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Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 13 • Issue 8 • August 1, 2008

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Where Are They Now?

The 1958 Business Staff at CHS. Sitting, from left, Miss Amelia Del Favero and Linda Madison. Standing, Rosemary Klimko, Bill Koch, Pat Hovastak and William Bobak.

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AUG 2008

Clifton High School has been graduating students for nearly a century now, but this month, Clifton Merchant Magazine celebrates six years in particular. The Classes of ’48, ’58, ’68, ’78, ’88 and ’98 each celebrate significant reunions this year, and so we are taking this opportunity to tell you about what students from those classes have been up to since they left the crowded halls of CHS. For example, Andy Sventy traveled the world for Avon, Marie Hakim stayed in town to lead the BOE, John Pontes (above) coached his alma mater’s track teams to several titles, Gary Apito became the president of a prestigious culinary school, Jeff Kipnis penned sci-fi novels, and Mark Popowicz joined the Army. Much has changed over the years, but one thing is a constant: the pride of being a Mustang.

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Tom Hawrylko BUSINESS MANAGER Cheryl Hawrylko STAFF WRITERS: Joe Hawrylko, Jordan Schwartz GRAPHIC ARTIST: Tomahawk Promotions Rich McCoy 1288 Main Avenue CONTRIBUTORS: Downtown Clifton, NJ 07011 Gary Anolik, Rich DeLotto 973-253-4400 • tomhawrylko@optonline.net August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Correction: On last month’s cover, Clifton Public Schools Superintendent Richard Tardalo’s name was misspelled. We apologize for the error. Cover photos, from left: 1948: Andy Sventy, Irene Seidel, Joe Nikischer, Inge Seidel, Steve Yurga. 1958: Peter Lehr, Marie Hakim, Robert Gursky, Frances Dinino, George Telesh. 1968: Kathy Barbara, Sheldon Schwartz, Rose Anne D’Aleo, Jim Anzaldi, Jill De’Vries. 1978: Don Wood, Rickie Di Maria, Gary Apito, Valerie Antongy, Bill Freeswick. 1988: Miriam Santana, Robert Pashman, Christine Jancew, Jeffrey Kipnis, Chrissy Klimek. 1998: Dan Morgan, Alyson Thelin, Mark Popowicz, Mary Laihee, Mike Sanchez.

Table of Contents Ding Dong, Andy Sventy Calling . . . .10 Joe Nikischer Guarded Eisenhower . .17 Marie Hakim: Anchor in Lakeview . . .29 John Pontes: Running Back Home . . .38 Jeffrey Klein: The Bone Doctor . . . . . .44 Gary Apito: The French President . . . .53 Rickey Di Maria Sells Clifton Homes . .55 Chrissy Klimek: Triumph & Tragedy . .63 Jeff Kipnis: Clifton’s Arch-Villain . . . . .68 Mary Laihee: Teaching for America . .75 Michael Sanchez: Food & Culture . . . .76

We’re not sure where they are now, but here are the ’78 Senior Class Officers, standing, from left: Cindi Petrisin, Rose Fecanin, Hope Smith. Sitting, Cathy Capizzi, George Maragoudakis.

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Things were swell back in ’48 Story by Joe Hawrylko As the generation stuck between World War II and the Korean War, the Class of 1948 was thrust into a world of turmoil. However, that doesn’t mean their years at CHS— then at the current site of CCMS— were void of fun. The start of the year marked the beginning of a new era in Mustang football, as Joe Grecco took the reigns of the team and transformed the school into a state powerhouse. With a record of 8-1, Clifton, led by the slick and elusive Bobby Boettcher, ran to a Passaic Valley Conference title, as well as the Group 4, Section 1 crown. All this was done without playing a true home game, since they were played at Hinchcliffe Stadium. Clifton had stopped construction on its stadium because of WWII, however, that didn’t deter fans from turning their rivals’ stadiums into their own. The outpouring support from Cliftonites was more than enough to convince Principal Harold J. Adams

Jack Fina, a former CHS student and Big Band pianist known as“The Ten Most Talented Fingers on Radio” made all the kids swoon during his performance at the CHS Autumn Serenade on Thanksgiving Eve, 1947.

and Superintendent George J. Smith to make sure Clifton Stadium would be completed. The Mustangs returned to track and field events for the first time since 1941, at which time the World War ceased activities. Standouts included middle distance runners

Bill Jacobson and Albert Frauenknecht, and long distance runners Steve Yurga and Richard Gincel. Girls were also a part of the sports scene at CHS. The Girls Athletic Association boasted about 30 girls who participated in everything from basketball to swimming.

The staff of the June, 1948 CHS yearbook, The Log. Left to right, seated, Irene Seidel, Mr. Aaron Halpern, Miss Edna Nemeth, Catharine Mortgu, Marie Ermenville and Henry Beetz. Standing, left to right, Don Van Hook, Joe Wolak and Inge Seidel. August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Though female sports are common today, the GAA was the only way for girls to get involved at the time. These were just some of the stories of those that ‘set sail on the great liner CHS’ as described by Angela Guilli, keeper of the Class Log. Classmates Dick Rento, Dot Jacubetz and Andy Sventy served as Class President, Vice President and Treasurer, respectively. The liner ‘steamed along the Sea of Knowledge’, plowing through the Autumn Serenade on Thanksgiving Eve for the victorious football team—complete with a performance from CHS alumni Jack Fina and his orchestra—and on to the bare shoulders and white jackets at the May Senior Formal. Before long, the Class of ’48 had the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance in their ears and a lump in their throat, as their voyage came to an end.

On these two pages, a look at some ‘senior celebrities’: Top row facing page: Class Athletes Robert Boettcher and Maryella Fayko. Middle, from left: Class Smiles Richard Demchak and Joan Wolf; Pride of the Faculty, Betty Christensen and Joseph Silverman; Class Workers, Richard Rento and Catherine Mortgli. Bottom row: Best Looking, Lydia Kohler and Franklin Pechal; Class Wit, Jeanne Piaja and Donald Van Lenten; Best Dressed, Arthur Griglak and Lois Shier.

Top of page, clockwise: Class personalities; Andrew Sventy and Marie Ermenville. Class book worms: Joseph Wolak and Ruth Maehl. Class Inseparables: Irene Kahman and Marie Provost; John Gross and Andrew Sventy.

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Ding Dong, Andy Calling Travelling the Globe, Managing the Business of Avon Story by Joe Hawrylko Andy Sventy has plenty of memories from his days at CHS. However, the thing that stands out most in his mind was the Fighting Mustangs football team. Stricken with polio as a freshman, Sventy was unable to play. However, he joined the team as a manager on his good friend Bobby Boettcher’s suggestion, and met the man who would be one of the greatest influences on his life. “Clifton had a terrible team when we were freshmen, and then Joe Grecco came in and revitalized the whole team,” he recalled. “It was a very exciting time for the people of Clifton. It really brought a spirit of community and camaraderie that hadn't existed.” Sventy recalled how, as one of his first coaching moves, Grecco made every one of his players burn their old club jerseys and force them to practice in Mustang attire. “He was a tough son of a gun; extremely demanding. But he was fair,” said Sventy. “When you played by his rules, you were rewarded with the success that you had and he’d go out of his way to tell you that you did a good job. That’s a lesson that extends throughout your life.” Boettcher, the great Mustang running back, and Sventy grew up just a few blocks from each other down in the Botany section. They, along with a few other neighborhood boys, would walk to school together, “back before there were bus routes,” laughed Sventy. 10

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Andy Sventy reviews the 1948 CHS yearbook during his interview in July and, below, as he appeared in “The Log.”

As kids, they would go skinny dipping with friends over at the Dundee Canal, along side the falls. To this day, Sventy wonders how any of them made it out without getting sick from the pollutants in the water at the time. Even after high school, Boettcher and Sventy would remain friends, eventually naming each other the godparents of each of their children. The fall after graduation, Sventy was down in New Brunswick


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at Rutgers, studying education. After graduating in 1952, he wed Margaret Westervelt, also a 1948 CHS graduate. “We had started going together back at CHS,” said Sventy. However, even though he graduated, Sventy was not done with school yet, as he intended to get his masters to gain an additional $300 to his annual pay. “I thought I was going to get drafted—the Korean War was on at the time—so I figured I’ll get my masters behind me and when I get out I’ll have that and start fresh,” he recalled. “All of the classes were in the evening, Saturdays or late afternoons,” added Sventy. “My mother-in-law was a little concerned that I was going to school and didn’t have a job, while Margaret supported the two of us.” In order to earn money while going for his masters, Sventy picked up a part-time job with the International Projector Corp in Bloomfield. His employers would let him leave early for his classes during his six week trial period. “When six weeks were over, they asked if I wanted to work full-time,” recalled Sventy. “But I still had to leave early on Tuesdays, which they were okay with. They gave me a $10 raise, so that I was already making $55 a week, more than a teacher would be. I was ahead of the game.” By the time his third year at the plant rolled around, Sventy was making $90 a week as the head planter for all government contracts. However, a strike that year ended the job, and Sventy went to work at Curtis Wright. “It was good pay, but absolutely no future,” he said. “I soon got a job in the city with a private electronics firm, where I worked for three years.” During his commute to work one day, Sventy ran into his old employer from Projector Corp., who gave him a lead on a job opening at Avon. “All I remembered about that place was an old lady trying to sell my mom stuff,” he laughed. Starting as a senior analyst in inventory control, Sventy found himself moving up quickly. Within five years, he was the vice president of purchasing, and soon after became the group vice president. With his new title, Sventy found himself traveling the globe, visiting Avon locations across the Americas and in Europe. In 1976, with Avon looking to revamp its gift business, the company set up shop in the Far East. With the company seeking to send someone with a marketing background, Sventy volunteered himself. The only trick was convincing his wife to come and sell her three antique stores. 12

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Andy Sventy and his wife Margaret (Westervelt) in a recent photo. At right, Margaret’s photo from the 1948 CHS yearbook.

When she obliged, the couple went over to Hong Kong in 1984, where they lived for six years. In that time, Sventy said Avon was doing four times its normal merchandise sales. Though he retired in 1988, Sventy stayed on as a consultant. He and his wife only left after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest and the civil rights events that were going on in the region at the time. Sventy’s business savvy allowed him to capitalize on markets with competitive pricing. “When I first started, we did half of our business with Japan,” he said. “When I left, we didn’t spend a nickel there.” However, even when he came back, Sventy never fully retired. He served as a consultant to many firms, a task he still does to this day. “I work in Secaucus now for a big Chinese company that we used to do business with about nine years ago,” said Sventy of Silk Row Gifts, which is the American Division of Peak Top Industries. “They were starting their own office here in the U.S., and the boss wanted me to be a mentor for his son, who had just graduated,” he added proudly. Even though he’s still working at 78, Sventy has no regrets. He enjoys what he does and, although he’s working part-time these days, still accomplishes a lot. “I think it’s helped my health and mental outlook. It keeps me involved—not just occupied—and makes my mind work,” he said. “Plus, there’s no satisfaction like the kind you get when you have a product idea and can bring it to fruition.”


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These are some of the boys from the CHS Class of Jan. 1948. Rudy Hudak, CHS ’48 and former social studies teacher and supervisor for 40 years at CHS, wants to hear from his former classmates. He came up with the idea after seeing fellow ’48ers Hank DeVos and Victor Rossi. Officers for the class of 1948 included: President Clair Durst, Vice President Victor Csrip, Secretary Eleanor Kreske and Treasurer Shirley Van Kirk. Call Rudy Hudak at 973-777-4376.

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He Guarded Eisenhower Joe Nikischer served in the Army, led a workers union Story by Joe Hawrylko These days, if you’re looking for Joe Nikischer, you’ll probably find him over at J. Michael’s Florist on Ackerman Ave in Botany. But before the 1948 CHS grad opened the store with his son, Joe Jr., he had a interesting life that took him across the country. Following graduation, Nikischer, 78, found himself bouncing around between several jobs in an effort to find something that interested him. One of his first jobs was at the Forsmann Wool Company, right in the heart of Botany Village’s mill section. “Botany (Mills) and Forsmann were side by side. It was right by where the Pathmark on Dayton Ave. is now,” said Nikischer. “I was an apprentice there for three years, and then worked there for a couple more years.” However, during this time, Nikischer wasn’t happy with the direction of his life. He was unsettled in a career and was looking for a change, so he joined the National Guard in 1947 and began active duty in the Army in 1955. “I didn’t know what I wanted. I was a young kid just bouncing around,” recalled Nikischer. “I had this friend of mine who was an Army recruiter, and he said, ‘Why don’t you try it for two years and see if you like it?’” Nikischer was entered into the Military Police and traveled around the United States. “I started at Fort Dix, and went on to Fort Brag, Fort Gordon, Fort Sheridan,” he recalled.

Joe Nikischer outside his store, J. Michael’s Florist, on Ackerman Ave. in Botany. Below, that’s Joe in his 1948 Clifton High School yearbook picture.

However, there’s one moment that stands out in Nikischer’s two years of service. In Sept. of 1955, Nikischer was told that he was being shipped out. “We were being flown out, and didn’t know where we were going at the time,” he said. “It was a big mystery. We eventually found out that the President (Dwight. D. Eisenhower) had a heart attack (ed. note: it was actually a myocardial infarction) and they flew us out to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital on a Naval plane.”’ Nikischer served as the Presidential Guard for the next seven weeks while the President recuperated.

When he was finally discharged in 1957, Nikischer returned home to Clifton and picked up a job at the Post Office. However, that too was very short lived, as Nikischer wasn’t happy with his job. August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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August 2008 • Clifton Merchant


After quitting in 1961, he decided to go to work at the Passaic Rubber Co. on Getty Ave. in 1965, where he worked for the next 30 years. Nikischer, along with thousands of others, created tape for all kinds of uses, as well as precision rubber rolls, which was his specialty. In 1965, Nikischer became treasurer for URW Local 401. “I had a good rapport with management. I think that was the whole thing there. The big boss and I would sit down and we would talk before a problem would be created and we solved a lot of things that way,” he recalled. “It was a guy named Rodney Leach, he was a Clifton boy too. I think he got out of school after me.” Before long, Nikischer ascended the ranks of the union, and became the president of the district, overseeing some 38,000 workers. “I was in charge of most of the East Coast, down from Maine, the New England states, New York,

“It used to be a slower life; more of a family life,” said Joe Nikischer. “I used to walk down the street here, and everyone knew each other. Now, no one knows each other.” Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland,” he said. “I went to conventions that National held. I was first nominated to the Board and went up step by step. First you’re a delegate and then I went up to District 7 Council.” Nikischer remained involved with the union up until 1995, when he retired. However, even in retirement, Nikischer still remains active. In 1983, he and his son, Joe Jr. opened J. Michaels Florist in Woodbridge, which was relocated to Botany Village in 1995. “My wife (Arlene) got me involved with this. She had worked for a trucking outfit years ago, and the owner was looking to invest his money into other businesses,” said Nikischer, who has

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A Lifetime Mustang

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Former CHS track star Steve Yurga looks back on his life

Track and field returned to CHS during the 1948 school year, having been suspended since 1941 due to World War II. Members on the team included, from left, Richard Gincel, Albert Frauenknecht, Bill Jacobson and Steve Yurga.

Though he only ran track for one season at CHS, Steve Yurga looks back on it fondly. “One day, the coaches came to class and asked if anyone was interested in joining the track team and gave us a test,” he recalled. “Jimmy Grimes had never coached before in his life.” Grimes contacted coaches out west for ways to conduct tryouts. And just like that, the first Mustang track team since 1941 was born. “Bill Jacobson was number one and I was number two,” said Yurga. “I was always chasing his behind.” The CHS alumni attempted to explain the allure behind track and field. “It’s just you against the clock. It’s kind of like swimming,” said Yurga. “All the other sports are a

team effort. Of course swimming and track are still team sports, it’s different.” Though he had plenty of fond memories at CHS, there’s one in particular that stood out. “The ’46 game (the Mustangs’ controversial 6-0 loss to Granby High in Norfolk, VA) was my biggest moment in high school,” said Yurga. “I didn’t go to dances and I never went to prom.” And some 60 years later, Yurga still bleeds Mustang maroon and gray. When the leaves start falling and the students return to school, Clifton Stadium becomes a second home to the alum. And, on special occasions, Yurga will take his show on the road with the team, as he did during their 2006 drive for the State Championship.

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The 78-year old trekked out to Giants Stadium for the Championship Game to watch his beloved Mustangs win their first state crown since Vandy roamed the sidelines. However, the Mustangs’ 26-0 blowout of the Eastside Ghosts that chilly December evening wasn’t Yurga’s favorite football moment. That special right is reserved for the 1957 team’s win over Montclair. “2006 wasn’t my favorite,” he said. “The year that we beat Montclair 26-0 at Montclair was my favorite. All I remember was after the game, they tore down the goal posts and ripped them to pieces. They were wooden back then.” “Cops tried to chase people off the field, but Clifton swarmed the field by the thousands,” added Yurga. “They would have had to arrest 5,000 people if they had did their job that day.” Beyond the gridiron, Yurga also attends many other Clifton High sporting events. “I’m into everything... wrestling, baseball... the only sport I didn’t get into is hockey,” said Yurga., who has been attending games for more than 25 years. “I don’t know, I just never liked hockey for some reason. My kids love it, but it’s just one of those things that has never turned me on.”

Above is Steve Yurga at his Adams Terrace residence today. At the inset is how he appeared in his 1948 yearbook picture.

Football remains his number one passion, even surpassing the sport that Yurga excelled at back in CHS some 60 years ago. “I’m not into track as much as I used to be,” said Yurga, who used to follow it more when his son, Paul, was on the team in 1985 and 1986. Yurga along with fellow alumni Joe Jeffers and Dominick Cammaroto, started frequenting the Clifton games following Yurga’s divorce in 1980.

“Dom was strictly football,” he said. “Joe is very very into baseball. He coaches a Legion team.” That started getting Yurga into baseball, as well as softball. So much so that the Lady Mustangs are now one of his favorite teams. “I love to watch the girls softball team,” he said. “The enthusiasm of the girls is contagious.” As long as Steve Yurga is around, it’s safe to say that there will always be Mustang pride in Clifton.

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The Twins of Clifton High Inge and Irene Seidel were two of a kind in 1948 Story by Joe Hawrylko If you were a part of the CHS Class of 1948, you knew the Seidel Twins—Inge and Irene. Sixty years later, both Inge Koromhas and Irene Darby are still close, living just over a mile away from each other in Clifton. “I think we were the only twins in the school at the time,” said Koromhas, who now lives on Van Breeman Dr., just behind CHS. “There was always something to do at CHS,” recalled Koromhas, who, along with her sister, were typists for the school’s yearbook. “It was just a good working class, with a lot of nice teachers.” Growing up, the two were always together, constantly going to dances and the Mustang football games. However, even though they are twins, Irene and Inge don’t mirror each other as closely as one would think. Following graduation from high school, their parents were faced with a tough decision. They only had enough money to send one of their children away to college. “I went and got a job, because my sister always wanted to be a nurse,” said Inge, who has always worked as a secretary and is currently employed part time by Four Star Agency. “My parents (Kurt and Luise) were from Germany and didn’t have the background to put both of us through college.” “We didn’t have bikes as kids,” laughed Irene, who resides in Dutch Hill. “Our parents couldn’t afford two and they knew we would argue over one.” 22

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Above, from left are Irene Seidel Darby and Inge Seidel Koromhas, holding a picture of themselves as three-year-olds. They were wearing dresses that their mother, Luise, made for them. At left is Irene (far left) and Inge as they appeared in the 1948 CHS yearbook.

Irene went to Mountainside Hospital in Montclair for nurses training. After three years, she graduated and joined Dr. Peter DeBell in Passaic, one of the area’s first plastic surgeons, retiring in 2002. Meanwhile, Inge got started on her secretarial career, working various jobs before settling with Heidelberg Eastern Danish Company in 1973, where she stayed for 15 years. Inge then retired to take care of her ailing mother before taking up a job in 1991 with Four Star Agency, where she’s been working ever since.

And Inge, who enjoys working with computers and dealing with property management at Four Star Agency, has no plans on calling it a career just yet. “It’s good for you,” she said. “It keeps you busy.” And even in retirement, Irene manages to keep herself busy. “I’ve got a big house to take care of,” said the avid gardener, who got remarried three years ago to Robert Darby. “It was built by the Birds, who build my father’s house.” Plus, she’ll always have her sister nearby to keep her company.


August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Federal Mortgage Offers Senior Citizens A Reverse Mortgage We are proud to be named among the Top 100 Reverse Mortgage Lenders in the Nation For some 35 years now, Anthony A. Accavallo, shown here, has been helping make the American Dream become a reality, right here in Clifton. As President of Federal Mortgage & Investment Corp. at 1111 Clifton Ave., Clifton, he and his firm have written millions of dollars worth of mortgages which have allowed people to purchase homes. And while that work has been fulfilling, Accavallo said he is getting his greatest satisfaction these days by helping senior citizens with reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a special kind of mortgage loan for seniors. It is a safe, easy way to turn your home equity into tax-free cash. Unlike a home equity loan, you do not have to make monthly payments.

Instead, a reverse mortgage pays you. More importantly, you do not have to repay the loan for as long as you live in the house. It’s a great way to keep your home and get money from it at the same time. The name “reverse mortgage” describes exactly what the mortgage is — it is the exact opposite of a conventional mortgage. That is, with a conventional mortgage the borrower pays the lender but with a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the borrower. In the past, a senior citizen in need of money would have to take out a loan against their house and immediately start making monthly payments again or sell their home. But a reverse mortgage allows seniors to borrow against the equity

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Things were rockin’ in 1958 Story by Joe Hawrylko They came from all different walks of life and formed a large and diverse class. Some have moved on from Clifton, while others never even left. Some went on to celebrity, while others went on to local commerce. There’s fire fighters, bank presidents, lawyers and even Miller Lite’s Not-So-Famous Bartender, the late Gerry Parent, who appeared with Rodney Dangerfield in a series of commercials for the popular beer. The 1958 class was a memorable one, filled with all types of personalities and intriguing individuals from varying backgrounds. Most readers will recognize Marie Hakim, a long time Board of Education member, who served from 1990 to 2008.

The goal posts come crashing down in Montclair, under the weight of Mustang fans, who stormed the field following the Mustangs’ 26-0 victory over their rivals. Running back George Telesh (inset) shined in that win for Clifton on Nov. 16, 1957.

Known as Hak to her classmates back then, she was quite active at CHS, serving as the senior President of the Girls Athletic Association.

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One of the greatest Clifton running backs ever was also a part of the 1958 class. George Telesh, the Mustang that terrorized opposing linebackers for years, spent his four years slashing through holes few could ever make it through. The naturalized citizen was instrumental in the 26-0 win over the rival Mounties at Montclair, scoring three touchdowns, kicking two extra points and rushing for 200 yards. Montclair had not lost in 37 straight contests, and had beaten Clifton every season since 1947. The Class of ’58 was not without tragedy, though. Graduates will remember the passing of classmates Leonard Jezulin, who died in a car accident, and Enrico Bimonte, who died after years of complications from polio. Even in 2008, they are not forgotten. This year, the Class of 1958 celebrates its 50th anniversary. Once upon a time, all of these successful

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August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Some of the Marching Mustangs Majorettes from 1958. Front, from left, is Karen Von Den Deale, Pat Baron and Dorothy Van Eck. Middle: Marilyn Vanecek and Evelyn Galinski. In the back is Glora Yackechnik.

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Top left: Basil Shackil. Top right: a 1999 picture of some of the members of the 1957 Fighting Mustangs. Standing, from left, John Smith, Coach Bill Vander Closter, Larry Kolk, Bob Gursky, Pete Lehr, George Telesh and Bob Leciston. Rich Inhoffer is in front holding a piece of a stadium seat his father was sitting on at the game. Ernie Niederer is on his right. Bottom left: Million Dollar Smiles from Brenda Baldanza and Jack Shaughnessy. Bottom right: the track team runs the 100 yard dash.

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An Anchor in Lakeview Class Athlete of ’58 taught Phys Ed., stayed in town Story by Joe Hawrylko As a student at Clifton High School, Marie Hakim was involved in just about every sport imaginable. But that was long before there were female varsity sports teams. “My grammar school prophecy was that I would teach Phys Ed, not just to boys, but co-ed,” said Hakim, who was the President of the Girls Athletic Association at CHS in her senior year. It would eventually come true almost 20 years later. Hakim had always been involved with sports, playing almost everything that was offered by the G.A.A., including soccer, volleyball and bowling. “Softball was always my favorite,” she laughed. “Probably because I was good at it.” While she was in high school, Hakim and the other girls didn’t have varsity sports teams to play on. However, the G.A.A. gave young women the chance to play intramural sports. Even post graduation, when she attended the Panzer School of Health, Physical Education and Hygiene at Montclair State College (now MSU), varsity sports for women didn’t exist. To stay involved with sports after high school, Hakim joined the Collegiate Division of Girls and Women’s Sports. She even served as President for some time. Hakim graduated from Montclair in 1962 with a degree in Physical Education. She got her masters from the school as well, finishing in 1966. After that, she got a job teaching in Paramus, where she would spend her entire career. When female athletes were finally granted varsity teams in 1972 with Title IX, Hakim’s prophecy came true. “I taught Drivers Ed there, coached gymnastics (both boys and girls at one point) and tennis,” explained Hakim, who also coached cheerleading for a bit. “I had an undefeated gymnastics team and state champion gymnastics students,” she added proudly. Hakim continued to work in Paramus until 1996, when she retired after 34 years. Besides those she’s graduated with, others will recognize Hakim as a long-time member of the Clifton Board of Education. Despite working in another district, Hakim always had a desire to give back to the community that gave her so many memories.

Pete Lehr and Marie Hakim were voted most athletic by their CHS peers in 1958. At right, Marie today.

“There were the Teen Canteens, held every Friday or Saturday night, in the gym of the high school,” she recalled. “And one of my fondest memories was in my senior years, when the 1957 football team beat Montclair. I was the end of the mascot, and would come out from under the tail end to watch the game.” Hakim said she still has a piece of the goal posts that were torn down that day. After games, she said everyone would head over to Poppy’s to hang out. Memories like these, and her undying love for education, are what drove Hakim to run for the BOE. After failing in her initial bid for a seat in 1989, Hakim finished in the top three in 1990, and went on to serve six terms in 18 years, ending her tenure this August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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past spring. She had served as BOE President in 1998, 2002-2004, and 2006-2008. “Besides wanting to give back to the city, I thought I could be an asset to the Board of Ed,” she said. “Education is my life, and it’s my one goal and my one passion.”

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Recognize Mortimer, the Clifton High mascot, from back in 1958? Marie Hakim and classmate Frances Dinino Powers (on facing page) would take turns teaming up in the two piece costume, energizing the crowd at games. The school originally wanted to rent a real mustang for games, however, band director Saul Kay feared that it would distract from his band, thus giving birth to Mortimer the Mustang.

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Dancing the Night Away Fran Dinino Powers was the best dancer at CHS in 1958 Story by Joe Hawrylko It was a little more than 50 years ago when the CHS Class of 1958 voted Fran Dinino Powers and Bob Gursky the best dancers in school. “Bob and I went to grade school together. He was like a big brother to me,” said Powers. “Anytime there was a dance, it wasn’t date night; much more group stuff. I didn’t do a lot of talking, just a lot of dancing. Plus, I was little too, so I was easy to throw around the dance floor.” Music, as one would imagine, sounded quite different in 1958. Elvis Presley, The King, had only just begun his career at the time. “That was the beginning of rock and I guess doo wop too,” she said. “It was different by the time we left high school.” “If I went right home after school or to a friends house, we’d put on American Bandstand with Dick Clark and dance along with them,” added Powers. “There were a lot of different singers and they’d perform while the kids danced. It was very similar to what mosh pits are today, just people dancing.” Though she has always loved dance, Powers ultimately found her calling as a teacher. After high school, she went to William Paterson College, graduating in 1962. She then started working in East Orange, but stopped after just two years. “I spent 10 years raising my kids,” said Powers, who has two sons, Chris and Craig, and a daughter, Jeralyn. “I didn’t work during that time. No one did. All the mothers were home at that time.”

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While raising her children, Powers also became very involved with the La Leche League, an international organization of mothers who breastfeed their children. “I just came across it when I was expecting my first about 45 years ago,” she explained. “My sister helped me too. She told me it’s the only way to go. When you get something, it’s kind of like religion, you want

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Fran Dinino Powers and Bob Gursky were the best dancers at CHS in 1958. Inset is Powers’ graduation picture.

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to spread it around. So I took the necessary steps to become a leader in Clifton because I didn’t want to travel out to Montclair anymore.” However, these days, the League’s numbers have dwindled. Powers hasn’t held a meeting in a while, and volunteers her service by phone for new mothers in hospital that have questions. Powers returned to work in 1974, first at Grove Hill Pre-School and then at The Children’s Garden in West Paterson before opting to open her own facility. “I started Allwood Play and Learn in 1984,” said Powers, who worked there for 10 years. “The final 12 years, I was in School 11, where Bob (Gursky), Marie (Hakim), myself and my sisters first started out.” The return to public education brought Powers’ career full circle, returning her to her old elementary school. She worked with Principal Rita Foti, a School 11 alum, her sisters Margaret Kennedy, a librarian and Roslyn Dinino, who teaches kindergarten. Powers, who retired from School 11 this past January, now has much more free time on her hands. “Because of my background in dance and all, I love to go on Wednesday afternoons to the city and get on the TKTS line and see Broadway musicals,” said Powers. “I’ll try any musical and sometimes plays, going in, sometimes with others or sometimes alone.

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Fran Dinino Powers and her husband, Clay, in a recent photo at their Clifton home.

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All Around the World

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Bette Intelisano Gaver visits the Seven Wonders However, that was the only lengthy vacation Intelisano had taken up to that point. Her adventures started after leaving her restaurant of 16 years in 1999 and going on a 30-day Middle East cruise. “We flew to India and saw the Taj Mahal. Then we went to Bombay (now Mumbai) and that’s where we got on the ship,” Intelisano recalled. “We cruised down the Red Sea and made stops in Egypt and did the whole thing with pyramids, Luxor and the tombs. “Morroco was very unique. We stayed at a resort called Agidire, which is on the Atlantic Ocean, directly across from the Canary Islands,” added Intelisano. “You eat mostly fish. If you go to the buffet, there are as many as 25 different types of fish.” Before long, Intelisano found her self booking trips to every end of the Earth. “Another big one was South America, which was another 30-day cruise. We flew to Brazil and got on a ship in Manaus, which is 1,000 miles down the Amazon River from the ocean,” she said. “One thing that impressed me about the natives on the Amazon was that they didn’t want their children to know fear. So

Bette Intelisano atop a camel in front of the Treasury monument in Petra, Jordan in 1999, and in her 1958 yearbook photo.

For most people, spring break to Mexico or backpacking in Europe is considered traveling a lot. For Bette Intelisano Gaver, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The 1958 grad has visited almost every continent and is nearly done in her quest to see each of the Wonders of the World. Things started small, with a six week, cross country train ride back around 1989. Intelisano and her family visited national landmarks such as Glacier National Park and the Grand Canyon during the trip. “The first trip was because our children were getting to the age that we knew they weren’t going to be interested in traveling with us. They (Sara Beth and Christopher) were 12 and 15, so it was a big family trip,” said Intelisano. “It was a long time to be together. Sometimes we’d be all squeezed together playing cards, and other times, we’d all be in different cars because we didn’t want to see each other.” August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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they would allow their children to swim in the Amazon where there were boa constrictors.” Eventually, the boat reached the Atlantic and sailed down the coast to Argentina, where Intelisano got to see another Wonder of the World, Christ the Redeemer. “The tango on Sunday afternoons in the park is just exquisite,” said Intelisano. “It’s just beautiful to watch the locals tango.” Through her travels, Intelisano has seen a large portion of South America. “I just came back from Peru, I was there in April and went to Machu Picchu. The Incas are some of the most spiritual people I’ve ever met,” she explained. “Our tour guide, he wrote a book and I bought it and he wrote in it, ‘Thank you for coming to Inca land,’ and he signed it, ‘Your brother.’” Another interesting trip was when Intelisano traveled to Africa and lived on a wildlife reserve for two weeks. “We saw the Masamari (a nomadic African tribe). They taught us how to do one of their dances. They were very simple, but caring people,” said Intelisano. “We brought ball point pens, t-shirts and little pads, but the elders would not let us give any of the stuff to the

Elizabeth Intelisano Gaver at the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt in 1999, and left in a recent photo in Downtown Clifton.

children because they didn’t want them to grow up learning to beg. They are very independent people.” However, one of her favorite trips was to Italy, where she traced her roots. “I went to Sicily, where my dad was born (Catania) and I’ll be honest, I cried,” laughed Intelisano, who was able to find the home thanks to a local who was recommended to her.

That, along with two others trips, make Intelisano’s top three places to visit. “Egypt is very impressive because of the tombs,” she said. “Africa, because of that feeling of peace and spirituality with the animals. We fear them, yet in their territory, they are the most peaceful animals.” However, after this story is printed, that list may grow. “The Great Wall of China, that’s all I have left,” said Intelisano. “I’m leaving Aug. 10 and going to Russia for two weeks. When I get back from there, I hope my next trip is going to be China.”

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Things were groovy in 1968 Story by Joe Hawrylko The Draft, the Vietnam War, hippies, the Civil Rights Movement, assassinations... 1968 was quite a year in American History. And surely, it was a scary time to be graduating from Clifton High School. It was an era much different than today, however, some things never seem to change. The Marching Mustangs were still the best in the land, invited to perform at the Expo ‘67 in Montreal, Canada the summer prior to graduation.

Kathy Barbara (left inset) and Rose Anne D’Aleo (right inset) serve as models for Mrs. Cochran’s Adventure in Design class.

Harry Westervelt delivers a pitch.

Saul Kay’s Mustangs entertained a diverse crowd at the World’s Fair, which ran from April to October. More than 500 million people from 62 nations participated in this prestigious event, demonstrating just how respected the Mustang Band was and still is today. In sports, Clifton had one of its most all around dominating years

ever, with the highlight being the birth of and domination by the Mustang soccer powerhouse. Massimo Lupi, Angus Mac Leod and Fidele Marranaccio led Coach Severin Palydowycz’s team to a 41-2 record and its first Group 4 State Championship. The team will be inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame this October and the

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group’s exploits were detailed in last month’s Clifton Merchant Magazine. The tennis squad, also coached by Palydowycz, ended the season as champions, as well. The squad’s mark of 13-0-1 was enough to earn the PVC crown. The track team went undefeated in dual meets, taking the Passaic Valley Conference Championship and third place in States. The team featured several great runners, including one of Clifton’s greatest track coaches, John Pontes. There’s also many other graduates that are still prominent in Clifton today, including Mayor James Anzaldi. On the next few pages, you’ll find some more stories from the Class of ’68.

At left, Mustang cheerleaders Shirley Gibbs (top) and Jill De’Vries get the crowd roaring before the annual Thanksgiving Day clash (Clifton beat Garfield 7-0). Above, Saul Kay, director of the band, instructing students in his band room.

Other members of the Class of 1968 are, from left, Sheldon Schwartz, Joyce Pruiksma, Aldo Putignano and Thomas Graziano. 36

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant


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Running Back Home

Story by Jordan Schwartz

John Pontes coaches his alma mater’s varsity track teams Back in the ’60s, the middle schools housed grades seven thru nine and the only freshman sport available was basketball. But each spring, Christopher and Woodrow would compete in a track and field day. In 1965, Pontes won the 880 yard race in a time of 2:17. “Coach Zak came up to me after the race and said, ‘You’re going to be a runner.’” After his time at CHS, Pontes went on compete in several track and field events at WPU, where he majored in Health and Phys Ed. “I knew I wanted to be a coach because Ed Zak was one of my biggest influences,” Pontes said. “At that time, there were not a lot of teaching jobs, so I kind of evolved into a health teacher.” But the Clifton High alum spent some time out of the classroom first. After graduating college, Pontes worked for six months as a packaging design trainee making cardboard boxes for Clifton Packaging Corporation on Clifton Blvd. “I was making good money but then I was offered an assistant coaching job at Essex Catholic High School in Newark,” he said.

Clifton High School’s track teams might own 24 less league championships if Coach John Pontes had passed an eye exam 40 years ago. In the spring of 1968, just a few months before graduating CHS, Pontes failed an eye test, which prevented him from attending the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. “If only they had Lasik surgery back then,” he lamented. With his first option squashed, Pontes decided to attend William Paterson University to become a coach and a health teacher. The rest is history. Earlier in his senior year, the Athenia native missed the cross country county meet because he needed to take an entrance test for the Academy. “I spoke to Coach Ed Zak and he said it was okay,” recalled Pontes, who ran the 440, 880 and mile for the Mustangs’ various track teams. “I called Coach after the test, and his wife said, ‘He’s not really in too good a mood.’” Clifton lost the county title by one point. “That was the only meet I ever missed and I never felt more sick,” said Pontes, who attended School 13 and WWMS. $

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Pontes took the position and six months later, the packaging company closed. While coaching at Essex, he noticed a pretty girl in the stands, who happened to be the older sister of one of the boys on his team. Pontes asked her out, but she didn’t become his wife. That position went to the girl’s older sister, Carol. John and Carol welcomed two children, Deirdre, 30, and Joseph, 28, to the world between 1978 and 1980. Now, with a family of four, Pontes realized he needed to find a higher-paying job and so after seven

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years in Newark, the Clifton native returned home to teach health and coach at CHS in 1981. Once again, he made the right decision, as Essex Catholic closed a few years later. Over the past three decades, Coach Pontes, of boys and girls cross country, and indoor and outdoor track, has been the named Passaic County Coach of the Year 13 times. He was named the Charlie Brown’s State Cross County Coach of the Year in 2006 and was inducted into the New Jersey State Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007. Pontes’ girls and boys cross country teams have won more than 350 meets each, his boys outdoor track squad has tallied greater than 120 victories, and the boys and girls indoor track teams have multiple league and county titles. In all, Pontes-led CHS teams have won 24 league championships, 13 county crowns, two state sectionals, and one overall state group title. “I think it’s part luck, but you also make your own luck,” said Pontes.

John Pontes at his son Joseph’s wedding. From left, John, his wife Carol, their son Joseph, his bride Marlo, and Pontes’ daughter Deirdre. The inset is Joseph in the CHS ’98 yearbook.

“I’ve had some really good assistant coaches, such as Lisa Smith, Andy Piotrowski and Victor Wu, most of which were on teams I coached.” In the classroom, Pontes is just as successful, earning a good repour teaching sex education to seniors. “I tend to make myself the center of the joke, rather than insult the kids,” said the teacher, adding that his 1968 classmates would probably be

shocked if they knew he was teaching sex ed. “I was probably the quietest kid in the graduating class.” Having spent nearly his entire life in Clifton, Pontes knows how the city has changed over the years. “I can remember walking home to the Athenia section and passing farms along the way,” he said. “When I tell kids that, they look at me like I’m from a different century. And I am.”

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Two Decades as Mayor First elected in ’78, Anzaldi has been Mayor since 1990 Story by Jordan Schwartz Longtime Clifton Mayor Jim Anzaldi’s career in politics began with a conversation at his eighth grade locker. In between classes at Christopher Columbus Middle School in 1964, one of Anzaldi’s friends was telling him about how he was working at the local Democratic headquarters in support of Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential campaign. The headquarters were located across Rt. 46 from where the mayor grew up (and continues to live) on Day St., and so he couldn’t go because his parents forbid him from walking beneath the underpass by CCMS to get to the other side of the highway. But another friend involved in the hallway discussion told Anzaldi that the Republican headquarters were on the same side of the street as Jim’s home, and so he went to work for Barry Goldwater’s campaign.

Jim Anzaldi in his 1968 yearbook photo.

CHS Class of 1968 grad Jim Anzaldi has served as Clifton’s mayor since 1990.

And that’s how the mayor got his start with the GOP. After graduating Clifton High School in 1968, Anzaldi attended Fairleigh Dickinson University. He didn’t complete his degree until 1974 because he switched majors twice from Accounting to Education to Political Science. “I wanted to work for the government, but I never thought of running for office,” recalled the mayor. Anzaldi’s first job for the city was during the summer of ’69, when he cut grass for the Recreation Department. Following college, the School 1 alum briefly spent some time working at a financial office—a position he called “the only job I ever disliked.” The city manager at the time, William Holster, had taken a liking

to Anzaldi over the years and wanted him to return to Clifton government, and so he hired him to work as an administrative aid in the Public Works Department in Nov. 1974. Within four years, this once shy and skinny boy from Day St. got the bug to run for office, and in 1978, he became the youngest person ever elected to the Clifton City Council. But Anzaldi couldn’t get by on just a councilman’s salary and so he began his 12-year tenure as General Manager of Disoteo Fuel on Colfax Ave. In 1989, Anzaldi ran on the Republican ticket for Passaic County clerk but lost in a close race. It worked out for the councilman, though, because he wound up being elected mayor in May 1990. After being sworn into the position two months later, Anzaldi August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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decided that he wanted to be a fulltime mayor and so he left his job at Disoteo Fuel. The Clifton native was able to survive on just the $4,500 salary because he sold a couple of properties he owned. Anzaldi also admits that he doesn’t spend a lot of money. “Fancy cars and exotic vacations don’t turn me on,” he said. “Family comes first.”

“I wanted to work for the government, but I never thought of running for office,” said CHS 1968 graduate Mayor Jim Anzaldi. The types of families that live in Clifton has been one of the changes the mayor has noticed during his nearly six decades in town. “When I was young, many people were

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Back in the 1980s, the Jaycees was one of the most prominent service organizations in the city. The group was active in a variety of social and civic affairs, including an annual breakfast for senior citizens. From left, that’s current Mayor Jim Anzaldi, Vivian Lalumia and Henry Marrocco, a former executive with Towne & Country Developers, the organization that built Cambridge Crossings on Colfax Ave.

first or second generation Europeans,” he said. “Now, there are 67 different languages spoken here with a lot of people from South and Central America, India, the Philippines and Arabic nations. “The religions might be different and the clothing might be different, but people are people and kids are kids.” Anzaldi says his lifelong charity is the Boys and Girls Club of Clifton, where he serves as a trustee. “I think Clifton does far and beyond more for kids than anywhere else,” he claimed. “I can’t say anything negative about the schools.” Anzaldi’s popularity in town has slipped a bit during the second half of his reign as mayor. He was elected by more than 1,500 votes in 2002, but that margin dropped to less than 300 in 2006. Still, Anzaldi has no plans of riding off into the sunset just yet. “I think there’s stuff everyday that makes me want to stay,” he said. “I really believe that this is my mission in life.”

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The Bone Doctor Jeffrey Klein is an orthopedic surgeon in Dallas, Texas

Story by Jordan Schwartz

Jeffrey Klein has spent a lot of time in an orthopedic’s office during his life. As a child, it was because he kept breaking bones. As an adult, it’s his career. “When I was a kid, I hurt myself quite a bit because I was always playing sports,” said Klein, who grew up on Greenlawn Ave and attended School 2 and WWMS. He suffered collarbone, ankle and wrist fractures playing football and tennis. Klein also played basketball with Don Kivowitz (Class of ’64) and Jeff Cyk (Class of ’70), who, like Klein, now live in Dallas. In high school, Jeffrey played saxophone in the Mustang Marching Band and was a member of the humanities club and the Junior Classical League, but his first love was always sports. Realizing he probably wouldn’t play at the professional level, Klein decided to do the next best thing: he went to school to become an orthopedic surgeon. “I thought that was a good way to combine sports and medicine,” he said. So after graduating CHS in 1968, Klein attended Hobart College, where he played varsity tennis and studied to become a doctor.

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From left, son-in-law Will Hamilton, daughter Heather, wife Sherrie, son Jason and Dr. Jeffrey Klein. At right, is Dr. Klein in 1968.

He then went to Chicago Medical School and did his orthopedic training at University of Chicago Hospital. While he was doing his residency in Chicago, Klein met his wife Sherrie, who was a student at Northwestern University. They have two children, Heather, 28, and Jason, 23. Sherrie had family in Dallas and so the Kleins moved down south in 1981. “The first time I came to Texas, it was the middle of winter and it was 75 degrees, so I said that was fine for me,” the surgeon recalled. “I’m still a Giants fan. No Cowboys.” Still, moving down south was a big change for Klein, who came from a family of New Jerseyans. His father, Arnold, graduated Clifton High in 1938, Aunt Harriet and Uncle Leon were ’42 grads, and Jeffrey’s sister Barbara left CHS in 1971. “The pace in Texas is a lot slower and the weather is a big difference. It’s much brighter and cheerier,” said Klein. “But it’s not New Jersey. New Jersey had a feeling growing up that I miss.” The doctor does return to Clifton three or four times a year, though, to visit family, go to weddings and attend Yankee games. “My neighborhood looks exactly the same, but some of the old hangouts and factories are gone,” he said. “Clifton has changed, but it hasn’t changed.”


Things were funky in 1978 Story by Jordan Schwartz Kids were heading to the discos, Japanese cars were on their way to America, and David Berkowitz was going to prison in 1978. Over at Clifton High School, senior class officers Cindi Petrisin, Rose Fecanin, Hope Smith, Cathy Capizzi and George Maragoudakis were busy planning the prom, which was held on June 5 at the Westmount Country Club.

Greg Brainard successfully passed a cloth through Joey Atinaja’s throat at the Honor Society’s Magic Show.

The month prior, the Mustang Marching Band attended a competition at Disney World. The band marched down Main St. and performed a stand-up concert at Cinderella’s Castle. This year marked the end of the Quarantine Station next to the high school. Clifton’s new City Hall was moved from Main Ave. to the site in 1979. On March 18, 1978, the Honor Society sponsored a Magic Show. The program featured three young magicians — Greg Brainard, Martin Eldridge and CHS student Larry Shagawat. The entertainers used disco beats, strobe lights and music from David Bowie and the Bee Gees to spice up their performances. One of the most successful events of the year was the “Gong Show.” The program was set up exactly like the television show with about 30 acts performing before a standing room only crowd. Arthur Padko brought the audience to its feet with his Elvis impersonation, while Mike Bonin played folk rock music on his guitar. A new and popular club got its start during the 1977-78 school

The new Sitting Team was all the rage in ’78. Here, Jim Murphy shows off his winning freestyle sitting technique.

year. The Sitting Team was created by David Browne, Al Meneghin and Ron Gelok. What appeared to be a derivation of breakdancing soon caught on and nearly 200 students signed up. In sports, the Fighting Mustangs, led by Head Coach Bill Vander Closter, captured their second straight league title with a record of 8-2.

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Ginger Anderle (inset) leads the full force of the charging Mustang Marching Band. In 1978, the band competed at Disney World.

The girls volleyball team went 13-3 and took home the NNJIL title and the Hawthorne Invitational crown. The squad was led by Falaja Palydowycz and Lynn Vrogindewy.

The boys soccer team finished with a record of 15-4-3 and won the Passaic County Championship. Ned Djukic led the team with 20 goals and Frank Erli was a great defender.

The wrestling squad was ranked third in the state. The grapplers went 11-3 and captured the State District 8 title. Jeff Eustace and Mark Feinberg took home individual honors.

At left, Arthur Padko doing his Elvis impersonation at the “Gong Show” event. Middle, Brian Zabriskie and Mark Rinkerman were two National Merit finalists. At right, Robert Schaub carries entirely too many books in the media center. 46

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant


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The Donald Told Him:

Story by Jordan Schwartz

‘ Y o u ’ r e F i r e d ! ’ But Don Wood now runs a $5 billion realty company Don Wood’s business career began on the front yards of Clifton. For his 16th birthday, Don’s older brother bought him a $300 lawn mower with the caveat that he’d have to cut his brother’s grass five times in order to pay off half the price of the gift. And so Don Wood Lawn Care was born. The CHS junior grew his business to include about 30 accounts throughout Clifton, mainly concentrated in his neighborhood along Belgrade Ave., Valley Rd. and Dumont Ave. The company became so large that he had to hire classmates such as Gary Apito to work as his employees. Wood stayed close to home for college, so he could keep the firm going. But when Don graduated Montclair State College in 1982 with a degree in Business Administration, he sold the company to a local landscaper for $10,000. Not bad for a 22-year-old in the early ’80s. Wood’s first office job was with Arthur Andersen in New York, one of the “Big Five” accounting firms in the country at the time. Donald Trump was one of his clients and the Clifton grad did such a good job helping the real estate mogul gain control of the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, that Trump hired him in 1988 to become the property’s Vice President of Finance. “I was way over my head,” said Wood, who was just 28 when The Donald put him in charge of a thousand employees. 48

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Don Wood (in back) with his family on a recent visit to Chicago. Middle row, left to right, are sons Jason, Ian and Kevin, and wife Stacey. In front, is daughter Rachel.

To make matters worse, on Oct. 10, 1989, six months before the casino was set to open, two of Wood’s bosses were killed in a helicopter accident near Forked River. “That took out the buffer between Donald and the executives at the casino,” remembered Wood. The Trump Taj Mahal’s grand opening in 1990 was a disaster, mired by technological glitches and problems with the physical construction of the building. And so on April 4 of that year, Trump uttered those two words to Wood that were still more than a decade away from becoming America’s favorite catch phrase: “You’re fired!”

“In retrospect, having something like that happen to you at a young age isn’t terrible because you learn it’s not the end of the world,” said Wood. “I think that experience has absolutely helped me in my business life because I’m not intimidated by anything now.” The Clifton native bounced right back, securing a job at ITT in New York and later becoming the Chief Financial Officer of Caesars World, a Las Vegas based business that owned several hotels and casinos. “I’ve always been fascinated by the gaming industry,” he said. “It’s the only business in the world where you can take somebody’s money and ask them how


August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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they did and they say they won.” Wood took the Caesars job in 1996, which was the same year his wife Stacey gave birth to their twins Rachel and Kevin. Rachel was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the lungs, liver, pancreas and intestines, and so moving the family to the desert wasn’t an option. Instead, Don commuted weekly between New York and Nevada for two years. “My wife is a saint,” said Wood, who also has two other sons, Ian, 16, and Jason, 14. “She was home with four kids under four.” The businessman pounced on an opportunity to leave the company in 1998. He then moved his family to Great Falls, Virginia and became the CFO of Federal Realty Investment Trust, a $5 billion company in Rockville, Maryland. Federal Realty owns commercial property across the country, including stores and malls in Parsippany, Lawrinceville, Brick and Cherry Hill. “Promotional real estate is truly one of the coolest businesses around,” said Wood, who became the company’s CEO in 2002. “It’s very concentrated on hard assets, as opposed to technology which you can’t feel and touch.” Between his job, his family and his responsibilities

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Donald Trump’s signature right above Don Wood’s on a document regarding the Trump Taj Mahal Casino on March 28, 1990 — a week before Wood was fired.

serving as the Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Washington D.C. Chapter and as a member on the national board, Wood doesn’t have a whole lot of time to return to Clifton. He did make the trip up about five years ago, though, to take his family to a Yankee game. Along the way, he stopped off at 92 Thomas St. to show his wife and kids where he grew up. While sitting outside his old house, the current residents recognized Don because they knew his parents from when they bought the property from them. Wood and his family were invited in and Don got a chance to show his children where a lot of his memories were made. You’ve got to wonder if he showed them the front lawn.

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The French President

Story by Jordan Schwartz

Gary Apito is a top executive at the French Culinary Institute Gary Apito eats like a king at the French Culinary Institute’s L’Ecole restaurant in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The appetizer is a unique shrimp, tomato and basil pizza, followed by a delicious entrée of grilled halibut with béarnaise and summer salad, served with complimentary falafel balls. For dessert? “Just bring us a few things,” Apito, 47, tells the young waitress, who is more than excited to be serving the Institute’s President and Chief Operating Officer. She returns with what appears to be the entire menu: passion fruit sorbet, layered chocolate cake and an impressive fruit salad, just to name a few. “This is my favorite restaurant,” admits Apito. Not surprising. A meal like this must remind the Clifton native of the many threehour dinners he enjoyed growing up in an Italian house on South Parkway in Delawanna. “It was the center point of the day,” he recalled. Apito was raised with a strong Catholic background, attending St. Andrew The Apostle School on Mt. Prospect Ave. for kindergarten and St. Clare School on Allwood Rd. for his elementary education. In ninth grade, he transferred to public school at Christopher Columbus before entering Clifton High in 1975. “There were 24 kids in my grade when I was in Catholic school,” Apito remembered. “In eighth grade, I was Class President, but when I entered public school, I

French Culinary Institute President and COO Gary Apito in front of one of the several learning kitchens at the Manhattan cooking school. That’s also him in 1978.

went from being a leader to just some red-headed kid.” The COO says that transition prepared him for the changes he’d have to go through the rest of his life. By the time he reached CHS, Apito already knew what his goals were. He wanted to attend Montclair State College, study finance and become a CFO. “My cousin went to Montclair and when I was 10, I went to one of her recitals on campus and I remember saying, ‘I want to go here,’” he said. Numbers always came easily to Apito, who grew up keeping stats for his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees. After graduating in 1982, he married his college girlfriend, Bridget, moved to West Paterson and began working at a small certified public accounting firm in Fairfield.

“There were no computers back then so I’d work on real green spreadsheet paper and I’d have to tally up all the columns by hand.” In 1985, the Clifton grad took a job as an assistant controller for Northfield Foods in South Jersey for three years before moving to Protocom Devices, a telecommunications company in Englewood. After two years there, Apito switched to the education sector, a decision he was very excited about. “It’s not just widgets, you get the opportunity to shape people’s lives,” he said. In 1993, Apito left education to take a job at Engine City Tech in Union for a year, but returned in 1994 when he began at the French Culinary Institute (FCI), one of the most prestigious cooking schools in the world. August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Apito began as the Institute’s controller before realizing his dream when he was named Chief Financial Officer. A decade ago, he was promoted to the position that he currently holds. In addition to directing the 76,000 square foot school’s day to day operations, the president is also responsible for making FCI an enjoyable place to work for its 220 employees. He does this by organizing fun events for the staff to participate in. Apito recently put together a chess tournament with the winner earning the right to play him. The Clifton native learned the game from his father, who worked in the research and development department at Hoffmann-La Roche. In fact, Gary points to a chess match as being one of his favorite high school memories. “I beat the Italian teacher and soccer coach Mr. Izzo once, which was a big deal because no one could beat him,” he recalled. “I remember Izzo tipping his king to forfeit the match and I had never seen that before. My father and I would always just play it out to the end.” Apito remains an avid online chess player to this day, teaching the game to his two eldest sons, Gary Jr., 18, and Tyler, 11. “My five-year-old, Aiden, likes to knock the pieces over or feed them to the dogs,” said Apito, who also has a 16-year-old daughter named Aisling. The Totowa resident returns to Clifton these days to visit his parents Lewis and Maureen, who still reside at the South Parkway home in which Gary grew up. Apito can also be seen at Floyd Hall on the MSU campus, where his children play hockey, or getting his hair cut at Vincent’s on Main Ave. in Passaic, where he and his 54

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Apito is still friends with ’78 peers Tony D’Anna, Valerie Altongy and Bill Freeswick.

father have been going since Gary was a kid. “Clifton has gone through a metamorphosis,” Apito said about his hometown. “It used to be more rural but I feel fortunate to have grown up there. Clifton taught me the value of home.” The ’78 grad still keeps in touch with some of his old high school buddies. Tony D’Anna coached his son’s hockey team, Valerie Altongy was Apito’s dad’s nurse when he underwent open heart surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, and classmate Bill Freeswick was with Gary on one of the saddest days in our nation’s history. On Sept. 11, 2001, Gary Apito was standing outside the French Culinary Institute at the corner of Broadway and Grand St., when he saw American Airlines Flight 11 crash into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 am. “It turned sideways right before it hit the building and I still remember the ‘AA’ on the back of the plane going into the building,” recalled Apito, who watched both towers collapse through his office window, just a mile away from the terrorist attacks. Later in the day, Apito called Freeswick, who is the Vice President of Operations for a construction firm on Eighth Ave.

Gary picked up his friend and the two former Mustangs drove all the way north searching for an exit out of Manhattan. They were finally able to reach New Jersey via the George Washington Bridge. The next day, FCI founder Dorothy Hamilton called Apito to tell him the school was going to provide food service for rescue workers at Ground Zero. So, Gary made his way into New York and down to Lower Manhattan, where he remembers serving chicken to ABC News correspondent and former Bill Clinton communications director George Stephanopoulos. Since then, Apito said whenever he reaches the portion of Route 3 in Clifton where you can first see the New York City skyline, he checks to make sure the Empire State Building is still there. In the months following Sept. 11, executives at FCI wondered whether the school would have to close because students were too scared to travel to the city to take classes. But once the calendar flipped to 2002, Apito said enrollment skyrocketed as people began to realize that life is too precious to waste at a job they don’t enjoy. Many chose to switch careers to something in the culinary industry and the Institute flourished. Gary Apito didn’t have to change what he was doing, though, because he was already living his dream.


She Sells Clifton Homes Rickey Di Maria has been a real estate agent for 22 years Story by Jordan Schwartz When Rickey Di Maria’s father, Peter, died in 1986, she was left with a decision: continue operating his pizzeria or sell the 30-year-old business. Di Maria wanted to run the restaurant, but she took her mother Enrica’s advice and sold Pete and Joe’s Pizzeria on Brook Ave. in Passaic. That was the first of many deals she’s closed during her 22-year career in real estate. From an early age, Rickey knew she wanted to run her own business. “I never wanted to really work for anyone,” said the School 11 and Christopher Columbus alum. “I’m kind of a control freak.” During high school, she sold clothes at Chez Louise on Lakeview Ave., which was owned by her best friend Tracy McCoy’s mom. After graduating in 1978, Di Maria opted not to go to college, and instead, she continued to work. One of her jobs was at Chess King, a men’s clothing retailer in Wayne, until she was promoted to a managerial position at the company’s store in the Garden State Plaza. Along the way, the Cliftonite also worked for an attorney in Fort Lee and an accountant on Broad St., but she went into real estate full-time after selling her dad’s pizzeria. Di Maria became a certified residential specialist, a senior real estate specialist, and earned her e-PRO, which is the only Internet Professional certification approved by the National Association of Realtors. The former CCMS

Rickey Di Maria (left) was good friends with Kevin Maultsby back in high school. Today, Maultsby works for the Clifton Department of Public Works.

Rickey Di Maria and her longtime boyfriend John Klukowicz. Di Maria has been running Klukowicz’s real estate agency on Colfax Ave. for years.

cheerleader now runs JK Realty on Colfax Ave., which is owned by her boyfriend, John Klukowicz. The couple have been together for 20 years now. “I’m one of those ‘Stick With It’ kind of girls,” joked Di Maria, who has been living in the same Trenton Ave. home in Lakeview for the past 48 years. During her nearly five decades in Clifton and 22 years in the real estate business, Di Maria has seen her hometown evolve. “There’s been a lot of changes,” she said. “I remember there being a lot more land around than there is now. There’s also a lot more people around now than there used to be. “I’ve been through the buyer’s market between ’87 and ’97, the seller’s market from ’97 to 2005, and now it’s back to a buyer’s market.” But through it all, Di Maria has been able to prosper. “I like dealing with people and helping them because there are a lot of difficulties,” said the Clifton girl, who the NJ Assoc. of Realtors has named a Top Producer for the past four years. “My father taught me that if you’re going to do something, learn everything you can about it.” August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Things were awesome in 1988 Story by Jordan Schwartz CHS seniors only had to pay 91 cents a gallon to fill up their car’s gas tank so they could drive to the movies, where a ticket to see Big ran just $3.50 in 1988. Of course, whether or not they’d be able to see the screen would be determined by how tall the person’s hair was in front of them. The high school’s sports teams again grabbed headlines during the 1987-88 school year. The Fighting Mustangs went 7-2, including a decisive victory over rival Montclair. The offense was led by first team All-League selections quarterback Bill Shaughnessy, wide receiver Pete McEnerney and center Chris Shanley. Running back Mark Graham and linemen Cory Hefner and Dave Triolo made second team, while tight end John Monahan and run-

Alex Rebisz, Jackie McMahon, Pauline Day and Lisa Dolcemascolo show off the fashions of the day.

ning back John Goodlet earned honorable mention. The defense was controlled by All-League players Pete Kofitsas, lineman, and

linebacker Ron Weiss, as well as Jason Wolfson. The cross-country teams also shined that school year. Led by

The 1987 CHS cross country team was 9-0. Front, from left, Greg Rohdie and Chris Vasilenko. Middle: Rob Burghoffer, Sean Henry, Ted Dominguez, Steve McNally, Erik Farinas, Chris Fetchik and Coach Pontes. Back: Lee DeSentis, Allen Huber, Tom Siderits, Ray Hampson, Chris Lefel, Rob Walters, Mike Gulich, Scott Crum and Ken Swisstack. 56

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant


The cars of the late ’80s forming an ‘S’as seniors spelt out ‘Class of 88’and Best Smile winners J.C. Gouse and Janice Chomiak.

Passaic County Coach of the Year John Pontes, both the boys and girls squads put together 9-0 regular-season records. Clifton set a league record by having 15 runners named to All-League teams, including seniors Diana Garrison, Chrissy Klimek, Jackie Paz, Mercedes Zak, Nancy Podolak, Chris Lefel and Tom Siderits. Paz was also named All-State and was recognized as an All-American by the Athletic Congress Junior Olympics. Finally, the gymnastics team went 12-0, capping a three-year streak of 32 straight wins. Leading the charge was senior co-captain Chrissy Mazepa, whose

performances in the floor exercise earned her a first team All-League selection. Mazepa was also all over the superlatives page in the 1988 yearbook. Other winners included Tina Link and Brett Borowski (Class Intellects), J.C. Gouse and Janice Chomiak (Best Smiles), and Joe Saporito and Teresa Miragliotta (Most School Spirit). The Drama Club’s annual production was You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. The cast of six, which included seniors Karen Longo (Lucy), Caryn Midler (Peppermint Patty) and Ann Marie Moran (Snoopy), sang songs such as “The Book Report.”

Above, the gymnastics team was undefeated. In the foreground, from left, Jennifer Condo, Sue John, Ann Merena, Coach Battaglia and Michelle Baksa. In the background, from left, Yvone Gaydos, Chrissy Mazepa, Victoria Lattone, Sarah Fraulo, Angela Menegakis, Anita Raubold and Dana Giordano. At right, Steve Partyka as Schroeder in the Drama Club’s production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Karate Chopping MS

Story by Jordan Schwartz

Miriam Santana is conquering a debilitating sickness Miriam Santana hasn’t let multiple sclerosis keep her from becoming a karate champion. The CHS 1988 grad was diagnosed with the disease three years ago, but has overcome incredibly debilitating circumstances to continue participating in her favorite sport. This past April, she won the Adult Women’s Brown Belt Kumite/Fighting Division at a competition in Wayne. Santana has been training at the Academy of KoeiKan Karate Do in Clifton since 1991. The Main Ave. school is owned by recently retired Clifton Police Lt. Sensei Pat Ciser. “I used to compete a lot but that became really hard because physically I was not the same,” said Santana. The Passaic Park resident said she was crushed when she learned she had MS in March 2005. “Fatigue is something I deal with every single day,” Santana explained. “It’s like someone throws a cloak over you and you’re exhausted.” After a disappointing performance in a karate competition in early 2007, the WWMS alum decided it was time for a change of scenery. In April of that year, she left for a 12-month rehabilitation stint in Florida with her mother, Gloria. There, her step-father, a former trainer with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, whipped Miriam into shape. “He was brutal with me trying to get me well, and because of that support system, I was able to climb out of the terrible state I was in,” she said. Shortly after Santana graduated from Clifton High School in 1988, her father died and her mother moved to the Dominican Republic. Miriam didn’t want to leave the U.S. and so at just 17 years old, she got her own apartment on Outwater Ln. in Garfield. Santana worked for Cahn Estates in Botany Village and another real estate company before taking a job with Dow Jones in New York City. At the same time, the Clifton grad worked 16-hour shifts on both Saturdays and Sundays at Passaic General Hospital for six years. Looking for a change of pace in the late ’90s, Santana, who was involved in the Madrigals and cheer58

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Nikyu Brown Belt Miriam Santana practices her form with her Sensei Steven Slezak, a 5th degree Black Belt, at the Academy of Koei-Kan Karate Do on Main Ave. The inset is also Santana as she appeared in the Clifton High School 1988 yearbook.

leading at CHS, began taking classes at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School. She later worked for a catering company on the weekends, while being employed full-time during the week at Bear Stearns. Since returning from Florida in April, Santana has not only regained her championship karate form, but she’s also begun working at Wiss & Company, an accounting firm in Livingston. Furthermore, she recently moved in with her new boyfriend, Joseph Lynch. “After all the bad times, this is finally like a good streak for me,” she said.


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Dr.’s Qureshi, Beg and Mirza are housed at this State of the Art Surgery Center on Main Ave. where they will diagnose the sources of pain and restore health and function. The Pain Relief Center in Downtown Clifton has a full time staff of 10 specialized healthcare providers who are specially trained for surgeries related to pain management, spine, orthopedic and sports medicine. Our team of patient oriented health care professionals will schedule your procedure so there is no waiting and no driving... we’ll pick you up from your home and bring you to and from our State of the Art Surgery Center. At the Pain Relief Center, there is no need to drive to NYC and wait in traffic. Have your surgery done in Clifton and be home in four hours.

Dr. Mizra (left) and Dr. Qureshi perform a minimally invasive Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy—Band-Aid Surgery—at the Pain Relief Center on Main Ave, in Downtown Clifton.

Band-Aid Surgery: Not so long ago, back pain relief surgery mean a large incision, open surgery and weeks of recuperation. However, in one of the more popular pain-relieving procedures performed by Dr. Neville Mirza at the Pain Relief Center in Downtown Clifton—the Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy—the only incision made is covered by a Band-Aid and the patient can be home in four hours. Having trained at George Washington University Hospital Center and as an attending neurosurgeon at area hospitals, Dr. Mirza is a much sought after specialist in Neurosurgery and Micro-Surgery and has performed over 500 Endoscopic Discectomy procedures of cervical and lumbar disease.

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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The Young Brothers will provide everything from gourmet food to flat wear, linens, waite staff, bartenders and an on-site chef. The team, front from left: Dave Insinga, our mom Nancy, Joe. V., Melina Delgado, Judy Lucianin Young. Back row: Gary Young, Bob Welch and Jerry Young.

Off-Premise Full-Service Catering for Parties, Graduations, Barbeques or any Occasion... Gerald Young (left), a CHS 1981 grad, trained at Johnson & Wales and the NY Restaurant School. His career has taken him from the kitchens of regional restaurants to preparing meals for Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Love Hewitt and others in the entertainment industry. Gary Young (right), a 1991 CHS grad, honed his culinary skills in Bristol, England. Training at Byzantium, he learned Moroccan and French cuisine before being named Executive Chef at Romeo Browns.

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Triumph and Tragedy

Story by Jordan Schwartz

Chrissy Klimek Cole has experienced her share of both

Chrissy Klimek with her mom Barbara, who was killed by a drunk driver three months after Chrissy graduated CHS in ’88.

Klimek remained involved in sports, just not on a competitive level. She also continued her pursuit of becoming a teacher. After graduating URI with a degree in Education, Klimek returned home to teach sixth grade science and math for six years at Christopher Columbus Middle School. While in Clifton, she also coached the high school’s winter track team for a few seasons. But in the late ’90s, Klimek took a break from teaching to raise her two children, Cathryn, 9, and Chaddie, 7, whom she had with her husband Chad Cole, a CHS teacher who coaches the golf and girls tennis teams.

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Next month marks the twentieth anniversary of when Chrissy Klimek stopped running. The 1988 grad was an athletic phenom at Clifton High, becoming the first and only student in the school’s history to earn 16 varsity letters. A 1999 inductee into the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame, Klimek competed in cross country in the fall, outdoor track in the spring, and both indoor track and bowling in the winter. “From early on in life, my brother and I always played sports, so it was part of our lives,” she said. “I knew no other way.” Klimek was also a gymnast and softball player, but had to give up those two sports in high school because there wasn’t enough time to do everything. The girls cross country team didn’t lose a single meet in the four years Klimek was on the squad. She also became the first Clifton girl to earn All-County honors all four years. In addition, Klimek was an All-League bowler, who posted a 166 average during her senior year, leading the girls team to a State Finals appearance. The School 2 and Woodrow Wilson alum learned to bowl when she was young. Klimek spent most of her childhood at Rizzuto-Berra Lanes, which was owned by her mother’s uncle, Yankee great Phil Rizzuto. “It was a family place,” she remembered. “I was always there.” After graduating Clifton High, Klimek attended the University of Rhode Island, where she continued her athletic career on the track team. But that lasted just two weeks. On Sept. 14, 1988, Chrissy’s mother, Barbara, was struck and killed by a drunk driver while crossing the street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She was only 43. “It was hard being 18 and losing your mother tragically and not being home with your family,” said Klimek. Following the funeral, Chrissy returned to school, but she had to give up track because her mind would wonder too much. “When you run, you have a lot of time to think,” she explained.

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Mercedes Zak (left) and Chrissy Klimek each did well in the distance medley at the Dartmouth Relays in 1988.

The couple now lives in Little Falls and the stay-at-home mom still works part-time as a track and field official and a winter track coach at Glen Ridge High School. “When the time is right, I’ll head back to teaching,” said Klimek. “I was lucky enough to be home with them all these years.” The Hall of Famer still plays sports, competing on a USTA ten-

Chrissy Klimek Cole with her husband Chad Cole, a Clifton High School teacher and coach, and their two children Cathryn, 9, and Chaddie, 7.

nis team in her spare time. She returns to Clifton on a regular basis to visit her father, who still resides in the Avondale Ave. home in which Chrissy grew up. Klimek says her old track coaches, John Pontes and Lou Fraulo,

have really helped her with everything she’s been through in life. “They knew me in junior high, they coached me in high school, and they were there for me when my mom passed,” she said. “They're two of the nicest guys.”

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From Clifton to Connecticut Christina Jancew Iwanik recently left home after 32 years Story by Jordan Schwartz After graduating Kean College (now Kean University) in 1993, Christina Jancew considered attending chiropractic school, but she couldn’t see herself entering personal financial debt at the time. “I slightly regret it and I often ponder sucking it up and making a complete career change,” she said. Instead, the CHS ’88 grad went to work for KPMG after college, before relocating to Connecticut to marry her husband Christopher Iwanik. “The move was bittersweet, but it was time for me to embark on a new adventure, and I’m very glad I did,” said Jancew, who left Clifton after 32 years. The CCMS alum has been working at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Conn. for more than five years now. Currently, she’s the Dermatology Residency Coordinator. “I love my job, the department and the residents,” she said. “I enjoy waking up and heading off to work in the morning.” In 2006, the Iwaniks gave birth to their son Gregory Maksym and the family now lives in Unionville, a

That’s Christina Jancew, #14, on the 1987 CHS volleyball team. The inset is Christina today. Other girls on the squad were, in front from left, Elizabeth Forysiak, Kim Fusco, Olga Zielonka, Jancew and Mary Ann Kosciolek. In back, Michelle Patzan, Donna Mekita, Tula Kofitsas, Krys Kosz, Racquel Celi and Elizabeth Saharig.

small town in Connecticut. “I enjoy our home, our land and our privacy,” Christina said. “That’s something you can’t get in Clifton.” While miles and hours away, Jancew remains an active member of the Passaic-Clifton Ukrainian American Youth Association, a group that she has been involved in since the ’80s, when she was in the

Ukrainian Club at CHS. Back in high school, Jancew was also a member of yearbook staff, the ice hockey manager, a swimmer and a star on the volleyball team. In her senior year, the girls went 15-3, winning the Passaic County Tournament before falling to Ridgewood in the state semi-finals. Jancew made first team All-County.

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In Control at Fox News

Story by Jordan Schwartz

Robert Pashman is the network’s master control operator already around, but four years later, we were consistently beating them in the ratings,” he said. Pashman’s interest in the media began when he took two television classes at Clifton High School. The ’88 grad was in Ms. Patricia Zalesny’s CAST I and II classes during his junior and seniors years. “We all got to do different things,” Pashman remembered. “I was even on camera for a bunch of news shows.” Towards the end of high school, the Clifton native was also in a band called Unreal.

The original lineup of Pashman’s band 3RDegree included Clifton High School classmates Steve Carlo (left) and Vetaly Tonkonog.

Robert Pashman in his ’88 grad photo.

They broke up two years later while Pashman was at Montclair State University, but from the ashes came another progressive rock band called 3RDegree, which included fellow Class of ’88 alums Vito Tonkonog and Steve Carlo. Pashman changed band mates a few times between 1990 and 1997, when the group finally broke up. In the meantime, the MSU grad took a job as a tape operator at Atlantic Satellite in Northvale, before getting his first master control gig at Group W in Stamford, Connecticut.

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When news breaks overnight, Robert Pashman switches into high gear. All the scheduled commercials get pushed back and there are no breaks until the viewers get all the information they need. “It’s not glamour stuff, but it’s pretty important because any little thing that we mess up is catastrophic,” said Pashman, who’s been working as the 11 pm to 6 am master control operator at Fox News Channel since it launched on Oct. 7, 1996. “Taking the job was sort of risky looking back because CNN was

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“That’s the job you don’t really learn about in broadcasting school,” he said. “I sit in front of a a computer screen with a scheduling program and make sure everything goes according to plan.” In 1996, Pashman took the Fox News job at Rockefeller Center in New York and he’s been working the overnight shift there ever since. “It’s basically living upside down,” he said. The Ridgefield Park resident works at night, sleeps during the day and sees his wife, Tatiana Horkava (CHS Class of 1994), and their son Oliver, 4, in the evening. A few years ago, Pashman even found enough time to get the band back together. 3RDegree recently released their first studio album in 12 years, Narrow-Caster, and also recorded a live concert in April 2007 that they are releasing on high definition DVD. Pashman returns to Clifton on a regular basis to visit his in-laws or

Robert Pashman in his position as master control operator at Fox News Channel.

grab a slice at Bruno’s Pizza on Route 46. He missed his 20 year reunion on May 3 due to sickness, so he created a Class of ’88 group on Facebook to see what everyone has been up to over the past two decades.

The group is up to 53 members and Pashman has posted videos from the ’87 Back to School Night and the ’88 prom. Any alumni interested in joining the group should just search Clifton High School Class of 1988 on Facebook.

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Clifton’s Arch-Villain 1988 grad Jeff Kipnis is a seasoned comic book writer Story by Joe Hawrylko He’s got a body that any 38-yearold would kill for, a jaw chiseled from stone and the intellect of a genius, spliced with an appetite for destruction. And, most importantly, he’s got a knock out girlfriend who is just as nefarious. Meet Comic Man and his archvillain girlfriend, Swimming Lady. Or, as they’re more commonly known, Jeff and Nancy Kipnis. The duo run around Clifton, terrorizing citizens by blowing up Christopher Columbus Middle School, attacking residents and trying to end the life of local hero, Lightning Squirrel. A rodent in the City of Mustangs? Well, that’s how Kipnis —who is actually an analytical scientist with the Evans Analytical Group—envisioned his fair town as a college student trying to impress his then-girlfriend Nancy. “Lightning squirrel started as a bunch of short stories I wrote for Nancy when we first started dating,” said Kipnis, who has been married since 1996. “So you can sort of blame the creation of lightning squirrel on her, since she had a fear of squirrels and lightning. “She was a lifeguard and had a paranoid fear of lightning,” he laughed. “And as a kid, her mom told her that squirrels have rabies and if they bite you, you die.” The 1988 grad and part-time book and comic writer has always been fascinated with fiction, collecting comic books for over 30 years. Even when he arrived at 68

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

At the top of the page is Jeff and his wife, Nancy, with their children, Jenna and Jack. Below are their characters as they appear in the Lightning Squirrel series: Swimming Lady and Comic Man. The inspiration for the characters is Kipnis and his wife.

CHS, his interest never waned in the slightest. “I always played role games, and was reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy,” recalled Kipnis. Kipnis soon began writing his

own works, drawing experience from his English and creative writing courses at CHS. He also drew inspiration from other sources in high school. “I enjoyed French class with


that Barns & Noble is running.” The hero rodent also made an appearance in Hope: New Orleans, a collection of works from more than 100 artists, which benefits areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Kipnis’ books harken back to the era of Looney Tunes; they’re generally light-hearted, with a splash of comedic violence thrown in. However, his next big project is the release of his comic book. Kipnis, now a resident of Edison,

thinks he can reach a whole new generation of comic book lovers. “It’s kind of a throw back book. The tone over the years has been getting a lot more serious and violent,” he explained. “A lot of readers have been aging with the books and not a lot of kids are into comic books anymore. Companies are starting to write books younger kids can appreciate and I think Lightning Squirrel is like that.”

Jeff Kipnis as a CHS senior.

Mrs. Rossnagel. We got to see Les Miserable and the Phantom of the Opera in the years that they opened with the French class,” said Kipnis. “I continued writing in college and edited for a science fiction magazine as well.” At Wesleyan University, where he graduated in 1992, Kipnis started dating Nancy Blomm, a CHS classmate that he never talked to prior to college. And soon, the seeds for Lightning Squirrel were planted and the legend grew. “I’m the skinny, geeky comic book guy who is more in shape than I really am,” described Kipnis. “We have their personalities—the people who knew us—they can pick out parts of our personalities a lot easier than we can. “I made us a lot better looking because it’s a comic book,” he admitted while laughing. “Nancy has curves that I got yelled at for.” Kipnis’ part-time venture into the world of publishing has worked thus far for him. He has two works completed and two more that are in production. “I did it through a print on demand publisher, iUniverse,” he said. “It’s actually through a promo August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Things were jiggy in 1998 Story by Jordan Schwartz Will Smith was “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It,” “Seinfeld” had just ended its popular nine-year run and the New York Yankees were putting together one of the greatest seasons in baseball history when the CHS Class of 1998 graduated in June of that year. At Clifton High, the softball team was making its own run towards the record books. On June 6, the Lady Mustangs captured their second straight Group 4 State Title with a win over Cherokee. During the memorable season, Head Coach Rich LaDuke set a school record with more than 400 victories and senior pitcher Laura Tynio established a new state mark with a career record of 67-1. The team finished the season at 31-0 — the same record as in 1997.

The 1998 CHS softball team went 31-0 en route to its second straight state crown.

Other athletic squads that enjoyed success in ’98 included baseball (18-9-1), golf (14-6), boys

tennis (15-8), track (girls 5-2, boys 6-2) boys volleyball (17-6) and boys soccer (18-3-1).

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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CHS 1998 grads, from left, Andy Piotrowski, Sarah Vetanovetz, Brad Polk, Ken Draney, Lila Realubit and George Chen.

The Clifton School District lost three members of its family while the Class of ’98 was in high school. In 1996, Marek Bodyziak (at left) passed away from bone cancer at the age of 17. Above, former educators Aaron Halpern (left) and Charles Holland (right) both died during the 1997-98 school year.

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Wine Values

Heineken-Amstel 24 12OZ NR . . . . . . . .$23.25 Corona Reg-Light 24 12OZ NR . . . . . . . .$23.25 Becks Reg-Light-Dark 24-12OZ NR . . . $22.99 Guinness Pub Cans 24 14.9OZ . . . . . . . .$26.99 Molson Golden-Ice-Canadian 24 12OZ NR .$18.99 DAB 24 12OZ NR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$19.99 LaBatts Blue-Ice 12 24OZ CN . . . . . . . . .$10.99 Yuengling Amber 24 12OZ NR . . . . . . . . . . . .$14.99 Bud Reg-Light 24 12OZ CN . . . . . . . . . .$13.10 Coors Reg-Light 30 12OZ CN . . . . . . . . .$18.99 Miller Lite-MGD 30 12OZ CN . . . . . . . . .$18.99 Bud Reg-Light 24 7OZ NR . . . . . . . . . . . .$8.99 Rolling Rock 24 7OZ NR . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$8.99

Absolut Vodka 80pf 1.75 L . . . . . . . . . . .$31.09 Smirnoff Vodka 80pf 1.75L . . . . . . . . . . .$20.00 Dewars White Label 1.75 L . . . . . . . . . .$30.09 Ketel One Vodka 80pf 1.75L . . . . . . . . . .$36.09 Finlandia Vodka 80pf 1.75L . . . . . . . . . .$26.09 Johnnie Walker Red 1.75 L . . . . . . . . . .$29.09 Svedka Vodka 80pf 1.75 L . . . . . . . . . . .$19.00 Skyy Vodka 80pf 1.75 L . . . . . . . . . . . . .$23.09 Chivas Regal 1.75L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$54.09 Stolichnaya Vodka 80pf 1.75 L . . . . . . . .$33.09 Tanqueray Sterling Vodka 80 pf 1.75 L . . .$27.09 Polmos Zytnia 1.75L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$19.99 Wolfschmidt Vodka 80pf 1.75 L . . . . . . .$13.09

Kendall Jackson Chardonnay 750ml . . .$10.67 Blackstone Merlot 750ml . . . . . . . . . . . . .$8.39 J. Lohr Cab. 750ml . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$11.99 Rosemount Shiraz 750ml . . . . . . . . . . . .$7.49 Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio 750ml . . . . . .$8.09 Clos Du Bois Chard 750ml . . . . . . . . . .$10.29 Ravenswood Vinters Zinfandel 750ml . . .$8.19 Francis Coppola Diamond Pinot Noir 750ml .$13.09 Concha Y Toro Casa Concha Cab 750ml $14.09 Jadot Beaujolais Villages 750ml . . . . . . .$9.09 Marques De Riscal Red 750ml . . . . . . .$14.09 Cavit Pinot Grigio 1.5L . . . . . . . . . . . . .$12.01 Beringer White Zin 1.5L . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$8.49

Prices valid through 8/26/08

Prices valid through 8/26/08

Prices valid through 8/26/08

Prices effective through 8/26/08. Good only at Shoppers Vineyard in Clifton. We reserve the right to limit quantities. Prices do not include sales tax. Not responsible for typographical errors. No rainchecks. Limited to store inventory.

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August 2008 • Clifton Merchant


The girls tennis team featured one of the greatest female players ever to step onto a court in New Jersey. CHS Hall of Famer Keiko Tokuda won her fourth consecutive singles state championship in the fall of 1997, earning her a full scholarship to Stanford University. The annual senior prom was held at the Skylands Manor in Randolph on May 8. Those in attendance danced to classics such as “YMCA,” “Shout,” and “The Electric Slide.” The following month, the class graduated on June 24. At commencement, the audience heard from Senior Class President Scott Pogorelec, Valedictorian Humaira Chaudhry and Salutatorian Mary Laihee (read more about what she’s been up to lately on page 75). But the Class of 1998 was one member short at graduation. Classmate Marek Bodyziak passed away two years earlier at the age of 17. Marek dreamed of one day becoming a professional soccer

A group of girls at the 1998 CHS prom held at the Skylands Manor in Randolph.

player, and he was on his way, earning a spot on the CHS team. But the student’s life was cut short in 1996 by a form of bone cancer called Euwing Sarcoma. CHS also lost two former educators during the ’97-’98 school year. Between Aaron Halpern and

Charles Holland, the two men played an active role in the district for a total of eight decades. Halpern was a part of Clifton Schools for 43 years, serving as CHS Principal from 1963-88. Holland served as Humanities Supervisor from 1960-97.

Some of the more than 300 students who were recognized at the Distinguished Awards Dinner on April 23, 1998. August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

73


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ith over 50 academic programs, award winning faculty and a unique and diverse atmosphere that fosters new ideas, Passaic County Community College is the perfect place to discover your potential.Whether furthering your education, making career moves or just looking for a place to start, PCCC has over 50 academic programs spanning from chemistry to criminal justice and music to medical training. Educational opportunities including Associate Degrees, Certificate Programs and non-credit Continuing Education programs help you get started in a career, change careers or transfer effortlessly to a four-year college.

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August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Teaching for America

Story by Carolyn Maso

Mary Laihee has been helping the less fortunate her whole life For Mary Laihee, doing community service in high school was second nature. Yet, she never expected her high school experience to drastically change the way she felt about the world, giving her the passion to become an activist for social change. Ten years ago, Laihee was the Salutatorian of the CHS Class of ’98. Today, she lives in Los Angeles, where she participates in the Teach for America program, which addresses education inequality. During her CHS years, Laihee was involved in numerous activities such as math league, conservation club, key club, Spanish club, Knights of Pythagoras, and Asian studies club. Laihee always had a passion for helping others. At CHS, she worked for various community service programs and fundraisers such as the Organized Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser, the Drug Free Pledge Drive, the AIDS Benefit, Freshmen Orientation, Prom Fashion Show, and tutoring students. But Laihee said her best memories of Clifton tend to involve food. “Hot Grill and Jumbo’s Italian Ice remind me of my high school days,” she said. Laihee said her favorite teacher was her economics instructor and Asian Studies Club advisor, Mr. Parag Joshi. “He had such a zest for teaching and was dedicated to each one of his students,” Laihee said. “He challenged our mental processes into higher order thinking but did so in a nurturing way. His enthusiasm was contagious.” After graduation Laihee attended the Wharton School at the

University of Pennsylvania. There, she earned a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Marketing, while also minoring in Afro-American Studies, with an interest in the arts as a catalyst for social change. Laihee said when she was interviewing for marketing positions in college, she always asked the company about available community service opportunities. “I recognized a pattern and could not ignore that my heart has always been in social activism,” she said. “So on a whim, instead of going into business, I applied and was accepted to Teach For America.” After four years at a South Central Los Angeles middle school, she is now in her second year at an alternative public high school that serves high-risk youth from impoverished Los Angeles neighborhoods with well-established gang structures. “Throughout my urban education career, I have worked with students with mild to moderate disabilities,” she said. Laihee earned her Masters in Special Education from California State University in 2005. This fall, she will begin the Doctor of Education program at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School as well as work full-time. “I am considering a concentration in Educational Psychology and am interested in the motivation and access of low-income/first-generation high school students matriculating to college,” said Laihee, adding that CHS encouraged her love for learning and helped her develop the leadership qualities she would need.

Mary Laihee today and in the 1998 yearbook.

“Though I was coming from a humble place like Clifton, I felt wellprepared and excited for the many avenues open to me after graduation,” she said. “To this day, I am in awe of and inspired by friends from CHS who continue to be relentless in the pursuit of their dreams.” Laihee said what she misses most about high school is seeing her family everyday. “I would not be where I am without their love. Any successes I may have achieved have that much more meaning because of my family.” When asked what advice she would give to today’s grads she said, “In the play Our Town, Emily asks, ‘Do any human beings realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?’ The transition to college and the real world is a whirlwind of sorts. I find it beneficial to seek out quiet moments to give thanks and to listen to your heart.” August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Food and Culture

Story by Jordan Schwartz

Michael Sanchez traveled the world for his upcoming book Michael Sanchez’s interest in nutrition began when he was a sprinter on the Clifton High School track team in the mid-’90s, but it would eventually take him around the world. Sanchez was born in the Dominican Republic in 1980, but his family immigrated to the United States when he was seven. They lived in the Bronx for a little while before moving to Fairview, NJ and finally Paulison Ave. in the Dutch Hill section of Clifton in 1991. Since Michael was in fifth grade at the time, he only spent one year at School 15 before attending Woodrow Wilson and CHS. Once he joined the track team, Sanchez became very conscious of his diet in order to enhance his per-

formance. At Ithaca College, Sanchez majored in Community Health Education with a minor in Exercise Science. He wanted to become a sports nutritionist, but that all changed when the Clifton grad did an internship with the Department of Health. “That gave me a little different perspective on health issues,” recalled Sanchez. “When it came down to working with elite athletes or disadvantaged people, it was an easy choice.” After college, the Cliftonite went to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for almost two years. Sanchez then moved to Seattle to earn his Masters of Public Health at the University of Washington.

Michael Sanchez was a senior captain on the CHS track team in 1998.

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August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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There, he received a Bonderman Honors Travel Fellowship, which allowed him to fly around the world, learning about the relationship between food and culture. Between October 2005 and September 2006, Sanchez ate kangaroo in Australia, dog in China and wild game in Kenya. He also traveled to India and Mexico. “I was the only person of color in China and everyone looked at me like some kind of alien,” said the Dominican native. “But if you talk to them about something they’re passionate about, like food, it builds trust.” Sanchez used this strategy to dig up interesting stories about why foreign cultures eat what they do, and he’s currently working on a book about the subject. “Growing up Latino, food was such a big part of our family,” said Sanchez, who was the president of the culinary arts club in college. “I saw that was true in other communities and I wanted to explore it

Sanchez tried some interesting food during his trip around the world. Here he is taking his first bite of snake on a stick in China.

further.” All proceeds from the recipe storytelling book will be donated to organizations that address some of the health issues that Sanchez witnessed or learned about during his travels.

The Sanchez family at Christmas dinner in Clifton last year. From left, Michael, mom Antonia, sister Yadira, aunt Cesarina Caro and step-father Nelson Pichardo.

After his trip, the globetrotter returned to Seattle to wait for his girlfriend to finish graduate school. During that time, he worked for the Washington State Department of Health as a Community Assessment Health Educator. This past January, Sanchez moved to Washington D.C. to be closer to his mother Antonia, his younger sister Yadira, 26, and his girlfriend. That’s when Michael began working as a research manager at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University. There, he helps coordinate and carry out research projects that target cancer health disparities for the Latino community. Sanchez also works with community partners to promote screenings. Cancer is something that has had a profound affect on Sanchez’s life. His father, Nelson, died from leukemia when Michael was just 16. “I want to help people like my dad,” he said. August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Flying for Uncle Sam

Story by Jordan Schwartz

Mark Popowicz is training to pilot Black Hawk helicopters Mark Popowicz was just eight years old when he figured out what he wanted to do with his life. In 1988, his parents took him to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in Manhattan and he’s been fascinated by military machinery every since. Two decades later, Popowicz, 28, is living at Ft. Rucker in Alabama, where he is attending flight school, learning to fly Black Hawk helicopters. Mark grew up on Kensington Ave., not far from the Clifton Commons in Delawanna, with his parents Diane and Joseph and his older brother Matthew. He attended School 8 and Christopher Columbus before going to Clifton High. At CHS, Popowicz played on the soccer team and was involved in the ski club. He was also a good student, as noted by his invitation

to the New Jersey Boys State Foundation’s mock government program at Rider University. After graduating Seton Hall University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, Popowicz decided to join the Army. “I had always wanted to do something with the military, so I figured this was the time,” he said. Popowicz was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. He was branched Field Artillery and sent to the Officer Basic course in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. The Class of ’98 grad then chose to attend Ranger School in Ft. Benning, Georgia to learn advance Infantry patrolling tactics, before being sent to South Korea for his first assignment in October 2003. Upon his return a year later, Popowicz was stationed at Fort

Deanna and Mark Popowicz enjoying a night out. The couple moved to Alabama this past January, so Mark could attend flight school at Fort Rucker. 78

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Army Capt. Mark Popowicz in combat gear and in his 1998 graduation picture.

Bragg, NC for additional training, before being shipped to the Middle East with the 82nd Airborne Div. While serving overseas, the Cliftonite was promoted to Captain, but after some time as a Field Artillery Cpt., he elected to become a helicopter pilot. “I’ve always wanted to fly,” said Popowicz. “It didn’t work out at first, but I did my time and I got accepted.” After marrying his wife Deanna in June 2007, the military man and his bride moved to Alabama this past January so Popowicz could start flight school. The Clifton boy says he wants to move back north after completing school next year, but he doesn’t have long-term plans beyond that. “I’m going to stick to flying for a while,” he said.


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• Windows • Doors • Millwork • Roofing • Vinyl Siding • Decks August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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She Got Her Start at CHS Alyson Thelin Davison credits Clifton High for her success Story by Carolyn Maso From public speaking classes and graphic arts courses, to performing on stage or practicing German, one graduate believes that Clifton High gave her the education she needed in and outside of the classroom. In 1998, Alyson Thelin Davison graduated fourth in her class of almost 600. Little did she know, a decade later she would be using the education she gained in her hometown to gain a full-time job in higher education administration at Montclair State University. During high school Davison had a lot of extracurricular activities on her plate. For instance, she was involved in all four spring musicals, dance gym, varsity cheerleading, choir, and German club. “I was able to try so many different activities,” she said. Davison said her most memorable moment from high school was on the JFK Auditorium stage, starring as Princess Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress her senior year. When asked what she missed the most about Clifton High, Davison said, “All the friends I got to see every day and getting home in the mid-afternoon.” Davison studied the German language all four years of high school, where she said she found her favorite teacher, Gregory Fruhman. “By senior year, we had all been together for four years and were a close group,” said Davison. “There were lots of laughs, especially when pronouncing German words.”

Davison attended Montclair State University, and in 2002, she completed the honors program, graduating summa cum laude in Speech Communication with a minor in Musical Theatre. In 2004, she received her Masters in Communication Studies with a concentration in Organizational Communication from MSU. Since the fall of 2005, Davison has been taking classes towards her Doctorate in Media Studies at Rutgers University and is currently working full-time at Montclair State. “I did not have any definite plans for what I wanted to do after college when I first began,” said Davison. As a student, she worked parttime on campus and began a web design company with her sister, Alexandra Thelin, called Tri-Star Design, for which they still do freelance work. Davison started her career by teaching an introductory communications course at MSU for a few years. After she received her MA degree, she began a full-time job in higher education administration at the school. “Now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Davison said. She works in the President’s office at MSU as the Secretary to the Board of Trustees. “I oversee the planning, organization, materials and execution of board meetings for the University’s trustees,” she said.

Writer Carolyn Maso, CHS 2007, studies journalism at Seton Hall University. 80

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Alyson Thelin Davison today and as a CHS cheerleader back in 1998.

Davison said Clifton High gave her so many opportunities that helped her realize her strengths and weaknesses. She remains a Cliftonite to this day, living with with her husband of three years, Jim, and their two Boston Terriers. When asked what advice she would give to recent graduates who are headed into the real world Davison replied, “Surround yourself with positive relationships, set goals and have passion.”


August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Still in the Classroom

Story by Carolyn Maso

Daniel Morgan teaches Phys Ed and Health in Glen Rock Since graduating CHS in 1998, Daniel Morgan has made a pretty straight path to achieving his longtime goal of becoming a physical and health education teacher. “I’d be lying if I said that when I was growing up I didn’t enjoy every minute of summer vacation, so why not have it every year?” After high school, Morgan attended West Virginia University, majoring in Physical Education and Health. He now owns a house in Hawthorne and teaches phys ed and health at Glen Rock Middle School. Morgan is the site manager during the fall and spring seasons for varsity athletic events held at the middle school. He is also an advisor for the ski and snowboard club, and during the summer, works with a friend installing windows, doors and remodeling his house. The thought of working in an office cubicle or commuting 45 minutes each day never even crossed his mind. At CHS, Morgan was involved in the Mustang Band and golf team. Even though he is a decade removed from those days, Morgan still has a clear memory of his time at CHS, all

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August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Student Daniel Morgan, as pictured in the 1998 yearbook, and today, as a teacher.

the way down to the triple layer peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the cafeteria. “If you have ever had one, then you know what I am talking about,” he said. Morgan said his favorite classes were senior health with Mr. Pontes and gym with Coach Danko and Coach Monaco. However, Morgan said, to this day, his favorite teacher was Mr. Bob Zschack who taught biology. “He was honest, modest, and one of the most sincere teachers I have ever had,” said Morgan, who said his favorite memory was his trip to Calgary in his senior year. Teachers mentioned—as well as

some of the bad ones—were Morgan’s inspiration to enter the field of education.“Some were very influential and some were the exact opposite,” he recalled. “I figured if I mixed some of the good qualities and characteristics of teachers I admired, and reminded myself of the ineffective ones, it could be a fun job.” Although Morgan’s teachers had a major impact on his life, he said his personal beliefs and morals were very important to him as well. “Family and close friends have played a major role in helping me spread my wings,” he said. “They’ve been supportive, not only in my decisions but in giving their time pushing paint brushes and everything else involved in buying an older house.” Family and friends are essential to have, according to Morgan, since no one is free from from having to handle the ever-evolving problems that come along the path of life. “Some can be more difficult to deal with than others and it’s all about how you deal with them,” said Morgan, who’s father Bob is the longtime Mustang Marching Band director.


Clifton Goes South • Jersey Fest, July 26 • Joey Harrison’s Surf Club

Police • Fire • DPW • School Custodians

Have You Been Exposed to Dust, Chemicals or Asbestos? You May Have A Legal Claim. Q: Do You Suffer from Lung Problems, Shortness of Breath, Coughing or Hearing Loss? A: Your Work Exposure to Dust, Fumes, Chemical, Asbestos and Noise May Allow You to File a Claim. Q: Have You Been Injured on the Job? A: All Injuries: Sprains, Strains, Fractures, Lung Disease, Cancers & Hearing Loss May Qualify for Benefits if Related to Work. Q: What Benefits Are Available for Workers Like Me? A: You May Collect Money for Temporary & Permanent Disability as well as Medical Treatment. You are Entitled to Testing such as MRIs & Xrays. Attorney Ricky Bagolie can meet you in his Clifton office.

Q: Can Retired Workers Make A Claim? A: Yes, Retired Workers Can Make a Claim. Widows of Those Who Contract Cancer May Also Obtain Benefits. Q: What Do I Do Now? A: Contact Ricky Bagolie or Alan Friedman Now for a Confidential, Free Consultation. We Can Even Set Up a No Risk Doctor’s Evaluation. If There is No Case There is No Fee. Call Toll Free at 1-866-333-3529 or 201-656-8500 or go to

www.BagolieFriedman.com Bagolie Friedman Injury Lawyers 660 Newark Ave., Jersey City, NJ

Main Office • 201-656-8500 Ricky Bagolie can you meet in Clifton at his Ackerman Ave. office (by appt only) August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

83


Clifton Goes South • July 26 • Joey Harrison’s Surf Club • Ortley Beach

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This column was originally started by our founder, the late Murray Blumenfeld. In his spirit, we continue its publication.

W

e hope you had a wonderful Independence Day weekend and an enjoyable July. August will hopefully bring as many beautiful days to all of us. Now that the heat of summer is upon us, stylish ladies are wearing their ankle bracelets....if one is good, two is better! Layering your anklets is very chic and at the height of today’s fashion trends. We carry a variety of styles available in both white and yellow gold. They are hot sellers this summer and we continue to carry styles both with and without gemstones. We had a great time at the Summer Jewelry Show in NYC. We picked out some beautiful new jewelry, found some exciting lines and we are eagerly awaiting their arrival in time for the holiday season. We’ll keep you posted on some of our new additions in the coming months. Again, we want to remind you that our current merchandise is still priced at between $450.00 and $650.00 gold. We have NOT changed any price tags to reflect the higher gold prices. If a bargain is what you are looking for-come in and see if you can Christmas shop in August.

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The birthstone for August is PERIDOT. These beautiful green stones were highly prized in ancient Egypt; they were used both as currency and as personal adornments for the Pharaohs. Legend has it that peridots were only mined at night, since they were believed to glow in the dark like lanterns. They are thought to prevent sorrow and fear. Today most of the world’s peridot is mined in mined in Arizona. Have an awesome August and we'll see you next month.

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Botany’s International Festival seeks sponsors, vendors, musical acts and community representatives from the diverse groups that make up Clifton. Food vendors will be charged $75 (does not include Clifton’s licensing) and merchandise vendors fee is $40. The Festival is Oct. 19 from 11 am to 5 pm on Lake Ave. (between Parker and Randolph) and in Village Square. Historic Botany’s Free Concerts on Fridays are 6 to 9 pm in Sullivan Square and Saturday performances are from 7 to 10 pm in the Village Square. The Midnight Ramblers are scheduled for Aug. 1, Matt Roach plays Aug. 8 and The Frostkings on Aug. 9. The Mike Luipersbeck Trio returns on Aug. 15, Tex Doyle and the Country Thunder Band are Aug. 22, and the Victoria Warne Band per-

forms at the Festival in the Park Carnival at Randolph Park on Aug. 29. The carnival runs until Sept. 1. Call 973-546-8787 or visit www.historicbotany.com. Clifton’s Sunday Evening Concert Series is now in its 12th season under producer Bob “Music Matador” Obser. The main performance begins at 7:30 pm at Main Memorial Park. Headlining this month are Reminisce on Aug. 3, Ableman on Aug. 10, the Teddy’s on Aug. 17 and Boisterous Banjos on Aug 24. Join the Rec Department for Walk and Talk Sundays, prior to each of the concerts, as they walk around Main Memorial Pond. Meet on the pathway facing Mustang Drive (stadium) at 6:15 pm. Bring your own seating and come ready to dance. Call 973-470-5680.

The Victoria Warne Band performs at at Randolph Park on Aug. 29. It’s part of Historic Botany’s Summer Free Music Concert Series.

The Theater League of Clifton’s production of The Laramie Project is scheduled for the School 3 stage on Sept. 6-14. This story is about the events that led to Matthew Shepard’s death in Larmie, Wyoming in 1998. The play chronicles the life of the town before and after the murder. The play is directed by Joseph Schreck, Jr. and produced by Mark Peterson. Call 973-472-9445. Crafters Wanted! St. Andrew’s Craft Fair will be held Oct. 25 from 10 am to 6 pm and Oct. 26 from 8:30 am to 4 pm at 400 Mt. Prospect Ave. Call 973-773-4120.

Come out and dance under the stars at Main Memorial Park at the Sunday Evening Concert Series produced by Bob Obser for Clifton Recreation. August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Clifton Police Officer Esly Panduro, a Master Sgt. in the U.S. National Guard, placed first in the Army Ten-Mile Qualifier on June 7. Panduro, running for Team Dix out of Fort Dix, finished the 6.5mile race in 45:53, almost a full three minutes ahead of the second place finisher. The main event will be held on Oct. 5 in Washington D.C. Panduro is one of six runners from Fort Dix—four males and two females—that will represent the team in the fall classic. Panduro has been running 10 miles every other day, in addition to bike work to train for the event. For more information, visit the race site at www.armytenmiler.com. Skateboard Camp at Clifton Skatezone is Aug. 11-15 and 18-22. Level 1 skaters ages 6 and up will skate from 9 am to noon and Level 2 kids ages 6 and up hit the ramps from 1 to 4 pm. Participants must have their own skateboard and safety gear including helmet, elbow and knee pads. To be eligible for the Level 2 program, participant’s skill must include board control, ollieing and some ramp experience. Call 973-470-5956. 88

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Police Department’s National Night Out Against Crime is on Aug. 5. The 6-10 pm gathering at Main Memorial Park features antique cars, a ’50s concert, food, kids games and prizes. For info or to sponsor, call 973-340-5151. The 8th Annual Albion Park Family Camp Out begins at 6 pm on Aug. 15 and runs until noon the next day. The rain date is Aug. 2223. This award winning event is sponsored by Clifton Against Substance Abuse. A family of four is charged $10 to register or $3 per person. Call 973-470-5956. Free English As A Second Language classes are being offered at Passaic County Community College. For more information, call Lisa Hiscano at 973-684-6213 or email her at lhiscano@pccc.edu. Register now for SAT prep courses at CHS. High school students who plan to take the SAT I test on Nov. 1 or Dec. 6 may register for classes available on Saturday mornings and weekday evenings, beginning Sept. 6. Tuition is $275, which includes study guides, and a pre-test and post-test. Call 973-470-2342.

The Clifton Stamp Society will be meeting at the Senior Center in the City Hall Complex on Aug. 4 and 18, and at the Community Rec Center on Main Ave. on Sept. 2, 15 and 29. All meetings are from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Call 973-471-7872. The New York Red Bulls Soccer Camp is Aug. 18-22 at Robin Hood Park. For ages 6-14, camp is from 9 am to noon and costs $110, while the 4 and 5 year old camp is from 9 to 10:30 am and costs $70. All players receive a camp t-shirt, ball, individual evaluations and a free companion ticket to a Red Bulls home game. For more information, call 973-470-5956. Classic hot rods, muscle cars, imports and motorcycles will be on display at The Show in the Park on Aug. 10. The fundraising event for the Passaic P.A.L. at Third Ward Park in Passaic is presented by Will Smith Productions, United Street Racers Auto Club, Passaic City Riders M.C. and the Passaic Rec Dept. In addition to the vehicles, there will be food and music. For more information, call 201-2067973. The rain date is Aug. 24.

The organizers of The Show in the Park at Third Ward Park on Aug. 10. From left, Will Smith, George Mysick, Jim Franco, Andy Nazzario, Arnold Ortega and Jack Stroller.


Bygone News As collected & edited by Clifton Historian Don Lotz Bygone News provides a glimpse into the events occurring in Acquackanonk (now Clifton) 100 and 50 years ago. While topics illustrate the evolution of a rural Acquackanonk Township into the Clifton of today, no doubt readers will also notice how some issues seem timeless.

August 1908 The Township Committee met and “Treasurer Thorburn’s report showed a balance on hand of $224.06.” Multiple residents and delegations appeared to complain about the poor condition of the streets due to flooding. Engineer Colin R. Wise reported a cost of $5,759.92 for a storm sewer on Crooks Ave., but the cost was deemed too high. Delawanna reported most roads are in horrible shape, and River Rd., Oak St., Passaic Ave., and Franklin Ave. were all reported to be impassable at certain times and “Snyder’s Ln. during

rainy weather is one vast stream of water in several places near the falls of Yanticaw Lake.” Automobile and motor-cycle speeds would soon be regulated. Chicken thieves reappeared in Delawanna, breaking “into the large coops of N. Fredericks and Station Agent W. Fredericks on the River Rd.” A tall slim prowler “accompanied by a small fox terrier” was spotted by people in the neighborhood about the time of the previous 10 robberies. Dr. L. F. Meloney, of Clifton, was appointed “medical inspector at a salary of not more than $200 a year.” Schools reported their readiness to open in September: 1 and 7 no report; 3 and 11 in good condition; 2 ready; 6, 9, and 10 all right; 3, 5, and 11 good condition; 4 and 8 work-in-progress. The Dundee Textile Company had 150 “Girl Weavers Leave Looms” during a strike at their

The photo above, supplied by the American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark in Haledon, is typical of the era when150 women went on strike at the Dundee Textile Company in Botany in 1908,

While he was the town’s treasurer in 1908, S. Grant Thorburn went on to serve as Clifton Mayor from 1925-27.

Dundee Canal at Ackerman Ave., Clifton factory. The girls struck over an alleged wage reduction, which the company denied. The company informed workers that if they did not show, they would be considered dismissed. Chief of Police William Coughlin, and Marshals Anthony Bottel, John Brown, James Coughlin, and James F. Sutton were placed “on the scene all day to prevent trouble.” Father Haitinger, of St. Marie’s Church spoke with the strikers and heeding his recommendation returned to their jobs, with hope of getting a raise. Joseph Richard’s Recreation Hall became the home of the North Clifton Physical Training School. Several young men of Clifton formed the organization and employed “an expert gymnast and calisthenist, who will instruct the boys two nights each week.” It was reported that due to ill health, barber Sidney Wiemer sold his shop on Main Ave. near Clifton Ave. to Benjamin De Slofney. August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Athenia garden farmer Dennis Baruick was beaten “at the Richfield Road Bridge over the Morris Canal” going to Paterson with his produce laden wagon. The two attackers were possibly part of gang of youths that congregate nightly at the bridge. Clifton Race Track and Stadium hosted harness, bicycle and motorcycle racing during August. Bicyclist and Passaic resident Fred Jones set the 2/3 mile world’s amateur record in 1:22.6 and “Messenger Boy” George Riley “won the 20 mile motor paced race going at the rate of 1 mile in 1 min & 40 sec.” August proved deadly for motorcyclists at Clifton Stadium, nearly killing Newark racer Bob Schultz and ultimately killing William “Sunny” Briggs who “was dashed to death against the grandstand”

This illustration by Jack Tulling may remind readers that thousands of animals of various species and sizes ‘visited’ Clifton before being shipped to several destinations across the country. The U.S. Quarantine Station officially closed in 1980.

after striking the support pillars. Harness racing fans “witnessed one of the best exhibitions of harness racing that has been pulled off there in many a day.”

Terry and his father Gus La Corte in a photo, circa 1975. In 1958, Councilman Gus La Corte (right) presented a petition to the BOE to adjust the grade structure of the school district. Gus La Corte was also a longtime newspaper man while his son was also elected to the Counci land the NJ State Assembly. 90

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August 1958 Clifton scheduled the modernization of its City Council proceedings. Microphones will project the speaker’s voice throughout the entire council chambers and tape recorders would provide the audio version of the meeting minutes for reference. “As anyone who has ever heard his own voice played back on tape, it is never recognizable as one’s own… maybe some of the things that are said will sound just as peculiar and it may lead to more carefully chosen words and dulcet tones…” The “New Modern Boys Club” announced that daily attendance averaged 320 boys since opening in July and is reported to be a “beehive of activity.” In the military John F. Collins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph J. Collins completed the Marine Platoon Leaders course at Quantico, Va. Midshipman Allen R. Ruth completed his Navy Training cruise aboard the antisubmarine warfare support aircraft carrier USS Lake Champlain.


The “New Modern Boys Club” opened in the summer of 1958. CMM celebrated the club in Sept. 1999.

Construction permits issued in July valued at $801,640 increased substantially from June’s permits of $591,879. As a comparison July 1957 saw over $1 million of permits issued for construction. Shulton, Inc. gained some economic stability when it was named as the sponsor of The Donna Reed Show Wed evening on ABC from 9 to 9:30 and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Mon. through Fri. afternoon ABC from 4 to 5 pm. Superintendent of Schools William F. Shershin announced a projected record enrollment of 12,178 for the 1958-59 school year, an increase of 629 students over the previous school year. The senior high school enrollment increased to 2,445 from 2,135 in 1957-1958.

The enrollment structure of the school system was challenged when Councilman Gus La Corte presented a 650 signature petition to the BOE to place on referendum his kindergarten, 8 grades and 4 high school years alongside the current K-6, 7-9 middle school, and 10-12 high school grades system. The BOE extended its “courtesy in permitting La Corte a further hearing.” The Mustang Band fund raising plans were expanded to include the proceeds raised at a Clifton Alumni vs. Passaic-Bergen AllStar football game scheduled for

the fall. Current Garfield HS football coach Art Argauer and one of Clifton’s former star players will coach the Clifton Alumni squad led by Bobby Boettcher and George Telesh. Bob Nork will coach the other team and will have the choice of the PassaicBergen County area all-stars from the past decade. The US Animal Quarantine Station on Colfax Ave. (now the city hall complex) was “entertaining royalty… where the ‘guests’ included 20 Austrian Lipizzaners, kings of the horse show world, headed for the Chicago area.”

Join us at Brunch, Sunday September 7 at 1 pm for

Katlyn Webb’s 18th Birthday Clifton Jewish Center, 18 Delaware St., Clifton Katie turns 18 on September 6 and her life has been one of challenges. After years of medical problems, she was finally diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and Syrngomyelia. Katie had her first decompression surgery when she was 3 but this was only the beginning. On June 9, 2008, she went through her 15th neurosurgery and is awaiting another —but it has been postponed due to complications. This event will help defray medical expenses— Purchase tickets today. Make checks payable to Hope Reformed Church—note Katlyn Webb in the memo — and mail to Steve Goldberg at 65 Allwood Pl, Clifton, NJ 07012. For info, call 973-472-2578.

120 Market Street, Clifton

Although it isn’t always easy, Katie has found a way to push on. One writer said, “Katie makes lemonade out of her lemons!” She has designed her own line of greeting cards that she produces to help raise money for research. She has not lost hope that someday there will be a cure for these disorders.

D

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August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Nancy & Michael Ressetar celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary on 8/15.

Tom Hawrylko turns 51 on Aug. 15.

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Gene Hayes & Jamie Goldstein plan to wed in May, 2010. Jamie’s parents are Cindy and retired CPD Lt. Les Goldstein.

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August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Happy Birthday to Jean Schubert on Aug. 9.

Angelo Greco . . . . . . . .8/2 Karen Lime . . . . . . . . . . 8/2 Michael Urciuoli . . . . . .8/2 Kevin Ciok . . . . . . . . . . .8/4 Mark W. Mikolajczyk . . .8/5 Thereas Raichel . . . . . .8/5 Christian Sotelo . . . . . . .8/5 Ed Gasior Sr . . . . . . . . . .8/6 Sean McNally . . . . . . . .8/6 Charlie Stek . . . . . . . . . .8/6 Chiara Cristantiello . . . .8/9 Emily Hawrylko . . . . . .8/12 Karin Feasenmyer . . . .8/14


Visit us in Downtown Clifton: 1103 Main Ave • 973-473-4999

We Don’t Sell Parts… …We Sell Service Hailey Rose Moore celebrated her first b-day on July 9. Her brother Max turns 4 on Aug. 6. Kimberly Mozo . . . . . .8/14 Michelle Smolt . . . . . . .8/14 Yuko Angello . . . . . 8/15 Christopher Antal . . . .8/15 Peter Bodor . . . . . . . . .8/15 Jessica Oliva . . . . . . . .8/15 Maria Pinter . . . . . . . . .8/15 Daniel Wolfe . . . . . . . .8/15 Bella Bulsara . . . . . . . .8/18 Alexandria Veltre . . . .8/19 Michael Melendez . . 8/20 Cara Cholewczynski .8/24 Yasmin Ledesma . . . . .8/24 Joanne Pituch . . . . . . .8/24 Robbie Lucas . . . . . . .8/25 Eileen Gasior . . . . . . . .8/26 Cameron J. Popovski . .8/26 Ann Soltis . . . . . . . . . . .8/26 Adam Brandhorst . . . .8/27 Michelle Choy . . . . . . .8/30 Kathleen McKenny . . .8/31 Happy Birthday to Peter Fierro Jr. on 8/28 and Joe Rushen on 8/30.

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802 Van Houten Ave • Clifton Mon-Fri 8-6pm • Sat 8-5pm • Sun 9-1pm

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Visit us in Athenia: 802 Van Houten Ave • 973-473-1997 August 2008 • Clifton Merchant

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Who is Best For Clifton? Labor Day is just around the corner, and that means the political season is once again drawing near. So the question to our readers is, do you know who you will be voting for and why? This year’s presidential election is shaping up to be the biggest in recent history. With America inching towards recession, involved in a highly controversial war in Iraq and with an assortment of other political, social and ecological issues on the table, now is the time to make your voice heard. In September, Clifton Merchant will present the issues and allow readers to decide who is better for Clifton, Barack Obama or John McCain? Facts will be presented for each side as our writers will gather input from residents and business owners who would be among those most impacted by the proposed changes.

There’s also more on the ballot than just the presidential election. In the Senate, voters will choose between incumbent Frank Lautenberg (D) and Dick Zimmer (R). Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. (D) will square off against Roland Straten (R) in the 8th District. And Passaic County Freeholder Bruce James (D) and interim Greyson Hannigan (D)—who replaced Elease Evans—will attempt to retain their positions against challengers Michael Marotta (R) and Jerry Holt (R). While some may marginalize the results of these lesser contests, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While the President may lead the nation, our Congressmen, Senators and Freeholders directly represent the residents of Clifton and all of Passaic County. These individuals will likely have a more profound impact on your daily life, so get informed and vote!

Watch Dr. David Moore on Health Talk, Clifton Channel 77 Friday 9:30 pm & Sunday at 8 pm

Dr. David R. Moore, Chiropractor/Director

David R. Moore, D.C. 850 Clifton Ave., Clifton 973-253-7005 www.OnTrackChiro.com Insurance Not Required 94

August 2008 • Clifton Merchant


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Profile for Clifton Merchant Magazine

Clifton Merchant Magazine - August 2008  

Clifton Merchant Magazine - August 2008