Clifton Merchant Magazine - November 2022

Page 1


Your Traditions

For Our December Magazine


often divide us, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and all the other heady stuff. Instead share a feel good story for our December maga zine, like this one from Vera Greco.

“In 1965, as new homeowners on Wind sor Rd., my son Ralph, (4 at that time) and I looked forward to welcoming neighbor ing children for trick-or-treat.

Often when children came they did so with an adult or parent. Sometimes these adults had rushed through their day, try ing to prepare for their anxious little ones to get started with the fun of Halloween.

I began a tradition of serving coffee and donuts to any older person who came with the children.

It is now 57 years later. My now very grown up son still takes time to help keep the tradition alive. We would love you to come for coffee and donuts! No need to RSVP, just stop by.”

Welcoming trick-or-treaters and their parents to Windsor Rd.: Carmel Grimaldi, Ralph and Vera Greco, Joanna and Robert Kochan and Moira Tiefenbacher.

This month, Ariana Puzzo and our team present an election guide. But as we do every Novem ber, we celebrate those who served. On our cover is veteran and former Fire Chief John Dubravsky, as well as Carl Crawford, J. P. Catanese, Michael Boll and Doc Schupp.

On Halloween afternoon, before we went to press and before the kids got out of school, I visited to get this photo of the Grecos and some neighbors. As Ralph jr. (CHS ‘79) escorted me to my car, another neighbor, Dorothy Gondola, reminded him to stop over for meatballs and chili.

So readers, for our December magazine, share your memories, traditions and photos that will make us smile. Write to:

Magazines are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants on the first Friday of every month.

$40 per year or $65 for two

Editor & Publisher



Contributing Writers

Puzzo, Joe Hawrylko, Irene Jarosewich, Tom Szieber, Jay Levin, Michael C. Gabriele, Jack DeVries, Patricia Alex

Avenue, Downtown Clifton, NJ 07011 973-253-4400 • turn our pages at 16,000
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Tom Hawrylko, Sr. Art Director Ken Peterson Business Mgr. Irene Kulyk Associate Editor & Social Media Mgr. Ariana Puzzo
the politics that too
From the Editor Tom Hawrylko
Send • November 2022 3


Change doesn’t occur overnight, but that’s not an issue for the Clifton Citizens for Change.

The non-partisan, ad hoc group is collect ing 6,000 signatures from Clifton voters. If successful, the signatures will help deliver a referendum about how Clifton elects its mu nicipal body.

The group’s goals are to ensure Clifton vot ers can directly vote for a mayoral candidate and future City Council elections are stag gered.

“Under the current system, anybody on the Council can be appointed mayor by the [Council members],” said James Daley. “Tra ditionally, it’s not split. But if you have a split, then there is a conflict right away for the lead er.”

Daley, 72, is a Board of Education com missioner and founding group member. Ac cording to Daley, he and other lifelong resi dents Lawrence Grasso, Ray Robertello, and Dona Crum have spent six months researching the law to see how other cities elect their local officials.

On the group’s website, they state that having a direct election for a mayor will add “a higher level of account ability for running for this office.” To sign the petition or learn more, visit

In the group’s first month, roughly 400 residents signed the petition. They must acquire at least 5,800 signatures — or support from 10% of the city’s registered voters. If the city clerk accepts the petitions no fewer than 60 days and no more than 120 days before the next general election, voters will see a question on a ballot. There could also be a special election.

The group anticipates that a referendum will reach vot ers in early spring of 2023. Meanwhile, Robertello said a staggered election cycle will help “with engagement and accountability.”

“The discussion of substantive issues is spotlighted, [given that] having fewer open seats enables a deeper dis cussion between fewer candidates,” said Robertello. “It will also increase engagement between candidates and vot ers, as those discussions will occur every two years rather than four.”

“It automatically creates government continuity by eliminating the risk of having a five, six, or [seven-mem ber] council change in any one election cycle,” continued Robertello.

Where We Stand

Eighty-eight years ago, Clifton’s council-manager sys tem of government was established. Since 1934, the city has moved the council’s election from May to November in 2014.

Known as the 1923 Municipal Manager Law, a councilselected, professional city manager runs the city’s

Ray Robertello, Lawrence Grasso and Jim Daley.
4 November 2022 • • November 2022 5

day-to-day operations. Council members se lect a mayor from its own elected body.

The executive responsibilities of the mayor are to preside over council meetings and appoint representatives of boards and commissions. Other communities under the Municipal Manager Law are Garfield, Hack ensack, Lodi, Medford Lakes, and Teterboro.

Daley noted how Clifton’s system is an outlier among cities of comparable popula tions. The July 2021 Census approximated that 90,000 residents live in Clifton. Com parable populations in Trenton (90,457) and Hamilton Township (91,605) are governed under the Faulkner Act Mayor-Council sys tem.

When asked if the proposed changes could inspire a shift to a council-manager system under the Faulkner Act, Daley said there’s no plan to alter the strong city manager form of government or make elections partisan.

“We don’t think that’s in the cards, but that’s up to the voters,” said Daley.

A Domino Effect?

The voters want more information.

Lifelong Cliftonite Kim Renta would like the group to outline more reasons why they’re calling for change and further discuss the benefits.

“Other than one election in 1966 … we are essentially choosing the mayor by giving the person the most votes,” said Renta, 60. “Also, from what I understand of this new form of government, the mayor would [only] be a tiebreaking vote. I’m not certain about the benefit of that.”

“Our form of government works well in Clifton com pared with neighboring towns,” continued Renta. “We’ve managed to be scandal and corruption free.”

Renta served as a BOE commissioner from 2002 to 2008. Although she said our city’s elections “favor incum bents over challengers”, she wondered which members would run when.

The website states the mayor and two council positions would be selected in the November 2023 general election. Voters would elect the remaining four council positions in the general election of 2025. The pattern would repeat ev ery two years.

Renta’s main concern is the possibility of increased par tisanship and a long-discussed ward form of government.

“I think it will lead to a lot more partisan ship, and Clifton is largely free of partisan ship in local elections,” said Renta. “I try to vote based on qualifications … and would hate to see this become a city [where people] vote based on a ‘D’ or ‘R’ after a name.”

“I think that leads to nothing but corrup tion,” continued Renta. “Partisanship is hor rible on a national scale; I don’t want to see it happen in Clifton.”

Knowing the Specifics

Other Clifton residents agree, including those who oc cupy partisan roles.

Passaic County’s Board of County Commissioners Di rector Bruce James said that while he thinks “most people want to be able to elect their own mayor”, it’s a compli cated process.

James, a Democrat and Clifton resident for over 30 years, said he doesn’t believe the group “approached [the process] correctly.”

“They really have to take a look at our wards because they haven’t been redrawn in God knows how long,” said James, 72. “They need to see what form of [municipal] government is allowable in the state. It will take some work to figure out what that is.”

“Until it’s done smartly and within the law, it’s sort of wasting everybody’s time,” added James.

James has not signed the petition because “I’m not com mitted or [in agreement] with what they’re saying.” He emphasized that if future decisions for change are made, Clifton’s citizens are “the ones who should [make] it.”

He added that the election should remain non-partisan.

“We all have roles,” said James, “but the reality is that it’s not a party-based election.”

Robert Calcagno, chairman of the Clifton Republican Organization, has lived in Clifton for about 65 years.

“There is the overstated cliché, ‘If it’s not broken, why fix it?’ and it may occur to ask that in this case,” said Cal cagno, 70. “But I’ll tell you — more information

Kim Renta
Partisanship is horrible on a national scale; I don’t want to see it happen in Clifton.”
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is the way to convince any voter that some thing is better.”

Calcagno elaborated that information can range from why we would make these changes but keep the strong city manager form of government to who’s leading the charge and whether they support specific candidates.

The chairman said he’s not outright op posed to directly electing a mayor or having staggered elections. What Calcagno wants to see is honest discourse.

“If anyone is looking to make this a par tisan city … then don’t hide behind this referendum where only 10% of [the city’s registered voters] have a chance to say something,” said Calcagno. “Have the integrity to say it.”

Calcagno added that “I love Clifton, I love the people I serve.” He wondered if the change would make the mayor a fully paid employee — and what that would do to the pay structure — and if council members would become full-time employees.

Like his fellow residents, he reiterated that having key information is the way to move forward.

“Staggered terms is an awfully enticing change so not all six or seven [incumbents] are like one big team,” said Calcagno. “There’s something positive about stag gered terms so that people can clearly see the differences. … I’m not sure that occurs now. They’re able to hide.”

“There are elements in all of these [pro posed] changes that are positive,” said Cal cagno. “But we’re entitled to know the differences and the specifics and what will occur after-the-fact.”

Abiding by the People

One major change will occur in Clifton this year.

The city’s longest-serving mayor, James Anzaldi, will conclude his final term in office on Dec. 31. Anzaldi was first elected to the Council in 1978 and was first

Clifton Democratic Party Leader Bruce James.
Until it’s done smartly and within the law, it’s sort of wasting everybody’s time.”
“ 8 November 2022 • • November 2022 9

appointed mayor by his fellow council members in 1990.

Daley likened the current method of ap pointing a mayor to a “popularity contest.” He said the proposed changes will give vot ers the opportunity to hear from all candi dates. He mentioned the Oct. 12 City Coun cil debate and how it featured a crowded field of 17 candidates.

“There was almost no discussion of what their vision is or what the issues are,” said Daley. “I think the town’s folks should hear from people who are either elected or wish to be elected on the issues.”

“This will provide for that opportunity,” continued Daley. “So many people in the public don’t know who to vote for.”

Anzaldi maintained his support of four-year elections and said the “four years go very quickly.”

“I guess I have some mixed feelings because this form of government with the seven people elected every four years has worked,” said Anzaldi, 72. “But I would abide by the democratic vote of the people if it should be put on the ballot.”

Starting the signature collection process at the Sept. 18 Van Houten Avenue Street Fair was just the first step. Daley said that he’s open to speaking with the community. On the group’s website, there’s a form to submit questions. Daley emphasized the belief that Clifton is “not on its way to becoming a par tisan government.”

“My track record is very much against any partisan gov ernment,” said Daley. “I didn’t want [the Board of Ed elec tion] to be moved to November.” He added keeping our form of government “offers some assurance that there’s a professional person” sitting in the top seat. “Partisan gov ernment — not only locally, but nationally — is increasing ly failing the American public on both sides of the aisle,” continued Daley. “There’s no need to bring it into Clifton.”

Staggered terms is an awfully enticing change so not all six or seven [incumbents] are like one big team.”
“ 10 November 2022 •

Jimmy Exits City Hall

James Anzaldi may have seen it all, but he still plans on giving his all to Clifton.

As Clifton’s longest-serving mayor pre pares to finish out his final term in office next month, it’s not his intention to fade into obscurity.

“I don’t think I’ll ever become completely uninvolved in the city that I’ve had some in volvement in for over 50 years,” said Anzal di, 72. “Continuing to be involved in some capacity is what I would expect of my future days.”

‘This is something that I cannot help you with.’”

Another important leadership characteris tic — one that Anzaldi regards as in the gen eral service of the government — is deliv ering on “compromise and consensus to get good things done.”

“This has been the center of my personal leadership with each and every councilper son, except for one, and there have been over 30,” said Anzaldi. “Many have become life long friends and allies.”

It makes sense — he’s seen Clifton through some remarkable moments in history. As a council member, he witnessed displays of compassion from local figures like the late Rabbi Eugene Markovitz, whose lessons on religious tolerance in 1989 following antisemitic vandalism made national news. As mayor, he listened to the public’s fears about Y2K at the turn of the century and later kept an open line of com munication with the community during the most isolating months of the coronavirus pandemic.

The most important thing is that ‘we’ is a better word than I.”

“There have been a few very sad [moments] in these years,” he con tinued. “Those are the days where each of us in the system have to embrace each other in sadness and help those who are going through tragedy.”

There are also successful days. The types of days that Anzaldi said allowed council members to rejoice because something “very good” was done for the city and its people.

“The most important thing is that ‘we’ is a better word than ‘I.’”

Since his first election to the City Council in 1978 and appointment as mayor in 1990, rising to the occasion has always been his goal. Most especially on the difficult days.

There’s no denying that he’s a Cliftonite.

“I have lived in Clifton for my whole life in the same house, in the same neighborhood, and to me, there’s no bet ter place in the world,” said Anzaldi.

Compromise and Consensus

The most important quality that Anzaldi considers in anyone pursuing a leadership position is their ability to “use their ears more than their mouth.” He recalled how many people approached him with problems — some of which were unrelated to city government.

Helping these people to the best of his ability was al ways a priority.

“Being a good listener to [someone’s] problem and try ing to send them in the right direction is very important,” said Anzaldi (CHS 1968). “When they come to you with a problem that you cannot help with, you need to tell them,

Standing Proud

Like many community members articulated over the past few months, Anzaldi has also grown weary of con flict and discord. His decision to not seek another term on the Council is one that is “pretty clear I think to ev eryone.”

“It was to send a message that we need to have a Clif ton government without constant bullying and harass ment,” said Anzaldi. “It just doesn’t belong in our city.”

The mayor’s hope for the city’s future is that Clifton continues to elect public leaders who strive to maintain a family-oriented community. He also hopes to see Clifton remain safe and clean.

But his bottom line? There’s no place like Clifton, New Jersey.

“Over these many years, I’ve heard so many wonder ful accolades about Clifton from so many places,” said Anzaldi. “We all should stand proud of the community that we live in and love.”

“ • November 2022 11

How Clifton Government is Designed to Function

12 November 2022 •

City Managers...the History

Clifton became New Jersey’s 12th city when the citizens of Acquackanonk Township voted to incorporate in 1917.

They chose a Mayor/Council form of government, dividing the city into five wards with two council members repre senting each ward.

The mayor had broad executive pow ers, and terms of office for both the may or and the new City Council were set at two years each.

Elections were conducted on a parti san (political party) basis and were stag gered, with five council seats up for elec tion each year.

After twice failing to change this sys tem of government during the 1920s, vot ers passed a referendum in 1934 adopt ing the Council/Manager system that is still in place today. Executive administrative duties were transferred from the

mayor to an appointed city manager, and a new non-partisan seven-member coun cil, serving consecutive four-year terms, was elected to office.

For nearly nine decades, 11 full-time city managers were appointed to run the day-to-day business of Clifton’s govern ment as the role became increasingly demanding. The following is a summary for each:

William A. Miller (1934-1951)

Miller was Clifton’s city clerk in 1934 when the electorate voted to adopt the Council-Manager form of govern ment. Though a Clifton native who was highly respected during his 15 years in the clerk’s office, his appointment was not without controversy. The newly formed city coun cil approved his selection by a 4-2 vote with one • November 2022 13

member abstaining. Citing their disillusionment with the city’s political environment, Miller’s opponents had sought an impartial candidate from outside the city to fill the post. The council allowed Miller to continue in his position as city clerk while he served as city manager. He collected a dual salary, with the clerk’s job pay ing nearly 60% more than the city manager position.

John J. Fitzgerald (1951-1957)

Fitzgerald was Clifton’s city engineer at the time he was named successor to Miller. According to former Clif ton Councilman Lester Herrschaft, Fitzgerald was a robust man, large in physical stature and “a real straight shooter who was never afraid” to take on the challenges of the city manager’s job.

He retired in 1957 after serving the city during, perhaps, its most explosive period of growth. While Fitzgerald was manager, Clifton added two elementary schools (14 and

16) and the Woodrow Wilson Middle School to serve its bur geoning population. Fitzgerald also oversaw the transfer of the city’s water system to the Pas saic Valley Water Commission because of its extensive re sources.

William Holster (1957-1982)

Commonly referred to as ‘Mr. Clifton,’ Holster was also Clifton’s city engineer when he was appointed to the manager’s position in 1957. He was a strong, dynamic leader who, according to newspaper accounts, enjoyed widespread sup port from the City Council during his 25 years in office and was well known in county and state political circles.

Holster was considered an adept administrator and ex cellent problem solver with a no-nonsense reputation. He was the longest-serving city manager and the last one to have tenure in the position.

Though revered almost as a legend in Clifton, stormy exchanges between Holster and council members

John J. Fitzgerald and William Holster.
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reportedly were common place. In 1981-82, he survived a formal reprimand over large cost overruns incurred during a storm sewer project. None theless, he retired with great fanfare less than a year later.

Joseph Lynn (1982-1987)

Lynn’s five-year term as city manager was fraught with controversy. In contrast to his tough and dynamic predeces sors, Lynn, Clifton’s Purchas ing and Personnel Manager at the time of his appointment, was mild-mannered and easygoing. His detractors criticized him for continually getting the council involved in issues that they claimed Holster and Fitzgerald would have handled themselves.

He faced heavy and constant criticism from several on the city council, most notably then-Mayor Gloria Kolodziej, the only council member to vote against his appointment. Though credited with a strong work ethic, Lynn was never able to develop a solid political base.

Lacking tenure because of changes in state law, he re signed in 1987 in the face of an almost-certain council vote for his removal.

Roger Kemp (1987-1993)

Kemp was the first city manager hired without a Clifton background. A Cali fornian and holder of a doc torate degree in public admin istration, he was appointed by unanimous vote of the council after a nationwide search for Lynn’s replacement.

A prolific author who taught courses in government at Rutgers and Fairleigh Dickinson universities while city manager, Kemp also had difficulty securing support from the council. Councilman Donald Kowal was particularly critical of his performance, citing what he termed ‘crisis management’ under Kemp’s leadership. Kemp resigned in 1993 to take a lower-paying city manager’s position in Me riden, Connecticut.

Joseph Lynn and Roger Kemp.
16 November 2022 •
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At the time, several council members said they would look to replace him with a ‘home-grown’ city manager — someone, according to Kowal, “whose concern is about Clifton rather than bolstering and enhancing their own re sume.”

Edward Murphy (1993-1995)

In a novel effort to save money, the Council appointed Murphy as city manager on a consultant basis. Murphy had asked for the classification so he could collect the state pen

sion he had earned after working for 15 years as Cranford’s administrator. The council agreed with the request, saying it would enable the city to avoid paying Social Security taxes, health insurance and pension contributions for the city manager.

However, city auditors later determined that the contrac tor classification was illegal because Murphy was perform ing the duties of a full-time employee. The state’s Public Employees Retirement System then ruled that Murphy could not continue to work for Clifton while collecting the pension and ordered him to repay more than $40,000 he had collected from the pension fund while he worked for Clifton. Facing a council ultimatum to quit or be fired be cause of the ensuing controversy, he resigned in May 1995.

Robert Hammer (1995-2002)

In his seven years as manager, Hammer gained a reputa tion for being a skilled negotiator and for fostering unity within city government. He completely restructured and re organized municipal departments to increase their account ability and he was credited with maintaining minimal tax increases during his tenure.

In addition to serving as city manager, he was a mem ber of the Clifton Planning Board. He tendered his

Robert Hammer and Barbara Sacks.
18 November 2022 •
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resignation to the council in November 2002 because of health problems and pledged to serve in an advisory capac ity during the transition to a new manager. Hammer died on Dec. 20, 2002, before the council could appoint a suc cessor. Health & Human Services director Al Greco was named acting city manager and served for roughly a year before the council appointed Barbara Sacks to the post.

Al Greco (2001-2011)

Greco served a total of 10 years as the city manager. In 2001, when Hammer became ill, Greco stepped in as Act ing City Manager and held the position until Barbara Sacks was hired.

Greco then returned to his post as Director of Human Services, which covered the Health Department and vari ous agencies in that division. Sacks had a tumultuous year and by the time January of 2003 appeared, she had already tendered her resignation the previous November.

Greco was then appointed as temporary City Manager — as there was a difference between acting and tempo rary — for the first few months of his tenure, before being named permanently to the job in mid-2003.

Greco (CHS 1965) has the distinction of being the sec ond CHS grad after Holster to serve in the top management spot in Clifton.

Barbara Sacks (2002)

Sacks spent barely a year as city manager before resign ing in November.

When Clifton Merchant conducted an exit interview, she confirmed she was not fired despite rumors. After work ing 60 to 70 hours a week, her tenure concluded during a closed session portion of a Council meeting and she emp tied her office by 9 am.

Sacks’ brief term included going head-to-head with Botany merchants and Mayor James Anzaldi, who all fa vored designating Botany Village as a Special Improve ment District. Sacks requested documentation to show Botany residents were in favor of the SID. No documen tation was provided and Sacks wasn’t included in later meetings.

Sacks was a vocal proponent for ethics in government.

“I have very strong feelings about [it],” said Sacks. “If that rubs people the wrong way, I can’t help it.”

Matthew Watkins (2011-2014)

When Watkins succeeded Al Greco in Summer 2011, Hurricane Irene and then an early season snow storm kept him busy.

Preparing the 2012 budget was his other priority. He and then City Engineer Dominick Villano were focused on the city’s newly implemented financial computer pro gram. The program helped account for 600 employees and a $112 million budget.

Al Greco and Matthew Watkins
20 November 2022 • • November 2022 21

Watkins was also part of the ef fort to introduce a paperless agenda for City Council meetings and new training programs in departments that promoted worker safety and su pervisory skills.

Future commingled recycling was also a hot topic. “Everyone talks about it, but everyone seems to ig nore some facts. The fact is that we’re under contracts right now,” said Wat kins in January of 2012. “2012 will be a year of preparing specifications and going out to bid for services.”

Nick Villano (2014-current)

Both a Civil Engineer and Profes sional Engineer, Villano worked in the private sector from 1979 to 2010, serving both municipal and private developers, with experience in de signing, preparer of plans and speci fications, construction management, cost estimating, and budgeting.

All of that was good preparation for overseeing Clifton’s public works, from visible roadways to underground sewers. In February 2010, Clifton hired Villano as City Engineer.

On Sept. 16, 2014, the council ap pointed Villano as City Manager, ef fective Sept. 22, following Matthew Watkins’ Aug. 20 resignation.

Villano has tackled many issues since, from addressing concerns about Clifton’s payroll policy in 2015 to meeting with representatives from PSE&G and the city’s DPW in 2016 to address conflicting road projects.

In 2020, he led the city response to protect the welfare and health of the city during the pandemic—that re sulted in a unique twist. In June 2020, Clifton’s municipal court revenues had plummeted from $175,000 per month to about $19,000 in May, 2020. Villano found that fewer summonses were written due to COVID stay-athome orders and it illustrates another aspect of the top city job.

The role of city manager has also evolved. The job always expected the person in it to stay on call, but it’s a different type of 24/7 job today.

Residents can now follow the city manager on social media. It’s an ef fort that many may see as a first step toward greater transparency and com munication. Follow Villano on Face book @CliftonNJCityManager and on Instagram @cliftoncitymanager.

Nick Villano
22 November 2022 • • November 2022 23


Mayors of the City of Clifton

Here is a complete list of all the Clifton mayors who served our community. Of the list, two of them did not complete full terms.

In 1945, William Dewey, Sr. was elected Passaic County Sher iff and resigned his office in order to fill that county seat. Council man Michael Shershin served out the term.

Anna M. Latteri, the first woman to be chosen by her peers as mayor of Clifton, died in 1973, while still in office. Councilman Israel Friend was selected to complete her term.

Under the existing system of government, adopted in 1934, the City Council consists of seven members who are elected every four years on an at-large basis, in non-partisan elections.

George R. Connors

The mayor is one of those seven and is not directly elected by the citizens. Council members, at their first organizational meet ing (after the election on Jan. 1, 2023), then select a mayor from within their own ranks. The mayor has no separate policy-making power but presides over meetings and makes appointments to the Planning Board and various commissions.

S. Grant Thorburn

William P.

Sr. 1917–1918
Jordan 1927–1931
Dewey, Sr. 1942–1945 Crine
Michael Shershin
1945–1946 Wilson
S. Brower
Walter F. Nutt
George J. Schmidt
Godfrey M. Meyer
Fred G. Devito
24 November 2022 •

Anna M. Latteri 1970–1973

Stanley Zwier 1958–1962

Israel Friend 1973–1974

Gerald Zecker 1978–1982

James Anzaldi 1990-2022

John W. Surgent
Gloria Kolodziej
Ira Schoem 1962–1966 Frank Sylvester 1974–1978 Joseph J. Vanacek 1966–1970
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17 City Council Candidates ELECTION DAY IS NOVEMBER 8

All interviews & stories by Ariana Puzzo

In September and October, we spoke with the City Council candidates to learn about their per spectives ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

When speaking with the 18 candidates (note: Matt Trella has since withdrawn), we asked: “What do you consider the most immediate issue facing Clifton, and how would you address it?

We received mixed responses. Candidates dis cussed concerns about the city’s quality of life, police retention, and water issues — related to flooding and brown water.

This month, we asked about Clifton’s form of government, Downtown Clifton, traffic, and a citizen proposal to directly elect the mayor.

Candidates responded by phone interviews or email, and we edited their responses for clarity and concision.

Should Clifton maintain its city manager form of govern ment? Explain.

Frank Kasper

I’ve actually heard both sides of the story but to me, I think that we should still continue with the city manager form of government. I know that we’re one of a few towns that doesn’t elect the mayor ourselves. The city manag er form of government is working for us. Even though I would like to see the mayor elected separate from the coun cil, I don’t think that the elections should have a rotating schedule. I think that we should keep the Council elections every four years for continuity for the people.

To use the school board as an example, the superinten dent takes care of the district. The school board helps pro vide what he needs for the district, and that’s what I think the Council does. It provides the resources that the city manager needs to run the city effectively. That’s an impor tant reason why I think we should maintain the city man ager form of government.

28 November 2022 •

Tafari Anderson

This is one of the things that I heard. The question is, who’s proposing the change? The people or the politi cians? The one thing that I can tell the people is when politicians are asking for something, run the other way.

I think this form of management that the city has, has served the city well. So why change it now? The mayor has been effective and done a very good job during his tenure. I think any deviation from the Municipal Man ager Law is a directive to the Faulkner Act. Everywhere it’s been utilized, it’s plagued with corruption.

Look around the City of Clifton to our borders and larger cities under another form of government. Why would anyone propose this as a change? Personally, I’m against it. The Municipal Manager format works just fine and allows people on both sides of Main Avenue to elect representation that the entire city needs.

Not just representation for a specific group of people or for a specific class of people, but for everyone. The other part of it is the financial aspect. Clifton doesn’t need to have high-paid political operatives. We need people who are willing to serve and serve both sides of Main Avenue.

Pick seven from these 17 candidates for City Council. From left: Bill Gibson, Alessia Eramo, Dana Beltran, Fahim Abedrabbo, Tafari Anderson, Antonio Latona, Dominic Iannarella, Chris D’Amato, Frank Kasper, Avraham Eisenman, Rosemary Pino, Lauren Murphy, Ray Grabowski, Mary Sadrakula, Steve Goldberg, Francesco Muoio and Joe Kolodziej.
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City Council Candidates

Whether we keep following the 1923 Municipal Man ager Law or adopt a system under the Faulkner Act, I think either way is OK as long as it does not become a popularity contest. I do like the city government the way it is now, I guess because I’m used to it.

I’m not so sure that I like the idea of a strong-mayor form of government. We’ve seen from some of our other cities that it could wind up being a little corrupt.

So as far as having the manager-council form of govern ment, I’m definitely OK with it.

The city manager runs the day-to-day operations and we set the policy to guide him in the direction that we want him to go. Whether that’s good or whether that’s bad is re lated to whether it’s the will of the people.

I can say at least for myself that I have absolutely no concerns at all of any corruption, and that’s important in government.

I think people who know me, especially with my po lice background, know that if I found out anything at all that was corrupt, I’d be on the phone to the prosecutor’s office or the attorney general. For whatever people think about our government in Clifton, I firmly believe that we are squeaky clean.

Antonio Latona

I have more research to do before I make a final decision on the form of government, but I like the staggered elec tion portion. It gives residents, taxpayers, and those who are running more time during the debates.

During the Oct. 12 debate, there were 17 candidates, so you have a 60-second introduction, conclusion, and two questions for two minutes. If you had staggered elections and less people who were running, everyone would be able to hear more of your platform and what you have to offer residents.

Also, by waiting every four years to make a fix or a change, it kind of puts you in a bind.

Electing a mayor separately may also not be a bad idea. It would bring accountability to the office whereas right now anything that goes good, you have the mayor taking credit for it and when it goes bad, it’s a city manager form of government and has nothing to do with the mayor’s po sition.

I’m open-minded to the discussion and further review of it. I know on paper we’ve been told for many years that we have a city manager form of government. The city manager is supposed to run the day-to-day operations, but having a mayor in City Hall all day is an outside influence.

30 November 2022 • • November 2022 31

City Council Candidates

I’m on the fence about that right now. I think we need to start off with the mayor’s seat by itself. It doesn’t mean that we go away from the city manager form, but we would be able to see how a mayor’s seat on its own weathers.

You can’t throw the kitchen sink at Clifton, in part be cause the current mayor not running is a big shock for ev eryone. If we were to change the form of government, I would anticipate that we would go to having wards and a council at-large like Paterson. That shows true representa tion and holds our Council leaders and mayor accountable.

If we stay with the city manager position, my biggest strife is that the city manager has a lot on his plate. He needs a deputy manager. He needs somebody that can field the phone calls about garbage and noise ordinances — and that doesn’t mean it’s beneath him.

What it means is that he gets to focus on drainage, wa ter issues, flooding issues, and other matters. A deputy city manager would give another pair of hands to the city.

Some may ask, “What about a salary guide?” but you don’t have to pay a million dollars — I’m just using a num ber — to an individual who is getting his or her feet wet. It could be someone who just got their master’s degree or business cert and wants to work for a city like Clifton.

We right now need to work with what we have and need to make sure that our city manager has enough resources at his fingertips to run the city no matter what happens mov ing forward with the government.

Do you think Downtown Clifton is healthy and successful? If not, what would you do to change that?

Dominic Iannarella

I work near Downtown on Lakeview Avenue at the fork where it splits between Route 46 and Piaget. There’s been a sign there forever that says: “Downtown Clifton, Clifton’s rising star.” For years, I’ve been passing that sign and won dering, “When is it gonna happen?”

I would love to see a rejuvenation of Downtown and to see that sign come to fruition, where we can have a push for great retail and great restaurants popping up.

I know there’s a push from people to make Market Street a destination spot, and Downtown Clifton is perfect for it. It’s ripe for modernization and turning it into a nice, walk able social hub. I thought that even before deciding to run.

Looking at the ways we can enhance it overall may in volve taking a look at the zoning and Master Plan. There is a mix of commercial and residential down there, and it’s

32 November 2022 •

about enticing people to make that investment in this sec tion. The question is — will people demonize the develop ment of it? I think it’s something that people need to have an open mind to so that we can get over that hump and look at it as a positive thing.

Lauren Murphy

I think it’s healthy and successful because there are no empty stores, as far as I know, down there. Unfortunately, some of them are duplications of each other.

It would be nice if we had a variety of businesses on Main Avenue, but if people want to rent the spaces for their business and have the ability to pay and make it work, we can control to a certain degree but we really can’t tell them not to rent it.

That area of Clifton is called a Spe cial Improvement District, along with Botany Village. We’ve encouraged res taurants to come to that area and that has worked, and we are hoping more restaurants follow suit because that brings business in and we can always use good bakeries and eateries.

Dana Beltran

What I’ve heard is currently the rent for small storefronts is high, which makes it hard for small businesses to stay alive. There is obviously no rent control for businesses, but we can work to help make the businesses successful enough to pay their rents.

The Downtown needs some revital ization to draw residents in so that the businesses can support it. Those areas are also still dark at night and not very well lit, especially Main Ave. There’s not really anything there to draw people to it like Botany, which has events.

There have been discussions of clos ing down Main Avenue to bring in some outdoor dining during the summer and possible little concerts to go along with it to try and revitalize the area a little.

Of all the small Downtown areas in Clifton, I think that has the least amount of foot traffic but also the most poten

tial because it is not as busy as Botany is. So although that street closing down might disrupt a bus route, it’s the only area with real potential for street closure.

Alessia Eramo

Downtown Clifton is a part of what makes Clifton great. It is a walkable area with many small businesses, various services, and delicious restaurants. What we have in Down town Clifton is something to be desired and defended. The Main/Clifton Avenue Commercial District was des ignated a SID in 1998 and many improvements have been implemented to help the area thrive. However, this doesn’t mean the work is ever done and there aren’t always going to be areas for improvement.

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City Council Candidates

Keeping a healthy and successful Downtown Clifton means keeping a strong understanding of everything that goes on there, to stay ahead of problems, keep businesses and neighbors informed, and react to situations effective ly and expeditiously.

One thing I could do is to become the liaison to Down town Clifton. The mayor, who is not running for reelec tion, is currently in that position.

I would visit every business in Downtown Clifton. I would meet the business owners to learn from them and form a relationship.

I would be a reliable resource and advocate for the businesses, the neighbors, and the Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group.

I would keep their needs in focus while working with them and the rest of the Council. I would also look for op portunities and ideas for growth and improvement.

Being a good advocate for Downtown Clifton includes frequenting it, but also includes experiencing downtowns in other cities. It means speaking with those business owners and officials to understand how certain issues are resolved or prevented in other towns.

Some residents say that we have traffic problems. What do you think? How would you mitigate those concerns?

Ray Grabowski

An incredible amount of traffic in the city now is because of public service utilities that are working on infrastructure and it’s all being done at the same time. It’s not a permanent thing, but it is necessary. They’re working on the lead pipe issues, gas lines, and once they dig up streets, they have to mill and pave it and have to get it done before winter.

In the future, I think that the city can coordinate better with utilities so we’re not doing it all at one time or in the same area, and it won’t infringe on the public. Maybe we can do certain roads and space it out in different areas.

The second aspect is unfortunately the school hours. Most parents pick up kids, so maybe we can readjust the timing of school going in and coming out, but that’s for the Board of Education. When all of it is finished, it will allevi ate the problem and perhaps next time we could even work on the main roads at night. It would be noisy, but a one-day thing. I’m sure people would suffer through one night of noise rather than days and days of traffic.

34 November 2022 •

City Council Candidates

Francesco Muoio

First of all, we need to address that we have a problem, and one aspect is that there’s a lot of speeding in residential areas and side streets. Number one is policing these areas better and getting aggressive in terms of speeding tickets and enforcement of the laws.

Number two is that I’ve noticed throughout the city, there is a lot of work on roads and whatnot. Having a lot of streets cut off during the day has caused a lot of traffic issues. I know we have to maintain our roads, but I think that if we communicate better where the road closures are going to be and when, it can help citizens plan alternate routes better.

One way to address this might be the concept of an app or having a better social media presence to alert citizens on a “real time” basis where road closures are so they can plan alternate routes accordingly.

Christopher D’Amato

Of the candidates running, I am the only one with a back ground in creative communication. A big step toward fix ing traffic woes is going to come from my plan to upgrade

our communication. What I would do is see implemented a Clifton app, along with an updated website.

Residents could go into the app and see a road closure map of Clifton, with road closures updated in real time. When PSEG or the city is doing work, first responders on the scene would be able to respond to the city manager or ideally a communications director. Using an app, too, you can geolocate people and get a notification on your phone telling you that this road is closed and go around it. Road closures and brown water are things that people don’t know about until it’s too late.

For a city of this size, it would be my priority to make sure Clifton has someone to oversee this type of communi cation. It shouldn’t fall on Dominick Villano to serve as the city manager and oversee what is an entirely different job.

Rosemary Pino

There is absolutely a traffic issue and I think that’s most ly due to poor planning on the city’s part. The engineer ing department isn’t planning as they should and this was brought to the attention of the city manager who is in the process of addressing it. • November 2022 35

City Council Candidates

Hopefully, by this time next year, policies will be put in place that are mindful of when we’re doing any road work and not just the work we’re doing but the detours we’re setting up so as not to cause congestion on the other side of the city.

We’re starting to see where we’re doing it wrong and how to prevent it. One way is we need to get a list of the different streets PSEG is working on and have them with us ahead of time so we can prepare on our end.

PSEG didn’t give us that list ahead of time and we didn’t request it ahead of time to do our planning, so they just started everything. We need to make sure we have things in place so if anything is missed, we have safety nets.

I think an application and increased communication are outstanding suggestions. I always think there is room for improvement and communication is big for me.

My colleagues have not been easy to get on board with doing town hall meetings throughout the city, but that is part of the reason why I believe City Hall hasn’t been more engaging in the past. I’ll continue to fight for that.

Where do you stand on the proposal by Clifton residents to directly elect the mayor?

Joe Kolodziej

I don’t have any objections to it. I think that it’s some thing to put up to a referendum, and we should let the vot ers decide. For the staggered terms, I also think it is a good idea. It will keep the city’s governing body more respon sive to the people that they serve. As for electing the mayor directly, the exception is that the mayor is more of a figure head position within our form of government.

But again, if the majority of our residents want to directly elect a figurehead, then I see no reason why we shouldn’t.

Moving forward, I would not be in favor of changing the form of government. I think that there is a reason why for decades we’ve seen sister cities like Paterson and Passaic with strong-mayor forms of government where the mayors go to jail.

The city manager form of government that we have is professional-based from the Woodrow Wilson era, and it has kept Clifton clean and free of corruption.

Steve Goldberg

I’m not against it, but I’m concerned by the fact we are supposed to have a weak-mayor system, so I don’t know how that’s going to affect it.

To be honest, I’m not sure why it’s come up during an election when finally the mayor of 32 years is not going to be the mayor. I would have to see how that would work. I can’t envision why someone would want to run for mayor of a city with a city manager system.

As far as our government and whether it works, there are a lot of issues that I have with how the city government has worked, which is why I chose to run for a seat on the Council. If people come with better ideas, then I’m in favor of looking at them and weighing the pros and the cons.

I think that the most attractive thing that I found from the proposal is the notion of a staggered election. That I would be very much in favor of because I think that the way elec tions are now, it really favors the incumbents.

The incumbents tend to run as a group and for the new comers, it makes it hard to gain traction. The four-year Council cycle also makes it difficult to have a logical de bate. We had a “debate” with 17 people and no one was able to ask any questions because by the time we introduced our selves and did a follow up, the debate was finished.

36 November 2022 • • November 2022 37

City Council Candidates

I have personally signed the petition. I think that it’s good, and I fully support putting it to a referendum. The more voters who have a say in the running of the govern ment, the better. Hopefully it would be put on a November ballot to save money rather than having a separate election.

It’s about seeing what the people say and going from there. I’ll always be for it and it’s a good thing for a repre sentative government.

I also think staggered elections will get rid of 17 or 18 people running at a time, though we might just have three seats open at a time so it might not change in a big way. However, I don’t oppose any idea that opens up the process for more people since I think a lot of great people are run ning this time around.

In 2014, there were 15 people who ran. That’s what happens with a once-every-four-year election. It becomes more important and competitive. If elections were held ev ery two or three years, it would allow for more diversity and knowledge of who’s running. I think that some people running were drowned out this year because of the amount of people running and the number of incumbents running.

Mary Sadrakula

First, this is not something the new Council could change on their own with a majority vote. It requires a specific number of signatures to put the question on the ballot for the voters to decide.

As I travel around the city, most residents do not know anything about this petition. Others who do know about it have lots of questions. Some question the timing and others have flatly stated that they are afraid this will lead to partisan elections in Clifton. Again, I am sharing their views.

I hope the residents behind this petition start a website to give more information. I have an open mind about this and see some positives, but I have some questions of my own.

If the required number of signatures is obtained and the question is on the ballot and passes, if elected, I would support the wishes of the public and vote to enact this change. If everyone remembers, this happened with the ballot question to move the council election to November.

It was on the ballot, passed, and the Council, which I was a member of, unanimously voted to change the elec tion to November.

38 November 2022 • • November 2022 39

Board of Education Candidates

The Mustangs had a monster month, going 8-1 and outscoring opponents by a combined score of 33-2. But they had a disappoint ing moment on Oct. 22, falling 1-0 to Kennedy in the finals of the Passaic County Tournament. They bounced back quick, though, defeating Passaic, 1-0, in the first round of the North I, Group IV playoffs. They faced Union City in the second round in a game that occurred after Clifton Merchant Magazine’s deadline on Oct. 31.

For this month’s edition, we spoke once more with Board of Education candidates. In Septem ber, we dedicated the pages of our magazine to inform residents about the Nov. 8 election and the candidates running to lead our school over the next three years.

We asked the candidates how they plan to best serve Clifton’s students and families and work with other levels of government.

There are eight candidates vying for three open seats. We split them into two groups of four and asked each group a question. The first topic was focused on how they would address conflict or differences of opinion if elected. The second ques tion was related to the candidates’ budget priori ties and how they would make any necessary cuts.

Whether they attended Clifton schools or moved to the city as adults, the candidates are united in their desire to provide Clifton kids with a thorough and efficient education. Candidates responded by phone interviews or email, and we edited their re sponses for clarity and concision.

What is the best way to address differences of opinion on the Board of Education?

I think a unifying statement is that we all want kids to get a better education and for them to have the best possible chance of success. That is where we need to start. I get along with a lot of people and have spoken with many current members on the Board of Ed. I don’t think it’s acceptable [to clash] in a public setting. [Dis agreements] are the reason for executive time, and I think that’s where the issues associated with any dis agreements can be hashed out and where they should be. That is exactly what I learned at the state’s board meeting training.

The New Jersey School Boards Association is what trains the members of commissioners on the Board of Ed for the State of New Jersey. There are certain re quirements and these are the recommendations that they provided to have a basic understanding of what it takes to be an effective Board of Education commissioner. It was a fantastic opportunity to see it this year and I am hoping my running mates went to that as well and that it was very informative. The starting point of how we’d get there is saying, ‘This is our objective and let’s hash out how we get to that point and be held accountable to all of the stakeholders.’

40 November 2022 • • November 2022 41

Anthony Santiago

My approach is to focus on the purpose of the Board and my val ues. For me, that is putting the stu dents first and putting the school community’s interests before my own. Not any politics.

Not personal interest. If the board gets contentious, I would ask, “OK, but how will this benefit the students or the schools?”, bringing us back to what is important and prog ress. If I focus on the students’ and schools’ interests, I will always make the right decision.

Additionally, Board members must remain objective. As a hu man resources professional and a real estate agent in Clifton, I am empathetic and mindful of the in terests of all parties.

I am also on the Clifton Disabil ities Committee and have served in other community involvement activities. This experience includes working with different stakeholders. I am passionate but professional, and I can disagree agreeably.

Joe Canova

It is the responsibility of the Board to con duct business in a professional manner. That means everyone should be willing to listen to each other and willing to listen to all perspec tives prior to making a decision.

We all need to respect the ethics that we are bound by as board members. A good start to ensuring this happens is to make sure all Board members have adequate training.

We should also be sure to schedule Board retreat meetings where everyone is free to at tend and hear each other out on issues. Most ly, we need to put ourselves in their shoes to know why they are acting the way that they are and address any issues as soon as they come up so that things do not fester.

Communication is always the best way. We all want the same thing, which is a safe, cost effective, successful school district that we can all be proud of. Listening to each oth er can get us there.

Samantha Bassford

We need to give everyone the chance to speak individually and collectively. Once everyone has gotten their turn, it’s about be ing able to respond if you feel the need to re spond. I think a lot of that falls under Robert’s Rules. It’s about understanding where each person is coming from and their intention.

Sometimes we can agree to disagree re spectfully, but mostly opinions aren’t

Board of Education Candidates
Mark Brunciak and Anthony Santiago.
42 November 2022 • • November 2022 43

wrong because they come from a person’s point-of-view based on their own life experiences. To be able to hear opinions that are dif ferent from yours and where the value of that comes from helps to have a better working relationship.

I also think it’s important not to be a bystander. Even if an inter action is not specifically with you, I do wish other Board members would publicly speak up. They could say that we can table this discussion until we’re somewhere else or say, “This is not coming off in the way that you’re meaning

for it to come off” because there are public and executive settings where the Board interacts with each other.

I’m a conflict mediator by na ture of my job. I can understand where someone is coming from, what they are saying, and why they are saying it. Maybe we won’t come to a resolution, and that’s OK. The importance of a team is understanding one another and the intention behind what we are saying.

I refer to the Board as a team because we are working together. We’re learning each other’s strengths and where you can be a good role model in helping others use their strengths effectively to problem solve.

What are your budget priorities? Is there fat in the budget and if so, what would you cut?

Miriam Weg

I don’t want to assume without all the facts, but I can tell you my general ap proach when it comes to project fund ing. The way I think of projects is called MVP – minimum viable product. This means that while we may be building toward a larger project, we always want to begin with the smallest amount that adds value and go live with that first.

If there is an issue with the project, we’re more likely to catch it earlier since pieces are being used with real time feedback and two, if we ever lose funding midway, we at least have the benefit of what’s been released rather than nothing.

I always look for the simplest way of solving the issue and, if possible, reuse existing components. There are times when a bandaid will be more costly in the long run than an overhaul.

So at times large projects are needed, but they should be justified to make sure

Board of Education Candidates
44 November 2022 •

that it’s the right approach and dis cussed with all concerned parties to make sure that all agree what is being proposed is the correct and best fix.

This is how I approach projects with corporate funding, but we have an incredible responsibility when it comes to taxpayer money to make sure it’s used in the most effective way. Before we embark on large projects, we need to make sure there’s a documented, clear plan that is reviewed with staff, parents, and possibly even the students to give everyone a chance to voice opinions and be part of the con versation.

needs to be cut. If there is non sense that we don’t need, I’d cut it. But teachers are not being paid well enough and kids are still try ing to get through the COVID situation. There are students who cannot go to school because of a diagnosis or some disabilities, and we need to support those families.

In my job as a community liaison at Goodlife Adult Day Care, I have a budget and have to look at what’s feasible, important, and not important. I would do the same with the school board, too, and look to see where the money

Richard Mejia

When it comes to my budget priori ties, I went ahead and took matters into my own hands. I asked friends, students, parents, and teachers what they wanted to see as priorities in our budget.

Based on what the community wants and needs, my budget priorities would be as follows: Installing air conditioning in buildings, additional support for the special education students, after-school enrichment opportunities, and mental health services (school counselors).

When it comes to any fat that should be cut, again based on the responses that I have, I find that the community would like us to cut administrator salaries and cut at a higher rate for any of those mak ing $100,000 or more annually.

Kurell Law

A few people that I spoke to said there’s a lot lacking in academics. We’re losing sight of what education is sup posed to be and I would work to try to bring back home economics, like teach ing kids how to cook. What I did in school that made us adults.

If I was to cut, I would have to see what the budget entails and see what

Board of Education Candidates • November 2022 45

is going to see if we can put more into the IEP program or Student Language program.

Everyone should get the same opportunity with education and protecting parents’ rights is huge. We should also strengthen our apprenticeship program and give kids the opportunity to look at col lege but also think about going to community college to test the waters.

A lot of students are not built for college. They should have other avenues to see what they want to do early in life, and we should not force kids’ pursuits by saying, “You have to go and do this.”

Abdallah Matari

The first priority will be to have enough education and supplemental materials for the students. Another priority is having enough teachers because I know they have substi tutes and they are good, but having a steady teacher is more advantageous for the students. We have to have a budget set for hiring teachers and they should go through an evalu ation to be hired on a tenured track.

When you have a teacher for a tenured track within four to five years that teacher will be estab lished. They will be able to put more effort into teaching and plan ning for students. They can also devote more to the students with more long-term planning for fu ture goals and course of learning.

I don’t have many details about the budget, but I know that they have a lot of money in the budget. Everything is important, but we need to evaluate which aspects are the most critical and where we can make any cuts.

For that, I think we need to have an action plan from the Board of Education and the school district, where together we evaluate everything. I don’t want to make a decision out of the blue.

Some people may see that one area or another area needs to be cut. But obviously I would like to be more educated before I make a decision.

Give me facts, numbers, explore all those areas, and then a decision will be more accurate and valuable. We need to do at least a mini study on the budget and the expenditures, and from there see where we can allocate funds.

Board of Education Candidates
Kurell Law and Abdallah Matari.
46 November 2022 •

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Passaic County Candidates

Pick Two Passaic County Commissioners and Vote for Berdnik or Maher for Sheriff.

Pat Lepore (D)

Thinking in the long term is important to Pat Lepore.

“We want to facilitate parks, roads, education, and public safety for residents and keep doing what we’re do ing,” said Lepore, 70. “When putting the budget together, I think five years down the road to see what the impact will be.”

He added that planning year-to-year is the “first mis take” because unexpected situations can arise.

“When I got on, there was no surplus to speak of,” said Lepore. “Today, we have the highest rating in the history of the county.”

“That doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “It requires discipline and planning to get to that position.”

Lepore strives to ensure consistency rather than “yo-yo budgeting.”

“Not raising taxes for four years in a row is an incred ible achievement in itself,” said Lepore. “The worst thing you can do is lower taxes by a couple of dollars, only for it to bounce back.”

Terry Duffy (D)

When considering what he brings to the Board of County Commissioners after nearly 20 years, Terry Duffy points to his persistence and willingness to collaborate across the aisle.

“Really the biggest problems in Passaic County are the gangs and the rampant drug problem,” said Duffy, 70.

From 2015 to 2019, the Office of the Chief State Medi cal Examiner found that confirmed drug overdoses in Pas saic County rose from 83 to 165.

Duffy said he will “continue on good government.” Past successes that he acknowledged included repairing county bridges and avoiding layoffs as the Bergen County Jail assumed the care and custody of Passaic County’s in mates.

“We have turned the county into the economically strongest it has ever been with no tax increase in the last four years,” said Duffy. “Our parks and rec are second to none.”

“If I couldn’t do the job, then it would be time to go,” he said. “But I love this job.”

Troy Oswald (R)

One of Troy Oswald’s goals is to bring political bal ance to the Board of County Commissioners.

“There have been 20 years of democratic control for the most part in every seat,” said Oswald, 53. “Any party in power for that much time results in the best interests getting lost.”

Oswald has more than three decades of experience in law enforcement. He was the 16th Paterson Chief of Po lice and spent his career working in a variety of divisions like the Task Force, the Warrant Unit, and the Training, Street Crimes and Narcotics division.

Oswald moved to Clifton a year and a half ago and said what he hasn’t seen is a return on investment despite Clifton being one of the two highest paying municipali ties in the county.

“If on the Law and Public Safety committee, I would push for sheriff’s officers to be on the streets to help free up other officers,” said Oswald.

Alex Cruz (R)

Despite numerous earlier requests to interview, we could not connect with this candidate.

Pat Lepore, Terry Duffy, Troy Oswald, Alex Cruz.
48 November 2022 •


Richard Berdnik (D)

Ensuring public safety and saving taxpayer dollars are Sheriff Richard Berdnik’s top priorities. He said the depart ment has done it by reorganiz ing the Passaic County Jail.

“We’re not closing the jail we’re reorganizing it,” said Berdnik, 62. “That will ulti mately save taxpayers money and provide residents with much more assistance within Passaic County.”

Berdnik added the repurposed officers will be put on the streets for protective services, including shootings or robberies in progress. He said officers will also patrol the county parks and a sheriff officer will be assigned to each municipality as a liaison.

Berdnik graduated from CHS in 1978 and was sworn in as the 49th Sheriff of Passaic County on Jan. 1, 2011. Berd nik served for 28 years with the Clifton Police Department.

“My only childhood dream was to be a law enforcement officer,” said Berdnik. “If you do something you love, you continue to do … what needs to be done.”

Mason Maher (R)

Political balance and rep resentation is what Mason Maher wants to achieve in Passaic County. Another pressing issue for the sheriff candidate is safety.

“I think safety is the key to a successful and vibrant county,” said Maher, 53. “If I’m successful, I will have a hand in fiscal responsibility … to see where there is any waste and make changes.”

Maher is a lifelong Passaic County resident who was born and raised in Paterson. He has spent over 30 years in law enforcement and was sworn in as the 4th President of Local #1 Superior Officers’ Association in June of 2012.

“If you take a look at the officers within the Sheriff’s office … it’s almost like they are not in power to do their job,” said Maher.

He said improvements could include officers assisting in patrols and assisting the Office of Emergency Management with flooding up-county. “I’m looking to empower our of ficers and have them out there throughout the county.”

County Candidates
Richard Berdnik and Mason Maher. • November 2022 49

Candidates for Congress

Bill Pascrell (D)

A strong upbringing and decades of experience make Congressman Bill Pascrell confident in his contributions to Congress.

Pascrell first ran for elected office in 1987, when he ran for the New Jersey General Assembly. He served as the Mayor of Paterson from 1990 to 1997. In 1996, he defeated former Clifton Councilmem ber William J. Martini to represent what was then the 8th Congressional District.

“I like representing the people of the district, and I like to hear from them so I can put [their thoughts] into the mix [when I make] decisions,” said Pascrell, 85.

The issues for Pascrell are ensuring fair taxes, access to healthcare, and upholding the country’s democratic values.

“I believe in the Constitution and carry it with me all the time,” said Pascrell. “I don’t care if I’m at a ballgame or out to eat at a restaurant or in Congress. I use it, and it is meant to be used.”

Billy Prempeh (R)

Pride in his country and a desire to see future genera tions meet their full potential inspired Billy Prempeh to run to represent New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District.

“Unfortunately throughout my life I have seen our coun try go in the complete oppo site direction,” said Prempeh, 32. “That idea of the American Dream is not only harder to attain, but also seems completely out of reach for my generation and generations after.”

Prempeh wants to share “new ideas.” One of the things that he said stands in the way is career politicians. He’s focused on term limits that “keep the power in the hands of the people.”

Along with his 8-10-12 plan for terms, Prempeh advo cates for greater support of homeless veterans and more high-paying manufacturing jobs. “I want to be a politician with a map for the future, who hits the ground running to start working for the American people,” said Prempeh.

50 November 2022 •

Ensuring that there is no wrong door for veterans in need of support is part of the New Jersey Veterans Net work’s mission. That’s where NJVN’s team and dedicated volunteers come into focus.

“We get to bring the best of every organization to vet erans. Our strength is in outreach,” said Frank “Doc” Schupp, the Director of Outreach Services. “Some orga nizations are great at what they do, but maybe they’re not good at reaching vets.”

“We get to help the vets reach amazing programs,” continued Schupp. According to Schupp, 40, it’s an eclec tic job. The organization operates in Union and will work to help veterans with any range of needs — from needing a service animal to rental assistance to finding job train ing. For more details on resources, how to volunteer, or to donate, visit


“We get to be a little bit of everything while reaching the guys directly who need it,” said Schupp, a retired Army Medic/Operation Iraqi Freedom War Veteran and an activ ist. Also leading up the team is NJVN President Michael Boll. When Boll started the organization five years ago in 2017, he and Schupp connected at an event the organiza tion hosted at the office.

“When we started to speak, I knew there was something exceptional about him,” said Boll. “His drive to help veter ans was extremely high and it’s rare to have someone who is that enthused to help out.”

“To be honest, I grabbed him that day and something in my gut told me that he’d be the right person to help the charity grow,” continued Boll. “I trusted him from the be ginning, and he was on the leadership board within a week. We talk every day and we’re brothers.”

All Veterans Stories by Ariana Puzzo
52 November 2022 •

No Better Job

Well before coming together to support veterans throughout the state, Schupp and Boll had their own indi vidual stories of service.

Known affectionately by his friends as “Doc” due to being a Combat Medic in the Army, Schupp grew up in Elizabeth. As a child, he had an interest in photography and art. It was at age 20 that he decided to enlist in the military.

“I was looking for some direction in my life,” said Sch upp. “My parents had just passed on and it was a confus ing time. It gave me a bit of structure and the ability to figure myself out.”

Another influence for serving was a man who lived in Schupp’s childhood apartment building. The man’s name was Robert Linder, a Korean War veteran. Schupp re called how Linder would tell him stories about his time in the military and that he found the stories inspiring.

“I think that had a lot to do with me wanting to join the Army,” said Schupp.

Schupp served one tour in Iraq. In 2013, he retired after 15 years of service. During those years, he was an Army Medic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the infamous 3rd Infantry Division, and later in the National Guard.

“There is no better job in the world than taking care of heroes,” said Schupp.

Perhaps the biggest lesson Schupp gained from his time serving was the “importance of us taking care of each other as a community.” That lesson was one that he carried over with him as he transitioned back into civilian life.

Schupp acknowledged that the transition was a diffi cult one. Shortly after returning, he struggled to find work

and keep a place. Through these hardships, he found his path to outreach and now expressed pride that NJVN has “some of the largest outreach numbers in the state.”

Along with his work alongside NJVN, Schupp works full time providing therapy groups at New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus. He graduated from Kean University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and has diplo mas in Behavioral Management and Behavioral Support from the Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities of Rutgers University.

Schupp was also certified as a State Behavioral Sup port instructor through the Handle with Care program. While at Kean, he acted as President of the Military Vet erans Club.

“Through my own harder times, I gained a better un derstanding of what other veterans are going through,” said Schupp. “It was veteran resources that helped me get more solid footing.”

Understanding the Need

Boll credits Hollywood and his old neighborhood for his interest in becoming a soldier.

Clifton Veterans Parade Nov 6
Doc Schupp of NJVN in a recent photo and as an Army Medic. He’s the speaker at the Clifton Veterans Parade. • November 2022 53

Originally from Union, Boll enlisted when he was 17 and went in the day after he graduated from high school.

“I was really excited to go,” said Boll, 52. “When I came home from the war, I was greeted by my neighbor hood and all the people in town came by.”

“I felt obligated to do something bigger than myself,” continued Boll. “It’s why I became a police officer in the town that I grew up in. To give back to the people.”

Boll enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served from 1989 to 1992. He was part of Operation Des ert Storm, from December of 1990 through June of 1991. As a lance corporal, he was in a motor transport unit that provided security for Saudi nationals.

Along with providing bodyguard type service, his du ties also included transporting anything from clothing to bombs all over entire country. When asked why he chose to enlist with the Marine Corps, he said he thought the Corps “had the reputation of being the best and the hard est.”

“I wanted to challenge myself and be part of an elite group,” said Boll. “It was the best thing for myself. I’m very happy with that decision and proud that I did that. It has helped me to this day.”

When he returned home, he would go on to receive an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers. During his 23-year tenure with the Township of Union Police Department, he was assigned to the Street Crimes Unit, Staff Services, and other specialized units.

Working as a police officer enabled Boll to see the needs of veterans, as well as establish the necessary con tacts with organizations and other community leaders. His contacts from working in the department helped him and other civic-minded supporters move the organization for

ward faster than many other groups.

He added that one major supporter is the NJ VFW, un der which he is currently employed. The process was also helped by the fact that Boll had a better vantage point than many.

“I knew their needs because I’m a veteran myself,” said Boll. “I understood the situation and how difficult it was for them to get resources and the help that they needed.”

Better Perceptions and Brighter Futures

NJVN has felt the support of many volunteers’ will ingness to sign up and provide their services. One of the things that group does is organize “ultra” events, such as an overnight bike ride from the 9/11 Memorial to Walter Reed in Maryland.

“We do very extreme events to show people that our veterans are able to get off the couch and really do in credible things,” said Boll. “We’re able to do these things because we want to succeed and show others that they can do it as well.”

Along with empowering people and giving them pur pose, Schupp separately added that these events go a long way to improving the public perception of vet

Clifton Veterans Parade Nov 6
NJVN founder Michael Boll today and in 1990, USMC.
54 November 2022 • • November 2022 55

erans. Getting rid of the stigma for veterans, especially those living with post-traumatic stress disorder, is Sch upp’s long-term hope.

“There are plenty of veterans with PTSD who are noth ing like what is portrayed in movies,” said Schupp. “They’re typical like everyone else and the portrayal in the media is just atrocious and over-dramatized sometimes. It turns some people off to veterans, and it shouldn’t be like that.”

But support and volunteer contributions from civilians go a long way. Boll said they take as many volunteers as possible. In his case, he has that support close to home from his wife, Trish, and their 21-year-old twins, Jackie and Vickie.

Boll and Schupp considered NJVN’s trajectory over the next five years. A major component is making sure they continue to have enough volunteers to meet the needs of those they serve. A separate aspect is getting new programs off the ground.

One such program is the Uniformed Heroes Project, which is an anti-suicide and PTSD peer support mentor ship program for veterans, first responders, and active military members. It will begin on Nov. 7 and, according to Boll, will take a “page out of AA.”

“It will be mentors willing to go to people and provide them with the resources that they need,” said Boll. “It will be the same person following up and checking up on you … instead of getting your phone calls switched.”

“At the end of the day, it’s making sure they do all that they can to save people’s lives. There is nothing more im portant or bigger than that,” said Boll.

If you are a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, dial 988 and press 1, text 838255, or chat live online at
When I came home from the war, I was greeted by my neighborhood and all the people in town came by. I felt obligated to do some thing bigger than myself. It’s why I became a police officer in the town that I grew up in. To give back to the people.”
-NJVN Founder Michael Boll
“Clifton Veterans Parade Nov 6 56 November 2022 • • November 2022 57


As a disabled American veteran, Carl Crawford knows that there are certain things veterans can only discuss with others in similar positions.

For the past 25 years, Crawford has been a member of the Clifton Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, at 315 Hazel St. Today, he also serves as the DAV Chap ter 2 Commander and is committed to helping provide resources to veterans living with personal, emotional, or financial hardships.

On Nov. 6, Crawford will join the Clifton Veterans Parade as the parade’s Grand Marshal. A Gulf War vet eran, Crawford entered the military in 1992. He spent four years in active service on the USS Cleveland with the US Navy, stationed in San Diego, California.

During his service, he reached the rank of Petty Officer 3rd class as a Machinist Mate. The job required a deep knowledge of engineering. There were undoubtedly ob stacles and adjustments during his years in the Navy, but Crawford said there were benefits.

“The best was meeting new people from all over the United States,” said Crawford, 52. “Building that family and camaraderie is something that I will always remem ber.”

“No matter what, someone had your back,” he contin ued. “I still keep in touch with about eight people.”

A Family Atmosphere

Before immigrating to the United States, Crawford was born and spent his early childhood in Jamaica. His moth er, Frances, came to the U.S. first and then a 14-year-old Crawford came later with his two brothers and sister.

“Growing up in Jamaica, there was not a lot to see. It was sand and beach,” said Crawford. “At a young age, my

parents sent me to a ranger camp where you learn about the military in Jamaica.”

By age 21, Crawford enlisted and said that there were a few other influencers for him making his decision. One was watching the Iraq War on TV in the 90’s. He recalled wondering whether serving is something that he would do and originally thought the answer was, “No.”

In the meantime, he learned about the heating, ventila tion, and air conditioning industry and spent two years trying to find a job.

“I didn’t have any hands-on experience,” he said. “One day, I was going through papers and the Navy was there and said that they would train you. I knew what I wanted before going in, so that was major for me.”

After his years serving, returning home would require a different type of adjustment. Now that he was no longer surrounded by that military-family atmosphere, the pre dominant feeling for Crawford was one of loneliness.

He picked up a job in the HVAC industry for about six months until the company shut down. After a

Carl Crawford is a Navy Veteran and the 2022 Grand Marshal of the Clifton Veterans Parade.
58 November 2022 • • November 2022 59

Long an advocate for veterans, Frank T. Gaccione was to be honored at this year’s Veterans Parade. However he died on Oct. 21, at the age of 80. Mustangs may know him as a football and basketball coach for Clifton Central, starting in 1975 before moving to coach the Clifton Colts heavyweight football squads.

For the last 20 years, he was a tireless fundraiser for the Memorial Day and Veterans Parades, a volunteer with Clifton’s Avenue of Flags, as well as his service as a Council man in 2006. He is survived by his wife of 57 years Joanne (Sancenito), sons James and Joseph, daughter Christine, and grandchildren Jorden, Lia and Jake. The construction company he founded in 1983 still bears the name of his family and is run by his children.


period of unemployment, he started working at a nursing home. He is now the Assistant Maintenance Director at St. Joseph’s Home For Elderly in Totowa, where he’s worked for 25 years.

What truly gave Crawford a community when he returned from serving was visit ing the VA center in Newark. He registered with them and they put him in Clifton’s DAV Chapter 2.

“I started meeting veterans who were somewhat going through the same thing that I was and found that [missing] camaraderie,” said Crawford. “There are certain things you can’t discuss with civilians, but you can discuss it with other military members and feel that family atmo sphere again.”

Building Confidence

Crawford has seen the change and personal growth in himself over the past two decades.

When he first joined the DAV Chapter 2, he said he was “nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.” He was also only 26- or 27-years-old. When he first joined, many of the veterans had served during World War II.

“It felt strange being there,” said Crawford. “I didn’t feel like I was part of them because they went through something different than what later veterans went through.”

“It took time,” he continued. “I went to a few meetings and then didn’t go back for a long time.”

Ten years ago, Crawford returned and “felt like I fit in with the younger generations coming in.” His roles

with the chapter have included Soldier At Arms, Treasurer, and now Commander for the past year. As the Commander, he works to help all members receive their full benefits.

He added that his other personal growth comes from self-maturity and finding ways to give more to others without expecting anything in return.

“It builds the confidence that you can take care of others if needed,” said Crawford. “I ap proach life differently because of being part of the DAV and visiting families in dire need. Just seeing how they’re living in the country they served – that emotionally gets to me.”

Crawford lives in Paterson with his wife, Nedia, of 30 years. The couple have two children, Carl Jr., 24, and Chaniah, 22. Crawford’s brother Steve is also military and joined the Navy after Crawford about 30 years ago. He is a Master Chief recruiter, who is land-based in Tennessee.

Crawford’s other community involvement includes de livering food to veterans twice a week. He has also been a member of American Legion Post 238 in Woodland Park for eight years.

“The military and Navy gave me a chance to travel the world. I have traveled to Ecuador, Cuba, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Hawaii, and Kenya,” said Crawford. “It was work, but it was exciting. It’s some thing that you never dream of as a kid.”

To connect with Crawford at DAV Chapter 2, call 973928-6745. If you are a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, dial 988 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online at

Veterans Parade Tribute to Frank Gaccione
(CONT’D) 60 November 2022 • • November 2022 61
62 November 2022 • • November 2022 63

When we requested community comments from residents to be featured in our October edition, we heard what people like and what they want to see improved in our city. After publication, we heard from J. P. Catanese, who was surprised by what he didn’t see mentioned.

“The Veterans Parade and the Avenue of Flags are the icing on cake of our town,” said Catanese, 63.

An Ohio native, Catanese has lived in New Jersey for 32 years. This December marks 17 years that he and his wife, Connie, have lived in Clifton in the Cambridge Crossings neighborhood.

Before that, he served active duty for the Marine Corps from 1977 to 1981.

“I had two different duties. The first was in North Carolina at Camp Lejeune. There was no such thing as bottled water back in those days,” said Catanese. “I spent one year in Okinawa, Japan as well. I went on two naval tours. The Marine Corps kept me mov ing around.”

Catanese spent time serving on the USS Trenton and USS Sum ter. He was on each naval vessel for three months and was part of a NATO operation.

“We would have field operations with different coun tries like Germany and Norway,” he said. “Once we were done with field operations, we would hit the liberty ports. I looked forward to going on liberty call.”

For his final six months, Catanese was with Field Artil


lery as a rifle range coach.

“I was a pretty good shot,” laughed Catanese. “They reward ed me as I was getting toward the end of my enlistment. I was able to go out to the rifle range and do my thing and help others to be come better shooters.”

When he considers what mo tivated him to join the military, Catanese recalled that it was all he could think about during his senior year of high school. He went in once he graduated and said that he would “do it all over again.”

“I always felt that the Marine Corps gave me more than I gave back,” said Catanese. “The Ma rine Corps instills discipline to last a lifetime.”

“It stays in you and just doesn’t go away,” he continued. “Per severance, dedication, trustwor thiness. A Marine’s word is his bond.”

Which makes Clifton’s rever ence for active service members through groups like Clifton Cares and honoring veterans each year all the more special for Catanese. There were even two years — he believes 2015 and 2016 — that he participated in the annual parade.

“Not too many towns have that,” said Catanese. “I’m proud to say as you’re march ing down Van Houten Avenue toward City Hall, many people line the street and mouth, ‘Thank you.’”

“It gives veterans goosebumps to have people come out and show appreciation like that,” he added. “I hope Clifton never gets away from that.”

Clifton Veterans Parade Nov 6 CLIFTON’S
64 November 2022 • • November 2022 65

Edward Farnon is getting to see the world—through a telescope—aboard a nuclear powered submarine.

The Clifton native is an electrician’s mate and Petty Officer 2nd Class at Commander, Submarine Squadron 11. The Squadron supports the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines. Farnon graduated PCTI in 2012 and joined the Navy four years ago.“When I joined, I wanted to incorporate my associate’s degree in infor mation technology, so I went to submarines.”

Serving means Farnon is supporting America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

Sailors like Farnon have opportunities to accomplish much during their hitch. “My proudest moment is going on my first deployment,” said Far non. “My motivation was going out to sea. When I actually got to deploy, it was better than I expected. I saw how the fleet keeps the seas safe and ensures that enemies don’t come to our shores to threaten us,” said Farnon.

Known as America’s “apex predators,” the Navy’s sub force operates a fleet of technically-advanced vessels with myriad roles and abilities.

Farnon and other sailors take pride in serving and protecting their country. “Serving means standing up and being the person who can help defend those who cannot defend for themselves,” said Farnon.

ABOARD AN Apex Predator 66 November 2022 • • November 2022 67


Living real experiences has proven difficult at times coming out of a pandemic. It’s also why Clif tonite Jonathan Justin wants to bring laughter to his hometown.

Justin (CHS 2008) and Belleville resident Will Miller are the co-creators of a weekly open mic comedy night at Disabled American Veterans –Chapter 2. Located at 315 Hazel St., the weekly event is at 8:30 pm and free of charge.

Justin, whose goal was to bring consistent Friday night entertainment to Clifton, started by hosting outdoor shows at George C. Bayeux Memorial Park in the Athenia section. Once the weather got colder, he posted on Clifton News and Community’s Face book page to see if there was available indoor space.

That’s when he heard from his former classmate Malvin Frias-Asencio, the former commander and current Veteran Service Officer of DAV – Chapter 2, that they had space in their hall.

“It worked out to be a great cause,” said Justin, 32. “We’re not charging anyone to come to the show … and 100% of the donations go to supporting disabled veterans. From a [high school] class with so many people who enlist ed in Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting them means a lot.”

Frias-Asencio, who ran for a City Council seat in 2018 and is on the Board of Recreation, is one of those class mates who served. In 2008, he entered the Army and served three years active duty as a Combat Engineer E-4.

“The JROTC program at CHS motivated me to join up, and Sgt. Major James Ernest Davis was also amazing,” said Frias-Asencio, 33. “I grew up without a father and he filled in like a father figure. He did 30 years of service, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”

Frias-Asencio has several hopes for what the comedy night will bring to the community.

“Some entertainment, a smile on [members’] faces, and a sort of a therapy for veterans to forget about what they’ve been through,” said Frias-Asencio.

Among the entertainers are comic and impressionist Nicky Petito (@nickypetito) and comic Eli Davis (@swi shuniversity). Petito, 27, started doing stand-up at 18 and opened in 2015 for comedian Artie Lange. He recently ap

peared in NBC’s New Amsterdam and caught Spike Lee’s attention in 2019 when he congratulated Lee’s Oscar win with a Danny Aiello impersonation.

“[Comedy’s] a fun thing that I love to do,” said Petito. “What’s better than making people laugh?”

Petito grew up with a deep reverence for veterans, espe cially his grandfather who was a WWII Marine Raider and Purple Heart recipient.

Davis, who describes his comedic style as “very silly” with “a lot of crowd work”, shared Petito’s respect for those who have served. Davis came to comedy a little over a year ago.

“I have a tremendous respect for those who fought for my freedom, my family’s freedom, and my country’s free dom,” said Davis, 30. “It meant a lot to shake the people’s hands who opened the door to have us there.”

“It’s a special thing to make someone laugh who gave you so much,” continued Davis.

It also fosters a sense of community that Miller, the open mic’s co-creator, said the country has strayed away from. Miller also performs on Fridays and described comedy as “a type of truth-speaking.”

“Open mic in comedy is kind of like another church for people,” said Miller, 39. “You come, see people, integrate and talk with people, and sit down. You kind of worship at the altar of laughter.”

Clifton Veterans Parade Nov 6
Jonathan Justin, Tom Kennedy, Danny Borgati, Tim Kennedy.
68 November 2022 • • November 2022 69


Joseph Holzli fled communism and lived the American life in Clifton thanks to his service in the US Army. But how he got here is a story.

In 1944, Holzli was just 2 when the Rus sians invaded his native Hungary and his fam ily was forced to flee to Austria where they lived until 1950.

Their journey saw them arrive in Jersey City on May 15, 1950. They settled in Passaic and lived there for four years until they purchased a home in Botany Village. Holzli graduated CHS with the June 1960 Class.

Drafted in 1963, Holzli went to Fort Dix for boot camp and by the luck of the draw he served as an US Army MP at Fort Gordon in Georgia and Fort Bliss in Texas which would set him on his path to becoming a Clifton Police Officer.

Discharged in Texas, Holzli and four of his Army pals completed the police academy, with all five of them rank ing in the top five on the entrance test. They were hired by the El Paso Police Department.

After a few months, he and his best friend thought they needed a little more action and they planned to join the LAPD. But his mother urged him by letters to come home,

so he returned to Clifton. Back in his home town, he was hired by IT&T in the fluid pump division, where he worked for a year.

But the uniform and desire to serve others still called to Holzli. In April 1967 he took the exam for the Clifton Police Department and was hired in July as a Patrolman.

On June 10, 1973, he and his wife Marlene were married at St. Philip the Apostle Church. Soon thereafter they bought a home in the Albion section, where they raised their two daughters Amy and Kristy, and still live.

In January 1977, Holzli graduated from William Pater son with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Safety Administra tion. In the mid-1980s, he joined neighbors who formed a group that worked to save and preserve Garret Mountain, which he is still active with today.

Holzli retired in 1994 after 26 years with the Clifton PD. He welcomed his first grandchild, Kyle, in 2001, followed by his granddaughter Nikki, grandson Stefan, and grand daughter Isabella.

Holzli, now 80, enjoys his family and driving the grand children to school, practice, and work, in addition to attend ing their activities, games, and dance recitals.

Joseph Holzli’s family: Son-in-law Ihor Andruch, daughter Isabella, wife Kristy and son Stefan Andruch. Nicole Zlotkowsk with mom Amy and brother Kyle and Joe’s wife Marlene.
Clifton Veterans Parade Nov 6
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Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney presided over a Mass on Sept. 11 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Sacred Heart Parish here, a small but vibrant and diverse faith community that “day after day and Sunday after Sunday, lives and passes on the faith from one generation to the next.”

Sacred Heart has distinctions as the first Catholic parish in Clifton and as the first Italian national parish in the Paterson Dio cese in 1897.

A wide array of parishioners — from older Italians to young er Spanish speakers — filled Sacred Heart Church, located in the Botany Village Section of Clifton, for the 125th anniversary Mass at noon, celebrated in English and Spanish. Bishop Swee ney served as the main celebrant and homilist.

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In 1972, Sacred Heart “burned the mort gage” on the church after completing pay ments. From left: Rev. and Pastor Julian Va rettoni, trustees Henry F. Marrocco, Jr., John Bengivenni (behind mic), oldest parishioner J. Bernardo Belli, trustee John De Mattia and building chair Frank Carlet. In the rear, Msgr. Boland, Fr. Rento and Fr. Suchon

“Today, we celebrate 125 years of living the faith here at Sacred Heart in Clifton,” Bishop Sweeney said in his homily. On that day, the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he also paid tribute to the fallen, including the brave first respond ers, many of whom were Catholic.

“We never know when we will be called to answer Jesus’ call in a heroic way — ‘there is no greater love than to lay down our life for the one’s you love.’ That faith and gener osity have been learned here, and those les sons have been learned here over 125 years in this parish,” the bishop said.

Concelebrating were Father Robert Wis niesfski, Sacred Heart administrator, and a hospital chaplain; Msgr. Julian Varettoni, a retired diocesan priest at Sacred Heart, is a pastor emeritus who served the parish for about 40 years. Also, Msgr. Joseph Angino li, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Mendham and judicial vicar, who served his first as signment as a priest at Sacred Heart; Father Stephen Prisk, pastor of Holy Spirit • November 2022 73


Parish in Pequannock and diocesan worship director, who grew up in the parish.

Also serving was, Father Jim Spera of the Newark Archdiocese, a friend of Father John Connolly, Sacred Heart’s beloved pastor for 15 years, until his death on July 3 at 70-years-old.

Bishop Sweeney also used his homily to pay tribute to Father Connolly. “Father Con nolly was so looking forward to today. No doubt, he is smiling down from heaven and is celebrating Mass with us,” Bishop Sweeney said. “Thanks for what you could do to make the parish so beautiful,” he said.

A Botany Landmark

On the border of Passaic, Sacred Heart to day is a quiet parish with an aging Italian pop ulation “dedicated to the church.”

The parish also hosts a full complement of ministries, including Bible study, a book club, and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Also encouraging is the strong enrollment for reli gious education this school year, said Father Wisniesfski.

He came to the parish in 2012 in residence while ministering at Straight and Narrow, the substance-abuse treatment center of diocesan Catholic Charities in Paterson.

A growing incoming Spanish-speaking population has given Sacred Heart new life. New members have gotten involved in minis tries, such as Legion of Mary. Its members visit people who feel alienated from the Church and try to bring them back into the pews. Sacred Heart holds Spanish-language Masses five nights weekly, Father Wisniesfski said.

Building on the Faith

Sacred Heart’s legacy of faith started with an idea for an Italian parish by Giovanni Buzzi of St. Nicholas in Passaic. While working in New York City, he happened upon Father Felice Sandri, who came to the United States as a missioner of the Congregation of San Carlo Borro meo. Buzzi persuaded Father Sandri to come to Passaic to

build a church, according to Sacred Heart history.

After securing permission from Bishop Winand M. Wigger of Newark, a group of 20 people started a fund drive for a new church. They worshipped in the former St. Joseph Church on Quincy Street in Passaic while plans for the church were drawn up.

Six lots on Cheever Avenue in Clifton were bought for $500. Local carpenters were hired, and the bell was cast on-site in an open field next to the church — made from scrap metals. Bishop Wigger dedicated the church in 1898, the parish history states.

Sacred Heart 8th grade graduation 1964. Below Sacred Heart class of 1973.
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125 Years OF FAITH

The rectory was built in 1902, and the church hall in 1918. Soon after, a site was selected on Clif ton and Randolph Avenues for a new church and rectory, which Bishop John O’Connor of Newark dedicated in 1920. The old church served as the parish hall, according to Sacred Heart history.

Later, more property was bought. The Salesian Sisters taught catechism on Sundays, followed by help from some Filippini Sisters. They lived in an old home on Parker Avenue.

A convent was completed in 1939, and a school was dedicated in 1953. Sacred Heart established the first parish council in 1967.

Rebuilding Then and Retooling Today

A fire destroyed the auditorium and offices of the school in 1981. Two years later, a new school wing opened, the history states.

Pedro and Martha Atoche were married by Father Bob on Oct. 7.

In 1997, the church underwent major renova tions, including a new marble altar and liturgical furniture and wooden ceiling beams; rebuilt arches; and the elimina tion of the narthex to make more space to accommodate disabled persons.

In 2010, the school closed, due to declining enrollment, according to Sacred Heart history.

One of the many parishioners at the anniversary Mass

was Stephan Bunghoffer, who has worshipped at Sacred Heart for the last 25 years. He served as an usher and helped with repairs. His wife, Elisabeth, sings in the choir.

“This is a small parish, but it’s home. We all get along well with each other and welcome each other with open arms,” Bunghoffer said.

One of the younger, Spanish-speaking parishioners is Martha Aponte, who married her fiancé, Pedro Atoche, at Sacred Heart on Oct. 7. She said she started attending Mass here just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

“Sacred Heart has a cozy vibe and is welcoming. At Mass, I can concentrate on the Word and the Eucharist. I love Fa ther Bob’s homilies, which are direct — like God is talking to me. I love the way I feel when I’m here,” Aponte said.

Long-time supporters of Sacred Heart, Lou Tomasella and his bud dies from “The Coop”—the Italian American Family Association— whose members worshipped at the Parish. They are making polenta for a church fundraiser in 2000. Also pictured inset is long-time Pastor Msgr. Julian Varettoni. A street in Botany is named in his honor.

76 November 2022 •
Small School. Big Dreams. Saint Mary High School 64 Chestnut Street Rutherford, NJ 07070 201-933-5220 Consider Our Gael-for-a-Day Program! Prospective students spend a school day with a St. Mary student. To schedule, call 201-933-5220 or register online at Reasons to Choose St. Mary4 1. Academic Excellence 2. Spiritual Formation 3. Advanced College Studies 4. Championship Athletics • November 2022 77

Clifton is taking a new step in addressing homelessness by implementing its first temporary Code Blue Center.

The center, at the Clifton Recreation Center in Downtown Clifton, will operate through March, 2023. It is a state-mandat ed response to a rise in the homeless popu lation over the past two years.

In adherence with the NJ Statute, A:943.18 et. seq., a city with 10 or more in dividuals facing homelessness must have a Code Blue Center. New Jersey’s annual Point-In-Time Count of the Homeless found on Jan. 25 that Clifton had 17 indi viduals. The center will provide a place to sleep on nights when the temperature is 32 degrees or lower for more than two hours.

“Our goal is to not only provide a tem porary Code Blue Center, but also take that time to evaluate the needs of the commu nity and link them to available resources,”

said Adriana Alfaro, the Clifton Health De partment’s Vulnerable Populations Outreach Coordinator.

It’s an effort that Councilwoman Lauren Murphy sup ports. The topics of code blue and shower days can be traced back to the past decade, particularly with the forma tion of the Clifton Homelessness Task Force.

The ad hoc committee was established in 2016 after Bot any Village residents and businesses complained about ap proximately 14 men living beneath the Ackerman Avenue bridge. The Task Force has included representatives from police and fire departments, the Health Department, private

and public social services, volunteers, and City Council members like Mur phy.

“We have to have a place for our homeless people to go when the tem perature drops below 32 degrees,” said Murphy. “We work very hard to make sure that the 17 homeless people that live in Clifton are kept safe.”

One way was by hiring Alfaro as the social worker of Clifton’s Health and Human Services Department.

Alfaro, 30, said the Health Depart ment will partner with multiple agen cies for greater assistance with link ing people to specific services. The services range from mental health and substance use to food and other needs.

One existing partnership is with St. Peter’s Haven. The Haven has pur chased a shower trailer that will be located outside of the Rec Center dur ing code blue activations. Another partnership is with Hope One, a mobile recovery access vehicle striving to prevent drug overdoses and death. The Health Department is also trying to work with Serv, located at 777 Bloomfield Ave., to provide mental health treatment.

“I think a misconception is that homeless individuals don’t want help or they can get help and choose not to,” said Alfaro. “Many aren’t documented, so they don’t qual ify for services that residents would, like cash assistance, housing, or food stamps. It’s very difficult.”

Adriana Alfaro. State-Mandated Code Blue Initiative Addressed by a Team of Clifton Service Providers, from Health & Human Services, to Police & Recreation Departments, to St. Peter’s Haven By Ariana Puzzo
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An Ongoing Effort

Lifelong resident Angela Montague is glad to see that Clifton is helping its homeless population. The executive director of Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group acknowledged that local homelessness is not new.

“We have had homeless people here going on so many years and something [like this] should have been going on sooner,” said Montague (CHS 1977). “It’s because the state mandated that the city had to pick a place.”

Montague said she’s unsure how the center might affect the “rejuvenated Downtown Clifton area.”

“I don’t want to sound like I’m against it. I’m heartbro ken by it and all for trying to help them,” said Montague. “[Perhaps the city] will see if [neighboring] businesses could also be on board to help with food and haircuts.”

Tackling the needs of Clifton’s homeless population has always been a community effort. St. Peter’s Haven, which has provided the community with a food pantry and tem porary family housing since 1986, offers a unique hous ing solution. Typical homeless shelters divide residents by gender. The Haven focuses on keeping families together to minimize the existing trauma of being homeless.

Identifying the reasons why someone is homeless is an other community method. “We have shower days and now a shower van for them, we have a barber who cuts their hair, and we bring them food,” said Murphy. “We encour age them to get help with their physical or mental situation so that they will no longer be homeless.”

Through Patience and Compassion

“Homeless in Clifton.” As the May 2018 edition of Clif ton Merchant stated, it sounds odd. Yet it’s a real and com plicated issue for a city of approximately 90,000 people.

The state’s homeless population has increased by 8% this year. A NJCounts study found the new rise followed a sharp decrease in 2021. In 2022’s “point-in-time” tally, a total of 8,754 people in New Jersey were experiencing homelessness.

Causes include loss or reduction in income, being asked to leave a shared residence, and eviction. A lack of afford able housing in New Jersey is another concern.

So what it comes down to is how a community address es the problem. Another priority is compassion. “The best thing that can happen for a homeless person is treatment for whatever their situation is and hopefully we can help them to get a job and have a real home,” said Murphy.

Alfaro expressed a similar sentiment. The social worker earned her bachelor’s in psychology from William Paterson and is working toward her Master of Social Work degree at Montclair State University. In 2015, she began working at the Haven as a case manager for the family shelter for about three years and another doing outreach.

She returned to Clifton in September 2020 to assist in COVID-19 vaccination testing and has held her current po sition since January 2021.

“Homelessness is a tough situation and could happen to any of us,” said Alfaro. “You have to be patient and wait for someone to be ready to get help. It’s not, ‘Here’s an apart ment, start your life,’” continued Alfaro. “You have to have them trust you. It’s a work in progress.”

Community members can donate items that you wouldn’t use twice, including underwear, towels, body wash, and food. Everything must be new and additional items in high demand are sweatpants, sweatshirts, and pillows. Bring items to City Hall, 900 Clifton Ave., and place them in the bin next to the courtroom.

Residents who would like to report homeless individuals that need access to the Code Blue Center should call police dispatch at 973-470-5911.

Clifton Health Department Location: DPW Garage 307 E 7th., Clifton, NJ 07011 Dogs: (Free) Saturday, November 12th 2:00pm - 4:00 pm Wednesday, November 16th 5:00 pm 7:00 pm 2022 Dog Licenses available for those who still need to license their dog for Clifton Residents Only 2023 Dog Licenses NOT available until January 2, 2023 2022 Fall Rabies Clinics for Dogs  CALL CLIFTON AT (973) 470 5760 FOR MORE INFORMATION.  DOGS MUST BE ON LEASHES;.  NO ONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 WILL BE ALLOWED IN WITHOUT AN ADULT;  MUST HAVE VALID FORM OF IDENTIFICATION All NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS ARE WELCOMED The Clifton Health Department is a contractual health agency serving the Township of Little Falls. Code Blue Mandated in Clifton 80 November 2022 •
JOIN BY 11/20 FOR $1 ENROLLMENT Offer valid on annual contract only. Annual fee and applicable taxes apply. Pricing and amenities may vary by membership and location. Additional fees and restrictions may apply. Standard first month dues apply. Offers ends 11/20. See club for details. © 2022 Crunch IP Holdings, LLC TURF RELAX & RECOVER PERSONAL TRAINING SIGN UP AT CRUNCHCLIFTON.COM OR IN-CLUB CLIFTON • 895 PAULISON AVE • 973.553.9470 @CRUNCHCLIFTON /CRUNCHCLIFTON ON PEAK & PEAK RESULTS ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS GO FEAST MODE • November 2022 81
82 November 2022 • • November 2022 83

The Annual Fall Into The Past B&G Club Alumni get-together has been postponed to 2023. There’s lots of stuff going on at The Club and alumni play an important part in keeping the Clifton Club strong and healthy. For info call Chris Street at 973-773-0966 x155.

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As the Season of Giving begins, Boys & Girls Club Executive Di rector Bob Foster and his staff are preparing to kick off their annual campaign. The cam paign, which is currently un named, runs from November to March and will start with a $50,000 gift from Amazon and $100,000 gift from an anonymous donor.

“One gentleman sold his busi ness and wanted to make a nice contribution to the Club,” said Foster. “Amazon is opening some stores in North Jer sey and is giving some money to the Boys & Girls Club of New Jersey and to some clubs in the market area.”

“It’s two good starts to the campaign,” he continued.

Individual and business donations are what keep the Clifton club operational and serving its community since 1947. In 2021, The Hot Grill donated $1,000 to the Club’s campaign. In 2020, B&G Club Board member John Fette and his wife, Kristin, offered a one-time $50,000 gift.

As the Club rounds out 75 years, giving isn’t limited to

certain months since the need is ongoing.

“[These gifts are] going to our operations, and one of our initiatives this year is to get our operations to the level they were pre-COVID and programs back to capacity,” said Foster. “This will go a long way to help us … and is great for us and great for the community.”

The B&G Club is back to hosting special events, such as its car show and disco party and weekly bingo nights.

Although the Annual Alumni Hall of Fame is canceled this year, it will return in the future.

“We’re fully operating again with the kids mostly back,” said Foster. “We’re almost back to capacity and are working with the Board on our strategic plan for the next two years. Before the end of the year, we will hope fully have that together.”

THE SEASON OF GIVING 86 November 2022 • • November 2022 87

Sharing is an important part of Turkish culture. Tradition calls them to share with their neighbors and bring food to the elderly or donate to those who are needy or ill. That’s why over a decade ago, Peace Islands Institute teamed up with Assemblyman Tom Giblin, at center, and St. Peter’s Haven, to contribute hundreds of pounds of lamb to the needy. Giblin is joined by Sheriff Rich Berdnik, Lolita Cruz of the assemblyman’s staff, Pam Fueshko of St. Peter’s and a team from Peace Islands.

As the Cans for Dan Fall Food Drive enters its third year of giving, Daniel Shackil and the ShopRite of Little Falls team have a request. “We are hoping to break our own record and need your help,” said Shackil (CHS 2008).

Past community involvement sug gests that it’s not a tall order.

In 2019, the first year, the Cans for Dan collection totaled 1,200 items. In 2020, COVID-19 shut down the program but Shackil promised it would be back.

In 2021, Shackil collected over 1,600 items and distributed them through St. Agnes Food Pantry in Little Falls, CU MAC in Paterson and St. Peter’s Haven in Clifton. “Each year, the generosity from the community continues to as tound us,” said Shackil, a legendary Mustang wrestler.

There are two ways to contribute: throughout Novem ber, make a purchase at the store and drop off canned goods and non-perishable items like oatmeal, rice and pasta at the bins in front of the store. For those who would like to make a monetary donation, Venmo Dan-Shackil.

In September of 2021, the New Jersey Department of Health found that 1 in 12 individuals and 1 in 10 children live in homes without consistent access to healthy and ad equate food. “Cans for Dan” was created by Registered Di etitian Heather Shasa and Shackil, the produce manager of ShopRite of Little Falls, to meet that ongoing need.

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Clifton Schools broke ground on Oct. 20 at WWMS. Members of the Board of Education, school administration, coaches and city officials turned the soil to begin field renovations, thanks to the voters approval of the April 20, 2021 bond referendum.

Clifton math teacher Kimberly Mouzon and CCMS families participated in the Diversity Dinner at CCMS on Oct. 12. Families brought a representative dish from their respective cultures. The event was sponsored by CCMS HSA, Character Ed. Club, Multi cultural Club, and the Clifton Teachers’ Association. Food was also provided by Pomptonian Food Service, as well as Wize Guys on Crooks Avenue. Others in attendance included Assistant Superintendent Mark Gengaro and Board Commissioners Joe Canova and Alan Paris. Meanwhile, keep your hair growing! CCMS’ annual Cut-a-thon returns March 20. Participants must have at least 8 inches of hair. For info, email Mouzon at

The 10th Clifton Fire Department Pet Food Drive runs through November to support the Clifton Ani mal Shelter. The following items would be appreci ated: Friskies or Fancy Feast Canned Kitten & Cat Food, Cat Chow Complete (Blue Bag), Kitten Chow, Blue Chicken & Rice Dog Food (Blue Bag), Pedigree Ground Canned Dog Food, and Cat & Dog Treats. De liver items to Clifton Fire Headquarters, 880 Clifton Ave., the yellow house on City Hall grounds. Place items in the bin on the front porch.

Frenemies Finney and Sam
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Here are the Mustangs of the Month for November 2022.

These four students, one from each grade, were selected by the vice principals at CHS, to be spotlighted for their personal achievements and school-wide contributions.

Anna Monaghan, Freshman

Anna Monaghan enjoys learning new things and brought that passion with her to CHS. Considering her new learning environment, the freshman considered her many new teachers and mentors and stated that her most influential teacher is Band Director Bryan Stepneski.

He has instilled the value of working hard and per severing during Marching Mustang band camp and the football season. She also enjoys having him as her piano teacher, learning technique, skills and music theory.

Another class that Monaghan enjoys is history. “I find the study of the past very interesting and find it fascinat ing how everything is interconnected,” said Monaghan (CHS 2026). “My favorite part of history to study would have to be the Ancient Egyptians.”

Monaghan credited her organization for how she has managed to transition from middle to high school. She said that she utilizes a planner to keep track of her home work, school events, and extracurricular activities.

“I take as many notes as possible, and ask as many questions as needed. I have learned that it is important to ask for help,” said Monaghan. “I am lucky to have family, friends, and teachers that are supportive.”

Her greatest influence is her father. “His work ethic motivates me to be my best self, even when life gets tough,” said Monaghan.

Daniella Jimenez Yepez, Sophomore

Keeping an open mind is important to Daniella Jimenez Yepez. The sophomore at CHS named English as her fa vorite subject because she can “look at things from a dif ferent perspective” and bring characters to life.

When she considered her influential teachers, she thought of her freshman year math teacher, Regina Lomartire.

“She created a space where you could make mistakes, be wrong, and just not understand something,” said Yepez (CHS 2025). “Her creating a space like this made me not be as hard on myself when I do things wrong and let my self have a break.”

That self-patience is a big part of transitioning from middle school to high school. One of the big difficulties that Yepez experienced was the difference of how much work students receive.

“I have overcome that by making a schedule for myself on when to take a break, do certain assignments, and fo cus on something else so that everything can get done on time but I’m not super stressed,” said Yepez.

For her extracurricular activities, Yepez is involved in different forms of art and photography. She is also involved with the CHS Human Services & Early Childhood Career Academy program. The concentration focuses on the field of education, specifically the Social Sciences.

Jose Suarez Gonzalez, Channel Nunez Acosta, Daniella Jimenez Yepez and Anna Monaghan.
92 November 2022 • • November 2022 93

Channel Nunez Acosta, Junior

Taking responsibility for our planet is an important act that Channel Nunez Acosta doesn’t take for granted.

“My favorite subject is science because I can learn how to take care of the environment,” said Acosta (CHS 2024).

Acosta’s greatest life influence is her mother, who she said is “always there for me without excuses and always [does] everything to see me happy.”

“She inspires me to do better every day so that she’s proud of me,” continued Acosta.

At CHS, Acosta works to assist new high school stu dents on what they may need. These needs can include showing them to their class or answering questions for them.

As far as obstacles during her years at CHS, she takes an optimistic, glass-half-full approach. “Nothing is a hur dle to me,” said Acosta. “There are difficult things, but not impossible.” She learned that lesson from her teacher Fotini Kotrotsios.

“She taught me that nothing is impossible and that things come [at] the right time,” said Acosta.

Acosta’s plans for the future include making sure that she pursues her goals on her own terms.

“My future aspirations are to have my own family and to achieve everything I propose,” said Acosta. “I’m not sure yet if I want to attend college.”

Jose Suarez Gonzalez, Senior

Whichever future career path Jose Suarez Gonzalez chooses for himself, you can be certain he will be help ing others. The senior’s future aspirations include attend ing a college for a bachelor of science and master of arts program. He hopes to go onto medical school or pursue non-profit business.

“I am really passionate about non-profit organizations because of the work that I’ve done with Key Club Inter national and Power Of One, a Clifton non-profit,” said Gonzalez (CHS 2023).

One of the things that Gonzalez has gained through his work with Power of One Christian Coaching and Out reach Ministries, Inc. is a mentor. He added that it “takes one person to impact who you are” and Mission Director Kim Castellano is that person for him.

“[She’s] the most selfless person I’ve ever met,” said Gonzalez. “She’s been the person who pushed me to bet ter myself and foster a passion for helping others.”

Gonzalez said they met while sorting clothing dona tions in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Over time, they got to know each other better.

“When in doubt, she would … give me the encourage ment that I needed,” he said. “She pushed me to run for a position in the Key Club, to be better in school, and everything in between.”

94 November 2022 • • November 2022 95

Michaelc Gabriele and his pastel Honey Hollow Two, and at right, Lighthouse by Rose Scaglione.

The Clifton Arts Center will host an exhibit of painting and sculpture, “Seasonal Splendor and Spatial Relations,” Nov. 9 to Dec. 10, featuring the artwork of the Tuesday Painters and 20 indie sculptors.

A reception, free and open to the public, will be held at the Clifton Arts Center on Saturday, Nov. 19, 1-4 pm, to celebrate the exhibit. Michael Bertelli, the president of the Clifton Arts Center’s advisory board, serves as the cu rator for the exhibition.

The Tuesday Painters had an exhibit at the Clifton Arts Center in 2020. The organization is a group of 30 artists that meet on a weekly basis in an art workshop at Trinity Episcopal Church in Allendale.

The independent sculptor’s exhibit, with many artists of international renown, will include work by Catherine Schmitt and Richard Pitts. Schmitt and Pitts have connec tions with Clifton and the Clifton Arts Center.

The Clifton Arts Center ( is at 900 Clifton Ave., at the corner of Clifton and Van Houten Aves., on the the City Hall campus; phone: 973-472-5499. Separately, Michael Gabriele has an exhibit of new and recent pastels at the Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, 695 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, though Jan. 15. There is a free reception on Nov. 15, 5 to 7 pm. Gabriele is a member of Allied Artists of America, New York and serves on the advisory board of the Clifton Arts Center.

The Friends of the Clifton Public Library’s Semi-Annu al meeting is Nov. 15 at 1 pm at the Clifton Main Memorial Library. Speaker will be Gianfranco Archimede, Director of Historic Preservation in Paterson who will discuss Alex ander Hamilton and his influencein the “silk city”. Free and open to the public, refreshments will be served.

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Highlander seniors, Romano Cirillo, Shane Cooper, Sierra Dages, Julia Dan, Trevor Damsteadt, Amanda Dellagicoma, Sarah Filipowicz, Katherin Garcia, Anastasia Hamlin, Erin Henaghen, Maxine Kunz, DJ Lyttle, Victoria Mulligan, Matt Novak. Emma Polglaze, Tyler Rubenacker, Mike Sciarra, Ashley Seclen, George Stoft, Ethan Tomow, Marinn Uy, Matt Winkens.

Hey Marching Mustangs! See You In West Milford

The West Milford Highlanders’ Mili tary Concert & Tattoo returns for the 22nd year. This indoor musical showcase of West Milford High School’s bag pip ing bands, drum corps and Clifton’s highstepping Marching Mustangs, among oth ers, is on Saturday, Nov. 12, 6:30 pm at West Milford High School, 67 Highlander Drive, West Milford.

Get there early for best seats; doors open at 5:15 pm. Advance tickets range from $10 to $20 while kids under age 4 enter free. Go to to purchase tickets and then mail checks to WMBPA, PO Box 603, West Milford, NJ 07480.

But what’s a Tattoo? The word dates to the 17th century British Army.

Drummers marched through town to inform soldiers to return to their barracks. Their beats were doe den tap toe (old Dutch for “turn off the tap”) instructing innkeepers to stop serving beer and send soldiers back to barracks.

While the Highlanders will not be serv ing beer, the beats of seven bands will keep you entertained.

The Highlander’s 2022 theme is When Darkness Falls and they are led by Drum Major Maxine Kunz. The Marching Mus tangs, led by Drum Major Romeo Gonza lez, along with the other bands, will make you understand what a Tattoo means!

Highlanders Drum Major Maxine Kunz.
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Purchase Pre-Sale Tickets at Ticket Prices Ages 13 Adult: $20 ($25 at the Door) Ages 60 and Up: $15 ($20 at the Door) Kids ages 5 12: $10 (Same Price at Door) Kids age 4 and under: FREE Multiple National & State Championships West Milford High School Highlander Band 22nd Annual Military Concert & Tattoo SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2022 6:30 pm (Doors Open at 5:15 pm) Experience a dazzling display of marching precision, bagpipe glory, divine dancing & drum drama known as the Highlander Band Tattoo! • November 2022 99

Over a thousand participated in Clifton’s Oct. 30 Halloween Parade which wound down Van Houten Ave. into the city hall There kids and parents climbed aboard a hay ride, tossed apples and pump kins and had all kinds of inexpensive family fun games thanks to the Clifton Recreation Department. The following pages tell the story with lots of photos!

100 November 2022 • • November 2022 101
102 November 2022 •
School Nurses (NJ Certification) Registered Nurses ESL Teachers (NJ Certification) Special Education Teachers (NJ Certification) Preschool Special Education Teachers (NJ Certification) Board Certified Behavior Analyst for Preschool Teacher of Mathematics (NJ Certification) Highly Qualified Paraprofessionals for Preschool Paraprofessionals Substitute Teachers Substitute Paraprofessionals Lunch Aides and Kindergarten Aides C l i f t o n P u b l i c S c h o o l s Clifton Public Schools 745 Clifton Avenue Clifton, NJ 07013 Phone: 973 594 4195 E mail: hr@cliftonschools net Employment Opportunities The Clifton Public School District is currently accepting applications for the following positions: A p p l y t o d a y a t h t t p s : / / w w w . a p p l i t r a c k . c o m / c l i f t o n s c h o o l s / $20/hour $150/day non certified | $170 certified Competitive PayRates! • November 2022 103
2022 Halloween Parade 104 November 2022 • • November 2022 105
2022 Halloween Parade 106 November 2022 •
2022 Halloween Parade • November 2022 107

Jazzlyn Caba

Robyn Jo Paci

Thomas Scancarella

Kelly Tierney

Paul Guzowski

Lance Dearing

Olivia Nysk



Victoria Krzysztofczyk

Rosario LaCorte

Nov. 16. Dan Norton is 81 on Nov. 17. Nicole Mokray turns

on Nov. 7.

11/8 Marie Sanzo 11/8 Donna Camp

Ray Konopinski

Tanya Ressetar

11/5 Kristina Azevedo............... 11/6 Nicole Lorraine Bonin 11/6 Martha Derendal 11/6 Danielle Osellame

11/6 Kristen Soltis

11/6 Gabriella Marriello 11/7 James Ball

11/7 Kevin Lord

11/7 Francine Anderson 11/8

11/9 Tricia Montague

11/9 Brandy Stiles 11/10 Tom Szieber

11/10 Stacey Takacs

11/10 Joseph Franek III 11/11 Laura Gasior 11/12 Geraldine Ball

11/13 Patricia Franek

11/13 Robert Paci 11/13 Gregory Chase


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11/4 Andrew
.................... 11/4 Mr.
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Birthdays & Celebrations - November 2022 Happy Birthday to.... Send yours ....
Joe Hawylko and Arielle Simonis were married on Oct. 14. Ed & Casey (Hawrylko) Bivaletz are celebrating their
blows out 76 candles on
Bev Lacsina
turns 33 on Nov.
91st to Alberta Lacki
Our friend John
Seiple turns 81 on Nov. 26.Bob
and Pat Samona
celebrated 29 years on Oct. 20. 108 November 2022 •

Ken Peterson 11/15

Kathy Schmidt 11/15

Matthew Phillips 11/16

Anthony Wrobel 11/16

Michael Zangara 11/16

Marilyn Velez

Joseph Tyler

Joseph Guerra

Jon Whiting

Andreas Dimitratos

Katerina Dimitratos







Margaret Egner 11/22

Carol Peterson 11/24

Brian Derendal 11/25

Eileen Fierro 11/25

Peter Kedl 11/25

Crystal Lanham

Rachel Prehodka-Spindel

Brian Derendal

Kristen Bridda

Jessi Cholewczynski

Dillon Curtiss







Bethany Havriliak 11/26

Kelly Moran 11/27

Sami Suaifan 11/28

Amanda Grace Feiner 11/29

Anne Hetzel 11/29

Christopher Seitz

Adeline DeVries

Kaitlyn Graham

Barbara Luzniak


Nov. 21.





Marty and Joan Neville
celebrate a 63 year love story on Nov. 20.
Dennis and Janet Kolano
52nd wedding anniversary on • November 2022 109
On Oct. 18, George and Nihal Metri cut the ribbon at Lakeview Bagels & Deli to mark the 25th year of service to Clifton in the Aldi Shopping Center, 78 Lakeview Ave. He and his wife were joined by other family members, customers and neighborhood folks to share in snacks and coffee.
110 November 2022 •
Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main Avenue Clifton, NJ 07011 PRSRT STD U.S. PoSTage PAID PeRmiT No. 280 LaNc. Pa 17604

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