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Classmates in court

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY–  The three young men, pictured above in their Kearny High School yearbook photos, had their whole lives ahead of them. Who knew where the future would take them? No one would have guessed that, a bit more than a decade later, it […]

Serial robber guilty

TRENTON – An accused serial robber has admitted to playing a role in 11 robberies, primarily of drug stores, in Harrison, Newark and Jersey City over a period of eight months, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. On July 21, Christopher Mojica, 23, pleaded guilty to […]

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Blue ranks get reinforcements

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent LYNDHURST – Talk about parallel life paths: Joseph White and Matthew Giunta went to pre-school (St. Michael’s) together, then to Franklin Elementary School, then Lyndhurst High. And, last Friday, they entered the Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah to begin […]

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Slow-paced developments

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  BELLEVILLE –  It’s been a year and two months since Gov. Chris Christie presided at a ballyhooed groundbreaking for Franklin Manor, an age-restricted 137-unit apartment complex for those 55 and over – the first such senior development for Belleville in more than three decades. […]

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Still waiting for wall’s restoration

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  A property dispute between a longtime Harrison business and some neighbors that has been simmering for a few years now appears to be coming to a boil. Smack in the middle of the controversy are Bergen St. homeowners Victor and Eleanor Villalta […]

 
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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 »

Aid will partly offset tax

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY –

Some good news for Kearny taxpayers: the town will be getting state transitional aid for 2014 and Mayor Alberto Santos said that means the anticipated hit for property owners won’t be as bad as expected.

How much that hit will be remained a bit murky, however, as The Observer went to press Monday. Santos and Town Council finance committee members were waiting for CFO Shuaib Firozvi to crunch the numbers to learn how the local municipal tax rate stands with the new revenue.

With the municipal budget introduced in March, an increase of about $4.3 million in local taxes was projected – an 11% hike – or about $417 on the “average” house assessed at about $95,000. As of last week, Santos was projecting “an increase of a little over 3%.” Read more »

Regional realtor board OKs merger

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

The Meadowlands Board of Realtors, which has served the needs of real estate agents and their customers in West Hudson and South Bergen for 93 years, is no more.

As of July 1, the group was merged with the Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors, creating the third largest realtor association in New Jersey, with more than 3,300 members.

Only the North Central Jersey BOR, with 7,742 members, and Monmouth County BOR, with 5,635, are larger, according to EBCBOR spokeswoman Melissa Piccinich. NCJBOR’s territory takes in Essex, Union, Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Sussex and Warren counties.

Kearny realtor Scott Bixler of the Bixler Group and vice president of the MBOR, worked with MBOR President Nancy Lastra, a Rutherford realtor, in helping draft the merger agreement and Bixler will join the EBCBOR board in 2015. Read more »

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