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NAPD seeks man who allegedly passed 4 fake $100s

The North Arlington Police Department  is currently investigating an incident involving use of counterfeit $100 bills at a 7-Eleven on Ridge Rd. A man, approximately 6′  in height, 150 lbs., wearing a baseball cap  with a Seattle Mariners logo, a […]

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W.H.A.T. presents ‘The Addams Family’ July 30-Aug. 2, including preview tonight at Angry Coffee Bean

KEARNY — Teen Drama, a theater company for teens celebrating its fifth anniversary this summer, in association with the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company (W.H.A.T.) presents the modern classic Broadway musical “The Addams Family” this summer. The smash-hit musical […]

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Images from funeral procession for Jersey City police Detective Melvin Santiago

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Farewell to a brother in blue

On Friday afternoon, regular traffic came to a halt on the Belleville Pike and Ridge Road to open the route for the funeral procession of slain Jersey City Police Detective Melvin Santiago. The 23-year-old rookie, promoted posthumously to detective, had been ambushed early Sunday, July 13, when he […]

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State eyes raising part of Pike

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – The Rt. 7/Belleville Turnpike corridor which runs through Kearny’s meadows area and beyond is getting a lot of attention these days from state and federal transit agencies. For the past couple of years, contractors hired by the state Department of Transportation have […]

 
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Lots of learning and fun at Kearny girls’ hoop camp

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By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

Jaeli Torres is a 12-year-old resident of Rutherford. Her father and uncle were basketball standouts during their heyday at Rutherford High School, so it would be only natural for young Jaeli to want to learn about the game like her dad and uncle.

“My uncle set the record for most points there, so basically, I had no choice,” Torres said.

So in order to learn more about basketball, Torres came to Kearny recently to attend the Kearny High School Girls’ Basketball Camp. It’s been a fixture for the past decade at the school, run under the guidance and leadership of Kearny head girls’ basketball coach Jody Hill.

It was a beneficial week for Torres.

“I learned how to do most of the drills,” Torres said. “I learned how to do things in basketball with the older girls. I liked that. I took some hits, but it made me pick myself back up and get back out there. It was a lot of fun.”

That was the basic premise of the week. The 75 or so young ladies who attended the week-long camp got to learn a lot about the fundamentals of basketball, but had fun in doing so.

Carley Martin is an aspiring 11-year-old standout from Roosevelt School in Lyndhurst. Her father, Chuck, was the long-time head boys’ basketball coach at Lyndhurst.

“I learned how to do the weave drill,” Martin said. “I learned how to attack the front foot in playing one-on-one. I liked that they let us help the little girls with their shooting. I love basketball. It’s my favorite sport. I practice it every day.”

Ally Scrimo of Kearny was excited.

“I’ll be turning eight on Saturday,” proclaimed Scrimo, a student at Schuyler School in Kearny. “I learned how to jab step here. I feel like it’s made me become a better player.”

Ten-year-old Lindsay Chesney, a Kearny resident and a student at Garfield School, agreed.

“I’ve learned how to become a better player one-on-one,” Chesney said. “The camp has encouraged me and made me want to play more. I came here last year and wanted to come back, because I like basketball a lot.”

Kasey Vasquez is a promising 12-year-old from Harrison’s Washington Middle School.

“I learned a lot about ball handling,” Vasquez said. “I like to play guard, so this makes me more polished.”

Vasquez was excited to learn that Coach Hill was once a product of Harrison and went on to become one of the greatest players in the history of Harrison High School and a member of the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame.

“That makes me even more impressed,” said Vasquez, who didn’t know about Hill’s background. “That can basically help my life, knowing I can be like her.”

Photo by Jim Hague The entire group of young ladies who participated in the Kearny High School girls’ basketball camp pose with head coach and head instructor Jody Hill (c.).

Photo by Jim Hague
The entire group of young ladies who participated in the Kearny High School girls’ basketball camp pose with head coach and head instructor Jody Hill (c.).

 

Cheyanne Iverson (no relation to former Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson) is a 12-year-old from Lincoln School in Kearny.

“This is the fifth year I’m coming to the camp,” Iverson said. “I love coming. It’s a lot of fun.”

Iverson was asked if she wanted to have the nickname of “The Truth,” like Allen Iverson.

“I don’t like that name,” she said. “I learned about moves and weaves. I feel like I’ve become a better player here.”

Like Iverson, Skyler Matusz is a 12-year-old student of Lincoln School in Kearny.

“I definitely learned a lot about ball handling and that helped me a lot,” said Matusz. “I’m a guard and that helps.”

Matusz did not know that Hill was a standout guard.

“Maybe I have to listen to her a little more now,” Matusz said.

Bre Costa is a 14-year-old who will be a freshman at Kearny High School in September. It was her first time at the camp.

“I learned about the camp at school,” Costa said. “I got a flier. It seemed interesting, so I decided to come.”

Costa plans on trying out for the Kearny High School team in November.

“Coming to camp made me love the game more,” Costa said. “It made me want to play more.”

That’s what Hill wants to hear – getting more girls interested in playing basketball. Hill’s camp is unique in that it is strictly for girls, ages 7-14. Sorry, no boys allowed.

“Every year, we tend to get a few compliments, because the camp is strictly for girls,” said Hill, who has had the camp ever since she became the head coach at Kearny 11 years ago. “The parents tell me that the girls love to come because it’s all girls. They all know that most places, boys dominate. This way, the girls get the most out of being here. They’re all on the same playing field.”

Hill said that she always tries to offer a little something different each year.

“I keep trying to improve it,” Hill said. “I learn as I go. I take experiences from other camps and bring them here. We’re always trying to do new things and fresh things. The counselors do a great job with that.”

Added Hill, “It’s a great feeling to see all the same faces coming back. Hopefully, it means we’re doing something right. Maybe we’ve inspired them a little to keep playing and keep coming back. We also try to make the camp as much fun as possible.”

Many of Hill’s former players return as camp counselors, like former Observer Female Athlete of the Year Janitza Aquino, currently a standout for nationally ranked Montclair State.

“We want the girls to get the most out of it,” Hill said.

Hill said that she never thought about telling the campers about her playing background.

“Maybe it’s just a modesty thing,” Hill said. “I don’t know. There’s some information about me on the flier, but I usually don’t have a tendency to talk about myself. I tend to talk about Janitza and what she’s done. I do have a tough time talking about myself. Maybe I have to do a better job of that.”

Hill said that she adores working with the younger players.

“I can see the passion and the love that these girls have,” Hill said. “When they come here, they tend to feel good about themselves. After the week is over, they come over and give me a ‘high-five,’ and say thanks. It’s very rewarding. They now come to camp, get the Kearny aspect of it and maybe they can stick with it and give it a shot in high school. We just want to make basketball fun for them.”

It sure looked like that mission was accomplished.

Hill credited sponsor AlarisHealth at Kearny, especially Bernice Marshall, for supplying the camp T-shirts. AlarisHealth provides health care services and technological innovations for post-operative care, short term rehab patients and long-term patients alike.

Local boys’ basketball teams hone skills at Kearny summer league

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By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

The temperatures outside may be approaching 90 degrees in the hot summer July sun, but for two nights a week, things are just fine inside the Kearny High School gym, even with the fans blowing at full blast.

Kearny High School has been the host of a boys’ high school basketball summer league, with 13 different schools encompassing three counties. It has been a highly competitive and spirited league, organized by Kearny head boys’ basketball coach Bob McDonnell.

“The level of competition has been fantastic,” said McDonnell, whose own team has participated in the league.

Kearny has not hosted a boys’ summer league in several years.

“Back then, we had only six teams here,” McDonnell said. “Next year, we’re looking to expand it to 20 teams. We had some schools who got back to me a little late for this year. The interest is definitely there.”

Each team receives a regular schedule of 10 games. There will be no playoffs or league championship this year.

The Police Activity League helped to defray some of the cost of the league, as well as the boys’ and girls’ basketball camps, the boys’ and girls’ soccer camps and the girls’ basketball summer league.

McDonnell said that he also received assistance from the Kearny Board of Education to host the summer league.

“The Board of Education has been great in letting us use the facilities,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell reached out to his friends in the basketball coaching fraternity and got commitments from 13 different schools. North Arlington, Belleville and Harrison were also among the local schools to participate, along with Rutherford.

For McDonnell, it was a good chance to get to see what his new players are like.

“I only have two returning seniors, so what the league does is give me a chance to play some incoming freshmen,” McDonnell said. “We have a constant rotation of kids going in and out. Without the league, we would be unable to get any idea.”

McDonnell said that the league has served as an eyeopener.

“Some of these kids have never played on a level like this before, so it’s all new to them,” McDonnell said. “They’re working hard and doing well.”

McDonnell has been impressed with the development of Joe Sawicki during the summer league.

“He didn’t play much last year for us with the varsity, but he’s improved tremendously,” McDonnell said. “His confidence is building up. I think that will help him a lot.”

Joe Esteves is another Kearny player who has benefitted from the summer league.

“The more kids we get a chance to play on a varsity level, the better off we’ll be,” McDonnell said. “We get to see what the kids need to work on.”

North Arlington has benefitted tremendously from the summer league, winning five of its seven contests, including a solid win last week over Belleville.

George Rotondo, one of the top assistants for head coach Rich Corsetto, looks at the league as a golden chance for his program.

“We were able to get them in a full league close to home,” Rotondo said. “We lost three seniors to graduation, so we have some young kids getting some playing time. It’s a great opportunity for these kids to play together.”

Some of the basketball players have been doing double duty this summer. They have been attending football workouts in the morning, then playing basketball at night. People like Mike Paolello and Kevin Sequeira are standout basketball players who are getting ready for football season.

“Their dedication is tremendous,” Rotondo said. “This has been very good for our program. We’re getting a lot from this. It’s a great benefit.”

Edgar Carranza is another returning Viking hoop standout who will also play football this fall.

“I think playing in this league helps us out, because it gives us an idea about our incoming freshmen,” Carranza said. “They get to see what high school is like. Winning helps, but losing teaches us to be a little hungrier. It is a little tiring, going from football to basketball, but it will definitely help us get ready.”

Belleville High School coach Jim Stoeckel also believes the league is beneficial, win or loss.

“It’s great for us,” Stoeckel said. “I didn’t get hired last year until September, so there was no summer league to go on. This gives us the opportunity to have a head start. I’m not really worried about winning or losing, as long as we get better basketball wise. It’s great to get 10 games together. I can see that the kids are putting the work in to get better.”

Andre Velez is a junior on the Belleville basketball team.

“We’re getting a chance to work on team chemistry,” said Velez, a point guard. “That definitely helps. We’re getting ready for the winter now. We get to know who are teammates are and what they can do on the floor. We didn’t get a chance like this last year and that hurt us. Now, we know what we can do.”

The Kearny summer league runs Monday and Wednesday nights with games beginning on all three courts at 5 p.m. The league will run for the next two weeks.

News from the Nutley police blotter

July 12 

A motor vehicle stop on Washington Ave., at 3:59 a.m., led to the arrest of James Washington, 38, of Irvington, for two active warrants from Newark and Irvington. He was also ticketed for driving with unsafe tires. Washington was turned over to Irvington PD after failing to post bail.

At 9:22 a.m., a Park Ave. business reported that one of its delivery trucks was found with the gas tank open and about half a tank of gas syphoned out. Nothing was taken from inside the truck, police said.

At 10:29 a.m., headquarters received a report of a van stolen from an Essex St. location. The owner told police the van was parked in their driveway overnight, but, upon leaving for work in the morning, it was gone, along with $9,000 worth of tools inside. An investigation is continuing.

At 10:34 p.m., a Columbia Ave. resident reported that a large tree branch from private property had fallen onto the front of their truck, causing an unestimated amount of damage.

July 13 

A Paterson man was arrested, at 1:50 a.m., after police pulled over the car he was driving on Webster St. Police charged Ruben Cordova, 23, with driving while intoxicated, loud muffler and failure to provide registration. He was released pending a court appearance.

At 12:20 p.m., police responded to a River Road location on a report of burglary. Police said the homeowner told them a cordless hedge trimmer and several other items had been removed from a shed. Police said they found no sign of forced entry. Detectives are investigating.

July 14 

At 1:49 p.m., a Franklin Ave. business owner reported a theft. The owner told police that four males began trying on several articles of clothing and, according to police, one is seen on the store’s security tape placing new sneakers on his feet, placing the old sneakers under a couch, and then walking out of the store. The owner told police that several T-shirts and hats, valued at about $200, were also missing. Detectives are investigating.

At 5:21 p.m., police arrested Kevin Moran, 29, of East Rutherford, at a Bloomfield Ave. location after learning he was wanted on a warrant from Wallington and turned him over to Wallington PD.

July 15 

A multiple burglary suspect arrested the week prior has been linked to another crime. Police said they found a GPS unit valued at $250 that was believed to have stolen from a resident’s vehicle on the suspect, William Lanzo, 40, of Newark. Lanzo, being held at the Essex County Jail, will be charged with additional complaints for burglary and theft, police said.

July 16 

At 4 p.m., an Ackerman St. resident reported another in a series of criminal mischief incidents involving their vehicle. In the latest episode, police said they found minor scratches to the vehicle’s driver’s side windows. The vehicle was damaged while it was parked in the resident’s driveway.

– Ron Leir 

Then & Now

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This was one of those mystery postcards. ‘Midland Ave. looking Northwest, Arlington, N.J.’ it said. But looking northwest from where? Then, as luck would have it, we found a second image of the same scene, and it read ‘Midland Ave. from Franklin Place.’ Mystery solved. This the intersection that today faces the Post Office on Midland, and  the view is toward Belgrove Drive.

The card is dated 1908. It is difficult to tell if the street is paved, but it appears full of wagon or buggy tracks. But once again, we wonder: Where have they all gone? All these beautifully wide avenues, and no traffic of any kind anywhere in sight.

– Karen Zautyk 

Obituaries

Betty Hill 

Betty Hill, formerly Di Trolio, (nee Adamson) died peacefully at home on July 14. She was 86.

Born in East Orange, she lived many years in Kearny before moving to Seabrook Village in Tinton Falls.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by entombment in the Di Trolio Family Mausoleum at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Betty was a 1949 graduate of the New York Phoenix School of Design, she was a member of the Arlington Woman’s Club and had been a member of the West Hudson Hospital Woman’s Auxiliary, both in Kearny. After moving to Seabrooke in 2005, Betty hosted a weekly television show every Tuesday. She was active in the Welcoming Committee. Betty loved her life at Seabrooke where she served as president of the Protestant Council and of the Advisory Council.

Betty was the wife of the late Dr. James Di Trolio and the late John H. Hill. She was the mother of the late James P. Di Trolio. She is survived by Gloria and Lois Corbo along with many nieces and nephews. Also surviving are so many dear friends in Kearny and Seabrooke. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to The Protestant Community of Seabrooke.

Rita Ann Norton 

Rita Ann Norton, 65, a lifelong resident of Harrison, before moving to Kearny 10 years ago, passed away on July 14 at St. Michael’s Hospital, Newark, after a long illness.

Funeral services were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave. Harrison. A funeral Mass was celebrated at Holy Cross Church, Harrison. Her interment took place in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Rita was the daughter of the late John and Anna Norton (Ocavage).

She was the devoted sister of Dolores Gonzalez (Dennis), beloved aunt of Michael & Amanda Gonzalez, and a cherished cousin of Mary Beth Gerstenmier and her husband Rusty.

Rita was a member and Past Regent of Catholic Daughters Court Cecilia 11, she was a member of Holy Cross Arts & Crafts Group and also a member of Holy Cross Rosary Society. She worked as a computer programmer for Macy’s, Newark, retiring in 1995.

In her free time, she enjoyed arts and crafts. She especially enjoyed making Christmas ornaments and baby blankets. Her family will miss her excellent Christmas cookies. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate Mass Intentions in loving memory of Rita in care of Mulligan Funeral Home.

Pedro Perea 

Pedro Perea died peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family. He was 79.

Born in Cordoba, Spain, he lived in Newark before moving to Kearny 48 years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Pedro was a model maker and jeweler for William Schraft Designs in Millburn. He is survived by his wife of 50 years Esperanza (nee Luque), his daughters and their husbands Mary and Serafim Monteiro and Mercedes and Jaime Lijo. Also surviving are his grandchildren Serafim, Sabrina, Christian and Sofia. He was predeceased by his grandson Justin.

In lieu of flowers, donations for Lymphoma research would be appreciated.

Subwoofer stolen from Nutley resident’s home, police say

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July 5

Someone swiped a Kicker Subwoofer Speaker valued at $700 from a Passaic Ave. residence, the occupant told police. The theft was logged at 1:10 a.m.

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A William St. resident told police that after loaning their charge card to someone, they noticed that two transactions they didn’t authorize had been made on their card and that they’d been unable to reach the card’s borrower. Police said they couldn’t contact the borrower, either. The card has been canceled.

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At 7:49 p.m., a Parallel St. resident reported someone had stolen their engagement ring from their home. The ring was valued at $2,000. Police said they found no sign of forced entry to the residence. Read more »

Ridge Road closed 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today from Pike to Jauncey Ave.

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Ridge Road will be closed today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from the Belleville Turnpike to Jauncey Ave. for the funeral of Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago, the NAPD says. Limited local traffic may be permitted along Ridge Road up to Sunset Ave. at certain points, but the NAPD suggests motorists take alternate routes during this time frame to avoid any confusion.

Dawn of an era

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

BELLEVILLE – 

“This is where it all started. Belleville, N.J. A thousand years ago. Eisenhower. Rocky Marciano. And a few guys under a streetlamp singing somebody else’s latest hit.”

That’s part of the intro to the Broadway production of “Jersey Boys” — and as soon as the town is mentioned, someone in the audience will applaud. Or shout a “Yo! Belleville!”

Belleville folk are proud of their home. And proud of the Jersey boys who made the big time. And some of them even can remember when the sounds of a summer night always included a few guys harmonizing under a streetlamp.

Which probably was somewhere in the area of Franklin St. and Watchung Ave. Read more »

New job for Doran … for now

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

HARRISON –

The Harrison Board of Education is working on plans to remedy overcrowding in its elementary schools but who exactly will be in charge of seeing those plans through isn’t clear as it continues to grapple with its leadership issue.

Its five-year contract with Schools Superintendent James Doran expired June 30 and, instead of reappointing him to that post, the board revived a position that has been vacant for several years – director of personnel/human resources/ compliance and crisis management – and named Doran to fill it at its meeting last Thursday.

“I want to thank the board for their continued faith in me,” Doran said during the board’s public session.

Karen Murray, the board’s labor attorney, said the board was still in negotiations on Doran’s new salary but Doran said it was likely to end up at “about $200,000,” which, he said, would represent a $42,000 cut from what he was earning as superintendent. At the same time, the board agreed to ask the state Commissioner of Education for a waiver of the state-mandated salary cap “for superintendent and acting superintendent.” Read more »

Suspect ID’d in bank heist

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Authorities have identified a Paterson man as the prime suspect in the robbery of the PNC Bank at Kearny and Midland Aves. last Wednesday afternoon.

Kearny police reported on Friday that they were hunting Carnie Monts, 28, in connection with the hold-up, which occurred at 2:30 p.m., July 9. Officers have checked his residence on N. Third St. in Paterson “with negative results.”

Monts was identified after a joint investigation by the KPD, the FBI, the North Arlington PD and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the KPD, the robber entered the bank twice. He was first seen on security tapes at a customer counter, left the premises and returned shortly afterwards, this time with his face partially covered with what was thought to be a white Tshirt. Read more »

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