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. *** *** *** A William St. resident told police that after loaning their […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
Kearny resident Katlyn Chookagian spends most of her time working as a bartender at Lulu’s, the nightclub inside the W Hotel in Hoboken.
Four days a week, you’ll find Chookagian mixing cocktails at the popular bar in the Mile Square City.
During the rest of her time, she’s busy training at the All-Star BJJ in Kenilworth, working with five other mixed martial arts fighters who are part of Team Renzo Gracie.
“He comes and runs the classes sometimes,” Chookagian said of the legendary mixed martial arts master. “I’m generally training six days a week. It’s hard, because I go to bed at 4:30 a.m. after bartending and I’m up at 6 a.m. to train. Sometimes, I get yelled at, because I’m overtraining, but that’s what I do. If I’m not training, what else am I going to do? I like it. It keeps me prepared.”
The hard work paid off last weekend, as Chookagian, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 115 pounds, won her professional debut, taking a three-round unanimous decision over Rebecca Heintzman at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia in the Cage Fury Fighting Championship series.
Chookagian’s bout was the lone female bout in the 11-bout card Saturday night.
Chookagian, a native of Quakertown, Pa., attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, graduating in 2011 with a degree in business management.
But getting in the cage was always something that Chookagian dreamed of doing.
“I always did martial arts,” Chookagian said. “I started doing karate when I was four years old. I then did a lot of kick boxing as part of staying in shape, so I always had it in me.”
She also had the boxing down pat, winning the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves when she was 16 years old.
“I’m a very competitive person,” Chookagian said. “About a year and a half ago, I put it all together and got involved in mixed martial arts. There weren’t that many girls involved at that time, but the numbers of women in the sport are growing. My goal was always to do MMA.”
In 2012, Chookagian was spotted by manager Jamal Patterson, who took Chookagian under his wing.
“He helped me get to where I’m at,” Chookagian said. “I was having trouble finding fights and it was hard for me to develop in the sport. Jamal planned out my career and gave me a strong path to build it up.”
There were seven amateur MMA fights, all of which the 25-year-old Chookagian won.
“He saw me right away and took the extra time to help me,” Chookagian said. “I improved a lot in a short period.”
So Chookagian was ready for her pro debut last weekend.
“I was really excited to get my first pro fight,” Chookagian said. “This is what I wanted. When I started, it seemed so far away. I remember seeing a girl fighting MMA and saying, ‘This is what I want to do.’ I never thought I would actually do it. It’s crazy.”
Chookagian, who used to live in Jersey City before moving to Kearny a few months ago, doesn’t know how long she will continue in the mixed martial arts world. She’s only 25, so she has a very bright future.
“I have done everything to prepare for this first fight,” Chookagian said. “There’s no better time than now to get this career going. I do think the maturity is going to help me a little bit, because I’ve been through a lot.”
Chookagian is not going to let one win get to her head.
“I’m always trying to get better,” Chookagian said. “That’s all I think about when I get into the cage. I’m looking to get better. But I definitely like this.”
As long as she keeps winning, then Katlyn Chookagian will like MMA fighting almost as much as she likes bartending.
Katlyn Chookagian can be followed on Twitter @ blondefighter.
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
Dan Farinola already had been one of the busiest coaches around, coaching bowling, golf and soccer all year long, so when the opportunity to take over the girls’ soccer program at North Arlington High School, where Farinola is a teacher, he had to jump at it.
Former coach Sharon O’Brien Romer stepped down at the end of last season to attend to her growing family, leaving the vacancy at the helm of the girls’ soccer squad.
Farinola, who coaches bowling and golf at North Arlington, had been the head boys’ soccer coach at Secaucus for the past six seasons. Farinola is a graduate of Secaucus and spent 10 years with the boys’ soccer program there.
“For a while, I always wanted to coach soccer where I was teaching,” said Farinola, who guided the Secaucus boys to a 10-10-2 record last season. “If ever the opportunity came around, I wanted to be considered. I spent 10 years at Secaucus and I left them in a good situation. It was tough to leave. I felt bad for the seniors that I coached for three years. I had mixed emotions about leaving. But I’m looking forward to the new challenge.”
Farinola said that the transition becoming the new girls’ soccer coach has been smooth.
“The girls really listened to me right away,” said Farinola, who has already entered his team in the Kearny summer league. “Sharon was very gracious and helpful in the transition. She reserved the spot in the Kearny league for us. We are good friends. She’s the one who got this started. I owe a lot to her.”
The 30-year-old Farinola said that the returning players have been receptive to the new coach.
“They’ve been very responsive to me,” Farinola said. “There is a certain way I’m going to coach the team. In terms of fitness, in terms of conditioning, they are going through walls so far. They’ve done everything I’ve asked of them.”
Farinola knows that he lost a number of players from last year’s team that won eight matches.
“I know we’ve lost a lot of girls numbers-wise,” Farinola said. “But we have a good group that has a lot of good varsity experience.”
High-scoring midfielder Joanna Seca, forward Taylor Barth and standout defender Sarah Palma all return this season for the Vikings.
“They are the captains and they give us good leadership,” Farinola said. “We do have a lot of pieces to fill, but I’m optimistic from what I’ve seen. I think we can be competitive right away. The biggest thing for me right now is trying to find a goalie. I have some girls in mind for the defense. But we can be competitive this year. I definitely believe that.” Farinola said that it will be a big help to him that he will be in the building every day as a teacher.
“I think it’s going to make a big difference for me,” said Farinola, who guided the NA golf team to a berth in the NJSIAA state sectionals for the first time two months ago. “I can see the kids during the day. I will see them excited in the building. I’m really excited to be able to coach the girls.”
Farinola said that it also helps that he knows most of the girls already from being a teacher at the school for the past few years.
“I think that is a big asset,” Farinola said. “It took me so long at Secaucus to get to know the kids. That’s half the battle. If I can get along with the players and they trust me and have trust in the system, that’s a big step. I feel I’m already there with these girls. They trust me and want to learn.”
Farinola already has reached out to the North Arlington Recreation soccer program and had a clinic for seventh and eighth graders.
“We had a good turnout for that,” Farinola said. “I’m looking forward to doing more, so the kids could make a commitment to come to North Arlington High School and play soccer for us. We’re also looking forward to getting kids who never played soccer before and turning them into soccer players. It’s a big challenge to get girls to commit to playing soccer. One thing I’ve been talking to the girls about was having three-sport athletes.
Added Farinola, “I know we have a lot of girls who played soccer in town and maybe lost interest. It’s up to me to get them back.”
Farinola said that he already has received a commitment from veteran coach Gino De- Pinto to serve as his assistant. DePinto was the long-time girls’ soccer coach at Secaucus who retired two years ago.
“He’s going to be a big asset,” Farinola said. “His background in coaching is big and he knows the league well.”
So Farinola will continue to coach bowling in the winter and golf in the spring, but he now adds a third sport, like many of the athletes do, at North Arlington High School.
A Nutley teen reported missing on Thursday, June 26, is back safe, police said.
Eva Simon, 14, returned home on Friday to get some clothes and officers picked her up on Washington Ave., according to Sgt. Anthony Montanari.
Someone removed the rear bumper from a 2004 silver Subaru Impreza parked on Stager St. and left it on the steps next to the front entrance of the victim’s residence during the night. Police said there were handprints on the vehicle’s roof and small dents on the hood.
At 1:29 a.m., police responded to the New Jersey Transit Garage on Washington Ave. on a report of criminal mischief. At the location, police found a homeless man with several big cuts to his face and pieces of glass in his hair and luggage cart and a broken glass pane at the bus stop waiting area. The man told police he was resting in the bus stop, heard the sound of glass breaking and noticed he was bleeding.
A San Antonio Ave. resident reported that, since May, the block has experienced several incidents of flat, punctured and slashed tires on parked vehicles. Police said they have no suspects at this time.
A Washington Ave. resident reported an illegal dumping incident. The resident told police that for the second straight week, during the late hours on Monday into Tuesday, someone has been tossing garbage at their curbside. In the most recent episode, Police said they found multiple empty boxes of Dixie Belle peaches and Del Monte Gold pineapples at the location.
At 1:01 p.m., police were sent to a Franklin Ave. business where the front door window had been shattered from the outside, causing an estimated $500 in damage.
An intruder broke into a Passaic Ave. apartment and, once inside, pushed the thermostat all the way up for high heat, the tenant told police. Police surmised that the burglar entered through a window near the rear door of the building. Police said they found two clear handprints on the window, indicating that the intruder pushed it open, breaking both panes, reached through and unlocked a storm window to gain entry. It appeared that nothing was missing and it’s unclear how the intruder got out, police said. The incident was logged at 1:33 a.m.
A resident parked their vehicle in a High St. lot and, upon returning, noticed that a tire rim was bent, leading the resident to suspect that someone tried to pry off the hubcab. Police received the report at 11:50 a.m.
At 5:30 p.m., a Hagert St. tenant called police about a burglary. Upon returning home, the resident said they found their bedroom closet door open and a guitar and case, both valued at more than $2,000, missing. Police believe the thief got in through the apartment’s rear window. Detectives are investigating.
While on patrol, at 10:48 p.m., police noticed a water fountain in Flora Louden Park on Hancox Ave. spouting water. After discovering that the spigot had been damaged, police alerted Parks Department personnel responded to shut off the water.
At 6:27 a.m., patrol units found that someone had used what appeared to be blue spray paint to write graffiti in various locations of Yanticaw Park off Vincent Place. Police said that words they described as “foul, discriminatory, and too distasteful to print” were painted on the pedestrian bridge, the bridge wall, park benches and a concrete pad. Police notified the Essex County Sheriff’s Office of the incident.
At 11:14 a.m., police responded to the AT&T site on Cook Road on a report of theft. A company employee told police that while making his rounds, noticed that two copper ground plates, valued at $100 apiece, had been stolen. Police said the equipment is surrounded by a fence and a gate, which was locked when the employee arrived to conduct his check.
At 7:38 p.m., a Stager St. resident reported the theft of a white iPad Mini, a black Samsung Galaxy phone and a black iPod Touch, with a combined value of about $1,182, from their home.
Between 2:15 and 2:50 a.m., police received reports of car alarms set off along Cathedral, Glendale and Grant Aves. A Grant Ave. resident told police they saw two individuals running from behind their vehicle after the alarm had sounded. One was described as a heavyset black male, bald and wearing a dark-colored T-shirt and light-colored shorts. Police said they noticed no damage to any of the vehicles whose alarms had sounded and no entry was made to the car parked on Grant.
– Ron Leir
The ‘Then’ photo, from what was apparently a local postcard, is not dated, but those postcards usually come from the pre-World War I years. The view is of Stuyvesant Ave. from Grand Place in Kearny. When first seeing it, we wondered how we could figure out the precise perspective so we could take a current photo. We shouldn’t have worried. Look at the house on the far left. A century later, it still stands on the northeast corner. The home now is a pretty cream color, and wrought iron has replaced the wooden porch pillars, but little else on the exterior has changed. Architectural details like the shutters and the bay window have been preserved.
The view is looking east, past Kearny Ave. to the meadows beyond. We can’t be sure, but along the curb are what could be hitching posts and mounting blocks, accoutrements for horses and riders. We also can’t tell if the street is paved, but that hardly mattered since there’s no traffic, equine or otherwise.
– Karen Zautyk
Newark resident Elsie Best celebrated five years cancer-free this June by bringing presents to those undergoing cancer treatments at St. Michael’s Medical Center (SMMC) from her church group, the Missionary Society at Philemon Missionary Baptist Church, Newark. Patients received gift bags filled with toiletries, warm socks, peppermint candies and Bibles. Best also presented the SMMC Foundation with a check for $100 designated to The Cancer Center.
“God kept me here for a reason: to be an advocate for cancer survivorship,” said Best. “I am truly blessed to share this gift and to be able to come back and see all of the wonderful people who cared for me.”
After her diagnosis, Best sought treatment at the Cancer Center at SMMC and The Connie Dwyer Breast Center. While undergoing treatment, she sat on the Cancer Center’s Quality Improvement subcommittee, representing patients and offering input on process improvement. She also attended the SMMC Breast Cancer Support Group, which inspired to her to start her own support group at her church.
“Talking to someone who has been through this before makes it easier to relate,” said Best of her support group. “We’re seeing more and more people find the strength to reach out and be proactive in getting the help they need.”
In the future, Best says she plans to continue speaking to those who are undergoing cancer treatment and share her experience, faith and experience of survivorship.
To see more photos from Best’s visit to SMMC, visit www.facebook.com/SaintMichaelsMedicalCenter. To learn more about The Cancer Center at SMMC or The Connie Dwyer Breast Center, visit www.smmcnj.org or call 973-877-5000.
Third Wave Café, 525 Riverside Ave., Lyndhurst (near King’s Court), celebrated its grand opening on June 28, with Mayor Robert Giangeruso performing the ribbon cutting. Open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Third Wave Café’s menu includes savory and sweet crepes, paninis, organic coffee and teas and fresh squeezed juices. Third Wave Café offers a curbside pick-up service. Patrons may call in advance and pick-up their orders curbside and have it delivered to their car. For more information, call Third Wave Café at 201-528- 8163.
Little Johnny comes running in from the backyard, his brand-new permanent tooth in his hand. What do you do? Your husband arrives home early from his baseball game, with only a swollen face and a broken tooth to show for his sporting efforts. How do you cope?
You awaken early one morning with a nagging pain that can only signal a toothache – and it promises to get worse as the day goes on. You are planning to leave on vacation soon. Yipes!
Most of us recognize the importance of knowing some first aid procedures for emergency situations. Yet dental emergencies are frequently overlooked, perhaps because they are generally not life-threatening. Of course, that doesn’t make them any less painful, a fact acknowledged by the doctors of The Smile and Implant Center, 837 Kearny Ave. Many people don’t realize that, in each of these dental emergencies, there are simple but effective steps to take which can minimize both the discomfort involved and the chance of lasting damage. And as you might expect, the first step in any dental emergency is not to panic. Try to react as calmly as possible, especially if you’re dealing with a child who may already be frightened.
Each of the emergencies given above requires a specific approach. With little Johnny, for example, speed is essential. If the tooth is dirty, it’s okay to rinse it gently, but don’t scrub it. Try to place the tooth in its socket and hold it there. If that’s not possible, place it in a container of milk or cool water. Go to your dentist right away, preferably within 30 minutes. If you’re quick, there’s a good chance it can be re-implanted. A similar approach is needed when a tooth is broken. Use warm water to gently clean the injured area, and go to the dentist immediately. In addition, cold compresses may be useful to reduce swelling.
Finally, there’s the ominous toothache. It may help to keep irritants away from the tooth. Rinse with warm water, and use dental floss to remove any food trapped in the area. Do not use heat; cold compresses on the outside of the cheek may reduce swelling. And never place aspirin on or near the aching tooth, as some folk remedies suggest. That does much more harm than good. Again, see your dentist as soon as possible.
The Smile and Implant Center in Kearny welcomes new patients on an emergency basis or otherwise. Emergency patients are seen the same day. For more information or a complimentary consultation, call 201-991-1055 or visit their website at www.TheSmileandImplantCenter.com to learn more about The Smile and Implant Center and the unique services they offer to their patients.
Bret Allan Shugrue
Bret Allan Shugrue, 54, of Honesdale, Pa., formerly of Kearny and Florida, died unexpectedly June 21 at his home. Born Sept. 15, 1959, in Newark, Bret was the son of the late William and Florence Marie Beck Shugrue. A hard worker, Bret held many jobs over the years. While living in Florida, he was a foreman at a Walmart warehouse. He enjoyed motorcycles and riding his motorcycle. Bret also enjoyed boxing and watching it on television.
Surviving are his sons Bret Shugrue of Denver, Col., and Brad Shugrue of North Arlington; his brother Willliam Shugrue Jr. and girlfriend Barbara of Kearny; his aunt Genevieve Hyl of Spotswood; nieces and nephews Laura Kirst of Manalapan, William R. Shugrue of Beckett, Mass., Christa Toro of Sherman Oaks, Calif., Kelly Richie of Maple Shade and Bryan Shugrue of Kearny.
Private cremation services were held at the convenience of his family. Arrangements were by Hessling Funeral Home, Inc., Honesdale, Pa.
The Nutley Police Department says 14-year-old Eva Simon has been found safely and unharmed. An investigation continues, police said.