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Category: News

Dems question hiring of Ceberio firm


Last Thursday, North Arlington Borough Council made it official: By a 4-2 vote, they voted on a resolution to hire RCM Ceberio LLC as a redevelopment and public relations consultant at $2,500 a month, including all expenses and travel, from March 1 to Dec. 31, 2015.

The council’s two Democrats – Al Granell and Tom Zammatore – said they voted against it because the hiring procedure was “flawed” and lacked “sufficient transparency.”

The contract awarded the Wayne firm, headed by former N.J. Meadowlands Commission executive director Robert Ceberio, calls for RCM Ceberio to implement a three-pronged plan:

• “Prepare an economic development inventory of potential sites in the borough,

• Monitor commercial uses and commercial tax ratables,

• Take necessary initiatives to attract businesses, which will make a major contribution to the economy of North Arlington.”

The firm’s contract says that the real estate inventory “will include vacant or underutilized properties and commercial properties, categorized according to their adaptability to various types of business, professional and industrial enterprises.”

Additionally, the firm is charged with working with borough elected and appointed officials to devise “land use and redevelopment opportunities” and prepare formal solicitations to prosective developers.

As part of that effort, the firm is to get public input on potential projects, work with state and federal agencies to promote local development prospects, assist developers in preparing the submitting applications to expedite relevant approvals, aid the borough in preparing economic development grants and document all potential real estate development opportunities.

Meanwhile, Granell griped that the borough circumvented “normal governmental procedure” by failing to have circulated a Request For Proposal for a redevelopment consultant.

“This is not an emergency hire. So why is the council being pressured into hiring this firm at this time?” Granell said.

Zammatore said that, “there was no advance notice given” of a presentation that Ceberio made to the council in a closed session held Feb. 26, “nor prior disclosure of the role of [former borough Mayor Len] Kaiser in the Ceberio firm.

“We had no time to prepare or evaluate [Ceberio’s] credentials or to define his duties. … I felt the process should be opened to other applicants and the most qualified candidate selected for the job.”

Granell questioned Ceberio’s capability “to boost small town development” and suggested that the firm’s hiring was premature since the proposed borough redevelopment board has yet to be formed. “The borough … should allow [the board] to meet and begin to lay out goals for redevelopment and a strategy,” he said.

Mayor Joseph Bianchi has said he plans to appoint Ceberio chairman of the redevelopment board whose eight members will be a combination of council members and the public.

As for the firm’s public relations responsibilities, Zammatore noted that RCM Ceberio failed to submit a Request For Qualifications – as two other firms did – that the borough had requested in December. (No action was taken by the borough after the Dec. 18 submission deadline.)

“The mayor and council majority are doing an end run around the proper hiring processes … and they want to force the hiring of a company to do public relations that has no documented experience in that area,” he added.

Ceberio has said that he has performed public relations work for the mayor’s office in Secaucus while employed there.

Smile & Implant Center welcomes Dr. Mendia


The Smile and Implant Center in Kearny announces that Dr. Jonathan Mendia, dental anesthesiologist, has joined the practice, offering IV sedation and general anesthesia to pediatric, special needs, anxious and dental-phobic patients. Mendia aims to minimize patients’ dental fears, ensuring that anxious children and adults are comfortable during their dental care.

Mendia obtained his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. He then completed a two-year residency in dental anesthesiology at the school and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The Smile and Implant Center is a full-service dental office with a board certified periodontist and oral surgeon on staff. To learn more about dental anesthesia and the sophisticated dental services offered by the center, call Alexis at 201-991-1055 or email alexis@ thesmileandimplantcenter.com for a free consultation. For more information, visit www.TheSmileandImplant- Center.com and www.SedationNJ.com.

Feds say Kearny doc sought to torch his offices

2015-03-17 09_31_19-Greenshot

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent


A Kearny doctor has been indicted in Pennsylvania for allegedly attempting to hire a Philadelphia man to burn down the Kearny Ave. building housing his medical practice.

The motive, authorities said, was to destroy his patient files.

The doctor is also accused of illegally dispensing prescription painkillers. The indictment was handed up last week in Philadelphia against Dr. Mudassar Sharif, 40, who owned Garden State Primary Care at 711 Kearny Ave., it was announced by Zane David Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Read more »

‘Heightened’ prep


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


It’s only his second time on stage at Kearny High School, but senior Alex Vazquez is rising to the task of tackling a lead.

So says Michele Samoski, who is directing Alex and a cast of 33 in the high school’s spring musical, “In the Heights,” opening March 19.

The show, which focuses on a low-income neighborhood in the Washington Heights section of New York City whose residents rally round each other, features as many as 25 songs – mostly ensemble-based – and six big dance numbers, all done to rap and hip hop stylings. Read more »

Monitor will stay for now

harrison town hall

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


The Town of Harrison, which has received special state aid for the past five years – and, with it, the special attention of a state fiscal monitor – recently tried to disengage itself from that arrangement.

Sorry, not yet, was the state’s answer, according to Mayor James Fife.

“We asked to have our transitional aid shifted to our regular state aid,” Fife told The Observer last week, and, in so doing, have the state end its role of financial overseer. Read more »

OK to build but be careful driving


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent


Carlstadt builder Ed Russo can expand his residential project at Bergen and Schuyler Aves. now that the Kearny Planning Board has signed off on the proposal.

The board, on March 4, voted – despite some reservations about traffic flow – to greenlight the project’s expansion to 311-337 Bergen Ave. with the demolition of several commercial properties and construction of two 3-story buildings with a total of 70 apartments plus 106 parking spaces.

During the board’s hearing on the application filed by Wal Park Associates/Schuyler Crossing Urban Renewal LLC, several board members and a member of the public, Lawrence Handlin, voiced concerns about traffic going in and out of the development. Read more »

Learn good nutrition with Julie at ShopRite

Shop Rite

ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, is hosting a series of nutrition and wellness events for March led by Julie Harrington, in-store registered dietician.

The programs are free and are being held at the Lyndhurst store, 540 New York Ave., for local residents. All programs are open to the public and do not require advance registration unless otherwise noted.

Here’s the list: Read more »

around town


Belleville Public Library, 221 Washington Ave., is offering Storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers every Wednesday at 11 a.m., beginning March 11, and has scheduled a St. Patrick’s Day program for Saturday, March 14, at 2 p.m. For more information, call the library at 973-450-3434.

Belleville Elks Lodge 1123, 254 Washington Ave., announces the following:

  • A corned beef and cabbage dinner will be held Saturday, March 14, 5 to 8 p.m. Admission is $15; $10 for children under age 12.
  • The monthly breakfast is set for Sunday, March 15, 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for children under age 10; and free for children under age 3. In case of inclement weather, the breakfast will be cancelled. Call the lodge at 973-759-9623 to check if the event is still on.


Bloomfield Public Library’s Book Club, 90 Broad St., has released its program schedule for March:

  • An adult craft program is held the second Wednesday of each month, beginning March 11, at 6 p.m. Materials needed: discarded books, magazines, newspapers, paper, scissors, various scissors, various beads, decoupage glue. If you have extra supplies, bring them for the other crafters.
  • Actress Maggie Worsdale portrays Martha Washington March 14 at 2 p.m.
  • Book Club meets Monday, April 6, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m., to discuss “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair. For more information or for help locating a copy of the month’s selection, call the reference desk at 974- 566-6200, ext. 219 or 220.

Through March 14, the library is accepting donations of new or lightly used prom dresses which will be distributed to young women who may otherwise not be able to afford a prom gown. Dresses can be dropped off in the main library. All sizes and styles are welcome.


Holy Cross Church sponsors a trip to Las Vegas, April 29 to May 5. The group departs from Newark Airport Wednesday, April 29, at 7:15 a.m., for a non-stop flight via United Airlines and returns Thursday, May 5, at 6:15 a.m. The group will stay at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino. The $771 per-person cost covers air, hotel and taxes. A $250 per-person deposit is required to guarantee reservations. Call Gina at European Travel, 973-484-4023, or Joan at 973- 481-2434.

Harrison Recreation Department holds Little League, Minor League and Tee-Ball registrations at the Community Center, 401 Warren St., through March 20. All children who are age 5 and will not turn 13 before May 1 are eligible. Children must be age 9 or older to be placed on a Little League team. All returning Little League players must also register. A registration fee is required when the child picks up his or her uniform. For more information, contact the Recreation Department at 973-268-2469.

Harrison’s fifth annual Volleyball Tournament to benefit Project Graduation is set for Thursday, March 19, at 6 p.m., in the gym at Harrison High School. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for ages 5 through 18. Alumni of all ages and teams of teachers, police and firemen, from Harrison and East Newark will play for the grand trophy and for the ultimate goal of raising money for Project Graduation. Now in its 24th year, Project Graduation will provide an allnight, safe and substance-free extravaganza for the Class of 2015. Call Joan McNichol at 973- 482-5050 ext. 1519, for more information.


St. Stephen’s Church, 141 Washington Ave., is selling tickets for a raffle set for Friday, March 20. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $15. For tickets, email cyndie1522@verizon. net or call St. Stephen’s rectory at 201-998-3314.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., announces:

  • “Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” (PG-13 / 123 minutes) will be screened at 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, on the lower level of the Main Library.
  • Celebrate “Cinderella” with screenings of Disney’s classic animated version of the film (G / 74 minutes) Friday, March 20, at 4 p.m., and “Ever After,” (PG-13 / 121 minutes) starring Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston, Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m.

For more information on any of the library’s programs, call the library at 201-998- 2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

Grace United Methodist Church, 380 Kearny Ave., presents a corned beef and cabbage dinner Friday, March 13, 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and under. Take-out orders will be available. Irish Tammie hats with pom-poms will be sold. Visit the church’s Easter and spring fling. For more information, call the church office at 201-991-1132.

Woman’s Club of Arlington meets Tuesday, March 17, at 1 p.m., at the Girl Scout House, 635 Kearny Ave., for an Irishthemed program and members are asked to wear green. Participants are asked to bring the front of holiday and other greeting cards for delivery to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Participants are also asked to bring cookies or candy, which will be distributed to local seniors. Members may also bring a new bra and/or feminine products for “Mardi Bras”, an event inspired by “Distributing Dignity” where volunteers donated business clothes for homeless women going to job interviews. In conjunction with the Arlington EMD, the new bras and/or feminine products will be donated to the women’s shelter, WomenRising, in Jersey City.


A benefit dinner for Jennie Gossweiler-Renna, now in her fifth year with ovarian cancer, will be held March 28, 5 to 9 p.m., at the Amvets post hall, 323 New York Ave. The $45 admission includes dinner, dancing and support for a wonderful person. For tickets, more information, or to make a donation, call Melissa Alfano at 201-736-1584 or visit www.jenniebenefit.myevent.com.

N.J. Meadowlands Commission announces the following programs:

  • “Textural Expression: Letting your Inner Artist Bloom” for teens and adults is set for Saturday, March, 14, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 De- Korte Park Plaza. Participants learn how to use chalk pastels and explore texture and color to create a fantasy inspired landscape. Each participant will walk away with a finished piece. No experience necessary. Pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov and click “Events”. Admission is $15; $12 for MEC members (includes supplies).
  • “The Buzz About Bees” takes place Saturday, March 14, 2 to 3 p.m., at the Environment Center. Join Meadowlands beekeeper Erik Swanson for a family-friendly talk about honeybees, and learn why they are so important and why they are in trouble and check out live bees upclose in an observation hive. Swanson will be selling his Meadowlands honey. Admission is $6; $5 for MEC members. Registration is recommended and appreciated; walk-ins are welcome. To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov and click on “Events”.
  • Third-Tuesday-of-the- Month Nature Walk with the NJMC and Bergen County Audubon Society is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, 10 a.m. to noon, at Harrier Meadow, on Disposal Road, North Arlington. Visitors are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events throughout the year. To register, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greakauk4@gmail.com or call 201-230-4983.

Lyndhurst Girls’ Association hosts a pancake breakfast Sunday, March 22, 8 a.m. to noon, at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. Proceeds go towards maintaining and operating Libbie Lindsay House, a meeting place for Girl Scouts and scout leaders in Lyndhurst. Admission is $5 and tickets may be purchased at the door.

Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst sponsors a children’s Tricky Tray for grades pre-k to 5 Saturday, March 28, at the Senior Citizens building on Cleveland Ave. Admission is $5. Doors open at noon and the raffle begins at 1 p.m. Lunch items will be sold. No outside food is permitted. For tickets or more information, call Janet at 201-935-1208.

The Lyndhurst Health Department holds its biannual Women’s Health Clinic Wednesday, April 1, at 9 a.m. This free event, made possible through a partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center, includes education on breast self-examination, a PAP test and a pelvic exam. The Lyndhurst Women’s Health Clinic is open to all female Lyndhurst residents age 18 and over. Call 201-804-2500 for an appointment.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a St. Patrick’s Day craft program, open to grades 1 to 4, Monday, March 16, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration is required. To register, call the library at 201-804-2478.

The library offers a museum pass for World of Wings Butterfly Museum and Children’s Play Land. The pass can be used for free general admission for up to four people (two adults and two children or one adult and three children). The pass is available in the library’s children’s room to patrons with a valid Lyndhurst Library card. For more information, call the library at 201-804-2478, ext. 7, or email romeo@lyndhurst.bccls.org.

VFW Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a karaoke party Friday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. The hall is available for rental for all occasions. Call the post for more information at 201-939-3080.

Mary Lou Mullins monthly bus trip to Atlantic City to Resorts Casino is set for Sunday, March 29. Cost is $30. Cash return is $30. For reservations and more information, call Mary Lou at 201-939-2186.

Kingsland Lyndhurst AARP Chapter 4866 sponsors its annual entertainment night, Tricky Tray and raffles Thursday, April 16. Doors open at 6 p.m. The show features music of the ‘50s and ‘60s. No alcohol is permitted. Admission is $20. For tickets and more information, call Jo Oleske at 201-438-2118 or Kay Roberts at 201-438- 3611.

North Arlington 

North Arlington Elks Lodge 1992, 129 Ridge Road, hosts a St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinner Tuesday, March 17, 4 to 7 p.m. Cost is $12 for a dinner and $8 for a sandwich. Eat-in or to-go orders will be available.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, announces the following:

  • Basics of Computing  Class meets Mondays, March 16, 23, 30 and April 6, at 6 p.m. each day.
  • A screening of the  documentary “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” is set for Friday, March 20, at 11 a.m. For more information, call the library at 201-955- 5640.

North Arlington Senior Activity Center, 11 York Road, hosts a St. Patrick’s Day celebration Friday, March 13, starting at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast, followed by bingo at 10 a.m., lunch at noon and dancing at 1 p.m. For more information and reservations, call 201-998-5636.


Shelter Love Events hosts a comedy night fundraiser March 14 at The Old Canal Inn, 2 E. Passaic Ave., with proceeds going to help purchase items for Happily Efur After, a not-for-profit, nokill, all-volunteer cat rescue and adoption group. The event features a prize raffle, 50/50 raffle, and the comedic stylings of emcee Jeff Howard, Ken Perlstein, Joe Messina, Paul Goldenberg, Mike Celona and Steve Schwarz. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Food orders and raffle ticket purchases will not be available once the show starts. Tickets are $25, which includes a $5 food voucher. Tickets can be purchased at http://slecomedynight.brownpapertickets.com.

N.A. hiring ex-NJMC boss


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Robert Ceberio, former New Jersey Meadowlands Commission executive director, is poised to find redevelopment opportunities for his former hometown North Arlington.

Since he left his meadows job in December 2010, Ceberio has set himself up as a development consultant under the name RCM Ceberio LLC, with his wife Carol as executive vice president and former longtime North Arlington Mayor Len Kaiser as director of business development.

The RCM website describes the company as a “strategic planning and management consulting firm assisting public and private clients … in terms of projects, plans and policies. We develop strategies to meet changed circumstances, new technology, new competitors, a new economic trend, or a new social, financial or political environment.” Read more »

Brothers exit, United Water enters

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Now that Kearny has lost its top two administrators of its water utility, town officials concluded they had no choice but to tender day-to-day responsibilities for now to United Water.

Last Tuesday, after hearing a presentation by Chris Riat, senior director of environmental services for the Harrington Park firm, the Town Council voted to award an emergency contract.

The resolution says the contract is “to operate and manage the town’s water system for a minimum of 90 days until a permanent operations and management services agreement can be solicited and awarded.” Read more »