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Category: News

Teen bound for Far East



A Belleville High School freshman will be spending part of the summer in Japan.

Andrea Romero is one of 10 American high school students from the around the U.S. to be accepted into the TOMODACHI Japan Society Junior Fellows Leadership Program, a cultural immersion and learning project.

The students will stay with host families in the Tokyo metropolitan area and learn the basics of the Japanese language while attending local high schools and join in afterschool sports and activities. Read more »

Council seat filled; 5 cops promoted


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Marytrine DeCastro was seated as the newest member of the Kearny Town Council and five members of the Kearny Police Department were promoted last Tuesday.

Selected by members of the Democratic County Committee to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Alexa Arce Jan. 5, DeCastro will serve through the November general election, at which point she plans to run for the two years remaining in Arce’s unexpired term.

An occupational health nurse currently working at the Daily News plant in Jersey City, DeCastro has lived 19 years in the First Ward which she now represents, along with Councilman Albino Cardoso. She will chair the council’s Lighting Committee and will serve on the License, Transportation and Beautification Committees and as liaison to the Civil Rights Commission. Read more »

Township has Roche land but no developer


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Belleville is taking the vacant 18.5-acre Roche Diagnostics parcel at Franklin Ave. and Mill St. off the owner’s hands in hopes of putting itself in a position to market the environmentally compromised site.

As part of the deal, according to Town Attorney Tom Murphy, Roche has agreed to provide $5 million to be applied toward the cleanup of the site, once the location of a copper mine with arsenic byproducts.

Most of that money would be placed in a trust account to be dedicated to the remediation effort and the township will look to have some discretionary use of the balance, Murphy said. Read more »

Learn more about tax appeals


With the April 1 deadline looming for filing municipal tax appeals, the Town of Kearny is offering local homeowners a chance to learn more about the process with a free Tax Appeal Seminar.

The event will be held Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m. in the top-floor council chambers at Town Hall, 402 Kearny Ave.

John Peneda, the town tax assessor, and Salvatore Roccaro of Castano Quigley LLC, the town’s legal representatives, will talk about property tax assessments and appeals. They’ll also explain how to file an appeal and what is needed to do so. Read more »

Dr. Mark Schachman joins Smile Center

Dr. Blair Schachtel of The Smile and Implant Center welcomes Dr. Mark Schachman to his practice in Kearny. Dr. Schachman is a board certified endodontist and has joined the dental practice as part of the Center’s team of specialists. The Smile and Implant Center is a unique practice which offers not only general and cosmetic dentistry but also all dental specialties in one location (periodontics, pedodontics, oral surgery, and endodontics) and a dental anesthesiologist offering IV sedation and general anesthesia for pediatric and dental phobic patients.

Dr. Schachman received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Dental School, in 1987. He practiced general and restorative dentistry for two years followed by an additional two-year post graduate residency in endodontics from New York University College of Dentistry. He has had a practice limited to endodontics in New Jersey since 1993. Dr. Schachman is a diplomat of the American Board of Endodontics and former district director of the American Association of Enzootics. He is a clinical attending in endodontics at both Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Morristown Medical Center where he gives lectures, presentations and clinical instruction on various topics of endodontic therapy.

For more information on Dr. Schachman or any of the services offered by The Smile and Implant Center, call 201-991-1055 or visit www.TheSmileandImplantCenter.com and www.Sedation.NJ.

Early, late and Saturday appointments are available for your convenience.

around town


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

The Woman’s Club of Belleville meets the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at their clubhouse, 51 Rossmore Place. Prospective members are welcome. For more information, contact Terry Landon at 973-751-6529.

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

  • A corned beef and cabbage dinner will be held on Saturday, March 14, from 5 to 8 p.m. Admission is $15 and $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, feel free to bring them for the other crafters.
  • Actress Maggie Worsdale portays Martha Washington March 14 at 2 p.m. Through March 14, the library is accepting donations of new or lightly used prom dresses which will be distributed to young women who might otherwise not be able to afford a prom gown. Dresses may 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 Newark Airport Wednesday, April 29, at 7:15 a.m., for a nonstop 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 announces Little League, Minor League and Tee-Ball registrations will be held at the Community Center, 401 Warren St., through March 20. All children who are age 5 and will not turn age 13 before May 1 are eligible to register. Children must be age 9 or older to be placed on a Little League team. All returning Little League players must also register at this time. 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.


The Kearny High School Athletic Hall of Fame Committee is seeking candidates for induction at a dinner to be held in November. Nominees must have graduated at least five years ago.

Teams to be inducted at a dinner to be held at the Lithuanian Catholic Community Center April 17 will include the 1977 boys soccer team, 1985 boys baseball team, 1980 girls relay team, 1986 boys lightweight crew team, 1980 girls basketball team and the 1968 football team.

For information on the team dinner or on nominating individuals, contact John Millar at 201-955-5051 or Zibbie Viscuso at 201-998-5961.

Kearny UNICO meets Wednesday, March 4, at 7 p.m. To arrange to attend, contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409. Kearny UNICO is a member chapter of UNICO National, the largest Italian American service organization in the U.S.

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. Tickets cost $15. For tickets email cyndie1522@verizon. net or call St. Stephen’s rectory at 201-998-3314.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., announces the following programs:

  • A new series of Lego Robotics Workshops, for children in grades 2 and up, will meet for four weeks on Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m., beginning on March 11 on the lower level of the Main Library.

Class size is limited and registration is required. While the library is contributing most of the funding needed, there will be a $10 registration fee per child for the four-week session. Registration is currently open online by following this link: http://www.blockscool.com/class-locations/ kearny-public-librarykearny- nj.

Make sure you apply coupon code ‘kpl0315’ at the check-out screen to get a special discounted rate. Call the library or stop in if you have any issues with the registration system. Register soon to save your spot!

  • A free screening of the blockbuster sequel Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (PG-13 / 123 minutes) is set for 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13 on the lower level of the Main Library. For more information on any of our many programs, call the library at 201-998-2666 or visit our website at www.kearnylibrary.org.


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.

Dress in the style of your favorite decade for “Dancing through the Decades” March 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lyndhurst firehouse, 299 Delafield Ave. Admission is $35. All proceeds go to the Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary. For tickets, call Cristy at 201-742-2411.

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 leaders in Lyndhurst. Admission is $5 and tickets may be purchased at the door.

New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (now part of the N.J. Sports & Exposition Authority) announces “Owls Alive,” presented by Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, is set for Sunday, March 8, 2 to 3 p.m., at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park. See some of these amazing nocturnal raptors and learn about these feathered ambassadors’ behavior, physiology, adaptations and natural history. Admission is $8; $6 for Meadowlands Environment Committee members.

Pre-registration is recommended and appreciated.

To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov and click on “Events.”

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 bi-annual Women’s Health Clinic on 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.

Sacred Heart School, 620 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a spring auction Tricky Tray Friday, March 13. Proceeds benefit the Sacred Heart School Margaret Engle Endowment Trust. Tickets are $10 and nonrefundable. Deadline to purchase is March 4. No one under 18 will be admitted and no alcoholic beverages are permitted. For tickets, call Patty at 201-803-9580 or the school at 201-939-4277.

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 for both. 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.

North Arlington 

Hayden’s Heart third annual 5K run/walk is set for Saturday, March 7, at Riverside County Park South. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the 5K run/walk starts at 11 a.m. Entry fee is $35. Hayden’s Heart raises awareness for congenital heart disease and helps families struggling with CHD in their time of need. To register in advance, visit haydensheart.org.

North Arlington Elks Lodge 1992, 129 Ridge Road, hosts a St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinner on Tuesday, March 17, from 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:

  • Irish music performance with Clarence Ferrari begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 7.
  • A screening of the film “From Here to Eternity” is set for Monday, March 9, at 6 p.m.
  • A motorcycle jacket themed photography exhibit by Bobby Travieso is on display at the library through March 7. The exhibit includes photos of people of all walks of life wearing the photographer’s old leather jacket along with a brief statement about who the person is and how they came to put on the jacket. For more information, visit Travieso’s website www.hairyhand.net.
  • Sit and Stitch Knitting  and Crochet group meets Tuesday, March 10, at 7 p.m.
  • Basics of Computing Class meets Mondays, March 16, 23, 30 and April 6, at 6 p.m. each day. For more information, call the library at 201-955-5640.

North Arlington High School Crew announces its 2015 season kick-off party fundraiser Saturday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m., at the Pourhouse, 584 Ridge Road. The $40 admission includes three hours of open bar, light food and music. Bring your family and friends (age 21 and over). 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 needed by Happily Efur After, a not-for-profit, no-kill, 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.

Decastro picked


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


It’s all over but the swearing in – which was scheduled to happen at the next meeting of the mayor and Town Council on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Marytrine DeCastro was to be installed as the newest member of the governing body, filling the seat formerly occupied by First Ward Councilwoman Alexa Arce, who resigned Jan. 5 with three years remaining in her four-year term.

DeCastro emerged as the uncontested winner following a closed ballot vote by members of the Kearny Democratic County Committee last Tuesday at the Frobisher American Legion post, according to committee chairman Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos. Sonia Hill and Jenny Mach were also up for the job.

County committee members last month submitted the names of all three candidates, from which the Town Council was to appoint one. But, after the council failed to reach a consensus at its Feb. 2 meeting, the selection – as determined by Town Counsel Greg Castano – was tossed back to the county committee.

Of the 59 committee members (there’s one vacancy), 43 participated in the voting, after each of the nominees was given an opportunity to introduce themselves and field questions, Santos said.

Only a simple majority was required of the victor and, according to Santos, DeCastro easily outdistanced her competitors.

Hoping to capitalize on their willingness to be put forward for civic duty to the town, Santos said Mach, a Tenafly middle school physical science teacher, and Hill, a state-certified patient access representative for St. Barnabas Hospital, were offered positions on the Kearny Library Board and Kearny Planning Board, respectively. As of last week, they were still considering the offers, he said.

DeCastro currently serves on the Kearny Board of Health and Santos said that the town was researching whether she could continue doing that while sitting as a member of the Town Council. Her term on the Board of Health runs through Dec. 31, 2015.

DeCastro will serve on the council through the November general election, at which point she said she plans to seek election in hopes of keeping her First Ward seat by filling out the remaining two years of Arce’s unexpired term.

A registed nurse and the single parent of two children, DeCastro has served on the town’s Beautification and Environment Committee and Juvenile Conference Committee. Her sister, Lyla DeCastro Lawdanski, is a part-time mayoral aide.

Asked if she was surprised by the county committee vote results, DeCastro said: “Very much so,” adding that both Mach and Hill “are fantastic and I am looking forward to working with them, my First Ward council colleague Albino Cardoso and the other council members.”

She added that she was grateful for “the opportunity to represent my First Ward constituents” and to “offer my dedication – along with the rest of the council – to promoting the Kearny community and to seeing local businesses thrive.”

Among the projects affecting members of the First Ward she plans to monitor is the planned upgrade of Pettigrew Playground at Highland and Woodland Aves. which is due to be put out to bid later this year.

“It’s been recommended that the age range for that playground’s use be expanded from 2 to 5, to 2 to 12,” De- Castro said, “and there will be another public meeting coming up to hear community suggestions on the types of play facilities that might be appropriate. There’s been one recommendation made, for example, for a rock climbing wall.”

Councilman Cardoso said he, too, looked forward to working with his new First Ward partner. “I think we will make a good team,” he said, “and I would have been very honored to serve with any of the three nominees.” Council President Carol Jean Doyle, who said she’s gotten to know DeCastro and her family members from their having worked on prior political campaigns, recalled that DeCastro was asked to consider running for Town Council 10 years ago, “but at the time she was the parent of two young children and she was going to nursing school,” so that never happened.

“Now, I’m happy to say, she’s ready,” Doyle said. “But the other two ladies were great candidates, too, and I hope they’ll accept the offer to serve on our boards because we need people who are interested in the future of Kearny and we’re lucky to have them.”

Gov.’s veto leaves UEZ up the creek


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Farewell, Farmers’ Market? No more Doggie Halloween Pawrade?

Maybe sooner than you think.

Kearny’s Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) program, which sponsors those events, has been left on life support, now that Gov. Chris Christie has squelched a legislative proposal to revive its funding.

Kearny is the only community in The Observer’s coverage area which has a UEZ, of which there are 32 around the state.

Businesses in designated UEZ zones continue to offer a 3.5% sales tax (discounted from 7%) to their customers and are still eligible for low interest loans for tax-free capital improvements or equipment purchases but some four years ago, Christie froze the return of the sales tax balance to UEZ municipalities.

From that point on, those municipalities could no longer tap that revenue flow to facilitate improvements or services designed to benefit the local business district.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus) sponsored a bill (A3952) which would have restored 30% of the sales tax to a UEZ assistance fund for municipal use but Christie vetoed it, preferring to deposit the entire tax revenues – projected to reach $287 million by 2018 – into the state budget.

“We’re disappointed,” Mayor Alberto Santos said. “Kearny’s UEZ program will be running out of funds and this will have an impact on future business investment and job creation.”

The UEZ concept came about in 1983 under legislation signed by Republican Gov. Thomas Kean to help offset the impact of many mom and pop businesses in urban communities being supplanted by suburban malls.

Three years later, Kearny formed its UEZ with the aim of reviving the Kearny Ave. business district and other outlying commercial areas and Town Council President Carol Jean Doyle credited local UEZ Director John Peneda with “parlaying our UEZ receipts to best use” to keep small businesses afloat.

“Now you see some empty store sites along Kearny Ave. but John Peneda has worked hard to get people to shop locally at a time when we need it the most,” said Doyle.

And while Kearny’s UEZ – like its counterparts around the state – can no longer rely on annual replenishments of its fund, the program has been functioning – on a more limited basis – with accumulated reserves of about $1.8 million. Today, there are 160 local businesses registered in the UEZ.

For 2015, the UEZ board, with consent from the town’s governing body, had budgeted $137,000 – money left over from its project fund account for the lion’s share (the town paid the rest) of three walking cops for Kearny Ave. and a sweeper and driver to clean Kearny Ave.

However, the actual costs came to about $160,000 for the cops plus $96,000 for the clean sweep for a total of about $256,000, putting the account about $119,000 in the hole, Peneda said. “That meant, for the first time, we had to dip into our reserves.”

“If no new funding comes in [via state legislation],” Peneda said, “we may have to put the brakes on these projects or cut back in some way, like reducing the number of cops we pay for.”

As for projects that have come to be consistently associated with UEZ sponsorship, such as the Kearny calendar, Kearny magazine, the Farmers’ Market and Town-Wide Yard Sale, Peneda said those are being paid for though a separate account for town marketing programs, “for which we have about $35,000 left.”

However, he said, there is no money available at this point to pay for Christmas tree lighting and decorations and it’s likely the UEZ board will be coming before the Town Council by mid-year to request a new allocation.

Peneda said the UEZ has “close to $240,000” allocated for loans to UEZ businesses offered at an interest rate of 4.5% for capital improvements and/or equipment purchases for those businesses. “We’re still getting some money back on outstanding loans,” he said.

Back when the town’s UEZ was still receiving annual sales tax revenues, Peneda said that, “$3 million a year [in new revenues] was probably a high point for us.”

During the program’s first decade, “66% of our projects – which accounted for expenditures of $19 million – were for brick and mortar items such as the Kearny Ave. streetscape and paving and the Seller St. storm water drainage,” he said.

Without a renewal of annual funding cycles, however, eventually the well will run dry, Peneda conceded. “It all depends on what our board does. If they decide to continue full funding of our existing projects, we might last four or five years. If they cut back, maybe we’ll last seven or eight years.”

Here’s what UEZ looks like now

What are Kearny’s Designated Zone boundaries?

The Zone is approximately 1,193 acres, 1.86 sq. mi. or 20% of Kearny’s landmass.

Essentially, it consists of all, or parts of: the South Kearny Peninsula, Kearny/ Passaic/Midland/Schuyler Avenues, the Belleville Turnpike, Newark-Jersey City Turnpike (Harrison Ave.), the Sellers/O’Brien Street area, and areas east of Schuyler Ave.

Most liquor stores don’t check IDs


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent

In 2013, the Hudson County Coalition for Drug Free Communities (HCCDFC) conducted a test at a number of liquor stores in Kearny, Harrison and East Newark to see how many would check the age identification on young customers. Most of those visited failed to do so, the coalition reported.

The results were published, along with reminders that 21 is the legal drinking age in New Jersey.

A year later, the experiment was repeated at the same stores, and several additional venues. And in 2014, the majority — 63% — of vendors visited still flunked.

Both tests were conducted on Dec. 30, the eve of New Year’s Eve — “a holiday largely associated with excessive drinking.” You would think vendors would be especially wary. That they apparently were not is disappointing.

The coalition issued the results of its December 2014 survey earlier this month, with a comparison to the earlier experiment.

In 2013, 11 stores selling liquor in West Hudson were visited, and eight failed to ask for proof of age. “At that time,” the coalition reported, “we chose a staff member in his early 20s. Though this HCCDFC member was of legal age, he had boyish features and was dressed in a college sweatshirt and sneakers. We did not try to conceal his age.” However, as a coalition spokesperson noted last year, “Based on his appearance alone, his age would be hard to determine.”

[Editor’s note: It is important to clarify that the coalition was not actually breaking the law. The purchasers in both tests were over 21.]

“Exactly a year later,” the coalition statement said, “a 22 year-old female coalition representative was chosen to purchase alcohol from local stores. She too was dressed in a college sweatshirt and her age was not concealed.

“She visited the same 11 stores from 2013 along with five new locations.


Hudson County Coalition Above and Top Photo: Some of the products purchased by the Hudson County Coalition representative.

Hudson County Coalition
Above and Top Photo: Some of the products purchased by the Hudson County Coalition representative.

“Of the 16 stores that she purchased alcohol from, 10 sold her alcohol without properly checking her identification. This amounts to nearly 63% of vendors not requesting identification before selling her alcohol.”

There was a slight improvement in compliance, 37% of the stores asking for ID, as compared with 27% in 2013. But, “it is still an alarming rate.”

As with the 2013 experiment, the coalition is not publicly naming the 2014 noncompliant liquor stores. Part of the reason: to prevent minors from learning where they might illegally obtain alcohol. But, in addition, the coalition does not want to assume law enforcement’s role.

“Informing the local police is more effective,” said Karena Malko of Hudson County’s Partners in Prevention. “The ABC [Alcoholic Beverage Control] can then speak to it directly.”

Malko noted that the coalition works with law enforcement, offering free TAMs [Techniques of Alcohol Management] training to liquor store employees.

“We are constantly running TAMs training,” she said, noting that classes have been held “in just about every municipality in the county.”

The training consists of a single 3- to 4-hour class, providing, the coalition said, “the skills and information necessary for the prevention of illegal sale of alcohol beverages to underage persons.”

There is a limit of 30 students per class, and it is first-come, first-served, Malko said. Alcoholic beverage license holders are notified by mail of upcoming sessions, and police departments also circulate flyers, she said.

Because the classes fill up fast, she urged early sign-ups when a license holder is contacted.

The coalition continues to emphasize that “supplying alcohol to minors is a serious offense that can incur infractions to liquor license holders who choose to ignore it.”

According to New Jersey’s ABC Handbook: “If there is any doubt that the purchaser is under 21 years of age, the sale should not be made. Licensees have the right to refuse a sale if they believe a purchaser is under the age of 21. A license which has four such violations (of providing alcohol to a minor) within two years presumptively will be revoked.”

The coalition says it has “prioritized underage drinking as a primary public health concern” because of a “high correlation rate of injury and social consequences, including but not limited to: binge drinking, driving while intoxicated, alcohol poisoning and high-risk behavior.”

It is urging additional and closer monitoring of liquor vendors statewide and would like to see implementation of store policies to require proof of age for anyone who appears to be under 30.

[Personal note: There is a store in North Arlington that requires anyone buying cigarettes to produce ID. Your correspondent finds this flattering. That venue has a strict age-limit policy; why can’t others enforce the law, for cigs and liquor?]

For more information about the Hudson County Coalition, visit www.hudsoncountycoalition.org.

News in brief


He is still seeking approvals to expand his residential project at Bergen and Schuyler Aves. in Kearny but in the meantime, the town’s governing body has taken the first step to grant Ed Russo a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxation) for 311-337 Bergen Ave., which is designated as part of an area in need of redevelopment.

Under the proposed 30-year PILOT agreement, Russo would pay the town an annual “service charge” starting at $179,375 (of which the town would receive $170,406 and the county the rest) and escalating over the 30 years, provide a one-time only affordable housing trust fund contribution of $125,000 and repave a section of Bergen, from Schuyler to the railroad trestle.

Town officials listed the current real estate taxes on the properties, now occupied by commercial tenants, as $57,476, of which the town’s share is $20,116.

A public hearing on an ordinance proposing the PILOT, that was introduced Feb. 10, was up for adoption Feb. 24 and the town Planning Board will continue hearing testimony on the proposed expansion project on March 4.


Canine advocates have pressed for lights and municipal staff to clean the grounds and monitor dogs’ behavior for the soon-to-come Kearny dog park in Riverbank Park but they’ll be disappointed.

But Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle said the town can’t afford to hire any additional staff, nor does it want to illuminate the facility since municipal parks close at dusk.

These and other recommendations were made at a recent meeting called by Doyle to give the public one final chance for input on the design for the facility. Neglia Engineering is finalizing bid specifications for the project for which the town has been awarded $175,000 from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund.

“People want the fence [around the area where unleashed dogs can run] to be higher than four feet and it will be,” Doyle said, “but we don’t want it to look like cages.”

Other park features will include two pooper scooper stations “with individual plastic bag dispensers,” one for the area to enclose smaller dogs up to 35 pounds and another for the area reserved for dogs heavier than 35 pounds, plus trash cans, Doyle said.

“There will be a concrete path to accommodate wheelchairs and two parking spaces dedicated to impaired drivers,” she said. “There are also plans to plant about six more trees.”

“Shovels should be in the ground by the spring,” Doyle predicted.


After six days of hearings spread over five months, the Nutley Zoning Board of Adjustment has finally approved plans for a mixed-use development at the intersection of Passaic and Kingsland Aves. and Kingsland St. where a 7-Eleven was to be built before plans fell through.

Last month, after the applicant twice scaled back his design, the board issued approvals for North American Eagle Construction to tear down a fire-damaged 3-family house, an old gas station and a one-family home in disrepair and build a 3-story structure with 600 square feet of ground-level office space and 25 rental apartments above.

Final plans call for three one-bedroom apartments on the ground/plaza level, 14 one-bedroom units on the second floor and eight one-bedrooms on the third floor. No more than three school-age children are projected to be among the residents. Apartments will range from 660 to 1,130 square feet each. A total of 41 parking spaces – one more than required by code – will be provided.

Existing multiple driveways to and from the project site will be consolidated into one to be located more than 100 feet from the intersection and at least 16 evergreen trees and/or shrubs will be planted to cover the entire west side of the site.