Clifton Merchant Magazine - January 2011

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

This Year’s #1 Resolution:


The Decade That Was

Healthy New Year!

Mustang Hoops History

CHS Student of the Month

Stories that Helped Shape Clifton from 2000 to 2010

Suggestions for Keeping Those Shape-up Resolutions

We Remember CHS Coach Emil Bednarcik

Michelle Lima: Soccer, Lax and Studies Keep Her Focused


My Mowimy Po Polsku (Dentystka)


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

As Clifton Grows, So Do We By Tom Hawrylko

s you have come to expect, we bring you a mixed bag of news, features and photos every month. On the facing page, we open with a powerful essay by Christopher de Vinck, the Language Arts Supervisor at CHS, and the author of 12 books. We began publishing his work a few months ago and it has become a popular feature. On page 81, you’ll find another personal essay celebrating the life of legendary Mustang Basketball Coach Emil Bednarcik, written by Jack DeVries. Jack has been with us almost from the beginning. He is a homegrown Lakeview kid and another accomplished writer who loves to paint his tales of history and sports with great photos and anecdotes In between are 70 pages of other stories and photos of Clifton residents, its schools, businesses and politics. Written and coordinated by Joe Hawrylko, there are accounts of the accomplishments of our young Mustangs, a review of 2010 in photos and words, even a glimpse to the significant events of this past decade.


On Our Cover Americans have the lowest savings rate in the developed world. We met with Richard Bzdek, Jeff Angello, Bart D’Ambra and others to discuss savings strategies. See the story on page 68.

Reviewing this, I must say that thanks to people like Chris, Jack and Joe, Clifton Merchant Magazine has become a diary of our city, a good and respectable reader’s magazine. I am proud to be at the helm of this publication and to write these words: As Clifton Grows, So Do We. As we enter our 16th year of publication, our goal is to continue to be the diary of Clifton, a publication that evolves with our city and documents the changes. Our magazine is here thanks to you—the advertisers who invest in our pages and the readers and subscribers who look forward to our monthly photos and stories. To all of you, I offer my thanks and pledge that we will continue to cover Clifton like no other publication can. We have a couple of things going on for us to make that statement: our size, the style and our content. That’s our niche. To stay as the leading publication of our city, we need your help. Please send us more notes, news and photos about your neighbors and friends. With your input, we will continue to produce a magazine that truly reflects, reports and acknowledges all the good things going on in our community. Our magazine is here thanks to you and we are here to serve Clifton. 16,000 Magazines

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January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

We are proud to publish the 5th edition of the Map of Clifton. Subscribers will get one mailed to their homes. Others can get a copy at participating advertisers. Turn to page 45 for locations where you can pick up the 2011 Map of Clifton at no charge.

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

The agony of an ill child By Christopher de Vinck

ne September many years ago my young daughter, Karen, woke up in the middle of a Saturday night with severe pain in her right foot. “Mommy, it hurts so much.” I vaguely heard the commotion as I slid back into sleep. The next morning, my wife Roe is much larger than the others in her spoke about Karen's difficult night, foot. That concerns me.” the pain in her foot. “Perhaps And so began the very first time someone ought to look at it.” any of our children was threatened Our regular doctor didn't have by a force beyond a mother's and Sunday-morning hours, so we father's protection. thought it best to take Karen to the “What does it mean?” Roe asked. emergency facility on the highway. “I’d like to order some tests on Twenty minutes later, I carried my Karen: a bone scan, a blood test, and daughter into the lobby of the small an MR.” brick building. “But what does it mean?” After my wife and I filled out “Well, that bone. It is abnormally some forms, we were quickly large. There's a reason: an infection, introduced to a young doctor. X rays a fracture, perhaps a tumor. These of the foot were taken. tests will begin to tell us more.” “A simple bone chip,” the doctor The tests told us more. The MR. pointed out. “I am not qualified to indicated that her bone was not wrap the foot. You'll need to see an broken. The blood test didn't detect an orthopedic surgeon. He'll know if infection. The bone scan pointed to she needs a soft or hard cast.” the flare-up in Karen's foot. After three Two days afterward, Roe stepped weeks of tests, the orthopedic surgeon into the orthopedic surgeon's office looked at the results and urged us to with Karen and the X rays. take Karen to the Sloan-Kettering After the new doctor examined Cancer Center in New York City. Karen's foot and looked at the films, I will never forget the image of he said to Roe, “There is something nine-year-old Karen walking through more here. It isn't a bone chip. The the hospital doors clutching the large first doctor's diagnosis is an honest x-ray envelope against her chest. mistake. You see here?” The “We really can't tell what is going surgeon pointed it out to my wife. on in Karen's foot at the moment,” “This does look like a chip on the the new doctor told us after bone, but it is really quite normal.” examining the x-rays. “She will Roe looked at the black-and-gray have to have a biopsy.” film illuminated against the light. I thought a biopsy would be a “But look here,” the doctor simple needle inserted into the bone. continued. “Do you see this bone? It “I’d like to admit Karen on


Monday,” the doctor said. “I’11 perform the surgery on Tuesday morning, and if all goes well, Karen can go home on Wednesday.” “Excuse me,” I said. “What did you say? Karen will have to stay overnight?” Not until I was home and Karen was in bed did I fully understand what was happening. The doctors suspected that Karen had cancer. We live our lives in the rhythms of drama, between ordinary routines and sudden jolts. I had thought until this point in my life that I could protect my children. The poet Derek Walcott said that he liked growing up in the Caribbean. Living so close to the sea as a child, he said, gave him a sense of things larger than he was out there, things vast and powerful. There is no power on this earth greater than death. I am still foolish enough, or young enough, to believe I can fight death as it tries to press against my daughter. I was a madman, believing in my superior strength in opposition to so vast and powerful a thing, this cancer. On the morning of the biopsy, an anesthesiologist stepped up to Karen’s bed and placed a green surgical cap on my daughter's head. As Karen tucked her long brown hair under the cap, the doctor told her she looked like a fashion model. The only thing Karen had wanted to bring to the hospital was Penny, her new Disney Dalmatian January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


plush dog with its pink name tag. Penny traveled with Karen through the admissions office. Penny sat on Karen’s lap when the intravenous tube was thrust into her vein. Just as the nurse began to push Karen toward the operating room, my wife reached over to take Penny, for we were told our daughter couldn't have anything with her during surgery. “Oh, Karen can take Penny,” said the nurse, with her beautiful Dutch accent.


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

As Karen was wheeled away from us, she waved, Penny tucked under her arm. We all endure hints of anguish differently. I wanted to stop the play, send the director to lunch, take Roe and Karen home and forget the whole thing. I was able to teach Karen how to ride a bicycle. I was able to comfort her when she had a fever. I couldn't take her away from the surgeons. Roe and I spent the longest two hours of our lives sitting together in the hospital lobby as we waited to

hear the biopsy results. The morning sun leaned against us. Finally, down the hall, I could see, among the hospital crowds, our doctor in his green surgical gown. “It looks good. I saw no evidence of cancer, no evidence of a tumor or an infection. I think it is a stress fracture. The bone in her foot sustained a trauma of some sort. The bone is bent and her body thinks it is broken, so her immune system is simply trying to repair the supposed damage. We couldn't tell this without the biopsy. She’s going to be fine.” Roe and I were allowed to be with Karen right after the surgery. Our daughter was curled up under a blanket. A mist of steam was pumped around her face. “Is she all right?” I asked the nurse. “She’s fine. She's just waking up. The steam helps her. The doctor said your daughter is fine. We don't get much good news in this recovery room.” I pulled Karen’s blanket over her bare shoulders, and there, on the other side of her little bed, I found Penny, wearing a green surgical mask and cap. Roe and I celebrate and sing that Karen doesn’t have cancer. We human beings ought to celebrate and sing in praise of men and women who devote their lives to a career so filled with stress, sadness and, sometimes, joy at Sloan-Kettering. We can be grateful for the development of scientific research and discoveries, but let us not forget that someone took the time to tie a little hat and mask around a toy dog just so a child could wake up and smile no matter what the outcome of her test. Vast and powerful indeed.

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Vinnie Gulardo, owner of The Hair Place at Clifton Ave. and Clifton Blvd., is one of many small business owners in town celebrated in the January edition.

Hirings and Retirement in the Month of January


he City of Clifton swore in five new police officers to ring in the New Year: Jeffrey Eelman, Justin Varga, Alexander Zamora, Sean Connor and Nigel Gough. The five individuals—all Veterans—were sworn in at a ceremony on January 5. The total number of Clifton cops now stands at 150.

Vinny Colavitti Sr., shown here in a 1998 photo with his sons Kevin (left) and Vinny Jr., retired from the Passaic Fire Department on Jan. 1 after 41 years of service. The Cliftonite’s two sons took after pops: Kevin is a Lieutenant with the PFD and Vinny is a Captain in the Clifton Fire Department.


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

However, that figure is still eight short of the number called for by the Clifton Police Department Table of Organization. The CPD was able to scrape together money for the hirings because of an agreement between the City Council and the Board of Education to pay $500,000 towards keeping the School Resource Officers in CHS, the Annex and middle schools. A 17 year old was stabbed in the back in a brawl on Jan. 4 that involved 8-10 people from Clifton and Paterson. Police were unsure if the incident was a result of gang activity or an ongoing dispute. Some of the people arrested have ties to local gangs. Rosemarie Harvey, city resident for 51 years, wins $50,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. She was profiled by this magazine in January.

The January edition celebrated small businesses. Pictured above are some members of the Clifton Licensed Beverage Association. From left is CLBA President Fred Barnes of Dingo’s Den & Dingbatz, Rob Corujo of Pub 46 and Joey Barcellona of Bliss Lounge. The Fifth Annual CCMS Cut-A-Thon to support Locks of Love took place on Jan. 25.

The city expects to save approximately $1 million CHS Principal Jimmie Warren. His name was pulled this coming year by replacing old bulbs and light fixfrom consideration later that month. Many had questures with energy efficient lights. The new installtioned if the position was even necessary, claiming that ments are expected to last up to 100,000 hours, use 30the district is top heavy with administrators. 40 percent less electricity and contain less mercury. Controversial plans to demolish the Jubilee Diner An agreement between exiting Governor Jon on Allwood Rd. and replace it with a McDonalds are Corzine and his replacement, Chris Christie, results in a scrapped. With many residents against the plan, the number of appointments to various posts. In the process, Council and Board of Adjustment came out against it as four Clifton residents were tapped. well, leading diner owner Tony Prekas to activate a Vicki Citrino, was named to workers’ compensation clause in his lease with McDonalds to void the contract. judge was approved by the Senate on Monday. BOE The property was later renovated by the Logothetis commissioner John Traier was nominated to serve on the family and opened in December as the Allwood Diner. Commission on Civil Rights. Salaheddin Mustafa, was under consideration for appointment to the Board of Higher Education Assistant Authority. Councilman Peter Eagler was appointed to the Commission on New Americans and the Eastern European-American Heritage Commission in the Department of State. The BOE began to take steps to replace outgoing assistant superintendent Dr. Maria Nuccetelli, whose contract expired on March 15. Nuccetelli, the former Passaic county Superintendent of Steph Gore, Brielle Murray, Danielle Karcz and Sarah Block bartended at Schools, was perhaps best known in The Clif Tavern on Clifton Ave. at a Jan. 30 fundraiser for Murray’s friend Clifton for her spearheading of a failed whose family was in Haiti for the Jan. 12 earthquake. Bar owner Skip Kazer campaign to bring school uniforms to the donated a portion of his proceeds and the girls raised $1,000. Above right: district last year. The Board, interested Clifton High School Student of the Month Luis Urdanivia, a senior, is profiled in the January Clifton Merchant Magazine. in hiring from within, had set its eyes on January 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Love is in the air—February featured stories about love, romance and marriage—as the cover couple Mike and Kate Urciuoli illustrate.

Clifton Family Super Bowl Party Feb. 7


everal hundred Cliftonites stopped by the Boys & Girls Club on Feb. 7 for the annual Family Super Bowl Party, a alcohol, drug and gambling-free event that is put together each year with the help of generous sponsors. The Club opens its gym and pool for fun and games. This year, the families watched on two big screen TVs as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 31-17. With support from Rob Corujo of Pub 46 and Joey Barcellona of Bliss Lounge, the 2010 Police Unity Tour members had a good start to reaching their $22,000 fundraising goal. On Dec. 10, Pub 46 kicked things off with the first fundraiser. That was followed by the Jan. 22 Cocktails for a Cause at Bliss Lounge. While the fundraising tends to be funfilled, the theme of the ride says it all—We Ride For Those Who Have Died. The mission is to remember every police officer killed in the line of duty, including our brother, Clifton Police Officer John Charles Samra whose end of watch was November 21, 2003. For more on the 2011 tour and fundraising plans, see page 90 or go to To make a donation, call Clifton Police Officer John Kavakich at 973-470-5897 or Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

Mayor James Anzaldi (above, with volunteer Marie Angello of American Coin & Stamp on Main Ave.) stopped by the Boys & Girls Club to volunteer and serve hot dogs to the crowd. The girls at the right were some of the several hundred individuals and families that showed up for the alcohol-, drug- and gambling-free event. 10

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Jorge and Ada Arana on their wedding day June 27, 1982. Vijay and Joyti Bhatia who married in 1994. Lisa DeGregory with Billy Meltzer who wed on June 6, 1981. Don and Melissa Jaycox celebrated 35 years of mariage on Aug. 25.

February also marked the beginning of the Clifton Merchant 2010 Council Race coverage. Six candidates were vetted by the City Clerk for the race by the February deadline and interviewed in Feb: Mayor James Anzaldi, incumbents Steve Hatala, Peter Eagler, Matt Ward, Frank Fusco and challenger Dave D’Arco.

It is announced that Sal Anzaldi will take over as head coach of the CHS Lady Mustangs softball program. As a preview to the season, writer Carol Leonard spoke with the 63 year-old retired Clifton principal and teacher, who has spent more than 30 years on both sides of the softball field fence as a parent, coach and fan of the game. In the wide ranging interview, Anzaldi discussed his philosophy of coaching, his reasons for taking the position and his plans and dreams for the future of the CHS softball program.

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973-365-2513 Tues/Wed: 8-5 • Thurs/Fri 8-7 • Sat 7:30-4:30 Top left, clockwise: Sal Anzaldi, the new Lady Mustangs softball coach. Najat Helwani is the CHS Student of the Month. Legendary CHS boys soccer coach Fernando Rossi passed away on Feb. 23. In his 23 year career, the 60 year old compiled a record of 353-95-51, including a State Sectional Title in 1994.

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Councilman Joe Cupoli announces that he will not seek re-election in an exclusive and wide ranging interview with Clifton Merchant

Prom Fashion Show March 10


he Clifton High School Prom Fashion Show ushered in the month on March 10. Held in The Venetian in Garfield on March 10, the event was a success, with several local businesses donating goods and services to support this vital fundraiser for graduating seniors.

CHS seniors modeled tuxedos from Deluxe Formal Wear and gowns from Angelica-La Faye Fashions. Hairworks Urban Oasis, Lunar E Clips,

Students model some wears and styles at the Prom Fashion Show on March 10 at The Venetian. At right, CHS Student of the Month Jennie Tietjen.


Santa Fe Hair and Nail Salon, Guy Anthony Hair Salon and Nina’s Hair Salon all assisted in making the students look their best. St. Philip’s Knights of Columbus donated flowers, and AGL Welding supplied the helium for balloons.

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

The money generated from this event went towards Project Graduation, which was held after the field walk on June 23 later that year. Councilman Joe Cupoli breaks the news in the Clifton Merchant Magazine that he will not seek re-election in May after just one term in office. Cupoli cited the inefficiency of government, the negative influences in the community and his commitment to his business, P&A Autoparts, and his family, as the reasons for not seeking reelection. He also indicated that he may possibly consider running for a Board of Ed seat in the future. The Cupoli feature led the political coverage in March, which continued with profiles on the following candidates: Dan Brown, Joe Chidiac, Roy Noonburg, Suzanne Sia, George Silva and Andy White. Candidate Mary Sadrakula opted not to partake in interviews after failing to return several messages left for her in the weeks leading up to our press deadline.

In the March edition, Jeff Labriola and Clifton Police Captain Robert Rowan were profiled. The two were honored on May 2 at the Passaic-Clifton Optimist Awards Dinner. The recipients, from left to right, were Labriola, Friend of Youth Award, Rowan, Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award, Barbara Watterston, Community Service Award and Jake Kuepfer, Clifton Optimist Lifetime Achievement Award.

Meet the Candidates Night was held on March 12 at Bliss Lounge, 955 Allwood Rd., from 4 to 9 pm. The event was sponsored by Bliss owner Joey Barcelona and members of the Clifton Licensed Beverage Association, with support from Clifton Merchant Magazine. March also saw the Board of Ed race deadline, with a total of ten people having filed to qualify on the ballot. Incumbent Norm Tahan filed but would later drop from the race. City resident and longtime BOE Council Anthony D’Elia was appointed as West New York’s assistant town attorney on Feb 17. He served as the Clifton BOE attorney for nearly two decades. Clifton hires its first female fire fighter, Angelina Tirado. The 26 year old is the daughter of Alberto Tirado, a Cliftonite and Passaic Fire Fighter who died in the line of duty in 2001. Also taking the oath of office as firefighters that day were John Bradley and Patrick Cassidy. EPA recognizes Clifton for outstanding partnership in EPA recycling programs. City Recycling Coordinator Al DuBois said the city

will receive the award at a ceremony in Virginia later in March. Since joining the EPA WasteWise Program in 1994, Clifton has perennially ranked among top cities nation wide.

Governor Chris Christie announces a state-wide cut of more than $800m in funding. Clifton will lose more than $7m, more than a quarter of state aid it received last year.

Gary Giardina was sworn in as Clifton’s 9th Police Chief on Friday, March 26. About 500 people attended the ceremony which included people from most every neighborhood in the city, elected officials, and public safety officials from neighboring municipalities. Also in attendance were the two prior chiefs. From left, Frank Lo Gioco, who served from March 1, 1990 to May 31, 2002. He was followed by Robert Ferreri who held the office from June 1, 2002 to March 1, 2010. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Cliftonite and former Mustang Nikki Krzysik goes pro in Women’s Professional Soccer and is profiled by Clifton Merchant in April

Demikoff, Passenti & Kowal win in BOE race


oters went with the familiar face in the April 20 election, with former Board President Wayne Demikoff placing first with 3,086 votes. Newcomer Gary Passenti had 3,047 votes and Mary Kowal, another former commissioner, captured the final spot with 2,783 votes.

Jeffery Lao — CHS Student of the Month

The rest of the results are as follows: Kim Renta, 2,674, Barbara Novak, 2,254, Jack Houston, 2,235, Phil Binaso, 2,175 and Joe Fazio, 1,056. Gina Marie Scaduto, who filed to run and later unofficially withdrew, received 508 votes. The $114 million budget was defeated by a 3,721 to 3,640 vote, meaning the Board and City Council must hold meetings to determine what alterations—if any—to make. The small margin in the budget election was surprising, as Governor chris Christie urged voters to defeat budgets at the polls in light of the recession. Statewide, more than half of all budgets failed. Renta, who served two consecutive terms on the Board, was the only incumbent in the race. Jim St. Clair announced earlier in the year that he would not seek re-election after just one term on the Board. Norm Tahan, a longtime commissioner and Clifton Deputy Fire

Chief, initially planned to defend his seat but pulled his name from the ballot before the filing deadline. This election was considered more important than in the past because of the fractured nature of the Board, which became divided due to overcrowding and spending issues over the past few years. Those up for re-election represented three seats of the ‘Board majority’, which was comprised of Renta, Tahan, St. Clair, Lou Fraulo and John Traier. The opposing faction was represented by Board President Jim Daley, Michael Paitchell, Joe Yeamans and Paul Graupe. On April 28, the new Board commissioners held the annual reorganization meeting and re-appointed Daley as President and selected Paitchell as Vice President. Council coverage also continued in April, with profiles on Anthony Genchi,

BOE candidates Wayne Demikoff, Gary Passenti, Mary Kowal, Kim Renta, Barbara Novak, Jack Houston, and Joe Fazio. Candidate Phil Binaso refused to sit for an interview with this magazine and provided no photo. 14

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Joe Kolodziej and Joan Salensky. Brothers Ray and Matt Grabowski, and Frank Gaccione declined interview requests in April. Casey Hawrylko and friends Becca Potocki and Victoria Petrovic raised over $1,000 for the April 16 Relay of Life at Montclair State. The Passaic County Elks Cerebral Palsy High School held School Spirit Week April 26-30. Students at the Union Ave. school made their own floats and had a parade in the Candyland theme. Staff and students also held a chicken barbecue throwdown, a powder puff football game and other events. For info on Clifton’s three CP centers, call 973-772-2600. Bottom: On April 29, NYC Firefighter Joe O’Donnell (second from left), assists in training. From left: Clifton Firefighters Eric Marshaleck, Pete Schmidt, Dave McCann and Frank Yodice. Kneeling is Lt. Brett Blake and Firefighter Will Espinoza.

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant



We present a Tribute to Clifton’s Fallen Heroes of Vietnam and share their stories of honor & sacrifice and to keep their memories eternal

Make it six: Jim Anzaldi is elected mayor again


y the time he is up for re-election again in May of 2014, there will be a full generation of Cliftonites that have only known Jim Anzaldi as mayor. The son of a Passaic mailman earned his sixth term on May 11 with 5,667 votes—nearly 1,400 more than second place. Despite the criticism the Council had received over the last four years, four of five incumbents that ran for election— Anzaldi, Steve Hatala, Peter Eagler and Matthew Ward—retained their seats. Only Frank Fusco failed in his re-election bid. Longtime Councilwoman Gloria Kolodziej retired the previous summer, and Joe Cupoli did not run. Joseph Kolodziej was listed as a challenger, but the former BOE President and

son of Councilwoman Kolodziej was hardly new to politics. Mary Sadrakula and Matthew Grabowski earned their seats despite not having any political background. Other familiar faces in the race included former Councilman Frank Gaccione, who lost his seat in a failed re-election campaign in 2006. Joseph Chidiac, George Silva and Roy Noonburg also ran in that same year unsuccessfully.

Council Results Pg. 49

James Anzaldi

Steve Hatala

Matthew Grabowski 16

Peter Eagler

Matthew Ward

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Mary Sadrakula

Joseph Kolodziej

Domenica Perrone, CHS Student of the Month, also wrote for the Merchant in the June Graduation edition.

Excessive high heel wear will lead to neuromas, hammer & claw toes, bunions or bone spurs. The solution? Wear higher versions only briefly, use insoles and as a last resort, consider minimally invasive surgery.

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Frank Fusco

Raymond Grabowski

Suzanne Sia

Dan Brown

Dave D’Arco

Frank Gaccione

Andy White

Joan Salensky

Joseph Chidiac

George Silva

Roy Noonburg

Anthony Genchi

Edna Siver considers herself very lucky to be living a modestly comfortable life in these hard economic times. But the spry great grandmother who just turned 94 grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s, so she knows what it’s like to have to make ends meet. She shares her life story in the May edition Ellie Schimpf will reach a milestone that many others of us hope that we, too, will achieve someday in good health and with a sound mind. On May 20, Schimpf will celebrate her 90th birthday. In another interview, she share her secret to a long life: Love and be Loved Clifton celebrated Memorial Day with the parade and ceremonies in Allwood, Downtown Clifton, Athenia and Albion. The Avenue of Flags sported 1,400 banners to honor vets. The Field of Honor for those killed in action was dedicated on May 30.

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Clifton fights cancer: The annual Relay for Life event took place on June 12 at Clifton Stadium raising $78,000 in memory of the fallen

Mustang seniors take to Clifton Stadium


total of 654 seniors donned Mustang maroon cap and gowns on June 23, trotting across the turf of Joe Greco Field to receive a diploma. For the Clifton High School seniors pictured here, it was a day they’ll never forget. The stands were packed full with more than 5,000 spectators, who watched on in wonderful warm weather, a stark contrast to the storm that hung overhead in the previous year’s graduation ceremony.


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

After the seniors left the stadium as graduates, they trekked back to the high school, where the students loaded up into buses for Project Graduation. The annual drug and alcohol free event is held at a

Our June edition features 72 pages of the hopes, dreams and photos of Clifton kids who graduated from CHS and other high schools. Above are five of the kids featured on our pages: Corey Meyer, Chelsea Rae Alessio, Andrew Nader Saad, Lauren Hrina and Vasil Martiko. At left, CHS Student of the Month Ariel DeLeon.

secret venue each year and is chaperoned by volunteers and teachers. Because of fundraising efforts, such as the Prom Fashion show and other events, and support from the PTSA, the tickets were just $65 this year, a $15 reduction. Students partied overnight and were returned home safely in the morning. Project Graduation Coordinator Mary Ann Cornett also got assistance from the Passaic-Clifton UNICO, which donated $500 to the cause. UNICO hosted its annual Spring Concert at Bliss Lounge on June 4. Bliss owner and UNICO member Joey Barcelona graciously hosts this annual event, which acts as a major fundraiser for the organization, which in turn donates money to the high school. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant



The Reunion Edition: Clifton Merchant looks back at CHS classes ending in Zero... CHS ‘41, 51, ‘61, ‘71, ‘81, ‘92, ‘01, tell us your stories this year!

Remembering Jimmy Hoey & David Nicholas


he Second Annual Jimmy Hoey Memorial Golf Outing was held on July 19 at the Greenbrook Country Club, North Caldwell. Proceeds went to benefit numerous charitable causes in honor of the former CHS Student.

Hoey tragically passed away two years in an accident at the age of 17. His family preserves him memory through a number of avenues. A scholarship for graduating CHS seniors is awarded each year and family has created the Jimmy Hoey Memorial


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Jimmy Hoey

Foundation, which allowed the Hoeys to raise funds to purchase two horses for the Somerset Handicapped David Nicholas Riding Stables. The Foundation also assists two handicapped Boy Scout troops.


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January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

From left to right: Katerina Dimitratos, a CHS 2005 grad, competed in the Miss United States Pageant in Las Vegas from July 9-16.. Former Clifton Merchant graphic designer Andre Olave and Maggie DeMolli wed on July 1. BOE Commissioner Wayne Demikoff looks back at his glory days as a Mustang on the gridiron in the July Edition.

The Fourth Annual David’s Day, a fundraiser to benefit The David Nicholas Foundation, was held on July 10 at the Masonic Lodge on Van Houten Ave. David Nicholas Porter was just four years old when he passed away due to a Wilms’ tumor. The family celebrates his memory with David’s Day: a motorcycle ride and barbecue, complete with green decorations—

Dave’s favorite color. Visit The annual Downtown Clifton Salsa Night was held on July 16 at the public lot at Main and Clifton Aves. The event featured live music and dancing, and was sponsored by Investor Savings Bank and the Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group.

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Celebrate Mustang Musicians—the Merchant August edition is all about artists who have called Clifton home over the years.

Big Animal Cruelty Bust in Brighton Rd. Home


mergency crews reported to calls of a possible gas leak at 179 Brighton Rd on Aug. 5. However, workers discovered that the odors emitting from the home were not from natural gas, but from the filth and animal excrement that had accumulated from more than two dozen dogs and cats.

With garbage piled as high as the ceiling, crews in protective gear were forced to shovel out waste in order to get to the distressed animals that were all over the house. Owner Joanne Zak, who worked for the state government social services agency and previously volunteered at an animal shelter, told authorities that she


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

had rescued the animals, which were in crates lined with several inches of feces. A total of 25 dogs were removed from the home and placed in the care of the animal shelter. Though four had to be euthanized, the shelter cleaned up the animals and a number were adopted by compassionate Cliftonites. Zak was

The August music edition featured a number of unique and interesting artists and musicians that call Clifton home. Above is Doug Orey, who moved to Clifton, where his grandparents lived, to pursue his musical career. Above right are Jared Styles and Chill Bill—known to Earth dwellers as Dan and Josh Bertelli—of the trippy quartet, Mr. Pants and the Adventure Soundtrack. Klimek 105 Avondale Ave. Clifton

charged with 27 counts of animal cruelty—25 for the dogs and two for a pair of dead cats found on the property—and was forced to clean up the property within 30 days before being permitted to return. The Rec Department’s Take Back the Park clean up program continued on Aug. 7 at Nash Park. The program called on volunteers to help spruce up their neighborhood parks over the course of the summer.

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January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Judge Scott Bennion is reappointed to his position at the Aug. 11 Council meeting by a 6-1 vote. Newly elected Councilwoman Mary Sadrakula was the dissenting vote, stating that she prefered that Bennion have a face-to-face meeting with the Council prior to appointment. CPD Lt. Richard Berdnik is named as the Democrat selection for the upcoming Passaic County Sheriff election. His predecessor, Jerry Speziale, unexpectedly resigned to take up a new job.

The August cover band, The O>Matics! These Clifton suburban rockers, from left, are Jamie O>Matic, Chris O>Matic and Mark O>Matic. Check out O>Matic music, videos, comics and more at the band’s website,

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Above, Jordan Kaplan blends his Jewish faith into his folk rock music. Below, Queen of Peace senior and Cliftonite Melanie Rodriguez, who took 3rd in the National Song for the Earth contest

Pat Egan, CHS 2005, puts his teaching career on hold to pursue his dream: stage management in theater He is pictured above left in his 2004 Thanksgiving Day finale as CHS Drum Major and, at inset, current.

The Jades

The Jades, circa 1965, at the CHS talent show: Roy Parian, Wayne LoPresti, Tom Kondra, Craig Parian, Fred Sakacs. The band won 11 of 13 battle of the band competitions and opened for The Rascals in Wayne. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


September 2010

The 2010 Clifton High School Athletic Hall of Fame inductees are profiled in the September edition of the Clifton Merchant Magazine.

K of C Tank Pull raises $75K for Wounded Warriors


wenty teams competed in the Knights of Columbus 0645 Tank Pull Challenge on Sept. 12 in a fundraiser that benefited the Wounded Warrior Project. The event was held at Oak Ridge Park on Clifton Ave.

The squads were comprised of up to 20 individuals and hailed from around the area. Members of the local Fire and Police departments also fielded teams. Each squad was tasked with raising at least $1,500—most eclipsed that number easily. On Sept. 25, men and women alike donned heels in a walk-a-thon sponsored by the NJ Coalition for Battered Women

Susan Bivaletz helps her husband Steven get into a pair of high heels. Bryan McGuire also donned pumps. 30

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

and the Prosecutor’s Office to protest rape, sexual assault and gender violence. The march took place at 11:30 am in Jubilee Park. According to Frank Baird, founder of the march, one in three women has experienced gender violence in her lifetime and a woman is raped every 90 seconds in America. The event raised approximately $5,000.

Dave Ogden (left) and Nick Cvetic in a current photo and as Jr. Mustangs.


, e e r s d

Knights of Columbus members Tony Latona, Carlo Santelli, Ken Molnar, chair John Hughes and Ray Lill.

It was a football clash that pitted friend versus friend. On Sept. 4, Nick Cvetic, a 2007 CHS grad, faced off against his old pal and former Cliftonite, Dave Ogden, as Cvetic’s Colgate University Raiders edged the Monmouth University Hawks 30-29 in

Hamilton, NY. The two first met on the Junior Mustangs Football Team in 1995 and remained friends after Ogden’s family moved to Wayne a few years later. The seniors ended their college careers at the conclusion of the season. CHS soccer alum played a

charity game on Sept. 25 to raise funds for the Coach Fernando Rossi Scholarship. Rossi had passed away in February at the age of 60. The legendary coach had compiled a record of 353-95-51, with one State Sectional Title in 1994. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Clifton’s annual Halloween Parade and HarvestFest Parade took place on Oct. 24 with spooky costumes and lots of fun in Nash Park

Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame honors members


everal thousand young children have passed through the Boys & Girls Club over the years. On Oct. 22, the organization celebrated its past by inducting generations of members into its Hall of Fame in a fun-filled, nostalgic event, which his also a major annual fundraiser. Krystyna Bladek’s journey to America from Maziarnia, Poland began in 1971 with a steamship ticket she had worked to pay for, and a five dollar bill that her mother had managed to save. The two-week visit she planned with her aunt in Passaic turned into a 30-year love affair with America that continues today. As the owner of Krystyna Travel on Van Houten Ave., she was one of several small business owners profiled in the October edition. “I was 19 and quite fearless when I decided to visit the US,” she recalled. “It didn’t bother me at all that I had only $5 to my name.”

The John Samra Memorial 5k took place on Oct. 24. The event, sponsored by the Clifton PBA and Clifton Roadrunners, included both amateur and competitive runners. Former Clifton Merchant writer Alicia Feghhi was placed first for women, with a time of 23:14. Male winner Hector Rivera set a new course record with 16:06. The UNICO Columbus Day Fundraiser with the Clifton Stallions Soccer Club was held on Oct. 1 at the Boys & Girls Club. Entertainment was provided by Clifton’s own, Kayla’s Krew and Brookwood.

Among the B&GC honorees, top, from left, Al Carline, John Gogick, Kent Bania, Ed Welsh. Bottom row: Rob Haraka, MaryAnn Goodwin, Nikki Krzysik, Chris Karcz. At right is our favorite Boys & Girls Club cover from September 1999. 32

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


CHS Student of the Month Justin Noll.

The Clifton Science and Technology Festival was held on Oct. 24 and 24 at CHS and designated areas of Caldwell Airport. It was one of 50 satellites held across the nation in which students, parents and educators participated in the free event, organized by BOE VP Michael Paitchell, who is also the executive director of the NJ Applied Science and Technological Council. Cliftonite Jenny Sichel was one of 500 rowers that took to the Passaic River in the 10th Annual Head of the Passaic Regatta on Oct.17. Her father, Bill, was a volunteer this year due to injury, but had previously competed in the past few events. Readers are treated to a fantasy football tale by writer Jack DeVries who pits the 1946 Mustangs and the 1973 football teams in a unique story of The Clifton Cup!

CHS Hall of Fame inductees. Top from left: Bob Knight, Eddie Curreri and Lou Poles. Middle: Scott Orlovsky, Jamie Farley and Lester Lembryk. Bottom: Ralph Cinque, Victor Stojanow and Robbie Vargo. Other inductees included Nikki Krzsik and the 197273 Fighting Mustangs and 1997-1998 Lady Mustangs Softball Team.

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


November 2010

John Greco, CCMS technology teacher, lacrosse coach, tragically passes away on Nov. 4 at the age of 33. He is remembered in the Dec. CMM.

Dems buck nat’l trend, win in Passaic County


hough the backlash against Democrats was felt nationwide—the party lost the House and nearly the Senate as well—Passaic County residents gave the Dems a vote of confidence by returning all incumbents in a clean sweep.

Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. easily defeated Republican challenger Roland Straten for the second straight year. The Democrat will have served eight terms when he is up for re-election in two years. Though the Pascrell victory was expected, the Passaic County Sheriff race was a battle right up to election day. Initially regarded as a long shot for the position, Republican Felix Garcia was suddenly given new life after the unexpected departure of former Sheriff Jerry Speziale (D), who took up a job with the Port Authority. The Democrats supported

Richard Berdnik, a Clifton officer of 30 years with no political experience. The Sheriff race was particularly nasty, with the Garcia camp questioning Berdnik’s involvement in a lawsuit brought against Clifton by a former cop, stemming from incidents following 9/11. Garcia was dogged by allegations that he was simply out for revenge. The former Passaic County Sheriff Officer worked under Speziale and was let go amid a cloud of controversy. Garcia was the target of a probe because of claims that he used detainees to do work on his property.

Above from left: Local business owner and activist George Silva is named legislative aid by Assemblyman Thomas Giblin. The winners from the Nov. 2 election, starting top left, going clockwise: Bill Pascrell Jr., Richard Berdnik, Pat Lepore and Terry Duffy. Above right, CHS Student of the Month Melanie Ciappi. 34

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Though never found guilty, Garcia was let go by the county and later sued Speziale for discrimination. The Fall Season for the Clifton Marching Mustangs came to a close in November. First, the band performed on Nov. 20 at the 11th annual West Milford Military Tattoo concert and then later at the annual Thanksgiving Day clash between Clifton and Passaic. In that game, the Mustangs were dominant enroute to a 42-0 victory over the rival Indians. Senior runningback Joe Chiavetta led the way with two rushing touchdowns. Clifton racked up 273 yards on the ground, while the stifling Mustang defense limited the Indians to just 49 total yards. It was the end of a nice bounceback season for the Mustangs, who missed the playoffs despite posting a 7-3 record.

At the Nov. 20 dedication of the PBA gym to honor fallen Clifton Police Officer John Samra, from left, retired CPD Lt. Les Goldstein, members of the Samra family, and retired CPD Officer Ross La Corte. He coordinated refurbishing the gym to honor Samra, a motorcycle officer (right) who was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 21, 2003.

Election Results House of Representatives 8th District

Roland Straten (R) * Bill Pascrell Jr. (D) Raymond Giangrasso Write-In Total

28,489 50,513 784 187 79,973


Felix Garcia (R) Richard Berdnik (D) Write-In Total

42,770 57,069 77 99,916

Board of Chosen Freeholders

Walter Garner (R) Tomas Gomez (R) * Terry Duffy (D) * Pat Lepore (D) Anthony TJ D’Apolito Write-In Total

42,526 42,593 53,283 51,866 2,925 90 193,283

Nov. 2 unofficial results from the Passaic County website. * denotes incumbent. There was no incumbent for the Sheriff race. Democrat Jerry Speziale opted to not seek re-election. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Our city is home to hundreds of unique, family owned stores where you can find almost anything when you Shop Clifton First!

Turmoil in the Clifton Schools in December


uberculosis, retirements, principal transfers and sex scandals. It was a busy month in the Clifton Public Schools, as staff and Board of Education members had to deal with a number of controversies.

Tuberculosis fear gripped city residents during the holiday season. The month started off with the relevation that a Clifton High School student had been diagnosed with an active case of the highly contagious disease. The district then announced that about 125 students who would be in close contact with the infected individual were tested, and 30 of those came back positive for exposure to TB. Though each of those children were asymptomatic, the district

instructed the families of students with positive tests to get a chest x-ray, which would confirm if an individual has active TB. On Dec. 2, CHS principal Jimmie Warren was accused by the parent of a special needs student of exposing himself and inappropriately touching the woman. She alleged that Warren had arranged a meeting in a local hotel so that the two could discuss her son’s school issues more freely. Warren

CCMS students staged a protest on Dec. 22 in support of CCMS Principal Adam Piotrowski, who will be moved to WWMS. CHS VP Sue Peters will take over on Jan. 3. Above right, CCMS students and staff remember John Greco in the December edition of the Clifton Merchant Magazine. 36

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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After a 2-alarm fire destroyed this family’s apartment on Dec. 20, members of the Clifton FMBA Local 21 pooled together funds to purchase gifts for the children.


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

turned himself in a few days later and was placed on paid leave. As a tenured employee, he may return to his position if he is found to have committed no wrong doing. Longtime Woodrow Wilson Middle School Principal William Hahn retired on Dec. 23, citing Governor Chris Christie’s plans to restructure pension for educators as his reason for leaving. Hahn had been at the helm of the Van Houten Ave. school since 1986. To fill the void, the district opted to transfer popular CCMS Principal Adam Piotrowski. CHS VP Sue Peters would take his place. In response to the changes, students at CCMS and parents from the HSA coordinated a protest in front of the school on Dec. 22. Around 150 students participated in the event. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., the parent company which operates 129 A&P. Pathmark, Superfresh and Food Basics stores in New Jersey, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Dec. 12. The Montville-based company has struggled in recent years due to competition from big box discount stores and a weak economy. All stores are expected to remain fully stocked and open. There are two Pathmark locations in Clifton—on Paulson Ave. and in Botany Village—and one Food Basics just across the Clifton-Passaic border on Van Houten Ave. Clifton Police Department Lt. and Sheriff-Elect Richard Berdnik retired from his post in Clifton on Dec. 31 and will officially take the helm of the Passaic County Sheriff’s office on Jan. 3 at a ceremony at PCTI in Wayne.





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Project Watch


owntown Clifton at the Passaic border seems to be a center of development as workcrews are busy renovating and expanding a block long building at the Hadley Ave. intersection. Peaks

and points of interest have been added to the structure to offer a dramatic cityscape to passerbys. The building offers five retail spaces on the ground floor (only one of which is currently filled, a liquor store) and

an equal amount of office space on the second floor. Next door, the former Bellin’s Swim Club and adjacent Teddy’s Restaurant, is now history. The entire property at the Passaic border on Main Ave. has now been leveled. The on again off again project by developer Peter Evgenikos began in 2007 as a three story mixed-use complex. This summer his attorney was before the Zoning Board for a third time where he received approval for a 6,800 sq. ft. retail building and 3,000 sq. ft. restaurant. Work has still not yet commenced. At the top of page, a two story structure at the intersection fo Main and Hadley Aves. adds a dramatic cityscape to Downtown Clifton. Next to that renovation, a vacant lot stands idle on property which once was Bellin’s Pool.


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Project Watch

International Delights on Brighton Rd. has added this sprawling facade to Brighton Rd. creating new headquarters for the firm, which is relocated from Long Island. Their website states they have “over 100 dedicated employees (who) bake, pack and ship exquisite pastries 365 days a year.” How many are coming to the Clifton location is unknown.


nternational Delights, a Long Island-based supplier of upscale breakfast pastries is set to open its Brighton Rd. facility. International Delights is a major wholesaler, serving the region’s hotels, restaurants and food establishments.

“They doubled the size of the building,” Economic Development Director Harry Swanson said. “It’s over 200,000 sq. ft. They’re moving administrative offices, warehousing and distribution. They’re taking the whole Long Island operation and

moving it to Clifton.” Swanson said he believes that the building will be fully operational in the first quarter. It was unclear how many jobs it will add to the city’s workforce but he expects the opening to have a positive impact on area businesses.

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Bloomingdale Clifton Haledon Hawthorne Little Falls North Haledon Passaic Paterson

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Deborah Hoffman, Director of Economic Development, at 973-569-4720 or January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Project Watch Some of the principals of the former Allwood Brighton Office Center— now the Allwood Atrium Office Park—from left, Dan Lowenstein, John Sardo, Mitchell Adelstein and Donna McLaughin in front of one of the structures in late December.


he three landmark office buildings at the intersection of Bloomfield Ave. and Brighton Rd. which were until 2009 the headquarters of Linens ’n Things were sold in Aug. 2010 and

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January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

are undergoing extensive renovations. Renamed the Allwood Atrium Office Park, renovations include outfitting for high speed connectivity, all new interior construction and a four story atrium as a centerpiece. Among the principals in the Paramus-based firm KABR Group which purchased the property is Mitchell Adelstein who also owns an office park at Colfax and Mt. Prospect Ave. and the former PNC Bank building in Downtown Clifton. At an impromptu meeting in December at the Brighton Rd. property, Adelstein said the rear building in the complex has been sold to a physician’s group who will outfit the structure for med-

ical suits and an surgery center. While an office supply company has moved into an entire floor in one of the other structures, KABR is currently renovating the grounds and the property and expects to lease space to companies seeking up to 20,000 square feet. The complex consists of just over 164,000 square feet and has plenty of parking on site.

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Project Watch


t the corner of Allwood Rd. and Main Ave. in Delawanna, the Russo Development continues work on a large project which replaced the former Automated Data Processing site. “Russo Development has built a very high tech, modern office

building with electronic data transmission as its base,” said Swanson. It has been long rumored that the unnamed tenant is Credit

Construction seems to be nearing completion on this high tech building in Delawanna which will house back room data storage for an international banking concern. Across from the structure on Main Ave., the former Century Buffet has now reopened as the Ocean Buffet.

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January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Suisse Bank, a large international investment firm. Data centers serve as back up offices should a major disaster happen in Manhattan.

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Project Watch Industry & Business Resources & Advocates The Clifton Office of Economic Development assists businesses relocating to or reinvesting in Clifton. Director Harry Swanson should be your first call as he is essentially the city’s business ombudsman. Call 973-470-5200. The Clifton Revolving Loan Program is a vehicle that the finance department uses to pro-


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

vide loans. Working with various banks, the city helps businesses that qualify to get a low cost, long term loan for 2 percent under prime. Call City Treasurer Kim Kientz at 973-470-5789. The Downtown Economic Development Group oversees the Special Improvement District (SID) along Main Ave. from the

Passaic border to Piaget Ave. The group collects an extra tax matched by city and state funds which is reinvested in the area. For info, call Angela Montague at 973-253-1455. The Historic Botany Village SID is an advocate in Clifton’s oldest neighborhood, which includes Botany Plaza. This fund finances programs in Botany, located off of Clifton Ave., near Garfield. For info, call the Clifton Historic Botany District President John Penkalski at 973-546-9813 or VPJoe Nikischer at 973-546-8787 or go to The Passaic County Office of Economic Development is an advocate for companies in the county’s 16 communities. To discuss large scale real estate projects, finding info on energy initiatives and cost saving training programs—or most any issue as it relates to Passaic County business and industry—call Deborah Hoffman at 973-569-4720. The North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for business and industry and hosts networking events, and often arranges meetings to address specific topics. For details on membership, go to, or call Director Gloria Martini at 973-470-9300. If you are opening a business of any kind which handles food, you will need to visit the Clifton Health Department (973-4705758) to pick up its nine-step list of procedures and attend food handling classes.

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January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


’ 1 0 THE 09 DTECADE 08 W 07 O 06 05 04 03 02 01 00 HAT


ver the last decade, 132 editions of this magazine have been published. That’s several thousand news articles and features about politics, culture, sports and other topics... but in that 11 year sliver of Clifton’s illustrious history, a select few of those stories just stood out more than others. Some spanned across most of the decade, while others, like the 2006 and 2010 City Council elections, shaped it in just two days. The following pages recap some of those memorable times...


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


















By Joe Hawrylko

Mustang QB Anthony Giordano ran another one in as the eighth seeded Mustangs stunned top seeded North Bergen 15-8 on Nov. 10, 2006.


uick, besides the later half of this past decade, when was the last time that Clifton was considered a perennial contender on the gridiron? The answer would be the 1980s, when cellphones were the size of a cinderblock and former NFLer Dave Szott was still clearing holes in the trenches for the Mustangs. Once the legendary Coach Vandy called it quits at the end of the 1979 season, the program began a gradual fall from grace. Political interference from the Board of Education led to the firing of three successive coaches—John Lischak, Jack Jones and Dennis Heck—despite winning records. The program went into a free fall.

After middling success in the 80s, Clifton had just one playoff appearance—a loss to Wayne Valley in 1997—over the span of nearly two decades. At the start of the new millenium, things were supposed to be different in Clifton. The city had a big name, fire and brimstone coach in Chet Parlavecchio, who played under Joe Paterno at Penn State and later had a short stint in the NFL. For the first time in a while, fans began to expect positive results. However, Parlavecchio started out slow— hired to start the 1999 season, the coach had compiled a 11-29 record in his first four seasons at the helm. That record—and the over $90,000 in salary it cost per year to keep Parlavecchio in Clifton—began to January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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Mustang pride was contagious in 2006 with a steady supply of able bodied fans on the sidelines and in the stands. Below, the Group IV State Champions celebrating on the field at Giants Stadium on Dec. 2, 2006.

attract attention, but Parlavecchio and his supporters were quick to point out that the culture had changed in town. Players took a newfound pride in the team and progress, even if incremental, was being made. The freshman team strung together a few impressive years of football and those players were moving up in the system. Parlavecchio’s prized possession was Luis ‘Kiko’ Mangual, a D1 prospect RB/QB/LB who defected from Don Bosco Prep for Clifton. With those elements in the coach’s favor, the Mustangs finally put together a .500 record in the 2003 season, going 6-4 before bowing out of the playoffs in the first round. But not long after achieving that elusive milestone, Parlavecchio was gone and the district was once against searching for a new coach. Eventually, the Board of Education settled on Ron Anello, who mellow demeanor starkly contrasted his predecessor.

Anello, who was a rival Montclair Mounty when he played on Friday nights as a kid, took over the program for the 2004 season. He put his

stamp on the team—a bruising run game out of the Wing-T, efficient quarterbacking and a suffocating D—and the Mustangs started to resemble a squad that might be able to compete each year. But as much as things began to look up, not even the most optimistic football parent could have realistically expected the 2006 season. With a stable of talented running

backs and the D in top form, Anello found the missing piece in quarterback Anthony Giordano, whose gutsy play allowed the Mustangs to squeeze out of many tight situations. Clifton started the season with its first opening day victory since 1998, a win over Kennedy, but then dropped the next match against Teaneck. The team lost two more games down the stretch and appeared to be in trouble before suddenly coming together. After a must-win victory over a powerful Ridgewood squad, the Mustangs scored two major upsets over St. Joe’s and North Bergen and a final win over Randolph for the right to face Eastside for the State Crown. On Dec. 2, 2006, with more than 8,000 Mustang faithful at Giants Stadium in The Meadowlands, Clifton crushed the Eastside Ghosts 26-0 for its first State Title since the Vandy heydeys in the 70s. The victory also signified the return to respectability for the Mustangs, who are no longer doormats but perennial contenders. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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POLITICS L ove her or hate her, she’s the new face of Clifton politics. Mary Sadrakula, the Rosemawr resident who made her name as a vocal opponent of a proposed school on Latteri Park, earned a Council seat in the May 2010 election and embodies the sentiments disgruntled voter base that has become as vocal as it is disillusioned with the status quo. Though she’s not the first, Sadrakula is by far the most outspoken of the recent batch of amateur politicos who have made or attempted to make the jump from resident to elected official. Not afraid to question anyone on the public payroll, Sadrakula was a regular at the podium on

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant







By Joe Hawrylko

Tuesday nights, loudly admonishing the Council on whatever the hot issue was for the month. While the behavior instantly made her recognizable, it has also given Sadrakula her fair share of enemies along the way. She’s been dismissed as cantankerous by her opponents, blasted in the media by former Councilman Joe Cupoli and flat out refused to sit for an interview with this publication in the months leading up to the May 2010 Council Election. At the same time, Sadrakula’s penchant for standing up and asking why instead of playing nice has endeared her to voters, which propelled her into a Council seat for the next four years.



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It’s vaguely similar to the anger and outrage that has captivated the disgruntled voters across the nation and spawned the Tea Party movement. Such an ascension to power might not have been possible just a few years ago. Back in 2002, the political climate was decidely more placid. The national economy was still good, the municipal budget was modest and the Council had managed to keep taxes fairly stable from year to year. Layoffs and furloughs were hardly buzzwords at the time. It’s no wonder that voters weren’t too receptive to the calls for change being put forth by challengers. Bob Sidoti, Beverly Cholewczynski and Frank Fusco, the latter of whom served a term on the Council in 2006, were the most outspoken of the challengers, campaigning on a platform of change. However, all six incumbents in the race placed, and the final seat was won by Frank Gaccione, who had never served as a public official but was hardly new to the Clifton political machine. “...Frank knows the infrastructure in town and through his company, he’s worked the sewers all over Clifton. That’s what makes him a good addition to the Council,”

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City Council Election Results 2002



James Anzaldi* ............. 8,899 Gloria J. Kolodziej* ........ 7,375 Steven Hatala Jr.* ......... 6,535 Ed Welsh*...................... 6,326 Don Kowal* ................... 5,895 Stefan Tatarenko* .......... 5,701 Frank Gaccione............. 5,352

James Anzaldi ............ 5,911 Antonio Latona .......... 5,659 Peter C. Eagler .......... 5,514 Joseph Cupoli ........... 4,793 Gloria J. Kolodziej ......4,445 Steven Hatala, Jr. ..... 3,864 Frank C. Fusco .......... 3,786

James Anzaldi ............... 5,667 Steve Hatala .................. 4,251 Peter Eagler ................... 4,071 Mary Sadrakula ............. 3,277 Matthew Grabowski ....... 3,181 Matthew Ward ............... 3,170 Joseph Kolodziej ........... 2,968

Bob Sidoti ........................4,352 Alina Bladek .....................4,050 Beverly J. Cholewczynski .3,768 Frank C. Fusco .................2,914 Douglas H. Burg ...............1,727 *Incumbent

Matthew J. Ward .......... 3,703 Stefan Tatarenko .......... 3,583 Roy Noonburg .............. 3,577 Joseph W. Chidiac ........ 3,397 Edward Welsh ............... 3,136 Donald R. Kowal ........... 3,037 George J. Silva ............. 3,029 Frank Gaccione ............ 2,887 Alam Abdelaziz .............. 1,397

Frank Fusco ...................... 2,816 Raymond Grabowski ........ 2,808 Suzanne Sia ...................... 2,690 Daniel Brown .................... 2,683 David D’Arco..................... 2,586 Frank Gaccione................. 2,478 Andrew White ................... 2,276 Joan Salensky ................... 1,985 Joseph Chidiac .................. 1,753 George Silva ...................... 1,655 Roy Noonburg ................... 1,422 Anthony Genchi ................. 1,123 Robert Klinger ...... 306 (write-in) Joseph Cupoli ........ 30 (write-in)

the late former Councilman Les Candidate interviews reflected Herrschaft told Tom Hawrylko in the these sentiments; challengers like May 2002 Clifton Merchant (p55). Tony Latona, Matt Ward and others “I think the Council wants to work lamented that the old guard had with him.” become out of touch, while incumHowever, sometime between that bents tended to rely on experience and election and the 2006 race, things preserving the ‘big city with a small began to change. Voters began to town feel’ of Clifton. sour on the incumbents, many of Voters decided change was in the which had been in power for a numbest interest of the city and ousted four ber of years. incumbents. However, the mostly Massive housing projects and inexperienced replacements somesprawling commercial developments times found that change was hard to proposals were frequent and often come by. It requires a consensus, and Always colorful, Les Herrschaft enjoyed handicapping the Clifton supported by the Council as a means that often doesn’t come quickly. Council elections in this publication. of increasing rateables. However, Four years later in the 2010 Council municipal tax rates continued to rise, as did traffic and race, economic woes, a budget crisis, and other issues, congestion, while the quality of life declined due to the plus two vacant Council seats, created another perfect sitadditional strain on resources and infrastructure. The uation for an outspoken challenger. And with years of Council was also highly influental in the search for a new hands-on experience as an neighborhood activist for the school location. preservation of Latteri Park, Schultheis Farm and a variety Things came to a head in 2006, as the city geared up of other causes, Sadrakula was almost a perfect candidate for the Council elections. In the span of four years, the for voters unhappy with the establishment. voter thoughts changed from ‘Who can seemlessly inteThe Rosemawr resident placed fourth in the election, tops for any challenger. Now the question is can a government grate with the old politicos’ to ‘Who can offer us somewatchdog be as effective from the inside. thing new?’ January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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By Joe Hawrylko

hen Dr. Michael Rice accepted the job as Superintendent in 2002, he knew he was taking over a troubled and growing school district of over 10,000 students. But the Michigan native probably would have never imagined that he’d be such a divisive figure, not just in Board politics, but in the community as a whole. The Clifton School District had already completed additions at Clifton High and Woodrow Wilson Middle School in the 90s, and saw voters approve School 17 in 2002, but projections indicated that as many as 1,000 additional students could be added in

the next five years. From day one in July 2002 up until his departure in 2007, Rice’s goal was to find a solution to overcrowding. In an effort to win support to for the changes he was hired to advocate for, Rice held a meeting in Sept. 2002 and unveiled what he called his ‘six points of focus’: Communications and Relationships, Strategic Planning, Connecting to Students, Residency, Curriculum Alignment and The Budget. By the end of his tenure in the summer of 2007, most of the issues were addressed in some manner. Three consecutive budgets passed with him at the helm, compared with just three in the last eleven prior to Rice’s arrival. Residents also approved eight of 12 voter questions—including the controversial CHS Freshman Annex on Brighton Rd. Voters also approved full day kindergarten, among other improvements. Rice’s tenacity in lobbying for approval from commissioners and voters pushed school issues into news headlines and made him the face of the overcrowding debate that shaped a decade of Board politics. Not one to shy away from expressing his opinion at a meeting or giving a quote to a reporter, Rice’s greatest asset was bringing awareness to the issues that he felt were important. Whether it was in news headlines or just gossip at the morning coffee shop, his persistence got people talking about the problems and positive happenings in the school district. Rice and his team of paid professionals, volunteers and community advocates had a signifiAt left, Dr. Michael Rice, who served as Clifton Superintendent from 2002 to 2007. He currently occupies the same position in Kalamazoo, MI.


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

cant hand in the passing of three consecutive budgets. Rather than refer residents to Clifton Public Access for an impersonal overload of funding information, open forums on the budget were held and Rice and Board members pitched the plan to voters. His first budget as superintendent passed in 2003. And while it was still only 17 percent of registered voters came out, the 6,278 figure was an improvement of almost 1,000 from the year prior. Rice campaigned for the construction of a new school with similar vigor, holding a series of open forums dubbed the Case for Space. Starting in the Fall of 2003, Rice and district officials would present up to date information about the most current school proposals and then open the podium to residents. The goal was to drive home the concept that less overcrowding meant better marks and an improved learning atmosphere. Students and teachers at CHS talked about classrooms in the cafeteria and tightly packed hallways. Parents voiced concerns about safety. Some blamed illegal students and others wondered if schools were necessary. But people were talking, attending meetings or watching Channel

77. Overcrowding had become a city-wide issue, even to people who previously had little interest in Board of Ed matters. With rapidly changing plans and a carousel of potential sites like Athenia Steel, Brighton Rd., Latteri Park, Schultheis Farm and others, NIMBY—Not In My Back Yard— became a rallying cry for residents who might have a new school built in their neighborhood. Various groups formed to protect special interests. The first and perhaps most prominent was Clifton Unite, a sizable contingent of Rosemawr voters who organized to block a school on the Board-owned Latteri Park. Petitions were distributed to build on certain sites and not on others. Entire elections were essentially determined by a candidate’s preferred location for a school. With so many potential votes at stake due to the placement of a school, the City Council became highly influential in the process heading into the 2006 election and held several joint meetings with the Board. At once such event in March that year, former Councilman Ed Welsh stated, “Clifton deserves filet mignon, but instead they get Rice.” The play on words illustrated

just how the entire situation had evolved. No longer was it just about addressing overcrowding— money, political influence, park space and votes were at stake. And because the superintendent had gone to such lengths to bring overcrowding to the discussion table he became inseparable from the issue. Rice’s methods captivated some, alienated others, but were mostly successful. Even in defeat, there were some bright spots. The 500-student Brighton Rd. Annex was eventually built in spite of 17 lengthy Zoning Board meetings and cost overruns. And although the Latteri referendum was defeated in December 2006, voters approved walkways at CHS to create hallway space and over 20 percent of registered voters hit the polls. And while he left the district in 2007 for the same job in Michigan, Rice’s impact is still felt. Though public opinion regarding overcrowding has swayed due to the economy and questions about the accuracy of enrollment projections, and the completion of the walkways, it’s still a heavily debated issue. One may or may not have agreed with his goals or his methods, but without Rice, the overcrowding discussion may have never taken place.

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1814 1814 January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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By Joe Hawrylko

hough 650 units of new housing in insignificant when compared with the citywere being placed in the earth wide numbers, the repercussions of the highjust down the road at Cambridge ly publicized debate on Grove St. had a lastCrossings on Colfax Ave., it was a proposal ing impact, bringing overdevelopment vs ratfor 17 townhouses on Grove St. that invigorable debate to headlines, keeping it Clifton ated residents, prodding them to finally take political lexicon for the entire decade. a stand on overdevelopment in 2003. The Clifton Merchant covered the controWith the massive Cambridge Crossings versy on Grove St. and also printed a series project at the former Shulton Property near of petitions with over 1,300 signatures the high school being against the developeffortlessly pushed ment. The months of through in August news coverage resulted 2001, most would have in a heightened compredicted the C&L munity awareness Developers would easiabout overdeveloply get the needed variment. ances to build townThe Merchant’s No homes in a neighborMore Housing editorial hood zoned for single campaign urged leadfamily dwellings. ers to curb housing However, in January until the Master Plan 2003, locals learned of was updated to reflect the plan to build three the evolving city. multi-home buildings With some 80,000 on two and a half acres people stretched out of what used to be over about 12 square occupied by a barn. miles, open space is a The August 2004 Clifton Merchant focused on About 125 residents rarity in Clifton. As the Four Seasons housing development on Garret Mt. With over 800 units of housing, pooled money, hired an such, when land most of it in neighboring Woodland Park, it is attorney and pledged to becomes open, develperhaps the most visible development. stop C&L from opers typically try to destroying preserve their quaint, single-famcram in as much as possible to maximize ily piece of suburbia. profits, often at the expense of city services Eventually, compromise was reached—a and quality of life. long battle ended with C&L opting to scrap City officials, on a never ending search for rateables to lower the tax levy, are forced to its plans and instead place eight single famimake a choice. More often than not, extra ly home, in accordance with local zoning. income for the municipality outweighed the Though the actual number of units saved

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

In February 2003, approximately 125 residents near Grove St. banded together to hire an attorney and fight plans to place 17 townhouses in a neighborhood zoned for single family homes. After a long battle, the developer relented and scaled back plans to conform ot the zoning regulations. The photo was taken in January 2003.

concerns of residents pleading NIMBY—Not In My Back Yard. In our October 2003 edition, some of the other major projects at the time were listed: • Cambridge Crossings, Colfax Ave. 637 Units were underway • K Hovnanian at River Road, a proposed 18 townhomes that would connect with 76 more in Passaic • K Hovnanian Riverwalk I & II at Kingsland and River Rds was recently completed — 246 units • Senior Horizons, 125 age-restricted units in Athenia Steel, was being built • A proposal for 390 units on Dundee Island • Chanda Arms: 40 age-restricted apartments recently replaced a farm on Allwood Rd.

Economic Developer Harry Swanson precisely summed up the entire debate about overdevelopment vs rateables in a story from that same edition about a meeting for K. Hovnanian’s River Road when he asked the crowd, “Are we so rich that we can walk away from $100,000 a year coming in?” But the question has always been, at what cost? Over the past decade, the answers are becoming a bit more clear. While the relatively small Grove St. proposal perhaps ignited the debate about overdevelopment, it was Four Seasons by K. Hovnanian off of Valley Rd. that forced the issue into the face of Clifton residents. Developers reshaped the

cliff that overlooked Valley Rd. and Rt. 46, moving tons of earth, hundreds of trees and displacing untold wildlife to make way for more than 800 units of housing that straddles the Clifton - Woodland Park border. Though opposition from residents did little to stop the project from being approved, once work was visibly underway, many Cliftonites were left wondering, how did this happen? Because of the Grove St. controversy and the outrage over the clearing of the mountain, politicians were forced to talk about overdevelopment. The issue dominated headlines, leading it to became a major topic in subsequent elections, and for the rest of the decade. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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By Tom Hawrylko


owntown Clifton and Historic Botany Village are two separate organizations which manage and promote those older shopping districts as good place to shop, live, invest and recreate. But all SIDs (Special Improvement Districts) are not the same. While most are restricted exclusively to businesses, Botany has both residential and business property owners serving on its Board of Directors. Botany is only the second SID of the 89 in New Jersey to have done so. As with all Special Improvement Districts in New Jersey, the CHBD imposes a supplemental tax on its members. Since its inception in May 2005, the additional money—a surcharge on regular property taxes—is collected by the city and returned to improve the Botany Village and Botany Plaza in a variety of ways, from special events to advertising. 62


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Owners of one-family and owner-occupied two family homes in the Botany district are exempt from paying the special assessment. The majority of the money raised by the special tax, approximately 88%, is contributed by businesses even though residential properties comprise more than half of CHBD membership. Historic Botany encompasses about 80 businesses along Randolph, Dayton and Parker Aves., including Pathmark, K-Mart and all stores and offices in Botany Plaza, as well as 36 residences in the district. Funds are used to hire supplemental cleaning and maintenance crews, purchase additional lighting for district parking lots and to operate a community safety patrol on weekend evenings. Like Botany, Downtown Clifton has had a business advocacy group to promote the district for decades. But it was not until 1999 that


merchants and property owners in Downtown Clifton formally organized a SID. By that time, the district which covers some 300 businesses in an area that spans Main Ave. from the Passaic border to Piaget Ave. was in decline. An obvious eyesore at the time was the long closed Clifton Theater, then at the crossroads of Main and Clifton Aves. Next to it at Main and Madison was vacant land, where the former Knights of Columbus building was. Plans were in the works to turn that parcel into a US Post Office but negotiations had stalled. Downtown leaders decided a cornerstone was needed to launch the redevelopment and to match their moniker as Clifton’s Rising Star. Working in public private partnership, the city, Downtown Clifton and Clifton-based developer ARC Properties announced that a 15,000 square foot Walgreens Super Drug Store would be built on the theater’s footprint. When completed in Sept., 2001, the building would feature a clock tower, plaza seating and some green space at the intersection. Ultimately, planners expected that combined with the new post office (which opened in June, 2003), Downtown Clifton would again become a destination for shoppers. Demolition of the old theater began in Dec. 2000 (the city purchased and razed the K of C building in Aug., 2000) and that work did indeed launch the new Downtown Clifton. While not a shopping destination, Downtown Clifton today is home to many medical and professional offices as well as dining and specialty stores. The boards and managers of Downtown Clifton and Historic Botany are now part of the

Facing page in 2006, Historic Botany leaders: John Damiano, Judy Francis, Joe and Arlene Nikischer and their son Joe, Josephine Fabi and John Penkalski. Above, DCEDG Board President Pat DeLora Jr., Bob Ambrosi of ARC Properties, developer of Walgreens, and the late City Manager Bob Hammer in Dec. 2000, when demolition for the Clifton Theater began.

Unlike Downtown Clifton and Historic Botany, the Athenia Business Association, which represents merchants along Van Houten Ave., is not a SID. Seen here at an early meeting in 2002, George Shevchuk, Gina Yarrish, Dave, Alberta and Greg Lacki, Matt Grabowski and Krystyna Bladek.

city’s political landscape and trusted partners with government officials. Athenia and Lakeview merchants and business owners have also formed advocacy groups over the past decade. In 2002, the long dormant Athenia Business Association was revitalized and by November of that year helped the city to attract a $250,000 grant for streetscape improvements. Since that time, the group has produced a popular annual September Street Fair and other

events to promote its 100 members. In Oct. 2007, about 25 shop owners and residents in Lakeview formed a group to promote that district. While the most visible effort is their holiday decorating program, the group also hosts sales promotions, neighborhood clean-ups and networking events. Unlike Historic Botany and Downtown Clifton, the Lakeview and Athenia groups do not collect an additional tax for their efforts but rely on voluntary contributions. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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ed over a field in Pennsylvania. The year 2001 was still the beginning of the new millennium, but it was most definitely the end to America’s modern age of innocence, a brutal and shocking awareness that we were violently despised by some, and that our openness as a nation made us very vulnerable. The collapse of the Twin Towers is still a deeply painful event for millions who live in our tri-state area. We watched the buildings

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant







By Irene Jarosewich

he story of the decade for Clifton was also the story of the decade for the nation, maybe even the world – the completely unexpected September 11 attacks by al Qaeda terrorists on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Northern Virginia and the attempted attack on either the White House or Capitol in Washington DC that was abort-

On the Sunday evening following 9/11, Clfiton residents gathered at city hall for a prayer vigil and candle light memorial service.


collapse before our eyes, watched loved ones disappear, watched as others we know and love rally as heroic first-responders. We continue to thank the Lord for those who survived. Few will forget the hours, the days they prayed as they waited to hear news about friends and family who lived, worked, traveled through lower Manhattan. Clifton lost nine people that terrible day in 2001: Kyung Cho, Edgar H. Emery, John Grazioso, Timothy Grazioso, Zuhtu Ibis, Edward C. Murphy, Ehtesham U. Raja, John P. Skala, and Francis Joseph Trombino. Their names are memorialized at a monument to victims of the 9/11 attacks near City Hall, which was unveiled a year after the tragedy. To commemorate those who died, a service is held annually beside the monument. Since the raging fires left no bodies, this memorial is also the place where, throughout the year, small flags and flowers are placed by friends and family who come to pay their respects to their loved ones who perished. Tuesday September 11, 2001, dawned warm and sunny in our town. Clifton Mayor John Anzaldi recalls that he was watching TV when he heard the report of the first plane crash, which was believed to have been a small airplane that had strayed off course. “Then I saw the second plane crash into the tower and it became clear that something

horrible had happened.” He left home and went to an elevated spot on Grove Street from where the Twin Towers could be seen. He saw the grey clouds of smoke in the distance from the fires burning in the towers; then he saw the landmark spires collapse. Even now, the memory is stressful. Since there were warnings that other buildings in North Jersey could be hit, City Hall closed down. Bob Hammer, city manager at the time, called in dump trucks filled with sand to block entrances to the municipal complex. Anzaldi recalls how the next day he came into City Hall and ran into then-Captain Robert Ferreri. The police captain began to explain that he needed to inform the mother of a police officer that her son had perished in the collapse. “So the first person I learned about that had died in 9/11 was Port Authority police

Sandy Grazioso at Clfiton’s 9/11 memorial in a recent photo and her children in a photo from 1980. From left, Tom (CHS ‘76), Carolee ((‘80) and John (‘78).

officer John Skala – and that’s what made it really real. I knew Johnny well. He was a good young man. Then, one by one, I began to hear of other names – most of whom I knew, or knew about,” said Anzaldi. A prayer service was held on the steps of city hall the Sunday following 9/11. Many hundreds attended, led by several religious

leaders of local congregations. This was a period when people sought out places of worship. On the day of the tragedy, and during the following days, St. Paul Roman Catholic Church on Second Ave. opened their doors and kept them open all night and day. “All over town, the churches just filled up,” said Anzaldi, “as people

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event was our strength as a country. And at the time, it was also the strength of the leadership in New York. Who can forget the leadership of Mayor Giuliani? People everywhere were able to rise to the occasion.” America did rise to the occasion. Nonetheless, the void in the lives of those that knew and loved Kyung Cho, Edgar H. Emery, John Grazioso, Timothy Grazioso, Zuhtu Ibis, Edward C. Murphy, Ehtesham U. Raja, John P. Skala, and Francis Joseph Trombino is felt profoundly. And, there is not a soul who looks at the Manhattan skyline and does not see the emptiness at the southern tip, a void that Clifton resident Jim Fasino calls “a black hole of death and destruction that will forever mar memory and would the heart.” ˚

sought solace. They came together in support. It was truly amazing.” He also recalls how many older residents of Clifton later told him that the destruction of the World Trade Center was “your generation’s Pearl Harbor. And for the first time, I truly understood how shocked my parents must have felt when they learned about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.” “The suicidal fanatics behind 9/11 frightened us and even the strongest were frightened,” said Anzaldi, “since the attack was so unexpected. It was shocking for us to find out that there are people who so hate us, who hate America, this great country, so deeply.” In turn, the mayor noted, “Now, after many years have passed, I see that what come out of this terrible

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Come and see why over 130 students from Clifton are making PC their high school of choice! Pictured are some of Clifton’s Top Seniors from the Paramus Catholic High School Class of 2011. Alexandra Czajkowski – GPA: 95 – SATs: 1880 Alexandra is President of the Japanese Club. She also participates in the Bridges Outreach volunteer program and contributes to PC’s Literary Magazine.

Chelsea Gamarra: GPA: 95 – SATs: 1800 Chelsea is part of PC’s Core Leadership Retreat Team, as well as the Spanish, Polish, and Model UN clubs. She is also an athlete on the Varsity Swim Team and a member of the National Honor Society and International Language Honor Society.

Class of 2010 earned $29,000,000 in scholarships and grants. Clifton graduates earned over $2.5 million of those scholarships and grants. 126 courses, including 26 Honors and 16 AP level courses. Cost effective tuition for families. Large school offerings, small class size. Stable, strong, and focused on the future.

Damian Stobierski – GPA: 101 – SATs: 2360 Damian is a founding member of the Robotics Club. He also participates in the Science League, Math League, Quiz Bowl Team, Chess Club, and Ambassador Club. He is President of the National Honor Society and a member of the International Language Honor Society. Damian will be attending Yale University in the Fall.

Ericka Medina: GPA: 95 – SATs: 1860 Ericka is Vice President of PC’s Model Congress and a member of the French Club, Ambassador Club, and Drumline. She writes for the school newspaper and belongs to the National Honor Society and International Language Honor Society.

Clifton students from the Class of 2010 were accepted to such prestigious colleges and universities as: Columbia, Fairfield, Fordham, Holy Cross, NYU, Penn State, Seton Hall, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of Miami.

Nicole Kay: GPA 91 – SATs: 1710 Nicole is an athlete on the Varsity Swim Team, as well as a member of the Ambassador, Poetry, and Habitat for Humanity clubs. She is also a member of the National Honor Society. Photo: Tim Macdonald, Image Art Studio

All roads lead to PC! January 2011 • Clifton Merchant



By Irene Jarosewich

This Year, Make Your Number 1 Resolution:

long with champagne, noisemakers, and kisses from the one you love, no New Year’s Eve celebration would be complete without a New Year’s resolution. Exercise more, eat less, quit smoking –we begin each January determined to change something for the better. As America enters the third year of a financial crisis, it is time once again to assess our personal finances. Though difficult to change that which is going on in the country overall, improving one’s own financial situation may be the top resolution for 2011. According a recent national survey, 77 percent of Americans aspire to improve their personal


Raising S From left, Ann Kursar of Valley National Bank, Richard Bzdek of North Jersey Federal Credit Union, Jeff Angello of American Coin & Stamp and Bart D’Ambra of Clifton Savings.


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


finances in the coming year, most notably, increase their rate of savings. Back in the mid 1980s, the savings rate in America began a 20-year nosedive. Deregulation offered the average consumer easier access to the stock market and fueled a 20-year love affair with real estate. Cheap imports pumped up consumption. In 1984, the annual personal savings rate in America was at about 10 percent. By June 2005, America hit rock bottom. The national median savings rate was zero. Not a cent. Nothing. Zilch. Consumer debt had outpaced consumer savings and in August 2005, The

Christian Science Monitor wrote, "Americans have stopped saving for a rainy day. Instead, they are living paycheck to paycheck, depending on credit cards to get them through emergencies, and hoping that the rising value of their homes will give them a retirement nest egg." In 2008, as people began to hunker down in response to the crisis, the annual savings rate crept up to 1.5 percent. In 2009, the financial crisis again provoked a rise in the rate nationwide, followed by a drop in 2010. Overall, Americans still have the lowest rate of savings in the developed world – less than 5 percent annually.


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Surprisingly, some of this attitude has remained with us. The retirement planning firm TIAA-CREF conducted a survey in the fall of 2010 to which a full 39 percent of respondents, all working age, replied that they are not saving for retirement. Again, nothing. Not a cent. The company then began a publicity campaign - Raise the Rate! – to motivate Americans to increase their rate of savings. Raise the Rate! received plenty of media attention that pointed out the timeworn truth: the best person to take care of you – is you.

tion should begin as early as 7th grade. Education about personal finances is no less important for adults, Bionci underscored, “I have both men, and women, in their 40s and 50s, come in here and tell me that they have no clue about their finances and point to their spouse, who takes care of everything. Then tragedy strikes, illness, death, divorce, and they are completely unprepared.” Other basics include start saving early, and if too late for early, then start now, even if small amounts. “And always pay yourself first,” said Bionci, “it will add to your sense of security and, believe it or not, self-confidence.” Back to Basics Bart D’Ambra, chief operating officer The only real way to increase your for Clifton Savings Bank, adds reducing savings, notes Joe Bionci, a registered your expenses to the list of basics and representative of Genworth Financial in “It’s not only the that includes judicious use of credit, Clifton, is to figure out how much you which means not acquiring lots of debt. return on your are spending first. “I tell my clients that “The rule of thumb,” he said “is the time money, it’s also the they must first record every penny they that it takes to pay for something should return of your spend for at least a week. It should be a not outlast that which you bought. money,” said month, but at least a week. Then we Charged a vacation. Don’t take another Bart D’Ambra. begin to develop a budget. Then goals. one until you’ve paid it off. Bought a car Then strategy. But first, you need to get – don’t buy a new one until it’s paid off. to the basics. Every person is different; no one size fits Save for what you want. Can’t afford it, don’t buy it.” all formula for financial security. Factors such as age, Piling on credit card debt and folding one loan into health, inheritance, goals result in a different choices. another is a strategy that has sunk many households. But everyone needs a budget to start.” Ann Kursar, vice president and district sales managStaying in shape financially, takes discipline said er for Valley National Bank, includes paying attention Bionci, just like exercise and quitting smoking, and to your credit score as a part of fixing your finances. you’ll feel better, too. “We are experiencing the most devastating economic In addition to discipline, information is critical. climate since the Great Depression. What may work for “People need to be educated. They can go to a planner, one person may not work for another. The only suggesbut they need to be knowledgeable themselves,” said tion I would have is to maintain good credit if possible Bionci, who believes that mandatory financial educaand balance your household budget as best you

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can. Always look for a way to cut your costs and maximize the earning potential of your money.” In order to fix your finances, the back to basics approach is really a commitment to changing your lifestyle, to managing your money for life. “It’s a philosophy,” said Richard Bzdek, chief operating officer of North Jersey Federal Credit Union, “I really have seen little old ladies who never made very much money, who have managed what they had to live on and retired quite well. It’s a commitment to yourself.”

won’t have to pay as much to catch up later.” Kursar notes that to encourage early saving, Valley National Bank offers good rates on Kids First Savings Club accounts to promote savings for customers' children. At North Jersey Federal Credit Union, saving incentives also start early with the Kids Kash Klub. NJFCU will deposit three dollars into a child’s account for each A on a report card, up to $15 per year.

Cut expenses The point of tracking your expenses is to see where your money goes. Invoking the proverbial four dollar latte, Bionci Starting early Financial planners will explain that the “To keep your sav- pointed out, “drink 10 of those a month, reason why it is so important to start sav- ings only in dollars that’s $500 a year. You should fund your over the long haul 401(k) first. Thirty years ago, people ing early is the value of compounding, where you earn interest not only on the is nothing short of didn’t drink lattes and their lives were fine. Not having money for retirement is original amount, but on added interest, and insanity,” said not fine.” the “Rule of 72”. Jeff Angello. D’Ambra of Clifton Savings returns to The Rule of 72 is a rule of thumb for credit card debt. “You can’t really save if you keep how long it takes to double savings. For example, accumulating debt,” he said. The interest on most cred$10,000 at 5 percent will take about 14.5 years to get to it cards now averages around 16 percent in America. $20,000 (divide 72 by 5, Reducing interest on credit card debt is one of the most which equals 14.5). This important expenses to cut. Eliminate the debt and interrule starkly shows the est, and don’t run it back up, underscored D’Ambra, importance of starting again invoking the discipline rule. early. One way to save and avoid credit card debt is to use At today’s rates on savthe old-fashioned holiday savings account. “North ings accounts, CDs and Jersey Federal Credit Union actually offers a slightly money markets, that higher rate on these accounts to encourage savings,” seems like a long time and said Bzdek, “so that our customers don’t get the credit low number, but as card hangover in January.” D’Ambra pointed out “it’s Cut expenses by shopping around and reducing not only the return on your ubiquitous user or convenience fees. Decide how much money, it’s also the return “Always look for a of your money,” some- that convenience is really worth to you. New financial fees, in particular, need to be scrutinized and compared. thing that cannot be said way to cut your NJFCU still offers free checking and no debit card about many recent real costs and maximize the earning poten- estate investments or stock usage fees, said Bzdek, a potential savings of $20-$50 tial of your money,” market bubbles of the past. per month per household, or $600 per year. Online bill pay, offered by most places, saves you five to ten bucks Bionci of Genworth said Ann Kursar. a month on postage, or up to $120 per year. underscored the imporRefinancing a mortgage at today’s lower rates is an tance of paying into a 401(k) for retirement. “Lots of people aren’t taking excellent way to reduce expenses. According to Kursar, advantage of the match that their employers offer. That’s Valley National offers a unique possibility – a $499 a key thing to do. Find the money; otherwise, you’re Home Mortgage Refinance Program. “While other mortthrowing money away. And starting early means you gage lenders charge thousands of dollars in fees, January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


we handle the entire process for just $499,” she said.

tion, said Angello. “Officially, we’re told that the inflation rate is only three percent, but think back ten years and add up Non-traditional savings what you’re paying more in taxes, gasoWhen most people think of savings, line, tolls, food, insurance – the actual the first thing that comes to mind is savcost of living has gone up way more than ings accounts, CDs, money markets, three percent per year.” other fixed-rate of return products. The According to Angello, an individual’s US Department of Commerce, which savings cannot really be separated out tracks consumer savings, does not from the national economy and factors include investments such as stocks and such as the US trade deficit, the overall real estate in the savings category, budget deficit, bailouts and the printing because of the variable rate of return. of money are devaluing the dollar. He Today’s cushion could be tomorrow’s explains it this way, “If a family spends “The days of bottom of the barrel, which we have seen more than they are earning, they will go conspicuous with the recent housing bubble, as well bankrupt, and others must pick up that consumption are as the tech bubble ten years ago. debt. But if the family had a magic printAlso not included are non-traditional ing press in their backyard and printed behind us. Spend investments, such as gold. wisely and within more money, but not backed by anything However, that does not deter Jeff your means,” said except hope for the future – well that’s Angello, owner of American Coin and what our government is doing.” Richard Bzdek. Stamp Company on Clifton’s Main “To keep your savings only in dollars Avenue, who believes that buying gold over the long haul is nothing short of and silver is the best way to save. insanity,” he said, “gold has been money since time The interest rates on traditional savings products, immemorial, it’s still the international standard.” even with compounding, do not keep pace with inflaGold is a limited commodity, and though the price may

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fluctuate, Angello believes that it will never drop back too low in his lifetime. “My customers are savvy investors,” said Angello, who sells gold bullion in his store, “seeking an alternative to the dollar.”

So even if you do all the hard work, setting a budget, discipline your spending, commit to saving, D’Ambra of Clifton Savings confirms the hard reality that many people face these days – you cannot save what you do not have. Reality-check Whereas people may have overspent The slight uptick in recent years in the in the past, and therefore did not save, the rate of savings is the result of a nationwide current truth is that many people find it reality-check, said Bzdek of North Jersey difficult to save because of a rise in Federal. “With bailouts and financial turexpenses—think college tuition, for moil, people are looking for security and example— as well as continued unemsafety. It’s clear that they need to protect ployment or underemployment. themselves.” “Yes,” said D’Ambra, continuing, “I “Thirty years ago, The uptick, however, is not the same can’t entice you to save if you don’t have everywhere. And of course, it all people didn’t drink the money.” daily lattes and depends on the capabilities of individuals For those who do have expendable to save and their expenses. income, when asked about the mixed their lives were Kursar notes that at Valley National in fine. Not having message consumers are receiving “to the Clifton area, “deposits have decreased money for retire- spend more to stimulate the economy” as more and more of our customers strugment is not fine,” and “to spend less, and save more to help gle to pay monthly bills, pay off debt and yourself,” Bzdek replied, “The days of basically weather the storm of this conspicuous consumption are behind us. unprecedented crisis. High unemployment, lower wages Spend wisely and within your means. If everybody and a sluggish economy impacted the spending and savmanages their money efficiently, these efficiencies will ings habits severely over the past several years.” translate into the economy.”

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

For those who don’t know the long time Clifton resident Matt Kida here is his story. Graduating CHS in 2003, Matt was and remains, an active member in the community. He was the Mustang track team captain, made Eagle Scout in Troop 7 at St. Paul’s Church and was a member of the CHS Stage Craft Club, constructing sets for annual performances. After graduating in 2003, Matt studied carpentry and cabinetmaking at Johnson College in Scranton, PA, graduating in 2005. Apprenticing under his father Ken Kida and other Master Carpenters, Matt eventually formed Matt Kida Construction & Remodeling LLC. Looking back in their mentoring, Matt says that without their expertise and superior teaching skills, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Today, Matt and his crew of Carpenters, Licensed Plumbers and Electricians specialize in interior and exterior construction and remodeling projects. They work not only on residential dwellings but also in commercial buildings, too. From basic construction and remodeling projects to the most extreme, Matt can handle it all, as well as general contracting and construction management. He offers free on site estimates at your location, at your convenience along with emergency services 24/7. These days, the 25-year old remains active in the community—volunteering at CHS by building sets for the performances twice a year, along with donating time to the Clifton Theatre League. And true to the ideal of passing it along, he also helps Boy Scouts achieve their goal of Eagle Scout.














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For the New Year By Carol Leonard

f you are like many other people, you probably have pledged among your New Year’s resolutions to shed a few pounds by getting more exercise. Maybe you have even decided to join a fitness center this year to help you meet your goals.


A recent article in HEALTHbeat, an online newsletter published by Harvard Medical School, states that membership in a health club or fitness center can provide three major benefits to those who want to embark on an exercise program: motivation and companionship, instruction and supervision, and equipment and facilities that you probably don’t have at home. The article goes on to point out the importance of finding the right club for you. Among the factors to consider are the size and atmosphere of the facility, the qualifications of the staff, the type of equipment and

programs they have to offer, whether their hours are convenient for you and, of course, whether their membership fees and extra charges fit within your budget. Clifton and the surrounding area certainly has its share of fitness centers to choose from, including Lucille Roberts in Styretowne Shopping Center, NY Sports Clubs on Main Ave. right next to Costco, and LA Fitness, located in the Promenade Shops complex on Route 3 and Allwood Rd. These large full-service centers offer a full range of the latest exercise and weight training machines

and other equipment, personal and small group training, and a variety of fun and challenging classes, from yoga and Pilates to zumba and spinning, and even a more challenging class called “boot camp.” Both LA Fitness and NY Sports Clubs have men’s and women’s locker rooms, while LA Fitness also has a pool, sauna and hot tub, a full size gymnasium for basketball and a racquetball court. If exercising in a smaller personalized setting is more your style, you may want to check out a couple other places that we visited. Tucked away on Van Houten Ave. next to Walgreen’s near the corner of Mount Prospect Ave. is In Step Fitness, a club for women only, which is owned and operated by Laurie Kirwan. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant




A lifelong Clifton resident and CHS graduate, Kirwan opened In Step Fitness about three years ago after working as a certified personal trainer at two other franchise clubs. “I’ve been a dancer and exerciser all my life and I enjoy helping people change their lives through exercise,” she said. The program at In Step Fitness is


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant









centered on circuit training, in which participants move among 20 different equipment stations, each intended to work a different muscle group. After one minute, an audible message tells you it’s time to move on to the next station. When you complete your workout at the last station, you start over again at the first station.

“It’s a 40-minute non-stop workout designed to elevate your heart rate and strengthen your muscles and bones,” Kirwan said. “Strength training is very important for women.” While her clients go through the circuit, Kirwan keeps a close eye on them to make sure they’re working the equipment the right way and with correct form “Most people when they first join a club don’t know how to work out,” she said. “In this small setting, I’m able to provide the instruction and encouragement that they need. And my clients like the fact that it’s a women’s only center.” Kirwan’s little gym also includes a row of stationary bikes and other weight- training equipment that participants can use after they complete the 40-minute circuit session,

It’s early morning swim time for adults at the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton and a member at In Step Fitness.

if they want to burn some extra calories or just challenge their fitness level. Kirwan likes to describe her club as a friendly little place where everybody knows your name. “It’s not just about exercise,” she said. “We all share ideas about diet and nutrition and people bring in recipes that I hang on the bulletin board. It’s a very supportive environment, and I think that’s important for motivation.” Kirwan offers three, six and 12 month membership plans at In Step Fitness. They start at $35 per month, depending upon the length of the membership. She also offers a special rate for mother/daughter memberships to encourage girls and younger women to join and exercise with their moms. Adjacent to the gym, Kirwan has a dance room with a professional dance floor. Here, she offers instruction in adult tap and ballroom dancing as well as classes in zumba, yoga and kickboxing. You don’t have to be a member of the gym program to sign up for these classes, but members get a discount

on the class fee. For the new year, she hopes to add classes in Pilates for adults and zumba for children. “With the increasing concern over childhood obesity, I want to get more kids involved in exercise,” she said. To learn more about In Step Fitness, call Laurie Kirwan at 973778-7837, or visit her Web site at Other fitness centers for women only in Clifton include Lucille Roberts, located in the rear of the Styertowne Shopping Center (973249-2966); Curves, at 621 Van Houten Ave. (973-777-3771), and Divas Fitness for Women, which just moved to a new location at 302 Clifton Ave. (973-470-8585). A more high-tech version of circuit training is available for both men and women of all ages just a short ride from Clifton. Located at 453 Main St. in Little Falls, Pearl Personal Training is owned and operated by Jeff Todd and Eric Murphy. The centerpiece of their facility, which Todd refers to as a “fitness studio” rather than a gym, is a

Kinesis wall. Kinesis by Technogym uses a three dimensional continuous-loop pulley system to allow for 360 degree rotational motion. Four panels of grips, cables and weight stacks enable participants, under the direction of a trainer, to combine resistance and strength training with cardio and Pilates-yoga type exercises. Murphy describes the program as a more functional approach to exercising because it simulates the realistic movements of everyday life, such as squatting to pick up an object and lifting it onto a shelf. “I like to call them smart moves,” he said. “Rather than working just one muscle group at a time, you’re working multiple muscle groups with each set of exercises, and it burns more calories per minute.” The Kinesis circuit training system takes about 50 minutes to complete, and it can be personalized by the trainer for the level of fitness of each client. Murphy and the other certified trainers at Pearl usually combine the workout with other traditional training moveJanuary 2011 • Clifton Merchant




ments such as lunges, stair work and the use of free weights. The facility also includes other high end Technogym equipment, including a machine that simulates the movements of ice skating, which clients can use to further enhance their fitness training. Pearl offers both one-on-one and small group training, all by appointment and preregistration only. Fees range from $20 a session for 10 sessions of small group training, to $65 a session or less for one-on-one training, depending upon the number of sessions you take. There is no membership fee required. For a complete list of fees and other information about the program, call Pearl Personal Training at 973-837-8202, or look at their Web site at If working up a sweat in a gym isn’t your idea of having fun while exercising, you may want to check out the aquatics program at the Clifton Boys & Girls Club. Located at the corner of Clifton










and Colfax Aves., the Boys & Girls Club offers programs mostly for the community’s youth population. But through its Martini Foundation Aquatics Center, which encompasses a 33-meter heated pool, adults can enjoy lap swimming as well as participate in swimming lessons and water exercise classes. There is also a special program for people with arthritis, offered in conjunction with the Arthritis Foundation and the North Jersey Arthritis Center. Water exercise, whether it’s swimming or water aerobics, provides a great workout to improve muscular strength, cardio-respiratory endurance and flexibility. “It uses every muscle in your body, and there’s no pressure or shock to your joints,” said Corinne Miskowsky, assistant aquatics director at the club. “Even people who have trouble walking can walk and exercise in the water.” To use the Aquatics Center, you must have a Boys & Girls Club membership, which is $60 per year

or $50 for those ages 55 and up. Lap swimming is $25 per month ($20 per month for 55 and older). Swimming lessons and water aerobics classes are $60 for 10 sessions. If you plan to use the pool year round, the best value is to purchase an Adult Silver membership for $250 a year or a Senior Gold membership for $200 a year if you’re 55 or over. Both of these memberships include all adult swims and family membership swims as well as discounts for swimming lessons and water aerobics classes. For more information about the aquatics program, call the Clifton Boys & Girls Club at 973-7732697, or visit the Web site at Click on “Programs” in the left side menu and scroll down to “Aquatics.” On that page you can click on the “Program Booklet for 2010-11” to view the complete schedule of lap swimming, lessons and aerobics classes. The adult section is near the end.

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Coach Emil Bednarcik By Jack De Vries never played for Coach Emil Bednarcik; I was never good enough. In 1974, there were a lot of kids in Clifton like me – ones with intramural league games, too short or slow to play high school ball. Which isn’t as bad as it sounds. In those days, the high school graduated nearly 1,000 students, and the ones who played basketball for the Mustangs were the best of the best. There were Clifton Rec. and CYO teams in the city that were better than some nearby high school squads. But getting back to Coach Bednarcik. He wasn’t coaching anymore then – just a fulltime gym teacher. He was standing on the sidelines, watching us shoot hoops during class. One of my friends, Joe Doherty, took the ball and hoisted one up from deep in the corner that hit nothing but the bottom of the net. In those days, there was “courtesy,” which meant you threw the ball back to the shooter until he missed. Joe launched another bomb – swish, and another – swish. The great set shooter Jerry Lucas played for the Knicks then, and Joe was doing a great imitation of him, throwing shots up from farther and farther away. Coach Bednarcik watched him and began to walk under the basket. “Let him shoot,” he yelled to a few kids blocking Joe from standing behind the top of the key. He grabbed a ball and threw it back. Joe shot again, nailing another one. I could see everything else drifting away from Coach Bednarcik – his eyes seeing only Joe, the arc of his shot, and the swish of the ball through the net. “Keep going,” he yelled as another of Joe’s shots fell through the hoop. The two of them stayed there as the rest of the kids drifted toward the sideline. Joe hit at least ten straight before missing, with Coach catching every one.


It didn’t mater that Joe was one of those slow kids who shot from the shoulder like players did in the 1950s and would never play varsity ball. It didn’t matter that Emil Bednarcik wasn’t Clifton’s basketball coach anymore. What mattered was the game and a true shot dropping cleanly through the net – a moment in time that lit up the old coach’s eyes. The kind of moment made possible by hundreds of hours of playing basketball for no reward except the love of the game. A moment in time that said a lot about Emil Bednarcik’s life. Generations of Clifton students and players remember Coach Bednarcik as a diminutive man who coached the Mustangs basketball team and helped his brother Ed coach the baseball team. But decades before, Bednarcik had been like them – a CHS student-athlete – one who loved sports almost more than anything. Learning games at School No. 12 and No. 10, he became a four-year varsity starter in baseball and basketball, and captained the hoop team his last two years. A second baseman, pitcher, and outfielder, Bednarcik played errorless ball his entire junior year and was part of Clifton’s 1923 state championship team. Taking his game to the next level, Bednarcik became a varsity basketball and baseball starter at both Panzer and Upsala Colleges, graduating from Upsala with a B.S. degree in education. In 1934, Bednarcik took his first and last job. He was hired to teach physical education at his alma mater Clifton High, and would become the school’s head basketball coach in 1936. His new coaching position gave him no financial reward. For his first 12 years, Bednarcik would coach the Mustangs for nothing, then earn a $50 stipend in seasons that followed. To make extra money, Bednarcik and area coaches would referee each other’s high school team games. January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Cl Of By


CHS 1945-46 team: From left, standing: Coach Bednarcik, Van Cleef, Torcivia, Atkinson, Bulyn, Hatala, Dull, Olson, Gall, Corrizzi, Parsons and Dr. Gerow. Sitting: DeLotto, Wolf, Donall and Gibnavdi.

During World War II, Bednarcik left Clifton to serve as an American Red Cross Field Director in Australia attached to the U.S. Army Air Corp. He returned to the Mustangs when the war ended and enjoyed perhaps his best years as coach. “The teams of the mid-1940s were very special to Coach Bednarcik,” says John Kostisin, a player on the 1949 team and who would succeed Bednarcik as head

basketball coach in 1972. “Not only were those teams successful, the players on those teams enjoyed success later in life. Ray Van Cleef became a doctor, Hal Corizzi became a coach, Don Parsons and Elmer Gall did well, as did many others. That meant a lot to him.” The 1940s were a turning point for the diminutive coach and Clifton basketball. No longer would other area powerhouses

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January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

laugh at the school. The 1945 and ‘46 Mustangs went 40-3 on the hardwood, with the 1946 squad opening the season with 21 straight wins, finishing 22-1. Despite the success, in both seasons, the Mustangs were upset in the state tournament. But in 1947, despite being a .500 regular season club, Bednarcik’s team roared into the state sectional finals before being eliminated. “During those years,” says Kostisin, “he finally had the talent to win. As a coach, he was an innovator. Passaic would come into the gym and start their three-man weave and we’d go into a switching defense and shut them down. They and a lot of other teams had more talent than us, but, because of Coach Bednarcik, we won games we had no business winning.” Howie Stier, Jr., a point guard on Bednarcik’s 1961-64 clubs, says his coach’s eye for the game never wavered. “I became a freshman basketball coach under Hal Corizzi at Ramapo High School,” recalls Stier. “Both of us had played under Coach Bednarcik, and I’m sure Hal used a lot of his teachings at our school. When we’d go to coaching clinics, Coach Bednarcik was always there, keeping up with the game.” But basketball was not the only thing important to Bednarcik. He was also committed to his students. “He was a great guy,” says Stier, “always very fair to me. Sometimes, he might have been a bit too nice and a few players would take advantage of him. But you never questioned his commitment to the kids – he helped so many people.”

1971-72 CHS team. Kneeling, left: Joe Dluhy, John Paoloni, Mark Kosuth, Mark Semon. Standing: Coach Emil Bednarcik, Stanley Blondek (Manager) Rich Conrad, Bob Harboy, Don Sisto, Art Schumann, Ken Bradford, Paul Pignatello, Ken Jurcisin and Mike Messina (Manager)

“One of the best things that happened to me in my life,” says Kostisin, “was living two blocks away from the Lower Weasel Brook playground that Coach Bednarcik ran during the summer. He ran a terrific playground and softball program that attracted kids from both Clifton and Passaic. At one time, he and his brother Eddie were responsible for 33 city playgrounds.” Bednarcik coached Clifton into the early 1970s, but finally stepped down. Kostisin, his assistant coach for 12 years, was given the head job, one he reluctantly accepted. “I would’ve been his assistant for 30 years,” he says. “But when he resigned, Coach Bednarcik agreed that I should take his place. Until his death, we were close. He’d come to the games, call me on the phone to talk about them afterward, or just call to talk basketball. He was a big fan of the college game, not the pros, because he enjoyed the strategy and movement behind basketball. He stayed connected to the game his entire life.” During his 42 years as coach, Emil Bednarcik had only a few losing seasons, with his teams winning close to 500 games and capturing the Passaic Valley Conference Championships in 1945, 1946, 1949, and 1959. He also worked as a high school and college basketball referee for 37 seasons. In September 1977, Emil Bednarcik died at home while eating lunch. He was 71. For an athletic man, the Clifton coach’s death came at a relatively young age, but he never really left his players. He lives in their memories to this day.

21 Club

Clifton Super Bowl Family Day Be a Sponsor of this Alcohol-Free Party on Feb 6th

$100 Checks should be made payable to:

Boys & Girls Club of Clifton

note: Super Bowl Party Mail to: Clifton Merchant Magazine

1288 Main Ave. Clifton, NJ 07011 Questions regarding donations? Call

Tom Hawrylko @ 973-253-4400 To date, our 21 Club Sponsors include: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

Jim & Rita Haraka & Family Rotary Club of Clifton Optimist Club of Clifton Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin In memory of Florence, George H. Trinkle Jr, and George H. Trinkle III 6) Barbara Dougherty in memory of Henry Dougherty 7) Clifton Police PBA Local 36 8) Clifton Firefighters FMBA Local

tribute $100 Please Conec ome a B and

sor! 2 1 C lu b S p o n January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


CHS Student of the Month By Joe Hawrylko n the Lima household, playing sports is a family tradition. Each of the four siblings—Ariella, ‘04, Chris, ‘06, Daniel ‘06, and Michelle—played soccer from a young age in the Clifton Stallions Rec League and travel clubs. “I’ve been playing soccer since I was about four,” said the CHS senior, who played four years on the Mustang girls soccer and lacrosse teams. “It’s a big family thing for us.” It was her love of sports that led to a hobby that Lima hopes to turn into a career: athletic training. “In my freshman year, I sprained my ankle and I started going to the Athletic Trainer’s office,” she said. “Eventually, I was in there all the time, before practice to get wrapped, after practice...” Athletic Training Director Tom Cutalo—better known as Trainer Tom—noticed that Lima had become a regular fixture around the office and invited her to join the Athletic Training Club at the start of her sophomore year. “In the beginning of my junior year, I decided that I wanted to start looking into studying athletic training in college,” said Lima. “I love sports and I love being around athletes. Athletes just want to push and push and get back out there. It’s motivating.” Thus far, she’s applied to a number of schools and acceptances are just starting to come in. Marywood University in Scranton, PA and Rowan University is Glassboro, NJ have said yes and Lima is sitting down for an



January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

CHS Training Directors Meaghan Conti and Tom Cutalo with Student of the Month, Michelle Lima.

interview with Westchester University later this month. “Westchester has the oldest athletic training program,” said the senior. However, she’s particularly keen on Rowan, since trainer Meaghan Conti, an alum, spoke of it highly. Lima had her boss write her letter of recommendation. There are about 17 members in the athletic training club. Students attend games and assist with everything from taping before games to injuries sustained in play. Because of soccer and lacrosse, Lima was most active with the athletic training club in the winter. “The team calls me Mama Lima,” she laughed. “I’m always caring for my teammates when they have injuries or anything.” Lima also has recently become interested in coaching, a hobby she got into last year with her friend

and teammate, Atati Aburto. The two coach a pair of squads at the Boys & Girls Club: the Lazers in 6 to 7 year olds, and the Sting in 8 to 9. Each team has one practice and one game per week. Lima and Aburto also got some of the younger girls from the high school team involved as well. Sophomore teammates Jenny Delana and Shannon Guzman began coaching a rival squad in the league. “They kicked our butts,” Lima begrudgingly admitted. “But we play them twice, so we’ll see how that goes next time around.” “It’s so cool to see them get older,” Lima said of the children she coaches. She has some returning players, and others recognize her despite being on new teams. “I like being busy,” she said. “I can’t stand doing nothing.”


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Nina Corradino, at center, with Santa and guest at the Dec. 22 dinner.

The 33rd annual dinner for the women of the North Jersey Developmental Center was held on Dec. 22 at The Brownstone. The event is annually sponsored by UNICO, with assistance from Nina and Frank Corradino of Nina’s Salon in Clifton, who solicit friends and clients for donations. Nina and Past National President Joseph Agresti of the Passaic Valley Chapter co-chaired the event, which had been chaired by Michael N. Corradino since 1977. Guests were treated to food, entertainment and a visit from Santa. For more about UNICO, call 973-808-0035 or email The School 5 HASA will host a beefsteak/silent tricky tray on Feb. 11 from 7 to 11 pm at the Boys & Girls Club, 181 Colfax Ave. Tickets are $40 and include food and drink (or BYOB if you prefer), as well as some door prizes. There will also be a 50/50 raffle and the Flying Mueller Brothers perform. No door tickets nor children under 18. Call Marilyn Mitchell at 973569-1305 or Deana Shukaitis at 973-345-3438 or email Marilyn at 86

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Meghan Brophy was installed as Youth Bishop on Dec. 5 at St Peter’s Episcopal Church to celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas and the role of children in the life of the church. The installation of a Youth Bishop is a medieval custom which has been revived in Anglican Churches in the 19th and 20th centuries. Brophy is the first female Youth Bishop at St. Peter’s. The Clifton Arts Center Gallery will present Colors of Shadow and Other Works by Adel Gorgy, an exhibit and sale of photography art. The exhibit opens Jan 19 and runs through Feb. 26. There will be a reception open to the public on Jan. 22 from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $3. The Arts Center is on the City Hall campus, 900 Clifton Ave. Info at Choice, a doo wop band from Jersey City, will be among six groups at the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jazz Festival & Dinner on Jan. 15 at the Church of the Assumption, Orange Ave., Clifton. Advance tickets for concert and dinner are $35; call 973-478-4124.

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Choose from over 250 online classes EVERY MONTH! January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Skylar De Santis celebrates her 6th birthday on Jan. 17. Joe Frost turned 106 on Jan. 1. Happy belated to Lindsey Neering who turned 25 on Dec. 30. Belated greetings to Michael Hrina who celebrated a birthday on Dec. 16. Happy Birthday to Cindy Hawrylko who turns 20 on Jan. 22.

Birthdays & Celebrations

Send dates & Shaun LaGala .................... Becca Potocki ..................... Connie Zangara ................. Chrissy Cetinich.................. Matthew Delaney................ Amanda Esposito................ Kristin Reilly........................ Steven Hrina....................... Rosalie Konopinski .............. Ray Krenc .......................... Emily Zawicki ..................... Mohamad Bekheet.............. Missy Fazio........................ Alexander Ortiz.................. Vicky Petrovic ..................... Jeremy Delaney .................. Gay Eaclie .........................


1/1 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 1/5 1/6 1/6

January 2011 • Clifton Merchant

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 Katy Sokolik ..................... 1/11 Nicole Unis ...................... 1/11 Megan Duffy .................... 1/12 Daisy Colman................... 1/13 Joe Musleh ....................... 1/14 Mark Stuart ...................... 1/14 Kyle Santiago................... 1/15 Susan Hernandez ............. 1/16 Jennifer Montanile............. 1/16 Steve Nikithser, Jr.............. 1/16

Susan Angello celebrates her 53rd birthday with Rocky and Joey on Jan. 25.

It’s late but Nicole Cornett wed Sean Cefalo Aug. 14! Matthew Soprano........... Skylar De Santis ............. Anna Tatarenko .............. Kim Barilari .................... Erica Pangilinan ............. Lindsay Dueben .............. Luke Falzo...................... Payton Bogatch .............. Douglas Ciallella ............ Matthew Gorun .............. Daniel Shackil ................ Evelyn Montague............ Catherine Coloccia ......... Greg Collucci................. Jamie Mikolajczyk .......... Larissa Unis.................... Robert Duffy ................... Ashley Gagnon .............. 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...................

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


January 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Wine, food, music, cigars. That’s what you’ll enjoy at the 12th Annual Winemaking Competition presented by Corrado’s on Jan 28 at 6 pm at The Venetian in Garfield. Hundreds of amateur vintners enter their best bottles for review and recognition. Sample from an endless selection of wine and mangia the night away. Admission is $95 ticket; reserve a table of 10 at $85 per person. Enter your homemade wine until Jan 15. Call Jimmy Corrado (at right) at 973-3400848 or go to

Joey Barcellona opens the doors of his Bliss Lounge on Allwood Rd. on Friday, Jan. 21 from 4 to 10 pm in a benefit for the members of the Clifton Police Unity Tour. The crew (at left) will ride bicycles from Clifton to Washington, DC on May 9-12 to bring awareness to officer killed in the line of duty and to raise funds for a national monument. There will be raffles, drink specials, prizes and more. Go to for info.





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