Jul 28, 2014
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Belleville Bank Robbed, Election, Sandy Top Essex News

Homicide in West Orange, Newark weapon, drug arrest, Belleville church steeple braced.

Belleville Bank Robbed, Election, Sandy Top Essex News

Bloomfield Avenue Bank Robbed Tuesday

Authorities are investigating a bank robbery Tuesday at the Valley National Bank on Bloomfield Avenue.

Just before 1 p.m. Tuesday, the suspect entered the bank at 22 Bloomfield Ave. and passed a note to the teller reading "Have gun. Give me money," according to Deputy Chief Mark Minichini of the Belleville Police Department.

The suspect made off with the contents of the teller's drawer and fled north on foot on Belmont Avenue. Exact proceeds have not been determined, Minichini said.

Authorities Investigate W. Orange Homicide

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the death of a West Orange woman on Oct. 31.

Lelia Whatley, 22, was found unresponsive at her Washington Street residence early last Wednesday and was pronounced dead at the scene, said Katherine Carter, spokesperson for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

Whatley's death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy Monday found she died of asphyxiation, Carter said.

Unworn Seat Belt Leads to Weapon, Drug Arrest

A 24-year-old city man was arrested Tuesday on several drugs and weapons charged after Newark police stopped his vehicle for failing to wear a seatbelt, the department said in a statement Tuesday. 

Tejuan Davis was stopped near 109 S. 9th St. around 8 pm by members of the department’s Gang Enforcement Unit. As officers approached the vehicle, Davis was reportedly seen removing what police later discovered was a 9-mm firearm from his waistband and tossing it on the passenger-side floor. Davis who has an extensive arrest record, was also in possession of 16 decks of heroin, police said. 

300 Homes With No Power Restoration Date

More than 300 isolated homes in Millburn are still expected to be in the dark after Saturday with no predicted power restoration date, according to Jersey Central Power and Light.

"Certain areas, like in Millburn Township, where there's been really bad damage to our systems, its going to take our crews a little bit longer to restore service to customers," JCP&L official, Mark Nitoski, said.

Currently, Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff said she is dealing directly with the company's vice president, Mark Jones, after a week of complaining about the  lack of communication to the company and the govenor's office.

PSE&G Report Overlooks South Orange

Village President Alex Torpey, along with Assemb. Mila Jasey and Assemb. John McKeon, were assured by PSE&G Nov. 3 South Orange is a priority, according to Torpey. 

However, an  11 a.m. report posted on the PSE&G website failed to mention South Orange as a county priority. 

Belleville: Workers Bracing Church Steeple

The steeple at a historic Belleville church will be braced to keep it from collapsing after Superstorm Sandy caused damage last week, Kevin Esposito, Belleville township manager, said Tuesday afternoon.

He said the structure, which now houses a Spanish-speaking congregation, has to be secured so that Rutgers Street, a state highway thoroughfare, can reopen to allow access to the Belleville-North Arlington Bridge.

"There is another storm, a nor'easter, coming through on Wednesday, and we can't have Rutgers Street closed for a week or 10 days if the steeple collapses," Esposito said.

Christie Orders Town Water-Use Restrictions

Governor Chris Christie is asking customers served by the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) to limit water use as repairs are made to the agency’s treatment facility in Newark, which was damaged by flooding and power outages during Hurricane Sandy. 

The agency serves 1.4 million customers in several North Jersey towns, including Essex County towns like Belleville, Bloomfield, Cedar Grove, Montclair, Newark, North Caldwell, Nutley, South Orange and West Orange.

Bloomfield Gets New Township Administrator

The Bloomfield town council voted 3-2 Monday night to approve hiring of its newest township administrator, Ted Ehrenburg.

Ehrenburg, the current borough administrator of  Bloomingdale in Passaic County, is coming in at a salary range of $150,000 to $180,000, said Mayor Raymond McCarthy. He is expected to start in about two weeks.

McCarthy and Councilman Nick Joanow voted against the hiring.

Verona BOE Discusses, Approves Camping Trip

The Verona Board of Education has agreed to let middle school students attend a week at Camp Bernie, a year after fathers were accused of drinking while they were supposed to be chaperoning students.

The board made the decision to approve the trip after drafting a 12-page set of regulations that goes over chaperone behavior, details how they choose class trips, how the trips get approved, what kinds of things teachers need to think about, the responsibility of principals, how to choose chaperones and a form chaperones will need to sign stating they will abide by the rules, said Superintendent Steven Forte.

Newark to Be Highlighted in New Magazine

A new destination magazine promoting attractions and things to do in Newark will hit the shelves in early 2013.

The publication, called NewarkBound, will feature photography and stories about arts and culture, food, family fun and things to do in New Jersey's largest city and neighboring communities.

"Our intent is to give visitors and business travelers an informative and interesting overview on the many treasures that Newark and the surrounding areas have to offer, including music, sports, dining, shopping, attractions, accommodations, major events and entertainment," said Publisher Victor Nichols in a press release.

Caldwell Area Residents Celebrate Halloween

On Monday, hundreds of children in costume headed to downtown Caldwell, where restaurants and shops handed out candy and in some cases coupons for moms and dads.

The Nov. 5 celebration of Halloween was ordered by Gov. Chris Christie after Hurricane Sandy caused widespread power outages and made conditions dangerous — if even possible — to go door to door throughout the state. 

Many Caldwell merchants designated an employee to stand outside to distribute the candy to little superheroes, princesses and witches between 2 and 5 p.m. 

Hurricane Can't Stop Halloween in Maplewood

The annual Maplewood Halloween Parade was held five days after Halloween, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  

But for the hundreds of costumed children trick or treating down Maplewood Avenue, it was just as good as the real thing.

Merchants gave out candy -- despite the power suddenly going out throughout the Village just before the parade began.

And in Election Day news around the county:

Fontoura Wins Re-Election for Sheriff

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura has won an eighth term. 

Fontoura, of Fairfield, was winning handily with 167,164 votes, while Mendez trailed with 40,762 votes according to Essex County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin's website.

Sires Breezes To Victory

Incumbent Albio Sires, who has already served three terms in Congress, easily defeated Republican Bayonne councilwoman Maria Karczewski Tuesday night to capture the redistricted 8th Congressional District.

With 100 percent of the precincts counted in both Essex and Hudson counties, Sires had 80 percent of the vote to Karczewski's 15.8 percent.

Frelinghuysen Wins 10th Term in Congress

Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen will return to Congress for his 10th term following an Election Day win over Democratic challenger John Arvanites.

Frelinghuysen, who represents the 11th Congressional District representing Essex County towns including Nutley, Bloomfield, Montclair, the Caldwells, West Orange and Livingston, beat Arvanites, who is the former mayor of Roseland.

Frelinghuysen narrowly lost Essex County, earning 32,699 votes to his opponent's 34,008, or garnering 48 percent of the vote to Arvanites 50 percent of the vote.

Menendez Overtakes Kyrillos

Robert Menendez has emerged victorious in reclaiming his U.S. Senate seat against Republican challenger Joe Kyrillos.

With just over half of polling districts reporting, state Republicans have conceded victory to Menendez.

Payne Coasts to Congressional District 10 Win

The Payne family name lives on in New Jersey's 10th Congressional District, with Donald Payne Jr. easily winning Tuesday the seat previously held by his late father.

Although many votes may not be counted for days as election officials in three counties sort through various provisional and mail-in ballots, Payne had already racked up a nearly 10-1 margin of victory over Republican challenger Brian Keleman. 

Kline, Incumbents Win in Nutley BOE Race

Newcomer Ryan Kline and incumbents Tom Sposato and Deborah Russo were the top vote-getters in Tuesday’s race for the Nutley Board of Education, according to an unofficial tally provided by the clerk’s office tonight. 

Votes may not be officially certified for days as the Essex County Clerk’s Office sorts through the provisional, mail-in and other types of ballots  cast in Nutley, but the unofficial tally shows Sposato as the lead vote-getter, earning 4,127, while Russo received 3,867 and Kline 3,841.

Caldwell Council Race Results Up in the Air

The Caldwell Council race was too close to call and might not be decided for many days.

With all districts reporting, Republican incumbent Richard Hauser and Democratic candidate Edward Durkin were in the lead for the two open seats on the borough council. Hauser received 1,503 votes and Durkin had 1,500 votes, according to early results posted by the Essex County Clerk.

Republican incumbent Peter Murray was in third place with 1,483 votes and Democratic candidate Susan Vezza was in fourth place with 1,446 votes.

None of the candidates would concede Tuesday night. If Durkin and Hauser emerge the winners, the council will be split between both political parties.

Close to 400 absentee ballots were applied for, according to Republican incumbent Peter Murray, who said Tuesday night the results of the race may not be clear until all votes are counted.

West Caldwell Retains Republican Stronghold

West Caldwell said "no" to change, re-electing Republican incumbents Stanley Hladik and Thomas O'Hern to the township council, according to early results posted by the Essex County Clerk's Office. 

Unofficial results show that Hladik and O'Hern, who both sought second three-year terms, won handily receiving 2,738 and 2,820 votes respectively. 

Democratic challengers, Marc Driggs and Frank Mondsini, both first time candidates, received 1,922 and 1,841 votes respectively, according to early results.

Adams Unseats McNish on C-WC School Board

Thomas Adams, a retired high school teacher, has edged out longtime board member Maureen McNish by more than 200 votes in the Caldwell-West Caldwell school board election, according to unofficial results posted by the Essex County Clerk's Office Tuesday night.

Adams and Getty received 2,739 and 2,652 votes respectively. Incumbent McNish, who was seeking a fourth term, was unable to keep her seat on the board with 2,506 votes. The three candidates vied for two open seats on the board.

Silverman, Anthony Win Town Council Seats

Michael Silverman and Al Anthony have defeated Chuck Granata and Allan Feid Jr. for the two open Livingston Town Council seats. 

With the win, Silverman and Anthony, the Democrats in the race, ensure the makeup of the council will stay the same politically. They will be taking over for outgoing Mayor Stephen Santola and councilman Gary Schniederman. 

For the Livingston Board of Education, Pamela Chirls and David Jasin were elected to the board to replace outgoing Bonnie Granatir and Chuck Granata.

Leventhal, Ryan Re-Elected in Maplewood

Kathy Leventhal won re-election to the Maplewood Township Council with a total of 7,850 votes. Her running mate Jerry Ryan received 7,760 votes.

Republican challenger Art Gartenlaub tallied 1,817 votes. 

Two Newcomers Join Millburn School Board

Millburn-Short Hills residents have elected two newcomers, Dr. Rupali Wadhwa and Raymond Wong, along with incumbent Dr. Eric Siegel, to serve on the Millburn Board of Education in Tuesday’s election.

Mayor Sandra Haimoff was re-elected after running unopposed Tuesday night.

Charles, Casalino Win School Board Seats

Incumbent Michelle Casalino will join newcomer  Ronald Charles on the West Orange Board of Education following Election Day wins Tuesday.

Casalino was the top vote-getter in the four-person race for two seats. Charles finished second and was followed by Joseph Sorbino and Adam Kraemer.

Board member Paul Petigrow dropped out of the race in September.

Verona Voters Rebuff Full-Day Kindergarten

Verona will continue to have three-quarter days for kindergarteners after voters turned down full-day classes at the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6. 

The measure, which would have had Verona kindergarteners begin full school days ending at 2:45 p.m., was turned down by just 169 votes. As a result, kindergarteners will continue to be dismissed at 12:30 p.m.

Incumbents Re-Elected in Verona, Cedar Grove

Incumbent board of education candidates in both Verona and Cedar Grove were re-elected after uncontested elections in both towns.

Incumbents  John Quattrocchi and Joseph T. Bellino will retain their seats on the Verona Board of Education, while incumbents Frank G. Mandala Jr. and  Laura Marinelli were re-elected in Cedar Grove.

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