Clifton Merchant Magazine - December 2011

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Wishing You and Your Families A Joyous Holiday Season and a Prosperous New Year

Happy Holidays From All of Us at...

FROM the EDITOR Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the Hawrylko kids. From left, Carly, Tom Jr., Casey and Joe. Below left, is their hound, Bob Marley.

So Christmas is almost here. As I look back over the past 11 editions, I am reminded of what a whirlwind year it has been. Like your business or at your home, we have been through some crazy ups and downs. There have been turns that we never expected and great new opportunities which are becoming reality. Given that road taken, I think we are all doing well. So on behalf of my family, I simply want to say thank you. Support from readers and advertisers has allowed us to remain an independent and successful small business. With our combined efforts at the office and your continued support, we enter our 17th year of publication with confidence. Thank you for your trust, and God bless. —Tom Hawrylko 16,000 Magazines

are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants on the first Friday of every month. Subscribe Page 103

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Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Business Manager Cheryl Hawrylko Graphic Designer Mary Lalama, Ken Peterson Staff Writer Joe Hawrylko Contributing Writers Irene Jarosewich, Carol Leonard, Rich DeLotto, Don Lotz, Jack DeVries

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


T raditions & Memories

A Hungarian Soup 7 Sisters, A Small Apartment, Lots of fun By John & Tom Hawrylko We never got to know big Andrew Karackai too well. The patriarch of our Hungarian family died in 1957. He was sent to his heavenly reward still young, in his early 70’s. By that time, he saw most of his seven daughters married off, some to mixed marriages (Julia, our mom, married a Ukrainian!). Andrew and his bride Mary, never moved from that Hungarian ghetto in Perth Amboy. Our Lady of Hungary Church was up the hill and right next door was the funeral parlor where our relatives were laid out. And during all the decades that the couple lived there, they never owned a home. Andrew and Mary—and then two of his daughters for another decade after grandma’s death—continued to reside in the same two bedroom apartment. How they managed with seven daughters we’ll never understand from today’s perspective. Looking back, it is clear that our families learned some simple skills from Andrew and Mary—make the best of what you have. 6

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

For when my siblings and cousins look back, what we remember most is the frugal, warm and wonderful days we shared in that modest Cortlandt St. apartment. Like many Catholics of the era, Christmas Eve dinners began with a prayer. What followed was simple. Long pieces of celery stuffed with cream cheese, topped with seasonings and little onions. Pierogies, fish, mushroom barley soup. But what everyone waited for was Mom’s bread which, with the Hungarian soup, was a meal in itself. It took several years to get used to that sour Hungarian soup. You only had it once a year, but if you used the bread properly, it masked the strong sauerkraut taste and you actually looked forward to it every Christmas. Cousin Arlene liked to make chocolate cream pie, but something always went wrong. This wasn’t occasionally, but all the time. It tasted like chocolate cream pie. But it looked like big clumps of chocolate with some crust on it. After a few drinks, it still was pie.

Arlene, Vic and her four kids were the first to leave the ghetto. They moved to the woods of Morganville and soon the Christmas party followed. Uncle Bert always seemed to sneak out and remarkedly so, Santa arrived. He had us fooled for a long time. Many times we all sat in the kitchen, tables lined up, singing Christmas Carols, with kids banging forks and spoons on plates. Then things would become mellow and mom and Aunt Yolanda would sing a Hungarian Christmas song as a tribute to our ancestors. Mom had no conception of Scotch. So many kinds were brought to the house on Christmas, and mom would pour what was left into one bottle into another, making the worst tasting blended Scotch you ever had. After dinner, presents were opened and you appreciated what you got and thanked everyone. Multiple gifts were not expected—one per person—and too often it was a book or some item of clothing we really needed. Thanks to Andrew and Mary Karackai, we look back and remember walking into a two bedroom apartment or a not too large home. There are happy people talking, singing, cooking or joking with the kids or other adults. Those days in Perth Amboy’s Budapest section are now gone, yet the recipe still stirs within our souls.

M tive. ing o suspe Ba used not d Yo al ing w they

Tom Hawrylko with his mom Julie in 1981. On the facing page, Joe and Julie on their wedding day in Perth Amboy on May 24, 1947. Julie was one of seven sisters born to Andrew and Mary Karackai. That photo was taken in the two bedroom apartment where all nine lived.

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

T raditions & Memories

42nd Annual Tour de Clifton Get Ready for Wailing Sirens & a Mini Parade It an event. It’s an institution. It’s an outpouring of community spirit. And mostly it’s lots and lots of oldfashioned fun. We’re talking about this year’s 42nd Annual Tour De Clifton on Dec. 24, which is Christmas Eve. If you are new to town get ready, because you’ll first hear it off in the distance... For approximately six hours, between 3 and 9 pm— after which children should be safely tucked in their beds anyway—Santa does his annual circuit of the city, escorted by the wailing sirens of police and fire vehicles. Santa will be easy to spot, since he’ll either be atop a fire engine or riding his own personal float all around town, courtesy of Bond Parade Floats & Displays company of Clifton.

The Santa Tour is preceded by a raft of tree lightings —see page 74—most of which happen early in the month, each of them packed with more holiday wattage than Rudolph has on his nose, and by additional Santa sightings. Thus, you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to share in the holiday spirit at numerous gatherings. Turn to page 74 for a list of tree lightings, accurate as of press time, follows, thanks to a friendly reindeer—no names, but his first initial is ‘R’— who tells us that Santa and his team of reindeer always looks forward to visiting Clifton since he, the elves and the team of reindeer can’t get their beloved Hot Texas Wieners up at the North Pole. For additional info, call Mayor Jim Anzaldi at 973-470-5757. December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


T raditions & Memories

At the House of Calvo

Celebrating both Hanukkah & Christmas By Fabian Calvo In our house we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. With two young boys and a host of visiting family and friends from all walks of life, this makes the holidays for us completely crazy, but double the fun! We decorate our house in mostly a snow theme in order to be holiday neutral, but there are some traditions that Melisa and I have taken from both of our families and made into our own. These are the things that make the holidays special for us. Our Christmas traditions stem from my mother, Isabel, who passed away from cancer in 2000. She never said it to me, but during the 1998 and 1999 Christmas season she bought an extraordinary amount of Christmas tree ornaments. I think the reason being was that she knew she was not going to live too much longer.

Melissa and her dad, Allan Migdal, lighting the Menorah.

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Now I cherish these ornaments greatly. Throughout the years some have broken, but they still take up most of our Christmas tree. Perhaps the most meaningful of all of these ornaments on the tree is the angel that goes on top. My mother bought it back in the early 1990’s. It’s the last thing I place on the tree and the whole family gathers around me to watch me place it. It’s a bit beat up now and the lights don’t light up anymore, but I see that angel as a representation of my mother watching over us during the holidays. And I know she loves my wife Melisa and our boys. Our Hanukkah traditions stem from Melisa’s grandmother, Dorothy Lanzberg, who died when Melisa was a little girl. To honor her, we place her Menorah in our front windowsill each year.

Melisa lights the candles with all of us every night. We also have several Hanukkah ornaments on our tree. When Melisa and I married in 2005, we started our own tradition by having our names written on one ornament every year. When our first son, Damian was born in 2006 we added his name, and we did the same when our second son, Nicolas, was born in 2009. We love our house during the holiday season. It is the perfect mix of old and new and it always reminds me of amazing times with our families. We feel blessed to have such a blended family, it gives us more to celebrate and more to love! Top photo: Fabian Calvo and his late mother, Isabel. Bottom photo: Fabian and Melisa Calvo with their children Damian and Nicolas.

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T raditions & Memories

About the Scheidemanns Memories from an old Clifton family By Joe Hawrylko

ed on Main Ave. next to the Moose Lodge. We also The Scheidemann and Hilton families have been a sold them next to this (Scheidemann Real Estate and part of the fabric of Downtown Clifton for close to a Insurance) century. building.” The family’s For the holiroots are most day celebranoticeable on tions, the Main Ave., Scheidemann where Ernest family had Scheidemann their own trahangs his real ditions which estate license in took place at his landmark litthe Luddington tle red building, Ave. home. which houses “I recall my Scheidemann dad stuffing Real Estate and walnuts into Insurance, a dates and powfamily business Scheidemann’s grandchildren, pictured in the early 2000s. dering them with roots that with sugar,” said Scheidemann. “And my mom, she trace back to his grandfather, James Hilton, who founded made the greatest turkey stuffing with sausage, celery, the business in 1916. onions and chestnuts.” With so much history in Clifton, Scheidemann has Though he has since moved on to his own home, many fond memories from his hometown, where he Scheidemann still has some items, really relics from still resides, and took a little time to recall some of his his parents’ celebration. Christmas memories from Downtown Clifton. “We had a Santa doll that stood about a foot and a “My buddy and Al and my cousins Joe and Charlie half tall—really nice—which has become an heirHilton and I sold Christmas trees for a few years, loom. We placed it along side the tree and next to the from about 1958 to 1960. That was a cold job but we fireplace,” he said. “Although a little ragged, we still enjoyed every minute of it,” he recalled. To stay have Santa.” warm, the friends pooled together their skills to make The Christmas tradition evolved further after a little hut. “We somehow located a large furniture Scheidemann married his wife, Elsie Domitrowitz, in shipping crate which, after cutting out a section for a 1958. window, we made into our office. We even arranged “She was an only child and her mom, Therese, was for heat by installing a pot belly wood stove.” a widow. Therese was unbelieveable. She worked in “Initially, our best trees sold for about five dollars,” McCrory’s in Passaic and every weekend she would Scheidemann continued. “As the timing got closer come to our house to help us with the kids as they and closer to Christmas, the prices dropped down to a arrived,” he explained. “She was a fantastic cook and dollar. Our goal was to have no trees left. It’s amazmade the greatest Christmas Prime Rib. She was the ing how different things were then. Unfortunately, Al best baker of Austrian pastry. Because of her always and Charlie have recently passed. Our lot was locat12

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Scheidemann’s seven children. From left: Ann Marie, James, Barbara, Susan, Ernie, Laura and Sara.

being available, we never had a babysitter for any of our seven children.” “Needless to say, Christmas was pandemonium in our home. I do not recall any of our children sulking for not getting what they might have expected for the holidays,” Scheidemann added. “Not to say that they were deprived of anything but there was no room for them to be down. What made me personally very proud was taking them to Christmas service at our

church. We had to get there early because we needed an entire pew. They all looked so beautiful.” The Scheidemann family has grown and now features 16 grandchildren. However, it’s not often that the whole group is together on Christmas. “Christmas is certainly much different as our children have since moved to a variety of states,” he said. “It is very difficult, even impossible, to recreate the environment of our young family.” WEEKEND SPECIAL


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T raditions & Memories Is That a Pickle in Your Tree? Italian, German & Swedish traditions on Christmas As Told by Christina Yosco The Yosco’s are a diverse family, and their heritage is reflected in our Christmas traditions, which trace back to several countries, including Italy, Germany and Sweeden. The family incorporates traditions from each nationality into their holiday celebration. “First of the traditions we have is, we all always go together and get the tree. My family always gets a smaller, stumpy tree,” said Christina Yosco. “We typically get a tree that is only like three feet tall. Bigger is not better when it comes to trees in this family. We are always together decorating the tree as well.” The family heritage shows up in the other traditions that the Yosco’s have. “An important ornament that must be in our tree is the German pickle. The pickle ornament is to be last ornament hung in the tree,”

The Yoscos on a recent trip to New York City.

explained Yosco. “On Christmas, the first adult to find it is to have good luck for the whole year. The first child to find it is supposed to get an extra gift or a special treat.”


Naturally, someone hearing this tradition for the first time will often be perplexed. “People that don’t know about this are always asking my family


Our community’s diversity is truly our strength. Celebrate Clifton. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. Councilman Steve Hatala 14

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

and myself, ‘why we The Yoscos have also have a pickle in our recently started a tradition tree’,” she added. of having a secret Santa “Guess it’s odd to some celebration on Christmas people, but not in this Eve. To get all the roles family.” straight, the process begins on Thanksgiving, with To honor their names being drawn from a Swedish roots, the famihat. “On Christmas Eve, ly shares in a peppermint after dinner, we all proceed pig, a tradition which in to the living room and dates back to the late get ready to open presents,” 1800s. The animal is she recalled. “After each revered as a symbol of secret Santa has given the good health, happiness other person there gift, it’s and prosperity. time to open them up. We “It’s made from a hard Christina with her cousin, Christopher. always go in age order, peppermint candy is brofrom youngest to oldest.” ken with a small metal mal“Even though the holidays can be stressful, my famlet,” said Yosco. “After a holiday dinner, the pig is ily can always make me smile,” added Yosco, who is a crushed and the pieces are shared by all, in hopes for decorator and baker at Mr. CupCakes. “Family really is good fortune in the coming years. Another Swedish the truest tradition of all for the holiday season.” item that we have traditionally is the wooden carousel. It’s a wooden candle holder. When the candles are lit, the moves and spins. It makes a beautiful piece on the table during the holidays.” The Yoscos also have an annual nativity scene that is put up each Christmas season. “The set that we have, we have had since I could remember,” she recalled. “It is displayed every year in the living room where we all tend to sit and be around one another.”

I heard the bells on Christmas Day, Their old, familiar carols play and wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Councilman Peter C. Eagler December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


T raditions & Memories

Dougherty Family Celebrations Generations of Slovak traditions By Joe Hawrylko

The Dougherty Family traditions trace back serveral generations to Czechoslovakia, where Barbara Dougherty’s great grandmother, Grandma Susie, learned the religious rituals that were eventually passed onto Dougherty when she began to raise a family of her own in Clifton. “Grandma Susie, we always celebrated Christmas Eve according to the customs she brought from Eastern Europe,” said Dougherty, 74, who grew up in Passaic but has lived in Clifton near the Nutley border for more than 50 years. “Many times we didn’t get there but the next day there was delicious food from the previous night’s meal. The favorite of our family was mushroom soup prepared from imported mushrooms, obtained here out of a delightful import store that provided many of the items for Christmases Eve Veliha.” Many of the items and dishes in the Christmas celebration are symbolism for certain religious events. “A white tablecloth represented the swaddling coth of the baby Jesus,” Dougherty explained. “Straw was placed on the table (or under) to represent the simple surroundings of the baby Jesus.” The family also would fast and pray together during the day, only eating supper after the first star appeared. “Homemade bread at the table represented the bread of life,” said Dougherty. “A lit candle represents the Star of Bethlehem. Garlic and honey are served to rep-


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Barbara Dougherty with her Grandma Susie sometime in the early 1940s and Barbara today.

resent the bitterness and sweetness of life.” Other traditional Christmas meals included gobolki (dough balls with honey), paguch (a filled round raised dough), piroghi (dumplings filled with cabbage or potato) and the family favorite, mushroom soup. “This soup is a thing with the children,” said

Dougherty. “They didn’t care for some of the other food, but if someone didn’t come, I would freeze it and go there with them.” Besides food, the Dougherty’s engaged in other traditions over the years. Selecting and decorating a tree was a family favorite. When her children were younger, the Dougherty’s would decorate the tree together while drinking eggnog and enjoying homemade cookies before being visited by Santa. “When the boys got older, they would go to cut a tree,” she recalled. “Now I get my tree at St. Clare’s. God forbid they come home and I have a fake tree, or don’t have a tree at all.” Dougherty’s son, Kevin, also had a unique tradition that he did each year with friends. “He would go every year to the city and distribute candy in the City,” she recalled. “They all had quaint Cadillac convertibles. One would be Santa and the others were his helpers. They enjoyed seeing the children anxiously awaiting goodies. Now they all have families of their own.” As the years have passed, it’s grown harder for the

The Dougherty children in a 1972 holiday season photo. Top row is Karen, Craig and Keith. In front is Kevin.

family to come together, as some children have moved out of state and work schedules keep them busy. But no matter when she sees them again, Dougherty will have her famous mushroom soup ready and waiting.

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T raditions & Memories

From Across the Pond

Pulling Crackers & Finding Surprizes By Janet Mozolewski In the Mozolewski house, we have an English tradition that we celebrate every year—it’s called pulling crackers on Christmas Day. In England, Christmas crackers are a staple of the holiday season, consisting of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper, which is pulled by two people. I moved here in from England in 1972, and back then the crackers were really hard to find so we would have relatives ship them over. When I moved to Clifton, I discovered the Scottish/Irish stores over in Kearny and was able to buy them there. Today you can buy them in Pier 1, Bed Bath and Beyond and other stores. The crackers are part of our tree decorations, and on Christmas Day each place setting at the dinner table gets a cracker to pull. Each person selects a partner to pull it with, and like a wishbone,

Justin Mozolewski, his mom Janet and their friend and Scout Nick Cristello pulling the crackers.

the cracker splits unevenly. The split is accompanied by a small bang similar to a fire cracker. Inside you find a toy or small trinket, silly paper hat and joke. Whoever gets the bigger end of the cracker wins the contents and

wears the paper hat that is located inside. I know it’s a silly tradition, but as a child I looked forward to it every year and so do my children, nieces and other relatives who come to dinner.


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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


T raditions & Memories The Skoglunds From a sad story come happy memories In the November edition of the Clifton Merchant, there was a story on page 40 entitled Tragic November, marking the 50th anniversary of the Nov. 6, 1961 plane accident which took the lives of 24 young Clifton and Passaic servicemen. Harold Skoglund, a graduate of the Clifton High School Class of 1957, was one of those who passed in the crash. His sister, Mary Skoglund Birchell, now living in Pine Beach, saw the story and wrote a letter recalling the tragedy after chatting with her other brother, Ray, who lives in Highland Hills, NY. “My husband was on the USS Independence and was gone for nine months when Harry died,” she said. “I found out when I read the headlines in the VA papers. He did not find out until two weeks later.” However, the story also brought back some more fond memories of her brother and family as they grew up in Clifton. “Harry and Ray were two years apart and they did everything together,” she wrote. “Ray used to say they loved basketball and he would go to the School 4 playground to play for a while then come home to give Harry his sneakers so he could go play. Our family did not enough money for two pairs of sneakers.” However, the Skoglunds, originally from Norway, always had 20

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

The Skoglund family in 1949 on West 1st St. From left is Mary Skoglund Birchell, mother Olaug, father Barney, brother Eddie, sister Bjorg. In front are brothers Ray and Harry.

enough to celebrate the joys of the holidays, complete with dishes from the old country. “We always had a Santa Claus— my father,” said Birchell. “And we always had our presents on Christmas Eve. It was a lot of fun. We had no relatives. Just us kids,

our parents and some of their friends, who would come over on Christmas day.” “Harry and Ray played guitar and sang, Ed played the banjo and dad the accordion,” she continued. “It was just our family. We got together like that all the time.”

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


T raditions & Memories

The Pogorelec Family Evolving Holiday Customs By Joe Hawrylko

For many years, John Pogorelec and his family celebrated Christmas according to traditions from their Slovak heritage. But over time, many of those customs have evolved as his family grew. “It used to be a meatless meal on Christmas Eve,” he recalled. “But nowadays, it’s different. Everybody has a different take on it.” Prior to attending midnight mass on Christmas Eve at St Cyril & Methodius Church in Botany Village, where he has been a parishioner for nearly seven decades, Pogorelec’s family would engage in a series of traditions from Eastern Europe. The table was set with way and fine linens over to remind the family of the baby Jesus in the manger. “The velija, what that means is visual. Years ago, it used to be 12 dishes to symbolize the number of apostles,” he recalled. “It was a meatless feast. Oplatky, then some red wine. There used to be a certain type of soup, machanka, which is a sour type of mushroom soup. Some families had fish there. There was bandurky (potatoes), bobalki, which were baked honey balls with poppy seeds. There was holubky, which are cabbage rolls, and then there used to be pirohy and then kolaci, which is a strudel filled with walnuts, poppy seeds and things like that.” The families would then engage in kolady, which are traditional Christmas caroles before heading off to mass. One tradition that has stayed true through the years has been the serving of oplatky, a thin, communion like wafer which is stamped with a nativity scene. “The head of the household dips it into a base of honey and passes it around to the family,” said Pogorelec. “The waffer goes to each person, who breaks it apart and they share it around the table. You share the sweetness of life.” The tradition of oplatky stretches back generations, back when roads were scarce. 22

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

“Back in the old country, people would go to midnight mass and receive it,” he said. “But sometimes it would snow. So the parish priest would give out these wafers weeks in advance so that if they couldn’t come to the church, they would have this bit of holiness at home.” “We have ham and keilbasa now... fish, it’s not the greatest thing in the world you know,” he laughed. “The kids don’t want to eat fish. They’d rather have meat.”

St. Lucia’s Day On December 13

Lura Nilsson-Savona writes: “As Swedes, we celebrate Saint Lucia day (Dec. 13th). On that day, the oldest girl in the household dresses in a white gown and wears a crown of candles. She enters the room with a tray of coffee, cinnamon buns and gingersnaps and serves them to the household/guests while the song ‘Sankta Lucia’ plays. Then we have traditional Swedish foods like Jansson's Temptation, Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and delicious marzipan desserts.”

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

T raditions & Memories Ann Kaminski A Traditional Polish Wigilia Photo and Story by Tania Jachens Ann Kaminski keeps her Polish heritage alive by hosting her family’s annual Christmas Eve feast, the Wigilia, complete with traditions and dishes straight from the old country. Kaminski’s holiday season begins the day after Thanksgiving with the purchasing of a tree. Together with her extended family, Kaminski drives to Palmer’s Christmas Tree Farm in Pennsylvania. There begins the pain-staking process of finding and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree. “Everyone picks out their favorite tree and finds flaws in everyone else’s, so it takes a while for us all to agree on one,” Kaminski said. “It’s a lot of fun to have the new generation of kids there with us.” Her nephews ultimately saw down the selected tree and the family returns home, ending the day with a meal together. Decorations are put up a week before Christmas. “My nephews come over, stand it up for me, put the lights on and then I decorate it,” Kaminski explained. “This year, my grand-nephew Matthew, who is six years old, will be helping me to decorate.” The next step is preparing for Christmas Eve dinner, which is known as the Wigilia. “My mom was the only one who kept this tradition after her parents died,” said Kaminski. “She makes two kinds of pierogies (cabbage and potato cheese), which she used to make by hand with her mother. My mother didn’t want guests helping in the kitchen, so she would make everything herself.” This year, Kaminski’s nieces will be coming over to help make the pierogies. However, the most difficult food to make is the kobasi sausage, which involves a two-day process. “My mother and father made their own kobasi since I could remember,” Kaminski said. “My mother used to cut the meat into little, tiny pieces by hand.” After having tried this method one year, Kaminski

Ann Kaminski, pictured with her dog, Maggie. Inset is a photo of Kaminski from her teaching years.

began using a food processor, but now she gets the butcher to grind the meat for her. After putting spices in the meat, she lets it sit overnight. The next day, her brother comes over and together they stuff the meat into its long, skinny casing and put it downstairs by the furnace to dry. Afterward, it is wrapped and put it in the freezer until Christmas Eve. Thus far, the Kaminski’s already have 16 rings made in less than a month. She also plans on making the kruschiki, Polish bow cookies, earlier this year too. “They last forever,” laughed Kaminski. “While cleaning out my aunt’s house after she passed away, we found a box of them and they still tasted good. Who knows how old they were!” In addition to the fish dish which her sister brings, Kaminski must also prepare the mushroom soup December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


TRADITIONS Ann Kaminski and sweet, dried fruit. The babka bread is not made until the night before Christmas Eve. “Everyone in my family gets a babka and kruschiki and, if they want, they can get kobasi along with their present,” Kaminski explained. She even ships her homemade kobasi to her niece in Georgia. On Christmas Eve, Kaminski hosts thirteen people at her house. She begins the meal by offering each guest a piece of the oplatki, a thin bread wafer decorated with a religious icon. Upon receiving the wafer, the guests are given a blessing and a wish from their hostess. After the meal, presents are opened. Using “the chair,” each family member, going in order of age, starting with the youngest, must sit in this elevated position as they unwrap their gifts, so that everyone else can watch. Kaminski, who has lived in Clifton all of her life, has many fond memories of her family’s Christmas traditions. When her family still lived on Christie Avenue, they would attend the tree lighting on Lakeview Avenue, go sleigh riding down the hill in Nash Park and ice skate on the pond in Main Memorial Park.

On Christmas Eve, she and her siblings would listen for Santa to ride down their street. Now that there are children in the family again, Santa has been making a personal appearance at Kaminski’s house on Christmas Eve for the past three years. “Belief in Santa is a funny thing,” said Kaminski, who was a kindergarten teacher for thirty-three years before retiring in 1995. “Kids in kindergarten are at that age when some believe and some don’t, so you have to be careful.” One time, her students told her that she looked like Mrs. Claus because of her red coat, so Kaminski went along with it. When she told her class that she was indeed Santa’s wife, they did not believe her because she would then have to live at the North Pole. “I explained to them that I had to work to make money so Santa could afford to make all his toys!” Kaminski laughed. Though preparations for the annual holiday feast take plenty of time, Kaminski views it as a labor of love. “It’s all about family, traditions and love.” she said. “I hope for good health for my family and that we find peace in this troubled world that we live in... and that world doesn’t end in 2012.”

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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T raditions & Memories The Shackil Family Syrian & American traditions on Christmas By Joe Hawrylko With six children, two adults and a large German Sheppard, the Christmas season in the Shackil family is a grand affair. American traditions meld with Syrian customs as more than 70 relatives come together to honor the life of Jesus Christ. Maggie Shackil oversees much of the affairs in the Dumont Ave. home. In addition to food, there are a number of other traditions that the family partakes in during December. Shackil is most proud of her annual recreation of the Manger and Bethlehem, which she builds on a large table in her living room, complete with mountains, landscaping, homes and people. “I’ve been doing it all my life, since I was born,” said Shackil, who came from Syria in 1983. “We used to buy paper in Syria but ever since I moved to America, I make my own paper here.” Using book wrapping paper, she spray paints it and crumples it up to make the landscape for the manger and Bethlehem. “We started out with just a little manger,” said Shackil. “Eventually, we expanded to have a replica of the old city: the rug man, there’s a bakery, all these old houses.” On Christmas Eve, the manger and Bethlehem become the centerpiece for one of the Shackil family traditions. After attending the 10 pm mass Sacred Heart Armenian Catholic Church in Little

In a 1998 photo, the Shackil family. Top row, from left: Danny, Andrew and Anthony. Middle: Maggie, Jackie, Rich, Michelle. Front: Joe. December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


TRADITIONS The Shackils Falls, the Shackils visit relatives “We have aras, which is shredand return home around midnight ded Syrian cheese and cucumto gather around the manger for bers,” she said. “After that, we get their Christmas tradition. together for dinner later on with “Before the kids go to bed, we cousins and other family members. read from the Gospel, the chapter There’s about 70 people and we about Luke and the birth of Jesus,” have a good time.” she said. The child reciting the “We have all the traditional verse changes every year. “And Syrian food: kibbeh, which look Jesus, we don’t put him in the like footballs... they’re crackly on Manger until that night. Another the outside, with chop meat on the child does that too. That makes it inside,” she said. “They’re deep special too, since he was not born fried and delicious. All the kids until that night.” call them mini footballs. And “We talk with the kids after that, grape leaves, you got to have the about what we are thankful of grape leaves.” before we go to bed,” she said. “In The rest of the meal is made up the morning, no one is allowed to of American Christmas staples and go downstairs until my husband other Syrian dishes. “We split stuff goes down to get the video camera together, with each person bringThe Manger and Bethlehem setting in the and get ready. Then, they line up ing different things,” said Shackil. Shackil home. according to age.” “After, we get everyone to sing After presents, the family heads over to grandma’s for Christmas carols. They don’t want to sing, but my husa traditional Syrian breakfast. band, Richie, encourages them with his beautiful voice.”

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T raditions & Memories Playing a Lifetime Santa all they have to do is dial “d” for dad By Christopher de Vinck Hanging in my bedroom closet is a complete Santa Claus suit: red pants, red jacket, a wide black belt, and a red cap topped with a ball of white fur. When my children were 9, 5 and 3 I slipped upstairs on Christmas Eve, wiggled into the suit, stuffed a pillow under the jacket, combed the white wig, adjusted the grandfather glasses, and I was set. As I walked down the stairs, I shook a string of carriage bells and bellowed “Ho! Ho! Ho!” The idea was that Santa Claus slid down the chimney and he was now coming down the stairs to greet the children on his way to his Christmas duties. My 9 year old son David rolled his eyes; five-yearold Karen jumped right on my lap and giggled, and little Michael pulled my beard and said, “Hi Daddy.” My ruse never worked, of course. I envy Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. They successfully keep their true selves hidden behind the mask of a newspaper reporter and a reclusive millionaire. My kids believed that I was a high school English teacher who loved their mother, cut the grass, and shoveled snow. No matter what I did, I could not convince them that I was Santa Claus. Many years ago, a friend of mine said that he was fed up with his four-year-old son’s habit of sleeping with his baby pacifier in his month. “He’s too old for that stupid Binky.” So my friend devised a plan. On Christmas Eve he told his son that when Santa Claus came he was going to take the pacifier and replace it with a nice surprise because it is Santa’s job to help children grow up.” That night, my friend said that he pulled a red sweatshirt over his head, pulled on red pajama pants and found a red wool hat in the basement closet, “Just in case my son woke, he’d see Santa.” 32

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

And so my friend snuck into his son’s room, took the pacifier, and placed on the bed a Sesame Street windup locomotive. I wanted to explain to my friend that Santa Claus isn’t a child psychologist. I wanted to explain to him the secret powers that good St. Nick possessed. I wanted to tell him that, like Clark Kent, I had my secret costume hanging in my closet.

Perhaps I should have loaned him my Santa Claus suit and given him a copy of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. One Christmas Eve I slipped on my Santa Claus suit while preparing for my grand entrance in the living room. My wife was preparing hot chocolate. The children were probably playing Chutes and Ladders or rubbing crayons in their annual Christmas coloring books. Just as I was finished pulling on my Santa Claus hat and white gloves, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I saw my grandfather peering back at me.

m Dr. Christopher de Vinck’s most recent book is Moments of Grace. Chris is the Language Arts Supervisor at CHS and the author of 13 books, his best known work is The Power of the Powerless a frank reflection on the struggles and joys of loving his severely disabled brother. To order the book, call 1-800218-1903 or look for it in bookstores or online.

Even though I was in my thirties, I felt like an old, old man. I felt grateful for my wife and children. I felt a complicated ease about the comforts of my home. I missed my grandfather and playing baseball in the back yard with my best friend Johnny. I missed my mother’s springerle cookies and the icicles that hung out my bedroom window when I was a child. And then I heard a voice downstairs, “Daddy?” I blinked, adjusted the pillow under the jacket, looked into the mirror and whispered “Ho, ho, ho.” I may not be Superman, or Batman, I may not even be Santa Claus after all, but I am a man who wants his children to believe that I have secret powers that will protect them always, and if they ever need me, all they have to do is dial “D” for dad.

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


S haring A Change of Paths Robert Louer III Went from Marketing to Ministry By Joe Hawrylko

The Louer family at Christmas in 2001.

One of the keys to happiness in life is doing something that you love for a living. It took some 20 years, but Robert Louer finally figured out that his calling is an ordained minister. Growing up in the Richfield section, Louer had attended mass in a variety of churches and even considered enrolling in the seminary after graduating from Clifton High School in 1980. “I grew up in the church,” he explained. “Growing up, we went to many different churches for a variety of reasons... the Methodist church, the Christian Reform church, the Baptist church. Ultimately I ended up at a Presbyterian.” 34

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

“In my junior year of high school, I was thinking about college, what you’re going to do with your life,” Louer continued. “I thought about ministry. I had this idea, this is for the holy people, the perfect people... well, that couldn’t be me. So I pretty much dismissed that out of hand. I went on to the Merchant Marine Academy because I wanted to sail ships and see the world.” The Cliftonite got to do just that in the Academy, traveling to places such as Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. “In grammar school, I wanted to sit next to the bulletin board because

you could always look at the maps,” Louer said. “I’m always interested in the world beyond Clifton.” “I liked the kind of education they give at Kings Point,” he added. “They challenge you in every way. They build leaders. That was very attractive to me. The fringe benefit was that you get to see the world. And when you graduate, I couldn’t think of a position where you get more responsibility than having command of a 700 foot ship for hours a day. That’s pretty cool.” Louer graduated from Kings Point in 1984 as a deck officer with a degree in marine transportation. However, his entrance to the work-

force coincided with a recession, and Louer was unable to find a job in his chosen profession. Instead, he took a job offer to work in ground transportation at Ciba-Geigy pharmaceuticals in 1988. That company would later go through a merger and become Novartis. It was with the pharmaceutical giant that Louer spent the bulk of his career, moving on from transportation to warehouse management, and then transitioning into sales and marketing after receiving an MBA in marketing and international business from NYU in 1993. But even as he progressed up the corporate ladder, Louer still made sure that his secular life did not prevent him from remaining active in his church. “Religion still played an important part of my life, but professional ministry wasn’t it at that time,” explained Louer. “What happened is when I was marketing products for Novartis marketing blockbuster drugs or building them into blockbuster drugs. But it was becoming more and more dry. I had been really passionate about marketing at one point, but after doing it for so long it began to get dry. At the same time I

Louer at CHS 1980 and in June 2009, preaching in Nchelenge.

was getting more involved at my church and that seemed to be displacing my passion for marketing.” Louer was doing volunteer work, leading youth groups, bible studies and even joining a mission committee over a period of five years. in the mid 90s. “I started to wonder if a lot of what I’ve been doing in my secular life has been preparation for professional ministry,” he said. “About

half or more people who enter professional ministry are what they call second career ministers.” In 1999, Louer left Novartis to work for a smaller advertising agency, while still contemplating a change of careers. “The idea being this allows me to do a lot of what I had done in marketing and see what it’s like to work in a smaller company, in a

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smaller service business with an eye towards professional ministry,” he said. Louer’s boss at the company was a devout Christian who he spoke with frequently, and his superior advised him that he could still be involved with the church without giving up his professional career. However, Louer’s conviction to join the seminary grew stronger with each passing month. In 2004, he used his vacation time to book a 10 day missionary trip to India in February. There, he worked with the Dalit people, an ostracized group of poverty stricken individuals within India’s caste system. “They’re known as ‘The Untouchables.’ Within the caste system, they’re considered the outcasts in their society,” he said. Louer said the region he was in was so remote that some locals had never seen Caucasians before. “They do the lowest jobs of the low. They clean up human excrement with their hands.” “I just saw these people’s faith. I saw these people have their lives transformed through the missionary, through a combination of Christian faith, education and vocational training,” Louer continued. “Utterly transformed. people who for 3,500 years knew nothing other than cleaning human excrement, dead animals and bodies, and they were running businesses and having hope for the first time ever. And I thought, when I get off the plane in Newark, I’m not going to see a billboard saying ‘Bob, go to seminary.’ I just have to do it and if I’m not good at it, don’t like it, don’t cut it, God will show me the way.” Louer prepared his exit from marketing and enrolled in the Princeton Theological Seminary in July 2005 a, later graduating in May 2008.

“In marketing, I did tons of public speaking, involved in a lot of leadership teams, there’s strategic thinking,” he said. “You see the transferability of that stuff.” He was awarded a global ministry fellowship through Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and began preaching and teaching in New York City the following month. There, he prepared for his mandatory mission work, and ultimately left for Zambia, Africa, on Sept. 1. “I spent a year in Zambia—it’s one of the ten poorest countries on Earth. It’s the size of Texas, and the average person gets by on under $2 a day,” explained Louer. “The church in Zambia is exploding with growth. They don’t have enough pastors to go around so laypeople do a lot of the work of the church. I work with other Zambia pastors to take theological education to the people so they could train others to do the work of the church.” The poverty was so great that Louer, who had visited some very impoverished countries as a Merchant Marine, was taken back by what he saw. “On one hand I was sort of ready for it,” he said. “I had a cognitive expectation for it. I had been to other places in the world. There were times in Zambia the poverty and need of the people was so great, I remember one day I thought it was literally going to crush me.” “One morning three people came to my job looking for piece work,” Louer continued. “By the time the third person away had nothing to do just the weight off the need and my inability to do anything about it was just overwhelming.” Louer documented his travels in

the country by writing a blog, which can be read at “I learned from these people the importance of community and relationships. How much we are prisoners to time and task in this country,” he said. “I saw the strength of women. Men, they do have the power in this culture, but they really are the backbone of society. They’re responsible for raising children, for domestic work... they really are a spiritual bedrock. Often times, because unemployment exceeds 70 percent, they’ll go out and get jobs besides all this. It’s not on common to see a Zambia woman with something on her head, with something on each hand, and a baby on her back.” The cultural differences extended far beyond the gender roles. “All of these people, they have a joy in them, an uplifting joyful cantonese that you just don’t see here,” said Louer. He recalled how Zambians would celebrate holidays by bringing any extra they had at home to the church as offerings, despite having little themselves. “Since coming back home, I try to live more simplistic, but I cannot help but see how materialistic and consumeristic our country is,” he said. “I had what I could fit into my backpack: my laptop, a few travel books and toiletries. And I was fine, I was quite content.” After leaving Zambia, Louer was also required to travel for three months in the developed world and visited West Africa, India, Nepal and Cambodia in 2009. “Lonelinesss is hard,” he said. “To be in a culture that is not your own, to be a minority in that culture and to be so far away from family and friends.”

Louer, who lives in Clifton once again until finding a permanent congregation to serve, has been plying his craft as a temporary supply pastor, filling in for others on leave. “The way our culture works, time does dictate the way we live,” he said. “A church service in Zambia lasts three to four hours. Here, if you preach more than 10 minutes, people are getting itchy. The irony is that the churches there are overflowing

and the churches here are emptying.” “I think that people are trying to quench their thirst for one another and with God with stuff: money, pulling into the driveway witha better car than your neighbor, a second home, a second car, a big screen TV,” said Louer. “They try to satisfy their thirst for what they don’t know. It’s like drinking cups of dry, hot sand. I think it’s insatiable and unsatisfying.”

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Healing the Children

Opening a Clifton door for a Child in need By Joe Hawrylko

Healing the Children is a family affair with Jacki, Carlos and Nick, as well as Courtney and Lesly.

In this season of giving and sharing, many will donate their money and time to several worthy causes. Cliftonite Jackie Licata-Alectoridis-Alectoridis urges residents to take that generosity a bit farther by supporting Healing the Children. HTC is a program in which volunteers open their home to take on the responsibility of caring for a child in need of medical care within the United States. The guardians take the child to medical appointments, and provide a loving family and support system while he or she is under medical care. “It’s something that I’ve been a part of for 20 years now,” said Licata-Alectoridis. “There’s many different chapters and I’m involved with the New Jersey chapter. I’ve been a host parent for years, even before I met Nick.” With her husband, Licata-Alectoridis has fostered three children, and many more prior to meeting him. “They come in without parents. They’re alone,” she explained. The couple is currently caring for a four year old girl who is recovering from cataract surgery. “She was three when she came here, alone really. An 38

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

escort, which was a stewardess, handed her over to us. Three years old. It’s just about being a mom to these kids when they’re here. Making sure the child is taken care of, is safe and loved while in another country.” Licata-Alectoridis said that some of the children she has cared for over the last two decades have come from extremely impoverished families. The parents of her current child doesn’t even had a phone in their home in the Dominican Republic, and have not spoken with their daughter since she came to America in July. They will finally be reunited in January, but may exchange their daughter for their 18 month old son, who suffers from the same genetic condition. The couple is already considering stepping in as hosts once again. For Licata-Alectoridis, her generosity comes naturally. “Our son is adopted and he originally came to me through Healing the Children,” she explained. Manny is a 2009 graduate of Clifton High School. “It’s my promise to Healing the Children for bringing Manny into my life. I’ll always be there for other kids coming in.”

Licata-Alectoridis said that people often inquire about getting involved with the charity and are surprised to learn that the level of involvement can be altered to fit the lifestyle of the host parents. “People interested in being a host family go through a very similar process to what you’d do if you were trying to foster a child, but not as extensive,” she explained. “You’re screened and a social worker comes out to the home.” There are a wide variety of medical ailments that bring kids to Healing the Children, and the local chapters typically link up foster families with patients who will only need care locally. In addition, the program will help find a child whose needs fit the availability of a foster family. “You take what you can handle,” said LicataAlectoridis, who co-owns the Rainbow Montessori School in Botany Village. “I myself take a child who is healthy enough to go to school. That’s how I got involved originally, through the school.” For more information about Healing the Children, visit, the local chapter at, or call Denise Malsky at 973-949-5034.

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S haring

The Clifton Rotary Club 60 Years of Keeping the Circle going By Joe Hawrylko

Paul Lawrence with family and friends at his induction ceremony. From left is Jaden Hall, his mother, Marlene Robinson, Lawrence, wife, Ellie, and daughters Nichole and Naomi. The Lawrence Family welcomed Jaden, who is from Jamaica, into their home this summer as he received medical attention for a heart condition, thanks to the Gift of Life program.

Just like his late father before him, Paul Lawrence understands the value of service and giving back to the community. The first year president of the Clifton Rotary Club hails from Jamaica, where his dad, James, was an influential member of the same international charity that the son now governs in Clifton. Lawrence is a firm believer in the power of the service organization, having once been a beneficiary of Rotary International’s work. A few decades ago, he earned a scholarship through the club, which allowed him to leave Jamaica and attend college in the United States, going on to start a family and land a job at Sony Music. “When people ask how long you’ve been a Rotarian, I tell people I’ve been one for 45 years,” 40

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

laughed Lawrence, 40. “I grew up in a Rotary home. My father was a member, but he wasn’t your typical guy. He was the man. He was president a few times, and always on the Board.” Rotary International was formed in 1905, and features more than 33,000 local clubs and over 1.2 million members who provide a wide range of humanitarian services. This includes combating hunger, health issues, and improving and promoting education through programs such as the one that Lawrence benefited from. James Lawrence passed when his son was just in his teens, and a few years later, the younger Lawrence was awarded a scholarship in his father’s name by

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


SHARING Rotary Club

Some Rotary Club officers in 2010. From left: Treasurer Patrick DeLora, past President Angela Montague, then Vice President Paul Lawrence and past secretary Olyum Seeker.

Rotary, which allowed him to attend Central Texas College in 1992. “I was greeted at the airport by a Rotarian, I lived with a Rotarian. Rotarians got me acclimated to the whole lifestyle in America,” he recalled. “I was a little bare foot boy from Jamaica who came here and does all this stuff for Rotary.” It was the Rotarian nurturing and the scholarship that made Lawrence dedicate himself to a lifetime of service. After spending a decade in Texas as a DJ for a popular reggae station, Lawrence left

for a job offer as a marketing representative with Sony Music in New York City in 1997. The following year, he was promoted to a national marketing manager position, and his wife, Ellie, and young daughter, Naomi made the move up north, first living in Paterson and then settling in Clifton. Even though his job with Sony had him frequently traveling around the country, sometimes only living at home for one week a month, Lawrence still found time to be involved in his adopted hometown. For more than a decade, he

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

was a youth leader at Cross Roads Methodist Church. He has coached indoor soccer at the Clifton Boys & Girls Club for about 10 years, and has also served with the Downtown Clifton Business Association. “A wise man once told me the significance of an individual living on this Earth is to make someone else’s life easier, whether it is sharing your wisdom, whether it’s mentoring or whether it’s through giving,” he explained. “And that’s where I find my joy is serving.” Lawrence’s involvement with the Clifton Rotary Club started in 2008, after he left Sony and founded a property management company in Clifton so he could be closer to family. When opening his mail one day, Lawrence caught eye of a high sewage fee bill from City Hall, and went to go see then-City Manager Al Greco to have the figure explained. While in Greco’s office, Lawrence noticed numerous Rotary plaques on the wall and inquired about the City Manager’s involvement. Greco, a life-long Rotarian himself, extended an invitation, and the bond was formed. “He’s a great Rotarian,” Lawrence said of Greco.

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


SHARING Rotary Club “I shared with him how my life was changed by the Rotary and he extended the invite.” Locally, the Clifton Rotary has numerous causes that it supports, most notably the annual Youth Week, in which students follow community leaders for the day. Other programs include the annual distribution of dictionaries to schools, more than $40,000 of scholarships over the past decade, and support of the St. Peter’s Haven Food Drive (nearly $25,000) and other charitable contributions totally more than $20,000 annually. Lawrence quickly became involved with the Clifton chapter, first as a member and later on the board as a secretary (2009-2010), vice president (2010-2011) and this year, as president. The Jamaican native said the board was very receptive to new programs to support, and for new ways to reinvigorate its members and bolster its ranks. “I got a very warm reception from every member there, and we shared ideas about certain projects,” said Lawrence. One program that Lawrence has been attempting to expand is Implants in Paradise, in which dentists travel to Jamaica to perform free care on the locals while receiving the necessary credits for continued

training. Lawrence has partnered up locally with Dr. Mike Shulman of Russo & Shulman Dental Center for Complete Dental Care on Broad St. to promote the program. His involvement got Clifton Rotary to donate $5,000 to the cause, and formed a relationship between Clifton and the Negril chapter. As the Clifton Rotary Club celebrates 60 years of giving back to the community, Lawrence is aiming to increase the amount of programs and causes that the service organization supports, both locally and elsewhere. However, to achieve that goal, Lawrence needs to accomplish his first: doubling the membership, bringing the total number of Clifton Rotarians to over 100. Lawrence also hopes that some of the new blood will be in the form of younger people, so that Clifton has a whole new generation of Rotarians to better the community. “Service, regardless of how you serve, is important: Helping the lady across the street, helping your family or helping a complete stranger,” he said. “It’s important. It’s what we were put on Earth to do. I just want to get out that the Rotary is a phenomenal avenue for which to serve.” To join or for more info, call 973-704-4334 or find Clifton Rotary on Facebook.

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Traditions & Memories Talking Turkey Mustang Football & Holiday Celebrations Story and Photos by Carol Leonard What better way to kick off the holiday season than to take in a high school football game. It was a pictureperfect and unseasonably mild Thanksgiving morning on Nov. 24 at Clifton Stadium when the Fighting Mustangs took the field against Passaic in the traditional Turkey Day rivalry. Clifton went on to win the contest 55-29. The event also marked the end of the 40 year career of beloved Mustang Band Director Bob Morgan, who announced his retirement to his current charges before they marched into the stadium. Morgan was honored at halftime for his many years of service and dedication to the school district and to the Clifton community. Prior to the start of the game, Clifton Merchant Magazine contributing writer Carol Leonard had a chance to chat with some of the fans about their plans and traditions for the upcoming Christmas holiday as well as their hopes and wishes for the New Year. The overriding theme of their comments centered on the importance of spending the holidays with family and close friends. Here’s what they had to say: Melody and Craig Stepneski have been hosting a family gathering for Christmas at their home for more than two decades. “We started having our parents and siblings over for Christmas dinner so we wouldn’t have










Melody and Craig Stepneski

to take our kids (Nicole, now 24, and Bryan, now 21) out of their own home on the holiday,” Melody said. “Here we are 24 years later and we still all enjoy







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TRADITIONS and Memories the day together.” With grandparents now deceased, there aren’t as many people around the dinner table, Craig said. “But it’s still our tradition.” The Stepneskis will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in 2012, so their hope for the New Year is to take a trip to Alaska. Band parent Linda Bandurski and her mother, Betty Boyle, emigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1973, so they enjoy both their Scottish traditions for the holidays as well as those of Linda’s husband, who is of Polish descent. “We spend Christmas Eve with my husband’s side, doing the usual fish dinner and all the other Polish stuff,” Linda said. “Then on Christmas Day my mother makes a steak pie and trifle, which is what we always did in Scotland.” Christmas is a somewhat bittersweet time of year for Betty, who lost her husband some years ago on the 18th of December. But the excitement of seeing her grandsons, ages 25, 20 and 15, open their gifts helps brighten her day on Christmas morning. “God forbid there aren’t enough gifts under the tree,” Linda said. “Even though they’re older now, there

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Linda Bandurski and her mother, Betty Boyle.

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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TRADITIONS and Memories still has to be a lot of stuff for them to open.” Peace, health and happiness for themselves and their loved ones are Linda’s and Betty’s hope for the New Year. Sandra and Jorge Aquino along with their daughters Melanie Jai, 6, and Angelica, 7, spend Christmas Eve cooking and getting their home ready for a traditional Peruvian feast at midnight that they share with extended family. The fixings include ham, pork shoulder, potato salad, and rice and beans. “After eating, we open the presents,” Sandra said. The Aquinos sleep in on Christmas morning, “until around 12 noon or 1 o’clock,” Jorge said. Then they spend the rest of the day visiting with other family members in the area. “I hope the New Year brings better opportunities and jobs for every-

Sandra and Jorge Aquino with their daughters Melanie Jai and Angelica.

one,” Sandra said. Rose and John Filippone host Christmas Eve at their home for their daughter Robin, son-in-law Fred and granddaughters Regina and Francesca. Rose cooks a traditional dinner, with fish as the centerpiece. “The old saying is that for Christmas and New Year’s you don’t eat anything

with wings or your luck will fly out the window,” she said. Robbin fixes brunch for everyone at her home on Christmas morning, which includes French toast, and bacon and eggs. Later in the day, Fred takes over the cooking chores, preparing a roast beef, with all the traditional side dishes. The Filippones wish for

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


TRADITIONS and Memories

Carol and Bruce Lockhart, Chris Christides and Alida Arre, and Rose and John Filipone

the New Year is for good health, peace and happiness for themselves and their family. Cheryl and Ken Bender’s only son, Brian, graduated from CHS last June and is now at Penn State, but the former band parents can still be found selling Mustang gear at Clifton Stadium. The couple’s holiday traditions have evolved since the passing of Ken’s mother two years ago. “We used to spend every Christmas at my mom’s,” he said. “She had Christmas at her house ever since I was born. When she got too old to do all the cooking, she had it catered, but she always made her Swedish meatballs.” Ken said he also used to dress up as Santa Claus


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Now, the Benders travel to Pennsylvania to spend the holiday with Cheryl’s brother and his family. “We have great nieces and nephews now, so we’re ready to start some new traditions,” Ken said. “It’s a cycle that you go through, but it still stays centered around family.” The couple hopes that the New Year will bring some progress with the economy. “I hope the government can get its act together,” Ken said. Longtime Clifton residents Carol and Bruce Lockhart spend Christmas Eve with their family before attending a midnight service at Brookdale Christian Church. “My daughter-in-law is Italian, so she always makes lasagna,”

Carol said. The rest of the meal includes ham, turkey and all the fixings, and a homemade cheesecake for dessert. After coming home from church, the couple each opens one gift before going to bed. In the morning they read the Christmas story from the Bible and open the rest of their presents. The Lockharts also enjoy traveling into New York each holiday season to see the Radio City Christmas show. “I’ve been going to Radio City every year since I was seven years-old,” Carol said. “I wouldn’t miss it.” Happiness and good health for all, and economic recovery are the Lockharts’ hope for our country in 2012.

For Chris Christedes, 19, and Alidda Arre, 16, Christmas is all about spending time with family. “Every year we have family come in from Florida, Virginia and all over New Jersey,” Chris said. “We spend about a week together. Some stay at my house and others stay with other relatives in the area. There’s a lot of drinking on Christmas Eve and we have a big dinner on Christmas Day.” “All of my family and the neighbors come for Christmas,” Alida said. We eat a lot and watch Christmas specials on TV. Me and my nieces go down to the basement to put on music and dance. A student at Passaic County Community College, Chris hopes that the economy improves in the New Year. “I’m interested in politics, so I’ll be paying attention to what happens in the presidential election,” he said. Sharon Ferrara, mother of star Mustang quarterback Patrick Ferrara and daughters Jessica and Kimmy, was seated at the game next to her father, John Finley. Sharon said her family’s Christmas traditions include getting a live tree and decorating it together about three weeks before the holiday. “A lot of the ornaments are things the kids made when they were younger,” she said. Another tradition of Sharon’s every year is to host a

Cheryl and Ken Bender.

cookie swap party with friends and family, where everyone brings their favorite homemade cookies to share. The Ferraras spend Christmas Eve with Sharon’s husband Pat’s sister and her family, and Christmas Day is spent at home, where Sharon prepares a huge family dinner for 46 people. “My mom always makes the cole slaw and turnips,” she said. Sharon’s hope for the New Year is for good health for all and that our troops will come home safely.





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Traditions & Memories Hats for the Holidays Decorating Our Tree By Chris Liszner My granddaughter Sara Ann always “helped” decorate my tree since she was about 3 years old. One year we were decorating our tree with my sister. My sister’s bird, Annie, was flying all over the room not understanding the excitement of all the boxes in the living room and he landed on my head. Ouch! His claws in my scalp was not pleasant. So, I put a hat on my head to save my scalp. Annie never landed on anyone else’s head, just mine, but my sister and Sara Ann donned hats as well. So today, with grandson, Ryan, joining us, we continue to decorate together, with our hats on. Annie is still with my sister but he’s no longer invited to decorate. We just like to wear the hats now! Sara Ann, Ryan Michael and Grandma Chrissy Liszner.

Founder Joseph T. Bizub who in 1923 established Bizub's Funeral Home at 205 Third St. in Passaic. For three generations, our family has proudly served our community. Tim and Toby with their dad Tom.

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Sharing Ipads Come to the CP Center! TD Bank North Donates 2 for Clifton Students At the Passaic County Elks Cerebral Palsy Treatment Centers in Clifton, Apple iPads have become the latest educational and therapeutic tools for children with special needs. “At the Elementary School, we currently have three iPads in the Assistive Technology Lab,” said Dr. William G. Weiss, Executive Director of the CP Center. “The iPad’s easy to use design makes it the desired learning tool for children with physical challenges.” The lightweight design, cost effectiveness and its ability to be customized for a student in assisting them to speak, read or write

make it an ideal new tool for learning. Students are improving critical thinking skills by playing cause and effect games through applications—apps for short, explained Weiss. The technology makes a big difference in the classroom. “Our children are learning language, math, and science concepts by using apps on their educational levels, added teacher Peggy Lore. “I couldn’t believe how our students’ eyes lit up when they use an iPad.” During therapy sessions, Weiss said a physical therapist might utilize it as a motivator for Holiday Express, a non-profit band created by Tim McLoone, pictured center, performed at the CP Center High School on Union Ave. on Nov. 28 to spread the healing power of music. Following the show, TD Bank North made a gift presentation, donating two Ipads to be used as speech devices for nonverbal students.


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

, t y , , e h n 8

The CP Center here in Clifton relies on support and donations. Can YOU help make a wish come true? Our Elementary School is wishing for… • 2 Ipads ................................. $1000 • 1 Digital Camera ..................... $125 • Adapted switches and toys ... $400

Our High School is wishing for… • 2 Ipads ................................ $1000 • Laser Printer .......................... $800

completion of therapy tasks. Because of its size and portability it easily can be mounted to a wheelchair or placed on a mobile stander. In occupational therapy—the process in which the CP Center helps students to learn how ot live independently—there are dozens of apps that enable communications. For instance, they learn writing skills, motor and fine motor skills. In speech and language therapy, the students use it as a dedicated speech generating system with apps like Proloquo2go and Tap to Talk. “These applications help a nonverbal child who often cannot communicate frustrations or basic needs,” said Weiss. “These apps are much less expensive than many speech generating devices on the market.” In addition, they use the iPad to further develop their receptive and expressive language skills by playing such speech apps such as ArtikPix. Pictured on the facing page is Matthew who is demonstrating how he uses the iPad. However if Matthew were given a piece of paper and a pencil he would encounter significant difficulty writing. “With lively music applications such as Garage Band, virtual key-

• Flower seeds and planting supplies for spring .................. $100 • 10 Movie Tickets for respite programs ................................ $100

Our Adult Training Center is wishing for… • 1 Ipads ................................ $1000 • 1 Electric Changing Table ..... $2000 To donate or purchase these items or others, call Executive Director Dr. William G. Weiss at 973-772-2600.

boards, and iTunes our students with fine and gross difficulties are experiencing the joy of music,” said Weiss. The needs of the CP Center are great and growing, explained Weiss, and he seeks the support of the community. “If you or your group would like to see how this amazing technology is a powerful learning tool for our special needs children call me at the Center. I’d be happy to tell you more or arrange a tour,” he concluded.

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


n o t f i l C p Sho ! t s r Fi Sometimes it starts small. Like

And that note and photo brings us back

purchasing your tree from these volunteers

to the slogan we created a few years

at St. Brendan Catholic School. They’ll

back... it is as valid as when we first

be at the lot on Lakeview Ave. near

coined it. Which is exactly what we’re

Crooks from 9 am to 9 pm weekends and

encouraging you to do again. For this

Fridays from 5 to 9 pm through Christmas.

holiday season, and whenever possible,

Proceeds benefit students of the school.

please shop clifton first.


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Prime Health Physicians

Dr. Mao and Dr. Mehta serve the community with compassion and the extra care that makes every patient feel like family. In addition, the staff is friendly and makes every patient a priority.

A gift basket from Corrado’s is always a good impression.

We’ve been saying it for a decade of Decembers, but it’s worth repeating. This holiday season remember to Shop Clifton First! Our city has hundreds of unique, family-owned shops and businesses where you can get just about anything you need for gift giving and entertaining. And when we shop locally and support our Clifton Merchants, we’re really helping ourselves. The success of the shops and stores in our many business districts helps keep our community strong and stable. So before you head to the malls or order online, remember to visit your local merchants. Let’s start with the home front. Holiday decorations definitely put us in the spirit. What better way to start than with flowers? Poinsettias and other blooms can set the tone for all of your holiday decorating. And remember to think beyond the dining room table. Flowers make a statement. The entryway, powder room, even the guest room can all benefit from a boost of living color. And fresh flowers make an ideal hostess gift. We’ve got plenty of florists in town, from Corrado’s on Main Ave.—either in the supermarket or in the Garden Center on Getty Ave.—to places like St. George Florist, Schneider’s Flowers, Days Gone By in the Richfield Shopping Center, or for that matter, Richfield Farms. Now that you’ve decorated, you’re ready to entertain! Whether throwing a big party, or inviting over a few close friends, don’t forget to check your liquor cabinet. Where do you shop for fine wines and spirits?


Dr. Sidhartha Mehta



Specializing in: • Geriatric Assessment including Alzheimer’s Dementia, Functional Assessment, Osteoporosis and Polypharmacy. • Pain Management • Acupuncture Dr. Mao received the 2011 Health Care Professional Award from The Arc of Bergen and Passaic Counties

Specializing in: • Diabetes & Arthritis • Uncontrolled Blood Pressure • High Cholesterol • Travel Medicine • Weight Loss Dr. Mehta is Board Certified in Internal Medicine

AVAILABLE IN OFFICE: Electrocardiograms (EKG)

Immunizations & Travel Medicine

Nerve Conduction Examination

Ultrasound and Doppler Imaging

Flu Vaccine and Pneumonia Vaccine

Lung Function Testing

Blood Circulation Test

Medicare Well Visits

Respiratory Treatments

Allergy Screening

Prime Health Physicians 871 Allwood Road, Clifton 862-249-4904

Languages spoken fluently at this facility other than English include Spanish, Chinese, and Hindi.

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



SHOP Clifton FIRST May we make a few suggestions: The wine masters at Bertelli’s in Styertowne will help you find the right vintage at the right price. Wright Wines & Liquors on Van Houten has a large selection of Polish liquors, beers and other international spirits. Stew Leonards in the Promenade Shops is perhaps the city’s largest liquor retailer and has a great selection of wines in a variety of prices and a very helpful staff. If you are hosting a party or going to one, you’ll want to have snacks on hand. Luckily, in a city as diverse as this, there’s a number of different stores that cater to all sorts of tastes and ethnicities. In Downtown Clifton, there’s Mike Duch’s Pirogi Store and his neighbor, the House of Nuts. Across town on Market St., Dayton Homemade Chocolates offers a great selection of milk, white and dark chocolates. Kielbasy is an Eastern European treat that comes in many dif-

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

ferent styles, perfect for picking food. Pick up a ring at Polonia Meat Market on Van Houten Ave. in Athenia, or Stefan & Sons Meat Store on Dayton Ave. in Botany Village. If you’re entertaining Magyar people, then check out the Hungarian Meat Market, which is a bit further down on Dayton Ave. Doing some clothes shopping this holiday season? Clifton has retailers who have just what you need. Try Shereeds or Dress Barn, both in Styertowne. And once you’ve found that perfect dress or suit, stop by the neighboring Moda Shoes & Co. This classy little shop has a large selection and styles for every member of the family, plus a complete line of contemporary men’s clothing. Wheels on Van Houten Ave. carries handbags and accessories in addition to clothing. They also have a large selection of custom silver jewelry, as well gift items like candles, cards and incense.

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Shopping for the health conscious? Pick up a Votivo Candle set at Wheels on Van Houten Ave. Owner Laurie Mocek, now in her 20th year, offers a line of Votivo items as well as a beautiful selection of silver jewelry. Complete the package with a gift certificate to the Salt Cavern on Allwood Rd. A session or two in Salt Therapy offers many natural healing qualities, from easier breathing to relaxation. The Salt Cavern offers Himalayan Salt Lamps, which allows you to bring home and help adjust and neutralize electromagnetic wave lengths in your abode in a natural way.

Everyone loves to dine out. Even the person who has everything would enjoy a gift certificate to one of Clifton’s many restaurants. For Italian cuisine, there is Mario’s and Barilari’s on Van Houten Ave., Buco’s on Allwood Rd. and Sergio’s on Lakeview. Someone on your list love Chinese food? There is Cheng-Du on Rte. 46 and The Seasons in Styertowne. And don’t forget Japanese—Zen Sushi on Piaget Ave. and Osaka on Market St. in Allwood. If you love Spanish food, check out Aji Limon and El Mexicano on Main Ave., and one of Clifton’s newer restaurants, Noches De Colombia, which anchors Sullivan Square in Historic Botany Village. Jewelry, with its many gems and precious metals, as well as its variety of ways to send a message, is often a great gift for the holiday. So if you are looking to purchase something in silver or gold, make a purchase from someone you know. Clifton has many family owned stores, including Corbo’s in Styertowne, Tony’s on Main Ave., Morre Lyons in Richfield and Lacki’s in Athenia. American Coin & Stamp on Main Ave. also has a diverse selection of gently used necklaces, rings and other jewelry tucked into a display counter. However, it

Happy Holidays...! from All of Us at Immedicenter... We hope we don’t have to see you, but just in case, we will be here... • Christmas Eve/New Year’s Eve (Saturdays) 8am-5pm • Christmas Day/New Year’s Day (Sundays) 8am-5pm Our Regular Hours & Services... • Monday - Friday 8am to 9pm • Saturday & Sunday 8am to 5pm • Walk-in Medical Care • Weekday Appointments Available


Dr. Michael Basista, Medical Director of ImmediCenter 62

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

1355 Broad St. • Clifton • 973-778-5566

Schedule your surgery at Clifton Surgery Center. We are a three room state of the art, nationally accredited, physician owned facility. Smaller and more service oriented than hospitals, patients and their families benefit from the convenience and lower cost.

All of us at Clifton Surgery Center wish you

Year-Round Good Health & Wellness! PODIATRY Thomas Graziano, DPM, MD 1033 Clifton, Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-473-3344 Jeffrey Miller, DPM 1117 Route 46 East, 2nd Floor Clifton, NJ 07013 973-365-2208 Eugene A. Batelli, DPM 1117 Route 46 East, 2nd Floor Clifton, NJ 07013 973-365-2208 Zina Cappiello, DPM 886 Pompton Ave, Suite A-1 Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 973-857-1184 Glenn Haber, DPM 140 Grand Ave. Englewood, NJ 07631 201-569-0212 John Mc Evoy, DPM 152 Lakeview Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-340-8970 Kevin Healey, DPM 152 Lakeview Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-340-8970 Matthew Welch, DPM 6506 Park Ave. West New York, NJ 07093 201-662-1122 Anas Khoury, DPM 235 Main Ave. Passaic, NJ 07066 973-473-6665

Celebrate the season, enjoy family and friends, but please be safe and healthy... PAIN MANAGEMENT



Ladislav Habina, MD 1117 Route 46 East, 2nd Floor Clifton, NJ 07013 973-357-8228

Michael Gaccione, DC 26 Clinton St. Newark, NJ 07012 973-624-4000

Kent Lerner, MD 17 Jauncey Ave. North Arlington, NJ 07031 201-991-9019

Kazimierz Szczech, MD 1033 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-473-4400

Terry Mc Sweeney, DC 600 Mount Prospect Ave. Newark, NJ 07104 973-485-2332

Binod Sinha, MD 1117 Route 46 East, 2nd Floor Clifton, NJ 07013 973-777-5444 Todd Koppel, MD 721 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-473-5752

ENDOSCOPY Piotr Huskowski, MD 1005 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-778-7882

ENT Stephen Abrams, MD 1070 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-773-9880

UROLOGY Daniel Rice, MD 1001 Clifton, Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-779-7231

OPHTHALMOLOGY Charles Crowley, MD 1033 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-472-6405

GENERAL SURGERY Kevin Buckley, MD 1100 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-778-0100 Edwin Kane, MD 1100 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-778-0100 Ramon Silen, MD 1117 Route 46 East, Suite 301 Clifton, NJ 07013 973-779-4242

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


SHOP Clifton FIRST is primarily known as the state’s oldest and largest rare coin, gold and silver exchange. The gift of investment might be the best present to receive this holiday season. AC&S also has commemorative coins and tokens for any occasion. Buying for a budding musician? Then check out Menconi School of Music on Lakeview Ave. Owner and Clifton native Annamaria Menconi and her tal-

Clifton’s Nick Benigno at right, is a Bass Fishing Tournament Pro but he is also the guy to see if you want to get someone on your list fishing gear. He is pictured here showing off a 5 pound largemouth he caught and released in the Pompton Lake just a few weeks ago. Benigno works at Meltzer’s on Outwater Lane in Garfield. He is there at least five days a week, doling out advice, selling rods and reels for both fresh and salt water. Within the same store, shoppers will also find a large section of guns and clothing, most anything an outdoors person would want. And if Benigno is not in the house, no doubt you see Clifton’s Billy Meltzer, the second generation owner of this independently owned retail shop.

1216 Van Houten Avenue

973.859.0180 Mon. : Closed / Tues.-Fri. : 8am-6pm Sat. : 9am-5pm / Sun. : 9am-3pm

Merry Cupcakes

k CAKES! y our Cupcake Try e rly s ea derrs de rd y or day id olid e Hol Placce

Visit our 3 other locations: • 385 Kinderkamack Rd. in Oradell • In Hackensack, at The Shops at Riverside • 86 Broad St., Red Bank Now Offering Curbside Service at All Locations

We’re Open ‘til 2pm on Christmas Eve, 6pm on New Year’s Eve & Closed on Christmas Day & New Year’s Day 64

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Catholic HIGH SCHOOL 425 Paramus Road • Paramus, NJ 07652 (201) 445-4466 |

Come and see why over 125 students from Clifton are making PC their high school of choice! Pictured are some of Clifton’s top seniors from the Paramus Catholic High School Class of 2012 Kiril Manchevski – GPA: 94 – SATs: 1970 Kiril is an Aquinas Scholar and a member of the Environmental Club, Paladin Awareness Cancer Team, and National Honor Society. Kevin Do – GPA: 94 – SATs: 1870 Kevin is a member of the Mock Trial, Environmental, and Robotics Clubs, as well as the National Honor Society. He is an Aquinas Scholar and plays Varsity Tennis. Natalie Rebisz – GPA: 92 – SATs: 1850 Natalie is a member of the Student Council, National Honor Society, and Bridges Outreach Program, as well as the Ambassador, Model UN, and Environmental Clubs. She is also an Aquinas Scholar.

Members of the PC Class of 2011 earned about $32 million in scholarships and grants and are attending such prestigious universities as: Bentley, Brandeis, Carnegie Mellon, Colgate, Columbia, Cornell, Fairfield, George Washington, Marquette, Notre Dame, NYU, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Villanova, and Yale. Clifton graduates earned over $1.5 million of these scholarships and grants. • 124 College Preparatory courses, including 27 Honors and 16 AP level courses • Active Campus Ministry Program, including retreat, community service, and worship opportunities • Vibrant Performing Arts Programs, including Marching Band, Glee Club/Show Choir, Drama/Musical, Band, Dance, and Concert Choir • New! Preparation for Careers in Medical Professions • Cost Effective Tuition for Families • Large School Offerings, Small Class Size • Fully Wireless Facility • 27-Acre Scenic Campus • Stable, Strong, and Focused on the future

Dennis Kurian – GPA: 93 – SATs: 2040 Dennis is an Aquinas Scholar and a member of the Student Council, Ambassador Club, and National Honor Society.

Scan the QR code for more information Photo Credits: Image Art Studio, Glen Rock, NJ •

All roads lead to PC! December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


SHOP Clifton FIRST ented staff teach lessons for a variety of instruments. Piano in the home? Alicia Hasting has got you—and your piano—covered. With over a quarter century in the business, American Piano Covers has been supplying schools, businesses and individuals with quality covers to keep that baby grand looking just as beautiful as the day it arrived. How about some stocking stuffer ideas? The family handyman might enjoy a gift certificate to Able Hardware on Van Houten Ave., and mini-Mag Lites make perfect small, but useful gifts. Stop by P&A Auto Parts, with locations on Main and Van Houten Aves., and grab snow scrapers, touch up paint and more. Sports? Get a gift certificate for free games at Garden Palace Lanes on Lakeview, or cage time at Lefty’s. Pool sharks will enjoy a free sessions at Breakers on Rte. 46. Youngsters will enjoy membership at the Clifton Boys & Girls Club or in one of many events sponsored by the Clifton Recreation Department. Odds and ends? Find it at some of our independently owned drug stores: Colonial Pharmacy, Van Houten Pharmacy, Middle Village Pharmacy or Damiano’s. This year, stop and think before you hit that website or head off to Paramus or Wayne. Can you make that purchase from a Clifton Merchant? Try your best to Shop Clifton First!

nder of e are the sons of the fou , a family R.F. Knapp Construction ed in Clifton owned business found the beginning, nearly 50 years ago. Since Siding prodwe have been using Alcoa ens-Corning. ucts as well as GAF and Ow ing, gutters, We specialize in roofing, sid e us a call and leaders and windows. Giv appointment to we will gladly set-up an and go over a discuss your job needs . complete written estimate

Holiday season means taking care of people who take care of you all year long.  While there is no set rule for what or how to give, the idea is to let folks know you appreciate their efforts. A special thanks to Norm Erickson, UPS (left) and Ray Mendoza, USPS (right), for the hard work they do delivering in Downtown Clifton to keep our homes and businesses going.



Brothers Don and Rich Knapp

• Roofing • Siding • Gutters & Leaders • Windows 66

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

We now do Gutter Cleaning

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Pets & Kids

Santa’s Not Simply For Kids: The jolly guy in the fly red suit with (fake) fur trim arrives at the Animal Shelter on Dog Pound Rd. on Dec. 4 to pose for pictures with your pets from noon to 4 pm. And then, perhaps because he’s also reputedly a “jolly old elf,” he’s even coming back to the pound, which is on the municipal campus, for a return appearance on Dec. 11 for the same four hour span. All sorts of animals are welcome, too. In previous years, Santa has posed patiently with ferrets, rabbits, birds and snakes as well as dogs and cats. Just bring the critters in an appropriate container or have it on a restraint. The cost is $5 per picture, which benefits the shelter and helps provide food and medical care for stray and lost animals. Also, through Jan. 8, the Shelter’s Holiday Tree, which is right on Dog Pound Rd., will be decorated with lights and ornaments with a pet’s name. A $5 donation per ornament is requested. For info, go to or call 973-470-5936. The Friends of the Clifton Animal Shelter is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who provide shelter, food, medical attention and love to the homeless animals of Clifton. The

Purchasing  a  bike  for  a  tyke  or  an adult this year? Be sure to put a quality helmet under the tree and have this important safety item properly fitted.

Helen Sanders Looking for Bargains?

Look No Further!

Thrift Shop AT




The Helen Sanders Thrift Shop located inside Daughters of Miriam Center is a bargain hunters dream—filled to the brim with beautiful, new & gently used clothing and housewares at great prices. Whether you are searching for fabulous designer or vintage clothing, many with tags still attached, or items for your home such as linens, dishes, or bric-a-brac, the Helen Sander Thrift Shop is the place for you. The public is invited to shop from 10 AM to 3 PM. For more information, call 973-253-5377. Shop Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM 68

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Great Holiday Specials from...


Clifton Candyland hosted by the Recreation Department is on Dec. 10 at 11 am at City Hall. Children of all ages will visit a land of train rides, candy canes, holiday crafts, games, refreshments and of course a visit from Santa. Bring your hat, mittens, scarf and blanket as you ride along on the Polar Express train and sing holiday songs with the CHS Madrigals as they carol along through Candyland. The cost is $3 per child in advance or $5 day off. Visit the Recreation Dept. Office, on the second floor of City Hall. Call 973-470-5956. The Red Hat Angels, a team in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Clifton, has the perfect gift for someone on your Holiday list. The Red Hat Angels cookbook, complete with delicious recipes from family and friends is now available for a donation of $10. Call Joann at 973-365-0227 or Chris at 973-650-2719. Checks should be payable to American Cancer Society and earmarked RFL Clifton Cookbook. And looking forward... The Relay For Life of Clifton will be June 2. Visit relayfor to learn more.

$10 gift card w/new bike purchase (dec only) Allwood Bicycles

is now...

8 Franklin Pl., Rutherford • 201-636-2355


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Passaic County Community College will host a Healthcare Careers Open House on Dec. 3 at the PCCC Passaic Academic Center from 10 am to noon. PAC is at 2 Paulison Ave. and both street and on-site parking are available. Attendees can find out more about PCCC’s degree and certificate programs in a wide range of fields including nursing, medical coding, electronic healthcare records, radiography, pre-med, pre-dental and pre-veterinary. Call 973-684-6868 to RSVP or go to

P&A Auto Parts, headed by Joe Cupoli and Bill Freedman, has teamed up with NAPA of New Jersey, NAPA Filters and member businesses of NAPA Auto Cares to collect money for the Tomorrow's Children Fund, which benefits pediatric cancer research and care at Hackensack Medical Center.  Throughout October, members of NAPA Auto Care’s donated $1 for each completed oil change at their respective locations, pooling together $750.  P&A, NAPA of New Jersey and NAPA Filters then each contributed a matching donation, and presented a check to the Tomorrow's Children Fund in November.

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



oy Drive

Dunkin Donuts will be hosting a toy drive through Dec. 18 at its stores at 1372 Clifton Ave., across from Colonial Pharmacy, and at 817 Clifton Ave., in the Richfield Shopping Plaza. Those who bring in a new, unwrapped toy will be treated to a free medium coffee. Toys will be donated to a local charity. Dunkin Donuts is offering a free medium coffee with a toy donation. Above, from left is Sheilla Figueroa, Rafia Laskar and General Manager Jose Nieves.

Weichert Realtors of Clifton hosts its 33rd Annual Toy Drive throughout this holiday season. Pictured here are Andrew Tisellano, Maureen Setteducato and Tony Sanchez with recently collected gift. The Weichert Office is at 791 Passaic Ave., at the Allwood Rd. intersection. To donate, drop off a new, unwrapped toy, which will be given to underprivileged children in the local area. For more information, call 973-779-1900.

Your Holiday Feast Begins on Main Avenue... Come to The Famous & Original (from Lexington Ave)...


M-F 8 - 6 Sat 10 - 4 1295 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton Across from DeLuxe Cleaners



Varieties • Potatoes & Cheese • Potato • Sauerkraut • Pot Cheese • Mushroom • Pot Cheese & Potato • Broccoli • Spinach • Pizza • Apple • Prune • Cabbage • Apricot & Cheese • Broccoli & Spinach

NEW! Great for Parties... Hot, Homemade Empanadas! 72

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Great stores & services at the Allwood Circle

AC Moore • Scrapbooking Arts & Crafts • Knitting & Crochet

Largo House Massage • Nails • Body Treatment

Bertelli’s Liquors Wine, Liquor, Spirits & Sculpture

ACME (973) 594-0590 AC Moore (973) 470-8885 Antonio’s Hair Stylist (973) 472-1011 Avant Garde Salon (973) 778-0557 Bertelli’s Liquors (973) 779-0199 Chiropractic Center at Styertowne (973) 777-6995 Cleaners 2000 (973) 614-1400 F.Y.E. (973) 778-8759 Corbo Jewelers (973) 777-1635 Crystal Optics (973) 594-0020 CVS Pharmacy (973) 778-7630 Dollar Tree (973) 249-7530 Dress Barn (973) 249-0322 Dunkin Donuts & Baskin Robbins (973) 473-9631 Exchange Florist (973) 594-0700 Footnotes Bookstore (973) 779-6122 GNC (973) 779-1500 Kid City (973) 614-1111 Kim’s Nail Salon (973) 471-8118 Largo House Nail & Spa (973) 777-9784 Lucille Roberts (973) 262-3802 Moda Shoes & Co. (973) 777-4700 Modells (973) 779-5253 The Season’s Fine Chinese Cuisine (973) 777-8073 Radio Shack (973) 777-7931 Shereeds Ladies & Mens Clothing (973) 773-1673 Styertowne Bakery (973) 777-6193 Subway (973) 685-9992 Taste of Tuscany (973) 916-0700 US Post Office (973) 473-4946 Valley National Bank (973) 777-6283

Offices at Styertowne Corbo Jewelers Gold • Silver • Precious Metals & Gems

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Available 700 Sq. Feet & Up: Your monthly lease in our office suites on the 2nd floor include the amenities at the right plus easy access to Route 3 and Express Bus Service to NYC. On the ground floor, you are steps from great restaurants, shopping, banking and the Post Office. Call Jamie Wohr: 973-591-5222 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

x 16 73

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

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

)5*250)56 -1'/8() !235%126 21-.% 85+2:6.% ) &).%, 86,)5 ,5-67-1% %='%12 1+)/-% 2')5% -%11% %//%(-12 !,5)<% %7)/ %6-% 2&/)6 #-'725-% 2(-2 )11-) !).%1-'6 /726 !-1(< ) % 58= )1)3,)5 675)//% </-) 21=%/)= %-7/-1 /22'. /<66% %< )21 !86%1 -&)57- )/6)< ' -1/)< -'2/) $)()/ ")1256 )7)5 (%02 %51-) %'.621 ,%9-1 !,%, )0)6-2 %50)/ "8&-/ %66)6 21%6 9%1')1% %55</ %1-%+% (%0 %(5-+%/ -',%)/ !'21= 9)5 7,) 1);7 *): :)).6 6)) 7,)0 21 )' %7 "5)) -+,7-1+6 %7 30 -1 %.)9-): 30 -1 27%1< #-//%+) 30 -1 87', -// %1( 30 %7 7,) %0-/721 286) 1 )' 7,)< %5) %7 7,) -7< %// "5)) -+,7-1+ ",)-5 )' 2/-(%< ,25%/ 21')57 -6 %7 30 %7 ! "-'.)76 %5) %// *25 ()7%-/6

The Dec. 22 CHS Orchestra Concert on the JFK Stage will feature these seniors and many others students from the school. Under the direction of Natalie L. Babiak, they will perform a dozen seasonal favorites. The concert begins at 7:30 pm and will last approximately an hour. Pictured with their strings and bows are Arielle Irizarry, Gilbert Gil, Patricia Charneco, Alexi Velazsquez, Aaron Arias, Kostyantyn Bloshko, John Dubinski and Sasha Sanchez.

Official Transmission Supplier to Jolly Drivers from Clifton to The North Pole

45 Atlantic Way (790 Bloomfield Ave)


Mark or Brian December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

CHS Winter Sports Preview All stories by Joe Hawrylko


Front row, from left: Mihai Solotchi, Christian Guglielmini, Chris Di Falco and Jacob Sheets. Middle: Eslinger Coronado, Kayla Meneghan, Cesar Fonseca, Matt Radecki, Tyler Ingwersen, Anthony D’Anna and Steven Shawley. Back: Brian Safader, NawraspRadwan, John Dubinski and Jason Szala.

he lack of experienced players hurt the Mustangs last season, as the team’s record dipped to 6-12 and Clifton missed the playoffs. Head coach Tom Danko, now in his 25th season, will once again have a team without much senior leadership, but expects that his younger skaters will step up and come together to succeed during the season. “We lost a couple of seniors and last year we only had a few,” he said. “This year’s team is going to be very, very young.” Most of the returning skaters will be a combination of juniors and sophomores, some of whom saw some action with the Varsity club in the previous campaign. Junior Chris DiFalco, one of the Mustang captains, will be expected


to shoulder the offensive load and can line up at either wing position. Classmate Cesar Fonseca also returns to the Varsity line up and another key forward for Clifton. The Mustangs are perhaps most experienced on the blueline, which will be anchored by senior captain John Dubinski. Other returning defensemen include senior Anthony D’Anna, and juniors Mark Surgent and Steve Shanley. Senior Sara Scrudato is in net, backed by classmate Jacob Sheets. Danko also expects to have some JV players from last year making contributions due to ongoing battles for roster positions. Sophomore Tim Finan and junior Kayla Menneghin are expected to become full time Varsity skaters this

Hockey Dec 02 Dec 03 Dec 16 Dec 23 Dec 30 Jan 06 Jan 07 Jan 10 Jan 15 Jan 20 Jan 21 Jan 27 Jan 29 Feb 03 Feb 04 Feb 08 Feb 10 Feb 17

Bayonne at Pascack Valley at Ridgewood Fair Lawn Pascack Valley Dumont at Fair Lawn at Montclair at River Dell Ridgewood at Tenafly River Dell at Dumont Parsippany at Paramus Catholic at Bayonne Tenafly at Paramus Catholic

7:10 7:00 5:35 7:10 7:10 7:10 7:10 3:00 3:00 7:10 5:10 5:00 5:00 7:10 2:45 3:30 7:10 7:10

pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm pm

year. Freshmen who could see time include forwards Dennis Ruppe and Matt Kolodziejczyk. “We hope to be competitive,” said Danko. “They’re going to get bettter as they move along during the season.” December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


CHS Winter Sports Preview ark Gengaro’s Mustangs didn’t have a good season in 2011, mustering only four wins on a difficult schedule, but the second year head coach believes that his team has potential to get better this year with more experience. “It’s a younger team. We graduated three seniors, but most of the starting team is coming back, which is a plus,” explained Gengaro, who was previously the freshman coach before being promoted. Many of the boys he is coaching now were under his tutelage three years ago. “You know the players a bit better, you’ve seen them grow and seen them develop,” he said. “I’m absolutely expecting this team next season and for years to come to play competitive basketball, even though we play in arguably the toughest conference and arguably the toughest league in the state. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Leading the way for the Mustangs will be Tim Brown, who is also a standout for the Fighting Mustangs football team. “He pretty much led the team in all major categories last year: points, assists, steals, blocks,” said Gengaro. “He is a tremendous basketball player who can play any position you



December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Could this be the Mustang starting five? From left Tim Brown, Jason Ramsay, Martin Huerta, Dondre McClain and Joey Telep.

need based on match ups. He’s a tremendous athlete in the truest sense of the word.” Starting at point guard will be Jason Ramsay. “He really runs our offense. Over the summer, he really developed,” said coach. “I consider him our court general. He dictates everything and takes charge, where to go, who to go. The team really goes as far as him.” Joseph Telep will be the ranger shooter on the Mustangs once again in 2012. “He’s a two or three year starter who led the team in three point field goals. He’s our sharpshooter, our sniper,” said Gengaro. “He can single-handedly take over a game based on his shooting ability. In the games we won last year, Joey had several shots to really give us a boost.” Senior Dondre McClain serves as the team’s defensive specialist. “He’s been our lockdown player for three years,” said Gengaro.

“There’s not a play in practice or a game that he takes off.” The coach said that the big man spot is still up in the air, with two players competing for the position. Senior Martin Huerta, who played as a freshman and took off some time, returned to the team and has been working hard to earn a position. He is battling with Javier Moreno, a junior, who was at PCTI as a freshman. “He’s the type of guy you can build a program around,” said Gengaro. “Everything he does in his life revolves around basketball.” Junior Joe Cupoli will be in the mix at center as well. Gengaro said to also keep an eye on sophomores Elijah Robles and Xavier Grant, two talented guards who will help the Mustangs in 2012. “Last year, a lot of teams beat us by a pretty hefty score,” he said. “But Clifton isn’t going to be a team they can take lightly anymore.”

CHS Boys

Basketball Dec 06 Dec 10 Dec 12 Dec 14 Dec 16 Dec 20 Dec 22 Dec 27 Jan 05 Jan 10 Jan 12 Jan 14 Jan 18 Jan 19 Jan 24 Jan 26 Jan 31 Feb 02 Feb 06 Feb 07 Feb 09 Feb 14 Feb 16 Feb 18 Feb 22

Hawthorne Christian 4:00 pm at Sayreville 11:00 am at Paramus 4:00 pm Ramsey 4:00 pm Don Bosco Prep 4:00 pm at Passaic 4:00 pm Eastside 4:00 pm Holiday Tournament TBA at Wayne Hills 7:00 pm Kennedy 4:00 pm at Passaic County Tech 4:00 pm Lincoln 1:00 pm Bergen Catholic 4:00 pm at Wayne Valley 7:00 pm at Don Bosco Prep 7:00 pm Passaic 4:00 pm Ridgefield Park 4:00 pm Eastside 7:00 pm at Livingston 7:00 pm at Passaic County Tech 4:00 pm at Pascak Valley 7:00 pm at Kennedy 7:00 pm Lakeland Regional 7:00 pm Manchester 11:00 am West Milford 2:00 pm

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


680 Rt. 3 West

CHS Winter Sports Preview

973-471-7717 enter from Allwood Rd.


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

or the sixth straight year, the Mustangs have posted a winning record under head coach Dan Geleta, going 12-5 in 2011, along with a number of wrestlers having solid individual campaigns. Even though the coach graduated many experienced seniors in the top weight classes, Geleta has a number talented wrestlers who will now be given the opportunity to prove their worth on the Varsity club. The Mustangs will also be strong in the lower weight classes, with many returning Varsity wrestlers coming back for 2012, leaving Geleta feeling confident about his squad’s chances for the coming season. TJ DePasque returns for his fouth year after being ranked in the top 12 for the state in 2011. The senior captain will wrestle at 126 pounds. The other captain will be Richard Naut, a talented senior Mustang grappler who will compete at 132 pounds. “Richard got hurt beating the County Champ last year,” said Geleta. “He was having a very good season up to that point.”


Varsity wrestlers from left: T. J. De Pasque, Abe Saliba, Eynar Ledezma, Aaron Millan, Joe Routis, Richard Naut. Missing is Edgar Ordanez.

Senior Edgar Ordonez finished third in the district in 2011 and was a regional qualifier, and will be the top competitor at the heavyweight division for the Mustangs. Other seniors in prominent roles include Eynar Ledezma at 138 and Aaron Millan at 145. “We’re going to be very young this year, but those weight classes should be very solid,” said Geleta. In the 152, 160, 170 and 182 pound classes, there is an open competition between several wrestlers to determine who will occupy what position. Sophomores Steven Naideck and Jeremy Soto and juniors Taras Kryzh, David Kowaczyk and Erick Ramirez and senior Ibrahim Saliba all have the body mass and skill to compete in any of those classes. “All kids weigh about the same, but they have to spread out and fight for those weight classes. They’re all quality wrestlers,” he said, commenting that the

intrasquad competition is good for the Mustang grapplers. “Each one got one or two matches last year,” coach continued. “We lost everybody 145 pounds and up except for one kid. These kids were very close behind, but weren’t good enough to wrestle on Varsity because I had all seniors.” Good news for this and coming years is that the lower weight classes are still loaded with talented underclassmen. At 106, sophomore Jean DuBois returns after qualifying for regionals and placing third in the district. Senior Joseph Roudis also wrestles at the same weight, and Geleta said that the two will share 106 and 113. Stand out sophomore Maurice Marsilla will once again wrestle at 120 pounds. Sophomore James Sonzotni, who placed third in the district in 2011, is mulling a return and would start within the 150-182 range. Looking realistically at the squad. Geleta make a frank statement:


Wrestling Dec 17 Dec 21 Dec 30 Jan 04 Jan 06 Jan 07 Jan 11 Jan 13 Jan 14 Jan 18 Jan 20 Jan 21 Jan 25 Jan 27 Jan 28 Feb 01 Feb 03

Maroon/Grey Challenge 10:00 am at Passaic County Tech 7:00 pm at Bloomfield Tourny 10:00 am at Eastside 6:00 pm at Passaic 6:00 pm at North Bergen 10:00 am Kennedy 6:00 pm at Ridgewood 6:00 pm at Union City Tourn. 10:00 am Paramus Catholic 6:00 pm Union City 5:00 pm Milford/Bloomfield/Cliffside 10:00 a m Hackensack 6:00 pm Fort Lee 6:00 pm at PC Tourny 10:00 am Kearny 6:00 pm Ridgefield/Becton 5:00 pm

“We’re not as good as last year, but I think the new guys will be able to keep up and make our team very competitive,” explained Geleta. “We should compete for league and district championships. We were third in district, second in league and third in counties. It all depends how fast the new kids in the upper weights get better over the course of the season.” December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


CHS Winter Sports Preview

Lady Mustangs, front from left: Kelly Douglass, Kimberly Douglass, Sara Douglass, Amanda Marakovitz, Alana Lopez, Samantha Pedrazza, Jackie Bergen, Meghan Fahy, Jennifer Koppers and manager Renee Korczynski.

raig Alfano takes over as the new head coach of the Lady Mustangs, assuming the role after two years in the system as an assistant and associate coach for the Varsity club. Currently a sub in the district, Alfano has been involved with basketball for most of his life, playing at Mahwah High School until his graduation in 2000 and then later at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Professionally, Alfano has worked in sports management for the past decade, at both Basketball City in New York and for the New York Knicks, hosting clinics and



December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

youth camps. He has since formed BC Hoops, and now provides youth camps and clinics for the Knicks. Alfano, who has a Bachelor’s in psychology and a Master’s in social work from Columbia University, also coaches an AAU Boys team, in addition to the Lady Mustangs, which will be his first stint as a high school coach. “We were 9-14 last year. We were 7-8 when we qualified for states, but had a disappointing finish and lost in the first round against Ridgewood in a pretty competitive game,” recalled Alfano. “It was the first time they played in

CHS Girls

Basketball Dec 16 Dec 20 Dec 22 Dec 27 Jan 05 Jan 07 Jan 10 Jan 12 Jan 14 Jan 17 Jan 19 Jan 20 Jan 24 Jan 26 Feb 02 Feb 07 Feb 09 Feb 14 Feb 16 Feb 21

at IHA 7:00 pm Passaic 4:00 pm at Eastside 4:00 pm at Xmas Tourny 7:00 pm Wayne Hills 7:00 pm at West Essex 10:00 am at Kennedy 4:00 pm Passaic County Tech 4:00 pm at Marist 5:00 pm at Bergen Tech 7:00 pm Wayne Valley 7:00 pm at Nutley 7:00 pm IHA 7:00 pm at Passaic 7:00 pm Eastside 4:00 pm at Passaic County Tech 4:00 pm Passaic Valley 7:00 pm Kennedy 4:00 pm at Lakeland Regional 7:00 pm at West Milford 7:00 pm

the state tourny since 1992. We lost several seniors, but the best thing about losing seniors is that the younger kids get to step up.” Senior Kim Douglass is the lone returning full time starter, having played on Varsity since her freshman year. The guard will be counted on heavily to lead the Mustangs in her final year. Senior Samantha Pedrazza can play either guard or forward, and should become a full time starter after getting some time with the Varsity club once again last season. Her classmate, Meghan Fahy, is another senior guard who will be getting some time. Alfano will also have two juniors on his team that earned Varsity letters the previous season: Jackie Bergan, guard, and Amanda Marakovitz, a forward. “My starting lineup might change game to game,” explained Alfano.

“Whoever works hard in practice is going to get the starting job.” The coach also named a few other players to look out for this coming season. Douglass’ younger sisters, Kelly, a freshman, and Sara, a sophomore, are talented athletes who can play from either the guard or small forward position. Other Mustangs include junior center Annie Duffy and sophomores Jen Koppers, a forward, and Sidnee Maldonado, a guard. Alfano also said that junior forward Alana Lopez might claim a starting spot after she completes her mandatory 30 day transfer sit out. “She’s from St. Mary’s and it’s not often that we get transfers from parochial schools,” he said. “But she lives in Clifton and is back. She’s a great player.” Alfano is eager to start the season and see if the Lady Mustangs can build on recent success.

“There are tremendous athletes and we’re going to use that to our advantage,” he said. “I have a relationship with this team, being an assistant the past two years, and I’m looking forward to my first year and seeing what this team can do.”

Benjamin Moore Paints and much more...

Able Hardware 745 Van Houten Ave.

973.773.4997 Mon.-Fri. till 7pm Sat. till 5pm


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


CHS Winter Sports Preview


he Clifton Boys and Girls track teams mirrored one another in league performance in 2011, each finishing second in the league. “We’d like to at least be as good as that this year too,” said Head Coach John Pontes. “We have a reasonable amount of returnees, more so on the boys side than the girls side.” Leading the boys will be junior Jessie Boria, who collected All League and Second Team All County honors in 2011. Junior Royce DeLeon will be one of the best all around guys, competing in the long jump, triple jump, sprints and hurdles. Junior Mike Hardy will also be an all around jumper for the Mustangs in the 2012 season.



December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Seniors Mohammad ElZaghah and Aaron Arias are the leading shotputters for the boys. Fabian Rodriguez, a senior, will compete in polevault. Distance runners for the boys include seniors Ryan Dziuba, David Monclova and Vedanta Nayak, and junior Darren Malysa. “We have lots of seniors and juniors,” explained Pontes. “There’s no superstars this year, but a lot of good, solid performers that we can rack up some points with. We just hope it’s enough.” “There’s a total of 68 guys this year,” he continued. “So I’m sure we’ll find a few more to help out. I think the success of the past few years has helped out a bit.” For the girls, juniors will be

Track Dec 16 Dec 17 Dec 18 Dec 22 Dec 23 Dec 27 Dec 30 Jan 06 Jan 12 Jan 13 Jan 18 Jan 20 Jan 30 Feb 06 Feb 11 Feb 18 Feb 25 Mar 01

at High Jump Series I 4:30 pm at FDU Holiday Classic 9:00 am at FDU Holiday Classic 9:00 am at Season Opener Inv 4:30 pm at High Jump Series II 4:30 pm at Holiday Relay 12:00 pm at Track Universe Inv 4:00 pm at High Jump Series III 4:30 pm at League Frosh Meet 4:30 pm at NJ Group4 Relays 4:00 pm at Pass. County Champ 4:30 pm at High Jump Series Finals 5:00 pm at Big North Champs 5:00 pm at Varsity Classic Inv 4:30 pm at NJ State Sectional Champ 4:30 pm at NJ Group 4 Champ 4:00 pm at NJ Meet of Champs 1:00 pm at Easter States Champ 5:00 pm

more prominently featured in the line up. Junior Ivonne Boria, cousin of Jessie on the boys squad, will be the top distance runner. She will be joined by senior Jillian

Varsity Mustang harriers on facing page from left front: Jillian Swisher, Shianne Nevers, Meghan Ortiz, Monika Miazga. Second row: Marco Peralta, Aaron Arias, Ryan Dziuba. At rear: Kevin Lo, Chirag Desai, Michael Czerhoniak. On this page, front from left, Cynthia Leon, Miquel Garcia, Fabian Rodriguez, Joe Smeriglio, Raul Latona, Francisca Sanchez, David Monclova. At rear, from left Jocelyn Lee, Vedanta Nayak, Mohammad El-Zaghah.

Swisher and juniors Elizabeth Los, Yuria Yuasa, Annette Malysa, Alexa Budhi and Gabrielle Gonzaga. Gonzaga was an All County selection in the 2011 season. Junior Nicole Buttel will compete in jumps and polevault. Senior Monika Miazga, an All

County performer in sprints, returns to the Mustangs, and will be joined by junior Tiera Elam. Senior Shianne Nevers will compete in hurdles, sprints and jumps. Sophomore Asma Baker will handle throws. “We have a real good nucleus and they’ll help bring out the best

of the new group,” explained Pontes, who added that he has 75 girls on his team this year. “We’ll be a contender again, and hopefully surprise some people in some spots. But the team has a good attitude, and we have good workers and good students, and that always helps.”

Merry Christma s & Ha p py New Yea r!

A. William Sala, Jr., Esq. since 1967

Sp ecia lizing in

Zoning Matters


179 Randolph Avenue Clifton, New Jersey 07011 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


CHS Winter Sports Preview


Bowling Dec 09 Dec 12 Dec 14 Dec 16 Dec 20 Dec 22 Jan 05 Jan 06 Jan 12 Jan 18 Jan 23 Jan 25 Jan 27 Jan 31

at Don Bosco, IHA 4:00 pm at Passaic 4:00 pm at Eastside 4:00 pm at Wayne Hills 4:00 pm at Kennedy 4:00 pm at Passaic County Tech 4:00 pm at Bergen Tech 4:00 pm at Wayne Valley 4:00 pm at Passaic 4:00 pm at Eastside 4:00 pm at Passaic County Tech 4:00 pm at Passaic Valley 4:00 pm at West Milford 4:00 pm at Lakeland 4:00 pm

Returning Mustang kegglers, from left: Dennis Pierson, Harry Litchfield, Christian DeGuzman, Nicole Liberti, Stephanie Coy and Ashley Brandecker.

hough the Mustang bowlers won their league and county in 2011, replicating that success might be more difficult due to the loss of three girls and three boys to graduation. However, head coach Brian Small does have some returning bowlers to shoulder the load while replacements are found. Junior Harry Litchfield, a three year starter on Varsity, averaged 184 last year with a high of 226 and made Second Team All League and All County. Junior Dennis Pierson is the only other returning letterman for the boys, receiving honorable mention for All County after averaging 163 with a high of 214. For the girls, All County Honoree Ashley Brandecker enters her fourth year on Varsity. She averaged 150 with a high of 221 in 2011. Casey Casperino enters her second year on Varsity, and was an honorable mention for All County last season. Small, who enters his 17th year at the helm, hopes the new players can quickly acclimate to help out the veterans. “There’s lots of new faces and it might be a rebuilding year,” he said. “But there’s four experienced bowlers and we’ve been blessed. Clifton bowlers surprise me a lot.”



December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

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Varsity swimmers front from left: Ilada Manomat, Christine Gustafson, Ryan Amico and Ruben Zegarra. Back: Derek Leeshock, Eric James, and Christian Patti.


Swimming Deb 07 Dec 09 Dec 13 Jan 03 Jan 07 Jan 11 Jan 13 Jan 18 Jan 20 Jan 23 Feb 04 Feb 08 Feb 10 Feb 17

oth the girls and boys swim teams had a successful year, going 8-4 in the pool and finishing second in the league and county. However, due to graduation and a low turnout for tryouts, meeting expectations might be a little bit more difficult this year. “We had a bunch of really good girls teams in a row and last year we had a bunch of good boys,” said head coach Andrea Bobby. “But we graduated 20 boys and girls from last year’s team, so we took a big hit. We’re filling the team with some freshmen so it’s going to be a rebuilding season this year.” In addition, the number of tryouts is down, meaning that Bobby will be forced to play swimmers on Varsity that might not yet be ready. “This year, I might not be able to fill lanes,” she said. “The C lane, if they score fifth, great, they get a point. But if they don’t, they’ll at least learn how to swim in a race and then get better.” For the girls, senior captain Ryan Amico will compete in backstroke and middle distance freestyle. Candice Mariso, the other senior captain, is best at sprint freestyle, but Bobby said that the swimmer is talented enough to be used in a number of events. Junior Chrissy Gustafson received praise from Bobby: “She’s probably the


at DePaul 6:00 pm Passaic 3:30 pm Wayne Hills 3:30 pm Montville 3:30 pm at Passaic County Tech 9:00 am Wayne Valley 3:30 pm at Ridgewood 7:00 pm Teaneck 3:30 pm Hackensack 3:30 pm New Providence 3:30 pm at Paramus Cath. 2:45 pm at Bayonne 3:30 pm Tenafly 7:10 pm Paramus Catholic 7:10 pm

strongest girl on the team,” said coach. “She’s got a good backstroke and butterfly... she’s good all around.” Other swimmers include junior Samantha Poulis (backstroke), and sophomores Alada Manomat (500, butterfly), Isabel Moderski (all around, freestyle) and freshmen Tayana Castro (backstroke, freestyle), Katharine Fraczek and Elissa McMahon. The boys will be led by senior Eric James, who competes in the breaststroke and anchors the relay team. Classmate Derek Leeshock is a top freestyler for the Mustangs this year. Junior Christian Patti is perhaps the best all around swimmer, and will be counted on by Bobby to compete in a number of events in 2012. His classmate, Adam Paczkowski, will swim in the breaststroke. Sophomore Michael Kommer specializes in the 500 freestyle and breaststroke, but may end up swimming more events. Other sophomores include Sam Williams (butterfly, freestyle) and David Korty. “The boys side is going to have trouble finding relays. The problem will be that the good swimmers won’t be highlighted as much,” said Bobby. “The girls will be ok. I will definitely be able to get a decent line up from what I have.” December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


The 2011 Optimist Cup

Mustangs 55 Indians 29

lifton extended its series lead over Passaic to 44-35-5 with a 55 to 29 win in the annual Turkey Day clash. Patrick Ferrara led the attack at home on Joe Grecco field, completing all nine of his throws while adding in five touchdowns, including three to Tim Brown. The Mustangs grabbed an early 28-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Photos by Kenneth Peterson



December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


M U S T A N G Tr a d i t i o n s

STUDENT OF THE MONTH By Joe Hawrylko Kelly Young has long had an interest in art, and her diverse schedule at school has helped the Clifton High School Student of the Month plan out a career path as a graphic designer. “Last year I took a design application class and it basically helped me pick out the art career that I wanted,” said Young. “It had a little of everything, from interior design to graphic design. I mostly like working with computers. I feel it’s more of the neat side of art rather than paints. I’m a neat person.” The student of the month said she realized her creative skills at a young age, and always enjoyed getting projects in school because of the freedom allowed. “I’m also in a web design class this year, so I’m getting more into the graphics,” she said. Young’s teachers have also helped her plot a direction for her career. “Miss Sauchelli, I had her sophomore year for general art and junior year for design application,” she explained. “She’s been an inspiration. I have to put together a portfolio for some colleges I’m applying to and she’s going to help me get everything organized.” Young is also taking classes at Montclair State University. For the fall semester, she is enrolled in psychology, as well as family and children research. In the spring, she is hoping to take intro to visual arts. “It’s pretty good so far. It’s a lot different than high school level work of course,” she said. “But it’s a transi92

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Kelly Young played volleyball and softball at CHS.

tion that I will have to make eventually. But the experience is pretty good.” Young’s sister Christina, a 2009 CHS grad, has been helping her sibling develop better study habits and prepare for college life. “She’s just very goal orientated. She knows what’s best,” said Young. “If there’s one person in my life that made me want to achieve great things, it would be my older sister.” The two siblings briefly played together on the CHS volleyball team during Young’s freshman year. “I was on JV while she was on Varsity and we’d travel to games together and watch each other play,”

she recalled. “We’ve always been pretty close.” Young, who has also played softball for four years, was captain of the volleyball squad this year, which made deep runs in both the State and County tournaments. She hopes to stay active in club level sports in the fall at Monmouth University, where she hopes to pursue a degree in graphic design. “It’s close enough in distance, but far enough to dorm and get the college experience,” she said. “I know the best things in life will not be handed to me, but I am determined to work hard for every bit of it.”

Cliftonite Magdalena Krowka has been named Student of the Month at Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne. The senior is a member of the school’s Academy of Finance, and is involved in numerous clubs at PCTI. Krowka, ranked in the top 10 percent of her class, is enrolled in several honor and AP courses, and is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Consumer Bowl, and is president of FBLA.

After PCTI, Krowka hopes to study business at college and go on to be an accountant. The Cliftonite also expressed interest in international business and entrepreneurship, and hopes to one day travel the globe. “Finance is such a big part of our culture. I wanted to know how to pay bills and go further,” Krowka explained, adding that she would like to understand “financial cause and effect on a massive scale.”


h d



December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Ve t e r a n s Pa r a d e : N o v e m b e r 6 , 2 0 1 1 Scores of Cliftonites came out on Nov. 6 to salute those who served our nation in our annual Veterans Parade. Staged on Main Ave. the parade, led by the Marching Mustangs, stepped off at 2 pm from the Passaic border. The event concluded at Main Memorial Park with speeches and a ceremony. Photos by Kenneth Peterson

Talk to Your Neighbors, Then Talk to Us.

Thomas Tobin 973-779-4248 94

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Bill G. Eljouzi 973-478-9500

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December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Ve t e r a n s Pa r a d e : N o v e m b e r 6 , 2 0 1 1

Have A Sweet Holiday!

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Feliz Navidad Open 5am-7pm Christmas Eve & Christmas Day & New Years Eve & New Years Day


Wedding Cakes • Birthday Cakes • Specialty Cakes plus... Clifton’s Best Rye Bread & So Much More!


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Passaic County Clerk

Kristin Corrado


o December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Ve t e r a n s Pa r a d e : N o v e m b e r 6 , 2 0 1 1


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


100 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

CORBO & Commerce

The North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce held a Morning Mixx networking event at Uno’s Chicago Grill in Clifton on Nov. 22, from 8:30 to 10 am. The event, coordinated by Brian G. Tangora, program manager for the NJRCC, was sponsored by Corbo

Jewelers of Styretowne Shopping Center. The Chamber of Commerce regularly hosts networking events for business people and owners in the area. For more information about the Chamber, visit, or email Tangora at

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


S C O L E S AV E . E v o l u t i o n

The Learning Center School plans new community center at former Jewish Y

Story and Photos by Carol Leonard

Residents on Scoles Ave. in the city’s Athenia section have a new neighbor. In September, The Learning Center for Exceptional Children, a school for special needs kids, moved part of its operation into the 66,000 square-foot building at the end of the street. Administrators of the school hope to evolve the facility into a full scale community center and health club, with the school at its core. For 35 years the site had housed a membership-based YM-YWHA and Jewish Community Center (JCC), operated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton-Passaic. The building also incorporated a preschool and a Holocaust center. The facilities include a large gymnasium with a full-size basketball court, an Olympic-size pool and smaller teaching pool, dance studios, a weighttraining and exercise room, a kitchen and a 500-seat auditorium with a proSara Rivera, transition coach for office skills, oversees a student fessional stage. The outside grounds as he works on a project. include a grassy playground area and relocation from downtown Passaic to Clifton in 1976. toddler swimming pool, as well as a Little League-size But many of its members had moved or passed away baseball diamond and an adjacent large open field suitover the years and have been replaced in the community able for soccer. The federation had used the playground, by more traditional Orthodox Jewish families who either pool and fields for its annual summer camp. cannot afford to provide the support or have other finanEven with all of these amenities, a little over a year cial priorities. ago, the federation announced that it could no longer The Learning Center for Exceptional Children purafford to keep the property and that it would be put up for chased the former Y and JCC building for $6 million on sale. A diverse and generous population of secular Jews August 29, and two weeks later opened its doors for 50 and those from the modern Conservative and Reformed of its older special needs students. Jewish movements had supported the center since its 102 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

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The school operates programs for children from preschool to age 21 from more than 30 public school districts around North Jersey, including Clifton. The sending districts pay tuition to the school as required by federal law, with tuition rates set by the state. The students all have certain disabilities or special learning needs that cannot be met by their hometown districts. The school also offers a small program for regular education preschool through eighth grade students, known as Today’s Learning Center, which is funded through private tuition from parents. Director Linda Buonauro, a special education teacher at the time, started the school with just a handful of autistic children in 1971 in her parents Ft. Lee home. A year later, she had it incorporated into a nonprofit organization. As the school grew, Buonauro and the Board of Trustees leased facilities in different

Speech therapist Tara McCallister works one-on-one with a student.

locations over the years, including sites in Fairview, Englewood Cliffs, and Paramus, and on the campus of Felician College in Rutherford. In recent years, the school has operated its preschool through eighth grade programs for about 110 kids at the former St. John Kanty School on Speer Ave. and its program for 13 through 21 year-olds in Garfield. The

latter group was moved into the Scoles Ave. building in September. With the school’s mission to maximize the potential of each of its students by providing a comprehensive program that educates the whole child, Buonauro and her staff felt that the Scoles Ave. site provided an ideal location to build upon and expand what they had to offer.

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S C O L E S AV E . E v o l u t i o n “It was the perfect building for all of our dreams,” Buonauro said. “It will allow us to make this the village that we’ve always wanted it to be. It takes a large group of people from different walks of life to provide the kind of program that we dream of for our students. This will allow us to involve the community in our plans.” Buonauro’s vision will take time to fully come to fruition, as a great deal of renovation is required to turn many of the rooms in the vast building into classrooms and learning spaces to meet the needs of the students. But the staff is already taking advantage of the resources available to expand the school’s transition program, the goal of which is to prepare the older students for life and work after they graduate. They are in the process of converting several rooms on the second floor into a model apartment, where students will be taught how to make a bed, clean furniture, set a table, wash dishes and other chores of daily living. Staff members have donated all of the furniture for the program. The school also operates several occupational transition programs in culinary arts, maintenance, landscaping, sewing and office skills. The culinary arts program is currently housed at the St. John Kanty site, where a working kitchen is available, but once the more spacious kitchen at the Scoles Ave. building is cleaned and renovated, the program will move there. The plan is to turn it into a commercial kitchen with greater learning opportunities. Under the supervision of staff, the culinary arts students currently prepare all the lunches for the school’s two sites. The new building has provided opportunities for those in the maintenance program to get valuable handson experience. The maintenance students have worked alongside teacher Ed Bawarski, who is also a certified plumber, to fix all the leaky toilets. And the sprawling grounds outside offer plenty of work for the landscaping students. The buildings other amenities will enable the staff to enhance the curriculum and offer further enrichment activities. For example, the pool may be used for physical education classes and for physical therapy for children who need it, and the studios and auditorium may be used for music and drama classes and extracurricular activities. “We also have kids who love sports and can take advantage of the facilities that we have here,” said 104 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Rachel Roth, supervisor of curriculum and instruction. Buonauro hopes to hire lifeguards and have the pool cleaned and ready for use by both the students and interested community residents this month, and the fitness and workout room staffed by certified instructors perhaps by January. Health club membership will then be offered to the public at a reasonable monthly fee, as well as classes in swimming, water aerobics, dancing and other fitness activities. For the safety of the students, use of the facilities by the community will be restricted to hours before and after the regular school day, Roth said. In addition to monthly membership fees for use of the pool and workout room, several basketball teams are already renting the gymnasium and a girls’ soccer team has paid the school to use the field for practices and games. Buonauro has also received a number of inquiries from groups about renting the pool. Beginning this month, the New Jersey State Opera will be renting space in the building for its business offices and in the future the group may use the auditorium for some of its performances. Roth is very excited about the possibility of hosting performances for her students and others in the community with and without disabilities. Buonauro is hoping that the extra income from health club memberships and rental of the pool, gymnasium and fields will help offset the operating costs of the building and may eventually provide financial support for new programs in the future. Among her ideas, she plans to offer parenting workshops and other programs, not only for the parents of her students, but also others in the community who have an interest in the topic. She also hopes to establish an aftercare program for the benefit of working parents. It is uncertain right now if and when the preschool though eighth grade classes will move over to the Scoles Ave. site. For now, Buonauro said that she plans to honor the two-year lease agreement with St. John Kanty Parish for use of its former school building, but the younger students will be using the facilities at the new building on a part-time basis. For information about health club memberships or renting the gymnasium, pool or fields at The Learning Center for Exceptional Children on Scoles Ave., call 973-773-8090 or visit

CLIFTON Briefs The Dutch Hill Residents Association Christmas/Holiday Party is on Dec. 15 at 6 pm at Mario’s Restaurant, 710 Van Houten Ave. For tickets, call Mary Ann at 973-365-2577.

Clifton’s Master Runners and National champs, from left to right is Al Swan, 71, Jim Lietz, 72, Joe Salley, 71, Matt Lalumia, 71 and Hilary Peterlin, 71.

Just a year after forming the 7079 year old team, the Clifton Road Runners senior squad has claimed the national championship for its division. The Road Runners took first in the Williamsburg, VA 8k, the Buffalo, NY 15k in Sept., and the Rochester, NY 5k in Oct. The team also took second in the Syracuse 5k in Oct. There are five individuals on the team, and the top three times score against other squads.Team members include Al Swan, Jim Lietz, Joe Salley, Hilary Peterlin and Matt Lalumia. The Clifton Road Runners have been around since 1978 and feature over 250 members of varying skill levels. Membership is $20 and $25 for a family living at the same address. Students are free until age 21. For more information, call President Barbara Tupper at 201-991-8106 or email The Practice of Art: Physicians as Artists, an exhibit of doctors using different mediums to create original art, will be displayed until Dec. 17. Admission is $3. Gallery hours are

Wed. to Sat., 1 to 4 pm with group tours available. Clifton Arts Center & Sculpture Park is at 900 Clifton Ave. Info

The Young at Heart Senior Social Club meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month at the fellowship hall of the First Presbyterian Church, 303 Maplewood Ave., at 11 am. Refreshments will be served. The club regularly organizes trips, parties, bingo and other entertainment. Upcoming events include a Christmas festival on Dec. 8, and the annual Christmas Party at The Mountainside Inn on Dec. 16. For info, call 973-779-5581.

Gianna Rizzo, Justin Mozolewski and Gabriella Rizzo were one of 100 youths selected to take part in the Avon Walk Youth Crew after submitting an essay and completing a phone interview. The Youth Crew is comprised of children ages 10 to 16 who have a personal connection to breast cancer and are committed to finding a cure. Mozolewski’s mother, Janet, was part of the Loretta’s Ladies team that raised more than $65,000 in the Oct. 20 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The goal of the Youth Crew is to demonstrate the power of youthful passion and to enrich the experiences of all Avon Walk participants. Required to raise a minimum of $500, the Youth Crew raised an unprecedented $53,000. For more info, or to register for the 2012 Avon Walk, visit December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



CLIFTON Briefs The Ukrainian Center Christmas Bazaar on Dec. 11 at 240 Hope Ave., Passaic, will feature nearly 20 vendors selling traditional and contemporary gifts, collectibles, Ukrainian-themed items, sterling silver jewelry, costume jewelry, toys, personalized clothing from babies to adults, skin care, make-up, pottery and music CDs. From 9:30 am to 5 pm, there will be live holiday music, traditional Eastern European food along with imported beers and wines and a visit with St. Nicholas. Free admission; for vendor information or for more details contact Marianna Hoholuk: The Holy Ascension Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, 635 Broad St., hosts a Christmas Bazaar on Dec. 17, from 9 to 3, and Dec. 18, from 11 to 4. Decorations, gifts, pierogies and more will be on sale. For info, call 973-473-8665.

Wells Fargo Bank is supporting the Boys & Girls Club Career Launch Program, a new program to prepare young people to enter the work force. From left, Kevin Friedlander and Connie Ludwin of Wells Fargo with Bob Foster CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton acception a rather large check from Lucia DiNapoli Gibbons, Executive Vice President, of Wells Fargo.

106 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

The Clifton Jewish Center at 18 Delaware St. (near Burger King) hosts an Arts and Craft Show on Dec. 4 from 9 am to 5 pm. Vendors will be offering jewelry, wood working, crocheted items, Judaica, yarn items, table linens, handmade wallets... making it a perfect place to shop for holiday gifts. For information, call 973-772-3131.


Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza is helping Clifton Cares raise some dough on Dec. 6, donating 20 percent of a check’s value (excluding tax and tip) to the local group which ships out much needed items to troops overseas. The event will run from 5 to 9:30 pm and features complimentary apps, $1.50 drafts and $5 martinis. Take out is included. Offer cannot be combined with coupons. Must present flyer to participate—get one from Lizz Gagnon at or 973-818-8141. Angels of Animals, Inc., holds its fourth annual Holiday Craft Bazaar and Santa Photo Shoot fundraiser on Dec. 11 from 10 am to 5 pm at St. Andrew’s Church, 400 Mt. Prospect Ave. Holiday crafters will sell unique wears and items, and Santa himself will be on hand to take photos with your child or pet. There will also be a holiday bake sale, and kittens and cats up for adoption. All of the proceeds will benefit the group’s animal rescue efforts. For info, or to become a vendor, call 973-287-7797 or email For information about Angels of Animals, visit the website at The Ladies at the Hamilton House on Valley Rd. supported the 2012 Special Olympics through the Scarf Program. Volunteers are asked to donate handmade scarves as a symbol of unity, support, compassion and empowerment. Scarves are gifted to athletes, coaches, families, volunteers and supporters of the Special Olympics. Scarves are being accepted through March 2012. Visit

Kids eat free on Wednesdays and Fridays at Clifton's IHOP. Now on Friday nights, parents will find kids get an extra bonus—The Balloon Guy. From 6 to 8 pm, patrons of any age can be entertained and then go home with a balloon character as another way for the O'Neil family to say thanks to many loyal customers.

. The CHS Class of 1981 informal reunion at Mario’s Restaurant on Nov. 5 was a success, with graduates and guests enjoying food and drink at the Clifton landmark eatery. The graduates extended thanks to server, Roxanne, bartender, Maria and owner, Alberto, for helping coordinate the event. December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Girl Scout Troop 1965, shares a special bond with the children of the Passaic County Elks CP Center. For years they have been volunteering their time at the Center for various special days. They especially enjoy dressing up as Indians for the Thanksgiving Feast and reading to the students. They completed their Silver Award last year at the Center by refurbishing the Library. They continue their giving by donating money earned through cookie sales. Pictured are Sam Haug and Carly Cavagnaro who presented a check to defray costs for toys for the new Special Toddler Playgroup. This group will offer support services to toddler’s ages 12-36 months in Passaic and surrounding counties. This Toddler Support Group is a community-based service for children who are already receiving home-based services through New Jersey Early Intervention System. For info, call Marianne Idenden at 973-772-2600. 108 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Some of the Hamilton House ladies who knitted scarves for the Special Olympics cause: Linda Kostialik, Diane Kluth, Nancy Swaluk, Marlene Zschak, Arlene Bayeux, Barbara Dougherty.

Clifton High School Jr. ROTC members did the heavy lifting at the Veterans Concert presented by the Rec Dept. on Nov. 22. Those who attended donated canned food items which the students delivered to St. Peter’s Haven.

December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Above are Clifton firefighters who helped save 10 year old Jacob Weatherbee on Nov. 6. From left is Jason McGurk, Daniel Hertel, Steven Turi, Kenneth Prior, Thomas Tafro, Deputy Chief Leopold Loder, Jr. and Lt. William Ricci.

110 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Chief Adam Ritter Aug. 21, 1918 Aug. 11, 1930

Vincent Colavitti, Jr. was sworn in as Chief on Nov. 14, finally filling the leadership void atop the ranks of the Clifton Fire Department, which has been rotating Deputy Chiefs since last year. Colavitti, who has been with the CFD since 1991, served as captain prior to the promotion. Since Chief John E. Dubravsky retired on Jan. 1, 2009, several others have held the position: Jeffrey Adams served after Dubravsky’s watch ended, retiring in 2009, and Joseph Verderosa followed, retiring in 2010. After, the CFD rotated Deputy Chiefs before the appointment of Colavitti. Leopold Loder, Jr., Henry Cholewczynski, George Spies, Kevin McCarthy, Brian Mulligan and Norm Tahan all served as Chief.

Chief John Zanet Dec. 30, 1930 March 16, 1960

Chief Romolo Zangrando April 1, 1960 June 18, 1965

Chief Stephen J. Lendl June 20, 1965 Jan. 1, 1981

Chief Joseph Colca Nov. 12, 1980 May 1, 1985

Chief Walter DeGroot Feb. 11, 1985 Jan. 1, 1997

Chief John E. Dubravsky Jan. 1, 1997 Jan. 1, 2009

Chief Vincent Colavitti, Jr Nov. 14, 2011 -December 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Sydney Sciarrino turns 22 on Dec 16. Noelani Coronel turns 12 on Dec. 9 and her daddy Noel’s birthday is on Dec. 7. Van Houten Ave. jeweler Frank Lacki turned 85 on Nov. 2 and his gemologist of a son Gregory celebrates his 55th on Dec. 5. Happy Birthday to Basil Worhach who will turn 81 on Dec. 14.

Birthdays & Celebrations

Send dates & Marc Fazio .......................12/1 Ann W. Kissel....................12/1 Corinne Miskowsky............12/1 Mannan Amin ...................12/2 Mike Gerardi ....................12/2 Lauren Lawler ....................12/2 Bryan Nolasco ..................12/2 Allison Ahdieh ...................12/3 Patrick Lotorto ....................12/3 Bridget Rice.......................12/3

Lindsey Neering turns 26 on Dec 30. 112 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Sharon Tichacek ................12/3 Phyllis Galambos ...............12/4 Timothy Gumann................12/4 Michael Kester...................12/4 Michael Vinciguerra...........12/4 Rosemary Kuruc.................12/5 Laura Mikolajczyk..............12/5 Michael Ressetar................12/5 Pat Collucci .......................12/6 Marilyn Gossinger .............12/6 Margaret Kungl .................12/7 Noel Coronel ....................12/7 Mark Mecca......................12/7 Robert Raichel ...................12/8 Chris Sadowski..................12/8 Paul DeVita .......................12/8 Jamie Osmak.....................12/9 Daniel Fonesca Ramos .......12/9 Mark Surgent.....................12/9 Andrew Tichacek ...............12/9 Tyler Roger Vandenberghe ...12/9 Madison Riley DeVita ..........12/9 Michael McEnerney .........12/10 Bob Snelson ....................12/10 Joey Cofone ....................12/11 Kathleen M. Marshall.......12/11 Diane Meyer ...................12/11 Joseph Rutigliano .............12/11 Andy Kent .......................12/13

Charles Sabino and Dominique Cullari announce plans to marry in Oct. 2012. Danny La Gala ................12/13 Ray Capilli ......................12/14 Mary Kate Kuruc .............12/14 Michael Murolo ...............12/14 Steven Crawford..............12/15 Marie Visicaro.................12/15 David Brock ....................12/16 Hannah Grace Kulesa......12/17 Jacqueline Gencarrelli ......12/18 Anne Gerardi ..................12/18 Samantha Bassford ..........12/19 Nick Link........................ 12/19 Jayen Montague ..............12/19 Jessie Ducos ....................12/20 Amy Marino....................12/21 Michelle McEnerney.........12/22 Suman Pinto ....................12/22

Carlos & Dayana Sotamba celebrate their 3rd anniversary on Dec. 6 and announce that baby Angely will arrive in Feb! Joey Cristantiello............12/24 Soumya Gunapathy .......12/24 Ryan John Hariton..........12/25 Eric Soltis ......................12/25 Thomas Montague .........12/26 Venessa Collucci............12/27 Melissa Cordes..............12/27 James Mazza................12/29 Steven Bivaletz ..............12/30 Hunter Conklin ..............12/30 Tom Melfi ......................12/30 Courtney Pinter..............12/31


December 2011 • Clifton Merchant



St. Peter’s Haven on Clifton Ave. continues its mission of feeding the hungry and housing the homeless. Founded in 1986 by members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the center today serves as the city’s food bank, collecting funds and donations of non-perishable items. In today’s challenging economy, it is a fact that many go without adequate food and shelter on a daily basis. These people may be in transition or per-

114 December 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Donations are always needed at St. Peter’s Haven.

haps are your neighbors. The point is that St. Peter’s is indeed a haven and resource for our community so we remind you to keep St. Peter’s on your giving list. If you are in need of support or would like to help, call 973-546-3406. Make checks to St. Peter’s Haven and mail to 380 Clifton Ave., Clifton NJ 07011.

Tomahawk Promotions 1288 main avenue Clifton, NJ 07011

PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PA I D Phila Pa 191 PeRmiT No. 6438

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