Clifton Merchant Magazine - February 2013

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Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Table of Contents

What’s Inside? 6

Fred Rogers 10 Years After Chris de Vinck Remembers a FRiEnD

10 Relay for Life is June 8 Two Couples Serve as Co-Chairs

16 Frank & Nina Corradino 40 Years of Growing in Love

20 Michael & Meghan Placko All The Right Signs for Marriage

24 John Manganiotis & Laura Sans Can’t Wait for Their Wedding Plans!

27 Tom & Pat Schuckman Together Since Super Bowl XXIII serted in of Clifton in p a M 3 1 office. Find the 20 e or at our in z a g a m this month’s

32 Richard & Barbara Hagen




10 5


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4 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Music Lead to Marriage & Mondays


36 Tom & Annelise Garretson Just Married on December 31

40 Matt & Anna Marie Natale

Below Nina and Frank Corradino, our cover couples include Meghan and Michael Placko, Dominick and Barbara Maak, Barbara and Richard Hagen and Johnny Manganiotis and Laura Sans.

Quarter Century of Growing

46 Events & Briefs Arts, Exhibits, Meetings & More

56 Clifton History Clifton PD’s Det. Ed Snack

61 CHS Student of the Month Mustang Senior Janine Giordano

66 300 Miles on a Bike to D.C. Clifton’s Police Unity Tour

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

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Moments of Grace

Has it Been 10 Years? Essay by Chris de Vinck In 1983 I was working on a pilot children’s television program that was to include puppets and reading. During the course of my research, I was introduced to Fred Rogers, creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I was brought to what is called the “Green Room” in the HBO studios in Manhattan, and when the door closed behind me, I was in the room alone with Mister Rogers. “Hello. I’m Fred Rogers.” The tall, thin man wearing a bow tie, a blue jacket, glasses and a smile quickly stood up from a gray, folding chair, and extended his hand. “I’m Chris de Vinck. Hello.” We shook hands and then spoke, for perhaps two minutes, about children’s television, and my project, but for the rest of the hour, we spoke about our Best of FRiEnDs, CHS’s Chris de Vinck and Fred Rogers. wives, our children; we both opened the story about how they met at college, spoke about our wallets and shared pictures of our families. their mutual love of music. Fred asked me about my writing. I asked him about Fred and I swam in the Atlantic Ocean together, just his music. We laughed a great deal, especially when the beyond his small Nantucket summer home he called producer of the talk show Fred was to appear in banged The Crooked House. We sat together at the foot of a loudly on the door and reprimanded me for taking so large dune, at the very tip of the island and Fred said, long with Mister Rogers. “Right here, Chris, is where my father and I sat so often After all, the company was being charged by the and spoke about our lives. Right here he told me, often, hour, at exorbitant rates, for the rent of the studio. Fred how much he loved and admired me.” looked at me in a impish way and whispered, “Oh my. I remember sitting on the deck with Fred at the I think we are in trouble.” Crooked House as he was working on a TV script and Two weeks later, when the children were in bed, I was working on my next essays when a large seagull when my wife was in the living room reading, and I flew down and landed on a post just to my left. was in my small room writing, the phone rang. My wife “Hello,” said the seagull in a very familiar Fred called from the couch, “Chris. Phone. It’s someone Rogers’ puppet voice. called Mr. Rogers.” “Hello,” I said. Hello, Chris?...And so began an 18 year friendship. “Whatcha doin?” asked the sarcastic bird. Fred invited me to Pittsburgh to be on his television “Working on an essay for The Wall Street Journal.” program with him and the writer, May Sarton. At his “That doesn’t look like work,” said the seagull. home he and his wife Joanne shared the food, shared 6 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

“Of course its work. Look at that guy sitting over there. What do you think he’s doing?” “You mean that very handsome man laboring over his television program?” the seagull chuckled. Then, in a sudden eruption of feathers, the bird soared above me and flew away. I turned, and there was Fred with a big, seagull smile. I asked Fred, just then, “How come we became friends?” “Chris, when I first met you in the studio in New York those many years ago, you didn’t want anything from me. You didn’t want me to endorse anything. You didn’t want my autograph. You weren’t impressed that I was Mister Rogers. You seemed to like me for me, Fred, just me.” We attended lectures together at Lincoln Center. We laughed in a taxi when Fred said, “Doesn’t God have a sense of humor? As you know, Chris, I am a very private person, and God placed me in a profession that BROADCASTS!” Fred enunciated the word ‘broadcast’ so loudly in the cab, that the driver turned around in puzzlement, and then Fred, the driver and I laughed and laughed. I introduced Fred to the writer Henri Nouwen, and Fred and I spent a wonderful four days in Toronto listening to Henri preach to the disabled people at the

famous L’Arch community. One night, as Fred and I were walking to the chapel for evening prayers, we spoke about friendship. “The greatest gift someone can give the other person,” Fred said, “is his complete honest self.” Fred and I shared, for 18 years, the honesty of each other, our triumphs and sorrows. Fred asked me to make suggestions on a speech he was preparing for a college in Massachusetts. I asked him to edit a small Christmas novel I wrote. He wept on the phone at the death of his friends. I asked him to pray for my daughter when she was sent to Sloan-Kettering Cancer hospital. I believe Fred Rogers was a prophet, a man in possession of profound moral insight and extraordinary gifts of expression. A woman wrote to Fred once, saying that she was going through a very difficult time. She was convinced that if she could wear one of Fred’s famous sweaters for some time that her sorrows would disappear. A number of Fred’s friends tried to discourage him about following up on such a request, but he insisted. “Of course we’ll send her the sweater,” and into the mail the sweater went with the conviction of Fred’s colleagues that the sweater, one among the few that

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Moments of Grace Fred’s mother knitted, was gone for ever. However, a year later, the sweater was returned with a note of deep gratitude from the woman. She was better. Fred personally answered all his letters, extended himself to those in need. He said to the children in his television ministry “You are special. I like you just the way you are.” Fred was an extraordinary, well-read man, devouring the work of Henri Nouwen, Kathleen Norris, Anne Lamott, the Dalai Lama, Teilhard de Chardin, Rilke, Thomas Merton, C.S Lewis, and cherishing Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. We e-mailed each other twice, sometime three times a day. He liked it that I discovered his name was hidden in the word FRiEnD, and he often signed off on the computer in that manner. He would write that he took a walk in the park near his home and enjoyed the moon. He would tell me about a new book he discovered, or about his grandson coming over for pizza Friday night. In 1988 Fred invited me to St. James Cathedral in Brooklyn to be in attendance when he was given the Compostela Award, an award celebrating the works of good, holy people who make a difference in this sometimes ugly, sad world. After the award ceremony, Fred and I went to a restaurant for dinner where he said, simply, “Thank you for being my friend. It is hard, Chris, for a public person to have true, close friendships. Thank you for your trust and for your love and for your friendship.” Ten years ago, on February 27, 2003, Fred Rogers died of stomach cancer. Twenty-seven days earlier I receive my last e-mail from the man I nearly called father.

Bless your heart. I miss you too. I’m really tired, but I must do what I’m required to do (meds around the clock etc.). Someday I hope to be able to tell those who have “sustained” me in such extraordinary ways what their help has meant during the walk (stumble) through this dark valley. Thank you AGAIN AND AGAIN for all your prayers. That’s the kind of sustenance I’m needing every minute of every day and night. Love to you and Roe and the children, as always... and thank you again and again and again and again....... your FRiEnD Thirty-four days after Fred died, his lawyer sent me a package which contained a note with one sentence: “Fred had a top drawer that had the enclosed marked especially for you. You were truly special to Fred.” Inside the package was the large, heavy Compostela award medallion Fred received fifteen years earlier in celebration of his goodness. Fred wrote once, “As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has, or ever will have, something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.” Let us celebrate the memory of a man who died 10 years ago and who was rare, and valuable, a man who celebrated the essential goodness and purity of heart within each of us, a man who truly believed in a neighborhood filled with people who loved one another. Christopher de Vinck is the Language Arts Supervisor at CHS and the author of 13 books. To order his recent work, Moments of Grace, call 1-800-218-1903.

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Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories

Relay for Love Two Couples Lead with Love By Joe Hawrylko



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From left, Dominick and Barbara Maak and Melissa and Kevin Vogel. The four are a part of the committee that runs the Relay for Life. Barbara and Melissa also serve as co-chairs. For info on the June 8 event, call 201-457-3418 ext. 2231.

In what has become a June tradition, teams of Cliftonites head over to Clifton Stadium to participate in the Relay for Life, an annual, all-night walk-athon to raise funds in the fight against cancer. Not only does it raise money for research by the American Cancer Society but it also brings together a community in the fight against cancer. Coordinated by grassroot volunteers, co-chairs for the 2013 Relay on June 8 are Melissa Vogel and Barbara Maak, both 1999 CHS graduates. Melissa was the first to become involved with the Relay, starting in 2005 after her chiropractor, Dr. Skounakis of Clifton, asked her to join. The following year, Skounakis asked Melissa to be the captain. 10 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

She went to the high school for the first organizational meeting and learned that the committee needed a cochair and she jumped on board. “It’s a really good charity because it raises lots of money and I like that it raises money for all cancers, not just one,” explained Melissa. “Everyone has cancer.” “That’s how everyone gets sucked in. Just come to the meeting,” laughed Barbara, who first started as a Relay participant in 2008 in honor of her late grandfather, Walter James Potvin. In 2009, Barbara formed her own team, Running on Empty, and the following year she ended up on the committee with Melissa. Together, they’ve been co-chairs since 2011.

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories “Our committee works so well together,” said and even spent some time in the same bar together withMelissa. “We’ve been established for such a long time out ever realizing it. “I had a friend who was dating a that it now runs smoothly. It makes being on a commitgirl that was hosting a Relay for Life fundraiser at tee much easier.” Fatso’s in North Arlington,” recalled The two former Mustangs also got Dominick, an English teacher at Bayonne their spouses involved in the Relay for High School. Life. Barbara’s husband, Dominick, Barbara often went to Fatso’s with her joined in 2011 while the two were still friends, and mentioned seeing those signs dating. Melissa’s husband Kevin started when she went one night. “I look at the participating not long after the two began pics on Facebook and lo and behold, we dating at the end of 2007. All four now were literally across the bar from each serve on the Relay for Life committee, other,” said Dominick. “It was surreal.” and show a lot of love on the track, and Barbara and Dominick went out a few off of it as well. times before things turned serious. Dominick and Barbara first met after “I think it was the third date that I realbeing set up on a blind date in the summer ized. We both went to a concert together of 2010 and quickly hit it off. “We both in the city,” she said. “That was our turnhave a pretty good sense of humor about ing point. That was the day... you just Melissa and Kevin Vogel things,” explained Barbara, an art teacher knew.” at CHS. “We’re both teachers, so we had “It was just perfect, like I had known that to connect on too. We didn’t know each other for her for years,” he added. In March of 2011, Dominick long but felt like we knew each other forever.” asked Barbara’s mother for permission to marry her Shortly after they began seeing each other, they realdaughter. He had planned to propose in August later that ized that they both frequented some of the same spots, year, but Hurricane Irene derailed his plans.

12 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories “That weekend we were supposed to go to Atlantic City,” Dominick laughed. “She said, ‘We can go tonight,’ and I said I don’t think so.” Instead, the couple went up to Garret Mountain and Dominick proposed. The couple was married on Nov. 25, 2012, at St. Vincent DePaul in Bayonne. Ironically, just a few weeks before the wedding, they both planned separate bachelor and bachelorette parties in Atlantic City,

but plans were once again delayed by another storm: Hurricane Sandy. “We’re just not meant to go to Atlantic City,” laughed Dominick. Melissa met her husband, Kevin, back in 2007 at his brother’s wedding, where she was the guest of the bride. At that time, Melissa, a phys ed and health teacher in Paterson, only viewed Kevin as an acquaintance. “We met each other in passing. Nothing ever happened before that night,” added Kevin.

Barbara and Dominick Maak.

In December that year, the two began talking at a party, bonding over their sense of humor and soon started dating. “We were dating for about a month and I was just like, yeah, this is the person I am going to marry,” recalled Melissa. In August of 2009, the couple vacationed in Lake George with her family. “He said, ‘What would you say if I asked you to marry me,’” she recalled. “I said you know I’d say yes, but first you have to ask the question. And then he shows the ring and I said yes and started crying.” “I wanted to get married in the summer so I don’t have to take off. But the man sweats like a pig, no joke,” Melissa added. “And he saw 11/11/11 was a Friday and now I’m off every single year on my anniversary because it’s Veterans Day.” “I knew I’d never forget that date,” added Kevin, a distributor for Herr’s Snacks and a renown Elvis impersonator. “He said he’d never marry a teacher because we always get off in the summers,” she laughed. “I wooed him with my charms!” 14 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories

Frank and Nina Corradino Finding Much Love in America By Joe Hawrylko

At 17 years old, Nina Corradino left her home in the small village of Mussomeli, Italy to head to Passaic, New Jersey. It was the Fall of 1972. “My aunt, Vincenza La Duca, she said when I turned 17, she would send for me with a ticket,” she recalled. Knowing but a few words of English, Nina lived with her aunt in Passaic and soon had a job as a floor girl at Frank Salt and Son factory on Chestnut St. in Passaic. There, amidst a sea of strange faces in a new country, Nina would bump into Frank Corradino, the man who would soon become her husband. “I met his father before I met Frank, in the same factory,” she recalled. Frank’s father, Pietro, worked as a janitor and quickly introduced his son to Nina. “Little did I know that he would be my father-inlaw some day. I felt really comfortable. Everyone spoke Italian. The first guy I really met was my father-in-law.” At the top of the page is the family at Peter’s wedding. From left is Frank, Peter’s wife, Rebecca, Peter, Nina and Frank. At right are Nina and Frank on their wedding day in 1973.

16 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

“I liked Frank right away, no question about it. I think he liked me too because he said I’m going to take you home tonight,” Nina laughed. “He took me by his family immediately. My first Thanksgiving was by his sister, Francis Giordano.” Frank explains: “I was mature. I guess I had to find what I was looking for. When she came along, I decided I wanted to bring her to my mother and father. I sent a couple of letters to her parents. I sent my family in Italy to my future mother and father-in-law’s house this way they would meet them and convince them.” “I felt very comfortable with his family,” she continued. “They loved me the minute that they saw me.” But while there was an instant connection, there wasn’t much of a window of opportunity. Nina was in the country as a tourist, since she had never applied to stay. This meant she had a limited amount of time before she had to go home, and technically wasn’t able to work in the factory. Since citizenship would be a long road that would take her back to Italy, the couple decided to marry on Jan. 22, 1973, in a small civil ceremony. They were later wed in a church on March 25 of that same year. Nina’s sister from Canada, Mariana Alfonzo Lopresto, was the only one of her family member’s present. “We went on vacation in July and that’s the first time my parents met him,” she said. “It was exciting. My mother liked him, thank God.” “Is there anything to not like about me,” he quipped. The newlyweds lived with Frank’s parents in Passaic during that first year as they continued to work at the factory. After saving up some money, they purchased a two family home in Passaic. It was in that home that they raised their sons Peter (born 1974) and Frank (1979) while essentially growing up themselves. “He’s my first man and my only man,” explained Nina, who is 11 years younger than her husband. “He taught me how to dance, how to drive, how to cook. Sometimes he still tries to teach me things, even though he sometimes gets upset that I try to tell him what to do.” “The real important thing that I want people to know is that when I met Nina, I promised her that I was going to be her father, mother, brother, sister, friend and husband,” said Frank. “That she was going to want to be with me. And til today, yes, we Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories building the house I will never divorce my wife,” fight, but I’ve been keeping my promise that way that I laughed Frank. After purchasing the property in 2000, think I had planned to.” it took a little over nine months to finish construction. So what makes it work? “The secret of marriage,” That same year, said Nina, “is that Frank retired from you’ve got to keep his longtime job as going. You cannot a custodian for the always focus on the Passaic Board of bad parts. You’ve Education. got to try to look “We changed the back at the good cabinets twice times. It’s not since,” said Nina. always thinking Previously, the cousomething negative ple had been living about somebody. on Vale Ave. “As Believe me, we long as we change fight. But you’ve things around the got to look back to house... but not us!” the day before... oh, The Corradinos he brought me cofare also well known fee that day.... it Nina and Frank with their grandchildren. From left Lillian Rose, in the community goes both ways. Me Angelina and Peter Jr. for their support of towards him. Him charitable causes. “We do a lot of things together,” towards me. But a lot of the time, most of the time, we explained Nina. “I like to be involved and I like to agree.” donate my time. That’s what I do.” Working together as a team, the Corradinos went Through her business, Nina has supported several from poor immigrants to successful business owners. charitable causes, holding fundraising drives and other While Nina came into the country and worked in a facevents. Likewise, her husband has also been involved tory for several years, she had always dreamt of openwith service groups and Italian organizations. ing a hair salon some day. Together, the Corradino’s “When I came over here, I was involved in the made it a shared goal to turn that dream into reality. Geraci,” he said. Frank is currently the treasurer and was “My husband said don’t worry about it. Your dream previously the President of the San Bartolomeo Society. will come true. Go to beauty school,” Nina recalled. Together, they’ve been coordinating the UNICO She went on to get her high school equivalency in Christmas Party together for 28 years. Nina is also the 1981, and then enrolled in the Capri Institute on Main chairlady of the St. Joseph’s Dinner Dance for the Geraci Ave in Clifton. After working in the field for five years, League. Corradino opened Nina’s Salon in 1989. The couple enjoys giving back to the community that “My husband found this little place on Valley Rd. has given them so much. and said to me, ‘Nina, this is it. That’s what I want for “What we went through was a lot. I can’t even put it you,” she recalled. “My customers... we grow up any other way,” said Frank. “For me, the biggest probtogether. It’s like family, where the friends of Nina’s lem was the English. Still is. I don’t understand a lot of Salon meet up each week.” things. But I make it work.” Because of the success of the business and their diligence in saving, the Corradinos were also able to “Everything I have achieved in my life is thanks to my accomplish another shared life goal: building their husband,” explained Nina. “That is the truth.” dream home, on Churchill Dr. in Clifton. “We came here with nothing,” Frank said to Nina. “Well if I didn’t divorce my wife when we were “And we are somebody today.” 18 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant





Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories

Michael and Meghan Placko Honeymoon Mishap A Great Sign By Tania Jachens

Michael and Meghan Placko have been married less than five months but even before their nuptials they already learned a valuable life lesson: never work in the same place as your significant other. Michael (CHS ’01) began working at Sign*A*Rama through Clifton High’s half-day program during his senior year. After graduation, he became employed fulltime at the sign shop, then in Richfield Shopping Center, while attending Lincoln Technical Institute at night. His goal, he thought, was to become a car mechanic. But after working as an automotive technician for just two months, Michael realized he was more of a people person and didn’t enjoy the nuts and bolts of car repairs. So he went back to Steve Budd, the owner of Sign*A*Rama, and found his old job was still available. Budd not only offered Placko the job but talked to him about one day buying the business. So for the next five years, Placko focused on that promise and followed up on the opportunity. He learned all aspects of the industry, from installation and fabrication to design and sales. Fast-forward to Feb., 2007. Placko, then 23 years of age, was in the process of purchasing Sign*A*Rama from Budd when he met Meghan (Rosita) at a mutual friend’s party. “He looked like a fun guy and we were beer pong partners so I started talking to him,” she said. Their first date was dinner and a questionable movie. “I love scary movies, so I picked ‘Vacancy’ [about a young married couple trying to escape from a deadly motel],” Meghan explained. “Michael told me months afterward that he doesn’t actually like scary movies, but he sat through it because it was our first date.” For Mike, the genre of the film did not matter—what did was the chemistry he experienced on the date and after. “Six months after we started dating, I knew she was the one,” Michael recalled. And that chemistry only got better. “I just felt right because we get along. We don’t fight or bicker, and we have the same interests.” 20 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

But it was while dating that they learned to keep their personal lives and professional careers separate. During the interim months after Meghan lost her job in 2010, she worked with her boss—Michael—and did bookkeeping in his new Sign*A*Rama office, which had since relocated to a storefront on Van Houten Ave. “Honestly, it’s much healthier for a relationship when a husband and wife don’t work together,” Mike stated. “If you’re never in the office together, that’s fine...” Meghan added: “But if you’re together all day, at night you don’t have anything to talk about. I wouldn’t recommend it, whether you’re married or not.”

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Love Stories Meghan now works in the accounting department at Genesis Maintenance in Saddle Brook. After dating for three and a half years and surviving the brief experience of working together, Michael proposed to Meghan in the Bahamas. “We had been together for so long and on so many vacations together that I didn’t suspect anything,” Meghan said of the proposal. “I even joked with him at dinner that night how he’s not romantic anymore now that he has me. He was laughing really hard and I wondered why he thought it was so funny. The whole time he had a ring in his pocket.” After dinner, the couple took a walk down the beach, where Michael got down on one knee under the resort’s white wedding trestle. “She didn’t say yes for the first ten times,” Mike said. “She just kept asking, ‘Are you serious? Is this for real?’” On September 21, 2012, Michael and Meghan were married outdoors on the dock at Martell’s Waters Edge in Bayview. “It was one of the calmest days of my life because when you know you’re making the right decision, you’re not worried,” Meghan said. “My bridesmaids were worried why I was so calm and collected.”

22 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Surrounded by 100 family members and friends, Meghan’s mother walked her down the aisle and her father, an ordained minister, married the couple. “We had beautiful weather and there was not a cloud in the sky,” Meghan said. Yet only a month later, Martell’s waterfront venue was severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy. “We have pictures of ourselves on a dock that’s no longer there,” Meghan said. “All their windows were busted and they had a boat in their parking lot.” While their wedding went smoothly, the Plackos’ honeymoon to Mexico began with a near-tragedy. Three days into the trip, the couple went on an ATV excursion through the Mexican jungle. Suddenly the steering in Meghan’s ATV stopped responding, so when she tried to steer, the ATV continued going straight into a ditch and flipped Meghan off into a barbed wire fence. “I got up right away with my adrenaline pumping and I didn’t even realize I was wrapped in wire,” Meghan said. “Everyone was yelling for me to stay down.” Once they got back to the resort, the Plackos had a difficult time getting assistance. “I almost got into a fight with a worker at the resort because they refused to help her,” Michael said. “They wouldn’t get us a taxi or a ride to the

hospital. Instead they tried to make us wait for a hotel shuttle that was also taking people to the airport.” They considered flying into Houston for treatment but were not allowed on the plane because she was bleeding. Ultimately, a local MD used 16 stitches to close gashes on Meghan’s back, hands and legs. She was unable to walk, swim or drink for the rest of the week. Despite experiencing neither romance nor relaxation during their honeymoon, Meghan still managed to find a silver lining. “If anyone gets hurt on their honeymoon, you know how great your spouse is going to be for the rest of your life by the way you are treated,” she explained. “Mike took such good care of me and I will feel safe forever knowing that I have him.” This year, Meghan plans to consult a surgeon regarding the lingering numbness in her hand, but still calls their trip “a honeymoon to remember. You just can’t make this stuff up.” It’s this positive attitude that helps keep the Plackos’ marriage strong. “We both have a sense of humor,” Michael said. “We’re always goofing around. It’s important to do new and exciting things to keep life interesting, so everyday isn’t the same routine.” This appreciation the Plackos have for one another can also be seen in the gifts they give each other, both big and small. “One year for my birthday, she took me on a trip to Las Vegas for just the two of us,” Michael said. Another year, Meghan took him to Miami to go salt water fishing, where Michael likes to catch big game, from tuna to mahi-mahi. “For my birthday, he surprised me with a car,” Meghan said. “I thought he was kidding until he took me to the Ford dealership and let me pick one out.”

Michael also let Meghan make the final decision on the house they just purchased in Hawthorne. She also picked out much of the decorative items and furniture around their new home. They both agree it’s the little things in their relationship that count the most. “She supports me and all the creative ventures I get into, plus she’s understanding of my demanding work schedule,” Michael said. “I love waking up to her every morning, knowing that I get to do it again tomorrow.” Love notes work well for Meghan too. “I love when he calls me at work just to tell me he misses me,” she said. “It shows that he’s thinking of me and wants to talk even during his busy day.” For Valentine’s Day this year, the couple plans to take a break from their busy schedules to enjoy a relaxing night with their dogs in their new house. The Plackos adopted two Boxer puppy siblings, Cody and Zoe, after a few years of dating. “I picked out the boy and Mike picked out the girl,” Meghan said. “When we moved in together, the siblings were reunited.” Now, Zoe is the shop dog. “Everyone who drives by Sign*A*Rama can see her sitting in the window every day,” Michael said. “Some people stop in just to pet her.” While dog may be man’s best friend, being best friends with his spouse is even more important to Michael. “If you’re going to get married, marry your best friend. It’s as simple as that,” he said. For 2013 and beyond, the Plackos look forward to a bright and busy future in Clifton, as Sign*A*Rama continues to leave its mark around town. While they probably won’t ever work together again, Michael and Meghan will always have each other’s back – and that’s a good sign.

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Love Stories

Johnny Manganiotis and Laura Sans An Engaging Ruse: Cupcake Wars By Joe Hawrylko

Sometimes when searching for love, you don’t have to look very far. For Johnny Manganiotis, he found it in a former classmate from high school who he reconnected with several years later. “We have mutual friends and linked up years later when they were throwing a college party,” he explained. Manganiotis graduated from Paramus Catholic in 2003, and his fiance, Laura Sans, walked the same stage in 2005. They had no contact until bumping into each other in May of 2010. “We knew each other before but didn’t hang out,” he added. “We started talking at the grad party and really hit it off. A few months went by and then I reached out and contacted her.” That took place in January 2011, and Manganiotis and Sans clicked and soon set up a date for the movies. “I was moving to Saddle Brook into the house I just bought,” he recalled. “Coincidently, she lived about five minutes from me in Rochelle Park, so she came over, saw the house, brought me a house warming gift and we went out.” “I helped him decorate his house,” Sans added. “I needed a woman’s touch,” admitted Manganiotis. “She picked out all the stuff she liked knowing that she was going to live here one day.” Over the next 12 months, the two began hanging out almost every day. “She lived so close she was practically living here, but without having her clothes here,” said Manganiotis, who is better known to Clifonites as Mr. Cupcakes, the bakery on Van Houten Ave. Sans has worked as a paralegal at the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office for the past three years. “I kind of knew how compatible we were,” Manganiotis continued. “That was that. There was no real big event.” He recalled how the couple bonded while weathering Hurricane Irene, which flooded much of northern New Jersey in August of 2011. “It hit my basement and garage 24 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

and foyer. It never hit the main level,” he said. Manganiotis owns a two family home and his father lives in the second unit. “My dad literally just moved in.” “I was bailing out buckets of water,” recalled Sans. The storm was so bad that the couple could not evacuate by local roadways. They were stuck. “My dad, me, Laura and our two dogs. We had to be rescued by boat to get out,” she said. While Manganiotis was fortunate to not suffer too much damage, Sans’ parents were not so lucky. “Laura’s parents have been through it a few times. They have a finished basement and family room.

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories When they get flooded, they lose a lot,” he explained. “We ended up going over there a lot to help out and eat dinner together.” Love blossomed for the two. Manganiotis began considering the couple’s future together, and planned to get engaged. That took place this past summer on June 16, after Manganiotis, ever the showman, concocted an elaborate scheme. A few weeks earlier, Manganiotis had been contacted by

26 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Food Network to compete on Cupcake Wars, a show he had previously appeared on. He would have to travel to California for shooting. “She was with me when I got the call. She knew it was coming, but didn’t know when. So I made up a story that it was going to be on June 16,” he said. Manganiotis went as far as making up fake airline tickets to sell the ruse. “I made further plans with friends to have them come over with their kid.”

Behind Manganiotis’ Saddle Brook home is Saddle River Park, and he planned on having his friends convince Laura to walk with them through the park that day after he ‘left’. While there, he would surprise Sans with a ring. The morning of June 16, Johnny departed for the airport with his father as planned but instead went out for a quick breakfast while they waited on his friends to get Sans to the park. “I didn’t want to go for a walk because I had actually gone for a walk in the park earlier that morning by myself,” she recalled. “I was like no. I really don’t want to go walking again. I want to go the pool.” Reluctantly, Sans went to the park wearing her suit and a cover-up. As she was walking, a horse and carriage appeared on the horizon. As it approached, Manganiotis got out, went down on one knee and proposed to his surprised girlfriend. After she said yes a festooned trumpeter popped out and started heralding the engagement. Go to YouTube and search for ‘The Most Romantic Proposal Ever!!!’ to see it. After a romantic ride through the park, Manganiotis and Sans were guided back to the house by the Saddle Brook Marching Band, where they were greeted by more than 50 family and friends who were awaiting there arrival. “By the end of the day, she wanted to choke me,” he laughed. The couple hasn’t officially set a date or location for the wedding yet, but will make it official in two years. Based on Manganiotis’s penchant for making events larger than life, we look forward to what their wedding day will play out like.

Tom & Pat Schuckman





Awkward First Encounter Grows Into Love By Carol Leonard

When Tom Schuckman met his wife Pat for the first time 24 years ago, let’s just say, they didn’t hit it off very well. At the time, Tom, who had recently graduated from the The Culinary Institute of America, was the new assistant manager for a restaurant bar at the Garden State Plaza shopping center in Paramus, and Pat worked at a jewelry store in the same mall. One evening in August 1988, Pat and several of her friends went over to the restaurant after the mall closed to have a few drinks at the bar, as they sometimes did together after work. When they arrived they encountered Tom, who was getting ready to close up. “It had been a really crazy day for me,” Tom explained. “I had been in a car accident earlier in the day and I was just trying to close a little early so I could go home. Then in walks this snooty woman all annoyed at me.” Pat and her friends were regulars at the bar and they had become friendly with the rest of the staff, but this new guy wasn’t being very nice, she thought. “He was in my way of doing what I wanted to do,” Pat said. “I think I said something to him like, I’m a preferred customer, get out of my way.” When Pat complained to her friend and the bartender about Tom, they both joked with her that the two would someday be married. Little did she know at the time that their prediction would come true. For a while after their first encounter, Pat and Tom would avoid each other. “We kind of just growled at each other for a while,” Pat said. “Honestly, we really didn’t like each other,” Tom added. The couple had a mutual friend who kept trying to get them together and eventually, the attraction developed. Pat says that she saw the light first and decided to pursue him. “Me, being the dumb man, I didn’t notice right away,” Tom said. “But then she had this huge bouquet of bal-

loons delivered to me at the restaurant on the Saturday before Christmas. It was total chaos at the time. The place was packed and I had a two hour line of people waiting to get a table.” In the midst of it all, Tom finally realized that Pat was interested in him and he took a moment out to call and thank her. The couple’s first “unofficial date,” as they describe it, was on Super Bowl Sunday 1989, when they were invited to their friend’s house for dinner. A few weeks later, they went on a “real date” to New York City, where they strolled around Rockefeller Center and did some window shopping. After reading about the restaurant Windows on the World in a tour guide, they decided to try it out for dinner. The only problem was that Tom wasn’t exactly dressed for the occasion in his jeans and sneakers. Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories “So we drove over to Macy’s, illegally parked and did a whirlwind escapade from floor to floor in the store to get me some other clothes to wear,” he said. Pat added, “When we got to the restaurant, there was a sign that said jackets were required for men and he didn’t have one. Fortunately, they had them there to borrow. It was a real comedy act, but we had a great time, and just continued on from there together.” About six months later, Tom surprised Pat with a ring and the couple became engaged to marry. “That summer, all she kept asking me was to go on a picnic,” Tom said. “I had to work a lot of hours then, so it kept getting postponed. But finally, I decided that I was going to ask her to marry me.” While on a visit to the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, the couple walked down by the river away from the crowds to set up a blanket for their long-planned picnic. When they sat down, Tom pulled out a Garfield stuffed animal that carried a sign reading, Will you marry me? Taped to the back of the sign was a box with an engagement ring inside. When he handed it to Pat, she got so excited and, not realizing that the ring was attached, tossed it aside to hug and kiss him. Tom immediately jumped up to save the ring from rolling down into the

river. It was a pretty funny scene, he said. Tom and Pat delayed their marriage for three years so they could save for their wedding. They were married on July 12, 1992 at St. John’s Church in Ramsey and had their reception at the Ramada Inn in Mahwah, where Tom was assistant director of food and beverages at the time. Upon returning from their honeymoon, which was split between New York City and Cape Cod, they settled in Totowa for about a year-and-a-half. Their early life together was a little crazy. “I worked days and he worked nights,” Pat said. “We saw each other coming and going.” When they started thinking about having children, they decided that their opposite schedules would not work, so Tom eventually landed a new job as a chef with daytime hours at A&P. He later moved up to executive chef for a number of A&P markets. The couple moved to Clifton, where Pat had lived all her life before getting married. Tom had grown up in Waldwick. On May 24, 1996, Pat gave birth to fraternal twins Julia and Jonathan, who are now both juniors at Passaic County Technical Institute. Pat took a few years off to be a stay-at-home mom, working part-time in the evening while Tom watched the twins.

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Love Stories Like many parents, Tom and Pat were very involved marriage has been to find time for each other. “We’re one with their children as they were growing up and much of of those couples who actually like spending time togeththeir social life revolved around their kids and their er and we always tried to do that,” Tom said. friends’ families. The couple enjoys doing most of the same things, They were both which includes going active in the Home & out to dinner or a movie School Associations of or show and spending their kids’ schools, time with friends and helping out with family. fundraising activities “I like horror movies and other volunteer and she hates them, but projects. other than that, we’re Julia and Jonathan pretty much alike,” got involved in scoutTom said. ing as young children The key to their sucand have kept up their cessful 20 year marinterest in the program. riage, they say, is Jonathan is working to always being there for complete the requireeach other. “We keep ments for his Eagle each other in balance,” The Schuckman family, Jonathan, Julia, Pat and Tom. Scout award and both Pat said. “We can kids are active in the Venture program, a co-ed form of always make each other laugh and we each know when scouting. Julia is president of her crew, which is similar the other is down and needs to be picked up.” to a troop in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and she As their kids approach college age, Tom and Pat know serves as vice president of the council board for that it won’t be too long before they will be empty Venturing. Tom is an advisor to the Venture crew to nesters. But they say that they’re actually looking forwhich his kids belong. ward to that stage of life. In the midst of their busy lives with their family, Tom “I know I’ll miss them, but it will be nice to go back and Pat say that one of the biggest challenges of their again to what we had with just the two of us,” Pat said.

30 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories

Richard and Barbara Hagen Music, Marriage and Monday Dates By Joe Hawrylko

Richard Hagen recently performed with his French Horn in his wife Barbara’s second grade class at St. Andrew’s Catholic School on Mt. Prospect Ave. Also pictured with the pupils is Principal Sr. Margaret Murphy at right rear.

In 1977, Barbara (Brower) attended the Montclair State College senior music recital to watch her friend, Richard Hagen, perform. She was wowed after Richard dazzled the crowd by playing two trumpets at once, and struck up a small conversation with the woman seated next to her. “I didn’t know it at the moment, but it was his mom,” Barbara recalled. 32 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

“I remember he was playing two trumpets at once and I was just amazed. And his mom said, ‘That’s my son!’” Eventually, that stranger and music would both come to play important roles in Barbara’s life. Back in 1977, Barbara and Richard were mere acquaintances. The two had met several months earlier after being introduced by Barbara’s friend, who was

also a music major. Barbara and Richard developed a connection, but outside circumstances prevented the relationship from developing any further, despite a healthy persistence by Richard. “I asked her out eight times and she said no,” laughed Richard. “She always had rehearsals or shows, so I just stopped asking.” Barbara wasn’t trying to avoid him, but since she was majoring in home economics and minoring in theater, free time was scarce. Several weeks after the show, the tides turned: Barbara came looking for him. “I asked him to go to a wedding,” she laughed. “That started the whole thing.” A courtship followed. It didn’t take long for things to become serious, and Richard decided to propose in the winter of 1978. “When we got engaged, I was in the church choir at St. Andrew’s and the director had a party at his house,” she recalled. During the evening, the couple went for a walk and strolled onto Sussex Ave., just off of Allwood Rd., where Richard proposed. “It was a cold winter night. I was the only one who didn’t know! It was kind of like an instant engagement party.”

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories The couple wed on Sept. 30, 1979 and began their Mozart Festival Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic family the following year with the birth of their son, and other groups. He and his French Horn have laid Paul. While Barbara was pregnant, Richard juggled soundtracks for films, such as Aladdin and Pocahontas. between helping her around the house and running to Barbara enjoyed a career in teaching, starting at NYC while trying to break Grove Hill Nursery from into the music industry. 1990 to 2001. She left to purAt that time, Richard was sue writing, authoring articles spending several hours a for Appleseeds, Boys’ Quest, week playing on the streets Cobblestone and Faces, in of New York City. He was which she wrote a story about hoping to be noticed and her husband’s career. land steady work on For many years, Barbara Broadway or in an opera has been a second grade company. “We played on the teacher at St. Andrew’s RC street at 56th and 5th, where School on Mt. Prospect, the the Hallmark Building used elementary school both chilto be,” he recalled, “from 7 dren attended. The family pm to midnight.” also attends church there, too. “Both corners had a payThough their work schedphone,” Barbara added to ules sometimes conflict, the the conversation. “That was couple makes sure that there before cell phones. I had is plenty of love and music in both those numbers in case I their life. The Hagens enjoy needed to call him since I vacations in Saratoga was pregnant.” Springs, NY where Richard In 1998, Barbara and Richard are pictured with Paul, Despite pay phone, the travels for work. Other times, a 1998 grad of St. Peter’s Prep, and Beth (Armstrong), pregnancy went smooth and it is the simple pleasure of who graduated from Lacordaire Academy in 2001. Richard was there for the their cozy home off of birth. He was also at Barbara’s side for the birth of Brighton Ave., or heading to their favorite restaurant, their second child, Beth, in 1983. Taste of Tuscany. The most important thing in keeping While he still regularly performs in New York, love alive, they advise, is just making time for the one Richard has moved on from street corners to orchestra you love, no matter the circumstances. pits. Since 1993, he has performed with the New York “We plan a date night every Monday,” Richard said. City Ballet Orchestra, is a member of the Mostly “No matter how busy we are, we’ve got that.”

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Love Stories

Thomas and Annelise Garretson An Odd Coincidence By Joe Hawrylko

Growing up in a family that runs a funeral home is an unique experience that few can relate to. When someone learns about it for the first time, Tom Garretson expects the inevitable questions about seeing dead bodies, embalming and other staples of his trade. “I’ve gotten a lot of odd responses when you tell someone that you’re in the funeral business,” he laughed. Garretson works at Shook Funeral Home on Van Houten Ave. alongside his parents, owners Roy and Nancy Shook Garretson. Tom, a 2004 graduate of Clifton High, has come to expect many questions when he meets new people. But when he and his future wife, Annelise, first started dating in October of 2007, he was the one who came away surprised. “That was the first time I had got the response, ‘Oh, me too!’” laughed Tom. The couple had first met two years earlier during the fall semester of their sophomore year at Villanova University. Both were enrolled in the Business school, which required all students to take a managerial accounting class that includes a semester-long group project. The professor randomly assigned students to groups, and Tom and Annelise were paired up. The project required the students to create a business plan, marketing scheme, and financial projections for a new, innovative business of their choice. Tom and Annelise created a business plan for a healthy fast-food chain restaurant, and took first place for the semester. “At the time, we were both dating other people and in longer term relationships,” said Tom. “The stars aligned two years later when we were both no longer in those relationships as seniors. We met up and hit it off again.” They reconnected in a local bar and shortly after, began dating in October of 2007. It wasn’t until they were seeing each other that their family backgrounds came to light. 36 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

“It made it a lot easier, honestly,” explained Tom. “Through that whole transition, going to meet my parents, that was much easier because they had a common bond to talk about.” “I had called home and told my mom, ‘You’re going to be really excited,’” laughed Annelise. Her mother grew up above a funeral home as the daughter of a funeral director. But the connection between the two extended beyond coming from similar backgrounds. Annelise’s mother’s cousin went to school with Tom’s mother, Nancy, and owns Condon Funeral Home in Kearny.

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories “Both our grandfathers were also Presidents of the State Funeral Director’s Association,” she Annelise. But despite their shared backgrounds, both Annelise and Tom attended Villanova with different career aspirations than their relatives. Tom graduated with a degree in accounting, while Annelise studied finance. Tom began his career at Ernst & Young in New York City, while Annelise set out in financial consulting with McBee Associates, Inc. in Newark. However, not long after starting his career, Tom began to have doubts. “When I was an accountant, I spent so many days at the computer, not talking to people. I never got to see the fruits of my labor,” he said. “When I was doing the funeral business, it gave me the opportunity to see where I made a difference.” In August of 2010, Tom made the decision to switch careers and head back to the family business, and enrolled at the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service. In January of 2011, he started working full time at Shook while taking online courses. He graduated in May of 2012, became licensed on Oct. 17, 2012. That same year, the young couple purchased their

38 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

first home near School 16 in Clifton in January of 2012. The move put Annelise closer to her job in Newark, and allowed Tom to quickly get to his place of business in the event of a death overnight. “In this business, when it rains, it pours,” he explained. “We get really busy sometimes where you don’t sleep for a few days in a row. Some days it does pay to be really close.” While her husband studied to become a funeral director, Annelise also had a change of heart about her career choice due to the long hours she was logging at McBee. In June of 2012, she left her job to join her then-fiance at Shook. “Largely because of our background, we have taken on more of the office management duties... the business of running a business,” explained Tom. Annelise, who does not have a funeral director license but may go to school for one soon, primarily handles the office management duties, while he focuses on finance. “I still do make up, different embalming processes and stuff like that though.” Though it isn’t official yet, the

young couple hopes to one day be the fourth generation of ownership at Shook Funeral Home after Roy and Nancy retire. While working together as a couple has numerous pitfalls, Tom and Annelise enjoy the experience. “His parents are the perfect example,” said Annelise. “They’ve worked together for about 30 years. I don’t know how they’ve gone that, but like I said, Tom and I, we’re very similar, but we have different working styles. It’s good that we don’t work with each other all day long. Outside of having lunch together, we don’t see each other tons through the day.” In 2012, Tom and Annelise have purchased a home and joined the family business together. It was only fitting that they closed out the year by getting married on New Years Eve. They were wed at St. Rose of Lima RC Church in Belmar near where Annelise’s family is from, and the reception was held at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank. Though the ceremony was held away from his hometown, Tom made sure he took a little bit of Clifton with him.

“Father Raphael Zwolenkiewicz of St. John Kanty married us,” he said. The newlyweds traveled to Belize for their honeymoon. “My parents were married in St. John Kanty. My aunts and uncles were all married at St. John Kanty. My sister got married at St. John Kanty’s. Obviously we went to her church, but I had to bring a little bit of St. John Kanty’s with us.” Whether it’s the family business or selecting a pastor for the wedding, tradition is a big thing for this young couple. “We keep it simple,” laughed Tom. “All of our kids will be Villanova Wildcat fans.”

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories

Matt and Anna Marie Natale Always Growing Up Together By Joe Hawrylko

After spending more than 30 years together, Matt and Anna Marie Natale now look back on their younger years and laugh. The couple first met during high school in 1981, and married in 1989 when Matt was 25 and Anna Marie was just 22. Those early years were not always great, marked by bickering as two young people struggled to live together while growing as individuals. But through all the fights, love was the bond that kept them together, inspiring them to grow together and work on their differences. Though the two knew each other from Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford, they had little interaction prior to the summer of 1981. “She was walking down the street with her girlfriend and I was behind her,” he recalled. “She dropped a bag and I picked it up for her.” Anna Marie recalled their limited interactions in the previous years. 40 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

“When I was a freshman and he was a senior, he’d come down to the field where I ran track and bust my chops,” she said. “I think at that time I was not too into him because I thought he was a ball buster. But that was before we met each other in the summer in the street.” Matt drove Anna Marie and her friend home that day, but didn’t think to ask for a phone number until it was too late. “We were all in the front seat. She was in the middle seat,” he said. “I turn to say goodbye and we had eye contact for a couple of seconds. I left and just said to myself, I gotta go out with her.” Matt then went about developing schemes to go see his new crush. “I knew her brother was into exercise. I had a pair of weights at my house and I said one day I am going to go to her brother and see if he wanted to buy my weights,” he laughed. “That was another way to see her again. I sold my most prized possession.”

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Love Stories Ultimately, Matt got Anna Marie’s phone number through her friend on the track team. However, her strict Italian parents wouldn’t allow her to receive calls at home, much less go out with someone, so the young couple secretly dated for two and a half years. “I had to drop her off 10 blocks away, stuff like that,” laughed Matt. “It was secret love.” It also almost didn’t take off at first, according to Anna Marie. “We didn’t really hit it off on the first date,” she admitted. “We went to the Paramus Park Mall on a double date. Then we went out with a few friends to a bonfire in the Meadowlands.” Their budding relationship was almost derailed because Matt had previously enlisted in the Marines. However, he was let out of his commitment due to his father’s health issues. “My father got sick and I met her, so I was like, how am I going to go away when my father is going to be here all by himself,” he said. “He had a couple of heart attacks and I had met someone.” No longer hindered by the looming enlistment, Matt and Anna Marie continued to see each other when he started studying at Montclair State in the fall. Anna Marie would later join him at the college when she graduated from Becton Regional in 1984. The happy couple readily admits that those early years were not always great, but they eventually forged their own identities while learning to work on their relationship. “I think that, initially, our communication wasn’t really good 42 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Anna Marie, Matt, Daniel, who is a junior at CHS, and Julianna, who graduated in 2009.

in the beginning,” explained Anna Marie. “But we just kind of grew together.” “I think we broke up for a grand total of a month,” laughed Matt. “Every couple of years we broke up for about a week.” As they each matured, both Anna Marie and Matt began to truly appreciate and understand the special relationship they had. “We both had a desire for kids and I knew she’d be a great mom, so it made a lot of sense,” he said. “When it comes to love, you can’t try to figure it out because when you try to figure it out, you lose the essence of it. Love is really undefinable. You can’t explain it. It’s different for everybody. You can’t overanalyze it because then it becomes something you’re doing with your mind.” Eventually, that led to discussions about the future. In November of 1987, Matt decided to propose. “I originally wanted to surprise her in her lecture, but she’s really shy,” he recalled. ‘I did it on a quiet night in

my apartment which was on Church St. in Montclair.” Two years later, they were wed on Jan. 7, 1989. They were just 25 and 22 at the time. While those first couple of years were difficult at times, it ultimately strengthened their bond. “If I were to describe our early years, we had our ups and downs,” recalled Anna Marie. “Not only adjusting to being married, but being young and married. It was almost like we had to figure out this marriage deal and grow together at the same time. But I think we always cared enough about the relationship to put a lot of work into it very early on.” “You’re wasting your time when you’re young. You think you’re going to live forever,” added Matt. “If you waste a week bickering or giving the silent treatment, the bottom line is even if I have a fight and I think she’s wrong, I still think she’s a great person. Why not get the fight out of the way and just deal with the problem.”

“The need to be right isn’t much a priority anymore,” he continued. “Everyone wanting to change each other is the worst thing. It’s a huge labor to take on. Who wants to deal with that? The kids? You don’t want to show them that vibe. Even if there’s not yelling, silence is powerful.” “What seemed like big issues when we first got married, now they seem like not big issues. More like miscommunication,” Anna Marie agreed. “But the love was always there, and that just always overcame everything.” Today, the couple has been together for over 30 years, and still maintain their own separate interests, which they agree is key in maintaining a happy relationship. “We both have our own interests,” she explained. “I’m very

involved in soccer. Matt likes to build up his business. I think we seem to work better when we have other interests. But we’re still separate people.” “I’ll go hiking a lot, and every once in a while she will come, even though she’s uncomfortable... ‘are there going to be bears?’” he laughed. “I think we respect each other’s space and compromise a lot. If you don’t have compromise, what do you have?” “In the beginning, you think, if we don’t have interests together, maybe we’re not compatible,” Matt added. “You create all these volumes of things that aren’t true. The worst thing you can say is if you love me you would ... just because I think that’s what love is doesn’t mean that’s what the other person thinks it is.”

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But as much as they have their own lives and interests, Matt and Anna Marie do work together well. The two owned a fitness center in Paramus for 12 years before they shut it down in 2010. The gym focused their interests and their skills. Matt had previously worked as a personal trainer for several years, while Anna Marie had experience working at a health club, where she helped run membership and the front office while also doing some nutritional counseling. “That was a challenge,” said Anna Marie. “It was stressful sometimes. And it was hard to not bring work home because we’d have things to discuss.” But the overall experience of working together was good enough that they’ve decided to go into business together again. Their new venture is a personal training business, Emotion Fitness and Nutrition, LLC, combining


n n . .

44 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Matt’s background in physical fitness and Anna Marie’s knowledge of nutrition. “We have a home studio at the house,” said Matt. The couple owns a home in Montclair Heights, and have lived in Clifton since 1994. “We want to use our strengths to the best of our abilities,” added Anna Marie. But even though they are working together again, both maintain other jobs. Anna Marie has been teaching home economics in Bloomfield Public Schools for four years. Meanwhile, since 2011, Matt has owned End of Life Doulas, which is a Hospice-like at-home care service for terminally ill individuals. What they bring to their partnership, both in business and marriage—and in the way they raise their children—is trust, love and respect for one another. One other thing, added Anna Marie “We still continue to grow together.

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Communications Skills / Business Writing English as a Second Language Computer Skills Mathematics Skills

Best of all, PCCC Continuing Education will organize the training at no charge at your company’s location. Another option is to send employees to courses at the Paterson or Passaic campuses on these dates: Title Campus Date MS Excel Part 1 Passaic Fri, Mar 15 MS Excel Part 2 Passaic Fri, Mar 22 MS Word Part 1 Passaic Fri, Apr 5 MS Word Part 2 Passaic Fri, Apr 12 MS Excel Part 1 Wanaque Thu, July 11 MS Excel Part 2 Wanaque Thu, July 18 MS Word Part 1 Wanaque Thu, July 25 MS Word Part 2 Wanaque Thu, Aug 1 All Classes 8:30am - 5pm

In addition to dates and classes listed, other FREE classes will be offered. Those enrolling must have a valid Social Security number, be employed 20 hours per week and complete a registration form, which includes the company’s FEIN and DUNS Number.

Customer Service

NEW! Training Excellence and Communication Skills Cost: FREE • Date: Fri, Mar 1 Time: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm • Place: Paterson Diversity Cost: FREE • Date: Fri, Mar 8 Time: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm • Place: Paterson Managing Difficult Customers, Difficult Situations and Stress Cost: FREE • Date: Fri, Mar 15 Time: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm • Place: Paterson Problem Solving, Service Recovery and Professional Image Cost: FREE • Date: Fri, Mar 22 Time: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm • Place: Paterson

Employers! Take Advantage of One or More of These Training Programs

PASSAIC COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE Want training at your worksite? Call Linda Johnson at 973-684-7742 email her at or call Barry Schlegel at 973-684-6213 Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Events & Briefs

At St. Andrew’s RC School in 1977, 3rd grade students with Sister Mary Charles. Where are they now?

The Clifton Stamp Society meets on Feb. 4, in the basement of the Community Recreation Center, 1232 Main Ave., from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Other dates are March 4 and 18, April 1 and 16, May 6 and 20, and June 3 and 17. Visit

Celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of St. Andrew the Apostle School. Events are planned throughout the year to mark the opening of this landmark Catholic School on February 2, 1953. Alumni, family and the public are invited to the Opening Mass at the church on Feb. 3 at 11:15 am followed by refreshments and a tour of the school. Other reunions are being planned and events will culminate with a 60th Anniversary Gala on May 2. Principal Sr. Margaret Murphy said the Mt. Prospect Ave. school is still a strong option: “Families continue to register children from pre-K through eighth grade in a school whose reputation has stood the test of time.” To help out or for tickets, call 973-473-3711.

The Clifton Republican Club meets Feb. 12 at 7:30 pm at VFW Post 7165, 491 Valley Rd. Open to all registered Republicans, annual dues are $10 and refreshments will be served. Washington Ave. resident Bill Frisch is the president and Ellen DeLosh handles publicity. Future meetings are March 12, April 9, May 14, June 11. Call 973-365-1060 for more info.

Midnight Bowling fundraiser for the Marching Mustangs will be held at Parkway Lanes in Elmwood Park on March 9 starting at 6 pm. Tickets are $50 and include 3 hours of cosmic bowling, a full buffet and bowling shoes. There are also pool tables, games and a cash bar. For those who want the buffet only, tickets are $15. Open to all ages. Recommended six couples per lane. Proceeds benefit scholarships for CHS Marching Mustangs and fund other activities related to Clifton’s ‘Showband of the Northeast.’ Send a check or money order to Clifton Mustang Band Alumni Association, PO Box 4133, Clifton, 07012. RSVP by Feb. 26.

The Young At Heart Senior Club meets on Feb. 5 and Feb 19 at the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church on Maplewood Ave. at 12:30 pm. Refreshments begin at 11 am. For the Feb. 5 meeting, members are encouraged to decorate the tables and wear red. Come socialize, play bingo and make new friends. Planned trips include a Feb. 20 trip to Hunterdon Hills Playhouse; a March 14 St. Patrick’s Day party at Camp Hope, West Milford, and an April 24 lunch and show at the Royal Manor in Garfield. All trips leave from the Masonic Lodge, 1484 Van Houten Ave. For ticket prices call Lillian: 973-779-5581. New members welcomed.

46 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Easter is March 31. We’ll Mail Your Easter Order!

• Holiday Hams & other Traditional Easter Foods • Pork, Beef, Cheese & Meat Products • Home Style Smoked Bacon & Smoked Sausages • We make our own Salami & offer many fine Imports

Our cases are filled with fresh Poppy Seed, Lekvar, Apricot and other Hungarian Spices! Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Events & Briefs St. Peter’s Haven, 380 Clifton Ave., is a year-round operation that supports the hungry and homeless, assisting more than 800 area people per month. Founded 25 years ago, it relies on the generosity of people and businesses in the community. To donate food or money, to seek aide or to volunteer, call 974-546-3406, or email The Annual Summer Sunset Blues Benefit Cruise has expanded this year with two sails departing from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Patrons will board the historic tall ship A. J. Meerwald on June 27 to the sounds of the Chuck Lambert Band to support Musicians on A Mission. The July 2 sail will feature the Victoria Warne Band and benefit the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund established by Gov. Chris Christie. Boarding begins at 5:30 pm with the sail set promptly at 6 pm for a two-and-a-half-hour New York Harbor tour. Tickets— only 40 sold for each cruise—are $50 and includes beer, soda and water. Patrons can bring their own food and drinks. For info, contact John and Jackie Muller at 973-340-9405 or via e-mail

The Clifton Arts Center Gallery will present Alchemy by hob’art co-operative gallery, an exhibit of various art media and styles. The exhibit is displayed until Feb. 23. Admission is $3. This group of artists has interpreted alchemy in a broad spectrum, exploring past and present or life or death in their art. In some cases, they are reinventing language and the incorporation of symbols as a mode of communication through their artwork. Hob’art co-operative gallery was founded in 2002 by Liz Cohen. The Clifton Arts Center is located on the grounds of the Municipal Complex. Info at: Lambert Castle, the Victorian-era mansion on the ridge of Garrett Mountain Reservation on the Valley Rd. border between Paterson and Clifton, presents Message in a Bottle: The Bottleworks of Dr. Etta Ehrlich. Through this exhibit of carefully-arranged antique bottles and other found objects, Dr. Ehrlich offers a unique and thought-provoking take on society and culture. The exhibit is displayed until April 28, Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $5. For info, call 973247-0085 or visit

Proudly Serving Assembly District 34... Clifton, Orange, East Orange & Montclair

Support the good work of St. Peter’s Haven. To donate food items, call 973-546-3406.

The Honorable

Sheila Y. Oliver

Speaker of New Jersey

15-33 Halsted St., Suite 202 East Orange, NJ 07018 973-395-1166 • paid for by Committee to Elect Sheila Oliver paid for by Committee to Elect Sheila Oliver

48 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

The Theater League of Clifton presents Murder Me Always by Lee Mueller. Staged at Mario’s Restaurant on Van Houten Ave., this murder mystery gives the audience clues to solve whodunit! Tickets on sale now for shows on March 1 to 10. Tickets are $40 and a cash bar is available. For dates and times, call 973-928-7668 or go to The Clifton-based Garden State Opera offers two shows this spring. On March 21, the GSO will present a lunch concert at the Sequoia Senior Center, 565 Broadway, Passaic, from 11 am to noon. Singers Justyna Giermola and Nathan Letourneau will perform arias and duets from the operatic repertoire accompanied at the piano by Tristan Cano. Donation is $5 at the door. Then on April 6, the GSO will present two works from Mozart: ‘ L’ Oca del Cairo’ and scenes from ‘ Cosi’ fan tutte’. This show will be held at the San Giuseppe Santa Croce Camerina Society, 131 Wagaraw Rd., Hawthorne. The performance will feature a chamber orchestra; tickets are $25. Call 973-685-9972, or visit

Whodunit? The cast of TLC’s Murder Me Always perform at Marios in March.

Students grades 3 to 12 are invited to write a poem about the historic figures and events of the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike and the significance that it has 100 years later. Selected poems will appear in a book, printed by the American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark, in commemoration of the centennial of the strike. Deadline is April 1. Details at Teachers may call 973-595-7953 to schedule presentations for their classes by museum staff or volunteers.

Paws for Reading, a program to help children practice their reading, is offered at both Clifton Libraries. Children in grades 1 to 5 get to meet up with one of the six trained therapy hounds for a 15minute reading session in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. The program is run with The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc. Owners of the dogs train the animals and then volunteer their time a the library. Call Barb Farrell Swenson, Youth Services Supervisor at 973-772-5500 ext. 3020.

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Events & Briefs The Ninth Annual Passaic County Film Festival is a juried exhibition of students’ and independent filmmakers’ work, which showcases projects by those who live, attend school, or work in Passaic County. Entry to the festival on April 20 will be free, and screenings will take place at the Fabian 8 Theater in historic downtown Paterson. For more info, call 973-569-4720 or e-mail


Discount Card



ERE. H T R A T S S E R U T U F T A E GR Boys & Girls Club members are selling $10 discount cards (sample above) which offers savings at 17 Clifton stores. The cards are good through Dec. 31, and cannot be combined with any other offers. Limit one offer per card, per day. To purchase, call 973-773-0966. The Phenomenal Grandmothers 1036 seek donations for their annual Easter basket campaign. Items needed include stuffed bunnies, Easter grass, baskets and more. More than 150 baskets are distributed through St. Peter’s Haven and other charities. Cash donations are welcome but candy is not needed. For info, or to help out, call Colleen Murry at 973-253-9579. Clifton Savings Bank has set aside $10 million in special low interest home equity loans that are offered at no points and without closing costs to people whose homes were affected buy Hurricane Sandy. Through March 31, qualifying homeowners can borrow up to $250,000 to put toward repair work for their primary residences or vacation homes. Interest rates are reduced, with term loans from five to 20 years available. For info, call 888-562-6727.

50 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

1 in 7 drivers is uninsured. Are you covered if one hits you? DON’T HOPE SO. KNOW SO. Call me today for a fast, free Good Hands® Coverage Checkup. I can help you review your current policy limits and point out where you may need more coverage. I can also help you find ways to save. In fact, drivers who switched to Allstate saved an average of $375*

Timothy K Brown, LUTCF, CLTC 973-928-1434 1006 Rte 46 West Clifton

*Average savings based on information reported nationally by new Allstate auto customers for policies written in 2011. Actual savings will vary. Source for uninsured statistic: Insurance Research Council Uninsured Motorist Study (1999-2004 data). Allstate New Jersey Property and Casualty Insurance Company: Bridgewater, NJ. © 2012 Allstate Insurance Company

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Paterson Factories (View from Monument Rock), a watercolor and gouache on paper by Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938) is one of 29 displayed as part of an exhibit, entitled Picturing Paterson, New Jersey, at the Montclair Art Museum. The exhibit is displayed Feb. 17 to June 16. The museum is at 3 South Mountain Ave., Montclair. For more info and fees call 973-746-5555 or go to

The Clifton Rec Depart. hosts family bowling night at Garden Palace Lanes on March 15 at 6 pm. Cost is $40 for up to six people and include two hours of bowling, shoe rental, pizza and soda. A speed and agility training clinic on March 16 from 11 am to 1 pm with former NFLer Fred Baxter is at the Athenia Steel Recreation Complex. Open to boys and girls in grades 1 through 12, tickets are $28 and include a free autograph.

On March 23 at 10 am there is a trip to iPlay America in Freehold. Tickets are $35 and includes the thrill ride attraction package. The Bunny Bash is March 30 at 9:30 am in Nash Park. Great for kids 3 to 12, there is an egg hunt, bunny bounce, beauty parlor, hound dog hunt and more. The Easter Bunny will be at Hot Grill at 7:30 am for breakfast (fee). For info, fees and more details on Clifton Rec programs, call 973-470-5956.

Have Clifton Merchant Mailed. $27/YEAR SUBSCRIPTION Mailed via first class to your home.

Name: __________________________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________________ City: _______________________________________State:____________________________________ Zip:______________________Phone:_____________________________________________ Email:________________________________________________________________________ PLEASE MAKE CHECKS TO TOMAHAWK PROMOTIONS, 1288 MAIN AVE., CLIFTON, NJ 07011

52 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Events & Briefs

At left, Annemarie Uebbing, ladies team captain of the Clifton RoadRunners for several years. At the Millburn 10k, Sergio Cano, Alicia Feghhi, Martin Jodar and Antoinette Marmora (1st overall Grand Prix female 55-59 age group).

For the third year in a row, the Clifton RoadRunners has earned a second place ranking in the state in the overall club competition. In the age group teams category, the Clifton men 60s team placed third in state, its 50s ladies placed second in state and the club’s 70s men placed first in state. Its 70s men’s team also ranks first in the USATF National standings for the second year in row. In the cross country competition, Diane Cismowski placed first in the 55-59 age group. Rodrigo Caseres, age 51, is the club’s fastest runner. He placed third overall in the State in the overall Grand Prix competition, consisting of races up to 25k. In the 55-59 age group in the overall Grand Prix, Clifton ladies Antoinette Marmora, Nora Candelario and Bonnie Triolo took the top three spots. Others who placed in the overall Grand Prix include Ramon Vasques and Jazmin Abraham (2nd male/3rd female in the under 35 age group); Antonio Massa (2nd male, 45-49); Peggy Richko (2nd female, 60-64); Feliciano Pereira (3rd male, 65-69); and Hilary Peterlin and William Ash (2nd and 3rd males, 70-74).

In both the Mini I and Mini II series, members Philip Almeida, Nuno Brito, Camille Creary, Anthony Difiore, Alicia Feghhi, Boris Gavilanes, Martin Jodar, James Leitz, Karen Mantari, Carl Richko and Annemarie Uebbing ranked within the top three in their respective age groups. Other winners in either Mini I or Mini II include members Sergio Cano, Helene Cartas, Tina Gennat, Kimberly Junda, Theodore Mussano, Danielle Purciello, Joseph Saley and Ben Teixeira. (Teixeira is Vice President of the CRRC; he is also the USATF-NJ Vice Chair of the Open Men’s Long Distance Running Committee and holds the honor of having been elected as an Athlete Trustee, also for the state organization.) Bill Welsh, the oldest member of the club in the 80-84 age group, placed 1st in age in both the Mini I and Mini II, and also placed first in age in the State for sprints, distance, throws and jumps in the track and field competitive events. The Clifton RoadRunners Club has been in existence since 1978 and welcomes runners of all abilities and ages. More details and info: Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Clifton Super Bowl Family Day, Feb. 3 A family friendly event at the Boys & Girls Club which is alcohol, gambling & tobacco free.

Bring your Swim Trunks, Open Gym, Pizza, Hot Dogs, Large Screen TVs...

Admission is a canned food item! Be a Sponsor of this Alcohol-Free Party on Feb 5th

Thanks to our sponsors, admission is a canned food item which will be donated to St. Peter’s Haven. The 15th Clifton Family Super Bowl Party is sponsored by... Sponsors include CASA, Clifton Against Substance Abuse & 1) Jim & Rita Haraka & Family 2) Rotary Club of Clifton 3) Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin 4) In memory of Florence, George H. Trinkle, Jr. & George H. Trinkle III 5) Barbara Dougherty in memory of Henry Dougherty 6) Clifton Police PBA Local 36 7) Clifton Firefighters FMBA Local 21 8) JSK Landscaping/The Bassford Family 9) Carlet, Garrison, Klein & Zaretsky 10) Liberty Tax Service, Richfield Shopping Center 11) Theater League of Clifton 12) Mayor, Council, City Manager & Municipal Attorney 13) Tom Miller 14) Dr. George Foukas, DMD 15) P&A Auto Parts 16) St. Philip The Apostle Knights of Columbus 17) The Fieldhouse Family

$100 Checks should be made payable to:

Boys & Girls Club of Clifton note: Super Bowl Party

Questions regarding donations? Call

Tom Hawrylko @ 973-253-4400

236 Colfax Ave | 973-685-7444

kitchens too! 54 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Thanks to our Sponsors, Admission is Free... BUT please bring a canned food item so we can make a donation to St. Peter’s Haven Food Bank.

Boys & Girls Club

Liberty Tax Service at Richfield Shopping Center Offers $20 Discount & $20 Donation to the Club Liberty Tax Service at Richfield Shopping Center is doing double duty for the Boys & Girls Club and Clifton residents. Now through April 10, franchise owner Mary Anne Hatala Bowen will make a donation of $20 to the club and give you $20 off your tax preparation when you file your 2012 tax returns through her office. To take advantage of the savings and the donation, be sure to mention Boys & Girls Club of Clifton when you visit Liberty Tax Service at 1344 Clifton Ave., next to Boston Market in the Richfield Shopping Center. You can also call them at 973-778-0700 and make an appointment seven days a week. “That $20 will come directly to us so it helps the thousands of youth we serve here every week,” said Bob Foster, Executive Director of the Clifton Boys & Girls Club, on the corner of Clifton and Colfax Aves. “We appreciate creative fundraising business partnerships with the community and encourage other to come to us with ways they want to help us raise funds. Mary Anne Hatala Bowen of Liberty Tax Service with Bob Foster, Director of To contact Foster, call the Boys Clifton’s Boys & Girls Club. Hatala is fluent in Ukrainian and tax preparers in & Girls at 973-773-0966. her office speak Spanish, Polish, Arabic and Turkish. On Feb. 2 from 11 am to 3 pm, 64—#12 Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey Fund—on Liberty Tax Richfield will also host a grand opening. the NJ 1040 income tax form,” Hatala said. “Just indicate Mayor Jim Anzaldi and NJRCCC Executive Director the amount you’d like to donate in the space provided.” Brian Tangora will cut the ribbon at noon. “We’ll serve Liberty Tax Richfield is also supportive of other comfree tax advice as well as refreshments and entertainmunity causes. “We are also proud partners with the ment,” said Hatala. Relay for Life benefit and the Clifton Cares for Soldiers Even if you do not file with Liberty Tax Richfield, drive,” Hatala concluded. “We have a collection box in Hatala said residents can support the Boys & Girls Clubs our store and Liberty Tax Richfield will cover the cost of when they file their NUJ State income tax return. “If you mailing packages to a soldiers.” file your own taxes, find the option to donate on line Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Clifton History

Snack Journal

By Joe Hawrylko

Decades before computer imaging became the standard for wanted posters, cops cracked cases using hand-drawn composite sketches. When police departments in North Jersey needed to catch a bad guy on the run, they turned to Detective Ed Snack of the Clifton PD. One of a handful of sketch artists in the nation, the Clifton gumshoe had a reputation for being one of the best in the business. By the time he retired in 1992, Snack had done more than 400 profiles for Clifton and other municipalities, as well as the FBI and IRS. A sample of Ed Snack’s dead-on work of a rogue he sketched and a photo after the suspect was captured.

56 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Detective Snack had much success as a cop but his true passion was in art. After graduating from CHS in 1951, the Passaic native did a two year stint in the Army from 1952 to 1954 and then enrolled in the Newark School of Fine Arts. Unable to find a job in his chosen field, Snack took the Civil Service exam and was sworn in as a Clifton Police Officer at the age of 27 in 1959. While it seemed that Snack would never get to use his art skills professionally, that changed after the Clifton Plaza Heist (where Bruno’s is on Rt. 46 west) in 1961. Crooks got away with more than $48,000 in a hold up of the bank there. Several eyewitnesses were on hand and Clifton brought in NYPD Detective Andrew Di Biasi, recognized as the foremost authority on police sketching in the country, to draw some mug shots. Snack, whose art abilities were well known in the Clifton PD, worked close with Di Biasi. Weeks laters, Chief Joseph Nee sent Snack to NYC for training. Soon, the Clifton cop went from painting landscapes and portraits of US Presidents in his spare time to doing composite sketches for departments across northern New Jersey. “He was a great artist, and a good cop. And he had a great sense of humor,” recalled Frank LoGioco, the former Clifton Chief of Clifton from 1990 to 2002, who served with Snack and was a good friend. After being promoted to detective in 1963 at the age of 31, Snack’s reputation continued to grow. His skills were called upon by the FBI and IRS.

As one of a few sketch artists in the region, Snack had a regimen when drawing his composites. He would have eyewitnesses of the perp come to the station to look through mug shots of other crooks to aid in his creation, which would take up to three hours to complete. As a result of his dead on skills, and his growing reputation, Snack was often in the news.

Despite his fame, Snack remained the humble, friendly cop who had passion for his job, his hobbies and his family. “I met him on my very first day on the Police Department in 1961 during the strike at Duralite on Randolph Ave.,” recalled LoGioco. The scene was violent, he said. That September, the union had rented a building across the

Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Clifton History street from the factory, Clifton cops were stationed in the middle of the road while fights were going on between striking union members and picket crossers. “I walked in the door and they told me I was going down there with the other guys. Eddie Snack was one of the guys working 12 hour shifts—12 on 12 off,” said LoGioco. “I just gravitated to him. The way he dealt with people... you’re brand new, trying to figure out how to deal with all off this and I learned the right way from In Nov., 2006, Ed and Carol Snack and children Lori, Ed, Nancy and Judy. the beginning. Just how he hanThroughout his career, Snack kept meticulous notes dled himself. Very sure of himself. Not brutal or anyand scrapbooks. These books were filled with newspathing, but just a by-the-book, good guy.” per stories, comments and photos about crimes and By the time he had retired on Jan. 1, 1992, Snack had cases that took place in Clifton. done more than 400 composite sketches. He was 57 As a writer and because of the nature of his job, years old and had spent 31 years with the Clifton Police Snack was in contact with police departments across Department, including 29 years as a detective. the globe. At city hall, visitors can see his collection of In addition to being a gumshoe and an artist, Snack patches from hundreds of police departments from was also a historian and collector. across the world as they are displayed in cases. Some of his writing and composite sketches were provided by his wife, Carol, after editor Tom Hawrylko found a file folder of Snack’s memoirs at our Clifton office and contacted her. Snack had planned to turn his stories into a book called A Small Town Cop. We had them because we used his background material, notes and sketches of some crime scenes in two stories featured back in 2007. Snack was the first on hand at what was known as the Turzynski triple murders in 1991. A man, his wife and father—all deaf— were found stabbed to death in their Ackerman Ave. apartment. The grizzly tale also told of the couple’s toddler daughter—who survived for a week in the apartment alone with the bodies. Snack was also a resource for another sensational true crime story in which pianist Al Haig, a pioneer of beebop music, was accused and later acquitted in 1969 of strangling his third wife, Bonnie, in their Clifton home in 1968 on Valley Rd. Ed and his wife Carol enjoyed retirement, travelling and their family before his death on Sept, 28, 2009. See a rogue’s gallery of Snack’s drawings at

58 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant


at Noon CHS 9 h c r a M G t ym a S VS.

Want to get on the court as a Mustang Pride player? If not come cheer us on... Please buy advance tickets!

Businesses and Community Leaders We need your support! Please buy a pack of 10 tickets before Feb. 22

and it’s only

Tax deductible


Mustang Pride, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to the pride of our Public School Children and the good things going on in our schools. Have some fun and help us raise funds for Mustang Pride.

Advance ticket prices: Students & Seniors: $10 At the door $12 General Public $12 At the door $15 For tickets & sponsorship info contact: AnnMarie Genneken: 973-246-1035

Josephine Chichi: 973-222-7202

Jack Jaeger: 973-985-0761 Clifton Merchant • February 2013


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Salt Water Fishing Exposition March 15-17 Garden State Exhibition Center, Somerset

60 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Student of the Month

Inspiration from an Injury Janine Giordano Wants to Become an Athletic Trainer By Joe Hawrylko In her sophomore year at CHS, Janine Giordano was an up and coming third basemen who earned a starting spot on the Lady Mustangs Varsity Softball squad. But a torn labrum unfortunately ended that season early. Then two surgeries followed. Suddenly not only was she off the diamond but her hopes of playing basketball later that winter were benched too. Despite the setback, Giordano remained upbeat and turned the bad luck into a learning experience. The string of incidents inspired Giordano, now a CHS senior, to pursue a career in helping athletes who suffer injuries on the field. “I want to help someone like the athletic trainers helped me when I was injured,” explained Giordano. “I’ve been through it before myself.” Though she had grown up playing sports, Giordano had never considered athletic training as a career until reaching high school. “I had been playing sports pretty much my whole life,” explained the CHS student of the month. “My older brothers always played baseball and we were always big into sports.” She is one of six children and is also a twin. But after being sidelined and seeing the help and care she received, she began to research career options. Later on that year, she traveled with her aunt to

Chicago where she interned at a firm which manufactures and fits prosthetic limbs. “That’s when I knew that I wanted to help people,” she said. “You see those people walk and it inspires you.” She is doing similar work as an intern at Performance Rehabilitation in Totowa. For college she is currently looking at Athletic Training Education Programs at Kean or

Rowan Universities. Her goal is to graduate with a Masters or Doctorate. “If I get accepted into Rowan, I will probably go there,” she said. For the 17-year-old, there is still a plan B. Giordano’s interest in the medical field is partially inspired by her mother, Linda, who works as an operating room nurse at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck. Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Student of the Month If she changes her mind about athletic training, the Lakeview resident said she would likely study nursing. “I’ve seen how many people she helps,” said Giordano, who currently works at the ShopRite in Little Falls. “I grew up admiring her. She often told me stories of how she helped people. Nurses are there to comfort you.” Giordano isn’t just interested in helping athletes either. She recently volunteered at a soup kitchen in Morristown, and would like to do more volunteer work in the future. “My friend’s mom does it and she had always asked if we wanted to go,” said Giordano, who went for the first time on Dec. 26. “Last year, I had to do an English project and I picked the organization Bridges (a homeless assistance organization). They give food for the homeless. I went over with a group and worked by Pace University in New York City.” Her ultimate goal is to form her own giving group in a few years when she is settled down in college. “I want to start my own charity and build it up when I am a little older,” she said. “I want to do homeless runs in New York or help people in Africa.”

62 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

CHS Class of 2013 Some of the 95 models in the Class of 2013 Fashion Show on March 3, from to left: Georgina Hernandez, Dania Niwash and Anastascia Duffy. Middle row: Mohammad Baker, Izzat Maali, Jaclyn Scotto and Mohammed Shahin. Front row: Hena Rana, Shreya Patel, Michelle Shackil and Shreya Patel. Below from left rear: Nicole Buttel, Elizabeth Los, Michelle Martinez, Jasmine Taylor, Joanna Szablowska and Katherine Garcia. Front row: Sebastian Gil, Gianni Nolasco, Leisi Camarena and Steven Santiago.

The CHS Prom Fashion Show is March 3. The event is at the JFK Auditorium and is a major fundraiser for the Class of 2013. Deluxe Formal Wear provides the tuxedos with gowns by Just Beautiful Boutique, Bruelle’s, Vesa, Group USA, Bou Bou and Sandreens. Hair fashions by Hair Craft, Hair Expressions, Sante Fe, Guy Anthonys Salon, Beauty Plus Salon and Loni’s Cuts.

Proceeds go to help pay for Project Graduation which will take place on June 28, right after CHS commencement. Project Graduation is the lock-in at an undisclosed location to keep our graduating seniors safe from alcohol and drugs in a party like atmosphere. Fashion show tickets are $5. Make checks to CHS PTSA. Call Maryann Cornett at 973-779-5678 for info. Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Birthdays & Celebrations - February 2013

Ashley Rose Montague is 7 on 2/6. Happy Birthday to Donna Hawrylko on 2/25. Angely Sotamba celebrated her first birthday on 1/26. Mark Zecchino celebrates on 2/28 and his son Nick is 18 on 2/11. Alison Moran celebrates her 13th birthday on 2/10. Leann Perez is 17 on 2/17. Her brother Anthony Musleh turns 22 on 2/12. Happy Birthday to Jayke Williams who turns 5 on 2/5.

Happy Birthday to... Send dates & Alison Degen.......................2/1 Robyn Feldman................... 2/1 Kristin Reilly........................ 2/1 Mary Jane Varga................ 2/1 Emil Soltis, Jr ...................... 2/2 Joseph Fierro ...................... 2/3 Bob Naletko....................... 2/3 Catherine Grace Burns ........ 2/4 John Nittolo........................ 2/5

Courtney Carlson................ 2/6 Joseph DeSomma ............... 2/6 Robert D’Alessio ................. 2/7 Nicole Tahan...................... 2/7 Tara Fueshko ...................... 2/8 Jamie Carr ......................... 2/9 Craig Grieco...................... 2/9 Steven Becker ................... 2/10 Bryan Kelly....................... 2/10

Happy Birthday Lux siblings. Eric turns 17 on 2/3 & Renee turns 11 on 2/14. Commissioner Jack Houston will be 63 on Feb. 1. Birthday wishes to Richie Bandurski 2/19. Sending belated birthday wishes to Michael Bandurski on 1/27.

Matthew Seitz .................. Bob De Liberto.................. Valentine Le Ster ............... Sarah Mikolajczyk ............ Joseph Hilla...................... Dolores Rando.................. John Hodorovych .............. Amin Zamlout................... Mark Gallo ...................... Jeanette Ann Saia ............. Orest Luzniak ................... Christine Canavan ............ Chickie Curtis ................... Frank Klippel .................... M. Louis Poles ..................

2/10 2/11 2/11 2/11 2/12 2/12 2/13 2/13 2/14 2/14 2/14 2/15 2/15 2/15 2/15

Happy Birthday to Natalie Pych who turns 12 on Feb. 8. 64 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

David Fazio celebrates his first birthday on Feb 17. Ashley Brandecker .......... Lorraine Rothe ................ Michael Del Re............... Richie Bandurski ............. Michael Papa................. Robert Mosciszko ........... Taylor Jesch.................... Diana Murphy................ John T. Saccoman ........... Robert Adamo................ Eileen Feldman ............... Kimberly Mistretta ........... Kimberly Gasior ............. Brittany Helwig............... Joyce Penaranda ............ Brittany Pinter ................. Lauren Ricca................... Charlie Galluzzo ............

2/17 2/17 2/18 2/19 2/20 2/21 2/22 2/22 2/22 2/24 2/24 2/24 2/26 2/27 2/27 2/27 2/27 2/28

Knapp Brothers birthdays... Don celebrates on Feb. 6 and Richard on Feb. 22. Clifton Merchant • February 2013


Clifton PBA

Riding bicycles from Clifton to Washington, these members of the Police Unity Tour must raise $18,000 before they embark on their 300 mile trek. The funds they collect here in Clifton help build a monument and museum in the nation’s Capitol. The bicyclists and their escorts leave for Washington on May 9. The purpose of the PUT is to bring awareness and honor fallen officers. Nearly 19,000 cops have given their lives in the line of duty. Their names are etched on the National Law Enforcement Officers Monument.


Luxury Vinyl Tiles


Each name represents a sad story of an officer from across the U.S. killed in the line of duty, including Clifton Police Officer John Samra, at left, who died in the line of duty on Nov. 21, 2003. To kick off the fundraising, Joey Barcelona of Bliss on Allwood Rd. is opening his doors on Feb. 22 from 6 to 10 pm. Proceeds will benefit Clifton riders. To learn more, go to or To contribute or help out, call Clifton Police Officer John Kavakich at 973-470-5897 or Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.



Area Rugs



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973-546-0616 For all your flooring needs

66 February 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Since 1927

Tomahawk Promotions 1288 main avenue Clifton, NJ 07011

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