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Easing the way over

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent LYNDHURST – State officials are still pondering what to do about the century-old DeJessa Bridge which links Lyndhurst and Nutley across the Passaic River but, in the meantime, Bergen County has done its part to try and relieve congestion there. At the urging […]

Last chance to sound off on dog park

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent KEARNY –  The town is preparing to let the dogs out but first it wants the owners in. For a public meeting, that is, on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m., in the second floor Town Council chambers at Town Hall […]

Ice storm took its toll on local roads

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  By the time you read this, we all may be trapped inside by a blizzard — if the current weather forecasts are correct. But it doesn’t necessarily take heavy snow to create havoc. Sometimes, a coating of ice is sufficient. […]


Bracing for funding shift

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  For the past 37 years, the Kearny nonprofit Pathways to Independence Inc. has helped those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live independently in their communities. Currently, from its 3-level, 18,000 square foot headquarters at Kingsland and Bergen Aves., it offers on-site […]


A new ‘acquisition’

Tim Bixler, of The Bixler Group Real Estate and Insurance and his wife, Charissa Bixler, welcomed their daughter, Addison Paige Bixler, on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 1:20 p.m. Big brother Brayden is beyond excited. Only a few more years until […]


Maroon Raiders shock top-ranked Seton Hall in GNT semifinals, 9-1

Face Montclair in tourney title game Sunday at Bears & Eagles Riverfront


Photo by Jim Hague/ Nutley pitcher Joe Feraco (above) pitched a shutout against Cedar Grove to get his Maroon Raiders teammates to the Greater Newark Tournament semifinals; then Kevin Garcia pitched a five-hitter to defeat the state’s top team, Seton Hall Prep, in the semis. Nutley faces Montclair for the GNT championship game Sunday at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium.

By Jim Hague

After the Nutley High School baseball team shut out Cedar Grove last week to advance to the Greater Newark Tournament semifinals, Maroon Raiders head coach Bob Harbison didn’t want to focus too much on taking on the state’s No. 1 team, Seton Hall Prep, in the semifinals.

“We lost to them, 5-4, at their place earlier in the year,” Harbison said. “They scored two in the bottom of the sixth to beat us. We were right there with them. We knew we could play with them.”

So Harbison had a little talk with his team before facing the 18-1 Pirates at Doc Goeltz Field in Verona on Saturday morning.

“We had to get past that Seton Hall mystique,” Harbison said. “We couldn’t get caught up in that No. 1 ranking. We couldn’t worry about that. We just had to go out and play. I told them to be aggressive at the plate, to hit the ball and hit it hard. If we did that, we could take the game over. I absolutely thought we could win the game.”

Sure enough, Harbison’s words hit home, because the Maroon Raiders jumped out to three runs in the first inning and rode the incredible pitching of junior Kevin Garcia en route to an impressive 9-1 win over the former top team in all of New Jersey.

The win was the seventh straight for the Maroon Raiders, who improved to 13-7 overall. The win enabled the Maroon Raiders to advance to the GNT title game against Montclair Sunday at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark, with first pitch slated for 5:30 p.m.

It marks the first time the Maroon Raiders will play for the GNT title since 2009, when they lost to Livingston in the title game. Nutley last won the tourney in 2004, when they defeated Seton Hall Prep.

Garcia was masterful, pitching a five-hitter into the seventh inning, striking out five and walking two. It was the second straight solid pitching outing the Maroon Raiders received in the GNT. Joe Feraco pitched a shutout against Cedar Grove in the quarterfinals last Wednesday.

The Maroon Raiders gave Garcia all the runs he would need in the first inning, when sophomore catcher Austin Kunz lined a two-run single and Phil Condito scored a run on alert base running.

The rest was all Garcia.

“We got our three runs and the rest was up to Garcia,” Harbison said. “Garcia wasn’t great that day the first time we played Seton Hall. But this time, he threw blanks. He couldn’t be any better than he was. He was lights out. He’s our guy. That’s how we’re going to go. But we’re getting very good pitching lately. Feraco is a groundball pitcher and the kids make plays behind him. It’s working out well.”

It’s a remarkable turnaround for a program that struggled mightily a year ago, winning just 11 games.

“We were a mess last year,” Harbison admitted.

Now, the returning Maroon Raiders are a year older and more experienced and the younger ones, four sophomores who play in the starting lineup, are no longer wet behind the ears.

“I tell you what,” Harbison said. “I thought we had a good team. The players were good. The scrimmages we had were good. I liked the way the kids handled themselves through adversity. We have four sophomore starters who are playing well and our seniors are starting to play well now.”

One of the key seniors is shortstop Nick Gariano, who continues to make solid plays in the field.

“The sophomores are good players, but they’re just sophomores,” Harbison said. “We needed players like Gariano to step up and be a leader. He’s made some plays that have been just amazing.”

The Maroon Raiders will face Montclair, which hasn’t reached the GNT finals since 1969 and hasn’t won since 1963. Montclair defeated Millburn, 4-2, in the other semifi – nal Saturday.

It would have been nice for Harbison if Millburn had won, considering that Millburn is coached by Harbison’s college roommate and close friend Brian Chapman.

“I was hoping for that,” said Harbison, who will face Millburn in a regular season game this week.

The Maroon Raiders have games against Bloomfield, Millburn and Belleville scheduled for this week prior to playing for the GNT championship on Sunday.

“The kids were pretty excited about the win,” Harbison said. “But now that we have the win, we have to roll back a little with the excitement, because we have other games to contend with this week.”

Harbison had confidence that his team could beat Seton Hall, but never expected the lopsided final score.

“The game went as a surprise, but not the fact that we won,” Harbison said. “We have been playing well. We’ve won a bunch of games in a row.”

However, to go from an 11-win team to one that has a chance to win the state’s eldest and most prestigious tourney in a span of a year is truly astounding.

“We had no reason to believe we’d be where we’re at,” Harbison said. “Not after last year. To get to the county championship game and get here by beating the No. 1 team in the state, it’s very impressive.

”The Maroon Raiders are one win away from the top spot in Essex County for the first time in eight years. That alone says it all. Beating the top team in the state to get there is truly astounding.

Breakthrough season for Vikings track team

Photo by Jim Hague./ The North Arlington boys’ track and field team has opened eyes this spring, especially after a solid second place finish at the NJIC Meadowlands A Division championships last week. Posing, from l., are: assistant coach John Zukatus, Travis Orovio, Michael Clifford, Tyler Krychkowski, Jon Gonzalez and head coach Joe Cioffi.


By Jim Hague

When Joe Cioffi took over as the head boys’ track and field coach at North Arlington High School last year, he knew he wasn’t exactly inheriting a dominant program.

“I had been told that by a bunch of people,” Cioffi said. “Any time you get hired into a new program, it’s a challenge. When I met the kids, they all decided that they wanted to step it up, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a rebuilding process. After speaking with them for the first time, I knew what they wanted to do and I was encouraged.”

The Vikings experienced some growing pains last year, but when the 2012 spring season was set to begin, Cioffi knew that he had a lot of promise

“We have some seniors who were determined to put the program back on the map,” Cioffi said.

“At the beginning of the season, I felt pretty good about our chances.”

The team competed at the Kearny Relays to start the season.

“We corrected some mistakes after that and showed a lot of improvement,” Cioffi said.

Cioffi felt even more encouraged when the Vikings headed to the Richie Pezzolla Memorial Lyndhurst Relays and finished among the top 10 teams in a highly competitive field.

“We won a bunch of medals and we broke some school records,” Cioffi said. “We did very well.”

The Vikings then finished first at the Twin Boro Relays at Ramsey and took second place at the County Seat Invitational, showing more depth and versatility.

The Vikings won four out of six dual meets, then finished second to Lyndhurst last week at the New Jersey Interscholastic Conference-Meadowlands Division championships.

It’s definitely the best finish that the Vikings have had in track and field in quite some time.

“I’m really proud of them,” said Cioffi, who has received great assistance from assistant coach John Zukatus. “I’m amazed by their work ethic and the kids should be proud of their accomplishments.”

Cioffi has a host of athletes who compete in multiple events, a must when fielding a track team from a smaller Group I school like North Arlington. But the diversity of the athletes has been astounding.

“We need to have them compete in more than one event,” Cioffi said. “A lot of them compete in four. It’s what we have to do.”

Senior Travis Orovio, one of the team’s captains, is a staple in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Danny Vasquez and sophomore Ty Scott have also competed in the dashes, but Orovio has enjoyed the most success.

“Orovio has been the most consistent runner we’ve had in every league meet,” Cioffi said. “He’s our top guy.”

Orovio finished fifth in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the NJIC-Meadowlands meet last Tuesday.

Senior captain Jon Gonzalez has been handling the 400-meter dash. Jonathan Bueno has been chipping in there as well.

The 800-meter run is being contested by sophomore Danny Cordero and freshman Colin Clifford.

In the 1,600-meter run, Cordero and freshman Ryan Duffy have been steady. Cordero finished third in the 1,600-meter run at the NJIC-Meadowlands meet last Tuesday in 4:53.3.

Duffy has been running the 3,200-meter races as well.

“Since he’s a freshman, it’s been a little tough on him, but he’s holding his own,” Cioffi said.

The 110-meter high hurdles have been run by Nick Awad, Matt Smitkowski and Nick Quiroz.

Senior Tyler Krychkowski, the versatile athlete who starred on both the soccer fields and basketball courts for the Vikings, is the team’s best 400-meter intermediate hurdler. Krychkowski finished third and Gonzalez fourth in the 400 hurdles last Tuesday.

Krychkowski also set a new school record for the triple jump with a leap of 42-9 – good for first place at the meet.

“He’s a great kid, but I’m amazed at the level of competition he consistently competes at,” Cioffi said. “He’s very intense and has become very good at the sport. He’s really been unbelievable.”

The high jump duties are being shared by Orovio, senior Jordan Henriques and senior Robert Marrero, the standout soccer goalkeeper who came out for track for the first time this spring. Orovio was second, Henriques fourth and Marrero sixth at the NJIC-Meadowlands meet.

Krychkowski (second), Marrero (third) and Henriques (fifth) all medaled in the long jump. Orovio (fourth), senior Michael Clifford (fi fth) and freshman Travis Fisher (sixth) all received medals in the pole vault.

Orovio’s versatility is outstanding, medaling in four different and diverse events.

Marrero, Gonzalez and James Awad compete in the javelin, with Gonzalez and Marrero finishing 1-2 in the event.

Henriques won the gold medal in the discus, where Awad and football standout Jesse Groome, another firstyear track performer, also compete.

Awad, Groome and senior Tre Cain are all shot putters. Groome fi nished fi fth at the league championships.

Needless to say, it’s been a ground-breaking season for the Vikings, one that Cioffi saw coming. Now, it’s up to the younger members of the program to keep the winning ways going.

Veteran pitcher Zdanek also threat at plate


Lyndhurst junior pitcher Casey Zdanek.

By Jim Hague

Now that she’s a junior and a three-year member of the Lyndhurst High School softball team, Casey Zdanek just knew that she would be vastly improved this season.

Not like there was anything wrong with what Zdanek posted over her first two years as the Golden Bears’ top pitcher and slugger. She was making her mark just fine.

But a little bit of a growth spurt and an added dose of confidence could do wonders for someone who was already established as a big-time softball player.

“I definitely feel like I’m a better player, because I have so much more confidence in myself,” Zdanek said. “I’ve been working a lot on my pitches. My changeup has become a lot better. I have a lot more movement on my fastball. I feel like I’ve grown a little and that definitely helps in terms of being bigger and stronger and taller on the mound.”

Lyndhurst head coach Elaine Catanese can see the difference in Zdanek.

“She’s grown a few inches from last year, so that gives her more of a presence on the mound,” Catanese said. “She’s definitely developed that changeup significantly, to the point where she now throws it often. She has good velocity and movement on her pitches.”

Catanese also sees the development in Zdanek as a hitter as well.

“To be honest with you, she’s our main hitter,” Catanese said. “If we want someone to come through in a tight situation, it’s Casey. I don’t mind see her coming to the plate when we need a big hit. She’s developed that experience both as a hitter and as a pitcher. She started every game for us as a freshman and started every game as a sophomore, so it’s bound to have a positive effect on her as a junior.”

Last Friday, Zdanek showed why she’s one of the top all-around players in Bergen County with an overall complete game in a big win over neighboring rival North Arlington.

Zdanek fired a one-hitter, striking out nine, but she also delivered at the plate with a double, home run and four RBI, leading the Golden Bears (16-6) to a 10-0 win over the Vikings.

For her efforts, Zdanek has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.

It was a tough week for the Golden Bears, facing tougher competition like New Milford and Pascack Hills in independent games, then finally facing a Group IV school like Bergen Tech in the opening round of the Bergen County Tournament, falling 3-0.

That’s why the performance against North Arlington was important.

“I think it was huge, because we did have a bit of a tough week,” Catanese said. “But Casey pitched well all week.

She had a one-hitter into the sixth against Pascack Hills and pitched a four-hitter against New Milford. She allowed only five hits to Bergen Tech. I think the North Arlington game really boosted her confidence and proved to her that she could do it. It’s huge for her to have a good all-around game like that.”

Zdanek does not participate in any other sport at Lyndhurst. She’s softball, through and through. And she’s softball all year round, playing with the Lyndhurst Pride travel team in the summer months and another team in the fall.

She also receives regular lessons from respected Immaculate Conception coach Jeff Hrononcich, who was once the head coach at St. Peter’s College.

“I think my hitting is still the same,” said Zdanek, who is batting better than .400 with five homers and 25 RBI this season. “I’m pretty happy with that. But I think I’m definitely a pitcher who hits. I know how important my pitching is. I do take more pride in my pitching. I know what my role is.”

Catanese said that she has a good relationship with Zdanek.

“I don’t have to critique her often,” Catanese said. “She can do it herself. At times, she’s her best and worst critic. We’re always talking about what’s effective and we chart all of her pitches, so she knows what to throw against certain batters. She’s looking all the time to get better and I think the experience has helped her significantly. She has a lot of poise and composure on the mound. She knows what to do and handles herself very well. She is our success. We depend a lot on her.”

Zdanek said that the Golden Bears can now focus on nailing down the NJIC Meadowlands A Division title. They have two games remaining against Becton Regional and Secaucus. Two wins will seal the deal.

“We want to win the league title,” Zdanek said. “Then, we can move on to the states. We’re always going to do well in the states. We just want to go as far as we can.”

While Zdanek is only a junior, it’s never too early to consider colleges.

“I have thought about it a little,” Zdanek said. “Actually, it scares me a little. I do want to play softball in college, because it’s the only sport I play.”

Catanese thinks that Zdanek is college material.

“Without a doubt,” Catanese said. “It might not come now, but it will come.”

Zdanek is pleased with the way she’s performed this season.

“It honestly makes me feel really awesome,” Zdanek said. “I try not to get too down on myself, but having a game like this one really helps. It helps me get ready for the next game. After the game, we all went out to dinner and went to play mini-golf together. That really has helped our momentum. We have a really close team and that helps.”

As long as the girl in the circle keeps throwing and hitting the way she has, the Golden Bears can ride that camaraderie all the way to a league and possible state title.

Message for the Soul: Living a healthy life

The most precious possession a man can ever hold on to is his health. You lose good health, and the world loses all its charm. Being free of sickness is a blessing that many of us take for granted. We probably only realize the true worth of our good health when we fall sick or injure ourselves;. Health not only refers to the wellbeing of the physical body; it also encompasses the mind and the soul. It is important to eat nutritious food and to exercise regularly. It is only then that you will be able to enjoy all the pleasures of life. Age changes a person dramatically. Little do we realize when we are young that there will come a day when our knees won’t be strong enough to hold our weight, or the heart won’t be healthy enough to pump fresh blood into our system; Yet time passes and your body changes. Your digestion may slow down and your eyesight may weaken. It is important to look after ourselves from a very young age to remain healthy in our winter years. A sense of positivity surrounds those who live a balanced life, and it is our responsibility to protect our bodies from our own temptations. It is important to have a system that you can commit to. In India, Yoga is believed to hold answers to all problems. Right from the age of 5, yoga is taught and instilled in children as a way of life. It is taught as a medium to bring your body, mind and soul in tandem with each other. I encourage you to find yours. Find an activity that you wish to do and commit to it. Do it not because someone tells you that it is the right thing to do, but do it for yourself, because you want to make your life better. Even if it means a two-minute ritual of meditation in a quiet room in the middle of the day, if that is your calling then commit yourself to it. You need to compose yourself and clean out the rubbish at all levels. Your body needs to feel physically fit, in order for your mind to feel positive and healthy which in-turn will elevate your soul from petty matters and irrelevant conversations. Deep breathing also has magical powers that one can benefit from. It is not important to spend a fortune on things in order to be healthy. But good health and a balanced life is definitely a fortune that you cant afford to miss out on. Live Healthy!


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

Investment basics – Stocks


By Randy Neumann

When you buy company stock, you’re actually purchasing a share of ownership in that business. The greater the number of shares you own, the higher the percentage of ownership you have in that company. Investors who purchase stock are known as the company’s stockholders or shareholders.

Your percentage of ownership in a company also represents your share of the risks taken and profits generated by the company. If the company does well, your share of the total earnings will be proportionate to how much of the company’s stock you own. The flip side, of course, is that your share of any loss will be similarly proportionate to your percentage of ownership, though you are not personally financially responsible for any share of the liabilities of the company in which you hold an equity interest.

Beyond that, depending on the company and the types of shares you have, stock ownership may carry other benefits. Specifically, you may be entitled to dividend payments (which you can generally receive either in cash or additional shares), capital gains payouts, voting rights, and other corporate privileges. For example, common stockholders have the right to vote for candidates for the board of directors and on other important issues.

If you purchase stock, you can make money in one of two ways. First, corporate earnings may be distributed in the form of dividends, usually paid quarterly. Secondly, you can sell your shares. If the value of the company’s stock has increased since you purchased it, you will make a profit. Of course, if the value of the stock has declined, you’ll lose money.

Stock is commonly categorized by the market value of the company that issues the stock. For example, large-cap stocks describe shares issued by the largest corporations. Other general categories include small-cap, mid-cap, and micro-cap.

Stock is also commonly classified according to the characteristics of the company and/or the expectations of investors. For example: Growth stocks, aka “glamour” stocks, are usually characterized by earnings that are increasing at a faster rate than their industry average or the overall market. These are often in new or fast-growing industries and frequently have the potential to give shareholders returns greater than those offered by the stocks of companies in older, more established industries. However, growth stocks are among the most volatile classes of stock and have significant risk for losses.

Value stocks are typically characterized by selling at a low multiple of a company’s sales, earnings, or book value. An example would be: Occidential Petroleum OXY.

Income stocks generally offer higher dividend yields than market averages and typically fall into the utility and financial sectors, as well as other stable and well-established industries.

Blue chip stocks are the stocks of large, well-known companies with good reputations and strong records of profit and growth. They also generally pay dividends.

Also worth mentioning are American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) that are negotiable instruments created to represent shares of stock (and sometimes bonds) in non-U.S. companies.

The advantages and disadvantages of investing in stocks depend largely upon the stock or type of stocks that you choose.

In general, stocks offer a greater potential for returns than do bonds or cash equivalents. Historically, this has been particularly true over the long-term periods. With stock, you actually own a share of the company and therefore have ownership rights, which may include voting rights. You can invest in stock that has a history of paying regular dividends; you can also invest in stock that has the potential to appreciate significantly in value. And, stock is easy to buy and sell.

Of course, if the company you invest in performs poorly; it may not pay dividends, even if it had regularly paid dividends in the past. More importantly, though, poor performance may result in your shares losing value. In fact, your shares can lose value simply because they’re subject to the general volatility of the stock market, which has experienced sharp declines in the past. This volatility means that your risk of losing principal is greater with stock than it is with bonds and cash equivalents. It also means that stocks may not be appropriate for shortterm investment timelines.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual. Randy Neumann, CFP® is a registered representative with and securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/ SIPC. He can be reached at 600 East Crescent Avenue, Suite 104, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, 201-291-9000.


Mary A. Capozzi

Mary A. Capozzi, formerly of 437 John Street, East Newark, will be laid to rest on May 19. The funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. at St. Cecilia’s Church, 120 Kearny Ave., Kearny, followed by a graveside service at Holy Cross Cemetery, 340 Ridge Road, North Arlington.

Ann S. Walsh

Ann S. Walsh, (nee: Smith) 79, of Kearny, passed away suddenly on Sunday, May 6, after being hit by a car.

A prayer service was held on Friday, May 11 at the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave, Harrison. Interment was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover. For information to send condolences to the family please visit: www.mulliganfuneralhome.org

Ann was born in Scranton, Pa., the daughter of the late Frederick and Mary and wife of the late William. She is survived by her sister Eileen Szostek and her brothers Joseph and James Smith. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews.

She is predeceased by her sisters Mary Delores Helms, Donna Jean Palma and Margaret Lynch.

Walter Warivonchik

Walter Warivonchik, 90, died on May 5 at the Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville.

Born in New York City, he lived in Newark before moving to North Arlington 58 years ago.

He worked as the plant supervisor for the Westinghouse Corporation in Newark, for 42 years before retiring in 1984.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he served in the Persian Gulf Command in Iran. He was a member of the AARP of North Arlington and Lyndhurst, the Westinghouse Retirees of Newark, American Legion Post No. 37, and Veterans of Foreign War Post No. 4697, both of North Arlington.

He was the beloved husband of Martha (nee Zadworny); the cherished father of Michael and his wife, Helen, of Pennsylvania, Patricia of California, and Victoria of New York City; the adored grandfather of Andrew and his wife, Anna, of Denville, and the brother of Olga Latushko and her children of Rutherford.

A funeral service was held on Tuesday, May 8, at the Parow Funeral Home, 185 Ridge Rd., North Arlington, followed by private cremation. Donations in his memory may be made to the American Heart Association , 1 Union St., Suite 301, Robbinsville, N.J. 08691.

Nutley child needs surgery for baseball eye injury

Photos courtesy Belinda Aquine-Calvo/ Armani G. Calvo before his accident (l.) performing in a school talent show and after (r.) being hit by a line drive.


Eight-year-old Armani G. Calvo had a tough break last week.

Armani was playing second base for the Nutley FMBA Farm League team in the early evening of May 8 at Flora Lauden Park off Hancox Ave. when he was struck in the face with a line drive from an opposing batter.

An ambulance rushed the boy to Hackensack Hospital where he was examined by emergency room doctors. “On the way, he kept telling me to call his teacher because he was supposed to take the NJ ASK math exam the next day,” his mother, Belinda Aquine-Calvo, recalled.

It wasn’t until two days later that Armani, sporting a shiner, was able to open the damaged eye and was later determined to have an “orbital floor fracture,” which will require surgery, according to Aquine- Calvo.

Last Friday, Township Public Safety Commissioner Al Petracco visited the boy’s home and treated him to ice cream. And, Aquine-Calvo said, “His entire third-grade class (at Yantacaw School) made him ‘get well soon’ cards. Nutley has showed they care and has made the healing process painless. … I can’t get over all the attention.”

Although Armani – who played T-ball two years ago and football last year – will be on the DL for the rest of the season, Armani is hoping the coach will let him sit on the bench and cheer on his teammates.

“He plans to play baseball next year,” Armani’s mom said.

Other incidents logged in the Nutley Police blotter during the past week include these:

May 10

Mathew Poole, 20, of Nutley, has been linked to the theft of cigarettes and other proceeds from two late night gas stations several months ago. Police charged him with burglarizing the Delta station, Centre and Prospect Sts., twice – in July and September 2011 – and with burglarizing the US Gas station, Kingsland St. and Passaic Ave., in fall 2011. He was released after posting 10% of the $50,000 bail, pending a court hearing.

Police arrested Jose Santiago, 29, of Bloomfield, in connection with the burglary of the Riverside Church office on Union Ave. on April 20 in which two Apple MacBook laptops valued at more than $1,000 apiece were reported taken. After obtaining search warrants for computer thumbprints, detectives were able to identify a Bloomfield location where someone attempted to log on to one of the stolen laptops. Santiago was charged with receiving stolen property. The other laptop hasn’t been found, police said.

An Edison Ave. resident told police that $1,600 in unauthorized charges to her account had been made. Those charges originated in the United Kingdom, the resident said.

May 9

A traffic stop at 4:49 p.m. at Harrison St. and Ravine Ave. resulted in the arrest of Augusto Martinez, 38, of Belleville, after police learned Martinez had an outstanding warrant for $500 out of Clark. He was ticketed for driving while suspended and released after posting bail.

After being away from his home for about an hour, a Passaic Ave. resident called police at 1:21 p.m. to report that someone locked the resident’s dog in a room and burglarized the apartment.

May 7

Gary Clark, 32, of Newark, was pulled over at 11:29 p.m. on Rt. 21 and charged with speeding and driving while suspended, police said. He also had multiple warrants outstanding. After posting bail he was released pending a court appearance.

Police responded to a Washington Ave. home at 8:11 p.m. after the owner reported it had been burglarized. Police said an intruder gained access through a rear door and ransacked the house, removing an undetermined amount of proceeds.

May 6

A Hillside Ave. resident called police at 8:21 p.m. to report that someone threw an empty Corona beer bottle through her window.

-Ron Leir

The Observer Podcast #1: Test

Testing new technology MySong

Cinco de Mazur’s



Mazur’s Bakery located on 323 Ridge Rd. in Lyndhurst gets into the Cinco de Mayo celebration a few days early. Photo taken on May 3.




By Anthony J. Machcinski


When Police Officer Paul Casale reported for his normal work shift on May 1, he was greeted by fellow cops who promptly put him under arrest.

Casale, 24, was charged with one count of theft and one count of criminal trespass when he walked in for work at 2 p.m. on May 1.

Casale, who dad is a lieutenant with the Newark P.D., was suspended without pay pending the resolution of criminal and administrative charges.

“Obviously, it’s not a good thing for anyone at all – the victims, community, or the police department,” North Arlington Police Capt. John Hearn, operations commander, said last week.

Police said the two crimes occurred at the same 2-family Biltmore St. residence on April 22 and 28.

In the first incident, on April 22, Casale was investigating a heating complaint by the resident. Later, the reported that seven rings valued at $4,500 were missing from her residence after Casale’s departure from the residence.

On April 28, the homeowner told police that Casale – whom she observed in her living room – had allegedly entered her residence without authorization.

Police Chief Louis Ghione said that after the incidents were reported, North Arlington P.D.’s Internal Affairs unit immediately started an investigation and contacted the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Offi ce, which provided assistance and oversight. The investigation led to Casale’s arrest.

Originally a member of the Newark Police Department, Casale was hired by North Arlington with an annual salary of $52,000 in January 2011 after being laid off by Newark, as permitted under the so-called Rice bill.

“It’s very disappointing,” said North Arlington Borough Council President Richard Hughes. “He was here a little over a year and always acted as a gentleman. He always went out of his way.”

According to Hearn, Casale had no prior criminal record, with Newark or with North Arlington. When he was hired, Casale’s background was screened by North Arlington P.D.

“We didn’t want to just go off of Newark’s word,” Hughes said, “so we gave him a second background check.”

Asked whether Casale had been linked to any other North Arlington thefts or burglaries, Hearn said: “At this point, it’s just this case, but there is an ongoing investigation.”

Hearn said that Casale has retained counsel.