Clifton Merchant Magazine - February 2009

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place at City Hall in front of Judge Scott Bennion, just 10 days after Holster retired from 37 years of service with the CPD. Theirs isn’t the only unique love story and so this month, like every February, Clifton Merchant Magazine presents tales about how people meet and decide to spend the rest of their lives with one another. John Seyka told Tillie Fedorchak that she was going to be his wife when he drove her home after their first dance in 1956 (page 6). Arlene Bross fell in love with her husband John when she saw him singing in the St. John’s Lutheran Church choir in 1954 (page 9). Jason Lehansky wanted to propose to his girlfriend Jennifer in a creative way, so he got her favorite athlete, Peyton Manning, to pop the question with an autograph (page 11). Not to be outdone, Brian Reilly dressed up as Santa and rode a fire truck to Krystyna Zarebczan’s house before getting down on one knee to ask the question (page 33). Aldo Tacchi returned to Italy to marry his bride Anna, whom he grew up (page 15) but Ralph West didn’t have to go too far to meet his future wife Kim as she was tending bar in Botany in 1985 (page 20). Herbert Rocha had only been in the US for a few weeks when he laid eyes on his future wife Virginia at a church function (page 24). Randy and Roberta Kaulfers got a second chance at love a quarter century after graduate school in Hawaii split them up (page 26). Jay and Tammy Moorman have a similar story. They only got their fairy tale ending after two breakups and 20 years of trying to make it work (page 31). And Joe Angello thought he’d be a bachelor for life until he ran into Sue at Rick’s American Bar & Grill in 1992 (page 18). The following 29 pages include stories and great then and now photos of these couples in honor of Valentine’s Day. Next year, we’d love to write about you! Correction: In our January edition, we incorrectly stated that Joan Robertson assumed the duties of City Clerk following Dick Moran’s retirement last year, when in fact it was Barbara Nagy (pictured) who is now the Clifton City Clerk. We apologize for the error.

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February ’09 Contents Jayne Modean There’s something about Jayne. A Clifton girl makes it to the cover of Seventeen & inspires a Hollywood hit. Page 35

Municipal News Grant writers, Lake Ave. development, possible layoffs and zoning board matters. Page 40

Arts, Film, Video Sheryll Franko and Drew Horn met and collaborated to make a short film on mental illness. Page 72

Feeding CHS Clifton’s youth athletic leagues prepare kids for high school varsity sports. Page 52

Super Bowl Family Party The 11th annual Clifton Super Bowl Party attracted about 300 people to the Boys & Girls Club. Check out tons of pictures from the event. Page 59

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Tom Hawrylko BUSINESS MANAGER Cheryl Hawrylko STAFF WRITERS: Joe Hawrylko, Jordan Schwartz GRAPHIC ARTIST: Tomahawk Promotions Rich McCoy 1288 Main Avenue CONTRIBUTORS: Downtown Clifton, NJ 07011 Don Lotz, Rich DeLotto 973-253-4400 • February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


by Jordan Schwartz

Love at First Dance

John Seyka noticed the beautiful brunette standing against the wall on the other side of the room and chivalry took over. He walked across the crowded hall in Jermyn, Pa., fetched a chair and offered the young lady a place to sit. Tillie Fedorchak, who was just 23 at the time, accepted the gesture from the man eight years her senior and the two began to talk. After a short while, John asked his new sweetheart to dance and while they were out on the floor, he leaned over and told Tillie that he wanted to take her home. Home for Seyka was Passaic, where he immigrated to in 1937, after spending the first 13 years of his life in Czechoslovakia. He moved with his father, leaving behind his mother and sister, whom he thought he’d never see again. In 1943, Seyka entered the United States Army, serving in France and Austria. After the war ended in Europe in 1945, the corporal embarked on a personal journey to locate his family. Uncle Sam told him he could, but he’d have to sign up for three to six more months in the Army. “I said I’d do another year,” remembered Seyka, 84. They gave him 14 days to find his mother and sister. Riding the bus to the village of Kruzlova, John began offering cigarettes to the other passengers. “One of the guys recognized me from school,” Seyka recalled while closing his eyes to focus on the memory. “Once we got off the bus, I stayed behind him because he knew where all the mines were.” 6

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

John and Tillie Seyka hold up a picture from their wedding day on May 11, 1957.

At last, John reached his old home and knocked on the door. His mother opened up but she didn’t recognize her son and so she slammed the door, fearing he was an intruder. Eventually, Seyka convinced her that they were related and the reunion was complete. The corporal was discharged in 1946 and returned to Passaic, where he worked for Okonite Cable and belonged to St. John’s Church. Once a year, the church group would travel 120 miles to donate clothes to a monastery in Jermyn. The trip also included a dance at a nearby hall.

“I wasn’t supposed to be there because I had a boyfriend,” Tillie, 76, remembered about the May 1956 social. “My mom made me go.” The youngest of 11 children, the former Miss Fedorchak grew up in the small town north of Scranton, graduating Archibold High School before going to work at a clothing factory. John drove Tillie home that spring night, but before she left his car, he leaned over and told her that she was going to be his wife. “When I got inside, I woke my mother up and told her about this Russian Orthodox boy I just met,”

she said. “He was very kind at that dance.” Seyka returned to New Jersey but the pair continued corresponding over the phone. A few months later, John was being treated for a hernia at Passaic General. Tillie, who was visiting one of her sisters in Clifton, decided to pop in at the hospital as a surprise. “I was writing her a letter at the time,” recalled Seyka, adding that soon after, “she changed her name.” John and Tillie were married on May 11, 1957 at St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church in Jermyn. The reception was held at the same hall in which they first met. After tying the knot, the pair moved to Sears Pl. in Clifton before relocating to Piaget Ave. In 1962, they finally settled down on Athenia Ave., where they still reside today.

The Seykas have three children: Cynthia, 50, Gregory, 46, and John 39. They also have three grandchildren, all Cynthia’s, named Justin, Lauren and Leah. In the ’90s, John retired after 47 years at Okonite. Tillie was a stayat-home mom for most of their marriage, working part-time for 26 years as a crossing guard for the Clifton School District. These days, Mrs. Seyka exercises three times a week with the Garfield Seniors, while her husband of 51 years is a member of the Disabled American Veterans in Clifton and a trustee at Saints Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Third St. in Passaic. The Seykas enjoy taking trips with one another like their honeymoon to Miami. They’ve also been to Las Vegas, Niagara Falls, Cape Cod, and almost every May the couple returns to the Pennsylvanian monastery that first brought them together.

John Seyka during basic training in Mississippi in 1943.

But what keeps two people united for more than half a century? “We work together,” said John. “And who’s the boss?” Tillie replied. Mr. Seyka leaned over to his wife at their kitchen table and joked, “The money.”

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


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An Eye for the Choir Boy by Joe Hawrylko

Things have changed a lot in the dating game since Arlene and John Bross first met. Marriage and kids come later in life, if at all. Couples don’t go steady anymore, they date or see one another. And these days, it’s not too odd for a woman to make the first move. So it’s safe to say that Arlene was way ahead of the curve when she pounced at the opportunity to meet her future husband back in 1954. The two met at St. John’s Lutheran Church, then located on Van Houten Ave., just across the street from where Henry’s Deli is now located. “My husband was in the choir there,” recalled Arlene, as she

flashed a smile. “I just kept watching him while he was singing.” Though John had caught her eye,

Arlene never actually spoke with him until one evening at a young people’s group at St. John’s.

John and Arlene during their dating days in 1955.

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


“She made the first move—she did!” laughed John. “I brought her home that night.” “That’s the night that started it,” injected Arlene. From then on, the 14-year-old CHS freshman went steady with her 17year-old boyfriend. As Arlene finished up school, John worked in Rutherford as an apprentice to a tool maker. “He was good to me,” recalled Arlene. “We were good for each other. We always have been.” However, like any relationship, there’s bound to be rough spots. And when you’re in love, you don’t always John and Arlene Bross on their wedding day on Nov. 29, 1958 and then 50 years think rationally—especially when later in a photo they had taken last May on a Hawaiian cruise. you’re young. After a year and a half there, the young couple “We had an argument,” recalled Arlene, “and the moved out, only to return around 1963 to the same twonext day, he came home and said, ‘I joined the Navy.” family house in which Arlene’s parents lived. While she can look back at the decision now and “My father worked at Manhattan Rubber,” said Arlene. laugh, at the time, Arlene wasn’t exactly thrilled, even Houses in this neighborhood were created specifically for if it was during peace time. their employees during WWII. “My parents lived next “He was mad at me and joined the Navy!” she reitdoor when we moved here. Now, my daughter (Lee Ann) erated as she subdued more laughter. “I was so surlives next door. prised, and, of course, I cried.” “We had a very good family relationship with both “She cries at the drop of a pin,” scoffed John, who parents,” she continued. “Not many can say they had noted that he left for boot camp in November 1955. an excellent mother-in-law. But I can.” During this “He liked it,” said Arlene, who used to drive up to time, the couple also began raising their three daughNewport, RI, to visit her sailor when he was in port. ters, Lauren, Lynn and Lee Ann, something that both “The only thing was when he was out on the ship, he John and Arlene say brought them closer together. was constantly away.” “We work well together—we really do,” explained During one of those rare visits in port, John finally Arlene. “We share all the responsibilities: bringing up the asked the question that Arlene had been waiting for. kids, food shopping together, going to church together. “It was Easter 1956. We were just out for a ride and We did everything together and still do. It’s like two peoI asked her to marry me,” he laughed. While it wasn’t ple became one.” an extravagant proposal, it was the best he could do. Still, like any couple, there are going to be disagree“On Navy pay, you didn’t go out to dinner that much.” ments. But the difference is, after spending so much The wedding date was set for Nov. 29, 1958, just time together, they’ve learned to just let things slide. four days after John was discharged. “We still have rough spots after 50 years,” admitted “I just remember thinking, ‘Did I do the right thing? John. “There’s times I know what she’s thinking and Am I doing it now?” he laughed. vice versa. So there’s no use arguing.” “You know, it’s never too late,” chuckled Arlene. “I “You’ve got to be forgiving. We’ve gone through just kind of assumed that after that period of time, we days where we don’t talk to each other,” he added. would get married.” “But in the end, it isn’t worth it. Nobody’s perfect.” After they were wed, the young couple returned to Having a good sense of humor also goes a long way Clifton and lived with Arlene’s parents, Charles and in keeping a lasting relationship too, it seems. Frieda Limbeck, on Van Wagoner Ave. in “Well,” laughed Arlene. “I’m just a little more perAcquackanack Gardens. fect than he is.” 10

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

by Jordan Schwartz

Proposing with Peyton

For as long as she can remember, Jen Darata’s favorite number has been 18—the date she was born. So when it came time to pick a favorite football player, the choice was easy: Peyton Manning, No. 18. Jen’s boyfriend, Jason Lehansky, knew she loved the Indianapolis Colts quarterback, and so he made sure to go get his autograph when Manning appeared at a signing in Staten Island in June 2007. Lehansky, 27, waited on line for an hour to meet the athlete, but when he reached the front, the Cliftonite asked for more than just his John Hancock. Jason, with engagement ring in hand, took a picture with the superstar and had him sign the photo, “To Jennifer, Please marry Jason, Peyton Manning.” “I was trying to think of a different way to ask her,” Lehansky explained. That October, he set up a date with his girlfriend of four years at the Crab House in Edgewater and told her to bring a gift. Darata, 28, never saw the proposal coming. “At that point of the relationship, I didn’t think we were ever getting engaged because he brainwashed me to think it wasn’t going to happen,” she said. “He prefaced everything we did, Jason Lehansky with Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning, who like vacations and dinners, by telling me he was- helped Jason propose to his girlfriend. n’t going to propose.” They’d go to a couple more Bruce concerts over the But that night, Jason lied. next four years (they’re both big fans) and watch After they ate, the couple went down by the Hudson movies at Jen’s house, but occasionally the relationship River and exchanged presents. Jen got her man a Four hit some rough patches. Seasons CD and a Ghostbusters DVD. He got her an “I knew she was the right one and so we’d always invitation to a lifetime together. come back to each other,” said Lehansky. “I had the picture in front of my face and when I put The pair made things permanent on Nov. 7, 2008 at it down, he was on his knee,” she remembered. St. Thomas in Bloomfield with a reception afterwards at Jen and Jason met in June 2003 at a North Arlington the Atrium Country Club in West Orange. Five months bar called Fatso Fogarty’s—a detail they like to omit before their wedding, the couple purchased a home on when recalling their first encounter. Brighton Rd. near where Lehansky grew up on Their best friends were dating one another and so Clairmont Rd. they would often all get together for drinks. For the past six years, Jen has taught third grade in her hometown of Bloomfield. She’s a graduate of A romance soon evolved and they officially started Hofstra and MSU with degrees in education and psygoing out that August at a Springsteen concert at Giants please turn to page 14 chology. Stadium. February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Story by Barry Rosenfeld, pictured with his wife Sherry and at left, founders Morris and Rachael.

resently located at 421 Broad St., Clifton, Dundee Floor Covering was established by my father Morris Rosenfeld in Passaic in 1927. To place perspective on that year, it was when the near mythic baseball star Babe Ruth hit a then-record 60 home runs in one season—more home runs than any other American League team hit that year. The Babe’s performance was aided by beer and hot dogs, and according to stories in this magazine, many of which were consumed at the Clifton home of silk baron Henry Doherty. 12

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

1927 was also the year Lindbergh flew a single engine airplane solo across the Atlantic Ocean and because of that extraordinary achievement was awarded an enormous ticker tape parade down Broadway in NYC. That was the year my father began to cover floors in this area. Over the decades my wife Sherry and I have been in this family business, we have personally seen floors from the 1930s still in daily use. My dad used genuine linoleum, oil cloth, enamel covered, something called felt base, cork and

Today—82 years after my parents Morris and Rachael Rosenfeld founded Dundee— Sherry and I continue the same philosophy that enabled this store to survive over decades of change. Low prices, great service, big selection are taken for granted by our regular customers. You should too. We are expert wood sellers, floor coverers and honest to all our customers who we hope would also be our friends. Stop in and see us at 421 Broad St. in Clifton, pictured at left. We hope to see you soon. other materials now obsolete, though genuine linoleum is experiencing a rebirth of sorts. He personally installed most of the floors. He told me he that as he left for a job, he’d leave the door to his Passaic store wide open with the lights on and when he came back from an installation, people would be waiting inside, ready to do business and order a floor. In those days, some kitchens cost as much as $25 in top quality material and labor. During the actual Depression, people could still afford a new floor for $5 or $10 to cover the dangerous splintering hardwood and so he survived those perilous times. In 1936, he met my mother Rachael and they soon married. A few years later, in 1941, World War II began and because Dad was born in 1903, he was too old to be drafted. Despite shortages of materials, Morris and Rachael kept the store open with a mix of hard work, service, innovation and a little bit of luck!

As soldiers returned home from World War II and Korea Dundee Floor Covering kept pace with the growing needs of the vets and their families, many of whom purchased homes using the GI Bill. Through decades of changes in society and business, we moved our store to Clifton. But what has never changed is what my family taught me— honesty and a devotion to customers that is truly non-existent today. My parents validated their lives not by how much we made but if the customers returned. My mother, Rachael, in particular loved all her customers and knew most by their name. Today we continue the same philosophy—we believe we are the best floor covering store that ever existed. Low prices, great service, big selection are taken for granted by our regular customers. You should too. We are expert wood sellers, floor coverers and honest to all our customers who we hope would also be our friends. See you soon.

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


The new Mrs. Lehansky is trying to get back into dance and is starting to learn how to cook. Her husband, a human resources employee at KPMG in Manhattan, is a dedicated WWE fan. He’s attended a number of signings and owns a great deal of memorabilia. At their wedding party, Jen and Jason entered the room with Hulk Hogan’s music blaring in the background. “She’s a closet Hulkamaniac,” said Lehansky, as his bride shook her head. He hasn’t yet dragged her to a live event, but there is one signing she’d like to attend. “On the way home after he proposed, I realized what happened and said, ‘You met Peyton Manning without me?’” said Jen. “I figure next time he’s around the area, I’ll bring her,” Jason responded. Jason and Jennifer Lehansky were married on Nov. 7, 2008 in Bloomfield.

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February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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by Jordan Schwartz

An Italian Romance

Anna Tacchi doesn’t remember the corn incident, but her husband Aldo does and shares the story. It was 1960 in Branca of Gubbio and some of the children at Il Fondello—an 1,100 year old former convent in central Italy—were playing around with a stalk of corn. “We stuck it up her nose and I remember turning her upside down to get it out because we would’ve gotten in trouble,” laughed Aldo, who was 10 at the time. Anna was just three. The pair wouldn’t see each other again for nearly two decades as the following year, the young boy embarked on an eight-day journey across the Atlantic aboard a ship called the Leonardo da Vinci. “Italy was devastated after the war, but it took us 10 years before we were allowed to go live near our family in Pennsylvania,” said Aldo, who graduated Clifton High School in 1969. But Tacchi would return to Italy on vacation, and in 1978, he found that little Anna was all grown up.

Anna and Aldo Tacchi were married in Branca of Gubbio, Italy on Aug. 9, 1980. The photo below is of Il Fondello, where both of them grew up.

“She was pretty,” he remembered. The two began a relationship and continued corresponding even

when Aldo went back to the States. He returned to his homeland—to Anna—a couple times after that before the two decided to get married on Aug. 9, 1980. The ceremony was held at San Sylvester in Branca, with the reception taking place at nearby Boschetto restaurant located at the base of a mountain. “The restaurant was on a stream and there was a trout pond inside, so some of the guests would kill the fish themselves and cook them,” recalled Aldo. The newlyweds lived in Italy for four months before moving to the Alfred St. home in which they still reside. Dec. 26, 1980 was the February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


first time Anna stepped foot in America. “It wasn’t easy,” she remembered about her transition to a new country. “The language was the first big obstacle.” In Europe, Anna studied to become a kindergarten teacher and worked in a factory, but in the U.S., she stayed home and took care of the kids. Elisa Tacchi was born on June 5, 1981 and her sister, Laura, followed on Aug. 8, 1983. Christina, a student at CHS, arrived on July 29, 1994. Elisa is a fine arts graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York, and she has flipped her parents’ script by moving to Italy after school. Laura used to teach at Woodrow Wilson but is now employed at St. Philip’s on Valley Rd. Anna works part-time in the Clifton High cafeteria, while her husband owns a body shop, Aldo’s VW Repairs in Passaic. “When the kids were little, we used to go out,” said Mrs. Tacchi

The Tacchi family, from left, are Anna, Laura, Christina, Aldo and Elisa.

about her and her spouse’s social life. But today, they’re too busy looking after not only their children, but also Aldo’s parents, Argante, 87, and Lina, 85, who live with them.

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

Aldo loves to make wine downstairs with his father, but the Italian family also makes their own sausage and pasta for feasts with their 14 closest relatives. Just no corn.



February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Brothers Don and Rich Knapp

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


His Pot of Gold Prior to meeting his wife, Sue Ferrentino, Joe Angello told his family he’d be a bachelor for life. But a run-in with a pretty girl on St. Patrick’s Day at Rick’s American Bar and Grill made him eventually reconsider. All it took was a beer spiked with green food dye to strike up a conversation—some might call it the luck of the Irish. This tale starts back in 1992, at the Clifton watering hole, located on the Allwood Circle. Joe was there celebrating with some friends and his brother, Jeff, the mastermind behind the festive drinks. “A rowdy bunch of girls came up to us,” he recalled. “She said to me, ‘I want a green beer, too!’ Then Bob Marley came on and we ended up dancing to ‘No Woman No Cry.’” Towards the end of the night, Joe, a plumbing, heating and electric expert, used a unique method in getting her phone number. Noticing that Sue had broken her pocketbook, he volunteered to fix it. “She wrote down her name and number on the bill receipt,” recalled Joe, 50. “I still have it at home.”


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

by Joe Hawrylko

Joe and Sue Angello with their Basset Hound, Rocky.

The natural chemistry continued, as the two met up several times over the next two weeks. “I brought him a salad to his house the next week,” recalled Sue, 51. “We hung out and watched My Cousin Vinny. But later that night, he told me that he had just started seeing someone.” And with that, the brief romance was cut short. Sue, still stung by the abrupt ending, clung to the hope that fate might bring Joe back into her life. “On St. Patty’s Day, one year after we met, I went to Rick’s again with my girlfriends, hoping he would be there,” she said. “But he never showed up.” The next time she heard from Joe would be five years later in 1998, a day before March 17. “I hear my phone ring and I look and I see Joe Angello on the caller ID,” laughed Sue. “I picked up and he asked if I remembered him, and I pretended I didn’t.” The tension was mutual—after all, Joe had not spoken with her in five years after calling it off. “I had that bill stub with her name on it,” recalled Joe, who admitted being urged by family members into calling Sue. “I was looking at it and doodling on it, thinking if I should call. I made a few attempts and dialed a few numbers. “I had thought about her through my whole dysfunctional relationship,” he admitted and then laughed. “Plus, she brought me salad.” Was it a divine intervention on the part of St. Patrick? Sue, newly single as well, arranged a date at their original meeting place, Rick’s. “I don’t remember it being crowded,” recalled Sue. “I was focused on him. He was making a chicken dance on the table.” Although being serenaded with a song and dance routine by a cooked bird is certainly peculiar, it’s exactly the kind of off-beat humor that serves as a catalyst to their relationship. Joe and Sue’s connection was so strong that, in just a few months, he began to rethink his decision to be a lifetime bachelor, and the two began searching for a home in January 1999. They finally settled on a house in the Rosemawr section of Clifton a few weeks later. However, they spent several months in negotiation, right up until their anniversary on St. Patty’s Day. With the deal nearing closing, Joe decided it was time to make sure that he didn’t lose Sue again.

Having secured the keys to the house, Joe surprised Sue with breakfast in their new home. It seemed like a sweet, but normal anniversary, until the toast. “He went to get the champagne, and hit a tape player in the fridge, and our song (Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”) started playing,” she recalled. “He told me that the last year had been the best of his life and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.” So, on Nov. 14, 1999, Joe and Sue Angello were wed in St. Paul’s RC Church by Father Brian Flanagan—an Irishman, of course. “I wanted to get married in ’99,” laughed Sue. “I thought the world was going to blow up on New Years! “At first, our marriage was like our parents gave us the keys to the house and went on vacation,” she continued. “We were watching movies and eating pizza at midnight.” Though they’ve been married for nine years, Joe and Sue agreed that they were not interested in having children of their own. They have eight nieces and nephews in total, and their own ‘kid’, Rocky, the family Basset Hound. For the former Suzie Ferrentino, that’s all she needs. “I married my best friend,” Suzie shouted before planting a kiss on her husband. “He’s a clone of me.” “And I married my cell mate!” retorted Joe.

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


by Jordan Schwartz

Tending toMarriage

Meeting someone at a bar is commonplace, but scoring the bartender is a more difficult task. Yet that’s exactly what Ralph West did back in early 1985 when his future wife, Kim, was pouring drinks at Danny’s on Russell St. “He and his drunk friends used to hang out there,” she recalled with a laugh. “Her personality (attracted me),” said Mr. West, 50. “And of course her looks. I kept coming back.” Ralph finally asked Kim out on Feb. 17 of that year. “She always kidded me that I waited until after Valentine’s Day to save on the present,” he said. Both outdoorsy types, the sweethearts would do a lot of hiking and camping at Garret Mountain while they were dating. After just six months, the couple got a place together on Van Houten Ave. “You just know when it’s right,” said Mrs. West, 48, about the speedy romance. “I had gone through my wild and crazy days,” her husband added about his eagerness to settle down. The Wests took a little longer to get engaged, but on Feb. 13, 1987,

Kim and Ralph West were wed on Oct. 3, 1987 at St. Brendan’s Church in Lakeview.

Ralph finally got his girl the Valentine’s Day gift she deserved—a ring. “I wasn’t one of those hopeless romantics,” he explained. “ I gave her the ring in the kitchen, but I went to her father first, which a lot of guys didn’t do at the time.”

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Kim made her man sweat a bit as she waited a couple hours to respond to his proposal. “I wanted to be sure,” she said. At last she said, “Yes,” and eight months later, on Oct. 3, 1987, the two were married at St. Brendan’s Church on Lakeview Ave.

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Love may be sweeter when matched with these Wine Selections... Great taste & price is mated by our knowledgeable wine merchant... Prosecco is a sparkling white wine from Italy made famous by its European jet setters and urban cafes the world ‘round! It is the main ingredient in the Bellini cocktail and is a great alternative to Champagne. Moscato d’ Asti is slightly sweeter and makes for a perfect pairing with strawberries and chocolate. Muscade tends toward a brighter minerally & citrus taste (lemon, lime) with flinty, slightly effervescent notes. Other favorite nuances may include green apple, acacia, peach, white flowers, iris, physalis and menthol. Red Zinfandel always seems to liven up a dinner rendezvous with its spice and berry flavors. With its bold character, Zin can be paired with a variety of cuisine—perfect for everything from Tuesday night leftovers to a thick, juicy steak. Port is the perfect dessert wine to snuggle up with a friend in front of a fireplace. It is generally a sweet red wine from Portugal or Australia, but can excite with a range of styles and flavors, including white.

Wine Values Beringer White Zinfandel 1.5 L’s . . . . . . .$8.49 Sutter Home White Zinfandel 1.5 L’s . . . .$6.69 Altana Di Vico Pinot Grigio 1.5 L’s . . . . . . .$9.99 Ca’ Lughetta Pinot Grigio 1.5 L’s . . . . . .$10.99 Cavit Pinot Grigio 1.5 L’s . . . . . . . . . . . . .$12.01 Luna Di Luna All Types 1.5 L’s . . . . . . . .$14.66 Bohemian Highway All Types 1.5 L’s . . . .$9.33 Bella Sera All Types 1.5 L’s . . . . . . . . . . .$11.09 Stone House Cabernet 750ml . . . . . . . . .$7.95 Stone House Chardonnay 750ml . . . . . . .$9.95 Rockwood Alexander Valley Cab 750ml .$13.95 Rockwood Merlot 750ml . . . . . . . . . . . .$12.95 Elena Vernaccia 750ml . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$6.95 Fortuna Pinot Grigio 750ml . . . . . . . . . . . .$7.95 Ch German Cotes De Castillon 750ml . .$10.95 Ch Hyot Cotes De Castillon 750ml . . . . .$13.95 RH Phillips Toasted Head Pinot Noir 750ml$14.09 Melini San Lorenzo Chianti 750ml . . . . . .$8.99 Astoria Prosecco 750ml . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$7.99 Bogle Petite Sirah 750ml . . . . . . . . . . . . .$8.99 Ravenswood Vitners Zinfandel 750ml . . .$8.75

DD 2 Prosecco 750ml . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$7.95 San Pedro 1865 Cabernet 750ml . . . . .$10.99 Hanging Vine Chardonnay 750ml . . . . . .$10.99 S Margherita Pinot Grigio 750ml . . . . . .$19.99 Some Young Punks Drink & Stick 750ml . .$17.99 Clos de la Fine Muscadet 750ml . . . . . . .$9.99 Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto 750ml . . .$17.99 Pecota Moscato d’Asti 750ml . . . . . . . . . .$9.99 Saracco Moscato d’Asti 750ml . . . . . . .$12.99 Quinta do Noval Ruby/Tawny Port 750ml . .$10.99 Trevor Jones Tawny Port 750ml . . . . . . . .$8.99 Royal Oporto 20 Year Tawny Port 750ml . . .$39.99 Hogue Late Harvest Riesling 750ml . . . . .$8.99 Von Buhl Armand Riesling Kabinett 750ml .$17.99 Prices effective through March 3. Good only at Shoppers Vineyard in Clifton. We reserve the right to limit quantities. Prices do not include sales tax. Not responsible for typographical errors. No rainchecks. Limited to store inventory.

Liquor Values Modern Spirits Rose Petal Vodka . . . . . .$19.99 Nuvo Sparkling Vodka Liqueur . . . . . . . .$28.00 Pinky Vodka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$28.99 X-Rated Liqueur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$21.99 Bailey’s Chocolate Mint Irish Cream . . .$20.09 Godiva Liqueur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$23.99 Mazzetti Grappa Le Rose . . . . . . . . . . . .$79.99 Milagro Tequila Romance . . . . . . . . . . .$129.99 Inocente Platinum Blanco Tequila . . . . .$39.99 Kahlua French Vanilla . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17.99

Beer Values Fruili Strawberry Beer bottle . . . . . . . . . .$2.49 Sam Adams Blackberry Witibier 6 pack . .$7.99 Land Shark Lager 6 pack . . . . . . . . . . . . .$6.99 Blue Point Blueberry Ale 6 pack . . . . . . . .$8.99 Legacy Hedonism Red Ale 6 pack . . . . .$10.99 Railbender Ale 6 pack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$7.99

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


with a reception at the VFW in Saddle Brook. On their second anniversary, the Wests welcomed their first child, a son named Matt, who graduated Clifton High School last year and is now a student at Montclair State University. His fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Kroll, was his mom’s sixth grade instructor. “It was nice feeling,” Kim said about knowing the type of education her son was receiving. “This has always been a close-knit community.” The Wests’ second child, Kelly, was born on Groundhog Day 1994 and is currently a freshman at CHS. Kim and Ralph are also Clifton grads. Mrs. West grew up on Clinton Ave. and attended School 15 and Christopher Columbus before receiving her diploma in 1978. Ralph was raised in Passaic but moved to Clifton before his junior year and graduated CHS in ’76. The future couple didn’t know each


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

The West family, from left, consists of Matt, Kim, Ralph and Kelly.

other back then, although Ralph was in the same woodshop class as Kim’s older sister, Renee. In 1980, they both worked in the same building on Paulison Ave., where Kim was employed at Visual Graphics and Ralph was a shipping clerk for Wilshire Electronics. But it took a vodka tonic to bring them together.

Today, Mrs. West is a service coordinator at Uno’s Chicago Grill on Rt. 3 and her husband works in the warehouse at Global Seven, a chemical company in Franklin. They still go camping up near Monticello, NY, but some things have changed over the years; Ralph no longer orders drinks from Kim. “He’d rather I fix him dinner.”


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Balancing Love,Work, Family by Jordan Schwartz

The Rochas don’t get a lot of time to see each other during the week. For the past 25 years, Hebert has worked from 2:30 am to 1 pm as a shipping clerk at Alfred Heller Heat Treating Company on Wellington St., near the family’s home on Franklin Ave. Meanwhile, his wife of 28 years, Virginia, wears many hats. She generally works from 7 am to 6 pm as an orthodontist’s assistant in Oakland, an emergency medical technician, or a medical assistant at a podiatrist’s office in Wayne.

Hebert and Virginia Rocha cut the cake on Nov. 30, 1980.


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

The two Rocha children, who still live with their parents, are plenty busy themselves. Jennifer, 27, is a nurse at UMDNJ and is engaged to be married to her fiancee, Wilmer Costa, in March 2010. Jeffrey, 22, works in line service at Teterboro Airport. So, from Monday to Friday, the only time the four of them get to spend together is around the dinner table after Virginia gets home from work and before Hebert goes to sleep at 8:30. “They both work a lot, so the time they’re together, they know how to appreciate it,” Jennifer said about her parents. The Rocha family today at their home on Franklin Ave. in Downtown Clifton. From That’s never more true than on left, Jennifer, Virginia, Hebert and Jeffrey. the weekends when the entire clan Another thing working against Hebert was that he gets together for breakfast before going to the Spanish was 25 and Virginia, who moved from Puerto Rico to Seventh Day Adventist Church in Passaic on Saturdays Paterson when she was a baby, was just 16. But Rocha or just relaxing and watching a Giants game on Sundays. was persistent and he started joining everything his “We go to church and that really helps to keep the crush was involved in, such as choir and Sabbath marriage strong,” said Mr. Rocha. “I have wonderful school. kids and I don’t have any complaints.” “I realized that he was very polite and a perfect genThe Rochas value family above all else and that is tleman at all times,” said Virginia. But there was still why they have volunteered to take care of Hebert’s the age difference. young niece’s daughter. Stephanie Rocha had Natasha, “My father-in-law let me come to the house but he 3, when she was just 18 and so the Rochas babysit the had to be home for me to visit her and he was only there child after school so her mother can continue her studies. on weekends,” said Mr. Rocha. But the family’s benevolence doesn’t end there. Viginia’s father was very strict because she was his Nearly every year, Virginia embarks on missionary eldest, but the lovebirds managed to go on group dates trips to countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, before Virginia was old enough to see her boyfriend on Panama and the Dominican Republic to teach kids her own. about good dental hygiene. She’ll be heading to The couple was at a wedding in early 1980 when Honduras this August. Hebert turned to his girl and asked, “When are we going But once in a while, Virginia and Hebert get some to get married?” time to themselves and go out to dinner and see movies “How about November?” she suggested, and the date like back when they were dating. was set. Hebert had only been in the United States for a few On Nov. 30, 1980, the Rochas tied the knot at the weeks when he first laid eyes on Virginia Ortega. It Seventh Day Adventist Church in Wayne. The ceremowas at a church function in Hackettstown in 1976. ny was followed by a big reception at a hall in Paterson. “When I saw her, I said, ‘I like this woman,’” The newlyweds lived with the groom’s parents on recalled Rocha, who had just emigrated from Colombia Burgess Pl. for six months before relocating to the to Passaic. Virginia, on the other hand, wasn’t as impressed. “I Franklin Gardens Apartments on Piaget Ave. didn’t like him at all,” she laughed. “He didn’t know In 1992, they moved into their current home on the language and he dressed differently. He wasn’t Franklin Ave. and have been making the most of their cool like us.” time together every since. February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


by Jordan Schwartz

The Circle of Love

Twenty-four years and 5,000 miles couldn’t keep Roberta Brashear and Randy Kaulfers apart. Roberta, a ’72 Passaic grad, and Randy, CHS Class of ’69, first met in 1979 through a mutual friend named Paul Van Duyne. The couple was introduced during a night out at the Wits End bar on Van Houten Ave. (now Dingbatz) and struck up a year-long relationship. Things came to an end, however, when Brashear left for graduate school at the University of Hawaii in the summer of 1980. “It was something I decided I had to do anyway so it was a mutual separation,” she said. Roberta received a full scholarship to study genetics in paradise. “When they give you a grant to go to grad school, you go,” she said. Kaulfers stayed behind in Clifton to continue running his home improvement business. “She moved and went her way and I went my way,” he remembered. “It wasn’t a fight or anything and then we lost contact with each other.” But whenever Roberta returned home to visit her brother, Ed, each Christmas, she’d ask him how her exboyfriend was doing. Randy, who had a brief three-year marriage before he even met Brashear, was involved in a longer relationship with a different girlfriend while Roberta was in Hawaii. But he never stopped thinking about his lost love. “I always asked her friend about her, but we never made a connection until it was time for us to make a connection,” said Kaulfers. “I guess life goes in a circle.”


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Randy and Roberta Kaulfers at their wedding on Aug. 14, 2004.

That circle completed its loop during the first week of 2004 when Randy and Roberta both attended the wake for Van Duyne’s mother on Allwood Rd. “It was one of those magic moments when you see someone from across the room,” Brashear recalled. “We started talking and that was it.”

The couple went out on two dinner dates before the Passaic native returned to Hawaii. But Randy and Roberta continued talking via long phone conversations and then the Cliftonite decided to visit his sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. “She invited me out to Hawaii, so I shut my business down and went,” said Kaulfers, 57. “I was supposed to be there two weeks and wound up staying almost a month.” The whirlwind romance continued with the pair getting engaged on March 17 of that year. “It shocked the whole family because I was single for 50 years,” laughed Brashear, 54. The Kaulfers were married on Aug. 14, 2004 at the Masonic Lodge on Clifton Ave. and then had a second island wedding back in Hawaii the following New Year’s Eve. The happy couple now live together on six acres of rain forest in the 50th state.

Roberta in 1980 and Randy in 1977, back around the time they first started dating.

Roberta teaches microbiology and anatomy and physiology at Hawaii Community College, while her husband builds homes, including their own. “It’s a lot warmer than (New Jersey),” the professor explained. “It’s always nice to come back home and visit family and friends, but then

it’s nice to go back with no crazy drivers and a lot less pollution.” The Kaulfers don’t have any children, but they do own two dogs, two cats and a big fish pond, and they recently made their first trip together back to the east coast. “We couldn’t get anyone to watch our animals before,” said Randy.

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant



February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Middle-Aged Mingling Affinity Singles hosts Sunday night events at Bliss Lounge Story by Jordan Schwartz Maggie White and Alan Goldman sit together in one of the circular booths overlooking the dance floor at Bliss Lounge on Allwood Rd. It was just two years ago that they were on opposite sides of a similar room during another Affinity Singles event. “She’d watch me dance and then I finally approached her,” said Goldman, who lives in Staten Island. “She was a little standoffish at first, but the she gave me a grin.” The couple has been dating ever since. “I love his personality and the way he treats me like a princess,” said White, a Franklin Lakes resident. “My ex-wife is Jewish, so I wanted to get as far away from a Jewish girl as I could and I did because she’s Irish Catholic,” joked Goldman. Maggie and Alan are just one of Affinity’s many success stories. “At least 20 couples have gotten married through this and I was even invited to one of their weddings,” said owner Steve Stone, 50.

Lena Mazza of Haledon, Manny Rodriguez of Hoboken and Anna Cirino of Hawthorne getting down on the dance floor at an Affinity Singles night at Bliss.

The Rockland County resident launched the company in 1985 after noticing the popularity of singles’ nights in Manhattan. The first 15 years were held at Jimmy Reed’s in Ramsey. In fact, that’s where Stone met his own wife, Ellen. They have three chil-

dren—two from her first marriage and a 10-year-old of their own. But when the bar was sold, the Sunday night parties moved elsewhere to other locations in Morristown and Lyndhurst. Affinity finally found a permanent home this past September

March 16, 7 pm VFW Hall, 491 Valley Rd. Your $35 donation will help fund the good work of the

Clifton Against Substance Abuse Foundation For Tickets, call Judi Bassford at 973-278-5356 February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


when Joey Barcellona welcomed the events to his New York City style club. “We’ve been wanting to get in here for a long time,” said Anne Mancuso, who works for Stone. “This place is just gorgeous.” Mancuso met her own boyfriend, Tom, seven years ago at Boca Bay in Morristown. “He was going through a divorce and joined a church group that came to the dance,” she recalled. “He came in and started asking me questions and telling stupid jokes.” The pair became friends until the relationship turned romantic in 2005. Affinity targets singles in their 30s, 40s and 50s, and so the crowd is largely made up of divorcees or people going through a separation, like Cliftonite Nick Izeiroski, 37. “I go out on Fridays and Saturdays, but Sundays are the most fun,” he said. “The music and the buffet are great.”

Alan Goldman and Maggie White met during an Affinity Singles event in 2006.

His friend, Sherrie Mobilia of Woodbridge, said the day of the week is one of the big draws. “On Sunday night people get bummed out because they have work the next day, so this cheers you up,” she said.

More than 200 singles show up every week from 7:30 pm to midnight. The cover charge is $7 before 8 pm and $10 afterwards, and the complimentary buffet runs from 7:30 to 8:45 pm. For more info, visit

Other Places to Meet Singles in New Jersey Christian Singles have a number of options in North Jersey. There’s bible study on Sundays in Wayne, (973-694-2938 ext. 441), volleyball on Wednesdays in North Haledon (201-337-7492), and worship on Thursdays in Hawthorne (973-427-6960). Executive New Jersey Dating introduces singles to the people you aren’t able to meet through your daily activities, while keeping a sophisticated quality of personal service. Visit Marion Smith Professional Singles hosts a number of singles parties and trips every month at different places througout the tri-state area. The singles events are separated into two age groups: 28-39 and 35-49. Call 212-944-2112 or visit Together Dating is for people who are tired of trying to meet someone at bars, work or through personal ads. Together Dating offers an eight-step program that will help you find your match. Visit 30

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Oakwood Singles is a North Jersey based group open to divorced, separated and never married individuals between the ages of 35 and 58. The group meets every week for social activities. For more information, call 973-584-1413. The Central Jersey Tall Friends Club hosts two dances a year and members also meet for dinner, dancing, movies, hikes, museums, parties and day trips. If you’re tired of dating people much shorter than you, then visit Mercer County Single Volunteers is a non-profit organization for professional singles who want to meet while volunteering. Meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of every month at the Hamilton Township Library at 7 pm. Open socials are every third Friday. Call 609-587-8959 or visit Jewish Singles of Mercer County hosts movie, bowling, ice skating and brunch events. Call 609-987-8100.

Marriage, TwentyYears Later by Joe Hawrylko At first, it sounds like a nice, romantic novel. Guy meets girl, they become high school sweethearts and wind up getting married, spending the rest of their days together. Except life didn’t work out that way for Jay Moorman and Tammy Csaszar. They only got their fairy tale ending after two break-ups and 20 years of trying to make it work. It’s more of a romantic comedy than a traditional love story. But, as always, the guy always gets the girl in the end. The couple first met in their sophomore year at Clifton High School, back in 1984. “He was at in-school suspension and I went to meet my friend, Maureen Shrek,” explained Tammy. “I asked her if she knew who he was.” It turned out that Tammy had caught Jay’s eye as well. He was friends with Maureen as well, and told her that he wanted to meet Tammy. Soon, a date was set up. However, that first meeting almost never happened. In fact, there were several missed dates— for which neither Jay nor Tammy take responsibility—that almost torpedoed any chances of a real relationship. “I was supposed to meet you another time at a party and couldn’t show up,” laughed Jay, who claimed that he didn’t have a way there. “You were all bent out of shape for a month.” Their first date finally happened after Maureen scheduled a double

Jay and Tammy Moorman on their wedding day, July 17, 2004, and inset, the young rockers at the 1986 Clifton High School Prom.

date with her then-boyfriend and Jay and Tammy. “We drove around Brookdale Park,” recalled Jay. “It was the first time I was there.” From there, the two became high school sweethearts. They went to prom together and continued dating after graduation. Things went smoothly until about 1989, when Jay and Tammy broke up. “We both started dating other people for a while,” recalled Tammy, who said the break-up was mutual. “It wasn’t like we hated each other or anything,” explained Jay, who said the two always remained on speaking terms.

They never fully patched things up until 1995. The two started speaking regularly again, and Tammy took the initiative. “My sister, Cindy, was getting married and I was in the wedding, so I invited him,” she said. “We ended up reconciling at the wedding.” It was like being a kid all over again, returning to the comfort zone that they had for five years. However, that bliss would once again fade in just a year’s time. ‘The second time we broke up in 1996, I had an apartment on Fenner Ave. and I was moving out,” recalled Jay. “I didn’t ask her to move in with me and we broke up.” February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Tammy wanted commitment, not exactly the kind of stuff a young, independent guy wants to hear. “I had been out of the house since I was 18 and then, I was just in my mid-20s,” laughed Jay. “She was old already!” “I was just moving towards that direction and he wasn’t,” injected Tammy. “I figured I’d go out and find someone else.” While she was disappointed, Tammy did find another guy, and Jay got set to move into his new Russell St. apartment in Botany Village. After finding someone whom she thought was Mr. Right, Tammy began apartment hunting in Clifton. Unable to find anything that she and her new boyfriend liked, Tammy turned to a familiar face and asked Jay if she could move into his apartment when he left for his new place. “First, he thought I was kidding,” she laughed. “But I was eventually able to talk him into it.” Tammy dated her new boyfriend for about three years, before calling it off in 2000. By that point, Jay was starting to regret some of his past decisions. “When you’re young, you think you know everything,” he said. “It was about comfort and familiarity... just realizing that you did stupid stuff when you were young and that you can’t lose her again. “You go out and meet other people and it makes you realize that you need someone right for you,” Jay continued. “After the second time we broke up, I realized that I really did love Tammy after she was gone all those years.” Once again, Jay and Tammy made amends and got back together later that year. This time, he wasn’t about to let Tammy escape so he and proposed on Christmas Day 2003. A full 20 years after they first started dating, Jay and Tammy tied the knot on July 17, 2004 at an outdoor ceremony at the Woodcliff Manor in Woodcliff Lake.

Jay and Tammy Moorman with their daughter Katie, 3.

“We were married outside. It was such a gorgeous day,” recalled Tammy. “Everyone from our family was there and we had the entire place to ourselves.” The following summer, Jay and Tammy had their first daughter, Katie, on Aug. 25. And last September, the couple opened their own company, J.A.E Home Improvements. The Moormans are now one big happy family—even if it was 20 years in the making. “It was just a joke. Everyone always said, ‘When are you two going to get married?’” laughed Jay. “It was like we were almost married at that point, so you got to do the technical part.”

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St. Nick on a Knee It all had to be perfect. Brian Reilly had already purchased a ring for his girlfriend of nearly five years, Krystyna Zarebczan. All that was left was thinking of a clever way to pop the question. So how can you make that special moment something that she’ll never forget? Enlisting the help of Santa and his friends is a good way to start. “She always told me that she always heard Santa Claus, but would never see him,” said Reilly, referring to Christmas Eve, when Santa traditionally makes his rounds on a float. “She always told me to ask my dad why he never comes down Grunwald St.” So Reilly decided that the proposal would ultimately involve the jolly guy in the red suit. The only question was how would he get it done? Luckily, Reilly’s father, Jeff, is a Lieutenant in the CFD, and was able to enlist some assistance. “Fire fighter Tony Latona was one of the main guys who helped me,” explained Reilly. And with that, the plan was in motion. Reilly and his father would wait around the block on Sade St., just off of Van Houten Ave. Santa’s float would take a detour down Sade St., and Reilly would switch places with St. Nick. Then, the float would come back up Grunwald St., and the imposter Santa would reveal his true identity and present the ring. However, before he did anything, Reilly made sure that he had the permission of Zarebczan’s parents, Jan and Anna.

by Joe Hawrylko

Krystyna Zarebczan was shocked when her boyfriend, Brian Reilly, got off a float dressed as Santa and proposed to her.

“I wanted to keep it traditional,” he explained. “I’m a traditional person. I wanted to have respect and ask them.” However, there was just one slight problem—his fiance’s family was from Poland, and only Anna spoke any English. Ever the improviser, Reilly placed a call to Zarebczan’s sister, Barbara, who lives in Wisconsin. Soon, his message was transcribed into Polish and he went to visit Zarebczan’s parents. “No,” laughed Reilly. “I don’t speak a word of Polish. I just gave them the letter.” With the permission of his fiance’s parents, the only thing left was the hardest part—waiting for Christmas Eve. “I just wanted to get it over with,” he said. “I know it sounds mean now, but I was so nervous.”

Along the way, there were several points that the 2001 CHS grad thought he was going to break. “The ring was in my safe,” explained Reilly. “Which was like 10 feet from her in my room.” The most difficult part were those final few weeks. Just before Christmas, the couple was at Reilly’s parents’ house for dinner, when the topic of marriage hit the table. “I was talking about how I can’t stand when people go to bed mad at each other,” he laughed. “And she said, ‘Well, I won’t go to bed mad anymore when there’s a ring on my finger.” Reilly was able to resist the urge to pop the question in front of all of his family that evening. However, two weeks later when Christmas Eve rolled around, his fiance’s retort was still fresh in his mind. February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


“When I was sitting in the car, my dad had to tell me to shut up, because I was saying things, just a bunch of gibberish,” Reilly recalled. “I was thinking of every single thing that could go wrong. But I wasn’t thinking about her saying No. I knew that she wouldn’t say No.” Still, no matter how many times he reassured himself, Reilly couldn’t calm his nerves, even as the float rolled down the street. “Santa got out, shook my hand and said, ‘Good luck,’” he laughed. “When I went on, there was a little girl there who was looking at me like, ‘This isn’t Santa!’ They told her I was one of Santa’s helpers.” As Reilly boarded the float, his family, which was gathered around the block to watch the event, started walking down the block to Zarebczan’s house. Also on board the float was his younger brother, Scott, who was documenting the proposal.

Brian Reilly and Krystyna Zarebczan were engaged on Dec. 24, 2008.

“Going into this, I really wanted to have a picture and video that I could have for the rest of my life,” said Reilly. Finally, the float pulled up in front of the house, where Zarebczan was outside, curious as to why Santa was finally visiting her after 23 years. “She knew something was up,” laughed Reilly. “So I did something

to let her know that it was me and went up and said, ‘Guess you can’t go to bed mad anymore?’” With that, he yanked off his beard and hat, presented the ring and became a newly engaged man—a perfect end to the story. All thanks to Santa’s little helpers, of course. “A lot of the credit goes to my father. He made sure it all worked out,” admitted Reilly, who said his family and his fiance’s family capped the night with a celebration back at his parent’s home. “And Mr. Latona and Mayor (James) Anzaldi.” Now anxiety-free, Reilly gets to relax a bit before trying to plan the wedding, which he hopes to have at the Westmount Country Club in either June 2010 or 2011. However, the onus for that plan is on Zarebczan. “I keep on joking around with her,” laughed Reilly. “You got the ring. Now, the rest is on you.”

Romance is Back in Styertowne Rowe-Manse in Styertowne used to mean candy, pipes or whatever other random items you could pick up at the former specialty department store. But now romance means books, as in the thousands of novels that line the shelves of Footnotes Bookstore and Learning Center. Now under new ownership by Debbie Scassera, who bought the place from her former boss, Pat Farrell, the shop has moved a few doors closer to the Dunkin’ Donuts. “This store is a third of the size of the other store, so I limited the selection to romance with some mystery and fiction,” said Scassera, who opened on Jan. 22. 34

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Debbie Scassera opened Footnotes in its new location in Styertowne on Jan. 22.

“I was a good customer before I became an employee,” she continued. “Romance novels offer an escape from your stresses.”

So if you’re without a date this Valentine’s Day, or even if you have one, pick up a book and get in the mood for love.

There’s Something About Jayne

Clifton native Jayne Modean influenced a box office smash Story by Jordan Schwartz Peter Farrelly recognized Jayne Modean’s face. Nearly every American male who grew up in the ’70s would have. Well, at least the ones with four sisters who all read Seventeen magazine in 1977. Modean, a model and actress from Clifton, appeared on the cover three times that year and Farrelly, an upand-coming Hollywood writer and director in the late ’80s, had a crush on her. “He saw me out and so he had Woody Harrelson come talk to me,” remembered Modean about the first time she met her friend, Peter. The 1975 CHS grad had a small role on a 1987 episode of Cheers, the popular television series on which Harrelson starred. The actor

Jayne Modean, Miss Teenage Clifton 1974, at the Miss Teenage America Pageant in Arkansas. She went on to be featured on several magazine covers.

would also play the lead in Farrelly’s 1996 hit, Kingpin. Peter later told Jayne that his movies, Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary— stories about stupid or hard-luck men chasing after beautiful women—were based on their relationship. But that wasn’t Modean’s only brush with pop culture lore. In early 1990, she appeared in an episode of Full House. During taping, the actress struck up a “whirlwind romance” with Dave Coulier, who played Uncle Joey. “When I met Dave, he said, ‘I want to have a son named Luc someday,’” Modean recalled. She eventually granted his wish, giving birth to a baby boy in February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


November 1990, five months after the pair married. The relationship was short-lived, however, and the couple divorced by 1993. That’s when a 19-year-old singer named Alanis Morissette began dating Coulier. Her angry Grammy-winning song, “You Oughta Know,” was about their failed romance and the lyrics may have referenced the actor’s ex. Was Modean the “older version of me” that Morissette sang about? The Clifton native doesn’t know for sure, but she said she likes the tune and would love to meet the artist one day.

Seventeen and Pageant Queen Jayne Modean was born on Oct. 15, 1958 in Hartford, Ct. but she grew up on Wester Pl. in Montclair Heights. She began modeling when she was just a first grader at School 16. “(Clifton historic writer) Phil Read’s next-door neighbor was Bobby Meyers and he was a kid model for toys and TV commercials,” said Modean.

Jayne with There’s Something About Mary director Peter Farrelly in the ’80s. 36

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Jayne’s mother Marcia, who worked for many years at Clifton’s Coldwell Banker selling real estate, Jayne’s son Luc and her father, Rev. Earl Modean, who was pastor for many years at First Lutheran Church in Clifton.

“My brother was playing up there one day and when my mom went to get him, she spoke to Bobby’s mom about it.” From then on, Marcia Modean would drive her four children— Nancy, Jayne, Kathy and Paul— back and forth to New York City for modeling jobs. “My mom was a bored housewife,” laughed the former actress. “She grew up in Minnesota and was the 4-H queen. She wasn’t really a pushy stage mother, but she just liked to have fun things for us to do.” Mrs. Modean worked for 10 years as the secretary at First Lutheran Church at the corner of Van Houten Ave. and Grove St. That’s where her husband, Earl, was pastor between 1960 and 1994. He was very active in the community and was instrumental in the creation of the Evergreen Manor senior citizen housing complex. As a student at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Jayne won the National Singer Sewing Contest for her age group and won a free trip to London. There, she got to meet David Frost, the English jour-

nalist whose famous 1977 interview with Richard Nixon inspired the recent movie, Frost/Nixon. In 1974, Modean traveled to Little Rock, Ark. to compete in the Miss Teenage America Pageant. New Jersey didn’t have a local qualifying contest, so the Mustang cheerleader had to submit a movie of herself singing, tap dancing and sewing. The 16-year-old was accepted and flew first class down south with her mom. While she wasn’t crowned the winner, Modean did receive the Poise and Appearance award and the $500 college scholarship that came with it. “I was very happy to win that even though I didn’t get to win the whole contest,” she said. “We put on a tap number and I could tap so I found myself in the front on national TV.” On the way home, Modean was surprised to find the same pilot on the plane as the one who took her to Arkansas. “He let me sit in the cockpit when the plane took off and I stayed there the whole way,”

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


she remembered. “The plane ride was so rough that the pilot, who had stopped smoking 10 years prior, started smoking again.” That was the only major pageant in which Modean competed, but her modeling career was far from over. In addition to her work for Seventeen, she also appeared on the cover of Esquire and the February 1981 Inside Sports annual swimsuit issue. Jayne did so well that she was able to help her parents buy a home in Saddle River in 1979. The Modeans lived there until they moved to Bend, Oregon in 2003. “She’s a great girl,” said Earl about his daughter. “She’s very generous and has really been a wonderful person in many ways.”

Movies, Television and Family In the mid ’80s, the Cliftonite switched career paths and moved to California to become an actress. “I got tired of modeling the same time it got tired of me,” she said.

Modean appeared in a bunch of television commercials, including spots for Burger King, and filmed a pilot called Me and Ducky, but it wasn’t picked up. Her first movie was a 1983 teen comedy called Spring Break. “I played Susie from Ohio State, but I kept my clothes on,” she laughed. Modean acted in two other motion pictures and five TV shows before her Cheers appearance in 1987 and her role on Full House three years later. Following the birth of her son in 1990, the Clifton girl gave up acting for a while before returning to doing commercials. That lasted until 2002 when Modean married her current husband, a corporate real estate agent in San Francisco named Jay Sholl. Today, she travels between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, where Luc is a senior in high school. The wife and mother keeps herself busy

Modean on her wedding day in 2002 when she married her second husband Jay Sholl.

by operating a small booth in an antique market in Pasadena, where she buys and sells items that she refurbishes. “It’s kind of my passion to remake things.”

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Botany Development and Budget Discussions The city is considering two proposals for low income COAH eligible housing at the former American Legion Post site on Lake Ave. in Botany Village. The first comes from Regan Development Corporation out of Ardsley, NY. The firm has developed more than 340 affordable senior and special needs units over the past decade at its three Senior Horizons buildings located on Clifton Ave. and at the Richardson Scale property. Regan proposes a six-unit building with three three-bedroom apartments and three two bedroom apartments for special needs individuals. “We know it’s a small site on a residential block,” said President Larry Regan. “Our goal would be to design something that’s low impact that would blend in with the residential feel of the neighborhood.” Regan said his company would work with NewBridge, a Passaic County social services organization, to place special needs residents. “These are people who have been living with their parents or at a group home and are now going out on their own but still need some guidance,” said Regan.


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Regan Development Corporation is proposing this six-unit special needs affordable housing building (above) to replace the vacant American Legion Post on Lake Ave. Below is our September 2008 cover when we began writing about what would be done to replace the long vacant Botany Village eyesore.

He added that there would be less than 15 residents because one or two of the bedrooms would be used as offices and NewBridge normally does not fill every bedroom with an independent resident. “Currently the plan calls for 12 off street parking spots,” said Regan. “None of these proposed residents with mental disabilities drive and they will most certainly not own a car. This proposed development will not in any way add to the lack of parking in the Lake Ave. area.” The second proposal comes from the New Jersey Community Development Corporation of Paterson. It calls for 10 one-bedroom apartments for homeless veterans. The NJCDC, which has completed similar projects in Hawthorne and Paterson, would also provide the personal care assistance after the residents move in. While this is the organization’s first real estate venture in Clifton, it

already operates an after school program at CHS. Randi Moore, NJCDC director of real estate development, said the proposal currently includes an 8,000 sq. ft., three-floor building with 11 off street parking spots. “But we’re really flexible,” she said. “We want it to fit into the community.” Like many municipalities in the state, Clifton is currently hundreds of units short of its mandated number of affordable housing units, in accordance with COAH, and so the Lake Ave. proposals would represent a step in the right direction. “We actually get a benefit in that they are special needs projects,” said City Manager Al Greco. “I think we get a little more bang for the buck in the numbers we get credited.” Greco said the city hopes to make a decision on which proposal to move forward with at its Feb. 3 Council meeting (after this magazine went to print).

The Post 347 building has sat vacant and decaying since the city purchased it in April 2007. At one point, Clifton planned to locate a couple of two-family houses there to serve as a model for future development in Botany. However, Greco said the property wasn’t large enough to attract a developer. City Manager Al Greco said any union that does not submit a recommendation as to how it can help Clifton avoid laying off some of its members is “sealing its own fate.” The city announced in December that it planned to cut 60 filled and 25 vacant positions due to limitations on spending because of the state’s four percent tax increase cap. Under the law, the city would be able to raise expenses by $3.7 million in the 2009 budget, but that figure was closer to $7 million at the end of 2008. The layoffs would save Clifton $4 million a year and would affect all city departments. Right now, there are 524 full-time and 119 part-time municipal workers. Most of those employees are represented by five unions and so city officials have said that if they agree to keep their salaries the same as they were last year, without any raises, some terminations can be avoided. The city set a deadline of Jan. 5, but as of Jan. 22, it had only heard from the Policemen’s Benevolent Association, the Supervisory Officer’s Association (also of the CPD) and the Clifton Supervisor’s Association. “We understand that it’s hard times and we’re looking to negotiate fairly,” said PBA President Steve Berge. “It’s almost a tennis match sometimes; you send something over to their side and they send

something to you and when we feel that we’re at the right place, we’ll settle on it.” Greco said those three proposals, along with the fourth it recently received from the Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association, have all been positive. FMBA President Robert DeLuca declined to comment on the negotiations other than to say he is in the process of gathering some information from the city. “There are a lot of questions that need to be answered,” he said.

As of Feb. 2, the City Council was still waiting to hear from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Greco said the effect of the layoffs would be devastating. “I’m not looking forward to it at all but unfortunately the predicament we’ve been put in from the state, we really have no other options,” he said. The unions have until March 6 to finalize a plan with the city because that’s when layoffs would begin. by Jordan Schwartz

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UNICO Celebrates 60 Years of “Service Above Self” On Friday, March 27, the PassaicClifton Chapter of UNICO National will host its 5th Annual Gala Dinner Dance. This event will be in celebration of the chapter’s 60th anniversary (1949-2009). That’s 60 years of "Service Above Self.” The event, which is a black tie optional gala, will be held at Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove. A cocktail hour at 7 pm will begin the night. Dinner will be served at 8 pm and there will also be live music from Daddy Pop (at right). A five-hour premium open bar is also included in the $100 ticket price. UNICO National President Kathy Strozza and Immediate Past National President Joseph Agresti are scheduled to attend. The group hopes to also have the three living charter members on

Daddy Pop will be rocking at UNICO’s Gala Dinner Dance on March 27.

hand. Michael N. Corradino, Rosario F. Lomauro and Ralph Sandor were three of the founding fathers of the Passaic Chapter

(March 29, 1949), which at the time, was only the second UNICO chapter in New Jersey. This, in time, became the Passaic-Clifton

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Service by Unico to Clifton and Passaic spans six decades as this photo attests. That’s a young Mike Corradino at the right, and Peter Cannici (who served as Passaic Schools Superintendent from1964-1970) at left. Others pictured are unidentified.

Chapter. The group is still working towards and fulfilling the same goals held by those founders (except with a little more help from technology). Those interested in attending, or in placing an ad in the souvenir journal, contact Passaic-Clifton Chapter President David D’Arco at


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

973-417-0731 or e-mail him at UNICO’s Spring Concert will be held in May (on a date TBD) at Bliss on Allwood Rd. While details are still be worked on, the confirmed bands include The Flying Mueller Brothers, Brookwood and The El Supremo.

UNICO is an Italian American service organization which takes part in charitable works, supports higher education and performs patriotic deeds. Its sole purpose is to unite all Italian Americans and motivate them to become more civic minded. For membership information, call D’Arco at 973-417-0731.

Granting Clifton’s Wishes? Bruno Associates gets mixed reviews from City Council Story by Joe Hawrylko Following the 2006 City Council elections, members began brainstorming ways to generate additional funding for Clifton. In June 2008, the Council hired a grant writer to help the cause, but less than a year later, Councilman Peter Eagler says the money could have been better spent. “Here we are, eight months into a contract, and we should have gotten something,” he explained. “There have been some grants that have been put in, but we really haven’t heard anything yet.” The contract was awarded to Bruno Associates, a Clifton-based grant writing firm. Eagler, a former New Jersey Assemblyman and Passaic County Freeholder, had previously worked with Bruno, who was the grant writer for the County Board of Social Services. “I was in favor of hiring a grants person for Clifton,” he said, “but when it came down to hiring Mr. Bruno’s group, I wasn’t too happy with his track record from when I was a freeholder.” Bruno Associates was awarded a contract following a bidding process. The firm offered the lowest one year contract, at $30,000. “Bruno kind of got it by default,” said Councilman Joe Cupoli, who noted that it was the only firm under the city’s self-imposed budget. “He’s from town, and he guaranteed his fee back in grants or they wouldn’t charge us. “Is it part of the contract?” he continued. “Probably not, but I’d expect a man to be true to his word.”

Bruno Associates was approved by a 5-2 margin, with Council members Peter Eagler and Gloria Kolodziej dissenting. “My original concern was the past history with Bruno Associates, when we went to develop the Athenia Steel property,” said Kolodziej. “They were the consultants we used at the time to develop the senior citizens housing project. “We were working with them for two years and it was going absolutely nowhere,” she continued. “I watched my wheels get spun for two years.” John R. Bruno, Sr., founder and Chairman/CEO of Bruno Associates, contends that his company has done an admirable job. “We’ve done a lot there, a great amount of work,” he said. “We’ve only been there for six months. We started June 2008. The total amount of money we’ve filed for is over half a million in grant applications.” Most of the grant requests are still pending with the state. Bruno noted that it can take upwards of eight months to hear back from any department. He believes that any criticism is not justified at this point. “In all of the state of New Jersey, we don’t have a client that pays us $29,000,” said Bruno. “That’s what they’re paying us, and we think they got a pretty good deal. “Evidently, (Peter) Eagler is not aware of all the information that we’re dealing with,” he continued. “It would be a good idea if he checked with the city manager, who is doing a great job. We communicate regularly on what we are doing.”

Eagler disputes that claim, saying that he has not heard of any progress from Bruno. “Councilman Cupoli and I ask for an update every month and we haven’t received anything,” he said. “Every time that a proposal or grant comes in, we ask if that’s from Bruno Associates and it’s not.” “I’m dissatisfied, based on the results and the lack of communication,” added Cupoli. “ I don’t really know whether they’re working hard for us or what. We haven’t seen it. If I got back a report from Bruno that we applied for these 17 grants, I’d be okay with that. But I haven’t seen it, even though we asked for it.” “There are other charitable institutions besides federal and state governments,” said Eagler. “There are numerous places, especially now that we have a new president who wants to have new projects ready to go to create jobs.” Eagler said Washington has indicated a willingness to fund projects that are ready to go. He claims the city has several that fit the criteria. “Here we are, in the process of laying people off and $30,000 could save a secretary or some other position,” said Eagler. “And there’s nothing to show for it.” City Manager Al Greco, who typically handles all communication with Bruno Associates, said there are legitimate reasons for the delay in funding. “It depends on the grant cycle. You might put in a grant today and not get it for a year. Others, you’ll know right away,” he said. February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


“They also might have training grants, and we might be looking for bricks and mortar grants. It could just be what’s out there.” There has been some progress, however, according to Greco. “They’ve helped out the Arts Center, and they’ve also helped out the Hamilton House,” he explained. “It’s just that sometimes, the criteria set forth in the grant doesn’t meet the particulars that we need.” Kolodziej also said that Bruno has been helpful in some instances. Al Dubois, the city recycling coordinator, was informed of a grant opportunity by the firm. “Personal decisions are one thing, but this is based on experience,” said Kolodziej. “But the fact is that one of our city employees, who is very aggressive in going after grants, is giving credit to Bruno Associates.” Bruno, employed by the Board of Ed. from the winter 2007 to Nov. 2008, also got mixed reviews there. “We terminated because we weren’t happy with the results,” said Urcioli, who noted that Bruno was getting paid $5,000 per month. “But Mr. Bruno has applied for two grants at no cost, in good faith. I have to give him credit, because he’s stepping up and doing what’s right for Clifton.” “It’s a little premature,” said Greco, of the criticism of Bruno Associates. “He still has a couple months left on the contract. I believe they’re up on June 1.”

What has Bruno Associates applied for thus far? The following are grants that were submitted between June and December 2008. Bruno Associates will also apply for four more grants in the first quarter of 2009. Historic Sites Management Grant, $36,500: Filed June 26, 2008 for capital improvements at the Hamilton House. Status is pending. Recreational Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities Grant, $12,000: Filed June 30, 2008 to fund a kids canteen program for mentally and physically disabled youth. Status is pending. Emergency Operations Center Grant, $249,750: Filed July 18, 2008 to fund renovations to the EOC/OEM building. Denied, however, another round of applications has started. Bruno will re-submit. 2008 Community Stewardship Incentive Grant, $25,000: Filed Dec. 4, 2008 for funding for the city’s Shade Tree Program. Status is pending. Green Acres: Provides a 50 percent matching grant for park development. Bruno Associates met with the City and School Board for renovations to the stadium. However, the Board would not lease the land, per the program’s requirements. City Manager Al Greco requested that the $600,000 received for the acquisition of Latteri Park be used towards the $1.3 million Schultheis Farm project. In process. Neighborhood Crime Prevention and Intervention Program: Competitive grant for community-based crime prevention/intervention programs for municipalities with high risk factors for violence and gang activity. However, it was decided to forego this application due to conflicts, with the Police Department opting for a shared services opportunity. Still, Greco wasn’t entirely supportive of the recent performance of Bruno Associates. “I had anticipated that it would be more. We hoped that they’d be a little more proactive in finding grants for us,” he admitted. “That’s where the biggest failing is.” But Greco said there is still time for the firm to deliver more funding. “We’ve got to give them the opportunity,” he said. “You don’t want to

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February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

throw the baby out with the bath water before we get results.” But barring some kind of dramatic turnaround, the economic downturn may prevent the city from renewing Bruno’s contract. “Mr. Bruno’s outfit is the one going out there and getting our grants,” said Kolodziej. “I have to weigh the output in what I’m paying this firm and I need in budget cuts. I’m not even sure we can afford a grant writer.”


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Zoning on a Prayer

Story by Joe Hawrylko

Can Houses of Worship and the City of Clifton Co-exist? Over the last two years, Clifton has been the destination for religious groups seeking to situate a new house of worship. However, of the three that have gone before the Clifton Zoning Board of Adjustment, none have been granted approval. Fierce neighborhood opposition and questionable designs have dogged every proposal from the start. Given the obstacles, is it possible to actually construct a new house of worship within Clifton? According to City Planner Dennis Kirwan, the answer is yes. “It’s not so much what is the city’s stance,” he explained. “The Federal Government instituted the RLUIPA (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act) law, which basically tells us that we can’t put any undue hardship on churches or houses of worship.” The United States Congress enacted the law in 2000 to prevent zoning restrictions against houses of worship. Neighborhood opposition isn’t grounds for denial. “Maybe they’re not common or the name of the church will scare people,” said Kirwan. “That’s how the law came into effect.”

This stately residence on the corner of Dwasline Rd and Virginia Ave. could soon be the site of Congregation Shomrei Torah of Passaic/Clifton.

However, RLUIPA does not grant houses of worship the ability to pick any plot of land and build indiscriminantly—zoning laws still do apply. Previous Clifton applications have been denied for various deficiencies. In Nov., 2007, Congregation B’Nei Torah of Clifton sought variances for a synagogue at 614 Passaic Ave. in Rosemawr. The home on the property was to be razed and replaced with a 35’ by 80’ structure.

The three variances requested included: conditional use; non-conforming lot area and width; lot coverage proposed at 51 percent where a maximum of 35 percent is permitted; side yards proposed at 6’ and 8’ where a minimum of 15’ each is required; and rear yard proposed at 10’ with 35’ required. Following many hours in front of the zoning board, Congregation B’Nei Torah of Clifton ultimately withdrew its application after being

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denied variances, due to multiple deficiencies. Another project which has been in the public eye is the House of Fire Christian Church, which proposed to build on the site of a private home at 635 Grove St. “There’s neighborhood opposition, but it’s not just that. The basic problem is that the lot is just too narrow to build a church,” explained Frank Carlet, who resides near the project and is the attorney for the opposition. Carlet stated that typically, a church is at the front of the lot, with driveways on either side to access the lot in the back. City zoning law requires that any house of worship property must have a minimum width of 100 feet. “They have 70 feet,” he added. “It just doesn’t work.” Despite the deficiencies and opposition from neighbors, the House of Fire Congregation has been reluctant to back off. “The religious land use act isn’t an absolute order to give the church what it wants,” explained Carlet. “They claim it does, we claim it doesn’t. It’s got to have some compliance with zoning.” The city zoning board has agreed with Carlet thus far, having rejected plans for construction. “They wanted to build it right on the tip, between two residential houses and three houses backing up into it,” he added. “It’s just too much adverse influence in the neighborhood. It just doesn’t fit.” Carlet said he believes that there is no issue with properly designed houses of worship. “There’s an opposition to squeezing in something where it doesn’t belong,” he explained. “There’s an Indian (temple) on Bloomfield Ave.

that got in no problem at all about three or four years ago. And the expansion to Sacred Heart Church—no problem at all.” Meanwhile, Carlet, an attorney for Carlet, Garrison, Klein & Zaretsky, is representing a religious group seeking to convert a private residence in Rosemawr into a three story synagogue. Congregation Shomrei Torah of Passaic/Clifton is seeking variances for the project at Virginia Ave. and Dwasline Rd. The project went before the zoning board on Jan. 21, with Carlet seeking variances for rear setback, mandated at 35 feet, proposed for 23 feet. The other variance was a landscape buffer, mandated at 10 feet, proposed at 6 to 10 feet. “I think we’ve got a case. The need for variance is minimal. There’s good circulation on the property,” said Carlet prior to the meeting. “We can get fire and emergency vehicles all around and we have enough parking.” But at the zoning board meeting, Carlet’s proposal did not go so smoothly. About 50 people attended, split almost evenly between Congregation Shomrei Torah of Passaic/Clifton and residents who would be directly affected. After nearly an hour, the board disagreed with Carlet’s variance count and instructed him to renotify residents that he would be seeking nine variances. The letters must go out before the next meeting, which is scheduled for March 18. Among the items listed for renotification is parking. Carlet’s original plan called for 35 spots, based on the 125 seats (Clifton has a mandate of a 1:4 spot-to-seat ratio)

inside the main meeting room and two spaces for the rabbi’s dwelling. Carlet based his calculations on the fact that members must walk to their services on Friday. Kirwan’s calculations call for 190 spots, due to the combined uses of the property. However, Carlet stated that he disagreed and won’t be sending out notices for parking. “It’s our gamble,” he explained. “I don’t see the Appellate Division reversing itself. There can be a condition that we will not use other parts of the synagogue when the sanctuary is in use. “He (Kirwan) is ignoring the holding of the Appellate Division on the House of Fire case,” continued Carlet. The court declined to interfere with the trial court’s tentative ruling, provided that the church was used as described in the minutes. Beyond parking, Kirwan said there are other major differences. “That was 2,400 sq. ft., and this is 18,000 sq. ft. over three floors,” he said. “Theoretically, I can put a 25,000 sq. ft. building up, and if it has two seats, is that how much parking I need?” One of the main uses in question is the synagogue mikvah, a bath designed for ritual immersion. Carlet stated that it would be open to members only. Kirwan interprets the use differently: “It’s a business, and it’s treated as such in a lot of cases,” he explained. “There are stand alone mikvahs, but usually with a synagogue. But they require attendance, both male and female, and members and non-members can use it.” “It’s an interesting argument,” Kirwan mused over Carlet’s approach. “Last week, you’re telling us that it’s bad for the neighborhood, and this week, it’s good?” February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


At the Schools

Pope John Paul II Elementary School on Valley Rd. is closing this year and the Clifton Board of Education is interested in purchasing the property.

Story by Jordan Schwartz The irony is obvious. For years, the Clifton Board of Education had asked the Paterson Diocese if it would be willing to sell them the Pope John Paul II Elementary School property on Valley Rd., but the diocese said it wasn’t interested. So the city district, which wanted the school to help ease overcrowding, looked elsewhere, finally settling on a location at 290 Brighton Rd. Voters approved the purchase in December 2004, but zoning board denials and legal wrangling delayed the project to the point where it will finally be completed this summer. Just in time for Clifton to possibly acquire Pope John Paul II. The diocese announced last month it will be closing the school this year due to decreasing enrollments and difficult economic times. What is bad news for Catholic school families may be good news 50

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

for those sending their children to public school in Clifton. The BOE has asked the diocese for quotes on how much it would cost to lease the property, buy it, or acquire it through a lease purchase agreement. So far, the diocese has provided the district with a lease proposal. “If the economic climate wasn’t the way it is, I’d be optimistic,” said board President Michael Urciuoli. “But right now, it’d be tough for us to afford the property at the rate they’re asking for.” Urciuoli wouldn’t say how much the diocese wants because the two sides are still in negotiations, but the assessed value of the 100,000 sq. ft. building was about $11 million in 2007, according to county tax records. The purchase would also include two soccer fields and parking on site, but the diocese wants to keep the administration building by the school. Urciuoli said the BOE is talking to the city about applying

for state grants to help offset the cost of the property. The idea is to possibly use the building as a third middle school, which would house up to 800 students in 30 classrooms. “It’s a great location,” said Urciuoli. “Traffic is not an issue and you have Valley Rd., Rt. 3 and Rt. 46 right there.” Construction of the school at 290 Brighton Rd. is scheduled to be completed this June with the hopes of installing fixtures, such as desks and chairs, in July and August. Urciuoli said 540 ninth grade students should populate the school come September and the remaining 200 freshmen will be in their own wing at the high school. Ninth graders who participate in band, orchestra or ice hockey will attend CHS, while the students on Brighton Rd. will be bussed to the high school for their sports and clubs. The morning television announcements will be broadcast to the annex so the children there do not feel separated from their peers. “Although they’re somewhere else, they’ll get to feel that they’re part of the high school,” said the board president. Van Ness Plastics, Inc. a plastic manufacturer located near the school site, is still waiting to have its appeal heard of a Superior Court judge’s decision to allow the school to be built. School board elections are set for April 21. Three-year seats belonging to President Urciuoli, Vice President Lizz Gagnon and Commissioner Michael Paitchell are up for election. The deadline to hand in a petition to run is March 2.

The CHS girls bowling team won its 10th consecutive Passaic County bowling tournament on Jan. 17 at TBowl Lanes in Wayne. It all came down to the 10th frame of the third game when sophomore captain Sonja Shirak rolled a strike and picked up a difficult split to clinch the title for the Lady Mustangs. Shirak, who is second in the NNJIL with a 198 average, bowled a tournament-high 609 series. She was backed up by senior Natasha Casado (481), junior Elena Mauro (412), freshman Ashley Brandecker (402) and sophomore Kortney Casperino (377). The State sectionals will be held on Feb. 7 at Bowler City in Hackensack with the top two teams in each division advancing to the State finals. The girls indoor track team also brought home a county title at the Passaic Meet on Jan. 21. It was the fourth championship in five years

The CHS girls bowling team captured the Passaic County title. From left, Elena Mauro, Sonja Shirak, Coach Brian Small, Natash Casado, Ashley Brandecker and Kortney Casperino.

for Clifton, which was led by a combination of 54 points from Eloisa Paredes and Emily Urciuoli. Paredes won both the 1,000 and 1,500 distances, while Urciuoli set a county record of 11 feet 8 inches (third best in the state this season) in winning the pole vault event. She also had a personal best to win the long jump, finished second in the hurdles and third in the high jump.

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A lightweight Junior Mustangs game against Teaneck involving seventh and eighth graders. Pictured in the dark uniforms on defense are Brendan Schreiber, Matt Melnik, Marco Baez, Mohammed Ali, Christian Arrazola, Jeremy Soto and Ehab Hassin.

Clifton High School sports teams are successful for a number of reasons: tradition, great coaching, and a large pool of students from which to select athletes. But no single thing may have a bigger impact than the many great feeder programs in town. This month, we take a look at junior football, lacrosse, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, swimming, soccer and hockey.

Junior Football Junior Mustangs co-director Ted Melnik jokes that it’s no coincidence the high school team won its first state title in decades just two years after the merging of the two feeder programs in town. But there may be some truth to that statement. The Colts and Junior Mustangs combined in 2004 and some of those kids went on to play for the championship squad in 2006. “We just thought it would be best if we combined the junior feeder programs to make us stronger and run better,” said 52

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Melnik, who’s been with the league for 16 years. “Just about all my kids have played in the program,” said varsity coach Ron Anello. “Franklin Duran, Mike Chiavetta, Tamir’ll hear them talking in the locker room about some game they played in the fifth grade.” Anello has also worked with Melnek and Junior Mustangs coach Joe Gaccione to install a watereddown version of the high school team’s offensive and defensive systems at the feeder level so that players are prepared when they reach CHS. There were between 160 and 180 children in the 2008 version of the Junior Mustangs. The program is divided into four levels: Jr. Pee Wee (7 to 9 years old), Pee Wee (10-11), Lightweight (12-14 up to 125 pounds), and Heavyweight (12-14 over 125 pounds). Practices begin the first Monday in August and continue four days a week during the summer. The Junior Mustangs play the same

teams the big boys do like Montclair, Teaneck, Hackensack and the Oranges until the season ends in November. The cost is $130 to join and anyone interested should call Melnik at 973-473-5276.

Junior Lacrosse The Junior Mustangs lacrosse team formed in the mid ’80s, but its impact on the CHS varsity squad hasn’t been felt until recently. “We’ve had players go on and play at a lot of private schools,” said president Scott Davies, who joined 20 years ago. But Clifton lacrosse is catching on and players are beginning to stay in town. “It’s huge,” said new varsity coach George Cowan, who was the JV coach for the past four years. “It levels the playing field between us and some of the privates and powerhouse public schools like Ridgewood.” Cowan said not only does the feeder program teach young athletes the game, but it also gets them

playing together so they’re familiar with one another once they reach the high school. There were 42 children in the junior program last year and Davies says there are about 60 for the indoor winter clinic that runs from January to March. The spring outdoor season goes from April to June. Students from third to eighth grade are invited to register and girls are welcome too. “We’ve had girls in the past but we’re feeding the high school boys team,” said Davies, whose son Steven is a sophomore on the Mustangs. “There’s no girls lacrosse feeder system and that’s a completely different game because there’s no contact.” To join the junior lacrosse program, call Davies at 973-779-5722.

Traveling Basketball One of the first things Tommie Patterson did after he was hired as Clifton High’s new basketball

Members of the 2007 Junior Mustangs lacrosse eighth grade team. From left, Brian Yip, Michael Phillips, Steven Davies and Matthew Vail.

coach was head over to the court at the Boys & Girls Club. “It gives you the opportunity to see the younger kids coming up and I need to be able to see them,” he said. The Club sponsors traveling basketball teams for third and fourth grade boys, fifth and sixth grade

boys and girls, and seventh and eighth grade boys and girls. A Club membership is required to join. There’s no cost to participate in the Club’s basketball clinic held on Saturdays for grades three through eight. And any high school boys who may want to work on their

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The Clifton-Nutley Youth Hockey Club at the Bantams Championship last June.

game for next year’s varsity tryouts can take part in the Jr Nets program which runs from 6:30 to 9:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays through March 19. The cost is $25 plus a $35 membership. For more on any of the Boys & Girls Club’s basketball programs, call 973-773-2697.

Junior Wrestling “If you want the varsity team to be successful, the feeder system has to be able to send four or five kids every year,” said Mustangs coach Dan Galeta. “It helps the high school team a lot and we appreciate their efforts.” The proof can be seen on the current CHS team. Juniors Bradley Hornstra and Bedran Sulieman, along with sophomore Elliot Garcia all passed through the program.



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February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Patrick DePasque (in back) wrestling with an unidentified opponent last March.

Junior wrestling coach and director Jack Whiting has been sending grapplers to Clifton High for three decades. The program began in the mid ’70s when Rec Dept. director Walt Sidor asked Whiting, then a coach at Paul VI, and Clifton coach Hank Karsen to start one up. Whiting left after a few years but returned to the program in the late ’90s when his son John began to wrestle. At that time, there were only 13 guys on the team, but each year, Whiting and Tony Santurelli built the program up to the point where there are about 100 participants this season. The kids run from first to eighth grade with practices held at least three teams a week at CHS.

The season starts every year after Thanksgiving and continues until March. The Junior Mustangs compete in two leagues: the recreational North Jersey Junior Wrestling League and the more experienced Passaic County Youth Wrestling League. Registration is $45 and those interested should call Whiting at 973478-8668.

Clifton American League Clifton’s junior baseball program became even stronger a few years ago when four leagues consolidated into two. The Eastern and Southern divisions became the American League and the Western and Northern divisions became the National League. There are about 350 children participating in each league, which both run from the beginning of April to the middle of June. Boys and girls start at age five with tee ball before graduating to the junior development level with umpires and children pitching at age seven. Nine- and 10-year-olds are eligible for all-star teams and the 11-12 division is the majors. After that, boys move on to the Babe Ruth League, but girls continue in the senior league until they’re 16.

The Meadowlands Braves captured the 18U Cerbo Baseball League Championship at Holster Park on Nov. 1. Clifton’s Mike Wieczerzak was one of the team’s offensive stars with a .341 avg and 15 RBIs. Front, from left, Jared Coffey, Carlo Ghoime, CJ Gonzales, Jacob Ramos, Tom Halter and Alphonse Iannuzzi. Back: Coach Lou Ghiome, Phil Sevelha, Bill Rehbein, Wieczerzak, John Segretto, Paul Johanamann, Ryan Sharkey and Head Coach Rob Coffey.

“I have daughters and all the girls I know who have gone through the system now play for the high school so it’s a training ground,” said American League president Joe Casperino. The entry fee for one child is $55, but just $85 for two or more kids. Visit

Seahawks Swimming The Seahawks swim team has been around since 1980. Run out of the Clifton Boys & Girls Club, the team is a member of New

Jersey Swimming. There are currently 109 children ages five to 17, not all from Clifton, involved in the year-round indoor program. There are three seasons: September to March, April to June and July to August. “I think the high school is really lucky,” said Club Aquatics Director Nadia Stavko, who runs the team along with coach Vladimir Popyel. “We have a really good relationship with CHS.” For more information, visit

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Stallions Soccer Clifton soccer is one of the most revered scholastic athletic programs in the state for three reasons: Severin Palydowycz, Fernando Rossi and the Stallions youth program. “We feel that we’re very important,” said president Bob Cardillo, who has led the organization for the past four years. “We’re very involved.” The feeder system is entering its 27th year in town with the first eightweek season beginning in April and the second starting in September. The Stallions team is open to both boys and girls ages 5 to 14. The girls play at Robin Hood Park and the boys have games at Pope John Paul II on Valley Rd. There are nearly 600 children involved in the program. Cardillo said nearly everyone who has played for the Mustangs over the past three decades has passed through the Stallions. “There might be a couple stragglers who just moved in,” he said. There are some ethnic groups that play out of Paterson and Passaic. They’ll play there until they find us.”

The Clifton Stallions U14 girls team won the Mid-Atlantic Premier Soccer tournament this past November at Fort Dix. The team includes Amanda Millerferli, Sarah Kelly, Kelly Egan, Caroline Kohl, Shannon Guzman, Jennie Hornstra, Stephanie Rosenberg, Annette Malysa, Jamie Sommerhalter, Victoria Rodio, Delana Pasquale, Nicole Queliz, Kaitlyn Lima, Courtney Major, Briana Miller, Brittany Ferreira and Brooke Miller. They are coached by Al Guzman and Tom Pasquale.

Youth Hockey The hockey feeder programs in Clifton and Nutley were experiencing a drop in membership about six years ago, so they decided to unite

The Tomahawks youth soccer team coached by Joe Hawrylko and Jesse Hastings. 56

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

to form the Clifton-Nutley Youth Hockey Club. “Our program is quite unique because hockey is such an expensive sport,” said club director Dennis Fitzpatrick. “We combine our resources like coaches and facilities.” The club holds clinics every Sunday morning at Clary Anderson Arena in Montclair where instructors teach students the basics of the game. Older skaters play league games at the Ice House in Hackensack. “Very few kids that are on our high school team right now haven’t participated in our program,” said Fitzpatrick (973-773-0019). The club is open to children ages 4-17 and it runs year-round with the main season in the winter and spring and fall leagues as well. “We give these kids a program that’s better than travel hockey at a quarter of the price,” said the director. “If it wasn’t for the unison of these two programs, these kids wouldn’t be as good as they are.”

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant



20 Years of Ninas‘ Salon

Valentine’s Day Ribbon Cutting at Noon at 147 Valley Rd. On Feb.12,1989 Frank and Nina Corradino (at right) started a new chapter in Nina’s American Dream when the couple opened the Valley Rd. Salon bearing her name.

“Throughout these 20 years, we have successfully reached many milestones, and Nina’s has become a place where friends meet to catch up, pop in to say hi and enjoy

Frank & Nina celebrate another milestone on March 25—36 years of marriage.


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

a cup of coffee,” said Nina. “As a way to say thank you for not only your patronage but most of all for many great friendships, Frank and I invite all to come join us on Sat. Feb. 14 at noon at 147 Valley Rd.” Mayor James Anzaldi will re-cut the ribbon to their family based salon and Nina and Frank invite all to visit for some good company, a couple of Nina's famous jokes and and refreshments. For more info, call 973-278-0356.

‘09 Clifton Family Super Bowl Party Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009 • at the Boys & Girls Club Now in its 11th year, the Clifton Family Super Bowl Party attracted around 300 people to a fun-filled family event thanks to Clifton Against Substance Abuse (CASA), the Boys & Girls Club, Clifton Merchant Magazine and a host of sponsors (see page 63). Those who came entered free but donated canned goods, which were delivered to Clifton’s St. Peter’s Haven.

For those not interested in watching the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Arizona Cardinals, there was an open pool and gym, as well as plenty of hot dogs, pizza and dessert.

The photos on the following eight pages are of some of those families and volunteers who attended.

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


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Thank you sponsors... • Infatuation Hair Salon • Optimist Club of Clifton • Rotary Club of Clifton • Jim & Rita Haraka & Family • Steve & Ellen Corbo & Family • Clifton Police PBA Local 36 • Clifton Firefighters FMBA Local 21 • Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin • Clifton Moose Lodge 657 • Passaic County Surrogate Bill Bate • The Bassford Family/ JSK Landscaping & Construction • Mayor & City Council, City Manager, City Attorney • in memory of Henry Dougherty by Barbara Dougherty • in memory of Murray ‘Moe’ Abill by Vito & Carolyn DeRobertis • in memory of Florence, George H. Trinkle Sr., & George H. Trinkle III • Carlet, Garrison, Klein & Zaretsky • Mark Peterson and John Traier • Frank Gaccione • Clifton Against Substance Abuse • Clifton Merchant Magazine • Boys & Girls Club of Clifton

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February 2009 • Clifton Merchant



February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

‘09 Clifton Family Super Bowl Party

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant



February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

‘09 Clifton Family Super Bowl Party

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant



Remember Johnny: At the Fallen Officer’s Monument in Washington, D.C. last May, front from left, is Randy Colondres, Kevin Collucci, John Kavakich, Derek Fogg and Brian Fopma. They rode to honor the memory of Clifton Police Officer John Samra who was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 21, 2003.


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser 3/29 A Clifton team of ten will participate in the 2009 Police Unity Tour. This annual 300 mile bicycle ride leaves NJ on May 9 in an effort to raise awareness of Police Officers who have died in the line of duty. The second goal is to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Details at The Clifton group has a goal of $17,000 and will achieve that via personal and corporate donations and charity events such as a March 29 Spaghetti Dinner at the Boys & Girls Club from 4 to 8 pm. The Passaic and William Paterson University Police Departments are co-sponsors. To purchase a $15 ticket, make checks to Clifton PBA and contact the participants or mail it c/o Clifton Merchant Magazine, 1288 Main Ave., Clifton, NJ 07011 or call 973-253-4400. Participants include Randy Colondres, Derek Fogg, Brian Fopman, John Kavakich, Robert Bais, William Bais, Stephen Berge, Gary Giardina, Michael McLaughlin and Tom Hawrylko.

CHS Class of 2008 grads Malvin Frias (left) and Scott Crawford are beginning their military careers.

The Clifton High School Jr. ROTC program brought Scott Crawford and Malvin Frias together. Now, the two 2008 graduates and best friends will embark on their respective military careers. PFC Crawford graduated as a part of Delta Company from the US Marine Parris Island Boot Camp on Dec. 5. He was able to secure extra leave time by working as a recruiter at the Colfax Ave. station. He is now in Camp Geiger in North Carolina for two months of infantry training. Crawford is enlisted for five years and said he plans to re-up when his first hitch is up. He is slated to become a Lance Corporal in May. Meanwhile, US Army PFC Frias completed his BT on Nov. 18 as a combat engineer in the 1st Armored Division. After an extended stay at home during the holidays as a recruiter in Bloomfield, he departed for Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Lenardwood, Mo. The Giblin Association held its 17th Annual Community Service Awards and Charity Breakfast on Dec. 7 at the Mayfair Farms in West Orange. More than 350 attended, according to Raymond Simione, Giblin Association

President. There were six Community Service Awards presented as follows: Dan DeTrolio of West Orange (Business), Jacqui Greadington of East Orange (Labor), Thomas A. Hawrylko, Sr. of Clifton (Media), Evelyn E. Laccitiello of West Orange (Government), Verona Councilman Frank J. Sapineza (Public Safety) and Houston Stevens of Newark (Youth). Charities receiving funds included the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton.

Clifton Merchant Magazine editor and publisher Tom Hawrylko (second from left) was among the six Community Service Award recipients at the Giblin Association’s 17th Annual Community Service Awards and Charity Breakfast on Dec. 7. Also pictured from left Ray Simione, Giblin Association President, Dan DeTrolio of West Orange, Jacqui Greadington of East Orange, Evelyn E. Laccitiello of West Orange, Houston Stevens of Newark and Verona Councilman Frank J. Sapineza (Public Safety) along with NJ Assemblyman Tom Giblin.

The CHS Prom Fashion Show is March 8 at 2pm. Hair designs are by the following salons: Infatuation on Market St. and Santa Fe, Salon Ilona and Guy Anthony Salons on Clifton Ave. Some of the flowers are being made by Millie Fiore Floral Design on Lakeview Ave. The decorations are being provided in part by AGL Welding on Hazel St. and Rt.46 and there will be a display of limos from America’s Best Limos on Rt. 46 in the Wedding Center. The Masters and Mistresses of Ceremonies are Melissa Ihle, Christine Siluk, Joe Cornett and Michael Purdy. There will be a small basket raffle and donations can be sent to CHSPTSA Prom Fashion Show/North Wing Vice Principal’s office. Proceeds go towards funding Project Graduation. For info, call Maryann Cornett at 973-779-5678. Having a baby? You are invited to attend two free classes about pregnancy and labor at St. Mary’s Hospital from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 973-365-4795. The Annual Friend of Youth Beefsteak is May 17 at 4 pm at the Boys & Girls Club on Colfax Ave. Sponsored by the Clifton Optimist Club, those being honored with the Friend of Youth Award are Cerebral Palsy Center principals Jennifer

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church’s Choir performed Christmas Story on Jan. 4.

Miller (Main Ave.) and Mary Fisher (Harding Ave.); Tom Corradino Sr. and Jr. and Joe Jeffers, who coach the American Legion Post 347 baseball team; and Mike Spearing, who coaches Post 8. The Stanley Zwier Community Service Award will go to St. Peter’s Haven for its work with the homeless and the Nikischer family, who have been the driving force behind the annual Labor Day carnival on Parker Ave. The Judge Joseph Salerno Respect for Law Award goes to the Gang Related Task

Force of Clifton Police Dept. and Passaic County Sheriff’s Dept. The St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church Choir performed Christmas Story on Jan. 4, featuring the music of Ukrainian composer Dymytriy Tuptalo. The choir was led by Andriy Legkyy and featured solos by Romaniya Voloshchuk, Halyna Newmerzyckj, Klara Lehka, Myhailo Moczula and Mychail Newmerzyckyj. The church is located at 60 Holdsworth Ct., Passaic. For more on other events or info, call 973-471-9727.

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

Proud to Represent Clifton Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin 1333 Broad St., Clifton, NJ 07013 office: 973-779-3125 70

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

1814 1814

The Clifton Pillow Drive for Domestic Abuse Shelters continues this month. Phenomenal Grandmothers #1036 and Dr. David Moore of On Track Chiropractic Center are asking everyone to donate a new bed pillow or purchase one for $3. Call Colleen Murray at 973-253-9579. Murray is also in the process of developing a series of world music and dance programs for children to be held at the Clifton Library. Call her if you’d like to share a part of your ethnic culture with children. Wiggle, Giggle, Sing and Shout! The band Circle Time Live featuring Jodi Colasurdo of Wiggles and Giggles will perform at 3 pm on Feb 22 at St. Andrew School. This lively, interactive show is great fun for children up to seven years old. Advance sale ticket prices until Feb. 13 are $5 for children and $3 for adults. On the day of the show, chil-

The public is invited to Circle Time Live will perform at St. Andrew School on Feb. 22.

dren are $8 and adults are $3. And the St. Andrew’s Home and School Association’s Beefsteak and Night at the Races is scheduled for 6 p m on March 7. Tickets are $40 and you

must be 21 or older to enter. For more information on either of these two events, call 973-473-3711. Mardi Gras Casino Night at the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton is March 27. Everyone is invited to attend with a chance to win great prizes, including a Florida vacation trip with airfare. To help sponsor this event, call the Club by March 6 at 973-773-0966.

Benjamin Moore Paints and much more...

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Bob Sidoti and a crew of his workers recently had some down time so they volunteered their services to strip, sand and finish the floor in the Clifton Recreation Building at the corner of Main and Washington Aves. in Downtown Clifton.


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Crazy Enough to Care: Drew Horn & The Turn-A-Frown-Around Foundation is a short documentary that airs Friday nights on Cable Access Channel 77. The Turn-AFrown-Around Foundation is a nonprofit group that provides support services to the mentally disabled. Sheryll Franko of Falling Awake Productions produced the video after meeting Horn at the annual Van Houten Street Fair in 2003. Then just a freshman in college, Franko was intrigued by Horn’s story of three failed businesses, two divorces and two suicide attempts, which led to him forming the TurnA-Frown-Around Foundation. She told Horn that if she ever became successful with her film studies that she would find a way to document a story about him. After taking some time off from her studies, Franko contacted Horn and filming for the 16 minute segment began in Feb. 2008. The completed film was accepted at the Second Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival on April 25. Franko is also trying to get her film accepted in the Tribeca Film Festival, where she works on the public relations staff. Later this year, Franko and Horn will be traveling to Friesland, Netherlands for a viewing of the film. One of the individuals interviewed in Crazy Enough to Care, is a native of the Netherlands and in contact with producers of the Omrop Fryslân station that wants to expand on the documentary. While she is starting to get recognition for her works now, Franko has had very limited exposure to film. “I never took a film class,” confessed Franko, who is a 2002 graduate of Clifton High School. Still looking to get experience, she plans on entering the Fourth Annual 72

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Sheryll Franko and Drew Horn, who collaborated to make the documentary, Crazy Enough to Care: Drew Horn and the Turn-A-Frown-Around Foundation.

Passaic County Student Film and Video Festival on April 18 at 10 am in the Passaic County Public Safety Complex, 300 Oldham Rd., Wayne. The event is open to any college or high school students who are residents of Passaic County. Last year, 18 films were screened, created entirely by amateur students. At the high school level, second place went to The Sidekick (Mayank Patel, Clifton High School). For info on the Film Festival, call 973-569-4720. For Crazy Enough to Care, visit or call Franko at 917-673-9777. I’m Getting Murdered in the Morning, a comedy about an ill

received wedding reception, has added a second date on Feb. 22 at 4 pm. The Feb. 21 7 pm show at Mario’s Italian Restaurant, 710 Van Houten Ave. is sold out. It features members of The Theater League of Clifton. Linda Weilkotz directs and Mark Peterson is the production manager. Call 973-458-9579 or visit Maria Echeverri of School 12 in Clifton was named the third place winner in the Passaic County Clerk’s Annual Calendar Poster Contest. Other winners include Keiana Curry and Alexandra Martell of Pope John Paul II. All will have their art published in the 2009 calendar. For info, call 973-225-3632.

A cityscape and a drawing by former Cliftonite Steve Zolin, pictured here, whose work is displayed and on sale at the Clifton Arts Center Gallery through Feb. 28.

The Clifton Arts Center Gallery presents “A New Perspective,” an exhibit and sale by contemporary visual artist Steve Zolin. The exhibit runs through Feb. 28. “A New Perspective” is about the use of space, curves and structure and how they are used to display a new kind of continuous perspective. This exhibit also draws from art and science theories in an attempt to explain space and time. Various drawings, paintings, sculptures and mobiles will be part of the art show. Many of Zolin’s works are in public and private collections from New Mexico to Florida, including a 15’ painting for US Senator Joseph Lieberman’s home synagogue in Connecticut Zolin, born in 1972 and raised in West Orange, earned his BFA cum

laud at Washington University in 1994 and won an MFA Fellowship at Florida State University, graduating in 2005. Between degrees he spent nine years in Santa Fe, New Mexico enmeshed in that art scene. The artist moved to Clifton several years ago to be closer to his “day” job on Brighton Rd. For more information, visit or The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College is now accepting submissions for four contests in 2009: poems for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry awards, and books for the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Paterson Fiction Prize and the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People. For more information, call 973-684-6555 or go online and visit

The Clifton-based New Jersey Music and Arts present the 6th “One Heart International Festival” of music, dance and drama on March 19 at 7:30 pm at the Passaic County Community College Auditorium in Paterson. Tickets are $10. The festival theme is “Beauty in Diversity,” a celebration of the cultures of the world. For tickets or info, call 973-272-3255 or go to February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Anglicans in North Jersey documents not only the history but the church’s role in social change and radical inclusion.

In 1896, when St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Clifton Ave. was being established, a newspaper writer proclaimed: “There are too few Episcopalians in Clifton to succeed. The few trying to start a church there are placing upon their shoulders a burden that will be an oppression to them for the next 20 years.”


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

“The prediction provided to be flawed,” states Cliftonite Philip M. Read. In his new book Anglicans in North Jersey: The Episcopal Diocese of Newark, Read documents the histories of many of the diocese’s 114 parishes, places of spiritual life that dot the northern New Jersey landscape. Today in Clifton, some 113 years after its founding, St. Peter’s is still ministering to the faithful and has in fact broadened its mission. In Oct. 1986 it also added St. Peter’s Shelter, which is the main food pantry for our community and an advocate for the homeless. Read’s book documents that Anglican worship in North Jersey dates back to 1695. An Anglican congregation was established in Newark by 1729 and Trinity Church was under construction in 1742. More than 200 years later, in June 1967, during the Newark Riots, the first-ever national conference for black empowerment

took place at Trinity which began the diocese’s growing role as a catalyst for social change and at the vanguard of radical inclusion. Read, the Montclair reporter for the Star Ledger, and author of two historical books about Clifton, states in the book jacket that he is a cradle Episcopalian who has served as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, vestryman, and church historian. He is married to the Venerable Nancy Read, who in 2007 was seated as the archdeacon of Newark. To buy the book ($21.99), go to School 11 will be hosting its 8th annual Tricky Tray on March 20 at the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton on Colfax Ave. Admission is $10 and includes one sheet of small prize tickets, a goodie bag, coffee and cake. Doors open at 6:30 pm. There will be hundreds of great prizes to win. Call Teddie Pollina at 973-546-0758 or email

The New York Society of Model Engineers will be opening its doors to the public this spring. Visitors are invited to view the two large operating layouts at 341 Hoboken Rd. in Carlstadt. Watch the Phoebe Snow take to the rails again on the O Scale layout, or watch freight cars being sorted in the operational hump yard on the HO railroad. The souvenir shop will be open. The dates are March 13-15, 20-22 and 27-29. Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children. The exhibit is open on Friday nights from 7 to 10 pm and on the weekends from 1 to 6 pm. Visit or call 201-939-9212. School 16 will be holding its annual Tricky Tray on March 19 at the Valley Regency. Tickets are $45 and include dinner buffet, dessert and five prize tickets. Doors open at 6 pm. For tickets or more information, contact Jennifer Algieri at 973-489-8323 or e-mail St. Philip the Apostle School Reunion: Students who graduated from the Valley Rd. school between 1960 and1964 are invited to attend a reunion on a date yet to be determined in October. Interested alumni should contact Robert McDermott at 973-450-1785, Richard Torregrossa at 973-872-4661 or Marianne Munier at 732-774-7780 or via

Registration for children planning to enter kindergarten in the Clifton Public Schools in September will be held at each elementary school during the week of March 2-6. Parents or guardians must provide the child’s original birth certificate, three proofs of Clifton residency and medical documentation. For more detailed information about the kindergarten registration process, visit the school district site at April 4 CHS Back to the 80’s Reunion: Details are still in the works but Ken Barilari of Mario’s reported that a multi-class 1980s reunion is planned for the evening of April 4 at his Van Houten Ave. restaurant. Call 973-777-1559. Forty-seven organizations in Passaic County received a total of $85,000 in grant awards for arts projects from the PCCHC Local Arts Program Grant. The following Clifton groups were awarded grants ranging from $700 to $4,500: Action Theatre Conservatory, Historic Botany District, Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group, Friends of the Clifton Public Library, Holy Spirit Association for Unification of World Christianity Performing Arts and New Jersey Music & Arts. Additionally, 12 groups will share $10,280 in regrant funds for local or New Jersey history projects. These include the Clifton Public Library. For more info on the grants, call 973-684-6507. The School 5 Home and School Association is having its annual Tricky Tray Fundraiser at the Valley Regency on March 25. The HSA is reaching out to School 5 student and teacher alumni for this event as a way to boost ticket sales. Call

Damien Burke reminds readers that Feb. 24 is National Pancake Day. Clifton IHOP will be giving away one free short stack in the hopes of getting a donation for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Jenny Amato at 201-618-0484 or email her at The United Puerto Rican Council is hosting a Tricky Tray on March 15 at 173 Passaic St. in Passaic. Admission is $10. Doors open at 2 pm. Call Maria Haywood at 973-546-5111 or email A Financial Aid Open House on Feb. 8: PCCC invites students and families seeking financial aid for college or other post-high school education, to attend the 2009 NJ College Goal on Feb. 8 at 1 pm. Admission is free. For more information and online registration, visit or call PCCC at 973-684-6100. The CHS Class of 1954 is having its 55-year reunion on May 31 at the Brownstone in Paterson. If you have not yet been contacted or know of anyone who might be interested in coming, call Ida Anne (Race) Kennedy at 201-891-5268. February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Bygone News As collected & edited by Clifton Historian Don Lotz

Bygone News provides a glimpse into the events occurring in Acquackanonk (now Clifton) 100 and 50 years ago. While topics illustrate the evolution of a rural Acquackanonk Township into the Clifton of today, no doubt readers will also notice how some issues seem timeless.

February 1909 The Treasurer reported a cash balance of $1,562.22 at February’s Acquackanonk Township Committee meeting held at Hohenstein’s Hall. The poormaster reported that everything was in order for all cases that received assistance, but he was “compelled to add two names to the list.” The clerk reported that $205.75 was received for licenses and wagon plates; and bills were ordered paid including $1 to “Russell Cooper for burying one dog.” A communication was received from the Albion Place Fire Company requesting “that the township committee recognize the company so that it may join the

State Exempt Firemen’s Association.” Foreman William Rudolph of the West Clifton Fire Company and Improvement Association purchased a hose carriage from the Paterson Fire Department. The carriage “is a four wheeled affair and has a capacity of carrying 700 feet of hose and is light running.” The masquerade ball held Feb. 19 at Plog’s Hall helped to raise funds to purchase the hose. A large attendance, unhampered by the bad weather, attended the affair at Clifton Fire Company No. One headquarters. A lecture on ‘Wireless Telegraphy’ was presented by “Dr. Mumper, of the Trenton Normal School. The doctor with the aid of instruments entertained his audience in a pleasing manner, giving a fine explanation and demonstration of the invention.” Delawanna’s residents received word that “that one of the large Catholic churches in a nearby town will shortly erect and maintain a mission in Delawanna.”

John Scancarella helped lead CHS to the Passaic Valley Conference championship in 1959. Catholic residents would no longer need to travel to Nutley or Passaic for religious services. The case of Henry Frederick’s stolen pig was solved like putting together pieces from a jigsaw puzzle. Passaic police received complaints of thefts from Acquackanonk residents; “Mrs. Bessie Lockwood lost some ducks through the activity of thieves, Mrs. Frederick’s pig was stolen, and William Jacobs was short a few Spring chickens.” A Passaic detective investigated the residence of one suspect and found “half a pig all chopped

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February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Speer’s Winery on River Dr. near the Gregory Ave. Bridge around 1890. Alfred Speer is sitting in the middle, while the standing figure may be his eldest son, William H. Speer. On Abraham Lincoln’s 100th birthday on Feb. 12, 1909, Alfred Speer recalled his two meetings with the president. up in a frying pan and a bloodbesmeared razor evidently used to cut up the porker.” A second suspect’s house yielded the other half of a similarly crudely butchered pig.

The National Cycling Association granted a conditional franchise for professional motorpaced and amateur bicycle racing to the “Stadium Amusement Company of Paterson, which now

owns the Clifton Stadium.” The “Clifton saucer” actually falls under the franchise of the Newark track, which “embraces the territory upon which the Clifton track is located.” Clarence Finkel, secretary of the Clifton franchise and Mr. Bloemecke of the Newark Velodrome, agreed to cooperate in the scheduling of racing events. “A small brown dog belonging to Charles Goelner, of Luddington Ave., frequents Main Ave. daily and amuses the wayfarers along that thoroughfare as it races each passing trolley car. One day it miscalculated its speed and was picked up by the fender. After riding a block, leisurely inspecting the novel conveyance, it jumped nimbly off, while a small group of lads who were watching the performance shouted with joy.” The day after the celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s 100th birthday, Alfred Speer related

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how he had met President Lincoln twice. Mr. Speer reflected “I was at the inauguration of Lincoln in 1861 and shook hands with him at the White House reception and I attended the inaugural ball in the evening.” His second meeting occurred about two years later after he had been appointed enrolling officer for Acquackanonk Township. Mr. Speer said, “My duty was to visit every house in the township to take the name and age of every man living for the purpose of a draft of soldiers to fight the rebellion. Acquackanonk was called upon for 87 men, which she must supply either by volunteer or a draft.” A meeting of the township residents was held to “devise means to raise the men called for by volunteers without resorting to draft.” Another method was to ask some current New York soldiers, “whose time would expire in 3 or 4 weeks [if they] might be induced by an offer of $800 bounty to reenlist and allow themselves to be credited to Acquackanonk. “Mr. Speer was selected to go to Washington to see what I could do. I found that Syckels’s Brigade’s time would soon expire and that the brigade was at Brandy Station

camped along Brandy River, Va., under the command of general Prince. As no civilians were allowed through the lines of the army, I went to the White House and obtained a pass from President Lincoln to admit me through the lines to general Prince’s headquarters. “I remained in the brigade a week, mingling among the soldiers and getting their consent to reenlist for $800 bounty money, provided the major would give them a week’s furlough to visit their friends in New York. The major acquiesced in the matter and gradually the whole quota for Acquackanonk Township was secured. During my stay in the army my nights were spent at headquarters and I slept in the same tent and same bed with Adjutant Hamlin, son of the VicePresident. “I have thus explained how I twice came in contact with President Lincoln and found him as pleasant and as congenial as an ordinary farmer.”

February 1959 Clifton’s $13,114,909 municipal budget passed by vote of 5 to 1 on its first reading with only Mayor Stanley Zwier objecting. The tax rate of $5.96 is a 21 point increase and the budget increased

$956,003 from the previous year. “The total budget is made up of the following: municipal operations, $6,035,835; school operations, $4,907,165; and county share, $2,171,908. The Clifton Rec Department’s first annual speed skating championships held at Barbour’s pond consisted of 15 events. The winners: Boys 7 and under one lap, Dennis Zaharian; Boys 8 and 9 one lap, Thomas Puzio; Girls 8 and 9 one lap, Marlene Bisher; Boys 10 and 11 two laps, Robert Schaeffer; Girls 10 and 11 two laps, Pat Whitehead; Boys 8 and 9 two laps, Bruce Whitehead; Boys 12 and 13 two laps, Bob Dalton; Girls 12 and 13 two laps, Andrea Jankiewicz; Boys 14 and 15 two laps, Dennis Krompascik; Girls 14 and 15 three laps, Lois Krompascik; Boys 16 and 17 two laps, Charles Glattly; Girls 16 and 17 three laps, Lois Krompascik; Boys 10 and 11, three laps, Douglas Dodd; Boys 12 and 13 three laps, Dennis Krompascik; Boys 14 and 15 four laps, Charles Glattly. “The Board of Education, at one of its stormiest sessions in several years, was sharply criticized by representative citizens who sought immediate action on the please turn to page 82

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

Gianna Rose, granddaughter of Barbara and Ed Priestly of Clifton, turned 2 on Jan. 27. The proud parents are Sherylee and Paul Caramucci. 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 Jordan Schwartz . . . . . . . . 2/4 John Nittolo . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/5 Courtney E. Carlson. . . . . . 2/6 Joseph DeSomma . . . . . . . 2/6 Robert D’Alessio. . . . . . . . . 2/7 Nicole Tahan . . . . . . . . . . . 2/7

Tara Fueshko. . . . . . . . . . . . 2/8 Jamie Carr . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/9 Craig Grieco . . . . . . . . . . . 2/9 Steven Becker . . . . . . . . . 2/10 Bryan Kelly . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/10 Matthew Seitz. . . . . . . . . . 2/10 Bob De Liberto . . . . . . . . . 2/11 Valentine Le Ster . . . . . . . 2/11 Sarah Mikolajczyk . . . . . . 2/11 Joseph Hilla . . . . . . . . . . . 2/12 Anthony Musleh . . . . . . . . 2/12 Dolores Rando . . . . . . . . . 2/12 John Hodorovych . . . . . . 2/13 Amin Zamlout . . . . . . . . . . 2/13 Orest Luzniak . . . . . . . . . . 2/14 Jeanette Ann Saia. . . . . . 2/14 Christine Canavan. . . . . . 2/15 Happy 21st Birthday to Kimberly Gasior on Feb. 26. Ricky and Rosy Bagolie along with first son & now big brother Frankie welcomed twins Aaron Noah and Jacob Barry on Jan. 28. Happy birthday Joe Frost, who turned 104 on Jan. 1 & celebrated with 30 friends & family members on Jan. 4 at the Mountainside Inn.

Mary Catherine Weigh celebrates her 100th birthday on Feb. 10. She was a longtime Clifton resident and a parishioner at St. Paul’s RC Church. Chickie Curtis . . . . . . . . . . 2/15 Frank Klippel . . . . . . . . . . . 2/15 M. Louis Poles . . . . . . . . . . 2/15 Ashley Brandecker. . . . . . 2/17 Leann Perez . . . . . . . . . . . 2/17 Lorraine Rothe . . . . . . . . . 2/17 Michael Del Re. . . . . . . . . 2/18 Michael Papa . . . . . . . . . 2/20 Taylor Jesch . . . . . . . . . . . 2/22

From left to right: Happy Birthday to Donna Hawrylko on Feb. 25; Don Knapp turns 40 on Feb 6 and his brother Richie turns 45 on Feb 22; Eric Lux turned 14 on Feb. 3 and sister Renee is 8 on Feb. 14; Happy First Birthday to Jayke Williams on Feb. 26, love, Grandma and Grandpa. 80

February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Anthony Stephen Iapicca celebrates his 1st Birthday on Feb. 28. His parents are Michael and Kerri and his grandparents are Angela and Gerard Iapicca of Clifton and Diane and John Kowalski of Bayonne. Diana Murphy . . . . . . . . . 2/22 John T. Saccoman . . . . . . 2/22 Robert Adamo . . . . . . . . . 2/24 Eileen Feldman . . . . . . . . 2/24 Kimberly Mistretta . . . . . . 2/24 Ron Stell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/26 Kimberly Gasior . . . . . . . . 2/26 Brittany Helwig . . . . . . . . . 2/27 Joyce Penaranda . . . . . . 2/27 Lauren Ricca . . . . . . . . . . 2/27 Charlie Galluzzo . . . . . . . . 2/28

6 n


Natalie Pych turns 8 Feb. 8 February 2009 • Clifton Merchant


high school building program.” The BOE heard several PTA groups stress the need “for the building program to be carried out without any additional delay and seemed to have the support of most of the board members.” One member objected to the high cost of the new building program and resubmitted his plan estimated at $4,000,000 or less than 2/3 the cost of the new building plan. The plan called for an 80,000


February 2009 • Clifton Merchant

sq. ft. addition to the Piaget Ave High School, modernization and additions to Schools No 12 and 13 provides for the junior high level, and a new K-6 school at Rosemawr for the grammar school students. “No reason exists why 80,000 sq. ft. at the Piaget Ave building together with extensive modernization cannot be accomplished for a similar price. Clifton does not need an Architect’s Masterpiece or an Educator’s Dream. It does

need facilities which should have been properly planned for five years ago.” The First Presbyterian Church of Clifton Trustee William Alt retired as treasurer of the church after serving 38 consecutive years in this post. “Mr. Alt, who is a Charter Member of the church when it was first organized under the name of the Albion Place Presbyterian Chapel in February 1927, said he could recall when his job meant only handling a few thousand dollars a year. The present budget of the church is many times that figure and has a membership of 750.” Trinity Methodist Church of Clifton celebrated its 50th anniversary Feb. 16, 1909. A group of former members of the First Presbyterian Church of Passaic and others totaling 71 charter members organized under the supervision of Rev. L. C. Muller. “Two of the charter members, sisters Mrs. William Heuser and Miss Edith Lanning, the only survivors of the group attended the anniversary services.” The CHS basketball team regained the Passaic Valley Conference championship, after a 9 year drought, beating Passaic 80 to 58. “The victory put Clifton in the top-seeded spot for the PVC’s annual post-season jamboree and paired them against Paterson Eastside.” The offense was led by Gerry Manning with 25 points, John Scancarella with 22, and Bob Papa with 18. Cliff Ruth provided the defensive coverage and Frank Leach completed the

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