Due to weather conditions this week and the need to preserve the final stages of construction on the oval, tonight’s Nutley High School home football game has been moved to Monsignor Owens Field 44 Park Ave., at 7 p.m. Admission to the game is […]
The state Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is investigating a fatal shooting of the driver of a stolen SUV at the Lyndhurst-Rutherford border early Tuesday, Sept. 16, according to a press release issued by the AG’s Office. The driver, identified […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent KEARNY – The corner house at Grand Place and Stewart Ave. doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, but it’s drawn a lot of attention from neighbors – and not in a good way. Many packed the assembly chambers at […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent HARRISON – The town of Harrison, with a current population of about 14,000 but growing thanks to several new residential projects rising in its waterfront redevelopment area, now has a second hotel. It is the Element Harrison, the brand’s second hotel in New […]
By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent HARRISON– Somewhere in Harrison, there is a magical place. If we were telling this story as a fairy tale, it would begin: Once upon a time, there was a small plot of land on which a happy home had stood. […]
When people remember the old railroad station in Kearny, I suspect that most think of the one that used to be off Elm St., north of Midland Ave. But there was another: the West Arlington station, which stood where N. Midland Ave. now curves sharply around toward Passaic Ave. The station, opened in 1874 and rebuilt in 1895, served the Erie and Erie-Lackawanna’s New York-Greenwood Lake lines. The fi nal passenger train stopped there on Sept. 30, 1966. The station’s tower, housing the controls for the nearby Passaic River bridge, remained in use until 1976, That same year, the structure was destroyed by fi re. The last passenger train crossed the bridge on Sept. 20, 2002. All that remain at the station site now are overgrowth and underbrush and a single abandoned track (there had once been two track beds).
– Karen Zautyk
High School bands, motorcycle clubs and all civic associations interested in participating in Belleville’s Veterans Day Parade on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m., are invited to contact Bill Steimel at 973-759- 4692.
Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., sponsors a blood drive on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., For 30 or more donations, the library receives a $300 “Save a Life” Recognition award from the Blood Center of N.J. and $50 for each additional 10 donations.
Harrison American Legion hosts its 75th anniversary celebration and awards dinner on Nov. 9 at the Harrison-East Newark Elks, 406 Harrison Ave. Mayor Raymond McDonough, Elks Exalted Ruler Larry Bennett and Councilman Victor Villalta will be feted for the work they do for veterans. For information or reservations, call Ed Marshman at 201-998-0662.
Kearny UNICO meets on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m. Anyone interested in attending the meeting or learning more about Kearny UNICO should contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409.
A fundraising bus trip for Kearny High School’s Project Graduation is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., to Sands Casino and Outlet Mall. The bus leaves from Kearny Federal Savings Bank, 614 Kearny Ave. Cost is $30 (receive $20 in slot dollars and $5 food voucher). For tickets or more information contact Judy at 201-991-5812 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sandy at 551-265-8969.
Kearny/Harrison Girls Scout service unit 14 hosts an open house for adults interested in becoming Girl Scout troop leaders and for girls looking to join a troop on Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Kearny Scout House, 635 Kearny Ave. Meet other local Girl Scout troop leaders. For more information, e-mail amyweber363@ gmail.com.
Kearny High School Baseball Booster Club hosts a comedy night fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m., at Copestone Ophir Masonic Lodge, 225 Kearny Ave. Tickets are $30 (BYOB and snack). For tickets or to make a donation, contact Carolyn Girdwood at 551-208-6227, Sandy Hyde at 551-265-8969, Clarence Hicks at 201-283-0515 or Wayne Walley at 201-376-4882.
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., is hosting a 10-part series, “Catholicism 101.” There will be two sessions, held on Thursdays, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The first session will run from Nov. 7 to Dec. 5; the second, from Jan. 9 to Feb. 6. Contact Linda at 201-991-3870 to register or for more information.
West Hudson Christian Center, 557 Kearny Ave, hosts a free Halloween alternative event, for ages 4 to 12, from 4 to 7 p.m., on Thursday, Oct. 31. Interact with Bible-time characters, explore a No-Fear interactive story and leave with lots of treats. This special walk-thru event takes about 15 minutes. For more information, visit whccag.org.
St. Stephen’s Seniors of Kearny holds its annual fair on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the church basement (Hedges Hall), 141 Washington Ave. A Tricky Tray, bake sale, jewelry sale, gift certificates, George’s Kitchen, and a special raffle for a $100 gift certificate from ShopRite will be offered. The seniors will no longer host a flea market. For more information, call Pat at 201-991-4771.
The Kearny High School Class of 1983 will hold a 30- year reunion on Nov. 30. For more information, contact Reunion Central at 888-333- 6569 or e-mail kearny83@ reunioncentral.com.
The Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., meets on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. in the church basement. Margaret Abrahams, coordinator of the Domestic Violence Response Team of Hudson County, will speak.
New Jersey Meadowlands Commission will sponsor the following events:
• A drawing nature beginner/ refresher course for adults and teens will be held at the Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Take-home supplies are provided. Fee is $20/person/ $15 MEC members. For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands. gov/ec.
Note: Valley Brook Avenue will be closed on Nov. 2. Participants must take the alternate route to DeKorte Park via Schuyler Avenue to Disposal Road. A map of the alternate route can be found at: http:// www.njmeadowlands.gov/VB_AltRte2012.pdf
• New Jersey Swine – Bringing Home the Bacon will be held Thursday, Nov. 7, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Open to all ages. New Jersey pigs were much sought after in colonial and early America. Presenter Judith Russo explains why New Jersey swine was so special. Admission: $5/person; $4/ MEC members. The program will be held at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza. For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.
The Polish American Citizens Club, 730 New Jersey Ave., hosts its 90th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Nov. 9, from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $65. For more information, call 201-438-9723.
Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., hosts a stroke, aneurysm, osteoporosis and vascular disease screening provided by Life Line Screening on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Price varies with each screening. Pre-registration is required. For appointments, call Life Line at 1-888-653-6450 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/community-partners. Mention this press release and receive a $10 discount off your package.
Lyndhurst Library Children’s Room, 355 Valley Brook Ave., announces the following programs:
• Walk-in Story I is offered every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for grades pre-k to 2. No registration is required.
• Thanksgiving Turkey Craft for grades 1 to 4 will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration is required.
American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37, 222 River Rd., meets on Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. For more information, call 201-214- 8253
North Arlington Woman’s Club sponsors a bus trip to Sands Casino, Bethlehem, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 16. A bus departs from Borough Hall at 9 a.m. Cost is $30 ($20 slot credit and $5 food credit). Contact Eileen at 201-998-2501 for tickets.
The Senior Harmony Club of North Arlington announces the following trips:
• Taj Mahal on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Call Florence for more information at 201-991-3173.
• Overnight trip to Pennsylvania to see the Christmas show “Sight and Sound,” National Christmas Museum, Koziars Christmas Village and Country Kettle Village, Dec. 5-6. For information, call Anna at 201-939-2960.
Holy Family Church youth group, 28 Brookline Ave., hosts a Tricky Tray and pasta dinner on Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $30. Proceeds benefit youth group projects for those in need. For tickets, call Anna O’Reilly at 973-661- 3759. No tickets will be sold at the door.
Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Dr., sponsors the following events:
• First Friday Films: “The Guilt Trip” will be screened Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. A new film is shown the first Friday of each month. Check the library’s event calendar for names of films.
• P.J. Story Time will be held Monday, Nov. 4 and 18, at 7 p.m., for children of all ages. Registration is not required.
• Conversational ESL is offered Wednesdays at 10 a.m. No registration is required.
• Wednesday Afternoon Knitters, for beginning and experienced knitters, meet weekly at 1 p.m. Bring your own supplies.
• Middle School Manga meets on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 3:30 p.m.
• Screening of “The Rule” is slated for Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. “The Rule” details how and why the highly unique Benedictine monks of Newark Abbey and St. Benedict’s Prep are able to achieve amazing success with inner city males. A discussion with filmmakers Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno will follow. This event is free and open to the public.
• Gaming for teens will be held Friday, Nov. 8 and 22, at 3 p.m.
• Read to Dogs on Saturday, Nov. 9 and0 23. Improve your literacy skills by reading to certified therapy dogs. This program is designed for independent readers ages 5 to 11. Registration is required online. Call Children’s Services Desk at 973-667-0405, ext. 2623, or e-mail michelle. email@example.com.
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
When John Spina took over coaching the girls’ volleyball team at his high school alma mater Belleville three years ago, the program was in disarray.
“They were 0-17 the year before I took over,” Spina said. “I just tried to implement competition.”
The first year with Spina as a head coach, the Buccaneers showed a slight improvement.
“We won three games,” Spina said. “It wasn’t really frustrating, because I knew what I wanted to do.”
A year ago, the Buccaneers were headed down the wrong road, losing nine of their first 11 matches.
“But then the momentum turned in our favor,” Spina said. “We were improving. We started to beat the teams that were beating us.”
The Bucs ended the season with a 14-12 record. It meant that volleyball could be a viable sport in Belleville.
“We got girls who wanted to play volleyball all the time,” Spina said. “We had six girls playing club volleyball and another three who played during the winter. We created an atmosphere where the expectations were higher.”
So when the 2013 season began, Spina truly believed that his program was poised to take the next step.
“We didn’t want to shy away from competition,” Spina said. “We wanted to create some pressure to perform. They hated it at first, but once we started to breed competition in practice, it gave us the edge that we needed. We were going to be less likely to crumble and fold. We had a lot of good players who could play a lot of positions, a lot of depth.”
Spina said that the Buccaneers prepared for the coming season with a lot of diligence in the offseason.
“It’s a credit to the girls, who put in the hard work during the summer,” Spina said. “If they didn’t, they would have been just an average volleyball team. The hard work is paying off.”
The Buccaneers are currently enjoying a sensational season, one of the best in the school’s history. They have a 19-2 record, suffering losses only to Nutley in the early portion of the season and Livingston in the third round of the Essex County Tournament, and they currently are on the threshold of capturing the Super Essex Conference- Colonial Division crown.
Spina believes that the loss to Nutley early on was a turning point.
“It was the second game of the season,” said Spina, who also coaches the Belleville boys’ volleyball team in the spring. “We lost to Nutley last year, 25-1. I never lost a game like that before. We were competitive this time. I emphasized to them that they just had to chalk that one game up, because they totally wiped us off the floor last year and now we showed so much improvement. We bounced back and won 10 straight.”
The Buccaneers defeated Weequahic and Newark Academy in the Essex County Tournament before falling to perennial power Livingston in the quarterfinals.
There’s one trait about the Buccaneers that stands out. Spina does not just use seven players like most teams. There are at least 12 players who get regular time in the Belleville rotation.
“This is a team built to work this way,” Spina said. “Instead of just having seven, we have the ability to take players out and keep their legs fresh. They’re used to the fact that they’re all sharing their positions. It’s just another weapon we have. It’s the most depth we’ve ever had.”
Leading the way is senior middle hitter Shatia Silas. The 6-foot-2 Silas is an imposing presence at the net and has collected 28 blocks, 121 kills and 31 service aces.
“Anything that the other team does close to the net, she can put it back,” Spina said. “If they make a mistake, she’s going to block it. Having that much of a presence changes things. We’re able to build our game around her.”
Junior Abigail Ocaya is the other Buccaneer middle hitter. Ocaya has 57 kills and 14 blocks, including eight kills and three blocks in a recent win over Hackensack.
“This is only her second year of volleyball, but she’s already a good presence at the net,” Spina said. “She’s getting much better as the season progresses. We’re getting what we need from her.”
Sophomore Breana Nieves is a first-year member of the varsity at outside hitter.
“She’s very versatile in every aspect of the game,” Spina said of Nieves. “She can serve, pass and hit. She can also play defense.”
Nieves fills out a stat sheet. She has 58 kills, 40 digs, 83 service points and 20 service aces.
Senior Kayla Sica is the Buccaneers’ jack-of-all-trades.
“We use her in a lot of crazy roles,” Spina said. “Last year, she started at middle hitter, but we moved her to opposite hitter, where she can hit better. She also didn’t complain about being moved around. She’ll go anywhere she’s needed.”
Sica has 49 kills, 11 blocks, 34 digs, 59 service points and 11 service aces.
One setter is senior Jenna Lombardi, who transferred to Belleville last year, but she failed to join the volleyball team.
“I was concerned how she would fit in,” Spina said of Lombardi, who was the pitcher on the Buccaneers’ softball team last spring. “But she leads the team in service points.”
Lombardi has 149 service points, 56 of which have gone for aces, to go along with her 152 assists.
Another setter is sophomore Andrea Nguyen, another newcomer to the Buccaneers’ varsity. Nguyen has 87 assists.
“She’s progressing well,” Spina said of Nguyen. “I like the way the ball comes off her hands. She brings a lot of athleticism to the team.”
The team’s libero is junior Barbara Jacangelo, who has been “awesome,” according to Spina. Jacangelo has 183 digs, 119 service points and 45 aces.
In part of the Bucs’ rotation is senior Chloe Mecka, who spends most of her time at opposite hitter.
“She’s second on the team in blocks and makes a lot of noise at the net,” Spina said. “She does everything for us. She has great hands and she’s very versatile. She’s one of the best athletes on the team.”
Junior Gabriella Tabago is the team’s defensive specialist. She has contributed 72 digs, 28 kills and 38 service points. Sophomore Kristan Lombardi, Jenna’s younger sister, has contributed 101 digs from the back row.
Notice the statistical contributions of the reserves. That is uncommon for most volleyball teams.
Senior Fiorelys Perez is one of the team’s captains and she is the team’s service specialist, collecting 48 service points, 21 for aces. Senior Dashel Arizmendi is another key server and opposite hitter. Kirsten De La Cruz is another defensive specialist.
Needless to say, it’s been a fun season for the Buccaneers.
“I used to talk to my old wrestling coach Joe Nisivoccia (who recently retired as the Belleville wrestling coach) and he would tell me when you have a great season, you should enjoy it while you have it,” Spina said. “I’m happy for the kids, because they can walk around the halls of the school with pride. They have a feeling that they’re special and they are. They should be proud. They’re champions.”
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
In his heart of hearts, Bob McDonnell never wanted to be anywhere else than coaching the kids of Kearny.
After all, being a Kearny guy is what Mc- Donnell has been for the last 30 years. He’s lived here, raised his family here. He served as a police officer in Kearny for 15 years, as a patrolman, as a DARE officer.
And McDonnell was a youth coach, volunteering his time coaching wrestling and basketball in Kearny. He spent seven years coaching the freshman, junior varsity and assistant on the varsity basketball teams at Kearny High.
For nine years, Mc- Donnell was involved with the Kearny AAU basketball program and served on the town’s basketball committee, organizing and supervising clinics and leagues for the youngsters of the town.
But four years ago, after failing to secure the head coaching position at Kearny, a slot he coveted so much, McDonnell moved outside the town. McDonnell took a job as an assistant coach at Berkeley College in Newark.
“I actually became more of a student of the game,” McDonnell said. “I learned more about fundamentals, learned about the quickness of the game, the difference between high school and college. I saw different coaching styles and it really opened my eyes up.”
McDonnell kept himself busy as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Berkeley.
“I saw over 600 high school games over the last few years,” McDonnell said. “So I know what’s going on, especially in Hudson County.”
So when Bill Schoener left Kearny after one season to take a new position at Saddle River Day School, it left the position open that McDonnell always coveted.
Last week, the Board of Education officially appointed McDonnell as the new head coach at Kearny High.
“I’m extremely excited,” McDonnell said. “I think the program can work. I’m willing to work to make it better.”
It’s not going to be an easy task. Ever since Kearny has joined the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League five years ago, the Kardinals have not been at all competitive. Last season, the Kardinals posted a 5-22 record. It’s an uphill climb toward respectability for McDonnell and the program.
But McDonnell is not a complete newcomer to the returning players. The kids know him from the different youth teams – AAU, PAL – that McDonnell has coached, recognize him from the camps and clinics. He’s not an outsider.
“I think it helps me greatly,” McDonnell said. “I have a good rapport with the kids. A lot of them went to my camps or played for me. Most of the juniors and sophomores were on my PAL team when we won the state championship when they were in seventh and eighth grade. I believe that’s a great start. They know my coaching style and know what to expect. They know what to expect when it comes to discipline, both on and off the court. They know what’s expected of them athletically.”
McDonnell was asked if he has changed over the last four years that he was away from high school basketball and coaching on the collegiate level.
“What’s different about it is that I know that there’s more of a teaching aspect on the high school level,” McDonnell said. “On the college level, the players already have their own style of play. On the high school level, you’re teaching the finer points of basketball.”
McDonnell has modest goals with the program.
“We definitely want to be more competitive,” McDonnell said. “We definitely have enough talent to be competitive. The talents just need to be brought to fruition. We definitely have a lot of kids in town that want to play.”
One thing is for sure: Mc- Donnell is going nowhere. He’s in this for the long haul.
“Coaching will be my full-time attention,” said McDonnell, who retired from the police department three years ago. “It’s a point of fact. This is my last coaching stint. I have a good relationship with the teachers and administrators. I also have a good relationship with the business leaders in the town who will be willing to help the program. By being here in Kearny for so long and working with the kids, I have a lot invested in this.”
McDonnell wants to see if he can implement a traveling team comprised of seventh and eighth graders and perhaps add more teams at the AAU level.
“Without a doubt, we can be competitive,” McDonnell said. “I have seen numerous games in the area and I know what’s coming back. We can be competitive. I’m out for the kids first. I have their best interests in mind.”
So what does it mean for McDonnell to finally get the chance to have the one coaching job he always wanted?
“I think I have a lot of perseverance,” McDonnell said. “I think by me waiting a long time is giving me the incentive to want to do this and want to run the program the right way. It’s going to take some time, maybe a few years, but I have that time.”
And Kearny has a true Kearny guy as its new head boys’ basketball coach.
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
Joanna Seca has been playing soccer in North Arlington since she was five years old.
It didn’t take long for others to notice that Seca was a player of immense talents, as she was scooped up from the regular North Arlington Recreation program to play at higher levels, like Kearny Thistle and even more impressively, the Players Development Academy (PDA) of Zarepath, N.J., an organization for strictly the elite players in the state.
When it came time for Seca to enter North Arlington High School, she elected to continue to play for PDA, which meant she could not play for the Vikings.
“I was a little upset and disappointed,” Seca said. “Some of my friends on the team asked me not to play PDA, but it was too much to try to do both. I was looking forward to playing at North Arlington, but it was my first year with PDA, so I didn’t want to upset that.”
North Arlington veteran head girls’ soccer coach Sharon O’Brien Romer knew of Seca, because of some afterschool counseling programs. But O’Brien Romer didn’t know how good of a player Seca truly was.
“I knew that she was a nice girl who played club soccer for a long time,” O’Brien Romer said.
O’Brien Romer didn’t make any attempt to convince Seca to play for the Vikings. It’s not something the coach feels comfortable doing. If Seca wanted to play varsity, she could sign up and come to practice like everyone else.
And that is what exactly took place last spring.
“I just signed up to play,” Seca said. “I knew a lot of the girls on the team from playing recreation and travel soccer.”
During summer workouts, O’Brien Romer saw almost immediately that Seca would make a positive impact on her team.
“I knew right away that she could handle the challenge,” O’Brien Romer said. “I saw that there was a lot of potential there.”
O’Brien Romer inserted the sophomore at center midfield. There wasn’t exactly instant success.
“I think it took her a little bit of time to get accustomed to everything,” O’Brien Romer said. “She had a lot of good shots and was making good plays, but she just wasn’t scoring.”
“I definitely had to step up my game,” Seca said. “Playing in high school was much more aggressive than I thought it would be.”
After a few games, Seca became more comfortable with her new surroundings.
“Something just clicked,” Seca said. “I knew I had to do better and I did.”
O’Brien Romer said that Seca just took over and lived up to expectations.
“She’s been contributing a lot, both on and off the field,” O’Brien Romer said. “She has a great personality and work ethic. She’s a natural leader. She has all the intangibles you need. She also has great skills and can control the ball well. She handles the game gracefully. She plays with such grace and ease.”
Seca said that she changed her approach from the beginning of the season.
“I’m holding the ball more,” Seca said. “I’m shooting it when I get inside the 18 (yard line). That has definitely helped. I didn’t do that earlier in the year.”
The Vikings didn’t do a lot of winning early on either.
“We needed to get to a certain level of play to get into the (NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I) state playoffs,” O’Brien Romer said. “They had to prove that they belonged.”
Two weeks ago, the Vikings suddenly became a vastly improved team, with Seca leading the way. They went on a streak where they won four out of five games, including three wins over NJIC opponents (Weehawken, Becton/ Wallington and St. Mary’s of Rutherford) that the Vikings lost to earlier in the season.
One of the main reasons for the hot streak is the immense contributions from Seca, who has scored seven goals and added eight assists in those games.
Last week, Seca had three goals and two assists against Becton/Wallington, one goal and two assists against Weehawken and one goal and four assists against St. Mary’s.
For her efforts, Seca has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the last week.
O’Brien Romer is more than pleased with Seca’s performance.
“She’s made the other girls on the team around her much better,” O’Brien Romer said. “Not only is she a good player, but she makes the others better. She could develop into something really special. I’ve had a lot of girls come through the program over the years and Joanna could become one of the truly special ones.” O’Brien Romer put Seca in the same class as former standout Katie Mallack, who went on to play rugby at Sacred Heart University.
“She has a chance to be better, one of our very best,” O’Brien Romer said of Seca. “She has natural leadership qualities. She keeps her cool when other teams notice her and guard her. She’s a team player who is always looking to help the team win. She’s really been a great addition to our program.”
Seca likes the way she’s playing now.
“I thought I could play the same way I played in PDA, which is focused on passing,” Seca said. “I realized that it wasn’t working in high school. I can pass it, give it to someone else to shoot, but also get the chance to get it back. It’s working better. We’re winning. I definitely feel better about it.”
As for playing for North Arlington?
“I like it,” Seca said. “I like representing my school and getting to know the girls. It’s good to know that I have a good relationship with them on and off the field. It’s been really exciting. I’ve gained a lot of confidence so far and I hope it just continues.”
So does everyone involved with the North Arlington girls’ soccer program.
Mayor Alberto Santos speaks at Oct. 22 dedication of Frank M. Cardoza Park in tribute to the former deputy mayor and World War II Navy veteran who died last yer. Among those attending were Cardoza family members and friends.
EAST NEWARK –
The state Fire Marshal’s office has been called in to investigate a “suspicious” fire this past Saturday at the former First Republic industrial complex in East Newark, borough officials said.
It took about two hours for more than 40 firefighters from seven area fire departments to quell the smoky blaze at the block-long complex at 900 Passaic Ave. owned by Alma Realty of New York.
No injuries were reported. East Newark Police Chief Tony Mondero said one of his patrol officers called in a “smoke condition” at the complex at 8:47 a.m. – coming from a fifth-floor window, according to Borough Volunteer Fire Chief Allen Yudichak.
However, firefighters arriving at the scene soon after discovered that the fire had originated at the northeast corner of the property on the first floor of Building 39 on the Grant Ave. side of the shuttered complex near the railroad tracks at the Sherman Ave. intersection, opposite the borough garage, Mondero said.
Firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from the first floor and basement and used air packs and thermal imaging devices to make their way through the dark space while dragging hose into the building, fire officials said.
Yudichak said the fire damaged a section of the building’s heavy timber floor, part of which burned through and fell into the basement.
Rescue teams stood by with ropes as a precaution in case any fire personnel fell through the weakened flooring but there was no need to deploy them, one fire official said.
Mayor Joseph Smith, a former volunteer borough firefighter, was performing a couple of weddings at Borough Hall when the fire broke out but he got to the scene soon after the ceremonies had concluded.
“The fire was substantial to the point where it was coming out the eaves of the roof because it had made its way up the sides of the wall,” the mayor said.
Yudichak and Mondero said East Newark firefighters initially had trouble gaining access to the building because an entrance door was welded shut so they had to force it open to get inside and locate the fire.
The fire eventually went to three alarms and resulted in companies responding from Harrison, Kearny, North Arlington, Jersey City, Lyndhurst and Secaucus, Yudichak said.
Kearny Fire Chief Steven Dyl said his department sent seven personnel, including a deputy chief, aboard an engine and ladder truck, to help extinguish the fire, ventilate the building and assist with coordinating efforts at the command post. Harrison units took charge of the area in the rear of the building.
Yudichak said the cause of the fire remains under investigation. It will be up to state arson probers to make that determination, he said.
One of the possibilities being explored, according to police and fire officials, is whether vagrants may have somehow gotten into the building – where gas and power have been shut off – and set a fire for warmth. Holes in the fence discovered along the building’s Grant Ave. side is lending credence to that theory, although Yudichak cautioned that firefighters may have picked their way through to get access to the property.
It was only a few months ago that the borough and Alma agreed to settle a longstanding dispute about alleged fire code violations at the property, with the property owners having agreed to pay a hefty fine for what the borough considered a delayed compliance.
– Ron Leir
Irene Carberry, formerly of Kearny, died on Oct. 22 at The Job Haines home in Bloomfield where she lived since 2002.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A service was held in the funeral home, followed by a private cremation. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Irene was the wife of the late James H. Carberry Jr., mother of James H. III, Joyanne Chesnick and the late Dr. Thomas R. Carberry. She is also survived by four grandchildren as well as great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to The First Presbyterian Church Remembrance Fund in Kearny.
Muriel A. Diehl
Muriel A. Diehl (nee Greatorex) died on Oct. 23 in The Seabrook Village, Tinton Falls. She was 97. Born in Kearny, she moved to Tinton Falls in 2003. Private arrangements are by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Muriel was a retired Belleville school teacher.
She was the wife of Donald A. Diehl and mother of Marjorie Spirito and the late Donald A. Jr., and sister of the late Olive Tomlinson. She is also survived by her grandchildren Michael and Frank and her great-grandchildren Matthew, Michael, Sophia and Victoria.
Edward Henry Kamieniecki
Edward Henry Kamieniecki, of Harrison, entered into eternal rest surrounded by his loving family on Monday, Oct. 21. He was 92.
Born in Harrison, he was a lifelong resident and a parishioner of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, Harrison. Edward was a Harrison firefighter for 20 years. He was a member of the Harrison Senior Citizens, participating in many senior programs associated with the Harrison Seniors. He was recognized as having a beautiful singing voice. Edward was selected to serve as the executor director of the Newark Housing Department for a day. Edward served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II.
He is survived by his beloved companion of 42 years Esther Estrella, and her children Danilo Estrella and Anita Sims, cherished grandfather to four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He is also uncle to many nieces and nephews and many cousins.
Funeral services were under the direction of Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, Harrison and his Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information or to send condolences, please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org
William P. Kavlick
William P. Kavlick died Oct. 25. He was 51.
Born in Newark, he lived in Kearny before moving to Nutley 10 years ago.
Visiting will begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, and the service will be at 6 p.m. in the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. Cremation will be private. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Bill was a traffic coordinator with Local 472 in Newark and was a member of Queen of Peace Council Knights of Columbus.
He is survived by his parents Joseph and Barbara (nee Byrnes) Kavlick, his wife Christine (nee Verrier) and his son William. He was also the brother of Lori Kavlick, Linda Landi, Karen Palamara, Joseph Kavlick Jr. and Barbara Kripetz.
In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Geffrey Kerwin Jr.
Geffrey Kerwin Jr., of Kearny, died Oct. 24. He was 41.
Private arrangements are by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home. Condolence may be left at www.armitagewiggins.com.
Geff, an avid fisherman, played Kearny Recreation football and Kearny High School football which led to a football scholarship to Penn State.
He is survived by his parents Geffrey Sr. and Sharon (nee Stansvaag) and his stepmother Beverly. He was the brother of Kristan Kerwin and the nephew of David and Sue Kerwin, Richard and Karin Kerwin and Douglas and Diane Tilley. He is also survived by his cousin Anmarie Narozny DeGiovanni and her daughters Kaetana, Paige and Johanna. He was predeceased by his grandparents Robert and Marianne Kerwin. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to K.H.S. Athletic Department scholarship fund.
Mikhail Korban, formerly of Russia, died Oct. 19 in Kearny. He was 61. A
rrangements are by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny. A funeral service for Mikhail was held in Russian Orthodox Convent, followed by burial at Novo- Diveevo Cemetery, both in Nanuet, N.Y.
Mikhail is survived by his loving mother and family in Russia and dear friends here in this country.
Efrosini “Frances” Koukoutsis died Oct. 24. She was 77.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service was held at St. Demetrios Church in Union. To view the complete obituary, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Frances is survived by her husband Vasilios and her sons and daughter-in-law James and Dennis and Carolyn. Also surviving are her grandchildren Julia and William.
Siobhan Speck, of Harrison, died on Oct. 25, surrounded by her loving family. She was 54.
She is survived by her siblings and many nieces and nephews.
Viewing hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison.
John Joseph Tanzini Jr
John Joseph Tanzini Jr. entered into eternal rest on Tuesday, Oct. 22. He was 89.
Born in Harrison, he was a lifelong resident. John worked for the railroad in Kearny for 40 years retiring in 1981. He served his country in the U. S. Navy during World War II. An avid Yankee fan, in his spare time he enjoyed bowling.
John is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Jean (nee Ryder), his loving children Sandy Tanzini, Barbara Correnti and her husband Patsy and John and Jean; cherished grandchildren, Kelly, Alan, Stephanie, Kate and John, and great-grandchildren Maryanna, Eddie, Alex, Beth, Bradley and Abigail, dear brother of Joseph, Louis and Louise. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Theresa.
Funeral services were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. His commital services were private. For information or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome.org.
Paul C. Trucillo
Paul C. Trucillo, of Harrison, entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, Oct. 23. He was 61.
Born in Newark, he was a life-long resident of Harrison. He formerly worked for Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, prior to that he was a long time service manager for Newark Buick, Newark. Prior to that he worked for Goodwill Industries, Harrison. Paul was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #402, Harrison. He also was a parishoner at Holy Cross Church, Harrison. He was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Paul was married to Carol (nee DiSanto) He is survived by his siblings Louis A. and his wife Denise, Theresa Trucillo, Christopher and his wife Cidalia, and Charles and his wife Patricia, his six nieces and nephews Louis, Michael, Michael, Charles, Jessica and Nicole. He is also survived by his step-daughters Linda Coleman and Catherine Coleman, his beloved grand-daughter Mandy and his grand-nephews Jake Michael and Michael Liam.
He was predeceased by his parents Louis and Elizabeth (nee Pennella) Trucillo. Funeral services were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church, Harrison, Interment was at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information or to send condolences to the family please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org. For those desiring, contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association Memorial plus Honor Program, P.O. Box 11537, Alexandria, VA. 22312 in loving memory of Paul.
Photos by Karen Zautyk
On Sunday afternoon, for the first time in three years, Kearny was able to hold its annual Halloween Parade. The event had been cancelled last year due to Superstorm Sandy and in 2011 because of the “No-Name Storm.” Ghosts, goblins and ghouls, and some political leaders, lined Kearny Ave. for the celebration. Boo!