News in brief: KHS opening several days late & more


Kearny High School will have a delayed opening for the fall term to allow for the installation of steel beams as part of the ongoing school construction project, school officials said.

An official district announcement said that, “High School faculty will be off on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 8 and 9. There will be no [classes] for the high school students on these days.

“High School students and faculty will return for a single session day on Monday, Sept. 12. There will be a full-day [class] schedule beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The High School graduation has been rescheduled to Friday, June 23 [in 2017], which is the last day of school for high school students and faculty.

“Please note that beginning Friday, Aug. 19, through Sept. 11, there will be no access to the main building at Kearny High School. All offices will be relocated to the trailer classroom units during this time period.”

Mark Bruscino, district operations director, said the expectation is that the general contractor, the Bennett Co., of Kearny, will be setting up a crane on or about Aug. 13 in preparation for “swinging in” the steel starting Aug. 19.

For safety’s sake, officials wanted the contractor moving the steel into the site only when the high school was not occupied.

Bruscino said the beams will be unloaded in the area of the driveway behind the high school and moved into place in the space formerly occupied by the old swimming pool with each section appropriately marked so the beams are properly positioned.

In other unrelated district business, the Kearny Board of Education voted July 25 to defer contracting for special-needs student transportation services for the 2016-2017 school year, pending further research prompted by questions raised by the incumbent vendor, Cross Country Transportation of North Arlington, about the apparent low bidder, 4 Diamond Transportation of Paramus.

According to Michael DeVita, board business administrator/board secretary, Cross Country wanted to know how 4 Diamond would deal with delayed school openings, how many spare vehicles it has available, whether it logs accidents and a list of its vehicles and their capacities.

DeVita said that 4 Diamond has operated in Hoboken and Union City and that the business administrators in those districts “haven’t had any problems with them.”

DeVita said he’ll report back to the board Aug. 29 with answers to Cross Country’s queries.

The contract, which could run close to $300,000, covers seven bus routes extending as far as Wayne, Livingston and Lodi. “We’re looking to re-bid a few others [routes],” said DeVita.

– Ron Leir



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting the public to a meeting on Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at Kearny Town Hall, 402 Kearny Ave., to hear a presentation on a plan for cleaning up contamination at the Standard Chlorine Superfund site on the banks of the Hackensack River in the Kearny meadows.

The 25-acre property, which has been acquired by the town for redevelopment, was used for chemical manufacturing by various firms from the early 1900s to the 1990s, leaving the site littered with tanks and drums containing toxins like dioxin, benzene, naphthalene, PCBs and volatile organic compounds.

Responsible parties have already paid for a partial cleanup of the property, including collection and removal of dioxin and asbestos, demolition of many contaminated buildings, cleaning and covering of two lagoons, installation of a slurry wall to prevent leachate from migrating into the river and pumps to extract polluted groundwater for cleaning.

For the rest of the site, the EPA proposes to cap 8.4 acres (7.3 acres of non-wetlands and the rest wetlands), upgrade existing caps, tear down the five remaining buildings and continue the ongoing remediation activities at an estimated cost of $11 million. These operations could take six months or longer, depending on the outcome of negotiations with the responsible parties, the EPA said.

Thus far, those parties have included Apogent Transition Co., Beazer East, Cooper Industries and Occidental Chemical Corp. with oversight by Tierra Solutions, which is a partial owner of the neighboring meadows property formerly occupied by Diamond Shamrock, also a polluted site.

According to EPA, Occidental is “a potentially responsible party” for the Diamond (Alkali) Shamrock property and the company “has an indemnification agreement with Maxus Energy Corp. Tierra Solutions is part of the same corporate structure as Maxus which has filed for bankruptcy.

Kearny is hoping to conclude a redeveloper agreement with the Sitex Group LLC for both the Standard Chlorine property – which the town has acquired – and the Diamond Shamrock site, pending an agreement by Sitex for the purchase of that property.

Despite the bankruptcy proceedings, Kearny is still hoping that EPA can broker a deal with responsible parties for the cleanup of both properties so that redevelopment of the land – and subsequent ratables for the town – will result, Mayor Alberto Santos said.

– Ron Leir



The Belleville Public Library – one of the nation’s Carnegie-funded libraries – which has been undergoing renovations since June 2014, is planning a grand re-opening for Sept. 24 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., it was announced by Joan Taub, BPL executive director.

The building has remained open since the work by general contractor Three Sons Restorations of Union began.

Taub said the first phase of the job involved the second-floor skylight and the second, installation of marble tiling for the second floor and lobby along with a reconfiguration of the circulation department and moving of stairs to provide more openness.

Additionally, the windows on the library’s Washington Ave. frontage were replaced and the Academy St. entrance was re-designed, she said.

Carol Lauer, the library’s purchasing agent, said that all the work has, essentially, been done, except for a few “punch list” items remaining.

The job, contracted for $721,000, has come in, thus far, at about $20,000 over budget but there are some credits still to be calculated, Lauer said.

It was supposed to take 180 days from the start of work to finish, Lauer said, but the general contractor met with delays due to a particularly bad winter and work-related issues with sub-contractors, she added.

“But now we do have our C.O. (certificate of occupancy),” Lauer said.

– Ron Leir


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