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2014-12-21 18_18_32-Greenshot

Clerks tied up, shots fired at Belleville Radio Shack armed robbery Sunday morning

BELLEVILLE — The following report was issued by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday (Dec. 21): At 11:22 this morning, officers from the Belleville Police Department were summoned by a 911 caller to a possible armed robbery at the […]

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Have you seen this alleged Nutley burglar?

NUTLEY — Police say they are investigating a diversion burglary that allegedly occurred on Fischer Ave. on Dec. 9. An elderly resident told police that a man banged on her front door at 3 p.m., Dec. 9, claiming there was […]

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Help sought in cold case

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Somebody knows something. Six years ago, an 87-year-old man was deliberately run down by a car in a South Kearny parking lot and robbed while he lay helpless on the ground. He died of his injuries the next day. Authorities ruled the death […]

100G for Arena tax case

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  Now that the state Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the New York Red Bulls professional soccer team should pay taxes on the stadium and the land it occupies in Harrison, the town has hired an outside law firm to […]

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Staffing Skyway fire-watch

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – For the first time, members of the Kearny Fire Department will have a shot at off-duty pay, much like their counterparts at the Police Department have enjoyed for many years, although there is a sunset provision for the privilege. This opportunity […]

 
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From bad to worse, in a hurry & more: NPD blotter

It all started when Nutley PD observed a man “peering into car windows” on Washington Ave. on Nov. 24.

When officers sought to conduct a field interview with the man, police said the stranger pedaled away on a bicycle, quickly crossing to the other side of Washington.

In riding away from the cops, police said the man, later identified as Kevin Flanagan, 39, of North Arlington, discarded items as he fled.

Later, retracing the route of flight, police said officers found heroin and cocaine in close proximity to Washington School.

A search of Flanagan turned up a screwdriver and a file, “tools commonly used to commit burglaries,” police said.

Flanagan’s predicament became even more serious when police said they learned he was wanted on two active warrants from Belleville and was wanted by Lyndhurst on a charge of neglect of a child and by North Arlington on a burglary charge, both of which were placed on warrants with court dates.

In Nutley, Flanagan was charged with two counts of possession of CDS (heroin and cocaine), possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of burglary tools, resisting arrest by flight and obstructing administration of law by flight.

Flanagan was taken to the Essex County Jail after failing to post bail of $30,000 with no 10% option set by the Nutley deputy court administrator, police said.

Nutley PD also responded to these incidents reported between Nov. 22 and 26:

Nov. 22 

Police went to a Villa Place location on a theft of services complaint. A cabbie told police he picked up a fare in Hoboken and drove him to Villa Place where the fare reportedly asked him to pull over and then abruptly jumped out of the taxi and ran west on Grant Ave. The passenger was described as a skinny, white male with short blond hair, wearing blue jeans and a dark-colored coat. A search of the area was unsuccessful, police said.

 Nov. 23 

A S. Spring Garden Ave. resident reported that someone had damaged their rock wall at around midnight.

•••

A Highland Ave. resident reported that someone left a white trash bag containing empty beer cans in their driveway.

•••

Police arrested William Clark, 18, of Clifton, on Washington Ave. for an active warrant from Clifton. After failing to post bail, he was turned over to Clifton PD.

Nov. 24 

Officers responded to a Centre St. location on a report of property damage. A resident told police that their neighbor’s tree branch fell on top of their vehicle, cracking the passenger side of the windshield and denting the top of the car on the passenger side.

Nov. 25 

After stopping an individual who reportedly fit a description of a possible burglar, walking along Passaic Ave. near Satterthwaite Ave., police discovered that the individual, Mike Castro, 40, of Newark, had three open warrants – one from Newark and two from Elizabeth. Castro told police he was on his way to work. But, after finding two used hypodermic needles in his shirt pocket, police charged Castro with possession of hypodermic needles and released him, pending court dates in Nutley, Newark and Elizabeth.

•••

A Franklin Ave. homeowner reported a theft. The homeowner told police they found an open parcel, addressed to then and containing an item worth more than $400, in the shrubs near their front door. Police said the delivery was confirmed by FedEx, who notified the sender.

Nov. 26 

Police said they conducted a motor vehicle stop of a vehicle reportedly traveling on Rt. 21 South at a rate of speed of more than 90 mph and arrested the driver, Ariel Mendoza, 22, of Paterson, after learning that he had an outstanding warrant from Paterson. After a search of the driver disclosed suspected marijuana, police charged him with possession of CDS and ticketed him for speeding, reckless driving, driving without a license, having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, failure to possess a license or registration and possession of CDS in a vehicle. Mendoza was turned over to Paterson PD on the warrant. During the MV stop, police said Geury Fernandez Collado, 23, of Paterson, who came to take custody of the vehicle, was arrested for an outstanding warrant from Woodbridge. He was turned over to Woodbridge PD.

– Ron Leir 

A guide to cooking with herbs

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Perhaps the most difficult thing about cooking with herbs is figuring out how to pronounce the word. Is it “herb,” like the guy next door? Or is it “erb,” with a silent “h”?

Good news: Either pronunciation is acceptable, according to Webster. So now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s concentrate on what herbs can add to our cooking: in a word, flavor.

But even more important is what they don’t add: fat and sodium. Herbs are an excellent way to replace the flavor when you remove fat and excess salt from your food.

If you’re just getting started with herbs, go at it gradually. Experiment with one or two herbs at a time. For freshness, purchase herbs that have been newly dried, and buy in small amounts.

This brings up another vexing point: What’s the difference between a (or an) herb and a spice? Herbs are spices that grow directly from the ground.

Examples are mint, thyme, basil and sage. Spices that grow on trees are not considered herbs. Cinnamon and nutmeg are two examples.

Gourmet chefs prefer fresh herbs over dried, but both have their advantages.

Fresh ones have better texture and appearance, but dried ones are generally more convenient and produce stronger flavor. A tablespoon of dried herbs produces roughly the same amount of flavor as a handful of fresh. Suggestions for starting with herbs:

• Be sure to wash them well  and pat them dry.

• Remove any leaves from  woody stems. The stems carry much aroma, but the leaves are what you usually use.

• If a dish requires a long  time to cook, consider adding the herbs toward the end of cooking.

• Avoid using too many  herbs at one time.

While there are hundreds of herbs you can experiment with, you will most likely want to focus on the kitchen herbs most commonly called for in recipes. Here’s a list to get you started:

• Basil. Adds flavor to any tomato dish. Also good in omelettes and salads. Try it with poultry and fish, as well.

• Chives. Chop leaves and  add to salads and egg, cheese or potato dishes.

• Cilantro. This has a unique  taste often associated with Mexican foods. Use leaves in  salads, in soups such as gazpacho, or in many Mexican or Thai dishes.

Use dry seeds to sprinkle on cakes or sweet dishes.

• Dill. The standard flavoring for pickles, dill also goes surprisingly well with fish, poultry, souffles, omelets and potatoes.

• Marjoram. Sprinkle leaves over lean meats before roasting  or add to soups, stuffing, and egg and cheese dishes.

• Mint. Great in Mediterranean dishes. Or try it with carrots, fruit salads and especially in iced tea.

• Oregano. A staple in Italian  and Mexican recipes, oregano is especially useful in meat and tomato sauces. Good on marinated vegetables, beans  and mushrooms.

• Parsley. These leaves will liven up salads, soups, omelets  and potato and onion dishes. Parsley also helps freshen  breath.

• Rosemary. Insert a sprig  into lean meat or poultry before roasting. Sprinkle chopped leaves sparingly in soups, stews, vegetables and especially on green beans.

• Sage. Use sparingly with  poultry, cheese dishes and omelets.

• Savory. Comes in two varieties according to season. Summer savory has a more delicate flavor than winter savory. Use  with beans, with fish or in stuffing.

• French tarragon. Great  in sauces for poultry or fish. Good with soups and in salads.

Here’s a simple recipe for a high-nutrition, low-fat chicken dish that can be surprisingly delicious thanks to the addition of a small amount of thyme, from your garden or from the store:

 Zesty grilled chicken breasts with thyme 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half

 2 teaspoons Dijon-type mustard 

1 clove garlic, crushed 

2 sprigs fresh thyme, about 1/4 teaspoon dried 

1 teaspoon horseradish (optional) 

Combine all the ingredients  except chicken in a bowl or container large enough to accommodate the chicken breasts. Coat the chicken  breasts with the mixture and let stand at least 15 minutes. Grill (or broil) approximately  5 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through.

Note: Try substituting fresh oregano for the thyme. Or if you like a bit of a crust, roll in unseasoned bread crumbs before grilling. Or sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Serves four. Each serving  contains about 142 calories, 27 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fat.

To learn more, stop in and see in-store Registered Dietitian Julie Harrington at the ShopRite of Lyndhurst, 540 New York Ave. For information on health and wellness events contact her at (201)419-9154 or  Julie.harrington@wakefern. com.

around town

Belleville 

Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., announces:

  • A screening of the animated action adventure film “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (PG) is slated for Saturday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m.
  • Pajama Storytime, open to all ages, will be held Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday craft, open to all ages, is offered Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.

Belleville High School’s Music Department presents its 2014 winter concert series, starting with the instrumental music program, featuring the BHS Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, on Thursday, Dec. 11, and the vocal music program, with the BHS Concert Choir and Acapella Chorus, on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Both concerts start at 7 p.m. in the Connie Francis Theatre at the high school. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Admission is free but donations are accepted at the door.

For more information, email band director Anthony Gotto at Anthony.gotto@belleville. k12.nj.us or vocal music director Carol Lombardi at carol.lombardi@belleville. k12.nj.us.

Bloomfield 

Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., will screen the following films as part of its Thursday and Monday Afternoon Movie programs. All films start at 12:15 p.m. Admission is free.

  • Thursdays – Dec. 4 – “One Special night” (PG), featuring James Garner and Dec. 11 – “Christmas Eve” (NR), starring Ann Harding. No films will be shown Dec. 18 and 25.
  • Mondays – Dec. 8 – “Scrooge” (G), with Albert Finney. No films will be shown Dec. 15, 22 or 29.

Kearny 

A cat food drive is being conducted through Dec. 12 for Kearny’s TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) program. Drop off cat food donations at K-9 Corner, 169 Midland Ave. at Elm St.

The First Baptist Church of Arlington, 650 Kearny Ave., hosts a Christmas bake sale and flea market on Saturday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church of Kearny and Christ Church of Harrison will jointly sponsor their monthly flea market at 575 Kearny Ave., on Dec. 13. Vendors are invited. Tables are one for $15 and two for $25. Call the church at 201-991-5894 to schedule a table. Or, call Annamarie at 201-998-2368 after 5:30 pm. Walk-ins and new vendors welcome.

Kearny UNICO meets on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the meeting or Kearny UNICO, contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409. Kearny UNICO is a member chapter of UNICO National, the largest Italian American service organization in the U.S.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts a holiday marbleizing workshop on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m.

Marbleizing is the preparation and finishing of a surface to imitate the appearance of polished marble.

Using silk scarves, instructor Renee Johnson will lead participants in this ancient art, widely used in Pompeii and in Europe during the Renaissance.

Just in time for the holidays, the finished product, free to all registered attendees, will make a beautiful gift. This program will only be open to a limited number of adults. Call the library at 201-998-2666 for a reservation.

Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., hosts its annual carnival on Friday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. Try your hand at more than 30 games of skill, including the goldfish toss, spin the wheel, go fish and more. There will also be a table of arts and crafts, homemade toys and baked goods. The entire community is welcome.

Lyndhurst 

The Lyndhurst Historical Society is showcasing a sampling of the many businesses that contributed to the community and beyond in its newest exhibit, “Lyndhurst Business: Building a Community,” which runs through August 2015 at The Little Red Schoolhouse, 400 Riverside Ave.

The exhibit is free and open to the public, but a small donation to the Society is appreciated. The Little Red Schoolhouse Museum is open on the second and fourth Sundays of every month from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, leave a message at 201-804-2513 and your call will be returned.

For more information about the Lyndhurst Historical Society, readers can visit www.lyndhursthistoricalsociety.org. Like them on Facebook.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., announces the following events for children. Registration is not required unless otherwise specified. To register, call the library at 201- 804- 2478.

  • Walk-in storytimes, open to grades pre-k to 2, are held every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
  • Santa Claus visits on Monday, Dec. 8, at 6:45 p.m. Children of all ages are invited to take a picture with him. Registration is required.
  • A reindeer craft, open to grade pre-k-3, is set for Thursday, Dec. 11, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.
  • Children in grades 1 to 4 can make a holiday wreath on Thursday, Dec. 18, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration is required.
  • A Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game Night, open to grades 6 to 9, takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 7:15 pm. Refreshments will be served. Space is limited and registration is necessary. To register, call the library or email referencelyndhurst.bccls.org.
  • RoseMarie Rubinetti Cappiello, an intuitive medium/ healer, hosts a brief session of audience spirit readings followed by a discussion of her new book “Speaking From Spirit”. Books will be available for purchase at the book signing. Space is limited and registration is necessary. No walk-ins will be allowed. Call the library or email romeo@bccls.org to register.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission hosts the following events:

  • First-Sunday-of-the- Month Nature Walk with the Bergen County Audubon Society kicks off at 10 a.m. just outside DeKorte Park on Sunday, Dec. 7.

Check meadowblog.net for last-minute weather updates. Visitors are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events throughout the year.

To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS or call 201-230-4983.

  • Watercolor Pencils for Kids, open to ages 5 to 12 (accompanied by an adult) is set for Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m.  to noon, at the NJMC Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza. All art supplies are provided. Pre-registration is required. Cost is $10 per child (no fee for adults).

To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec . For more information, call 201- 460-8300.

Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., Suite 1, holds a blood screening Friday, Dec. 5, at the Community Center on Riverside Ave. Appointments begin at 8 a.m. This service is available to Lyndhurst residents ages 18 and older for a $20 fee. Pre-registration is required. For appointments, call 201-804-2500. Payments are accepted in cash or checks, payable to Medical Laboratory Diagnostics.

The Humane Society, 221- 223 Stuyvesant Ave., invites members of the community to bring children and pets for photos with Santa taken by a professional photographer on Sunday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are available, but walk-ins are also welcome. Proceeds benefit the animals at the Humane Society. Photos with an attractive holiday folder cost $10. A CD of all pictures taken is available for $20. For  more information, call 201- 896-9300.

Knights of Columbus Council 2396 sponsors a Tricky Tray Friday, Jan. 16, at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. The $15 admission includes coffee plus one prize sheet of tickets. No alcohol is permitted. No tickets will be sold at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call Steve Cortese at 201-657-0800 or Sal Russo at 201-446-7244.

North Arlington 

North Arlington Police Department Crime Prevention and Community Relations Unit is conducting a holiday toy drive. New and unwrapped toys may be dropped off at the police department now through Dec. 11. Toys will be distributed to area hospitals, local families and others in need.

North Arlington Senior Activity Center, 11 York Road, hosts a holiday celebration Friday, Dec. 12. Bingo starts at 10:30 a.m., lunch is served at noon and dancing begins at 1:30 p.m. For more information and reservation, call 201-998-5636.

North Arlington Woman’s Club sponsors a trip to the Sands Casino, Bethlehem, Pa., on Dec. 6. The bus leaves from Borough Hall at 9 a.m. Cost is $30 with $20 slot return and $5 food voucher. For information, call 201-889-2553.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, hosts the following programs:

  • A talk by food historian Judith Krall-Russo on Colonial and Victorian Christmas is set for Saturday, Dec. 13, at 11 a.m. Refreshments will be served. Registration is recommended but not required. Call 201-955-5640, ext. 126.
  • Computer Coding Club, open to ages 8 to 13, meets Saturday, Dec. 13, at 1 p.m. Registration is required. To register, visit http://bit.ly/1qTd8Cc . Registration closes on Dec. 6. The library will be closed to the public at 1 p.m. on this date, as usual, and open only for this special program.
  • YA Movie Day, for grades 6 and up, is set for Friday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m.
  • Lego Club, open to grades 1 and up, meets Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m.
  • A holiday pageant, for all ages, is set for Thursday, Dec. 11, at 6:45 p.m. • An origami class, open to grades 4 to 7, is set for Friday, Dec. 12, at 3:30 p.m.
  • The Woman’s Club sponsors a craft program, open to grades K to 5, on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 6:30 p.m.

Queen of Peace Church presents its annual Christmas concert on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 3 p.m. The event features the church’s choir, the Queen of Peace Schola Cantorum and the Chopin Singing Society along with soloists. There is no admission charge but a free will offering is requested.

Nutley 

Vincent United Methodist Church, 100 Vincent Place, will present its annual Living Nativity on Sunday, Dec. 7. From 7 to 8 p.m., members of the congregation will present short Nativity portrayals every 20-30 minutes in a st able setting  on the front lawn. The free presentation will include live animals — sheep , goats, donkeys and maybe more. Refreshments will be served. The church is across from the Nutley Library. All are invited to come and view this timeless reminder of the real reason for the season of Christmas.

Actors from the Nutley Little Theatre will present a staged reading of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6. This special event is part of a yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of the NPL. Call 973-667- 0405 for more information on this and other programs. The complete schedule is available at http://nutleypubliclibrary.org.

Kearny girls’ basketball squad has solid leadership

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By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

The Kearny High School girls’ basketball team won 15 games last year, featuring a team that had no returning starters. Basically, the Kardinals had to learn on the fly – and they did, but it might have taken a little longer than veteran head coach Jody Hill might have liked.

However, as the Kardinals begin practice for the start of the upcoming season later this month, Hill feels a little better this time than she did at the start of last season.

“For the last two years, we were pretty much in a unique situation,” Hill said. “We had two years in a row where we graduated all five starters from the year before. It just happened that all five starters were seniors. But that’s not the case this year.”

Hill is fortunate to have three returning starters from last year’s team, plus others who have returned to playing basketball after a hiatus from the sport.

“It’s beneficial to know we have some returning experience,” Hill said. “It should help us get off to a better start. To have that leadership on the court is going to make a big difference. It’s definitely going to help us down the road.”

The Kardinals also have strength in numbers. There’s a new interest in basketball in the town, as the number for tryouts increased into the 50s, thanks to a new program instilled in the new Kearny middle school.

“I really think we’re seeing this program explode,” Hill said. “It’s definitely going to help get more girls involved. I think the new program is going to kick start our numbers even more. It’s going to benefit us in the long run. It only can help us being successful.

” For the time being, Hill will count on senior returnees like talented forward Emilia Fernandes, a 6-foot presence who is getting some attention from colleges.

Fernandes averaged 10 points per game last year, but those numbers should improve, thanks to Fernandes’ dedication to the sport in the offseason.

“I’m very excited for her,” Hill said. “It’s a true pleasure to watch Emilia develop. Her commitment to basketball has been excellent. She played AAU basketball in the summer and went to FASST in Lyndhurst for strength and conditioning. Her hard work is definitely showing.”

Hill said that Fernandes has been working on her game.

“She’s become well rounded with her moves,” Hill said. “She has a soft shooting touch and can make shots. She’s a great passer and becomes dangerous if teams try to double her. She’s in better shape and she knew that was an issue in the past. She got herself in the mindset that she needed to get in better shape to be a better player. She wants to play college basketball. That’s the goal. She’s definitely going to get looked at. I think she’s going to be right up there with the best post players in the county.”

Daniella Echevestre is a 5-foot-6 guard who has also worked hard improving her game.

“I couldn’t get her to shoot the ball last year,” Hill said. “But she partnered with Emilia to become a better player. She dedicated herself to improving her game. She has the potential to have great speed and take that speed to another level. She’s also an excellent passer.”

Soccer standout Barbara Paiva has returned to playing basketball after concentrating on soccer for the last two years. But now that Paiva has secured a scholarship to play soccer at St. Peter’s University next fall, Paiva has decided to come back to the hardwood.

“Barbara coming back was a huge surprise,” Hill said. “We missed her and we’re happy to get her back. She might be a little rusty basketball- wise at start, but she’s going to catch on, because she’s such a great athlete. She’s progressing with her basketball. She’s getting better and has so much speed to deal with. She does things you just can’t teach.”

Sophomore Sydney Pace has returned to basketball, after missing the soccer season due to a knee injury. But the 5-foot-7 Pace has rehabilitated the knee and is ready to go.

“She’s back to full action,” Hill said of Pace, whose two older sisters, Stefanee and Samantha, are now coaching soccer at Secaucus High School. “We’re working on getting her speed and strength back, but she’s going to help us.”

Pace averaged seven points per game last year as a freshman.

“She’s absolutely going to be a better player this year,” Hill said. “She’s so ready for the varsity level. She has a good outside shot. She can handle the ball well. She’s just a great athlete. She’s going to be very special this year.”

Senior Nicole Sanchez is another solid all-around performer. Sanchez, a 5-foot- 4 guard, thrives on playing defense.

“She knows she can play defense,” Hill said of Sanchez. “She wants to play the best player on the other team and that’s great to have. We just have to make her a little more of a threat offensively.”

Sophomore Isabel Fernandez is a 5-foot-6 guard who Hill calls “a huge asset to the team.”

“She’s another soccer player,” Hill said. “She got hurt at the end of the soccer season (wrist injury), but she’s coming around. She’s a phenomenal athlete who could be the fastest player on our team. She has the defensive instinct to get steals. It’s fun watching her play. Her speed and instinct are going to help us.”

Junior Nawal Farih is another returning player. The 5-foot-8 junior forward has the ability to leap and get rebounds.

“She’s a great team player and a good vocal leader,” Hill said of Farih, whose brother, Mohamed, plays basketball at St. Peter’s University. “She’s very consistent and has a positive attitude.”

Junior Isabella Staszewski is a 5-foot-10 forward who gets her share of rebounds. “She’s a nice inside player with nice size,” Hill said. “She fills the lane well.”

Senior Amanda DeSousa is another addition from the Kearny soccer team. “She’s been a nice surprise and it’s nice that she came back,” Hill said. “She is very quick and a good athlete.” Senior Ashley Matos suffered a dislocated knee last season, but has returned to the team this season.

“She’s bouncing back nicely from the knee,” Hill said. “She’s trying hard.”

Senior Patty Sheldrick is a pure shooter and a 3-point field goal threat.

Freshman Megan McClelland is a great ball handler with a bright future.

“She has a good chance to help us right away,” Hill said.

The Kardinals open their season Dec. 19 against Union City. The Kardinals will host their own holiday tournament, with St. Anthony of Jersey City, Roselle Park and Becton Regional also participating.

Needless to say, things look good for the Kardinals on the hardwood.

“I think we will have a tougher schedule,” said Hill, whose team will be with the A Division of the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League. “Everyone has to step up. But I like the team. I really do.”

McDonnell vows improvement in Kards this season

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By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

The Kearny High School boys’ basketball team won eight games last year in Bob McDonnell’s first year as head coach.

So what does McDonnell, the retired Kearny police officer, expect in Year Two?

“I’m quite honestly looking at 15 wins at least,” McDonnell said.

That’s setting the bar pretty high for a program that hasn’t enjoyed a winning season in quite some time.

But McDonnell is confident about the Kardinals’ chances, as the new season begins later this month, for a few reasons.

One, the Kardinals will play in a more competitive division of the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League this fall. Instead of getting thrown to the wolves of the county like St. Peter’s Prep and Bayonne, the Kardinals will face teams that they can actually compete against.

“Without a doubt, that has to help,” Mc- Donnell said.

Plus, the Kardinals have a lot of players back from the team that ended up being competitive a year ago.

“We have four of our top six players returning, including three starters,” McDonnell said. “We have also played about 80 games since the end of last season.”

McDonnell had the Kardinals play in the Bloomfield and Cliffside Park summer leagues, as well as their own.

“That helps the camaraderie,” McDonnell said. “The kids have played so many times together and spent so much time together. They learn to lean on each other, both on and off the court. The kids all know where they’re supposed to be. They’ve spent a full year with me, so they know what to expect from me and the coaching staff and we know what’s expected of them.”

McDonnell also liked the commitment he received from the players in the offseason.

“They spent a lot of time with conditioning and weight lifting,” McDonnell said. “We’ve had 27 kids going to those sessions: 95% of our players went to the conditioning and weight lifting every day.”

McDonnell also thinks the mental attitude of the Kardinals has helped.

“The kids have all matured,” McDonnell said. “We have our top seven guys with varsity experience and that helps. They are more mature and they’re working hard. They wanted to be part of the group that turned things around. They definitely believe that they can do that. I just hope that their closeness translates into wins. Hopefully, we’ve learned from past mistakes.”

Leading the returnees is senior forward Zach Latka, who averaged more than 14 points per game last year. The 6-foot-4 Latka saw some action as a sophomore two years ago, then blossomed under McDonnell.

“His whole approach to the game has changed,” McDonnell said of Latka. “He’s more mature. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen, not just athletically, but academically as well. He’s become a great leader for us.”

Senior Gus Chemin is a 6-foot-3 solid rebounder and scorer. He’s also a standout volleyball player.

“He’s a versatile player who is extremely quick and a solid leaper,” McDonnell said. “He also has a good shot. He gives us strength under the boards. He’s also a good athlete and shows that during volleyball season.”

Junior George Smyth is a 6-foot-4 power forward who has also improved.

“He led the team in rebounding (193 rebounds) last year,” McDonnell said. “He played AAU basketball over the summer, He’s going to have a solid year.”

Junior Joe Baez saw considerable action a year ago at either guard slot.

“It depends on the other team’s offense,” McDonnell said of where Baez will end up. “He’s more of a two (shooting) guard, but can play both.”

Junior Joseph Esteves is another key member of the Kardinals’ backcourt.

“He’s another good athlete,” McDonnell said of Estevez. “He plays spirited and intense. He’s also a good 3-point shooter.”

Sophomore Gralen Vereen is a 5-10 point guard supreme. McDonnell liked what Vereen brought to the Kardinals last year that he played seven games as a freshman, but it’s Vereen’s show this time around.

“He sees the court very well and makes plays,” McDonnell said.

Junior Sammy Sanchez, who had a good football season, gets into the mix at guard. Kenny Rankin, another football player, is also a junior who plays swing.

Sophomore Ryan Tully, the promising baseball player, is another member of the Kearny roster.

Devon DaSilva, Exavier Horne, V.J. Shala and Eric Morales, are all striving to get on the field for the Kardinals.

“Our tryouts were spirited and intense,” McDonnell said. “The kids have really worked hard and are looking forward to the season.”

Blue Tide girls’ hoops squad looks to continue winning ways

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By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer 

The Harrison High School girls’ basketball team won 18 games a year ago and lost a solid group of players to graduation.

But that doesn’t mean that Blue Tide head coach Al Ruiz expects his team to struggle this season.

“We lost a good amount of talent to graduation, but we’ve had other years where the others picked up the slack in the following year,” Ruiz said. “That’s what we’re hoping happens to us. We have some good players back that have to help us this year.”

The Blue Tide also won first round games in both the Hudson County Tournament and the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I playoffs last year, so it was a successful season all around.

“We definitely need our seniors to help us out,” Ruiz said. “They have to lead by example and lead on the floor.”

One aspect to the game that Ruiz likes about the Blue Tide is their defensive intensity.

“I feel we have the best defensive backcourt in the league (the NJIC Meadowlands),” Ruiz said. “We feel they are among the quickest and can get after the ball very well.”

Senior Amber O’Donnell is the top returning backcourt player for the Blue Tide. The 5-foot-6 O’Donnell averaged 10 points and six assists last year.

“It makes it a lot easier, knowing she’s back,” Ruiz said of O’Donnell. “It’s a little bit of a relief and takes a lot of the pressure off, because I know she’s there to lead us. She’s been in almost every situation possible and understands how to handle things. She’s just gradually improved since her freshman year.”

The other returning guard is 5-foot-6 senior Kayla Montilla, who is another speed demon ball hawk on defense.

“She’s almost too fast for herself,” Ruiz said. “Between her and Amber, I don’t know who goes faster. But they enable us to do a lot of different things.”

Montilla averaged close to eight points per game last year.

“She can sprint the floor 50 times when others can go about 35 times,” Ruiz said of the speedy Montilla.

Ruiz said that Montilla averaged nearly seven steals per game last year.

“She’s a point guard’s worst nightmare,” Ruiz said. “No one wants to see her when they walk into the gym.”

Sophomore Cynthia Ferreira is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 13 points per game last year.

“She can score the ball, no question,” Ruiz said. “She can play down low or she can shoot the ball from the outside. She has a nice shot. She plays bigger than what she is.” Ferreira is roughly a 5-foot-8 forward, but she can play any position.

Junior Tabatha Ferreira (no relation to Cynthia) is the team’s shooting guard. Tabatha is a 5-foot-6 guard.

“She’s also pretty quick defensively,” Ruiz said. “She’s also an athletic player. That’s the way we have to go to ex get after the ball.”

Junior Shaneida Falcon is another guard. Falcon is about 5-foot-4.

“We may play four guards at the same time,” Ruiz said. “We hope to get up early by getting up and down the floor.”

Senior Kayla Ortiz is a 6-foot post presence.

“She has been working on her shooting,” Ruiz said. “We need to have that post presence if we play so many guards.”

Junior Alona Ortiz, Kayla’s sister, is another who plays close to the basket. The younger Ortiz is 5-foot-8.

Senior Renee Clifford is a 5-foot-7 versatile player.

“She is a very good outside threat,” Ruiz said of Clifford. “She can shoot it well.”

Freshman Jailyn Montilla, the sister of Kayla, is a welcome addition.

“She can play well down low,” Ruiz said of the 5-foot-7 rookie. “She will allow us to keep building for the future.”

The Blue Tide got ready for the coming season by being very busy during the summer months, playing in the Kearny summer league and the Paterson Kennedy Great Falls summer league.

Ruiz said that the early start to practice, getting three tryout sessions prior to Thanksgiving vacation, enabled the Blue Tide to hit the ground running.

“We were able to build on what we did over the summer,” Ruiz said. “It was very helpful going into the first practices (Monday). We can start rolling right away.”

And start running, pressing, trapping, doing what Harrison girls’ basketball teams do best.

“We haven’t skipped a beat,” said Ruiz, whose team will tip off the new season Dec. 19 against neighboring rival Queen of Peace. “I think we’re going to be alright. I think we will at least be .500 and make the state playoffs. That’s the first goal. We have to see what happens.”

Treating a pinched nerve

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After 25 years of clinical practice as a chiropractic physician, one of the most common phrases to hear from a new patient is their claim that they have a “pinched nerve or something” in their neck or back. Sometimes they have already visited their family physician and been given a prescription for pain relief, anti-inflammatory medication and/or muscle relaxers. Although medications have benefits, more and more patients are turning to alternative treatment methods to address their complaints of muscle soreness, discomfort and pain caused by a pinched nerve. Let’s first take a look at what are the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve before considering treatments. Some of the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve are headaches, neck pain, spinal pain, mid and lower back pain, shoulder pain, radiating pain down the arm or leg, numbness, tingling and/or burning sensation in the arms, legs, feet and hands. Some other noticeable reasons associated with a patient’s complaints of a pinched nerve can be a patient’s limited range of motion in the neck, mid or lower back, difficulty standing from a seated position, trouble sitting for a long period of time, pain and discomfort with increased exercise and difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position. An irritated or pinched nerve can also effect the overall health of an individual since each organ and function of the human body is supplied by an assortment of various nerves.

In general, there are 4 main causes of pinched nerves that are commonly identified by a well-skilled and well-trained chiropractic physician. These are as follows: (1) subluxations or misalignments of the spinal bones (2) disc degeneration (3) osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease (4) disc protrusions or disc herniations. Pinched nerves can result from any combination of these including all of them simultaneously. Due to irritation or inflammation, pinched nerves may also cause a chemical neuritis meaning that nerves can be irritated chemically from the inflammatory process as well causing more pain and discomfort than was initially determined. New patients are accepted in our office via a scheduled appointment or by walking in for an initial consultation and evaluation. A physical examination is then conducted to determine the underlying causes of possible nerve irritation or inflammation as it relates to any biomechanical abnormalities in the spine. In addition to a thorough examination, Dr. Stimmel usually orders x-rays or an MRI to further evaluate the patient’s chief complaints in order to design an appropriate chiropractic treatment and rehabilitation program. Dr. Stimmel’s knowledge and expertise over 25 years has enabled him to utilize a variety of safe, gentle, pain-free and non-invasive techniques that quickly and gently alleviates pain and discomfort and addresses the structural biomechanical abnormalities of the spine. Chiropractic care of pinched nerves is designed to find and correct the underlying problem rather than just treat the symptoms. Neglecting the warning signs of a pinched nerve may lead to future surgery as the only option.

Dr. Stimmel of Harrison Spine and Rehabilitation Center is a board-certified chiropractic physician with over 25 years of clinical experience. Dr Stimmel has been board certified as a chiropractic sports physician and is certified in hospital protocols and privileges. He has frequently lectured to orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and medical physicians on the benefits of chiropractic care. Dr Stimmel offers his patients a unique perspective in treating conditions caused by a pinched nerve using a variety of safe, gentle and pain-free techniques including a revolutionary technique called cold laser. Contact our office today at 973-483-3380 for a free consult and evaluation.

Obituaries

Mary A. Ball 

Mary A. Ball (nee Westmoreland) died at the home of her daughter, Donna, on Nov. 27. She was 83.

Born in Newark, she lived most of her life in Kearny.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service was held from the funeral home, followed by burial in Rosedale Cemetery in Linden. www.armitagewiggins.com

Mary was a retired telephone operator from N.J. Bell in Kearny. She and her late husband Emmett also spent many years helping their daughter Sharon at Lee’s Florist. Mary was married for 62 years to the love of her life Emmett. She is survived by her daughters Sharon Carey and her husband Jim and Donna Ball. Sister of June Ciociola, she is also survived by her grandchildren Paul, Jessica and Artie.

If you would like to make a memorial donation, please consider Hospice of N.J.

Park Ave. in NA closed between Elm and Chestnut Sts. until further notice

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NORTH ARLINGTON —

Park Ave. is closed between Elm and Chestnut Sts. today for construction, the North Arlington Police Department said in a text alert. It will be closed until further notice.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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