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Delivery of The Observer will likely be delayed Tuesday; no trash pickup in NA Tuesday

Because of the pending storm, delivery of The Observer will likely be delayed tomorrow, Jan. 27. We will do our best to get the newspapers to all of our locations as soon as is possible, but they may not be […]


Angelo Feorenzo, father of former Observer Publisher Lisa Feorenzo, dies at 75

Above: Tina Feorenzo, Angelo J. Feorenzo and former Observer Publisher Lisa Feorenzo. Angelo James Feorenzo, 75, of Toms River, died Thursday, Jan. 22, at Community Medical Center in Toms River. Born and raised in Hackensack, he moved to Toms River in […]


4th year for CANstruction

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Several years ago, Paul Rogers of Kearny visited a unique exhibit in Manhattan. Sponsored by a group called CANstruction, it featured wonderfully imaginative “sculptures” that students created from canned goods. Following the project, the food would be donated to the needy. We’d guess […]

$3.7M deficit confirmed

BELLEVILLE –  Well, now it’s official. An audit of the Belleville Board of Education for the 2013-2014 school year has confirmed what school officials and the district’s state monitor had suspected all along … that the district did, indeed, overspend its budget. As best it could determine from BOE […]


Medical school will be Roche tenant

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  NUTLEY –  Roche USA, the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company that is marketing its 118-acre property straddling Nutley and Clifton, continues to seek a buyer for the site but has inked a tenant for part of the site. Roche spokeswoman Darien Wilson said last week that […]


That wasn’t Santa on the roof


A would-be burglar came up empty in a big way in Lyndhurst on Christmas Day.

Police said officers responded to a residence in the 100 block of Livingston Ave., at 5:14 a.m., on Dec. 25 on a report of an attempted entry.

The occupant told police that after hearing a loud noise from outside her third-floor apartment window, she looked outside and saw a man lifting up a screen and begin to open a window to the second-floor apartment below.

After a light came on in that apartment, she said, the intruder closed the screen and retreated across the roof, only to fall to the ground below, landing on a shrub. The man then got up and ran west on Lake Ave., she told police.

Police said a physical description of the man was radioed to responding officers who located a man matching the description on Stuyvesant Ave. near Lake.

The suspect, Andy Paredes, 30, of Elmhurst, N.Y., suffered what police described as minor injuries from the fall and declined medical attention.

Police said a check of the roof area and outside of the Livingston Ave. residence uncovered damage to a leader pipe and gutter and broken branches to the shrub consistent with the witness’s account of the incident.

Peredes was charged with burglary and criminal mischief and taken to the Bergen County Jail on $5,000 bail with no 10% cash option.

– Ron Leir 

Baby burned & more: NPD blotter

An infant was burned in what Nutley PD described as a freak accident.

Police responded to a River Road residence, at 11:30 p.m., on Dec. 21 on a report of a baby being hurt.

Police said the mother of the 1-year-old boy was heating milk in a bottle on the stove. But the bottle was sitting in a glass pitcher filled with water and, as the heat increased, the pitcher shattered, causing the boiling water to spill out, burning the baby.

The mother phoned 911 and Nutley EMS and Advanced Life Support teams were called to the scene and they transported the baby to St. Barnabas Medical Center Burn Unit, police said.

There was no immediate word on the baby’s condition.

Among other incidents logged by Nutley PD between Dec. 20 and 26 were these:

Dec. 20 

While assigned to a DWI detail, police said they observed a van parked illegally outside a Chestnut St. business and two men, later identified as Michael A. Smith, 39, and Alfredo Llivicota-Penafiel, 46, both of Newark, place a yellow drum filled with used cooking oil inside. Police later learned that the business contracts with a different company to retrieve the drums. Smith and Llivicota-Penafiel were both charged with theft. Smith also had an outstanding warrant from Jersey City. Both were released on bail pending court appearances.


Joseph Kaplan, 34, of Nutley, was arrested on Franklin Ave. on outstanding warrants from Roselle, Linden and Jersey City. He was turned over to Roselle PD for processing.


A Passaic Ave. resident reported that two packages delivered to their front porch between 10 and 11 a.m. were stolen. The items were valued at about $200.


Frank Carfagno, 30, of West Paterson, was arrested on Hancox Ave. after police said they found Carfagno had 20 folds of heroin and several hypodermic needles.

Police said each fold had a street value of between $4 and $10. Carfagno was charged with possession of heroin and possession of hypodermic needles.


Police responded to a Brookline Ave. residence on a report of explosion with fire. At the scene, the fire was out and police were told by the homeowner that a few minutes after they’d just returned home, they heard a loud explosion in front of the house and then saw a fire at the base of the front steps which they put out. Police, who found debris and paper wrapping in the front area, surmised that an M80 firework had been set off.

Dec. 22 

A Franklin Ave. business owner reported that someone had broken their front window.


An identity theft victim reported receiving a call about a transaction for close to $3,000 made on their credit card which, the victim said, was unauthorized. After the account was closed, the victim learned from Capital One that 13 attempts had been made to open up accounts using much of their personal information.

Dec. 23 

Police stopped a motor vehicle reported being driven erratically and nearly hitting a parked car along Franklin Ave. and issued the driver, Joseph Bravoco, 25, of Nutley, summonses charging him with DWI, reckless driving, disregard of traffic control device, speeding and failure to maintain lane. He was released pending a court date.


A Franklin Ave. business owner reported the theft of several tools: three nail guns, a compressor, an impact driver, jig saw, sawzall, two lithium batteries and charger, all of the DeWalt brand, and valued at about $800. Police said they found no sign of forced entry.


Police responded to a River Road location on a report of a vehicle driving on three tires. Police said the vehicle was initially believed to be involved in an accident but the driver, Mario Aymara Galvez, 24, of Carteret, told officers that he’d just been robbed during an attempted carjacking. However, police said an investigation revealed that Galvez fabricated this account to cover up his role in the accident in which he allegedly hit a concrete barrier after leaving a Clifton establishment. He was charged with filing a false police report, hindering apprehension and DUI.

– Ron Leir


Nellie Dames 

Nellie Dames (nee Dzekevich), 92, passed away on Dec. 25.

The funeral will be from the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 8:30 a.m. A funeral Mass will be offered at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, at 9:30 a.m. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Mrs. Dames was born in Providence, R.I., and lived in Kearny for the last 68 years.

She graduated from Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing in 1942 as a registered nurse.

Nellie served in the Navy as a registered nurse at the Naval Air Training Base in Jacksonville, Fla., during World War II. She later worked for 30 years as the evening supervisor at the former West Hudson Hospital in Kearny before retiring in 1985.

She is survived by her children, Suzanne Gibbs, Dr. Nancy Sweet, Maryann Mezan, Ralph Dames and Thomas Dames, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Nellie was predeceased by her husband, Ralph Dames, her daughter, Annella Dames, and her brother, Joseph Dzekevich.

Louis P. Saporito 

Louis P. Saporito, former chief of police of Harrison, died Saturday at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank at age 92.

He was born and raised in Harrison, where he resided for 65 years. His was a lifetime of service—to his country, to his community, and above all, to his cherished family.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Theresa, and four children: Jacque Piatkowski, of Carolina Beach NC and her husband, Stan; Bill Saporito, of Manhattan and his wife, Laurie; Francene Kanter, of Marblehead, Mass. and her husband, Todd; and Jane Green of Florham Park and her husband, Tim. He is also survived by 10 adoring grandchildren—Marc (Susan), Douglas (Shelley), and Elise Piatkowski; Garrett, Justin, Eric, and Danielle Kanter; Mitchell, Terri, and Tim Green; and four great-grandchildren— Mia and Maximo Piatkowski and Siena Grace and Barrett Piatkowski—as well as his wonderfully caring sister-in- law Kathleen Confroy, sister-in-law Pat and brother- in-law Joe Mango and family, and Maryann and Andy Boothroyd and family, who loved “Uncle Lou.” His brothers, Carmen and Max, and sister in law Elsa, predeceased him.

Chief Saporito was born Sept. 13, 1922, on Franklin Ave. in Harrison, the son of Mary and Joseph Saporito. For most of his life, he never lived far from the block where he was born. After moving to Tinton Falls in his retirement years, he would often talk about how great it was to have been raised in the town of Harrison. He was a small-town man through and through.

Like so many men of the Greatest Generation, he left home to serve his country. During World War II, he became a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, ultimately being trained as a flight officer of a B-29 bomber—the most complicated job on the ship, he would point out.

After the war, he returned home to Harrison to help take care of his mother. He joined the Harrison Police Department in 1947 rising first to sergeant, then to detective and deputy chief, and finally to chief of police. He retired from the force in 1987.

The funeral will be conducted from the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Avenue, Harrison, on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 9:15 a.m., followed by a funeral Mass at Holy Cross Church, at 10 a.m. Friends may call Tuesday starting at 8:45 a.m. His interment will take place in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information, directions or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice in loving memory of Louis.

Mia K. Schoeberle 

Mia K. Schoeberle of Kearny died on Christmas Day in St. Barnabas Medical Center. She was 54.

Relatives and friends may call at the Condon Funeral Home, 684 Kearny Ave., Kearny, on Tuesday, Dec. 30, from 9 to 10 a.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny. Cremation will follow at Rosedale Crematory in Orange.

Ms. Schoeberle had been a science teacher in Kearny High School for 25 years. Prior to that, she was employed in the same capacity for the New York City Board of Education.

She is survived by Joe Cravo and their sons, Paul, Brian and John Cravo. Also surviving is her mother, Celia Orr Schoeberle and her sister, Marsan Stromberg. In lieu of flowers it was Mia’s wish that donations may be made to the Salvation Army, 443 Chestnut St., Kearny, N.J. 07032 in her memory.

Thomas William Sheppard 

Thomas William Sheppard, of East Newark, died suddenly on Tuesday, Dec. 23. He was 33.

Funeral services were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. For information or to send online condolences to the family, please go to www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Newark, Tom was a lifelong resident of Harrison and East Newark. He worked as a warehouseman for Fedway, South Kearny.

What Tom loved most in life was spending time with the apple of his eye, his daughter, Madison. He was an avid sports fan, with his favorite teams being the N.Y. Mets and N.Y. Giants.

Tom is survived his beloved daughter, Madison Sheppard, cherished sister, Melissa Sheppard, and his loving mother, Kathleen Bell. He also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and many loving friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the family, in order to defray the costs of the funeral in care of Mulligan Funeral Home, in loving memory of Tom.

Carol I. Stec 

Mrs. Carol I. Stec, of Kearny, died on Dec. 26 in the Canterbury Care Center. She was 63.

Arrangements were by the Condon Funeral Home, 684 Kearny Ave., Kearny. The funeral service was held at Grace Episcopal Church, 200 Highfield Lane, Nutley, followed by a private cremation.

Carol had been the parish administrator of Trinity Episcopal Church in Kearny for 10 years before retiring last year. She served the parish for over 36 years.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Stec and her daughters, Eve-lyn Nixon and Liana Witthoeft and her husband Ian. Also surviving is her mother, Doris Nixon and a sister, Linda Nixon.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider donations to Episcopal Relief and Development, P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, Va. 22116-7058 in Carol’s memory.

Auxiliary officers needed


The Lyndhurst Police Department is accepting applications for volunteer auxiliary police officers.

Members of the Police Auxiliary help improve the level of safety and security in the Lyndhurst community by assisting regular officers with activities like crowd and traffic control.

Auxiliaries also provide protection for local schools, parks, recreation fields and other designated areas.

Its members may also be asked to respond to calls for police services, directed by proper police authority.

Their presence, in uniform or on patrol in marked police units, has been proven to be a deterrence to vandalism and other crimes in the community.

All Lyndhurst police auxiliaries are required to attend and successfully complete a 52- hour Auxiliary Police training program at the Bergen County Law and Public Safety Institute in Mahwah. Candidates receive training in such areas as first aid, traffic control and patrol functions.

Upon completion of the course and appointment to the auxiliary force, members are outfitted with a patrol uniform and will be assigned to a regular patrol schedule.

Serving as a police auxiliary is recommended not only as a way for civic-minded individuals to serve their community but also as an opportunity for those looking to pursue a career in law enforcement to gain a measure of police experience.

For more information about the Lyndhurst Police Auxiliary or to get an application, contact the Lyndhurst PD by calling 201-939-2900, ext. 2770, or visit the auxiliary website at lyndhurstpoliceauxiliary.com.

Applications must be submitted by Feb. 6, 2015.

Keeping Kearny shoppers safe


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


If you’ve noticed an increased police presence in Kearny’s shopping areas these days, you shouldn’t be concerned. It’s not in response to some sort of crime wave. It’s designed to deter crime — and to make harried holiday shoppers feel secure.

As KPD Chief John Dowie explained, the “holiday detail” is a yearly initiative “just to make the holidays safer for everyone.”

From Black Friday through the first of the year, uniformed officers are assigned to patrol “every shopping area in town” — including the Passaic Ave. malls, Walmart and Kearny Ave. — seven days a week, from mid-morning until closing time.

Non-uniformed officers are around, too, but the emphasis is on the high-visibility law enforcement presence. The uniformed cops are there in patrol cars, on motorcycle and on foot. In addition to keeping an eye on the parking lots and store entrances and environs, they also do walk-throughs in the various establishments.

On Kearny Ave., there is usually a foot patrolman assigned to the shopping district, not only to provide that watchful eye, but also “to expedite the traffic flow.”

Dowie said the program has been operating during the holidays for at least a decade.

While a prime purpose is the “deterrent effect” on potential shoplifters, car thieves, purse-snatchers and other ne’er-do-wells, there’s another advantage: If a crime does occur, the perps are not likely to get away.

Anyone who thinks this initiative might be superfluous need only read the story in this week’s Observer about the armed hold-up in Belleville on Sunday morning. The Main St. mall was reportedly bustling with shoppers — each a potential witness — but that did not prevent the thugs from robbing a Radio Shack. But if a police car had been on site when the culprits first arrived?

The “holiday detail” in Kearny utilizes a number of officers, including those from the Community Policing unit. Other KPD members maintain their usual assignments, so normal patrols, traffic duty and investigative work are not affected.

Like other KPD vehicles, the “holiday detail” cars are equipped with license plate readers and SPEN (State Police Emergency Network) radios, to alert officers to criminal activity — or vehicles involved in same — in surrounding jurisdictions.

The daily briefings to personnel assigned to the detail keep them abreast of crime trends and include descriptions of suspects and vehicles wanted in connection with crimes in other high-volume shopping areas.

In other words, they stay fully informed, the better to protect the public.

But there’s another important aspect to the holiday assignment: The officers are encouraged to interact with the public, to further a sense of security.

And they are also there to offer assistance, for instance helping to find a lost child, or helping the child find its parents.

They’ll even help you if you lock yourself out of your car. Which should be a weight off some holiday-boggled minds.

One more thought, which comes from your correspondent, not the KPD:

Considering what has been happening lately and the pressures police have been under, if you see an officer at the mall, you might offer a holiday greeting, or just a simple “thank you.”

$$ to flow into Passaic


Acting N.J. Attorney General John J. Hoffman and state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin last week announced the approval of a $190 million settlement with Occidental Chemical Corp. to resolve the company’s liability for contamination of the Passaic River.

Approved by Superior Court Judge Sebastian P. Lombardi on Dec. 16, the settlement is the third and final one in the Passaic River litigation, a series of agreements in which the state obtained costs and damages from multiple parties responsible for polluting the river.

Altogether, the state has recovered $355.4 million from the litigation, over and above the cost of remediation.

“The Occidental settlement . . . along with the two Passaic River litigation settlements that preceded it represents a tremendous victory for the citizens of New Jersey,” Hoffman said.

“As a result of these three settlements,” he added, “not only will the Passaic River be cleaned up at no cost to New Jersey taxpayers, but the state also has recovered more than $150 million that it expended over many years of exhaustive legal and environmental effort to clean up the river.”

Among other terms, the Occidental settlement calls for $50 million of the payment to fund natural resource restoration projects in and around the Newark Bay Complex. A total of $67.4 million from all Passaic River settlements will be dedicated to such projects.

Occidental Chemical is a legal successor to the Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Co., which was found to have intentionally dumped hazardous pollutants, including dioxin, into the Passaic from its plant on Lister Ave. in Newark in the 1950s and ‘60s. The factory, in the Ironbound section of the city, was located on the river, directly across from the Harrison meadows area.

“Cleaning up the lower Passaic River is a top environmental priority for New Jersey, one that is vital to the health and safety of people who live and work along the river and who have long had to bear the burden of this pollution,’’ Martin said.

The commissioner said the state will continue to work with the federal Environmental Protection Agency “to get this cleanup project started as soon as possible.”

The EPA has proposed a $1.7 billion plan for cleanup of the lower eight miles of the river — the portion that flows past Nutley, Belleville, Lyndhurst, North Arlington, Kearny, East Newark and Harrison.

Under a federal law known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), it is possible the agency could call on New Jersey to bear a 10% share of the cleanup cost, Hoffman’s office noted.

However, as part of the Occidental settlement, the corporation reportedly agreed to cover the state’s share, if assessed.

“In short, the Occidental and other settlement payments are above and beyond the funds used to clean up the Passaic River,” Hoffman said. “That is, the responsible parties will clean up the river at their own expense, while the state will receive a total of $355 million, plus a guarantee to cover any costs to the state in the unlikely event those cleanup costs are assessed under CERCLA.”

The amount of Occidental’s guarantee is between $210 million and $400 million and is dependant upon on the outcome of the company’s indemnification claims against other original defendants in the Passaic River litigation.

Occidental also has assumed responsibility for any future state cleanup costs at the Newark Lister Ave. site and future costs within the Newark Bay Complex — provided these are related to the discharges from the Newark plant, Hoffman’s office reported.

– Karen Zautyk 

Robbers flee, shots fired


On Sunday morning, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, armed robbers invaded the Radio Shack on Main St., one of the busiest shopping areas in town.

As they fled, the thugs rammed a Belleville patrol car, and an officer reportedly fired several shots at the getaway vehicle. It is not known if either of the suspects was hit.

According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Belleville police had been notified at 11:22 a.m. by a 911 caller that an armed robbery was in progress at the store, located in the mini-mall on the 400 block of Main St., across from Kmart.

When police arrived at the rear of the building, they saw the two suspects leaving. The men then drove into the police car, and the officer fired at their vehicle, a light blue Jeep, apparently hitting it at least once. It fled south on Route 21.

Authorities said there were three employees in the Radio Shack at the time of the holdup. All were tied up, and one was pistol-whipped. It is yet not known what was taken.

The police officer, identified only as a 10-year veteran of the Belleville PD, was evaluated at a local hospital.

As of press time, no further details were available, and the suspects were apparently still at large.

The investigation is being conducted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Homicide Task Force, its Professional Standards Bureau, and the Belleville PD.

Anyone with information on the suspects or the crime is asked to contact the prosecutor’s tip line, 877-TIPS- 4-EC (877-847-7432) or the Belleville police, 973-450-3333. Anonymous tips can also be emailed to HomicideTips@ njecpo.org

– Karen Zautyk 

Belleville board borrows more

By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent 


The already fiscally strapped Belleville Board of Education has committed to borrowing more than $3 million for technology upgrades.

By a 3-2 vote, with one abstention, on Dec. 15, the board agreed to enter into a lease purchase transaction that will “finance the acquisition of infrastructure technology, servers and a phone system,” according to the resolution it adopted.

Voting for the measure were Board Vice President Jeanne Lombardi, Peter Zangari Jr. and Raymond Kuebler; Lillian Torres abstained; and Board President John Rivera and William Freda opposed it.

“I just didn’t have enough information to vote ‘yes,’ ’’ Rivera told The Observer last week. He said state monitor Thomas Egan brought the lease-purchase proposal to the board without any advance notice, so the board had no opportunity to review it.

The resolution says that on the advice of bond counsel McManimon, Scotland & Baumann LLC, the board is accepting a bid by U.S. Bancorp Government Leasing and Finance as the “purchaser/ lessor” at an annual interest rate of 2.189% for a principal amount not to exceed $3,323,512 which is repayable over five years.

Proceeds from the sale of the lease “shall be applied to pay costs to acquire and to install the equipment and pay the costs of entering into the lease.”

Egan told The Observer that the financial arrangement is being done “under state contract” and will allow the district “to replace and improve its internet and technological infrastructure in order to make it ready for the [state-mandated] PARCC [Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College & Careers] testing scheduled for March.

“Without this equipment replacement, the district would not be ready for the PARCC,” Egan said. The new equipment’s acquisition and installation will be overseen by Pro Media Technology Services of Little Falls and “is being purchased on state contract.”

Egan said the old equipment “could not support the wireless technology” needed to facilitate the administering of the testing.

Egan said there is a “phone component” to the new technology that will “enable telephone data transmissions, servers and streaming to run more efficiently.”

Pro Media was initially brought into the district over the Labor Day weekend after the district’s internal phone system and computers crashed and, ultimately, the communications services being supplied through Clarity Technologies Group of Mine Hill were discontinued.

Previously retained to install an elaborate school security system for $1.9 million, Clarity in 2013 also received two other contracts: one for $10,000 per month for phone service and another for $20,000 per month to provide IT support. The board has retained certain payments from Clarity and both parties are in arbitration over how much Clarity is owed. At the monitor’s urging, the board has discontinued its IT contract with the vendor.

Meanwhile, the board continues to await the findings of an audit to determine exactly how much it overspent during the 2013-2014 school year. A preliminary assessment by Egan is that the district ended the school year on June 30 more than $4 million in the red. It was the discovery of the spending lapse that led to the monitor’s arrival in May.

In other business at the Dec. 15 meeting, the proposed appointments of Dave Joisil and Saul Escobar as teachers of health and physical education at Belleville Middle School were pulled at the direction of Acting Superintendent Ricardo Acosta after questions were raised about the selection process, Rivera said. “We’re going to do it over again.”

Also, of the 44 people who responded to the district advertisement seeking applicants for the superintendent’s job, the board’s search consultant has narrowed down that list to six, Rivera said. On Jan. 10, the board – which will reorganize on Jan 6 – is due to interview those six candidates and will likely make an appointment by late March, he said.

Lyndhurst assault suspect nabbed


A suspect wanted in connection with an assault on a 21-year-old woman at a Lyndhurst hotel nearly three months ago is now behind bars awaiting court action.

Andrea Rivers, 20, of Orange, was arrested Dec. 16 in Fairfield on charges of robbery, criminal restraint and terroristic threats and was taken to Bergen County Jail on $70,000 bail with no 10% cash option.

Police said that at 8:18 p.m. on Sept. 24, they responded to the Quality Inn Hotel on Polito Ave. on a report of a female who had been attacked. When they arrived, officers were told by the victim from Brooklyn that she’d been assaulted with pepper spray and robbed while in her hotel room.

The woman told cops that someone knocked on her door and, after opening it, she was confronted by a masked individual who pepper sprayed her in the face, tied her hands with zip-ties and told her not to scream or she would be killed.

The suspect then applied duct tape to her mouth and took $200, an Apple I-phone and a backpack with clothes and makeup before leaving her room, police said.

Although the victim didn’t see the intruder’s face, police said she recognized her voice. Police said the two had a “business relationship.”

Police said the victim eventually freed herself by using scissors to cut the zip-ties, then called the front desk which, in turn, notified police. She was treated at the hotel by Lyndhurst EMS for cuts to her face, right elbow, right knee and forearms. She declined further medical attention, police said.

An arrest warrant was then issued for the suspect who was located by Fairfield PD, charged and removed to Bergen County Jail.

Lyndhurst PD logged these other incidents during the past week:

Dec. 18 

At 11:17 a.m., police responded to the 200 block of Stuyvesant Ave. where a 46-year-old resident reported the apparent theft of packages reportedly delivered to their residence in October. Police said the resident placed an online order for a $375 GPS and Xbox which the vendor was to ship via USPS but the resident never received the merchandise. Police said the resident didn’t report the incident until now because they’d been trying to resolve the matter with the vendor.


At 3:14 p.m., police conducted a motor vehicle stop on Polito Ave. near the Wall St. industrial area after seeing no front license plate on the vehicle. The driver, Shamir Chowdhury, 21, of Rutherford, was given a summons for no front plate. He was also charged with possession of marijuana and possession of CDS in a motor vehicle. Police towed the vehicle.

Dec. 19

At 12:51 a.m., police pulled over a vehicle westbound on Rutherford Ave. after the driver allegedly crossed over the central yellow line several times while going 47 mph in a 25 mph zone. Esteban Chong, 46, of Bloomfield, was issued summonses charging him with speeding, careless driving, DWI and having an open container of beer in the vehicle. Police towed his vehicle and released Chong to a responsible party pending court action on the violations.


At 4:21 a.m., police stopped a vehicle traveling north on Park Ave. near Court Ave. after it was seen reportedly swerving from lane to lane. The driver, Santiago Rivera, 41, of Newark, was charged with DWI and careless driving. His car was towed and he was released to a responsible party.

– Ron Leir 

All was calm, all was bright

12-24 Col_web

In December 1914, the troops of the Allies and the Central Powers have been in combat for several months and had begun to be bogged down (sometimes literally — living in mud) in the trench warfare that was to characterize World War I’s Western Front.

Trench warfare was basically a stalemate. Wave after wave of soldiers would be sent “over the top” — climbing out of the trench and advancing toward the enemy line, only to be mowed down by machine gun and artillery fire. The casualty numbers were appalling. But this did not stop the commanding officers from ordering another charge. And another. And . . .

The stretch of ground between the opposing trenches was called No Man’s Land, and it was marked by barbed wire, shell holes and corpses. The dead might be left there indefinitely, since — depending on the fierceness of the combat — retrieving and burying the bodies was in itself a lethal task.

Sometimes, the trenches were so close — in one area, a mere 30 yards apart — the combatants could talk, or at least shout, to each other.

That first December of the war in the British sector, it had been raining for much of the month, but on Christmas Eve, there came a frost that for awhile coated with white the shell-pocked terrain and the forest of stumps that had once been trees. It was a white Christmas.

And a peaceful one. At least temporarily.

There are multitudinous, and varying, accounts of exactly what happened on Christmas Eve 1914. But all agree that there was a spontaneous truce along some parts of the British and German lines.

How it began is uncertain, too. But my favorite story is of British troops hearing the Germans singing Christmas carols, and then joining in. There is also a report of the Germans placing candles and small Christmas trees on the parapets of their trenches.

The foes began shouting greetings to each other.

Eventually, men from both sides ventured into No Man’s Land — this time, not in an attack, but hesitantly walking toward the enemy. Germans and British met in that desolation, and shook hands. More and more troops left the trenches to meet in the middle.

Amazingly, the truce lasted through Christmas Day. The soldiers exchanged gifts — chocolate, cigarettes, cake, souvenirs. They took photos together, sometimes posing in the caps or helmets of the enemy. Some kicked soccer balls around No Man’s Land.*

But many of the soldiers, from both sides, used the unofficial ceasefire for more solemn purposes, retrieving those aforementioned corpses, so they could be given proper burials.

The Christmas Truce was not universal. In other parts of the Western Front, even along British lines, fighting continued. And the High Command was not pleased with the ceasefire when they learned of it. Strict orders prohibiting future fraternization were promulgated.

Suffice it to say, despite all the friendliness and goodwill, the truce was a mere anomaly. It had to end. How it ended, in one part of the sector, was described by Capt. J.C. Dunn of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, who wrote:

“At 8:30, I fired three shots in the air and put up a flag with ‘Merry Christmas’ on it, and I climbed on the parapet. He [the Germans] put up a sheet with ‘Thank you’ on it, and the German captain appeared on the parapet. We both bowed and saluted and got down into our respective trenches, and he fired two shots in the air, and the war was on again.”

That quote is from www.firstworldwar.com, which has an extensive account of the Christmas Truce — and a wealth of other Great War information, if you are interested in learning more. Which I hope at least some of you are.

– Karen Zautyk 

* Last week, in a soccer match in Aldershot, England, a British Army team defeated the Bundeswehr (German military) team, 1-0. The event was organized to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce.