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Moving day is coming

  By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent KEARNY – Even Steven Shalom, who has run Discount City in Kearny since 1992, concedes that sprucing up the Passaic Ave. mall with BJ’s Wholesale Club as a new anchor store, will be “a […]

Going out in style with Blue Ribbon

  By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent HARRISON – You could say Ron Shields’ career as a Harrison educator was preordained, given that both his parents taught at Harrison High School. His dad, Fred Shields, a 1936 soccer Olympian, was a […]

For the sake of the Passaic

    By Karen  Zautyk Observer Correspondent KEARNY– Plastic lawn chairs, propane tanks, wrought iron railings, pipes, dead shrubbery, pieces of street signs, and innumerable plastic shopping bags and plastic bottles — but no groundhogs. The groundhogs who burrow along […]

Nothing stops her

  By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent Harrison’s Blanca Alvarez was sick with the flu the morning of the big race. “But I decided to run anyway,” she said. Still, Alvarez had something to brag about: Her time of 1:08:44.96 was […]

Unsung heroes in our midst

  By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent HARRISON – The Harrison American Legion Post 282 salutes Joseph Moscinski as 2013 Firefighter of the Year and Corey Karas as Police Officer of the Year on April 26 at 4 p.m. at the […]

His swift response saved a life

  NUTLEY – An off-duty Nutley cop has been credited with coming to the aid of a stabbing victim at a Clifton shopping mall and thereby saving that person’s life. Nutley Police Chief Tom Strumolo said he was recommending Officer […]


Mudflat cleanup enters final phase

Cleanup_web1 Clean_web2

Photos courtesy CPG Passaic River mudflats in Lyndhurst are in the process of being capped, now that dredging is done

Photos courtesy CPG
Passaic River mudflats in Lyndhurst are in the process of being capped, now that dredging is done



Cleanup of a five-acre stretch of Passaic River mudflats in Lyndhurst at River Mile 10.9 has reached one objective and has begun the next phase.

The Lower Passaic River Study Area Cooperating Parties Group, a corporate partnership that has accepted responsibility for removing toxins from the waterway, completed dredging of that limited section on Oct. 4, excavating 16,050 cubic yards of tainted sediment, according to David Kluesner, spokesman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is monitoring the work along with CDM Smith consulting engineers, its oversight contractor.

“Equipment was removed from the dredge site by Oct. 6. Processing of dredged material was completed on Oct. 18, when the final load of material was sent via rail to a disposal facility in Oklahoma,” Kluesner said.

An estimated total of 20,600 tons of processed sediment was transported and, of that total, 11,525 tons was “received at landfill,” while nearly 900,000 gallons of wastewater was transported offsite, according to a CPG fact sheet.

The work continued despite the partial shutdown of the federal government between Oct. 1 and 17, Kluesner noted.

“On Nov. 5, the CPG mobilized equipment to cap the dredged areas with sand, activated carbon and stone. Equipment at the site will include a flat deck barge, belt conveyors and related capping equipment. Capping operations began Nov. 7 and are expected to be completed in January 2014. Over the next two months, barges carrying capping material will be moved up and down the river on a daily basis,” said Jonathan Jaffe, spokesman for CPG.

Updates on barge movements and bridge openings are available by visiting the CPG website, www.rm109. com.

– Ron Leir

Highlights from the Lyndhurst Police blotter


Photo courtesy Lyndhurst Police Dept.
Brian Hope



A Paramus man who, police allege, was hitting up Lyndhurst businesses for donations for a fake charity has been ticketed for violation of a township ordinance for canvassing without a permit.

Lyndhurst Police Det. Capt. John Valente said Brian J. Hope, 50, was observed canvassing without the proper license along Ridge Road on behalf of an organization called “Real Hope for Kids” on Monday, Nov. 4.

However, Valente said subsequent investigation disclosed that “Real Hope for Kids” was a non-existent entity devised by Hope who, they said, informed local merchants that he was collecting signatures for a petition he intended to sent to the United Nations to pressure all countries to adopt tougher laws dealing with the sentencing of people convicted of sexual crimes against children.

After an individual signed the petition, Hope would then ask the signer for a donation to help the cause, Valente said. As an incentive to get people to donate, Valente said Hope stapled various denominations of money to the petition to make it appear that other businesses had provided donations.

But Hope simply kept the money, Valente said. At the time he was stopped by police, Hope had $300 in his possession, but it’s unclear how much of that, if any, he’d collected from merchants, Valente said.

“Hope claimed that since he is not a 501(c)3 organization of the IRS code, as documented on his petition, he did not accept donations for charitable purposes; therefore, all money received was his to keep,” said Valente. “He claimed that the signed petitions were sent on to the United Nations.”

Valente said the address listed on both Hope’s driver’s license and on the Real Hope for Kids petition was the same – 556 Rt. 17N #7-195, Paramus, N.J. 07652 – which was found to be a Mail Star mail box rental store.

Hope was released after police issued him a summons, pending a court appearance. Other incidents logged by Lyndhurst Police during the past week included these:

Nov. 6

At 4:48 a.m., police discovered that someone had spray painted red graffiti in the form of random lettering on the north side of the T.J. Maxx department store building in the shopping mall at 423 Valley Brook Ave.

Nov. 5

At 9:32 p.m., police responded to a call from a taxi driver at Rutherford and Stuyvesant Aves. about a passenger who appeared to be acting irrationally. The cabbie told police that his fare had pre-paid for a ride from Paterson to East Rutherford but while traveling through Lyndhurst, had begun arguing and opened the cab door. After finding some wet cigarettes that, police suspect, may have been dipped in PCP on the passenger, police charged Hector Alameda, 28, of East Rutherford, with possession of drugs and being under the influence of drugs. Alameda was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center for observation.

Nov. 4

At 8:33 a.m., police were called to Columbus School on Lake Ave. on a report of inappropriate behavior. Police charged Narsingrao Gollyala, 66, of Forest Hills, N.Y., with urinating in public outside a school and lewdness. Police said Gollyala had just dropped off a family member at the school and was observed relieving himself by an adult and child in the area.

Nov. 3

At 3:39 p.m., police responded to the Kings Court fitness center on a report of theft. Police said they were met there by a Kearny man who told police he’d left his gym bag with the keys to his 2008 Mercedes, parked in the Kings Court lot, under a bench in a locker room and, upon returning, noticed that the bag appeared to have been moved and the keys missing. When he went outside to check his car, the man located his keys outside his car but found that someone had removed his $600 I-phone and his wallet containing $250, his license and several credit cards from the vehicle, police said.

Nov. 2

At 3:43 p.m., police received a report of theft from Kings Court. A Lyndhurst woman told police someone stole her $500 I-phone and set of keys from a locker which, police said, had been left unsecured.

– Ron Leir

KPD takes a bite out of crime

Suggestion to The Observer from Kearny Police Chief John Dowie regarding the regular round-up of crime news: “This week, instead of a blotter, you might want to publish a menu.”

Prompting the comment were two cases of conspicuous consumption, the first occurring at 10 p.m. Nov. 1 near Kearny Ave. and the Belleville Turnpike. There, the Vice Unit had under surveillance a vehicle in which the passenger appeared to be using a controlled substance.

As the officers approached the car, he reportedly stuffed five — yes, five — bags of marijuana into his mouth and “began to chew rapidly.”

“The detectives curtailed his chewing,” Dowie said, and recovered all five. A sixth bag was found on the floor of the vehicle, along with a cigar, commonly used to ingest the drug, police said.

Taken into custody and charged with possession of pot and of drug paraphernalia was a 16-year-old Kearny youth. Following processing at headquarters, he was turned over to a grandparent.

On Nov. 5, at 1 p.m., police received a report of three individuals attempting to pass counterfeit cash at the Kearny ShopRite on Passaic Ave. The trio fled in a car with Georgia plates, which was located and stopped on Passaic by Det. Michael Gonzalez.

As Gonzalez and backup Officer Jack Grimm approached the vehicle, the front-seat passenger was said to be “frantically stuffing” currency — $100 bills — into his mouth. The officers removed him from the car and managed to “coax some of the remnants from his mouth,” Dowie said.

Asked what he was doing, the man reportedly answered, “I’m eating the money.”

Arrested for allegedly uttering counterfeit bills were: Peter Clarke, 19, of Newark; Adantae Blake, 19, of Newark, and Saturn Michel, 19, of Orange.

Clarke, the one reportedly with the appetite, also was charged with tampering with evidence.

Gonzalez is conducting the follow-up investigation along with the U.S. Secret Service, which is said to be “very” interested in the three suspects.

Other entries (entrees?) on the KPD blotter included the following:

Nov. 1

At 9:30 a.m., Officer Brian Wisely, responding to calls about a disorderly person on Chestnut St. near Dukes St., encountered Arthur Smith, 49, drinking a can of Natty Daddy beer, which he discarded on the ground, police said. Initially cautioned, Smith – who has no known address — was seen a few minutes later emerging from a store with another Natty Daddy and began arguing with Wisely. Smith was arrested for disorderly conduct and issued summonses for drinking in public, littering and refusal to obey a police officer.

Officer Adriano Marques, driving on Harrison Ave. at 10:30 a.m., was flagged down by a man who said he had just found a gun in a damaged storage trailer he was cleaning out. Marques recovered the weapon, a 9 mm. automatic. The investigation is continuing.

Pursuant to an investigation begun in October, Det. Gonzalez arrested 22-year-old Claudio Rodrigues of Kearny on one count of identity theft. Rodrigues, an employee of a local restaurant, allegedly had stolen the identity of a coworker and used the information to apply for a car loan at a Jersey City dealership.

Nov. 2

At 2:30 p.m., Officer John Fabula, responding to a report of burglaries into several vehicles, found that at least four — two on Beech St. and one each on Magnolia Ave. and Stewart Ave. — had been entered. Reviewing security videos, Fabula identified as a suspect Daniel Schrier, 40, of Kearny, and within the hour located and arrested him. Police said Schrier agreed to cooperate and consented to a search of his home, where two stolen GPS units and a cell phone were recovered. He was charged with burglary, attempted theft and theft.

Nov. 3

Officer Derek Hemphill, at 1 a.m. on the 500 block of Devon St., spotted three individuals huddled around a tree. As he approached, a large ziplock bag, empty but said to be reeking of marijuana, fell on the ground. When Hemphill asked for IDs, one of the trio had to retrieve his from a nearby car, in which the officer reportedly saw another plastic bag holding several smaller ones containing suspected pot. Gabriel Perez, 21, of North Arlington was charged with possession of the drug and paraphernalia. His companions were released at the scene after a warrant check proved negative.

At 8 p.m., Officer Jose Resua responded to a report of a man, said to be a limo driver, harassing people on the 300 block of Elm St. Resua located a man fitting the witnesses’ description entering a vehicle and asked for his driver’s license. Chris Curi, 28, of Kearny, was arrested after he was found to have a suspended license and outstanding warrants from Harrison and Newark, police said.

Nov. 6

Patrick Burns, 56, of Kearny, was arrested at 11 a.m. at Kearny and Johnston Aves. by Sgt. Paul Bershefski on an outstanding Kearny warrant for disorderly conduct.

Officer Michael Santucci responded to a report of three individuals apparently attempting to enter parked cars on Dukes St. at 10:15 p.m. Santucci found that no cars had been entered, but about 10 had been smeared with Vaseline in an apparent mischief attack. Witnesses provided a description of three juveniles, but they were not located.

Nov. 7

At 5:15 p.m., Officers Frank West and Barry Green responded to reports from several Passaic Ave. merchants of a suspected shoplifter. The officers got a description and located the suspect, who reportedly was someone known to them from past encounters.

In the area where he was detained, police said, was a small bag containing sneakers and socks apparently taken from Modell’s.

Modell’s was contacted but declined to press charges, police said.

Gregory Dickey, 44, of Newark, was, however, taken into custody anyway — on outstanding warrants from Paramus, Totowa and Newark, police reported.

Vice detectives were on the 100 block of Kearny Ave. at 5:20 p.m. when they stopped a motorist for careless driving and detected the odor of marijuana, police said. The driver, Anthony Chaparro, 25, of Jersey City, reportedly turned over two bags of suspected pot and was charged with possession and the MV offense.

– Karen Zautyk

Even Hopkins raved about this show



By Ryan Sloan

Now that its TV run is over, it’s time to expose a little bit about the incredible AMC show “Breaking Bad” for those who have never seen it – and for those who should really take the time to binge-watch it on Netflix or some other way.

It’s the story of Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), a down-on-his-luck high-school chemistry teacher with lung cancer (he never smoked a day in his life) and Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul), Walter’s former chemistry student who is hardly what one would call a model former student.

Walt’s brother-in-law, Hank, is a DEA agent – and in the opening episode of the series, at a family party, Hank is seen telling the entire family about the meth epidemic in America.

In the course of their discussion, Hank invites Walt on a ride-along to see a meth bust. During the ride-along, Walt learns how lucrative the meth business is – a one-pound bag of it could net a dealer $40,000. As the ride-along progresses, and as Hank prepares to partake in a meth bust, Walt suddenly eyes Jesse trying to escape the meth house.

From there, Walt “befriends” Jesse – and the two, as the title says, break bad.

Hank goes from being a well-liked high-school teacher at the beginning of the series to one of America’s most noted meth “cookers.”

“Cooker” is the term used to note someone who makes meth. And who better to cook a drug that requires numerous chemicals than a brilliant chemistry teacher? And he does it with someone who is well versed in making meth in Pinkman.

Are you starting to see how this is developing?

What’s perhaps most remarkable about this show – you’ll see it once you watch it – is that it’s written so brilliantly, so magnificently, and acted so superiorly that you find yourself identifying more with Walt and Jesse, criminals, than you do Hank and his fellow DEA agents.

What you’ll find is you want to see Walt succeed in his business, despite knowing how dangerous it is – and how illegal it is. What you’ll find is every ethical bone in your body goes out the window because the show is that compelling.

I’m only giving you a small taste, too, of what you’ll get with this show. You’ll also get to meet Hank’s wife, Skyler, and son, Walter “Flynn” Jr. There’s his sister-in-law Marie. And there are so many other unbelievably compelling characters you’ll meet. They’re so compelling, when you finish watching the series, you’ll find yourself actually missing the show, longing for more episodes.


There are, however, a few things you should know before watching this show.

It’s not suited, at all, for a young audience. No one 18 or younger should be watching this show. In fact, I’m not so sure anyone under 21 should be watching it.

There is an inordinate amount of graphic violence in the show. It’s realistic violence – and a true indicator of what happens in the world of meth. But it’s violent, nonetheless. And you have to be aware of that before watching the show.

Lastly, you’ll see scenes and actions you never thought were possible. At all. Someone told me to “brace” myself before watching “Breaking Bad,” and that was exactly what I needed. And it’s exactly what you’ll need to do.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, just last week, penned a letter to Cranston to tell him he binge-watched the show in just a week’s time, and he found the acting and writing to be the very best he’d ever seen – ever. Imagine that. These are the words of one this generation’s greatest-ever actors.

“This work of yours is spectacular – absolutely stunning,” Hopkins wrote to Cranston. “What is extraordinary is the sheer power of everyone in the entire production. What was it? Five or six years in the making? How the producers (yourself being one of them), the writers, directors, cinematographers, every department – casting etc. managed to keep the discipline and control from beginning to the end is (that over used word) awesome.

“Thank you. That kind of work/artistry is rare, and when, once in a while, it occurs, as in this epic work, it restores confidence. You and all the cast are the best actors I’ve ever seen.”

If Hopkins feels so strongly about the show, it has got to be good, right?

Then & Now

Photo courtesy Alexander Allan Collection/North Arlington Public Library

Photo courtesy Alexander Allan Collection/North Arlington Public Library



Photo by Ron Leir

Photo by Ron Leir


The date is sometime during World War II (the front of the bus bears a ‘Buy War Bonds’ message). The place is the intersection of the Belleville Turnpike and Ridge Road/Kearny Ave. The view is looking east down the hill toward Schuyler Ave. Just like in the 1940s, the building on the northeast corner houses a restaurant on the ground fl oor. It used to be Sally’s; today it is a Chinese eatery. And the bus? We can’t make out its number, but the route was ‘Kearny-Rutherford via Ridge Road.’ Historical note: The road that became the Belleville Pike was the fi rst in North Arlington, laid out in the early 1700s by Dutch settler Arent Schuyler. He needed a route for wagons to carry ore from his copper mine in the meadows, over the hill and down to a dock on the Passaic River.

– Karen Zautyk

Around Town


Belleville Elks Lodge 1123, 254 Washington Ave., hosts its monthly breakfast on Sunday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. Cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children under age 3. Children under age 3 are admitted free. The breakfasts are held the third Sunday of every month from September to May. If there are three or more inches of snow, breakfasts are cancelled.


Bloomfield Art League invites the public to its art exhibit at The Art Garage, 211 Glenridge Ave., Montclair, through Nov. 30. Works by local artists will also be on sale. Anyone wishing to join the league is invited to call the Civic Center at 973-743-9074, e-mail bloomfieldartleaguenj@gmail.com or sign up the day of the reception.


The Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., holds its annual Turkey day dance for teens only on Friday, Nov. 15, from 7 to 10 p.m. Prizes will be given to the best dancers. The dance will be supervised by Kearny teachers and members of the PBGC Board of Directors.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts a free screening of “Planes” (PG / 91 mins.) at 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22. Dusty Crophopper, a cropdusting plane, dreams of competing in a world-famous aerial race. The film will be shown downstairs. Popcorn and light refreshments will be served. All are welcome.

A fundraising bus trip for Kearny High School’s Project Graduation to the Sands Casino and Outlet Mall in Bethlehem, Pa., is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The bus leaves from Kearny Federal Savings Bank, 614 Kearny Ave. Cost is $30 (receive $20 in slot dollars and $5 food voucher). For tickets or more information contact Judy at 201-991-5812 or e-mail her at jh519@aol.com or call Sandy at 551-265-8969.

The Kearny High School Class of 1983 will hold a 30- year reunion on Nov. 30. For more information, contact Reunion Central at 888-333-6569 or e-mail kearny83@reunioncentral.com.

The Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., meets Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. in the church basement. Margaret Abrahams, coordinator of the Domestic Violence Response Team of Hudson County, will speak.

The Salvation Army of Greater Kearny, 443 Chestnut St., will hold its annual Kettle KickOff on Thursday, Nov. 14, at noon at Kearny Town Hall.

It offers classes in basic computer skills, e-mail and Microsoft Office Suite, Mondays and Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to noon. There is a fee of $30 per 12 hours of instruction.

For more information, call the Salvation Army at 201-991- 1115.

The Scots American Club, 40 Patterson St., will participate in the Blood Center of N.J.’s Super Community Blood Drive on Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 2:30 to 8 p.m. Donors can schedule an appointment or walk in. To schedule an appointment online, visit https://www.membersforlife.org/ bcnj/schedule.php Donors will be entered in a sweepstakes to win two tickets to the Super Bowl at Met Life Stadium in February and receive a Super Community Blood Drive wristband. The Super Bowl Host Committee is sponsoring the Super Community Blood Drive to raise awareness of the critical need for blood donations.

The Evening Membership Department of the Woman’s Club of Arlington offers a presentation on collectibles by John Labrincha of the Kearny Gold Store on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m., at the Henrietta Benstead Center, Columbia Avenue, Kearny.


Lyndhurst Public Library Children’s Room, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a Native American Headband Craft program, for grades Pre-K to 3, on Monday, Nov. 18, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration is required.

The Polish American Citizens Club, 730 New Jersey Ave., hosts its 90th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Nov. 17, from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $65. For more information, call 201-438-9723.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst is collecting non-perishable food items, plus turkeys, hams and lasagne, along with gift cards for ShopRite or Stop & Shop, as part of a food drive for the local Food Pantry, 253 Stuyvesant Ave. Monetary donations can be sent c/o Diane Cichino, 481 Roosevelt Ave., Lyndhurst, N.J. 07071.

The club will also sponsor a pizza contest on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Lyndhurst Senior Building, 250 Cleveland Ave. Many local pizzerias are donating pizzas to be judged. Cost is $5 per person. The winning pizzeria will receive a banner to display in their front window. Money raised for this event will benefit the club’s charitable projects. For tickets, call Janet Ricigliano at 201-935- 1208.

For more information on membership in the Woman’s Club, contact Marilyn Falcone at 201-933-6459.

Lyndhurst VFW Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., hosts Karaoke on Friday, Nov. 22, starting at 8 p.m. The VFW hall is also available for rentals for all occasions. For more information, call the post at 201-939-3080.

Lyndhurst Health Department hosts a blood screening on Friday, Dec. 6, at the recreation room at 601 Riverside Ave. Appointments begin at 8 a.m. The screening includes a chemistry profile, cholesterol level, blood count, and thyroid level. This service is available to Lyndhurst residents ages 18 and older for a $20 fee. Preregistration is required. Call 201-804-2500. Payments can be submitted in cash or checks payable to Medical Laboratory Diagnostics.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission announces the following events:

• Staff from the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge will bring some of their owls to the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, on Sunday, Nov. 17, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Admission is $5/ person; $4/MEC members. For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.

• The Third-Tuesday-of-the Month Walk with the NJMC and BCAS will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. This free two-hour walk of Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus features raptors, waterfowl and fall migrants. Participants meet at the marsh entrance at 10 a.m. (directions are on meadowblog.net in the left-hand column). Check meadowblog.net for last-minute weather updates. Participants must sign a standard liability release. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@aol. com or call 201-230-4983.

North Arlington

The North Arlington Fire Department is conducting a food drive for the Queen of Peace Food Pantry, collecting canned and dry goods and non-perishable food items. Containers are located inside Borough Hall.

Food will also be collected during the Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Santa Claus parade on Saturday, Nov. 30, starting at 9 a.m. At noon, Santa and friends will be at the Fire Headquarters, 3 Legion Place.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Rd., sponsors these events:

• Children’s author Katherine Rizzuto will discuss and sign her new book “Poodles Don’t Play Tennis” on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. Meet one of the dogs from her story. Books will be on sale for $10 each. (Exact change is greatly appreciated.) Kids in Pre-K- to grade 3 are welcome and registration is strongly recommended. Call 201-955-5640, ext.126, and leave a message with the name or names of those registering and how many copies of the book are desired.

• Harvest Craft, sponsored by the N.A. Women’s Club, is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 6:30 p.m. for grades K to 5.

• Comics Club, for grades 6 and up, meets on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 3:30 p.m.

• YA Movie Day, for grades 6 and up, is offered on Friday, Nov. 22, at 3 p.m.

Registration is recommended for these programs. Call the library at 201-955-5640.

North Arlington Woman’s Club sponsors a bus trip to Sands Casino, Bethlehem, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 16. The bus departs from Borough Hall at 9 a.m. Cost is $30 ($20 slot credit and $5 food credit). Contact Eileen at 201-998-2501 for tickets.

The Senior Harmony Club of North Arlington will sponsor an overnight trip to Pennsylvania to see the Christmas show “Sight and Sound,” National Christmas Museum, Koziars Christmas Village and Country Kettle Village, Dec. 5-6. For information, call Anna at 201- 939-2960.

North Arlington Senior Activity Center, 11 York Rd., host a holiday party on Friday, Dec. 6, starting at 10 a.m. with bingo, lunch at noon, gift raffle at 1 p.m. and dancing from 2 to 3:30 p.m. For information and reservation, call 201-998-5636.


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Dr., hosts the following events:

• Biennial Nutley Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held Sunday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m., “to recognize Nutley people who have achieved outstanding accomplishments beyond the boundaries of Nutley.” Tickets are $40. Call 973-284-4929 for information.

• Pen to Prose Writer’s Group meets Monday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m. The group is free and open to the public.

• 1990’s Trivia Night for Adults is held on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. Winners will each receive a $10 Starbucks gift card. Register at http://nutleylibrary90strivia. eventbrite. com.

• Dr. Who Celebration is slated for Thursday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. A Dr. Who costume contest, trivia and British foods are in the offing. Register online at http://nutleypubliclibraryforteens.wordpress.com.

• The Laying of the Cornerstone Commemoration is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, at 11 a.m., to kick off the library’s Centennial Celebration. Join the library’s Centennial Committee, the Board of Trustees, Friends of the Nutley Public Library, local legislators and officials, and state and local library representatives to commemorate the original cornerstone laying of November 1913.

Lyndhurst boys win NJSIAA North 2, Group I state championship

First time for Golden Bears since 2010

Photo courtesy Kane McDermott The Lyndhurst boys’ cross country team won the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state championship Saturday at Warinanco Park. From l. are Xavier Locke, Anthony Dell Aquila, Abreham Mindaye, Andre Francisco, Dylan Stanko, Stephen Covello, William Hooper, Kane McDermott and Joseph Senak.

Photo courtesy Kane McDermott
The Lyndhurst boys’ cross country team won the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state championship Saturday at Warinanco Park. From l. are Xavier Locke, Anthony Dell Aquila, Abreham Mindaye, Andre Francisco, Dylan Stanko, Stephen Covello, William Hooper, Kane McDermott and Joseph Senak.


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

Andre Francisco and Kane McDermott remember watching the Lyndhurst High School cross country teams, led by former Observer Male Athlete of the Year Patrick Rono (currently running at the University of Arkansas), and thought then that they would love to enjoy some of the same success when they both arrived at Lyndhurst.

“Right before my eighth grade year, I noticed that they would win a lot,” Francisco said. “I thought that I would like to be a part of that winning, too. I wanted to carry on the tradition.”

“I think it’s something we always wanted,” McDermott said. “We wanted to be able to win the sectional like other Lyndhurst teams.”

However, when Francisco and McDermott entered Lyndhurst a few years ago, the idea of Lyndhurst winning another NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state sectional championship seemed a little farfetched, especially with superstar Rono long gone.

That didn’t dissuade Francisco or McDermott.

“Since freshman year, it was something we worked for,” said McDermott, now a junior and a member of the cross country team. “Having the other teams do well set a higher standard for us.”

“Especially after a guy like Pat Rono and the great legacy he left, we just fought together as a team to carry on the tradition.”

Sure enough, the Lyndhurst boys achieved the unthinkable Saturday, when they won the North 2, Group I state championship at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth.

The Golden Bears held off two-time defending sectional champ McNair Academic of Jersey City to win their first state title since the Rono-led team in 2010.

Francisco led the way for Lyndhurst, finishing second overall to Sondy Polanco of Secaucus. Francisco completed the race in 17:53.62.

William Hooper was next for the Golden Bears, finishing fourth overall in 17:57.49. McDermott was next, placing sixth overall in 18:04.19.

All three of the Golden Bears’ top finishers are juniors, meaning they all will be back next year to try to defend their title.

Lyndhurst head coach Michael Pichardo believed that his team had a great chance to win the state sectional trophy.

“I figured we were the favorites, but I didn’t want to say anything to the kids,” Pichardo said. “We knew we had a great chance. It was just a matter of them having their A game and they did that. It’s a testament to the kids. They bought in since they were freshmen and worked very hard.”

Pichardo said that the race was won by the dedication of his middle runners.

“At the first mile, I noticed that it was Polanco, then Andre, then three McNair runners,” Pichardo said. “We had to do something about that. But then, Billy (Hooper) ran by two of the McNair kids and gave us a gutsy performance.”

McDermott followed suit, with Dylan Stanco coming in 12th overall in 18:30.52, Abreham Mindaye coming in 13th in 18:44.07 and Xavier Locke placing 14th in 18:47.55.

Having those three runners come in one after another sealed the deal for the Golden Bears.

Anthony Dell Aquila rounded out the litany of Golden Bear runners, placing 21st overall in 19:13.07.

Locke and Dell Aquila are only freshmen. This is definitely a program on the rise, as Mindaye is the lone senior. Every other runner returns.

“It’s a testament to the kids, because we lost one of our top runners, Steve Covello, to mononucleosis and he’s been out almost all year,” Pichardo said. “It meant that the younger kids had to step up. The kids really run for each other. They all want to come through for their teammates. They’re as tough as nails.”

Pichardo couldn’t say enough about top runner Francisco.

“He’s terrific,” Pichardo said. “He’s been our consistent leader. He wants it the most.”

Pichardo didn’t want to compare his last champion with the current bunch – except in one area.

“They’re getting to have that edge,” Pichardo said. “That team in 2010 had a swagger about them and this team is getting there. This team wanted to get a taste of what the other teams achieved and they got it. But they’re still hungry. I’m hoping that this is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s very satisfying.”

Pichardo believes that the Golden Bears have a shot this Saturday at finishing among the top three teams at the overall Group I championships at Holmdel Park, which would give them a chance to compete again one week later at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions, also in Holmdel.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but they’re capable of qualifying,” Pichardo said. “It was great to see them come together and get this one. I’m very excited for them. They have matured and come a long way. This was a huge first step for them. It’s a young team and we bring everyone back.”

Pichardo likes the state of the program.

“We have depth,” Pichardo said. “We have about 10 kids who could run varsity. When has that happened before? This group really pushed each other and it paid off.”

“This is amazing,” McDermott said. “We really did have high hopes coming into the season. We expected to do something good this season. This was our year. It’s tremendous that we’re all coming back next year. Hopefully, we can repeat.”

“It’s really exciting,” Francisco said. “We’ve all worked so hard together. We push each other and this is the result.”

Kearny, Harrison soccer: Moving on once again

Photo by Jim Hague Harrison defender Modou Sowe has been brilliant in the NJSIAA North 2, Group II playoffs, scoring five goals in two games, enhancing his All-State possibilities.

Photo by Jim Hague
Harrison defender Modou Sowe has been brilliant in the NJSIAA North 2, Group II playoffs, scoring five goals in two games, enhancing his All-State possibilities.


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

The NJSIAA state soccer playoffs have moved into the semifinal round. Most of the local teams have, unfortunately, been eliminated from contention.

Except two old reliable teams – and then one relative newcomer.

It’s only fitting that both Kearny and Harrison’s boys’ soccer teams are still fighting for the chance to be a state sectional champion. After all, the Kardinals and the Blue Tide represent the best in high school soccer. Both programs have been established as two of the very best New Jersey has to offer for a very long time.

Since the NJSIAA went to a playoff format in the mid-1970s, Harrison has won an astounding 14 state championships. Only Chatham has won more in the state. Kearny has captured nine state titles, tied for fifth most in state history.

So it’s almost expected that both teams would be contending for state honors – Harrison in Group II and Kearny in Group IV.

Both the Kardinals and the Blue Tide, the top seed in their respective brackets, won their first two respective games in the state playoffs.

The Blue Tide, top seed in North Jersey Section 2, Group II, rolled to their two wins, defeating Ridgefield Park, 6-0, in the opening round, then toppling Newark Tech, 3-0, in the second round last Friday.

The Kardinals, the top seed in North Jersey Section 1, Group IV, knocked off Roxbury in the first round, 3-0, then shook off a tough battle from Clifton, 1-0, in the second round.

The Kards were now scheduled to face fourth-seed Bergen Tech in the semifinals of the sectional at Harvey Field, while the Blue Tide were set to take on Caldwell in the semis at Harrison High, with both games going on approximately simultaneously a quarter mile apart on Schuyler Avenue.

Photo by Jim Hague Kearny midfielder Kevin Tapia was the hero in the Kardinals’ 1-0 win over Clifton, advancing the Kards to the North 1, Group IV semifinals.

Photo by Jim Hague
Kearny midfielder Kevin Tapia was the hero in the Kardinals’ 1-0 win over Clifton, advancing the Kards to the North 1, Group IV semifinals.


Harrison head coach Mike Rusek admitted that it was only fitting that Kearny and Harrison would both be battling for state titles at this juncture of the season.

“November is always a fun time for soccer in West Hudson,” said Rusek, who was a standout player at Kearny during his high school days. “Both of our schools are traditionally focused on state tournaments. We’re both the top seeds. It’s that time of year.”

Rusek, whose team toppled Kearny, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Hudson County Tournament last month, always holds his relationship with Kearny close to him.

“I always root for Kearny in the state tournament,” Rusek said. “If we both were able to win, that would be wonderful.”

The Blue Tide, still unbeaten with a 20-0-1 record, is enjoying its best season since going undefeated in the 2002 season, posting a 24-0-1 record that year.

One of the major reasons for the Blue Tide’s success has been the play of senior forward Jose Neto, who leads the team with 25 goals.

“Jose is really clicking at the right time,” said Rusek, who hopes that the Blue Tide can capture their first state title since 2008. “He’s been the leader of the team. He’s getting better, getting more and more goals each month. He’s always around the goal and always attacking. He likes being the one who has the pressure on his shoulders. It’s great to have a player like that on your side.”

The other standout player for the Blue Tide has been senior defender Modou Sowe, who is one of the most diverse players in the state and clearly an All-State candidate. Incredibly, Sowe has tallied 19 goals, including five already in the state tournament.

“I really believe that he will go further than any player I’ve ever coached,” Rusek said of Sowe. “We’ve had a lot of very good players, but he’s going to succeed at a higher level.”

The other key to the Blue Tide’s success has been their defense, which has posted an incredible 17 shutouts this year in 21 games.

“Modou takes pride in that as well,” Rusek said.

Kearny head coach Bill Galka was not pleased with the way his team was playing prior to the state tournament. The Kards lost to rival Harrison, then lost an independent regular season game to Morristown.

“I talked to the team a little bit after that game and told them that they wouldn’t have a chance to move forward if they kept playing that way,” Galka said. “I don’t know if they took that game (Morristown) lightly, but they took the talk we had to heart and have played well.”

The Kardinals had to face some adversity, when standout goalkeeper Sebastian Ferriera went down with a shoulder injury, so backup Michael Barros has been outstanding, collecting two shutouts in the state tourney.

“He made some key saves,” Galka said. “He was the backup, but trained hard all year and now it’s his turn.”

The Kards have been getting scoring from different people, not just leading scorer Andres Pesantez. For example, Kevin Tapia was the hero against Clifton, scoring the game’s lone goal.

“We’re getting scoring from different areas,” Galka said. “That has helped.”

Both teams have not surrendered a goal in the state playoffs. That means one thing: It’s very hard to lose if you don’t allow the opponent to score.

Galka also agrees that it’s good for local soccer when both Kearny and Harrison are doing well in the state tourney.

“I think most people want to see both teams make a run,” Galka said. “We’re finally playing strong and tough. We’re starting to play much better at the right time.”

The third local team still alive in the state tournament is Nutley’s girls’ team, which advanced to the semifinals of the North Jersey Section 2, Group III bracket.

It’s the furthest that Nutley has ever advanced in the state playoffs.

Coach Mike DiPiano’s team moved on with a 2-1 win over Millburn last week, keyed by Victoria Healy’s clutch late goal.

The Maroon Raiders were slated to face West Morris in the semifinals, also earning a home game.

It means a great amount of excitement in November for the local soccer teams, two old favorites and one invigorating newcomer.

QP football: Home game in state playoffs

Photo by Jim Hague Queen of Peace senior running back Kevin Momnohin has been one of the most explosive players in New Jersey, gaining close to 2,000 yards on the ground and scoring 33 touchdowns

Photo by Jim Hague
Queen of Peace senior running back Kevin Momnohin has been one of the most explosive players in New Jersey, gaining close to 2,000 yards on the ground and scoring 33 touchdowns



By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

When Robert Kearns decided to return to his childhood roots and take over the Queen of Peace football team once again, he really didn’t know what to expect.

“I saw the schedule and I thought we could be competitive,” Kearns said. “I thought we would be there until the end and be in every game. But in terms of wins, I didn’t know.”

But Kearns’ thoughts quickly changed after he saw the Golden Griffins start preseason training.

“When we started workouts, I saw the size of our offensive line and I was encouraged by that,” Kearns said. “I knew that we had a good quarterback in Anthony Villano. I knew that I had the best young coaching staff around.”

Kearns was also blessed to have his long-time friend and colleague Ed Abromaitis become a member of the coaching staff. Abromaitis was already the school’s athletic director.

“We’ve known each other for 40 years,” Kearns said of Abromaitis. “We coached together on and off for 20 years. It’s worked out well here.” Abromaitis is in charge of the team’s defensive backs.

“We have a good mix of the young and the old,” Kearns said. “It couldn’t have worked out better.”

It also helped that Kearns inherited a running back like Kevin Momnohin.

“He’s like a coach’s gift,” Kearns said of Momnohin, who has re-written the school’s record books this season.

Momnohin has collected a school record 1,915 yards rushing with an astounding 33 touchdowns. He had 275 yards and five touchdowns in a recent win over neighboring rival North Arlington and added 144 yards and two scores last Friday night in a loss to Cresskill.

“He’s just phenomenal,” Kearns said. “Every week, I keep saying that I can’t ask for more and he keeps giving me more. His work habits are incredible. He wants to succeed in everything he does, whether it’s in football, in track or in the weight room. I saw right away that this kid was a winner.”

Momnohin has guided the Golden Griffins to a 5-4 record, which was good enough to secure the No. 4 seed in the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 1 state playoffs. They will play at home at the new Riverside County Park facility Friday night at 7 p.m. against a very familiar face.

When the Golden Griffins face St. Anthony of Jersey City in the opening round of the state playoffs, they will see former QP head coach Ed Stinson on the sidelines with the Friars. Stinson spent two seasons as the head coach of the Griffins (2008 and 2009).

But the Golden Griffins will have a home game in the states, playing on a new facility, under the lights. No one could have imagined that was possible.

“Without a doubt, I couldn’t have written a better script any better than what has happened,” Kearns said.

A year ago, the Griffins struggled keeping players on the field. One after another, the players fell victim to injury.

But Kearns wanted to make sure that there was no repeat with the injury bug.

“We took things a little differently,” Kearns said. “We spent a lot of time with conditioning and weight room training. We know how to rest their legs. Everyone is healthy, thank God, and we’re keep going on the right track.”

Of course Momnohin is the engine who makes the Griffins go. He’s having an All-State caliber season.

“Everyone knows he’s going to get the ball,” Kearns said. “And when he gets the ball, good things are going to happen. It’s magic. He’s just a very special kid. What he’s done has been unbelievable. No matter what point of the game, he gets this look on his face and he’s just gone. He has that extra step that most people don’t have. And when he uses it, he’s gone. It’s been like Bill Belichick inheriting Tom Brady. I give the ball to 5 (Momnohin’s jersey number) and 5 goes.”

Photos by Jim Hague QP senior quarterback Anthony Villano is a deadly threat as a passer or a runner

Photos by Jim Hague
QP senior quarterback Anthony Villano is a deadly threat as a passer or a runner


But the team is not all Momnohin.

“Tajier Jefferson has been an absolute moose,” Kearns said. “He’s playing well on both sides. The offensive line has been tremendous. Anthony Villano is great, running and throwing. Everyone has really jelled together nicely. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

So the Griffins get a home game in the states. It’s a perfect setting for what should be a great game.

“Everyone is buzzing about getting a home playoff game,” Kearns said. “It’s great for the school. There should be such a great crowd there. Everyone is excited about it.”

And one thing should be duly noted, according to Kearns.

“Queen of Peace is back,” Kearns said. “Some people said that the place is dying and the end is near. Well, we’re back and we’re going to be here for a very long time.”


Frances A. Oldknow

Frances A. Oldknow (nee Winship), 84, of Ocean Grove, formerly of Kearny, died on Nov. 7.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Cecelia’s Church, Kearny. A service was held by the Eastern Star Liberty Chapter, Kearny. A private cremation was held.

Born at the U.S. Navy Hospital in Port O Prince, Haiti, Mrs. Oldknow lived most of her life in Kearny before moving to Ocean Grove 10 years ago. She was an elementary school teacher with the North Arlington School System for 30 years retiring in 1992.

She was a member of the Eastern Star Liberty Chapter, Kearny, the Arlington Women’s Club and the West Hudson Optimist Club.

She was the beloved wife of 59 years of Robert J. Oldknow; mother of Keith J. Oldknow, Sharon O. Marshall (Steve), Kent R. Oldknow (Joan) and Marlynn Frances Haslund (Leif); grandmother of eight grandchildren; aunt of Michele, Maura and several other nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society would be appreciated.

MaryAnn Rokosny

MaryAnn Rokosny (nee O’Malley), of North Arlington, formerly of East Newark, died on Nov. 8 at home.

Arrangements are by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A Mass of Christian burial will be officiated on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 11 a.m. at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington. Interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Mrs. Rokosny was employed at West Hudson Hospital, Kearny for over 35 years. She was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary Company B Fire Department, North Arlington.

She was the beloved wife of 54 years of Charles T. Rokosny; mother of Patricia (John) Svec, Charles J. (Heather) and John P. (Danielle) Rokosny and the late Joseph Rokosny; and sister of Martin (Eda), Richard (Annette) O’Malley and the late Larry (late Marge) O’Malley.

She was the grandmother of Lauren, Michael, Jennifer, Kristian, Madison, Tyler and Trevor. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers donations to the John Theurer Cancer Center Hackensack University Medical Center Breast Division or The Patient Access Network Foundation would be appreciated.

Louise Torta

Louise Torta ( nee Manfredonia) 79, of Kearny died on Nov. 3 at home.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr.,Kearny. A Mass of Christian burial was officiated at Holy Cross Church, Harrison. Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Mrs. Torta was a retired Hi- Lo operator with La Torraine Coffee Company, Secaucus for over 20 years. She was born and raised in Hoboken before moving to Kearny in 1974.

She is the beloved mother of Donna (John) Pomponi, sister of Lorraine Manfredonia and the late Philip Manfredonia, grandmother of Anthony Pomponi, aunt of John and Marc Prezioso, Theresa Al Hakem and the late Ralph and Philip Manfredonia.

In lieu of flowers donations to The St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, Tenn. 38101-9908 www.st.jude.org would be appreciated.