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Goodwill gesture

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  In front of Goodwill Industries’ building on Supor Blvd., there is a brand new sign. “Palisades Regional Academy,” it reads. Has Goodwill moved? Only in the sense of moving forward in its stated mission “to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers […]

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Holy Cross relic is recovered

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  The sacred relic of the Holy Cross stolen last month from the church that bears its name has been recovered and returned to its Harrison home, and police believe they have a line on the thief. “It is undamaged, […]

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Drive-time perils on Davis St.

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON/EAST NEWARK –  Every weekday morning when the East Newark Public School is in session, some Davis St. commuters enroute to work face an early nightmare just leaving their block. That’s because from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m., as children file into the […]

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Animal, family event is Oct. 4 at Library Park, Harrison

There will be a pet and family event on Saturday, Oct.  4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Library Park, 415 Harrison Ave.,  Harrison.  This is a free  event for the whole family and their pets and animal venders […]

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Tight lid on trash

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Tired of seeing a plethora of overflow trash cluttering the sidewalks in the town’s retail district, especially after weekend deposits, Kearny is unleashing a new weapon to counteract the unseemly collections. It’s the solar-powered Big- Belly trash receptacle. The town got four […]

 
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Library marks centennial anniversary

Photos by Ron Leir

 

Photos by Ron Leir/ As celebrants partake of refreshments, town and library officials check out library archives. At bottom,from l., are: library board member Marian Comprelli, library director Nelba Mejias, library board president Constance McDonough and Mayor Ray McDonough.

 

By Ron Leir

HARRISON –
There was a lot of gabbing going on Thursday night at the Harrison Public Library and no library staffers bothered shushing anybody.
Yes, dear reader, the normal silence rule was broken because the library was celebrating a landmark birthday – its 100th in fact  – and while there was no cake for the occasion there were plenty of townspeople, young and old, to celebrate.
Constance McDonough, president of the library’s board of trustees, welcomed the dignitaries and guests and proclaimed: “I love the feel of books; I love the smell of books. I hope in one hundred years, this (building) will still be here.”
Not that the librarians have become Luddites: far from it. They have 30 computer terminals available for the public’s use – up from the original three, installed in 1996, noted Acting Library Director Nelba Mejias, who will mark her 15th year at the library in August.
A public referendum cleared the way for Harrison’s first public library, a one-room affair occupying a retail space at 160 Harrison Ave. which owner Catherine McDonald rented to the town for the princely sum of $35 a month and which the town stocked with 886 books and furniture purchased for $3,000, according to a library history compiled by local staffers.
The portals to this potpourri of print opened in April 1911 under the watch of Librarian Ruth Townsend.
By 1936, it was clear that the little library needed room to grow and so the then-Mayor Frederick J. Gassert tapped a federal funding source via the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works to finance construction of the current library building, which was dedicated in 1938.
Harrison High School graduates received their diplomas on the library portico and veterans conducted Memorial Day services from that site.
During World War II the library hosted blood banks sponsored by the Red Cross and Nopco Chemical Co. along with Red Cross first-aid classes.
After Frank E. Rodgers became mayor in 1947, the library became home to Girl Scouts’ craft shows, Recreation Department youth dances, library science classes, story hours and a school book loaning program.
In the ‘50s, summer band concerts were held on the portico and the scope of reference books was expanded.

Photos by Ron Leir/ Former acting library director Agnes Katelus-Jones (l). shares a light moment with library board member Marian Comprelli

 

Photos by Ron Leir/ Cherry Zhang relaxes in children's library where she teaches a weekly class in Chinese language.

In 1969 the library balcony was reshaped into an adult study and reference room. And during the ‘70s, Town Historian Henry Mutz organized the “Harrison Collection,” which is now housed in the Harrison Museum at the Town Hall Annex; summer reading programs began and turn-of-the-century Harrison poet Aloysius Michael Sullivan was awarded a plaque. In the ‘80s the library got an extensive facelift, both inside and out and the ‘90s saw cataloguing of books by computer and the introduction of Wi-Fi.
Constance’s husband, Mayor Ray McDonough, told the crowd: “I am happy to have been a part of some major renovations here including the installation of the elevator, the children’s library (in the basement) and the use of computers in the library. I am happy to see that the facility is so well used.”
Later the mayor observed: “You come here evenings, on Saturdays, you see the place packed with people using computers.”
To acquire those terminals, the library used money from the Gates Foundation, the town and the Board of Education, Mejias said.
Today, the library – which runs on a $90,000 annual budget and houses 46,000 volumes – claims 11,915 card holders, mostly from Harrison and East Newark, but also about 50 folks from out of the region who, as Mejias puts it, “like the service and our books.”
As a reflection of the town’s changing demographics, the children’s library hosts a weekly one-hour class in Chinese characters and Chinese traditional poetry, offered by the Hualei Chinese School, for Chinese-American children ages 3 to 5.
Cherry Zhang, the school’s instructor, is hoping to expand the program to two nights a week by offering two classes, one for ages 3 and 4 and another for ages 5 and 6. That proposal is currently under review by the library board.
Since September, children in the current class have learned more than 80 Chinese characters and are able to recite eight traditional Chinese poems, according to Zhang.
Among the visitors to the birthday event was Agnes Katelus-Jones, a former acting library director who served at the Harrison facility for 32 years. “It was always a busy library,” Katelus-Jones said. “It was a place where you knew that the library staff would always help you.”

Will empty classrooms become new apartments?

Photo Credit by Anthony J. Machcinski/ School no. 1 is being targeted for redevelopment.

 

By Ron Leir

BELLEVILLE –
A 90-year-old school building whose classrooms have been empty since 1980 is now being eyed as a site for new housing and/or retail use.
School 1, a 3-story structure, sits on a 1.6-acre parcel at 81 Stephens St. The property includes a fenced lot to the north and east of the school itself accessed via Cortlandt St. where school buses are parked. Another part of the tract fronting Rutgers St. contains a lawn area with several mature trees.
Over the years, the building has become something of an eyesore due to the lack of maintenance.
As noted by township planning consultant John Madden, the building’s exterior has cracks in its brick veneer on its northeast side; deteriorated limestone coping; several rusted steel doors; several broken and/or boarded-up windows, and a damaged roof.
Inside, the gym (added to the building in 1967) is a wreck; the roof is leaking, floor tiles are crumbling and plaster is falling from stairwell walls and ceiling. Paint is peeling on the first and second-floor corridor ceilings. Much of the third floor’s flooring has been removed.
In Feb. 2011, Madden notes, Township Construction Official Frank Delorenzo Jr. declared the building an unsafe structure due to “structural damage, hazardous electric, friable asbestos (and) blocked exits.”
“Occupancy is prohibited until the issues noted are remedied,” Madden said.
In July 2011, the Belleville Planning Board voted to classify the School 1 tract as an area in need of redevelopment, a recommendation endorsed by the mayor and Township Council shortly thereafter.
On Dec. 8, the Planning Board convened a public hearing on a proposed conceptual redevelopment plan for the site and voted to adopt the plan, pending certain amendments dealing with parking.
The board is suggesting the governing body consider “a variety of higher density residential uses with the potential inclusion of small scale supporting retail activities… Development of more residential units in close proximity to Washington Avenue will reinforce the (township) Master Plan goal of strengthening Belleville’s main commercial street. The plan (also) serves to improve the Rutgers Street corridor, which functions as a gateway entrance into the Township of Belleville.”
To that end, the board sees “attached or multi-family housing” as the best way to approach that goal, because “residential development is the only viable land use capable of undertaking the substantial financial costs to remediate School 1’s contaminated building and grounds.”
Development strategies pitched by the board are:
Stacked townhouses, with 42 townhouse units, 24-feet-wide, and 42 on-site garaged parking spaces. (“Stacked” means a one-family dwelling unit attached to other one-family units which share the same vertical and horizontal walls and are separated by firewall or tenant separation wall. Each one-family unit has an attached garage with room for at least one vehicle.)
Multi-family development of two buildings with 56 dwelling units and 57 on-site parking spaces.
At least five of the mature trees on the property are to be preserved under either scenario.
The plan also allows community/recreation facilities and swimming pools, along with up to 2,500 square feet of retail space “where the retail use is located on all or a portion of the first floor and the remainder of the building is occupied by multi-family dwellings.”
For the stacked townhome scenario, the planning consultant proposed a maximum building height of three stories/45 feet and 30 dwelling units per acre; for the multi-family dwelling plan, the board suggests 38 units per acre, a maximum building height of five stories/60 feet, and a mix of 70% one-bedroom apartments and 30% two-bedroom units. Stacked townhomes must have pitched roofs.
In consideration of the possibility of parking under the building, the board is considering an amendment that, according to board attorney Thomas DiBiasi, “could allow the building to go up another 10 feet.”
On-site parking can be located “under the building, underground or on the surface,” at a ratio of one garage space per stacked townhouse unit or about one space per unit in a multi-family dwelling.
However, because board members were concerned that there may not be sufficient and convenient parking for residents, the plan will be revised to reflect the need for additional parking, either on or off-site, possibly at a ratio of 1.5 to 2 spaces per dwelling unit, Madden said.
Sidewalks around the development site are to be at least five feet wide and must provide access for the physically disabled.
No dwelling units can be used for professional or business offices by the occupants or any others.
As an area in need of development, the property will be eligible for tax abatement in the form of a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes).
The township is looking to acquire the School 1 property from the Belleville Board of Education. The property is currently assessed at $916,700 – $566,700 for the land and $350,000 for the building.

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah

publisher@theobserver.com

 

The Observer wants to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah. I personally want to thank those who dropped off gifts. We started off slow and, to our surprise, it was amazing what accumulated. It brings joy to me that our readers never let us down and support those in need.
A special thank you to Cheryl Raefski for all that she did for those around her during her time on earth. I am truly sad that I only had an opportunity to speak with her and never met her in person. May your family remember all the good you had done to get through this holiday.
Rest in peace, Cheryl.

Best gift any writer can get

I know that, in general, Thanksgiving is the holiday where everyone is thankful for something. However, let me take a moment this holiday season to thank all of you, the readers.
I didn’t get into journalism for the money. I did it because I love writing, and I love how a newspaper can keep everyone informed and entertained, no matter what your personal preferences or biases might be.
Let me take this opportunity to thank all of our readers on behalf of the The Observer writing staff. There is no better feeling than getting feedback from our readers. Any response, whether it is thanking us for covering a story or telling us how we can do our jobs better, is appreciated.
I’ve been reading The Observer since I was a youngster growing up in Kearny, and part of the reason I wanted to write for the Observer was the response that people gave back. People talk specifically about subjects that are included in this paper, and that fact alone is warming for a young writer.
I’ve mentioned this in previous articles but it bears repeating. I am a 22-year-old fresh out of college writer who had searched far and wide for a job coming out of school. I couldn’t be happier finding a position in my own hometown at a place where the news really matters to people. Even after my first weeks here, I had already received responses from readers who recognized my name from years ago, without me saying a word that I was hired here.
So with all that in mind, from the writing staff and myself, I just wanted to thank all the readers for the best Christmas gift that any writer can get – the ability to write for a paper with a readership that cares so deeply about the material within.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

—Anthony J. Machcinski

We’ve got mail

Holiday Safety Tips
Retired New Jersey State Trooper Captain and former Sheriff of Hudson County Juan M. Perez offers tips to ensure all a happy, healthy and most of all safe holiday season:
Always be aware of your surroundings and other persons when you park your vehicle in a shopping area. If possible, shop with others as there is safety in numbers. Use your trunk to store purchased items and never leave any type of package in your vehicle in view of the windows. When paying for purchases in the store do not display large amounts of currency at the register or other areas.
When approaching an ATM, scan the area to determine if there are any individuals in the vicinity of the machine. If there are persons near the ATM, do not use it. Ensure that the ATM is well lit and secure. Report any suspicious activity immediately to your local police department.
If you reside in a one family home, or if your apartment is located on the first floor street level, do not leave packages or other valuables in view of your windows. Make sure the area around your home is well lit and free of large obstructions that a thief or would-be assailant could hide behind.
In regards to the holiday festivities, never drive with any type of alcohol in your system. Instead, ask a relative or friend who has not consumed alcoholic beverages to drive you home or call for a taxi.

Woman’s wish to help needy Harrison families

Pechter’s employees (from left) Tatiana Torres, Antonio Bachas, Talakshi Kenia, and Doris Revolorio with Cadets Mike and Lena Harrington from the Salvation Army help complete Raefski’s wish.

 

By Anthony Machcinski

Back in October, The Observer ran a contest in which the winner received $100 dollars to go towards any of the businesses with a pumpkin in their advertisement.
In a generous show of concern for her fellow residents, the winner, Cheryl Raefski, planned to donate the money to Pechter’s Bakery in Harrison for food distribution to needy families.
Unfortunately, we at the Observer are sad to report that Raefski passed away suddenly and wasn’t able to finalize her plan.
Keeping with her wishes, The Observer has taken that money and bought food from Pechter’s. Cadets from the Salvation Army personally went to Pechter’s on Friday morning to pick up the money. It will be donated to families in Harrison in time for the Christmas Holiday.
“I never had an opportunity to meet with her, but this was something she was very sincere about,” Observer publisher Lisa Pezzola said. “It’s a shame that we write about this after she has passed. She was a caring person and I think it’s very important to carry this out in her name.”
We, at the Observer, want to send our deepest condolences to the Raefski family and to show our heartfelt appreciation for her thoughtfulness.

‘Kids are the losers,’ says BOE head

Photo by Ron Leir/ Lincoln School students will have to continue to make do with this crowded computer lab now that the referendum has been defeated.

 

By Ron Leir

LYNDHURST –
A second try this year to get township voters to support a multi-million dollar facelift for the public schools has failed and district officials are pretty much throwing in the towel.
The Dec. 13 referendum which proposed spending $28.8 million for district-wide improvements, tied to a sale of Lincoln School, was defeated by a vote of 1,469 to 1,157, including mail-in ballots.
The measure carried in only three of the township’s 15 voting districts.
A solemn mood prevailed at Board of Education headquarters the evening of the vote as messengers from each polling site trudged in with the disappointing results.
Schools Supt. Tracey Marinelli, who had given birth to a baby boy only a few days previously, board trustees and members of the Committee of 40 who advocated for the referendum could only listen and watch as those numbers were written on a Smart Board by School Business Administrator David DiPisa.
“Thank you, everyone,” Marinelli told the group of supporters gathered in the board conference room. “We couldn’t have done anything different. You guys worked your tails off. I just wish the voters felt the same way. Tomorrow’s another day.”
Because the referendum proposed the use of $3.8 million in state grants to finance new boilers, roofs, windows and HVAC systems as part of the overall school plant upgrade, Marinelli said that the district would have to forfeit those funds.
“I hope (that loss of funding) doesn’t cause serious safety issues,” Marinelli said.
Within the past five years, Marinelli said, “we’ve had two fire escapes collapse and ceilings fall in at three schools.” Fortunately, classes weren’t in session at the time of those mishaps, she said.
Asked what the district could do as a fallback plan, Marinelli replied: “There is no ‘Plan B,’ we just keep trucking along.”
Under the referendum plan, no new school construction was proposed. Instead, a reconfiguration of the school population was to take place with Franklin School and Jefferson Annex to house all kindergarteners, Columbus and Washington schools would handle grades 1 to 4 and Roosevelt and Jefferson schools would take grades 5 to 8.
Given that scenario, every elementary school was slated to get an elevator, computer lab, media center, music room, combination art/world language room and the capacity for taking three or more sections of special needs students.
Additionally, Columbus and Roosevelt schools were to get a gym/cafeteria; Jefferson and Roosevelt were slated for three science labs apiece; and the high school would have gotten a renovated auditorium, cafeteria and air-conditioning.
But now, those plans have to be scrapped.
What will happen, starting with the fall 2012 term, is redistricting, Marinelli said. It is hoped that re-drafting the boundaries for each school will help, to some extent, in remedying the unbalanced enrollment in some schools.
But the district’s future remains uncertain.
Board President Ellen Young said she was “truly disappointed” with the vote in which “the only true losers are the children. I don’t feel you could put a price on education. They are our future and I, as a parent of a child in this district, feel we’ve failed our children.”
As for the projected annual tax increase of $199 for the “average” home for the 15 years it would have taken to pay off the debt for the improvements, Young said: “Taxes are always going to go up – with or without this.”
Asked what options were open to the district at this point, Young shrugged, saying: “We’re done.”
Only board member James Hooper, speaking personally, held out some hope of possible state intervention.
“We need to go to Gov. Christie and our state legislators,” Hooper said, “and say that we need some type of minimum standard for school facilities (targeted) for middle school students – things like science labs and media centers.”
Hooper said that Lyndhurst homeowners – like every other town – “contribute our tax money to the ‘Abbott Districts’ but we don’t get the same facilities they get. Maybe it will turn out that districts like Lyndhurst that lack those type of facilities are a small number, in which case it’s not going to cost the state much to remedy that.”
A state education task force appointed by the governor is due shortly to issue a report touching on state school funding so maybe Hooper will get his wish.
Time will tell.

Decorations proclaim: ‘Happy Noel’

Photos by Anthony J. Machcinski/ A home on Noel Drive in North Arlington

 

By Anthony J. Machcinski

While the economy, bad weather, and busy schedules have done their best to ruin the happiness behind the holidays, one group of residents has done their best to keep the spirit of the holidays.
Every year, millions of people across the nation decorate for Christmas, and none are more diligent in their decoration than the residents of Noel Drive in North Arlington.
“We started the year that we moved in (1990),” said Noel Drive resident Bernadette Antonelli. “We did it because that’s what everyone in the neighborhood did. We’ve always done a lot.”
Winners of three awards this year, from North Arlington Recreation, State Fair Superstore, and a Christmas Countdown Decorating Award on Twitter, the Antonelli family easily have one of the most recognizable houses on the block.
“Everyone would know that something happened if we didn’t decorate one year,’ Antonelli said.
The Antonelli family have their own process in order to try and organize and simplify the decorating. However, even with this organization process, decorating the outside of the house is generally a three-day affair.
“I’m in charge of the layout and (my husband) Tom is in charge of all the wiring so that it’s all lit and it stays that way,” Antonelli explained. “Tom has perfected the art of wrapping the cords.”

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Decorations from various homes on Noel Drive in North Arlington .

While the decorating process is a family bonding experience, the main reason Antonelli does it is for her children, Brianna and Michael.
“We did it for the kids and they help us put it together,” Antonelli explained. “It’s noted on our block that the homes on Noel Drive are always so decorated.”
Noel Drive is so well-known for its holiday decorations, in fact, that several families travel to the area just to be able to take pictures of the magnificent houses.
“One year, we had a family that went out at 11 p.m. and they were just taking pictures,” Antonelli remembered. “We heard noise outside so when I looked out the window I saw them laughing and taking pictures. All we could do was laugh.”
Every year, the Antonellis try to change up the decorations to give viewers a different experience than the year before.
“We’ve never had the same thing two years in a row,” Antonelli explained. “Last year we had a big waving Santa. We’ve had a big Ferris wheel too. We always just try to put something in the center.”
Even with the bad economy, the Antonelli’s still continue to put up elaborate displays.
“We really don’t (think about the economy), but the spirit of Christmas and the holidays has always meant something,” Antonelli said.
In these harsh times, the spirit of the holidays should always come through.

Booze, drugs factored in crashes

Around 11:00 p.m. on Dec. 8, Officers Ben Wuelfing and Joe Martin responded to a motor vehicle accident with injuries at the intersection of Belgrove Drive and Bergen Ave. A silver Lincoln Continental (eastbound on Bergen at the time of the accident) fled the scene. Police were able to trace liquid coming from the car and followed it down a series of Kearny streets before finding the silver Lincoln parked on John Hay Ave.
While police were in the process of getting a tow truck to remove the vehicle, a 25-year-old Kearny resident arrived and admitted that she had been driving the car. While interviewing her, police detected an odor of alcohol and conducted on-scene tests that confirmed their suspicion. The 25-year-old was charged with D.W.I., driving under a suspended driver’s license, careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, failing to report an accident, assault by automobile, and refusing to submit to a breath test.
In another automobile accident on the evening of Dec. 11, Officers John Fabula, Jack Corbett Jr. and Brian Wisely responded to the bottom of Hoyt St. off Schuyler Ave. after a report of a car hitting a tree. When they arrived at the scene, the officers confirmed that an accident had occurred and saw several people fleeing the area.
In the front passenger seat was a 16-year-old youth, “pretty banged up.”
A check on the vehicle determined that the car had been stolen. Upon searching the surrounding area, Corbett encountered a 17-year-old Kearny male who attempted to elude him. After apprehending the youth, the male admitted to being the driver and to “smoking some weed.”
The 17-year-old was charged with receiving stolen property, driving while under the influence of narcotics, driving without a license, reckless driving, and fleeing the scene of an accident. Both teens received medical attention. The 16-year-old was processed and turned over to one of his parents. The 17-year-old, after consenting to a urine sample, was taken to Hudson County Youth House in Secaucus after it was revealed that he had an outstanding juvenile warrant from Hudson County.
Det. Mike Gonzalez was en route to work on Dec. 12 when he observed an individual known from previous police encounters walking on Passaic Ave. He watched the man enter the Kmart on Passaic Ave. A few minutes later, the man left the store. The man wasn’t carrying any packages but his coat appeared to have expanded, police said.
The man was detained for investigation and it was found that he was in possession of three boxes of Trojan Magnum Condoms and 19 boxes of Visine eye drops.
After confirming with the store that the man had not made the purchases, he was placed under arrest for shoplifting and was found to have outstanding warrants from Newark, Bloomfield, and East Orange.
Kearny Police Chief John Dowie urged all Kearny residents to lock their cars and to make sure that all valuable items are out of sight or not left in the cars as a measure to deter theft.

Of several fights that happened on the night of Dec.9 into the wee hours of Dec. 10,
none was potentially more dangerous than an incident that occurred on the corner
of Kearny Ave. and Dukes St.
At 3:25 a.m., Sgt. Charles Smith came upon a disorderly group, with several members
fighting and screaming. During the squabble, Smith overheard a member of the group yell at another, “If you want to shoot, go ahead.”
During the event, Smith observed a member of the group walking away who appeared
to drop something in the gutter. After calling for backup, Smith apprehended the individual and searched the area. Lying in the gutter was a Colt .32 semi-automatic
pistol, fully loaded with hollow-point bullets.
The 25-year-old Harrison resident was charged with illegal possession of a weapon,
possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, and possession of hollow-point bullets.
However, this was not the only dust-up that occurred that morning. At 2:40 a.m., Officers Tom Sumowski and Christian Medina, along with Sgt. Smith were called to a large fight on the 200 block of Kearny Ave. Officers arrived at the scene and observed a disorderly group of people standing on the sidewalk.
While attempting to disperse the group, officers spotted one individual, a 26-year-old male from New York, instigating fights. After attempting to calm him, the 26-year-old male shoved Sumowski and attempted to flee. As the 26-year-old made his bid for freedom, a second male, a 23-year-old Harrison resident, tried to stop Sumowski from collaring the 26-year-old. It turns out the man was the Harrison resident’s cousin.
Officers Mike Santucci and Derek Hemphill arrived on scene and provided backup. Both parties were taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing the administration of law, and resisting arrest. The 26-year-old was also charged with assault on a police officer.
At 5:30 a.m., that same 23-year-old Harrison resident was released from headquarters and spotted by Det. Mike Gonzalez urinating in the middle of the street. Gonzalez gave him a summons for urinating in the street.

Around Town

Belleville
Belleville Elks will sponsor a special Type O blood drive on Wednesday, Dec. 26. The blood drive will be conducted inside the Belleville Elks Hall, 254 Washington Ave., Belleville, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., no appointments needed. Although this is a special Type O blood drive, all types of blood will be accepted for donations. All donors must be at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 120 lbs. and be in general good health. There is no upper age limit for donors provided they meet the health requirements. Donors must bring a signed form of identification. People with a fever or sore throat should wait until they are feeling better before donating and there is a 24-hour deferral for tooth cleanings and fillings. For those who have recently traveled outside the United States, call the Blood Center of N.J. at 973-676-4700, ext. 132 for eligibility criteria.

Harrison
Starting Wednesday, Jan. 4, the Centro Romeu Cascaes Portuguese American Community Center, 308 William St., in Harrison, will resume regular Zumba classes on Mondays and Thursdays and Zumba Toning class on Wednesdays.  The one-hour class starts at 7:30 p.m.  For more info or to register, please call Maria Marieiro at 973.482.0631 or 201-401-0826 or email harrisonzumba@yahoo.com.

Kearny
On Friday, Dec. 30, at 4:00 p.m. Art Teacher Mrs. Mills will host a special winter scene art project for children ages 4 and up at the Kearny Branch Library, 759 Kearny Ave.  The program is provided free of charge and supplies will be provided by the library.  For further information, please call the Main Library at (201) 998-2666.  Visit www.kearnylibrary.org for more program information.
First Lutheran Church, 65 Oakwood Ave., Kearny, will have a Christmas Eve service at 7:30 p.m. No service will be held Christmas morning. All other Sunday worship services are held at 11 a.m.

Lyndhurst
The Lyndhurst Health Department, in conjunction with Clara Maass Medical Center, will begin a monthly health lecture series, starting on Friday, Jan. 20, at 10:00 a.m.  A light breakfast will be served.  January’s lecture topic will be: First Aid for seniors.  Please call the Lyndhurst Health Department at 201-804-2500 to reserve a seat.
Lyndhurst Health Department will hold its annual rabies vaccination clinics on Jan. 12 and 19, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.  All dogs and cats must be licensed each year by New Jersey State Law.  Residents will be able to license their dogs and cats at this event.  Rabies vaccination must be current through October 31, 2012 in order to obtain a 2012 license.  Please call the Lyndhurst Health Department at 201-804-2500 for more information.
Lyndhurst Public Library announces its monthly book club will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss “True Blue” by David Baldacci. Please contact Diane Montefusco at 201-804-2478 Ext. 2 for more information and to obtain a copy of the book. Space is limited and registration is necessary.
Galino Bello of Lyndhurst won first place in the Essex County Gingerbread House Contest held on Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Essex County Environmental Center. Bello’s brother Vincent the 3rd took 3rd Place honors, while brother Charlie received Honorable Mention.  The intricately detailed and 100% edible houses took more than two weeks to construct.

North Arlington
The North Arlington Helping Exceptional People (H.E.P.) organization announces a bus trip on Monday, Jan. 16, to the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pa.  The initial cost is $30.  Upon arriving at the casino you will receive $20 in Slot Play and a $5 Food Voucher.  Please bring a Photo ID, which is needed to get the Slot Play money. The bus will leave at 10:00 a.m. from the Knights of Columbus parking lot located at 194 River Rd. North Arlington. For tickets, please contact Nicholas Cerchio at 201- 230-3428.

Nutley
Nutley Public Library will host a Teen Video Game Tourney: Wii, Xbox or bring your DS to play each other on Friday, Jan. 13 and 20 at 3:00 p.m., and Tuesday, Jan. 17 and 24, at 3:00 p.m.

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