Clifton Merchant Magazine - December 2004

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Clifton Merchant Magazine • volume 10 • issue 12 • december 3, 2004

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Drum Major Pat Egan looks on as Director Bob Morgan conducts the season finale, ‘What I Did For Love’, in Passaic on Thanksgiving Day. Photos on pages 32 to 35.

December 2004 Bicycle Buying, Clifton Choices . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Mustangs Win The Optimist Cup . . . . . . . . . .33 Maroon & Gray Gift Ideas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Rev. Hank Marks a Milestone . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Exit Interview with Barbara Sacks . . . . . . . . .52 Election Day is Tuesday, December 14 . . . . . .59 Athenia Steel Answers on January 9? . . . . . .63 CHS Winter Sports Teams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 Jon Borrajo Wears the Game Face . . . . . . . . .88 A Salute to WWII Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96 The Bard of Dutch Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107

They are the unpleasant little secrets living in New Jersey cities, including Clifton. Their families often have to choose between paying the rent and food. They live with grandparents, other relatives, and sometimes each other—cramming two families into an apartment that should hold one. To most residents, they are invisible—there, but not there. They are New Jersey’s poor children. And former Clifton resident Ceilia Zalkind is their chief advocate.


Clifton Merchant Magazine is published monthly at 1288 Main Ave., Downtown Clifton • 973-253-4400

Election Day is December 14 and the choice is simple: vote yes or no to a proposal which would allow the Board of Education to buy a commercial building at 290 Brighton Rd. If approved, the Board will renovate it into a 500-student annex to relieve some of the overcrowding at CHS and have it ready in September, 2006. For taxpayers, this proposal is a good deal. There will be no increase in property taxes despite the fact that this is a $15.1 million project. The Board will get a $4 million State grant and the rest of the purchase and renovation costs are covered by the ‘retirement’ of old School debt. I will vote yes to make this purchase but do so half-heartedly. Why? Because it does not address all of the issues of overcrowding. Specifically, it does nothing to alleviate the space crunch our kids face at CCMS and WWMS. But taking 500 kids out of the high school in 2006 will create a safer learning environment by keep-

Thfoar ynokursSupport...

h us from one the advertisers that have been wit who like the style to over 100 editions... to our readers, ... thank you all and independent voice of our magazine our first edition for your support. When we published how popular we in October, 1995, we never imagined hope to continwould become. With your support, we erations to come. ue to inform and entertain you for gen Christmas and Cheryl and I wish you a very Merry Tom Hawrylko Happy Holidays!

ing the CHS population at around 3,000. It is for this reason I encourage you to vote yes. But I want to make it clear that this Board deserves no accolades for finally giving voters a referendum to consider. As presented, it leaves

many questions unanswered, some of which are detailed in our story on page 59. This, and the fact that there is still no plan on where and when we will build a much needed 1,700-student school (page 63), illustrates a serious lack of planning.

What will be our Legacy? In last month’s column, I asked readers to look beyond the school issue and consider a number of moves to stabilize our community, and leave a legacy for our children... Make City Hall the 8th & 9th Grade School, move the municipal offices Downtown, Police to Lakeview and Fire to Botany. Here’s the match book cover synopsis: convert the current city hall, adjacent to CHS, into the 8th and 9th grade school. Decentralize city government. Move city hall or the Police and/or Fire headquarters to Bellin’s Pool in Downtown Clifton. By buying Bellin’s and building government offices there, it will stabilize and revitalize that neighborhood, as it would in the commercial areas of Botany Village or Lakeview. Make Athenia Steel the Community Pool. This 35 acre tract could be the Central Park of Clifton, complete with a community pool, and plenty of natural green space. And creating a jewel of a park on contaminated land will have less impact on congested roads and be safer, quicker, cheaper and easier to build than a school. What do you think? How will we create a legacy for Clifton? What are your thoughts on the future of the city? 4

December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Here are some items on my wish list that I’d like to receive this year... A Master Plan: There is something in writing by that name but if offers no vision, goals nor specific plans. After years of adding thousands of homes and people, we need a specific plan for Clifton’s future. This coming year, I hope the city will get serious about writing that often promised, goal-specific Master Plan.

Limits on Campaign Spending: Why does it cost $53,000 to run for the City Council, a job that pays just $4,500 a year? That’s what Councilman Frank Gaccione spent in 2002 to win his seat. Others raised and spent anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. I think that’s

crazy. Someone from the Council should stand up and call for limits on campaign spending, perhaps $15,000. And if anyone has the leadership to say that, they might as well ask for a study of this form of government and determine if a change is needed there, too.

Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main Avenue Downtown Clifton, NJ 07011 973-253-4400 •

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Tom Hawrylko BUSINESS MANAGER Cheryl Hawrylko GRAPHIC DESIGNER Andre Olave WRITERS Jack DeVries, Joe Torelli, Fran Hopkins, Raymond Tulling, Daniel Wolfe, Frank Santamassino, Gary Anolik, Joe Hawrylko

The Solar Grant: This was former City Manager Barbara Sacks’ idea so the Council wants to toss it. She won a $562,000 grant to put solar panels on city hall (see page 56). Some on the Council say solar energy is a bad idea. With a savings of $75,000 a year, the City’s investment of $400,000 will be paid off in five-and-a-half years. That’s the same money that would be spent annually by the City for PSE&G bills. By converting a portion of the municipal system to solar, after five-and-a-half years, the savings become profits to be passed back to the City and its taxpayers. What’s so wrong with this idea?

Merry Christmas from...

the Hawrylkos At right, Cheryl and Tom, their mom Marie Angello (also our cover model), Carly sitting in front, her sister Casey, and their brothers Joe, at left, and Tom jr. 16,000 MAGAZINES are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants the first Friday of Every Month. SUBSCRIBE: PAGE 91 $15/year in Clifton $25/year out of town CALL 973-253-4400 entire contents copyright 2004 © tomahawk promotions

Clifton Merchant • December 2004





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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Imagine Cultured Stone on your Clifton chimney or any area of your home.




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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Imagine Cultured Stone on your Clifton chimney or any area of your home.


Buying made easy when you

Shop Clifton First!

––– Story and Photo by Tom Hawrylko ––––


housands of you—OK, perhaps dozens— will purchase a bicycle this month. Thus, your Shop Clifton First! task is easy. Go to Clifton Speed Center on Main Ave. or Allwood Bicycles on Market St. to buy bikes and helmets for yourself and the kids. As someone who often commutes and spends leisure time biking, I am a regular customer of both stores. I’ve purchased bikes for the kids and myself at Clifton Speed since when Fran and Joe Coco owned it (they are still there helping new owner David Fields). And over the year that Rob Koleser has operated Allwood Bikes, he has more than once repaired or tuned-up my Trek, which I bought at the Speed Center. So if you are ready to purchase a bike, the folks at Clifton Speed Center and Allwood Bicycles are experienced professionals who will sell you the right bike and offer it at a fair price. They’ll help you select the proper frame and model. For instance, you do not want a road bike if the rider is going to be driving in the dirt. Nor do you want a racing bike for cruising.

Both stores have a nice selection of higher-quality bikes which are built to last. Chain stores typically sell cheaper products, with cheaper parts, which wear out quickly and can break easily. Remember, there’s much more involved to a bicycle purchase than the paint job. The bicycle you buy, and particularly where you buy it from, has a potentially huge impact on your safety (or the child you are putting on it), your comfort, and whether you get what you pay for. Bicycles are vehicles that can travel at high speeds. To do their best for you, they need to be constructed of quality materials, assembled by a real bicycle mechanic, and then adjusted by a professional to fit your body. Both Clifton stores have people that can do all that and properly size you or your kid with a quality helmet. As I stated previously, I consider myself to be a bit of an expert when it comes to self-propelled two-wheeled forms of transportation. So if you are planning to put a bike under the tree this year, I encourage you to buy it at Clifton Speed Center or Allwood Bicycles. You’ll get great value and superior service, guaranteed. Clifton Merchant • December 2004


The slogan we created a few years back is as valid as when we first coined it. Which is exactly



encouraging you to do

––– Garden Palace Lanes ––– Shopping for a bowler? Well, the Garden Palace’s Pro Shop, on Lakeview Avenue, has several balls on sale, such as the popular Cartoon Network Balls which feature Tigger and Scooby Doo for $50 and a host of other balls for the more serious kegler. And if you have someone who loves knocking those pins down but is hard to buy for, general manager Mike Sanders suggested gift certificates, available to fit any size stocking.

again. For this holiday season, and whenever possible, please Shop Clifton First. Because by doing so, you’re

Mike Sanders of Garden Palace Bowling Center on Lakeview Ave. invites readers to shop his pro shop.

also helping support our hometown. Don’t, in other words, forget about the local, ‘little’ guys, who may have just as great deals to offer and equally unique gifts as the big highway outlets and the malls. That said, let’s take a brief look here at what some Clifton Merchants are offering this season...

Dig Deep for the Holidays!


CONTRACTING, INC. Excavating Contractor Since 1946 Dennis Mikula 630 Route 46 W • Clifton 973-478-4769 • 973-772-1684 • Excavating Service • Tank Removal • Demolition • Fill Dirt • Top Soil 1591


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

––– Richfield Farms ––– Another great place to Shop Clifton First is Richfield Farms, a farm and garden center on Van Houten chock full of interesting Christmas decorations and gifts. The Big Green Egg, for example, which sells for $250, is a green ceramic smoker that can smoke everything from fish, to turkey... perfect for the grillmaster in any family. Paperwhites and Amaryllis bulbs, already potted and only $9.99, remain a perfect seasonal surprise. Check out, too, the homemade honeys, jams and jellies. Outside, there is plenty of greenery to decorate the home. And kids can’t resist a stroll along the bricked path which usually leads to the farm creatures at the rear of the farm. Watch those little fingers!

––– Outer Limits ––– Located on Route 46 East/Piaget Ave., Outer Limits is loaded with wild gift items. Think boys of all ages for this stuff. There are customizable plastic military model figurines, are a good stocking stuffer. Check out Hero-Clix, a combination card and role-playing game that uses super heroes from Marvel and D.C. Comics. The store also hosts league nights for trading cards gamers, such as Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh.

Lydia Grossman, Allwood Pet Center ––– Bertelli’s ––– Styertowne Shopping Center is home to many great stores but Bertelli’s is where you head when you’re buying a gift for any oenophiles on your list.. “Most of our wines here are between 85 and 95 on the Robert Parker scale,” said night manager Rudy Billack, who cites the Spanish red, Borsao, as very popular among customers this holiday season. Other tried-and-true favorites at Bertelli’s are Bolla gift baskets, which sell for $25.99, and contain one bottle each of Merlot, Sangiovese Romagna and Pinot Grigio. Also, owner Mike Bertelli, reminded readers that his totally different type of store— The Artisan’s Touch—has moved to the upper level of Styertowne. The Artisan’s Touch is a work space and a showcase for fine art in various mediums. Created by local artists, there are wood and other sculptures, as well as paintings and crafts, all available for purchase. The studio also offers art workshops for kids.

––– Footnotes ––– Located on the lower level of Styertowne across from Acme, Footnotes is an independent bookstore that offers the same selection of new soft and hard cover books but also has a unique trade in/ buy back policy on used books.

Lydia Grossman of the Allwood Pet Center near the corner of Allwood & Market St. has a large selection of tropical fish and birds as well as foods and goods for every pet of the modern day home.

––– Amazing Savings ––– This modern-day bazaar in Styertowne is perfect if you’re absolutely stumped over what to get people on your holiday list. Merchandise changed daily and as the month progresses, even hourly.

–––Dining in Styertowne ––– Taste of Tuscany on the lower level next to Footnotes is the place to mangia when doing the tour of Styertowne. Owner Danny Dirti and his staff have gone way past the level of good restaurant and turned this little pizzeria into a place that has earned a regional reputation as an awesome sit down restaurant. Stop by, sit and enjoy.

HO, HO, HO!! Need an Apartment Before the Holidays? Clifton: 2 room studio, $700 Inc. heat and hot water Athenia 4 rooms $800 Inc. heat and hot water 4 modern rooms, great neighborhood $1000.00 + utilities Delawanna 5 rooms, 1st floor-basement washer/dryer, yard $1000 + utilities Lakeview, large 3 rms, hardwood floors, air conditioning $1000 inc. heat and hot water Athenia, 5 rms, 3 bedrooms, modern $1300 + utilities Athenia, 6 rms, 3 brs, 1/5 baths, off street parking $1400 + Athenia 4 rms, off street parking $1250 + util. Passaic: 2 room studio $500+ utilities 3 rooms $650+ utilities 3 rooms $700 + utilities. 6 rooms, 3 brs, $1300 + utilities



604 Van Houten Avenue • Clifton • 973.773.0802


Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Richfield Video, Cigars & Magazines ––– Morre Lyons Jewelers –––

Murray and the gang in Dec., 2003: From left, Karen Dichiaro, Amy Ferrari, Ron Nadel, Murray Blumenfeld, Mark Sokasits, Linda Dubnoff and Rosalie Soccol.

Morre Lyons Jewelers is the ideal place to browse for, among other fine things, watches. The store stocks 15 different brands and hundreds of samples in house, including a nice selection by Rolex. And their DeBeers line of diamonds, in several different cuts and in pendants, earrings and necklaces, are always popular. “I think the most unique thing about this store is that we’re truly a full-service store. We do everything from installing watch batteries to selling and fitting rings,” waxed the late proprietor Murray Blumenfeld as to what makes a locally owned store like his special. He expanded on his “Shop Clifton First” philosophy: “We live in the same city that we service, unlike the (owners and workers in) mall stores, where you might speak with somebody and never see them again. Stores like ours, quite frankly, are few and far between.” And quite frankly, old time merchants like Murray are few and far between. We’ll always remember him. Murray died this past year but the store he founded in Passaic 56 years ago continues with his kids at the helm.

––– Richfield Video ––– Forget the giant cigar stores on the highways and the sites on the world wide web and visit Richfield Video, Cigars and Magazines. The humidor there offers a fine selection of well made cigars and the staff will help any novice shopper buy the right smoke for that special guy. There are hundreds of brands here, in all price ranges, styles and flavors. However, once you get the cigars, you have to keep them moist so consider a humidor. Fine cigars need to be cut to smoke so another essential gift is a cutter. Fire it up! But don’t think you can light a cigar like a cigarette. Richfield has a wide assortment of good lighters. And with so many cigar magazines on the market, this store has a selection of great cigar periodicals to complete your gift giving.

––– Chandelle’s ––– Located doors away from Richfield Video, and right next to Morre Lyons Jewelers, this is a Hallmark card shop, a gift store and much more. Owner John Foroutan’s store is stocked with thousands of greeting cards, as well as photo frames, wrapping paper, balloons and a litany of other items. Like his neighbor and so many other Clifton Merchants, Chandelle’s, too, stresses individualized service, something Foroutan thinks is in short supply at malls.

––– While at Richfield Village ––– Pick-up a gift certificate at Guy Anthony Salons, develop film at Clifton One Hour Photo, have breakfast lunch or dinner at Foodies Cafe, Boston Market, at the pizzeria or the deli on the other end of this popular strip mall, located at the intersection of Clifton and Allwood. Paterson $339,900 3-4 BR 1.5 baths. Snrm skylite! Lg. LR w/Fireplace! bsmnt.-Garage. 75x100 level lot. Walk to bus.


10th flr. studio - Harbor Tower $129,000. Hudson Rvr.View, Exercise Rm., Door Man, Walk to bus.

Glenn Miller,CRS,GRI Broker Sales Associate 23+years Experience!

RENTALS! W.Pat. $1750/mo+util 6 rooms-3 Br, 1.5 bath no pets! avail. immed. Wayne $1975 /mo + util House Rental 3-4Br, 2 baths, Lg yard.


Century 21 Gemini Realty, LLC. 197 Berdan Ave., Wayne,N.J. 07470 (973) 696-1111 x 109 cell: (973) 476-1127

December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

West NY Investment Condos! 3rd flr. studio - Harbor Tower $104,000. Exercise Rm., Door Man,Walk to bus.

Lincoln Park $429,900 2-3 BR.2.5 bths. CntrlAir/ Vac! 2 story LR w/Frplce! 2 Rms in Bsmnt. Deck-Garage! Walk to Bus-Pool-Tennis! Little Falls 2 Family! $499,000 12 Rms-7 Brs! 3 Bths! Possible Bus. or Prof. use Walk to bus & stores! EACH OFFICE IS INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED.

Great Gift Ideas for the Motorhead on Your List! Power Lifting Combo

Titan 7-piece Laser Level Kit

Includes 2-1/2 ton service jack and 3 ton jack stands. A $117.94 retail value!

Projects a laser spot up to 100 feet, making easy work of leveling all types of construction projects.

$99. 95

$45. 95

Radar Detectors

Wet-N-Dry Utility Vacs

Using Compuheterodyne(r) technology, this detector conveys all radar, laser, SWS alerts in text display, visual band indicator and bar graph.

Ultra-wide-anti-tip low • Profile Design • Oversized Tank Drain • 4-Year Warranty • 12 Gallon/5.0 peak HP •

$196. 99

$136. 35

Mag-Lite Sturdy aircraft aluminum construction is explosion proof and waterproof. 0-ringed throughout for moisture resistance. Each uses “D” cell batteries (not included). Includes extra bulb.

2 for

3 for

4 for

$21. $25. $26. 95 5 for 6 for 95 $21. $25. 95 95


Two Stores In Clifton BroSpeed Exhaust


802 Van Houten Ave • Athenia

Bosal Performance - high performance exhaust with real gains in horsepower and torque. For performance compacts and trucks.


Mon-Fri 8-6pm • Sat 8-5pm • Sun 9-1pm


1103 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton


Mon-Fri 8-6pm • Sat 8-5pm • Sun Closed


Clifton Merchant • December 2004


the MadrigalsSing Season!


hey use no notes or have a conductor but the CHS Madrigal Singers never seem to miscue. Under the direction of Barbara Novak since 1985, this a capella group has a December repertoire of about 25 pieces. To perfect this complicated and entertaining madrigal tradition, the students practice daily and at least one evening per week. Novak said while she teaches them their parts and coaches them about this Renaissance style of music, the group does not have a conductor leading the group. Instead, a student pitches them and starts them, and all changes are done through eye contact between the performers. Another part of their unique sound is created by their performance style. The Madrigals don’t perform in sections. Rather, they stand as a mixed group to create a blend of sounds and harmonies. And their traditional gowns, belts and hairpieces (not ready when this photo of seniors was taken) also add to their style. The costumes were created by a former student, Jill McCoy, who graduated the Fashion Institute of Technology and now works as a pattern maker for a major retailer. She created the costumes pro bono. While the Madrigals specialize in Renaissance music, their repertoire includes a variety of styles and sounds.


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Founded in the early 1970’s by Clifton Choral Director Pearl Anderson, the Madrigals often perform throughout the community at various events. In addition to a number of Clifton events (at right), on Dec. 7, the Madrigals perform for the Prime Timers at the First Presbyterian Church. The next day they do a benefit for Passaic County Social Services. On Dec. 10 at 6 pm, they host their big holiday concert at the CHS John F. Kennedy Auditorium. Here is a line up of the 2004 CHS Madrigals... Ashley Leeshock Anna Broniszewski Carolyn Liberti Lottie Carlin Ashley Manangon Shaina Checko Samuel Mojica Vaniah Cunningham Kristen Obolsky Angel Curitomai Christopher Robertson Tiffany Dao Raquel Rojas Alvin Foster Cara Ruggiero Vanessa Garcia Schuyler Schickel Jonathan Grant Christopher Sierra Sarah Greulich Cassandra Trujillo Nina Heisterman Ashley Urbano Jennifer Johnson Stephanie Vargas Luticia Johnson John Williams Shannon Lancaster Sara Woodruff


he holiday season all concludes on the very cusp of the Big Guy’s biggest and most hardworking night of the year—some disgruntled elf employees way up north claim it’s his only working day of the year—with the 35th Annual Tour De Clifton on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. 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 riding his own personal float all around town, courtesy of

Bond Parade Floats & Displays Company of Clifton. Call 973-470-5757 on this and events listed below. Before this Christmas Eve gala, however, you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to share in the holiday spirit at numerous tree lightings and other holiday gatherings. The list below, accurate as of press time, follows, thanks to a friendly reindeer—no names, but his first initial is ‘B’— who tells us that Santa and his team of reindeer always looks forward to visiting Clifton since he, the elves and the reindeer will make a stop at The Hot Grill for their beloved Hot Texas Wieners...

Dec. 3, 6 pm Botany Village Merchants Association, Sullivan Square, Tree Lighting, CHS Madrigal Choir. Dec. 3, 6:45 pm Dutch Hill Residents Association and Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group, Main Mall Park (Corner of 1st & Clifton), Tree Lighting, CHS Madrigal Choir. Dec. 3, 7 pm, Hamilton House Museum, Annual Candlelight Tour, CHS Madrigal Choir—don’t these kids get around? Dec. 5, 2 pm, Hamilton House Museum, ‘A Visit From St. Nicholas’ with Assemblyman Eagler as St. Nicholas. Dec. 5, 5 pm, Clifton City Hall, Tree Lighting, CHS Madrigal Choir, Mustang Band Brass Ensemble. Dec 6, 6:15 pm Lakeview Civic Association, Tree lighting, CHS Madrigals. Dec. 8, 4 pm Clifton Jewish Center hosts a Menorah lighting at City Hall. Dec. 11, Clifton Rec. candy cane hunt at Surgent Park. Dec. 18, 11 am, Downtown Clifton Holiday Tea & Singalong at Washington and Main Aves.

We Sell More Because We Do More

791 PASSAIC AVE. CLIFTON • 973-779-1900

For the Month of OCTOBER 2004: TOP LISTER



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Carlito Chi

Call Carlito & Glenn for all your Real Estate needs. 973-779-1900. Ask about our Gold Services!

Real Estate Sales: Sales positions available in extremely active Clifton Office. Great location, great training. Our sales associates are among the most successful in the industry. Call Dan Norton, Manager of the Clifton Office, for an interview. 973-779-1900 Clifton Merchant • December 2004


8 Nights of

Clifton Chanukah Shopping

––– Story by Daniel Wolfe ––––


irst, the wine. Shopper’s Vineyard on Bloomfield Ave. offers a variety of kosher wines, as well as two flavors of the Israeli liquor, Sabra. All will feel welcomed when they notice the mezuzah on the doorway (a mezuzah is a religious item that can be found on the doorways of most Jewish homes). Any gift purchased here will start the holiday off on a festive note. Two: There is more to celebration than having a good drink. A good meal is just as important! The Acme supermarket at Styertowne Shopping Center on Bloomfield Ave. by the Allwood Roundabout is still less than a year old, but word

At least two flavors of Sabra, the Israeli liquor, are at Shopper’s Vineyard.

of its kosher selection spread fast. There is a well-stocked professional deli, and with an aisle devoted to kosher foods as well. As anyone who has ever tried buying kosher meals from a chain supermarket knows, such an offering is extremely rare. Enjoy it every night of Chanukah; it will impress every kosher-eating friend you have. Three: Finally, the dessert. Dayton Homemade Chocolates on Market St. is not kosher, but it has enough variety that you can easily find different treats for everyone

Your local CENTURY 21 Agency, A CV Real Estate Associates, offers two decades of Clifton experience and service. Broker/Owner Carole Viola, a Clifton resident, would like you to get to know us.

Jose Acosta

Shahnaz Ileiwat

Clifton Resident Full Time Professional with 7 Years Experience

Clifton Resident Full Time Professional Speaks Fluent Arabic

This month we introduce...

A CV Real Estate Associates, Inc. 931 Clifton Ave. Extension, Clifton

Call Us for all of your Real Estate Needs 973-365-2122 Complimentary Market Analysis Available at No Obligation


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant


Adel Aziz, The Men’s Gallery you know, each night of Chanukah. If your friends or family are not strict about keeping kosher and they have an insatiable sweet tooth, there is no better place to go. Four: Chanukah, like most other holidays this time of year, centers around giving toys to kids. One of the cooler places in Clifton for toys and collectibles—specifically, collectible cards—is AAmerican Sports on Main Ave. Get a card of a Jewish athlete, or most any player the recipient is a fan off, you’ll find the card here. They even have those Yu-Gi-Oh gift tins that seem to come out every year. The kids will love any gift from this place Five: Likewise, kids will appreciate anything from Outer Limits on Route 46/Piaget Ave. For more imaginative role models, there are countless Jewish heroes in the comics they sell, and the toys and figures—both common and rare— appeal to comic and animation fans of any age. And for the kid close to grown-up, they have a ton of slick and sometimes funny posters that are perfect for college dorm walls.

Six: Whether you go to synagogue during the holiday or you simply visit family, it is an occasion to dress up. Adel Aziz of The Men’s Gallery at Styertowne (at right) has enough sharp suits to keep the men in your family dressed to impress. And for the cost conscious, ask Adel Aziz, or his son Peter, who is in the store daily, to help create a new look by just adding a tie, jacket or sweater. Seven: Make a right from The Men’s Gallery and visit Aziz’s wife Mona at The Shoe Gallery, which sells shoes, handbags and accessories. Make a left from The Men’s Gallery and visit Shereeds, which has evening gowns, holiday outfits and clothes for everyday wear. Mom may even want to visit both stores when putting together the perfect outfit for herself or the girls!

Eight: One Chanukah tradition is to give gelt (coins) to children. Often, this can be chocolate coins (which are sold at Dayton Homemade Chocolates on Market St., and this time of year can also be found at most pharmacies and supermarkets). But to really go over the top, visit American Coin on Main Ave. in Downtown Clifton and give authentic collectible coins, from all eras, countries and metals. One final suggestion: copy this article, put some cash in a card and write: Please Shop Clifton First!

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Clifton Is A Mosaic... of many cultures and, now, especially during December, it is so wonderfully apparent. We will soon celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa and Diwali and Ramadan have recently completed. The diversity of our community and the many cultural and 1096

ethnic celebrations that Clifton families observe is something that makes our community such a great place to live and work within.

Happy Holidays and Many Thanks for all Your Support!

Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. Our offices are located at: Main District Office: Robert A. Roe Building, 200 Federal Plaza Suite 500 Paterson, New Jersey 07505 Phone (973) 523-5152 Washington, D.C. Office: 1722 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 Phone (202) 225-5751 Paid for by Pascrell for Congress, Inc. C. Pagano, Treasurer


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Bloomfield Office: Bloomfield Municipal Plaza, Room 200A Town Hall Bloomfield, New Jersey 07003 Phone (973) 680-1361 Passaic Office: Passaic City Hall, 165 Prospect Street Passaic, New Jersey 07055 Phone (973) 472-4510

Mikardos Family, Dayton Homemade Chocolates ––– Castle of Nuts ––– On Main Avenue, the smell of freshly roasted nuts wafts through the air from the Castle of Nuts. At Jamal Alazizi’s store, there are dozens of varieties of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, chocolates and freshly ground coffees for sale. Walk past the Downtown Clifton store and you’ll smell that the roasting is done right on the premises. There are pinoli nuts and sweet white raisins, perfect for stuffing. Walnuts and pecans for fresh Christmas cookies. Dried pineapple, apples, prunes, cherries... any type of dried fruits or fresh nuts one could want. Castle of Nuts offers on display about 10 different gift packs at various prices ready to be picked up. But if customers want to create their own gift packs, that’s not a problem. Alazizi or his staff will patiently work with customers to put together a little of this and that until the right mix is created.

––– Dayton Homemade Chocolates ––– Dayton Homemade Chocolates, now in a modern sweet shop on Market St., has been serving Clifton since 1912. The business got its moniker from when it was located on the corner of Dayton and Highland Aves., in Passaic, and is still owned by the Mikardos family, pictured here. Generations of customers still come to the store, many from towns away, for their milk, white and dark chocolates year round as the family continues to operate in the same Old World tradition of their founders.

There’s No Place Like (Your Own) Home For the Holidays! Buy, Sell, Appraise or Insure, with Clifton’s... Ernest T.


1-800-43-House 973-478-5967 Season’s Greetings from our staff, including: Bob Moore, Anita Aquino, Dottie Koski, Bridget Lydick, Vera Scheidemann, John Gray, Rudy Hudak, Jack Brofee, Bill Mayerchak, Walter Tarnowski, Annmarie Reidy, Ernie Scheidemann. 1188

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Seasons Greetings To all of our Clifton neighbors and customers, past and present... thank you for allowing us to assist you in your home improvement projects. Whether it’s roofing, vinyl siding or replacement windows, you can always count on Affordable Home Services to provide you with only the finest in materials and workmanship and affordable pricing. We have been serving Clifton homeowners since 1968, and look forward to your business in 2005. We’re proud to introduce our new Swing & Clean Glider Windows, available exclusively from Affordable. Again, we would like to thank you and wish Virtually everyone a very Happy Holiday and Seamless Vinyl Siding Healthy, Happy New Year! only from Affordable

Sincerely, The Federle Family Call Affordable Home Services Ron, John, Jim & Sal

Now is the Time! To Replace your windows with Affordable’s Ultra–Maxx Windows. Giving you a Lifetime Guarantee, including glass breakage.

Call Affordable Now... ...Affordable For Life!


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Brian Scott, Scott Tire, Route 46 East ––– Luna Rossa ––– For an evening of cool jazz and delicious dining head to Downtown Clifton at 39 Harding Ave. in what was the old Bumstead’s. There you will find Luna Ross and likely meet owner Al Pfeuffer, who has reestablished this longtime Downtown Clifton restaurant landmark as a new destination for food, drinks and jazz. Pfeuffer has a maestro’s touch when it comes to creating a vibe at Luna Rossa, open Wednesday through Sunday evenings. There’s a 1940’s retro-styled art deco bar, Italian cuisine and live jazz on weekends. CHS grad Craig Yaremko and his Brazilian-inspired group perform there again on Dec. 17 at 8:30 pm. Call 973-340-6125.

––– American Coin & Stamp ––– While American Coin & Stamp on Main Ave. has been know for decades to numismatists and philatelists, shoppers would be surprised at the variety of merchandise appropriate for gift giving for those that are not collectors. For instance, every holiday season there are just minted silver ingots perfect for commemorating the season. Also, there are coin sets available to mark special dates, be it the new year, a birth or an anniversary. And then there are always collectable coins and stamps. Themed stamps from countries across the globe makes a great gift. So do coins of various precious metals and lineage. Take a look at this silver 2003 Liberty Dollar or holiday silver ingots from the past. They make a great commemorative gift. Coins sets can mark special dates, from births to anniversaries, and often increase in value. ift tG me Now r u Go skets ble Ba vaila A

Gifts for new drivers? Brian Scott of Scott Tire suggested gift certificates to tire stores, repair shops, gas stations or to stores like P& A Auto Parts which has two locations in Clifton for things like an emergency road kit.

––– Menconi Music Studio ––– Who knows, your son, daughter or grandchild might be a music prodigy. Get them started with lessons at Menconi Music Studio on Lakeview Ave. They offer gift certificates for lessons, instruments or supplies. Owned and operated by Anna Marie Menconi and her dad Steve, they and their diverse team of instructors offer lessons on all orchestral and band instruments, as well as guitar, mandolin, piano, drums, voice, accordion and on most any thing which can create sound.

––– Downtown Music Stores ––– Also in Downtown Clifton, shoppers will find Eden Musical, near the intersection of Harding and Main in the old Epstein’s Department Store, which specializes in Latin tunes, from salsa and meringue to cumbia and Latin rock. There’s also sections on artists from almost every Latin American country. A few doors down near the corner of Madison and Main Aves., but a generation or two away is Clifton Music. Specializing in oldies, doo-wop and acapella sounds, proprietor Ronni I sells the vinyl and CD’s and keeps promoting this classic Americana art form through his UGHA foundation.

Dayton Homemade Chocolates

11OA MARKET STREET • CLIFTON • 973.574.O444 L O C AT E D 1 / 4 M I L E F R O M S T Y E RT O W N E • M A I L O R D E R AVA I L A B L E


Gift Baskets

Let Us Simplify Your Holiday Gift Giving! Corporate Orders Welcome. We ship anywhere in the U.S.

We offer a large variety of:

• Assorted Milk, Dark & Sugar-Free Chocolates • Country Fresh Fudge

• Gourmet Gift Baskets • Old Fashioned Candies • Chocolate Novelties

• Greeting Cards • Party Favors • Jelly BellyTM Jelly Beans

5 $ 2 00 $

00 OFF

Any Gourmet Gift Basket

$35 or more. Limit one coupon per person.Cannot be combined with other offers. Exp. 12/31/04

One Purchase of $20 or more

Limit one coupon per person. OFFCannot be combined with other offers.


Exp. 12/31/04.

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Ray Mendoza, USPS A note of thanks to Ray, Lowel and all who toil year-round to deliver the stuff that keeps our homes and businesses going.

Lowel Balock, UPS

Marty Nee… Ready To Serve Your Realty Needs! BUYERS




Happy Holidays To My Past, Present, & Future Clients Dedicated to Customer Satisfaction Buying or Selling? Call me at 973-594-4319 Direct

Cell: 201-755-9728 Pager: 201-439-2888 E-mail:

Martin Nee, GRI

Clifton Office 789 Clifton Ave • 973-778-4500 Ext. 223 Independently Owned and Operated by NRT Incorporated


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant


Federal Mortgage Offers Senior Citizens A Reverse Mortgage


or some 32 years now, Anthony A. Accavallo, shown here, has been helping make the American Dream become a reality, right here in Clifton. As President of Federal Mortgage & Investment Corp. at 1111 Clifton Ave., Clifton, he and his firm have written millions of dollars worth of mortgages which have allowed people to purchase homes. And while that work has been fulfilling, Accavallo said he is getting his greatest satisfaction these days by helping senior citizens with reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a special kind of mortgage loan for seniors. “It is a safe, easy way to turn your home equity into tax-free cash,” he continued.

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

How do I qualify for a Reverse Mortgage? It’s simple. You and your co-borrower must be at least 62 years old. You must own your home free and clear or have just a small balance on your existing mortgage. Best of all, there are no income or credit requirements to satisfy. How can I receive my money? You can receive it in several ways: •Equal monthly payments as long as you live in your home •Equal monthly payments for a certain period of time •As a line of credit you can draw upon as needed, for whatever reasons •As a lump sum draw at closing •A combination of the above, to meet your requirements.

But a reverse mortgage allows seniors to borrow against the equity they already have in their home... and they never have to make a monthly payment. Each reverse mortgage candidate is required to attend a free counseling session with a local independent housing agency approved by FHA (Federal Housing Administration). Candidates are encouraged to bring other family members with them to help in the decision-making process. “This process ensures that the borrower understands the program fully and aides them in determining whether or not a reverse mortgage is for them,” said Accavallo.

When must I repay the loan? You must repay the loan if you no longer live in your home. In the event of your death, your heirs can choose to repay the loan and keep the house or sell the house and repay the loan, What are interest rate charges & fees? •An adjustable rate of interest is charged on reverse mortgages •Closing costs are typical for any mortgage closing and all may be financed •No out-of-pocket expenses at closing Are Reverse Mortgages safe? •Yes, FHA and FannieMae guarantee the payments you receive •FHA and FannieMae also guarantee you will never owe more than your house is worth — no debt left on estate

Federal Mortgage & Investment Corp. Not a Government Agency Mortgage Bankers Licensed by NJ Department of Banking & Insurance Licensed by NY & CT Department of Banking 1111 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07013

1-800-788-1184 Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Quilts Handmade & Baskets


he Clifton Arts Center Gallery offers shoppers hand-crafted decorative and usable art objects, many of which are on display through Dec. 18. Gallery hours are Wed. to Sat., from 1 to 4 pm. The exhibit and sale showcases the work of basket artist Malle Whitaker, wood sculpture Teri Hislop and members of the Clifton Quiltor’s Guild. Formed in 1989, the Guild started with 30 members and today has over 60 members of all ages and abilities.

In addition to creating beautiful quilts, the Clifton Quiltor’s Guild is involved in many charity projects and members often donate quilts to Habitat for Humanity, St. Peter’s Haven and local nursing homes. The Guild meets the last Wednesday of every month from 7 to 9 pm at the Senior’s Barn. New members are welcome. As part of the exhibit and sale, fiber artist and basket maker Malle Whitaker and Teri Hislop, a wood sculpture artist and Artist-In-Residence at the Artisans Touch Gallery in Clifton, will both offer their crafts. Join most of the artists on Dec. 10 from 5 to 7 pm for a Quilt Making Demo and extra holiday shopping event. The Clifton Arts Center is located behind city hall on the campus of the Clifton Municipal Complex, Van Houten Ave. For info, call 973-472-5499.




Beauty Salon 973-473-6105



December 2004 • Clifton Merchant



Perms $40 & up Buzz Cuts Tuesdays • $10.00


Styertowne Shopping Center 1045 Bloomfield Ave. • Clifton

Lower Level of Styertowne Shopping Center in Clifton.

• Includes Hair Cut


Styertowne S H O P P I N G


Use This Directory of Stores When Shopping: Celebrations 973-458-8200 Atlanta Bread Company 973-777-2211 Bertelli’s Liquors 973-779-0199

ACME 973-594-0590 Valley National Bank 973-777-6283 Cleaners 2000 973-614-1400

The Season’s Fine Chinese Cuisine

Amazing Savings

973-777-8073 Taste of Tuscany

Pet Stuff 973-778-1617


Alice’s Cards & Gifts


Styertowne Bakery



Fascination Beauty Salon 973-473-6105

Dunkin Donuts & Baskin Robbins 973-473-9631 CVS Pharmacy

Antonio’s Hair Stylist 973-472-1011


Kim’s Nail Salon 973-471-8118

The Men’s Gallery

The Shoe Gallery



Corbo Jewelers

US Post Office



Shereed’s Ladies & Mens Clothing

The Chiropractic Center at Styertowne



The Shoe Doctor




Marty’s Shoes

AC Moore



The New Brava For Women



Grand Opening

Exchange Florist 973-594-0700


Kid City

Footnotes Bookstore



Artisian’s Touch

Dress Barn



Exchange Place Florist 973-594-0700

Kid City 973-614-1111

Retail & Office Space Available. Call 973-591-5222 for info.

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Fun & Tales Puppy Dog W

as Suki the Doberman naughty this year, running away and being cranky? Has Bob Marley been on his best behavior over the last few weeks, learning to heel, and being less pesky to Suki?

Either way, the jolly guy in the fly red suit with (fake) fur trim arrives at the Clifton Animal Shelter on Dog Pound Road Dec. 5 to pose for pictures with Suki, Marley and your pets, noon to 4 pm. And then, perhaps because he’s also reputedly a ‘jolly old elf,’ he’s coming back for a return appearance on Dec. 12 for the same four hour span. All sorts of animals are welcome, too. (Even reindeer if you happen to have one.) In previous years, Santa has posed patiently with ferrets, rabbits, birds and snakes as well as dogs and cats. The cost is $5 per picture, which benefits the shelter and helps provide food and medical care for needy animals. They’ll accept donations too. Call: 973-470-5936.

The Polar Express, the book that inspired the popular film, will be read to children ages 3 to 10 on Dec. 20 at 6:30 pm at the Clifton Memorial Library. After, families will create souvenirs inspired by the book and enjoy refreshments. To register, call 973-772-5500. 1632

Buon Natale

Chef George Kostiuk and his wife Carmelina

‘Airy and Inviting Dining Room with an Island Palm Décor’

I TA L I A N , E U R O P E A N & M E D I T E R R A N E A N C U I S I N E

709 VAN HOUTEN AVE • CLIFTON • 973.773.7770


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

DeMattia–O’Brien, Inc. Real Estate Since 1922

500 Clifton Ave • Clifton

973-546-3366 1328

We Salute & Thank

Clifton’s Heroes Past, Present & Future! List your home with DeMattia-O’Brien, Inc. through December 31, 2004 and we will donate 1% of our earned commission to

Clifton Police PBA #36 Clifton Fireman’s FMBA #21 Clifton Boys’ & Girls’ Club the Clifton-based Veterans’ or community service organization of your choice* *Recipient organization must have tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Other restrictions may apply.

Clifton Picture Postcard Pretty Like New $359,900 Fantastic location, large new kitchen, roof, windows, large property & garage. Too many upgrades to list! Clifton Two Family Act fast, Call Now! $319,900 2 lovely upgraded 1 bedroom apartments, separate gas heat, 50x150, park like Clifton Colonial property. 1st come 1st served. $320,000 Lg. 3 bedroom colonial Lg. lot, garage. Clifton King Sized Colonial Mid $300’s Lg. 4 bedroom, 3 bath w/beauty features, enclosed porch, gas heat, hardwood current renovation. Move in by Christmas, Hurry! Clifton Two Family Just listed at $369,900 Large 3/4 two family, brick & alum, 2 garages.

Clifton Two Family hi $300’s Athenia Section 3 over 5, 2-family with many upgrades. Call for details.

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Laurie Mocek, Wheels Jewelry & Gifts ––– Meltzers Sporting Goods ––– S. Meltzer & Sons in Garfield is owned by Clifton’s Billy Meltzer so by default this third generation store qualifies for the Shop Clifton First effort. Meltzers is an independent outdoors and sporting goods store, a great gift stop for those into fishing, hunting, hiking or climbing. The staff there knows their stuff about poles, reels, lures, guns and bows, as well as hooks, bullets, pellets or arrows. Plus there’s more: Billy is a runner so there are plenty of running shoes, as well as boots and shoes for casual times. Their Lee jeans sizes go up into way big and their selection of coats and functional clothing will allow someone to design a casual wardrobe.

––– Where Victoria Angel’s Stitch ––– Where Victoria’s Angels Stitch on Allwood Rd. is one of the few needlework shops left in the area. It was started over five years ago by Donald and Tawny Korty but opened near Market and Allwood last February. The shop has supplies for counted cross stitch, crewel, silk ribbon embroidery, hardanger and drawn thread work. Many of these types of needlework are almost a lost art. But at Victoria’s Angels, the walls are full of pieces that took stitchers hundreds of hours to do. There are pieces of everything—from a four foot sampler to angels that look as if they are in flight. Come in for starter gift packs. Ask about their expanded in-house frame service.

––– Able Hardware ––– In Athenia, on Van Houten Ave., Able Hardware offers thousands of items for everyday use and gift-giving. There’s mini-Mag Lites in neon colors (great stocking stuffers) to Toro snow blowers and other items too big to put under the Christmas tree but certainly the right size when that next winter storm blows into Clifton.

Laurie Mocek of Wheels on Van Houten Ave. runs a funky boutique that sells everything from clothing and candles to jewelry and gallon size containers of Burt’s Bees skin care products.

––– Wheels ––– Wheels on Van Houten Ave. is a cool little store jammed with the largest selection of custom silver jewelry in the area. Teen-age kids looking for gifts for friends, male or female, will find something hip—and priced right. The store has display cases filled with custom jewelry created in various metals, designs of which would not be found in any other store. Owner Laurie Mocek also has a line of clothing, handbags, gloves and scarfs. There are also candles, cards, incense and other items worth checking out. And when you drop in, be sure to say hello to Spike, Laurie’s bright yellow Cockatiel that often perches in this funky boutique.

––– Corrado’s Family Affair ––– Going to a house or an office party and want to bring something to nourish the other guests? Call ahead to Corrado’s and order a gift basket—you’ll arrive with enough to feed dozens. Corrado’s has a brochure to show you all the options or orders that can be custom designed. While fruit baskets are always popular, there are dozens of ideas to choose from, ranging from sweets and spices to cheeses and wines.

Dr. David A. Testa Board Certified • Family Practice Medicare and most insurances accepted. Welcoming new patients! Located at the former office of Dr. Joseph M. Parian.

524 Clifton Ave • Clifton • 973-478-3556 HOURS: MON 9:00-4 • TUES 2-7:30 • THURS 12-6 • FRI 8-12 • SAT 8-12 1705


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Order Now...Ship Later. D e l i v e r e d t o Yo u r D o o r

1578 Main Ave. Clifton, NJ 07011 • 973-340-0628

Gift Giving Ideas For All Occasions A Fine Selection of Italian Specialty Foods, Baskets, Cookies, Pastries and Platters

You Can Always Count On Corrado’s for All Your Gift Giving Ideas

1672 For Ordering Information Call Toll–Free 1-800-232-6758 or Local 973-340-0628 We accept Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover, Mac, & Nyce • We ship UPS, FedEx & Messenger (Shipping Additional) Corrado’s may substitute any product(s) for equal or higher product value due to availability,

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Pirogies Homemadeby Duch


any Cliftonites have fond memories of their mother or grandmother in the kitchen of their childhood, sprinkling flour on a table top and rolling dough for homemade pirogies. Often, it was a holiday treat and every cook had her own special touch or recipe. For Mike Duch it was more than a memory. It was the spark for a business that has been a success for over 18 years. Duch is the owner and operator of Homemade Pirogi at 1295 Main Ave. He and his staff turn out countless dozens of pirogies ranging from potato and cheese to prune filled or sweet cabbage. In all, there are 15 varieties available. Pirogi’s are Duch’s life. While some people have vanity license plates which relate to their love life or financial success, Duch’s plate is PIROGI. But it wasn’t always so. 28

December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Wanderlust took Duch, a 1967 CHS grad, to the high seas where he became chief photographer on a number of cruise ships sailing the Caribbean. He then spent five years on board the Mississippi Queen and the Delta Queen, working the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. “It was as good as it sounds,” he recalled. “There were a lot of great people on these ships. In all, I spent seven years as a ship’s photographer, shooting 70,000 photos a year.” Eventually, Duch returned to Clifton and tried his hand at selling real estate, then replacement windows for homes. The idea of opening a business came after he noticed how popular his mother’s pirogies were with family and friends. So, with a cousin, he founded Homemade Pirogies. The chef was mom, Anna, pictured with Mike. “She was 77when we opened and we all worked 12 hours a day,” he said. “Now she’s 95 and she’s still keeping an eye on things.” In the beginning, the recipes were variations on mom’s. But after a while Duch began to experiment in the kitchen. Now, he’s fired up. “I woke up at 4 o’clock one morning with an idea for a new recipe,” he said. “Another time, I got the idea for Broccoli and Spinach Royale while stuck in traffic on the way to Atlantic City.” Duch considers his to be the perfect business, “I love to cook and I love to feed people. It’s nice meeting people and getting compliments on your product.”

The pirogies are made fresh every morning. They are boiled, cooled, then frozen. In addition to the retail side of the business, Duch sells to caterers, delis, supermarkets and restaurants. And he recently added a line of empanadas. But despite the potential for growth, he has no plans for franchising. “I do not dream of building an empire,” Duch said. “You can’t maintain quality control if you spread yourself too thin. A lot of people have found out the hard way that if you expand and start a chain of stores you multiply your potential for profit but you also multiply your potential for a business disaster.” Duch knows about business disasters. On March 21, 2003, a devastating fire ripped through a series of commercial storefronts at 560 Lexington Ave., where Duch had originally founded his business. While no one was injured, the fire hit as Lent entered its final four weeks, a time when Duch and his crew are at their busiest. It took him over a year to find and then reestablish his new storefront on Main Ave. but Homemade Pirogi has been back ever since, even expanding the line-up. He has some pointers for people thinking of starting a business: “Make sure there is a real need for your product. Come up with something that nobody else is doing. Your business should be totally different. And remember, timing is everything. Finally, don’t forget, in 50 years you will be dead so it doesn’t matter how much money you made.”

Happy Holidays! Colonial Pharmacy

828 CLIFTON AVE. • CLIFTON • 973-473-4000 • FAX: 973-473-4002 M-F 9-10 • SAT. 9-9 • SUN. 9-3 WALTER VOINOV, B.S.R.P. - WALTER DIDUCH, B.S.R.P.


669 VAN HOUTEN AVE. • CLIFTON • 973-779-1122 • FAX: 973-779-8996 M-F 9-8 • SAT. 9-6

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Stefan & Sons, Botany Village


eck the halls, buy the presents, get ready to party... wait, who’s doing the cooking? Relax. All across Clifton, there are many merchants who can provide a hand. Here are some holiday entertaining ideas, Clifton style... Down in Botany Village, it’s not unusual to smell the scent of burning cherry wood wafting through the air.. This is because the butchers at Stefan & Sons use cherry wood to smoke their homemade kielbasa and other specialty meats, every day. This allows them to make double smoked, chunky style, fine grind and regular kielbasa. The cooks there also make a variety of homemade pirogies, which sell by the thousands during the holidays. There are also spare ribs, tender loins, bacon and home made soups. Pastries, jelly donuts, chrusciki (angel wings) and hearty breads are also available. European chocolates and candies round out the dessert offerings and there is so much more, including their very popular holidays hams.

The folks at Stefan & Sons in Botany Village offer Polish delicacies ranging from kielbasy to kiszka, and will be happy to mail it anywhere for delivery before the holidays.

Foodies Cafe is another consistent place for great food, Patrons know this Richfield Plaza restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but Foodies offers a big catering menu for those who want the same quality food for their office holiday party or a family get together. Check out their 6-foot sub— a great party standard. Call for a catering menu.

Welcome to the World of...

Smile Creators! Cosmetic & Family Dentistry. • Warm & Relaxed Atmosphere • State of the Art Dentistry • Digital X-Ray System (90% Less Radiation) • Newest Equipment • Convenient Location

973-471-8300 • Delawanna Section

139 Main Ave. Clifton • NEAR




Dr. Eugene Goriunov, Columbia University Alumni 1712


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Purchase 12 or more bottles of wine (mix and match is ok) from Shopper’s Vineyard on Bloomfield Ave. and receive a 20 percent discount on all wines marked ‘Everyday Price’. But Shopper’s Vineyard is much more than wines...

Pizza, please: We all have our favorites. At San Remo on Main Ave. the white pizza with fresh tomatoes is over the top. Bruno’s original square Sicilian has just the right mix of sauce over a layer of cheese. At Mario’s on Van Houten Ave., thin crust pizza and Italian specialties has been their specialty for over half a century. “The secret is we still use my grandmother’s recipe,” said third generation owner Ken Barilari, whose late grandparents founded the restaurant. Their signature pizza is done Emmastyle—named in honor of grandma—extra thin and crispy, topped with bacon and onions. At Giorgio’s on Van Houten Ave., owner George Kostiuk and his wife Carmelina serve traditional Italian favorites, with a European flare. It is also not unusual for Kostiuk to present cuisine which reflects his Ukrainian heritage as well, from red borsch or potato and cabbage soup, to the other hearty foods which bode well in these winter months. He has also been hosting themed festa nights, ranging from Caribbean to Italian, offering a fixed price on an evening of dining. Giorgio’s is open Tuesday through Sunday and is available any day for private parties.

Shopper’s Vineyard has more than 25,000 square feet of spirits displayed at its Bloomfield Ave. superstore, including a walk-in temperature controlled wine display room and an underground cellar where fine wines are stored at ideal temperature and humidity. But Shopper’s Vineyard is more than just wine. They have a vast selection of liquor, highlighted by an incredible selection of single malt scotches, tequilas and vodkas as well as a wide array of beers, with origins from every corner of the globe.

Season s Greetings! 1348 Clifton Ave Clifton • 773-3062

Hours: Mon-Sat 6am-9pm, Sun 7am-2pm

FAMILY STYLE RESTAURANT FEATURING • Stop by to place your Holiday Catering orders • Office X-Mas Parties • House Parties • Serving groups from 25-500 • Providing the Finest Quality Food with Great Service & Price

Michele, Ophelia, Racquel & Angelica Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Mustang Traditions Ring That Bell! That bell mounted atop a platform and rolled out on to the track of CHS Stadium at every home game is a train locomotive bell donated by the Erie Lackawanna Railroad in Dec., 1953. The nowdefunct railroad used to run trains through Clifton and Passaic and executives thought it would be a nice gesture to donate a brass bell from one of their locomotives to the towns they served.

The way the rules were set up, whoever won the Clifton-Passaic football game would get to keep the bell on their turf until the next contest. If one team won the battle between the rivals three years in a row, the victorious team would provide a permanent home for the bell. Clifton did sweep the games the necessary three times to win the right to the bell. But then, for some reason, it stopped being used. Stored underneath the stands at Clifton Stadium, the bell sat for some 15 years, unprotected and deteriorating from the elements. In 1971, former School Board Commissioner Frank Pecci decided to revive the tradition. With the help of the school’s maintenance department, the 200 pound bell was restored. Then one year shortly after, right before the CliftonPassaic game, the bell vanished. “The story made the newspapers and the police began an investigation,” Pecci recalled. “Turns out that Passaic had come into the stadium at night and taken the bell. At

Best Wishes for a Holiday Season & a New Year filled with Love, Peace & Joy 1317



Over 25 years of combined experience. Call Today for your Complimentary Market Analysis!

973-472-7000 270 Colfax Ave. • Clifton • •

Call Rikki & Trina to help you. Where do we list & sell? Everywhere, including ABOVE & BEYOND!


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant


(When Listing Your Property)

first, it looked like it might lead to some bad blood but it cooled down.” Manlio Boverini, the retired athletic director for the Passaic Indians, shown above, concludes the story: “About 20 years ago, some coaches went and took the bell back. It was always our contention that the bell didn’t belong to Clifton. They won the last game between us before the Passaic Valley Conference broke up. So they said the bell belonged to them. We disagreed and finally decided it was time to do something about it. “After we took the bell, we started getting calls from the school and finally the police called. After talking with them, I made them understand it was all done in fun and just a matter of a long-time rivalry between two schools. But they said, ‘you still have to give it back.’ So we did.” Next year: the story of how that Indian above Boverini became a Mustang.

mustangs 48 Optimist indians 0 Cup Boverini Stadium, Passaic Thanksgiving Day 2004

It was all Clifton all morning on Thanksgiving Day in what may be the last game played in Boverini Stadium. The Mustangs cooked the Indians, 48-0, and again took home the Optimist Club Trophy, sponsored by the Optimist Clubs of Clifton and Passaic. Emmanuel Ihim scrambled in for three touchdowns and Dustin Scarpa, Geoff Goodell (he also ran in a two point conversion) and Randy Cabrall each added another. Turn the page for more photos from the day...


Suburban Automotive Inc. 90 Illinois Ave • Paterson


Joe Niland

Repainting & Collision Work “Serving Passaic County for Over Four Decades” Brett Ranges


Clifton Merchant • December 2004


The Clifton and Passaic Optimist Clubs’ sponsor a Hot Dog Night as a prelude to the annual Thanksgiving Day game. As part of the Frank Fest on Nov. 17 at the Clifton Rec Center in Downtown Clifton, members of the the two town’s Volleyball teams are recognized. The Optimist Clubs sponsor a Volleyball Trophy, which Clifton won again on Sept. 21. The Lady Mustangs lead the series 4-1. Below, pictured from left, Passaic Optimist President John Scozzaro, Lady Mustangs Cheryl Porter, and Deanna Giordano, Clifton Optimist Club President Bill Bate, PHS Volleyball players Sheniqua Jones and Vanessa Pena.

Above from left: Fighting Mustangs captains Bryan Barker, Emmanuel Ihim, Joe Hathaway and Tom Jacobus and Passaic Indians captains Giovanni Infante, Bruno Perez, Jamal Williams and James Corey take a hands-on approach to the Optimist Cup Trophy.

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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Dominick & Carmen

Friend of Youth is the slogan and mission of the Optimist Club. For over 50 years, the Clifton Chapter has been an advocate for the city’s young people. The goal is to promote positive youth activities which incorporate friendship and patriotism that encourages young people to be aware of their role in our communities. The goal for 2005 is to launch a Junior Optimist Club in a middle school to foster Optimism, Civics and helps to create a Better Clifton. By working with young teens, we can help nurture the next generation of Clifton Optimists through CHS, where we expect them to grow and continue the Club. From there, we hope to see these youngsters grow into productive Americans and Cliftonites, who go to college and return to their hometown and contribute to its betterment; in short: Clifton, the Next Generation. If you’d like to join or help out, call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

Optimist Club MVP trophies for Clifton went to Emmanuel Ihim and Josh Morales; MVP awards for Passaic were awarded to James Corey and Felix Figueroa. Right, Mustangs Coach Ron Anello accepting the Optimist Cup from Bill Bate. Below, a final look at the 2004 Fighting Mustangs.

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Maroon & Gray A

perfect gift for those whose blood runs maroon and gray: Mustang wearables! From items that shout Marching Mustang Band or Clifton Cheerleader, to most every sport that is played at Clifton High, the CHS sports teams are supported by parents and boosters which fund raise to supplement programs for the kids. One major source of funding is through the sale of wearable items, many of which sport team Mustang designs and slogans with the maroon and gray colors. Items range from sweatshirts and tees, to banners, blankets, beach towels, hats and scarves. While Mustang apparel can most often be purchased in any size, some items may not be in stock right now. On the facing page, we’ve provided the names and numbers of many booster club chairs but certainly not all who have Mustang-wear for sale... CHS Varsity cheerleader Leeann Iapicca models a Mustangs hooded sweatshirt which can be purchased through the Football Booster Club.

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Find maroon and gray clothing for the Mustang fan on your list by calling the following numbers:

Football & Cheering, Maritza Morales 973-272-2161 Swimming, Audrey Casperino 973-546-2221 Ice Hockey, Barbara Bivaletz 973-478-6973 Marching Band, Ann Marie Markovich 973-478-6539 Girls Soccer & Softball, John Pizzimenti 973-340-6466 Junior Mustangs, Tracey Melnik 973-473-5276

1291 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton

973. 340. 8888 n Main Avenue, the smell of freshly roasted nuts wafts through the air from the Castle of Nuts. There are dozens of varieties of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, chocolates and freshly ground coffees for sale. The store does its own roasting right on the premises. The variety offered at the store is incredible.


There are pinoli nuts and sweet white raisins, perfect for a turkey stuffing. Walnuts and pecans for making fresh Christmas cookies. Dried pineapple, apples, prunes, cherries... almost any

type of dried fruits or fresh nuts one could want. There is also has on display about 10 different gift packs at various prices ready to be picked up. But if customers want to create their own gift packs, that’s not a problem. The staff will patiently work with customers to put together a little of this and that until the right mix is created. Castle of Nuts is open ‘till 8 six days a week and will soon be open on Sundays.

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Red, White Gift Ideas & Blue


atriotism is never out of style in Clifton. We are a diverse community which honors our veterans at annual parades, memorial services and other events. That’s why we are offering a couple of red, white and blue gift ideas here... Clifton’s Avenue of Flags on the grounds of the municipal campus features 670 flags—at last count. The evergrowing display has been called the largest American flag exhibit east of the Mississippi River and are on view Memorial Day, Flag Day, July 4th, Labor Day and Nov. 11. The set up and break down of the display is done by a crew of volunteers at dawn and dusk. Each American flag is sponsored in memory of a living or deceased veteran. Flags are three by five feet and stand on a 10-foot pole with a brass name plate. To sponsor a flag as a gift, which cost $100, visit Clifton Recreation, call John Biegel Jr. at 973-471-8828 or Keith Oakley at 973-777-0264 or


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Support Our Troops. Because of security concerns, the military won’t let you send mail to ‘Any Soldier’ any more, and the Pentagon prefers you not hook up with organizations that gather service members’ names and active-duty addresses for mass ‘treat troops’ programs. (Mailings from known friends and family are still okay.) So here are some suggestions on how you can materially support the troops. These come from retired Air Force 1st Sgt. Rod Powers (author of ASVAB for Dummies, a guide to take the military vocational aptitude test), writing at • For a $25 donation, send a package of toiletries, phone cards, and sundries via the USO at •Send a PX/BX gift certificate to be redeemed on behalf of the wounded and infirmed active duty personnel at •Donate money for groceries for a needy military family which has family deployed. (Link same as above.)

On Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day, some of the many volunteers who help set up and take down the Avenue of Flags on the city hall campus. The next display will be exhibited on Memorial Day. To sponsor a flag, or to volunteer for set up, call John Biegel Jr. at 973-471-8828.

Proud to be part of the Clifton Community! Wachovia (973) 249-2332 Barnes & Noble (973) 779-5500 Party City (973) 614-9080 Sports Authority (973) 473-5222 Chevy's (973) 777-6277 Applebee's (973) 471-6161 Target (973) 330-0002 Walter Bauman Jewelry (973) 574-7555

AMC Theaters (973) 614-0966 Stop N' Shop Supermarket (973) 779-6697 Staples (973) 594-9701 Blockbuster (973) 594-0500 Hallmark (973) 574-7755 Clifton Bagel (973) 779-2900 Boiling Springs Savings Bank (973) 365-6000 Johnny Carino’s Country Italian (973) 662-0085 Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Rev. Hank Marks aMilestone

–––––––––– Story by Philip M. Read –––––––––––


alk through the blue doors of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, and there’s no shortage of clues about what this parish is all about. There’s the sign reading “Welcome to a Progressive Church,” pamphlets laying out the Episcopal Church’s “faith for thinking people,” and a poster picturing a clerical collar with a cross and the words “What Women Are Wearing to Church These Days.” And then there’s The Rev. Hank Dwyer. If you venture into his office in the circa 1921 parish hall, you’ll see his Jerry Garcia doll, one bearing a striking resemblance to the bearded Father Dwyer. “That’s my ‘mini-me,’” he says in a reference to the look-alike character in the Austin Power’s movies. If you happen to catch him at the altar during the race for the pennant, you’ll also likely to get a good look at his rare vestments, a gift from a fellow clergy person, ones sporting the emblems of his beloved New York Yankees.

Marianne and Hank 1972, The Cloisters NYC

Marianne and Hank 30 years later.


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Yet Father Dwyer—priest, Grateful Dead look-alike, Yankee fan—is also in the cheering section for another team: the working poor, many struggling to raise families while earning minimum wage. “So many of our people are the working poor,” Rev. Dwyer said of the hundreds of people who come to the church’s food pantry every month. “The jobs just don’t pay enough . We should be talking about a living wage.” The underlying themes— justice, social action, affordable housing—are close to the heart of Rev. Dwyer, a former Roman Catholic who majored in theology in college and found a home in the inclusiveness of the Episcopal Church, part of the 70 million member worldwide Anglican Communion and the denomination of most of the U.S. presidents since the country’s inception. “All are equal in the sacraments of the church,” said Rev. Dwyer, noting that there are no pre-conditions nor confession prior to taking communion at St. Peter’s.

ranking. Clifton can be a city of contrasts. Nearly a third of its households had six-figure incomes exceeding $100,000, according to the latest census figures. Getting them to church can be a problem. “The bubble has burst,” he said of a momentary pickup in church attendance regionally after the attacks of 9-11. “Churches generally are having a hard time with attendance and numbers.” As Rev. Dwyer looks back, he can rattle offer a list of his various good works: He officiates at St. Peter's 12-Step Recovery Mass the first Saturday of each month; he‘s been with the Episcopal Urban Caucus since its founding 27 years ago; he‘s been an advocate for gay and lesbian rights. Then there are the “little” things. “I’m never happier than when I baptize a baby, and I’ve never more humble then people share their lives with me.” Rev. Dwyer, who had been married to his wife, Marianne, for 34 of his 58 years, grew up in Hudson County, later attending St. Peter’s College in Jersey City and Cook College at Rutgers, finally getting his master’s from General Theological Seminary in 1979. His clergy years have been spent in Trenton, Bayonne and Pennsylvania, before he St. Peter’s Haven on Clifton Ave. decided to return to New Jersey, in part to get a chance to work with liberal Bishop John Shelby Spong before his retirement. Rev. Dwyer has a stepdaughter, Ellen; and two sons, Christopher and Kevin. It is Kevin and Felicia Hensley who have given the couple a grandson, 5-yearold Sumner, who attends The

It was six years ago this month that the reputation of St. Peter’s and its home for the homeless, St. Peter’s Haven, led Rev. Dwyer to accept a call from the parish to serve as its minister. And at a special service at 4 pm on Dec. 12, family, friends, the parish and Bishop John Palmer Croneberger will mark another milestone: Rev. Dwyer’s 25th anniversary as a priest. “I could not possibly fit better than at St. Peter’s,” he said. “The fact I can tell my jokes and people ‘get me’ … Humor is very important I think. “It, too, helps deliver “the word.” “He just keeps knocking them out of the park -- powerful, powerful sermons,” said Shawn Ferguson, a parishioner. Though Clifton has many suburban characteristics, the state of New Jersey in recent months officially classified the city as an urban area. It is bordered not only by affluent Montclair and Nutley, but Paterson and Passaic, both Abbott districts with struggling school systems. According to the U.S. Census, 6.5 percent of families with children in Clifton were living in poverty in 2000, an increase from 1990’s 5.2 percent and 1980’s 4.9 percent. Still, Clifton ranked 5th out of Passaic County’s 16 municipalities, an improvement from 1990’s 3rd place

Rev. Hank and Marianne Dwyer.

Cathedral School at Trinity Cathedral in Little Rock, Ark. But the boy is known to St. Peter's parish as “the most beautiful grandson in the world,” Father Dwyer being such a proud grandfather. His emails to friends and acquaintances always end with a famous quote, such as this telling one from President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” Dwyer was touched recently by the film “Ray,” depicting the life of singer-composer Ray Charles, who refused to play in segregated halls in Georgia. The film reminded him of his own work in the civil rights era of the Sixties. Yet, he spoke of the progress, noting the hard-fought work to keep God’s children from being oppressed. Georgia state Sen. Julian Bond, he noted, in 1979 made Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” the official state song, something that would have been unheard of not long ago. “I was almost in tears,” he said. Clifton Merchant • December 2004






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Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Thinking of Others D uring this holiday season, it’s time to be mindful of those in need. From emotional and spiritual help to providing funds or the basics of food and shelter, there are many ways to help a needy family or child. As our city grows and become more populated and diverse, it is a fact that many do go without adequate food and shelter on a daily basis. These people may be your next door neighbors or a family from across town. The important thing is that there are many ways you can help. Here are some worthy organizations to support—or resources to turn to in times of need. The first place to call or contact when donating goods or funds is St. Peter’s Haven on Clifton Ave. If you choose, you may make checks payable to St. Peter’s Haven, and mail them to: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 380 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ, 07011. For details on their needs, call 973-546-3406.

The Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund at Hackensack University Medical Center helps kids and their families through the ordeal of cancer.


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

At the Downtown Clifton business their grandfather started nearly 75 years ago, siblings Patrick and Linda DeLora of Deluxe Cleaners are collecting food and in return offer discounts on dry cleaning to customers who contribute to the cause.

St. Peter’s Haven was founded in 1986 by members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and today provides emergency transitional housing for more than 85 families from the area and food for hundreds of individuals in need each month. It accepts donations of cash or nonperishable items and like most service organizations, seeks volunteers. Weichert Realtors is another Clifton organization involved in a worthy cause—collecting toys for foster children, ages infant to 15 years of age. Before Dec. 16, drop off new, unwrapped toys at Weichert, 791 Passaic Ave. or for pick-up, call 973-779-1900.

Deluxe Against Hunger Food Drive: Bring a bag of groceries to Deluxe Cleaners on Main Ave. and support St. Peter’s Haven. Donate up to three items via DeLuxe and save 10 percent on a dry cleaning order. Donate four or more items and save 20 percent. Suggested donations: cereals, rice, canned vegetables and tuna, pasta, and so forth, but nothing perishable. For details, call 973-546-1105. Coldwell Banker at the corner of Clifton and Colfax Aves., continues it food drive with all items and funds collected being forwarded to the programs at St. Peter’s Haven. For info, call 973-778-4500.

Become a Foster Parent through KidsPeace: Readers interested in knowing more about becoming foster parents should contact KidsPeace, a non-profit organization with an office at 1187 Main Ave., in Downtown Clifton. Children 6-18 are referred to KidsPeace by the NJ Department of Youth & Family Services, explained Dina Midiri, family resource specialist. Their prospective foster parents are interviewed some five to six times in their homes and undergo training sessions either in their homes or, if the class size is large enough, at KidsPeace’s office. The average stay with a foster family is one to one-and-a-half years, and prospective parents can accept or reject a placement. “All of our kids are provided with ongoing therapy and counseling,” Midiri stressed. “We also provide a complete 24-hour, on-call support system.” Married couples and single persons can all apply, although with couples both partners must be actively involved. Proof of income is also required, as are auto and homeowners’ insurance. Background checks are conducted and reimbursement for foster parents’ expenses is done twice monthly. “Our goal is to return children back to their families,” Midiri said. ‘But while they’re with foster parents they’re covered by Medicaid, so insurance is not an issue.” For details, call KidsPeace at 973-478-8188. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Clifton Ave. is affiliated with St. Peter’s Haven, the city’s homeless shelter and food bank. 1671

Directions: Route 3 to Bloomfield Ave Exit. Make right at Bloomfield Ave. Go halfway around Allwood Circle and continue on Bloomfield Ave. We are located just past the Home Depot.


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The Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund was established at HUMC in 1982 by parents who wanted to find a way to help their children through their ordeals with cancer and serious blood disorders. Today, children from all walks of life come to the Don Imus/WFAN Pediatric Center for Tomorrow’s Children at Hackensack University Medical Center. This state-of-the-art facility houses the Tomorrow’s Children’s Institute offering comprehensive programs in a team approach for the treatment of these dreaded diseases in various stages. The Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund is a non-profit, taxexempt organization that receives no government funding. Contributions are tax-deductible under the 501(c)(3) status. The Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund will provide a speaker for a company or organization to share information about its mission, services and needs. For more info, contact: The Don Imus/WFAN Pediatric Center for Tomorrow’s Children, 30 Prospect Ave., Hackensack, NJ 07601. Call 201-996-5500 or go to The Children’s Dept. of the Clifton Public Library is accepting new or slightly used books to give as gifts to disadvantaged kids during. The Friends of the Clifton Library is also accepting donations to help supplement and expand current services. Call 973-772-5500.

Visit any Clifton firehouse before Dec. 20 to contribute toys which will be distributed to local, needy families.

Clifton’s Firefighters, for their seventh consecutive year, are collecting for the USMC Reserve Toys For Tots program, which for the past 57 years has collected and distributed new toys for needy children nationwide. This year’s Clifton campaign is being coordinated by Clifton Firefighter/USMC Reserves SSgt Robert Barone. .Donate a new, unwrapped toy for a boy or a girl in any of the following age groups: newborn-5, 510, 10-15. Toys can be dropped off at any Clifton Fire Station until Dec. 20.




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Adult Education Over 50 Evening Trade Courses to choose from! Plus these programs listed below. Adult High School • (973) 389–4101 Apprenticeship Programs • (973) 389–4101 Licensed Practical Nurse Program • (973) 389-2020 Passaic County Learning Center: We offer Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language and courses to earn a GED. For information call (973) 684–0106. For More Information. Visit our website

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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Ceilia Advocate Zalkind for children –––––––––– Story by Jack De Vries –––––––––––


hey are the unpleasant little secrets living in New Jersey cities, including Clifton. Their families often have to choose between paying the rent and food. They live with grandparents, other relatives, and sometimes each other—cramming two families into an apartment that should hold one. To most residents, they are invisible—there, but not there. They are New Jersey’s poor children. Though they make up just 26 percent of the state’s child population, needy city kids (defined as subsist-

Ceilia Zalkind

ing on an income of $17,500 a year for a family of four) account for 59 percent of New Jersey’s total children in poverty. “It’s incredibly stressful for children,” says Ceilia Zalkind, the executive director of the Association for Children in New Jersey (ACNJ). “Health needs are not met because the family doesn’t have health insurance, and children are not treated until they are in crisis and have to go to the emergency room. Their schools are often not the best, though, because of

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Seasons Greetings from all of us at Mario’s: First row from left, Mario Barilari III, Dino Bellini, Aulo Barilari & Brett Barilari. Second row: Gianni Bellini, Sandro Bellini, Kenneth Barilari, Aurora Bellini, Kim Barilari & Alba Bellini. Holiday hours: Closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve till 9 pm. Clifton Merchant • December 2004


the Abbott v. Burke lawsuit, that’s changing for the better. But it’s not an easy life.” What also bothers Zalkind about these children is the absence of hope for the future. “These are kids,” she says, “that can be anything. They have the intelligence, talent, and ability, but may not have the opportunity.” Zalkind’s hometown of Clifton is not immune from child poverty. It’s there, like in other cities, lurking in the shadows. Her organization, the ACNJ, is an advocate on behalf of New Jersey’s children and families, supporting expanded early learning opportunities, improvements in access to health care, and protection and permanency in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The organization’s report, “New Jersey City Kids Count: 2004,” is the ACNJ’s first look at the well being of children in 25 cities, including Clifton. Prior to this year,

the ACNJ focused on counties. The report found while the number of New Jersey’s urban poor children increased by 6 percent from 1990 to 2000, less is being done to help. From 1999 to 2004, the number of New Jersey city children receiving food stamps dropped 7 percent and urban kids receiving free or reduced lunch fell 3 percent. “The findings were dramatic,” Zalkind says. “It demonstrated how many children are living in dire poverty here in New Jersey, one of the wealthiest states.” Based on U.S. Census figures from 1990 to 2000, Clifton’s child population under age 18 has increased 33 percent, going from 12,757 to 16,972. Poverty levels are also on the rise. The number of Clifton children under 18 living below the poverty line has gone from 843 in 1990, to 1,471 ten years later. Yet, there is hope for poor urban children—especially those in the 30 Abbott Districts where the state


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Supreme Court ordered New Jersey to provide preschool for the needy, and the 102 additional low-income districts that receive Early Childhood Program Aid (EPCA) to pay for pre-school for 4-year-olds. (Clifton does not qualify for aid in either program.) A Nov. 18 article in The Star Ledger, “N.J. delivers program that sets the standard,” noted that nearly half of the children graduating from state pre-school programs were rated as “very strong” early readers. Previously, Zalkind chaired a coalition of 40 organizations and argued before the court in the Abbott v. Burke school reform case, presenting the coalition’s recommendations that ultimately became a big part of the court’s decision about preschool. “That’s probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” she says, noting the decision helped New Jersey set a national standard for preschool, both in terms of quality and number

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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

of children served. “You’re talking about the best way to give kids a start in life, and that’s preschool.” Another article source, The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study, confirms Zalkind’s belief. The study said preschool graduates were more likely to graduate high school, gain employment, and own a home. They also “save society about $250,000 per child during the course of their lives due to lower crime rates and, in turn, prison costs.”

Clifton Roots New Jersey’s prominent child advocate grew up on Union Ave., where her parents, Albin and Margaret Zwiazek, live today. Zalkind remembers a happy childhood. “I have wonderful parents and a brother Albert, who lives in Clifton today with his wife and two sons. My parents valued education, though neither one had gone to college.” Part of the first class to go through the new high school,

The Zwiazek and Zalkind families in a photo from 2000, from left: Al and Margaret Zwiazek, Ceilia and Alan Zalkind, Susan and Albert Zwiazek. Sitting from left: Paola Zalkind with Kyle and Alex Zwiazek and Joy Zalkind.

Zalkind graduated from Clifton High in 1965. “I remember it being crowded, even then,” she says. As a student, she loved school, especially

reading, and worked part-time in a bridal shop in Passaic. After graduating, she went to Wheaton College in Massachusetts for two years

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before transferring to New York University and earning a degree in English. Unsure of what to do after graduation, Zalkind became a social work trainee for the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) in Jersey City. Unknown to her at the time, she had chosen her life’s career path—becoming an advocate for children. “I was interested in the idea of adoption,” she says, “but I really didn’t know anything about child abuse at the time. I was young and pretty naïve.” Zalkind describes working for DYFS during the seventies as “an exciting time.” A realization grew that foster care was temporary and not meant to be permanent placement for children. The adoption system changed dramatically— becoming open to all kids, not just healthy white infants. And, instead of focusing on the needs of the people adopting the

children, it now focused on the kids and what would be best for them. With New Jersey passing many child protection laws during the seventies, the state needed to find safe haven for endangered children and adoption became important. “That had a great impact on me,” Zalkind says.

Making a Difference Also having an impact were the countless children she met from her case files. Her happiest times were spent handling permanent adoptions. Yet, keeping herself involved in the children’s lives but detached enough to do her job was always a struggle. “I still have pictures from my caseload,” she says. “I had about six kids that I thought my husband Alan and I should adopt.” Keeping her centered on her mission was “a wonderful supervisor,” Rose Zeltser, and a network of support. After working for DYFS for 12 years, Zalkind left to raise a family

Ceilia Zwiazek, CHS Class of 1965.

(she has two daughters, Joy, a classical musician, and Polly, a school teacher). During this time, she earned her law degree from Rutgers and became interested in public policy, especially concerning children and family issues. After moving back into the workforce, Zalkind joined a small law

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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

firm in Westfield and began working part-time for DYFS. While there, she heard about a legislative position at the ACNJ, a group with a more than 150-year history of children’s advocacy. After joining the ACNJ, she rose to the executive director’s position and has been fighting for children ever since.

Noble Mission Speaking to Clifton’s government, Zalkind realizes much aid for poor children comes from the state and federal level, but urges leaders to discuss ways to help underprivileged kids and check if the city is doing enough. Citizens, she says, should support political candidates who have children’s issues on their agenda. “Kids’ issues,” she says, “are not usually at the top, because kids don’t vote. It’s important for adults to keep children’s issues in mind.” Her legislative efforts for children have brought about positive

change. In 1998, working with former Assemblyman and Clifton resident Gerald Zecker, Zalkind helped create NJ KidCare, which provided health insurance for children and low-income parents. “I became involved,” says Zecker, then a member of the Assembly’s Health Care Committee, “because hospitals like St. Joseph’s in Paterson and Passaic General were treating many young patients and not being reimbursed. It was a real problem. Cecilia was part of a group that assisted with the genesis and evolution of KidCare. Without child advocates like her, it’s hard to put together this type of program.” Now New Jersey Family Care, the program, Zalkind says, is one of the better child health insurance programs in the country. It’s based in-part on federal funding, but states can set their own limits, and New Jersey has always had a strong program.

when we son is a time a Se s a tm ris he Ch ere and ones, both h ed v lo er b member remem season, we re is th g rin u D sted their in heaven. o have entru h w es ili m fa r. the many t this past yea us throughou to es on ed ed v v lo of a lo t after the loss We know tha g special rin b ill ason w se y a id ol h e of sadness. one, th der moments n te d n a s ie through his memor e know that w , od ill G in g Trustin et to come, w hristmases y C , r. ch te u h to g u g healin , and la ith hope, joy w d le fil e t b again y season, tha g this holida d We pray durin nder love an you in His te d ol h out h ill g u w ro od G nd th , both now a ce ea p ou y e giv ear. the coming y Sincerely, nor Shook Joseph & Elea milies Garretson & Fa Roy & Nancy


While U.S. Census figures support the ACNJ’s argument that children are in need now more than ever, the census figures also illustrate Clifton has an aging population, with many residents on a fixed income. Some see children’s issues as a harbinger for tax increases. “I understand their viewpoint,” she says. “I live in a town (Montclair) where the tax rate is so high, that it’s become an issue here. Some people can’t afford to remain here when they reach retirement, so that concern is a real one. “But on the other hand, if you look at the way we fund Social Security, we’re dependent on the workers of today. It benefits us all if kids are well-educated, have opportunities, and want to become productive members of society.” “We benefit society when we take care of our kids and keep them out of trouble. It might not be a benefit you can put in your pocket, but it does benefit everyone.”

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The Exit Interview City Manager resigns after one year. Al Greco again interim CM. By Fran Hopkins


n October we reported that Barbara Sacks “seemed poised to lose her $130,000-a-year post as Clifton’s City Manager.” That prediction came true during the early morning hours of Nov. 16, when Sacks tendered her resignation. The Council appointed as acting City Manager Al Greco, the city’s Director of Human Services, who filled the post for a year after the death of City Manager Bob Hammer in December, 2002. Since her sudden departure from Clifton, “my phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” Clifton’s now former manager Sacks said from her home in Ridgewood. “It’s nonstop, day and night. Over a hundred people have called me, co-workers and citizens too.” The day before Thanksgiving, Sacks discussed why she left Clifton barely a year after being hired last Fall. She resigned during the closed session portion of the Nov. 15 City Council meeting and her resignation was effective immediately. She emptied her office by 9 am. Sacks confirmed that she did in fact resign, that she was not fired. “It was amicable – there was no screaming or yelling,” she laughed. As if to demonstrate this, Sacks said that ‘city officials’ have already called her for help with some things; similarly, she’s told her former employees and co-workers ‘not to hesitate to call.’ Sacks described the contents of her resignation letter, put together in the early morning hours by the Clifton Law Department and signed by Sacks and Mayor James Anzaldi. “The letter said that they accepted my resignation, that it was a resignation in good standing, that we mutually agreed to part ways, that I would cooperate with the city as needed in matters of pending litigation, that we wouldn’t make any disparaging comments about the parties involved, and that they would pay me for five months plus my accrued vacation and sick time,” Sacks said. Sacks said that adding on the time she rarely took off (she worked 60-70 hours a week, six days a week, sick or well) would take her through ‘later in the summer.’


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Although Clifton Merchant Magazine contacted the Law Department for a copy of this letter, we were advised by City Attorney Elisa Lieb on Nov. 24 that a determination has not yet been made as to whether the letter is a public document or not.

At the Nov. 15 Council meeting...? “Discussion of my performance evaluation was not on the meeting agenda,” Sacks said. “I didn’t put it on the agenda because I’d heard that Gloria (Kolodziej) had asked that it be tabled because she wasn’t able to be there. I assumed that the Council would respect her request. “They didn’t. Gloria was shocked that it came up. It was not on the agenda but they brought it up anyway.” And what about the much-discussed performance evaluation – did Sacks actually receive one?

“I did see the evaluation, but we didn’t get to talk much about it because we started talking about other things, like teamwork, my goals, and my philosophy,” Sacks explained. Asked how she would characterize the evaluation, Sacks would say only that “The council members who worked very closely with me had the best comments.” She identified those as Kolodziej, Don Kowal and Steve Hatala. Sacks said that she was unable to discuss specific details of what took place that night because of the terms of the letter she signed. She did say that three of the seven council members “didn’t want me to resign.” She declined to name them, but reiterated that she’d worked the most with Kolodziej, Kowal, and Hatala. She also confirmed that the other four Council members – she didn’t name them but they include Anzaldi, Ed Welsh, Frank Gaccione and Stefan Tatarenko – were ‘agreeable’ to her leaving. While reserved in her comments about how events transpired on Nov. 15 and 16, Sacks was very willing to elaborate on the things that are most important to her. “I always believe that in municipal government, people should be hired and promoted on the basis of their ability and skills, not on who they know or who they support,” Sacks began. “All employees should be treated with respect; I don’t care about their politics. And all citizens should be treated fairly and equally, regardless of their politics.”

“I always believe that in municipal government, people should be hired and promoted on the basis of their ability and skills, not on who they know or who they support.” –Former City Manager Barbara Sacks

Sacks also spoke about her core ethical beliefs. “I’m a strong believer in ethics in government. Working for government is a public trust. We should function as though the public is looking over our shoulder at everything we do.” When she first came to Clifton, Sacks found “a number of longstanding problems that had been in existence for 10 or 12 years,” she said. “For example, Botany (Village) should never have been allowed to deteriorate. That should never have happened. It didn’t get that way overnight.” Sacks spoke at length about Botany and in particular, about the recent setback to have it designated as a Special Improvement District, often referred to as a SID. “A handful of Botany merchants and the Mayor were pushing the SID,” Sacks said. “I met with a group of these people last summer. I asked them for documentation that Botany residents were in favor of the SID

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too. [In a SID, ‘members’ pay an additional tax to fund improvements in their area.] They assured me that the residents did support the SID, but they couldn’t document it. I wanted documentation. After that, the Mayor said that he wanted to handle it and I wasn’t invited to attend any additional meetings,” Sacks said.

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“Then before the Nov. 15 Council meeting at which the SID was discussed,” Sacks continued, “notice of the meeting was sent to Botany residents via certified mail. “They came to the Nov. 15 meeting – it was standing room only – and they were vehemently opposed. They were very angry and said that they didn’t want to be a part of it. They said that they’d never had any notices about previous SID meetings and they that it was something that was being pushed through. “Because of that, the Council’s vote in favor of the SID did not stand and the Council has to hold another hearing and another vote,” Sacks said. “It was democracy in action.” Sacks doesn’t believe that a SID is the answer to Botany’s problems

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anyway. “A SID in and of itself is not going to solve Botany’s problems – it needs a total redevelopment plan,” Sacks asserted. “The SID is not going to change things.” Sacks named two other areas that she thinks Clifton needs to address. “The roads and sewers need an infusion of capital to upgrade them,” Sacks said. “Fixing them costs more than upgrading and is a band-aid approach.” She also believes that there should be a “reorganization of city services for efficiency.” When asked to give an example of this, Sacks said that she couldn’t because it would involve naming specific individuals. “I believe in putting people where they can function best,” was Sacks’ comment.

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Status of Solar Grant In June, Sacks got a $562,000 grant from the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to help fund the installation of solar panels on the roof of city hall. Although about $400,000 of the remaining cost would be the city’s responsibility, Sacks said that this money is already available from old appropriations – money that had been set aside for other projects that ended up costing less than what was appropriated for them. “Forty to 50 percent of all the electricity used in city hall would be solar-generated,” Sacks said. “The city would save $78,000 a year so it would recoup its investment in four or five years. And the savings will increase as energy costs increase.” But while bids for panel installation were obtained on Oct. 12, the council has yet to vote to proceed with the project. “The city has until Dec. 12 (60 days) to award the project. They can request an extension

from the bidders but if they don’t, it will have to go out to bid again.” Another issue is the fact that the grant itself will expire in June 2005. “I don’t know what’s going to happen now,” Sacks said. “When I left I recommended that they award the contract to the lowest bidder. I brought this up at three meetings.” Sacks said there is reluctance by some on the council to proceed. “The mayor (Anzaldi) asked me, What other towns have this?’ and I said, ‘None.’ It’s been done for school buildings but the grants are available for all public buildings. “It’s new and innovative and cutting edge but the technology and the savings are proven,” Sacks said. Will this idea just die a quiet death?

Never Fired, Sacks Says We also asked Sacks about a Nov. 17 Herald News article that suggested she’d clashed with the councils of other towns she’s managed, specifically Fair Lawn and South Brunswick.

“A councilman in Fair Lawn wanted me to release confidential information to him but the Bergen County prosecutor wouldn’t allow me to,” she responded. “In South Brunswick, I did question personal use of city vehicles – for vacations or for going to other jobs. A very politically influential and active police chief there complained to a councilman about my looking into this.” Asked directly if she had been fired from either job, Sacks said, “No! I’ve never been fired from any job. I left South Brunswick because it was a two-hour commute each way. I didn’t relocate because of an illness in the family. So when the Clifton job came along, I took it because it was much closer to home. South Brunswick was just way too far away. We’re all buddies – that was a good situation in many ways. “In Fair Lawn, we parted friends,” she continued. “But new council members had come in and wanted me to make political contri-


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butions to the county party organization that had supported them but I said that I couldn’t do that. I have a very strict rule about not making political contributions – that was a philosophical difference between us and I told them that that’s just not something that I do.” “I have very strong feelings about ethics in government,” Sacks said. “If that rubs people the wrong way, I can’t help it.” Sacks discussed Clifton’s council-manager form of government and how it functions, or does not. “I’m a very strong believer in following the form of government that citizens have put in place,” she said. “In a council-manager form of government, the council has certain activities in which it’s supposed to engage, and the city manager has other activities in which she’s supposed to engage. “I don’t believe a form of government should be in name only. It should be in practice,” Sacks stated.

20 Ann Street, an industrial building in Athenia, was taken over by the city for non-payment of taxes in 1988. For 16 years, the Cliftonowned property sat abandoned and deteriorated, generating no property taxes but rather, call after call for health, safety and code violations. It seems nobody in Clifton government much cared about 20 Ann St. until Barbara Sacks came along, wrote Melvin Cohen in a Nov. 19 letter to the editor. Cohen is President of Handi-Hut Inc., the adjacent property owner, and he wanted to purchase 20 Ann St. for decades. Wrote Cohen: “Clifton put the building up for auction on a number of occasions, but the price they asked, when added to the environmental cleanup costs, made it prohibitive to buy.” He offered several times to buy the building but city officials offered no response nor negotiations. Last year, Cohen approached Sacks who talked with the Council’s Real Estate Sub-Committee. The building was pu up for auction again. Cohen purchased it; the renovation is underway and 20 Ann St. is now on the tax rolls, exactly what he wanted to do for the past 16 years. How did Sacks accomplish what her predecessors could not? “When I got here the city was stuck with a property that had environmental problems,” she said. “We were losing $11,000 a year on it (from non-collection of property taxes). I spoke to the Council and said, ‘set the bid at $10,000, but condition it that it must be cleaned up, that activity has to commence right away, and that it goes on the tax rolls immediately. Sure enough, (Cohen) decided it was worth his while to bid on it. It’s back on the tax rolls. He’s cleaning it up,” Sacks said. Cohen concluded: “If our case is any indication, Clifton is fortunate to have its new city manager Barbara Sacks to help its citizens and businesses.” Ironically, Cohen wrote his letter just before Sacks’ resignation. At Clifton Savings, it’s more than a slogan – it’s a commitment. Always has been; always will be. Our founders made that commitment more than 75 years ago when they opened the doors of our first branch. They were there to serve their community’s banking needs. They knew and cared about the financial and social well being of the people who lived around them – their neighbors. What was true then is just as true today. These guidelines have been a key to our enduring success as a financial institution. How do we achieve this enviable standard? By knowing the people we serve. People who want to work with a bank that understands their needs and knows how to help them achieve their dreams. People like you. Clifton Savings. experience pays.

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Time for You to Decide Election Day is Tuesday, December 14 By Fran Hopkins


ince September 2003 there’s been talk of turning the Mayer Textile building at 290 Brighton Road into a school. That’s when the Community Advisory Committee first made the proposal as part of a two-part, definitive solution to overcrowding in the Clifton public schools. The Committee recommended that Mayer be converted into a 500student annex of Clifton High School for the short-term purpose of providing some much-needed relief for overcrowding there. At 3,371 students, the high school is the second largest in New Jersey. But Mayer is only half of the Committee’s recommendation; in addition, they proposed the construction of a 1700-student grades 8-9 school at Latteri Park, a piece of land that has been owned by the Board of Education for 50 years. While the original plans called for both parts of the recommendation to be placed before voters on a single referendum date, debate continues over the location of the 1700student school. Most Board members prefer to leave the Rosemawr park alone and continue to search for an alternate site. The Mayer piece of the solution, however, was endorsed by the Board last June 9th and voters will be asked to approve it on Tues., Dec. 14. If the referendum passes, the new annex will open in September 2006. The vote can be a vexing matter to some as it is seen as another band-aid solution.

The Bold Dissenter: Marie Hakim At its Nov. 10 meeting, the Board voted 7-1 to place the Mayer question before voters on Dec. 14. John Traier arrived after the vote was taken, but later advised the Merchant that he would have voted “yes.” Only last year’s Board President, Marie Hakim, voted against the referendum. Hakim explained her reasoning. “I voted ‘no’ to the Mayer referendum because it was only a part of the entire plan,” Hakim said. “I cannot support Mayer without the other half of the plan. If the Mayer referendum passes, there is no guarantee

that the second part of the original plan would be put into place. I support Mayer only in conjunction with a larger structure.” Another concern of Hakim’s is the expense of holding two referenda vs. one. “Two elections for two referendums are surely a waste of taxpayers’ dollars,” Hakim said. “They are costly, in the area of $35,000-$50,000 each. (In fact, per Karen Perkins, business administrator and board secretary for the District, one referendum costs roughly $50,000-$60,000.) We should wait to have the full plan put on a single referendum election,” Hakim concluded.

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Approval Means No Change in Tax Bills But aside from the cost of the referendum itself, thanks to the lucky circumstance that some debt from previous school construction projects will soon be retired, the net result is that construction of a school at Mayer will result in no property tax increase to Clifton homeowners, according to school officials. The actual cost to purchase and renovate the Mayer property is $15.1 million, according to the district. Offsetting this cost will be $4 million from the state’s Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act fund. This leaves $11.1 million that’s the responsibility of Clifton taxpayers, an average of $28 per year for a home with the average assessed value of $173,000. But again, the school portion of homeowners’ property tax bills will remain unchanged if the referendum is approved. Rice took some time to review the academic achievements of the Clifton School District in the past couple of years, pointing to improvements in standardized test scores and Advanced Placement testing as well as innovative programs at the high school; but he told his audience that the lack of space in the high school was among the challenges that could threaten these accomplishments in the future. “We don’t have enough classrooms now,” Rice said. “Classes are being held in the cafeteria, in the gym, in converted closets, and in the media center.” Besides conducting classes in every usable space, other strategies are in place to deal with the situation. Two-hundred high school students spend mornings in class at the Boys and Girls Club on Clifton Ave., going to the high school for their afternoons. In addition, a growing number of students begin class at “zero period” – 7 am – so that their day is finished at 12:08 pm, just in time for the kids to come over from the Boys and Girls Club.

To illustrate the extent of the overcrowding problem, Rice compared Clifton to the nearby Wayne School District. “People think, ‘Wayne has two high schools and two middle schools and is building another middle school. They must have more students than Clifton,’” Rice said. “In fact, there are 1800 more students in Clifton than in Wayne.” The official tally for the 20042205 school year is 10,350, with 3,371 attending CHS.

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f the Dec. 14 referendum is approved by voters, the new CHS Annex at 290 Brighton Rd. will open in September 2006 and include: • 22 classrooms • 2 science labs • • 4 classrooms for small group instruction • • art and music rooms • media center • • computer lab • cafeteria • gymnasium • Which 500 kids will attend the new school and exactly how the building will be used was still unclear when it was discussed at a forum on Nov. 18. Dr. Michael Rice, Superintendent of Schools, said that a committee of Clifton educators is making determinations ‘right now’ about how the school will be used and by whom. Some possibilities: it may become a ‘standalone’ school, which would be attended for the full school day by the 500 students housed there. “Or kids can be there a half day in the morning or a half day in the afternoon and spend the other half day in the high school,” Rice explained. This same committee will recommend which 500 students would actually attend the school. Rice stated that no students of driving age will go there. The 71,000-square-foot structure sits on three acres of property in a mixed neighborhood of residential housing, commercial and industrial buildings.

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Rice painted a grim picture about the consequences if the Dec. 14 referendum fails to pass. “Don’t pass it and we need trailers for 468 kids,” Rice said. This figure comes from projections that indicate that the high school will have 468 more students in 2007 than it does today. At 25 students per trailer, this means about 18 trailers by September 2007. And where would these trailers be located? “Let’s come up with some bad ideas,” Rice prompted his audience. These “bad ideas” included the band field, the soccer/lacrosse field, the student parking lot, and the staff parking lot. There are no good places for portables, or trailers, Rice said, describing them as “educational tin cans.” “If we don’t pass the referendum, there will be more congestion at the high school, bigger classes, or trailers dotting the surrounding area,” Rice said. Rice said that class sizes might have to be increased to 35 students per class. “On December 14, you have a choice,” Rice summarized. “You can put kids in trailers or in a school. If you want to build a school, vote ‘yes.’ If you don’t want a school, then stay home. If you want the referendum to pass, you’re going to have to tell people to vote for it.”

Residents’ Reason on Mayer The Merchant contacted two of the three co-chairpeople of the Community Advisory Committee for their thoughts about the Mayer referendum (co-chair Joe Holmes had not returned our call by press time). “It’s frustrating that our Committee made its recommendations to the Board over a year ago and we still don’t have a decision (on both parts),” Deputy Fire Chief Tom Lyons said. “But I support the Mayer referendum. We have to do something. Hopefully our residents will realize this.”

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Similarly, co-chair Ellen Nunno Corbo is supportive but concerned that both parts of the Committee’s recommendation are not yet being implemented. “I’m supporting (Mayer) and I hope that the rest of our community will do the same,” Corbo said. “I am not at all happy about the fact that Clifton is, once again, taking a ‘piecemeal’ approach to the long-standing and very serious problem of school overcrowding. “I was very concerned that, by doing so, the Board of Education would be dooming the second referendum for the larger and even more important school to failure. But the fact that passing this referendum in December will not raise property tax bills makes me hopeful that the community will still be willing to pass the second piece of the solution when it finally comes up for vote. “So I am wholeheartedly supporting the Mayer referendum,” Corbo said.

“I am not at all happy about the fact that Clifton is, once again, taking a ‘piecemeal’ approach to the long-standing and very serious problem of school overcrowding. But the fact that passing this referendum in December will not raise property tax bills makes me hopeful that the community will still be willing to pass the second piece of the solution when it finally comes up for vote. So I am wholeheartedly supporting the Mayer referendum.” –CAC Co-Chair Ellen Nunno Corbo

Jennifer Thomas, a frequent attendee at Board meetings who follows school issues closely, attended the Nov. 18 forum. We spoke with her afterwards. “I’m supportive of Mayer because we need another school,” Thomas said. “But it feels like just a band-aid. It’s not going to solve the problem but it will alleviate the crowding in the high school. I’m probably going to vote for it. I don’t want my kid in a trailer. But I want someone to get the Board to make a decision about Phase 2,” Thomas said. Additional public forums to discuss the Mayer referendum will be held on Dec. 8 at 7:30 pm at School 9 and on Dec. 13 at 7:30 pm at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. The bond referendum will be held on Tues., Dec. 14. Polls will be open from 1:30 to 9 pm. For more info, call the Board office at 973-470-2260.

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More Delays for Athenia Trenton DEP ‘So Cordial’ Says Anzaldi By Fran Hopkins


egular readers of Clifton Merchant Magazine may remember six months ago the City Council and the Board of Education promised to work together to expedite the process of determining if the former Athenia Steel factory property on Clifton Ave. can be transformed – in a timely fashion – into an environmentally safe location for a 1,700student grades 8-9 middle school. Sadly, it’s six months later and this expedited process has resulted in – nothing. Nothing more is known about the elementary issues: 1) what that portion of the property is contaminated with and 2) how long it will take to clean it up? Over the summer, a smattering of seemingly random testing did reveal some information, but only about the tiny portion of the site that was chosen for soil sampling. On Sept. 14, the City’s environmental consultant, Dawn Pompeo of TRC Raviv Associates, Inc. in Millburn, stated at a special joint public meeting of the Council and the Board that she would prepare a Remedial Investigation Workplan (RIW) – a plan for the investigation of the property that must be approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – in “two to three weeks.” The city also hired Pompeo to prepare a grant application for funds from the State’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund to pay for the investigation.

Beyond the senior citizens housing project on Clifton Ave., the former Athenia Steel factory rolls into a 35-acre parcel of natural wooded fields. A walk on the property will reveal deer, turkey and other wildlife as well as streams and mature trees. Will this land become a Clifton Public School or will the city develop an ice hockey arena and create ballfields and more subsidized senior housing? And once that is determined, how will people get in and out of the property? Currently, there is one entrance and that is to Clifton Ave., the city’s busiest roadway.

Once both pieces were completed, Pompeo was to arrange a meeting with the DEP, to be attended by both city and school representatives, to request that the DEP “fast track” its review of both documents.

In late September, Board President Joe Kolodziej said he expected that this meeting would occur “in the next couple of weeks.” In fact, the meeting took place on Nov. 9, some six weeks after he made that statement.

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


The Trenton Trip Seven people attended the DEP meeting on behalf of the city, including former City Manager Barbara Sacks, Mayor James Anzaldi, Councilwoman Gloria Kolodziej, former City Attorney Gerald Friend and current City Attorney Matt Priori as well as TRC Raviv’s Pompeo and Marc Fecher. The three school district representatives were Board President Kolodziej, Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice and the Board’s environmental consultant, Richard Lev of Melick-Tully and Associates, P.C. of South Bound Brook. Assemblyman Peter Eagler also participated. The Clifton contingent met with Joseph Seebode, assistant commissioner for site remediation and waste management, and a number of his ‘senior staff,’ Sacks said. The Merchant attempted to contact Seebode for additional information but our call was not returned. “They were so cordial, so helpful,” Anzaldi said. “We asked them

if the northern portion (of the site) can be separated out and they said they would consider it.” Separation of the northern portion from the central portion of the property by the DEP could enable school construction to proceed on the northern piece even before the central portion is cleaned. Former City Manager Sacks was similarly enthusiastic about the DEP meeting. “They were very supportive of us, very committed to helping Clifton,” Sacks said. “They liked our plans and are going to work with us. We wanted to rise higher on the radar of DEP so our project would be one of the more important ones. We wanted them to place a priority on what we wish to do – to support our efforts, both to get a cleanup plan approved and with our negotiations with National Standard (original owners of the property, now owned by Davis Wire). “It was clear that the DEP will expedite the review of both the grant application and the RIW,” Sacks said. So what was the outcome of the meeting?

Athenia Steel History

A review of dates and facts... January 1907 – A small steel mill opens in Athenia to manufacture flat spring steel, clock spring steel, and steel umbrella ribbing. The founders are Fredrik Forsberg, a Swedish immigrant who holds the patent for a continuous hot rolling mill, and F. G. A. Fornelius, who becomes the plant’s first vicepresident. The purchase price for the original 18.5 acres is $1,850. January 1937 – Athenia Steel’s reputation attracts the attention of National Standard Company of Niles, Michigan which purchases the company from its founders. August 1984 – A local developer, Clement Piscitello, invites the City Council to join him in a plan to transform the now 35acre tract near Clifton & Paulison Aves. into a 400-unit townhouse complex. Mayor Gloria Kolodziej, citing the developer’s lack of tangible details, says the proposal is “not an urgent matter” for the city. Councilman Gerald Zecker tells him: “you’re going to have problems,” since the site is “in a flood plain” caused by spillover from the Weasel Brook, which runs through the property. National Standard says it does not plan to sell the plant that now employs 205 people on three shifts.


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

“We should hear from them in 60 days,” said Barbara Sacks, the former City Manager. Sometime around Jan. 9, 2005, Clifton should know something. The reality is that the DEP may approve all, part, or none of the RIW by that date; and they may or may not approve the grant request. “We should hear from them in 60 days,” Sacks said. This means that, sometime around Jan. 9, 2005, Clifton should know – something. The reality is that the DEP may approve all, part, or none of the RIW by that date; and they may or may not approve the grant request.

Admirable Goals vs. Urgent Needs It is encouraging that it appears that progress is finally being made in the long-delayed work to investigate and clean the Athenia Steel property. This work is not the city’s responsibility at all, but rather that of National Standard/Davis Wire, the property owners with whom Clifton entered into a contract to purchase the property in 1999. Since that time, Davis Wire has missed many deadlines for clean-up of the contaminated property. It’s great that an RIW has been prepared, and that the DEP is supposed to look at it and get back to Clifton in two months. No one disagrees that this sites should be cleaned up and made safe and useful again. But how do these admirable goals square with the school district’s urgent and immediate need for a new school?

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“The goal is to break ground for the new junior high school in the Spring of 2006 in order to be able to occupy the new school by September 2008,” Board President Kolodziej responded. “There are several referendum dates that would meet that timetable.” Since the deadline for an April 2005 referendum has passed, the only other referendum dates possible in 2005, by state law, will be September and December. School district officials have stated publicly that about six months are needed between a decision on a site and the date of a referendum. This means that the Board must vote on a school site by March, 2005 so that there can be a September referendum or by June 2005 for a December referendum. So depending on which date you choose, they have from three to six months left to make a decision.

But is this realistic? As Kolodziej admitted, “I believe that part of the reason that no decision has been made yet for or against Athenia Steel is because we don’t know yet whether the site can be cleaned in time to suit our timeframe.” While it’s certainly possible to meet this timeframe if all goes well, what if it doesn’t? Best case scenario: the RIW is approved in 60 days, the investigation proceeds expeditiously and without any unforeseen complications, a cleanup plan is prepared and approved by the DEP promptly, the Department of Education (DOE) blesses the plan, and the cleanup is relatively simple and can be done while the site is prepared for construction (similar to what was done at Lower Weasel Brook Park in preparation for building School 17). 66

December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

A List of What Ifs? But things can also happen that will require more time. What if…. • the DEP doesn’t review the RIW within 60 days? • the investigation reveals findings that require further testing? • the cleanup plan requires significant time to prepare? • the DEP doesn’t review the cleanup plan promptly? • the contaminants at the site require a more complicated, time-consuming cleanup? • the DOE has questions or concerns about the site? In addition, it’s also a fact that no decision has yet been made by the city as to 1) who will do the investigation and 2) who will do the cleanup. “I think the investigation will be done by TRC Raviv,” Mayor Anzaldi said. But former city manager Sacks said that the Council has not yet decided who will perform the investigation. Currently TRC Raviv has a $9500 city contract for preparation of the RIW and the grant application only. Anzaldi said that, if the state does not approve Clifton’s grant request, “Then you go for it from Davis Wire (current Athenia Steel property owners) to pay. The city’s legal department is contacting Davis Wire about what the city is doing. There’s been no city vote to pay for the investigation. We would go after Davis Wire,” said Anzaldi. According to former city manager Sacks, the grant application asked for $600,000 from the state to pay for the investigation. But if the grant doesn’t come through, Sacks said, “the city has money set aside to consummate the purchase of the property when the

January 1988 – National Standard announces Athenia Steel will cease operating at the end of February, leaving 150 people out of work. November 1990 – The former Shulton property and Athenia Steel tracts are rezoned as planned development sites, which allows the properties to be used for commercial development, as well as manufacturing. No developer has announced interest in building on the entire property. Hartz Mountain had signed a contract with National Standard for the Athenia Steel portion of the property, but it fell through. June 1999 – The city stands to receive $275,000 annually under a federal HUD grant. The application must be made with one other neighboring community since Clifton is not deemed needy enough to apply on its own. Under the grant, the city may use the money in a variety of ways, including to build and buy existing property, or offer rent subsidies. July 1999 – The City Council agrees to purchase the now 35-acre tract from National Standard for $5.5 million with a $250,000 down payment and $1 million due at closing. The Council also has a plan for construction of 250 subsidized senior citizen apartments in two four-story buildings on the site. Additionally, the plan calls for two regulation-sized baseball fields, two soccer fields, and four outdoor basketball courts. Mayor James Anzaldi says he wants to break ground within two years. As a condition of the sale, National Standard agrees to pay for an environmental cleanup of the grounds that had become contaminated from plant emissions. December 1999 – City finalizes purchase of the property.

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Because the Board of Education owns Latteri Park and no purchase price is associated with building a school on the land, the potential of this being a school is never off the table.

property is clean. We could let Davis Wire know that the city is interested in doing the work to get the job done and the money in escrow could be used to pay for it.” As far as who will actually perform the investigation of the property, while the Council can award this contract to TRC Raviv if it so chooses, the actual cleanup of the property would have to go out for bids, Anzaldi said. “We’d set up a set of specs, get bids for the remediation, and the lowest bidder (by law) gets the job,” Anzaldi explained. Additional time would be required to solicit, obtain, receive, review and select a bid. And who will pay for the cleanup? Both Anzaldi and Sacks referred to the funds the city holds in escrow – about $2.5 million – plus $1.4 million in a bond held by the state that can be utilized if Davis Wire

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December 2000 – Passaic County releases a version of its Open Space & Recreation Master Plan which recommends an increase in the amount of county-owned space by 25% and lists Athenia Steel tract as one of the properties to help achieve that. January 2001 – The City Council votes unanimously to rezone the Athenia Steel property to allow for construction of the senior citizen housing and recreational facilities.

Today, at the rear of the Athenia Steel property, facing Route 46, Parkway Iron runs a metal and automotive recycling plant, an operation in existence since the 1940’s.

doesn’t fulfill its contractual obligations to Clifton. But is that enough money to get the job done? Considering that the relatively simple cleanup of the less than fouracre Lower Weasel Brook Park cost nearly $2 million (to make way for School 17), there is reason to believe that $3.9 million won’t be nearly enough to pay for the cleanup of the remaining 29 undeveloped acres of Athenia Steel property. It’s unclear what will happen if more than this amount is needed. Anzaldi claimed that, ultimately, the owners of the property, Davis Wire ,will have to pay. “The DEP may say, ‘You’re going to have to pay for it, but Clifton is not waiting; someone else will do the work,’” Anzaldi said. But it may take legal action to get Davis Wire to come up with the money and is that a battle the city is willing to take on, and at what cost? Clifton has owned the property since 1999, and city officials and the NJ DEP have tried on various occasions to get Davis Wire to do the clean up, and there still is no action nor timeline for completion. 68

December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Regarding the school site, the investigation will have to be completed by Spring 2005 so that the Board has the information necessary to determine if the site can be cleaned up within one year – i.e., in time for a Spring 2006 groundbreaking. The point is this: without a crystal ball, no one can predict what will go smoothly and what won’t; what will require more time than anticipated and what won’t; where the money will come from and where it won’t. And if the plans don’t proceed without a hitch, how much longer can Clifton’s students wait?

Latteri Still on the Table Officially the Board of Education is also still considering Latteri Park as the site for the 1700-student school. “No decision has been made yet on either Athenia Steel or Latteri Park, so nothing has been ruled out at this point,” Board President Kolodziej confirmed. Both Kolodziej and Rice maintain that Athenia Steel and Latteri Park are the only two sites being considered by the Board.

January 2002 – Clifton receives a grant of $250,000 from Passaic County to pay for designs of ball fields planned for the Athenia Steel tract. July 2002 – The NJDEP approves National Standard’s cleanup of the first six acres of the Athenia Steel site. Clifton pays $1.72 million for the six acres and City Manager Bob Hammer says he believes a 125-unit senior citizen complex will be complete on the tract within 18 months. October 2002 – Construction of 125 unit senior citizens housing complex is projected to begin. October 2002 - A group of Clifton ice hockey enthusiasts present a proposal to the City Council to turn some of the property into a state-of-the-art ice-skating rink. The Council responds favorably. November 2002 – No construction nor groundbreaking for the senior citizen housing or scenic parks and recreation facilities. City Manager Bob Hammer reported that “there has been no active cleanup recently,” because the NJ DEP did not receive a documented remedial action plan that was long ago promised by owner National Standard. June 14, 2003 – City Council members broke ground for a 125 unit senior citizens complex with occupancy by Fall, 2004.

1915: The bustling Athenia Steel Site, courtesy Clifton Public Library.

“No additional sites are officially actively being considered at this time, although clearly some Board members are expressing the desire to explore personal preferences,” Kolodziej said. “But informal discussions and official exploration are two different matters. Collectively, the majority of the Board, and the majority is where the Board derives

its authority from, is still seeking additional information.” While the Board continues its time-consuming quest for knowledge about Athenia Steel, Latteri Park, the site without a laundry list of unknowns, remains a ready option. And some residents are growing weary of the Board’s fiddling while Clifton’s schools seem-

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ingly grow more packed with kids every day. “I’m all for building the school on Latteri,” said Jennifer Thomas, who lives in Botany, right behind School 17. “The Board owns it and there’s no cleanup. And why was it OK to put a school on Lower Weasel Brook Park but not on Latteri Park? What makes Latteri so different?” Thomas asked.

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Ellen Nunno Corbo, former cochair of the Community Advisory Committee that originally recommended Latteri Park as the site for the school some 15 months ago, is frustrated with the Board’s drawnout debate over a site. “If the majority of the Board has no intention of using Latteri Park for a school, ever, they should not have allowed my Committee to waste its time even considering it,” Corbo said. “We spent many hours away from our families for over two years to come up with what we thought were the most practical and efficient solutions. Except for our recommendation of the Mayer building (see separate article), the rest of our work has been given nothing but lip service.” And Corbo had something to say to “those Latteri Park residents who publicly and repeatedly called my Committee ‘incompetent’ and its work ‘shoddy’ or worse, who said that they, as ‘more educated professionals’ than we. Who said they’d \work with the Board and surely be able to come up with far better researched and more suitable solutions than we did.” Where is Clifton Unite now, Corbo asked? “Not one has come up with even one alternative proposal in the oneplus year since my Committee made its recommendations,” Corbo noted.

“All they have done is support any other site any other person has proposed – Schultheis Farm and Athenia Steel…Those people who publicly insulted and ridiculed the Community Advisory Committee for recommending Latteri Park owe the entire Committee an apology,” Corbo said.

The Urgent Phase 2 At a Nov. 18 ‘parent forum’ on the subject of the Mayer referendum, Superintendent of Schools Rice spoke to the audience about the twopart solution to overcrowding in the Clifton schools. “(The Mayer referendum) won’t solve the problem,” Rice said. “The second part of the plan is to build a grades 8-9 1,700student school. Then there would be 2,400 to 2,500 10th to 12th graders in the high school and each of the middle schools (grades 5 and 6) would be under 1,000 students. “The Board is continuing to work on Phase 2,” Rice indicated. “Some people say, ‘I don’t want to pass Phase 1 until I know what Phase 2 is.’ I don’t get it. You need Phase 1 even more without Phase 2,” he said. So it’s crunch time now, literally and figuratively, for Clifton students. But unfortunately for them, the Board prefers to “seek additional information” rather than make a long-overdue choice for the far more essential part of the solution.

September 2003 – The CAC rejects the idea of using a portion of Athenia Steel for a school due to bad access, traffic congestion and unknown environmental contamination issues. June 2004 – After a joint meeting of the Board of Education and City Council,Athenia Steel (northern portion) is named as one of two possible sites (along with Latteri Park) for a central grades 8-9 1700-student school. July 2004 – Clifton receives a $600,000 Green Acres grant for use in creating a recreation complex at Athenia Steel. August 2004 – Senior Horizons at Clifton opens on the southern portion of the Athenia Steel property. October 2004 – Council approves a RIW or Remedial Investigation Workplan and an application for $600,000 from the NJ Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund to pay for the investigation of the Athenia Steel property. Both documents were prepared by environmental consultant TRC Raviv Associates, Inc., Millburn. November 2004 – A group of city and school district representatives meet with senior DEP officials in Trenton to submit the RIW and grant application for the DEP’s review. Completion of review is promised by DEP within 60 days. January 9, 2005 – The date NJ DEP is to respond to the city’s RIW and grant application regarding the Clifton Ave. property.


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Want to Be a Candidate? 3 Seats Up in April School Board Election


lthough it’s still four months away, it’s not too early to start thinking about April’s Board of Education election on April 19. The three-year terms of three current Board members—Vice President Jim Leeshock, John Traier, and Marie Hakim—are up. “Anyone who’s interested in running for the Board must file a petition with at least 10 signatures by the end of January,” said Business Administrator and Board Secretary Karen Perkins. That’s next month already, so decision time is rapidly approaching for anyone considering a run for their seats. As far as the three incumbents, Marie Hakim, first elected to the Board in April 1990 and a former Board President, said, “Yes, I plan to run for reelection.” Joining her will be Jim Leeshock. “As of today, yes, I am running again,” Leeshock said. Leeshock was elected to the Board in April 2002 and is completing his first term.

Several former Board candidates were contacted to see if they’re considering repeat runs. Mike Urciuoli, who came in fourth for the three seats available this past April by just a few dozen votes, is “leaning towards running again.” “I would like to jump start the campaign before the holidays,” Urciuoli said. He has criticized the present Board’s Latteri Park/ Athenia Steel debate and believes that the Athenia Steel property is the wrong site for the 1700-student grades 8-9 middle school. Another Board candidate this past April was Bill Sichel, who finished sixth in this year’s race. Sichel hasn’t decided if he’ll run again, but said, “I think if someone was to come up to me and ask me to serve on the Board, I would most likely do so.” Sichel believes that the Board election process is more

Deputy Fire Chief Tom Lyons, a co-chair of the Community Advisory Committee that made school site recommendations to the Board last year, was asked if he has any plans to run for the Board, Lyons said, “I have considered the option.”

Marie Hakim

John Traier

Jim Leeshock


December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

John Traier, elected at the same time as Leeshock said he has not yet made a decision if he will run.

Another Shot?

arduous than it should be. “I think that the political nature of the Board of Education election process makes participation as a candidate for the Board very difficult,” Sichel said. “We need to make the election process less political, less time-consuming, less expensive and more effective. Until that time, many people of exceptional qualifications will remain on the sidelines.” Joe Yeamans also ran for the Board in April but hasn’t decided about running again. “I haven’t made up my mind as yet, but will do so sometime between the holidays,” he said. Yeamans too has been critical of the Board for delaying the selection of a school site.

Potential Newcomers

Bill Sichel

Another co-chair, Ellen Nunno Corbo, does not intend to seek a Board seat. We also contacted other Clifton residents who’ve been active in Board issues during the past year, including Latteri Park-area residents Jeff and Shelley Gruen and Steve Goldberg. Jeff Gruen, founder of Clifton Unite, a group that organized opposition to school construction at Latteri Park, said that neither he nor Shelley will be running but commented on the April elections. “It will be a very important election and we perceive that there’s a tremendous groundswell of concern to maintain the positive Board momentum, to find a

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(school site) solution that’s right for everyone,” Gruen said. “(Board President Joe) Kolodziej has moved things in a positive direction and we’d like to see that continue. We’ll be supporting candidates who will want to keep things moving.” Fellow Rosemawr resident Goldberg, on the other hand, is mulling a Board run. “A number of people have approached me and I am considering it,” Goldberg said. “The decisions that are made by the Board are very important ones that affect children for generations.” What Goldberg said is true. Board membership is an awesome opportunity to influence the lives and futures of more than 10,000 young people. So if you have the time and you have the interest , consider becoming a candidate.

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Winter Spo r ts ‘04

Basketball • Hockey • Wrestling Bowling • Swimming • Track Last year freshman guard Jimmy Villafane inscribed a phrase across his high-top basketball sneakers: Hard Works Pays Off. At times during the 2003-2004 basketball season, these words seemed hard for the Mustangs to believe. Most nights they seemed to fall just a bit short competing in the powerful NNJIL conference. At season’s end each player in the program made a commitment to become a better basketball player. Since then, the team has played over 50 games together, and they believe that it is time for that hard work to really start paying off. This year’s Mustangs, who will return all five starters, as well as a total of eight lettermen, will be led by First Team AllLeague and All-Passaic County standout Carlos Pena. As a junior, Pena averaged 18 points and five rebounds per game. A 6’4” fearless scorer and tenacious defender, Pena set a Passaic County high for points in a game with 41 against St. Joseph's of West New York. Pena, who is being recruited by colleges along the East Coast, knows opponents will no longer be able to concentrate their defensive efforts on just him, as the entire Mustang team returns greatly improved. 76

December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

From left, CHS senior hoopsters Marquis Buckingham, Dave Smith, Adam Bania, Carlos Pena and Randy Cabral.

One of those players is 5’8” senior point guard Randy Cabral who returns for his third varsity season. In 2004, Cabral was named 2nd Team All-League and Honorable Mention All-County. He averaged 8 points, 5 assists and 3.4 steals per game. Cabral has the ability to shoot the ball as well as distribute it to his teammates. 6’3” Senior Dave Smith also returns, bringing his tough defense and fiery leadership. 6’0” senior shooting guard Ocyrus Quick will be counted on knock down jumpshots, either as a starter or coming off the bench. Other seniors returning are 6’1” guard Marquis Buckingham and 5’10” forward Adam Bania. The junior class is a talented group led by 6’7” center Marko Cvetic, and 6’4” forward Edin Carovac, both who lettered as sophomores last year. Cvetic improved tremendously during the off-season, sharpening his quickness and agility, giving the Mustangs a presence in the middle on both ends of the floor.

Carovac is a gifted offensive player, said Coach Santulli. He can shoot from the perimeter as well as go up tough when it counts in the inside. Carovac and Cvetic are expected to make a formidable front line for the Mustangs. Other juniors to watch are 6’2” forward Silas Lee, 6’1” shooting guard Pat Ferry, 6’4” forward Edin Carovac, 6’3” forward Peter Pelle, 5’11” forward Majdi Zaineh, and 5’10” point guard Chris Chin. The sophomore class is lead by 6’1” forward Jimmy Villafane. In 2004-2005, Villafane was one of only a few freshman to be named Honorable Mention All-League as well as All-Passaic County. As a rookie, Villafane averaged 6.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Other sophomores who could see action are 6’2” guard Mike Cetinich and 6’4” forward Nick Cvetic. If it is true Hard Works Pays Off and these Mustangs believe that it is, then it might as well pay off now, in the toughest league in the state.

CHS Boys

Basketball Dec 17 at Bergen Catholic

7:00 pm

Dec 21 Manchester

7:00 pm

Dec 23 at St. Joseph WNY

3:30 pm

Dec 28 Wayne Hills Tourn.

5:00 pm

Dec 30 Wayne Hills Tourn.


Jan 04

at Don Bosco Prep

7:00 pm

Jan 06


7:00 pm

Jan 08

at Wayne Valley

1:30 pm

Jan 11

at Teaneck

7:00 pm

Jan 13 at Hackensack

7:00 pm

Jan 18

Eastside Paterson

7:00 pm

Jan 20


7:00 pm

Jan 25


7:00 pm

Jan 27

at Paramus Catholic

7:00 pm

Feb 01

St. Joseph

7:00 pm

Feb 03

at Barringer

7:00 pm

Feb 08

at Paramus

7:00 pm

Feb 10 Passaic

7:00 pm

Feb 15 Kennedy

7:00 pm

Feb 17 Nutley

7:00 pm

Feb 22 at Bloomfield

7:00 pm

Feb 24 at Lakeland

4:00 pm

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Basketball Dec 07 Dec 09 Dec 11 Dec 13 Dec 15 Dec 27 Dec 28 Dec 30 Jan 04 Jan 06 Jan 11 Jan 13 Jan 18 Jan 20 Jan 25 Jan 27 Feb 01 Feb 03 Feb 08 Feb 10 Feb 15 Feb 17 Feb 22

he Lady Mustangs program is at an interesting inter-

Tsection of new and old for the 2004-2005 season.

New Varsity Coach Timothy Nellegar inherits a squad that will return four all-league players from last year’s four win team. “It’s obviously a tremendous advantage to step in and have all-league players on your team.” Nellegar is hopeful seniors Shamira Champagne, Jennifer Ismail and Shannon Lancaster with junior Jessica Oliva, who were All-NNJIL selections last season, will help the program compete in 2005. Seniors Courtney Hogges and Danielle Doerflein as well as sophomore Erica Cardillo return and bring with them a tremendous work ethic and love of the game.

4:00 pm 4:00 pm 9:00 am 4:00 pm 4:00 pm 1:30 pm TBA TBA 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm

“So far the girls have worked extremely hard and want to learn the game. Their hard work and desire to improve will be the key to us having a successful year.” Nellegar takes over after spending last season as the Associate Coach for the boys program at CHS. Prior to that he was assistant women’s coach at Caldwell College. Returning to the coaching staff are Dawn Paton as Freshman Coach and Rob Tomesko as Junior Varsity Coach. Jill Fischman join the staff as Associate Coach and brings will her coaching experience from high school and college ranks. “I am very excited about the direction of our program,” said Nellegar. “I feel we are building a great program for now and the future.”

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Track Dec 17 Dec 27 Dec 29 Jan 02 Jan 05 Jan 07 Jan 15 Jan 17 Jan 24 Jan 31 Feb 07 Feb 20 Feb 27 Feb 28

Jersey Duals DeSchriver Inv. Passarelli Inv. West Point PCCA Championship Highlander Inv. II NJSIAA Relays JD/Highlander Inv. III Fr./Soph./NoviceMeet NNJIL Championships Varsity Classic NJSIAA Group Champ. NJ State Meet of Champ. Eastern States Championship

ndoor Track returns top distance and middle distance Mustangs Carlo Santelli, Steve Klett, Andrew Garcia, Alex Anolik, Christina Gagliardi, Jessica Torres, Diane Szaflarski and Marta Leja. The sprinters include Rebecca Weiss, Marissa Ross and Ken Biason. Throwers are Elizabeth Post, Connie Mushelah, Betty Bodiziak and Joe Hathaway. Hurdlers are Alvin Foster, Darren Farinas and Honam Wu. Jumpers and Vaulters are Laura Meyers, Foster, and Szaflarski, as well as Nicole Krzysik. “Our team will be one of the top ones, with both boys and girls, in both our division of the league and in our county,” predicted Coach John Pontes. He cited leadership by assistants Andy Piotrowski, Tim St Clair and Vic Wu. “All graduates of our school and alumni of the program,” Pontes said proudly, then foot-noted these dates: County Meet: 1/5/05; League Meet 1/31/05, “both at the 168th St. Armory, NYC, home of the US Track & Field Hall of Fame and the fastest indoor track in the country.”

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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant


Hockey eturning from a 11-11-1 season, Clifton Hockey is looking beyond a .500 record. Seniors Andy Surowiec, Ian Meltzer and Stan Pilny, along with starters Anthony Yelovich, Marcin Roszcowski, Craig Junda and Allen Ratz, offer strength and experience. After a rebuilding season in 2004, they believe they’ll earn a trip to the playoffs. “Determination and hard work will allow us to go far,” predicted Surowiec, who noted the squad has 10 travel players, which he said is a high number for a public school team. “The most important thing is to get along as a team not only on the ice, but off the ice as well.” Looking back to 2003-04, Surowiec said no one on the team is happy about the record. It was a disappointing season, he explained, but the boys went back and fixed the mistakes, strengthened the weak points and sharpened their assets. Coach Tom Danko is on the same page as the kids: “You can see their dedication in practice. They are a team. There is good leadership and unity here.”


Dec 03 Dec 08 Dec 11 Dec 17 Dec 20 Dec 27 Dec 28 Dec 30 Jan 02 Jan 04 Jan 09 Jan 14 Jan 21 Jan 28 Jan 30 Feb 01 Feb 04 Feb 11

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etween the Seahawks feeder program and enthusiasm created by the

Swimming BOlympics this past summer, CHS Swimming had 104 students sign up. Dec 01 Dec 07 Dec 10 Dec 13 Dec 16 Dec 17 Jan 06 Jan 07 Jan 10 Jan 14 Jan 19 Jan 31 Feb 03

at Hackensack at IHA/BC Don Bosco(Boys) Montclair Paramus Catholic DePaul (Girls) Tenafly Paramus at Mt. St.Dominic (Girls) at Teaneck at Ridgewood at Montville NNJIL Champs

3:30 2:30 3:00 3:00 3:00 3:00 3:00

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After final cuts, Coach Andrea Bobby will start the season with about 30 girls and 25 boys . Coach cited some strong returning seniors as Samantha Eromenok in the 50 freestyle, Doug Ciallella in freestyle sprints and Andrew Hickman in the breaststroke. Bobby is hoping freshman girls Roxanne Szabo, Nadia Razumov, Monique Mariso and Kirsten Ciervo pull together to form a relay. This year, there is sibling competition between returning brothers Adam Satkowski, senior, and Jonathan Satkowski, sophomore. Juniors Margaret Krol and Matthew Hyde are both good all around swimmers. Margaret’s strength is the individual medley, while Matthew is strong in his back stroke. Keep an eye on sophomores Craig Casperino and Calman Goodell.

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Bowling rian Small enters his11th year of coaching Mustang Bowling on an optimistic note. That’s strange considering that he graduated all four starters on last year’s boy’s team and one on the girl’s. “We have a good group coming up from our JV team.” he said. The four boys moving up to varsity this year are Dennis Markovitch, Dennis DeGuzman, Brian Bartok and Joe Cristaniello. Last year this team was undefeated in JV. “Varsity is a little tougher, you are dealing with higher averages,” Small cautioned, then added: “I consider this a rebuilding year. We look very good on paper, but we have to go out and still play.” The girl’s side looks just as good. This Mustang JV squad also took first last year. Lindsey Specian, Alison Jonkman and Tyleneia Selph are in the top of the line-up. The team has a grueling 44 match schedule in addition to county, sectional and group tournaments. League matches are at Bowler City, Hackensack.


Dec 09 Dec 14 Dec 21 Jan 03 Jan 04 Jan 06 Jan 10 Jan 11 Jan 18 Jan 24 Jan 25 Jan 27 Jan 31 Feb 03 Feb 07 Feb 08 Feb 09 Feb 10

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Clifton Merchant • December 2004


his year’s Mustang Wrestling squad will be looking to build on what they learned last year. With a grueling schedule, the Mustangs in 2004 ended up 11-10 and just missed making the state sectionals.


The good news is several standouts from last year’s team will return. Among them is junior Corey Bleaken who had a great run down to the Finals and ended up being ranked 12th in New Jersey.

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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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Wrestling Dec 08 Dec 10 Dec 18 Dec 29 Jan 06 Jan 08 Jan 12 Jan 15 Jan 19 Jan 21 Jan 22 Jan 26 Jan 28 Jan 29 Jan 31 Feb 02 Feb 05 Feb 09 Feb 12

at Ridgewood West Orange Hopatcong Tourn. Bloomfield Tourn. at North Bergen at Eastside Paramus at Dumont HH/WR at Bloomfield at Kennedy Bergen Catholic Passaic Cty Champs Passaic Cty Champs St. Joseph Paramus Catholic at St. Peters at Barringer at Ridge

4:00 pm 4:00 pm 10:00 am 10:00 am 7:00 pm 10:00 am 7:00 pm 10:00 am 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 1:00 pm 7:00 pm 5:00 pm 10:00 am 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 10:00 am 7:00 pm 10:00 am

Others include junior Jamal Frasier, a district and county finalist. Senior Joe Rutigliano is a two time district finalist. Senior Pete Fitzpatrick made districts three times. Other key returners are sophomores Tom Grecco, John Vatasin and Rob Berrios. Juniors include Kyle Topping, Mahmoud Sulieman, Elvis Cabrera, Frank Krygsman, Vin Cordi, Gabe Sanchez and Vinny Peraino, Seniors Alex Lopez and Jarvis Tejada round out the roster. Coach Dave Niglio is looking for JV and Frosh wrestlers to come forward and compete for spots up for grabs in the line up which has 14 weights starting at 103 lbs. up to 275 lbs. Several wrestlers have been training since last season ended. “All these factors make this season look like a promising one,” said Niglio, now in his sixth season. His assistants are Marc Parlevecchio, Robbie Vargo, a wrestler who graduated CHS in 2001 and newcomer Fred Hemsey.

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CHS Athletic Hall of Fame Class of ‘04 On Oct 10, the Clifton Athletic Hall of Fame held its 2004 induction dinner. Pictured here is the 1985-86 Girls Cross Country Team. From left to right: Mamta Tailor, Dianna Garrison, Coach Lou Fraulo, Jackie Paz, Coach John Pontes, Cathy Paz and Mercedes Zak.

Other members inducted into the Hall of Fame on Oct 10, from left to right: Keiko Tokuda and Laura Tynio, class of ‘98; Sam Poulis, class of ‘91; Ed Klimek, class of ‘87; Don Parsons of the 1944-45 Boys Basketball Team, Vasilios Lahanas, class of ‘88; Brian Torres, class of ‘94; Louis Andreotta, class of ‘49. Also inducted was the 194546 Boys Basketball Teams.

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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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The Coach Joseph Grecco Scholarship Fund’s beefsteak dinner on Nov. 19 at the Boys & Girls Club was attended by more than 400. Funds raised will be awarded as a scholarship to a Fighting Mustang who exemplifies the coach’s spirit of excellence on the field and in the classroom. In addition to his family and friends, many of the late coach’s former players attended the dinner. They represented Mustangs teams from the forties through the sixties. Speaking at the event were Coach Grecco’s daughter Phylis Borowski; former player Frank Pecci; the ‘Voice of the Mustangs’ and former announcer Bob Zschack; and Clifton Merchant Magazine writer Jack De Vries. Former player Bob Papa was the evening’s MC, and another former player, Bill Farkas, handled the 50/50 raffle. Ticket chairman was Roger Fardin, with committee members Al Mardirossian Jr., Lou Poles, and Sarah and Fred Lombardo. A special appearance by Clifton High’s Marching Mustangs Band highlighted the evening, and beefsteak originator Hap Nightengale catered the dinner. To contribute to the fund in Coach Grecco’s memory, send a donation to: The Joseph Grecco Scholarship Fund PO Box 1524, Clifton, N.J. 07015

Last seen publicly in the early seventies, the ‘Original Fighting Mustang’ painting was a gift from Grecco’s former players, presented to him during a successful run for a seat on Clifton’s City Council. Drawn from a 1959 photo, the painting features Grecco, Wayne Demikoff, and Bob Papa, who asked the artist to draw different uniform numbers so that the painting focused on the coach rather than any particular players.

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Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Fall S p o r t s F i n a l Photos and Story by Gary Anolik

lifton High School has just completed an extremely successful fall sports season. Multiple sports were Passaic County champions; League Champions and progressed through the State playoff system. The Mustangs were league champions in Boys and Girls Soccer, Boys and Girls Cross Country, and in Volleyball. Depending on the outcome of other Thanksgiving Day games, the football team could be the league NNJIL B Champions. The Mustangs were Passaic County Champions in Boy’s Soccer, and Boy’s Cross Country. This was another remarkable year by many remarkable athletes. In the next few weeks newspapers in New Jersey will be announcing which athletes and teams are the best in Northern New Jersey. Many of Clifton’s athletes will appear on these teams. However to have championship teams in so many diverse sports takes more than just athleticism. It takes character, leadership and perseverance. For every athlete that takes the field there is another great story behind him or her. Athletes like Andrew Garcia, a senior on the cross county team. In the midst of the war on terror, Andrew has applied and will be attending Annapolis Naval Academy. “We are in a war time in our country,” Garcia said recently, “Our soldiers are over there, doing their duty, and I want to do my part to help the war effort.”



December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Garcia credits his parents as his greatest influence, but also acknowledges Cross Country Coach John Pontes as having an impact on his decision to go to Annapolis. “He is such a great leader, he has done so much with his life, and if I can be a leader like he is I would be very satisfied.” Garcia will be attending the Naval Preparatory School after Jon Borrajo always has his game face on. Next year, this Mustang is headed to play Division 1 Soccer.

CHS, then one year later, he expects to be a plebe at Annapolis. “I have a hard five years coming up, but competing in sports has helped me get ready for it.” Garcia reflected on his training at CHS. Here is a review of the Mustang fall season and stories on some of the athletes that made it a great. We wish we could present each competitor, but space does not allow.

All those games will likely pay off soon for Borrajo. Among his laundry list of honors he is a 2004 unanimous selection to the All County Soccer team. Many Division 1 Colleges are currently recruiting him. “My Dad always made me play soccer. I guess it’s paying off now.” Borrajo said.

Boys Soccer Always a cornerstone of Clifton Sports, the Mustangs were League Champions, Passaic County Champions, fourth year in a row, and went into the third round of the State North 1 Group 4 Championships. This year, you can’t talk about Boy’s soccer without talking about Joe Borrajo. The senior started on varsity since his freshman year and has been a key player since. “I started playing soccer when I was three years old in Clifton.” Borrajo said. “I’ve played with the Stallions, the Rec team, the U19 Metrostars, and Brick City Newark.” He went on “I still remember my first game playing for the High School. I got hit on the nose in the first few seconds of the game, but I still played on.” Borrajo said the best part of being a Mustang is playing with the team created and coached by Joe Vespignani. He took over after

Girls Soccer

Sophomore Arielle Saltzman is also swim manager and an Honor Student.

Coach Fernando Rossi moved to Italy. Vespignani has since guided the soccer program to a combined record of 99-14-6. His varsity team has won two Passaic County Championships, two league titles, and was twice a finalist in the state sectional.

Girls Soccer team was 12-6. They played in the County Championship game, they were league champions, and went into the semifinal round of the State Playoffs. This is a team made up of outstanding seniors, but this team also had under classmen step up this year. Sophomore Arielle Saltzman played goalie for the Mustangs this year. Saltzman recalled when she found out she would be the team’s goalie. “Coach Lembryk put my name on the board to start in the first game and I was stunned. This is a team with such outstand-

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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

ing players; to be on the field with them is such an honor.” Saltzman had an outstanding year herself one that included nine saves in an October game against Montclair.

This team graduates five seniors this year: Nicole Bisco, Nikki Tahan, Renata Koziol, Kayla Devlin and Nikki Krzysik each had sensational careers. Over four

years they won 61 games, three Passaic County championships and a North 1 Group 4 title.

Boys Cross Country The Boys Cross Country team was 20-2,they were the League Champions (fifth year in a row), Passaic County Champions, William Paterson Invitational Champions, Maroon Invitational Champions, third in State sectionals and was one of only 21 schools in the state to go to the Group 4 Meet of Champions held in Holmdel. Carlo Santelli, Steve Klett, and Alexander Anolik made All Passaic County and All League teams.

Girls Cross Country Andrew Garcia excelled in cross country and in the classroom. This senior honors student wants to serve his nation and his goal is to graduate from Annapolis before entering the US Navy.

Junior Marissa Ross was injured last year but came back to excell at Cross Country. Her other activities include Track, Key Club, Literacy Outreach, Honors and she is an A/P student.

Girls Cross Country team was 16-5 and were League Champions, (the first time since 1987 both the Boy’s and Girls were league champions), and third in the County Championship.

Great Gift! A subscription to Clifton Merchant Magazine will make a perfect gift to all on your list. Don’t miss a single edition of history, news and photos! We’ll mail it to your home, via First Class mail, every month. $15/year mailed within Clifton or $25 for two years $25/year out of town or $40 for two years. Name: Address: City:





Clifton Merchant • December 2004


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For the 7th year, Clifton Merchant Magazine, working with the Clifton Rec Department, 12 hosts the Super Bowl Family Day, an alcohol, tobacco and gambling-free place to watch the 13 game. Beginning at 5 pm on Super Bowl 14 Sunday on Feb. 6, admission is just $5 for a 15 family of four or $2 per person. The price 16 includes super sized TV’s, fun and games as well as food and refreshments. Family Day begins at 17 5 pm at the CHS gym with adult/child non-com18 petitive games. These are easy to do for any 19 age, such as basketball shooting, whiffle ball, 20 football toss and floor hockey. This is a bargain 21 will bewill noted of aSponsors family event you want in to our be aads. part of.

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December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Dianne Szaflarski, Christina Gagliardi, Susan Martinez, Alyssa Philhower, Jessica Torres, and Marissa Ross all made first team All League. The home course for Clifton’s Cross Country team is Garret Mountain. After running 2.5 miles at a minimum 6:30 per mile pace, the last 880 yards is a huge hill. Determination is a key factor to finishing this course. The face of determination of this team is in the person of Marissa Ross. Last year as a sophomore Marissa injured both feet. “They told me I could not run anymore.” Ross recalled, “I started to cry. I love to run and I love to be part of this team. This team is part of my family.” Ross managed the team last year while getting physical therapy and being fit for orthotics. This year she competed and saw her times improve each week.

Ross finished the 2004 Passaic County championships in 14th place (out of 61), good enough for the All County second team. “I just put so much work into this sport, I love running,” Ross said.

Football Clifton’s Fighting Mustangs completed the season at 5-6. With their 48-0 victory over Passaic on Thanksgiving Day, combined with Eastside’s loss, the Mustangs

From left, senior Bryan Barker plans to attend Rutgers next year. Also pictured are Barker’s Fighting Mustangs co-captains Joe Hathaway and Tom Jacobus.





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Group 4, Clifton has the hardest schedule, and still does well. When asked how this team stands up to the challenge, week after week, and then came back with two year ending victories, all four team captains answered in unison “Heart. This team has a lot of heart.”

Girls Volleyball

Senior Emmanuel Ihim plans on playing college football next year.

are the NNJIL B co-champions. Unfortunately many people overlook the class and integrity of this team. The Fighting Mustangs are the only team in the entire NNJIL to play Ridgewood, Hackensack, Don Bosco Prep, and Bergen Catholic High Schools, all of which are playing in their respective Group finals, all are in the top six of the Max Prep New York Metro area high school football teams. Additionally Clifton and Montclair are the only non parochial schools to play both Don Bosco and Bergen Catholic this year. In non- parochial games, Clifton is 5-3. Clifton could easily have changed their schedule as other teams have done and improved their overall record. For example one Passaic County playoff team replaced a parochial team on their schedule with a Group 3 team. That is not what Clifton is about. They did not duck away from challenges. Because the football season requires a limited number of games, strength of schedule becomes a point of argument among football fans. There is no doubt, in North 1

The Volleyball team had another successful year. Their record was 20-6. They were the League champions and played in the Passaic County Finals. The team went to the State wide Group 4 playoffs and made it into the second round. The team is a young team that has a bright future. Last year The Record called the 2003-2004 sports season ‘The Year of the Freshman.’ That was because so many freshmen played varsity sports in North Jersey. One of those freshmen was Clifton’s Deanna Giordano. “I practiced with the team last year, and then before the season started the coach asked me to play. I was shocked.” Giordano recalled, “Nobody on the team knew me, I was taking the place of some incredibly gifted players, I really had to prove myself.” Giordano did prove herself. After playing volleyball with club teams, she proved her mettle.

Sophomore Deanna Giordano plays volleyball and softball for CHS.

Last year she broke the CHS scoring record and made the second team All League team. This year she made First Team and also the First Team All County. “The best part of playing volleyball at Clifton is being on this great team, playing against great competition and winning.” Giordano said. Once again, two other Girl sports, tennis and gymnastics had improved seasons, both with underclassmen having an impact. All of the student athletes, whether on the field, cheering or in the band, contributed to this success and carried on the tradition of the maroon and gray.



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lifton’s World War II veterans, along with all who served our nation, at peace and at war, were honored on Nov. 7 at the annual Veterans Parade. Led by the Marching Mustangs and followed by dozens of other volunteer groups, scouts, public safety officers, bands and veterans, the parade passed through Downtown Clifton and continued to the War Memorial in Main Memorial Park. A ceremony was held there to commemorate the events of a war which ended some 60 years ago. The photos offer a recap of the day’s events...

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Vocalist Marlene VerPlanck performs in Passaic on Dec. 12, while Andrew Hinton and Judy Bady are among the performers in Clifton on Jan. 15 at the 10th Martin Luther King Jazz Fest. Alex Chilowitz participated in the Jazz for Teens program.

The Second Sunday Series continues on Dec. 12 at 3 pm at the Julius Forstmann Library, 195 Gregory Ave., Passaic, with vocalist Marlene VerPlanck. Free; call 973-779-0474. The 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Jazz Festival and Dinner is on Jan. 15, 6 pm to midnight at the Church of the Assumption, 35 Orange Ave., Clifton. Featured performers will include June Bady and her Quartet, Madam Pat Tandy, Joy Foster, Lady Cici Williams’ Jazz Just-Us Band, Loretta Bradley, Jazzy

Bear and Friends, Najah Aziz and the Sensational Wonders. Tickets are $35 and may be purchased at the Record City stores in Passaic and Paterson. Call Seifullah Ali Shabazz at 973-478-4124. Alex Chilowitz was among the 82 young jazz musicians to participate in the Jazz for Teens program offered by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in conjunction with WBGO, Jazz 88.3 FM. The participants classes at the Arts Center were under the tutelage of

professional jazz musicians. The teens will participate in a professional recording session on Dec 11. Auditions for next year’s Jazz for Teens program is on April 2-3. Teens selected from this search will perform at NJPAC’s Victoria Theater on May 14. Call 973-3538009 or visit The Wizard of Oz, by the Children’s Theater Company of the YM/ YWHA on Scoles Ave., is performed Dec. 4 to 12. Tickets are $12 or $10, call 973-779-2980 x103. 1651

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Top, from left: Joe Milo, guitar; John Yarembinsky, accordion; Ken Bosland, guitar; Scott D. Banks, voice/manager; Molly Frieri, voice/asst. manager; Jeffrey S. Markey, trumpet/piano; Mark Schipper, drum/theory. Seated, from left: Laura Sivilic, woodwinds, theory; Annamaria Menconi, director; Liz Reiss, cello; Ellen Hill, violin. Not pictured: Dileyana Zlatnova, violin; E. Michael Markwis, piano; David Caldwell-Mason, piano; Doreen Holmes, drums; Karen Kelland, piano, Julie Passaro, trombone; Jamison Earl, brass.

The Bard of Dutch Hill Diverse Clifton Scribe again wins National Award


hat do the Yankees, baseball, poetry and Allen Ginsberg, have in common? They all have a fan in one quiet, unassuming man, James David Gwyn. Soon after moving to Clifton and then settling in Dutch Hill in 1991, Gwyn set to developing not only family roots, but literary roots in Passaic County, the stomping grounds of Ginsberg as well as William Carlos Williams. Although Gwyn has been writing poetry since college, it was only since 1999, when he happened upon PCCC’s Poetry Center, that he wanted to once again submit poetry for publication. This November marks the third time Gwyn’s poetry has received Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards Contest. The first award was for New Scarf Poem, in 2001, a description of the old ways of life in rural America when it comes in contact with the fast-paced life of today. The subject of Swamp Grass (in 2002) was 9-11. The most recent award was presented on Nov. 6, for

When asked what inspires him to write, James Gynn replied: “I don’t always agree with the world. Poetry gives me a chance to put the world into my own words. Then I try to present that world view to others and see what happens.”

Last year in Colonial Williamsburg, Gregory, Matthew, and James Gwyn (left to right) clown around and convert Thomas Jefferson to a 1961 Yankees fan.

Fear and Loathing at the High School Dance, a humorous and painful account of those days of youth gone by. He also received an Editor’s Choice in 2003 for Anarchy, what he calls a love poem to his father. A man of routines, Gwyn takes the 8:18 am train into NYC to his job at McGraw-Hill. Only the tilt of his black beret and plaid lumberjack jacket give away the difference and character that is Gwyn. Attired in his ‘uniform’ of khaki pants and plaid shirt, the unconventional Gwyn is revealed when he doffs his cap and his mane of long curly brown-mixedwith-gray hair unfolds.

While the 9-5 job and hour commute each way are wearing, it does afford Gwyn the isolated time to write. “Over the past six years, I’ve filled eight of these steno pads with poems that I haven’t put into the computer or finalized. It’s not easy at home finding time to write poetry,” mused Gwyn. Working full-time in the publishing industry and raising twin boys with his wife Emily Rose can consume 24 hours pretty quickly. “I think once I stopped creating crossword puzzles, I could devote a little more time to poetry.” Gwyn, an avid linguist, developed almost 1000 crossword puzzles over the course of 18 years while

Clifton Merchant • December 2004


freelancing for Woman’s World and other publications. “Composing crossword puzzles always came easy to me,” he said. “I use the same skills in composing poetry.” Gwyn credits poetry workshops with Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Laura Boss’s poetry class at Montclair Adult School with honing his craft. He is a member of Café Poets, a workshop group that meets in a local café monthly to keep the New Jersey poetry scene strong. At the Café Poets readings, one can hear the activist tone that defines much of Gwyn’s poetry. He calls them his “American J’accuse” poems “when I don’t agree with what the world is doing and I say so.” Chuckles Gwyn, “These poems don’t usually get the awards.” But Gwyn writes poems about family life too. “What color is a poet?” asked a young four-year-old Matthew Gwyn of his father. Little did Matthew

He developed over 1000 crossword puzzles over the course of 18 years while freelancing for Woman’s World and other publications. “Composing crossword puzzles always came easy to me,” Gwyn said. “I use the same skills in composing poetry.” know that the innocent question and the child’s subsequent coloring of a poetry-reading announcement would be the subject of one of his father’s poems, The Colors of the Poet. His wife’s Dutch heritage is attributed to some of the phonetics in New Scarf Poem. “I guess it’s providential that after a two-year search we should purchase our home in Dutch Hill two blocks away from where my father-

in-law grew up,” said Gwyn, reflecting on his life in Clifton. “I have a porch to sit on and watch the world go by, my wife has a fireplace, and we both need space for our book collection that continues to grow. We’re both very into historical preservation and would love to see more of it in town. Like the old Doherty Silk Factory where my wife’s grandmother worked. How about restoring that and using it for a school? My wife dreams about School 15 being restored to its original splendor with its wooden stage and auditorium. But everything’s about money and politics.” The debate on where to site a new middle school concerns him too, although the topic hasn’t made it into one of his award-winning poems…yet. “We can’t survive as a city if we continue to think of ourselves as the seven towns of Acquackanonk,” said Gwyn. “I pay my taxes. I vote. NIMBY? I Holiday Gifts for your Favorite Stitcher.

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108 December 2004 • Clifton Merchant


don’t believe in it. This whole town is my backyard!” he exclaimed. Gwyn mused about solving the School 15 goose-dropping problem by building the new middle school in Weasel Brook Park. “We wouldn’t mind taking the school over here if Latteri Park could take the goose-droppings off our hands,” he laughed. “Then there’s all the land the school owns that is Main Memorial Park. Put a school there and more goose poop is eliminated!” “Not all my poetry is based on my life or experience,” he continued. “In fact, very little is. However, some feeling or emotion or experience may trigger a subject for a poem. Too often people think I’m writing about my life, and I’m not.” Of course, The Colors of a Poet and the poetry about his twin boys, Matthew and Gregory, belie that fact. It was Matthew’s love of Elvis that inspired Elvis Hair, and Gregory’s desire for a poem was the impetus for A Poem for Gregory. Gwyn’s active involvement with his children has led him to ballfields and School 15 classrooms. “Until the two-per-class cutoff of class parents was instituted this year, I have always been a class parent for one of my boys,” stated Gwyn. “I think it’s important that boys see male involvement in their upbringing.” Besides being a class parent, Gwyn has read in class and gave a poetry workshops to third grade classes. “I like to open up the world of poetry to young students. Ideally, I’d like to get into the classroom more than once every other year. Realistically, for both the teachers and my work schedule, once a year may be all that’s doable. I did speak to the principal about intro-

Celebrating Paterson in Poetry is a competition to mark the 25th anniversary of The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College. The winners will be invited to read their poems as part of the Poetry Conference honoring the legacy of William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg on May 7, 2005. An anthology will be published at that time. Contest rules: • Two poems per person will be accepted for consideration. • Two copies of each poem, no more than two pages, should be submitted. • Name, address, telephone number, and e-mail on one copy of each poem. • Do not submit poems that imitate the work of Ginsberg or Williams. Poems should be written in your own style and have something to do with the City of Paterson. • Only unpublished poems may be submitted to this contest. • Deadline: Postmarked by February 1, 2005. • No e-mail submissions will be accepted. Include SASE for list of winners. Winners will be contacted by mail or phone, if e-mail is not available. Do not call The Poetry Center in reference to the contest. Send poems to: Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Executive Director, The Poetry Center, Passaic County Community College One College Boulevard, Paterson, New Jersey 07505-1179 For more info, go to ducing “Poetry 180.” The principal was interested in the idea, but it takes a lot of coordinating.” “Poetry 180” was an initiative of Billy Collins, introduced in 2001 in the book by the same name (and website, when Collins was U.S. poet laureate. Each day a short poem is read at the end of morning announcements. “Although it might lengthen morning announcements by a minute,” Gwyn says, “it takes poetry out of the context of a classroom discussion. When there’s no pressure to respond, you’d be surprised the connections to everyday life that can be made. There’s poetry in everyday speech, in the sound of footsteps, there’s poetry in the sound of the wind and rain.” Whatever happens at School 15, Gwyn has other ideas about how to introduce poetry into the lives of elementary-school age children. He is looking forward to forming a poetry-writing group for children.

Gwyn recently brought his family to a reading at The Watchung Booksellers, a book store in Montclair. “My children enjoy attending my poetry readings,” said Gwyn. “Gregory read a poem at one of my readings in Denville. Before the Watchung reading, I asked each boy to read a poem they’d written.” As a result, Gwyn has an invitation from Watchung Booksellers to bring young poets before the public. “I have the names of some talented young writers. The problem is finding the time to pull it off.” He’d like to get something going during poetry month in April for Clifton own budding-poets. When asked what inspires him to write, he replied: “I don’t always agree with the world. Poetry gives me a chance to put the world into my own words. Then I try to present that world view to others and see what happens.” Based on recent critical acceptance of his poems, the world likes what it sees. Clifton Merchant • December 2004


Birthdays! Ann W. Kissel . . . . . . . Mannan Amin . . . . . . Lauren Lawler . . . . . . Bryan Nolasco. . . . . . Allison Ahdieh . . . . . . Danny Buttel . . . . . . . Patrick Lotorto. . . . . . Sharon Tichacek . . . . Phil Angello . . . . . . . . Phyllis Galambos. . . . Timothy Gumann . . . Mike Kester . . . . . . . . Michael Vinciguerra . Jake Generalli. . . . . . Rosemary Kuruc . . . . Laura Mikolajczyk . . . Michael Ressetar . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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12/01 12/02 12/02 12/02 12/03 12/03 12/03 12/03 12/04 12/04 12/04 12/04 12/04 12/05 12/05 12/05 12/05

Fighting Mustangs Coach Bill VanderCloster turned 80 on Nov. 23. He celebrated with his wife of 58 years, the former Gilda Belli, and their three daughters and four granddaughters. Mark Mecca . . . . . . . . . Robert Raichel . . . . . . . Chris Sadowski . . . . . . . Jamie Osmak . . . . . . . . Daniel Fonesca Ramos. Mark Surgent. . . . . . . . . Andrew Tichacek . . . . . Bob Snelson. . . . . . . . . . Joey Cofone . . . . . . . . . Kathleen M. Marshall . . Diane Meyer . . . . . . . . . Joseph Rutigliano . . . . . Andy Kent . . . . . . . . . . . Danny La Gala . . . . . . .

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12/07 12/08 12/08 12/09 12/09 12/09 12/09 12/10 12/11 12/11 12/11 12/11 12/13 12/13

School 17 Principal Tony Orlando and his dad Anthony with Michael Mejia, Richard Saez, Jenniffer Gonzalez and Deyanira Gonzalez at the Nov. 20 dedication of the new facility serving Botany and Lakeview.



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St. Brendan’s Tricky Tray with a home improvement theme is Jan. 30 at the Wayne Manor. The $30 package includes dinner, a sheet of tickets and door prizes. Seating is limited. Call 973-772-1149. The Passaic County Student Film and Video Festival is on April 16 at the Passaic County Community College Public Safety Complex, 300 Oldham Rd., Wayne. The event is a juried exhibition of works created by students who live or attend school in Passaic County. Deadline is Feb. 1. Films will be evaluated in high school and college categories with prizes for winners in each group. Sean Gunby has recently joined the staff of REMAX Excellence on Clifton Ave. Call Passaic County’s Economic Gunby is a 1987 grad of CHS and is also Development Office at 973-881-4427 a tax accountant with offices in Clifton. or

The fifth annual holiday door decorating contest, sponsored by Clifton Rec, is underway. Just call 973-470-5956 by Dec. 7 to register your door. All manner of Clifton residences are eligible, be they private homes, apartments or condos, and prizes will be awarded. Categories include Most Original, Most Colorful, Nature’s Greenery, Best Old-Fashioned Christmas, Most Unusual, Best International, Best Children’s Theme, Country Christmas and, for top honors overall, Best In Town. Judging for the contest, aimed at giving families an opportunity to work together across the generational span, takes place by Dec. 15. Winners will be notified.

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To qualify to be a foster parent, you must be at least 21 years old, have a steady source of income and adequate space in your home. 112 December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Clif owner Skip Kazer wants to raise a $1,000 or more for childrens’ charities by offering a $5 chance to cut his pony tail. Stop down at The Clif for details.


Arts Grants Available: The NJ State Council on the Arts is awarding grants for the period of July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. Notice of Intent to apply is due Dec. 10 and completed applications are due Feb. 18. An application workshop is at the NJ State Council on the Arts, Trenton, on Dec. 7. For details or more info:, or call NJSCA at 609-292-6130.

The Holy Apostles Church at 17 Platt Ave. in Saddle Brook is having its Christmas Bake Sale Dec. 12 from noon to 2 pm. There will be nut and poppy seed rolls, babka, rice cake, holiday cookies and pirogies. To place an advance order, call 973-949-4631 or 201-794-1316 from 6 to 8 pm, or call the Parish Hall Friday evenings or Saturday mornings at 201-845-7259.

Executive Office Systems at 1121 Main Ave. in Downtown Clifton hosted a Meet & Greet for the business community. Pictured are Paul M. Hopper Jr., Yvonne Hopper, Denie Hopper, John D. Michaud, Lymari Paulino, Juan M. Ramos.

Moe Salam of Passaic Ave. Exxon in Rosemawr presented a technology grant to St. Clare School on Allwood Rd. Technology teacher Frank DiMaria and Principal Jo-Ann Wormer are pictured accepting the award.

Happy Holidays!

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Downtown Clifton hosts a series of Meet & Greets to encourage networking in the Special Improvement District. From the Passaic border to Piaget Ave., there are about 300 businesses in the SID which impose an additional tax on property and use the funds to market and improve the area. The next Meet & Greet is at the PNC Bank, 1184 Main Ave., at 5:30 pm. To attend, or for info on Downtown Clifton, call 973-253-1455.

We welcome new patients in Clifton and our other locations! Tenafly 32 Franklin St 201-569-2400

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Buck on Van Wagoner Avenue, Acquackanonk Gardens John Bross photographed this 7-point buck after his wife Arlene met it upon returning from work to their Van Wagoner Ave. home. “Awesome sight... sure wish I’d see him in my yard,” wrote Joyce Sunshine, who forwarded us the photo. “Unfortunately, the deer and wild turkeys (we’ve had a dozen of them walking around our neighborhood) are losing their habitat thanks to a builder’s demolition of Garret Mountain to put up 810 condos.”


Dr. David R. Moore, Chiropractor

On behalf of Dr. Moore and his Family, Max Joseph would like to wish you happy holidays and a healthy New Year.

Mon • Wed • Fri Chiropractic Health Center 241 Crooks Ave • Clifton • 973.253.7005 Tue • Thu • Sat Elmwood Park Athletic Club 690 River Dr • Elmwood Park • 201.794.0155 1576

114 December 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Season’s Greetings

East Ridgelawn Cemetery... ...invites you to visit our Mausoleum on Main Avenue to see the inspirational art adorning our new building. Within the Mausoleum, our artist has painted a serene and peaceful view, entitled ‘Eden’, pictured above, where visitors can pause to celebrate the lives of those who have passed.

At the Mausoleum... Visits are unlimited and unaffected by the weather. Crypts are located in the building and convenient for elderly and handicapped. Mausoleum entombment provides greater Peace of Mind & Security. • non-sectarian • niches

• mausoleum • garden graves

• monumental graves • no obligation pre-need counseling • financing available one-year at no interest on easy monthly plans

East Ridgelawn Cemetery 255 Main Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07014 for more information with no obligation call:


Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main avenue Clifton, nJ 07011

PrsrT sTd us Postage PAID ClifTon, nJ PerMiT no. 1185

Bobby Persaud

Patricia Elmhady

Walter Porto

John Nouhan

Fred Spoelstra

RoseAnn Gianella

Angie Cardenas

Dave Kelly

Sophia Constandinou

Carlos Cordero

Patricia Hankerson

Ricardo DeLeon

Carol Lopez

Luis Guzman

Mohammed Maali

Ramon Ramirez

“The esTablished leader” 1624 Main avenue • ClifTon, nJ 07011

Alberto & Gladys Mesones

For All Your Real Estate Needs


Call Your Hometown Realtors

973-340–1202 From Our House To Your House…

Seasons Greetings

Nick Tselepis Broker/Owner

Sadedeen Gaber

Victor Caba

Samer Albuelhawa

Wendell Maki

Mohammed Islam

Thomas & Peggy Lubanski

Linton Gaines

LaMar Gaines

Luis Yzaquirre

Maria Carrera

Pasqual Aguasvivas

Evelyn Guzman

Nina Robayo

Said Martinez

Danilo Inoa

Jonathan Irizarry

Debbie Redmon

Manuel DePara

Vasilika Constandinou

Luis Danny Suazo

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