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This week’s e-Edition, classifieds are now posted

This week’s e-Edition and classifieds are now posted. We apologize for the delay.


Blood appointed

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Take away the “acting” title: the Kearny Board of Education has formally installed Patricia Blood as its official superintendent of schools. The board took the action at a special meeting held last Thursday night at the Lincoln School. The vote was […]


Kearny unveils new monument

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  On May 27, 1922, an estimated 25,000 people gathered in the streets around the small park where Kearny Ave. and Beech St. meet, to witness Gen. John J. Pershing personally dedicate the towering granite monument honoring the Kearny men who died […]


Nutley cops hunt driver in fatal hit-run

A photo (above) of the suspect van was released Nov. 19 by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.   NUTLEY –  Nutley police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating the motor vehicle that struck and killed a 77-year-old woman on Centre St. on […]


School is more than books for these kids

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  At Washington Middle School in Harrison, nearly 75% of the more than 400 enrolled are just as busy with school-related projects after 3 p.m. as they are during their regular day of classes. And that’s partly by design of the school […]


Belleville girls: On the right track without a track

Photo by Jim Hague/ The Belleville girls’ indoor track and field team recently finished fifth at the NJSIAA North 1, Group III state sectionals, a marvelous achievement considering the school doesn’t have a track to train on. From left are senior Kristy Bono, a twotime medal winner at the recent sectionals, head coach Scott Herman, and Kristy’s twin sister Jamie, who also earned a medal at the sectionals.


From afar, it doesn’t seem like much that the Belleville High School girls’ track and field program finished fifth at the recent NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group III championships at the Bennett Center in Toms River.

However, when you take a closer look, when you consider all the circumstances the Buccaneers have to overcome, all the parameters involved, then it’s quite remarkable that they did that well on the state sectional level.For one, there isn’t a ton of depth in the program, just an assortment of dedicated young ladies who love what they do and have the desire to get better.

More importantly, there’s no place to train. Of course, there’s no indoor track facility in the area, but Belleville doesn’t even have an outdoor track. To train, the girls have to do a lot like the old Doobie Brothers song – They’re taking it to the streets.

“They’re running in the streets and then run to Brookdale Park,” Belleville head coach Scott Herman said. “A lot of times, they take the run over to Branch Brook Park and get their work done there. Even though we don’t have a track, the good weather we had this winter contributed. We have a lot of young girls who are getting better.”
But the Buccaneers were spearheaded by a pair of senior twins, namely Kristy and Jamie Bono, who acted as the catalysts to help bring along a bunch of younger runners.

“Kristy and Jamie are good runners,” Herman said. “They worked hard all summer and that’s how they became good. They put in the time and the mileage. I think they were running like 40-to-50 miles a week. With Kristy and Jamie doing the hard work, they brought the younger girls along.”

Even without the benefit of a running track at the school, the Buccaneers had some good success during the indoor season.

Arnelle Ackon, a junior, had a fine year, culminating in a ninth place finish in the 400-meter run at the state sectional. Ackon won the 55-meter dash and the 300-meter dash at the Ridgewood Indoor Games late in the season, tying the school record in the 300. She also took second in the 300-meter at the Paul Schwartz Invitational. Ackon tied the school record that was set by former state sectional champion Sherece Shabazz four years ago.

Ackon was also fourth at the Super Essex Conference championships in the 55-meter dash.

Freshman Estefany Tello set a new school record in the 600-meter run at the Ridgewood Games.

“Any time you win at a big meet, it helps the confidence level of everyone,” Herman said.

But the heart and soul of the Buccaneers’ efforts were the Bono twins, who both earned medals at the state sectional championships.

Kristy was third in the 1,600-meter run in a time of 5:33.91, with sister Jamie right behind in fourth in 5:35.95.

“It just unfolded that way,” Herman said of the twins running 3-4. “They both improved their times from the week before. They’re both 30 seconds better than what they were a week ago. That’s incredible improvement. Kristy was sixth for most of the race, but then she pulled herself up to third. Jamie is always following right behind her.”

In the 3,200-meter run, Kristy ran third in 11:58.38, with Jamie just missing a chance to move on to the overall Group III championships in that event by finishing seventh.
Both sisters then went to the overall Group III championships Saturday at the Bennett Center, having to arrive at school before the crack of dawn for the sojourn down the Garden State Parkway to the state championships.

Kristy was 14th in the 1,600-meter run, with Jamie 17th overall. Kristy ran 20th in the 3,200-meter run.

It’s nothing to sneeze at, because they were there, competing with the very best in the state, yet neither had a formal track background before high school and don’t have the best training facilities to work on. Scratch that last one. They have none.

“Most of the girls in our program don’t run before high school,” Herman said. “There’s no feeder program and since we don’t have a track, it’s hard to get girls involved. The twins were running like 6:30 miles (1,600-meter run) as freshmen and look where they are now. It’s a gradual progress.”

Herman has to take it slow with the younger girls who are just starting.

“They can’t run as much as Kristy and Jamie,” Herman said. “I don’t want to have them get burned out early. They’re running six months tops right now. But the future looks good, as long as they stay with it.”

Much like the Bono twins stuck with track over their four years.

“We’ll see what the future holds,” Herman said. “A lot of them go on to other sports during outdoor season. It takes a lot of hard work. These kids never get a chance to perform in a home meet ever. Young kids are coming up and they don’t see the kids running track, so they try another sport. We have no feeder program. We have no home meets. Others can’t see the Bono twins run, see them and say, `I’d love to be like them.’ So we need all the recognition we can get, to get some attention with the young kids. Maybe they can see what the Bonos did without having a track, without running before high school. Maybe they can be an inspiration.”

So in that respect, the fifth place finish at the recent state sectionals was almost miraculous and something to behold. Here’s to hoping others in Belleville will stop and take notice of their incredible achievements.

Nutley captures District 14 team title, first since 1980

Belleville’s Colon wins third crown, becomes Essex all-time win leader

Photos by Jim Hague/ Belleville’s Justin Colon became the all-time leader in Essex County victories with his win in the District 14 finals.


By Jim Hague

It’s been a season of firsts for the Nutley High School wrestling team and that continued on last weekend at the NJSIAA District 14 championships that were held at West Orange.

The Maroon Raiders dominated the action at the tournament, capturing the team championship, the first for the program since 1980.

The victory at the District 14 tourney comes on the heels of coach Frank DiPiano’s team also winning the Essex County tournament and the Super Essex Conference championship in the same year, making it a total year to remember.

The Maroon Raiders crowned an astounding six individual champions, namely Anthony DeLorenzo (106 pounds), Bobby Trombetta (120), Brandon Keena (160), Nick Gaeta (195), Carlos Rosa (220) and Andre Hamlin (heavyweight).

It was the third straight district title for Trombetta and the second for Gaeta.

It’s also the culmination of an incredible improvement for Hamlin, who won only one match as a sophomore when he first joined the program. Now, he’s a District champion.

The Maroon Raiders also had three wrestlers place second in Julian Figueroa (113), Stephen Scuttaro (126) and Jordan Nochimson (182).

Ralph DiPasquale won his consolation match at 132 pounds, earning third place and a trip to this weekend’s Region 4 tournament in West Orange, as did Vinnie Mainiero at 170 pounds, so the Maroon Raiders will bring an unthinkable total of 11 wrestlers to the Regions this week.


Photos by Jim Hague/ Nutley’s Bobby Trombetta won his third straight District 14 championship and helped to lead his team to their first District 14 title in over 30 years.

It means a full wrestling room for practice for DiPiano.

Nutley finished first with 237 points, followed by Livingston, then Bloomfield and Belleville.

It was quite an impressive performance all around for the Maroon Raiders. When DiPiano took over the program four years ago, he thought it would take five years to build the Nutley program to a place of prominence.

Well, after the third jewel of their Triple Crown season, DiPiano’s program has definitely arrived.

The Maroon Raiders were not the only local team to fare well at the District 14 championships.

Belleville’s Justin Colon won his third District 14 title, taking the 126-pound title by defeating Nutley’s Scuttaro via a pin in just 1:18.

However, in the process, Colon surpassed his older brother, Filiberto, as the all-time win leader in Essex County wrestling history.

Colon’s win over Scuttaro enabled him to earn the 157th victory of his career, moving past Filiberto, who won 156 matches during his four years at Belleville (2004 through 2008). With his victory at the District 14 championship match, the younger Colon improved his seasonal mark to 37-1.

Photos by Jim Hague/Kearny’s Dave Bush finally earned the District 16 gold medal he had longed for, winning after falling in the finals three straight years.


It was always a goal for Justin to topple the record his older brother set. The two are very close and Filiberto has always served as an inspiration to his younger brother.
While Colon was the lone District 14 champion for veteran coach Joe Nisivoccia, the Buccaneers had five wrestlers reach the finals in their respective weight classes, only to come up a little short.

Ricky Gencarelli was the runner-up at 120, losing to Trombetta in the finals. Sean Carey was the second place finisher at 138, as was Anthony Avino (145), Joe Anello (160) and Daniel Giangrande (195). Anello and Giangrande both lost in the finals to Nutley wrestlers Keena and Gaeta.

Bloomfield crowned two individual champions at District 14, as Nate Garcia claimed the 145 pound title and Kyle Christiansen won at 170 pounds.

Chris Collado (160), Isaiah Thomas (195), Terrance Antoine (220) and Adam Wooten (heavyweight) all won their respective consolation matches to earn a ticket to the Region 4 tourney for veteran coach Sam Fusaro.

At the District 16 tournament held in North Bergen, Kearny’s Dave Bush realized his lifelong dream when he captured the 160-pound championship, winning by injury default.

Bush’s District 16 championship comes after reaching the finals his three other times and falling short in the finals.

Now, Bush will always have that district title to lay his hat on.

The Kardinals finished fourth as a team at District 16 and will send five wrestlers to the Region 4 tournament this weekend.

Johnathan Melendez (106), Chris Vezos (132), Marshall Everett (145) and T.J. Witt (182) all won their respective consolation bouts to finish in third place at District 16 and earn a berth in the Regions.

Lyndhurst/North Arlington’s Mike Morreale was the runner-up at 120 pounds in the District 15 tourney held at Becton Regional and Morreale will also head to the Regions this weekend.

All in all, a solid weekend for the local wrestlers, culminated by the Nutley team title, six individual champions, the record-setting performance by Colon and the redemption for Kearny’s Bush.

Belleville man charged with attempted murder of estranged wife’s lover

Angelo Corino, 61, of Belleville was charged with attempted murder on Feb. 16 for attempting to kill his estranged wife’s lover at her apartment in Lake Hiawatha, N.J. according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi. The unidentified man, also 61 years of age, was transported to Morristown Memorial Hospital after sustaining multiple knife wounds. The couple, married for 37 years, had recently parted ways with Corino’s wife settling into the Lake Hiawatha apartment. While living at the new address, she rekindled a four-decade-old romance with the victim who had stopped by that day to assist her with her move. According to a court affidavit, the two heard a noise and were startled to see Corino walking up the stairs toward the apartment. After making it past his wife, Corino pushed the victim up against a wall where he proceeded to stab him multiple times, according to the document. After a joint investigation conducted by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Parsippany –Troy Hills Police Dept., Corino was arrested and charged with attempted murder and several counts of assault, amongst other charges. Corino was held in lieu of $500,000 bail at the Morris County Correctional Facility. In other Belleville happenings:

Feb. 16

At 1:26 a.m., units were dispatched to the Seared Lounge nightclub at 56 Union Ave. near the intersection of Union Ave. and Mill St., on a report of a large fight in progress. As the lounge was letting out, a large group formed in the parking lot at 250 Mill St. and a group of men began to fight. Officers broke up the brawl and the crowd was ordered to disperse. As this was occurring, one of the men, Mario F. Wright, 23, of East Orange turned combative and yelled, “Let my boy go!” at the officers. Wright was asked to disperse but took a swing at the officer instead. Officers sprayed Wright with mace to gain his compliance but he continued to fight. Officers finally gained control of Wright and placed him under arrest. At this point two more men began to yell at the officers. They, too, were ordered to disperse but refused to comply and were placed under arrest. Wright was charged with aggravated assault on police, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The other men, 22-year-old Victor L. Bazemore of East Orange and Mikal D. Francis, 28, of Newark were charged with disorderly conduct.

A police unit observed a black Honda Accord blow through a stop sign on Clara Maass Drive at 7:36 p.m. When they stopped the car at the intersection of Newark and Belmont Aves., they noticed a “strong aroma of burnt marijuana” emanating from the vehicle. At this time, a passenger began to make “back and forth sweeping motions with his right foot,” as if trying to conceal something. Police found a zip-loc bag filled with marijuana near the passenger’s foot. The man was subsequently searched and another bag of pot was discovered along with 64 empty zip-loc bags commonly used to package and distribute controlled dangerous substances. The vehicle’s driver was issued several motor vehicle summonses. Another passenger seated in the rear, Jonathan Gnisbett, 18, of Newark was found to have an outstanding warrant for $133 out of Newark and was taken into custody. The front passenger, Jose Mendoza, 18, of East Orange, was charged with possession of C.D.S. and released on his own recognizance.

Feb. 14

A store employee reported a burglary and theft at the Best of Breed Pet Grooming store, 328 Washington Avenue, at 9:20 a.m. The man stated that he found the back door unlocked when he arrived for work. A closer examination of the premises revealed an open cash register drawer missing $525. A blue-colored box containing $1700 was also missing from the store.

Feb. 13

At 10:21 p.m., police were dispatched to the Pathmark supermarket at 115 Belmont Ave. on a shoplifting call. Store detectives told police that they detained Alexandria Otero, 22, of Newark and Jennifer M. Ortiz, also of Newark after the two had concealed $298 worth of merchandise in their handbags and attempted to leave the store. Otero was charged with shoplifting and held on $200 bail. Ortiz was found to have an outstanding warrant for $500 out of Newark. She was charged with shoplifting and held on $200 bail in addition to the $500 Newark warrant.

Feb. 12

Police responded to Clara Maass Hospital at 11:31 a.m. after a nurse discovered three small glass pipes with burnt markings amidst a female patient’s belongings. The woman, Stephanie L. Sandora, 46, of Bloomfield was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and released on her own recognizance.

At 7 p.m., Emmanuelle S. Opoku, 23, of Belleville turned himself over to Belleville police for an outstanding warrant out of Montclair.

Feb. 11

At 1:48 a.m. officers proceeded to the Speak Easy bar at 538 Union Ave. to quell a disturbance that began when some patrons turned unruly after leaving the bar. When officers asked the group to disperse, a man ran past an officer in an attempt to restart an earlier fight with someone in the crowd. The man, Nathan Ineves, 21, of Newark was charged with disorderly conduct. As this was playing out, the man’s girlfriend pushed past the officers in an attempt to aid her boyfriend. For her actions, Jazmine N. Rivera, 20, of Bloomfield was charged with disorderly conduct and underage drinking.

At 10:31 a.m., officers patrolling Watchung Ave. observed a suspicious looking male peering into cars near the intersection of Watchung Ave. and Cross St. After an identification check, it was learned that Angel Rodriquez, 49, of Newark carried a no-bail warrant from the Essex County Sherriff’s Dept. He was subsequently arrested.

At 12:08 p.m., police were summoned to the K-Mart shopping center at 371 Main St. on a shoplifting call. According to store detectives, Brian Moore, 24, of Belleville had stolen $184 worth of merchandise. Moore was arrested and charged with shoplifting and found to carry outstanding warrants from the Township of Bernards for $950, and Bloomfield for $500.

–Jeff Bahr

Robbing Peter to pay Paul


In the fall of 2011, I received a mailing that I assumed was a check from the state of New Jersey.  I receive checks from the New Jersey State Treasury when I referee fights here in the Garden State, but I hadn’t worked in awhile, so I wasn’t expecting one.   After opening the parcel, I discovered that it was not a check; it was a bill from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division of Employer Accounts.  Wow!

The table that was below the following statements told me how much, as an employer, I owe the state.

“The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (Department) was required to borrow funds from the United States Treasury in order to pay Unemployment Insurance benefits.  Payment of the interest on the outstanding loan balance starting Jan. 1, 2011, is due Sept. 30, 2011.

As required by and N.J.S.A 43:21-14.3, the Department must assess all employers for the interest due.  Each employer’s assessment amount is determined by multiplying the employer’s unemployment contributions paid and payable for the preceding calendar year (2010) by the ratio calculated in accordance with the section of the law cited above.  The minimum assessment is $5.

The calculation of your Federal Loan Interest Assessment for 2011 is shown below.  Payment is due 30 days from the mailing date of this notice.  After 30 days, interest will accrue at the statutory rate of 15 percent per year.”

Sounds like “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”  Robbing Peter to pay Paul is an English idiom referring to taking money (or other things) from one party to pay one’s debt to another.  The first use of this idiom (that I was able to find) was from circa 1450 treatise known as Jacob’s Well. But I digress.

Unfortunately, this is not exactly “news.”  Here is an Associated Press story dated March 27, 2009:  “New Jersey is the first state to qualify for federal funds to shore up its unemployment benefits.  U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced today that New Jersey will receive nearly $207 million in federal stimulus money.

New Jersey is one of 14 states that have had to borrow from the federal government to pay unemployment claims.  New Jersey began borrowing from the feds this month when the state fund ran out of money.  The loan is interest-free through December 2010.”

The plot thickens.

Here’s an AP story published Jan. 25, 2010: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he’ll let a tax hike on businesses take effect if the federal government doesn’t help the state replenish the unemployment fund.  Employers could see an increase of up to $1,000 per employee in their unemployment tax starting July 1 unless the fund is infused with state or federal money.”  Governor Christie called for the cavalry and the cavalry arrived; however, New Jersey is not the only state to call in the cavalry.

States that have borrowed from the Fed (government, not the Reserve) in excess of $1 billion are California (no surprise, they are in for $10 billion) followed by Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois – all having borrowed between 2 and $3 billion.  So, at least, we in the Garden State are not on that list.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is proposing waiving interest payments for two years on the $42.3 billion that states have borrowed from the federal government to cover unemployment benefits.  Some 30 states are on the hook for an estimated $1.3 billion in interest charges this year.

The other two measures would directly affect the taxes employers pay to support the unemployment system.  One would delay, for two years, an increase in federal unemployment taxes, which are used to pay down the principal of the loans.

The other, however, is proving to be the most controversial.  It calls for increasing the level of workers’ wages subject to federal unemployment tax to $15,000 in 2014, up from $7,000 currently.

Voltaire once said: “In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.”

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 (R) is a registered representative with securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 600 East Crescent Ave., Upper Saddle River, 201-291-9000.


Sandra ‘Scotty’ Bubenas

Sandra “Scotty” Bubenas (nee Dowd), 62, of Harrison, entered eternal rest on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Clara Maass Hospital, Belleville.

Scotty was a dedicated employee for close to 30 years for the town of Harrison, She worked in town clerks office, violations department and the Senior Citizens Center until retiring in 2011.

Scotty loved the town of Harrison, especially working with the seniors as an outreach coordinator. She was also a very active supporter of Holy Cross Church.
She is survived by devoted husband Joseph of 43 years, loving children Tammy Deo and Greg, and Kimmy Pandullo and Anthony; she was the cherished grandmother to Kaitlyn and Alyssa Deo and Lexie and Anthony Pandullo and dear aunt to Carrie Ann Fyock. Scotty is predeceased by parents John and Ellen and sister Eileen Gardi.

Arrangements were by Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church, Harrison, followed by entombment at Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington. For directions, information or to send condolences, please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Caldwell College for Autism Training and Applied Behavior Analysis, 120 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell, N.J. 07006, in memory of Sandra “Scotty” Bubenas.

Mary A. Capozzi
Loving Aunt, 82
Mary Capozzi died on Thursday, Feb. 16, at Hackensack University Medical Center after a short illness.

Born in her family home in East Newark to the late Carmella and Joseph, she lived there her entire life. Mary worked for the Prudential Insurance Company in Newark for 34 years as a systems analyst before retiring in 1985. Mary was an avid bowler and competed for many years at Prudential and in community leagues.

Mary was extremely kind and generous and had an abiding love of people and an extraordinary devotion to her family. She was the family matriarch, and took an active interest in every member of her family, marking all birthdays and anniversaries. She particularly looked forward to hosting an annual family Christmas party. She also enjoyed weekly “coffees” with her girlfriends and actively followed the exploits of her cherished family on Facebook using her iPad.

Predeceased by her sisters Filomena Spataro and Catherine Stanish, brothers Vincent, Patrick, Joseph and Daniel Capozzi, and nieces Helen Fronheiser and JoAnn Fusiak, she is survived by six nieces and nephews, 13 great nieces and nephews and 12 great-great nieces and nephews.

Services were private.

Dottie E. Kunkel
Dottie E. Kunkel (formerly Cicchino) died on Feb. 13 in Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, surrounded by her loving family. She was 74. Dottie’s husband Jim died only one week ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, followed by a private cremation.

Dottie was a unit secretary at West Hudson Hospital before her retirement. She was a devoted mother and grandmother.

Dottie was the wife of the late Jim Kunkel and the late Joe “Chicky” Cicchino. She is survived by her children and their spouses Joseph and Erica Cicchino, Valerie and Gary McCauley, Linda Ford and Daniel and Kathy Cicchino, her sister Clara Starr and her grandchildren Cara, Nicole, Gabi, Jesse, Patrick, Joseph, Kaitlyn, Timothy, Matthew, Jack and Gillian.

Dottie’s last unselfish act was to give the gift of sight by donating her eyes. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

News in brief


The Town of Harrison is now the “owner” of Red Bull Arena.

Technically, Harrison holds the tax lien on the stadium and, again technically, if no taxes are paid on the property, the town could foreclose on the property and take possession.

That’s made possible as a result of a special tax sale the town held Feb. 10 for the stadium occupied by the New York Red Bulls professional soccer team at Frank Rodgers Blvd. South and Cape May St. for which the town says it’s owed more than $3 million in property taxes covering part of 2010 and all of 2011.

No one showed up at the sale to redeem the taxes or to bid for the tax lien for the stadium, according to town Tax Collector Anna Nicosia.

“I still have high hopes they (the Red Bulls) will come at some point and pay us,” she said.

The Red Bulls’ owners have contended they owe nothing because both the land and stadium, in their opinion, is exempt from taxes and the team’s owners sued the town over that issue.

But N.J. Tax Court Judge Christine Nugent ruled that not only was Harrison entitled to taxes on the stadium, it could also tax the land on which the stadium sits, even though it’s publicly-owned, because the Red Bulls are a private, profit-making enterprise.

The team owners are asking the state Appeals Court for an expedited hearing to challenge Nugent’s decision and, at the same time, are asking Nugent to “stay” her ruling so they don’t have to immediately pay the taxes demanded by the town, pending their continuing legal battle with Harrison.

At the same time, the town’s special counsel Norman Doyle Jr. has petitioned Nugent to deny the Red Bulls a stay, arguing that they shouldn’t be allowed to slide now that Nugent has ruled that the stadium isn’t tax-exempt.

If, down the road, the appellate court should reverse Nugent’s opinion, the Red Bulls can get a refund at the appropriate time, Doyle reasoned, but they should be compelled to pay now. Or, if the appeals court upholds Nugent’s decision, then the Red Bulls can petition the Hudson County Tax Board for tax appeal.

Meanwhile, the owners have until April 12 to contest their taxes for 2012, noted Harrison Tax Assessor Al Cifelli.


If you’re an out-of-town motorist driving in Bloomfield and you’re in an accident, you could be twice unlucky.

The township governing body has voted to introduce an ordinance that would assess non-Bloomfield residents a $100 “response fee” if their car is involved in an accident that requires township police, fire or emergency vehicles to respond.

Township Administrator Yoshi Manale said that proof of residence would be determined by the driver’s license.

During 2011, there were about 1,800 traffic accidents logged by the Bloomfield Police Department that tied up township public safety/emergency workers for countless hours, Manale said.

How many of those accidents involved out-of-town drivers is impossible to tell, Manale said.

Manale said he recommended the proposal to the mayor and Township Council after reading about a similar action implemented by New York.

The Township Council was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed law on Feb. 21.

One nabbed, one sought in Harrison jewelry heist

Police collared one suspect and are seeking a second in connection with the daylight burglary of a Harrison Ave. jewelry store on Sunday, Feb. 12, Lincoln’s Birthday.

Angel Colon, 19, of Kearny, has been charged in the burglary and is being held in Hudson County Jail, Kearny, on $57,000 bail. His alleged accomplice, believed to be a Jersey City gang member, was still at large as of press time.

Police said the burglars broke through a sheetrock wall of Harrison Jewelry, on Harrison Ave. near Third St., at around 1 p.m., via an adjacent multi-family residence ground-floor hallway, removed an unknown amount of gems and fled.

A witness spotted two men inside the adjacent building and, suspicious about their presence there, contacted police who went to the location and discovered the crime’s aftermath.

As police were broadcasting a report of the burglary over the police radio, Officer Corey Karas happened to spot a man, later identified as Colon, standing under the Rt. 280 overpass on Warren St. between Second and Third Sts.

According to the officer’s report, Colon was sweating profusely and was squeezing a juice box in his mouth. As Karas approached, Colon ducked behind a concrete wall and when the officer got to him, Colon was covered with sheetrock dust, police said.

Colon was placed under arrest and, when searched, police said they found six pieces of jewelry in his pocket and they recovered a seventh item from the ground. Police said Colon also had some marijuana.

Those gems, all identified as being stolen from the store, were listed as five charms, one earring and one bracelet, all made of gold, police said.

Other pieces believed to have been taken are still unaccounted for, along with the second suspect, police said.

Here’s a sampling of other criminal activity logged by Harrison Police in recent weeks:

Feb. 13

Jose Duarte, 33, of Harrison, was arrested after a motor vehicle stop on Frank Rodgers Blvd. South revealed that his vehicle was unregistered, his license was suspended and he had an outstanding warrant issued by New Providence. Duarte posted bail and was released pending court action.

Feb. 12

Enrique Gomez, 34, of Harrison, was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly struck a 44-yearold Harrison man in the back of his head as he was leaving the Meson De Luis bar on Harrison Ave. between Second and Third Sts. in the early morning.

The victim was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital, Newark, for treatment of his injury.

Gomez, who had outstanding warrants from Jersey City and Newark, was committed to the Hudson County Jail, Kearny.

Police said the incident may also involve a “possible robbery investigation” following the discovery that the victim was found to be missing some gold jewelry. But police there was no connection with the jewelry store burglary that occurred later that day.

Feb. 11

Carlos Delgado, 24, of Newark, was arrested on a DWI charge after he crashed his car into a street sign on Frank Rodgers Blvd. South. Delgado was released, pending a court appearance, after police issued him several motor vehicle summonses.

Feb. 10

After responding to a three-car accident on Frank Rodgers Blvd., police discovered that one of the drivers, Duanta Edwards, 34, of Newark, had multiple outstanding warrants. He was arrested on the warrants and also charged with presenting a forged automobile insurance card to the investigating officer. Edwards was turned over to Holmdel Police on one of the warrants.

Feb. 9

A UPS delivery was stolen from a Harrison Ave. multifamily residence after the package was left at the front door.

Lyndhurst Police Blotter

Feb. 19

Maryanne Machiaverna, 55, of North Arlington, was charged with shoplifting $30 in miscellaneous items at the ShopRite on New York Ave. at 9:11 a.m. She was given a summons and released pending a court appearance.

Feb. 18

Christie DeMarco, 25, of Rutherford, was stopped on Stuyvesant Ave. near Page Ave. at 3:51 a.m. after police said she was traveling 40 mph in a 25 mph zone.

DeMarco was ticketed for speeding, driving while suspended and possession of drugs (suspected marijuana) in a motor vehicle.

Police said DeMarco also had an outstanding warrant from Clifton for $165.

After posting the warrant amount, she was released pending a court appearance.

In another traffic incident, at 1:16 a.m., George Rausch, 50, of Lyndhurst, was stopped as he was turning onto Kingsland Ave. near Sallas Court while doing 42 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to police.

Rausch was ticketed for DWI  and his vehicle was impounded. He was released pending court action.

Feb. 15

Police pulled over a car operated by Kennyne Boyle-Greene, 37, of Keansburg, at 1 a.m. after found to be traveling 50 mph in a 40 mph zone on Garland Way.

Boyle-Greene was given summonses for hindering apprehension after giving officers a false name, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving while suspended and speeding.

Feb. 14

In an apparently ill-fated Valentine’s Day effort, Jorge Yika, 36, of Belleville, was charged with shoplifting after attempting to leave the ShopRite on New York Ave. with a dozen roses without paying at 6:28 p.m. Yika was released on a summons pending a court appearance.

Gustavo Hernandez, 22, of Lyndhurst, reportedly drove through a red light while turning into a Paul St. driveway at 3:18 a.m., then exited his vehicle and failed to heed an officer’s instructions to stop. He was ticketed for hindering apprehension, failing to observe a traffic control device and driving an unregistered vehicle.

Speed: Not ‘King’ of the road



By Ron Leir


Driving on King Street? S L O W D O W N! Residents on the east-west corridor say enough’s enough and they want the town to accelerate into taking action to stop the errant motorists who, they say, are using that route as a speedway.

“If something is not done,” resident Laura Santos warned the governing body last Tuesday night, “I don’t want to be the one to come here and say, ‘I told you so.’

’’Ellen McLaren, who lives at King and Hickory Sts., recalled the time a driver plowed through her front lawn, crashing into her porch. “That’s what I fear happening (again),” she said. “The street is very narrow,” pointed out Dorothy Marflak. “Nobody wants to slow down.” And many times, impatient motorists “take out a lot of mirrors off cars” as they drive by, she said.

Kathleen DeRay said she’s seen cars and trucks “fl ying around” the intersection at Schuyler Ave. and King St. Her car, parked at King and Ivy St., a block in from Schuyler, “got hit four times in the last two years.”

And, from her vantage point on her porch, near the Schuyler crossing, Rose Awwad said she’s witnessed a number of hit and runs, including one vehicle that whacked her friend’s parked van.

In considering the residents’ demand for relief, Mayor Alberto Santos said that virtually every street in Kearny has issues with careless drivers and that the town has employed varying strategies to deal with the situation, ranging from speed humps to four-way stops to police enforcement.

Typically, Santos said, the Police Department will do a traffic survey of a particular street to determine how serious a problem exists.

For King Street, Police Chief John Dowie said the department found that on the basis of a survey done in August 2010, 85% of the traffic followed the 25 mph speed limit although there were exceptions to that pattern.

On days when there is no street sweeping and cars are parked on both sides of King St., it can be tough for vehicles approaching from opposite directions to negotiate the right of way, Dowie said.

That can be particularly difficult, Dowie said, when an SUV and a big truck hauling dirt and construction debris from the Kearny High School renovation site come together. Somebody has to back up and let the other driver pass, he said.

Dowie said the contractor at the high school job site has cooperated by diverting trucks to Davis Ave. and then to Midland and/or Bergen Aves., which are wider and offer more room to maneuver.

After hearing from the town’s consulting engineers what options might be available to help curtail would-be speeders, Santos recommended for the council’s consideration, installation of non-blinking, four-way stop signs – each sign measuring about 3 feet-by-3 feet – along King St., between Hickory and Ivy Sts.

The same strategy has worked at the intersection near Schuyler School, Santos said. “I think it will be effective (on King St.).”

Third Ward Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle suggested that a police presence – at some point – could also be helpful, if the chief had anyone available.

For the time being, the governing body voted to introduce an ordinance – up for adoption on Feb. 21 – to authorize the placement of the four-way stop on King St.

When the mayor invited further discussion about speeding issues around town, Tappan St. resident Paul Desousa voiced concern about driving conditions on his block, especially between Schuyler and Davis Aves.

“Every night, it’s horrible,” Desousa said. “Unbelievable.”

Some weeks ago, he said, “a little kid got hit” by a speeding driver but, fortunately, the child wasn’t seriously hurt. Dowie, recalling the incident, said the culprit was a juvenile operating a stolen car.

Aside from the safety hazards, Desousa said, residents are awakened in the early morning hours – between midnight and 2 or 3 a.m. – by the loud noise from the speeding vehicles. “Some of the cars don’t have catalytic converters for their mufflers,” he said. “You can’t sleep.”

Second Ward Councilwoman Madeline Peyko, who lives on the block, readily agreed. “You feel like it’s a drag strip,” Peyko said. “You sit there and wait for a crash. They have to be doing 60, 70 miles an hour.”

And, Desousa reminded the council, “there are no stop signs” on that stretch of Tappan to warn drivers to slow down.

Santos said the town would review the situation to see what, if any, remedy could be applied there.

Another intersection that the town targeted for enforcement is Bennett Ave. and Pleasant Place near a town playground. Dowie said a police traffic detail has been assigned to that location for the past few weeks since the loss of a crossing guard previously assigned to that post.

“We’re doing it for the public’s education and to see if concerns about safety were borne out,” Dowie said. “It is a hill street, newly paved and a conduit to avoid traffi c on the Belleville Turnpike. We have issued some (speeding) summonses. So we feel there is some credence about those concerns.”

Other intersections which, according to Dowie, are no longer covered by crossing guards, are: Chestnut St. and Columbia Ave.; Belgrove Drive and Quincy St.; and Hoyt St. and Kearny Ave.

All are what police categorize as relatively “low-volume” traffic spots, the chief said.

There are no plans to assign replacements at those intersections, Dowie said. “It’s all part of the (personnel) downsizing,” he said, including his own department.

New cop long time coming

Photo courtesy Town of Harrison/ Police Officer Frank Narvaez (2nd from l.) is congratulated on his appointment by (from l.) Chief Derek Kearns, Mayor Ray McDonough and Councilman James Doran.


By Ron Leir


It was about 11 years ago that Harrison last hired a cop.

Now, finally, the long drought is over: As of Monday, Jan. 30, Frank Narvaez was named the town’s newest police officer. His hiring was ratified by the Town Council on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 7.

But the 24-year-old Paterson native didn’t come to the Police Department in the normal way, off of a state Civil Service appointment list.

Instead, illustrative of the tough economy, Harrison plucked Narvaez from a list of New Jersey cops laid off for economic reasons who, under legislation sponsored by State Sen. Ronald Rice Sr. (D-Essex), a former Newark cop, can be rehired by any municipality without having to reapply through Civil Service.

Narvaez started his law enforcement career at age 18 when the Paterson Police Department hired him as a dispatcher and booking officer. He then entered the Police Academy and successfully completed training that qualified him for appointment as a police officer.

He served as a Paterson cop for three years, only to lose his job in April 2011 when the city laid off 125 officers, about a quarter of the force, as economic casualties.

While looking for work Narvaez enrolled at Passaic County Community College to study business administration, which he says he’s considering pursuing as a second career after his police days are completed.

Married with a four-year-old son, Narvaez is bilingual with a fluency in Spanish. He is American-born; his dad was born in Spain.

On the basis of his prior police experience, Narvaez was placed on the second step of the union salary guide for police officer, so his annual base pay is $48,000 plus health benefits.

Narvaez and his family are still living in Paterson but the officer said he’s thinking of relocating to Harrison, particularly with the signs of development activity getting off the ground.

Last fall, Police Chief Derek Kearns had to accept a downsized department and a revised Table of Organization – dictated by a state monitoring agreement – that calls for a police department of “no more than” 46 members, but which now totals only 38.

“Since July 2011, I’ve lost eight positions through attrition,” said Kearns. Those slots include one captain, three lieutenants, three sergeants and one police officer, he said. Except for the one rank-and-file slot, none has been replaced, he added.

Asked about the new appointment, Joseph Nigro, president of Patrolman’s Benevolent Association Local 22, which bargains for the rank-and-file members of the Harrison force, said: “Hopefully, it’s the start of more hires. We are busy. We do need more manpower, particularly with all the new development we’re seeing and the new residents coming into the town.”

While there are a total of 22 officers on the departmental roster, not all of them are out on the street, Nigro noted. That total, he said, includes two detectives, a third “on loan” from Homeland Security plus one officer assigned to school detail.

Nigro acknowledged that the department is utilizing surveillance cameras to help deter crime, “but cameras don’t replace officers on the street,” he said.

Meanwhile, in other personnel moves, the Harrison Town Council voted last Tuesday to introduce an ordinance that creates “permanent Civil Service positions” to bring back retired Fire Chief Tom Dolaghan as a part-time aide to the mayor at $30 an hour for 20 hours a week and to hire retired municipal court employee Julie Walsh as a municipal court attendant at the same pay rate.

The ordinance is slated for a public hearing on March 6.

Mayor Ray McDonough said that Dolaghan would be assigned projects, as needed, such as serving as the town’s liaison to the newly reconstituted Board of Health, now under supervision of North Bergen Health Officer Richard Censullo.

Dolaghan would also be compiling state-mandated reports for the Office of Emergency Management and Meals on Wheels, filling out grant applications for various departments and following up with Public Service Electric & Gas on getting non-operating street lights replaced, McDonough said.

Dolaghan, who retired as fire chief Aug. 1, 2011, with a hefty terminal leave package and pension, said that the mayor asked him to return. “I’m glad he called me,” Dolaghan said. “Some departments are short of personnel to prepare reports and grant applications.”

Dolaghan said the requirements for the aide position called for “a four-year (college) degree and suitable management experience, which I have.”

At least one Harrisonian – who has previously tangled with the former chief – won’t be happy to see him back.

Dave Prina, president of the local unit of the Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association, which negotiates labor contracts on behalf of Harrison firefighters, griped that given the ex-chief’s retirement compensation and in light of the recent cutbacks in both the Police and Fire Departments and layoffs of civilian workers, Dolaghan “should be ashamed to take a job like that.”