bar owner to close at 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and to “turn the music down at 9 p.m.” on those days.

On weekends, the owner was told to tone down the music at midnight.

The bar also had to install a security light outside the front entrance and put in a second light with motion detector in the alleyway.

It also was required to hire a bouncer to prevent customers from hanging outside.

The borough put limits on the number of patrons allowed outside. And the owner had to pay the state a fi ne in lieu of a 30- day license suspension.

Over the limit, under arrest

A rash of D.W.I.’s took place in Kearny this week as Kearny Police were left to clean up the mess.

On Saturday, Jan. 14, Sgt. John Becker was on patrol on Passaic Ave. near Riverview Court at about 1:15 a.m. when he observed a vehicle driving erratically, then pull into the town parking lot on Passaic Ave. Knowing that the location has featured prior illegal activity, Becker approached the vehicle from the passenger side where he smelt the odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle. With three individuals in the vehicle, Officers Ben Wuelfing and Derek Hemphill came as backup. Sgt. Becker observed the front seat passenger smoking a small “blunt”, which he tried to drop on the floor after Becker illuminated the object. Officer Wuelfing conducted a field sobriety test. The driver, 25-year-old Marlin Garcia of Kearny, was placed under arrest and charged with driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to an alcohol test, possession of a controlled substance within a motor vehicle, and failing to change the address on his driver’s license. The other two passengers, 23-year-old Kearny residents Brian Matos and Eugene Fernandez, were charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The DWI rash continued into the morning of the 15th when officers Chris Medina and Frank West were patrolling the area of Kearny and Bergan Aves. and observed a vehicle driving northbound on Kearny Ave. with a man driving hunched over at the steering wheel. After almost hitting several parked cars, the officers stopped him in the area of Garfield and Kearny Aves. The man seemed startled and didn’t stop for the lights, only pulling over after the officers put their sirens on. Officers approached the vehicle and noticed a strong smell of alcohol. When asked where he lived, the man said Virginia and that he was just on his way home. After performing field sobriety tests and an I.D. check, the man, 52-year-old Kearny resident Raul Sevillano was placed under arrest. He was charged with driving with an obstructed view, driving while intoxicated, careless driving, and driving with a suspended registration.

Just two hours later at about 4 a.m., Sgt. Becker was traveling on Davis Ave. and observed a silver vehicle traveling at a very high rate of speed westbound on Oakwood Ave. The vehicle traveled west on Oakwood Ave, then turned onto Belgrove Drive, hitting a sign in the process. The vehicle was pulled over at Belgrove Drive and Pedan Terrace. When he approached the vehicle, Becker could smell the odor of both alcohol and burnt marijuana. Immediately upon questioning the driver, the male admitted that he only had a couple of beers. The driver was put through field sobriety tests and could barely stand or complete the most routine questions. A search of the area found an uncovered Heineken bottle. The man, 21-year-old Newark resident Ruy Horta, was placed under arrest and charged with careless driving, operating a vehicle with an open container, driving while intoxicated, and not having documents in possession.

On the evening of the 16th around 7 p.m., Officer Mike Andrews observed a suspicious vehicle on Clinton Ave. Officer Frank West responded to the scene as backup. Andrews approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and question the occupants. After detecting the odor of burnt marijuana, the driver admitted that the hand-rolled marijuana cigar belonged to him and him only. The driver, 19-year-old Kearny resident Jorge Borreto was taken from the car and placed under arrest. He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

Later that evening, around 11:30 p.m., patrol units were alerted that a hit and run occurred near Columbia Ave. and Devon St. A red vehicle was seen leaving the scene and turning onto Elm St. Officers Chris Medina and Ben Wuelfing responded to the scene to conduct an investigation while other units checked the surrounding area for the vehicle. Sgt. Mike O’Neill advised that he had the vehicle in sight, driving westbound on Midland Ave. and stopped the vehicle. The car appeared to be damaged and the driver appeared to be intoxicated. After a field sobriety test, the man was placed under arrest. Raymond Garbiras, a 59-year-old Kearny resident, was charged with driving while intoxicated, failing to exhibit registration, careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to report an accident, and refusal to submit to an alcohol test.

The next day, on the 17th, Officer Neil Nelson was on patrol about 4 p.m. behind a vehicle on Clark St. that was being operated very slowly and erratically. From what Nelson could see, the individuals in the vehicle were looking at parked cars. After attempting to initiate a vehicle stop, the driver ignored his attempts and continued down Clark St. to Marshall St., finally stopping in the Shop Rite parking lot. After approaching the vehicle on foot, the driver put the vehicle in reverse and backed into the patrol car. Not knowing if the individuals were going to flee, Nelson summoned backup. This brought Sgt. Charles Smith and Officers Mike Andrews, Pete Jahera, and Sean Kelly to his aid. The officers began to conduct a field inquiry, to which the driver identified himself as three different people with three different dates of birth. He was placed under arrest for hindering apprehension. Nelson conducted a search of the person and found a waxed drug fold in his pocket, generally used to hold drugs. A cursory search by Nelson revealed two open beer bottles on the front seat and that the registration to the vehicle had expired in March. The passenger was interviewed by Kelly and found to have a warrant by the Ocean County Sheriffs Office and placed under arrest. The driver was asked why he lied to Officer Nelson and replied that his name was hard to spell and he couldn’t give the correct spelling. The driver, 56-year-old East Newark resident Mieczyslaw Kurasz was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia for the wax fold, failing to produce documents, driving an unregistered vehicle, careless driving and operating a vehicle in possession of an open alcohol container. The passenger, 53-year-old Dennis Wetmore of Harrison, was handed over to the Ocean County Sheriffs Dept.

On Jan. 19th around 4:30 p.m., patrol units were called to the area of Belgrove Drive and Woodland Ave. On Woodland Ave, Officer Jose Resua found that a man had rammed his vehicle into a parked car and was attempting to push the other vehicle. After placing his patrol car behind the perpetrator’s vehicle, Resua approached the car and observed a male in the driver’s seat bleeding from the head and face. After climbing through the window of the car and shutting the car off, Resua attempted to take the driver from the seat, but he initially resisted. Officer Sean Kelly arrived as backup and the two officers were able to arrest the man. The driver appeared to be so intoxicated that he was unable to perform any of the field sobriety tests and was taken to headquarters for treatment. The man, 62-year-old Manuel Sarniento of Lyndhurst was charged with reckless driving and driving while intoxicated.

Finally, just before midnight on the 19th, Officers Ben Wuelfing and Joe Martin responded to the area of Devon Terrace just off Schuyler Ave. on a report of a motor vehicle accident. The officers arrived on scene to find a red Dodge that had apparently been struck by another vehicle. Bystanders pointed the officers in the direction of a Pontiac at the end of the road. They found that the airbag had been deployed and the car was wedged between two vehicles. While waiting for EMS, the driver told them that she did not want to climb out of the vehicle while it was in that position. During an interview, police observed an empty can between the driver’s door and the seat. Once free, the woman was taken to headquarters. Yandra Beato, a 35-year-old Kearny female, was charged with operating under the influence, careless driving, and possessing an open container of alcohol while operating a vehicle.