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Assemblywomen Schepisi says ,”NJ may be only State that needs to build a wall to keep residents in”

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photo Building the Berlin Wall in 1961

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Westwood NJ, Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi‏  said on twitter , “Governor Murphy’s top NJ priorities for 2019 are increasing minimum wage and legalizing pot. What about crushing property taxes? What about huge outflux of our residents to cheaper states? What about NJ’s $195.5 BILLION financial hole? What about fairness for the middle class?”

Garden State Initiative chimed in , “an @AsburyParkPress analysis by @scervenka finds the avg NJ property tax bill has doubled in 20 yrs far exceeding income growth. Will @GovMurphy address this in his State of the State? … “

Holly Schepisi concluded the discussion ,”Not one mention of any initiative to combat high property taxes, unaffordability or exodus from the State. We may be only State that needs to build a wall to keep residents in. @GovMurphy @NJAssemblyGOP …  “

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SUEZ: High Lead Levels Detected in Drinking Water Puts Some Bergen County Households At Risk


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Westwood NJ,108 homes were sampled with 16 across Bergen and Hudson counties showing higher levels of lead than the federal standard. SUEZ, serves 53 municipalities in Bergen County and six in Hudson County .NJDEP records show that the SUEZ water system serves nearly 800,000 people in North Jersey.

Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi commented:

 I just had a conference call with executives at SUEZ water regarding a report today that elevated lead levels were found in the drinking water of some homes in Bergen county. Out of 108 homes tested, higher than permissible lead levels were found in 16 homes. The elevated lead levels likely came either from older lead pipes that extend from water mains under the street into homes or from older lead fixtures in the homes. If you have a newer home or a new built construction you will not be impacted as lead products were no longer used in newer construction.

If you are a customer of Suez in an older home you can find out if you are served by a lead line by checking your account online at, visiting or calling or emailing the customer service center at 1-800-422-5987 and,

Suez will test homes that are served by a company-owned lead service line for free.

In the event your home tests positive for lead above the acceptable government standards a water filter that removes lead will be provided free of charge.

Ridgewood water was effected by similar issues with some older homes in town.

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Hillsdale Bar Fight Leaves One Seriously Injured and Two Arrested

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photo courtesy of the Hilldale Police Department

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hillsdale NJ, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrest of JUAN FERNANDEZ (DOB: 3/28/1996; single; unemployed/student) of 1302 Marsh Cove Court, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, on a charge of Aggravated Assault and ALEX Z. GREEN (DOB: 06/03/1996; single; unemployed/student) of 15 Goodwin Terrace, Westwood, NJ, on a charge of Hindering Apprehension. The arrests are the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti.

On Tuesday, January 1, 2019, at approximately 12:51 a.m., the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Hillsdale Police Department received information that a victim was assaulted outside a bar/restaurant in Hillsdale and had suffered a severe head injury. The investigation revealed that the victim was assaulted by Juan FERNANDEZ, who subsequently fled the scene in a vehicle driven by Alex Z. GREEN. The victim was transported to a hospital in critical condition and remains hospitalized at this time.

As a result of the investigation, Alex Z. GREEN was arrested on January 2, 2019, in Westwood and charged with one count of Hindering Apprehension, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3A(1), a 3rd degree crime. GREEN is scheduled for a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack on January 16, 2019, at 9:00 a.m.

Juan FERNANDEZ was arrested on January 4, 2019 in Paramus and charged with one count of Aggravated Assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1B(1), a 2nd degree crime. FERNANDEZ is scheduled for a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack on January 23, 2019, at 9:00 a.m.

Acting Prosecutor Calo states that the charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and would also like to thank the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and the Hillsdale and Ridgewood Police Departments for their assistance in this investigation.

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Off-duty NJ State Trooper Helps Save Choking Man on New Year’s Day in Westwood

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Westwood NJ, New Jersey State Troopers need to be ready for the unexpected and to always be prepared to act on or off-duty. Major Michael Rinaldi, Commanding Officer of the Office of Drug Monitoring and Analysis, showed how these moments can happen at any given time.

On Tuesday, January 1, Major Rinaldi was enjoying the holiday with his family at the Westwood Diner and Pancake House in Westwood, Bergen County, when something went wrong.

Shortly after finishing lunch with his wife and son, Major Rinaldi noticed commotion on the dining room floor and immediately realized there was a man who was conscious but exhibiting signs of an obstructed airway. Recognizing that the man was choking, he immediately began the Heimlich Maneuver.

While performing the Heimlich Maneuver, Westwood Police Officers Greg Dorfman and Stephanie Laurent along with EMS arrived on scene to assist in clearing the patron’s airway. Major Rinaldi’s quick and decisive actions undoubtedly prevented a New Year’s Day tragedy. Phenomenal job, Major Rinaldi!

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Reader says , “All of this negative car thief talk is nonsense!”

Starbucks Ridgewood

All of this negative car thief talk is nonsense!
I leave my car running (sometimes with my toddler inside) when I run into Starbucks and get my double latte (I’m useless without it in the morning!). I leave my purse in the car too since its too cumbersome to drag into the store when I’ll just be in and out. Don’t worry, I bring my cell phone with me – I’m not stupid! Besides, I’d die if I lost it (although it would be a good excuse to upgrade:) ) .
I’m so glad I live in Ridgewood and not Westwood !

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High End Car Thief’s Still At Large in Bergen

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photo courtesy of the Westwood Police Department

To Our Residents,

The Westwood Police Department would like to make the community aware of some recent car burglaries and stolen vehicles from around the Pascack Valley. It appears that there is a group targeting this area for higher end car thefts and also committing vehicle burglaries while they are here.

In order to help prevent being a victim,
We make the following recommendations to our residents:
1. Stay vigilant
2. Report suspicious activity
3. Lock your car
4. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle
5. Do not leave your key fob inside your car

Please do not hesitate to call the police department if something doesn’t seem right. We are glad to respond in order to protect our neighborhoods.

Thank you for your cooperation and have a Happy and Safe New Year!!

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Stolen Car Pursued by Multiply Police Departments in High Speed Chase Across Bergen

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photo courtesy of Boyd Lovings Facebook Page

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Twp. of Washington NJ, A vehicle reported stolen from Hillsdale early Thursday evening, 12/27, was spotted by a Ho-Ho-Kus Police patrol officer within minutes after a radio broadcast reporting the theft. A high speed pursuit ensued into Washington Township where the vehicle crashed into a utility pole at the intersection of Clinton Avenue and Washington Avenue. Following a short foot pursuit, one (1) individual who had fled from the crashed vehicle was apprehended in the rear of 639 Clinton Avenue, Washington Township. The suspect was transported by a Westwood EMS ambulance to New Bridge Medical Center for treatment of a non life threatening laceration to the head. Officers from Hillsdale Police, Paramus Police, Ridgewood Police, Westwood Police, and Washington Township Police were observed assisting Ho-Ho-Kus Police at the scene. The wrecked vehicle, a 4-door Honda Accord, was removed from the scene by a flatbed tow truck. The car had reportedly been left running with the keys in the ignition.

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Rockland/Coach bus service blasted at Woodcliff Lake Meeting


the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Woodcliff Lake NJ, Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi  relays her thoughts on improving Rockland/Coach bus service. I have used the service in the past and while the drivers are professional the company demonstrates a complete lack of interest in servicing North Jersey commuters and as a long time commuter I would rate the service as TERRIBLE at best . It is often incomprehensible how poor the service actually is. Its odd because Coach that runs the service from the Ridgewood Park and Ride does a far better job than Rockland and Rockland is  just a division of the same company COACH USA.

Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi :

Last night, I, Carlos A. Rendo Mayor-Woodcliff Lake, NJ, Councilwoman Jacquie Gadaleta, Catherine Best from Congressman Gottheimer’s office, Borough Administrator Tom Padilla, Woodcliff Lake resident commuters and representatives from Rockland/Coach USA met to discuss ways to improve bus service for our residents. Over the past several months we have received numerous complaints regarding the reliability of bus service from our area into the Port Authority as well as the failure of Rockland/Coach USA to properly communicate with commuters regarding interruptions in service.

During last evening’s meeting, Rockland’s new general manager and Executive Vice President acknowledged these issues and discussed immediate action plans to remedy the service and communication problems. 30 new longer buses have been acquired by the Company, increasing the number of seats on these buses to 59 passengers from the previous 47. This should help with the issues of no seats for last pick up areas such as Woodcliff Lake. 5 “gap” buses are currently in training to fill in if a bus becomes disabled or a driver doesn’t show up to work. In January the Company is planning to start a new bus originating in Woodcliff Lake during the height of the rush hour to ensure adequate seating for its customers.

With respect to lack of communication, Rockland is exploring new apps which could provide real time alerts to commuters in the event of a delay or change in bus schedule. Dispatchers are being trained specifically to address customer service issues and a full time manager is now on site at the Westwood bus depot to oversee operations.

While we all acknowledge these problems will not be fixed overnight, the steps being taken by the Company appear to be a step in a positive direction. We have agreed to meet as a group again at the end of January beginning of February to evaluate the changes made between now and then. Should you encounter any commuter difficulties over the next 6 weeks while on Rockland buses please reach out and let us know so that we may bring it to the Company’s attention.

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Bergen Man Arrested for Attempted Armed Robbery

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Westwood NJ, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrest of DUSTIN VAN RIPER (DOB: 12/22/1995; single; unemployed) of 150 Sunset Lane, Old Tappan NJ on charges of Attempted Armed Burglary, Possession Of A Weapon For An Unlawful Purpose, and Resisting Arrest in Old Tappan, NJ; as well as Possession Of A Weapon For An Unlawful Purpose and Resisting Arrest in Westwood, NJ. The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti.

On Friday, December 7, 2018, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office received information that Dustin VAN RIPER attempted to break into a residence in Old Tappan, NJ and then fled the scene after the Old Tappan Police arrived at the scene. After fleeing the scene, VAN RIPER was located in the backyard of 201 Mill Street, Westwood, NJ, holding a weapon. When officers from the Westwood Police Department approached VAN RIPER, he disregarded their instructions to drop the weapon. A Westwood Police Officer fired one shot from the officer’s service weapon in the direction of VAN RIPER. VAN RIPER was not struck by the gunshot. VAN RIPER immediately dropped the weapon, and the Westwood Police Department placed him into custody.

As a result of the investigation, Dustin VAN RIPER was arrested on Friday, December 7, 2018, by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and charged with the following offenses for conduct that occurred in Old Tappan: one count of Attempted Armed Burglary, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1/2C:18-2b, a 2nd degree crime; one count of Possession Of A Weapon For An Unlawful Purpose, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4D, a 3rd degree crime; and one count of Resisting Arrest, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a, a 4th degree crime. For conduct that occurred in Westwood, VAN RIPER was charged with one count of Possession Of A Weapon For An Unlawful Purpose, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4A-1, a 2nd degree crime; and one count of Resisting Arrest, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2A-3b, a 3rd degree crime.

Acting Prosecutor Calo states that the charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and would like to thank the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office for its assistance with this investigation.

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Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office conducts spot check for skimmer devices at ATM machines in Bergen County

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photo courtesy of Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Westwood NJ, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office conducted a spot check for skimmer devices  at ATM machines , and the good news, no skimmer devices found during this random spot check.
Do you know what a skimmer is? Do you check before you swipe your card? Did you know skimming devices planted by criminals on ATM’s and other card payment readers racked up roughly $3.9 billion in losses during 2017 (according to one study by a credit card company)? #Skimming your debit or credit card number, and stealing your pin number, is a real risk.

Continue reading Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office conducts spot check for skimmer devices at ATM machines in Bergen County

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Reader calls Westwood’s Flag Problem , an “easily-predicted problem”

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rainbow flag at Ridgewood High School

Constitutional Law 101. Municipalities are certifiably insane if they imagine that it could be in any way appropriate to dance this particular two-step: 1) Evaluate in a legislative body the substance of a third-party message proposed for public display on public property; and 2) Approve such public display on municipal property because said legislative body loves that message and darn well wants to signal its approval of same.
Why did our well-paid village attorney not put the Kibosh on this? Regardless of what one thinks of the particular message that received approval and (by now) two month’s free advertisement from our elected village legislative body, how (constitutionally speaking) can that body now legitimately say “no” to a similar-situated month-long display containing, say, an opposite message, or even any other message for that matter!?! Why did the Village’s legal counsel not lay out this easily-predicted problem in stark enough terms to persuade our illusurious council members of the utter folly of their planned course of action?

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Westwood man wants to fly anti-abortion flag at Westwood Borough Hall

gay flag ridgewood

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Westwood NJ,  a Westwood man wants to fly anti-abortion flag at Borough Hall. The borough resident and anti-abortion activist is requesting the display, citing the rainbow flag flown at Borough Hall for LGBT Gay Pride flag.

In April 2017 , Jan Phillips  attempted to strong arm the Ridgewood council in the name of civility by pushing them to hang a Gay Pride flag over Village Hall ,at the time it was rejected for various reasons  and many readers suggested   ,if the council flew the pride flag over Village Hall , that would open the door to flying all kinds of other flags .

Continue reading Westwood man wants to fly anti-abortion flag at Westwood Borough Hall

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Ice Cream by Mike will host a Kimchi Smoke Barbecue event next Friday August 31th

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,On Friday, August 31, 2018, the latest pop up from Chef Robert Austin Cho — whose Westwood restaurant Kimchi Smoke BBQ was recently named in Food and Wine’s “The Best BBQ in Every State” () — will pair his life changing Chonut and legendary Bad as Texas Brisket with the “Best Ice Cream in Bergen County” () — as chosen by

Continue reading Ice Cream by Mike will host a Kimchi Smoke Barbecue event next Friday August 31th

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Ridgewood Raiders 14U Baseball Team Win State Championship

state champs team pic

Photo :The following is the listing of players and coaches from left to right:Connor O’Hara #52, Coach Brian O’Hara,J.T. Luther #28,Joe Grasso #4,Matt Sullivan #23,Dylan Leith #6,Coach Mike Vigliotti,Angelo LaVaglia #13,Johnny Pilla #11,Mike Vigliotti #10,Jeremy Schneider #25,Jackson Kammen #19,Coach Mike Kammen,Jake Kleiman #45

August 1,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Ridgewood Raiders 14U baseball team just made an improbable run, winning our Little District (District 4), our Section (Section 1), and winning the State Championship yesterday 7/29 over Sayreville. Each step along the way, we lost a game early in each tournament yet won all 9 elimination games we played to win the Junior League State Title.

In District Play, we lost the first Junior League game we played on July 7th vs Westwood, 6-4. We then beat Washington Township 10-0 on July 9th and were then able to beat Westwood two games in a row, 14-4 on July 10th and 10-0 on July 11th to win the District 4 Title and move onto sectionals. District games were played in Dumont and Westwood.

In Sectional Play, we won our first game vs Lackawanna Newton 11-2 on July 13th. The next day July 14th, we suffered a 9-8 loss to a tough and talented team from Parsippany Troy Hills East (PTE) , a game in which we had a 7-3 lead. We then beat Lackawanna Newton on July 16th 4-2 to set up a rematch in the Championship with Parsippany Troy Hills East (PTE). However, PTE had no losses, so being these are double elimination tournaments we would have to beat them twice. We beat them two in a row, 13-0 on July 18th and 10-0 on July 20th to win the Section 1 Championship! All of those games were played in Bloomingdale NJ.

We then moved on to the NJ State Tournament hosted in Lyndhurst. We won our first game 17-1 on July 24th vs. Saddle Brook but suffered a tough loss to a very good hitting team from Sayreville on July 26th 11-6. We were then rained out on Friday July 27th. We were able to beat Saddle Brook 15-5 at 1:00pm on hot and humid Saturday. This again set up for a rematch against Sayreville who had zero losses. We played them at 3:30pm immediately following the Saddle Brook game and outslugged them 13-10 to set up a true Championship game on Sunday July 29th. Both teams scored runs in the first inning and the game stayed tied until we scored 3 in the 3rd inning to make it 4-1. Sayreville was able to add a run to make it 4-2 in the 4th but we were able to tack on a run in the 6th and 5 more in the 7th to come away with the 10-2 game!

Our team now moves on to represent New Jersey in the Eastern Regional Tournament being held at Michael J Tighe Field in Freehold NJ from August 2nd-August 8th. The winner of the Eastern Regional will move on to play in the Junior World Series held in Taylor Michigan August 12th to August 19th!

Ridgewood is looking to follow in the footsteps of the 2015 Junior League team which advanced to the Junior World Series!

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Bergen County Man Admits Producing Phony Massage Therapy Training Certificates For Prostitution Businesses


June 15,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Closter NJ,  A Closter, New Jersey, man today admitted producing and selling fraudulent massage therapy training certificates for use in various New Jersey massage parlors that engaged in prostitution, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Naresh Rane, 64, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to Count 1 of an indictment charging him with knowingly and intentionally using and causing the use of facilities in interstate commerce to promote, manage, establish, carry on, and facilitate the business of prostitution in violation of New Jersey law.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Rane owned and operated Axiom Healthcare Academy, which purported to provide classes in massage therapy training. Rane held himself out as a businessman who, for a fee that ranged from $1,000 to $2,600, could provide massage therapy training certificates to anyone who wished to obtain a massage license without the required training. Rane was also willing to provide phony transcripts listing classes and grades.
Between November 2013 and March 2014, Rane provided 10 fraudulent massage therapy training certificates and transcripts to a former Westwood, New Jersey, councilman who then gave them to prostitutes working in different massage parlors located in Union, Passaic, Hudson and Middlesex Counties. Rane admitted today that he knew the documents he was producing and selling were used to disguise prostitution activities as legitimate massage services.
The charge to which Rane pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 2, 2018.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Mark J. McCarren of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.