Clifton Merchant Magazine - January 2013

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Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Table of Contents

What’s Inside? Get on the 2013 Clifton Map Advertisers call 973-253-4400 Next month look for the 2013 Map of Clifton!


Suburban Bird Watching Chris de Vinck Essay


2012 Year In Review A Look Back in Stories and Photos

52 A Valley Road Reality TV Star Todd Friedmann of PostNet

56 The University of Izzy Meltzer’s Sporting Goods

59 Diversification is the Key Corrado’s Family Affair Victoria Rodio and Royce De Leon will be in the Prom Fashion Show on March 3. Learn more on page 76.

62 The Evolution of a Local Bar The Grande Saloon 16,000 Magazines

are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants on the first Friday of every month. Subscribe Page 74

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4 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

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

64 Pinball Wizards Ron Kochel and Gene Gulich of U Can Do

68 Brian Tangora New VP of the Chamber of Commerce

70 Events & Briefs Local Happenings Around Town


74 Crooner Ken Barilari Has lead in PC’s Stage Door

76 Prom Fashion Show Supporting Project Graduation

77 Student of the Month Meet CHS Senior Dania Niwash

80 Birthdays & Celebrations Who is Celebrating?

82 St. Andrew’s Milestone


Six Decades of Education

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Moments of Grace

Contemplative Bird Watching in the Suburbs Essay by Chris de Vinck I do not know if we are being watched, or if we are the ones gawking at life like naive spectators. This past winter, my wife and I decided to set up a bird feeder, buy seeds and suet bars. I bought what looked like a small Victorian house that is capable of holding a pound of birdseeds at one time. A slot at the base of the house allows the seeds to filter out as the birds sit on a perch. Wrens, starlings, cardinals, blue jays, turtle doves, chickadees, red-headed woodpeckers, all of National Geographic quickly discovered our bird feeder. An added bonus was the arrival of the rabbits and chipmunks that ate the seeds on the ground that fell from the little house on a string. The squirrels were there too, as always, frustrated that we bought the cylindrical baffle that prevented the squirrels from climbing up the pole to the waiting warehouse of seeds. Yesterday, I noticed, once again, that the bird feeder was nearly empty. The birds and company were feasting at the last bits of food, so I walked to the closet, opened the door, leaned over and dragged out the tin canister.




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6 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

As I opened the back door, everything disappeared. The birds flew off in one, quick rush of activity. The chipmunk zigzagged and evaporated into the pachysandra. By the time I reached the empty bird feeder, I was alone, or so I thought. While pouring the birdseed into the open slot at the top of the little house, I had a sudden realization: I was being watched. The rhododendron branches moved slightly. There was a little rustling sound in the pachysandra. After I hooked the bird feeder back onto the black pole, I walked into the house and stood at the kitchen window waiting to see how long it took for the birds, rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels to return. Seconds. “He’s gone,” the sparrow must have said with certitude. It seemed as if suddenly every creature knew that the intermission was over, and they could return to the stage. The woodpecker swooped in, hooked its claws onto the grating which held the suet bar and began hammering away. A blue jay bullied its way to the perch, rocked its beak back and forth into the seeds, selecting just a sunflower. The seeds that rained to the ground, bounced off


the head of the chipmunk. The brown rabbit ran out from under the deck, found a spot where the seeds were plentiful, and began chewing, and twitching. They were watching me. “Will he add more seed? When will he leave?” This is how a conductor might feel, or a boxer, senator, or movie star. Well, I suddenly felt powerful. I picked up my can of seeds and I walked out onto the deck again. All the animals quickly scattered back into their hiding places. I walked back into the house, and watched. A turtle dove fluttered down and nearly bounced to the ground and quickly began to peck at the seeds. Within seconds, everything once again returned: rabbit, birds, chipmunks. I stepped back onto the deck. They all disappeared. I stood there, trying to see into the dark bushes, trying to find a bird sitting in the oak tree. I walked back and forth into the house and out onto the deck at least fifteen times, and each time, the birds and squirrels and friends ran off, watched me from their hideouts, then returned once I was safely inside the house. One last time I stepped out onto the deck with my canister of seeds. I flipped off the lid, dug my two hands deep inside and scooped out handfuls and just tossed the seeds up into the air like confetti. I picked up the canister and flung much of the seeds to the ground surrounding the bird feeder. I felt like flapping my arms and flying up to the top of the oak tree, zoom around the yard, peck at the freshly sown seeds, turn my head like the rabbit, wrinkle my nose, scratched the ground. But I was being watched. A man has to act like a man: raking the grass, driving to work, sleeping in his house without a perch. I grabbed the tin canister one more time and dumped the remaining seeds in one, wide sweep across the yard.

As I stood inside the house and watched through the kitchen window, nothing happened for the longest time. The wren probably thought “That was peculiar. No way for a man to act.” The blue jay might have considered the seeds were tainted somehow. “Why would a man fling all that good seed around the yard in such a flourish?” Fifteen minuets later, a single starling appeared on the grass and began eating the scattered seeds. Within twenty minutes the yard was filled with 20 or 30 birds, a rabbit, four chipmunks, eight squirrels. They found seeds, seeds and more seeds. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 852 million people across the world are hungry. Stated in the United Nations Development Program, 1.2 billion people currently live below the international poverty line, earning less than $1 per day. I do not know what I am doing as a man. Water gushes out of eight different spigots in my house at a simple twist of the wrist. My refrigerator is filled with healthy grapes, and oranges, frozen shrimp, milk, eggs, butter. The cupboards and drawers are stuffed with pasta, bread, sauce, tuna, soup. Poor nutrition and calorie deficiencies cause nearly one in three people to die prematurely or have disabilities, according to the World Health Organization. I wrote on the grocery list attached to the humming refrigerator, “birdseed,” and walked away. Why is it that at my house the milk is fresh, and the birds are fat? Christopher de Vinck is the Language Arts Supervisor at CHS and the author of 13 books. To order his most recent work, Moments of Grace, call 1-800-218-1903 or look for it in bookstores or online.

1333 Broad St. Clifton • 973-779-3125

Best Wishes in the New Year! View The Giblin Report

Thursdays at 8:30 pm, Cablevision Ch. 77 Check with your Cable Provider for Other Listings Clifton Merchant • January 2013


8 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

J anuary 2012 IN REVIEW


arching Mustang maestro Bob Morgan helped us ring in the New Year on the cover of last January’s edition. Our theme was to celebrate small businesses and we did features on the newly renovated Clifton Billiards, the Downtown Clifton landmark which was under new ownership following a fire, and the 60 year old Heimer Company Stained Studios in the Lakeview section, among others.

With the publication of its 185th edition, Clifton Merchant Magazine entered its 17th year last January. To mark the anniversary, we added some innovations, among them: color capabilities on every page and the use of a high quality, white recycled newsprint to make photos more colorful. The Clifton Schools District released its preliminary budget, an increase of $2.7 million, which includes 10 new employees: three elementary media specialists, three elementary guidance counselors, three high school guidance counselors, one garage mechanic and two teachers. The proposed total was $143,912,231, and was based on state aid remaining flat. The Clifton Schools Districts begins plans to upgrade its security camera system at the high school, after a student was arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting a classmate twice in January. It was the second incident in seven months in the high school. The State DEP rejected a proposed elementary charter school on Valley Rd., at the site of the former Pope John Paul II Elementary School, which closed in 2009.

Jason C. Tramm is the artistic director of the New Jersey State Opera which moved from Newark to Clifton this past January.

Five year old piano prodigy Tyler Fengya performed at the New Jersey State Opera’s 47th season opener on Jan. 29 at the Aprea Theater at 199 Scoles Ave., the former home of the YM-YWHA. The NJSO, under the artistic direction of Jason C. Tramm, relocated to the 500 seat Aprea Theater this year. The group called Newark’s Symphony Hall home since 1968. On Jan. 17, a gas line break on Broad St. caused a massive traffic back-up and the evacuation of three businesses and one residence.

The City Council spent time at meetings considering moving elections for the seven member body from May to November. The move would require candidates to declare a party when running. City Council elections are held every four years. The switch would save the city $125,000 per election. Five businesses on Piaget Ave. had their windows smashed in the early morning hours of Jan. 22. The burglaries are thought to be a part of string of 10 other similar incidents around Clifton. Clifton Merchant • January 2013 9

J anuary 2012 IN REVIEW

Jan. 21, Michael Cervine, Past Grand Knight of St. Andrew K of C.

The Knights of Columbus St. Philip The Apostle Council 11671 commemorated the 39th anniversary of Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion by staging a protest on Jan. 21 in front of St. Philip Church. School 5 fifth graders Shannon Leishman, Emilee J., Tatiana Marcano, Rosalyn Mortorano, Renee Lux, Simona Graceffo, Grace Shanley and Kaylee Pinter, known as the Star Tapers Using Duct Tape Everywhere, sell crafts to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Jonathan Borrajo, a former Clifton Mustang soccer star, is signed by the New York Red Bulls on Jan. 5. Borrajo had a standout career at George Mason University, where he played wingback and defensive midfielder. He also played for pro clubs Real Maryland and Hamarkameratene. Borrajo was released after the 2012 season. 10 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

At the Jan. 19 ground breaking of the new Fette Infiniti showroom, from left: Al Engel, Executive Vice President of Valley National Bank, Gloria Martini, Executive Director of the North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce, John L. Fette, President, Kristin M. Fette, Vice President, and Mayor Jim Anzaldi.

A total of 174 scarves were donated by the Clifton Recreation Department to the New Jersey Special Olympics Winter Games athletes. This is a national program in which groups collect handmade scarves for athletes. A total of 38 individuals and four groups created the scarves, which the Rec Dept. then donated.

Your Bunions Don’t Have to be This Bad to be Corrected



There are about 12,000 podiatrists in the United States, according to the Department of Labor, and Clifton podiatrist Thomas Graziano is one of only six who hold both a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.

One patient returned to an active tennis schedule following surgery for severe bunions—on both feet. “The pain was so bad she couldn’t walk normally, wear decent looking shoes—much less play tennis,” said Dr. Graziano. “After surgery, she’s playing tennis and regretting waiting so long to have the surgery done.”

As a foot and ankle specialist, my main goal for all my patients is to find caring solutions that last a lifetime. I won't just treat the symptom; I'll strive to correct the problem... Permanently. When you combine effective treatments with my genuine concern for your well-being, that's a powerful combination. -Thomas A. Graziano, MD, DPM, FACFAS Clifton Merchant • January 2013


F ebruary 2012 IN REVIEW


or 19 months during the mid 1960’s, former Clifton cop Jerry Declet and his fiance and (now wife of 44 years, Jane) wrote thousands of love letters while he was stationed in Japan. For this reason, the couple warmed our cover last February. Other stories of romance included their son Jerry and his wife Amanda , Ashley Terhune and Dean Veres, Lenn and Marie Elena Feldmann, Warren and Linda Orey, Cathy and John Burke as well as Russ Schneider and Courtney Coleman.

Jerry Declet Jr. and his wife, Amanda, recommended his parents, Jerry and Jane for a romantic tale which ended up on our cover. As a result of their lead, we also did a story on their recent nuptials. Above right, Lenn and Marie Elena Feldmann and Dean and Ashley Veres. From left: John and Cathy Burke, and below, Courtney Coleman and Russ Schneider.

Clifton’s finest were honored for their work in curtailing drunk driving. CPD officers Scott Gibson and Wendy Juba, now a detective, were presented with certificates from the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety for their outstanding record in DUI arrests. At the Feb. 7 City Council meeting, residents showed up to speak out against the recent closings of public libraries on Sundays. The council opted to close the two facilities on Sundays as a means to curtail spending. The Library budget had fallen more than 17 percent in the past three years. The Board of Education votes to move its regular election from April to November by a 6-1 margin. The move means residents will not vote on a budget, but will see annual savings in election expenses. Clifton teachers created numerous public demonstrations outside of the Board of Education building in an effort to bring attention to the fact that teacher have worked without a contract for three years. 12 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

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Michael P. Lewko, MD LLC 973-405-5163 871 Allwood Rd., Clifton We proudly speak English, Ukrainian, Polish, Spanish, Cantonese and Russian From left, Irina Raklyar, MD, FACR, Louisa Ziglar, MD, Michael P. Lewko, MD, FACR, AGSF.


Arthritis • Rheumatism • Osteoporosis Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, Lupus Clifton Merchant • January 2013


F ebruary 2012 IN REVIEW

Damien Burke of Clifton IHOP welcomed patrons on Feb. 28 for National Pancake Day. This year it is on Feb. 5.

The Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here in Clifton, some 300 adults and children viewed the game and enjoyed family time at the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton. The annual

Arifur Rahmen is pictured with Norm Tahan, a Deputy Chief in the Clifton Fire Dept. and founder of the Clifton Rocket Club. The group will meet again on Sundays in mid-March to launch homemade rockets at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. Registration is $15 ($25 for non-residents). Call 973-470-5958.

event was started nearly two decades ago to offer families a alcohol and gambling free alternative to watch the Super Bowl. The party is

sponsored by CASA, Clifton Against Substance Abuse, and 21 individuals and groups who year after year contribute to make this event a reality. To contribute, call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400 or Bob Foster at 973-773-0906 x 21. Joey Barcellona opened the doors of his club, Bliss Lounge, on Feb. 17 and hosted a fundraiser for the Clifton members of the 2012 Police Unity Tour. Clifton teachers demonstrated in front of the Board of Education building on Clifton Ave. on Feb. 13 and 27. The 1,300 plus district employees had been working without a contract for over three years. CHS English teacher Dr. Elissa Greenwald (pictured with some of her students in Jan. 2012) was profiled in the February magazine.

14 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Phase II Near Completion

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


M arch 2012 IN REVIEW


four inch scar curves the front of Rosangela Tumminia neck, a sign of survival for the 26-year-old. Her story of beating thyroid cancer and other individual’s medical miracles was the theme of the March edition. Among those featured included cancer survivor John Nelson, Clifton Police Chief Gary Giardina and a frank interview about drug addiction from a Clifton mental health therapist.

Clifton Police Chief Gary Giardina survived being hit by a vehicle early in his career. John Nelson beat Chordoma, a slow growing but resilient form of brain cancer. John Alexander is a drug counselor who mainly treats individuals aged 18 to 27 who are addicted to drugs such as Oxycontin. School 5 PE teacher John Silva puts a focus on fitness and nutrition. A replica of the Shroud of Turin was on display at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Passaic from March 3 to 17.

Clifton Teachers continue to hold demonstrations outside of the Board of Education building on Clifton Ave. in an effort to secure a new contract. They had been working without one for more than three years. The Board and the Clifton Teachers Union held contract talks every Monday during the month. The Board of Ed used the $2 million in state aid it received to lower the tax burden on residents. Tentative figures put it at a $66 hike for the average assessed home. The City Council expected its increase to be $144. The average assessed home is worth $177,077. 16 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Restaurateur Harry P. Burns Jr. passed away on March 23. Burns (inset) was a Navy veteran who attended Fairleigh Dickinson Hotel and Restaurant School under the G.I. Bill. He entered the restaurant field at Burns Steakhouse and later successfully owned and operated the landmark Burns Country Inn (now Alexus Steakhouse) on Valley Rd., for 30 years. He and his wife, the former Dolores Passaretti, had five sons.

Cliftonites Amy Siegel and Kathy Matulewicz participated in the national Pillsbury Bake-Off on March 26. Siegel, a wife and mother of four, has more than $50,000 in winnings to her name. The two women were among the 100 finalists in the Florida competition. A hit and run accident kills two on Rt. 46 on March 17. Clifton Police embark on an extensive investigation over the next several weeks. Three Paterson teens are arrested after a string of several robberies of middle school students around Downtown Clifton.

Clifton Merchant • January 2013



M arch 2012 IN REVIEW

Seniors who were in the prom fashion show on March 11. Front; Lori Hart, Kelly Hanrahan and Arantsa Medina. Middle: Ryan Hariton, Michael Jurgowski , Christina Hlavaty, Rachel Ventrella, Bruno Gambirazio and Patrick Ferrara. Bowen Walsh.

CHS 2005 Grad Bowen Walsh participated in a National Trumpet Competition on March 15 to 18. Walsh was one of 37 selected to compete at George Mason University in Virginia. He was in his final year of his trumpet performance Master’s at Montclair State, and had previously played trumpet for four years in the Marching Mustangs. Clifton teachers continued their demonstrations in front of the Board of Education building bring attention to their still unsettled contract.

Cheryl Bender’s first grade class at School 5 was one of many in the district to observe Dr. Suess’ birthday on March 2 with Read Across America day.

18 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Boy Scout Troop 40 held its 35th annual spaghetti dinner at St. Brendan’s Church on March 3. The feast was cooked up by Eagle Scouts Mario Vitolo and Ken Rose, with Scoutmaster John Farrell. The troop still meets Thursdays from 7 to 9 pm at St. Brendan’s Church, 154 East 1st St.

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1355 Broad St. • Clifton • 973-778-5566 Clifton Merchant • January 2013


A pril 2012 IN REVIEW


ustang Sports is always a favorite of this magazine. But while the cover features some of the spring athletes and their teammate were pictured within, the theme of the April edition focused on products Made in Clifton. We met owners and employees of firms which manufacture in our city. Featured were Meta-Lite, Electrolift and Newark Wire Cloth Company, as well as inventor Bill Tooma.

Above are some of the staff at Meta-Lite, located on Entin Rd., which produces toll booths, jail cells, security booths and more. At right is Bill Tooma, a local investor who created the Toothbrush Turtle, a hygienic storage device for toothbrushes.

As Democrats Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell Jr continue to battle in the primary race for the US Congressional seat, Passaic City Councilmen Chaim M. Munk and Daniel J. Schwartz urged fellow Orthodox Jews to vote for Rothman in the June 5 primary. School uniforms are once again discussed at the Board of Education meeting and in town. At an April 19 forum, with about 120 residents coming to voice their opinion, the district said that surveys have indicated overwhelming support for uniforms. One key issue remains funding for students who cannot afford uniforms. One group, Clifton 20 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Asserting Parental Rights, argued that uniforms would infringe on their rights as parents, and offer no impact on academic performance. On April 24, members from CAPR protested at the Board of Ed building. Clifton High’s JFK Auditorium is approved to have long awaited improvements, from seating to lighting, at a cost of up to $300,000. Middle school students from Clifton and Paterson visited the Great Falls on Earth Day. The program, designed to promote conservation, environmentalism and history, was organized by City Green, a non profit which took over Schultheis Farm in February, 2011.


Clifton Merchant • January 2013


A pril 2012 IN REVIEW A Clifton  Mystery  was  resolved  in  April.  The story began in March when a reader shared photos by Joseph Bellanca found within a suitcase in the old Passaic Hotel. We published them in March and readers responded. That led us to meet and interview the 81 year old, who is well and resides at the Hamilton Plaza Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Passaic. After meeting with him, and from numerous letters, calls and emails from readers, we presented his interesting life story in our April edition. Born in Passaic on July 7, 1930, Bellanca was raised in Botany Village, fell in love with photography as a teenager and attended the School of Modern Photography in New York. “It was a good profession at that time,” he recalled of those early years. “At school, it was all veterans ( he wa a Korean War vet) who had returned from the war. I was the youngest kid there. Then I decided to explore the world and life with my camera.” Bellanca graduated CHS in June of 1948, achieved success early on in the Big Apple. By 1950, at the age of 20, he had his first piece on display at the Museum of Modern Art: ‘Untitled’, a black and white shot of men with warped faces carrying a casket during a funeral, which is in the MoMA permanent collection. “With that photograph, I was experimenting a lot in the dark room,” he said. His work evolved much over those early years and his services were in great demand as he worked for major magazines and published a book.

On April 19, students from Cheryl Bender’s first grade class at School 5 stopped by School 14 to visit with Ilene Platkin’s pre schoolers to observe Autism Month, which took place throughout April. 22 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Joseph Bellanca as he appears today. At left is his photo from the Clifton High School Class of 1948 Yearbook. By age 20, Bellanca had his photographs exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art.

Bloomingdale Clifton Haledon Hawthorne Little Falls North Haledon Passaic Paterson

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For information on how your company can secure a great location and low cost financing for your expansion in Passaic County, New Jersey, write or call

Deborah Hoffman, Director of Economic Development, at 973-569-4720 or Clifton Merchant • January 2013


M ay 2012 IN REVIEW


onor the Fallen. Salute America’s Veterans. Those are words heard frequently in our city. Our May cover, perhaps this year’s favorite, featured Clifton’s Avenue of Flags and its coordinators, Bill Van Eck and John Biegel. As has been our tradition, the first section of the magazine featured the names of some 300 Cliftonites Killed in Action, from WWI to our last casualty, US Army Special Forces Capt. Michael Tarlavsky, killed in Iraq on Aug. 12, 2004.

Featured in our May magazine: Tony Latona, Mark Scarpa, Jackie and Oscar Bounafina, Lou Barbato, Phil Sharkey. Below left, Ryan Gabel and his wife Jessica, Matt Lalumia, Nick Benigno and Kevin and Diana (Haring) Beagin.

The Theater League of Clifton presents California Suite by Neil Simon on May 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20 at the Theresa Aprea Theater in the TLC Community Center, 199 Scoles Ave. It was the first show in new digs for the TLC, which had previously leased space in School 3 on Washington Ave. before the Board of Education changed the lease agreement with the nonprofit community theater group. 24 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Samantha DeRose, an ASPIRE English teacher at CHS, has her head shaved on May 3 at UNO Pizza. DeRose had bet her students that she would shave her head if they all passed her class. Patrons at the restaurant will have a portion of their proceeds go to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation. DeRose's former student, Natasha Johnson, who suffers from a rare kidney disease, will benefit from the fundraiser as well.

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


M ay 2012 IN REVIEW

The seventh annual Locks of Love Cut-a-Thon was held on May 21. Above are some of the participants. Sixth grade CCMS students Nina Cordero and Aseeal Yasin are among the students. In the back from left are teachers Lisa Poggi, Jennifer Bergmann and Kim (Carline) Dreher who coordinates the program. The 2012 Clifton Police Unity Tour members with Congressman Bill Pascrell and Sheriff Richard Berdnik. Riders: Andrew Alvarez Robert Bais Randy Colondres Richard DiBello Brian Fopma Tom Hawrylko Daniel Ishak John Kavakich Motors: Darren Brodie Derek Fogg Gary Giardina Vincent LaRosa Support: William Frank Gary Giardina Jr. Michael McLaughlin

26 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

On May 4 at St. Paul Church, Bishop Serratellli brought 11 seminarians a step closer to priesthood as he ordained 11 men as deacons in the Roman Catholic Church.



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Clifton Merchant • January 2013


J une 2012 IN REVIEW


n June 25, the CHS Class of 2012 took the field to the cheers of parents, peers, educators and city officials. Many went on to party all night at Project Graduation, an alcohol-free event sponsored by the community. Within the magazine, we surveyed seniors from CHS, and local Catholic high schools, asking about about their hopes, dreams and memories. We also did stories on about 20 students, those headed to the military, college and other adventures.

On June 16, 600 motorcyclists rode through the Avenue of Flags as part of the Clifton PBA 36 Freedom Roast. They paraded near Ground Zero and then through North Arlington Cemetery to honor fallen military heroes. Riders then returned to the Masonic Lodge on Van Houten Ave. for a pig roast with returning patriots from National Guard Platoon SEC-FOR and families. Organized by Clifton Police Officers John Kavakich, Steve Farrell and Wayne Stine, they said Freedom Roast will become an annual Clifton PBA 36 event. The goal is to welcome home Wounded Warriors and others who served or are currently serving in the United States military.

The Relay for Life was overnight at Clifton Stadium, June 2 to 3, and some 800 participants on 53 teams raised more than $101,000 to fight cancer. Top teams were: Red Hat Angels, $29,148, Book A Cure $10, 572 and Running on Empty $8,158. Top individuals were Chris Liszner, $5,523, Lisa McDonald, $4,350, Joann Mack, $2,729, and Arleen Bador $2,570.

Some graduates who appeared on our cover from left, Kelly Young, Ryan Hariton, Rachel Ventrella, Tim Brown, Alexis Balkjy, Jayson Fernandez, Jenna DeLiberto, Christopher Rogers, Steven Lopez, Bozena Sarzynska, Floran Martinez, Zuleika Rodriguez, Hemish Rana, Emilie Oakley, Shane Turco and Sarah Shahar.

28 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Restaurants & Food Botany Village Pizzeria (973)546-4163 Clifton Buffet (973)772-8438 Clifton Live Poultry (973)546-4925 Djordan Burek (973)513-9050 Dunkin Donuts (973)253-2211 El Dorado Restaurant (973)246-1856 El Pincon Familar Restaurant (973)772-0886 Euro Cafe (973)859-0088 European Grill & BBQ (973)928-1680 George's Coffee Shop (973)546-0920

Polish Delicacy House (973)340-0699 Subway (973)478-1656 Taste of Mediterranean Sarajavo (973)253-0700

Lot Store...Shop, Save, Smile! Located next to Kmart in Botany Plaza, Lot has clothing for all family members, health & beauty items, bath & bedroom needs from cleaning to linens, as well as electronics & appliances.

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


J une 2012 IN REVIEW

Hope Reformed Church celebrated its centennial with a luncheon at the Mountainside Inn on June 2. Church elders from left, David Webb, Daniel Morovan, Peter Mierop, Pastor Eric Farrar, John Brown, Attila Havassy and Bong Bunagan.

On June 16, Clifton Police Motorcycle Officers lead the PBA 36 Freedom Roast hog run.

Clifton teachers and the district finally reach a preliminary agreement after three years of working without contracts. Roche announces that it plans to shut its location straddling the Clifton-Nutley border on June 28. The research facility is 83 years old and sits on a 119-acre campus. Business operations are to end by 2013. The site will close by 2015. Incumbent Jim Daley and challengers Tafari Anderson, Daisy Ayala and John Houston file to run for Board of Ed. Daisy Ayala would later be disqualified. Clifton's bond rating from Standard & Poor's once again rated Clifton AA-, the second highest rating available. 30 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

School 5 on Valley Rd. held its Grade 5 Moving Up Ceremony on Flag Day, June 14. In a learning moment devised by PE teacher John Silva, Josephine Tulp, mother of Guyler Tulp, who was killed in Vietnam, was invited and presented with a name rubbing from the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington.

On June 8, Students at School 9 celebrate 90 years of learning at 25 Brighton Rd. K-5 students and their teachers worked to research decades from the 1950’s to the 2000’s. Students dressed in clothing of their designated decades and performed music and dance selections.

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


J uly 2012 IN REVIEW ‘02 ‘92

‘82 ‘72 ‘62 ‘52 PLUS A LOOK BACK AT 1942!


une is reserved for CHS departing grads but the July edition is our month to catch up with Mustangs who have long graduated. In back-inthe-day photos and with a flash back story, we recall the year that was—2002, 1992, 1982, 1972, 1962 and 1952. Then we track down Mustangs and explain where they are now—and how they got there. Some photos and names of those who appeared on our cover are below. Look for grads from 1953, 1963, etc... in July, 2013.

Nicole Cornett, Matt Morgan, Elizabeth Bakarich, Timothy St. Clair, Michele Torelli, Michael Tarlavsky, Jeff Kocsis, Deborah Kocsis, Robert De Liberto, Gerald Wyhopen, Michael Paitchell, Paul Tarlowe, Frank Giovacco, Sophia Gela, Fredrick Rembis, Frank Carlet, Barbara Watterston, Adeline DeVries, Martin Peter Conserva, Helen Zschack and Walter Pruiksma.

At left, Gloria Tramontin Smith, a CHS 1942 grad and 87 year old motorcycle rider, was profiled in the July edition. Inset, a recent photo of Smith.

32 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


J uly 2012 IN REVIEW John Traier was named to the Passaic County Regular Republican Organization chair position. He previously served nine years on the Board of Education and was Assistant NJ Banking Commissioner under Governor Christie Whitman. Clifton firefighters started off the month by participating in a rescue training drill at Bay State Milling Company on Getty Ave. Firefighters were participating in a simulation for confined space rescue operation. The Board of Education continued to target non-resident students enrolled in Clifton schools. During the 2011-2012 school year, the district conducted 662 investigations, resulting in 70 dismissals. In the previous year, there were 428 investigations and 43 students removed, an increase of 62 percent.

Retired Clifton Police Lieutenant (and Sensei) Patrick J. Ciser’s memoir, Budo and the Badge: Exploits of a Jersey Cop, shares true stories of his time on the job, and how learning and teaching Koei-Kan Karate (his dojo on Clifton Ave.) helped shape his philosophy on life—and save some lives in the process.

Summer programs offered by Clifton Schools are diverse. Pictured above is Mackensie Miller as Cruella de Vil with some of the 101 Dalmatians she performed with in a July Arts Enrichment course staged at the CHS Annex.


These kids (left and above) and hundreds others participated in Clifton Recreation’s Summer Olympics at Athenia Steel Park during mid-July.

34 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

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A ugust 2012 IN REVIEW


ony Award winner Nina Arianda was the beauty (in character for her role in Venus in Fur) who graced our cover in August. The former Cliftonite had her first theatrical experience at age 3 on the stage of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic School where she recited a patriotic Ukrainian poem. Her ties to Clifton include training at Action Theater Conservatory. This year, she’ll portray Janis Joplin in a film on the last six months of the singer’s life.

At left, the late Doc Paternoster with son Rick, who took over Doc’s dental practice on Getty and Clifton Aves. in 1996. Right, Vito DeRobertis with his son, Peter, the second generation owner of Vito’s Towing. At left, at the Paulison Avenue ShopRite planning for the annual Partners in Caring promotion: Felix Morales, Joe Russa, Emily Pi, Jerry Trester, Stephanie Pose, Rafael Cuellar, Kristine Dehais and Guillermo Garcia.

36 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


A ugust 2012 IN REVIEW

In the early morning of Aug. 1, thieves smashed two patriotic eagles in front of VFW Post 7165 on Valley Rd. From left, Ed Nibbling, Dennis Suto, Robert Mantz Sr., Kevin C. Gorman, Greg Collucci and Ray Sanicki.

Students from Action Theatre Conservatory in Downtown Clifton presented a cabaret at the Passaic County Elks CP High School on Aug. 23.

In August, we ran a feature on Billy Kilroy, a boxer and Clifton Cop who also worked as a double for Marlon Brando. At left, that’s Sherry and Barry Rosenfeld in 1969 and in 2008. Sadly, Barry died last December but Sherry still runs their Dundee Floor Covering company. Above, School 11 Principal Gregg Dickey in his prior life—as a US Secret Service Agent.

38 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


S eptember 2012 IN REVIEW


e all do that is. So in September, we interviewed a mix of residents, both young and old, to find out how they go about their nine-to-five. As we learned, today’s employment opportunities have evolved with the economy. Thus, post-college career plans for some are, shall we say, fluid? That pun is not lost on our cover feature on Allison Rooney, a 2006 CHS grad, a deck hand on 151-foot schooner in Bar Harbor, Maine.

We also did work profiles on, from left, Dave Kishbaugh of DNK Cycling, Clifton Schools bus driver Anastacio Rojas, retired and very active volunteer Mike Cervine, our cover sailor Allison Rooney as she looked in 2006, Paul Shagawat and Dustin Scarpa of Premiere Energy Auctions and Pat Egan, a tropical fish expert at Absolutely Fish.

The new school year began in September, and it was not without controversy. At the high school, teachers were confused on how to enforce the new dress code, while angry parents were upset over the changing of the passing mark. Back in April, the Board of Education had considered implementing uniforms throughout the district. However, debate was ended in July. Instead, Board members opted to alter the district’s normal dress code to improve the learning environment. The new measures were aimed to specifically ban pajamas, sandals and various other items. Many teachers and administrators found themselves more concerned with the enforcement of these codes as students acclimated to the new rules. 40 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Pope Pius grads Bob Claeys and Ernie Scheidemann planned the 60th reunion of Pope Pius XII High School held on Sept. 28. Frank and Nina Corradino of the Geraci Citizen League with Bartolo Vienna, Mayor of Geraci, left. The mayor gave the Corradinos a plaque on Sept. 6 in Palermo, Sicily, in thanks for the reception he received on his prior visit to Clifton.

S eptember 2012 IN REVIEW Parents and Board members alike were up in arms after Superintendent Richard Tardalo authorized the changing of the passing grade from 70 to 65. The superintendent has the authority to make such a decision, but Board members were upset that they were not consulted. A third of CHS students failed a class with a mark between 60 and 69 in the first semester last year. The Clifton Fire Department swore in eight new firefighters on Sept. 7, and their salaries will be paid for the next two years using a $1.35 million federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant. Cliftonites Scott Isenhour and Daniel Schwaner were among the hires. On Sept. 7, Saint Philip the Apostle School was named a Blue Ribbon School by the US

Members of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church on President St. in Passaic make and sell homemade varenyky or pyrohy, Monday to Friday.

Department of Education. Rep. Bill Pascrell announced the news. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools where students

achieve at very high levels and/or where the achievement gap is currently narrowing. St. Philip’s is one of more than 300 schools that were honored with a Blue Ribbon in September.

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42 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


O ctober 2012 IN REVIEW


hat was on the minds of Clifton voters as they went to the polls on Election Day, which was Nov. 6, 2012? In bagel shops and in their homes, we met with readers to get opinions on politics, the economy and candidates. Clifton Republican Chair Joe Cupoli and his Democratic counterpart Lauren Murphy traded jabs on our cover. But in their profiles, we found that the two both had a soft touch and shared opinions on various topics.

Among those sharing their opinions in Oct., from left: Sherine El-Abd, Tom Whittles, Odette Coronel, Joe Shackil, Rosemary Pino, Rick Farfan, Lottie Hibberd, Richard Jachens and Anne Kaminski. We also profiled Board of Education candidates Jim Daley, Jack Houston and Tafari Anderson who ran unopposed for three vacant seats.

The Clifton Schools District released its preliminary budget, an increase of $2.7 million, which includes 10 new employees: three elementary media specialists, three elementary guidance counselors, three high school guidance counselors, one garage mechanic and two teachers. After much debate, the City Council elected to not name Richardson Oval Park after the late Chester Grabowski, the founder and publisher of the Post Eagle. His daughter, Christine Witmyer, the current editor of the Post Eagle, withdrew the request. 44 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton’s teachers neared the end of their battle for a new contract, as the union goes to vote on a new contract to provide teachers for a raise. The union is comprised of more than 1,100 staff members. The three year deal is speculated to include 2 to 3 percent increases. Dentist Wayne Gangi, whose Halloween tradition on Grove St. entered its 12th year, was once again marred by a lack of parking after the city restricted parking in the surrounding neighborhood for the second year in a row. Ss Cyril and Methodius Parish celebrated 100 years on Oct. 20.

Student of the Month Kevin Weekes.

O ctober 2012 IN REVIEW

The Jones family includes Susan (Lill) holding Colin while Claire sits in dad Bill’s lap and big brother William stands at rear.

Colin Michael Jones was born with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy—a condition in which the brain is deprived of oxygen. The newborn also lacked the ability to suck or swallow. Seven months after his birth, Colin came home on May 22. But the journey to getting the family of five back to ‘normal’ is ongoing. Colin requires 24 hour attention and the family has amassed bills not covered by insurance., But help came in many ways. Family and friends “work shifts” holding and nursing Colin. And on Oct. 27, the St. Philip’s Knights of Columbus held a fundraiser at St. Philip’s Church on Valley Rd. to welcome them home.

CHS Homecoming was on Oct. 6. with Royce De Leon and Estefania Correa presiding over the pre-game festivities. The court included from left, couples Einar Barrientos-Arenaza with Karina Rojas and Ariel Genao with Alexzandra Pleasant. To the right of the royals are Szymon Kutyla with Quinci Peri and Adam Paczkowski with Suzett Lee. Bad news on the gridiron: the Mustangs were bested by the Bloomfield Bengals, 27-2.


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N ovember 2012



lifton’s Avenue of Flags was the destination when the Nov. 11 Veterans Parade stepped off on Van Houten Ave. and concluded amidst the 1,500 American Flags on the city hall campus. We told the story of Frank Pinchak, a pharmacist, historian and veteran, and did a profile on departing North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce President Gloria Martini as well as a feature on former Chamber chief and Clifton journalist George Homcy.

Though Hurricane Sandy had passed over Clifton by the time that November rolled around, the aftereffects of the storm would be felt for many weeks to come. Downed power lines and trees left as much as 85 percent of the city without power. Some went as long as two weeks before the lights came back on. Clifton Police were busy in the days following as crooks took advantage of the darkness. At the few gas stations that were open immediately following the hurricane, cops were posted to prevent fights from breaking out. However, many Cliftonites did turn out to help others in need during the storm. Residents Anabela Carrino and Gina Scaduto formed Jersey Cares Hurricane Relief, and led 60 local volunteers in packing 500 boxes of aid for those in need in south Jersey. Above, Vincent Di Terlizzi and Larissa Quinn are former Cliftonites who now reside in Jersey City. On Election Day, their Paulus Hook apartment was flooded and they were displaced. Since they were temporarily living in Quinn's mom's house in Clifton, an Executive Order from the Governor enabled them to cast their vote at Clifton's Board of Education building. And at left, gas lines...!

46 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant


Clifton Merchant • January 2013


N ovember 2012


Heidi is a therapy reading dog who visits the Clifton libraries and is seen with 8 year old Chris Eardley. CHS student of the Month Mark Surgent. Mr. Cupcakes—John Manganiotis and his son Johnny—marked their five years of meteoric growth with giveaways at the Van Houten Ave. store on Nov. 3.

Sandy also complicated voting. Due to power outages and downed trees, officials changed four voting locations. The County also allowed early voting to alleviate issues. But the issues in getting to the polls did not stop the Democrats from emerging victorious in Passaic County, as voters re-elected President Obama, Senator Bob Menendez, Congressman Bill Pascrell. Voters also approved two questions: a $759 million bond to expand public higher education facilities, and to forced judges to contribute to their benefits.

Locally, Board President James Daley and challengers Tafari Anderson and Jack Houston all won seats after running unopposed. This past year, the Board of Education voted to move its election to November. In the Freeholder race, the Democrats also swept, with Hector Lora, Ronda Casson Cotroneo and John Bartlett incumbents Edward O'Connell, Deborah Ciambrone and Michael Marotta, who were voted out after just one term. The Democrats have held control of the Passaic County Freeholder Board for more than a decade.

On Nov. 28 at the Senior Barn on the City Hall campus, about 50 Clifton Cares volunteers, two of whom are pictured above left, put together 137 packages for soldiers in the field. The Veterans parade was held along Van Houten Ave. on Nov. 11 and continued into the city hall campus where the 10th anniversary of the Avenue of Flags was marked.

48 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


D ecember 2012 IN REVIEW


hrissy Cluney was on our December cover. The 1999 CHS grad shared her life story, explaining how she has been living with the after-effects of contracting viral encephalitis as an infant. Surgeries as a child did not stop her from going on to graduate St. Elizabeth college and become a writer. Today, she is a writer and volunteers at Giggles Children Theater, a program designed to lift the spirits of patients at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson.

Clifton PBA 36 officers and their families collected over 70 gifts and visited the Multi Purpose Hispanic Center in Paterson to share holiday cheer. Officers Derek Fogg, Mike Adamo and Freddy Valentin look on as School 2 fifth grader Brandon McLaughlin met a new friend on Dec. 24.

50 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

After the tragic shooting on Dec. 16 in Newton, CT, students in Clifton reached out to support their peers. Laurie Kirwin, who has family that attend school in Sandy Hook, learned of a drive to creative snowflakes to decorate the new school that displaced students will be using. She coordinated with friends Anne Marie Genneken and Rosemary Trinkle Baran to get the word out on Facebook, and soon enlisted the help of School 2 teacher Diane Jakimec and School 14 teacher Maria TardaHerschbein and their students. Together, the group made several snowflakes, which Kirwin delivered personally while visiting family on Christmas. On Dec. 4, the City Council approved an ordinance that established a $100 fee for emergency medical services that don’t result in a trip to the hospital. The measure was taken as a means to replenish supplies used. However, the bill will not be footed by residents. Insurance companies will be on the hook for that. And for those without insurance, the city will waive the bill, according to Fire Chief Vincent Colavitti.

D ecember 2012 IN REVIEW

f Kaitlin Azevedo, Sydney Shannon, Krystina Fila and Sarah Shannon —all Woodrow Wilson Middle School students—raised $490 for the American Red Cross by singing Christmas carols in their neighborhood.

The Second Annual Fernando Rossi Alumni Game was held on Dec. 8 at Clifton High School. More than 50 former players and coaches spanning five decades came together to raise money for a scholarship in the late coach’s name. Rossi’s wife, Cleo, and daughter, Tina, and son, Giuseppe, who plays for Villa Real and the Italian National Team, were also present. Spencer Savings Bank donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross to benefit those still suffering from Hurricane Sandy. In addition to those funds, employee’s at the two Clifton branches raised $1,725, which was donated to Eva’s Village.

The congregation of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Broad St. donated 100 winter hats, most handknit, to the students of the Passaic County Elks Cerebral Palsy Center. Pictured is Nina Pavelchak of the CP Center, student Matt Kulik and Irene Darby from St. John’s.

Rockin’ for Relief was the theme on Dec. 14 when Brookwood and the Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group teamed up for a fun evening to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Clifton Rotary Club and Kohler were co-sponsors of the event held at the Clifton Moose Lodge and proceeds went to the American Red Cross.

Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver joined with Montclair State University in their annual toy drive. Pictured are Lolita Cruz, Giblin’s Chief of Staff; Dr. Karen L. Pennington of MSU, Legislative Aide George Silva and Giblin. At left, a winning entry from the Clifton Recreation Dept.’s door decorating contest. Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Small Business

A Valley Road Reality TV Star PostNet’s Todd Friedman Wins on CBS Show Undercover Boss By Carol Leonard

Todd Friedman is an unassuming kind of guy who works long hours every day at his PostNet franchise business near Quick Check in the Bobink Shopping Center on Valley Rd. He never expected to become an instant celebrity in town, but last month Friedman and his store were featured in a segment of the Emmy award-winning TV show, Undercover Boss, which aired nationally on Dec. 7, 2012 on CBS. 52 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

d r

The show follows the experiences of senior executives of companies around the country who work in disguise at different locations of their businesses to investigate how their firms really operate and to identify how they can be improved. In the process, the bosses get to meet and see in action some of their most dedicated employees and reward them for their contributions at the end of the show. Friedman opened his PostNet store about six years ago. The business offers a variety of services to other small businesses and the community, including packing and shipping, photo copying and printing, faxing, computer services such as scanning and desktop design work, as well as notary services, passport photos and private mailboxes. Among his other previous ventures, the 43 year-old Wayne native had worked as a ski instructor and had operated several bagel shops in New York and Connecticut. He also sold Harley Davidson motorcycles on eBay. “I’ve done just about everything,” he commented. Friedman was looking for some kind of retail busi-

ness to get involved in and he had considered other shipping franchises, such as UPS, before deciding on PostNet. “It’s a smaller company with high standards for friendly customer service,” he said. “That’s what I really wanted.” Before being approved to open up a PostNet store, Friedman had to go to the company’s headquarters in Denver for a series of interviews with company cofounder Brian Spindel and others to make sure that he was the right fit for their business model. His proposed location also had to be approved. “It’s a very thoughtful process they use,” he said. Friedman’s appearance on Undercover Boss was the culmination of a series of events that began last spring when he was contacted by the corporate office to let him know that a marketing firm would be calling him to possibly do some filming at his location for a new reality TV show, and to let him know that it was okay for him to speak with them. When Friedman met with the show’s producers, he was told that the new show, called Life Swap, would be about providing employment opportunities for people who were down on their luck.

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Small Business He would be asked to spend a day with such a person to show him the ropes of his business. On the day of the filming in May, he was introduced to a long-haired, middle-age man with a beard named Brad who supposedly had operated a failed motorcycle shop. In reality, Brad was really PostNet co-founder and CEO Steve Birnbaum in disguise. Friedman had met Greenbaum several times, including at his store, but he insists that he never had an inkling that the scruffy looking Brad was actually his boss. He also insists that, although he had seen episodes of Undercover Boss on TV, it never crossed his mind that he was being tricked into an appearance on the show. “There is so much wacky reality television on today,” he said. “And you have to understand what psychological geniuses these guys are. They had a website and everything for this Life Swap show. It was a long day of filming and everything seemed so real. They were careful to never leave me alone with Brad, and even the TV cameras had Life Swap logos on them. I had never been filmed before and I was just focused on making sure that I represented the franchise well.” Although in Friedman’s mind Brad’s appearance wasn’t exactly appropriate for a business professional, he patiently spent the day showing him what it takes to run a PostNet operation and having him try some of the duties of the job. “I just really thought he was a good guy who was down on his luck and I wanted to be as positive as possible with him,” he said. During the course of their conversations while filming, Friedman and Brad got to talking about motorcycles and Friedman revealed that he had to sell his two Harley Davidsons to help finance the opening of his business. In another discussion, Friedman expressed his frustration with some of the company’s marketing materials that are provided to the franchisees, such as pens and coffee mugs, with only the PostNet logo imprinted on them. “These are useless to me without my address and phone number,” he said. “We’re not that big a company and not every knows what PostNet is. We all have to give two percent to the company to help pay for marketing support and I was needing to spend additional 54 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

money to buy my own advertising materials with my address and phone number.” The week after the filming, Friedman was told that he would be flown to a location, along with a number of other franchise owners who had participated in the filming, to comment on Brad’s performance in learning the business. “First they told me we were going to someplace in California, and then they changed it to Las Vegas, and the day before they called to tell me I was going to Denver,” he said. “I guess it was all part of the plan to confuse me so much that I wouldn’t suspect anything.” The session at which the true nature of the filming was revealed actually took place at Greenbaum’s home in Denver and it was there that Friedman met up again with his boss, minus the Brad disguise. “We embraced and actually cried in each others arms,” Friedman said. “They didn’t show that part on the show. Steve is a genuine guy with a lot of energy who cares about people. Brad’s character is his true character.” On the reveal segment of the show, Greenbaum thanked Friedman for his frank comments about the weakness of the company’s marketing materials and he asked him to serve on PostNet’s marketing committee to help develop new ideas. He also presented him with a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle to thank him for the sacrifice he had made to open his PostNet franchise business. It was a while before Friedman found out that his segment had made the final cut for the Undercover Boss episode about PostNet and it’s CEO. He had been told that filming had taken place at more locations than were going to be used on the show. As the date approached for the show’s airing, Friedman decided to host a viewing party for friends and family at Grimaldi’s restaurant on Van Houten Ave. In addition to celebrating his newfound notoriety, he asked each of the guests to bring along an unwrapped toy to be donated to children affected by Hurricane Sandy. More than $1,000 worth of gifts was collected at the affair. Friedman took his concern for the hurricane victims a step further by printing up magnets with the words, “Jersey Strong,” and selling them for $5 each in his store. As of this writing, he had raised nearly $3,000 from the sale, with all profits being donated to organi-

zations involved in the relief efforts. Now that he has enjoyed his moment of fame, it’s back to business as usual for Friedman at his busy PostNet store. He said that he enjoys the nature of a franchise operation, which allows him to be independent, but also have the support of the corporate office. He prides himself on providing good service to all of his customers, from the larger accounts who spend thousands of dollars on printing services, to the 80 year-old gentleman who often comes in just to buy a couple of stamps. “It’s a friendly and relaxed atmosphere,” Friedman said. “People from the neighborhood like to stop in and tell stories about what’s going on in their lives.” Friedman’s two dogs, a

Cockapoo named Buster and a Wheaton Terrier he calls Floyd, always accompany him to the store and serve as friendly greeters whenever a customer comes through the door. “They go everywhere with me,” he said. A self-proclaimed animal lover, Friedman hopes to one day open an animal rescue sanctuary. When not at his shop, he enjoys spending time at his Montclair home with his girlfriend Tracy and her children, Ethan and Julia. He also loves taking rides on his new Harley, up Route 23 or just around town. “It’s a nice distraction,” he said. “It takes the stress out of life and helps clear your head.” In case you missed Friedman on Undercover Boss, you can watch the video of the show online at

Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Small Business

Degreed in the University of Izzy Where Billy Meltzer Learned Everything About Running a Business By Joe Hawrylko

Billy Meltzer in the landmark store founded by his grandparents in 1914.

In 2014, Meltzer’s Sporting Goods, located in Garfield just across the bridge from Botany Village, will celebrate its 100th anniversary. An independent store, it was founded nearly a century ago by Sam and Jennie Meltzer. It was later passed on to their son, Izzy, before being taken over by his son, Billy. “We were established in business when Garfield was still East Passaic. When the city had its 75th anniversary, we were already in business over 80 years,” recalled Billy Meltzer, who resides in the Rosemawr section and has three children who graduated from CHS. He has worked in the store for the past four decades, and has been the owner for the past 26 years. Over the past century, the Meltzer family has established a profitable small business that has continued to 56 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

grow. The family has watched small competitors open and close, replaced by large franchises like Sports Authority, Dicks and more. In an era where small mom and pop stores are dying off rapidly, how does Meltzer’s succeed? According to Meltzer, the secret to his success has been following the principles laid out by his father, who gave him three main points to live by, early when he began working at the Outwater Lane store. • You can’t operate business on cash—have good credit to weather economic uncertainty. • Sell good products at a good price and always service what you sell. • There is no such thing as absentee ownership. Always be present at the store.

The late Izzy Meltzer, Billy’s dad and the second generation owner.

“The only reason that this store is still here is the lessons that my father taught me about how to run a business successfully,” said Meltzer, who studied sociology and anthropology at Monmouth University. However, despite having a degree, Melzter said it was his education at the ‘University of Izzy’ that taught him the most about owning a successful store. “I knew the best business professor I could learn from was my father,” he said. “What I received from him was like a graduate degree.” Though the store has changed a bit since Izzy’s day, Meltzer still keeps true to the mantra of putting the customer first.

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Small Business “It’s all about personal service. After being in business for 90 something years, people trust that if you don’t get it right or that it doesn’t perform right, they can come back to you and get help,” he explained. “Our reputation is that we’re a fair business that offers good products at fair prices. We want to have that customer reach over that counter and shake your hand. If they didn’t, you might have done something wrong.” Meltzer said the attention to customer service and employee knowledge is what differentiates his store from big franchises. “We have people here who understand the product that they’re selling,” he said. Many of the staff members have been working at Meltzer’s for several years, and almost all are active hunters or fishermen, including the boss. “I use this stuff outside as far as boots and clothes,” said Meltzer. “I don’t buy cheap stuff. This business is built on repeat customers.” Another important facet in the success of Meltzer’s has been catering to the needs and budget of his customers. “We see who our customer base is and we sell to them. We don’t have any $700 rods in here,” Meltzer explained.

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“It’s about quality, value and making sure the customer gets their money’s worth,” he continued. “We sell better products than your average mall store, but we don’t sell the overpriced brand name stuff.” Success is also due in part to recognizing business trends. Part of the reason that Meltzer’s business thrives is that he sells firearms, including hand guns, which are not offered at franchise sporting goods stores. Filing appropriate paperwork with the state and federal authorities is handled by his wife Lisa. “We also belong to a national buying group that helps us pay close to the same that the big stores do,” said Meltzer. The group is open to independent stores that meet certain criteria. “There’s about 400 stores so they do have a lot of buying power.” These business practices, combined with the name recognition of the store, have allowed Meltzer’s to thrive without much advertising. “We paid someone to do some web optimization a while back, but otherwise it is mostly word of mouth,” he said. And that brings Billy Meltzer back to the beginning, when he attended the University of Izzy and learned what’s behind the slogan they still use today... Once you shop Meltzer’s, you’ll go no where else, sir!

Small Business

Diversification is the Key Corrado’s Succeeds by Offering Everything in One Location By Joe Hawrylko

Jimmy Corrado talks with Brian Rosas of Saddle Brook, who was looking for a gift at Corrado’s Winemaking Store.

When it first opened on Main Ave. in 1975, Corrado’s Family Affair was a simple grocery store catering to the larger Italian-American community in Clifton and the surrounding regions. Several decades later, the business is continually expanding, with a large Clifton campus that includes several stores, as well as additional stores in Wayne and Fairfield. Corrado’s Family Affair is more successful than ever in 2012, with a large campus in Clifton and two additional stores in Wayne and Fairfield. However, the business has changed quite a bit since it first opened up several decades ago. “We started as produce, just fruits and vegetables at the core,” said Jimmy Corrado. “In the 50s, this was a predominantly Italian neighborhood. The store

evolved to take care of people in the community.” Today, the Clifton location includes a family owned garden center, pet store, wholesale department, wine and beer making store, and even a gas station. In addition, there are several other strategically selected stores on the sprawling Corrado’s campus. Put together, the Corrado’s Campus stretches from Main Ave., down Crooks Ave. and past Getty Ave., and includes dozens of different stores. It allows shoppers to tackle many different errands all in one location. “People got to get up and got to run some errands, go to the bank. You can come to Corrado’s and do that all in one stop,” explained Corrado. The key has been growing organically, adding new departments and branches as needed. “As a family, we always frequented that gas station (on Getty Ave.). When Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Small Business the opportunity came because he get the best goods possible for was retiring, again, it was a no his customers. brainer,” he said. Some stores In the 1960s, the business that are on the campus but not continued to grow, and James owned by Corrado’s include a brought aboard his sons Jerry, liquor store, dollar store, Dunkin Peter and Joey, who are the curDonuts, Children’s Wear, Planet rent principle owners. Corrado’s Fitness gym and more. “That’s Family Affair opened on Main the idea. Provide value in the Ave. in 1975, and gradually community.” evolved into the shopping comOver the last half century, the plex that it is today. offerings at the store have “Clifton is a family town. evolved to reflect the changing The city grew as businesses demographics. Once primarily grew,” said Jimmy Corrado. imported Italian goods, Corrado’s “More Mediterranean, more carries a wide variety of ethnics Latin and more recently, more The late James Corrado foods, produce and spices from Middle Eastern and Indian.” around the world. Perhaps most important in the success of the busiBut while those are more recent additions over the past ness has been the presence of the family in day to day two decades, the success of the family business traces activities. A total of 12 Corrado family members— back to produce. While the current Corrado’s supermarthree fathers and their nine sons—work across the comket has been around since 1975, the origins of the business pany’s many stores. At the busy checkout aisles, you trace back to the 1920’s, when Pietro Corrado started as a can always find at least one Corrado greeting customers merchant in Paterson’s Island market. and overseeing the floor on any given day. In 1932, Pietro, along with sons James and Anthony, “If we were in an office somewhere, or out on a golf moved into a converted shed (where the Paterson course, we wouldn’t have the success we’ve had,” Farmer’s Market now stands on Railway Ave.) and explained Corrado. “It still has that neighborhood feel, began speculating and selling produce on consignment. that mom and pop store feel. You’re not going to go Gradually, the lineup began to expand to include walk up and find the owner in a big chain store. flowers, shrubs, watermelon and California juice Whether it is a concern or compliment, you can speak grapes. James Corrado would log 20 hour days, perto the owner here. In this age of big departments stores, sonally traveling through New Jersey and New York to you can’t do that normally.”

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Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Small Business

The Evolution of a Local Bar The Grande Saloon is the Real Neighborhood Bar & Grill By Joe Hawrylko

Owner Gerry Touhey stands in front of his landmark bar, the Grande Saloon, on Van Houten Ave.

Back when the Grande Saloon opened in 1974, Van Houten Ave. was an entirely different place. The Athenia neighborhood was dotted with dozens of popular bars and watering holes between Clifton Ave. and Third Ward Park in Passaic. Years later, changing trends, smoking laws and added liabilities and costs have contributed to the decline of the local watering hole. Yet, the Grande Saloon has withstood the tests of time by evolving from the local drinking spot to neighborhood bar and grill, complete with an expansive menu and plenty of seating for both drinkers and diners. “If you went back to the 70s and 80s, it was a drinking place. Now it’s totally different,” explained owner Gerry Touhey. “We had to evolve that way out of necessity. Unless you’re catering to college kids, it’s hard. 62 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Our niche is to appeal to people that want to be in the neighborhood where they know other people.” Gradually, the Saloon has transitioned from watering hole into bar and grill in order to better compete with other bars, as well as franchises like TGI Fridays, Applebee’s and Chevy’s. “We try to give an authentic experience. Applebee’s, their tag line is ‘The neighborhood bar and grill,’” explained Touhey. “That’s just a term telling you what to think. We’re the real deal. We are the neighborhood bar and grill.” The transformation has been in the making for a little more than a decade under the careful watch of Touhey’s old friend and former tavern owner John Blanos. Together, they developed a diverse menu that now attracts large dinner crowds that regularly fill up the

Saloon’s booths and tables across from the bar. “He’s a Clifton guy. He’s owned bars before,” said Touhey, who previously owned Fatso’s for two years in the 70s before opening the Grande Saloon. “He helps me out because he’s more of a foodie. He has helped me evolve the menu. It’s constantly in transition. We go out ourselves and shop at Restaurant Depot to pick up a lot of our own stuff to get a better deal. It’s hard to compete (with franchises) on food costs.” And while the expansive menu gives patrons a different reason to check out the Grande Saloon, Touhey said it is the service that makes them repeat customers. “My philosophy is that we’re in the hospitality business. Customers are our top priority,” he said. “We want to keep our customers, so we make sure we provide their needs. Any place is only as good as the employees. We have good bartenders. Our manager (Blanos) has been in the business his whole life.” That dedication to service is why generations of customers still frequent the Grande Saloon. “I joke with some customers saying, you’re 40 years old, you better watch your behavior or I’ll tell your mother and father,” he laughed. “What I always liked about my own bar is that it is a good melting pot. There’s construction guys at the bar and suit alongside suit and tie guys. It’s not just a blue collar bar or a professional watering hole.” And while the dinner crowd has helped this business thrive over the past decade, Touhey admitted that he is continuing to look for ways to

improve. Both he and his manager have been working on getting more use out of the basement bar, which resembles an old English pub. In the local bar heyday, both the upstairs and downstairs bars were open. Today, the basement is open for special events such as birthdays, repasses and the like. Touhey also pays close attention to detail, and regularly reinvests in his bar. Recent upgrades have

replaced his floors, booths, tables and televisions. “We have a good location here. We try to keep the place good looking,” said Touhey. “I always thought we had the potential (to be more of a restaurant). We have a free standing building. The location and place is nice enough to pull it off. Some people, the noise at the bar puts them off, but most people like it. It’s a very casual experience.”


Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Small Business

Pinball Wizards Repairing Machines for the Disabled By Carol Leonard

A patient uses one of the machines that was repaired by U Can Do.

For Ron Kochel, 58, and Gene Gulich, 56, life’s rewards are not always about making a profit. The longtime friends and business partners met as teenagers at a regional meeting of DeMolay, a leadership group they both belonged to as high school students. Gulich grew up in Clifton and Kochel was from West Caldwell. Today, the two own a busy and successful auto glass repair and replacement shop, A1 Auto Glass Plus on Main Ave. in Passaic, as well as an auto parts warehouse. But about 12 years ago they got involved in an unrelated side venture that has given them a sense of accomplishment that they could never have imagined. They developed a modified pinball machine that can be used by children and adults with cerebral palsy and other disabling conditions The idea came about one evening in 1998 when Kochel had Jim Miller, a salesman for their business, over to his home for dinner. Later in the evening, he asked Miller to check out his collection of old pinball machines and invited him to play a few games. Kochel was taken aback, 64 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

however, when Miller declined because he didn’t have the manual dexterity required to manipulate the controls due to the fact that he had polio as a young child. “I had never thought of Jim as being disabled in any way,” Kochel said. “He was extremely functional and to think that he couldn’t play pinball because his hands couldn’t work the flippers really bothered me.” The next day, Kochel told Gulich about the incident and the two brainstormed about some ideas to make it possible for Miller and others like him to play the game that Kochel loved so much. “Gene and I have always liked to tinker with stuff,” Kochel said. “He taught me about cars and I taught him about computers, and we always hung around with some bigbrained people.” In the beginning, their discussions about the pinball machine were pretty much that – just discussions. But some months later, Kochel was out on the road putting in a new windshield on a car window on Getty Ave. “It was extremely hot that day and I was dripping wet, killing myself doing this job,” he said. “Then, all of a sudden, I hear this kid’s voice behind me saying, wow that looks like fun. I turned around, really annoyed, and was about to tell him to get lost when there in front of me were six kids in wheelchairs.” The youngsters had come from the Passaic County Elks Cerebral Palsy High School nearby and were taking a ride around the block when they came across Kochel working on the car. “I stopped myself and just said, I’d rather be playing


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Small Business pinball,” he stated. “Then one of the kids said, oh, we can’t do that.” When Kochel went back to the shop, he described his encounter to Gulich. “I told Gene we have to do this,” Kochel said. “We have to find a way to make this thing work so these kids can play pinball.” The two spent months researching their ideas. “At the time, Gene and I didn’t know anything about the disabled community and what all their needs would be with something like this,” Kochel said. “We met with people at the cerebral palsy school and at Kessler (a rehabilitation institute) to learn more about how people in wheelchairs did things. They were very receptive to us and taught us a lot of what we needed to know to get this going.” Using a new computerized digital pinball machine, as opposed to the older mechanical type that Kochel mostly played on at home, the two partners continued their research and worked on their idea for about a year of trial and error before coming up with the first working prototype. The plan required them to reconfigure the computer board inside the machine to accommodate large control buttons that could be placed either on top of the machine or on the floor. This allows manually disabled players to use their elbows, head or feet to work the controls. For those who can’t use the buttons, they developed a plug-in device to accept any other type of industry-standard switches used by the disabled, such as sip-and-puff and eyebrow sensors. Kochel and Gulich delivered 66 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Owners Gene Gulich and Ron Kochel near one of their machines.

their first adapted pinball machine to the Cerebral Palsy High School in December 2000. It was the day of the school’s holiday party, so a lot of parents were also there to see the gift and witness their children’s faces light up as they got to play pinball for the first time in their lives. The parents were so excited about the adapted pinball machine that they encouraged Kochel and Gulich to continue making more of them. “We never intended this to become a business,” Gulich said. “It was supposed to be a one time thing for these kids, but they told us that we should go to one of the expos where companies display products for the disabled.” The first show that they went to was at William Paterson University. “Most of the vendors were from established companies, like Apple Computer, Kochel said.

And then there we were, two B’Sers from A1 Auto Glass.” Despite their lack of notoriety and experience, the partners’ booth was one of the hits of the show. A reporter from the New York Times who was there wrote an article about them and it gave Kochel and Gulich the encouragement to continue with their sideline. They named their new business U Can Do. Over the past decade, they have put together several hundred of their special pinball machines in a back corner of their auto glass repair shop, one by one, as they are ordered. Most of the machines have been purchased by public school districts, including Philadelphia and New York City, as well by private schools for the disabled and hospitals. They have also had a number of orders from philanthropists who

have donated the machines to others and directly from a few parents of disabled children for use in their homes. Kochel spoke of one woman in California who told him that the pinball machine not only helped her son, but her as well. “She literally could not leave the boy alone,” he said. “He used to scream whenever she left the room, until he started playing pinball. Now, she has her life back.” The adapted pinball machines offer both entertainment and therapeutic value to the disabled children and adults who use them. They also provide an opportunity for social interaction with non-disabled people, since the machines are designed to allow the latter to use the regular controls when playing together with someone who is disabled. Kochel and Gulich sell their

adapted pinball machines for $7,600. Although it sounds like a hefty price, it barely covers their expenses. “We’ve never taken a salary from the business,” Kochel said. “This has nothing to do with making money. We’ve learned so much about the community we


work with and we’ve met some very brilliant people along the way. We’ve changed people’s lives and that’s been our reward.” For further information about U Can Do and the adapted pinball machine, call 866-822-6362 or visit

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Business Advocate

Chief of the Chamber Brian Tangora is the new President of the NJRCC After 10 years of service, Gloria Martini stepped down from her position at the helm of the North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce at the end of December. The Chamber will now be under the direction of Brian Tangora, who has been serving as the group’s Vice President. After joining the Chamber in 2007, Tangora has left his mark in numerous ways, most notably as the founder and Chairman of the Young Professionals of North Jersey (YPNJ). With the help of a committee of twelve young professionals, the YPNJ hosts after-hour events benefiting local charitable organizations while offering networking opportunities to guests. “I founded the Young Professionals of North Jersey in 2008, with the mission to host after-hour events that benefit numerous charitable organizations. We believe in giving back to the community, so we work hard to help raise awareness and money for the chosen causes,” he explained. Nearly $30,000 has been raised to date. Some of the programs that have benefited include: Homes for Our Troops, Tomorrows Children’s Fund, American Cancer Society, United Way, Boys & Girls Club of Clifton, Wounded Warrior Project, Passaic County Elks Cerebral Palsy Treatment Center, American Heart Association, Banyan School, NJRCC Scholarship Foundation, Miracle Walk, American Red Cross, John Greco Memorial Scholarship Fund and local food pantrys. Known to many as “Brian from the Chamber”, Tangora works closely with government officials and business owners, building relationships with business professionals from Fortune 500 companies to small and medium sized businesses located throughout Passaic, Bergen and Morris Counties. Prior to joining the NJRCC, Tangora was at Costco Wholesale in Clifton, where he worked his way up from part-timer to management over a seven year span. He has over 14 years of experience in sales, management, member/customer relations and marketing, which has helped him launch a successful career at the Chamber. Tangora, who grew up in Clifton and attended School 68 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Brian Tangora with his wife, Stephanie. The couple married in October of 2010.

3 before graduating from Bloomfield High in 1997, currently serves on multiple committees within the Chamber, including its Board of Directors. In addition to the Chamber, Tangora is on the Board of Trustees for Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group and serves as its co-Chair of Marketing. As the new NJRCC president, Tangora said he would like to continue the programs started by his predecessors, while evolving with current economic times to aid member businesses in any way possible. “I want to make the NJRCC a staple in the community and the go-to organization for businesses to turn to when they want to build their business, increase contacts and market their product/service,” he explained. “I want to grow the Chamber by going out into the local communities and meeting with businesses face to face, in order to learn about their needs, concerns and ideas

that would help them grow and to simply let them know they have a Chamber that will be there for them.” “We have such positive, goodhearted, quality people as members in our organization, who really believe in working with one another to help build each other’s business,” continued Tangora. “This includes our Board of Directors, who volunteers their time, talents and expertise in helping to guide the Chamber in the right direction and provide key suggestions in deciding what functions and benefits the Chamber should offer to give our members the most value for their membership.” “It is an honor to carry on the legacy of the NJRCC set forth by past Chamber Presidents: Ira Schoem, George Homcy and now Gloria Martini,” he concluded. “I am excited to bring my energetic, forward-thinking style of leadership to the Chamber in order to create innovative ways for our members to grow their business and provide the most value to our membership.”

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Events & Briefs The Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey has completed its move to the Barnert Medical Arts Complex at 680 Broadway in Paterson. Visitors there will see a sample of their collection in a display case which features artifacts from Jewish lives. President Jerry Nathans has bigger plans for the group’s diverse collection and seeks support from the community. From Yiddish books printed in Paterson to wall hangings found on the streets of that city, the collection offers a unique look at New Jersey Jewish history that began in Paterson and Newark about 1840. The Jewish movement to Bergen County gathered steam about 1940.

Golda Meir, who would go on to become the fourth Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, visited Passaic in 1948. Others identified in the photo are Passaic Police Officer Hy Schwartz and Jane and Michael Kanter.

The YM/YWHA in Wayne was the Society’s original home until it ran out of space. Items were packed in 300 boxes and stored in diverse locations including Nathan’s Art Gallery, which was then in West Paterson. Most recently, boxes were at William Paterson University and inaccessible to the public and other pieces of the collection were “wandering for 30 years.” President Jerry Nathans added that he is not only creating an exhibition space but also building a board of directors and recruiting 70 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

volunteers. They need a skilled archivist to help sort our vast store of Judaic material, a lawyer and accountant. “The long- range goal is to establish a Jewish Heritage Center for Bergen, North Hudson and Passaic Counties,” said Nathans. “We want to create exhibits and open our archives for research to students, scholars and others who enjoy history,” Nathans is at Barnert on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 am to 3 pm. Email him at or call him Barnert at 862-239-4103.


The 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Jazz Festival and Dinner, presented by Shabazz Productions, will take place on Jan. 19 from 6 pm to midnight. The event will be held at the Church of the Assumption, 35 Orange Ave., Clifton. Featured performers include the Janet Van Kline Ensemble, Nutley High School Jazz Lab, Madame Pat Tandy and NuTaste Jazz Female Ensemble, Bridge Johnson and a Madame Pat Tandy performs Class Act, in Clifton on Jan. 19. Charisa Rouse, the Violin Diva and Jazzy Bear and Friends. Tickets are $35 in advance; $40 at the door. Call 973-478-4124.

The Clifton Arts Center Gallery will present Alchemy by hob’art co-operative gallery, an exhibit of various art media and styles. The exhibit opens Jan. 16 and is displayed until Feb. 23. A public reception is on Jan. 19 from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $3. Alchemy is traditionally defined in relation to chemistry, for example the transformation of metals. It also refers to magical powers of transmuting common substance into a substance of greater value. This group of artists have interpreted these definitions in a broad spectrum, exploring past and present or life or death in their art. In some cases, they are reinventing language and the incorporation of symbols as a mode of communication through their artwork Hob’art co-operative gallery has been in existence since 2002, founded by Liz Cohen, it is the first co-operative gallery in Hoboken. The Clifton Arts Center is located on the grounds of the Municipal Complex near the Well Water. It is open Wed. to Sun, from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $3. Info at:

The Ninth Annual Passaic County Film Festival is a juried exhibition of students’ and independent filmmakers’ work which showcases projects created by filmmakers who live, attend school, or work in Passaic County. All 10-minute entries must be the sole effort of those submitting the work. The application deadline is 4 pm on Jan. 30. There is no submission fee, entry to the festival on April 20 will be free, and screenings will take place at the Fabian 8 Theater in historic downtown Paterson. For info, call 973-569-4720 or e-mail At right, samples by various artists from the upcoming installation at the Clifton Arts Center entitled Alchemy.

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Events & Briefs The Relay for Life kickoff event will take place on Jan. 20 at 2 pm in the Senior Center on the City Hall Campus, 900 Van Houten Ave. The Relay for Life is an annual overnight run/walk held at Clifton Stadium. This year’s event will start on June 8 at 2 pm and run through the night until 6 am the following morning. The theme will be Las Vegas. Join your neighbors

in helping the Relay for life hit its Clifton goal of $11,000. RSVP by calling Beverly Provido-Sahu at 201-457-3418, ext. 2231. At right, luminary bags along the CHS track at last year’s Relay for Life. Each light is for a person who won the fight against cancer or did not. The luminaries remind participants to Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back.

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In our November edition, we incorrectly identified a man in the photo with Fette Ford founder Henry Fette on page 44. The unidentified customer was actually Jack Carson, an actor who was popular in the 40s and 50s. We thank the several readers who let us know about the error. Old Mustang Joseph F. Scancarella, a former state legislator and retired Passaic County Judge, was appointed to the NJ Commission of Investigation. The group is an independent watchdog agency that focuses on organized crime, government waste and corruption. Scancarella was sworn in on Nov. 28. The Clifton Stamp Society will hold meetings on Jan. 7 and 22 in the basement of the Community Recreation Center, 1232 Main Ave., from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Other upcoming dates are Feb. 4, March 4 and 18, April 1 and 16, May 6 and 20, and June 3 and 17. For info, visit Clifton-based group One More Once Big Band presents a Maynard Ferguson tribute concert on Jan. 16 at 7:30 pm at CHS with high-note trumpet specialist, Matt Gallagher playing the part of Maynard Ferguson. The program will include some Maynard hits such as Birdland and the MF Hits Medley. One More Once features many Clifton alumni: Lou Imparato, Glen Lebitsch, Ryan Krewer, Joe Verderese and Karen Verderese-Seiz, as well as current CCMS instrumental teacher, Tim Hayward. Tickets are $10, or $7 for students and seniors. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Clifton Mustang Band Alumni Association which assists the CHS Band with annual scholarships to graduating seniors. For more info, write to or Matthew Brody at

Clifton Super Bowl Family Day, Feb. 3 A family friendly event at the Boys & Girls Club which is alcohol, gambling & tobacco free. Bring your Swim Trunks, Open Gym, Pizza, Hot Dogs, Large Screen TVs... Thanks to our Sponsors, Admission is Free... BUT please bring a canned food item so we can make a donation to St. Peter’s Haven Food Bank. Sponsors include CASA, Clifton Against Substance Abuse & 1) Jim & Rita Haraka & Family 2) Rotary Club of Clifton 3) Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin 4) In memory of Florence, George H. Trinkle, Jr. & George H. Trinkle III 5) Barbara Dougherty in memory of Henry Dougherty 6) Clifton Police PBA Local 36 7) Clifton Firefighters FMBA Local 21 8) JSK Landscaping/The Bassford Family 9) Carlet, Garrison, Klein & Zaretsky

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Stage Door @ PCHS Ken Barilari will star as Keith Burgress in Stage Door at Paramus Catholic High School. Shows are at PC, 425 Paramus Rd., on Jan. 18 and 19 at 7:30 pm and Jan. 20 at 2 pm. Barilari, a senior at PCHS, attended St. Andrew the Apostle School through eigth grade. At PC, he has made appearances in the school’s fall drama, winter comedy and spring musical performances. Stage Door will be his ninth show and he will be in the lead role. Other Cliftonites in the show are Lana Scibona, a junior, and sophomore Austin Rio. “It’s been a complete honor and privilege to be able to work with and learn from such amazing people,” he said. “Paramus Catholic has become my second home and I couldn’t have picked a better school.” Beyond performance, Barilari, who has a GPA of 91, is involved in numerous clubs and programs in PCHS, including the Italian club, international language honor society and the National Honor Society. “I’m also a part of the Bridges Ken Barilari Does It All At Paramus Catholic Outreach Core Team. We make food and package clothing donations and lecting money and toys for families that were affected deliver them to the homeless in New York City,” he by the hurricane for Christmas.” explained. “I also am a part of the Catholic Social For more about PCHS, or tickets to the show, visit Justice Committee. We collect items for the ileged like school supplies, and we’re about to start col-

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Clifton Merchant • January 2013


CHS Class of 2013

Some of the models from left rear: Austin Feliciano, Matthew Melnik, Michael Duesler and Scott Malgieri. Front: Jennie Hornstra, Megan Pasch, Quinci Peri, Allison Green and Robert Kozielec. Below, left rear: Ankit Desai, Christopher Rosado, Jacqueline Bergen and Thomas Cotroneo. Front from left: Victoria Vail, Pratixa Rana, Alyssa-Ray Leon and Pocholo Bunagan.

The CHS Prom Fashion Show is March 3. The event is at the JFK Auditorium and is a major fundraiser for the Class of 2013. Models will be styling tuxedos donated by Deluxe Formal Wear of Clifton with gowns by Just Beautiful Boutique of Clifton, Vesa of Nutley and Group USA in Secaucus. Proceeds go to help pay for Project Graduation which will take place on June 28, right after commencement. Project Graduation is the lock-in at an undisclosed location to keep our graduating seniors safe from alcohol and drugs in a party like atmosphere. The seniors meet at CHS and are taken by bus to the party place at 10 pm. They remain at the location where there is plenty of food and frolic with doors locked until 5 am when they are returned to CHS. Salons interested in participating should call Maryann Cornett at 973-779-5678. 76 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Student of the Month

A Dedicated Volunteer Student of the Month Dania Niwash Likes to Help Those in Need By Joe Hawrylko As a CHS senior, Dania Niwash is just a few months from graduation and already fielding acceptances and scholarship offers from several schools. It’s a nice reward for four years of hard work. However, the student of the month said that she would not have the success she has had thus far if it was not for lessons learned at home. “It definitely took many years to get my work ethic to where it is right now. I juggle so many things and that takes a lot of practice. I got my work ethic from my mom (Nawal) and my dad (Marwan), and my little brother (Rami) too,” explained Niwash. “It doesn’t come easy. You need to understand what is important to you, what is worth dedicating your time to and then actually dedicating your time.” One such activity is the Key Club, which Niwash has been a member of all four years at CHS. “In my sophomore year, the position of editor was held for me for the following year,” explained Niwash. “Our advisor, Mrs. Turk, said she saw potential in me. She had a lot of influence on me... just the way she deals with everything. I definitely look up to her. She’s very giving, and so genuine. You’d be crazy to not look up to her. She’s just such a fun person...” Niwash said Turk’s nature reminds the senior of her mother. “It’s funny but it it’s also one of the reasons I look up to my mom.” After serving as the Key Club editor as a junior, Niwash was appointed Vice President for her senior year. “We do a lot of things for the Rec Center, fo UNICEF and several other groups. We fundraise a lot for many charities,” she explained. “I just have always been one to help people.” In addition to the Key Club, Niwash also volunteers her time as an assistant at the Islamic Center of Passaic County, where she serves as a teacher. “I’ve done it for the past two summers, as well as Sunday school classes,” explained Niwash, who is of Palestinian descent and speaks fluent Arabic. The stu-

Student of the Month Dania Niwash. Niwash is an active volunteer with the Key Club at CHS and the Islamic Center of Passaic County.

dents that she teaches range in age from four to 15. “I’ve accumulated more than hours from volunteering at the Islamic Center.. It’s teaching them morals, as well as teaching them religion.” Besides volunteering, Niwash is also on the yearbook committee, and has been a three year member of the academic decathlon, as well as CAST. “I love CAST. It’s definitely one of my favorite hobbies,” she said. Niwash has a regular segment on the morning news—Music Video Friday—and also had a music show that aired Monday nights on the Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Student of the Month Clifton channel at 7 pm. While TV and video production has been an interest for some time, it won’t be what Niwash studies at college in the fall. Instead, she is setting her sights on a career in the medical field. This past summer, Niwash par-

78 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

ticipated in Aim High Academy, a three week program at William Paterson University in which prospective students live in the school’s dorms while attending a variety of science courses. “I took anatomy and physiology. Those classes helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. It was a really fun experience,” she said. “I definitely want to do something in the health field.” Although Niwash is currently leaning towards studying pharmacy, she also has a strong interest in psychology and is considering majoring in two fields in the fall. “I’ve always just been really interested in people and mental illnesses. I could just read about it for days,” she explained. “It just has always interested me.” Currently, Niwash is still undecided about where she will study in

the fall. The only thing she knows for sure is that she plans on commuting to save money and to stay close to family. “I’ve already been accepted to Rutgers, Montclair, William Paterson,” she said. “I’ve got scholarships from Montclair, FDU and NJIT too.” Niwash, who is a National Honor Society member and expects to be a four year recipient of Distinguished Honors, is waiting to see how much scholarship money she receives before deciding. “It will probably be Rutgers or MSU,” she said. “Montclair has a pharmacy program where you go for three years at MSU and then go to Rutgers. But Rutgers also had a pharmacy program as well. Right now I am waiting to hear back from them about being accepted into those pharmacy programs.”

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Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Birthdays & Celebrations - January 2013 Becca Potocki & Alyssa Phillhower share a birthday on Jan. 1.

Joe Frost is 108 on Jan. 1. Vicky Petrovic will party on Jan. 5. Cindy Hawrylko is 22 Jan. 22.

Happy Birthday to... Send dates & Shaun LaGala .................... Connie Zangara ................. Chrissy Cetinich.................. Matthew Delaney................ Amanda Esposito................ Kristin Reilly........................ Steven Hrina....................... Rosalie Konopinski .............. Ray Krenc .......................... Emily Zawicki ..................... Mohamad Bekheet.............. Missy Fazio........................ Alexander Ortiz.................. Jeremy Delaney ..................

1/1 1/1 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/3 1/3 1/3 1/3 1/5 1/5 1/5 1/6

80 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Gay Eaclie ......................... 1/6 Larry Homsany ................... 1/8 Amanda Curtiss .................. 1/9 Ariana Hryckowian............. 1/9 Joseph Perzely .................... 1/9 Fatma Bekheet .................. 1/10 Ronald Calo ..................... 1/10 Richie DeMarco................ 1/10 Michael Gorny ................. 1/11 Katy Sokolik ..................... 1/11 Nicole Unis ...................... 1/11 Megan Duffy .................... 1/12 Daisy Colman................... 1/13 Rob Generalli ................... 1/14

Joe Musleh ....................... Mark Stuart ...................... Kyle Santiago................... Susan Hernandez ............. Jennifer Montanile............. Steve Nikithser, Jr.............. Matthew Soprano ............. Anna Tatarenko ................ Kim Barilari ...................... Erica Pangilinan................ Lindsay Dueben ................ Luke Falzo........................ Payton Bogatch................. Douglas Ciallella .............. Matthew Gorun ................ Daniel Shackil .................. Evelyn Montague .............. Cheryl Vigh...................... Catherine Coloccia ........... Greg Collucci ................... Jamie Mikolajczyk ............ Larissa Unis ...................... Robert Duffy ..................... Ashley Gagnon ................

1/14 1/14 1/15 1/16 1/16 1/16 1/16 1/17 1/18 1/19 1/20 1/20 1/21 1/21 1/21 1/22 1/23 1/23 1/24 1/24 1/24 1/24 1/25 1/25

Susan Angello celebrates her 55th birthday with Rocky and Joey on Jan. 25. Debbi Koch.................... Michelle Nahass............. Karen Rice ..................... Gianna Caramucci ......... Nicholas Grippo ............ Scott Crawford ............... Patrick Ferrara III ............ Robert C. Henn .............. Stephanie Smith.............. Alexis Camp .................. Donna Chipura .............. Laura Kuruc.................... Sean Sabo..................... Evangeline Joy Kohler ..... Jessica Sonn...................

1/26 1/26 1/26 1/27 1/27 1/28 1/28 1/28 1/28 1/30 1/30 1/30 1/30 1/31 1/31

Skylar De Santis turns 8 on Jan. 17. Clifton Merchant • January 2013


Clifton Reunion Clifton winemaster Mike Bertelli and his school mate Gene Farrell were among the first graduates of St. Andrew the Apostle School some six decades ago. “When our doors opened on February 2, 1953 parents eagerly enrolled their children in the new Catholic School on Mt. Prospect Ave.,” said Principal Sr. Margaret Murphy. “Families continue to register children from pre-K through eighth grade in a school whose reputation has stood the test of time.” St. Andrews is a generational school. “We have alumni teachers such as Barbara Hagen who graduated from St. Andrews, sent her two children there and teachers there now,” she continued. “Our school secretary Barbara Hayes sent her two children here, now her grandson attends. And her husband Jack and their daughter Christine Ross

The 1971 8th grade graduating class with Sister Kathleen Harrington.

run the Boy Scouts at St. Andrews. You never get anyone who cares more than Mrs Hayes.” Join in the Diamond Year Celebration of St. Andrew School. Alumni and family and the public

Small, Caring Environment, High Expectations, Religious Teachings

St. Andrew the Apostle School 418 Mt. Prospect Ave • Clifton • 973-473-3711

An investment in your child’s future with a Catholic School Education pays Dividends for Life. Our students learn values that prepare them for a successful lifelong journey. Come to an Open House.

• Sun., Jan 27, 12:30-2 pm • Tues. Jan 29, 1-2:30 pm • Thurs., Jan 31, 9:30-11:30 am Or call for an Appointment

82 January 2013 • Clifton Merchant

are invited to the Opening Mass on Feb. 3 at 11:15 am followed by refreshments and a tour of the school. A 60th Anniversary Gala is planned for May 2. To help out or for tickets, call 973-473-3711.

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