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Ferrarro resigns, takes buyout

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  After months of wrangling with his employer, the Kearny Board of Education, Frank Ferraro has tendered his resignation as Kearny superintendent of schools, effective Nov. 1. Ferraro, who was facing the threat of being fired after the board had brought tenure charges […]


New high school VP named

KEARNY – A 13-year school employee has been promoted to vice principal assigned to Kearny High School. Paul Measso, 37, was appointed to his new job Oct. 20 at an annual salary of $128,163 (pro-rated), pending receipt of his principal certificate of eligibility from Trenton. He completed a master’s degree […]


Lottery for senior apts. next month

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  HARRISON – The town’s first affordable residence for senior citizens at 774 Harrison Ave. is getting ever closer to reality. As construction of the 15-unit building nears completion, the sponsor, Domus Corp., the housing arm of Catholic Charities of Newark, has begun the process […]


Heroin/gun rap for felon

      By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  When Kearny Vice Squad detectives busted a Newark man for drug possession/distribution Oct. 17 on Maple St., they reported recovering 135 folds of heroin. While the suspect was languishing in the Hudson County Jail on $40,000 bail, the KPD […]


Borough voters getting school question

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  EAST NEWARK –  A court ruling has cleared the way – over objections by Harrison – for a Nov. 4 nonbinding referendum asking borough voters, “Should East Newark high school students be sent to Kearny High School instead of Harrison High School?” Harrison Board […]


Old Hartz site giving way to apartments

Photos by Beckerman Public Relations/ Jeff Milanaik, head of Heller Industrial Parks, (l.) and Harrison Mayor Ray Mc- Donough pose at ceremony for start of demolition of old Hartz property as wrecking ball strikes



By Ron Leir

HARRISON – After years of planning, land acquisition and a stalled economy, things
are beginning to break on the waterfront redevelopment front for this West Hudson community.
On Nov. 17 Heller Urban Renewal, an arm of Heller Industrial Parks, began knocking
down the old Hartz Mountain complex along the east side of Frank Rodgers Blvd. South to clear the way for 600 new residential units to rise on the 10.5-acre site along the Passaic River, just a short walk to the Harrison PATH.
“It’s a new venture for us,” said Jeffrey J. Milanaik, president of Heller Industrial
Parks, an Edison-based company whose previous accomplishments are in nonresidential enterprises.
Milanaik says the company – whose roots are in Harrison – owns 16 million square feet of distribution centers spread over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas.
Now it will be expanding its portfolio with the Harrison mixed-use project, featuring
six buildings of varying size, starting at five stories and ranging up to eight or nine;
plus 30,000 square feet of retail space.
“We’ll be doing the residential component in six phases at the rate of one a year, with
the first phase to be 95 units,” Milanaik said.
The apartments will be a mix of one- and two-bedrooms, he said, and athletic workout areas will be scattered around the complex, along with meeting rooms.

Parking is to be provided on site at the rate of a bit more than one space per living unit, he said.
At total build-out, the project is expected to be valued at $100 million, according to
Demolition and environmental cleanup of the Hartz complex – nine buildings comprising 750,000 square feet – will be taking place in earnest in the first quarter of
2012, continuing through the fourth quarter of 2012.

Photo by Ron Leir/ Mayor Ray McDonough displays rendering of Riverbend project proposed by Russo Development, in foreground, with Red Bull Arena shown in background.

New construction of apartments and retail space – which figures to include a restaurant and small shops – is expected to begin in 2013. The project should generate an estimated 100 construction jobs, Milanaik said.
Heller Urban Renewal will serve as general contractor and NK Architects of Morristown, which is working on another transit-oriented redevelopment project in Bloomfield, will design the Harrison project, to be known as Harrison Station.
Heller is slated to outline its plans to the Harrison Redevelopment Agency on Dec.
12, according to Mayor Ray McDonough.
Just across the way, on the west side of Frank Rodgers Blvd., Harrison Commons, the
newly-built 275-unit luxury rental apartment complex where developer Richard Miller says 120 units have been rented so far, got an additional shot in the arm.
Miller said that the state Economic Development Authority has awarded a $7.4 million Economic Redevelopment and Growth grant toward the construction of a 136-room hotel on property between Harrison Commons and the Harrison Parking Center garage.
Construction of the new hotel, which will be run by Starwood-Element, should start
by June or July, Miller said.
As provided by an ordinance adopted by the Harrison governing body on Sept. 6, the town will be collecting an annual service charge from the hotel at the rate of $1,250 per room. Based on 136 rooms, that would translate to $169,000 a year.
And then there is Russo Development, of Carlstadt, which has purchased a parcel known as “Block C,” between the proposed Riverbend Dr. and Crucible Dr. and between Frank Rodgers Blvd. and Fifth St., from the Advance Co.
In October, Russo was granted approval by the Harrison Planning Board to build 266 apartments and 32,316 square feet of retail space on Block C.
Mayor McDonough said Russo’s plans call for mostly one and two-bedroom plus some studios and two-bedroom townhomes.
“He’s expected to break ground in six months,” McDonough said.

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Christmas without a gift




By Lisa Pezzolla

During this holiday season, please keep in mind those who are struggling through difficult times in our local area. Now that making your Christmas list is an activity just around the corner, non-profits and county agencies yearly turn every stone seeking community support to put gifts under the trees of the area’s needy families. Unfortunately, many children don’t have a family to spend the holiday with or a toy to receive. The past few years, The Observer has collected toys, and we have been very successful with the help of the community.
A child without a Christmas gift is a sad thought, and with that in mind, this year, we have reached out to the Salvation Army and the Giving Tree and it seems we have many families in need, including teenagers. So please participate once again by giving children and teens a gift. Whatever your struggles are the rest of the year, this is the time of year you can really have a feeling of joy. With all of your help, they can wake up on Christmas morning with a gift to open. Don’t leave it up to someone else.
May we all remember each other and the real reason for the season, and His true spirit this year and always. Bring your gifts to The Observer, 531 Kearny Ave, Kearny, NJ 07032 starting Dec. 7 – ending Dec. 23 at 10 a.m.

Plenty of parks … where are the kids?

When I was a kid growing up in Kearny, I remember that getting friends together for a game of basketball or football was an easy thing.
Whether it was sunny and 70 degrees or snow was on the ground, we were always ready to play, and most likely would join a game already in progress.
Where did those days go?
And it’s not like I was a kid back in the 1960’s. I’m currently 22.
I understand why my group of friends doesn’t play; between the need to avoid black eyes, cuts, and miscellaneous injuries while going to work, plus the age factor, but why do I now drive past Manor Park in Kearny or many of the other places I used to frequent and see no games going on?
Older people complain that all children do nowadays is spend time on Facebook, or sit in front of the television screen. But when it comes time to get their own kids involved
in sports and such, these same parents often hold their kids back.
I understand that the dangers are great. I lived in North Philadelphia for four years while attending college. But we can’t shield our kids from every potential hazard. If we do, they’ll never learn to grow in life.
One of the excuses I’ve heard is that the people from outside communities who go to suburban parks make it unsafe for children. I’ve played with those same people. If you had the choice, would you choose a park one of those towns over a park in Kearny? I
don’t think you would.
All I’m saying is this: Be smart by trusting your kids. The more you trust them, the less they’ll have to lie to you about where they’re going.
And for the children, get up and get out! There’s no reason to let a 60-degree weekend in November pass you by.

—Anthony J. Machcinski


To the Publisher:
I feel the need to express my thankfulness to the North Arlington Police Department, especially to the following names which hopefully I spelled right due to the very hectic day on Nov. 16: Detective Horton, Det. Heddenberg, Capt. John Hearn, Officer
Ballinger, Officer John Hoffman and also the dispatcher on duty for his quick response to my call and also the woman from the Port Authority that spotted my father right away at the airport.
Rarely does it seem there are positive remarks and words of gratitude or appreciation for the many good things, which are done by our police department, but instead constant negative remarks that the officers are not around when you need them.
From my perspective, (it was) my extreme worry and emotional state from the problem in the disappearance of my 90-year-old father who speaks broken English and at times would act confused which was the reason for my desperate call to the
North Arlington Police Department, during which a dispatcher answered and connected me to the appropriate department of the Silver Alert.
They quickly acted upon my request and communicated with me all the needed information and requested a picture of my father. Within minutes they had reported to me that he was found by a Port Authority officer who located him at the airport and that I was to go there and pick him up.
On Nov. 16, as I stepped out for about 15 minutes to get my dad his daily paper, I came home to find him missing from the home with his dog and suitcase and other handbags and communicated quickly to the North Arlington Police that I felt my dad was on his way to the airport but had no idea how he could have gotten there.
I had a lot to be thankful for this past Thanksgiving Day as my father was found quite
quickly uninjured and relaxed and waiting for his family at the Newark airport when were able to take him home.
Once again, thank you all that helped in this situation and the great job that was done quietly and quickly and without any confusion.

Maria H. Furtado
North Arlington

Kearny withdrawals court complaint after Lyndhurst makes NJMC payment

By Anthony J. Machcinski

A legal battle between Kearny and Lyndhurst over a late payment owed by Lyndhurst to the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission has been settled.
“Once (the payment) was made, we withdrew the complaint,” said Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos.
The NJMC is a zoning and planning agency for a 30.4-square-mile area along the Hackensack River. The NJMC extends into parts of 14 towns in Bergen and Hudson Counties, including Kearny, Lyndhurst, and North Arlington.
The NJMC was created in order to manage and preserve open spaces, especially the wetlands, in the areas along the Hackensack River.
According to the current tax formula, certain lands are designated for commercial development, industrial use, and open space. Towns with land designated for open space receive money from the NJMC. Kearny, according to Mayor Santos, is one of the biggest recipients from the NJMC because of the amount of land designated for open space. When Lyndhurst didn’t pay, one of the towns hurt most was Kearny.
Santos believes that Lyndhurst’s refusal was a protest to find other ways to fund the NJMC. Lyndhurst is one of the seven towns that, under the current tax formula, are forced to pay into a fund that is divided between seven other towns.
“Even though Kearny is a recipient, I’m open to finding other sources of payment,”
Mayor Santos explained.
“I’m open to looking to other revenue sources, but the law remains the same. We will continue to enforce our payments that are due us.”
Despite this late payment, Mayor Santos is optimistic that this will not be a recurring issue.
“I would hope that if the law does not change, that this kind of non-payment won’t recur,” explained Santos.
Mayor Richard DiLascio and Commissioner Brian Haggerty, both of Lyndhurst, were unavailable for comment before press time.
Through these issues, Mayor Santos looks to help all parties involved and bring a mutual solution to these problems.
“I’m going to make sure Kearny is going to receive what it is due,” Santos began. “However, if the burden is going to be taken off of Secaucus and Lyndhurst, I’d work with them to help them. I think it’s going to be a challenge to do, but I expect them to see if they can find something that works.

Harrison Police Blotter

Nov. 29
A man was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital, Newark, after being struck in the face with a pool cue during an argument that broke out over a game with another player in a Grant Ave. bar. The other player fled the bar, police said.
Someone tried to steal a motor vehicle while it was parked on Kingsland Ave.
An intruder burglarized an Ann St. residence after breaking in through a basement
window. Attempted entries to first and second-floor apartments were unsuccessful,
according to police.
A thief stole a package delivered by the U.S. Postal Service from a Bergen St. home.

Nov. 28
A vehicle parked on N. Fifth St. was burglarized and a car radio taken.

Nov. 25
After being observed driving at what police characterized as a high rate of speed at
Second St. and Cleveland Ave., police pursued the driver, Carlos Patela of Harrison into Newark where he was stopped on Passaic Ave. and arrested for three outstanding traffic warrants – two from Harrison and one from Newark. He was also issued motor vehicle summonses including one for driving with a suspended license.
Benjamin DiPierdomenico of Harrison was arrested for trespassing on the grounds of
Harrison Housing Authority property at Harrison Gardens, and for outstanding warrants that also involved trespassing.

Nov. 24
A vehicle parked on the 800 block of Hamilton St. was broken into and a GPS unit was stolen.

Nov. 22
An Infinity parked in a private parking lot in the 200 block of Railroad Ave. was broken into and an unknown amount of coins were stolen.
A Washington St. residence was burglarized via a basement window. Nothing was reported stolen at the time, police said.

Nov. 21
Paul Burns of Harrison was arrested at Frank Rodgers Blvd. North and Hamilton St. after being found in possession of a purse and a GPS that were reported stolen from a
vehicle that was parked on Washington St. Burns also had an outstanding warrant for parole violations.
A store located on Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. South was burglarized. Phone cards and an ATM machine were stolen.

Nov. 20
A 2004 Saab was stolen while it was left running and unattended at the Passaic and Harrison Aves. strip mall. Nov. 19
After being stopped for a motor vehicle violation, Anthony Telinski of Totowa was
arrested at Frank Rodgers Blvd. North and Cross St. for an outstanding warrant. He was also issued motor vehicle summonses including one for driving with a suspended license.
A bicycle that was chained to a fence in the area of the PATH station on Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. South was stolen.

Nov. 18
A basement window at a N. Fifth St. residence was broken by an unknown vandal.


As everyone knows, one of the best parts of the Yuletide season is being able to see the different Christmas decorations people put on their houses. This always sparks a debate, whether it may be what size light bulbs, using white or colors, or whether icicle lights are good or not.
Regardless of what your answers may be to those questions, the Observer needs your help.
Throughout December, The Observer will be featuring photos of several houses submitted by our readers that show the spirit of Christmas.
Send your house photos or those of a neighbor to: artdept@theobserver.com. Please include the address of the house for a chance to have it featured in an upcoming
edition of the Observer.

—Anthony J. Machcinski

New kid’s book ready for holidays

Images courtesy Christina Tsevis


Images courtesy Christina Tsevis/ The main character, Billy, poses on the front cover of “The Lucky Cake”.



By Anthony J. Machcinski

In the rush of the holiday season, many family traditions get pushed aside because of the many time constraints the holiday season imposes.
Kearny resident and author Anna Prokos hopes to restore some of these traditions and create new ones with her latest children’s book, “The Lucky Cake.”
“The Lucky Cake” is inspired by the Greek tradition of baking a cake with a coin inside for the beginning of the New Year. Once the cake is finished, it is served from oldest to youngest. The one who finds the coin in the cake is said to have a lucky year.
“This was a family tradition my family has had since I was a child,” Prokos explained. “I think that this New Year’s tradition is something that families can start whether you’re Greek or not.”
A three-time winner of the coin herself, Prokos understands the anticipation of the tradition, not just for adults but also for children.
“It’s an exciting time for kids,” Prokos said cheerfully. “They wait all year for a chance at this lucky coin and I think that would be something that all kids would like to experience for their families.”
Harboring writing aspirations since she was in second grade, Prokos began her writing apprenticeship as a columnist at The Observer in 1991, while still a junior at Kearny High, then became an author of children’s books, self-publishing this book after penning 40 other books for kids. this book after writing 40 other books for children.

“It was amazing and I’m very proud of the work that went into it,” Prokos explained when asked about publishing the book. “It was like a dream come true.”

With the success of “The Lucky Cake,” Prokos will create a second part, “The Lucky Year,” which will follow the main character, Billy, and his continuing adventures with
the lucky coin. In order to create some of the adventures needed for “The Lucky Year,” Prokos has enlisted the help of the very children she hopes to reach.
“We’re running a contest with students in schools all over New Jersey,” Prokos explained. “They’re going to submit ideas to me of adventures Billy can take. If there are enough really good ones, then maybe I’ll make it into a series.”
While Prokos looks to start a new tradition with her book, she also hopes to provide help for the community. A portion of the proceeds from her book will benefit The Greek Children’s Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance towards the daily, non-medical needs of Greek, Cypriot and Greek- American children and their families.
Prokos is scheduled for book-signings at several town events and venues, including the North Arlington Town Holiday Tree Lighting on Dec. 6, and at the Kearny Branch Library on Jan. 7.
To order her book, go to www.theluckycakebook.com.
To enter the contest, send submissions to: info@a-tozpublishing.com by Jan. 31,

Nutley Blotter: Fireworks scare residents

Nov. 24
Police rushed to the Spring Garden School area at 11:28 p.m. on a report of shots fired. Investigation, however, revealed that the “shots” were actually fireworks, police said. A gray minivan was seen leaving the area before police received the call.

Nov. 26
Rebecca Maniscaco of Bloomfield was issued a summons for being in possession of an open alcoholic beverage while standing at the corner of Prospect and Centre Sts. at 1:54 a.m., police said.
At 10:25 p.m. police pulled over a car operated by Daniel Cioban of Nutley for a motor vehicle stop on Harrison St. to ask the driver why he wasn’t wearing his seat belt. After police gave Cioban summonses for failure to wear a seat belt and disorderly conduct, Cioban crumpled up the summonses and tossed them out the car window, according to police. Cioban was then issued an additional summons charging him with throwing debris on the street.
Police responded to a neighborhood dispute on Columbia Ave. at 3:20 p.m. One neighbor accused the other of pushing him. Police told them they could sign complaints with the court if they wished.

Nov. 27
A Union City motorist was stopped for a motor vehicle check at Franklin and Kingsland Aves. at 2:19 a.m. and was arrested after a mobile computer alerted police that the registered owner’s license had been suspended. Police issued Jamie Wheaton six motor vehicle summonses and released her with a court date after she posted bail.
A Ridge Rd. resident told police she saw someone in a red pickup truck leave the area with her garbage can, valued at $25, at 9:57 p.m.

Nov. 28
Police pulled over a vehicle driven by Omar Sawaged of Secaucus at 3:38 a.m. at Franklin Ave. and Chestnut St. after the driver reportedly failed to keep in the right lane and crossed the yellow traffic line. Police said Sawaged was arrested on an outstanding warrant and was issued two motor vehicle summonses. After posting bail, Sawaged was released.

Nov. 29
At 7:12 p.m. police went to a Chestnut St. apartment complex in response to a landlord-tenant dispute. The tenant told police that the landlord had entered the apartment without permission. Police advised the tenant of the right to sign a complaint and left.
A Bloomfield Ave. resident’s suspicions were alerted after seeing three men in a late-model green Toyota Camry parked in a neighbor’s driveway at 11:23 p.m. When
police arrived, the vehicle left the area. Police said they checked the area for possible break-ins but none were reported.

Nov. 30
Police went to a Centre St. bank at 1:42 p.m. to check on a report of an argument with
a customer but upon arrival police were unable to locate the alleged disputant. No further action was taken.
Someone used a Nutley resident’s credit card to charge $1,000 on walmart.com, police
said. The credit card fraud department is investigating. The alleged fraud was reported
at 4:05 p.m.

Dec. 1
A thief swiped a large pile of scrap metal from a construction company dumpster on Franklin Ave. during the night. The scrap metal was valued at $1,000, according to the company.

Dec. 2
A Belleville resident told police he parked his 1998 Ford pickup in front of a Washington Ave. business and ran inside to pick up an item. He said that he left the
vehicle unlocked and with the motor running and that when he returned, the car was gone. He reported leaving the car unlocked and the motor running. Police are investigating. The incident was reported at 9:39 a.m.
Someone apparently broke into a Kingsland Ave. restaurant through a rear door during the night and stole various electronic equipment items, police said. The owner told police he found the rear door damaged and open when he arrived to open the restaurant at 11:54 a.m.

Message for the Soul: Don’t Quit!

Have you ever felt so tired of pursuing your dreams that at times you have just wanted to end the wait and give up? We have all experienced that feeling at one point or another. It is not unnatural to feel that way. A positive mind is very fragile. Its optimism can easily be harmed with the various stresses we encounter in our daily routine. We may often be tempted to compromise on our ambitions and settle for something less than we desire only because what we want takes longer to arrive than expected. Although it may seem like an easier path to take at the time, it is not necessarily the shortcut to success.
Life is all about choices. We are who we are today because of the decisions we knowingly or unknowingly made in the past. Each new day gives us another chance at making an informed choice. I understand that working hard towards your goals each day is tough when you have nothing much to show for it; but I urge you to carry on. Don’t quit at this stage. If you learn to master the art of excellence, success can’t be too far behind.
In Asia, people keep an “intention sachet” made of bay leaves and cinnamon in their bags and wallets. It is believed that this helps in developing will power, concentration and patience. A dream-catcher also works in a similar way. But these things will only work if you have faith. You need to have faith in yourself before anything else. If you think you deserve better, then don’t let any temptation convince you otherwise.
Know your worth and I don’t mean this in a financial way. Focus on your relationships, both business and personal. Get feedback from those who matter to you. Learn how important you are to them. This exercise will help you understand and accept that you are truly a wonderful creation. Don’t live your life thinking it is ordinary. You are unique and so are your experiences. And now you can make it even better by pursuing your ambitions.
Go the distance; that extra mile may actually help you achieve all that you have always wanted. Yes, it may take time and some extra effort, but a palace takes longer to construct than an ordinary building. Don’t fret the wait. Even if you feel lost and bewildered, hold on to that dream, clear your thoughts and start marching again. Always remember that winners never quit!



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