In thanks for all that Kearny’s TNR program does

It was five years ago when Kearny’s Len Twist brought an idea to life. He knew the town had a problem with ever-expanding colonies of feral cats. And so, he brought the concept of Trap, Neuter, Return to the governing body — and despite several who said it could never happen here, including some who collect a town paycheck — it all became a reality.

And, because of its success, under Twist’s leadership and under the leadership of Kathy DeRay, Kearny’s TNR program has become the model, so much so that municipalities from far and wide have been contacting Twist and DeRay to help them set up similar programs.

Last week, Twist and company took time, at a Kearny council meeting, to thank the governing body, presenting them with mementos to mark the fifth anniversary of the TNR program.

Just think of that for a moment.

The TNR program took time to thank the governing body.

This is only a reminder of how fortunate Kearny is to have Twist, DeRay et al, doing what they do on a regular basis. Whether it’s 18º or 81º out, whether it’s raining or snowing, regardless of whether there’s sunny skies or menacing clouds, many colonies of feral cats are being fed on a daily basis — and because they’re taken off the streets for a short period of time for neutering — the cat population here has been significantly reduced.

Stopping just one feline pregnancy can lead to a reduction of new cats by the thousands over time.

And so the work the TNR program is doing must, itself, be recognized. It’s unsung work, often. But it is beyond significant work.

We take this time to say thank you to Twist, DeRay and every single person who has given a few hours or a few years of time taking care of the feral cat community. They often spend their own money on medical procedures and on cat food. (The TNR is a 503(c)3 non-profit and does accept monetary and food donations — so if you’re interested in helping, either as a volunteer or a donor, be sure to search for the organization on social media.)

The work of the TNR does not go unnoticed. And as such, we are grateful for all of its hard work. May there be many, many more years of success ahead for Twist, DeRay and all.

Please consider donating to local food pantries

With Thanksgiving just a week away, we take this time to encourage all of our readers to consider food donations to local food pantries.

Whether it’s at St. Stephen’s or St. Cecilia churches, or the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, the outreach program led by Phil Stafford, or elsewhere, we have learned, in the most difficult of ways, that most of the food programs locally are in dire need of help — just a week away from the holiday.

These social justice agencies work so hard to put food on the tables of those who might otherwise go without.

And so if you’re in the position to donate, please do so so that all sustenance programs may do what they do best — helping others. Unsure of where to donate? Send an email to and we’ll send you in the right direction. If ever there were a time to be women and men for others, it is now.

It is often at times like that where we realize just how generous our local communities are. So let’s all do our part to make this Thanksgiving one we can all remember for a long time to come.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.