Clifton Merchant Magazine - February 2011

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Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 14 • Issue 7 • July 3, 2009








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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

13th Annual Clifton Family Super Bowl Party By Tom Hawrylko


e at Clifton Merchant Magazine are proud to be part of the team which presents the Clifton Family Super Bowl Party. We hope you’ll join us on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 5 pm, at the Boys & Girls Club, when Super Bowl Family Day returns for its 13th annual edition. It is a great evening of fun, especially for those families with young kids. Football fans won’t be disappointed. We have two super sized screens to display all the action from Super Bowl XLV in Dallas as the Steelers and the Packers take the field. This is truly a family day as there is no gambling and alcohol on the premises. Instead, kids and adults can share some time together in a variety of easy to do non-competitive games. These are easy to do for those of any age, such as indoor soccer, whiffle ball, football toss and floor hockey. Kids and an adult (like this family team at right) go from station to station to earn points by kicking a soccer ball, putting a football through a tire or shooting baskets. Each station is manned by volunteer teens from the Boys & Girls Club Keystone Club and adults who provide scores for each activity.

On Our Cover Celebrate love and romance this month as we profile several couples and tell of how they met and continue to keep love a part of their lives. 16,000 Magazines

are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants on the first Friday of every month. Subscribe Page 79

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

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Once the adult and kids visit all the stations, their points are tallied so prizes and trophies can be awarded later in the evening. There will be open swim so bring a swimsuit. And come hungry for chips, pizza, hot dogs and cakes. The event is open to all. For admission, we ask that you bring a new, non-perishable item of food—canned goods, peanut butter,

pasta, those types of items—which we collect and donate to St. Peter’s Haven, our city’s food pantry. Thanks to our sponsors which include CASA— Clifton Against Substance Abuse—and the following residents, businesses and organizations who donated $100 each to fund Family Day: Jim & Rita Haraka & Family; Rotary Club of Clifton; Optimist Club of Clifton; Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin; Gift in memory of Florence, George H. Trinkle, Jr. & George H. Trinkle III; Barbara Dougherty in memory of Henry Dougherty; Clifton Police PBA Local 36; Clifton Firefighters FMBA Local 21; Clifton Moose Lodge 657; St. Philip the Apostle Council 11671 Knights of Columbus; JSK Landscaping/the Bassford Family; Mayor, Council, City Manager & City Attorney; Carlet, Garrison, Klein & Zaretsky; Daniel and Suzannah Brown; Vito’s Towing; and Theater League of Clifton. No tickets are needed for the event, which begins at 5 pm. Just show up with your family and a small bag of groceries. Call the Boys Club at 973-773-2697 if you need more details. To help fund this event (we need five more sponsors), call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

William J. Bate 1934 - 2011

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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Optimist and forever nice guy William J. Bate passed away on Jan. 29 at the age of 76. Husband of Clara and dad to William and Robert, Bill spent a lifetime serving the public good. At the time of his death, he was in the midst of his fifth term as Passaic County Surrogate. Over his five decades of elected office, he served on the Clifton City Council, as a Passaic County Freeholder and in both the NJ Assembly and Senate. Tall and lanky, gentle and talkative, Bill was slowed by an automobile accident a few years back but he would still attend our Optimist Club meeting in his wheelchair—and many other public events—often with Clara and the help of an aide. Bill grew up near School 1 but did not attend CHS. Instead, he went to St. Peter’s Prep and graduated in 1951 from the Jesuit high school in Jersey City (Bill perhaps had one single regret— not being a Mustang). He went on to get his law degree from Georgetown and opened his practice in Paterson. But our friend, Bill Bate, will forever be remembered as a Clifton Everyman.

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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Abbey Lane Ackerman Ave Adams St Adams Terrace Addison Pl Albury Rd Alfred St Allwood Rd Allwood Pl Althea St Alvin Ct Alyea Terrace Annabelle Ave Anderson Dr Ann St Anton St Arcadia Lane Ardmore Ave Arlington Ave Arlington Pl Arthur St Ash St Athenia Ave Atkins Ct Atlantic Way Austin Pl Autumn St Avondale Ave Baker Ct Balsam Ct Barbara Dr Barberry Ln Barnsdale Rd Barrington Ave Barrister St Bart Place Beech St Belgrade Ave Belmont Ave Bel Rose Ct Bender Dr Bennington Ct Bergen Ave Beverly Hill Rd Birchwoood Terr Bird Ave Blanjen Terr Bloomfield Ave Blue Hill Rd Bobbink Ct Bogert Pl Boll St Book Ct Bowdoin St Brannon Ct Brantwood Pl Bruan Pl Breen Ct Breezy Hill Ct Bridewell Pl Brighton Rd Brittany Ct Broad St Broadale Rd Brookhill Terr Brookside Dr Brookwood Rd Brower Ave Brown Pl Burgess Pl Burgh Ave Burlington Rd Butler St Buttel Dr Byron Pl Calstan Pl Cambridge Blvd Cambridge Ct Campbell Ave Cantebury Ct Carline Dr Carol Ln Carol St Caroline Ave Carrington Pl Catania Dr Cathay Rd Cathedral Ave Cedar Pl Center St Central Ave Century Dr Century Pl Chambers Ct Chanda Ct Champlin Ct Charlene Dr Charles Ct Charles St Chatam Terr Chaytor St Cheever Ave Chelsea Rd Cherry St Chester St Chesnut St Chittenden Rd Chrisibar Dr Christie Ave Churchill Dr Circle Ave Clair St Clairmont Rd Claverack Rd Clay St Cliff Hill Road Clifton Ave Clifton Blvd Clifton Terr Clinton Ave Cloverdale Rd Colfax Ave Colin Ave Collura Ln Columbia St Combee Ln Comfort Pl Concord St Conklin Dr Conover Ct Coppola Ct Costello Pl Cottage Ln Cottage Court Country Ln Coyles Ct Craig Pl Cresthill Ave Crooks Ave Cross St Curie Ave Cutler St Dalewood Dan St Dando Ct Daniels Dr Davidson St Dawson Ave Day St Dayton Ave Degraw Ave Delawanna Ave Delaware St De Mott Ave Devonshire Dr DEwey Ave Dianne Ct Dick St Di Donna Dr Doherty Dr Doherty Dr East Donald St Donna Dr Donnalin Pl Doremus Pl Duane Rd Dumont Ave Durant Ave Dwas Line Rd Dwight Terr Dyer Ave Earnshaw Pl E. Clifton Ave E. Eight St E. Eleventh St E. Emerson St E. Fifth St E. First St E. Fourth St East Gate E. Madison Ave E. Ninth St East Parkway E. Second St E. Seventh St E. Sixth St E. Third St Edgewood AveEdison St Edward Ct Edwards Rd Ehrle Pl Eldridge St Elema Pl Ellsworth St Elm Hill Rd Elm St Elmwood DrEmerson St Emma Pl Englewood Rd Entin Rd Essex St Evergreen Dr Everson Pl Exchange Pl Fairfield Rd Fair Hill Rd Fairmount Ave Federal St Fenlon Blvd Fenner Ave Ferncliff St Fern Hill Rd Fernwood Ct Fernwood Ln Ferris Dr Field Rd Fifth Ave Fifth St Filmore St First St Fitzgerald Ave Fleischer Pl Florence Dr Fordham Rd Forest Way Fornelius Ave Foster St Fountain St Fourth St Frances St Franklin Ave Frederick Ave Friar Ln Frost Ct Gail Ct Garden Ct Garfield Ave Garrabrant Rd Garret Ct Garretsee Pl George St George Russell Way Gerald Ave Getty Getty Ave Gilbert Pl Gillies St Glen Oaks Ct Godwin Pl Gordon St Goss Pl Gould St Gould Terr Gourley Ave Grace Ave Graham Pl Grandview Pl Grant Ave Graydon Terr Greglawn Dr Greendale Rd Greenlawn Ave Green Meadow Ln Green Tree Dr Gregory Ave Grove St Grunwald St Hackberry Pl Haddenfield Rd Hadley Ave Hadrys Ct Haines Ave Hall St Hamas St Hamil Ct Hamilton Ave Hammond Ave Hampton Rd Harcourt Rd Harding Ave Harold Pl Harrington Rd Harrison Pl Harvey Rd Haussler Terr Hawthorne Ave Hazel St Hazelview Ave Homcy Pl Hegman Pl Heights Rd Helen Pl Helen St Hemlock St Henoch Ave Henry St Hepburn Rd Hibben Pl Hickory St High St High Park Pl Highland Ave Highview Dr Hillcrest Ave Hllman St Hillside Ave Hilltop Ct Hilton St Hobart Pl Holden St Holly St Hollywood Ave Holster Rd Home Pl Homer St Homestead St Hooyman Dr Hope Ave Howard Ave Howd Ave Hudson St Huemmer Terr Hughes St Hugo St Huron Ave Hutton Rd Independence Ct Industrial East Industrial South Industrial West Inwood St Irvington Pl Isabella St Ivanhoe Ln Ivy Ct Jacklin Ct James St Jani Ct Janice Terr Jaskot Ln Jay St Jefferson St Jennifer Ct Jerome Dr Jewett Ave Joan Pl John St John St John Aldens St Johnson St Jones Ct Josh Ct Joyce Ln Juniper Ct Karen Dr Kashey St Katherine Ave Kathryn St Kehoe St Kennebec St Kennedy Ct Kensington Ave Kenter Pl Kenyon St Kingsland Ave Kingsland Rd Kip St Knapp Ave Knoll Pl Knollwood Terr Knox Pl Kowal St Kozy Ln Kruger Ct Kulik St Kuller Rd Ladwik Ln Lake Ave Lakeview Ave Lambert Ave Landis Pl Larkspur Ln La Salle Ave Laurel Ave Lawrence Ct Layton Dr Lee Pl Lehigh Ave Lennon Pl Lenox Ave Leopold Terr Le Ster Pl Lewis Pl Lexington Ave Liberty St Lincoln Ave Lincoln Pl Lindale Ct Linden Ave Linwood Terr Lio Dr Lisbon St Livingston St Lockwood Dr Lockwood Pl Lois Ave Long Hill Dr Loretta St Lorraine Dr Lorrie Ln Lotz Hill Rd Louis Dr Louise St Loumar Pl Lou Wong Dr Lowry Ct Luddington Ave Luisser St Lyall Rd Lydia Pl Lynn Dr Mac Arthur Dr Mac Donald St Mac Lean Rd Machias St Madeline Ave Madison Ave Mahar Ave Main Ave Major St Malcolm Ct Mandeville Ave Manor Dr Manila St Maple Hill Rd Maple Pl Maplewood Ave Marconi St Margery Ct Marie Pl Marilyn Pl Market St Marlboro Rd Marrion St Martha Ave Martin Ave Martindale Rd May St Mayer Dr Mayfair Pl Mayflower St Mc Clelland Way Mc Cosh Rd Meadow Meadow Ln Melody Hill Rd Merrill Rd Merselis Ave Messineo Plaza Miller Ct Miller Plaza Milosh St Milton Ave Mina Ave Mineral Spring Ave Monhegan St Montclair Ave Montgomery St Morris Rd Mountain Park Rd Mountain Side Terr Mt. Prospect Ave Mt. View Dr Mt.Washington Dr Myron St Myrtle Ave Nash Ave Nelson St Nettie Pl New Brier Ln Niader Ct Nino Ct Noll Terr Normal Ave Norman Ave Normandy Rd North Ct Northfield Terr Norwood Ave Notch Rd Nottingham Terr Nugent Dr Oak St Oakhill Rd Oak Ridge Rd Oakwood Ct Olga B. Terr Olympia St Orange Ave Orchard Ct Orchard Dr Orchard St Oregon St Orono St Pavan Rd Page Rd Paranya Ct Park Ave Park Hill Terr Park Slope Park St Parker Ave Parkview Terr Parkway Ave Parson Rd Passaic Ave Paterson Ave Patricia Pl Paulison Ave Paxton St Pearl Brook Dr Pebblebrook Dr Peekay Dr Pennington Ave Penobscot St Pershing Rd Peru Rd Peterson Ct Phyllis Pl Piaget Ave Pilgrim Dr Pine Brae Ln Pine Hill Dr Pine St Pino Ct Pleasant Ave Ploch Rd Plymouth Rd Pond St Portland Ave Potter Rd Prescott Ave Princeton Pl Princeton St Priscilla St Prospect Pl Prospect St Putnam Pl Rabkin Dr Railway Ave Randolph Ave Randall Ave Ravine Ct Ravona St Raymond Pl Renaissance Dr Richardson St Richfield Ct Richfield Terr Richland Ct Richmond St Ridge Terr Ridgewood Rd River Rd Riverwalk Way Robert St Robin Hood Rd Robinson Terr Rock Creek Dr Rock Hill Rd Rodgers Pl Rolling Hills Rd Rollins Ave Ronald Dr Rooney St Roosevelt Ave Rosalie Ave Rose St Rosedale Ave Rosemawr Pl Rowland Ave Roy Ct Runyon Rd Russell St Rutgers Pl Ruth Ave Rutherford Blvd Saco St Sade St Sago St Samuel Ave Samworth Rd Sandford St Sargeant Ave Scharg Ct Schoonmaker Pl Scoles Ave Scott Terr Scribner Pl Sears Pl Sebago St Second St Sedeyen Ct Seger Ave Serven Pl Seton Ln Seventh Ave Seventh St Sewall Ave Stefaniak Way Shafto St Sheridan Ave Sherman Pl Sherwood St Short St Short Hill Rd Silleck St Sipp Ave Sisco Pl Sixth Ave Sixth St Skyview Terr Somerset Pl South Ct Southfield Terr South Parkway Speer Ave Spencer Ave Sperling Rd Spring Hill Rd Spring St Springdale Ave Springdale Ct Spruce Ct St. Andrews Blvd St. James Pl St. Michaels Pl St. Philip Dr Stadtmauer Dr Stanchak Ct Standish Dr Stanley St Starmond Ave Station Square Stevens Rd Stony Hill Rd Strangeway Terr Stuyvesant Ct Styertowne Rd Summer St Summit Ave Summit Rd Summit St Sundown Ln Sunnycrest Ave Surrey Ln Susan Ct Sussex Rd Sussex St Svea Ave Swift Ct Sycamore Rd Sylvan Ave Sylvan Rd Tamboer Ave Tancin Ln Taylor St Terrace Ave Thanksgiving Ln Third St Thomas St Thompson St Thornton Pl Timber Dr Tremont Pl Trenton Ave Trimble Ave Tristan Rd Troast Ct Tromp St Tufts Rd Twain Pl Tyler Ct Tulp Ct Trella Terr Toth Ct Underwood Pl Unicorn Way Union Ave Urma Ave Vale Ave Valley Rd Van Breeman Dr Van Cleve Ave Van Houten Ave Van Ness Ct Van Orden Pl Van Riper Ave Van Vliet Ct Van Wagoner Ave Van Winkle Ave Vernon Ave View Pl Village Rd Vincent Dr Viola Ave Virginia Ave Vreeland Pl Village Sq Wabash Ave Waldo St Walman Ave Walnut St Walsh Ct Wanda Ct Ward Ave Ward St Warren St Washington Ave Wayne Pl Webro Rd Weeks Ct Wellington St Wells Ct Wesley St West Fifth St West First St West Fourth St West Parkway West Second St West Seventh St West Third St Wester Pl Westervelt Ave Wheeler St Whitmore Pl Whitmore St Whiteweld Terr Wickers St Wiedemann Ave Willett St William St Wilson St Winchester Ct Winding Way Windsor Rd Wisnev St Witherspoon Rd Wonham St Woodlawn Ave Woodridge Rd Woods End Rd Woodside Ct Woodward Ave Yereance Ave Yorkshire Rd Zeim Dr Abbey Lane Ackerman Ave Adams St Adams Terrace Addison Pl Albury Rd Alfred St Allwood Rd Allwood Pl Althea St Alvin Ct Alyea Terrace Annabelle Ave Anderson Dr Ann St Anton St Arcadia Lane Ardmore Ave Arlington Ave Arlington Pl Arthur St Ash St Athenia Ave Atkins Ct Atlantic Way Austin Pl Autumn St Avondale Ave Baker Ct Balsam Ct Barbara Dr Barberry Ln Barnsdale Rd Barrington Ave Barrister St Bart Place Beech St Belgrade Ave Belmont Ave Bel Rose Ct Bender Dr Bennington Ct Bergen Ave Beverly Hill Rd Birchwoood Terr Bird Ave Blanjen Terr Bloomfield Ave Blue Hill Rd Bobbink Ct Bogert Pl Boll St Book Ct Bowdoin St Brannon Ct Brantwood Pl Bruan Pl Breen Ct Breezy Hill Ct Bridewell Pl Brighton Rd Brittany Ct Broad St Broadale Rd Brookhill Terr Brookside Dr Brookwood Rd Brower Ave Brown Pl Burgess Pl Burgh Ave Burlington Rd Butler St Buttel Dr Byron Pl Calstan Pl Cambridge Blvd Cambridge Ct Campbell Ave Cantebury Ct Carline Dr Carol Ln Carol St Caroline Ave Carrington Pl Catania Dr Cathay Rd Cathedral Ave Cedar Pl Center St Central Ave Century Dr Century Pl Chambers Ct Chanda Ct Champlin Ct Charlene Dr Charles Ct Charles St Chatam Terr Chaytor St Cheever Ave Chelsea Rd Cherry St Chester St Chesnut St Chittenden Rd Chrisibar Dr Christie Ave Churchill Dr Circle Ave Clair St Clairmont Rd Claverack Rd Clay St Cliff Hill Road Clifton Ave Clifton Blvd Clifton Terr Clinton Ave Cloverdale Rd Colfax Ave Colin Ave Collura Ln Columbia St Combee Ln Comfort Pl Concord St Conklin Dr Conover Ct Coppola Ct Costello Pl Cottage Ln Cottage Court Country Ln Coyles Ct Craig Pl Cresthill Ave Crooks Ave Cross St Curie Ave Cutler St Dalewood Dan St Dando Ct Daniels Dr Davidson St Dawson Ave Day St Dayton Ave Degraw Ave Delawanna Ave Delaware St De Mott Ave Devonshire Dr DEwey Ave Dianne Ct Dick St Di Donna Dr Doherty Dr Doherty Dr East Donald St Donna Dr Donnalin Pl Doremus Pl Duane Rd Dumont Ave Durant Ave Dwas Line Rd Dwight Terr Dyer Ave Earnshaw Pl E. Clifton Ave E. Eight St E. Eleventh St E. Emerson St E. Fifth St E. First St E. Fourth St East Gate E. Madison Ave E. Ninth St East Parkway E. Second St E. Seventh St E. Sixth St E. Third St Edgewood AveEdison St Edward Ct Edwards Rd Ehrle Pl Eldridge St Elema Pl Ellsworth St Elm Hill Rd Elm St Elmwood DrEmerson St Emma Pl Englewood Rd Entin Rd Essex St Evergreen Dr Everson Pl Exchange Pl Fairfield Rd Fair Hill Rd Fairmount Ave Federal St Fenlon Blvd Fenner Ave Ferncliff St Fern Hill Rd Fernwood Ct Fernwood Ln Ferris Dr Field Rd Fifth Ave Fifth St Filmore St First St Fitzgerald Ave Fleischer Pl Florence Dr Fordham Rd Forest Way Fornelius Ave Foster St Fountain St Fourth St Frances St Franklin Ave Frederick Ave Friar Ln Frost Ct Gail Ct Garden Ct Garfield Ave Garrabrant Rd Garret Ct Garretsee Pl George St George Russell Way Gerald Ave Getty Ave Gilbert Pl Gillies St Glen Oaks Ct Godwin Pl Gordon St Goss Pl Gould St Gould Terr Gourley Ave Grace Ave Graham Pl Grandview Pl Grant Ave Graydon Terr Greglawn Dr Greendale Rd Greenlawn Ave Green Meadow Ln Green Tree Dr Gregory Ave Grove St Grunwald St Hackberry Pl Haddenfield Rd Hadley Ave Hadrys Ct Haines Ave Hall St Hamas St Hamil Ct Hamilton Ave Hammond Ave Hampton Rd Harcourt Rd Harding Ave Harold Pl Harrington Rd Harrison Pl Harvey Rd Haussler Terr Hawthorne Ave Hazel St Hazelview Ave Homcy Pl Hegman Pl Heights Rd Helen Pl Helen St Hemlock St Henoch Ave Henry St Hepburn Rd Hibben Pl Hickory St High St High Park Pl Highland Ave Highview Dr Hillcrest Ave Hllman St Hillside Ave Hilltop Ct Hilton St Hobart Pl Holden St Holly St Hollywood Ave Holster Rd Home Pl Homer St Homestead St Hooyman Dr Hope Ave Howard Ave Howd Ave Hudson St Huemmer Terr Hughes St Hugo St Huron Ave Hutton Rd Independence Ct Industrial East Industrial South Industrial West Inwood St Irvington Pl Isabella St Ivanhoe Ln Ivy Ct Jacklin Ct James St Jani Ct Janice Terr Jaskot Ln Jay St Jefferson St Jennifer Ct Jerome Dr Jewett Ave Joan Pl John St John St John Aldens St Johnson St Jones Ct Josh Ct Joyce Ln Juniper Ct Karen Dr Kashey St Katherine Ave Kathryn St Kehoe St Kennebec St Kennedy Ct Kensington Ave Kenter Pl Kenyon St Kingsland Ave Kingsland Rd Kip St Knapp Ave Knoll Pl Knollwood Terr Knox Pl Kowal St Kozy Ln Kruger Ct Kulik St Kuller Rd Ladwik Ln Lake Ave Lakeview Ave Lambert Ave Landis Pl Larkspur Ln La Salle Ave Laurel Ave Lawrence Ct Layton Dr Lee Pl Lehigh Ave Lennon Pl Lenox Ave Leopold Terr Le Ster Pl Lewis Pl Lexington Ave Liberty St Lincoln Ave Lincoln Pl Lindale Ct Linden Ave Linwood Terr Lio Dr Lisbon St Livingston St Lockwood Dr Lockwood Pl Lois Ave Long Hill Dr Loretta St Lorraine Dr Lorrie Ln Lotz Hill Rd Louis Dr Louise St Loumar Pl Lou Wong Dr Lowry Ct Luddington Ave Luisser St Lyall Rd Lydia Pl Lynn Dr Mac Arthur Dr Mac Donald St Mac Lean Rd Machias St Madeline Ave Madison Ave Mahar Ave Main Ave Major

n o t f Cli


February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Wes and Julie Krygsman From Marching Band to Wedding Bands By Joe Hawrylko


usic is a unique thing, often used to entertain, inspire or simply just to brighten spirits on a dark day. But it is also capable of bringing together two strangers in a school of more than 3,000, laying the foundation for a relationship that has spanned over a decade. “Well, he was a lowly freshman and I was a junior,” laughed Julie Passaro Krygsman, recalling how she met her husband, Wes, in the summer of 1999. It was the first few days of the fabled Marching Mustang band camp in August, and between the

heat, intense practices and Wes’ underclassmen antics, Julie began to dislike the immature boy who would later be her spouse. “Yeah, we really didn’t like each other at first,” Wes confirmed with a chuckle. However, during the band’s trip to Quebec in February of 2000, the two brass performers wound up next to each other on the bus. Wes, a tuba player, ended up wooing the upperclassmen Wes Krygsman, a CHS 2003 alum, with his wife, Julie Passaro Krygsman, a 2001 CHS grad.

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


trombonist by crafting a ring from a gum wrapper he took from another band member behind him. “And that,” laughed Julie. “was when we first started to like each other.” Having wooed the older girl with his charm, Wes sought to make it official a week later when the band returned, interrupting Julie’s practice for an upcoming All State Band audition by asking her out while she was getting ready. But despite the adolescent beginnings of the relationship, puppy love turned into the real thing. Even after Julie graduated the following year and went on to William Paterson University, the two remained together during a time when most people embark on journeys on their own. “We grew up together when a lot of people grow apart,” explained Julie. “I guess we helped each other through it. You learn how to be a human being as well as how to be a part of a relationship. Nothing is comfortable about growing up in your teenage years.” “Neither of us went away, so that kind of helped,” explained Wes, who attended Montclair State. Julie went to William Paterson. As each matured and became focused on their individual careers, finding free time became more difficult. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s work you don’t mind doing,” said Wes. “It becomes your passion and it’s fun along the way.” The solution was music. The Krygsmans are members of the Rutherford Community Band, which Julie has been a member of since she was a teen, and the Clifton Community Band. “In college, I was very busy,” explained Wes. “It 10

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Wes and Julie Krygsman were married on May 30, 2009.

was our only time together for some weeks.” The couple’s Dutch Hill home is littered with instruments—guitars, bass, trombones and enough tubas to put one in each room of the house. “We’re absolute best friends and the music thing, that’s what helps keep it together,” explained Julie. “Even when we get in an argument, we put the relationship aside and discuss it as friends. Maybe we just play our horns really loud at each other.” The rapport that the couple shares has allowed them to weather adversity and juggle hectic schedules, as Wes prepares to audition for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in February.

He is also a server at Applebees, and often works late nights, while Julie, an employee of Jessica McClintock Boutique, works on a schedule with normal hours. “We just make sure that we have two days a week that we’re absolutely together,” explained Julie. “Thursdays and Sundays are our days.” Such an agreement was not without compromise. Weekends are the days with the highest earning potential for waiters, and Wes sacrificed some much needed extra cash to have a guarantee day with his wife each week. “If we don’t have that day, it feels like I haven’t seen her in two weeks,” he said. “To make a relationship work is trying for each

other, making each other laugh and being fair.” At the same time, there has to be a healthy balance. The added responsibility of home ownership means that each party in a relationship has to be understanding: Work has to get done before you can relax. However, it has its perks. “We’d used to talk about how we’d spend these great date nights and end up at her house. I would have to say bye but I couldn’t wait til the day I can just stay here and we get to wake up together,” recalled Wes. In 2007, he wound up moving in after his parents moved to Butler and he needed a place to stay so he could finish up at MSU. “It sort of happened out of necessity, but it worked out. Before you know it, there’s tubas all over the house,” said Julie. “That’s when we knew it was permanent.”

But having been together for 11 years, living together and getting married was essentially a formal ceremony. Wes, who received a Bachelor’s in tuba performance from Montclair in 2009, initially wanted to wait until he had completed his studies before proposing to Julie. “What ended up happening was that I thought I was going to graduate in 2007,” he explained. “It kept on getting pushed back and back and I just thought, do I really want to wait to propose?” In April 2008, Wes was pushed into action when his friend who worked at a pet store called about a black pug at the shop. He had been looking for one since Julie’s dog passed away on Christmas in 2007. “We had moved in together in July that year and I decided that I would put the ring on the dog’s collar,” he explained.

Over the span of a few days, he coordinated with Julie’s friends to find a ring and buy the dog. To keep the plans a surprise, Wes lied about his whereabouts—and was caught—leaving his future wife furious for two days until the pooch was presented on April 4. “She loved the dog and wasn’t mad anymore, but she didn’t notice the ring for five minutes,” he laughed. “Come on, it was a bright blue ring bag!” It wasn’t until Wes dropped to his knee that Julie realized that what was going on. Two years later, the couple was wed on May 30, 2009. Wes and Julie now reside in a quaint Dutch Hill home with Sammi the pug and Julie’s parents forming a happy, extended family. “It feels exactly the same as when we were younger,” laughed Julie. “Only we’re big kids now.” February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Chris and Eddie Machovsky Still Grounded After All These Years By Carol Leonard


or many young couples, high school romances are here today and gone tomorrow. Not so with Chris and Eddie Machovsky. For them, what started out as a friendship blossomed into a love affair that has lasted for more than 20 years. The lifelong Clifton residents actually first met in seventh grade homeroom in 1982 at what was then Christopher Columbus Junior High. Chris remembers Eddie as the annoying boy who sat behind her and shot spitballs into her hair. It wasn’t until three years later that Eddie took a second notice of Chris, when the two were sophomores at CHS. Eddie had broken his ankle and was on 12

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

crutches, so he was excused early to get to his next class. It turned out that during one of those passing periods, he would often see Chris coming out from her gym class. After a while, he began to wait for her and the two would walk together and talk. “Then one day, my friend told me that Eddie said he liked me,” Chris recounted. “We started hanging out with the same clique of friends and, eventually, he asked me out. That was the first day of the rest of our lives. He would drive me to school every day and from that day on we were always together.” A four-year star soccer player during the reign of renowned Coach Fernando Rossi, Eddie had an offer to

go to a training camp in Europe when he graduated from CHS in 1988 to prepare for a potential career as a professional soccer player. “When I got the letter, my father asked me if I was going,” Eddie said. “When I told him no, he asked me why and I said, because I have a girlfriend.” “I would have never stood in his way if that’s what he wanted to do,” Chris said. “But I was so flattered that he turned it down because he didn’t want to leave me.” Despite disappointing his beloved Coach Rossi, Eddie also walked away from an opportunity to play collegiate soccer at Kean University because he just didn’t want to go to college.

“My mother just loved Eddie,” Chris said. “She thought of him like a son, not just my boyfriend.” Over the next few years, as they reached their early 20s, several of Chris and Eddie’s friends became engaged. While Chris and Eddie had vaguely talked about marriage and what type of ring Chris would want, there had been no formal proposal from Eddie. Then, abruptly one day, Eddie informed Chris that he didn’t want to continue their relationship. “I was devastated,” Chris said. “He told me he wasn’t ready to get married. That was it, we broke up. He was very serious.” Three weeks passed and no reconciliation. Chris hadn’t

Instead, Eddie worked on cars for a while, then got involved through his cousin with the Pipe Fitters Union Local 274 and became a welder, a job that he continues to work at to this day. When Chris finished high school, she attended beauty school and became a hair dresser. “I would have loved to become a teacher,” she said. “But it just wasn’t in the cards for me then. My parents had just gotten a divorce and I didn’t have the money to go to college.” After high school, Chris and Eddie’s relationship continued to flourish. They spent a lot of time at each other’s homes, getting to know and be a part of each other’s families.




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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

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heard a word from Eddie. “It seemed like forever,” she recalled. “I was so miserable. I didn’t go out. All I did was sit home and cry. My mother was upset. It was terrible.” Meanwhile, cool-as-a-cucumber Eddie, who had no intention of hurting Chris, spent those weeks trying to get his head together about his feelings for her and resolving his fears about taking the step toward marriage. Chris’ girlfriends finally convinced her to go out one night to the old Fatso’s Bar on Van Houten Ave. to celebrate another friend’s birthday. Reluctantly, she agreed. When they got there, one of the friends told Chris that she had run into Eddie earlier and let him know that they would be at the bar that night, and he said that he might stop in. When Eddie arrived, Chris did everything she could to avoid eye contact. “I was sick to my stomach,” she said. “I so badly wanted to blow him off, but I didn’t want to create a scene.” While sitting on a bar stool, Chris saw Eddie coming toward her. “Then, all of a sudden, I didn’t see him,” she said. “I looked down and there he was on his knees with a ring in his hand, and he said, will you please marry me? I immediately said yes. There was no discussion.” It turns out that Chris’ girlfriend was in on the plot and had accompanied Eddie to pick out the ring. In fact, “the whole bar was in on the surprise,” Chris said. Following a 16-month 14

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

From left, Eddie, Nicholas, Michael and Chris in their Allwood home.

engagement, Chris and Eddie were wed on Nov. 13, 1994 at St. Paul’s Church. A reception followed at Villa Classica at the Fairfield Inn, which the couple saved and paid for themselves. Chris and Eddie originally planned to spend their honeymoon in Aruba, but Eddie had been fighting a strange illness for a number of months before the wedding, which left him weak and tired. His doctor recommended that he not spend time in the sun, so the couple thought it best to cancel their plans. Instead, they booked a trip to Mount Airy Lodge in the Poconos, which Chris now laughingly recounts as “a living nightmare.” She continued, “We reserved a room with an in-room pool that we thought would be nice, but when we checked in, everything was so damp and reeked of chlorine.” Chris and Ed refused to stay in the musty room, so the clerk at the front desk suggested that they

might enjoy staying in one of the resort’s cabins. They got in their car and drove down the road into the woods to their assigned cabin, which wasn’t much better than the room with the pool. “It was so creepy and scary, like a scene from Camp Crystal Lake in Friday the 13th,” Chris said. Finally, they were offered one of the resort’s premier accommodations, the Blue Roman Room. That, too, was “tackyville come to life,” Chris said. “I wanted to pack up and go home, but Eddie said, don’t worry, we’ll be ok.” Today, the couple laughs about their honeymoon in the Poconos, but it’s an episode that they would much rather forget. They like to think of their real honeymoon as the trip they took a year later to the Bahamas. After returning from Mount Airy Lodge, Chris and Eddie moved into the house where Eddie grew up. His parents had relocated to his elderly grandparents’ house nearby to help take care of them.

“It was such a great home,” Chris said. “I had both of my boys while we were living there. We became a family there, and my oldest son even had Eddie’s old room.” After eight years in the Union Ave. house, Chris and Eddie decided they wanted more space for their kids. So, with the help of Eddie’s parents, they bought property in Vernon and planned to move there. “It was all set and then I came home from work one day and Chris was sitting there crying because she didn’t want to move,” Eddie said. “I had a baby and a two year-old, and I was afraid I’d be up there all alone,” Chris said. “My mother and step-father, and my brother were all here and I didn’t want to leave them.” Needless to say, Chris and Eddie stayed in Clifton. Unfortunately, the Union Ave. home where the couple had been

living had already been sold, so they joined Eddie’s parents in his grandparents’ house for a year, until purchasing their current home in the Allwood section in 2004. Today, the couple’s life is a whirlwind of activities, centered on their two sons, Nicholas, 13, and Michael, 10. The boys play multiple sports throughout the year, so when Chris and Eddie aren’t at a baseball field, you’ll most likely find them at a basketball court or soccer field. Eddie serves as president of Clifton American Little League and Chris is active in the PTO at School 9. They love their new neighborhood, where they have made great new friends and enjoy block parties and holiday gatherings. And, they like the fact that both of their families live nearby and are a close part of their lives. They also have a number of long time friends in the area with

whom they keep in touch. After staying home full-time for eight years to care for her sons, Chris went back to work part-time when Michael entered kindergarten. Three years ago, she passed the test to become a paraprofessional in the Clifton Public Schools. She works in a class of autistic children at School 14. “I absolutely love it,” she said of her job. “It’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.” Chris and Eddie believe that the secret to their successful marriage is their mutual respect for each other and their shared values. “We’re friends,” Eddie said. “We’re just two regular people who’ve been through a lot together, and we always have fun.” Chris added, “We never needed fancy things, just family and each other. I have a husband who adores me, two kids who I adore, and we have a roof over our heads. What more could I want?”

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Janis and Len Thomas Loving the Open Road By Joe Hawrylko


t’s certainly not a conventional retirement plan, but it couldn’t be more perfect for Janis and Len Thomas. As of January 15, the Cliftonites have been officially living on the road, roaming about North America in a 32 foot motorhome with their dog and two cats. To supplement more than a decade’s worth of savings, the Thomas’ will find temp jobs as transient workers at stops along the along the way, as they attempt to visit each of the Lower 48 States. “We’re going to be on the road permanently, or at least until we no longer want to do it,” explained Janis. The departure from the Garden State also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the couple, who first met in 1983. 16

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

“I was good friends with his girlfriend at the time,” laughed Janis, a graduate of the Clifton High School Class of 1982. Len and the girl split up after a few weeks, and not long after in early 1984, he asked Janis to be his date to a Billy Joel concert, which was followed by a memorable dinner at a Spanish restaurant. The connection was immediate—Len and Janis were wed two years later on June 29, 1986. Besides the obvious reasons, the ceremony was particularly memorable because of a limo breakdown, which resulted in the bridal party being transported to the wedding via luxury RV. “Who’d have though that 25 years ago that it would be an omen,” laughed Janis.

Se habla Espanol ˜

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


At that point, the method of transportation was just a coincidence. The Thomas’ didn’t get into the world of RVing until taking a vacation in the early 90s. “We had rented a motorhome and gone down to Florida and fell in love with that mode of travel,” said Len. “So when we came back from there, we purchased a pop up. Six months later, we had another with a larger trailer. Another year later, another trailer...” Soon, the motorhome became the all-in-one vehicle and lodging for getaways on the open road. “We’ve been as far north as Vermont and as far south as Virginia, and a little further west than PA,” explained Janis. Sometimes, in getting to destinations, the pitstops are less than luxurious. “We’ve stayed at truck stops, Wal-


February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Marts, Crackerbarrels...” But while the scenery outside the RV can wildly differ, the amenities inside are not too much different than a typical, modest home. “I have never slept in a tent and I never will,” laughed Janis. “We call it condo camping. In our unit, we have a television, phone, microwave, hot water, a private bathroom and more.” Part of the allure to RV camping is the community. In meeting people at camp grounds, one can develop an entire network of friends from across the country.“We’ve met some really nice people,” said Len. “People don’t sit outside their hotel to meet other people. But in camp grounds, people sit outside, you walk by and they say hello and you get to talking.” On each of those many excursions, the Clifton couple would often meet people who had forsaken their normal homes for replacements with wheel foundations. Living on the road, these adventure-seeking individuals roam the country on a never-ending sight seeing tour. Work for such transients can be found in various magazines or internet communities. Home is wherever the RV will fit—camp grounds, national parks, motels, truck stops and other locations for transients that are peppered across America. Intrigued by such a lifestyle, Janis and Len

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


attended a Life on Wheels “It takes a lot of work on seminar in Pennsylvania in both parts,” he added. “We the late 90s, where they heard share a lot of the same first hand tips from those values, morals and beliefs. who have experienced it. And there’s the four phrases: It was a retirement plan You’re right, I’m wrong, I’m tailor suited to the Thomas’. sorry and it will never However, such a drastic happen again.” decision requires years of Not that there aren’t some saving and lots of planning differences in tastes as well. “There’s simple tricks, After a stop at Apex, North like using a crock pot to save Carolina to visit some old propane,” explained Janis. friends, the couple will be But after more than ten free to roam wherever they years since they first made please. Naturally, each has that choice, Janis and Len different ideas for dream have finally set out on the stops. road. “I’d like to see all the Though their travels will light houses along the eventually take them back coast,” said Janis. “And the through Clifton, home is Great Lakes and Mt. wherever they stop and kill Rushmore.” the engine for the night. Len’s ideal stop is a bit “You’re pretty much more blue collar. A big saying farewell to family and NASCAR fan, he’s already friends you’ve lived around been to the Poconos, Dover for so long,” said Len. and Richmond raceways. “Even though you’re not However, he aims to going to be gone forever, ultimately visit the hallowed you’re still not going to be ovals at Daytona and Bristol. up here very often.” “It’s like $10,000 for the Janis and Len will only whole event,” explained have the companionship of Len. The price, which their pets while on the road. would prohibit him from And it takes an excellent going for a bit, includes relationship to weather long qualifying, practices, and drives and living in cramped lower heats. Janis and Len on their wedding day June 29, 1986 quarters when days aren’t And while the actual going so hot. logistics of the trip have However, the couple isn’t worried. The key to hardly been etched out, the Thomas’ are just more than surviving such pitfalls is the same as making it through a eager to unhinge from the shackles of daily life in quarter century of marriage. Northern New Jersey and get on the open road to “Commitment, through the good and the bad,” Len adventure. stated firmly. “We’ve had some very good and some very “No more PSE&G bill, no more rent, no more water bill,” said Janis. “We’ve got a campground membership bad ups and downs. But you don’t see very many people so that we can stay for free for up to three weeks at a time who are married too long like this.” at a number of places around the country. It’s the type of “When we get in a fight, someone goes for a walk lifestyle we want. If not, we can always come back.” around the campground,” laughed Janis. 20

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

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Pain Management February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Christina and Yuri Turchyn Family, Tradition and a 40 Year Love Song By Irene Jarosewich


or 40 years, Christina and Yuri have been falling in love. Christina confesses that back in the 1970s, she had a fierce teenage crush on the good-looking guitarist from the country rock band Kinderhook. And somewhere deep inside, Yuri always knew that one day he would marry “a beautiful, blond Ukrainian girl.” Yet as is often the fate of creative people, theirs was a long and winding road. Yuri Turchyn, 60, grew up in Trenton, a skinny Ukrainian kid in an Italian neighborhood. “I was the one walking down the street in shorts and knee-his, carrying my violin case to music lessons,” grinned Yuri. “I took some serious flak for that.” By 22

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

adolescence, the skinny kid was behind him, and for a while, so was the violin. The power of the guitar, Yuri learned, was that it was one heck of a chick magnet. He graduated Rutgers in 1972. That summer, while up in the Catskills, he met some guys still attending Rutgers. Like him, they too were into music. Together they began a late night jam in a ramshackle old barn, a jam that went until dawn. A band was born. Nearby was a mountain creek, Kinderhook and then the band had a name. Yuri was supposed to go to graduate school that fall, and on to Scotland. Instead, his life did a one-eighty and he returned to New Brunswick to help start Kinderhook.

Yuri Turchyn and his fiddle have a long history in our region.

In the 1970s, the local music scene in New Jersey was, well, hot. And Yuri, who had returned to playing fiddle, along with the other musicians of Kinderhook, Andy Fediw, Jerry Kopychuk, and Craig

Barry, made up one of the hottest local bands around. “We didn’t have texting then,” Yuri laughed, “it was all word of mouth. A band had a following. Your reputation brought the crowd. In some clubs, like the

Stone Pony, you could pull in 2000 people in a night, on a regular basis. It was a vibrant scene.” This vibrant world is where Christina Kotlar, now 55, first saw Yuri. “OK, I’ll admit it,” she said, “I was basically a groupie. I followed Kinderhook at places like Wooden Nickel, Widow Brown’s, Dodd’s.” Also, the child of post-war immigrants from Ukraine, Christina grew up with three sisters in Lakeview. A 1973 CHS grad, she went on to Rutgers, and then William Paterson, getting her BA in graphic design and a master’s in textile design. During college she could follow Kinderhook at area

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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The Turchyn-Kotlar wedding party this past Nov. 27.

clubs, but she could also hear the band play at Ukrainian festivals and weddings around the tri-state area. “I would go up to Yuri to ask him to play some song. I remember, he would look down at me from the stage, very politely, and smile and kindly say OK. But really, they never did,” she sighed. The band broke up in 1982 and Yuri went on to play music professionally with other musicians, and began a transition from country rock to jazz, then to his own quintet, Grupo Yuri, now Grupo Yuri Jazz. “I really had to relearn how to play the violin,” said Yuri, “I had been playing fiddle for so long that I needed to almost start over.” Christina moved to Washington DC in the 1990s where she completed another degree, this one in Communications, and began her transition from print designer to photographer and film and video producer. Through her wide community of Ukrainian American friends, every once in a while, she

would hear while about what Yuri was doing, but really, for decades, Christina and Yuri had no contact. By 2009, Christina was back in New Jersey, living in Rutherford, when she heard that Kinderhook was planning a reunion concert. She went to that reunion and as she had done years before, went up to Yuri when he was onstage. Instead of a song, this time she asked that he do a podcast with her for her website. He agreed. They set up a time. Christina did not show. Yuri was angry. “I called and left her a voice message, telling her how unprofessional she was, really reaming her out,” he remembers ruefully. She called back and apologized. She had to take her father to the hospital unexpectedly for what was to be his final illness. “Boy, did I ever feel like a heel!” They began what was to become a roller-coaster relationship amid stresses of illness and deaths of close friends and family. “Our relationship really was more like ‘Three Funerals

and a Wedding’ than the opposite,” remarked Christina a bit sadly. In fact, she admits, during her father’s last few months, she felt little desire for any relationship at all. Yuri, however, persevered. “After we did our podcast, we had gone to a diner, and over dinner, we really hit it off,” said Yuri, “I had not been emotionally involved in a long time. I had shut down. Chris woke me up emotionally. I saw that she was in pain. I began to send her poetry. I thought to myself, even if this relationship ended up going nowhere, my creativity was alive. She made me feel alive.” After her father passed in October 2009, Christina felt herself slipping into a bit of a funk. Though Yuri had continued to stay in touch, the relationship had been pretty much one-sided. Then as winter and the holidays began to roll around, she felt particularly blue and on a whim, emailed Yuri asking about his plans for February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


New Year’s Eve. His quintet was playing a gig at a resort in upstate New York. Christina’s brother-inlaw was a manager at the resort. She emailed back that she would be there and suggested that they meet during cocktail hour. “The theme of the event was a Viennese Ball,” said Yuri, “When I saw her in her evening dress, honestly, my knees buckled. She was beautiful. It was a beautiful evening.” When the evening ended, Christina invited Yuri to join her at an after party. He remembers the moment well. Here he was again, in upstate New York, again, in the middle of the night, again, his life about to radically change. “The hall was empty. I was the only one left. I stood there alone on that stage, and as I looked out into that silent room, the realization hit me – crystal clear – if I joined her at


February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

the after party, my life will change completely.” He went. It did. “Later, people would tell me,” giggled Christina, “those that had seen us together that evening that the sparks were there for all to see, it was that obvious.” A few months later, even though it seemed like an odd time, Yuri got the idea to propose to Christina at his uncle’s funeral: “We all were very sad. It was another in a series of funerals during the past year. My cousin turned to me and said that this was it, too much sadness, we have to do something fun, that he have to get some happiness back in the family. So I thought to myself, OK, let’s do a wedding.” On November 27 last year, Christina and Yuri got married in St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Passaic, the church in which her parents married 60 years earlier.

“Family, tradition, our Ukrainian heritage, these are very important to both of us,” said Christina, “My parents were in love with each other their entire lives and it was a wonderful idea for me that we could be married in the same church.” For Yuri, who has never been married, it was one of the happiest days of his life. When asked why he never married before, he replied with a slow smile, “Because before, no one ever stole my heart.” Christina and Yuri see their lives as one of merging talents. Yuri composes and arranges original music, and performs with major players, in addition to his quintet Grupo Yuri Jazz, whose performances have been described as “passionate and superbly energetic” and “infectious … a blend of World Beat, Latin, Jazz and Fusion rhythms, intertwined

with beautifully haunting melodies.” Christina has taken on some of the promotion responsibilities for the group through her company March Hare Media and Entertainment. In turn, Yuri supports Christina’s projects, the most recent of which is a screenplay, “Madame Director” about America’s first woman film director, Alice Guy Blache, who owned and operated a studio, Solax Company in Fort Lee where she made hundreds of films before WWI, and who will be honored this fall at the 75th anniversary event of the Director’s Guild of America in New York City. The newlyweds plan to move back to the Lakeview house where Christina grew up, and to the community that she never really left. Christina is optimistic and cheerful about the future: “We’ve overcome many personal tragedies in the past year. And while many friends and family are celebrating their 30 years together, we’re genuinely looking forward to starting ours.”

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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

John Traier and Mark Peterson Real Life Felix and Oscar By Carol Leonard


he recent overwhelming support in both houses of Congress to repeal the federal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) law is the latest evidence that our country is slowly moving in the direction of greater acceptance of the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. In fact, the repeal of DADT was supported by 67 percent of Americans in a Gallop poll conducted in December. When fully implemented in the coming months, repeal of DADT will allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in all branches of the United States military. Neither Mark Peterson nor John Traier has ever served in the military. But it was with great interest that they witnessed the repeal of DADT, in much the same

way that they were delighted by the passage in 2004 of a state law in New Jersey that allowed the gay couple to enter into a legal domestic partnership. “I didn’t think I would ever see it in my lifetime,” Traier said. Peterson, 58, and Traier, 54, both came of age at a time when it was difficult enough for young gay men and lesbian women to even admit their sexual orientation to themselves, much less to their families, friends and co-workers. “The coming out process was very difficult,” Peterson said. “When I was growing up, I didn’t have any gay role models that I could talk to. It just wasn’t done.” February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


A lifelong Clifton resident, Traier grew up in the Lakeview section, where he attended School 11, then Christopher Columbus Jr. High and Clifton High School. He graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in accounting, and he works as a certified public accountant. A native of Edison, Peterson went to work full-time right after high school. He initially worked in the traffic and shipping department of the Ronson company before moving into his current position as a procedure analyst in maintenance for the Parkway Division of the NJ Turnpike Authority. The two men first met in 1987 at a yearly fundraising event sponsored by the then Garden State Arts Center (now the PNC Bank Arts Center) at the Pines Manor in Edison. “I was reluctant to go because I didn’t have anyone to go with,” Peterson recalled. His co-workers encouraged him to attend and one of them introduced him to Traier. They continued their evening at a nearby diner. “I was interested in him, but I really wasn’t sure at the time what his orientation was,” Peterson said. “It was hard back then to talk about it. You wouldn’t just come right out and ask someone.” Eventually, Peterson and Traier each surmised that the other was gay. They made a date to have dinner, and so started their relationship on Feb. 28, 1987. It’s an anniversary that they cherish. Peterson was 34 and Traier 30 at the time, and neither had been involved in a long term relationship with anyone else. “I had an adolescent romance once, but nothing seri30

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

ous,” Traier said. “The first time that I met Mark I knew he was the one for me. I had already decided at that point that I wanted to settle down.” Peterson commented, “I had never been with anybody seriously. I didn’t think that I was ever going to find someone.”

Mark and John when they first met.

He describes the early part of their relationship as “taking baby steps.” The couple had a mutual interest in theater and the arts, and they enjoyed going to piano bars in New York City. About 14 months after they met, Peterson’s landlord in Edison was selling the house and he needed find a new place to live. At the time, Traier was living alone in a home that his family owned on Valley Rd., while overseeing the care of his ailing mother, who still resided in Lakeview. He suggested that Peterson move in with him. “It forced me to make a decision,” Peterson said. “John loved Clifton and he had a responsibility to take care of his mother. I knew that it

would be a longer commute to work for me, but I felt that I had to follow my heart. It was an opportunity to be happy with someone that I loved. It changed my whole life.” Traier was thrilled that Peterson had agreed to move in with him, but he knew that they would face a lot of obstacles as they sought acceptance in the community. Traier was well known in Clifton. He had lived here all his life and had been active in politics, serving as a Republican leader for many years. He also served as acting commissioner and later as director of the state Division of Banking during the administration of Gov. Christie Whitman. “I started coming out to some people I knew and they were very accepting, but it was difficult at times,” he said. “People would see us together in church and other places and I knew that tongues were wagging.” Nearly 24 years since the day they started dating, Peterson and Traier reflect on their relationship in much the same way that heterosexual couples do. “We’ve had our issues over the years,” Traier said. “But the nice part is that we don’t hold onto things too long.” The couple feels that the strength of their union lies in patience, open and honest communication, and supporting each other through difficult times. “We’re nurturing type people,” Traier said. They are both actively involved with the Theater League of Clifton, with Peterson serving as president and Traier as treasurer, but each has his own separate interests. Traier is still involved in Republican politics and is completing his third term this

year as a commissioner on the Clifton Board of Education. He is also active with Garden State Equality, an advocacy group for homosexual rights. “John is a political animal, but politics was never my greatest interest,” Peterson said. “I enjoy my bike club.” At the couple’s current home in the Rosemawr section, where they have lived for 16 years, Peterson does most of the cooking. He is very fussy about how the house looks and he doesn’t appreciate his partner’s lack of tidiness. “He likes to leave a trail,” he said of Traier. “He’s more like Felix and I’m Oscar,” Traier admitted. The two have a cordial relationship with their neighbors and they enjoy hosting gatherings of family and friends in their home. On July 13, 2004, under a new state law that was enacted just days earlier, Peterson and Traier entered into a domestic partnership by filing an affidavit with the city of Clifton. The New Jersey Domestic Partnership Act affords homosexual as well as qualifying unmarried heterosexual couples certain rights previously provided only to married couples. These include the right to make healthcare decisions for each other and to receive tax exemptions and inheritances. The law also enabled Traier to get health insurance benefits under Peterson’s state employee plan. Traier had helped lobby in Trenton for passage of the law and he felt that it was an entitlement that he and Peterson deserved. “We were finally observed as a couple,” he said. “It was very emotional.” In 2006, the state legislature took

the rights of same sex couples a step further by passing the Civil Union Act. Homosexual couples who enter into a civil union under this law have the same legal rights, benefits and responsibilities as married heterosexual couples in the state. Peterson and Traier never felt the need to enter into a civil union. Instead, Traier would rather get married. He has been working through Garden State Equality for a law in New Jersey to allow same sex marriage. Currently only five states, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, and the District of Columbia, allow such marriages. Traier would like to go to Connecticut to get married, even though the nuptials would not be legally recognized by the state of New Jersey. “I think after all these years together he should marry me,” Traier said. “I want all the rituals of a wedding.” For now, Peterson isn’t interested in going out of state for a marriage ceremony. “To me, we’re married already,” he said. “We’re dedicated

to each other even without a formal marriage.” Although the couple acknowledges that the gay and lesbian community has made great strides over their lifetime, both in legal rights and social acceptance, they feel there is more progress to be made. Peterson and Traier were raised as Roman Catholics and had served faithfully as Eucharistic ministers at St. Brendan’s Church. Shortly after their domestic partnership was publicized in the local press, however, they each received letters from the bishop stating that they could no longer serve in this capacity. “From that day on, we walked away from the church and never went back,” Peterson said. “It was very hurtful. I miss going to church. I feel a void.” Peterson explained that he still has gay friends who are afraid to live openly. “Even now you take risks coming out,” he said. “But I tell them that the only happiness in life is to love and be loved. Invest your heart in another person and don’t worry about being judged.”

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Chris and Roe de Vinck A Love Story By Christopher de Vinck


ix hundred years ago in France and England it was assumed that birds began to mate during the second half of the second month: February 14th. It made sense. Spring was not too far off in the distance. It seemed as if there were more song birds in the woods and fields. Even Chaucer considered this possibility: For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

And so began the early and persistent ritual of selecting a sweetheart on Valentine’s Day and offering her a token of affection: a kiss, a card, a box of chocolate. 32

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Thirty-six years ago I was a first year high school English teacher. I taught “Romeo and Juliet,” stories by Truman Capote and O. Henry. My students read The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby. The high school play that year was “The Music Man.” Jeanne De Block, the banker’s daughter and one of my students was the star playing the leading role of Marian Paroo the librarian. For me Jeanne to this day still represents all that is good about teenagers: openness, humor, optimism. That she also possessed physical beauty and a mature dignity added to Jeanne’s popularity and, over time, created for all who knew her an iconic memory of what we all hope for in our struggles to be loved and to love.

In the fall of 1975, as I stood before my class, I ran down the attendance list: “Doug?” Present, Doug called out. “Wendy?” Wendy waved her hand and smiled. “Amy?” “Here, Mr. de Vinck.” “Jeanne?” I called, not looking up from my roster. Silence. “Jeanne?” I repeated as I looked up. Jeanne’s desk was empty. I marked her absent, finished taking attendance, and began the day’s lesson. By third period we heard that Jeanne was in a car accident on the way to school. By the end of the day, we heard that Jeanne died. There was an intersection not far from the high school. A blinking light controlled the traffic. The morning was heavy with fog. As Jeanne properly and cautiously drove through the intersection, another car appeared at her left side, smashed into her, and she died. Do you remember the film “Witness,” where the people in the Amish village were summoned by a bell because one of their own was in trouble? The men in the fields quickly stopped their work and rushed to the house. People were running down the roads to the sound of the bell. It was like that in the small northern New Jersey Village when Jeanne died. Her parents didn’t want a wake. They wanted people to come to their home and share in their grief. I will always remember seeing so many people walking up the driveway, up to the house. I will never forget stepping into Jeanne’s house and seeing her high school graduation portrait sitting on the piano. I met my wife on that day, in that house of sorrow, during the mourning for Jeanne De Block, Lady Librarian, the banker’s daughter. I was sitting at the kitchen table, consoling some of the high school students when Jeanne’s sister Linda entered the house with her college roommate, Rosemary, Roe, my

future wife, the mother of our three children, the woman who for 34 years shared her dreams, encouraged my writing, walked with me along the Roman Roads in Belgium, who swam with me in the beaver pond in Canada. Our first son, David, was supposed to be born on Valentine’s Day. He came two days earlier, on Lincoln’s birthday. Today David is a doctor. Our second son, Michael was born on Jeanne’s birthday, March 31. Today he is a paramedic. And Karen, our daughter happily employed in Portland, Oregon and in love with a good man. The writer Bernard Malamud wrote “Life is a tragedy full of joy.” Roe and I are still friends with her college roommate and with Jeanne’s good parents. They know so well that from their deep sorrow something wonderful happened: a great love story between Roe and me, the birth of three good people, the continuation of joy born from tragedy. St. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the joys of those we love. Birds select their mates in the early spring; we select our mates in the miracle of circumstances. Thank you Jeanne for my wife and for our three children. Happy Valentine’s Day.


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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Abel and Madeline Alicea Love, On The Street Where You Live By Joe Hawrylko


adeline Alicea has a tip for those struggling to find love: Start by talking to a friendly neighbor. That’s how she met her future husband, Abel, in 1986. The two high schoolers grew up just a few doors down from one another in the same Paterson apartment complex, eventually becoming best friends and lovers. “We met in DECA club (an academic competition team) at John F. Kennedy High School,” said Madeline. The connection was immediate, and the two soon began a relationship that would last through graduation and after college, culminating in Abel and Madeline exchanging vows on May 16, 1992. 34

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

The concept of high school sweethearts and marrying at such a young age may be foreign to some, but love has a way of alleviating concerns about future. “When you meet someone who is your buddy, why wait?” said Madeline, refering to the trend of couples defering marriage until school or career goals are met. “We didn’t know where we were going to live or what we were going to do,” added Abel. When the couple first moved in together, they lived on the second floor of Madeline’s parent’s two family home. “We had no worries in the world then.” And facing those challenges side-by-side with each other ultimately helped build the foundation for a

healthy marriage that will have lasted for 19 years this Spring. “You always get a lot of ups and downs,” said Madeline. She and Abel have lived in the Allwood section for 14 years. “But there’s one thing about our house: No cursing. He doesn’t do it and he doesn’t allow it.” Faith is also another major component in the couple’s relationship, serving as the moral foundation. The Aliceas are also highly involved in their church, The Calvary Temple in Wayne. Abel is part of the church ministry, which provides services and programs for over 200 kids, and Madeline helps out in the kitchen, which is a vital cog in the organization’s fundraising program. “If we didn’t have that, I don’t think we’d be here today,” she said. “Keep a good relationship with your maker and you’ll have a good one as well.” It’s a faith in a higher power that helps Abel and Madeline get through some of the more difficult patches in their relationship. “I got laid off five days after my third kid was born,” said Abel. “I was doing sales—you can’t just pick up and go somewhere else with no accounts.” In between jobs and with his home schooling the children and studying for her Masters, Abel decided to change careers and opened The Empanada Grill on Market St. in Allwood in October 2009. Although he always had an interest in food, the small, traditional Puerto Rican restaurant was a com-

Abel and Madeline Alicea were wed on May 16, 1992. At left, the couple with their children: Seth, 14, Gabriella, 10 and Jason Blake, 2.

plete deviation from Abel’s accounting career. But despite lacking experience, his hard work and faith has allowed this lunch spot to flourish. “You have to believe God will take you through it,” added Madeline. “It’s our life boat. It’s so dear to us.” The Empanada Grill has been successful enough to support the family while Madeline searches for a new job. In the meantime, she’s been home schooling the couple’s children, which allows for flexibility in her schedule to see Abel during the day. “I work really hard to be in extra early so I can be home early,” he said. On the day of the interview, he took off at around 3 pm for a midday ice cream date with Madeline. And even though other responsibilities will make the mid-day break short, it’s the moments shared together that keep the relationship

alive and fresh. Abel and Madeline make sure that they go out for special nights together on a frequent basis. “We go to Hoboken a lot to eat and check it out,” she said. “I live to hold his hand when we’re out. It’s the truth and I love it.” Such adoration is not without merit. Madeline explained that Abel has constantly been there to support her at a moment’s notice, always willing to lend a hand. “You need something to sustain you,” she said. “I still love with man. I truly treasure him for who he is. He is a beautiful presence in our home.” “If I am stressed, he asks me how can I help you, how can I make it better,” Madeline continued. “He’ll come home and play with our youngest child for a bit or cook dinner.” Both agreed that being fair helps resolve arguments and sometimes avoid them all together. “He always says to me, I am a reflection of you,” explained Madeline. “Every night, we sit and we talk together.” “Don’t focus on the negatives,” she added. “Everyones got some, but you overlook them in the beginning, so why start later?” For Madeline and Abel, the key to keeping a marriage healthy is pretty simple: Be fair, and keep things fresh and fun. “You’ll know when you really love someone,” explained Madeline. “It’s just like, grab hands and let’s move through this journey together. February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Stacey and Steven Crampton Match Made by Fire(men) By Joe Hawrylko


eing set up on a blind date is almost always an awkward situation. It’s even worse when the person setting up the match is your boss, and the girl in question is the daughter of his best friend, Clifton Firefighter Frank Englehardt. “I walked into work at 7 in the morning and my fire Captain is asking how tall I am, how much I weigh, when my birthday is,” recalled Steven Crampton, a Paterson Firefighter. “I just got into work. I’m like, what do you want?” Unsurprisingly, his first reaction was no. However, his boss continued to press: “Around 8 pm, he calls me to his office and I’m like what did I do now,” said Steve. “He 36

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

wanted to put me on the phone with her mom!” The firefighter was about to continue on with his day, but Steven’s interest piqued when he spotted a hand written list with notes about his prospective date: “Blonde hair, blue eyes, nice girl, about 5’6’,” he recalled. Intrigued, he took down his blind date’s phone number and shot her a text that same night. That was a little more than two years ago, and the couple has been together ever since. “Then for the next three days straight, we just spoke by text,” laughed Stacey, whose father, Frank, set up the arrangement. “I was just coming out of a relationship and initially didn’t want anything to do with it. But we

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


just clicked, had some things in common. I like horseback riding and fishing.” “When I learned that, I asked her jokingly to marry me,” added Steven, whose father, Frank, is also a firefighter. And though the chemistry between the two was evident, Steven found that getting Stacey to meet up in person was a tad bit more difficult than he had expected. “I kept on trying to get her to hang out a couple times, but she kept on saying I don’t feel good or my back hurts,” he insisted, despite Stacey’s claims to the contrary. A couple weeks later, the two finally met up at Steven’s apartment for a movie and fate intervened: A snow storm trapped them in for 48 hours. “She never left after the first date,” Steven, 30, said with a sly smirk. Stacey attributed the quick connection to their personalities, tastes and similar sense of humor. “The only differences are in what we did and where we grew up,” she said. “We’re really pretty similar.” One of the couple’s shared interests is traveling, whether it’s a full fledged vacation, a weekend getaway, or Steven showing off with a romantic outing. “On a spur, we went to the Florida Keys, that was just about a month after we had met,” laughed Stacey, 27. “This past June, we went to Costa Rica,” he added. “And for her birthday, we went to Niagara Falls by ourselves. I got a speeding ticket on my way back, so I said


February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

I’ll fight it and we made another weekend out of it.” When Steven had decided that he wanted to propose after dating Stacey for a little more than a year, he did it under the guise of just a normal, romantic outing. “She was talking about going row boating in Central Park for weeks,” said Steven, who arranged for Stacey’s friend, a professional photographer, to document the day’s activities. The two had discussed marriage, but she had no inclination that she’d receive a ring on that day. “I’ve got the ring in my pocket and I’m nervous, so I’m holding it with my hand so I don’t lose it,” he recalled. “And she’s trying to come close and I keep pushing her away and she’s getting mad.” Not wanting to ruin the moment, Steven proposed in the middle of the pond. Ten months later, Stacey and Steven were wed on Sept. 17, 2010. The young couple now resides in a condo on Piaget Ave., where they’ve been for about a year. “We already lived together, so we knew what it was like,” said Steven. Thus far, the biggest adjustment has been making time for one another. Even though they live under the same roof, Steven’s schedule of 24 hours on, 24 hours off at the fire house means that he’s sometimes home at odd hours. In addition to his duties there, Steven works as a baseball instructor. The William Paterson University grad played ball at the collegiate and professional levels, going as high as AA ball with the Birmingham Barons farm team for the White Sox. Steven said that he trains several clients a week during his busy season from January to May, and he does some work over the summer as well. “People think that because he’s a fireman, he’s home a lot,” explained Stacey. “I don’t even see him a lot now because he’s been working more.” Steven said compromise is the most important thing in a relationship, especially when busy schedules are involved. “You have to learn to say yes more than you ever have in your life,” he laughed. “But right now, the way it is, if we have a night off, we go out for dinner. The long hours sometimes make it a little more difficult to spend quality time together, but that becomes irrelevant when you really love someone. “At one time, it was hard getting used to living together,” she added. “But you have to be able to talk to each other, be honest, and compromise. When I met him, my mom said that I’m going to want to marry someone like my father,” said Stacey. “He’s him to a T. Plus, they’re both firemen.”

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Jackie Paz and Lou Schimmel Connecting Heart and Mind, Body and Soul By Irene Jarosewich


heir first date was in 1997, on Valentine’s Day. However, there were no red roses, no heart-shaped chocolates, no romantic candles, just a quick bite to eat. Jackie Paz first met fellow student Lou Schimmel earlier that week and she thought that he seemed like a really nice guy. After one of their practice labs, she got up the gumption to ask him out for a casual dinner. He amicably agreed. “And basically,” grinned Lou, “within a few months, that was it. We’ve been together ever since.” A life of strong bonds is at the core of their love for one another and of their other relationships. Theirs is an integrated life combing commitment to physical well 40

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

being – from their training as athletes, as well as their profession as chiropractors – with spiritual well-being through their faith in that God and as dedicated parents to sons Brandon, 6 and Alex, 5. “From the very beginning,” said Jackie, “we had a pretty great relationship, I think because we agreed on the major issues. We have the same life philosophy. We believe that a natural approach is the best approach. We agree on how to raise the children, agree on the priorities in life. That kind of understanding, that’s what makes life easier.” “Yes, it’s the big stuff that’s easy,” said Lou with a smile, teasing Jackie, “so that just leaves the lit-

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tle stuff, like what color to paint the living room walls.” The Schimmels do have new living room walls, having recently completed a renovation in their Clifton home that they moved into last August. The Schimmels, their two sons and their friendly nine-year-old German short-haired pointer, Cooper, left their Maple Valley home and moved back to Jackie’s old neighborhood, one that she calls “in the Robin Hood section of Clifton, after the park nearby,” but that most people now know as being part of the Richfield. Jackie Paz, who recently turned 40, her older sister Cathy and younger brother Joe grew up in a home on Avondale Road in Clifton, children of Barbara and Joseph Paz. Both Jackie and Cathy are Clifton High

You’re a Neighbor, Not a Number.

School track stars. In 1986, Jackie ran cross-country on the CHS team that became state champion, earning her a place in the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame. It is through her athletic training and suffering a sports injury that Jackie was introduced to the work of chiropractors. Working with the spine, ensuring proper alignment not only relieves pain and pressure after an injury, but weekly adjustments help boost the immune system and is an important part of preventative care. Jackie was drawn to this holistic approach to life that also incorporates natural foods and healthy nutrition as part of overall well-being. After completing her undergraduate degree at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, Jackie enrolled in the Life University School of Chiropractic in Georgia, where she met Lou. Lou, 38, grew up in Michigan and then attended the University of Colorado at Boulder. He, too, was an athlete, a collegiate champion cyclist. Through his roommate, he was introduced to chiropractic techniques, saw what a chiropractor did and the importance of the practice to restoring and maintaining health. After some hands-on experience and serious discussions with a respected chiropractor in Colorado, Lou decided to go to Georgia for training. “This chiropractor told me that he believed that I would be not only a good chi-


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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

ropractor, but a great one, and that I that has a lot of exposure and foot their lease for another ten years. should go to school for training. He traffic, such as near a bank, or near “We love being in Clifton,” said also told me that when I get mara post office, or a Home Depot. Jackie, “and we are committed to ried, to make sure that I marry a They actually told us Home Depot. the well-being of our patients here. great chiropractor, as well,” Clifton really is a large city, but said Lou with a grin. still has that small town feel. So on July 7, 2002, Lou And no matter where I go, I’m took his mentor’s advice always seeing somebody I and he and Jackie were know. I always say, the ‘C’ in married. Clifton is for convenience. It’s Jackie, who graduated a very convenient place to live ahead of Lou by two years, and work.” joined a family practice in In New Jersey, chiropractors Georgia as she waited for are visible and practice is mainLou and her brother Joe, a stream. Although many of their classmate of Lou’s at the patients have insurance that Life University, to graduhelps pay for the spinal alignate. She and Lou knew that ments, almost half do not. they would not stay in However, the Schimmels Georgia and would return underscore, they do not accept north, probably to the patients based on ability to pay Northeast, they just were and are willing to develop a not sure where. While still payment plan with any patient. in Georgia, Jackie took up “We say that our job is to cycling and she and Lou help patients recognize the Jackie and Lou at the Collegiate Cycling Nationals have many memories of innate intelligence in the body,” at Durango, Colorado in 1997. great road trips taken dursaid Jackie, “and we’ve had ing the first years of their patients tell us that not only do relationship. “It was a good beginSo here I am, parking my car near they feel better physically, but as a ning to our life together,” said Lou, the post office in Styertowne and I result of coming to us, their person“with a focus on school, cycling, see a ‘For Lease’ sign in the storeal relationships are better, as well.” friends. We have lots of good memfront by my car. I stood there and it “Most of our clients have been ories of those days.” just hit me – ‘post office, bank, with us for years,” continued Lou, The story of how Lou and Jackie Home Depot – this place has ALL “they notice that when they restore ended up in Clifton takes the word three nearby!’ So I picked up my the normal structure of their spine, serendipity to new heights and still cell phone and called Lou on the their quality of life improves. We makes them both smile. “After Lou spot.” don’t ‘simply treat a condition, we graduated, we decided to make my The Schimmels, along with treat the nervous system. We parents home in Clifton a base from Jackie’s brother Joseph Paz looked restore function by taking pressure which we would explore options no further. They signed a lease, off the nervous system. We also throughout the area, including New made some renovations, and offer free lectures on how to England” said Jackie, “and we opened The Chiropractic Center at change your lifestyle, improve were ready to go on a trip to Rhode Styertowne, located between the nutrition, adopt a vitalistic philosoIsland, when I had to run an errand. post office and Valley National phy towards health and well-being. I went to Styertowne Center, to the The body has the ability to heal Bank, and across Allwood Road post office. In chiropractic school, itself. It is our job to make our from Home Depot. This March, they advised us that if you want to patients recognize and understand they will celebrate ten years of set up a practice, choose a location how the body does this. ” practice. Recently, they renewed February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Dan and Suzannah Brown Law, Laughs & Love By Joe Hawrylko


or Dan Brown, it was love at first sight. It was Spring 2001, and the Rutgers Law student had just met Suzannah Mayberry, a Seton Hall Law student, at a joint Bar review course. However, anyone familiar with the process to become an attorney knows that preparing for the bar is one of the most stressful events anyone can endure. Unlike undergrad study groups, where people often socialize instead of work, the sea of caffeine-addicted, sleep-deprived law students—including Suzannah— had gathered for one simple purpose: Studying. People typically don’t go to these things to make friends or find lovers. But Dan Brown isn’t a typical guy. 46

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Born with cerebral palsy, he’s been confined to a wheelchair for most of his life. But the physical limitations presented by the chair have never hindered his ambitions. This is a man who worked full time as a programmer at Merrill Lynch for five years while pursuing a law degree. The woman of his dreams had caught his eye, and Dan was going to go up to her to make sure she knew about it. “It was love at first sight!” he laughed. “But my wife, I had to sell her! Then we ended up dating the rest of the summer through.” And even though she was focused on her studies, Suzannah quickly struck up a friendship with Dan,

captivated by his unflappable demeanor, distinct sense of humor and that ever present smile. “He worked throughout law school,” she said. “He was so determined to accomplish that goal. I immediately saw how capable he was, how smart he was.” Within a few weeks of meeting, Dan and Suzannah started seeing each other regularly, holding many date nights in the Rutgers or Seton Hall libraries. “It made the whole process fun, just better, preparing for the test and everything after” she said. “Plus, we’re both on the left side of the law too.” By the time the test rolled around in the fall, the couple was already dreaming of a future together.

“We were planning for a life together by September of that year,” laughed Suzannah. Dan was so infatuated with his future wife that he admits he may not have given the test as much attention as it deserved. “I didn’t pass the first one,” he laughed, adding he missed the cut by fractions of a point. “I was distracted!” Part of the beauty in dating someone in the same field as you is that the individual will always understand what you’re going through. Suzannah knew that Dan had worked so hard to get to that point, and helped motivate him to get over that last challenge. “What it meant in practical terms was that she’d kick me out of

bed an hour early each morning to study, lock me in the house on weekends to make sure that I did work,” laughed Dan, who passed the next test in the winter. With the Bar out of the way, the couple focused on the future and finding jobs. For Dan, that also meant getting ready to propose, which he did in June 2003. “I told her father (Josh) that I wanted to buy a ring, but I had no money,” he recalled. The two took off work and got a ring that day. “I was going to wait, but I was so excited and he was so excited that I just proposed to her when she came home,” he laughed. Dan and Suzannah later married June 17, 2004. The next year, they purchased a condo in Delawanna.

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


ly ce, as

ut se ng on


for them. It’s nice to have someone who understands Since then, the couple has become actively involved the pitfalls of being a lawyer: Long hours, high stress in the community in which they live. Readers may and intense job competition. remember the Browns from the “She’s my secret weapon,” May 2010 Council election, in he added. “If I can convince which Dan placed 11th out of a her, I’ve got a good case.” field of 19. “He’s extroverted and I’m “When I ran, wherever I went, introverted,” added Suzannah. she went,” he said, adding that the “We compliment each other experience brought them closer well.” together. “I think people have And while both acknowledge come to know the both of us.” that there are stressful days The couple has also when working for yourself, Dan entrenched themselves in and Suzannah both agree that Downtown Clifton, where they the experience has brought opened up their own practice, them closer together, Brown & Brown, which they’ve strengthening their relationship. operated out of the old City Hall “I love it. To me, my wife is building on Main Ave. since June the most beautiful person in the of last year. Suzannah and Dan Brown wed July 17, 2004. world,” said Dan. “Beyond that, The opportunity arose when she’s exceptionally smart and a wonderful lawyer. When Dan was laid off from his job at the Essex County I see my wife in court, I love it.” Prosecutor’s Office last year. “When you work together, you respect each other,” “I told him don’t worry, this is the opportunity to he continued. “The end product is better. Right now, I open our own practice,” recalled Suzannah. couldn’t be happier.” The couple agrees that love and law go together well

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John and Janice Moers They’ll Always Have Paris By Carol Leonard


he saying goes that opposites attract. If there is anyone who truly believes this, it’s Janice Moers. She describes herself as quieter and more serious than her outgoing and talkative husband, John, better known as “Johnny” to his friends and family. “He’s a real people person,” she said. “He’s always chit chatting with anyone who will listen to him.” The Clifton couple, who will celebrate their 46th wedding anniversary this month, met while both were students at Lyndhurst High School. They went out together a few times during junior year, but it wasn’t until later in their senior year that their romance took off. Janice said she had a feeling that John would be the

one for her based on an old superstition that had been popular at their school at the time. It went like this: Count 100 red convertibles, see a woman in a purple dress and a man in a green tie, and then the first person who shakes your hand will be the person you will marry. After meeting all these requirements over the summer before senior year, Janice was standing on the high school steps one day when John came up and shook her hand. “His friends had dared him to do it,” she said. John sheepishly retorted, “I just did what I was told to do.” A few months later, the couple started casually dating and spending time together with other friends. February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Janice recalled that her dapper future husband was also seeing a freshman girl at the time. “He kind of was dating both of us for quite a while,” she said with a decades old annoyance in her voice. “So, I gave him an ultimatum, it was me or her.” “I thought it was the other girl that gave me the ultimatum,” John chuckled with his usual impish smile. During the early part of their relationship, Janice became impressed with John’s manners. “He had this beautiful white Cadillac convertible that he cleaned and polished all the time,” she said. “Whenever we went out, he would always open the door for me. But later I found out that he just didn’t want me to get my fingerprints on the car.” The couple continued to see each other after graduating together from Lyndhurst in June of 1961. John enrolled in an automotive course at Lincoln Tech and worked as a mechanic for a time, while Janice got a clerical job with Equitable Life in New York City. Not seeing much of a future where he was working, John moved on to a job at a warehouse and later landed a position loading trucks at UPS, first part-time and then full-time. When he turned 21, he was eligible to become a driver. Meanwhile, Janice took a job closer to home at a book company in Kearny and later as a receptionist for a company that sold office partitions. The couple became engaged when John surprised Janice with a ring a few days before her 19th birthday. They were married two years later on Feb. 20, 1965. By then they had saved enough to purchase their first home in the Delawanna section of Clifton. 50

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Janice and John Moers were wed on Feb. 20, 1965.

“He told me he wouldn’t marry me until we had a down payment for a house,” Janice explained. As new homeowners, the couple had to forego an elaborate honeymoon, so they took a more modest trip to the Poconos to celebrate their union. Some months later, Janice and her friends attended a taping of the then popular NBC TV game show, Eye Guess, hosted by Bill Cullen. Participants had to answer questions by remembering the answers hidden on a board. Much to her surprise, she was picked out of the audience to be a contestant and won a trip to Paris and 1,000 gallons of gasoline. Pregnant at the time, Janice was permitted to defer the vacation until after her first son, John, was born in May of 1966 and her mother was able to babysit while the couple was away. “It was the trip of a lifetime,” Janice said. “We extended it on our own to include stops in Madrid and Rome.”

A year after little John was born, the couple’s second son, Michael, came along, followed by Darren in 1970 and their only daughter, Jennifer, in 1977. With four kids and a house to take care of, Janice spent her days as a full-time mom and homemaker, while John worked long hours at UPS, including overtime. “I worked at least 12 hours a day for 20 years,” John said. “We needed the money.” It was a hectic life for the couple as their children were growing up. From baseball to football, wrestling and softball, the kids’ activities kept the family on the move all the time. “On the weekends, we went camping,” John said. “We had a trailer and on Friday nights we’d pack up and go, and we’d come back on Sunday night. It was a lot of fun. Sometimes we’d bring other kids with us.” Janice and John like to reminisce about the simple yet fun times they had during the summers in their

Delawanna neighborhood. “We’d be outside in three backyards and everyone would make a dish,” Janice said. “Then somebody would make coffee and we’d sit and talk for hours.” Janice gradually went back to work as her children got older, first taking in work to do at home, and then working part-time outside the home. She later went to school for computer training and took a position working for a physician. As their kids grew up and started bringing home friends and future spouses to stay with them, John and Janice felt they were running out of room in their modest size home. They decided to upgrade to a larger house in a new development in the Rosemawr section, where they have been living for the past 16 years. In 1999, after 37 years with UPS, John took early retirement due to a back injury that left him unable to lift the required amount of weight for his

position. Janice continued to work for a while longer, retiring about five years ago. Since then, John has been working part-time delivering orders for Peluso’s Italian deli on Market St. in the Allwood section. It keeps him busy and out of Janice’s hair. “He’s in and out all day long,” she said. “But, if he’s out aggravating someone else, he’s not here aggravating me,” she lovingly added. The couple’s three sons are all married. Oldest son, John, is a cameraman and director of photography, and lives with his movie producer wife in Lyndhurst with their three children. They often travel and stay in Prague for months at a time for their work. Middle son Michael lives with his wife in England, and youngest son Darren and his wife live in West Milford with their two children. Daughter Jen is still single and living in New York City, where she

works in retail sales and management. Janice and John help out as much as they can with the grandchildren and they enjoy entertaining the whole gang when they come to visit. They like to go out to dinner together and occasionally take a trip to Las Vegas. But most of their travel in recent years has been to visit Michael in England and young John and his family when they’re in Prague. At home, Janice enjoys baking, doing arts & crafts with the grandchildren, playing scrabble or working at her computer, while John likes watching football, tinkering with his old ‘60 Chevy and riding around the neighborhood on his motorcycle or Vespa motor scooter. “We let each other be ourselves,” John said. “Every stage of life brings something new and you have to work together. That’s what it’s all about, you know.”

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Helen and Mychail Newmerzyckyj A Healthy, New Lease on Life By Tania Jachens


elen and Mychail Newmerzyckyj first met thanks to a mutual love of music and singing. Helen sang in soprano in the choir at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Passaic, but a friend recommended that she also join the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka in New York City. Mychail, already a member and bass soloist in Dumka, still remembers the first time he saw Helen. “When she first walked into the room, one of the older choir members leaned over and said, ‘See that girl that just walked in? She’s gonna be yours,’” said Mychail. Helen had a slightly different reaction. “Someone asked me if I was married. I told them ‘no’ 52

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

and they immediately said, ‘We have a great guy for you! The soloist!’ I said, ‘He has an amazing voice, but nah, he’s not my type,’” Helen recalled. Months later, the choir went out for drinks together and Mychail and Helen sat next to each other. “We talked about our favorite songs,” said Helen. “Mine was Bette Midler’s ‘The Rose’ and his was ‘Some Enchanted Evening.’ The words were so beautiful and appropriate for that evening,” she reminisced. “We sat there with our elbows touching and I just felt this spark,” Mychail said. “When she walked away, I realized that this was something special.” Soon, they began getting to know one another through casual dates.

Less than a year after Helen joined Dumka, they traveled with the choir to Europe in 1988 to celebrate the millennium anniversary of Christianity in Ukraine. After returning from Europe, Helen took the initiative for their first date in May 1988. While they were both in Newark, she called Mychail to see if he was available for dinner or drinks. They came back to Clifton to Casey’s Pub on Allwood Rd. (now Buco Ristorante). “She made the first move, kind of, sort of,” Mychail admitted. “Everyone in Dumka was very happy and excited for us,” Helen said. Having a basis in similar interests and backgrounds helped to make their relationship strong. “We both love to sing and our Ukrainian culture and heritage is very important to us,” Helen explained. “By starting off as friends, it was easy to talk to and be honest with one another.” On July 5, 1988, they went to dinner at the Longhorn Saloon and Mychail decided to take the next big step. “I was so nervous that I accidently ordered two entrees,” Mychail said, laughing. “She looked

so lovely sitting there and I just knew. I asked her the question and, after giving me a wonderful smile, she said yes.” At the time, Mychail was studying opera music, working as a teacher in New York City, and focused on making it in the opera world. Helen was an executive working long hours at Chubb and Son in Warren. “I was so committed to my career that if someone had told me that I was going to get married, I wouldn’t have believed them.” Helen said. “It’s so hard to explain, but it just felt right,” she continued. “Everyone tells you that, but it does actually happen when you meet a person that you’re attracted to on so many levels.” On November 6, 1988, Mychail and Helen were married and soon moved to Clifton. While Helen had lived in Clifton most of her adult life, Mychail was born in Detroit and had grown up in Utica. After moving to Australia for a few years, Mychail lived in NYC until meeting his wife. “I love Clifton. I had no problem moving here and I’ve become attached to this area,” Mychail said.

With Clifton’s close proximity to their church, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Passaic, as well as easy access to the city, the Newmerzyckyj have no future plans to leave this area. For dates, the Newmerzyckyj have several favorite places. “We like Buco Ristorante as well as El Mexicano,” Helen said. “In Styertowne, the Season’s Chinese restaurant is phenomenal.” For Valentine’s Day, they usually enjoy a low-key dinner, however, the Valentine’s Day gift which Mychail gave Helen five years ago is still with them today. Helen had always wanted a dog, but their earlier lifestyle together involved too much travelling. Finally, Mychail went to a breeder and picked out a miniature poodle puppy. Since it was so small, he kept it zipped up in the front of his jacket for warmth. “She came home from work and I told her that I wanted to give her a birthday present. I handed her my jacket with the dog in it and she thought it was a stuffed animal until it started moving,” Mychail said chuckling. “He’s named

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Burko and has been an absolute joy.” For Valentine’s Day this year, Mychail and Helen plan to attend a fundraiser dance at their church. Looking back on 22 years of marriage, Helen said that it “has been a wonderful partnership.” Mychail added: “I needed to be sure that this was someone to spend the rest of my life with.” The main key to making their marriage work is maintaining an open line of communication. “As friends, the word ‘friend’ itself means that you’re direct, honest, and positive with each other through good times and bad,” Helen said. They both talked about the most important rule in their marriage: after a disagreement, they never go to bed angry or without clearing it up first. “I always say ‘I love you,’ not because she expects it, but because I mean it,” said Mychail. While Helen frequently mentioned how kind, sensitive, and talented a singer her husband is, Mychail often said how loving and warm-hearted his wife is. “We have great respect for one another and we try to promote one another’s interests and goals,” Helen added. “As his partner, I’m there to support him and to help him achieve,” Helen said. “Life’s like a mirror, what you give is reflected back to you,” Mychail explained. They have continued to support one another through a recent milestone in their lives: gastricbypass surgery. Mychail underwent this surgery in November 2009, while Helen had it done in April 2010. “I was trying to be chivalrous—I will not let you do something I haven’t tried first,” explained Mychail. But initially, Mychail was strongly opposed to it. “I asked him to come to a doctor’s consultation about it with me five years ago,” said 54

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Helen and Mychail on November 6, 1988, after their marriage at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Helen, “but he refused because he was concerned about the risks involved.” When they finally went for a consultation together, Mychail decided to have the surgery as well. “I had tried every possible diet, but my weight yo-yoed too much and my body wouldn’t lose any weight after a while,” Mychail said. “I was over 350 pounds. Morbidly obese. After weighing the pluses and minuses of having surgery, the minuses of not having it done greatly outweighed everything else.” Since their surgeries, Helen has lost over 110 pounds and Mychail has lost over 150. “It’s difficult to describe how emotionally and psychologically great we feel,” said Helen. “It’s like becoming a whole other person – I feel fantastic.” Helping each other through the recovery process was just a continuation of their constant support for each other. “In order to have a strong marriage, you have to help each other not only when you’re feeling great, but also when things are rough,” Helen explained. “The flame gets even stronger when you help and comfort your partner when they’re in pain.”

Since “any surgery is scary, our mutual support showed how much we love and support each other,” Mychail said. They now have a new healthy lease on life. By cutting junk food and most sugar out of their diets, as well as frequent exercise, they have turned over a new leaf. “I feel so much lighter, in control, and comfortable exercising,” Helen said. “I feel more confident when I go to work out at the gym and it’s so psychologically gratifying to put on an outfit, look in the mirror, and ask, ‘Is that me?’” Mychail had previously had very high blood pressure, but is now completely off medication. “I don’t think I’ve felt this good since my twenties,” he said. However, they both emphasized the importance of doing your research and finding an excellent physician and surgeon. “This surgery doesn’t open the door for you to eat whatever you want,” said Helen. “It’s a tool to lose weight, but you have to manage it.” When asked about their plans for the future, Helen joked, “Lots of shopping! I have no clothes now!” Since taking early retirement after 32 years at Chubb and Son, she is now working as a consultant and is interested in playing tennis again. “I’m grateful to God for all of this: surviving the operation, Helen getting through it safely, and just living the good life,” said Mychail, who now works as a school administrator at their church. “Having a strong marriage is like having a constant buddy and support system,” Helen said. “As each day goes on, I love her more,” Mychail added, concluding: “if you think that way, you will succeed.”

My Clifton

V lentıne Romantic Dining Options Around Town

Matthew Tyahla, a Cliftonite and Ramapo College graduate, has opened his self-titled restaurant on Bloomfield Ave., near the entrance to Route 3.


alentine’s Day is one of those must dine out events. So if you are looking for a new place to enjoy the evening, then make reservations at Matthew’s and try his new take on traditional Italian cuisine. Owner Matthew Tyahla has recently completed renovations on what some may remember as the original Bella Napoli (most recently Cafe D’Amici) on Bloomfield Ave., near the Rt. 3 entrance, just past Styertowne Shopping Center. Tyahla worked there over the years and when it closed in 2010 the young Cliftonite saw the opportunity to put his own touch to that landmark restaurant.

Tyahla, a Ramapo College graduate, has been working in the business since he was 15, starting as a bus boy and finding his way to the front end where he would greet patrons and handle other duties. This is his first venture as an owner, and he’s done a beautiful job at renovating the comfortable space. While it looks good and he has a pleasant staff, the real test is in the kitchen and Tyahla promises great things in the culinary realm so why not give him a try? Matthew’s is among the handful of eateries in Clifton which have recently opened, changed hands or have spruced up their menus to offer patrons a fresh approach to cure the winter blues. February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Amy Barkalow of Jamie’s Restaurant & Cigar Bar on Bloomfield Ave. (973-779-8596). Along with Kamils on Main Ave., they are Clifton’s two restaurants where smoking is legally permitted. At right, Gene Duda of the newly opened Shots Sports Lounge, (973-928-3610) near the intersection of Broad St. and Allwood Rd.

From Delawanna to Downtown and in all neighborhoods of our community, Clifton is a city of dining diversity. Turn towards Paterson from our Downtown Clifton office (near the landmark White Castle) and find restaurants serving cuisines from Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. My favorite is the original Toros, an open,

casual restaurant where the house speciality is the lamb shank. Head towards Getty Ave. to your shortcut to Newark's Ferry St.—the Portuguese Tavern. Across from the famous Egg Platter, your white haired host Silvio makes sure all is done right, from the Sangria to the house fish specialities. So go out and explore some new culinary adventures.

Additional Menu Options Alexus Steak House 973-746-6600 955 Valley Rd

Angelo’s Pizzeria 973-777-5599 72 Market St

Bruno’s Pizza & Restaurant 973-473-3339 1006 Us Highway 46

Chengdu 46 973-777-8855 1105 US 46

Aji Limon Peruvian 973-272-3660 1239 Main Ave

Baranda Cafe 973-246-1844 1551 Main Ave

Buco Ristorante 973-779-3500 953 Allwood Rd

China Garden 973-773-7633 306 Main Ave

Al Jannah Restaurant 973-340-0005 1462 Main Ave

Baskinger's Deli & Catering 973-546-3700 353 Crooks Ave

Century Buffet 973-471-8018 166 Main Ave.

Con Sabor A Peru 973-340-0008 109 Lakeview Ave

Al Khayam 973-772-0050 1543 Main Ave

Bogey’s Sports Pub 973-523-4653 103 Valley Rd

Clifton Buffet 973-478-6888 79 Ackerman Ave

Djerdan Burak 973-513-9050 223 Parker Ave


February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

continued on page 58

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Additional Menu Options


El Mexicano 973-546-2348 1293 Main Ave

IHOP 973-471-7717 680 Route 3 West

La Piazza 973-478-3050 150 7th St

Seasons Chinese Cuisine 973-777-5538 Styrertowne Shopping Center

Fitzgeralds Harp & Bard 973-772-7282 363 Lakeview Ave

Jamito’s Chinese-Peruvian 973-546-2549 389 Lexington Ave

La Riviera Trattoria 973-478-4181 421 Piaget Ave

Sergio's Bistro 973-772-1655 327A Lakeview Ave.

Foodies Cafe 973-773-3062 1348 Clifton Ave

Kamils Restaurant 973-772-1972 1489 Main Ave

La Riviera Gastronomia 973-772-9099 429 Piaget Ave

Shots Sports Lounge 973-928-3610 1168 Broad St

Hungarian Meat Center 973-473-1645 189 Parker Ave

Karpaty Deli 973- 546-4659 457 Clifton Ave

Luxor Restaurant 973-772-2700 341 Crooks Ave

Stefan & Sons Meat Store 973-546-3288 246 Dayton Ave

Mario’s Pizza & Restaurant 973-777-1559 710 Van Houten Ave

Sultan Restaurant/ Banquet 973-772-1995 429 Crooks Ave

Matthew’s 973-928-4300 1131 Bloomfield Ave

Taste of Tuscany 973-916-0700 Styrertowne Shopping Center

Milano Restaurant 973-614-0408 561 Van Houten Ave

Tick Tock Diner 973-777-0511 281 Allwood Rd

Osaka Sushi 973-815-0801 116 Market St

Toros Turkish/ Mediterranean 973-772-8032 489 Hazel St

Peluso’s Italian Specialties 973-471-3991 76 Market St

Troops Subs 973-365-1544 1212 Van Houten Ave

Polonia Meat Market 973-777-7355 785 Van Houten Ave

Young Bros Deli & Grill 973-777-6644 606 Van Houten Ave

Portuguese Tavern 973-772-9703 507 Crooks Ave

Zen Sushi 973-253-7788 433 Piaget Ave

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he Theater League of Clifton offers two productions this month. The first is a romantic and nostalgic look back at the origins of Valentine’s Day and the second is a chuckle over dinner as theatergoers board the ill fated S.S. Minnow. On Feb. 13, TLC collaborates with the Clifton Arts Center in a joint fundraiser with a performance of Miss Valentine. The play written by Nadine Bernard of Glen Ridge, will be performed as a staged reading at 3 pm at the Clifton Arts Center. Organizers promise a fun afternoon for a good cause. “Miss Valentine” brings to life the tale of Esther Howland, “The Mother of the American Valentine.” Howland created an industry as two centuries ago she designed and created uniquely beautiful handmade Valentine's Day cards in the mid-1800s. Her legacy of love notes and lace-lined greeting cards has had a lasting affect on the industry and charmed the romantic lives of many.

Setting the romantic tone for the afternoon will be the melodic sounds of a harp, as the reading will be accompanied by harpist Odarka Polanskyj Stockert (above). A champagne and dessert reception follows the performance. Directed by Elizabeth Eisenmenger, produced by John Traier, assistant producer is Amie Kolodziej, costumes by Maryann Irizarry and stage design by Jeff Labriola. Reservations are required as seating is limited. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the TLC website which is or by check payable to Theater League of Clifton C/O Clifton Arts Center, 900 Clifton Ave, Clifton, NJ 07013.

The cast of Miss Valentine, from left front: Gloria Kolodziej, Rachel Gutierrez, Cassandra Lee, Allison Green, Gabriella Pinales, Denise Dickens, Kristen Hariton, Elizabeth Eisenmenger. At rear, Amie Kolodziej, Kurt Irizarry, John Traier, Geoffrey Waumans; not pictured: Frank Salensky. Miss Valentine is a charming story about the originator of Valentines (Esther Howland) and a group of her fellow classmates at Mount Saint Holyoke - probably the first group of young women that attended college in our history. The Feb. 13 show is a joint fundraiser with the Clifton Arts Center. 60

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

If you were a fan of Gilligan’s Island, The Love Boat, The Poseidon Adventure or Titanic, then come join Captain Jonas ‘Skipper’ Stubing as you board the S.S. Millennium Minnow for a pleasant dinner cruise. Unfortunately, things quickly become unpleasant when it is discovered a bomb is hidden on board and a murder is committed. Will detective Drew Burymore solve the mystery? Will Ginger be persuaded to sing a song? Will MaryAnn reveal her recipe for coconut cream pie? Did Thurston and Lovey bring enough clothes for the trip? Can Milly Brown be forced to capsize? The Theater League of Clifton presents the third annual murder mystery dinner theater series, The Last Cruise of the S.S. Minnow, written by John Logue. Performance dates are Feb. 18, 19, 20 and 25, 26, 27 at Mario’s Restaurant in Clifton and on March

The cast of The Last Cruise of the S.S. Minnow, from left: Laurie Sammeth, Geoffrey Waumans, Denise Dickens, George Kuch, Cassandra Penna, Irene Yalicki, Kimberley Merlo. Not pictured: Kurt Irizarry.

5 and 6 at Piano’s Bar and Grill in Bloomfield. Linda Wielkotz is director; Mark Peterson is producer; Tara Freifeld is stage manager; and costumes are by Maryann Irizarry. Tickets are $35 which includes dinner, dessert, soda, tea and coffee. There will be a cash bar. Tickets will be reserved upon payment on a first-come first served basis. Be

sure to indicate the show date you want reservations for. Make checks payable to Theater League of Clifton, send to TLC, P.O. Box 4072, Clifton, NJ 07012. Tickets may also be purchased at For more details, log on to or call 973-928-7668.

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lifton’s Zippo man Michael Grimaldi has authored his second book about the iconic lighter brand. Though Zippo is best known for its fire starters, the company also had an impressive collection of useful products for a variety of purposes. “Lighters get touched on, but it’s primarily other products that the company made, the different finishes they use, the different imprinting methods used,” he explained. “Zippo is an American icon really known for its lighters, but the fact is they made a lot of other things that people could never imagine.” And You Thought Zippo Only Made Lighters Vol. 2 is the follow up to Grimaldi’s first crack at writing, which was released in 2007. “People really enjoyed the first one,” said Grimaldi, a 1987 CHS grad who has pushed both works independently. “There was a demand for it and I had written ideas down already. They just needed to be finished up.” The Acquackanonk Gardens resident relied on his experience in self publishing his first book and advice from other companies to finish up this edition. “You learn all of your mistakes the first time around. The second time is really a breeze,” he laughed. “But you do learn a lot of different things. There’s digital press rather than plate press, and you can do smaller print run on digital. It’s a completely different cost factor, but still a very high quality book. If you didn’t know, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference.” Grimaldi, who is a custodian at School 8 in Delawanna, said this edition covers products made by the American company from 1980 to modern times. 62

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

“I can almost guarantee that people will learn something, no matter how many years they’ve collected,” he said. “There’s always some kind of obscure fact that sneaks out.” This is the last edition in the series, as Zippo discontinued its non-lighter products in 2007. Grimaldi explained that he might move onto one of his other collecting hobbies for inspiration. “I am a creative person and I enjoyed putting together these books for myself personally,” he added. “As far as more books, I don’t have another subject matter that I’m passionate about—yet.

Mike Grimaldi’s hobby has generated into two books.

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant




he Seventh Annual Passaic County Student Film and Video Festival is set for April 16, a juried exhibition of student and independent filmmakers’ work. The film festival is the brainchild of Scott Alboum, pictured on facing page. After graduating CHS in 1995, Alboum earned a Masters Degree in film production at the University of Miami and taught film making at a Georgia college, where he got the idea for the festival. “Competition is very important to students,” he said, “and there wasn’t much available around here.” So Alboum, the winner of three national awards for documentary production while a student at Miami, took his idea for the festival to Deborah Hoffman, Director of Economic Development for Passaic County. Hoffman was enthusiastic from the start and set out to bring the idea to life. “She realized that students

needed a place to showcase their talent,” recalled Alboum. And Hoffman also realized that the film industry was an untapped resource of jobs and income for the 16 communities of Passaic County. Over the past decade, she explained, film making has also become an important element in Passaic County’s economic development. So when it came time to put a few bucks into getting the fledgling festival off the ground, Hoffman gave it a green light. “We realized that a film festival drawing industry professionals here could be a real asset,” Hoffman said. To help set the criteria for the competition, Alboum tapped his industry contacts to bring in a screening committee of industry professionals. And since that time, the competition has taken root. Screened at the Fabian 8 Cinema in Center City Mall in historic downtown Paterson, the Festival showcases films

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If you have a disability & need assistance with the application process, please call Linda Emr at 973-253-5311. 64

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

created by students and independent filmmakers who live, attend school, or work in Passaic County. After the viewing, The Costello, named for the late, beloved Patersonian comic Lou Costello, will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners from the High School, College and Independent Filmmaker categories. Last year, 32 short videos and films were viewed at the 2010 Passaic County Film Festival. While the deadline for the 2011 competition has just closed, it was unclear how many films were entered this year. However, Hoffman said the public is invited to this free event. There is free parking in the adjacent lot. She noted all videos and films are rated “G.” To date, the following have provided financial and inkind support to the 2011 Film Festival, which is presented by the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council through a grant from the NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State: Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Passaic County Community College Foundation, Register Lithographers, Fabian 8 Cinema, Jacobs Enterprises, Bascom Corporation, Columbia Bank and Verizon. Coordination and promotion of the Festival comes through the Passaic County Film Commission, which was established in 2003. The volunteer board is comprised of industry professionals and community leaders whose mission it is to promote the 16 communities of Passaic County as a prime location for the film industry. “We find locations, private and public, we work with private property owners and municipalities to secure permits, make recommendation for local resources,” Hoffman explained. She rattled off a list of how a day or two of shooting a national television commercial in a private Passaic County home has a positive impact in a community. “If they need paint, we’re sending them to your local hardware store,” she continued. “If they need workers, we connect them with the municipality or a local employment agency. Then there is the catering and all the odds and ends that goes into these shoots.” And with large open spaces in former warehouses or under utilized factories, Hoffman said there is a growing number of smaller companies based in Passaic County which service the film production industry.

Since its establishment, the Commission works with scouts and producers to respond to requests for filming locations, connecting them to contacts in each municipality who can scout for sites for the portfolio and respond to requests for locations. The PC Film Commission has published a Resource Guide which includes a list of companies to supply services to the industry, provides guidance to local municipalities and developed the Passaic County Film Permit to promote the region as a positive location for filming and to smooth the path for potential investors. For info, contact Deborah Hoffman at 973-569-4720, via or find out more at the website

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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


E V c u c a a l

The 2011 Summer Sunset Blues Cruise Sail to benefit St. Peter’s Haven Food Pantry is July 6 aboard the historic tall ship A. J. Meerwald, New Jersey’s official tall ship. Now in its 10th year, this evening sail on the Hudson River features music, drinks and food for a good cause. Music on deck will be provided by the legendary rhythm and blues jumpers Carlos Colina & the Straight Up Band. Departure is scheduled for 6 pm from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Enjoy breathtaking views of New York

Carlos Colina & the Straight Up Band perform aboard a July 6 blues cruise benefit for St. Peter’s Haven.

Harbor as the summer sun sets and the fun begins. Tickets are $50 and includes

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Affiliated Foot & Ankle Specialists Affordable Home Services Assemblyman Tom Giblin Athenia Mason Supply AVE Clifton Building Supply Clifton Transmissions Coldwell Banker Joel Flores Shamiram “Sham” Mazejy Pina Nazario Colleen North Jessica Rojas Frances Rosado Gina Torres Corradino & Papa Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group, Inc. Fette Ford, Infinity, Kia C. Genardi Contracting, Inc. Dr. Thomas Graziano Grove Plant Systems Mountain Development Corp. Neglia Engineering Associates North Jersey Federal Credit Union Paramus Catholic High School Passaic County Community College Precision Electric Motor Works Queen of Peace High School R.F. Knapp Construction Smith•Sondy State Farm Insurance Styertowne Shopping Center Weichert Realtors Alma Billings Carlito Chi Lesia Wirstiuk

16,000 FREE Maps of Clifton! Get yours from any of the merchants listed above or visit us at 1288 Main Avenue in Downtown Clifton. 66

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

beer, soda and water; pack a dinner and enjoy the evening. Only 40 tickets will be sold so make purchases soon. Proceeds benefit St. Peters Haven for Families Food Pantry in Clifton which feeds over 1,000 people every month. For tickets and details—or to become a sponsor—call producer John Muller at 973-340-9405. Having Our Say opens as 103year-old Sadie and 101-year-old Bessie Delany welcome us into their home. We, the audience, are guests in their home—actually the stage at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 380 Clifton Ave., Clifton. The play is staged by Blue State Productions on Feb. 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 8 pm. Having Our Say recounts a fascinating series of events and anecdotes drawn from Bessie and Sadie’s rich family history and their careers as pioneering African American professional women. The play celebrates women and men, African Americans, our country, and the indomitable human spirit. It is a celebration of America’s people. For costs and other info about Having Our Say or Blue State, call 973-472-9445 or email

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Opera in Clifton: Imagine Paris around 1830 and then, through staging and song, follow the struggle of love between the seamstress called Mimì and the poet Rodolfo. That snippet of a scene is from the Finale of Act I of La Boheme (Rodolfo and Mimi’ Duet) by Giacomo Puccini. The Cliftonbased Garden State Opera will present a double bill production of opera at the Allwood Community Church on April 2. On the same evening, audience members will also be treated to La Cambiale De Matrimonio by Giocchino Rossini at the Allwood Community Church at 8 pm on April 2. Both acts will also be staged at the San Giuseppe Santa Croce Camerina Society Hall in Hawthorne on April 9, at 8 pm. For more info, call Maestro Francesco Santelli at 973-928-1774 or go to

Clifton’s Garden State Opera in a recent staging of Donizetti’s Il Campanello.

The Clifton Arts Center Gallery will present Colors of Shadow and Other Works by Adel Gorgy, an exhibit and sale of photography through Feb. 26. On March 9, an exhibit and sale of artwork by the Clifton Association of Artists entitled Waterworks opens. The CAA was established in 1963 by eleven

artists to promote the advancement of art and culture in Clifton by creating an environment for the expression of the visual arts. Today, the CAA has over 80 members in a variety of fields. Admission is $3. The Arts Center is on the City Hall campus, 900 Clifton Ave. Info at

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant



February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Celebrate the Patron of Geraci At last year’s St. Joseph’s Day celebration: Father Brando of St. Anthony of Padua of Passaic, Frances DiFresco, Frances Giordano, Frank and Nina Corradino, Barto and Alsa Giaconia and Sarena Scancarello. This year’s event is on March 19 at The Brownstone.


he Geraci Citizens League was first organized in 1930 by Passaic residents who emigrated from the Sicilian village of Geraci, located in the province of Palermo, Italy. As new Americans of Italian descent, not only did the Geraci Citizens League members want to embrace their new culture, but they also wanted to continue to celebrate the traditions of their heritage and to especially honor St. Joseph, the patron saint of their village. For generations before them on St. Joseph’s Saint Day, the Geraci people would honor their patron. Leading up to the day, the women of Geraci would spend days preparing a special sauce made with sardines and fennel. On the feast day, the ladies of the village would spend many hours cooking this special pasta and serving it to family members, friends, fellow members and guests. The women of the village would also prepare a special Sicilian bread, formed in a variety of shapes and sizes, by following ancient recipes

from their mothers before them. In addition to the homemade breads and pasta, fresh fish was also carefully selected, prepared and fried, as was the tradition that was followed from past generations. Today, some eight decades later, Geraci Citizen League members continue to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day but now they celebrate this special day at a local restaurant. However, the same traditions that were followed since its origins are still followed today. It is with the guidance and supervision of several members of the Geraci Citizens League that chefs at The Brownstone carefully prepare this ancient menu. The St. Joseph Dinner is a time to come together to celebrate a patron saint and honor the traditions and heritage of the past. Not only does this night celebrate with ancient recipes, but it also shares both American and

Sicilian music and dancing. And to open the celebration to the community, all are invited to attend. It has become an evening of exquisite food, exciting music and the welcome camaraderie of relatives and friends. Today, numerous generations join together to celebrate, which this year is the 81st anniversary of this wonderful feast. The Geraci Citizen League and the St. Joseph’s Day Feast Committee, headed by Nina and Frank Corradino, Club President Bart Giaconia and Honorary CoChair Michael Corradino, will host this annual dinner on March 19 at 6:30 pm at The Brownstone, Paterson. For those who would like to join the celebration, tickets are $90, which includes open bar. To purchase tickets or for details, call Nina Corradino at 973-278-0356 or 973-470-8982. February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


James Howe, author of The Misfits, will visit the Main Clifton Memorial Library on Feb. 15 at 6:30 pm. Howe will be speaking about the subject of bullying amongst children, in a discussion entitled Battling Bullying with Books. Tickets, limited to four a family, can be picked up at the Children’s Information Desk. Howe will also sign books after the discussion. This program is funded in the memory of Eleanor M. Weisbrod. Also, both the Allwood branch and the Main Clifton Library offers e-book borrowing for free. Visit, click ‘ListenNJNW’ at the bottom right of the page and follow the instructions. Be sure to have your library card on hand. Audio books can also be accessed in this same manner. For info on any event, call 973-772-5500. The Clifton Rec Department offers CPR and First Aid training on Feb. 12 at various time and for different levels of ability throughout the day. Classes are held at the Downtown Clifton Rec Center, corner of Washington and Main. Cost is $25 or $15 for the review. Pre-registration required. Call 973-470-5956.

invited to enjoy cake and coffee while discussing citywide topics. For info, call 973-365-2577. CHS Class of 1961 50th reunion is on Oct. 14 at the Bethwood in Totowa. The Committee still is searching for classmates who are no longer in the area. If you are a member of the class, or know of a classmate who has not been contacted, write to CHS Class of 1961, PO Box 3749,Wayne, NJ 07474-3749 or email at Send your community news and photos 30 days prior to requested publication date to Clifton Merchant Magazine, 1288 Main Ave., Clifton, NJ 07011 or via


The Dutch Hill Residents Association meets on Feb. 17 at 7:30 pm at the Family Federation, corner of De Mott Ave. and Second St. All interested residents are

From left, PBA President Stephen Berge, FMBA Committee Co-Chairs Jeff Bracken and 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 one heck of a party when Clifton’s Bravest and Finest get together. And on Feb. 18 at 7 pm at the Clifton Boys & Girls Club, that’s exactly what is going to happen for the 20th Annual Fraternal Beefsteak. There will be a comedian, door prizes, beverages and beefsteak by Nightingale’s. 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 973830-7161, John Cusack at 973-470-5879, Frank Yodice at 973-464-7027 or Jeff Bracken at 973-979-3695. 70

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant



ike Phillips may not have a definitive plan for college, but with the goals he’s set for himself, he’ll end up successful somewhere. The Clifton Student of the Month has applied to prestigious schools such as Brown, Boston College, Boston University and Northeastern University. Though he said he plans to enroll at his choice school as an undeclared freshman, Phillips has his eye on biology. “I took it in my freshman year and really enjoyed it,” he explained. “So I decided to take Bio AP this year and it’s gone well.” As one would imagine, a student applying to those schools is quite sharp academically. Phillips has been selected to the Distinguished Honor Roll all four years at CHS, and was also a member of the National Honor Society last year. However, rather than slack off with college applications in the mail, Phillips decided to challenge himself in his senior year, taking AP courses in Biology and English to go with Calculus and Anthropology.

CHS Student of the Month Michael Phillips.

“I just didn’t want to settle in my senior year and took challenging courses,” he explained. “And with anthro, I really didn’t know anything about it, but just wanted to try something new.” The senior is also in his fourth year of Italian, and holds the position of secretary in the school’s club. But of all his courses, he’s enjoyed english the most. “Dr. Greenwald, she got me interested in English for once,” said the senior. “It’s just what we do and her mentality for English... she really shows her care and love for her work. She’s also helped me become a much better writer.” Phillips is also an accomplished

athlete at CHS, helping push the lacrosse team into the playoffs. “I’ll probably do that in college at the club level,” he said. Phillips played defense like his older brothers Matt, CHS 2005, and Chris, CHS 2003. “They both played. They were in high school when I was on the Jr. Mustangs, so it was pretty much perfect timing.” Phillips is also a member of the Key Club, and has volunteered at cleanups at Dundee Island and other events. “I just enjoy volunteering,” he said. “I did it to look good for college at first, but it’s something I’d like to continue doing with others once I’m there.”

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant





rt, Economics, Essay, Interview, Language and Literature, Mathematics, Music, Science, Social Science, and Speech. That’s the categories of team competition in which CHS students matched their intellects with students from over 20 other schools last weekend. Coach Scott Orlovsky said the U.S. Academic Decathlon is part of a national competition in which Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded for individual events and total scores. Winning teams advance through the local, regional, and state levels of competition. The state champions compete at the national finals

and the Clifton event was the first leg in that journey. “With Clifton hosting this year, this puts us on the state’s academic map in a really good way,” said Orlovsky, a 1994 CHS grad who was inducted to the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame last year. He went on to John Hopkins University and has taught history at CHS since 2001. “Clifton has always been a powerhouse in various sports,” he continued. “Clifton is also a powerhouse academically with many excellent teachers and many incredible students. This competition celebrates academic excellence, and Clifton produces excellent Decathletes.”

We see each others strengths and weaknesses and help each other grow academically and as people. Sarah Mowaswes Being part of the Academic Decathlon was an amazing experience, which integrated teamwork, camaraderie, hard work and friendship. Bijal Desai Academic Decathlon is not work. It’s a way of working. It is all the fun of being a nerd—but with a coach and being called athletes! Hasan Siddiqui I have been in Academic Decathlon for three years, seeing it evolve from a small club with about 15 students to one with over 72

February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

With 10 competition events and 1,000 points possible score for each event, the highest team score achievable is 60,000. “These tests are incredibly rigorous however, and most schools finish between 25,000 and 45,000,” said Orlovsky. Clifton’s team is made up of eight competition members and nine alternates (who also score but their scores do not factor into the team score; they can still win awards for their scores individually) who had trained weekly since September. How the Mustangs will rank will not be known until the first week in February. But on these pages are some comments on what the competition meant to them.

twice that amount. Last year, I felt the thrill of making it to the states competition for the first time in five years Decathlon has been one of the most exciting experiences of my high school career. I’ve made new friends and learned the value of hard work and dedication. Vetri Velan

The Mustang Captains Vetri Velan and Bijal Desai.

Academic Decathlon has been a second family. I have only been on the team a year, yet I have felt at home. I have learned a lot from that year. We had a field trip to the American Museum of Natural History, and after school meetings. This has been an enlightening experience and I enjoyed it greatly. I will always remember it. Bhavin Shah

The Mustang 2011 Academic Decathlon Team, from back row: Kishan Patel, Hasan Siddiqui, Zachary Christensen, Sana Ajaj, Palash Mehta, Atul Johri. Front row: Gretchen Alonso, Catherine Watson, Sarah Mowaswes, Rushi Pate, Bhavin Shah, Alexis Budhi, Hiada Saberi, Jessica Gonzaga.

I’ve been on the team for almost two years now and I feel that through Academic Decathlon, I’ve been able to learn many things while making new, supportive and welcoming friends. Academic Decathlon has given me a great experience. Alexis Budhi The Decathlon team has evolved from an ordinary club to a supportive team and a friendly environment of learning. Our goal for this year’s competition is to make it to states and beyond, as we have successfully achieved last year. We have worked for months in preparation and I believe we are well prepared for this competition. Sana Ajaj The Academic Decathlon has helped me meet new people, make friends and learn new things. Zachary Christensen Academic Decathlon has been a very fun and interesting experience. The team members are super nice and supportive, and they have been very welcoming even though it was my first year on the team. The coach and captains have been great leaders and without them, this would not have been as an amazing experience as it was. I was just very lucky to be on the team and have this experience. Hiada Saberi

throughout our schooling years. It also gives us a chance to compete with the academics scholars of other schools in the nation. Davash Mehta Academic Decathlon is a community of students who wish to challenge themselves beyond what is required. It is nice to find students who share similar interests. Kishan Patel

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What I thought about Decathlon was that it encompasses all major academic topics taught in school and is a culmination of basically everything we learned February 2011 • Clifton Merchant





The CHS 1,000 Club By Jack De Vries


uring the winter season of School in Elizabeth. “It was unforAfter his first two seasons, 2002, two CHS boys’ bastunate,” is how Vasil summed it up. Moffatt had already earned the repketball players passed the He now coaches at Bloomfield utation as a big game player. 1,000 point milestone in their Tech and is still friendly with In Clifton’s 2002 State tournacareers and joined an exclusive Moffatt. He noted the 2003 ment victory over Teaneck, Moffatt club, which still numbers eight Mustangs finished 15-9 and went scored 24 points and hauled down Clifton Mustangs. into the second round of the states. 11 rebounds. During the regular For senior guard Albert Torres, Moffatt and Torres joined six season, he was a consistent prothe 2002 season marked the end of other Mustangs who have filled the ducer and a leader on the floor. a brilliant high school career. For CHS trophy case with those brightIn the following year, Vasil sophomore guard Devon Moffatt, it ly painted balls, each marking the named Moffatt, then a junior, his looked like it was just the beginmemorable day in their lives when captain and the Mustangs were on ning. Together, they formed what they became a member of the CHS to their best season since 1977. Mustang basketball coach Pete 1,000 Club. On the following But despite mentoring, Moffat Vasil called the greatest back court pages, we present the bios of those left CHS midway through the seaClifton has ever seen. six Mustang greats. son to attend St. Patrick’s High Torres, who was named to the All-Passaic County Second Team, Albert Torres Devon Moffatt finished his career at CHS with 1,081 career points. “He’s a great open floor player and very explosive,” the coach said. Devon Moffatt, an All-County First Team selection, had two years left at CHS when he made the club. His 1,003 career points as a sophomore meant that by mid-season in his junior year, Moffatt was going to simply shatter—and most likely obliterate—the school record of 1,258 career points netted Back in 2002, senior Albert Torres, who finished his career at CHS with 1,081 career points, by 1991 grad Sam Coach Pete Vasil and sophomore Devon Moffatt. Moffatt went on to score 1,228 midway Poulis. through his junior year before leaving CHS in 2003 to attend St. Patrick’s in Elizabeth.



February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Sammy Poulis

Dori Breen

Al Yuhas





She remains the only Lady Mustang to hit the century mark. “Dori played varsity all four years—1981 through 1984,” said Coach Al Carline. “Freshmen attended junior high then but Dori came up at the end of the year for the County and State tournament. She was a complete player. Great on defense, rebounding and scoring. A team player.” As a junior, Breen led the Lady Mustangs to an NNJIL co-championship.


The all-time leading scorer of CHS, 6’4” Sammy Poulis, could shoot the rock. Playing on Nash Park’s asphalt courts, Poulis learned the game by going up against tough competition—his older brothers Mark and Nick. Poulis’ battles with his siblings were good training for his high school and college career. For the 1991 Mustangs, the senior averaged 24 points and 12.5 rebounds a game, shooting 55 percent from the field. For his Clifton career, Poulis scored 1,258 points. Today, Poulis resides in town, works as an employment recruiter and volunteers with the St. George youth basketball program.

DORI BREEN On Jan. 24, 1985, senior Dori Breen scored her 1,000th point against Belleville. The game was halted just 37 seconds into the fourth quarter when she reached the milestone. The 5’10” Breen went on to score 1,180 points and become the third all-time scorer in CHS history.

BILLY SHAUGHNESSY Billy Shaughnessy learned how to play basketball on one of the toughest courts in Clifton—the small patio behind the Haraka house on Rollins Ave. The hoop was hung on the house and beneath it, John and Ron Haraka and Brian and Billy Shaughnessy waged basketball war. While Billy Shaughnessy scored often on the small backyard court, during the 1988 season, the senior captain finished his career with 1,019. The sixfoot point guard was also an AllState quarterback for the Mustangs and coached varsity basketball for the Colts Neck HS Girls Team.

During his days with the 1968 and 1969 Mustangs, 6’2” Larry Kondra earned All-County, AllMetro and All-State honors and was an Honorable Mention AllAmerican selection. He averaged over 20 points a game in both his junior and senior years, his only varsity seasons. “We had a very good team in 1969,” said Kondra. “In the regular season, we beat Hackensack, the team that later made it to the state finals. But in the state tournament, we lost to Cliffside Park and were eliminated. My teammates were great that year,” Kondra recalled some years ago in an interview with this magazine. “Richie Tate was a tough defender, and Rich Serrano and Bob Curley were both outstanding.” Kondra graduated from Brown University and the Newark College of Medicine and Dentistry, becoming a Vitreo-Retinal surgeon. Today, Dr. Lawrence Kondra practices ophthalmology in Pasadena, and Pomona, CA and makes his home in the Pacific Palisades. February 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Ed Bernardi

Bill Shaughnessy

Larry Kondra





his career. Yuhas lives in California and was named to The Bergen Record’s All-Century Basketball Team, the only Clifton player to be selected.

With a game honed in Sperling Park, nephew Ed was an outstanding shooter, penetrator, and passer. In 1975, Bednarcik averaged 22.4 points a game, scoring 515 for the season and totaling a career 1,120. Bednarcik’s senior season is remembered for his duels against Passaic Valley Hornets legend John Gerdy, the leading scorer in county history. In their three 1975 season meetings, Gerdy totaled 106 points while Bednarcik hit for 81, including a 34point effort in their final meeting. Bednarcik earned both first team NNJIL and first team All-Area honors during his senior year.

Clifton’s first 1,000-point scorer, Al Yuhas, a graceful, left-handed player who had excellent skills for his size, was one of the Mustangs’ greatest hoop talents, earning AllCounty honors three times and making the All-State squad as a senior. After his senior year, Yuhas sifted through over 200 scholarship offers before settling on Georgia. College scouts had good reason to be impressed. He was a deadly shot from within 15 feet and in 1966, Yuhas averaged 21.4 points a game for the Mustangs, totaling 1,143 for


February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

ED BEDNARCIK A generation of Clifton kids grew up trying to play ball like the consummate point guard Ed Bednarcik. Few ever came close. A six-foot, pigeon-toed guard, Bednarcik was born into Clifton basketball royalty. His uncle, Emil, had starred for Clifton in the 1920s, then coached the CHS team for 42 years.

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BYOB for WWMS: The Woodrow Wilson Middle School Tricky Tray fundraiser is March 11 at the Boys and Girls Club of Clifton. Doors open 6pm, tickets are $10 and attendees can bring their own refreshments. No children under 18 allowed. For tickets, call Karen Harris at 973-744-6855. The St. Brendan School Tricky Tray is Feb. 27 at the Brownstone. Doors open at noon and the $40 admission includes a four course dinner and sheet of prize tickets. Call 973-809-2297 or email for tickets and info. Proceeds benefit the students of St. Brendan on Lakeview Ave. SS Cyril & Methodius Church, 218 Ackerman Ave., will host its annual fish and chip dinner on March 23 at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $15 and include cake and coffee.

Takeout available. For info, call 973-772-3448 or 973-772-8806. Clifton Toastmasters, a nonprofit public speaking and leadership group, meets the second, fourth and fifth Tuesday of every month, at 7 pm at the Clifton Library, 292 Piaget Ave. Guests free. To register or more details, call 973-420-4148 or The Clifton Stamp Society meets at the Community Rec Center, 1232 Main Avenue, in meeting room 3 on Feb. 7, March 7 and March 21 at 6:30 pm. The Society is dedicated to furthering the hobby of stamp, cover, and post card collecting. All are welcome at our meetings and shows. All young collectors should be accompanied by a supervising adult. For more on the

group, its Spring Show on april 30May 1, and other events, go to The CHS 2011 Prom Fashion Show is April 3, noon, on the stage of the JFK Auditorium. The annual event is a fundraiser in which seniors participating or attending the event will receive credit towards their Project Graduation ticket. Mustang seniors are invited to volunteer as models as Deluxe Formal Wear of Clifton will provide the latest trends in tuxedos for men while the young women will showcase prom dresses provided by CoCo’s Chateau of Wayne. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door. To participate, log onto and search Clifton High School. Print

A Special Report in the March Issue of Clifton Merchant Magazine. • Medical Breakthroughs • Amazing Survival Stories • Healthy Habits to Improve Your Life • Alternative and Traditional Treatments • Doctors’ Advice


February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

To place an ad in this sure-to-be-talked-about edition contact Tom Hawrylko Tomahawk Promotions 973-253-4400

and complete the agreement form and bring it to the Project Graduation Meeting at 6:30 pm on Feb. 7 in the Media Center. “We are currently looking for hair salons in the Clifton area to volunteer their services the morning of the event to style the female models,” said Maryann Cornett Project Graduation chair. “As always, we also as for monetary donation to help underwrite the cost of this annual event.” On graduation eve, CHS students are invited to participate in Project Graduation. The annual event shuttles hundreds of our graduates to a nearby resort where they can party all night in a safe, alcohol and drug free environment. Next morning, the kids are bussed back to CHS... and life goes on after graduation... To support the cause, or info, call Maryann Cornett at 973-779-5678. True Colors Winter Guard hosts a Ziti and Meatball Dinner Tricky Tray on Feb. 18 at 6 pm at Johnny’s in Botany Village. Tickets are $20 which includes dinner, soda, dessert and coffee as well as a sheet of Tickets. For more info, call Joe Nikischer at 973-546-5545.

Suzanne Sia and Michael Savastano (right) recently became members of the Passaic-Clifton Chapter of UNICO National, an Italian American service organization whose members engage in charitable works, support higher education and perform patriotic deeds. Anyone interested in membership can contact UNICO President David D’Arco (pictured left) at 973-685-7479.

The 7th Annual Relay For Life is set for June 4 at the Clifton Stadium, with an opening ceremony at 2 pm. The overnight event concludes on June 5 at 6 am. Presented by the American Cancer Society, Relay For Life is an overnight community celebration to honor cancer survivors as well as friends and family members lost to the disease. The event is also a major fundraiser. To join or for more info, call 201-457-3418 x 2231 or go to

The Passaic County Historical Society Genealogy Club meets at Lambert Castle, on Valley Rd., at the Clifton/ Paterson border, once a month from September through May. Program topics relate to genealogy and usually include a guest speaker. The meetings are open to the public and all are welcome. For more on the types of programs and the services at Lambert Castle and the society, call the Passaic County Historical Society at 973-247-0085, extension 200.

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Ashley Rose Montague celebrates her 5th birthday on Feb. 6, reports grandma Carol. Happy Birthday to Donna Hawrylko on Feb. 25. Kenneth and Joann (nee Gross) Dalton celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on Jan. 31. Belated Jan. 21 birthday greetings to Jon Schubert. Happy Birthday Lux siblings... Eric turns 16 on Feb. 3 and Renee will be 10 on Feb.14.

Birthdays & Celebrations

Send dates & Alison Degen.......................2/1 Robyn Feldman................... 2/1 Kristin Reilly........................ 2/1 Mary Jane Varga................ 2/1 Emil Soltis, Jr ...................... 2/2 Joseph Fierro ...................... 2/3 Bob Naletko....................... 2/3 Catherine Grace Burns ........ 2/4 John Nittolo........................ 2/5 Courtney Carlson................ 2/6 Joseph DeSomma ............... 2/6 Robert D’Alessio ................. 2/7 Nicole Tahan...................... 2/7


February 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Tara Fueshko ...................... 2/8 Jamie Carr ......................... 2/9 Craig Grieco...................... 2/9 Steven Becker ................... 2/10 Bryan Kelly....................... 2/10 Matthew Seitz .................. 2/10 Bob De Liberto.................. 2/11 Valentine Le Ster ............... 2/11 Sarah Mikolajczyk ............ 2/11 Joseph Hilla...................... 2/12 Dolores Rando.................. 2/12 John Hodorovych .............. 2/13 Amin Zamlout................... 2/13

Happy Birthday to Natalie Pych who turns 10 on Feb. 8. She is pictured with Casey Hawrylko.

Knapp Brothers birthdays... Don celebrates on Feb. 6 and Richard adds another on Feb. 22. Mark Gallo .................... Orest Luzniak ................. Jeanette Ann Saia........... Christine Canavan .......... Chickie Curtis................. Frank Klippel .................. M. Louis Poles ................ Ashley Brandecker .......... Leann Perez ................... Lorraine Rothe ................ Michael Del Re............... Michael Papa................. Robert Mosciszko ........... Taylor Jesch.................... Diana Murphy................ John T. Saccoman ........... Robert Adamo................ Eileen Feldman ............... Kimberly Mistretta ........... Kimberly Gasior ............. Brittany Helwig............... Joyce Penaranda ............ Lauren Ricca................... Charlie Galluzzo ............

2/14 2/14 2/14 2/15 2/15 2/15 2/15 2/17 2/17 2/17 2/18 2/20 2/21 2/22 2/22 2/22 2/24 2/24 2/24 2/26 2/27 2/27 2/27 2/28

Happ Pych Febru PHO

$5 for a chance to


Worth over $500 • No monetary value. Option of male or female bicycle. DRAWING TO BE HELD AT OLICE NITY OUR PASTA DINNER ON 4/10/11 Contact Tom Hawrylko for details. 973-253-4400




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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Here’s to Romance D C IN




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February 2011 • Clifton Merchant





Dining Options From coffee and grab & go items to casual and intimate dining, plus plenty of places to pick up a home-cooked lunch or dinner, Downtown Clifton is the place to dine! The Downtown Clifton Business District — Clifton’s Rising Star and your MAIN choice for all your services & needs — is located along Main Ave. from the Passaic border to Piaget Ave.

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CLIFTON $399,000 SPACIOUS LIVING. All Hardwood Floors Throughout. 4 bedrooms, Formal Living Room, Formal Dining Room, large kitchen with Dining Area, sliders to a Deck. F Family Room with fireplace Finished Basement with full bath - Storage. Cozy Backyard, 2 Car F Garage.

CLIFTON $389,900 GREAT 1ST FLOOR OPEN SPACE 4 bedrooms potential. Good for family member with 1st floor needs. Near all major highways, central air, gas heat. Semi finished walk out basement. Ask for Sophia Constandinou

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