Clifton Merchant Magazine - February 2010

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My Mowimy Po Polsku (Dentystka)


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Clifton Merchant Magazine is published the first Friday of every month at 1288 Main Ave., Downtown Clifton • 973-253-4400

Small Businesses: The Engine of Our Economy in Story by Jordan Schwartz Clifton Ornamental Iron Works on Franklin Ave. isn’t the only custom railing fabricator in the area that opened in 1954 and is owned by a father and son combo both named Tom. Amazingly, there’s another shop in Garfield called Artistic Railings with that exact same criteria. But the business run by Tom Chimileski Sr. and Jr. is the only one of its kind in Clifton.

Thanks to our readers and advertisers, I’m proud to announce that we have two milestones this year. In March of 1990, my wife and I began Tomahawk Promotions. Five years later, in October, 1995, we published the first edition of Clifton Merchant Magazine. 16,000 Magazines

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February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Editor & Publisher

Tom Hawrylko Business Manager

Cheryl Hawrylko

Graphic Designer

Rich McCoy Staff Writer

Joe Hawrylko Contributing Writers

Irene Jarosewich, Carol Leonard, Rich DeLotto, Don Lotz, Jack DeVries

Father & Son own Clifton Ornamental Iron Works It was established 55 years ago by Tish Belli, who was good friends with Chimileski Sr.’s father. Senior, who played football under coaches Joe Grecco and Bill Vander Closter, was working with his dad at a gas station at the corner of Lakeview and Piaget Aves., when he met his wife, Carol, and had their first child, Susan. With the new family, Chimileski, who went to school for welding after graduating CHS in 1962, realized he needed to be making more money and so Belli offered him a job. In 1978, Chimileski took over the business in the unassuming brown building in Downtown and hired his son full-time after he finished Clifton High in ’84. “I went to Bergen Community College for music, but having that family business there ... it was waiting for me,” said Junior, who grew up on East First St. In 1994, he submitted an audition tape of him playing guitar to Ozzy Osbourne. Chimileski didn’t get the gig, but he received a letter from the Prince of Darkness, which he thought was pretty cool. “I was a music lover, so I studied music theory, but by the end of my two years, I had taken all my music classes and needed to take prerequisites.” Instead of continuing down that path, Chimileski opted to just remain at his dad’s business. Clifton Ornamental produces interior and exterior railings, using maintenance-free aluminum for outside and wrought iron for inside. They do a lot of work in the city, but also have clients throughout North Jersey and as far south as

Facing page: Tom Chimileski and his son Tom R. Chimileski have owned Clifton Ornamental Iron Works on Franklin Ave. since 1978. The business, which is on a side street in Downtown Clifton, was first established in 1954. Above: Tom R. custom painting a railing. He’s been with the company since 1984.

Toms River. Like nearly all small business owners, the Chimileskis have seen their bottom line shrink during the recent recession. “It’s half what we’re normally used to,” said the younger proprietor. “It’s been pretty tough. We’re working with our customers. We cut back some of our costs for some of the work that we put out.” The Chimileskis employ three part-time workers and everyone has had their hours cut back a bit. But this difficult period doesn’t have Senior heading for retirement. “He’s going to stay down there,” said Junior who, like his father, moved to West Milford seven years ago. “He’ll like to see a turnaround. It’s definitely been his heart and soul for his whole life. He doesn’t want to leave it in a bad way.” The younger Chimileski, who married his wife, Tracy (a CHS ’87 grad), 17 years ago, would love to

pass the business along to his son one day if he was interested in carrying the tradition on to a third generation. It was just the opposite when Junior was growing up, though. His father didn’t want him to work at Clifton Ornamental. “He wanted me to do anything else,” said Chimileski, who also has two daughters. “He wanted me to go to school and get a college education, but as time went by, it just kind of worked out where I started working down there and became a valued employee and put everything into it, so it was a family business.” “I did my work as best as I could,” he continued. “Twentyfive years later, I would consider myself the top employee being down there from the experience and having it in my heart.” Another story in our series to celebrate Small Businesses in our Community. February 2010 • Clifton Merchant



Letters to the Editor

Clifton Merchant Magazine 1288 Main Ave. Clifton 07011

Thank you for Clifton Merchant Magazine. I remember our first meeting in the upstairs office at Styertowne Shopping Center when I brought my press release about the work of St. Peter’s Haven to a friendly “cool guy” with a ponytail. William & Glory Read in 1947.

Years later, I brought an essay love story that was a memorial to my late husband. You chose a tiny picture of us (circa 1947) to accompany Surviving Alzheimer’s, a story that ran in the May 2002 edition. That became the first chapter of my memoir and that photo became the cover of my book. Thank you! Your unique magazine provides information and evokes nostalgia, about places, events, issues, organizations and the people that represent what makes our town special. It’s an on-going history for all who consider Clifton “our hometown.” Glory Read Ed Note: If you would like to purchase or learn more about Mrs. Read’s book, ‘Everything Will Be Alright: An Alzheimer’s Memoir,’ write to her at


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Vinnie Gulardo on your cover— what an excellent choice. Vinnie’s chair was the next step up for us back in the 1970’s when we graduated from Frank “the barber” Schiro. I had a paper route and my own money and dad said when you pay for it, go where you want. Vinnie took us from side parts and Vitalis to shampoo, blow dry, layers, a featherback and a part in the middle. Joe Hanrahan

LOCALLY or GLOBALLY Our 61 agents can point you in the right direction

Thank You Clifton, for Making Us Your Preferred Real Estate Company. • Data, in whole, or in part, is supplied by Garden State MLS, is not responsible for accuracy. Data provided by Garden State MLS may not reflect all the real estate in the market. Information reflects all properties in all price ranges. ©2010 Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation, Coldwell Banker® is a register trademark of Coldwell Banker Corporation. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity Owned and Operated by NRT Incorporated.

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


There’s a whole team of us are reaching milestone anniversaries. As I was going to press on Tuesday, I ran into CHS Football Coach Ron Anello and noticed his wedding photo. Ron was smart enough to marry the Clifton gal pictured below, the former Debbie Konecny, on June 21, 1985. Congrats!

Tom and Cheryl (Angello) Hawrylko wed on February 14, 1981.

Ron and Debbie (Konecny) Anello married June 21, 1985.


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

As far as that lucky guy pictured above, that’s me. Cheryl and I will celebrate our 29th anniversary on Feb. 14. Like many of the folks you may recognize on the following pages, we’ve been through peaks and valleys over those nearly three decades of marriage. But when I look back at the road we’ve come, I realize that we got here thanks to each other. We have a good partnership and I am proud of the marriage we have forged. Four kids and starting our 30th year, yes indeed I would do it all again. So with much love and respect, I like to say happy early anniversary Cheryl.

Jersey Shore Romance

Story by Carol Leonard

Soon-To-Be Empty Nesters Love Being Out of Politics Kate and Mike Urciuoli both grew up in North Jersey, she in East Orange and he in Rutherford, but it was the Jersey Shore that brought them together. It was the summer of 1985. Mike was a young attorney just two years out of Seton Hall Law School and Kate worked as a radiologic technologist at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair. “We had mutual friends who decided that we should be together, so they invited us to go out with them,” Kate explained. “We met at The Osprey in Manasquan.” The evening went well and Kate and Mike even enjoyed a slow dance together, but Kate wasn’t sure if anything would come of the blind date. Mike hadn’t asked for her phone number.

Kate and Mike Urciuoli were wed on Dec. 3, 1988

“I thought he might be a little resistant to see me again because he knew I was just ending another relationship,” she said. At the time, Mike was vacationing with some old college buddies in a rented house at the shore. When he returned home, he decided to try to connect with Kate. “I knew she worked at Mountainside, so I called there and asked for her,” Mike said. Kate was flabbergasted and excited that Mike had tracked her down at work. February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


“He invited me to a Don Henley concert at the Garden State Arts Center (now the PNC Bank Arts Center),” she said. “My coworkers hated my old boyfriend and they were so impressed that Mike called me at work. They said I just had to go out with him.” Kate listened to her colleagues and went to the concert with Mike. “We hit it off right away,” she said. “We liked the same music, we both liked going to the beach, and he always made me laugh.” A little more than three years later, the two were wed on Dec. 3, 1988. Kate moved into Mike’s condo in Montclair, where the couple lived until moving into the home in Clifton they purchased the following July. Later that summer, their son Michael was born. Although Kate and Mike certainly planned to have children together, they weren’t expecting it to happen that quickly. In fact, they had planned a trip to Italy for their first summer together before learning that Kate was pregnant. “I think I cried for about a month,” Kate said. “But then I realized that we just had to roll with it and it all worked out.” Kate took a short maternity and child care leave before returning to her job at the hospital.


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Mike Jr (CHS 2002) who now attends Notre Dame and Emily who will graduate CHS this year.

Fortunately, her mother and Mike’s mother lived nearby and the two grandmothers alternated coming to the couple’s home to take care of Michael until Kate or Mike came home from work. “Having family around to help out really took the strain off,” Mike said. Three years after Michael was born, the Urciuoli’s daughter Emily came along. At that point, Kate’s mother was moving to South Jersey, so the couple decided that Kate would leave her full-time job for a part-time per diem arrangement. She stayed home with the kids during the week, and Mike took over child care duties when she worked on the weekends. “He became very good at parenting,” Kate recalled of Mike’s weekend role. As the kids grew and started school, Kate became active in the home & school associations at School 5 and Woodrow Wilson Middle School as well as Emily’s gymnastics and dancing school activities. Meanwhile, Mike got involved as a baseball coach and eventually as president of Western Division Little League, and he kept abreast of the happenings at the Board of Education. The couple agreed that it’s what many moms and dads do. “Our friends and social life pretty much revolved around the schools and activities that our kids were involved in,” Mike said. “But it always kept us focused on the family and doing good things for the community.”

Like many parents with different age kids in multiple activities, Kate and Mike often found themselves going off in separate directions, but they always knew that they could count on each other for help. “When I was a class mother and needed another chaperone for a class trip, I would ask Mike to come along,” Kate said. “And, when Mike needed someone to work the clubhouse at the Little League field, he always knew I would do it.” With the thought of college tuition for two children on the horizon, Kate returned to work full time when Emily was in eighth grade and Michael was a junior at Clifton High School. Later that same year, Mike was elected to a threeyear term on the Clifton Board of Education, serving as president during the final year. His unsuccessful bid for a second term last April was met with both disappointment and relief, the latter especially from Kate, who said she didn’t enjoy watching the contentious atmosphere of Board meetings. Mike said he misses the opportunity to continue to help strengthen and improve the school district, but he doesn’t miss the politics of it all. With their son away at college at the University of Notre Dame and daughter Emily now a senior at CHS and headed to Yale University in the fall, Kate and Mike will soon become “empty nesters.”

“I know I’m going to be devastated when my daughter leaves, but I’m looking forward to filling the time with other things,” Mike said. The couple said they are excited about the idea of traveling to places they have never been to before (perhaps that trip to Italy is on the itinerary) and to the freedom to take vacations at off-peak times of the year, which is difficult to do when you have school-age kids. They also expect to make frequent trips to the Yale campus in New Haven, Connecticut, to watch Emily, a CHS and Passaic County record holder as well as a state champion pole vaulter, continue her athletic career. Although their lives were hectic at times while their kids were growing up, Kate and Mike have no regrets about they way things have turned out for their family. Their son Michael is now in his junior year at Notre Dame and planning a career in finance. And daughter Emily, who has had an outstanding career as a studentathlete at Clifton High School, is looking towards majoring in international relations at Yale, and possibly following in her father’s footsteps into a career in law. Asked what advice they would give young couples who want to enjoy a happy marriage and life together, Kate and Mike had three recommendations: stay focused on the family, don’t live beyond your means and get involved in the community. They would know best, it’s the life they have led.

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


The Best for the Kids

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Their Struggle to Raise an American Family began in Peru

Jorge & Ada on June 27, 1982. The City of Clifton is accepting applications without regard to race, color sex or ethnic origin, from residents of Passaic & Essex if you want a job County, for the part time position of School Traffic Guard. Several positions now open. Starting rate $12.92 per hr. Paid Prescription plan after 1 year of service + vacation. Interested individuals may apply at the Personnel Office at Clifton City Hall, 900 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ, 8:30 AM -3:30 PM. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis for this position. City of Clifton is an Equal Opportunity Employer.



February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

For Jorge and Ada Arana, everything that they do is for their kids. The Peruvian immigrants strive to make sure that their children have the best of opportunities, so that they can receive the education they deserve. The Aranas are dedicated to giving them that future. Ada reentered school and worked odd jobs around campus. Jorge worked long hours, at one point holding two jobs to make ends meet. But nothing compares to the length he went to get to the United States so he and his wife could live a better life and provide for their children. The two met back in high school in Peru, and secretly began dating as teenagers. “They tried to keep me away from her, but it didn’t work,” Jorge half-laughed of their early dates. They continued seeing each other after graduating. Jorge went on to work as an electrician, and Ada began studying anthropology at the Catholic University of Peru. Both knew that marriage was in their future. However, Jorge and Ada knew that the future they wanted was only attainable in the United States. Together, in 1980, they applied to come to America at the embassy in Peru. However, despite three separate attempts, Jorge could not secure any kind of legal documentation to allow him to come. Ada secured a one year tourist visa. Unable to get into the States the legal way, Jorge knew his only option would be to cross the Mexican border. The 26 year old left Peru in the summer of 1980 and made his way up to Ecuador. From there, he traveled to Panama and on to Mexico City. From there, it was on to Tijuana , where he anticipated to cross the border into San Diego. But that never happened. “I can make a book about it. It was really painful,” said Jorge. “When I was in Tijuana, I lived like a homeless person. They robbed me, took my suitcase.” The people he entrusted to get him across the border were actually scam artists. They told Jorge that his luggage and goods would be taken in a different vehicle that he never saw again. “Thank God there was a lot of good people there,” he said. Jorge gave most of his money to the traffickers,

who never took him across the border. He credits a bus driver, who would give him food and water at the end of his route, with saving his life. Jorge spent over two weeks wondering around Tijuana before he could finally get in touch with someone across the border. By that time, he had already unsuccessfully tried crossing three times. It was nearly four months since he had heard from Ada. “I was caught by the Mexican patrols. They fired rounds of ammunition at me,” recalled Jorge, who recalled a harrowing crossing attempt through the mountains. “When they say stop or we’ll shoot you, you just run. You’ve come such a long way you don’t want to get sent back. You just run.” While fleeing patrols, Jorge fell and ended up rolling 200 feet down a steep hill. He came to rest at its foot, bloodied and shoeless, and weathered the night in a small cave as patrol searched the grounds during the evening. He stumbled back to Tijuana in the morning and attempted to get into contact with family in America. A couple weeks later, a relative came across the border and buried Jorge in a trunk to smuggle him to America. He spent the early months of 1981 in San Diego before heading to Passaic to meet up with Ada. “I was worrying... just a little bit” said Ada, tongue firmly planted in her cheek. “[While he was attempting to cross] I could only get in touch with him family, but never directly in touch with him. You hear things about the border and what happens there. It’s scary.” By 1982, Jorge and Ada were both settled in Passaic. He worked as a bus boy at Bartolo’s Restaurant off of Van Houten Ave. near the Clifton-Passaic border, and Ada worked for a short time at a warehouse in Passaic before joining the restaurant as a baker. After several months, the couple had saved enough money for marriage. “We didn’t do a big wedding,” said Ada. “It was family, friends, people from the restaurant. It was very nice. Everyone helped us and made things so nice.” Just two years after tying the knot, the Aranas had their first child, Andres, in 1984. Their second son, Sammy, followed just two years later. Now, the quest for a better life wasn’t just about Jorge and Ada. It was about giving their children the best opportunities possible. “Once you have kids, nothing else matters,” said Jorge. The couple also has a third son, Jose.

From left, Samuel, Andres, Jose with Jorge and Ada.

Ada continued working at the restaurant for several years before leaving to take classes at Passaic County Community College. George, while still working at the restaurant as a bus boy and waiter, picked up a job at a printing company so that he could get health benefits for his family. Until Ada’s graduation from Rutgers in 1997, the couple’s time together was limited. When he was free, Ada was studying. When school wasn’t consuming her time, Jorge was catching up on rest so he could get through a long day of work. “I think it makes you stronger,” Ada said of the challenges a couple faces in raising a family. The stress would occasionally cause tension between the two, but Jorge said that such altercations are a part of any relationship. “We’d be lying if we said that we didn’t have fights,” he said. “We disagree, but that doesn’t mean you don’t understand.” Eventually, the Aranas had tangible results for their sacrifices. In 1999, Ada was hired as a Spanish teacher in Ridgewood, a position she still holds today. With two stable incomes, the couple was able to afford their first home in Lakeview that same year. The Aranas continued working hard and saving money for their children’s education. “We didn’t put limits on what we gave them,” said Jorge. Jose currently attends Sacred Heart School. His brothers both attended different Catholic schools for a number of years to receive a better education and to learn about their religion. Jorge and Ada worked to pay the expensive tuition. “A lot of people say there’s no more American Dream,” said Jorge. “But for us, it happened.” February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


It Started with a Jersey

Story by Irene Jarosewich

Once You Shop Meltzer, You’ll Go Nowhere Else Sir! Lisa DeGregory had no clue of how prophetic that marketing slogan of Meltzer’s, the landmark sporting goods store on Outwater Lane in Garfield, would be for her as she went shopping there one evening in 1978. Working the store then was Billy Meltzer, the third generation of the Meltzer family to do so. Lisa was with E. F. Hutton and had come to Meltzer’s to order sports jerseys for the employee team. Billy took the order. He liked Lisa, liked their dynamic, and thought she was vivacious and pretty. “Very pretty,” he underscored recently with a quiet grin, adding softly: “Still is.” So he decided to call Lisa, offered to take her out to dinner to thank her for brining E.F. Hutton’s business to Meltzer’s. Lisa, however, was studying for her broker’s exam and didn’t want to be distracted. She said no. Undeterred Billy tried again, telling her that she had to eat sometime, might as well be with him. “What can I say?” he recalled and shrugged, “I liked her. I had to think of something.” Billy took her out to dinner at the Binghamton Ferry Boat Restaurant in Edgewater. And three years ago, it’s where the couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. The choice of restaurant, a renovated, dry-docked ferryboat on the Hudson that once sailed between Manhattan and Hoboken, reflects the pair’s inclination for history and tradition. Lisa grew up Italian in Lodi, and Billy was raised in a Jewish family 14

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Lisa DeGregory with Billy Meltzer on June 6th, 1981

in Garfield. “And while we were raised with different symbols, the values are the same,” offered Billy. “Traditional values. We were raised that you work hard and good things will come. And to us, good things have come. We were both raised with the importance of hard work and family.” “Absolutely,” said Lisa, “Family. From the moment they were born, the kids knew that Sunday was grandmother’s day, the grandmother’s would come over, just like when I grew up. I put a pot of sauce on the stove, the kids were home, the day was for family.” One of the good things that has come to the Meltzers is their three children: Ryan, 25, Jamie, 27 and Ian, 22. While Lisa was brought up Catholic, she converted to Judaism so that the children would be raised in the same faith. And while Lisa and Billy grew up in nearby towns, the Meltzer children were born and raised in Clifton. Billy spent a lot of time in Clifton while he was growing up. It was close to the store in Garfield and Billy remembers riding his bicycle across the bridge and around Clifton and Passaic, attending activities at the YM-YWHA or just scooting through the neighborhoods. Lisa and Billy were married in Clifton on June 6, 1981, in the backyard of their first house on Mountainview Drive.

The Meltzer family in a June 2009 photo, from left: Ryan, Lisa, Billy, Jamie and Ian.

Later, to accommodate their growing family, they moved to Rosemawr. For the Meltzers, Clifton has always had the feeling of a small town inside of a big one. Consider the high school. The size can be overwhelming, but the school also offers children many choices. “All of ours attended Clifton High,” said Lisa, “and the

good thing about Clifton is that it has options. You find your niche and it holds you. For Ryan it was track, Jamie was the editor of the yearbook in 2000 and Ian did ice hockey.” And, note both Billy and Lisa, their children all received a good education at CHS – Ryan, now a civil engineer in Manhattan, graduated Syracuse University; Jamie, an operations associate for a charter school in Brooklyn, got her degree from George Washington University in Washington DC and Ian, who began a media production company this year, completed Hofstra. “Clifton,” continued Lisa, “is a network of friends for our family …a network of friends that have also become family.” WEEKEND SPECIAL



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February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

80 15

The Meltzers believe in developing strong bonds not only with family and friends, but with the community. And that means deep roots. And that means the store. Sam and Jennie Meltzer, immigrants from Russia, came to Garfield via New York City. In 1914 they opened a general store on Outwater Lane, S. Meltzer and Sons, to serve the factory workers living and working along the Passaic River. Billy remembers as a child spending the night at his grandparent’s apartment above the store, the same space that now houses his office. Sam and Jennie’s two sons, Izzy, Billy’s father, and his uncle James took over the store and now it’s Billy’s. In four years, notes Billy, the store will have been in business for 100 years in the same location. “We’re the oldest store in Garfield. We built the business on service. This was my father’s influence,” he


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

said. “When I went to Monmouth University, people used to ask me ‘if you’re going to run a business, why don’t you study business?’ I didn’t need to study business. Everything I needed to know, I learned from my father.” “Meltzer’s Sporting Goods — we’re an old-fashioned mom-and-pop in the modern age,” said Lisa. It’s the kind of place where generations of friends and neighbors have shopped. Billy and Lisa understand the trial and tribulations of running a small business in today’s world. That’s why, noted Billy, the family supports other small businesses, in particular, supporting those with excellent customer service. “We’re loyal. We eat and shop local,” he said. Over the decades, the store has adapted to survive. Billy’s father Izzy, who coined the unique Meltzer slogan, expanded and changed the focus from a general store to sporting goods, with an emphasis on hunting and fishing. Billy, in order to compete with large box stores, continues to emphasize customer service, and focuses on value, providing high quality at a good price, making the effort to track down and order specialty items. “Our customers, our employees, this business are also like family,” said Lisa, “and all of this has been built on respect.” The store has given four generations of Meltzers a good life. Billy’s goal is to get to 100 years, and then he’ll see. He’s not ready yet to retire, and he and Lisa are glad to be working together. “Lisa and I don’t argue,” said Billy, “never did. People mostly argue about money and raising children. We’ve had good fortune with money and never argued once about raising children. Our core values are the same and that is what has kept us together. We hit is off right away and we’re still in love.” As for Lisa, she still has the original jersey that Billy ordered. Just as Izzy Meltzer predicted, once Lisa shopped Meltzer, she went nowhere else!

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Bertelli’s Liquors Wine, Liquor, Spirits & Love Potions February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy Helps Heal Injuries, Avoid Surgeries From your feet up, PRP injections are becoming a more common and popular treatment solution for chronic musculoskeletal conditions. Thomas Graziano, MD, DPM, FACFAS, is offering an innovative injury treatment called Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, which uses the patient’s own blood for healing. PRP relieves pain by promoting true healing of musculoskeletal conditions such as plantar fasciosis and Achilles tendonitis/tendonosis. “After a repetitive stress or soft tissue injury, it’s normal for the body to increase blood flow to the injured area and send cells to clean up damaged tissues and initiate the healing process, “ said Graziano. “The goal of PRP injections is to intensify your body’s efforts by deliv-

ering high concentrations of platelets to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.” To create PRP therapy, a sample of blood is drawn and placed into a centrifuge which separates the platelets from the rest of your blood. “The concentrated PRP is then injected into and around the point of injury, jump-starting and significantly strengthening your body’s natural healing response,” said Dr. Graziano. Because the patient’s own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection, he continued. PRP therapy is less risky and more effective than cortisone injections, which actually blocks the healing process. The procedure takes about one hour including time to spin your blood in the centrifuge. Performed safely in Dr. Graziano’s office or in an out-patient setting, PRP therapy relieves pain and heals the injury without the risks of surgery, general anesthesia, or hospital stays, and without prolonged recovery time. In fact, most patients return to their jobs or usual activities right after their PRP treatment. In a study of 140 patients with chronic elbow tendonitis who were considering surgery, the patients with PRP injections had a 60% improvement at 8 weeks and an 81% improvement at 6 months. Results for lower extremity conditions such as plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonosis have been encouraging—and that’s good news for active adults such as runners who want to get back on the road quickly. For more information, call Dr. Graziano at 973-473-3344 or visit 18

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Schedule your surgery at Clifton Surgery Center. We are a three room state of the art, physician owned facility. We are smaller and more service oriented than hospitals. Patients and their families benefit from the convenience and lower cost. PODIATRY Thomas Graziano, DPM, MD 1033 Clifton, Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-473-3344 Jeffrey Miller, DPM Eugene A. Batelli, DPM 1117 Route 46 East, 2nd Floor Clifton, NJ 07013 973-365-2208

Call your physician about scheduling your surgery at Clifton Surgery Center. Anas Khoury, DPM 235 Main Ave. Passaic, NJ 07066 973-473-6665


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

Zina Cappiello, DPM 886 Pompton Ave, Suite A-1 Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 973-857-1184


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

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

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

Glenn Haber, DPM 140 Grand Ave. Englewood, NJ 07631 201-569-0212

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

John Mc Evoy, DPM 152 Lakeview Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-340-8970

Binod Sinha, MD 1117 Route 46 East, 2nd Floor Clifton, NJ 07013 973-777-5444

Kevin Healey, DPM 152 Lakeview Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-340-8970 Matthew Welch, DPM 6506 Park Ave. West New York, NJ 07093 201-662-1122

Todd Koppel, MD 721 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-473-5752

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

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

GENERAL SURGERY Kevin Buckley, MD 1100 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-778-0100

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



Piotr Huskowski, MD 1070 Clifton Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 973-778-7882

Henry Balzani, MD 1117 Route 46 East, 2nd Floor Clifton, NJ 07013 973-777-5819

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

Meet some of our Physicians...

Dr. Ramon Silen

Dr. Eugene A. Batelli, DPM

Dr. Kazimierz M. Szczech

Dr. Jeffrey Miller, DPM

General Surgery


Pain Management


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Secret to Sixty Years?

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Easy. Plan on Spending the Rest of Your Lives Together. Ron Watterston has a tip for any young guys with their eyes set on a woman: don’t hesitate. “If you’re interested in somebody, you go right up and do it,” he laughed. That’s exactly the method he used to attract the attention of his future wife, Barbara, at the Presbyterian Church in Passaic back in the summer of 1949. Just prior to the start of mass, he spotted her and made sure to pick a seat nearby. “I was in the balcony in the church and I saw him coming right up the stairs,” she said. “After church, we started talking and he asked me to come to the church picnic.” More than 60 years later, the couple is still together, happy as ever. “We went out for three years,” said Ron, “I waited on her to graduate and I married her.” “We planned from the time we were young teens to spend the rest of our lives together,” added Barbara who graduated CHS in 1952. “I guess that’s just the way it went.” That’s the way the plan goes for many young couples, but so few—especially those from today’s generation—ever make it as far as the Watterstons. It takes more than just deciding to get married. “When you’re married young, the initial thrust of your marriage is to support your family an see that they’re comfortable, have a roof over their heads and all that good stuff,” said Ron, who attended Passaic High School. “That was our theory: somebody raised the kids and somebody did the work ethic.” Early on in their marriage, the Watterstons faced a situation that pulled them closer than ever. Barbara came down with Asian flu, which eventually attacked her kidneys and forced them to shut down, incapacitating her. Ron had to juggle his job as a quality management supervisor at a factor with parental responsibilities at home. “He had the trial of taking care of it all and handled it very well,” laughed Barbara. “I don’t know if I could have done it very easily without working.” Not to say that it wasn’t difficult at times. Barbara recalled a humorous memory, when Ron brought their daughters to visit mom in the hospital on Easter and the girls’ dresses were extremely long. 20

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Ron and Barbara Watterston married on June 18, 1952. Below, with their girls, Valerie and Lynn, circa 1970.

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


“What does the father know about that?” laughed Ron. Unfortunately, during her illness, most days weren’t filled with humorous little instances like that. Barbara languished in bed for over a year, since dialysis had yet to become a mainstream treatment offered to the general public. Even if it would have been five or ten years in the hospital, Ron would have been there every step of the way, working, taking care of Barbara and raising the kids. “I don’t know if there’s anyone in the world that doesn’t have that kind of experience in them,” he said. “And this is where you fall back on the values and the morals.” For the Watterstons, that means relying on their faith, an important part of the relationship which continued to be a pillar in their marriage long after Barbara’s life threatening ailments were cured. “We’re active in the Allwood Community Church for over 40 years,” said Ron. “We’ve been youth advisors, Sunday school teachers and done all the things to help other people as well as your own. That’s a good ingredient to have in any marriage, a set of spiritual values that you’re grounded with.” The Watterston's secret to marriage begins with healthy spiritual values coupled with a close family.

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“In a world where 50 percent of the marriages don’t last, you have to look at it and say they lost one of the main ingredients,” said Ron. “We always had a close family life... our kids, our parents. We have a group of friends. Our grandkids grew up with us. It’s a wonderful thing to grow up with your family.” When their children were younger, the Watterstons bonded with many camping adventures. Some of the most memorable were the cross country trips, in which the family hit all of the lower 48 states. “Every state has its own beauty,” said Barbara. “We have a beautiful country.” Eventually, when the kids got older, Barbara and Ron visited Hawaii and Alaska on their own. “It was the greatest flight we ever took,” said Barbara of a memorable ride across the Alaskan tundra in an old, propeller driven plane. “They took it close over the ground and you could see the wildlife. We were 1,000 feet of the ground in a plane that flew 100 miles per hour.” Sailing is another passion that Ron and Barbara began together and eventually passed off to their family members. “We used to rent a rowboat on Greenwood Lake when we were dating,” said Barbara. “We went on to canoes and then went on to sailboats. We had one for 30 something years.” “I didn’t know a thing about sailing,” admitted Ron. “The other half of the team said I’m going to buy you sailing lessons.” It’s a hobby that the Watterston's two children and five grandchildren have taken up. The family values and faith that help sustain their marriage permeate throughout their bloodline. “I think the mortar of a relationship is just that,” he continued. “You have to have an understanding of what makes you go.”

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Beyond her marriage and family, Barbara Watterston has had a life long love for beautifying Clifton. And for her contributions, she will receive the 2010 Clifton Optimist Club’s Community Service Award. She and others (see page 65) will be feted at a dinner on May 2 at 4 pm at the Clifton Recreation Center, 1232 Main Ave. Tickets are $32.50 and can be purchased by calling Clifton Optimist Club members Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400 or Ted Munley at 973-473-2200, ext. 112. Watterston has been involved in keeping the city’s landscape clean and green for decades. In 1968 she was on the committee charged with restoring Botany Village by creating a Victorian village theme. The project was visited in 1970 by George Romney, then the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who called the historic restoration the best use of urban renewal funds he had ever seen.

She has also been a member of the Clifton Beautification Committee since its inception in 1990 and is responsible for the work done to the City Hall campus, including the creation of the Sculpture Gardens as

well as soliciting funds and arranging for volunteer efforts. Watterston also served on the Library Board from 1981-1986, has been a member of the Allwood Civic Assoc. and active in the Allwood Church.

Back in Feb. 25, 1969, looking over plans for the Botany Village urban renewal project are members of the project’s architectural advisory committee. Left to right are Edward Kwolek, Mrs. Joseph Sura, William Houthuysen, project architect, and Mrs. Ronald Watterston.

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant



February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Keeping Bliss in the Marriage They Still Dance the Night Away on Allwood Road Story by Joe Hawrylko For Vijay and Joyti Bhatia, love is an adventure. New experiences are what keep things fresh. “Every three to four years, we add new things to life,” said Vijay. “First, we moved to America. Four years later, we had our first child. Four years later, we bought our house. Then, four years later, I started my business.” Staying youthful and trying new things is what keeps these two going. “We like to go to Bliss. We like to go to nightclubs,” said Joyti, who has studied Indian classical dance for over 20 years. She hopes their next adventure is opening a dance studio. The two first met nearly two decades ago as university students in Bombay, which is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. Now called Mumbai, it is the most populous city in India, one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of about 14 million. “I got to know her in the last year of college,” said Vijay. That was back in 1989 at Mumbai University, where he was studying business. “We met at a rock concert. Europe [the band]; you know, The Final Countdown?” He had seen Joyti around campus and knew her through friends, but never actually spoke with her at length. But Vijay finally got to speak with the girl he had his eyes on, and the two began seeing each other regularly. However, at that time in India, dating wasn’t necessarily a precursor to a lifetime together. Arraigned marriages were still common in the country, even in the liberal Sindi sect of Hinduism that both Vijay and Joyti adhere to. “Boys were trying to break out of it,” said Vijay of the traditional customs, whose two sisters were wed in arraigned marriages. “And the girl is a brave girl. But because her parents and my parents were educated, it made it easy to see each other. We’re the youngest in both families. Our parents had seen it all.”

“I told my mom that I’m going to make my own mistakes,” laughed Joyti. With the blessing of their parents, Vijay and Joyti dated regularly, often heading to one of Mumbai’s many beaches. Eventually, the couple decided to wed in 1994. February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


“We had close to 1,000 people,” said Vijay, referring to the reception. “We invited friends and family. There was no seating arraignments. It was buffet style. We were on stage for our marriage.” Not long after, Vijay helped Joyti apply for a green card so that they could enter the United States. “We have a lot to fall back on in Mumbai. It’s like an adventure,” said Vijay, who had a green card from a previous visit in 1988. The process requires a several month wait for nonstudents. “We have the skillsets to be in America, so why not give it a shot in the biggest, most prosperous independent country in the world?” Vijay and Joyti Bhatia in their Allwood home with their daughter Ashna a CHS freshman and Anish, who attends School 9 Brighton Rd.


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

“It was very clear cut,” he continued. “If she didn’t want to go, I wasn’t going to go.” Vijay, who was working in marketing for a jewelry company, took a job in United States with the same business. Joyti entered the IT field and the two worked their way towards the American Dream. However, the ascension towards that dream was not always smooth. In 2000, Vijay was laid off, and for a short time, was out of work. He entered school at Chubb Institute for web design to try to capitalize on the growing field. However, the 911 attacks decimated that market, and Vijay was still without a job. “It was stressful, but she was a stabilizing factor,” said Vijay, who eventually opened his own jewelry business, Tri Jewels, in 2002. “Any relationship is maintaining when the expenses are less than the income.” The transition period between jobs and starting his own business put a strain on Vijay, but he always went back to his wife for support. “If she believes in something, it motivates me,” he said. That reliance on each other is the basis for their relationship. Decisions are made together, like when the Bhatias became compassionate vegetarians some 15 years ago. “You just cook [vegetarian food] more,” said Joyti. “In India, we don’t eat meat everyday. I felt like doing it, but he made me believe. Even if it’s not the same interest, you support each other.” That reliance on one another is even more important during tragedy. “He lost his his dad though he gave us our blessing, it was my job to stand by him,” said Joyti. “Now, when I lost my dad, he’s by my side.” Last year, when Joyti’s father was sick, she traveled to India to be by his side. Vijay said he would be unable to make it because of his work schedule. However, secretly, he had organized a trip to arrive in India during the middle of the night. Vijay had his nieces and nephews wake Joyti to surprise her. But, like any couple, there are arguments. The Bhatias say the secret is to make sure that they end as soon as they start. Above all, it might be the most important thing to a healthy marriage. “We never let our differences go to the next morning,” said Vijay. “We never sleep without settling a fight.” February 2010 • Clifton Merchant



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February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Bond Made with Heavy Metal At a Face Down Dead Concert at Clash Bar, He Proposed Story by Carolyn Maso Love is not something that can be forced or searched for. Sometimes love is simply an unavoidable moment when two unsuspecting people cross paths. For one newlywed couple, this path landed right in their hometown: Thomas Kieffer, 28, and Laura Maso, 30, are full-bred Cliftonites, who were married on Sept. 27. Before meeting, the two shared all the same friends and hung out at all the same hotspots without ever crossing paths. Never did either of them expect to find love around the corner, but in summer 2006 the couple was set up by their best friends. Unfortunately, Laura was on her way out of Clifton, with plans of moving to North Carolina. Yet after meeting Tom she said she was reminded of all the reasons why she loved living in this town. “We had been around each other our whole lives and had so much in common,” Laura said. Tom agreed and said he could not believe how long it took for him to finally run into Laura. “After we met each other we realized that we had mutual friends for many years, all in Clifton,” Tom said. Laura and Tom’s first date was shared over watching their favorite horror film, Sleep Away Camp. “That movie was really a big part of our relationship,” Tom said as he lifted his sleeve to show the Sleep Away Camp tattoo that Laura had bought for him as a gift. After dating for over four years, Tom said he was ready to propose to Laura. “I wanted to make it fun and sick and not boring. I wanted a lot of people to be there, like everyone we know,” he said. Tom made the proposal by getting up on stage at the Clash Bar on Harding Ave. during their favorite band, Face Down Dead’s, concert. After getting over the fact that he was not joking around, Laura, in complete surprise, said “yes.” This past September, the couple was married on the beach of Long Branch with friends and family, mostly from Clifton. Tom is proud to say that his family has lived in Clifton since his grandfather moved there. He did his schooling in Clifton, (CHS 1999) where he enjoyed playing lacrosse. He started his own metal band, Dripping, after school with some friends, where he played the guitar. A few years later, Tom, who grew up on Arthur St. in

Botany Village, went on to work for Nash Distributors where he started as a merchandiser. He now has moved up to become a merchandising supervisor where he oversees his own department for the company. “I extremely enjoy what I do now,” Tom said. Laura, who graduated from Heritage Christian Academy in Garfield in 1999, has also shared a history in Clifton. Growing up on Mountainview Dr., she remembers hanging out with friends in Brunos, Breakers and The Hot Grill—still a personal favorite for the couple. “I loved Clifton, I had all my friends on my street, I went to school with all my cousins and my sister, my grandparents lived in Clifton and everyone was a part of my life,” Laura said. After graduating from Felician College with a bachelor’s degree in marketing management, Laura became a licensed real estate agent. The newlyweds now own a house in Clifton on Trimble Ave. (just down the block from The Hot February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Grill) where they live with two dogs and two cats. With a long history in their shared passion for rock and metal, Laura and Tom enjoy going to concerts and hanging out with their friends in local taverns such as Dingo’s Den and Dingbatz on Van Houten Ave. “I always searched for this guy I had everything in common with who was in a band, and the first thing my mom said to me was ‘wow you found a boy that likes heavy metal and he’s nice,’” Laura said jokingly. Besides their love for music, Laura and Tom also share a liking for ‘ink’. On their honeymoon they decided to each get a tattoo of a koi fish, a sign of good luck, to represent their relationship. “He’s really perfect, I’m so happy with him,” Laura said of her soulmate. Both agreed they were happy and comfortable living in Clifton together because of how everything they love and find important to them is nearby. “All of our friends are literally three blocks away so we have a really tight-knit group where we all get along great and our family is close,” Tom said. “We got a lot of mom and pop stores also where you walk in and know everybody. It’s fun and you don’t have to feel like an outsider. It’s very comfortable.” The couple said they absolutely want to have kids together in the near future. When asked how they would


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Laura Maso (in 1996) and Thomas Kieffer (pictured in 1999) grew up in Clifton, they didn’t meet until they were young adults. They share a fondness for heavy metal, tattoos, Hot Grill—and a love for their hometown.

set themselves apart from other couples Tom said “We really just don’t fight and we are probably the most drama-free couple I know.” While Laura and Tom’s romance and marriage is not easy to find, they are a true example of how love can easily pass by us unexpectedly. “It’s a huge world out there, I never expected to meet the girl of my dreams so close,” Tom said. Luckily, he did. Right here in Clifton.

Marriage, then Monkey Business Real Life Rags To Riches Story Took Them Globe Trotting Story by Julie Generalli Dominick Rose and Victor Tamburr’s love story had an auspicious beginning. In 1922, Rose was a young Newark teenager on her knees scrubbing the family’s kitchen floor when brother Joe came in with his friend, Victor, and introduced them. Rose took one awestruck look at Victor and said to her mother, “I am going to marry that man.” She was all of 15 but determined to see her beau again. It was the Depression and dancing was an inexpensive pastime, so Rose (Guariglia) purchased tickets to a Halloween Dance and anonymously mailed one to Victor. Chaperones were a must back then, so Rose Vic and Rose Tamburr in China back in the 1960’s. The Tancin Lane had to depend on her brother to take her. couple was married for 67 years. Their granddaughter wrote this story. Hiding behind a mask, she waited until a All did go well after a bit and Rose and Vic built a life lady’s choice dance to tap Victor on his shoulder. He later together and had three children, Owen, Victor Jr. and claimed he knew who she was by her smile and her pearly Genevieve (Generalli), and eventually 13 grandchildren white teeth. The beginning of instant love! and 22 great-grandchildren. By the mid-1930’s, tired of With a strict upbringing, dating was nearly impossible digging ditches for the Works Progress Administration so Rose and Vic would meet on the way to and from (WPA) and born a natural engineer, Vic and his brothers work and were determined to be together. Her pleas to went into the business of making radios. her dad to marry Victor went unheeded. She said plainBy the early 1940’s, Vic invented and patented an indusly, “Then I’ll run away and get married!” Her father trial timing device. The timer was used most famously on replied, “Go ahead and run away,” never believing she June 14, 1949, by Albert II, the first monkey in space in a would do it. But this was all Rose needed to hear. After US– launched V2 rocket. The Rhesus Monkey was trained all, she had her father’s permission, didn’t she? to use the timer, activating certain functions on the space So in 1923, they took a boat up the Hudson River to craft. LIFE Magazine even carried the story with pictures. Newburg, NY and married. Meanwhile, her parents and Vic became a success from that device and other invenbrother Joe were irate and anxious to punish Vic and to tions, allowing him to retire in 1960. He and Rose then find Rose. Vic was 22 and Rose was 16. Intent on makspent many years globe trotting, becoming well known on ing trouble, Joe went to New York and found a police the cruise circuit, visiting most every country in the world. officer and together they found the couple. But when Also in 1960, the Tamburrs moved to 33 Tancin Lane in they presented the marriage license, there was nothing Clifton, living there for over 25 years. Joe could do but turn around and go back to Newark. For Vic’s 62nd birthday in 1973, 56 year old Rose— in a Rose and Vic stayed at a Newburg hotel that first night. blonde wig—jumped out of a cake, since it was no secret that Unfortunately, the bride did not know the facts of life. She thought sleeping with a man meant just that, sleephe had an eye for blondes. The party was hosted by daughter ing! Their room had two single beds which Vic pushed Gen and Ernie Generalli and attended by the Deloras, the together when Rose went into the bathroom to “get ready” Rhodes, the Comperatores and the Fengyas. The Tancin for bed. Seeing this, she became frightened, locked the Lane parties in the 60’s and 70’s are legendary and Rose, who bathroom door and refused to come out. She became ill died in 1996, and Vic, who passed in 1990, are remembered and Vic had to call a doctor to remedy the situation. for their benevolence, a zest for life and a loving spirit. February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Advice from the Veterans

by Tom Hawrylko There’s nothing like trauma to test the strength of a marriage. And Don and Melissa Jaycox had it big back in 1990. “We had just moved into this house and we were in a little over our head. Then Vanessa was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease and Don lost his job,” recalled Melissa, adding that her gall bladder ruptured right around that time, too. “We don’t like to do anything simple.” Vanessa, now 35 and soon expecting her second child, was being shuttled back and forth to Sloan-Kettering in NYC by Melissa. She was also focused on making sure their two boys, Dylan, now 31 and Dustin, now 28, were having a “normal life” during their family’s journey into cancer. Meanwhile Don, who was then and still today is a member of Local 68 Operating Engineers, took on the new role of shopping, cooking and cleaning. He was also there for the kids, coaching and shuttling them to doctors, games, school and practice. Both Don and Melissa were pulling their weight but problems brewed below the surface. “We were growing in two different directions. We weren’t communicating, so we went to counselling,” said Don. And while some may think going to a counselor has a stigma, Don and Melissa said it helped greatly. “In fact, I’m seeing a counselor now because of (the recent death of his) mom. I’d recommend it to anybody—especially any couple.” Don advised those considering counseling to be committed: “You’ve got to not want to lose that other person,” he said. “We never thought any other way. We wanted to make it work.” And obviously that happened. Don and Melissa, their three kids and soon-to-be three grandkids will celebrate the couple’s 38th anniversary on Aug. 25. Chances are, Don might be making dinner. He continues to do the shopping, cooking and cleaning still today, as Melissa has long hours as director of Wee Care Child Center on Maplewood Ave. “I enjoy it. In fact, I used to get recipes from my mom,” said Don. “I bet you don’t hear too many stories of guys getting recipes from their moms, huh?” John & Rose Marie Filippone today and on Nov. 14, 1954 .


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Tolerance is a key to the 55 year marriage of John and Rose Marie Filippone. “You marry and all you see are stars,” John, 82, said recently. “But then you go along in life and you pick up little habits. But we love one another and learn to adapt.” Rose Marie, 74, added this: “First, we were good friends. We also listen to one another. We sacrificed, we’re a team. Tolerance? Yes, I have my little quirks and he has his and we learn to change a bit. But we love one another and it is easy because he is such a good guy. We had such a good run, two wonderful kids and God has been good to us. What I said is what he meant. Whatever we did I think we did it right.”

Respect, teamwork, intuition and frugality are four easy to follow suggestions Rick Paternoster, DDS, offered to newlyweds. “We both worked full-time our entire marriage,” he said, adding that Mary is Bursar at Seton Hall University. “It’s a tough job... long hours, a lot of stress. But we’re a good team and we hold the same things dear to our hearts.” Priority was to be good parents. They continue to be involved with their kids, Maura 23, and Paul 18, much like their parents, he recalled. “We had great role models.” “School, sports, church, back to school nights... we were there. We divided the responsibilities evenly. Mary or I knew when to step up and fill in for the other without being asked. We were intuitive that way. We’re kind of like frick and frack. The more you are married the more you are like each other. We agree on

The Paternosters on May 25, 1985 and last year on their first overseas vacation.

almost everything these days. And most importantly, I’ve always had great respect for Mary.” Conservative in terms of lifestyle, Rick suggested young marrieds should set goals and learn frugality. “Especially early on,” he emphasized. “Keep your goals. You don’t have to have everything right away.

Cynthia and Lou Borbas, above right and inset, were sweethearts in CHS when they graduated in 1969, They have been married since Jan. 19, 1974. They are pictured at the Aug. 23, 2009 marriage of their son Craig to Erin (Whelan).

We were happy about it because we knew where we wanted to be at this point in our lives. Practice delayed gratification.” Last year was the couple’s first overseas trip—to Germany to see Mary’s brother being promoted to a colonel in the US Army. “I think we earned that one,” he concluded.

Absence does make the heart grow fonder, offered Lou Borbas who was married to his CHS Class of 1969 sweetheart Cynthia (Argalas) on Jan. 19, 1974. “My wife and I give each other room and respect our individual space. She has her jobs, I have mine and it all comes together. We love one another and are understanding of each other. And we always work toward a common goal: raising a family, keeping our marriage strong and surviving the ups and downs of the economy. At 36 years together, it seems to have worked and we are reaching what is to many a rare anniversary.” February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


ACCOUNTABILITY Opinion by Joe Hawrylko ensuring that issues that affect citizens are Exactly how much power is in a City properly addressed. Council seat? It seems that no one realPut aside any qualms with federal or state mandates, ly knows until they’re actually up there. There’s no or any other issues outside of the Council’s purview— magic wand to cure what ails Clifton once elected. have your elected officials recognized the issues that Changes don’t happen overnight. Clifton faces in 2010? And, more importantly, have they Limitations abound: municipal contracts, binding taken steps to address those issues in a responsible and arbitration and state mandates make much of the municrealistic manner? ipal budget untouchable. Every vote takes a majority to The photo at the top of the page is of the intersection of pass, further limiting the ability of an individual on the Piaget and Rollins Ave., near the heavily trafficked Rt. 46 seven member elected body. West ramp that was recently re-opened. While access to The power of any given Council member isn’t nearly the highway was shutdown, drivers were cutting down as vast as the average voter would like to believe. The Rollins Ave. to access Rt. 46 via the light at Seventh St. Council doesn’t manage any of Clifton’s municipal servThat changed when Rollins Ave. was converted to a one ices, but they most certainly do have leverage to ensure way street and the DPW placed large slabs of concrete and that residents are satisfied with basic quality of life traffic cones to prevent drivers from going down the road. issues. Walter Hryckowian and his daughter, Ariana, live Under Clifton’s form of government, City Manager right next door to this unsightly roadblock. Not only is Al Greco is essentially the CEO, tasked with running the it ugly to look at, they say it has made the already danday to day operations. That would make the Council gerous intersection more hazardous. After confused something like a board of governors, acting as a check on drivers realize that Rollins Ave. is a one way, they simthe City Manager, with only a simple majority needed to ple go around the block to Grant Ave. remove him from power. “I really don’t know what that’s going to do,” said In essence, those seven elected officials are perched Ariana, a senior at Montclair State University. “There’s atop the chain of command, even if they don’t directly always going to be accidents around the house and control government functions. That means that Council there’s always going to be confusion.” members must have a finger on the pulse of Clifton, 34

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

“People ask me where I live and I tell them by the cones,” said Walter. “It’s embarrassing to live like this.” While this may ultimately affects a small number of residents, it’s quality of life issues like this that are the difference between progressive communities and ones that stagnate and rot away. It’s something to consider as we once again embark on political season in Clifton. As we have in past elections, Clifton Merchant Magazine will provide in-depth coverage of the race. We serve up the tough questions and address real issues facing the city. Interviews are conducted in person or over the phone and cover the past four years while keeping an eye towards the future in an open discussion—no scripted questions or responses. We utilize this method because it produces real, honest answers. That being said, each and every politician is interviewed without bias. Our news coverage is strictly objective, and political profiles fall under that umbrella. Opinions, like the one you’re reading, are clearly labeled. The following pages feature interviews from the five declared incumbents, as well as one challenger. In the coming months, you’ll see more political coverage from us, including interviews with those running for the Board of Education and the rest of the Council candidates.

2010 Clifton Family Super Bowl Party See you at the Boys Club on Sunday, Feb 7 at 5 pm Free Admission but please bring a canned food donation

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Experience Helps

All stories by

Joe Hawrylko

James Anzaldi says being a seasoned politician is a benefit

With the retirement of Gloria Kolodziej, Mayor James Anzaldi’s 28 years on the Council leaves him as the elected board’s longest tenured member by a large margin. He’s been mayor since 1990, and has personally seen Clifton transform from a modestly sized suburban town into one of the largest cities in the state. Although residents voted for change in the 2006 Council election, removing four seasoned incumbents, Anzaldi said that his experience is actually a reason to vote for him. “The Council needs a wide varied number of people. Experience is important, but new ideas are too,” said Anzaldi. “But just because a person is experienced doesn’t mean they’re not going to bring something new. And something that happened 20 years ago might be relevant today. I don’t know what happened in that election. People weren’t happy 36

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

about something, but I can’t pin point an issue,” he continued. “I think some of it had to do with individuals [running]. Some of the voters thought of change. I think, in general, [voters] usually for some new people.” The mayor recently added President of the New Jersey League of Municipalities to his resume. His role in the League gives him unique soapbox to champion issues that affect Clifton. Anzaldi hopes that the league can tackle state mandates that hamper the ability of Councils across the state. Once specific item the League is focusing on are mandates from the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). COAH is a state mandate that requires municipalities to make low rent housing available to certain individuals. If municipalities do not comply, developers can come in and legally challenge to build. Anzaldi criticized the formula that is used to calculate the minimum housing requirement for municipalities. The mayor said that COAH views any land not occupied by a structure as open space. Depending on the mandates coming down from COAH this year, Clifton could be on the hook for over 1,000 units of housing. Anzaldi said that the NJLM also is concerned about binding arbitration, pensions and healthcare costs for municipal employees. Representatives discuss these and other issues, and share experiences that may help other municipalities. “The League, we’re on the cutting edge of what’s going on in the last

four years,” said Anzaldi. He noted that Clifton is currently looking into geo thermal energy at City Hall, based on input from the NJLM. Anzaldi said that his experience and connections with the NJLM have also helped with Clifton’s renown recycling program. He recalled residents who believed that the city should co-mingle glass rather than separate to cut costs, among other ideas. However, the mayor said that he’s conferred with NJLM members and Clifton’s current method is among the most efficient in the state. Anzaldi was quick to note that, despite his experience, he doesn’t have all the answers. “No matter how experienced you are, you never close out the other guy or woman,” he said. Anzaldi carries that belief everywhere, whether it be with a concerned resident or one of his Council colleagues. He believes it’s one of the most important qualities to have for a politician. “I push compromise and consensus. Make sure everyone has a place at the table. I hardly ever bang my fist on the table,” he said. “When you leave the meeting, you’re shaking hands. There’s very few times I have ever seen outbursts at the City Council,” continued Anzaldi. “It happens, but certainly not often.” The mayor believes that the working environment on the Council enabled the elected board to tackle tough issues in the face of the economy. “The Council is definitely able to (continued on page 38)

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


make tough decisions,” said Anzaldi, referencing the layoffs of some 80 municipal employees in early 2009. “If we did that 10 years ago, they would hang us. But your job more than anything, is to protect the taxpayer.” The mayor said that, despite the hardline approach the Council took with the fire fighters, the unions were understandable overall. “Clifton has never been top heavy,” said Anzaldi, adding that layoffs are always a possibility if economic conditions worsen. “Most of our police and fire fighters [salaries] are much lower than other communities. The most difficult part was the people at City Hall that were in jobs that we had to lay off,” he continued. “That wasn’t hard ball, that was necessity. We have to stay strong and be fiscally responsible for the city.” Besides budgetary concerns, Anzaldi said the main issues over the next four years will be quality of life. He said that the current Council has demonstrated the ability to address those problems.


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

He said that the city has appropriately addressed illegal housing, taking a hardline stance against violators and coupling that with diligent residents. Anzaldi said that the Council also has a proven track record of preserving open space. He cited the city’s purchase of Schultheis Farm and said that the Council is committed to leasing it to a farmer. The mayor also said that Athenia Steel, which was purchased in 1999, will finally become a reality this spring after a lengthy inspection by the NJDEP. The Council has approved bids and Anzaldi anticipates ground breaking in the spring. Anzaldi is also eager to begin restructuring meetings in February. Each of the city’s departments will be evaluated to find more efficient ways of operating. The mayor noted how the Council had approved parking enforcement officers after a study revealed that cops were spending a sizable amount of time doing nonpolice work. Anzaldi said that the DPW had already improved before the meetings took place. “Last year, we admitted they didn’t do a proficient job,” he said, referring to the DPW’s snow removal. “A written snow plan was presented and it was fixed.” Anzaldi said he’s attentive to the demands of residents. He understands that the dynamics of Clifton have changed, and he anticipates the findings of the 2010 Census. The mayor believes that, while the population may stagnate, there will be a shift in demographics. He thinks there Clifton will be younger and more ethnically diverse, and it will help the Council plan for the future. “We’ve got to continue our efforts to strengthen the older neighborhoods.” February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Fiscal Reform Time Steve Hatala brings business acumen, seeks workforce efficiency at city hall Steve Hatala said that his soonto-expire Council term was the most difficult out of his 12 years on the elected body. He made tough, unpopular decisions that resulted in controversy, choices that angered tax payers and residents. That’s exactly why Hatala believes voters should elect him to a fourth Council term. “Everyone wants to be popular,” he said. “It’s easy to say yes, but what separates what you’re looking for in an elected official is when you have to say no. Because you have to take a stance on what might not be popular for the best interests of the city.” More specifically, Hatala was referencing the sewer tax, the ordinance that requires tax payers now pay their sewage bill based on usage instead of the assessed value of their homes. Previously, the sewage fee was built into the normal tax bills. The Council voted by a 6 to 1 margin (Mayor James Anzaldi was the dissenting vote) to bill for sewage separately. “A $7 million gap in the budget lead to the sewer fee. Passaic Valley Sewerage charges us $7 million to use their outdated system to run our flow,” explained Hatala. The Council, strapped for funding and looking for areas to make cuts, deliberated some four months, according to the Councilman. To get an immediate fix, the Council had to chose between the tax or cutting services. 40

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

“We’d have to eliminate five to ten police officers, scratch that. We’d have to close fire houses? Nope,” said Hatala. “There’s some questions, is it the fairest way? People can still debate about it... The question is, is it equitable if you put it back? I still got to find $7 million in cuts.” He believes that the public outcry from cut services, which Hatala believes are already not entirely adequate, would have been far greater than the uproar over the tax. Hatala also noted the inherent dangers in cutting police or fire services. That’s why the 2009 layoffs were so difficult. Hatala said that the Council entered negotiations seeking givebacks from the FMBA and when negotiations turned sour, opted to temporarily close Fire House 2. However, Hatala praised the firefighters, as well as other unions, who ultimately reached a fair solution. “When you sit with them and you show them, they are somewhat realistic,” he said. “ To take a zero [percent raise] when everyone else in the state is taking a three and four percent, that says they realize. The size of our town sets a precedent [for binding arbitration].” There were some 80 casualties from layoffs in all departments in City Hall—an avenue he wouldn’t hesitate to go down again if the situation made it necessary. Hatala sees it as the start of changing the way business is operated in Clifton,

as city officials try to eliminate waste. “If you look at day to day budget line items, not taking into account salaries and benefits, day to day, just turning a computer on, you’re spending less than three years ago,” he said. “Clifton or any municipality can’t run how they did ten years ago. The dynamics of the whole situation have changed.” Hatala is one of the main proponents in a restructuring plan which will be sweeping through City Hall over the coming months and has already started at the DPW. Even before the official start of meetings in February, Hatala has already generated some concepts that will be implemented in the near future. “We’re going to hire quality of life officers. It’s one of the proposals coming out of police restructuring,” he said. “They’re going to go around and look at unkempt properties, look at things like garage sale permits.” Hatala said that cops previously spent between 15 and 17 percent of their shifts performing non-police (continued on page 45) talks.

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Clifton, Passaic & WPU Police Departments participating in the 2010 Police Unity Tour. This annual 300 mile bicycle ride leaves NJ on May 8 in an effort to raise awareness of police officers who have died in the line of duty and to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The group must raise $22,000 and asks the community to support the effort by purchasing raffle tickets or sending a donation. To find out more, call Clifton Police Officer John Kavakich at 973-470-5897, or via or call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

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February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Gearing up for the 2010 Police Unity Tour With support from Rob Corujo of Pub 46 and Joey Barcellona of Bliss Lounge, the 2010 Police Unity Tour members have a good start to reaching their $22,000 fundraising goal. On Dec. 10, Pub 46 kicked things off with the first fundraiser. That was followed by the Jan. 22 Cocktails for a Cause at Bliss Lounge. From now until the cyclists begin their 300 mile trek, those going on the tour will be working to raise funds. Want to help out? Buy a raffle to win a TREK bicycle or a Yamaha Quad—see the next page for details. Another party is in the works at Shannon Rose on March 25; details will follow. While the fundraising tends to be fun-filled, the theme of the ride says it all—We Ride For Those Who Have Died. Our mission is to remember every police officer killed in the line of duty, including our brother, Clifton Police Officer John Charles Samra whose end of watch was November 21, 2003. For more on the tour, go to For details on local events go to To help out, purchase tickets or make a donation, call Clifton Police Officer John Kavakich at 973-470-5897 or Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

Thanks to all who have contributed or supported us in any way or amount.

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Clifton Police Chief Robert Ferreri & 2010 Police Unity Tour members at the Bliss Jan 22 fundraiser. 42

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Cyclist Robert Bais Randy Colondres Richard DiBello Brian Fopma Gary Giardina Tom Hawrylko John Kavakich Elena Siery Paul Vinas Motor Escorts Robert Bielsten Derek Fogg Gary Giardina, Sr. Vincent LaRosa Support Team Stephen Berge Kevin Collucci Rocco Locantore Michael McLaughlin Ellen DeSimone Michael Horvath Beth Sparks February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


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Proceeds from these raffles benefit Clifton PBA members who participate in the 2010 Police Unity Tour. This annual 300 mile bicycle ride leaves NJ on May 8 in an effort to raise awareness of police officers who have died in the line of duty and to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The group must raise $22,000 and asks the community to support the effort by purchasing raffle tickets or send a donation. To purchase tickets, call Clifton Police Officer John Kavakich at 973-470-5897, or via e-mail or call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

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We Ride for Those Who Have Died 44

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Municipal Mediator Peter Eagler says he offers a calming influence on the Clifton City Council Peter Eagler is satisfied with his performance on the Council these past four years. “I’d give myself a B, based on the fact that the Council... we had a lot of problems,” he said. Eagler referenced the economy, layoffs, and fiscal items at issues that the Council did not shy away from. “We don’t have people at each other’s throats anymore on the Council.” “The Council is not fighting,” he continued. “Even when they disagree, they still go out for a bite to eat afterwards. I think it’s a good, working Council.” Eagler believes that kind of working environment has allowed the Council to move forward and deal with issues that had polarized the elected body in the past.

“I think the Council continued to move forward with the Athenia Steel property. We’re probably going to break ground this Spring for the soccer fields we desperately need,” he said. The Council is currently in the process of accepting construction bids for the fields. “Everything but the back portion has been approved.” Still, Eagler admits there’s issues he feels that still need to be addressed by the Council. One of his chief concerns is city services, particularly with the DPW. Eagler was critical of snow removal. “When I have to call the DPW six times and they come and do my street, but leave the neighborhood— you can’t just do my street and leave,” said Eagler. “But I think it has

Hatala Cont’d from page 40

for reports, and sometimes it takes three weeks.” Hatala said that they’re also looking into consolidating job descriptions. “As people have retired and we changed functions, we have cross trained people,” he said. “We’re having jobs reformatted to be more general in nature and that gives the CFO more flexibility.” Hatala said that the challenge is finding a way to eliminate jobs but compensate for increased workloads. “You’ve got to be competitive too. With what we were paying, we couldn’t get many people applying [to fill the previously vacant city engineer position],” The Councilman believes that

“That’s 120 hours of patrol time freed up on a weekly basis. It’s essentially three more officers on patrol,” he added. “We wanted to make employees part of the owners in this. If you don’t get them to buy in.... they’re the ones carrying the balls and they’re the ones who know how things work.” Hatala feels that City Hall can also be made much more efficient. “The city has to take a good, hard look at its technology strategy,” he said, noting how City Hall still relies on hand written books instead of computers. He lamented that pool permits and other simple processes must be done in person rather than the internet. “We ask

improved over the last few months, since the first storm in December.” The Councilman attributes that improvement to the restructuring currently going on within the department. “There was a change in leadership. We have an outside consultant at the present time,” said Eagler. “This time, people who know how to do the roads were allowed to do their jobs. The Continued on page 46 the city has emerged relatively unscathed from the recession which had decimated other cities across the nation. He said that Clifton still receives very favorable bond rates due to the ability of the city to keep a modest amount of surplus in the budget and keep ratables in town. At the same time, there are things Hatala wishes he could have done better, and hopes to accomplish that in a second term. “I would have liked to see us do more with quality of life,” he said. “Unfortunately, because of the situations we faced, we had to get off of that for a bit... the little things. People will say things like unkempt homes. I think we could have done a better job on those.” February 2010 • Clifton Merchant



Cont’d from page 45

old guard, over the years, were not letting them do that.” He went on to identify some issues that were eventually resolved by the Council. “We had the big problem with the leaves. People would be throwing out their Christmas trees and there still would be leaves,” said Eagler. “We changed that. Now you have got to bag leaves. Some people don’t like that, but you have to bag and it’s done. We’re not spending the overtime that we spent and they still use the old trucks in Botany Village and other areas of town.” The Councilman noted that quality of life issues might be more readily addressed in a different form of government. Eagler said he has been on the record several times as being in favor of at least exploring the possible options. “I’ve always supported having a forum, maybe having the NJ League of Municipalities come in to explain different forms of government,” said Eagler, who is a proponent of the direct election of the mayor. “Everyone agreed, but some people didn’t follow through. I have no problems reviewing it and getting it on the table.” Eagler is also a proponent of looking into a change at the Board of Education. He believes that it will generate better performance,


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

since hopeful commissioners won’t have to worry about the mud slinging that comes along with the election process. “But it’s not going to happen because people want to vote for the budget,” said Eagler. “If you have an appointed Board, there’s no vote on the budget.” In addition to government change on a municipal level, Eagler would like to see a change for the County, where he served in numerous capacities. He would also consider taking a higher position. “If all the stars were in place, I’d run for higher office again,” said Eagler. However, for the time being, his sole concern is satisfying the residents of Clifton. Among the many things that residents are demanding, Eagler said job opportunity ranks highest, and there’s something the city can do about it. “I think we have to start looking at the NAACP agreement, as it looks to hiring the employees from the city of Clifton,” said Eagler. The agreement allows for municipal employees to work for Clifton, but live outside of the city limits to improve diversity. “I don’t think that was meant to stay in place forever,” he said. “I believe that was to help bring up minorities. I think if someone is living in Clifton, I think they should get cracks at jobs in this economic downturn.”

Eagler would like to sit down with representatives from the NAACP to discuss changes in light of the economic developments. He noted that 2010 is a census year, and those findings could show that the minority presence in Clifton has increased to such a degree that the hiring practices are no longer needed. Eagler would also like to improve on communications with city residents, specifically with issues. “ACTION Clifton was a good start to get involved in the neighborhoods,” said Eagler, who said that he served two years on the Board that was created following the 2006 Council election. He’d also like to see more on the city website. “Maybe we could get a message from the city manager once a month, a newsletter of things coming out, traffic updates.” Improved lines of communication will go a long way to addressing the wants of residents. Eagler said that gloomy forecasts for the city aren’t justified. He believes that residents will see that Clifton is just fine, as long as there is proper guidance in City Hall. “We have to inspire people to believe in Clifton again. People think that our best years are over,” said Eagler. “Yet, we have people who want to move into town, partake in our school system. The Council has to be the cheerleaders for Clifton.”

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Customer Service Matt Ward says skills as a mediator make him an ideal Clifton leader Matt Ward is nearing the end of his first term on the City Council. Now he’s asking voters to validate his choice to seek re-election. Ward believes that his greatest accomplishment in his tenure has been his ability to satisfy the quality of life concerns of Clifton residents. “The number one thing would probably be the attention to citizen issues,” said Ward. “I’m approachable. I consider myself to apply the standards of fairness and common sense. I think, what would I do if I was in their shoes.” Sometimes his role is as simple as solving a argument between neighbors over a barking dog. Other issues may be more complex, like when Ward had to resolve a

dispute involving business owners near Park Slope, who were upset that the Cerebral Palsy Center buses were using roads as a drive through. “I raised this issue at a meeting: Do you see the same Clifton that [residents] see?” said Ward. “And I think I do. And that’s what it boils down to. That’s how I view my role: it’s a customer service business.” “Why do you think there was a raucous over the snow removal?” he continued. “We’re cleaning snow here, it’s not putting a man on the next space shot to Mars. If we don’t meet that, we’re accountable. I’m just as accountable as someone there would be.”

And Ward wants to be held accountable by voters, just as they held the previous Council accountable in 2006. Ward, who actually placed eighth in that race, was officially elected in a November 2007 runoff election. Prior to that, he was appointed as the interim Councilman, after Antonio Latona resigned shortly after taking the

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oath of office in July 2006 due to a conflict of interest between his elected position and his paid job as a Clifton Fireman. “I don’t think the previous Council was credible. They didn’t deal with reality in 2006 and clearly, that bore itself out,” said Ward. “For right or wrong, the body of public makes that call and they’ll make that call in May of this year. I would think that I’m much more in touch than the people that were formally there,” he continued. “If people don’t see that difference, they clearly have not identified what the differences are or honestly, people aren’t paying attention.” Even before being elected, Ward has been vocal about the need to acknowledge Clifton’s diversity. He has noted the unique challenges facing the more urban east side and the growing minority presence. Ward’s 2006 campaign was largely built on a move to change Clifton’s government to better represent the city’s changing demographics. However, during his term, Ward was never able to get a serious discussion about changing the government on the table. “I don’t really think there is support with certain members of the Council. I have to convince three other people at minimum that this issue has legs,” said Ward, who said he would not run as a part of a ticket to push for such change. “I never put a timeline. This isn’t going to happen in three years. It’s about putting an idea. [prior to his 2006 campaign] there was never an article in the Merchant or other pubs talking about it. Ideas have to start out from some place.” “I think people may have voted for me because they wanted someone more up front and honest about

the problems we were facing,” said Ward, in regards to his 2006 campaign which largely focused on changing Clifton’s government. “I don’t know if that was the sole reason, to change it, to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.” Ward believes that Clifton voters will only consider a change if there was visible corruption or some type of glaring issue that cannot be resolved by the current CouncilCity Manager form of government government. But while he still intends to pursue his plans, Ward places a higher priority on stabilizing the budget, which will likely have less state aid than ever. He said that municipal worker salaries, health care costs and pension contributions are issues that must be addressed, even if unpopular with employees. “It won’t matter who is in the next Council seat, if it’s me or Abe Lincoln,” said Ward. “That doesn’t give me a free pass because I tell you the truth. My eyes are wide open to the reality. They’re not shut. You elect people to make tough decisions and I think I’ve done that.” Ward referenced the layoffs in the beginning of 2009 and the temporary closing of Fire Station 2, which generated much controversy. He said that more difficult choices may be on the horizon. “If we didn’t have to pay the increase from ‘09 to 2010 in health and pension on the municipal side, we would be lower than what it is from the previous year,” said Ward. “There was concessions [in the 2009 negotiations]. We need that spirit. It’s still better to have a job than have no job, and that’s what the average person was and still is facing,” he continued. “Layoffs or

furloughs, you can’t rule it out.” He’s first eager to look for savings anywhere possible, and awaits the findings of Al Dubois, who claimed that up to $1.5 million could be cut from the DPW budget. However, Ward was skeptical of just how much can be slashed from the municipal budget due to contractual obligations and the limited powers of the Council. “We don’t have much control,” he admitted. “I already knew that to be the case, but it was reaffirmed by being there. We really don’t have much unilateral control over these topics and we have to put pressure on legislators. It’s up to the mayor [James Anzaldi] to get this going. He’s now the [President] of the League of Municipalities.” While Ward recognizes that there are municipal hardships still yet ahead, and some things are simply out of the Council’s control, he feels that he’s been able to satisfy the needs of Clifton’s residents. He thinks that voters will recognize that he has identified problems, addressed them and continues to set forth a plan to fix others. “You lost four [Council members] because people feel you’re not in touch,” said Ward, referencing the 2006 Council election. “[The victorious incumbents] don’t interpret the election that way. It’s the four people who got beat, not me. They tossed out four people to send you a message.” “If I’m judged for the failure of getting [a change of government] that’s a fair assessment,” said Ward. “But the other side of the coin is, am I going to be held to the standard of not seeing [Clifton’s issues] clearly?” He paused and continued: “I think people see that I do.” February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Tough, Fair Decisions Frank Fusco’s first term seasoned him; hopes 2010 to be issue-based election When he looks back at his first term on the City Council, Frank Fusco is satisfied with what he’s and his colleagues have accomplished, considering the problems the Council inherited and the economic recession. “I think we did a good job on fiscal responsibility,” he said. “We managed to fix the budget problems and ended the way we used to do business in the past.” “Taxes were kept artificially low by previous councils,” he continued. “When you use surpluses to keep taxes down and have no surplus, when you spend deferred school taxes, when you don’t budget for tax appeals... there was cash flow problems.” The platform for his bid for a second Council term will focus on financial prudence and responsible growth. “Steve (Hatala) and I are spearheading a restructuring of everything, of every department,” said Fusco, 45. “We’re looking for cost savings, better, cheaper ways to provide services. We’re trying to look for positions that are selffunding and generate revenue.” The Department of Public Works, which has been managed by consultant Tom Shannon since April, is one of the programs eyed by Fusco and Hatala for reorganization next month. The Council, Fusco explained, does not handle personnel matters, but has the authority to restructure the table of organization for a specific department. 50

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

That could possibly mean combining or eliminating redundant positions to save money. However, Fusco disputes Recycling Coordinator Alfred DuBois’ claim that restructuring could trim up to six figures from the DPW. “You can’t save $1.5 million. That’s a lot of money,” said Fusco. “This is the first full year of the layoff plan. There’s not many more paper clips and pencils we can get rid of. Our operating cost is lower than it was last year. It’s not going up much.” If it was not for cost cutting measures, Clifton would be in dire straits. In December, state aid was temporarily frozen due to the budget crisis and Clifton nearly lost out on over $230,000. Next year, that money might not even be available. “Trenton has been balancing their budget on the backs of municipalities,” said Fusco. “They’re going to cut spending and stop sending aid. There’s nothing left for the State of New Jersey to tax.” Other recent developments in Trenton will potentially affect Clifton voters in the coming year. In January, the NJ State Legislature passed a bill that gave municipalities that currently hold non-partisan elections in May the option of moving over to the November general election. The move, primarily motivated by a desire to cut election expenses, would allow non-partisan Council elections in the fall.

However, Fusco said he would not vote for the move while serving his current term, since it would keep him in office until November. Even if re-elected, he is inclined to vote against the measure because of the long term repercussions. Once changed, a municipality cannot move the elections for at least 10 years. “It’s going to make these elections much more partisan than they are now,” said Fusco. “I think the last thing you want to do with this job is introduce politics.” The Councilman was also concerned of the expense to challengers, who would have to spend more money campaigning to reach a larger audience. Fusco has been critical of the spending habits of Council candidates since his first unsuccessful bid in for a seat in 2002, and would like to see candidates keep their expenses under $25,000. Fusco learned a lot about Clifton politics in those two bids for a Council seat, and plans to use that experience to his advantage in this race. He plans to only make c a m p a i g n (continued on page 52)

Putting Feet to the Fire Challenger Dave D’Arco wants to see accountability in Clifton Gov’t When Dave D’Arco attends the City Council at its bi-weekly meetings at 900 Clifton Ave., he notices a lot of things. Unhappy residents, longstanding issues that go unresolved and an elected body that lacks any kind of cohesion. Most of all, he sees a lack of leadership. “There’s no one that reaches out to me and says in their mannerisms or anything, come follow me,” explained D’Arco, 36. “I see myself like that. I’m very passionate, but I’m not someone that’s closed minded.” The Allwood resident has entered the 2010 Council Race to ensure that Clifton remains an enjoyable and affordable place to live for residents as the growing city continues to evolve. “When I grew up 34 years ago, you watched generations of families stay here,” said D’Arco. His own bloodline has a history of city service and volunteering, including his uncle, Bobby, a former Board of Ed commissioner. D’Arco, who was president of the local chapter of the ItalianAmerican service organization

UNICO from 2005 to 2009, feels his community experience will be an asset in ensuring that families want to stay here. “It’s losing that feeling,” he said. D’Arco claimed that residents are fleeing the city because of taxes. Finding a way to limit the annual increases will be his chief priority if elected. D’Arco acknowledges that some of the tax burden stems from sources beyond the control of the City Council, such as State and County taxes or contractually obligated raises for municipal workers. But he believes that there are savings which can be found by improving fiscal responsibility and accountability. D’Arco likened the city’s dilemma to that of a professional sports team. A general manager assembles a cast of players, who are directly responsible for the success of a franchise. However, if that group fails to perform, eventually the blame falls back on the person in the office who calls the shots. “It’s like when the Mets fired (manager) Willie Randolph. He’s the guy,” said D’Arco. “Well, who

is that guy? I’m talking about the CEO of the city.” That would be Al Greco, Clifton’s City Manager, said D’Arco. In the current form of government, the mayor’s power is limited to the appointment of boards. Under the watch of the Council, the city manager runs the daily operations. D’Arco cautioned that he isn’t in favor of a strong mayor form of government, as he believes that entrusting a single politician with so much power leads to corruption. Instead, he favors the current system in which the Council has the ability to remove a city manager with a simple majority vote. D’Arco said the elected board’s reluctance to confront Greco about issues is worri(continued on page 52) some.

View The Giblin Report Wednesdays at 7:30 pm, Channel 76

Proud to Represent Clifton Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin 1333 Broad St., Clifton, NJ 07013 office: 973-779-3125

1814 1814 February 2010 • Clifton Merchant



Cont’d from page 50

promises he can keep, and wants to set realistic expectations. In 2006, his platform included focusing on the development of Main Ave. and Botany Village. Fusco has been involved in the SIDs in those neighborhoods, as well as the Lakeview shopping district. Fusco said that committees have been created to acquire more grant money, and Think Tanks and ACTION Clifton allow transparency in the local government, satisfying two of his campaign pledges from 2006.

D’Arco Cont’d from page 51 “If the CEO of the city—who, in my opinion, has not been held accountable to the taxpayers satisfaction—then I believe that the City Council’s duty is to address that,” he said. “I don’t feel that they have.” D’Arco recounted the Ameripay scandal from July, in which Clifton was one of several municipalities that fell victim to a payroll tax scam and lost approximately $900,000. “I didn’t like the response (Greco) had,” said D’Arco. “It seemed like we were in it blindly. ‘Everyone else did it,’—that’s not a feasible excuse for me.” The candidate then went on to air grievances with deteriorating city services, specifically the DPW. Since April, the department has been managed by consultant Tom Shannon, who was tasked with restructuring the organization. D’Arco contends that the lack of a true leader has left residents dealing with poor services. “I was playing tennis a couple of months ago at Ravine Park,” he recalled. “A DPW truck drove right 52

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The only proposals from his 2006 campaign that Fusco said he failed to meet were plans to hire an urban planner and his desire to have a sizable train station hub constructed in Clifton. However, he noted that talks are in the works with New Jersey State officials for a NJ Transit platform off of Rt. 21 in Delawanna. “I don’t have unrealistic expectations. Government is limiting,” explained Fusco of his role on the Council “You don’t have free reign. You have to give and take.” Fusco wants voters to take a long look at the pool of candionto the infield, sat three for 20 or 25 minutes to talk on the cell phone and drove away. He never even got out of the truck. I don’t think there’s enough supervision in the DPW.” D’Arco is encouraged by the claims of Recycling Coordinator Al Dubois, who said that restructuring could shave some $1.5 million off of the DPW budget. However, he would like to see leadership installed at the DPW, and said it’s up to the Council to make sure that Greco sees it through. D’Arco, a Paterson Police Officer for nearly 11 years, also feels that the overall quality of life throughout Clifton could be improved with an added police presence, provided that additional funding for hirings can be realized through savings or grants. “Paterson is a three square miles smaller than Clifton and we have 350 more police officers,” he said. “If I had my way, I’d like to see 50 more (Clifton) officers within the next four years. The police department is very much understaffed.” D’Arco acknowledged that some voters may be hesitant to

dates and consider his experience and accomplishments when selecting Council members. “I would like this election to be issue-based. I want the citizens and voters to look at people who have ideas that are positive. Negativity for the sake of negativity doesn’t work,” he said. “I’m hoping people look at who is qualified and who is not, who is engaged and who is not.” “Do they want to create a Council that’s willing to make tough decisions and work together or create a Council that acts like the Board of Education?” select him because of concerns over how he would vote for police contracts. The Allwood resident says that he’s a Clifton taxpayer first and cop second. “With some people, you’re not going to be able to get our from under that,” he said. “Just because I’m a police officer in another city? Then don’t vote for me.” While he has his own personal opinions about the salary scale for cops and municipal workers, D’Arco reiterated that his responsibility is to the taxpayers of Clifton and not police officers, and that will be reflected in negotiations. “I’ll never tell a cop that he doesn't deserve what a cop five miles from here makes. The state needs to monitor police salaries state wide and institute some kind of legislation where we get close to parity for the municipalities,” said D’Arco. “But the whole four percent (annual raise) equals the actual cost of living is absurd. If (a municipality is) broke, you’re broke... we have to find ways to cut where we can and put excess money where we need it.”

Anzaldi to lead Lady Mustangs


Next month, Sal Anzaldi will take over as head coach of the CHS softball program. We spoke with the 63 yearold retired Clifton principal and teacher, who has spent more than 30 years on both sides of the softball field fence as a parent, coach and fan of the game. Anzaldi discussed his philosophy of coaching, his reasons for taking the position and his plans and dreams for the future of the CHS softball program. Story & Photo by Carol Leonard

ne of the toughest decisions that Sal Anzaldi ever had to make as a softball coach was replacing his starting centerfielder with a new player who, in his judgement, was faster and stronger. It happened about 17 years ago, when Anzaldi was coaching the Clifton Charmers 12-and-under travel team. The player he benched was his youngest daughter Jamie. “She was really mad at me,” Anzaldi said of Jamie. “And, my wife wouldn’t talk to me for a long time. There was a lot of turmoil in my house over that move.” In retrospect, Anzaldi still thinks he did the right thing as a coach and that the decision helped gain him the respect of the other players and the parents. “I wasn’t coaching for my daughter’s benefit,” he said. “I was coaching for the team and it was the right thing to do to help the team.” Although he says she will never admit it, Anzaldi feels that pulling Jamie from the starting lineup helped make her a better player in the long run. “She knew she had to work for it,” he said. Now 28, Jamie was a member along with her older sister, Kim, 29, of the undefeated 1997 and ’98 CHS softball teams that captured back-to-back state and county championships. Jamie went on to star in the pitching circle for Ramapo College, where dad has served as an assistant coach for 10 years. Anzaldi can still remember his first experience as a softball parent when his oldest daughter Lorrie, 39, was just eight years-old and playing with Clifton Northern Division Little League. “The coach asked me to stay away from the behind the backstop,” he said. “She said I was making my daughter nervous. So, I took my cup of coffee and sat out behind the fence in the outfield. It turned out she was right. February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


It was much better for my daughter. She was supposed to be listening to the coach, not to me.” Anzaldi eventually became involved as a softball coach with Northern Division and also helped out with the baseball program when his son Sal, 36, began to play. He also coached the freshman softball team for several years at what was then Christopher Columbus Junior HS, where he taught special education at the time. He has many fond memories of his days coaching with the Charmers softball travel program when Kim and Jamie were growing up. “The first year in 10-and-under we lost 15-0 against Edison in the state ASA (American Softball Association) tournament,” he said. “It was the first time that any of our kids had seen windmill pitching. The next year we beat Edison in the state tournament and we went 7-2 in a national invitational tournament in California.” Anzaldi also has many great memories as a sports parent watching his kids play from the other side of the fence. The most exciting of these, he said, was seeing Kim drive in the winning run in Clifton’s 1998 state sectional championship game against archrival West Milford. He also remembers watching Lorrie pitch a no hitter in a Passaic County Tournament game in 1987, and seeing Sal hit a home run in the Passaic County Tournament baseball championship game in 1991. His proudest moment, he said, came in the Passaic County championship game in 1999 when Jamie, a junior at the time, was in the pitching circle. With a brace on her leg to protect an ACL injury she had suffered in a basketball game as a sophomore, Jamie’s knee locked up and she went down to the ground. When she got up, she hobbled out of the circle toward third base, where then head coach Rick LaDuke asked her if she wanted to come out. “I can remember thinking, what a way to end the season,” Anzaldi said. “Then I saw Jamie ask coach for the ball back.” Jamie returned to the pitching circle, finished the inning and eventually got the win for her team. Anzaldi takes over the softball program from Cara Boseski, who, along with assistant varsity coach Stacy Veech, led the team to its last Group 4 state championship in 2007. Boseski and Veech were teammates of Kim and Jamie Anzaldi on the 1997 state championship team, and both went on to play collegiate softball, Boseski at FDUMadison and Veech at Wagner College. Veech will stay on as Anzaldi’s assistant. A lifelong Clifton resident who continues to live in the same neighborhood where he grew up, Anzaldi said that he took the Clifton job after considering applying for 54

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

another high school coaching opening in a nearby town. “I have a lot of pride in the Clifton program,” he said. Like any coach, Anzaldi dreams of leading his team to a championship season. He particularly would like to see Clifton win the Passaic County Tournament, something the softball team hasn’t accomplished since 2000, in spite of winning three state sectional titles since then and the 2007 Group 4 state championship. “I know where the program has been,” he said, referring to the team’s overwhelming dominance during the 1990s under LaDuke, who is now supervisor of physical education, health and athletics for the school district. That reign included three state championships, 10 Passaic County titles and a 67-game winning streak. Anzaldi plans to work with the Recreation Department, the Little Leagues and the Clifton Midget League to help improve the youth feeders to the high school program. He also hopes to encourage more Clifton girls to play on summer travel softball teams, which offer challenging competition to improve skills. “I want to be able to put a team on the field that is competitive, plays with enthusiasm, hustles and displays knowledge of the game,” Anzaldi said. As an educator and parent, Anzaldi feels that his responsibility as a coach goes beyond just putting together a winning team. He hopes to instill in his players a sense of respect for themselves, for him and for their teammates. “I want them to know the value of hard work,” he said. “Kids have to learn, as Vince Lombardi said, that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” Anzaldi also knows firsthand the importance of motivating and instilling confidence in his players. He can still recall the time he missed a fly ball in right field that tailed away from him and cost the game for his team while playing for American Legion Post 347 as a teenager. “I felt terrible,” he said. “As I was coming off the field, I could see my coach coming towards me. Then he yelled to me, ‘get your head up, you didn’t do anything wrong.’ I’ll never forget that. That coach, Joe Gyorgydeak, did a lot to build my confidence. He and the other coaches, Bill Guman and John Dubansky, were able to motivate players to perform to the best of their abilities.” Tryouts and practice for the CHS softball program start on March 5. On March 19, Anzaldi will travel with the varsity players to Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida, for the team’s annual spring training trip, where they will play eight preseason games against teams from around the country.

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant



Mystery of theClifton Pearl Story by Jack DeVries


n September 3, 1870, Paris was drunk with war and revolution. Shouts of Vive la Republique! boomed from the streets as France prepared to sack the monarchy who had plunged the country into war. Emperor Louis Napoleon Bonaparte III—the nephew of Napoleon and founder of the Second Empire—had been captured and imprisoned by the enemy Prussians advancing on the city, and a new French government was only too happy to seize power. All that remained was to dispose Louis Napoleon’s wife, the Empress Eugenie, inside the palace. The mob trampled over royal flower beds, screaming for blood. To the Guillotine! they screamed, hoping to recreate the last act of Marie Antoinette, played out nearly a century before. The Empress ran, accompanied by only a female attendant. They fled from the palace and through the Louvre—knowing they might be seeing the great museum’s paintings and treasures for the last time. Breaking into the daylight, cries of Death to the Spanish Woman! (Eugenie was born in Spain) assaulted them.


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

The women secured a horse-drawn cab and sped off But now, Evans would be asked to risk everything— to seek sanctuary at the only place they would be his home, property, and life—to help the two female welcomed—at the home of American dentist, Dr. visitors standing in his library. “Monsieur Evans,” the Thomas Evans. Empress said, “you know what has taken place today. I Evans had come to Paris from Philadelphia in 1848. have no friends left but you. I come as fugitive to beg He was not welcomed with open arms. for your help. I am no longer fortunate. The Dentists in France were regarded as evil days have come, and I am left alone.” removers of rotten teeth, and many As described in Gerald Carson’s book practiced in the street—complete with an Dentist and the Empress, Evans did not assistant hired to bang symbols to drown hesitate. He immediately began thinking of out the patient’s screams. If they made an escape for Empress Eugenie. house calls, they were instructed to enter by His ruse was simple. Through contacts the servants’ entrance, the same as the with the British Embassy, he possessed butcher boy, seamstress, or coachman. documents identifying him as a physician Evans would have none of this. His traveling with a female patient. But the plan skills were such that soon patients were was risky. Both he and the Empress were accepting him on his own professional public figures, known throughout Paris. Dr. Thomas Evans terms. After establishing his practice, he The next morning, they climbed into the began caring for the teeth of royalty, including many of dentist’s carriage and sped though the streets of Paris the crowned heads of Europe. into the countryside. The closest they came to being The American dentist soon became a frequent visitor discovered was at a stop when Eugenie, seeing a to the French palace. He was an adviser to Louis policeman abusing a citizen, stood up and commanded, Napoleon, gaining the Emperor’s support of the Union “I am the Empress. I order you to let that man go!” Army during the American Civil War. He also grew Evans, knowing her words might mean their death, rich, fueled by the information gathered in royal circles quickly apologized. He told the policeman his patient and his thriving practice. was mad.

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


David Howell and family sharing an especially expensive breakfast.

Soon after, Evans secured transport for the Empress aboard the yacht of Sir John Burgoyne. But their ordeal was not over. They crossed the English Channel during a terrible storm, arriving in England looking so tossed and disheveled, the Empress—who had ruled France the day before—was nearly refused a bed in a local hotel. Sometime after their safe arrival, the Empress rewarded the dentist by giving him many of her beloved pearls—including a large freshwater one measuring just over half an inch in diameter. Eugenie had loved it so much, it became known as the “Queen Pearl.” One last note about this story. The pearl was found in Clifton.

Forgotten Waters The mystery of the famous pearl dates back to before there even was a Clifton. According to Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper of May 23, 1857, the area’s “pearl rush” began after


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

shoemaker David Howell had gathered a basket of mussels off the banks of Notch Brook (near where Gensinger’s Motors is today). Howell brought his catch back to his Mill St., Paterson, home, and his wife began to stew the mussels for the family’s breakfast. After boiling, the shellfish was still too tough to eat. Mrs. Howell removed the mussels from their shells, threw them into a pan coated with lard, and fried them until they were tender. The family began to eat. “Howell,” the paper reported, “was not only to have a bad breakfast but was also doomed to be famous.” He bit down on one of the mussels and gnashed his teeth against something hard and round. It was a pearl—incredibly large, weighing 400 grains, but ruined by the intense heat of Mrs. Howell’s skillet. It was later estimated the pearl would have been worth an incredible sum of $25,000 had it not been destroyed. Howell’s discovery set off, what The Paterson, New Jersey Guardian described as, “Pearl Mania.” Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper said “an influx of people from everywhere was daily witnessed.” Hundreds gathered on the banks of Notch Brook, wading into the cold water with their pants and skirts drawn up, fishing mussels from the black muck below. One of those pearl hunters was Jacob Quakenbush, a carpenter from Paterson. Unlike the amateur treasure hunters, Quakenbush knew these waters well. As a boy, his father had told him of the “pretty stones” that could be found inside the mussels’ hard shells. One day, luck was with him. Pulling a mussel from the cool waters located in the shadow of Garret Mountain, Quakenbush opened the shell to discover a large pinkish pearl—one destined for greatness. As detailed in a 1956 Passaic County Historical Society Bulletin, Quakenbush brought the pearl to the

jewelry store of Charles L. Tiffany of Warren Street, New York, for inspection. Newspaper reports said Quakenbush was paid up to $1500 for his prize, despite Tiffany’s fear of being flooded with similar treasures. “Here this man finds a pearl within 17 miles of our place of business,” Tiffany said referring to the Clifton waters. “What if thousands should be found, and many perhaps finer than this one?” Tiffany’s fears were unfounded, as Notch Brook yielded no pearl as fabulous as Quakenbush’s. Tiffany named his purchase “The Crown Pearl.” While no historical records exist where the pearl went next, two sources say it landed in France. In 1908 The Book of the Pearl by George Kunz and Charles

Stevenson, Tiffany is quoted as saying the pearl was sent to the jeweler’s Paris house where it was purchased by a French gem dealer and passed into the hands of Empress Eugenie. An 1857 story in the New York Daily Times also claimed the pearl, “wondrous in magnitude and luster was sent to Paris to deck the brow of Eugenie.” Meanwhile, back in Clifton, the grassy banks of Notch Brook were jammed with men, women, and children seeking fortune in the water. They came from Newark, Jersey City, and New York, and included farmers, shopkeepers and mechanics. One schoolmaster even closed his school to allow his students to search for pearls.

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


While no object as beautiful as the Crown Pearl was ever found (renamed the Queen Pearl after Eugenie purchased it), Clifton mussels yielded $15,000 in pearls that were sold in New York’s jewelry markets. The next year, only a few thousand dollars worth of pearls were found, and each year the amount got smaller—until hardly a mussel remained in Notch Brook.

The Return To America After her harrowing escape, Empress Eugenie lived another half century. Most of her remaining years were unhappy. Louis Napoleon was freed by the Prussians and rejoined the Empress in England in 1871, but died two years later. Their son, Louis Napoleon IV, was killed in 1879, fighting for the British Army in a war against the Zulus in South Africa. To support herself, Eugenie sold off some of the jewelry she was famous for. She died in 1920 at age 94. Evans continued to live a dashing and exciting life after carrying out his famous rescue. He developed charities to support Americans in France and founded a newspaper. His death in 1897 came quickly, dying after a night of chest pains in his beloved Paris. But what of the famous Queen Pearl? If Eugenie had given the pearl to Evans, it would be included with his marvelous collection of paintings, manuscripts, and royal artifacts—including a gold box once belonging to Marie Antoinette—that he left behind in death. Because he had no children, Evans’ fortune was used to found a museum and dental institute on the University of Pennsylvania campus in his honor, and much of his expensive belongings were also given to the school. But did those belongings include the pearl, which was harvested naturally here in Clifton?

Mystery Unravels The legend of Clifton’s great pearl continued to be passed down through generations. One who heard the tale was Nick Sunday, a Paterson artist and art collector. “Bob Waddington, a longtime Paterson resident, told me about the Queen Pearl,” says Sunday, back in 2002, “but he didn’t have the story straight. Then I saw an article in the paper that mentioned it. I thought finding the Queen Pearl would be a great way to get people interested in Paterson and the sur60

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

At top, an illustrated view of Garret Mountain during the 1857 Pearl Rush. Center, a view of Notch Brook in 1922 when it existed as a tavern and bottom, the intersection of Valley Rd. near Rt. 46 as it appeared in 2002 (it’s much the same today), when this story first appeared in our magazine.

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rounding area because it’s such an incredible story.” Sunday contacted Tiffany’s and was sent documentation about the pearl. He suspected the pearl had been set in a design created by Cartier, but could not confirm his hunch. “I had heard Eugenie had given many of her jewels to Evans in gratitude for saving her life, and I thought the Queen Pearl might be among them,” Sunday says. “I contacted the University of Pennsylvania to see if this was true.” He learned the school had given the jewelry from Evans’ collection, which included pearls, to the Cooper-Hewitt, the National Design Museum of the Smithsonian. The museum said many of the jewels once belonged to the Empress. Sunday continued his research, looking for information to confirm the Queen Pearl was indeed part of the collection.


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Ironically, after a century in hiding, others began searching for the Queen Pearl. In 2002, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City was planning a pearl exhibition. Learning about the Queen Pearl, they were referred to Sunday through Tiffany’s. After talking to Sunday and hearing about his research, Kathleen Moore, a curator at the museum, agreed to investigate. Our story began thanks to Gene Hughes, “Kathleen contacted the shown above in March, 2002 with the 1857 Cooper-Hewitt, and for two newspaper which documented the Clifton years they sought to validate Pearl Rush and from where illustrations used the identity of the Queen in this story were sourced. Pearl,” Sunday says. “The pearl—matched the description of museum believes they’ve got it.” the precious object discovered in In Evan’s collection were two Clifton’s waters. In 2002, it was in pearls mounted in stick pins the American Museum of Natural History’s exhibit “Pearls,” about 12 designed in the 19th century. miles from its original home. One of them—a large freshwater

“There’s a story a German businessman bought the Queen Pearl,” Sunday recalls, “and there’s documentation Eugenie’s son sold some of her jewelry at a London auction house before he died. There is a good chance the American Museum of Natural History has already solved the pearl’s mystery, but I’m not absolutely sure. There’s still more research to be done. “There’s also no reason why the type of mussel that

yielded the Queen Pearl couldn’t be reintroduced into this area. Clifton could support a fishery that cultivates pearls—the climate’s perfect for it.” Did Clifton’s Pearl—once part of the French Crown jewels and later used to repay the gallant rescue of an Empress—sit in a display case in the city where Jacob Quakenbush first sent it on its incredible journey? That’s why this story remains The Mystery of the Clifton Pearl.

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February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Optimist Awards 2010 The 2010 Clifton Optimist Awards is on May 2 at 4 pm at the Clifton Recreation Center, 1232 Main Ave. Tickets, which include a sit-down dinner and beverages, are $32.50 and can be purchased by calling Optimist Club members Tom Hawrylko at 973-2534400 or Ted Munley at 973-473-2200, ext. 112. While we featured recipients Barbara Watterston (Community Service Award) on page 20 and Jack Kuepfer (Lifetime Achievement Award) on the facing page, two others honorees will be profiled in future editions of this magazine. They are Christopher Columbus Middle School art teacher Jeff Labriola who will receive the Club’s highest honor—Friend of Youth— and Police Captain Robert Rowan who will receive the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award.

Capt. Robert Rowan and Jeff Labriola.

The Business Mix of Vic Terranova Many Cliftonites know Vic Terranova for copying, printing and graphic services. He is sharing space with Stu Brody of North Jersey Ty-Graphics on Lakeview Ave. It’s likely, many of the businesses you frequent, there are products that his company DITTO has had a hand in creating. Down on Van Houten Ave., he has been designing and printing t-shirts for the guys behind the counter at Young Bros. Deli. If you are regular customer at Hot Bagels Abroad across from Clifton City Hall, Vic printed and designed that menu. And those faxes you get promoting the daily specials from The Famous Midtown Grill? Ditto! Vic sold them the machine (And he sells all brands of printers & faxes). Across from Nash Park at The Hot Grill, Vic has been printing the placemats on which you’re served your Two All The Way Two! 64

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

There’s a reason the business mix of Ditto and Vic Terranova is diverse. “Look, we all know these are trying economic times but by being diverse in the way I do business, I am able to keep competitive and stay busy,” said Vic, a 1977 grad of Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic. Raised in Botany Village where he went to Sacred Heart, he is the youngest of five siblings to Michael and Mary Terranova.

With some 20 years experience as a printer for a major pharmaceutical company and nearly 6 as the service manager at Copy Cat of Clifton, Vic knows the printing and copying business like the back of his big grip hands. Ditto can also repair copiers, fax machines and printers as well as provide service contracts on most any machine, which helps customers avoid expensive emergency calls.

Mr. Morris Canal By Tom Hawrylko

It’s a great but bittersweet honor to receive the Clifton Optimist Lifetime Achievement Award, said Jack Kuepfer who was selected for the honor due to his 25 years of advocacy for the Morris Canal Park and Nature Preserve. While he is appreciative of the recognition and proud of what has essentially become his legacy, the near 90 year old volunteer says it is time to move on. “I’m looking for someone to take my place,” said the sturdy 6 foot 3 WWII Army Air Corps vet, who enters his ninth decade on August 26. “You know, 25 years is a long time. Physically I can’t handle it anymore. Fundraising? People laugh at us. The city gives us no funds whatsoever. I just hope I win the $100 million lottery. I would restore the canal and Lambert Castle the way it really was—before that poor guy (Catolina Lambert) went broke and had to sell it.” Some five year ago, when the Morris Canal Park, which is along the Parkway, off Broad St. between

Van Houten and Allwood Rd., celebrated its 20th anniversary, Kuepfer said much the same in an interview—that it was time for the city to find his replacement. No one individual or group has stepped up yet, but this story might just be Kuepfer’s way of handing in his retirement papers. “In the last 10 years, the support, both physical and financial, from the city and the county has been non-existent,” he said. “I get no help from the DPW whatsoever now. Wait. That’s not true. Al DuBois does help out. But years ago, I used to be able to call up (then-DPW Director) Tony Saffiotti. He’d provide city employees who were eager to help. Guys that enjoyed coming up here to work. No more. I don’t even know who’s in charge there anymore. The same when Sheriff Englehardt was there. I’d call him and they’d be 10 or 12 guys here the next day. No more. It’s time. It really is. I’m not walking away today but they (the City) need to figure out a plan.” February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


In 1985 when Kuepfer was 65, he proposed that the city preserve a long swath of land along the GSP where a portion of the 106 miles of the man-made waterway flowed from 1831 to 1924, moving anthracite coal from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley to urban New Jersey. Like in his days back in WWII in the Army Air Corps, Kuepfer was appropriately thanked for his idea—then he was given the task of heading up the volunteer effort. To save that swath of history, he took on the job, picked up his shovel and began the first of what he estimates to be about 12,500 volunteer hours since. Over a quarter century, that equals some 521 days—nearly two years. With Kuepfer at the helm and without a budget or a team, a fund drive and solicitation of volunteers began in 1985. The Friends of the Morris Canal Park was created and still accepts financial donations (c/o Jack Kuepfer, 68 Merrill Rd. Clifton NJ 07012). People did line up to help then—the DPW, Boy Scouts, the CHS Conservation Club and the WWMS Environmental Club, Passaic County Master Gardener’s Association, the Garden Club of Clifton and companies like Plochs and others. But “volunteerism is old fashioned today,” lamented the Allwood resident. “During the Depression everybody helped everybody,” he recalled. “It’s the stuff that made America strong. Pitching in. But the whole world is changing.” Despite the problems, Kuepfer is thinking spring.


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

He continued: “We need to start with raking leaves, because the kids from high school did not come down in the fall. Some problem with the union and the Board of Education. Dammit! That’s not fair to the kids. They used to bring down a pizza and soda. Work, have fun. But no more soda! Now it’s juice. I tell ya... the world is changing. The kids enjoy the work. They come from all different walks of life, all nationalities. They’re great.” Kuepfer said a morning in the park puts him in a good mood, gives him new ideas. “I was down there an hour this morning and a young police officer stopped by. He said he’s going to try and get the PBA to move their picnic there from the Masonic Lodge They don’t have to pay us but it would be nice if they made a contribution.” Funding comes from contributions of cash, goods or service and the $150 purchase of memorial trees, which include a marker. “Come spring, I need lots of physical help. There’s a flat walkway across the brook. I’d like to see if we can build an old fashioned covered bridge. It would take several young men to do, probably a whole scout troop.” So it sounds like Jack Kuepfer is signed on for at least the spring and summer, when he works four or five days a week, from 7 till 10 or 11 am. But what happens this fall? Will Mr. Morris Canal be back? “If I feel that I can’t do it anymore, I’ll just come down to feed the ducks,” he said. “Someone else will have to worry about all that other stuff.”

Troop 15. at St. John’s Lutheran, Church, 810 Broad St. Tuesday eve in church hall Scoutmaster William Martin Troop 21 at St.Phillip's RC Church, 797 Valley Rd 730-9 Tuesday, Scoutmaster Michael Miller

On my honor I will do my best... Generations of us learned that Scout Oath and its Pledge to God and Country and as these Troop 74 Scouts above attest to, the tradition continues. The Boys Scouts of America mark its 100th anniversary this month, noted assistant Scoutmaster Frank Walsh, at right. He also sent this list of Troops here in Clifton (with meeting times and days) and an invitation for boys to join. “We want guys to know that what Scouts do includes the traditional things—then there’s stuff like whitewater rafting, rock climbing and rifle and shotgun shooting,” he said. Kids can start at age 7 as a Cub Scout and move up to Boy Scouts at 11; for men and women who are 14 through 20 there is Venturing, the third Scouting program. Many people, like Frank, stay active in Scouting a lifetime. For more info, go to or write to Frank Walsh at

Muscles make teeth crooked. Honestly. In large part, crooked teeth are caused by bad muscular habits. For teeth to come in straight the tongue must rest on the roof of the mouth (when not speaking or eating, especially while asleep), so the teeth can come into the mouth and surround the tongue. With habits like mouthbreathing, tongue thrusting, reverse swallowing and finger sucking, the tongue lies low in the mouth, away from the roof. Almost ALL children with these habits will have crooked teeth.

Troop 22 at Allwood Community Church, 94 Chelsea Rd 730-9 Wednesday, Scoutmaster Paul Steinfeldt Troop 23 at St. Andrew’s RC Church, 400 Mt. Prospect Ave 7-9 Friday, Scoutmaster Jack Hayes Troop 40 at St. Brendan’s RC Church, 154 East 1st St. Thursday eve, Scoutmaster Steven Farrell Troop 74 at First Presbyterian Church, 303 Maplewood Ave. 7-830 Thursday, Scoutmaster Steve Smith

At Raphael Orthodontics, we have been offering corrective services (braces) for over 25 years. Modern braces are more comfortable, better looking, gentler, and more efficient than ever before. Most cases can be completed in less than 2 years. But I would be perfectly happy helping you lessen the need for braces for your child by offering the latest in PREVENTIVE services as well. This includes myofunctional therapy, habit training and light-wire corrective services. Call us for details or go to my website for more info.

Dr. Barry

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant



February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

CHS Student of the Month Story by Joe Hawrylko

To become an oncologist, Najat Helwani has a lot of schooling ahead of her. And whenever she’s doubting her ability to push through the mountainous piles of work, Helwani will just think of her father, Ghassan. Helwani was only in the fourth grade when her father succumbed to sarcoma, a general type of cancer of the connective tissues. For any child, the loss of a parent is a tragic event. But for someone with the academic talents of Helwani, she saw her father’s passing as an inspiration to hopefully spare another young child the anguish of what she went through. The 25th ranked Clifton High School senior and January Student of the Month plans to begin that long journey to becoming an oncologist this fall at Montclair State, Rutgers or New York University. “NYU, that’s my top choice,” said Helwani, who noted the school’s pre-med program and the experience of living in New York City as her main motivation for the choice. While she intends to one day work in the medical field, Helwani’s interests remain diverse. In addition to AP biology, she is taking advanced calculus and English, as well as Italian honors. You’ve saving and investing for the day when Her extracurricular activities also cover aspent broad years range of subjects. Helwani is currently the vice president of the book club, which behind recently comyou can put work you and enjoy the things you DREAMING UP THE IDEAL pleted Wuthering Heights by Ellis Bell (Emily Brontë). love. But the only thing that should change on that day is “I’m not really a good reader,” she laughed with modesty, making the statement hard to believe. “But I like interpreting things. I like poetry—that’s my IS YOUR JOB. HELPING your strategy. favorite part of English class, interpreting poetry.” YOU GET THERE IS OURS. In the past, Helwani wrote her own poetry but stopped due to her involvesimple, really. How well you At Edward Jones, we can create aIt’sstrategy to help ensure retire depends on how well you ment in a number of other groups. She intends to pick up the sometimes for Whether you throughout plan today. retirement is painstaking hobby again in college. the money you’ve saved will be there down the road or just around the Helwani also began tutoring at the Clifton Public Library your retirement. So on youPiaget mayAve. look forward to a steady, stable corner, if you’re working toward this summer and recently registered for winter tutoring sessions. income for years to come. your goals now, the better off you’ll “Someone who was going into the second grade had trouble with summer be. Preparing for retirement means reading, so I helped her through that,” she said. “I have good patience with taking a long-term perspective. We to talk with kids. I have four younger sisters.” To find out why it makes sense recommend buying qualityyour investments and holding them because Helwani is also a member of the Italian, Asian Jones and Botany clubs. She also Edward financial advisor about your retirewe believe that’s the soundest way competes in the science and math leagues. She is also a member of the ment savings, call today. we can help you work toward your Knights of Pythagoras. In March, Helwani will head to the New Jersey goals. To find out more, call today. Institute of Technology in Newark with other members of the CHS Junior Cyagainst Yannarelli Cy Yannarelli, CFP, CLU Engineering Technical Society to test their skills other area high Financial Advisor Financial Advisor school students in an engineering competition. . 730 Broad Street This spring, Helwani intends to try out for the track hopes Clifton, NJ 07013 730team, Broadwhere Streetshe Suite 2 to compete in sprints.“My dad was a runner, I kindClifton, of didNJ it in his memory,” 07013 973-777-9620 she said. Helwani ran spring track as a sophomore. “But I realized it was a Open 8 AM - 6 PM 973-777-9620 Member SIPC Sat. 9-1 lot more work than I thought.” In the near future, Helwani would like to volunteer at a hospital or possiMember SIPC bly an oncology center where her friend works... if she can find time in her schedule. But judging by this inspired student’s ability to manage her time, she’ll find the hours and you’ll probably see or meet Helwani as a volunteer on the path to her chosen career in the not too distant future.




February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Joey Barcellona (left rear) and the members of the CLBA—Clifton Licensed Beverage Association—present Cocktails for a Cause at Bliss Lounge, on Allwood Rd., on Feb. 19, from 4 to 10 pm. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Clifton Boys & Girls Club. From left: Diane M. Weiss, Executive Director NJ Licensed Beverage Association, Fred Barnes of Dingo’s Den and President of the CLBA, Johnny Penkalski of Johnny’s Tavern, Freeholder Terry Duffy, owner of Duffy’s Tavern in Paterson, Dario Ghiglione of the Italian American Coop, and Clifton City Council candidate Dave D’Arco.

John Biegel Jr. of the Clifton Avenue of Flags reported that a Field of Honor for service men or women killed in action will be added. The group is asking for donations of any denomination for various supplies, as his crew accommodates the changes for 35 flags. Checks can be mailed to the Clifton Avenue of Flags Monument Fund, 91 Market St., Clifton, NJ 07012. Call Biegel at 973-519-0858.


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Colleen Murray of the Clifton Phenomenal Grandmothers seeks volunteers, specifically those of Hispanic background, for their program, One World—Different Music and Dance. The second annual event, which is still in the planning stages, is being produced with the Clifton Main Memorial Library. Singers and dancers of any skill level and age are needed. Call Murray at 973-253-9579.

CHS ‘07 Alumni Francesca Hemsey (above right) was inducted to the Georgetown University Chapter of the National Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. Hemsey is director of the Georgetown Chapter of Best Buddies International, a group which fosters one on one relationships and employment opportunities for the intellectually and developmentally disabled. She is also a member of the Prep Band and Water Polo team, and is interning at the Smithsonian Institute after spending last semester at National Public Radio. Clifton’s Tom Miller, Director of the Passaic County Office on Veterans Services, offers assistance in handling compensation, pension filings, burial arrangements, survivor benefits, ALS death benefits and Agent Orange testing. The office is at 930 Riverview Dr., Suite 200, Totowa. Call 973-569-4090. The CHS Class of 1960’s 50th reunion is May 15 at 6 pm at the Russian Hall in Little Falls. The $75 tickets includes dinner, a memory book and an all night cash bar. Call Kathy Ploch Mack at 973-618-1830 or e-mail Nancy Lewis Zink at

SS. Cyril & Methodius Church, 218 Ackerman Ave., has its annual Fish & Chips Dinner on March 10 at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $15 and includes cake and coffee. Take out is available and there is a raffle. Call 973-772-3448 or 973-772-8806. The Rosary Society of St. Paul R.C. Church, 124 Union Avenue, hosts a Fish & Chips supper on Feb. 12 from 5 to 7 pm in the church hall. Tickets are $15 for adults and $6.25 for kids under 12. Take-out dinners available. No tickets sold at the door. Call 973-478-2605. School 11 HSA’s Tricky Tray is March 19 at 6:30 pm at the Boys & Girls Club. Admission is $10 and includes a sheet of tickets and a $200 mystery prize chance. Call 973-546-5111 or 973-546-0758. Terry Ryan will be honored at the Passaic County Police & Fire Emerald Society’s 18th annual corned beef and cabbage dinner on Feb. 27 at 7 pm at the Russian Hall in Little Falls. Ryan (inset) is the President of Hanson & Ryan, Inc., in Totowa. Entertainment by the Passaic County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, as well as the Mike Byrne and the Green Derby Boys Band. Advance tickets only— $45—includes beer and soda. Call 973-523-0141 or 201-337-3337. The Giblin Association, a civic and charitable organization, hosts its annual cocktail party at Our Lady of Lourdes, in West Orange, from 4:309 pm. Proceeds from the charity supports a variety of social programs in the region. For tickets, call Assemblyman Tom Giblin (inset) at 973-779-3125.

Passaic County Community College (PCCC) offers adults who previously earned college credits but never completed their degree a chance to finish up. Funded by a $75,000 federal grant, the DARC (Disengaged Adults Returning to College), program will provide qualifying adults with the opportunity and additional support to achieve their college degree. Preference will be given to those who are unemployed or underemployed, who left college with at 2.5 GPA or higher, and who are interested in high demand occupations (Information Technology, Health Services, Business Administration, Education, and Human Services). Benefits of the DARC program include a streamlined admission and registration process, individualized success plans, tailored academic advisement and mentoring, career counseling, and vouchers for books and childcare. Participants of the program are required to attend an advising session. Call 973-684-5256 or visit

Steph Gore, Brielle Murray, Danielle Karcz and Sarah Block bartended at The Clif on Jan. 30 to raise funds for Murray’s colleague, whose family lives in Haiti. With the help of owner Charles ‘Skip’ Kazer, who donated a portion of his profits to go with the tip money generated by the girls, the event raised $1,000. Since the earthquake, Skip has sent over $300 to the Red Cross through a collection at his Clifton Ave. tavern. Stop in, have a drink, donate.

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Since 1960

NJ License 13VH00726700

The roof of your home is your security from nature’s elements. An umbrella of protection from unpredictability. What kind of protection do you have from the unpredictable nature of bad business? If you said an upright businessman’s word and the stellar recommendations that come with the very mention of his name then you’d be correct. When Richard F. Knapp started his roofing business in 1960, he wasn’t only constructing an umbrella of protection that would ensure the people of Clifton a solid home environment, he was laying a foundation of trust and honesty that has lasted until today, in his passing. “Richard was honest with the people,” said Dorothy Knapp, Richard’s widow. The couple would have celebrated their 50th anniversary on Feb. 27. “We always stand behind our work. That’s the way Richard started it and now my sons are doing it. We’re keeping up the honesty.” Richard Knapp passed away in 1991. That’s when the Knapp boys, Richard and Donald, took the reins of the business. They had been working with their father since their teens and knew the job. Mrs. Knapp said people who had work done by Knapp Roofing decades ago are calling again on for work on either the same homes or new homes. That’s how a strong tradition of dependability is built. 72

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

What better testament to the honesty of a business whose first priority was and still is the best interests of the customers? “There was an older gentleman whose roof needed some repairs,” recalled Mrs. Knapp. “His wife was bed-ridden. Richard didn’t charge him. He told him to buy his wife some flowers. That’s the kind of things he did. He was well-liked. If a roof didn’t need to be done he’d tell the customer. He didn’t push anyone into unnecessary work.” R. F. Knapp Roofing is fully insured and licensed by the State of New Jersey. More importantly, generations of residents have had work done by the Knapp family and stand as references. To schedule a free estimate of your job, call Mrs. Knapp at 973-777-1699. It’s interesting to note that the Knapp’s usually do not take deposits, Mrs. Knapp said her husband didn’t believe in deposits. His sons carry on another of his honorable traditions. “When the job is done and the people are satisfied,” said Mrs. Knapp, “then we’ll get paid. “We are a family business, started and still run by the same family. We are committed to continue the reputation of my husband’s work,” said Mrs. Knapp. “Richie and Donny carry on that tradition. They are kind and respectable and all of us appreciate our customers.”

Combat Sports

Story & photo by Joe Hawrylko

Clifton’s Hani Darwish, former boxing promoter, turns to MMA On the top floor of the three story building at 10 Squirrelwood Rd. you’ll find Hani Darwish. The two large rooms of this studio apartment still have the scent of fresh paint. The hardwood floors of the first room are pristine, having just been laid down a few weeks earlier. The second room is lined wall to wall with mats. Nine large punching bags hag from the ceiling. A dozen smaller contact pads rest against the white, brick walls of the gym. Following the lead of Darwish, eight children of various ages warm up by doing an army crawl drill across the mats. It’s the first training session at Extreme Fight Club, a mixed martial arts center. Darwish, who began as a boxing manager in 1999 and turned fight promoter since 2001, started the club with the intention of eventually founding his own MMA promotion, Extreme Fight Championship. The Cliftonite and longtime wrestler plans to build a stable of fighters from young adults he has trained with over the years. Eventually, he wants to pit the best fighters against each other in a 16 by 16 cage in various venues around New Jersey. “They’re killers,” assured Darwish, as he wrapped up his first training session. “I see people fight and I get excited,” he continued. “The idea had been there for a long time. A lot of people talk about doing things, and I was always the type of guy that went about doing things.” That’s how he got started in boxing back. Darwish, who has wrestled for most of his life. His brother, Walid, was a grappler and a box, and his father, Jamal, was a fighter before their Palestinian family came over from Kuwait in 1980. In a sense, he was born to do this. Darwish walks over to a rack mounted on the wall of the office in the adjacent wall. It’s lined with sparring gloves, shin pads, shirts and shorts—each branded with the EFC logo. He grabs some gear and hands it to a new student, who runs behind a curtain to get changed and head out onto the mat.

“The one thing I know how to do is promote, man,” he says with a smile. THE MAKING OF A DREAM Darwish said the skills that have made him such a successful businessman and promoter were honed as a young boy on the streets of Jersey City, where he used to accompany his father there to help sell goods When Walid graduated from Clifton High in 1991, the brothers scrapped together $800 to buy a van and sell area rugs. Always avid athletes, Hani and Walid would pass time by working out in the streets when business was stagnant. During his senior year in 1994, Darwish picked up a job at a Little Falls Toyota dealership. His brother began working at the nearby Lexus dealership and together, they saved up to open a rug company in South Livingston in 1996 that ended up being a disaster—Darwish said they sold nothing in six months. In 1998, he, Walid and brothers Rocky and Lee purchased Certified Auto Sales in Paterson. “They sold six cars in eight months prior,” said Darwish. “The first day, I sold 14 cars.” February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Despite the successful business, the brothers kept their eyes open for other opportunities. Walid, then on the Fairleigh Dickinson wrestling team, mentioned that he had befriended some boxers at a gym who were looking for managers. That’s how Darwish got Paterson native Omar Sheika his first title fight, and more talented boxers came calling. David Reid, who won the Gold in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, came on board. Kamal Kolenovic and Ruslan Aminov were other pugilists among the stable of 10 fighters that Darwish kept as a manager. Eventually, he and Walid began promoting fights and founded Darwish Brothers. The name reflected the tight bond between the two and was also in memory of their oldest sibling, Jimmy, who tragically passed away in

C.Genardi Contracting Inc • Clifton





January 2010 • Clifton Merchant

1987. Darwish booked several fights over the past decade, the most recent taking place on February 2009 at the Meadowlands Expo Center. Darwish was a rising star in the world of boxing. Stars like Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Aturo Gatti and Bernard Hopkins, among others, have made appearances at some of his events. But as much as he enjoyed the success, Darwish was looking ahead. “It just came to the point where it was impossible to get a club fight in the state of New Jersey,” he said, noting the difficulty of getting other managers to commit to fights. “I just got really excited about MMA because it’s the closest thing to what I know in the ring.” Before his last event in the Meadowlands a year ago in Feb., Darwish considered putting together a MMA show. It was the origins for Extreme Fight Club, the blueprints of his plans, which are documented in two notepads stored in Darwish’s desk at his Woodland Park gym. “I couldn’t open a boxing gym because there’s so many of them,” he said. Darwish is undertaking this latest venture on his own. “But I knew I could teach fighting. I started training MMA a few years ago and had always rolled around grappling for years.” After his show at the Meadowlands Expo Center, Darwish began working towards making his MMA club a reality. He searched around to find a suitable location for his gym. Darwish had a logo designed and purchased gear. By the end of 2009, he had his own gym: Extreme Fight Club. The gym is still in its infancy, but Darwish and his crew train people of varying skill levels, from beginners looking to stay in shape to amateur fighters. The ultimate goal is to get back to promoting, using talent trained in his gym. “The key is, this will never survive until I build up the school,” said Darwish. Currently, he’s finalizing plans to have a caged ring constructed inside the gym to give fighters everything they need for training. But just as important as the training is supporting his fighters, something he learned from boxing. “A lot of those guys had a hard time growing up. David Reid and I, we were close,” said Darwish. “Ruslan moved to Kentucky and still calls me every week to say hello. When I did boxing, we’d let them stay in my house, take them to football games.” It will make for better fighters and for a better show. “The way my facility is run, it’s almost like an army,” he said. “It’s all about team. We work out as a team. I tell people to leave their ego at the door.”

19th Annual Fraternal Beefsteak Feb. 19 at 7 pm

Members of the Clifton PBA #36 and FMBA #21 invite you to a beefsteak. Top from left, PBA President Stephen Berge, FMBA Committee Co-Chair Jeff Bracken, FMBA Committee Chair Frank Yodice and Firefighter John Bisaccio. Bottom from left, PBA Committee Chair Randy Colondres, PBA State Delegate Michael L. McLaughlin and FMBA President Robert DeLuca.

It’s always a one heck of a a party when Clifton’s Bravest and Finest get together. And on Feb. 19 at 7 pm at the Clifton Boys & Girls Club, that’s exactly what is going to happen for the 19th Annual Fraternal Beefsteak. There will be a comedian, door prizes, beverages and beefsteak by Baskingers. Additional parking will be available at the Clifton Elks at the corner of

Colfax and Clifton Aves. For tickets, which are $45, call any of the following: Randy Colondres at 973-8307161, John Cusack at 973-470-5879, Frank Yodice at 973-464-7027 or Jeff Bracken at 973-979-3695. Send your community news and photos to or to Clifton Merchant Magazine, 1288 Main Ave., Clifton, NJ 07011.

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Lunch Buffet, Catering & Deli 973-546-3700 353 Crooks Ave, Lakeview Section, Clifton February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


The Shaughnessy kids in a 2006 photo: Erin (also at left in 1986) with Billy, an All-State quarterback for the Mustangs and a 1,000-point scorer in basketball and Brian, who started for Clifton at QB as a sophomore.

1986 CHS Grad & Mustang Erin (Shaughnessy) Monahan has coached the William Paterson University women’s basketball team to seventh in the USA Today/ESPN/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll and eighth in the Top 25 Poll, released Feb. 2. The Pioneers are 20-1 overall and 8-1 in NJ Athletic Conference play. WP currently leads the NJAC’s North Division by two games, and last week was ranked eighth by USA Today/ESPN/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and ninth by Monahan owns a record of 298134 in 16 seasons. Before coaching, Monahan, 36, played for WPU, earning second-team All-New Jersey Athletic Conference honors in 1990 and finishing her career with 1,025 points (16th in the NJAC all-time). She was also a starting first baseman for the Pioneers’ softball team from 1987-90. 76

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Back in 1998, that’s Vinny Colavitti Sr. a retired Passaic Fire Lieutenant who retired on Jan. 1, 2010, from the Clifton Special Police with the rank of Supervisor after 41 years of service. He is pictured with his son (left) Kevin, a Lieutenant with the PFD and Vinny Jr., a Captain with the Clifton Fire Dept.

The Clifton Community Band seeks experienced musicians for its classical concert band. Founded in 2002, the Band includes brass, woodwinds and percussion and features musicians ranging in age from 15 to 73. There are no registration fees. Rehearsals are Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 pm, Nov. through July in the CHS Band room. Write Alan Paris for info at


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

These Sacred Heart School students above and others recently celebrated Catholic Schools Week. The goal is to bring attention to the option that Catholic elementary and secondary schools offer to the community. A Catholic School education emphasizes not only academics, but also spiritual, moral, and social values. The purpose is to let children and their parents know that Catholic schools provide high expectations and daily experience of faith. This year’s theme, Dividends for Life, was to remind parents that the dividends of a Catholic education—students prepared in faith, knowledge, morals and discipline—last a lifetime. For names and info on Catholic Schools in Clifton and Passaic, see below or the previous page.

February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


Eric Lux (left) is 15 on Feb. 3rd, Renee is 9 on Feb. 14 & on Jan 24 Grandpa Robert turned 80!

Ricky & Rosy Bagolie’s twins Jacob Barry (left) & Aaron Noah had their first birthday on Jan. 28.

Birthdays & Celebrations! send us your dates and names...

Happy Birthday Courtney Carlson! She’s 14 on Feb 6!

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Ashley Rose Montague turns 4 years old on Feb. 6. Happy Birthday to Donna Hawrylko on Feb. 25 Look who turns 8 on Feb. 21: Robert Mosciszko!

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February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


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 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

Olivia Coronel turns 7 on Feb. 24; cousin Jose F. Rosado is 14 on Feb. 2.

Happy 9th birthday Natalie! (Feb. 8) from grandma Stella Pych

Frank Klippel...................2/15 M. Louis Poles ................2/15 Ashley Brandecker .........2/17 Leann Perez ...................2/17 Lorraine Rothe................2/17 Michael Del Re ...............2/18 Michael Papa..................2/20 Taylor Jesch....................2/22 Diana Murphy .................2/22 John T. Saccoman ..........2/22 Robert Adamo.................2/24 Eileen Feldman...............2/24 Kimberly Mistretta...........2/24 Kimberly Gasior ..............2/26 Ron Stell .........................2/26 Brittany Helwig................2/27 Joyce Penaranda............2/27 Lauren Ricca ..................2/27 Charlie Galluzzo .............2/28 Happy Birthday to Don Knapp (Feb 6) & Richie Knapp (Feb. 22)


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant


These are some of the CHS seniors who will be walking the runway at the Prom Fashion Show/Tricky Tray on March 10 at the Venetian in Garfield. They’ll be showcasing outfits from Clifton’s DeLuxe Formal Wear & La Faye/Angelica Fashions. Admission is $40. For tickets, to make a donation or to provide a prize, call chair Maryann Cornett at 973-779-5678. Proceeds help to pay for Project Graduation—the safe, all night party held on graduation night, at an undisclosed resort.

Your Child will Flourish in our Clean & Spacious Pre-School 810 Broad Street | (973) 272-3264

M-F 7:30am - 6pm

• Hot Lunch prepared on premises • Computer, Library & Imagination Room • NJ State Licensed • Professional Certified Staff • Age Appropriate Curriculum

New Students Only

Little Genius Academy 810 Broad Street | (973) 272-3264 With this coupon. Not valid with other offers or prior services. Offer expires 3-1-10.


February 2010 • Clifton Merchant

Bring your child in for a tour Ages 2 1/2 to 5 Years old Call owner Alicia Priegue for an appointment. Located behind St. John Lutheran Church

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Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main Avenue Clifton, NJ 07011

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