web analytics

At long last, Coptic Church wins right to build dome

Photo courtesy by Ron Leir/ Rev. Luke Istafanuos and parishioner exchanged congratulatory hug after zoning board vote.

 

By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent

BELLEVILLE –

After many months and hundreds of pages worth of testimony, St. Mary & St. Mercurius Coptic Orthodox Church has gotten the OK from the Belleville Zoning Board of Adjustment to build a 45-feet-high domeshaped Youth Center and parking garage next to the church on Academy Street.

But the project won’t happen anytime soon, according to the church’s attorney Frank Cozzarelli.

“We’ve still got to go (to the Planning Board) for site plan approval so there’s quite a distance to construction,” Cozzarelli said.

And there could be further delay if an appeal of the zoning board’s 7-0 decision last Thursday night is filed by the primary opponent of the project – Rutgers Court LLC – represented by Hackensack attorney Joseph Fiorenzo.

But, for the moment, the church is savoring its victory in a protracted hearing process stretching from November 2011 which lawyers for both sides conceded, was marked by their “contentious” behavior. At one recent hearing, for example, after Fiorenzo objected to the use of an exhibit by the applicant, Cozzarelli grabbed the posterboard drawing and tossed into onto a bench in the audience in disgust.

Thursday night, however, both adversaries were calm and collected as they presented lengthy summaries of their clients’ positions as a full house of church members, objectors and observers – including Mayor Ray Kimble – sat in rapt attention.

Fiorenzo hammered away at the same issues he’d raised during the hearings: the 126 spaces proposed – 96 in the garage and 30 outside, to be shared with the adjacent Public Library – were “woefully inadequate” based on the space taken up by the proposed chapel, meeting rooms, computer rooms, kitchen and other ancillary uses within the dome structure.

Inside the garage, the size of the proposed parking stalls was also “inadequate,” Fiorenzo said.

Plus, the seven bulk variances being sought represented a “massive expansion of a non-conforming structure in the middle of a residential neighborhood” and “massive deviation from the township zoning code,” Fiorenzo added. In addition, the church, the attorney asserted, had “made no effort to mitigate” the impact the dome would have on its neighbors, blocking light and air, adding more traffic to an already congested area and posing a threat of flooding from storm water runoff.

Fiorenzo urged zoning board members to ask themselves, “How would you feel if you woke up one morning and found a massive building next to your home?”

While a church can be considered an “inherently beneficial use” to a community, Fiorenzo said, “the (thrust) of this application is about much more – this is, in effect, a community center for which you (board members) must undertake a separate analysis of its non-core functions.”

Based on such an analysis, the project “is not appropriate for the site.”

“There’s only one conclusion you can come to,” Fiorenzo reasoned. “It’s a nobrainer. This application is so materially deficient that this application has to be denied.”

In light of what he called the application’s “substantial deviation” from the township’s zoning regulations, if the zoning board sees fit to grant the land use variances requested, “You might as well tear (those laws) up and throw them away,” the attorney declared.

“I ask you (board members) to send a message that our ordinances mean something…. Deny this application,” Fiorenzo said.

Speaking for the applicant, Cozzarelli dismissed his opponent’s arguments, telling the board that, “What you’ve heard is a wish list of what the standards are, according to the objector.” But, he added, the facts are otherwise.

In this case, Cozzarelli said, a church is considered a “conditional” – not a “non-conforming” use – in the zoning designated for the Academy Street site and, therefore, the zoning standards are more relaxed than Fiorenzo would have the board believe, he suggested.

As for the parking, Cozzarelli insisted that the number of spaces being provided is enough to cover the need. “The computations are accurate,” he said. If anything, the lawyer said, the dome garage will take cars off the street so it will “not bother the neighbors.” In fact, he added, the Coptic Church will be “one of the few churches in Belleville that provide (on-site) parking.”

Traffic in and out of the dome garage, he said, will be controlled “in and out of Academy Street, all in a safe and convenient way.”

Because the church is planning functions in the dome on a fixed weekend and Wednesday night schedule, there will “not be a steady flow of traffic in and out of the area,” Cozzarelli added.

The size of the garage parking stalls are the same as those in the Belleville Municipal Building’s parking lot, he noted.

There will be storm management controls put in place that will prevent any flooding of neighbors’ properties, he said.

Yes, Cozzarelli acknowledged, the dome will be big in scale but so are hospitals, apartment buildings and senior citizen housing, which, he said, are also permitted in this zone.

Construction of a monolithic dome structure, said Cozzarelli, is probably unique in New Jersey and “is comparable to the Pantheon” and a significant historical architectural feature.

By granting this application, he said, the board can “recognize a faith that predates Christianity, people who were chased from their homeland and who were persecuted around the world. We can now offer them a safe haven to practice their faith.”

In its public deliberations, before voting, the board – at the behest of its chairman A. J. Del Guercio – drafted a list of conditions which Del Guercio said the applicant would have to meet if it was granted the variances – which, in fact, the board, without argument, did grant.

Under those conditions, the church will be required to provide a 15-foot setback on the west side yard; devise an “obstruction-free” passage for cars in the garage; provide a fire suppression system on the parking deck; install bollards in the rear of the site; allow no vehicular access to Rutgers Court except for funerals and weddings; provide an electronic gate for the garage and strategically post security cameras; hire a police officer for a security detail after services; ensure that the thickness of the dome columns meets industry standards.

After the board vote, the largely partisan audience broke into applause and cheered. The Rev. Luke Istafanous, one of two priests assigned to the Coptic Church, said: “We are so happy and thankful to the zoning board. This will definitely help the community (since) the Coptic Church promotes morals and good standards of life.”

A church member holding her child said the board’s decision “means a lot. The church is our second home. It’s a safe place for our kids to be and to hear the voice of God.”

‘80s dance at Kearny LCCC for scholarship fund for late Kardinal wrestler

Photo by Jim Hague/ Arthur Rozzelle (l.) and his wife, Irma, hold a picture of their son, Dawayne, in his Army uniform. Dawayne, a standout wrestler during his days at Kearny High, died in 2007 and there will be an ‘80s dance to raise money for the scholarship fund in his honor.

 

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

In February of 2003, Kearny High School wrestler Dawayne Amos Rozzelle enjoyed the biggest Cinderella story perhaps in the history of the Kardinals’ program.

Dawayne Amos Rozzelle entered the NJSIAA District 16 tournament that year with a sub-.500 record and a low seed in the tourney, but he managed to overcome the odds to capture the district gold medal. It was clearly the shining moment in Dawayne’s young athletic life and a moment that is forever remembered in Kearny wrestling folklore.

“That’s who Dawayne was,” said his father, Arthur Rozzelle. “He was a hard worker and an overachiever.”

Almost four years later, on Feb. 13, 2007, Dawayne Amos Rozzelle was gone, dying tragically at the tender age of 22.

Rozzelle was in his second tour of duty with the United States Army, having served 18 months in Iraq and more than three years overall. He was preparing for his next deployment out of Fort Lewis in Washington, but then flew off to Hawaii and for some unknown reason, he took his own life.

“We always wondered what we could have done,” Arthur Rozzelle said. “He was battling things we weren’t aware of. He was our first born. No one prepares you for that. Of course, the military had to have some effect on him. I served in the Marine Corps, so I know what goes on, but it’s hard to blame the military. We’ll always wonder.” “

When he was home the last time during the holidays, we did notice a little struggle in him,” said his mom, Irma. “I just saw him fighting to be himself. He was always the one who wanted to talk to everyone. It’s still hard for us.”

While Dawayne was living in Kearny, attending Kearny High, inspiring others with his never-ending desire to improve, he left an indelible legacy. He was a volunteer coach for the Kearny Recreation wrestling program, constantly giving of his time to help younger kids reach the success that he did as a District 16 champion. He was loved and beloved by all.

“I’ve had people tell me stories about my son that I did not know,” Arthur Rozzelle said. “You hear about the people he touched and it’s amazing. He was a very humble kid who didn’t want credit for what he was doing. He did what he was supposed to do, not what he was told to do. The end was not what we wanted or what we expected, because he was certainly on the right path.” “

He was a great kid,” Irma Rozzelle said. “Anyone who had him in their lives was lucky, because he was just a great kid.”

Since Dawayne’s untimely passing, the Rozzelle family has been working hard to raise money to keep Dawayne’s memory alive. They organized the D.J.A.R. Scholarship Fund (for Dawayne Joel Amos Rozzelle), to award scholarships to graduating Kearny High School seniors to assist with the cost of attending college, university or a trade school.

The scholarship is presented annually, preferably to a wrestler, who displays a lot of the character traits that made Dawayne Amos Rozzelle the special young man he was.

“We look for that,” Arthur Rozzelle said. “We look for the kid who no one expected to do well, who gives 100 percent and achieves, a lot like Dawayne did.”

On Saturday, Sept. 15, from 8 p.m. to midnight, there will be a special ‘80s dance at the LCCC on Davis Avenue in Kearny to help raise money for the D.J.A.R Fund.

Tickets for the event are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

The response to the dance has been outstanding thus far.

“It’s really been very overwhelming,” Irma Rozzelle said. “It’s a great feeling to know so many people cared, but it’s been an emotional roller coaster. We want this to just be a big party, a celebration of his life and everyone who was in his life. When he left to join the Army, we wanted to have a big party for him. Dawayne loved to dance and loved to have a good time, so this is a big celebration of life. We don’t want it to be a sad party. We want to just be able to help someone and keep his memory alive at the same time.”

But it has been an emotional time for the Rozzelle family.

“The event is a great and worthy cause, but it conjures up memories as well,” Arthur Rozzelle said. “It’s hard. We’re elated to know that the town is organized in helping and it’s amazing to see the love for Dawayne is still there. But the pain doesn’t stop. It’s with us every day.”

The Rozzelle family had six boys. Son Nathaniel is currently in the Marine Corps. The youngest, Michael, is currently a freshman at Kearny High.

“Michael was only nine when Dawayne died,” Irma Rozzelle said. “He looked up to him so much. And there are so many things that Michael does that reminds us of Dawayne. Having this event is great and I can’t thank people like Carol Manley (the manager of the LCCC) for doing what they’ve done. But it does bring it all back a little. The whole event is emotional. He definitely had a champion in him and we’ll remember that champion.”

But it will also bring people together who remember and love Dawayne Amos Rozzelle five years after his unfortunate passing.

For further information about tickets for the 80s dance party fundraiser to benefit the D.J.A.R. Scholarship Fund, log onto www.djarfund.org or call Irma Rozzelle at (917) 751-0665.

Fighting foes by feeding bellies during ‘A Month of Hope’

Photo courtesy Father Kenneth J. Reihl/ Mrs. Marianne Mackey, Coordinator of the Food Pantry at Queen of Peace Church, stands beside donated food with the Rev. Kenneth J. Reihl.

 

By Jeff Bahr

Observer Correspondent

NORTH ARLINGTON –

The Rev. Kenneth Reihl, senior pastor of North Arlington’s St. Francis Lutheran Orthodox Church, is a man of action and a man who most certainly walks the walk. In answer to long-term unemployment that currently has a stranglehold on America, Reihl spearheaded an idea aimed at lessening the pain of displaced and disillusioned workers.

Deeming the month of September “A Month of Hope,” Reihl is working in conjunction with other area churches and volunteers on a month-long food drive to help families in need.

“Anything helps – any way we can get this out to people is a major plus,” emphasizes Reihl.

The pastor detailed the back-story that prompted him to take action.

“I was looking at the news and became very disgusted when I heard that our government had cut the longterm unemployment across the nation,” said Reihl. “Just alone in New Jersey, we have about 26,000 individuals out of work who are losing their long-term unemployment. That really started bothering me.”

Reihl then spoke of a poignant message that he received on the church’s online prayer-request website and the profound effect that it had on him.

“People from all over can actually just e-mail us to say, ‘Can you pray for us, or can you help us,’ ” explained Reihl. “So one of them not too long ago said, ‘Can you call me back?’ because we leave them that option.”

“The man said his wife had lost her job quite a while ago and that he had just lost his job. They’re going to lose (the place) where they live – I believe they were renting – and they’re going to be out in the street. The wife’s cell phone is the only phone working and that’s going to be cut off as well.”

“I asked, ‘Where do you live brother?’ and he says, ‘Tennessee.’ So I decided to see what I could do for him. I put him in contact with a great company (Spread the Purple) that works with homes and people trying to get them back on their feet and they actually jumped on it trying to help this individual.”

The man’s dilemma hit home with the pastor on a very personal level and underscored how widespread the problem has become.

“Being a Lutheran, I work full time,” Reihl continued. “Well, I lost my (full-time) job in 2008. I have three stepchildren living at my home. It’s very difficult. My wife works many, many hours – much more than she should. Between me working my part-time jobs, it’s just been so hard.”

Wondering what he might do to ease the burden of others in similar distress, Reihl recalled a quandary in which another church had recently found itself.

“I have a friend, Father Richard at Assumption Church up in Woodridge,” said Reihl. “They have a food bank. They were just telling me not too long ago that their food bank ran dry – they had to go out and buy more food to help the food bank!”

“So I decided to start reaching out there to see what we could do. It started with just talking to the local food bank. In North Arlington, it’s Queen of Peace Church.”

Hoping to assist the largest number of people possible, Reihl hatched a plan. “Let me reach out to all the churches in North Arlington,” he thought. To his delight they all jumped onboard with the idea.

“I contacted North Arlington’s Town Administrator, Mr. (Terence) Wall, and he was one hundred percent for it. They’re even giving us a little drop-off spot in (Borough) Hall!”

With this first success under his belt, Reihl’s ideas continued to blossom.

“I just sat there and my bishop was talking to me and it was almost like someone smacked me in the head. I said, ‘Why don’t we take this further?’ ”

So Reihl reached out to Lyndhurst’s St. Michael’s Church which oversees a food bank. He also touched base with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Sacred Heart churches.

Proving when it rains good will it can sometimes pour, Reihl was contacted by other churches in Kearny that had caught wind of the idea. When the Moonachie Fire Department also expressed interest, Reihl realized that he had a bona-fide help-fest on his hands!

While Reihl is respectful, almost to a fault, he has little patience for those who stand idly by on the sidelines and ask, “When are they going to fix this?” He’s quick to point out that “they” are, in fact, “we.” It’s incumbent upon us all to bring about change, stresses Reihl.

“It just takes one act of kindness in the world to make a change. It’s as simple as going into your local Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast and saying to the girl there, ‘Thank you very much.’ That can change her day completely,” says Reihl.

Not surprisingly, the selfless man is quick to credit others over himself.

“This (the food drive) is about all of the people who have done the food banks, day in and day out every single year. They are really working hard to make a difference in people’s lives.”

With that, Reihl delivered a heartfelt plea to our government:

“I don’t care who the president is and I don’t care who the governor is. Whoever it is should step up to the plate and help our people out. We’re all creatures of god – we’re all God’s children. We need to help one another. If our government can’t do it, whether it’s due to a financial burden or something else, then we need to do it ourselves.

The food banks stand at the ready to receive contributions.

“A Month of Hope” seeks donations in the form of canned items, dry goods, bottled water, personal care products, etc.

Individuals are invited to drop food off at any of the following drop-off locations:

Queen of Peace Parish (Food Pantry)

10 Franklin Place

North Arlington Borough Hall

214 Ridge Rd.

Minuteman Press

75 Ridge Rd.

Knights of Columbus

194 River Rd.

Mykonos Restaurant

440 Ridge Rd.

Local churches will also accept food donations. To make a cash donation, or for further information: call 201- 741-0881.

Dancesation dazzles in Disney

Photo by Rhona Siciliano/ Dancesation dancers in the Disney World parade.

 

By Jennifer Vazquez

Observer Contributor

NUTLEY –

Those who know dancers, are familiar with the passion that drives these artists to their chosen art form. A passion that is cultivated through the mere pleasure of dancing not through the number of competitions won. This motto rings true, especially in recent years, to Susan Marrazzo, owner, choreographer and teacher of Dancesation Studios LLC located in Nutley.

Even though Marrazzo, known as “Miss Susan” by her students, finds the atmosphere of competitive dance negative and unappealing to her, she still manages to have a stellar reputation within the dance community — so much so that her dancers have been invited to perform many times in the public spotlight.

The latest of these events, where her dancers dance for the sheer love of it, took place this summer in Florida, when her students participated in Dance The World at The Walt Disney World Resort.

Dance the World is a dance showcase that takes place at The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

According to their website, “performers from around the world” participate in a fourday event where they “will rehearse at Disney’s Fantasia Garden, with Disney and Dance The World choreographers.” According to Marrazzo, there were about 500 dancers from all over the country participating.

The ultimate event for the dancers participating in Dance The World is when they present the dance in a parade for a special performance at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

“It was a great camaraderie for the girls,” Marrazzo said. “The best part was their dads, when seeing them come down Main Street, were crying.”

“It is a great experience for the kids because there is no competition at all,” Marrazzo said. “It is just about performing. My (dancers) were asked to perform in the parade…(the dancers) learned the routine ahead of time, so when we got there we rehearsed with all these other girls and boys from around the country and they got to perform in the big parade.”

 

Though this was the third time Marrazzo and her partners performed in Disney, it was their first time they were invited to perform in the parade.

“The very first time we were invited by Disney was 12 years ago,” she explained. “Once you are first invited to go, you don’t have a problem being invited back. Years ago, we were invited through a competition that the girls were doing…(Disney) has to approve the dance studio and the type of dance that you will do.”

The Disney experience for many of Marrazzo’s dancers is unforgettable.

“I have been dancing in this studio with Miss Susan for about 14 years, and I have pleasant memories of all those performances and classes,” dancer Jillian Lanese, 16, said. “Dancing in Disney with so many others was one of best (memories)!”

Aside from the parade the dancers also took part in a stage performance where they danced their own routine in Disney’s Hollywood Studio. Marrazzo’s dancers range from 11-years-old to high school-aged.

One might ask: what changed Marrazzo’s mind from having her dancers compete (as they initially won a Dance The World invite through a competition) to not competing at all?

“I don‘t do competitions anymore,” she said. “I take my students and we perform at different places. I’m just not a fan of what competitions have become….

“We have a place down in Toms River where my dancers go perform once-a-year their Christmas show,” she said. “It’s nice because they get paid for it and they put that money in their fund so we can travel. They‘ve done the (Macy‘s) Thanksgiving Day Parade.”

Marrazzo explains that their invitation to these well-known events, such as the Thanksgiving Day Parade, was all arranged through word of mouth by people who have seen them perform.

With all these events and their annual recital, which takes place in May, behind them, Marrazzo has no immediate plans for another event. In fact, she says that her dancers are enjoying their time off until classes resume in the upcoming weeks.

Marrazzo has been dancing all her life — from professional dancing to choreography. Dancing is in her blood, so much so that Dancesation Studio LLC is entering its 29th year in business and has staggering 200 passionate students.

Lyndhurst Police Blotter

Sept. 6

A fight brought police to the Kings Court on Riverside Avenue at 9:17 p.m. Police said the fisticuffs developed after a soccer match held at that venue. Police charged Eduaward Gonzalez-Diaz, 35, of Union City, with simple assault and disorderly conduct after they said he sucker-punched a 30-year-old Kearny man while the younger man was sitting on bench at the conclusion of the game. An EMS unit responded and transported the victim to Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, for treatment of a cut nose and a swollen face, police said.

Sept. 5

A resident of the 600 block of Union Avenue called police at 10 a.m. to report a theft. Police said the resident told them he was awakened at 12:50 a.m. by the sound of his dog barking but went back to sleep. Hours later, when he went outside, the resident discovered that someone had entered the porch area and taken a sweatshirt and a pack of cigarettes during the early morning hours, police said. The items taken were valued at $50. Police said they are reviewing images captured by a home surveillance video camera in hopes of finding a lead on a suspect.

Sept. 4

The North Arlington owner of a 2000 Freightliner tractor trailer truck called police at 11:17 a.m. to report the theft of various items from his vehicle. Police said the owner told them the thief got away with four batteries valued at $200 apiece and two battery covers priced at $250 each and also siphoned 40 gallons of fuel worth more than $1,400.

Sept. 2

A Lyndhurst man faces charges after police say he was involved in a motor vehicle accident at Cedar Street and Sanford Avenue at 12:30 a.m. Richard Petty, 31, was issued summonses for DWI and being under the influence of drugs after his 1992 Buick Century reportedly struck three parked cars, causing minor damage to those vehicles. Police said Petty admitted having smoked some marijuana earlier in the evening. Petty, who sustained a cut to his nose as a result of the traffic mishap, was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center for treatment of his injury and for a blood sample. His vehicle was impounded by police.

– Ron Leir

Around Town

Bloomfield

The Bloomfield Art League is accepting new members. Sponsored by the Bloomfield Recreation Commission, the organization is open to all interested in availing themselves of the art league’s many programs, including classes, lectures and demonstrations held at the Civic Center. There are classes for oil painting, pastels, watercolor and drawing, for adults and children. The Bloomfield Art League meets from October till May (except for January) at the Civic Center. There will be two member exhibitions – in November at Green Hill Retirement Community and in March at Crane’s Mill Towne Square Gallery. Members and nonmembers are also invited to show their art at Bloomfield’s Town Paints “Art in the Park” on May 11.

Photographers are also welcome to join. For further information and/or a membership application please contact the Civic Center at 973-743-9074 or send an email to bloomfieldartleague@gmail.com

The Chorus of Communities invites you to join for the fall season! Rehearsals begin Monday, Sept. 24. Auditions for all new members will be held beginning at 7 p.m. Rehearsals are each Monday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church, Belleville. Parking is limited so arrive early! Please check the Chorus of Communities website at www.chorusofcommunities.org for information.

The Chorus of Communities will be performing G.F. Handel’s “Messiah” at St. Peter’s Church, Belleville on Dec. 9.

The Bloomfield Public Library will host a free SCORE seminar, on the topic of Internet Marketing and Social Media on Sept. 25, at 6 p.m. SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, is a nonprofit association, providing free, confidential face-to-face and email business counseling to America’s entrepreneurs. For more information on this event or upcoming programs please call (973) 566-6200, ext 502.

Harrison

Registration is open until Sept. 14 for Harrison Recreation co-ed soccer for grades 1 to 8. For more information, contact the Harrison Community Center, 401 Warren St., Harrison or call 973-268-2469 or 973-268-5859.

Harrison American Legion, 8 Patterson St., will host a tailgate party at on Saturday, Sept. 15, beginning at 6 p.m. The event will include a chicken wing contest and watching the Notre Dame/Michigan State game on a giant screen outside.

Kearny

The First United Methodist Church of Arlington, 601 Kearny Ave., Kearny, will be having a farewell celebration, with a final church service on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 4 p.m. First United Methodist Church is 139-years-old, having been established in October 1873.

Registration is open for the Pathways to Independence Walk-a-Thon, to be held on Saturday, Oct. 6. The hourlong walk will begin at 10 a.m.

To participate, fill out a registration form, then ask friends, relatives or co-workers to sponsor you for the Walk-a-Thon, by pledging a specific dollar amount, $1 to $100 – whatever they want to give. For registration forms, you may visit Pathways to Independence, 60 Kingsland Ave., Kearny (corner of Bergen and Schuyler Avenues) or call 201-997-6155 to have them mailed to you. Registration will also be open the day of the walk at the Schuyler Avenue entrance of West Hudson Park, starting at 9 a.m. To encourage participation in the Pathways to Independence Walk-a-Thon, Investors Bank is sponsoring a free event T-shirt for each participant that turns in $100 or more in pledges. United Way of Essex and West Hudson is sponsoring the tote or sports bag for all participants that finish the race. Pathways to Independence is a not-forprofit organization that has been providing life skills, job training and work for developmentally disabled individuals for the past 35 years and serves Hudson, Bergen and parts of Essex County. For more information, contact Alvin Cox, executive director of Pathways to Independence at 201-997-9371, ext. 18.

Lyndhurst

The Lyndhurst Masonic Club, 316 Riverside Ave., Lyndhurst, will have its annual crab night event on Saturday, Sept. 15, starting at 6 p.m. The event features all-you-can-eat crabs and cole slaw. Chicken will be available for non-seafood lovers. Clams on the half-shell and steamers will also be available. R.S.V.P. by Sept. 8 by calling 201-933-1330.

Lyndhurst Knights of Columbus Communion Breakfast will be held on Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Lyndhurst Senior Building, 250 Cleveland Ave., Lyndhurst. Breakfast will be served from 10 to 11 am. Tickets are $7 each. No tickets will be sold at the door. Pick up tickets at Sacred Heart Rectory, 324 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst, (201) 438 1147 or Contact: Sal Russo (201) 446 7244 or Nick Garafolo (201) 893-2849.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission will host a special free screening of “The Lost Bird Project” on Thursday, Sept. 13, at The Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst, from 7-9 p.m. “The Lost Bird Project” is an acclaimed new documentary about the stories of five birds driven to extinction in modern times and sculptor Todd McGrain’s project to memorialize them. A question-and-answer session will be held afterward with McGrain, director Deborah Dickson, producer Muffie Meyer, executive producer Andy Stern, Jim Wright from the Meadowlands Commission, and Don Torino from Bergen County Audubon Society. The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum will have specimens of the extinct Passenger Pigeon on display at the center. To R.S.V.P., go to http://www.eventbrite.com/ event/3771873776

NJMC will host a pontoon boat tour on Sept. 14, 18 and 20, all starting at 5 p.m. Get an up-close view of the Meadowlands District’s spectacular scenic beauty and wildlife with a two-hour guided pontoon boat cruise of the Hackensack River and its surrounding marshes. Experienced NJMC staff will discuss the region’s human and environmental history and point out birds and other wildlife along the way. Pontoon boat cruises depart from River Barge Park, 260 Outwater Lane, Carlstadt. Admission is $15. The tour is recommended for ages 10 and up. Pre-registration is required. For a complete schedule, directions and to register visit www.njmeadowlands.gov or call 201-460-4640. All are welcome to attend a free program “Should I tell my children and grandchildren to eat the fish and crabs they catch?” at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst to be held on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The topic is safe seafood consumption – how much is enough to affect your health. What is a part per million? Join MEC Director Dr. Angela Cristini as she introduces you to the seafood you eat and discusses the benefits, risks and preparation of seafood. Compete for prizes in our “Marsh Jeopardy” game.

For more information call 201-460-8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec

The Third-Tuesday-of-the- Month Natural Walk will be held on Tuesday, Sept.18, 10 a.m. with the NJMC and Bergen County Audubon Society. This free, two-hour guided nature will take place at the egendary Harrier Meadow in North Arlington. The group will meet at 10 a.m. at the entrance to Harrier Meadow on Disposal Road or at the visitors’ parking lot at De- Korte Park in Lyndhurst at 9:40 a.m. to carpool. Check meadowblog.net for lastminute updates and weather advisories. You will have to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@aol.com or 201- 230-4983.

Lyndhurst Public Library announces Superhero Day, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., for ages three to nine. This event will include superhero stories. Children will also create their own superheroes and make him/her come to life with superhero crafts and activities. There may also be surprise guests (you may want to bring your camera!) Register by calling the library’s children’s room at 201-804-2478, ext. 3 or email romeo@bccls.org.

The Lyndhurst Health Department will hold a breakfast forum hosted by Clara Maass Medical Center. Raylene Languish, A radiation oncology R.N., will be available to discuss and answer questions related to leukemia and lymphoma. The forum takes place Friday, Sept. 21, at 10 a.m. at the Lyndhurst Health Department. Breakfast will be served. Please call 201-804- 2500 to reserve a seat.

North Arlington

North Arlington Elks Lodge #1992 will conduct its annual fund-drive for physically disabled children all-day Saturday, Sept. 15 and Sunday, Sept. 16. Members will be out at locations throughout North Arlington to collect donations from local businesses and residents.

Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus Council #3428, 194 River Road, North Arlington, will have its fifth annual Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy a night of authentic German food, beer and desserts, along with party favors and live music. Tickets must be purchased by Oct. 19, at the Queen of Peace rectory or by calling Nicholas Cerchio at 201-230-3428. Attendees are requested to bring a non-perishable, unexpired food item for the Knights of Columbus Food for Families 1,000 pounds of food collection.

Nutley

Nutley Public Library’s Pen to Prose Writers’ Group will meet on Monday, Sept. 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The group was formed to read works-in-progress, share accomplishments, critique works, give writing instruction, and provide encouragement and inspiration to aspiring authors. The group is free and open to the public.

A horticulture therapy workshop, “The Therapeutic Nature of Plants,” will be held at the library on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 11 a.m., hosted by Master Gardener and Horticultural Therapist Dorothy Beesley. The presentation will include a discussion and slides of beautiful gardens. Attendees will create and take home an ivy topiary. Books and other materials will be available to learn more about this fascinating area of gardening. Registration is required and limited for this event. Call 973-667-0405 ext. 2604 by Sept. 20th to register.

The library will host a book fair workshop, a free presentation on how to have a successful book fair, on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 9 a.m.

Patrons are invited to “Feel the Force” at the library allday Saturday, Sept. 29, when the 501st Legion Star Wars Group visits for Q&A and photos. Registration is not required. Geeks of all ages are welcome. Feel free to dress-up –best-dressed will win a prize.

Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation announces “Project Healthy Bones,” a program through the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services for any person with or at risk of osteoporosis. The program includes exercises that target the body’s larger muscle groups to improve strength, balance and flexibility. The curriculum also has an interactive educational component on the importance of safety, exercise, nutrition, drug therapy and lifestyle factors that relate to osteoporosis.

Physician release form and personal waivers are required. Classes will be held at the Parks and Recreation Department, 44 Park Ave., beginning on Thursday, Sept. 20. Limited space is available and applications will be accepted on a first come-first served basis. There is no fee for classes but participants must purchase a manual and weights for a minimal charge.

Art Workshop for children in grades one to six, will resume at the Nutley Recreation Department, 44 Park Ave., beginning Oct. 6. Classes will be held on Saturdays and will continue for 10 weeks. Please note that class size is limited and applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Online registration will be available at www. nutleynj.org. The registration fee for this class is $30per child. If you are interested in this or any other recreation program, please call (973)284- 4966, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Kardinal grid squad looks to improve after tough loss

Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny looks to improve on the 3-7 record the Kardinals posted last year. From left are linemen Winder Pasache, Nicholas Bellotti, Ryan Michaels, head coach Pete Llaneza, Kyle Griffin and Byron Quevedo.

 

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

It wasn’t exactly the season opener that the Kearny High School football team was looking for, as the Kards dropped a tough 42-6 decision to Columbia last Friday night.

Third-year head coach Pete Llaneza feels that the Kardinals made major strides a year ago, when the Kardinals posted a 3-7 record.

“Looking back, there were a lot of positives last year,” Llaneza said. “We competed better than we did before. Of course, it’s always an uphill battle. We still have a big gap to close, but I think we’ve closed the gap considerably over the two-anda- half years I’ve been here. The kids are athletically committed to the program. We’ve grown in numbers. So I think we’re going in the right direction. Each year, we’re getting 10-to-15 kids with football experience coming into the program.”

Llaneza was happy with the addition of some talented freshmen.

“We have some freshmen who are ahead of our sophomores and juniors,” Llaneza said. “We have a lot of really good kids. They’re working hard and doing what we ask them to do.”

Among the most experienced Kardinals is senior quarterback Eric Greenlee (5-8, 145). Greenlee is in his third year as the Kards’ signal caller.

“That experience definitely helps,” Llaneza said. “He’s an even tempered guy who has been through the wars. He’s been running our offense for three years now, so he knows what he’s doing and what we’re trying to do. He has a good, live arm and he’s tough to rattle. He’s just so even keeled.”

Junior running back Gabriel Xavier (5-11, 180) has also returned. Xavier had some big performances for the Kards a year ago.

“He’s definitely raised the bar during the offseason,” Llaneza said. “He just enjoys playing football and it shows. Mentally, he’s what we’re looking for.”

Junior T.J. Witt (5-10, 190) is the Kards’ starter at fullback.

“T.J. had a great camp and has been working hard,” Llaneza said. “He’s stepped up and has been doing a good job of running the ball. He’s a good football player, a tough, hard-nosed guy.”

The halfbacks are senior Nick Santos (5-8, 160) and junior Jax Angulo (5-5, 140).

“I expect a lot out of Jax,” Llaneza said. “Nick didn’t play football last year, but he had a good summer and he will contribute.”

The Kardinals have four players at wide receiver, namely seniors Miguel Roman (5-9, 160) and Owen Nee (5-10, 170) and juniors Sonny Nash (5-9, 155) and Robert Silva (5-8, 145). Nee owns an interesting story. “

He was a center and tackle last year, but he asked us to take a look at him at split end,” Llaneza said. “He proved he could catch passes, so we are giving him a shot there.”

The Kardinals’ starting offensive line has some size and experience. Senior tackle Winder Pasache (5-8, 205) and senior guards Kyle Griffin (6-3, 265) and Nicholas Bellotti (6-0, 215) are all returning starters. Senior Ryan Michaels (6-0, 215), a standout catcher during the baseball season, is the Kardinals’ starting center, while junior Byron Quevedo (5-10, 205) is the other starter at tackle.

The Kards will use Bellotti and Michaels at defensive end, with Griffin at nose guard. Senior Renato Matta (6-1, 250) will also get considerable playing time at the nose.

Xavier returns to his outside linebacker slot, joined by Nash and junior Jorge Fernandez (5-8, 165). The inside linebackers are Witt, who is a returning starter and was the team’s second leading tackler last year, and Nee, with Pasache and Quevedo getting time at linebacker.

Junior Tim Soto (5-10, 155), who also serves as the team’s backup quarterback, is a cornerback, along with Greenlee and Angulo.

Roman is the team’s safety, where he roams sideline to sideline.

“He does a great job there,” Llaneza said. “Coming into camp, we didn’t think he’d be our free safety, but he made a ton of tackles in our scrimmages. He’s a good guy to support the run.”

The Kardinals have a tough go in the weeks to come, facing Bayonne and the state’s No. 3-ranked team, St. Peter’s Prep, in successive weeks. “

At least both of those games are at home on Friday nights,” Llaneza said. “We definitely have our work cut out for us. But as long as we keep working hard and competing, we’ll be fine. I’m very optimistic. We’re going to play all the teams on our schedule with the idea of working hard and competing. We are getting better each day.”

QP’s Golden Griffins: Rising from the ashes

Photo by Jim Hague/ The Queen of Peace football team enjoyed a huge 40-6 win over Manchester Regional Saturday. From left are Danny Douelfakar, Peter Lorfink, Andrew Gonzalez, head coach Steve Romano, Jesus Martinez, Babatunde Ojo, Bobby Keegan and Michael Akanbi.

 

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

The 2012 high school football season was rapidly approaching and the status of the Queen of Peace program was hanging in the balance. Because of a lack of participation numbers, school officials didn’t know whether to pull the plug on the program or allow the remaining players to continue. It was late August. Time was running out.

“We were in the grave and they were throwing dirt on us,” QP head coach Steve Romano said.

The situation was dire and the rumors were flying fast.

“We had other schools reaching out to our players, telling them to come there if the season was cancelled,” Romano said. “We had five or six kids who were ready to go. The kids were coming to me and asking what they should do. I was always honest with them and told them that I couldn’t stop them from leaving. But they wanted to see it through.”

How worried was Romano?

“I was very concerned, not just for myself, but for the coaches and for the kids who put 10 months of work into it,” Romano said. “I really didn’t know what to expect.”

The school administrators gathered right before Sept. 1 and decided that they were moving forward. Queen of Peace without football would be like taking away the school’s green and gold. It simply could not function without the sport.

Flash ahead to last Saturday afternoon. The Golden Griffins were slated to kick off the 2012 season against Manchester Regional in Haledon. No need for cancellations, postponements, what have you. The Golden Griffins had survived the tough times. They might have been left for dead, but they weren’t dead yet.

The Griffins opened the season with a resounding 40-6 victory.

“It was quite huge,” Romano said. “Normally, in Week One, you need about six minutes of the game to get into it. But these kids were ready. In fact, they were more than ready. If there was ever a group of kids who deserved an outcome like this, it was this group.”

The Griffins received 242 yards and four touchdowns from junior running back Kevin Momnohin, one of two twin brothers in the QP backfield. Momnohin, who amazed everyone by winning the NJSIAA Non-Public B state championship in the 400-meter hurdles in the spring after never having competed in the sport, scored touchdowns of 70 and 52 yards in the first quarter and 30 and 25 in the second.

“He had another 80-yard touchdown called back (because of a penalty),” Romano said. “He was amazing.”

Fullback Tajier Jefferson also scored a touchdown. Quarterback Anthony Villano threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Danny Douelfakar. It was a perfect day.

“I’ve been saying since January, telling the parents, that this was the best group of kids I ever worked with,” Romano said. “They’re all always happy. Their work ethic is tremendous. I knew we could be competitive. It was nice what we did last year. I thought we could build on it.”

The Golden Griffins were 5-5 last season and qualified for the NJSIAA state playoffs in Romano’s second season. The program looked as if it was moving forward.

That’s probably the reason why the players didn’t bolt when times got tough in August.

“They all rallied to it,” Romano said. “They all stuck it out.”

The Griffins feature a roster loaded with juniors, including returning starting quarterback Villano (6-2, 190), who threw for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

“He’s a gamer,” Romano said. “He gives us leadership and poise. When you have a young group like this one, you need that.”

Kevin Momnohin (5-9, 180) is the halfback. What he did on Saturday needs no explanation.

“He’s the real deal,” Romano said. “I watched him in a drill for 10 seconds and I knew he was the real deal. The great thing about him is no matter what, he’s always smiling. He’s the most coachable kid I’ve ever had.”

Jefferson (5-8, 200) is the fullback. He had four receptions for 36 yards to go along with his touchdown run.

“He moves very well for his size,” Romano said. “He runs well and can run you over.”

The wide receivers are Keith Momnohin (5-9, 180), the identical twin brother of Kevin, and Justin Thomas (5-9, 180).

“Keith has good hands and speed,” Romano said. “Justin is a possession-style receiver.”

The tight end is Douelfakar (6-2, 210), whose older brother Rahim was a three-sport standout at Harrison High and is currently playing volleyball at Rutgers-Newark.

Take notice: All of the Golden Griffin skilled position players are juniors.

Senior Bobby Keegan (6-3, 265), currently out of action with an injury, is a four-year starter at offensive tackle. Keegan is getting his fair share of looks from Division I-AA schools (now called FCS schools) as well as Ivy League and Patriot League schools.

The other tackles are juniors Michael Akanbi (6-3, 190) and Peter Lorfink (6-5, 330). The guards are juniors Andrew Gonzalez (5-11, 215) and easily the best name around, Babatunde Ojo (6-0, 210) and the center is – what else? – junior Jesus Martinez (5-8, 185).

Defensively, the Griffins feature Akanbi and Ojo at defensive end, with Lorfink, Gonzalez and fantastic freshman Chima Dunga (6-0, 205) at defensive tackle. Keep an eye on Dunga. He’s a player and a half.

“He has a lot of promise,” Romano said. “I like what I see from him already.”

Thomas, Jefferson and Douelfakar are the linebackers, with Kevin Momnohin and junior Justin Esteves (5-7, 140) at cornerback and Keith Momnohin and Villano at the safeties.

There’s no question that the Golden Griffins cannot afford to get injured.

“Depth is definitely a concern,” Romano said. “But this is a confident group of kids. They’re going to keep focused and keep smiling, that’s for sure. I don’t know a lot about the other teams we’re facing, but I do know we’re going to face some talented teams.”

The Griffins will face Hasbrouck Heights Saturday in a home game at Harrison High School at 1 p.m. The Griffins will play most of their home games at Harrison this season instead of Rip Collins Field, except for when they face North Arlington Oct. 26. That game will be played at Belleville’s Doc Ellis Stadium under the lights.

“I absolutely feel good about this team,” Romano said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Maroon Raiders start Basile era with solid win over rival

Photo by Jim Hague/ The Nutley football team will look to its offensive line to lead the way this season, much like the Maroon Raiders did during their season opening win over Belleville last Friday. From left are Kevin Merkle, Peter Burbank, head coach Tom Basile, Brian Devine, Randy Rauco and Chris Palma.

 

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

After ascending into the head football coaching role at Nutley High School, Tom Basile is getting comfortable with his new responsibilities.

“It is different than being an assistant coach,” said Basile, who spent the last eight years as an assistant to former coach Steve DiGregorio and was tabbed to replace his mentor after DiGregorio resigned to take care of family matters at the end of last season.

“Actually, it’s much easier if I was coming in new,” Basile said. “The kids know me and I know all the kids. In fact, they were the ones who motivated me to take the job. The coaching staff is virtually the same. Steve did a great job with this program. I was only worried with the football end for eight years. I didn’t have to deal with other situations. Now, I do.”

Basile likes the state of his program, which features 60 players, 27 of which are sophomores.

“I like the continuity that we have,” Basile said. “We have 12 seniors, but only four of them have seen action. We don’t have a lot of experience, so there has been a lot of teaching involved. We have a lot of new concepts.”

However, a lot of the things are the same, as the Maroon Raiders began the 2012 season much in the same fashion as the 2011 season ended. Nutley defeated archrival, Belleville, 17-12, in the season opener last Friday night at Doc Ellis Field in Belleville. Nutley defeated the Buccaneers, 49-14, last Thanksgiving Day to close out last season. The two rivals have decided to kick off the new season against each other, eliminating the Turkey Day showdown.

“We’re virtually the same team, but with a few new angles,” Basile said. “We put the option in this year and that may be the basis of our offense. We ran Steve’s offense as well, but now, there’s a little more freedom for the quarterback.”

Basile is using two players at quarterback, namely junior Mark Carnevale (5-11, 175) and sophomore Peter Russo (5-11, 145).

“Both offer different things,” Basile said. “Mark’s a little bigger and throws the ball better. Pete runs the option better.”

The Maroon Raiders have five different players in the backfield with the job of trying to replace standout runners Matt DelMauro and Lou Meggliolaro.

“They were both great players,” Basile said. “One’s playing at Bucknell (DelMauro) and the other (Meggliolaro) is at Kean. They’re going to be really hard to replace.”

Seniors John Milici (5- 9, 170) and Will Paro (5-8, 180), junior Joe Iannini (5-6, 165) and sophomores Vinnie Maniero (5-9, 180) and Kevin Goudie (5-9, 150) have all been sharing the duties, but Basile likes what he sees from Maniero.

“He seems to have a great knowledge of the game and can be our game-breaking threat,” Basile said.

The fullback is senior returning starter Nick Scherer (5-10, 200), who will get the chance to carry the ball a lot more this year with DelMauro and Meggliolaro gone.

The wide receivers are senior Sal Gabriele (5-10, 160) and junior Ryan McGlone (5-11, 170), with senior Alec Silverstein (6-1, 210) at tight end.

The offensive line is basically new, with senior Kevin Merkle (6-4, 245) the lone returning starter at tackle.

“He’s getting a lot of looks from (NCAA) Division II schools,” Basile said of Merkle, the younger brother of former standout Chris, who started his college career at Stony Brook and ended in 2009 at Montclair State.

The other tackle is junior Chris Palma (6-0, 250). Senior Peter Burbank (6-1, 245) and junior Randy Rauco (6-2, 235) are at guard. Rauco is the younger brother of former Observer Female Athlete of the Year Kelly Rauco.

Junior Brian Devine (5-9, 190) is the starter at center. Basile likes the way his line came along during the preseason scrimmages.

Defensively, the Maroon Raiders will use a 4-3 defensive set, with Merkle and Devine at defensive end and Burbank and Palma at defensive tackle.

Senior Lou Gallicchio (5- 10, 235) returns to his slot at middle linebacker, flanked by Scherer and sophomore Joe Iorio (5-9, 160) at the outside linebacker positions.

Milici and Gabriele are the cornerbacks, with Goudie and Iannini at safety.

The Maroon Raiders open the 2012 season with three straight road games, facing Newark Central this weekend and state-ranked Montclair on Sept. 21. They play their first game at Nutley Oval on Sept. 29 against Seton Hall Prep.

The Maroon Raiders have a tough stretch beginning with Montclair next week. They play host to the Pirates, travel to Livingston, then have home games against West Orange and neighboring rival Bloomfield.

“I think this is the type of team that will get better as the year goes on,” Basile said. “We’re young, but we’re hungry. These kids wanted to get the chance to play. They’re eager to experience varsity football.”

Basile said that he’s hoping to continue the winning ways this weekend.

“We really are hopeful to get off to a positive note,” Basile said. “We have games where we’ll be able to compete. We have to get off to a good start. That’s just my feeling.”

Basile was happy to start the season with Belleville.

“If we can’t play them in the last game, then it might as well be the first,” Basile said. “It was great to have our rivalry game right out of the bat. It made things exciting.”

In that respect, so did getting Basile his first victory as the head man with the Maroon Raiders.

Kearny man was no Paul Bunyon

Police were called to Stewart Avenue and Morgan Place Sept. 1 at 9:30 p.m. on a report of a man swinging an axe during a dispute involving several individuals.

Officers Sean Kelly, John Fabula, Jay Ward and Brian Wisely responded and got a description of the man and his direction of flight from three frightened men who told police they’d fled from the man wielding the axe.

Police said the man had a verbal altercation with the other men, then apparently went home to get an axe and returned to threaten the other individuals. Police said the man began swinging the axe and, in the process, broke a section of residential fencing. The other men then “ran for their lives,” as one officer put it.

After searching the area, police said the officers located a man matching the description in a garage on Stuyvesant Avenue along with the axe nearby.

Police said the man – later identified as James Noack, 43, of Kearny – appeared to be highly intoxicated and angry.

Police said the officers informed Noack he was under arrest but after he refused to get into the patrol car, the officers applied OC spray to get him to comply.

Once placed in the back seat of the patrol car, however, Noack again became hostile and tried to kick out the rear window, police said.

At headquarters, police said Noack was treated for exposure to the spray but continued to display hostile behavior.

Noack was charged with aggravated assault, criminal mischief, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.

In other incidents logged by Kearny Police during the past week:

Sept. 10

John Bradley, 42, of Kearny, was arrested by Officer Chris Levchek at 1:30 a.m. on the charge of driving with a suspended license. Police said he was stopped at Belgrove Drive and Paterson Street while driving a 1990 Buick. Police impounded the vehicle.

Sept. 6

A suspected drug dealer and an accused drug distributor were arrested at 5 p.m. on Dukes Street.

Police said detectives set up surveillance after learning that an out-of-state individual was allegedly supplying large quantities of drugs, mostly marijuana, to be sold in town. Police said they observed a vehicle with Florida plates pull up to a location on Dukes Street and met with a “known local drug violator” and the pair conducted a suspected drug transaction.

Police arrested Richard Mohammed, 26, of Jamaica, N.Y., on charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and possession of drug with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school zone and within 500 feet of a park after Mohammed allegedly tried to conceal a package contained suspected marijuana in his waistband. Police said Mohammed was also holding $200, believed to be proceeds of a drug sale.

Also arrested was Josue Campos, 23, of Kearny, after police said a search of his residence disclosed more than 100 grams of suspected marijuana packaged for sale, two scales and packaging material plus more than $11,000 in suspected drug proceeds.

Campos was charged with possession of marijauana and drug paraphernalia, with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and 500 feet of a park, use of a remotely activated paging device while engaged in a drug transaction and possession of drugs while operating a motor vehicle.

Both men were held at the Hudson County Jail on $75,000 bail each, no 10 percent cash option.

Sept. 3

Police went to the Kmart on Passaic Avenue at 4:30 p.m. on a report of a shoplifter who had fled the store. After getting a description of the suspect, Det. Ray Lopez and Officers Vanessa Sevillano and Jay Ward began a search of the area.

A short time later, police said Lopez located the individual – later identified as Mary Ackerson, 27, of Kearny – in an alley on Alexander Avenue. Police said a bag containing the items taken from the store was found nearby.

After store security personnel confirmed that she was the individual who took the merchandise without paying, police charged Ackerson with shoplifting.

Sept. 2

Police responded to a Forest Street residence at midnight to deal with complaints about a loud and out of control party. Earlier that night, police had gone to the same location and had ordered the people at the party to “cease and desist.”

Now, police said, Det. Michael Gonzalez, in uniform and assigned to a patrol unit; with Officers Joseph Martin and Steve Hroncich, tried to get the party-goers to leave.

Instead, police said, as the officers were standing in the residence’s front breezeway entrance, a man later identified as Daniel Paschoal, 23, of Kearny, slammed the door on Gonzalez, in the process shearing off the tip of the detective’s right index finger.

Paschoal was arrested on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of a weapon (the door) and obstruction of a government function. He was also issued a town summons for creating a disturbance in a public or private place.

Gonzalez was taken to University Hospital, Newark, for treatment of his injury and later released.

– Ron Leir