Somerset County News

Neighbor Extends Help to Widow of Fallen Police Officer Matthew Tarentino

Summit Police Detective Matthew Tarentino Credits: Courtesy Summit Police
Design Center of Somerville owner Thomas Sfisco in the showroom of the interior design studio and furniture store. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Design Studio of Somerville owner Thomas Sfisco, left and Cynthia Stabile, senior interior designer. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Design Studio of Somerville Credits: Rod Hirsch
Thomas Sfisco's remodeled kitchen was featured in "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine Kitchen and Bath issue of April, 2010. Credits: Rod Hirsch

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Like so many others who live in this tight-knit borough, Thomas Sfisco was stunned when he first heard the news about his neighbor Matthew Tarentino, the 29-year-old Summit police officer who was killed May 30 in a three-car motor vehicle accident on Route 78.

Sfisco had seen Tarentino just a few weeks before, walking past his house.

Dedicated to staying in top physical shape, Tarentino was a familiar sight running on the streets throughout the borough;  Sfisco asked whether there was anything wrong.

Sign Up for E-News

“I had just walked outside to the driveway from my kitchen and noticed him across the street walking, which I found bizarre; he never walks; he was always running past like a gazelle.

“I asked him, ‘Matthew are you all right? I offered to drive him home,” Sfisco said.

“I think I just popped my knee let me try and walk it off down to the corner,’ Tarentino responded, according to Sfisco.

Sfisco first met Tarentino when he and his wife, Victoria were walking their newborn first child in a carriage past his house; Tarentino’s parents lived around the corner from Sfisco.

Both Tarentino's and his wife’s family, the Cullens have lived in the borough for three generations. The couple graduated from Immaculata High School, and attended Immaculate Conception RC Church.

Sfisco, who graduated Somervile High School in 1982, lives in the house he grew up in as a child, and is also a third-generation resident of the borough.

Immaculate Conception RC Church on Mountain Avenue hosted a memorial service for Tarentino Sunday, June 4 and a funeral mass June 5, followed by a procession of police officers, families and friends to Resurrection Cemetery in Piscataway for graveside services. The procession drove past the Tarentino’s home.

Thousands of people were in Somerville both days to pay their respects.

Tarentino was promoted to Detective posthumously by the Summit Police Department following the accident.

Sfisco, owner of Design Studio of Somerville, 67 W. Main St., now finds himself in a position where he can help Tarentino’s widow, Victoria and their two young sons, Robbie, 3 and Ray, 2. The couple is expecting their third child in August.

Lee Industries, a North Carolina furniture maker and upholstery manufacturer in operation for 44 years, sponsors a bi-annual community outreach program with its retailers in February and July called “Lee Loves Local.”

Sfisco has been doing business with Lee for years; Lee’s furniture – sofas, love seats, ottomans and benches, dining room and bedroom sets - are displayed throughout the Design Center showroom; catalogs full of upholstery samples sit on sofa cushions, glass shelves and flat surfaces, with a rack of samples in the basement office and workshop.

Lee deducts five percent from each invoice for new orders submitted by its retailers during the month of July and returns that money to the retailer in the form of a donation for a designated charity or cause. Sfisco discussed the program with Cynthia Stabile, his longtime senior interior designer; both knew immediately what they would do.

Stabile, friends with the Cullen family, reached out to tell them about the program before moving forward.

Somerville Design Studio will match that five percent donated by Lee and will donate 10 percent of all Lee sales in the store during the month of July to the online fund established for Tarentino’s young family by the Summit PAL in the days following Tarentino’s death.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, donations totaled $587,393. The site can be accessed online at

A Message of Thanks was posted to the website on June 12 by Vickie Tarentino’s siblings. It reads:

"We, the siblings of Detective Matthew and Vickie Tarentino, can never thank the Summit PAL enough for the tremendous gesture of starting this fund in Matt's memory for our sweet sister and their young children.

During these most devastating days, the kind words, memories, prayers, and most certainly the generous donations are humbling and comforting, and will make their navigating the road ahead just a little easier. We are so deeply appreciative.

On behalf of our sister, we extend her most sincere awe and gratitude for everything that has been done to honor Matt and comfort her family during this time."

The Design Studio of Somerville is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-4 p.m.

Call (908) 685-1921 for further information.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


UPDATE: Four’Easter May Bring Another Foot of Snow, Be Prepared for School Closures and Power Outages in Warren Township and Surrounding Area

March 20, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Happy Spring. Get the milk, bread and eggs. Get the generator, gas and chainsaw and be prepared to lose another day of spring break if Wednesday is called a snow day. Heavy mixed precipitation is expected with snow accumulations of 8 to 14 inches in our area by Wednesday evening when the fourth Nor’easter of the year hits. #foureaster is trending, and Winter does ...

Warren Township to Collect Winter Storm Quinn Tree Debris

WARREN, NJ - The Department of Public Works of Warren Township will be collecting tree and brush debris from all Warren Township residents in the aftermath of Winter Storm Quinn.

Due to the intense effects of Storm Quinn that impacted Warren Township on March 7, the Township Committee has authorized and directed the DPW to. begin the collection process ...

Somerset County Opens Emergency Shelter for Storm Victims at RVCC

BRANCHBURG, NJ – Due to the extended power outages in Somerset County as a result of Winter Storm Quinn and the expected cold temperatures over the next few days, the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management has partnered with the American Red Cross to open a shelter for county residents at Raritan Valley Community College.

The shelter opened as of 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ...

Update from Warren Office of Emergency Management on Saturday, Mar. 10

WARREN, NJ - The Warren Township Office of Emergency Management has provided a timeline and Jane Asch at Warren’s Office of Emergency Management has updated storm recovery information as of 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10 with the following:



The most pressing issue is restoration of power. It may be helpful to understand the triage system both JCP&L and ...

Storm Watch: Closings, Cancellations and Postponements

WARREN, NJ - The snow has started to fall. The National Weather Service is forecasting as much as 8 to 12 inches of snow to accumulate across the northern half of New Jersey and Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency.

The Warren Township Municipal Building and the Warren Library are closed today, Wednesday, Mar. 7 due to the storm. Watchung Borough offices and ...

Winter Storm Update from Warren Township Office of Emergency Management and the Warren Township Police Department

March 20, 2018

The following information is being shared on behalf of the Warren Township Office of Emergency Management and the Warren Township Police Department:

In preparation for the impending storm, please review your family's Emergency Plan.  Be prepared to have enough food, water, medications and other necessities for you, your family and your pets to stay in your home for a few days with or ...

Mount Carmel Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, Sunday, March 25

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mount Carmel Society is hosting a Breakfast with the Easter Bunny on Sunday, March 25 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 56 River Road in Berkeley Heights with an Easter Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. (weather permitting).

The all you can eat buffet includes pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, bagels, donuts and muffins and a cash bar will serve Mimosas and Bloody ...


South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

AAA Cautions: Daylight Saving Could Affect Daily Commute

March 10, 2018

WARREN, NJ - AAA is reminding drivers that the change to Daylight Saving Time may create distractions on the roadway and challenges for drivers who lost an hour of sleep. Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday at 2 a.m.

“As we spring forward, drivers should be aware that the time change will also mean changes to driving habits,” said Robert Sinclair, Manager of Media ...

Whole Foods Delays Opening Due to Predicted Storm

March 20, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — Whole Foods, in the new Chimney Rock Plaza in Bridgewater, is officially opening its doors on Friday, March 23.

It was originally scheduled to open March 21, but the opening was delayed because of the predicted nor'easter.

The Bridgewater location is the first Whole Foods in Somerset County. 

The 49,000-square-foot store is featuring ...

UPDATE: Four’Easter May Bring Another Foot of Snow, Be Prepared for School Closures and Power Outages in Warren Township and Surrounding Area

WARREN, NJ - Happy Spring. Get the milk, bread and eggs. Get the generator, gas and chainsaw and be prepared to lose another day of spring break if Wednesday is called a snow day. Heavy mixed precipitation is expected with snow accumulations of 8 to 14 inches in our area by Wednesday evening when the fourth Nor’easter of the year hits. #foureaster is trending, and Winter does ...

Suspended HS Athletic Director Charged with Theft

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Suspended Hillsborough High School Athletic Director Michael Fanizzi has been arrested and charged with the theft of $10,704 in athletic event receipts over a four-year period from 2013-2017, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Fanizzi, 53, a resident of Conover Way in Hillsborough who had been athletics director for 14 years, had been ...

Fairytale Marriage Proposal Takes Center Stage at St. Patrick’s Day Parade

SOMERVILLE, NJ – A surprise engagement took center stage at last weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Somerville. In the midst of the March 11 festivities, Piscataway resident Steven Verardi boarded a float and popped the question to his girlfriend Elise Latona, marking the first known engagement to take place at the parade in 27 years.

Since opening The Beauty Bar ...

Will Your Air Travels Be Impacted by Our Fourth Nor’easter (Fourth? Is it the End?)

March 20, 2018

After three Nor’easters, you would think we could catch a break. They do say the fourth one is always the best.  This time, we should be very well practiced.

By now, you know the drill. This article has advice on local and airline support services. You may want to bookmark the page for future reference. 

Most Airlines now offer APP, text, or email updates to flight ...

Local Travel Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day - Calm Family Events to Drinking Shots from...Nevermind

St. Patrick’s Day is coming upon us even faster than St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland.  Here are some of the areas great events to celebrate Irish pride.

March 17 Events

Hoboken - The Nerds at Willie McBride’s (see poster up in the slide show)

Newton - Sober St. Patrick’s Day Gathering

Newton (parade) - Sussex County St. Patrick's Day ...

After a Couple Painful Travel Days the New York City Area Airports Are Returning to Normal

After a couple of difficult travel days, the local airports are returning to normal.  The FAA is reportin only 10 to 15 minute delays.  Allow extra times for the commute to the airport and you should be fine.

Just keep these ideas and links fresh in mind for future travels.  You may even want to bookmark the page for future reference.

Most Airlines now offer ...

St. Patrick’s Day Sobriety Check in Belmar/Neptune Area on Tap by State Police

March 17, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Giving no details on location and time, New Jersey State Police plans to conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday, March 17 in the area of Belmar and Neptune Township,

The state police made the announcement on its Facebook page, alerting motorists that state troopers will be pulling over vehicles at this undisclosed location and time  “looking for signs of ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...