web analytics

Tonight’s Nutley HS football game moved to Msgr. Owens Field

Due to weather conditions this week and the need to preserve the final stages of construction on the oval, tonight’s Nutley High School home football game has been moved to Monsignor Owens Field 44 Park Ave.,  at 7 p.m.  Admission to the game is […]


One dead in Lyndhurst shooting

The state Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is investigating a fatal shooting of the driver of a stolen SUV at the Lyndhurst-Rutherford border early Tuesday, Sept. 16, according to a press release issued by the AG’s Office. The driver, identified […]


‘Sober House’ rattles residents

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – The corner house at Grand Place and Stewart Ave. doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, but it’s drawn a lot of attention from neighbors – and not in a good way. Many packed the assembly chambers at […]


2nd hotel signals growth

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  The town of Harrison, with a current population of about 14,000 but growing thanks to several new residential projects rising in its waterfront redevelopment area, now has a second hotel. It is the Element Harrison, the brand’s second hotel in New […]


A harvest of plenty in special garden

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  HARRISON–  Somewhere in Harrison, there is a magical place. If we were telling this story as a fairy tale, it would begin: Once upon a time, there was a small plot of land on which a happy home had stood. […]


FEMA Disaster Notices/ How to Apply for Help


FEMA has released information today about how to apply for financial aid for damages occurred during Hurricane Irene. Click the link below for the complete listing. Link below will open a PDF file and take you to another page.

Disaster Assistance Forms

Flood Recovery Center

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has opened one flood recovery center in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties to serve those affected by Hurricane Irene’s flooding.

The Hudson County recovery center is located at The Resource Center (library), 1379 Paterson Plank Road, Secaucus, second floor.

FEMA encourages applicants to first register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or go online to www.fema.gov. Bring your registration number, a photo I.D. and detailed list of flood damage when visiting recovery center.

Kearny man lost in Passaic River

Georgie Pena


Photo by Karen Zautyk/ Emergency vehicles from multiple jurisdictions gather at KPD command center on Passaic Ave. during search for George Pena.

By Karen Zautyk

Township police, aided by local firefighters and first responders from numerous other jurisdictions, spent the weekend in an exhaustive search for a Kearny man who is believed to have drowned after jumping or falling into the Passaic River early Friday.
The hunt was initially launched Friday at dawn and continued until dusk. Boats and scuba divers were out again Saturday and Sunday, from daylight to sundown.  On Monday morning, the command center that had occupied the parking lot at  the Kearny High School boathouse at Passaic Ave. and the Belleville Pike was gone – but the search had not been abandoned.  It had simply moved temporarily downriver.
Kearny Police Chief John Dowie told The Observer that the teams were operating out of South Kearny, scouring the waters and riverbanks where the Lower Passaic feeds into Newark Bay and working their way back upriver.
“Now that the tide has receded,” Dowie said, “the smaller boats can start searching in the inlets.”
The divers and the boats  were looking for 21-year-old Georgie Pena of Kearny, who police said had last been seen midstream in the river, being swept away by the current, after he entered the waters near Passaic and Magnolia Aves.
According to Dowie, Pena had first been spotted by police at 12:30 a.m. Friday walking shirtless in the southbound traffic lane of Passaic Ave. near North Midland Ave.  where he was nearly struck by a passing car.
Dowie said the patrol officers recognized him as a town resident and that he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or some other substance.
They “didn’t want him in the middle of the road” and offered him a ride home, the chief said. But when they exited their car,  Pena reportedly ran from them and climbed the embankment to the old railroad trestle. The officers drove up to Old Passaic Ave. in an effort to locate him, “but they never saw him again,” Dowie said.
Dowie said Pena was not wanted by authorities and that the officers were not “chasing” him, but rather that  he fled from them.
A short time later, other officers spotted Pena running across Passaic Ave. at the foot of Magnolia and followed him along a path to the riverbank, only to see him about midway across the river, “being carried south by the river’s current,” police reported.
The Kearny Fire Department and rescue boats from Wallington and Lyndhurst searched “for several hours with negative results,” police said. The hunt was resumed at daybreak Friday and, as of press time Monday, was ongoing.
The KPD was also aided    by the State Police and Bergen County Police and first responders from North Arlington, Nutley and Oradell.
Asked on Friday why the divers were still in the waters off Kearny when the current had apparently been carrying Pena downstream, one source said that victims are often found within 100 yards of where they go under.
The scuba teams were forced to do a lot of their work merely by touch. “There is low visibility [in the river] to begin with,” Dowie  explained, “and as soon as they begin to move around,  the sediment is stirred up.”
That sediment and other Passaic River pollution  are also the reason KFD and EMS decontamination teams were on hand at the riverbank to check the vital signs of the divers when they emerged.
Searchers had hoped to continue their operation late into Friday evening, but they had to suspend operations because the divers “were getting banged up in the rough waters,” one officer said.
They returned at dawn Saturday and worked through the weekend and into Monday.
How long would the search go on?
“Every available resource has been put into this and it will stay that way until things are resolved,” said Dowie.

Extreme makeover at KHS

Photos by Ron Leir


Photos by Ron Leir/ As Kearny High School’s front lawn awaits placement of temporary classroom trailers, the contractor completes the repair and replacement of brick and stone in the building’s front facade. New windows will be installed.


By Ron Leir

If the folks at Kearny High School feel like they’re under siege, it’s completely understandable.
For the next three years, they’ll be facing an onslaught of ever-shifting construction crews and machines – rivaling the ever-present noise of overhead aircraft – that will be involved in easily the biggest makeover job the 87-year-old school has seen.
Some perspective: Since its opening in 1923, the high school has grown twice, getting an addition in 1940 at a cost of $400,000 and a second in 1974 for $5 million that yielded new music and art rooms, gym, locker rooms, classrooms and parking.
Now the Board of Education is entrusting a third revamping to Brockwell & Carrington Contractors Inc. of Towaco for nearly $40 million, underwritten by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the Federal Aviation Administration and state Department of Education.
By soundproofing and air-conditioning the building, the school hopes to thwart the daily distractions created by low-flying planes.
And, by building vertically in what is now essentially empty space – demolishing the old pool and old computer lab in the process – it aims to bolster its educational programs with new classrooms, added technology and a culinary arts curriculum.
“We’ll be cutting up the building into four sections to build up five stories to create additional classroom space,” explained Mark Bruscino, the district’s director of plant operations.
Alongside what will be the back wall of the atrium (east, facing Davis Ave.), four levels of new classrooms will be stacked, and along the front wall (west, facing Devon St.) will be a 2-level, glass-in culinary arts kitchen/dining hall.
Since construction will be ongoing inside the school, the district has decided the best way to minimize disruption is to relocate students and staff to temporary classroom trailers that will be parked on the lawn outside the main entrance on Devon St.
Last week, small mountains of dirt were piled on either side of the front courtyard. Stephen Williams, senior project manager for Brockwell & Carrington, explained the contractor was “stripping top soil” from the lawn to create foundations for those trailers.
Delivery is expected “within a month” from the supplier, GE/ModSpace. Each trailer will have its own A/C and bathroom, Williams  said.
There’ll be 14 trailers, seven trailers on each side of the lawn and each designed to hold up to 25 students, Bruscino said. At full capacity, they would hold a total of about 400 – less than a  quarter of the school’s enrollment 1,755.
“The work will be done in 10 stages,” Bruscino said, and students and teachers directly impacted by the construction work will move into the trailers at the onset of each phase of the work.
Then, for the next phase, another group of students and teachers will rotate through and so forth, he said.
The first phase was scheduled for the building’s northeast corner where Fred Khurt teaches auto mechanics to juniors and seniors, but district administrators said that plan may change unless they can find a way for special need students to access an elevator located near the auto mechanics shop.
“Every day is a new adventure,” said Principal Cynthia Baumgardner, who is settling in for her second year in the job.
And, she added, other “surprises” may well pop up as the work progresses. “This is an old building, and when they start knocking down walls, they don’t know what they’re going to find.”
What they’ve already rediscovered in the cavernous room that houses the school’s old swimming pool – abandoned some two decades ago – are two wall-mounted murals depicting aquatic themes. The murals are believed to date back more than 60 years.
For the most part, Bruscino said, phasing of the high school project “will be determined by the mechanicals – heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems – essential to the health and safety of the building’s occupants.”
Fire exits will be coordinated around the construction to ensure that everyone is adequately protected, he added.
According to the blueprints, the reconstructed first floor will house four new classrooms, additional computer labs, a faculty dining room, an expanded student cafeteria and a culinary arts “hot and cold laboratory” mini-school.
On the second floor will be five additional classrooms and four offices; on the third floor, six new classrooms, two offices and a small group-instruction area; on the fourth, six new classrooms, two offices, a group-instruction area, and the first level of an expanded library; and on the fifth, the library’s top level.
An open space “column” in the center of the construction will be topped by a skylight.

Photo courtesy of DF Gibson Architects/ Artist’s rendering shows atrium and open hallway in center, with the cafeteria on the left and stacked classrooms on the right.

At its Sept. 19 meeting, the school board hired Epic Management Inc. of Piscataway as construction manager for $970,918, conditional on approval by the Port Authority and FAA. Epic would serve as an intermediary between the contractor and the district administrators, alerting the educators what to expect as the job advances.
Baumgardner said that once she is updated on the most current plans, she will spread the word to others in the school community at PTA meetings.
To expedite traffic flow within the school, Baumgardner said she’ll probably designate certain stairways for “up” and others for “down.”
“I have to be flexible to the needs of the construction,” she said, “but my top priority is keeping students and staff safe and ensuring continuity of academic instruction. . . . My goal is to give the kids a full high school experience.”
And the end result, Baumgardner suggested, should be worth the aggravation to come. “This building has beautiful bones but it hasn’t been well maintained,” she said. “This project will give us air-conditioning, new windows, a culinary school, an atrium and, hopefully, the maintenance it needs to last into the future.”
In other developments at its last regular meeting, the school board hired Anthony P. Radano, a retired educator, as interim acting assistant superintendent at $525 a day pending a permanent replacement and also hired 11 elementary and high school teachers to fill vacancies created by retirements.
The board continues to search for a permanent chief schools administrator to replace Frank Digesere and has been interviewing candidates screened by its consultant, Leadership Advantage.
Radano, who began his career as an educator in 1970, served as principal of Hillsborough High School from 1985 to 2000. His most recent assignment, since retiring from full-time employment, was special services director for the Edison public school system.

Blessed be the animals

Photo by Karen Zautyk/ Msgr. John Gilchrist officiates at Feast of St. Francis ceremony on Saturday in Kearny.


By Karen Zautyk

This weekend, in anticipation of the Oct. 4 Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, churches — both Catholic and Protestant — held Blessings of the Animals. On Saturday morning, we attended the first annual ceremony at Sacred Heart Church (the former Boystown church) on Belgrove Drive. Presiding cleric was Msgr. John Gilchrist.
Someone had warned us to expect a noisy event, with lots of yipping and yapping, but the congregation of pets gathered on the front lawn — many canines but just one cat — was surprisingly quiet.
It reminded us of the story of St. Francis preaching to the birds, chirping flocks of which had filled the trees but fell silent when he began to speak. Msgr. Gilchrist recounted that story in a chat prior to the program and also told us the tale of the rosebush that instantly shed its thorns when Francis stumbled and fell into its branches. “He was one with nature,” the monsignor said.
That rosebush is at the cathedral in Assisi, as is a nest of doves high in the rafters. There is always at least one bird occupying it, said Sr. Doris, another blessing attendee. If the dove flies off, another takes its place. The nest is said to have been continuously occupied for centuries.
Long before there was a Horse Whisperer or a Dog Whisperer, St. Francis was communing with the animals. He is their patron saint, and today he has also come to be called the patron saint of the environment.
The blessing bestowed upon the animals at the Kearny ceremony was a prayer for their health and that we humans, who were placed on this earth “to be the stewards of all living things,” care for them and treat them with respect, for they are God’s creations.
Even if you are a nonbeliever, the message of respect for the birds and the beasts and the now-threatened environment humankind shares with them, is worthy of hearing. And heeding.

(Editor’s note: Next year, we hope to see more felines at the ceremony. Cats, though they may deny it, are in need of blessing too.) 

New apartments springing up in region

Image courtesy of Waters, McPherson, McNeill, P.C./ Artist’s rendering of residential project proposed for Chubb Ave. in Lyndhurst.


By Ron Leir

Demand for multi-family apartments, as opposed to single-family homes, seems to be growing in the region, judging from a series of recent residential developments begun and/or proposed.
Here’s the latest:
• Carlstadt builder Ed Russo has two sizable projects moving forward in Lyndhurst and Kearny.
• Tenants have started moving into a new apartment complex in Harrison near the PATH station.
• Bloomfield is seeing construction of a multi-story apartment building in its central business district, opposite the Lackawanna railroad station. And plans for two other residential developments, elsewhere in the township, have been approved.
• In Lyndhurst, another builder has surfaced with a proposal for a residential complex in the meadowlands.
In Kearny, fall 2012 should see completion of the retail phase of Schuyler Crossing, Russo’s mixed-use development at Schuyler and Bergen Aves.
A huge warehouse that stood on the 7.5-acre site was acquired for $5.5 million and torn down to make way for about 20,000 square feet of retail space and three four-story residential buildings comprising more than 300,000 square feet that will be filled with 232 rental apartments.
Construction has begun on the first of three retail buildings – a 13,000-square-foot pharmacy that will be leased to CVS – and in the next 30 days, Russo expects to start putting up a 3,500-square-foot facility that will house a bank. A tenant is being sought for the third building.
Once the retail portion is completed, the residential section will begin, Russo said. A breakdown of apartment size and distribution should be finalized over the next six months.
Occupancy of the first residential structure with 68 apartments is projected for fall 2013.
“The project will include onsite affordable housing,” Russo said. How many units has yet to be determined.
Plans call for a combination of covered parking beneath the buildings and outdoor parking.
New curbs and sidewalks are being installed along Schuyler and Bergen Aves., and intersection improvements are being made, including right-of-way widening and a new right-turn lane from northbound Schuyler to eastbound Bergen.
In Lyndhurst, Russo’s company is building 296 apartments spread among four 5-story buildings called Meadows Crossing at an 8.8-acre site at 340 Orient Way, previously occupied by an industrial building used for locomotive maintenance and a storage yard for demolition equipment.
The site, which is a half-mile from the Kingsland railway station, was remediated during 2009 and 2010.
Foundation work for the first building began in July, and 54 tenants are expected to move into it by next summer. Ultimately, when the entire complex is finished in three years, more than 400 residents will occupy the apartments, which will be mostly one – and two-bedroom units, with some three-bedroom units as well.
Affordable units are to be part of the project.
Among the amenities will be an 8,000-square-foot clubhouse with a pool, fitness center, movie room and lounge, a passive recreation green and covered parking.
A new traffic signal will be installed at the main entrance to the property, and improvements will be made to the intersections along Orient Way at Page and Valley Brook Aves.
At full build-out, the project is expected to net Lyndhurst about $60,000 in annual real estate taxes and about $140,000 in school taxes, when factoring in the cost of municipal services and educational costs. It will also account for about $155,000 a year in New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) tax-sharing revenues for Lyndhurst.
Waiting in the wings in Lyndhurst is J.P. Petrucci Inc., a Warren County developer, with a proposal to build a 192-unit, 3-story residential building, with parking underneath, at 240 Chubb Ave. Berry’s Creek runs along the rear of the site.
The developer plans to provide 153 market-rate units and 39 low- and moderate-income units.
The NJMC, which has zoned the 7.5-acre property for light industrial use, held a site-suitability hearing Sept. 8, but  no determination has yet been made.
In Harrison’s waterfront redevelopment area, the first phase of Harrison Station, a mixed-used project, is taking shape on a 27-acre tract along Frank Rodgers Blvd. South, just across the street from the PATH station
The Pegasus Group and Ironstate Development have built 275 apartments – a combination of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units – spread among four buildings, with a fitness center and pool. Nearly 16% of the apartments have been leased, according to published reports.
Plans also call for 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, including a Five Guys hamburger shop and a 140-room hotel.
At full build-out, Harrison Station will have 2,600 apartments and 80,000 square feet of retail.
The  Bloomfield Center Urban Renewal is moving ahead with demolition and clearance work as a prelude to construction of a 439-space garage and three 5-story buildings containing 224 apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, along Lackawanna Place, Glenwood Ave. and Washington St.
As described by counsel for the Bloomfield Parking Authority, which is responsible for the garage, “The project will be the first of its kind in the decades-long effort by the Township of Bloomfield to revitalize its downtown area.”
The Bloomfield Parking Authority has issued $12,480,000 in bonds – guaranteed by the township – to help cover the cost of the garage portion of the project.
And the township has granted the developer a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) arrangement as an incentive to build.
Meanwhile, the Bloomfield Planning Board has cleared the way for two other multi-family projects.
Prism Capital Partners of Englewood will convert an industrial warehouse into 355 loft apartments – The Parkway Lofts – off the Garden State Parkway, at North Arlington Ave. and Lawrence St.
And Community Investment Strategies of Lawrenceville is seeking state tax credits to erect Heritage Village at Bloomfield Urban Renewal, a 5-story building with 82 affordable apartments on the municipal parking lot next to the post office at 390 Franklin St.

Of carjackers and pot-chompers

By Karen Zautyk

A Jersey City man was the victim of a bump-and-run carjacking Sept. 25 in South Kearny by armed thugs who also assaulted the motorist, police reported.
Shortly after 3:30 a.m., Kearny police received a call from Tullo’s Truck Stop on the Old Lincoln Highway reporting the crime. When officers arrived, they found the 22-year-old victim bleeding from the mouth and with broken teeth. The two front pockets on his pants had been ripped open.
The motorist said he had driving west on Rt. 1/9 when his 2009 BMW was rear-ended by a white Mercedes occupied by at least two men, one of whom got out and asked him “if everything was okay,” police reported. A second man then joined his accomplice, and they ordered the driver to get on the ground. Both were armed, and both reportedly struck him in the face with their guns.
From their victim, they took money — about $8 — his cell phone, a checkbook and his wallet, containing his driver’s license and student ID.
They got into his car, and he started to walk away, but when the carjackers realized they didn’t have the keys, they returned, again held him at gunpoint and then fled in the stolen BMW.
The suspects were described as possibly Hispanic, both about 5-9 and of thin build.
In other Kearny police news, a 23-year-old Newark man was arrested on marijuana-possession charges Sept. 23, despite his trying to destroy the evidence — by eating it.
Officer Mike Andrews was on patrol at 3:20 p.m. when he spotted a suspicious individual with a small cigar in his mouth an alley near Brighton Ave. and Afton St. and detected the odor of marijuana, Police Chief John Dowie said.
(Editor’s note: Small, hollowed-out cigars apparently have replaced joints as the preferred method of pot-smoking.)
As the officer approached, the suspect stuck something in his mouth and began to chew, Dowie said. The man reportedly ignored an order to cease and desist, and continued to masticate. (We said “masticate.”)
Andrews put him in a compliance hold and was eventually required to use OC spray, but the suspect continued to struggle and managed to swallow the evidence, the chief reported.
Nevertheless, the chomper was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, along with resisting arrest and hindering apprehension.
Andrews made another narcotics bust at 8:45 p.m. the same date after investigating an idling car in a desolate location on Ann St. known to be frequented by drug violators.
As he approached the vehicle, and its three occupants, the driver reportedly dropped a rolled-up dollar bill out the window — and it landed right at the patrolman’s feet. Accepting this invitation to investigate further, Andrews unrolled it and found a “green, leafy substance,” Dowie said. Two hollowed-out cigars also were allegedly in the car.
The 18-year-old driver from Harrison was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia, operating a motor vehicle while in possession of a CDS — and with discarding an object from a motor vehicle.
Another “invitation” to investigate was provided by a 16-year-old Kearny youth at 1:30 a.m. Sept. 24 at Kearny and Oakwood Aves.
Officers Christian Medina and Wayne Shivers were on patrol when they reportedly saw the teen smoking a small, brown cigar — which would have been illegal in any case since 16-year-olds are not supposed to smoke. As they drove up, the chief said, the boy tossed a baggie into the street — directly under the patrol car.
He was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia and was turned over to his mother.
At 2 a.m. on the 24th, Officers Tom Pontrella and Tom Sumowski responded to a report of an accident on Tappan St., between Davis and Schuyler Aves., where they found that a car had struck several parked vehicles.
The motorist, a 38-year-old Tappan St. resident, was charged with DWI and careless driving. Police said he was also wanted on a Kearny warrant for a domestic violence charge.
After spotting a double-parked car with four occupants on Forest St. at 4 a.m. on Sept. 24, Officers Shivers and Medina followed it to Oakwood and Davis Aves., where they stopped it for the parking violation.
Dowie said the driver, an 18-year-old Kearny resident, admitted that she had only a learner’s permit, not a driver’s license, which meant she had violated two rules of a conditional license: She was driving after midnight and she had more than one other person in the car.
Inside the auto, Dowie said, were: two open cans of beer, three small plastic bags containing suspected marijuana, a vial of suspected crack cocaine and a “crack kit” containing a pipe, razor blade, matches and a ball of Brillo (used in the “cooking” of the drug).
The driver and the passengers — two 17-year-olds, a male and a female, from Kearny, and a 47-year-old Orange man — were all charged with possession of a CDS and paraphernalia. The driver also faces charges of possession of a CDS in a motor vehicle, underage possession of alcohol and the probationary-license violations.
On Sept. 26, at 5:30 p.m., Officers Dave Rakowski and John Fabula and Capt. Scott Macfie responded to the report of a fight at Kearny and Midland Aves. One of the alleged combatants was located, cut and disheveled, on New Lawn Ave.
Police said the man, a 44-year-old from Newark, admitted fighting and said he had lost the bout — with “Capt. America.“ Asked if he had ever been arrested, he reportedly answered, “Not in Hudson County.”
A records check proved this to be true. However, police said he had three outstanding warrants from Bloomfield.

Arrested in theft from his mother’s home

By Karen Zautyk

A 28-year-old Nutley man was being held in the Essex County Jail on $50,000 bail following his arrest Sept. 23 in connection with a burglary at his mother’s King St. home, police reported.
The suspect, Keith Disque, who police said had a restraining order to keep away from the property, was nabbed near the crime scene shortly before 11:30 a.m. after officers arrested another man at the same home.
According to Det. Anthony Montanari, police responded to the address after a neighbor reported hearing suspicious noises inside. Officers searched the property and found 31-year-old Anthony Petrillo of Nutley hiding in the bathroom, Montanari said. Petrillo, who had an outstanding Nutley warrant for $1,000, was arrested and charged with trespassing.
The investigating officers discovered that Disque was involved with a theft of a television from the home, Montanari reported. Found a block away, Disque, who also had a $1,000 outstanding Nutley warrant, was arrested and charged with burglary and theft. Police said he later called his mother to tell her where the TV was.
Also on Sept. 23, police charged Steven Nemec, 18, of Nutley with criminal mischief in connection with vandalism at a local store Sept. 9. He was identified through a surveillance video showing him arguing with the store manager prior to the shop window’s being smashed, police said.
On the same date, officers went to Nutley High School to speak with a 17-year-old girl who reported that a man had attempted to gain entry to her car at approximately 7:15 the previous night while she was stopped for a light at Franklin Ave. and Chestnut St. The suspect was described as a Hispanic male with dark, wavy hair, wearing a black shirt and black pants. The teen fled before the man could gain entry to the vehicle.

Sept. 24
8:18 a.m. — Police were called to Passaic Ave., where a 7-year-old boy had been observed wandering unsupervised. They met with the child’s mother who told police he was being punished and had left the house in a tantrum. She said she was observing him from a window.
8:53 a.m. — An anonymous caller reported that a woman had stopped in a parking lot on Franklin Ave. and provided minors with alcohol. She gave the group “Four Loko” alcoholic beverages before departing. Police are investigating.

Sept. 25
3:09 a.m. — Nutley officers responded to Rt. 21, where the State Police had a white BMW on the side of roadway. It was discovered that the car had been stolen out of New York and was being investigated for its use in crimes. The vehicle was impounded and the investigation is continuing.
3:43 a.m. — A caller reported that a white Mercedes Benz was being driven erratically on Rt. 21 and had exited in Nutley. Officers located the vehicle on Grant Ave. and arrested Steven Bornemann, 51, of Newark for alleged DWI.
8:48 p.m. — Police needed to break in the door to gain entry to a Brittany Circle home where a 911 caller reported she was losing consciousness. The 60-year-old resident was found unconscious and was transported to an area hospital.

Sept. 26
5:26 a.m. — A Franklin Ave. business reported a burglary. The front door had been smashed with a landscape boulder, and more than $20,000 worth of goods had reportedly been stolen. Authorities are trying to determine if this crime is related to a string of burglaries involving cell phone distributors.
6:05 a.m. — A Centre St. gas station was found to have been burglarized overnight.
4:46 p.m. — Officers took a report from a Brookdale Ave. woman who was the recipient of multiple threatening text messages on her cell phone. Police are investigating.

Sept. 27
An overnight car burglary was reported on Cortland St. The vehicle’s owner said several items had been stolen.

Sept. 28
1:25 p.m. — Police responded to an alarm at a McKinley Ave. home and found there had been an attempt to gain entry through a side door.

Sept. 29
9:49 a.m. — A field interview resulted in the arrest of  James Cox, 55, of Nutley when he was found to have two outstanding warrants from Newark. He was later released after posting the required bail.
2:42 p.m. — A Nutley woman reported a fraud attempt, which she knew was a scam. She had been advised that she had “won” more than $1 million but first had to send money to the prize agency. All information was forwarded to the Secret Service, which investigates such cases.
3:34 p.m. — A patrol officer crossing students near the high school was confronted by a defiant 16-year-old who refused to get back on the sidewalk when told to do so and became disorderly. The teen was taken into police custody and then turned over to his parents. Charges are pending, and school officials were notified.

A job well done



By Lisa Pezzolla

On Sept. 29, we marked the closing of the fourth annual Kentucky Care campaign.
This year we managed to fill three 53-foot trailers, with the help of all of you.
Boxes were stacked to the ceiling, along with furniture, bicycles, tools and so much more, and this outpouring of help continued up to the last day.
We saw many familiar faces from last year, along with new folks this year who had read our story for the first time and wanted to come out to participate to help our friends in Kentucky.
Our volunteers worked diligently each week stacking boxes and unloading cars as these pulled in one by one. At times, we would have four cars at once and the volunteers had to make sure vehicles were coming in one way and leaving another for safety’s sake.
I have to congratulate all the towns that came out and supported us. Your kindness did not go unnoticed here at The Observer.
Many of you came more then once and continued passing the word to friends and neighbors.
Once again, thank you because without you, our campaign would not have been this successful.
This generosity is what makes a community stand out.
Next week, we will display all the names and photos of those who came out to help.
God bless you all!

Double-dog dare you, governor


On Friday night, the AP reported: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reconsidering his decision to stay out of the race for the White House in 2012 and is expected to make a decision soon, according to several people close to the governor with knowledge of his thinking.”
“Soon” could have been after press time Monday, in which case, this column will be moot, so just skip it and check out Around Town or the police blotters.
But, on the off chance he is still wavering, or if he has said “no” for the umpteenth time, I am compelled to urge him to go for it. The sooner he declares his candidacy, the sooner the country will learn what this guy is really like, and the sooner he’ll get his ample posterior kicked. (No, I am not going the fat-guy-joke route; David Letterman seems to have that nicely covered.)
While oft denying ambitions beyond the governorship, at least for 2012, Christie has been feeding his massive ego with personal appearances hither and thither, always before audiences who see him as some sort of political savior.
Last week, the gov fielded questions from a smitten (as might be expected, considering the venue) crowd at the Reagan Library. One woman pleaded: “I know New Jersey needs you, but I really implore you, I really do . . . I mean this with all my heart. We can’t wait another four years to 2016 . . . please sir, reconsider. We need you. Your country needs you to run for the presidency.”
Cynic that I am, I wondered if she were a plant. If not, she appears to have the IQ of one.
New Jersey needs Chris Christie as badly as it needs Snooki.
The governor, well-practiced in pseudo-charm peppered with flashes of humor (thank you, ghostwriters?) has managed to manipulate a fawning national media. They have not yet discovered the bully behind the smiling mask.
When he is in the constant presidential-candidate spotlight, it would not be long before charm and humor are replaced by the nasty snideness and condescension with which New Jerseyans have become far too familiar. It is time the American electorate were treated to that side of the man.
The gov is fond of saying things like, “I’ll respect you, if you respect me.” But he appears to equate any disagreement with disrespect, and — poof! — civility vanishes.
So please, gov, go for it. Throw your hat in that ring. The American people are waiting to adore you. Or not.
A presidential run may not earn you the votes you think you deserve, but it would offer something far more valuable: a long-overdue lesson in humility.
— Karen Zautyk

P.S. On Sunday, the Star-Ledger noted that, if he declares his candidacy, Christie would have to “hit the ground running.” Shouldn’t that be ‘hit the ground waddling”? (Did I say there’d be no fat jokes? I lied.)