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‘Can’-do attitude for Kearny High School ‘Canstruction’ projects

Photo by Ron Leir/ Members of the “Feed the Globe” team put together that project.


Photo by Ron Leir/ The KHS Stadium team is busy with its project.


By Ron Leir


Call it the miracle of the cans. Call it part of the global struggle to end hunger. Call it what you will.

The point is this: What started out as a suggestion by a concerned Kearny High School alumnus turned into a powerful force that unleashed volunteer efforts by inspired students, government and the corporate community.

For needy families in Kearny, it will mean the replenishment of three churchrun emergency food pantries and the re-stocking of several soup kitchens in Newark.

The enterprise began a few months ago when KHS Principal Cynthia Baumgartner got a phone call from retired Fire Capt. Paul Rogers, Class of 1977, telling her about an interesting exhibit he’d seen in New York.

It was an elaborate studentassembled giant-sized construction project, made up, almost exclusively, of canned goods which were to be donated to local food banks for distribution to community emergency feeding programs.

And it was sponsored by a nonprofit group known as “Canstruction,” whose mission is to hold annual designand- build competitions to build these type of structures, to raise public awareness of world hunger and to feed needy men, women and children.

“Paul Rogers was so enthused, he wanted to find a group of young people to help make his dream (of furnishing food for the hungry) come true,” Baumgartner recalled.

So it was decided that KHS students would undertake a Canstruction project but only as a “dry run,” Baumgartner said.

She endorsed the program as a reflection of her belief that, “What kids learn in the classroom they need to use in the real world as service learning: to serve the community.”

The principal enlisted the help of architecture instructor Melody Larossa and science teacher Chuck Polk, co-advisers of the school’s engineering club, along with 35 sophomores, juniors and seniors who are members of the class and/or club.

A number of the participating students have told Baumgartner that the experience has turned out to be “probably one of the best things they done in their high school career.”

Many were “nervous” going into the project, Baumgartner said, “since it was unchartered territory.”

But go in they did, starting about two months ago, taking one class period per week to meet as a group with their advisers to discuss what they wanted to build and how to go about it.

Once they settled on two construction projects – “Feed the Globe” (a globe with a fork and knife attachments) and the KHS stadium – they created Computer Aided Drawings (CADs), calculated dimensions for their products and began assembling models, all in preparation for the actual construction which, even though they wouldn’t be part of a Canstruction competition, would still be done within a restricted time period.

Stepping up to offer her support, at Rogers’ request, was Town Council President Carol Jean Doyle, who helped secure an off-site location where students could practice and where the thousands of cans needed could be stored.

Unfortunately, Doyle said, about a month and a half ago, a snag developed when, after the building had been loaded with tables and equipment and many of the cans, “we were told it had been rented (to another party).” Yet another complication came about when Larossa had to relocate her architecture class due to the ongoing interior construction at the high school.

Meanwhile, Doyle, as a member of the Museum Committee, successfully appealed to that group to make available space at the Kearny Public Library as a can staging and practice area.

For the next five weeks, students continued working together as two teams to coordinate plans for the two construction projects.

One of the technical problems that they had to solve, Doyle said, was getting cans “with the right colors” to represent areas of water, greenery and mountains on the simulated globe. “It was a lot of trial and error,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful experience watching students work together off-site.”

Other globe-related issues that needed to be resolved were “fi xing the shape of the continents” and fi guring out what type of material would be best suited to support each of the 20 levels of cans comprising the globe structure, said KHS junior Steve Vivar, 17.

Ultimately, the team came up with plywood as the way to go, Steve said.

What made the project appealing to Steve was that “you can donate (the cans) and still have fun. That makes it a whole lot better.” Having a niece in Peru and a cousin in England working as architects is pushing him in the same direction, Steve said. “And if I could do engineering at the same time,” he added, “that would be amazing.”

Also part of the globe team is 16-year-old junior Jaquelyn Lazo – one of 10 girls on the 20-member team – who founded the KHS engineering club after her older sister Justine had shared exciting news about attending an engineering conference in Ohio.

Leading the stadium construction team were senior Jose Quinones, 17, who was also part of the dance team that performed at last Friday’s KHS International Festival, and sophomore Anthony Belo, 16. They helpfully explained that it took 300 tomato sauce cans to form the stadium walls, 700 soup cans for the stands and bleachers, 200 cans of sweet peas for the turf fi eld, 21 cans of peaches for the goal posts and scoreboard, 150 cans of tuna to outline the field’s white lines and hash marks, plus a few silver-painted wooden dowels with suction cups attached for the light towers. They also used cans of baked beans for the stadium’s extension and cans of mixed vegetables for the base of the stadium. Still to come, when The Observer visited, was a New York skyline, they said.

Last Thursday, starting at 8:30 a.m., both teams gathered in KHS gym to begin assembling the projects and, by 2:45 p.m., they were done. Some members of the public responded to invitations to view the exhibits that day and the day after.

Doyle said the Kearny community came through with nearly 20,000 canned goods plus about $20,000 in monetary donations, much of which was used to purchase appropriately color-coordinated cans still needed for the projects. Kearny ShopRite, alone, donated 7,500 cans of food, Doyle said.

One-third of the canned goods is going to the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington’s food pantry; one-third is being divided between the pantries of St. Cecilia’s and St. Stephen’s; and the balance is targeted for soup kitchens in Newark run by Rutgers University, Doyle said.

The deliveries are coming at a critical time: St. Cecilia’s had to close its pantry in February after having served its capacity of 100 families and St. Stephen’s managed to provide for 15 families, according to Doyle.

“Everybody’s desperate,” she said.

One Tank Trips: Milford, Pennsylvania awaits your discovery

Grey Towers



By Jeff Bahr

A charming village

Located just over an hour from Kearny, northeastern Pennsylvania’s U.S. Rt. 209 is a scenic joy to behold. But it wasn’t always so. The route once served as little more than a shortcut for truckers looking to get from I-80 to I-84, and vice versa. But that was before the National Park Service saw fit to scoop up the scenic corridor through which the route passes, and improve it as the “Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.”

Nowadays, a lowered speed limit and around-theclock weight scales have scared off most commercial vehicles. Tourists blissfully inch along a lovely stretch that features towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls and river views, and which ultimately delivers them to the real show stopper: the historically rich and cuteas- a-button river town of Milford. Sometimes, it’s plain to see, the government actually gets things right.

Even today, Milford recalls an era when women toted umbrellas on sunny days; horses and buggies clambered up crude dirt roads; and the town’s gentlemen were just that – gentlemen. It’s a chunk of Victoriana preserved at its finest and a great place to spend a day or a weekend.

Inauspicious beginnings

It’s hard to believe that Milford was once considered a bit rough around the edges, but it was. According to historical accounts, the town was adopted by waves of roving “marauders” during the late 19th century. These purported (imagined?) ne’er-do-wells descended upon the village in menacing pack form, riding “their blasted twowheeled contraptions” to the various watering holes and inns. But don’t jump to conclusions – these were not motorcycle gangs. This group of desperados rode fire-breathing “safety” bicycles made by Schwinn and Raleigh, which at the time were all the rage. Truth be told, these “wheelmen” were drawn to the area not for debauchery, but rather for the region’s flat and scenic river stretches – and the town of Milford was located right in the thick o f it all – hence their attachment to it.

Nevertheless, the bicyclists’ seamy reputation didn’t dissuade the town’s inns and restaurants from enthusiastically courting their favor. The riders’ money, it turns out, was just as good as anyone’s. In fact, more than a few establishments struck it rich by catering to the tired and hungry cyclists.

What the bicyclists knew back then, everyone knows now. Milford is indeed a great place to point your vehicle at. Virtually every block features an enticing restaurant, antique shop or boutique, and a good many of these are housed in quaint, period buildings that somehow defied the “progress” bulldozer. Milford also features its share of attractions that simply can’t be found anywhere else. Let’s take a look-see.

Gifford Pinchot and Grey Towers

Grey Towers is situated at the village’s western end. The sprawling 43-room Medieval-French mansion was constructed in 1886 by wallpaper merchant James Pinchot (1831-1908) and later deeded to his son, Gifford (1865-1946), who became the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service as well as a two-term governor of Pennsylvania (1923-27, 1931-35).

Pinchot’s son, Dr. Gifford Bryce Pinchot, dedicate the mansion, and its surrounding acreage to the U.S. Forest Service in 1963. Declared a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior, Grey Towers was dedicated as the Pinchot Institute for Conservation following a visit by President John F. Kennedy in September of that year. The U.S. Forestry Service currently manages the site and guided tours of the mansion and outbuildings are available for a fee. However, there’s no charge to walk the grounds and the encircling trails, and a stroll through this sublime scene suggests why Pinchot became so enamored of woodlands.

Columns Museum and the Lincoln Flag

After assassin John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln at Washington’s Ford Theater on April 15, 1865, the mortally wounded statesman was laid on the floor and a large American flag, hurriedly taken from the balustrade, was placed beneath his head by stage manager Thomas Gourlay. The bloodstained flag was reportedly retrieved by Gourlay and handed down to his ancestors.

Today, the “Lincoln Flag” hangs in the Pike County Historical Society’s Columns Museum. The story of the flag’s lineage is fascinating, and the documentation backing up its validity is compelling.

A separate pavilion is devoted to the Hiawatha Stagecoach – an ornate and original carriage built in the mid-19th century – and art lovers will appreciate landscape paintings created by John Newton Howitt, a 20th century artist heavily influenced by the Hudson River School style.


‘Hots and Cots’

There are many good eateries and inns in the area. The circa-1828 Dimmick Inn located at the town’s center offers quality food and lodging, as does the considerably pricier Hotel Fauchère situated just north of it on Rt. 209. The Tom Quick Inn, built in 1882, is located a block north of the Hotel Fauchère. It, too, offers fine food and lodging to weary travelers. For those on a budget, there are an array of motels located in nearby Matamoras, Pa., just five minutes north of the village on Rt. 209.

Other things to see and do:

If you visit Milford during the warm summer months, another treat awaits. Milford Beach, located one-mile east of town on the Delaware River, features lifeguardprotected swimming. Fishing is also popular on the river, especially during the annual “shad run” during May and June. The 32-milelong McDade Trail can be accessed from the Milford Beach area. Here visitors can hike, bike, or crosscountry ski their cares away.

If you like to get high (in the most literal sense), you can’t do much better than Elks Brox Memorial Park in Port Jervis, N.Y., a 10-minute drive from Milford. Here, a snaking road climbs up, up and away from Rt. 97 to a bluff that features breathtaking views of Port Jervis, New Jersey’s High Point obelisk (the state’s highest point at 1,803 feet), and the Delaware River valley.

A short drive on scenic Rt. 97 brings visitors to Hawk’s Nest. This famed stretch of road, perched hundreds of feet above the Delaware River, is noted for its many exaggerated bends or “S” turns. For this reason, Hawk’s Nest attracts sports car aficionados and go-fast motorcycle riders like moths to a flame. While the practice is far from legal, it’s not uncommon to find such devotees “strafing” through the turns at blistering speeds more appropriate for a racetrack than a public thoroughfare. But don’t let this dissuade you. Occurrences like these are intermittent at best. Park at a pullout, get out of your car and watch the gentle arc of raptors gliding high above you. It is then that you will fully appreciate how Hawk’s Nest earned its name.

Sometimes, size does matter


A few weeks ago One World Trade Center (OWTC) officially surpassed the Empire State Building in height. It was a landmark moment that represented the first time since 9/11/2001 that downtown Manhattan has featured a building taller than the venerable icon. But somehow it seems less impressive this time around. Sure, the building has another hundred feet or so to go until it reaches its full roof height of 1,368’ (a height chosen to equal the tower that preceded it). Then workers will install a glorified 408-foot antenna (originally intended as an ornamental spire) that will take its official height to a symbolic 1,776 feet.

Actually, that’s misleading. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the official height of the building is being reconsidered in light of this design change. If the antenna isn’t counted in its overall height, OWTC will not even be the tallest building in America. That honor will stay with Chicago’s Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) that at 1,450’ is nearly 100’ taller than the final roof height of OWTC.

This means that America, is now playing catch-up. No, strike that. “Catch-up” implies that we’re still trying. When it comes to constructing the world’s tallest buildings that’s no longer true. In fact, we haven’t really tried since the bold 1974 erection of the Sears Tower; a building that held the world’s tallest title until 1998 when it was surpassed by the 1,483’ Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A perusal of global skyscrapers tells the story. The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa (formerly the Burj Dubai) in Dubai, UAE stands a mesmerizing 2,716.5’ feet above street level. To equal the colossal Burj Khalifa, you’d still need to add another 940’!

Some argue that super tall buildings aren’t really practical, that it’s hard to fill the rental space and so forth. They also talk about the myriad red tape that comes along with tackling outsized projects that literally reach for the heavens. But that argument is ridiculous on its face. Building tall has always been about symbolism, inspiration, and daring. It puts a nation at the forefront as a land to be emulated and revered.

The benefits of constructing the tallest building cannot be measured in mere dollars and cents. It’s always been about national pride; a willingness to take chances; the daring to say, “the status-quo has never been good enough for our country – and it never will be!” Since it was America who invented the skyscraper in the first place, playing the part of “also ran” is rather unsettling. But a lot of things are unsettling in America these days.

When OWTC is completed in 2013 it will take its place beside other tall buildings in the world. But it is there that it will blend in mid-pack, not stand out like it did in 1971.

What does this really mean in the grand scheme of things? I can only offer my personal view.

When I was ten-years-old, the Empire State Building was still the world’s tallest. I would ask my dad, “How tall is it? Does your nose really bleed up there? What’s the view like from the top? How much taller is it than the next tallest? Do any other countries even come close?” “America has the biggest and the best,” he’d say with a prideful smile befitting a World War II veteran and member of our nation’s “greatest generation.” If dad were still alive, I wonder what he’d say today?

-Jeff Bahr


To the Publisher:

The number of Americans considered obese is expected to rise from the current 34 % to 42 % by the year 2030, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and discussed at Monday’s “Weight of the Nation” conference in Washington. Diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease, and other obesity-related ailments account for countless premature deaths and as much as 18 % of the $2.6 trillion national cost of medical care. (www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/study-predicts-42-percent-of-americans-will-beobese- in-2030/2012/05/07/ gIQAeaDL9T_story.html)

The leading causes of obesity are consumption of fat-laden meat and dairy products and lack of exercise. This is particularly critical during childhood years, when lifestyle habits become lifelong addictions.

A five-year Oxford University study of 22,000 people, published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2006, found that those on a vegetarian or vegan diet gained the least weight. A review of 87 studies in Nutrition Reviews concluded that a vegetarian diet is highly effective for weight loss.

The time has come to replace meat and dairy products in our diet with wholesome grains, vegetables, and fruits and to undertake a regular exercise program. Parents should insist on healthy school lunch choices and set a good example at their own dinner table.

Cory Baker


Be careful where you stash your trash

Photo by Ron Leir/ Checking out trash from l. are Cali Carting workers John Veloso, Frank Constantino and town sanitation inspector Christine Madalena-Barton.

By Ron Leir 


During the past few months, town officials have been doing a bit of trash talking to certain property owners but they insist it’s for a good cause.

It seems some landlords and businesses have been tossing household refuse along with bottles, cans and other recyclables into municipal trash receptacles or leaving improperly commingled disposables for curbside pickup.

Either way, that’s a big nono.

The town is also cracking down on residents who leave trash in non-durable supermarket bags, who put out unbundled cardboard, who fail to place recyclables in a separate container or clear plastic bags and who put out trash the wrong day or before 6 p.m.

Mayor Ray McDonough called for a special enforcement campaign by the Board of Health in early March after emerging from Town Hall one day and seeing Harrison Ave. covered in a blizzard of swirling newspapers, cardboard and other debris.

Since March 5, Harrison has issued more than 125 warnings and 10 summonses for various infractions of the town’s property maintenance code and recycling code, according to Christine Madalena-Barton, registered environmental health specialist for Harrison.

Three residential condominium associations were among those receiving warnings, she said.

Stiff penalties can be meted out to proven offenders: Anyone brought to municipal court and found guilty can be socked for a $150 fine for a first offense and even more for repeated violations.

Complicating the war on illicit trash is the fact that Madalena-Barton is currently the only full-time employee in the health department in the wake of the retirement of former health officer Karen Comer and the granting of maternity leave to another employee.

Harrison has contracted for the services of North Bergen Health Officer Richard Censullo to manage and restructure its public health operations.

In the meantime, Harrison’s former fire chief Tom Dolaghan has been delegated by the mayor to lend a hand to Madalena-Barton in helping put a lid on wayward trash.

People who stuff garbage in flimsy, unsecured bags are creating a public health and safety hazard, Dolaghan said. “We’ve had a plethora of skunks, raccoons, possums and cats who rip up these little bags to scavenge for food,” he said.

“Cardboard’s a big problem for us, too,” Dolaghan said. “Some people are leaving out loose pizza boxes or six-pack beer containers and magazines that the wind blows out into the street and the garbage collectors are not here to pick up litter.”

Readily seconding that complaint is Frank Costantino, an employee of Cali Carting, the Kearny firm contracted to pick up Harrison’s trash and recyclables. “The cardboard scatters all over the place,” Costantino said. “If it’s not tied, it’s hard to pick up.”

And, worse yet, the stuff can end up being swept into a corner catch basin and, from there, into a sewer outfall, and then in the river, Dolaghan said. “Not green, not healthy,” he added.

There’s also an economic impact to the indiscriminate mixing of cans and bottles with regular trash. When the carter hauls a load of Harrison garbage to the dump site, the dump operator can – and will – turn it aside if those waste products are improperly commingled. That means an extra trip for the carter, every time he has to bring back a rejected load. It costs Harrison, too, since the town figures to pay more in dumping fees and will forfeit state recycling credits, Dolaghan said.

For 2011, the state credited Harrison with 46,477 tons of recyclables – much higher than the town’s typical output – since 31,000 tons of that total was soil excavated from a construction site at the PSE&G property, according to town records.

Additionally, the town collected 1,000 tons of newspaper, 700 tons of aluminum, 450 tons of glass and 175 tons of cardboard, records show.

Although Madalena- Barton said there’s no way to estimate what percent of the town is complying with the recycling regulations, she and Dolaghan believe “the vast majority” of property owners are practicing what the town is preaching.

Residents are reminded that “all computers, batteries, propane tanks, electronic waste (PC monitors, TVs, cellular phones, etc.) are collected twice a year during April and September” and that they must contact the Public Works Department at (973) 268-2441 “to make arrangements to drop off these items.”

Residents can also call the DPW for information on trash and recyclables pickup schedules.

The public awareness campaign will be an ongoing process, Dolaghan said. “This isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon.”

It’s no ‘Secret’ this band kills

Photos Courtesy of Secretcountryband.com/ New vocalist Katelynn Siegle is one of two new additions to Secret Country


By Anthony J. Machcinski

That closed-door country band is at it again. Secret Country, the Kearny-based country band under the Killing Horse Records label, celebrated the release of its latest album and first vinyl, “7 Days a Week,” at Donegal Saloon on May 18.

“We’re really excited to put it all out,” said Mike Sylvia of Killing Horse Records. “We built the label around them in 2009.”

“7 Days a Week” is a follow-up to the band’s 2009 full-length “Women, Whiskey and Nightlife.” During the years between the two releases, the band has seen some changes to its lineup, with Eric Mason (guitar/ vocals) and Yan Iziquerdo (fiddle/mandolin) replaced by Katelynn Siegle (vocals) and Ryan Gross (guitar).

“It’s a whole different thing with a girl singing,” said Secret Country bass player Tim Siegle, Katelynn’s brother. “At first it was kind of like a boys’ club. Now that we’re older, it’s not the same thing. She brings something we didn’t have.”

Siegle’s statement could not ring truer. While “Women, Whiskey, and Nightlife” was a quality album in its own right, “7 Days a Week” gives Secret Country another step in the right direction.

Photos Courtesy of Secretcountryband.com


In comparison to its predecessor album, “7 Days a Week” and its brilliantly produced product sounds like a real record – something that one can imagine hearing on the radio someday.

This difference can be attributed to the new work ethic of the band.

“With the lineup we have now, it’s a lot easier,” explained Siegle. “We practiced more to kind of hone the sound. We matured. We look at this as we can have something here. We’ve been trying to work this out.”

The ease is a reflection of the streamlined length of time it took to get the record produced.

“The last record almost took us a whole year,” Siegle explained. “The recording process (for “7 Days a Week”) was very painless and took us a little over a weekend.”

What made Secret Country special on “Women, Whiskey, and Nightlife” was the chemistry that members of the band had with each other. Now, despite losing two key elements of its band, Secret Country is still able to maintain the bonds that solidify its music.

With an “in the family” thread of Katelynn, Tim and Matt Siegle, and with the incorporation of Ryan Gross, a producer with Killing Horse Records, the band maintains a continuity that allows its members not to miss a step.

The title track of “7 Days a Week” is a perfect showcase of this chemistry.

A quick start and a solid guitar solo help get the song on a roll and set the pace for the whole track. Jay Monaco’s voice, accented with the voices of Katelynn and Matt Siegle and Joe Hart, provide the fun-loving feel that the lyrics look to convey. With lyrics that say, “Wake up, it’s Monday/I didn’t get to see the sun today/At this rate, I don’t know when I will,” the fun-loving nature of the band’s style certainly comes into play.

The other song on the album, “Deep-Fried Delight,” is another quick start. “Deep- Fried Delight” also is another fun-loving track, with Monaco singing about falling in love with fried chicken as if it were his lover.

Both these tracks fall in line with the band’s reputation.

“(The new album) is probably in the same range where we’ve been the past few years,” said Gross. “Drinking, eating fried foods, and having a good time. (This album is) a little more representative of our sounds and what you get at the live shows.”

The album “7 Days a Week” is only the beginning for Secret Country, as this record is a precursor to a fulllength album to be released sometime in the late summer/ early fall of 2012. While preparing for this record, the band hopes to get out on the road more and travel farther than they have in the past.

“With the lineup we have now, it’s a lot easier to travel,” Siegle explained. “Boston was the farthest we’ve ever been outside of Jersey and we want to continue to grow. We’d like to do more in South Jersey, too.”

With its fun-loving nature and quality music, Secret Country is on the right track for future success.

For more information on Secret Country, or to purchase their albums, visit www.secretcountryband.com.

News from the Nutley Police Blotter

May 17

After getting a report about a group of people carrying a woman in physical distress, police went to Franklin Ave. and Centre St. where they learned that the woman who was having difficulty breathing had been taken to an area hospital for evaluation.

May 16

At 3:47 p.m. a car hit a dog on Centre St. after it ran from its owners and attempted to cross the street.

Someone vandalized a Nutley High School administrator’s vehicle, according to a complaint filed by the administrator with police at 12:44 p.m. Police are investigating.

A vehicle traveling down Vreeland Ave. was damaged when a man using a weedwhacker inadvertently hit a rock which was jettisoned into the vehicle’s window, police said. No one was hurt. The incident was logged at 12:05 p.m.

Somebody “egged” a Jeep while it was parked on Chadwick Drive during the night, the vehicle’s owner informed police at 10:10 a.m.

At 2:47 a.m. police went to a Bloomfield Ave. residence where a carbon monoxide detector had been activated. After entering through a window, police found the resident who was dizzy and not feeling well. Police then transported the resident to an area hospital for evaluation.

Police were alerted by a 2:20 a.m. phone call to a dog hit by a car at Passaic Ave. and Lakeside Drive. The dog limped away. Police said they located the dog’s owner who told them his boxer apparently got out of the yard.

At 12:50 a.m. a motorist called police to seek help after being stalled in flood waters at Harrison St. and Bloomfield Ave. AAA arrived and pulled the vehicle out of the water.

May 15

At 10:59 p.m. a patrol officer alerted via an onboard license plate recognition system that a passing driver’s registration was suspended stopped the car on Mountainview Ave. and verified the information. The driver, who wasn’t identified by police, was ticketed for driving with a suspended registration and suspended license. The vehicle was impounded.

Police said someone defaced a Stager St. resident’s window by throwing eggs against it and they are investigating the incident, reported at 9:15 p.m.

May 14

The report of a disorderly customer brought police to a local pharmacy at 6:09 p.m. She was advised of her right to sign a complaint.

At 4:25 p.m. police were called to Franklin Ave. and Essex St. to check out a possible robbery. Jason Garcia, 28, of Nutley, told police he was walking home from a Franklin Ave. bank in Belleville when he was confronted by a man he described as six feet with baggy pants and a black hooded sweatshirt who placed what he believed to be a gun to the back of his head and demanded money. After police searched the area to no avail, Garcia told detectives he’d made up the story to hide, from his fiancé, the loss of money he’d allegedly sent to an out-of-state friend. Garcia was charged with making a false police report and released pending a court hearing. Police Commissioner Alphonse Petracco and Police Chief John Holland criticized Garcia for needlessly diverting police.

A dog was fatally struck by a car on Rutgers Place at 1:37 p.m. The driver told police the small white dog jumped from the open door of a parked car and ran into the wheel of the driver’s car. The owner took the dog and left the scene.

A Bloomfield Ave. resident called police at 7:41 a.m. to report the illegal dumping of several trash bags strewn about the resident’s property. Police are investigating.

A random license plate check on Union Ave. alerting police that the registered owner of a 1997 Mercury had an outstanding warrant for $500 led to a traffic stop and the arrest of the driver, Cauldwell Neals, 28, of Irvington. Neals was released, pending a court hearing, after posting bail.

May 13

At 2:52 a.m. police stopped at St. Mary’s Place and King St. to assist a 25-year-old man who was vomiting in the street. He was taken to an area hospital.

May 12

At 11:46 p.m. police dispersed a group of teens following an assault on Myrtle Ave. Police said the tiff broke out as some 30 partygoers became disorderly. Charges are pending and the case remains under investigation.

A two-week-old BMW was reportedly damaged at a local carwash, the vehicle’s owner told police. The incident was reported at 4:20 p.m.

A customer who fueled up at a Kingsland Ave. service station left without paying, police said. The incident was reported to police at 3:43 p.m.

Police are investigating the report of a Rutgers Ave. resident that someone smashed the windshield of his 2007 Jeep Wagon. The incident was logged at 12:28 p.m.

May 11

Investigating an overcrowding complaint at a small Cape Code residence on Brookfield Ave., called in at 10:05 p.m., police discovered two sets of families of four living there, along with grandparents and visiting uncles from Florida. The township Code Enforcement division is pursuing the matter.

Checking out a report of panhandling at 12:05 p.m. at Park and Union Aves., police found Arnold Sanders, 49, of Newark, who, they said, had an outstanding warrant from East Orange. Sanders denied he was panhandling. He was arrested on the warrant and released after a new court date was arranged.

-Ron Leir

Around Town


• The next meeting of the Bloomfield Public Library Book Club will be on Monday, June 4, at 6:45 p.m. in the Conference Room. The group will discuss Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar.” Although known mainly as a poet, Sylvia Plath wrote one novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a bright college student who has a nervous breakdown and attempts suicide. Hospitalized, she undergoes electroshock therapy, medication, and psychoanalysis. For further information or to request help in locating a copy of the book club selection, please call the Reference Desk at 973-566-6200, ext 502.

East Newark

West Hudson Brave Women Fighting Breast Cancer meets on the last Friday of every month from 7 to 9 p.m. at the East Newark Senior Center, 37 President St. The group will provide an atmosphere of warmth and comfort for patients and family. For more information, call Emma at 201-998-6828, Rosa 201-246- 7750, Fatima 973-485-4236 or email emidura2@yahoo. com. Together we will fight this disease.

• East Newark Mayor Joseph Smith, Borough Council and American Legion Post and Auxiliary #36 will conduct a Memorial Day ceremony at the East Newark Borough Hall, 34 Sherman Ave., East Newark, on Wednesday, May 23. Participants will assemble at the East Newark Borough Hall at 6:15 p.m. Wreaths will be placed at the Veteran’s Monument by Mayor Smith, members of Borough Council and Post #36 Commander Frank Acuna and Past State President of Unit #36 Shirley F. Becker. Following the ceremony, participants will march to St. Anthony’s Church for 7 p.m. Mass, officiated by Father Joseph Girone.


• Mid-Town Pharmacy, 581 Kearny Ave., Kearny, invites all Kearny, North Arlington, Harrison and East Newark residents to visit the Horizon N.J. Health Care-A-Van, which will be offering free health screenings at the pharmacy on Thursday, May 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

• American Legion Unit 99 Ladies Auxiliary of Kearny is hosting a Memorial Day benefit softball game and concert in memory of Army Staff Sergeant Edward Karolasz, of Kearny. All proceeds will be donated to the Edward Karolasz Scholarship Fund for Kearny High School students. The event is scheduled for Sunday, May 27, with softball from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m, barbecue from 1 to 2 p.m. and music from 2 to 4 p.m. at American Legion Unit 99, 314 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For tickets, call 732-687- 9314. Active duty veterans and their spouses will be admitted free and all other veterans for halfprice. Ticket price includes softball game, barbecue lunch and a concert by local band Gimme the Jack! The event will be held r ain or shine and will be alc oholfree. A 50/50 raffle will also be held.

• The Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Davis Avenue, Kearny, presents “Tea for Three,” starring Emmy Award-winning Elaine Bromka, who re-imagines Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford. The play will be presented on Sunday, June 3, at 2 p.m. at the LCC, 6 Davis Ave., Kearny (handicapped accessible). Tickets are $22, which includes light refreshments. For tickets and information, call Linda at 201-991-3870, Jean at 201- 991-4732 or the Rectory at 201-998-4616 (from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.). No tickets will be sold a t the door.

• Pathways to Independence, Inc. is having a Giant Raffle – and three lucky winners will share a percentage of the total proceeds (25%, 15% and 10%). Just call Pathways at 201-997-6155 or stop in at 60 Kingsland Ave. (Corner of Schuyler and Bergen Avenues) to pick up your tickets. Pathways to Independence, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides life skills, job training and work for developmentally disabled individuals. Pathways has been providing quality services to our consumers for over 30 years in Hudson, Bergen and parts of Essex County. For additional information, contact Alvin Cox, Executive Director of Pathways to Independence, at 201-997- 9371 ext. 18.


• The Lyndhurst Health Department will host its bi-annual blood screening on Wednesday, June 6. Appointments begin at 8 am. This blood screening will include a chemistry profile, cholesterol level, blood count, and thyroid level. This service is available to Lyndhurst residents over the age of 18 for a small fee of $20. Pre-registration is required and appointments can be made by calling 201- 804-2500. Payments can be submitted in cash or checks may be made payable to Medical Laboratory Diagnostics.

North Arlington

• North Arlington Travel Soccer will hold a car wash fundraiser on Saturday, May 26, from 1 to 4 p.m. Donations are $5 per vehicle. The car wash will be held at Zadroga Soccer Field, 300 Schuyler Ave,, in North Arlington. The fundraiser benefits equipment and warm-ups.

• The Borough of North Arlington will have its Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 28, at 2 p.m. in honor of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca. Complimentary food, drinks and a live band will follow behind Borough Hall after the parade and ceremony.

• The Senior Harmony Club of North Arlington has scheduled a trip to the Taj Mahal on Tuesday, June 12. Please call Flor ence at 201-991-3173 for information. Membership in the club is not necessary to attend.


Nutley Public Library’s Monday Night Book Club will meet on June 4 at 7 p.m. This month’s book is “In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving” by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy with Sally Jenkins. The group meets on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. Newcomers are welcome.

News from the Lyndhurst Police Blotter

May 14

Eduardo Dacosta, 51, of Rutherford, was arrested on a shoplifting charge after he allegedly swiped two pairs of reading glasses without paying for them at the Lyndhurst ShopRite on New York Ave. He was detained by store security until police arrived.

May 13

Someone broke the driver’s side rear window of a 2004 Honda while it was parked on Summit Ave. but nothing was reported missing. The incident was logged at 10:47 a.m.

May 12

The driver’s side rear window of a 2002 Jeep was shattered while it was parked on Summit Ave. but no entry was gained, the vehicle’s owner reported to police at 2:26 p.m.

May 9

Police went to Lyndhurst High School at 11:52 a.m. to break up a fight between a 17-year-old Lyndhurst resident and Peter Deluca, 18, of Lyndhurst. Both were charged with disorderly conduct.

A 33-year-old Belleville man reported the theft of his wallet, containing $90 and credit cards, from his jacket left hanging in an unsecured locker at the Kings Court health club on Riverside Ave. The victim reported the incident to police at 10:45 a.m.

May 8

Police attempted a motor vehicle stop on Polito Ave. near Wall St. West of a 2006 four-door Honda reportedly clocked at 46 mph in a 25 mph zone but, according to police, the driver, Michele Rojek, 37, of Somerset, proceded onto Rt. 3 and then to the N.J. Turnpike before being pulled over. Rojek was charged with DWI, speeding, careless driving, failure to stop for an emergency vehicle and failure to maintain lane and released to a family member pending a court date.

Police charged Yusi Zhang, 53, and Zhen Zui, 49, both of Flushing, N.Y., with operating as unlicensed massage therapists at First Health Spa, 603 Ridge Road, after police entered the business at 4:13 p.m. Police had previously closed the business a few weeks ago for operating without proper credentials but went in on May 8 after noticing that neon lights advertised it was open.

May 6

Responding to a report of a fight at the Lyndhurst Diner at 1:15 p.m., police arrived and learned that a customer who had a dispute with a waiter had left the diner on foot. Police tracked the patron, Richard Vicente, 34, of Lyndhurst, to the DeJessa Bridge and placed him under arrest on a simple assault charge. The waiter was treated at the scene for a shoulder injury.

Nutley’s Purcell makes return trip to golf Tournament of Champions

Photo by Jim Hague/ Nutley resident Kieran Purcell earned a second straight trip to the NJSIAA Golf Tournament of Champions with a fine performance last week at the state sectionals at Forest Hill Field Club in Bloomfield.


By Jim Hague

The truth be told, Kieran Purcell was first a baseball player.

“I played baseball until I was 13,” said Purcell, the standout golfer from Nutley who is a sophomore at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City.

In fact, Purcell was a member of the Nutley American Little League All-Stars that won the overall state championship as 10 year olds and was on the Nutley American team that went to the 2008 12-yearold All-Star Section 1 finals, before losing to North Bergen. Purcell was a left fielder on that team.

“It was exciting to be part of all that,” Purcell said.

But Purcell soon found out that golf was the lifeline that flowed through his veins – and for good reason.

After all, it helps that Purcell comes from a family of golfers. His father, Pat, is an accomplished golfer, but his uncle Kevin is a golf professional and was once the supervisor of golf in Bergen County.

“I am really close to both my Dad and my uncle,” Purcell said. “If I listen to someone more, it’s probably still my Dad, but my uncle helps me through my problems with putting. Anytime I’m either hitting it bad or I’m in a bad mental stage, I can go to both for advice. It’s awesome to have both.”

Purcell made history last year, when as a freshman at St. Peter’s, he qualified for the NJSIAA Golf Tournament of Champions, becoming only the second Hudson County golfer to ever earn a berth to the T of C, joining former Prep golfer Andrew McGlynn, who qualified in 2008.

So the pressure was definitely on Purcell to head back to the T of C, considering now as a sophomore, he’s bigger, stronger and a much better golfer.

Plus, it also helped Purcell that the NJSIAA Non-Public A North state sectionals last Monday were held at the Forest Hill Field Club, which is Purcell’s home course.

“Because it was at my home course, I sort of got myself too excited,” Purcell said. “I should have just stayed calm. I was just too tight.”

For a while Monday afternoon, it looked as if Purcell’s fi ne round of 78 was not going to be good enough to move on to this Monday’s T of C at the Hopewell Valley Country Club just outside of Princeton.

And during that time frame, Purcell was upset that he let a golden chance slip through his hands.

“The pins were in some tough spots and I couldn’t get close enough to get a birdie,” Purcell said. “I hit one fairway the whole day. The pressure was on me a little. I knew I couldn’t live off what I did last year.”

Purcell had a previous best score of 70 at Forest Hill, so his score of 78 was just a little bit off. He also played Forest Hill on the Saturday prior to the state sectionals and felt like he played well.

“I got a round in and hit a couple of tee shots to get ready,” Purcell said. “This is a disappointment and a good learning experience.”

However, when all of the players’ scores were tabulated and totaled, Purcell’s disappointment turned to joy.

His score of 78 was good enough to finish in a tie for fi fth place and that standing enabled Purcell to indeed qualify for the T of C.

With that, Purcell became the first Hudson County golfer to ever qualify in back-to-back Tournament of Champions.

“The whole thing changes in a second,” Purcell said after he learned he earned a berth to play with the state’s elite golfers for a second straight year. “I knew it was going to be pretty tough, especially with a score like that. I thought I needed maybe 76 to make it. I really wasn’t playing well. I just kept plugging along. I even hit one ball completely out of bounds. I thought that was it.”

But Purcell’s persistence paid off and he was able to make it with what he fi rst believed to be a heartbreaking score. It’s almost like the old ABC “Wide World of Sports” intro, with the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” all rolled into one fleeting moment.

“It’s great,” Purcell said. “I’m not going to stop here. I want to make it all four years.”

Purcell had a fine opening to the season, winning the Fairleigh Dickinson Invitational in the first few weeks of the spring, besting a solid fi eld that included several golfers from Bergen Catholic, perennially one of the finest golf programs in the state.

“From that point, I never really threw out a crappy round,” Purcell said. “I was able to stay consistent.”

After shooting a 78 at Forest Hill Monday to qualify for the NJSIAA T of C, Purcell went out on Tuesday with some bigger fish to fry, namely the overall New Jersey State Golf Association Amateur Championship.

At the second of four qualifying rounds for the NJSGA’s 111th state amateur, Purcell shot a 73, good for a tie for third among all of the amateurs in attendance, most of whom were much older than Purcell.

With that score, Purcell earns the right to compete in the NJSGA’s state amateur June 5-7 at the historic Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield. Not a bad accomplishment at all.

“I gave up baseball and I guess I made the right choice,” Purcell said. “I don’t want to say that I expected to make the T of C again. But I am glad that I was able to back up what I did last year. It’s a good feeling.”

A historic feeling at that.