Jul 29, 2014

West Orange's Year in Review: 2012

A look back at the10 most-read stories of the year.

West Orange's Year in Review: 2012

West Orange saw 2012 come in with a mild winter and will see it go out with now, snow, freezing rain and bad weather.

In between, West Orange had spring, summer and fall events to remember.

The 10 most-read stories on West Orange Patch this year are presented below.

Enjoy our look back at 2012!

Teacher Arrested for Alleged Sex With Student

A West Orange High School honors teacher -- who was chosen by other educators as Essex County "Teacher of the Year" last year -- was arrested Friday for having an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student.

Erica Depalo, 33, of Montclair, was arrested and charged with having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy, who is a student at the high school. The relationship allegedly began in June and ended Aug. 28, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

Superintendent Anthony Cavanna was suspended by the West Orange Board of Education on July 18 and placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation into “district issues,” said West Orange Board President Laura Lab.

The board also voted not to rehire Cavanna as superintendent of the district after his contract expires in June 2013.

DEA Arrests Pharmacist For Illegal Activity

West Orange pharmacist Leonard "Lenny" Stefanelli of the West Orange Pharmacy on Main Street has been arrested and charged with selling oxycodone to people without a prescription, according to authorities. 

Stefanelli, 48, of East Hanover, is part-owner and head pharmacist at the pharmacy, located at 443 Main St. He was arrested Sept. 10 by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. 

Bouncer Shot and Killed Outside Bar

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office identified the man shot to death Aug. 6 behind Misty's Bar and Restaurant on Main Street as Jacques Nelson, 32, of Orange. 

Nelson was employed as a bouncer and was breaking up a fight between patrons in the municipal parking lot when he was fatally shot at approximately 2 a.m., authorities said.

No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing. 

Truck Crashes Through 2 Main Street Businesses

An out-of-control tow truck careened down Eagle Rock Avenue and plowed through the outer wall of a store and then through an adjacent store at the intersection of Main and Washington streets at around 2 p.m. Sept. 26.  

Tory Corner was closed and cordoned off with yellow police tape after a tow truck drove through the outside wall of Machado’s Tailors, and then continued to drive through the business into Financial Services LLC right next door.

Former PTA President Charged With Theft

A West Orange woman was charged in January with allegedly siphoning money from the Mount Pleasant Parent-Teacher Association in West Orange, authorities said.

Deborah Sanchez, a former Mt. Pleasant PTA president, made her first appearance in Superior Court last week and pleaded not guilty, according to Carter.

West Orange Bank Robbed at Gunpoint

West Orange police are searching for a man who entered the TD Bank at Pleasant Valley Way Monday, brandishing a handgun and demanded cash from a teller before fleeing with an undetermined amount of money.

According to West Orange police Sgt. John Palardy, the man, described as white, with glasses and wearing a dark baseball cap facing backwards, approached a bank teller at approximately 1:15 p.m. The man showed the teller a silver semi-automatic handgun, Palardy said.

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Board Members

An ethics complaint was filed against Laura Lab, president of the West Orange Board of Education, and Megan Brill, another member of the board, according to documents obtained by West Orange Patch.

Nicholas Galante, a current school district employee and president of the local teacher's union, filed the complaint in February with the state School Ethics Commission, confirmed Galante's attorney Gail Oxfeld Kanef in Newark.

The document charges that Lab allegedly demanded Galante be transferred from his current work assignment and asked for Galante's work email to be monitored - among other complaints.

Victor Cirilo Charged With DWI

A West Orange council member was arrested in Verona and charged with drunken driving and two other charges, Verona Police Chief Douglas Huber said Tuesday morning.

Police stopped council president Victor Cirilo’s car shortly after midnight Friday, Nov. 9, after he made a turn from Bloomfield Avenue onto Mount Prospect Avenue (Route 23), Nov. 9, Huber said.

He was administered a field sobriety test, Huber said, but refused to take a blood alcohol test and was arrested.

Cavanna Reportedly Seeking Job Elsewhere

Months before the West Orange Board of Education placed Superintendent Anthony Cavanna on paid administrative leave July 18, Cavanna was seeking another superintendent job in New York. 

Cavanna was named as one of the finalists for the superintendent position in the Greenburgh Central 7 School District in New York on April 26, 2012, according to the  Greenburgh Daily Voice.

“This is the job that I have been preparing for,” Cavanna said, according to the same artice in the Greenburgh Daily Voice.

Two Found Dead on Nance Road

A man was found dead in his home on Nance Road in West Orange a day after his wife died of a possible drug overdose, police said. 

Marla Fuhrer, 24,  was found unresponsive in her home on Feb. 2, according to West Orange Police Chief James Abbott. 

Family members told police Fuhrer had been complaining of pain and had severe back problems. She had been taking several medications and appeared to have died of an accidental prescription drug overdose, Abbott said. 

Her husband, Maury Fuhrer, 29, died the following day.



















Two Found Dead on Nance Road

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