Clifton Merchant Magazine - July 2007

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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


City of Champions Wheaties may be the Breakfast of Champions, but our hometown has truly become The City of Champions. First, the Fighting Mustangs rode an 8 seed all the way to Giants Stadium on Dec. 2 when it shutout the Eastside Ghosts 26-0 to capture its first state title in 24 years. Then on June 9, the Lady Mustangs added another chapter to its storied history by picking up its fourth Group 4 State Championship. And let’s not forget the boys and girls cross country, the boys volleyball and the golf teams that won league titles. Or the girls winter track and boys and girls bowling teams that were crowned both league and county champs (lots of photos follow!). It has definitely been a special year for the Maroon and Gray.

The City of Champions indeed... Fighting Mustang QB Anthony Giordano gets carried off the Randolph field following Clifton’s 14-6 win over the Rams on Nov. 18, 2006, which sent the team to the State Championship game. Below, the Lady Mustangs softball team celebrates its fourth Group 4 State Championship on June 9 in Toms River.

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Building a Dynasty ––––––––––– Story by Jordan Schwartz –––––––––––

The original Charmers Softball Team in 1989 included players from Clifton Central and Clifton Western Little League. From left in the first row, Danielle Fischer, Randi Meyers, Wendy Paulicek, Tracey McDonald, Cara Kling, Dana Jeannetti, Lori Costanza, Sharon Wilkos and Dawn Finer. From left in the second row, Dawn Smith, Vivian Kwasnik, Jodi Lampman, Kelly Felton, Yvonne Mendyk and Jen Lampman.

Rich LaDuke had seen this before. When Toms River East loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth of a scoreless Group 4 Championship Game on June 9, LaDuke knew Clifton would get out of the jam. After all, he had taught them how to do it. Well, maybe he didn’t teach the girls on the 2007 version of the Lady Mustangs softball team. But as the architect of the dynasty he was about to witness Clifton reclaim, LaDuke was as responsible for the escape as anyone wearing Maroon and Gray on the field that day. 16,000 MAGAZINES are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants the first Friday of Every Month. SUBSCRIBE PAGE 51 $15/year in Clifton $25/year out of town CALL 973-253-4400 entire contents copyright 2007 © tomahawk promotions 6

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

“The kids found the way to play defense and they didn’t make the big error,” he said. “That’s the way Juli and Cara were.” Juli and Cara are Juliann Magliarditi and Cara Boseski — two women who played for LaDuke before taking over the head coaching reigns following his move to the athletic director’s office in 2001. Magliarditi was on LaDuke’s team until she graduated CHS in 1989. Boseski was a senior on the Lady Mustangs squad that captured the Group 4 championship in 1997. EDITOR & PUBLISHER Tom Hawrylko BUSINESS MANAGER Cheryl Hawrylko GRAPHIC ARTIST John Feasenmyer

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WRITERS: Jack DeVries, Cheryl Hawrylko, Joe Torelli, John Bendel, Joe Hawrylko, Jordan Schwartz

They both learned the fundamentals of the game during the three month clinics Coach LaDuke organized every spring. Some may have referred to these as “softball season.” “When kids came to practice, they were worried about so many other things, so I’d try to do the same thing everyday for the first 30 minutes,” said LaDuke. “This way they’d remember they were at softball practice.” LaDuke instituted this policy as soon as he became varsity head coach in 1982. He had played baseball at Canton High School and St. Lawrence University in northern New York before being hired in 1977 to coach Clifton’s new ice hockey team. LaDuke also replaced Pat Vantrell as coach of the freshman softball squad. At that time, the varsity girls were led by Jackie Pami and her uncle Frank Pecci. After five years as an assistant, LaDuke became varsity head coach in ‘82. He took over an average program that had only been around for about a decade. The first thing he did was bring in assistant coaches that really knew the game. They included Howie Nolan, pitching coach Maryann Goodwin and retired Clifton baseball coach John Hargreaves.

The initial turning point of the LaDuke regime came after the team went 12-13 in his inaugural season. “We started playing defense and making contact on offense,” said LaDuke, whose Lady Mustangs improved to 21-5 in his second year, finishing second in the league and the Passaic County Tournament. Another turning point occurred when Little League and summer league softball teams such as the Clifton Phillies, Charmers and Cobras, the Clark Wildcats, the Wayne Shilohs and the Hawthorne Explosion began popping up in the late ‘80s. “If you do nothing but work on fundamentals during the season and then play against great competition in the summer, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Coach said. Pitcher Diane Besser was the first high school kid to play summer ball. With her arm, Clifton was able to get over the hump and win its first NNJIL Division A league title in 1987. “The toughest thing in the early years was that we didn’t know how to win the big games. We were always really close and all of a sudden, we knocked off a powerhouse and won a share of the league,” said LaDuke. “We didn’t look back after that and everything fell into place.”

Looking back at the 1993 New Jersey Group 4 Champions, you may see a few familiar faces. Some of the girls on the CHS squad played for the Charmers team pictured to the left. From left sitting on the ground, Dana Jeannetti and Carolyne Ruffilo. Sitting on the bench, Assistant Coach Stetz, Dawn Finer, Danielle Fischer, Randi Meyers, Cara Kling, Andreanna Marrocco and Assistant Coach Lyons. Standing, Kim Artim, Assistant Coach Howie Nolan, Danielle Dolinoy, Jodi Lampmann, Wendy Pavlicek, Dana DeVito, Jen Paci, Tara Sakevich, Head Coach Rick LaDuke and Gina Roberto. July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


The 1997 Lady Mustangs softball team went 31-0 on its way to capturing the program’s second state group title. From left in the back row, Tamara Tinajero, Lara Foster, Kim Alongi, Jamie Anzaldi, Candice D’Andrea, Danielle Brill, Jen Carlo, and Laura Tynio. From left in the middle row, Kim Anzaldi, Bobbi-Jo Gonnello, Coach Dianne Besser, Coach Rick LaDuke, Coach Tom Danko, Megan Dozci and Amanda Bongiorno. From left in the front row, Melissa Butler, Renee Anderson, Cara Boseski, Stacy Veech, Aimee Calise and Amanda Smith. Below, senior captains Veech and Boseski pose with the championship trophy. Nine years later, the two would begin coaching the Lady Mustangs.

The team went 29-1 in Besser’s senior season in ‘89, winning its first of 10 county tournaments. “She was our first state-quality pitcher,” LaDuke said of Besser. “Pitching is the key to softball and so we benefitted greatly once we had a feeder program with pitching.” Assistant Coach Goodwin established pitching schools that produced a number of Clifton starters. After Besser, came Dana DeVito, who LaDuke called the most dominant pitcher in the program’s history. In her junior year in ‘93, the Lady Mustangs reached the pinnacle of the New Jersey high school softball world by claiming their first Group 4 state title with a win over Washington Township. “We went through a bumpy road that year losing a couple girls during the season,” said LaDuke. “I made some decisions and kids didn’t like it so they dropped out.” The team was led by several seniors including pitcher Randi Meyers, infielders Danielle Fischer, Dawn Finer and Cara Kling and outfielder Andreanna Marrocco. Kling anchored the defense with her great play at third. “Seniors were the backbone of the program,” said LaDuke. “I put a lot of pressure on the seniors to carry 8

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

themselves that way so the younger kids could see how to act. The kids gave a lot more to each other than I could give to them.” Juniors Dana Jeannetti, an All-American at second, Carolyne Ruffilo in the outfield and Jennifer Paci behind the plate were also a large part of the team’s success.

Jeannetti, now Dana Murdock, said the team worked hard all year. “I think every one of us loved softball and obviously winning states was our goal,” said Murdock, who today teaches basic skills at School 12. An early exit from the 1992 state tournament left a bad taste in the girls’ mouths. “My sophomore year, we were undefeated until the sections, so it was a little bit of redemption for us to win the states,” Murdock said in an interview earlier this year. “We were going to win it no matter what.” She credited a great deal of the squad’s success to team chemistry. “A lot of us had been playing summer ball together for a lot of years. We really jelled well,” said Murdock. She said Coach LaDuke was a big part, too. “He always brought out the best in all of us. We worked hard in practice because he ran a tight ship,” Murdock said. “He was a good motivator and had a competitive edge about him. We all took that and ran with it. He was definitely a good inspiration for all of us.” Kim Artim took charge of the circle in ‘95 when Clifton returned to the Group 4 final only to lose to Middletown South. But the Lady Mustangs’ most historic run began when pitcher Laura Tynio arrived on the scene in 1997. Clifton won the league, county and section before getting its revenge on Middletown South in the group final to cap an undefeated 31-0 season. Tynio, third baseman Boseski, shortstop Stacy Veech and outfielder Aimee Calise were all named to the all-county team that year. The junior hurler was 26-0 with 251 strikeouts, Veech was the county’s best hitter with a .580 batting average and Boseski hit .413 and made only one error in her final two years on the team. The magic continued in ‘98, despite the departure of Boseski, Veech and Calise. Tynio again led the team to a perfect 31-0 season, defeating Cherokee in the state

CHS Softball History The CHS Softball program began in the early ‘70s, but it was just an average team until Rick LaDuke took over as head coach in 1982. Below is a year-by-year history of the past quarter-century of Lady Mustangs softball.

Year Rec. Championships 1982 12-13 1983 21-5 2nd in League, County Runner Up 1984 13-2 1985 22-5 2nd in League, County Runner Up 1986 18-6 2nd in League 1987 20-5 League 1988 22-6 League 1989 24-1 League, County 1990 26-2 League, County, Section, Group RU 1991 24-4 League, County 1992 28-1 League, County, Section 1993 25-7 League, Section, Group 1994 27-2 League, County 1995 27-4 League, County RU, Sect, Grp RU 1996 30-2 League, County, Section 1997 31-0 League, County, Section, Group 1998 31-0 League, County, Section, Group 1999 23-5 League, County, Section RU 2000 26-5 League, County, Section, Group RU 2001 17-11 LaDuke retires at 467-86 Juliann Magliarditi takes over as head coach 2002 16-10 2003 20-8 League, Section RU 2004 27-4 League, County RU, Sect, Grp RU 2005 21-7 League, Section Cara Boseski takes over as head coach 2006 18-6 League 2007 30-3 League, County RU, Section, Group Totals 599-124 19 Leagues, 10 Counties, 11 Sectionals, 4 Groups

“When the smoke has risen from the battlefield, the Mustangs came home with the bacon.” from the Legendary Clifton Coach Joe Grecco

Congratulations Coaches Boseski, Veech & staff for bringing home the Group 4 Softball Championship!

...your friends at the Clifton Memorial Post 347 American Legion Commander Lou Poles • Vice Commander Mike Gimon


July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


The 1998 Lady Mustangs captured the program’s second straight Group 4 State championship with yet another unblemished 31-0 record. Back row, from left, Tamara Tinijero, Kim Anzaldi, Danielle Brill, Candice D'Andrea, Jamie Anzaldi, Jen Carlo, Amanda Bongiorno, Bobbi-Jo Gonnello and Megan Doci. Front row, from left, Kim Alongi, Ashley Gonnello, Erin Burke, Lara Foster, Vickie Benitez and Jackie Barnes. And lying down in front is Laura Tynio. Photo Kathy Burke

final. Clifton became the first Group 4 softball team to win back-to-back championships since Edison turned the trick in ‘90 and ‘91. The Lady Mustangs were victorious in the first five games of the ‘99 season as well, before losing to snap their stunning 67 game winning streak. Clifton reached the Group 4 title game again in 2000, but the team came up short against J.P. Stevens. In 2001, the Lady Mustangs failed to win 18 games for the first time in 17 years, and Coach LaDuke was faced with a difficult decision at season’s end. He had been offered a promotion to the position of athletic director, but if he took it, he’d have to resign as softball coach.

It was already a difficult time in LaDuke’s life. His father passed away earlier that year and so he couldn’t discuss the offer with his most trusted mentor. LaDuke spoke with some other people such as Coach Hargreaves before deciding to take the A.D. job. “There were lots of mixed emotions,” he said. “You want to make the right decision for yourself and the kids.” LaDuke’s assistant coach and former player Juliann Magliarditi took over as head coach in 2002. He said she was the perfect candidate to replace him. “Who else would you want to turn it over to than someone who already knows the pride of the program?” said LaDuke, who finished with an outstanding record of 467-86.

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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


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“Playing for LaDuke was great,” said Magliarditi. “I worked with him for so long and it was a great experience. He was always there if I had a question. Working under him prepared me to be head coach.” The team struggled in Magliarditi’s first season, though, finishing 16-10. “There’s a lot of pressure to take over a program that has been winning so much,” said LaDuke. Magliarditi agreed. “Coach taught me everything I know so it was an easy transition, but they were tough shoes to fill,” she said. “Of course there’s always some pressure because they have a reputation for being a great team and Mr. LaDuke is a legend.” The Lady Mustangs improved in Magliarditi’s next three seasons, winning three league titles, two sectionals and reaching the Group 4 final in 2004. But her dad died in the spring of 2005, and that com-

“Seniors were the backbone of the program,” said former coach Rick LaDuke, now Clifton’s Athletic Director. “The kids gave a lot more to each other than I could give to them.” bined with the stress of the position forced Magliarditi to step down after the ‘05 campaign. “I felt that it was time when I felt I wasn’t really looking forward to the following season,” said Magliarditi, who’s a physical education and health teacher at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. “It’s not easy to be a young coach in this town,” said LaDuke. “Guys like me and Grecco and Vandy needed 20 years to develop a program. You got to give coaches time.” Magliarditi, whose married name is DeLallo, was replaced by Boseski, who had served as her assistant coach. Veech then became Boseski’s assistant.

LaDuke said it made sense that they would take over the program, because they were the best leaders when they were on his team. In just her second year as head coach, Boseski led the Lady Mustangs all the way to the Group 4 title game at Toms River North High School. And the man who had taken the CHS softball program from an embryonic stage to a state powerhouse was on the sidelines to watch. So LaDuke wasn’t surprised when pitcher Deanna Giordano and her defense escaped the bases loaded jam in the ninth against Toms River East. He wasn’t surprised when the Lady Mustangs scored two times in

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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

the top of the 10th inning on RBI singles by Kim Ferrara and Lindsey Moore to clinch Clifton’s fourth group state championship. But he was proud. “When I stood on that field, I saw Cara and Stacey as coaches and I remembered them celebrating the same way as players,” said LaDuke. “The program’s really come full circle.”

We had two covers ready to go this month but we chose to go with our version of a Wheaties box to illustrate how Clifton has truly become the “City of Champions.” At right is the other cover. It’s the ‘07 team outside the BOE building where they were recognized for their state championship on Flag Day. The Lady Mustangs include Allie DiAngelo, Monica Barhorst, Amanda Caparso, Ashley Jacobus, Jess Elliot, Jill Leonard, Nicole Santosuosso, Nicole Wisse, Kim Ferrara, Kim Lope, Cheryl Porter, Jess Perez, Lindsey Moore, Deanna Giordano, Melissa Barbera, Emma Gretina, and Sam Litchfield.

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Congratulates the Class of 2007 Over $20,000,000 earned in scholarships and grants to such prestigious colleges as: Harvard Barnard/Columbia Case Western Reserve Colgate Rensselaer Polytech Duke Villanova Michigan

University of Chicago University of North Carolina University of Southern California University of Virginia Penn State Fairfield Boston College Purdue

We Congratulate all of our Clifton grads: Vanessa Chavez Jennifer Desueza Robert Dotto Jeffrey Hirai Beth Holly Alexa Kaousias Joseph Karcz

Robert Kierzkowski Michelle Lagomarsino Danielle Lampo Stephan Liszewski Carol Majkrzak Ashley Martinez Ruben Merida Craig Nazimek

Christopher Pesoli Kenneth Quiros Nicole Rodriguez Alicia Salzbach Katie Sanchez Izza Santiago Evan Shaker

Juan Pujol Clifton Will attend this fall: Boston University

Abigail Cunanan Clifton Will attend this fall: University of Delaware

Juan is a member of the National Honor Society and the International Language Honor Society. He is also a member of Paramus Catholic’s Spring Track and Cross Country teams.

Abigail is a member of the National Honor Society, the Paramus Catholic Student Council, as well as Paramus Catholic’s State Championship Cheerleading team.


July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Senior Athletes The 2007 Clifton High School Senior Athlete Awards Dinner was held on June 11 at the Brownstone in Paterson. Seniors on every athletic team were honored for their participation. A few special awards were handed out as well. Softball pitcher Deanna Giordano and football lineman Timothy Jacobus won the female and male Athletes of the Year awards. Quarterback Anthony Giordano was the Joe Grecco Award honoree as well as the winner of the new Bill Vander Closter Award. Swimmer Sylvia Hyra (at right) was presented with a Certificate of Achievement for her dedication to her teammates. She was diagnosed with cancer while in high school, but continued to support her friends on the swim team by becoming Team Manager.

Athletic Director Rick LaDuke (left) and swimming coach Andrea Bobby (center) present a Certificate of Achievement to senior swimmer Sylvia Hyra. Mayank Patel (not pictured) also received a Certificate of Achievement for playing on the tennis team despite being deaf.

Seniors on the State Championship football team (at right) that went 9-3 include Paul Andrikanich, Phillip Buzzone, Nick Cvetic, Adam DeLamota, Matt Detres, David Fahy, Louis Feliciano, Brian Fierro, Joseph Figueroa, Anthony Giordano, Timothy Jacobus, Barron Johnson, Robert Johnson, Robert McClear, Omar Saleh, Derrick Stroble, Joshua Texidor and Emilio Torres. They were coached by Ron Anello, Rob Bertolini, Ralph Cinque, Steven Covello, Frank Davide, Jon Hemenway, Angelo Intile, Brian Silipenna, Brian Small and Metry Smeen. Team Managers are Kelly Elmer, Laurel Hanczryk and Sarah Trombutas. July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Seniors on the boys volleyball team (at left) that won the league title are Omar Zevallos, Daniel Sorber, Jonathan Prado, Matthew Tietjen, Peter Capar, Alex Zwiazek, Chris Seitz, and Paul Peskosky. Managers are Stephanie Magaster and Deanna Perez. Coaches are Michael Doktor, Lester Fila, Jim Trigo and Cara Boseski.

The boys tennis team (at right) finished 16-7, which was good enough for second place in the league. Senior Zach Ontell reached the semis of the County Tennis Tournament, leading the Mustangs to a third place finish. Fellow seniors on the tennis team include Mayank Patel, Jobert Visto, second team All-County Jeff Laux and honorable mention recipient Ivan Lianzo. They were coached by Andrea Bobby and Jim Trigo.

Senior swimmers include Gwen Heershap, Francesca Hemsey, Sylvia Hyra, Marta Paczkowska, Karla Yeamans, Chris and Israel Acuna, Craig Casperino, Cal Goodell, Jeff Laux, Jeremy Lim, Tim Maxwell, Scott Reilly, Jonathan Satkowski and Walter Voss. They were coached by Andrea Bobby, Scott Orlovsky and James Montovano. 18

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

The girls soccer team went 11-5 this fall and finished second in the league. Seniors on the team include Melissa D’Arco, Brittney Harraka, Samantha Bartlett, Erica Cardillo and Arielle Saltzman. They were coached by Dan Chilowicz, Michelle DeHaven and Amanda Grzyskin.

The golf team captured a league title. Back, from left: All-County honorable mention and second team All-League Anthony Wrobel, first team All-League Rob Meyer, Kevin McDonald, All-League honorable mention John Butas and Danny Faller. Front: second team All-County and first team All-League Barry Tsouhnikas, Alec DeGraaf, Jason Torrao and second team All-League Andrew Hlavaty. Not pictured: All-County honorable mention and first team All-League Frank Vogas and Coach Chad Cole.

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The boys lacrosse team went 5-12 this spring. Seniors include Brian Fierro, Dustin Malaszuk, Mike Pagani, Kurtis Wiersma, Jim Hamade, Tom Kazanjian, Jheison Lemos, D.J. Ferriaoli, Diego Chavez and Tim Jacobus. They were coached by Bryan Armstrong, George Cowan, Shaun Lacey and David Armstrong.

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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


The 2006 girls volleyball team went 14-8. Top row, from left: Deanna Giordano, Danielle Woolverton, Monica Stroz, Kim Lope and Alison DiAngelo. Bottom row: Dana Riley, Cheryl Porter, Jessica Munoz, Natalia Dziubek and Alexander Semidey. Not pictured: Rachel Prehodka-Spindel and Coaches Michael Doktor, Lester Fila, Jim Trigo and Cara Boseski.

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or some 34 years now, Anthony A. Accavallo, shown here, has been helping make the American Dream become a reality, right here in Clifton. As President of Federal Mortgage & Investment Corp. at 1111 Clifton Ave., Clifton, he and his firm have written millions of dollars worth of mortgages which have allowed people to purchase homes. And while that work has been fulfilling, Accavallo said he is getting his greatest satisfaction these days by helping senior citizens with reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a special kind of mortgage loan for seniors. “It is a safe, easy way to turn your home equity into tax-free cash,” he continued. “Unlike a home equity loan, you do not have to make

monthly payments. Instead, a reverse mortgage pays you. More importantly, you do not have to repay the loan for as long as you live in the house. It’s a great way to keep your home and get money from it at the same time.” The name “reverse mortgage” describes exactly what the mortgage is — it is the exact opposite of a conventional mortgage. That is, with a conventional mortgage the borrower pays the lender but with a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the borrower. In the past, a senior citizen in need of money would have to take out a loan against their house and immediately start making monthly payments again or sell their home. But a reverse mortgage allows seniors to borrow against the equity

How do I qualify for a Reverse Mortgage? It’s simple. You and your co-borrower must be at least 62 years old. You must own your home free and clear or have just a small balance on your existing mortgage. Best of all, there are no income or credit requirements to satisfy. How can I receive my money? You can receive it in several ways: • Equal monthly payments as long as you live in your home • Equal monthly payments for a certain period of time • As a line of credit you can draw upon as needed, for whatever reasons • As a lump sum draw at closing • A combination of the above, to meet your requirements. When must I repay the loan? You must repay the loan if you no longer live in your home. In the event of your death, your heirs can choose to repay the loan and keep the house or sell the house and repay the loan, What are interest rate charges & fees? • An adjustable rate of interest is charged on reverse mortgages • Closing costs are typical for any mortgage closing and all may be financed • No out-of-pocket expenses at closing Are Reverse Mortgages safe? • Yes, FHA and FannieMae guarantee the payments you receive • FHA and FannieMae also guarantee you will never owe more than your house is worth — no debt left on estate

they already have in their home... and they never have to make a monthly payment. Each reverse mortgage candidate is required to attend a free counseling session with a local independent housing agency approved by FHA (Federal Housing Administration). Candidates are encouraged to bring other family members with them to help in the decision-making process. “This process ensures that the borrower understands the program fully and aides them in determining whether or not a reverse mortgage is for them,” said Accavallo.

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Seniors on the boys soccer team that went 15-7 are David Abukhater, Adam Bajek, Chris Bednarz, Nick D’Alto, James Lam, Francisco Lugo, David Marco, Steven Ocampo, Mike Pomykala, Lucian Radoslovescu, Frank Vogas and Ted Zubek. They were coached by Joe Vespignani Art Vespignani, Andrew Piotrowski and Alfred Bido.

Senior Mustang cheerleaders are Samira Abdelhady, Jordan Bykowsky, Ashley Fairless, Erica Feig, Ashley Gagnon, Kimberly Gordan, Alesia Jedrzej, Stephanie Lorenzo, Merideth McGinley, Vanessa Nibbling, Caitlin Papa, Casey Puleo, Jackie Stephens, Stacey Zoecklein and Allison Zutterman. Coaches are Michele Rodriguez, Christy Greco and Dana Anton. 22

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

The boys cross country team went 35-1, finished first in the league, second in the county and section, and won the Livingston Invitational. Both the boys indoor and outdoor track teams placed third in the NNJIL. Seniors on the track and cross country teams (pictured at left) include Alexander Anolik, 1600 meter first team all-league Chris Bienkiewicz, Adit Desai, Brian Dunphy, Paul Falduto, Bowen Hu, Antoin Jones, Nertil Lushka, Vivan Mohan, Michael Papa, Justin Perez, Daniel Soriano, Michael Tanayan and Michael Urciuoli. They were coached by John Pontes, Lisa Smith, Andrew Piotrowski, Robert Kolano and Victor Wu.

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The ice hockey team went 6-16-1. Seniors include Travis Amico, Pawel Banko, Jeff Dingman, Bryan Fitzpatrick, Jon Nycz, Dustin Smith, Zach Solomon, Kamil Szorc, Matt Szuba and Mark Kapusek. Cheryl Porter is the manager and the coaches are Tom Danko, Bennet Shelly and Emil Rascher.


July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


The boys basketball team (at left) went 13-12 and captured the Mountain Lakes Holiday Tournament Championship. Seniors on the basketball team are Marquis Champagne, Michael Cetinich, Victor Torres, and Shaon Jude. Team Managers are Amanda Porga and P.J. Ferraioli. The team was coached by Angelo Intile, Joe Rivera, Mark Gengaro and Tom Danko.

The girls basketball team finished 7-14 and claimed the NNJIL Sportsmanship Award. Team members from left: Kelly Ellmer, Monica Roman, Lianne Maldonado, Christina Sisco and Danielle Woolverton. They were coached by Tim Nellegar, Rob Tomesko, Chris Tomesko, Dawn Paton and Joe Olivola.

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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

The girls winter track team captured league and county titles, while the girls cross country squad went 28-6, finishing first in the league, second in the county and sixth in the state sectional. Senior track and cross county athletes (at left) include Jasmine Adams, Jaclyn Stephens, Brittney Harraka, Jessica Torres, Karen Rondon, Kelly Elmer and Graciala Aries. Coaches are Andrew Piotrowski and Florence Calise.

Some of the 2006 girls tennis squad that finished 4-12, front, from left stands Jackie Purisima, Neana Yoo, Janki Patel and Monica Ahmed. Behind them, from the left is Xiao Zhang, Bhoomi Upadhyaya, Kelly Rivadeneyra and Lia Salierno. They were coached by Chad Cole and Ann Marie Tate.

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The gymnastics team (at left) went 2-8. Seniors are Amy Wong, Jasmine Adams, Allison Busha, Tara Danny and Valentina Khad Kevitch. They were coached by Judy D’Argenio, Kim Nicol and Susan Palm. The Team Manager is Paul Falduto.

The wrestling team (at right) went 10-13 this winter. Senior wrestlers include Amgad Sulieman, Savvas Dimitratos, Charlie Hornstra, Ostap Semeniak and Mustafa Abdelatif. They were led by Head Coach Dan Geleta and Assistants Fred Hemsey and Jon Hemenway. Ashley Urbano served as Team Manager.

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The baseball team (above) amassed a record of 14-13 and finished first in the NNJIL A Division. Senior baseball team members include all-league honorable mention recipient Phil Buzzone, second team all-league Ryan Gorny and Michael Huk, Michael Urciuoli, first team all-league Thomas Lesch, Justin Radosti, Jon Satkowski and Gabriel Moreta. Coaches are Angelo Intile, Joe Rivera, Mark Gengaro and Tom Danko. Team managers are Desiree Perez and Stephanie Soto.

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Both the boys and girls bowling teams won county and league titles this year. Varsity bowlers include Steph Magaster, Sam Richardson, Vikki Van Riper, Joe Cristantiello, Ryan Hoeltzel, Dan Anzalon, Kyle Hooyman, Marianne Guerriero, Alicia Gray, Kristine Baetiong and Coach Brian Small.



July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

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The CHS Girls Lacrosse Team accepts a check from Aeropostale. The team members are, standing from left, Paulina Glowacz, Georgette Mbayed, Donna Balagtas, Charlene Lopez, Deanna Cristantiello, Alexandra Scerbak, Marzena Kosmider, Alyssa Philhower, Elena Mora, Arielle Saltzman, Dana Lyons and Stephanie Cantillo. Kneeling from left, Justine Jensen, Christine Aziz, Jacqueline Purisima, Joni DeGuzman and Gabriela Argueta.

The CHS Girls Varsity Lacrosse team was featured on The Lacrosse Report, a weekly high school lacrosse television program covering the tri-state area airing on the MSG network. The five-minute segment featuring the team aired on June 5. After viewing the segment, Aeropostale, the sponsor of the program, was so impressed with the enthusiasm and attitude of the girls that they decided to honor the team with a $5,000 grant for further development of the program. On June 12, the team appeared on the show again to accept the money. The girls team began a full varsity and junior varsity schedule in the spring of 2006. Approximately 40 girls, none of whom had ever played the game before, took on the challenge of learning a new sport. Coach Dan Chilowicz said that without the benefit of an in-town rec or traveling team, the girls were at a real disadvantage when competing against girls who started playing as early as the third grade. In its first year, the varsity team went 0-15, but the group of young women were committed to getting better. The girls began training in January, and with the help of Bob Foster and the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton, as many as 30 girls attended training sessions on Sundays and worked on their conditioning during the week after school. The hard work paid dividends as the girls completed a memorable 8-8 season which enabled them to qualify 30

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

for the North Group 4 state playoffs. The enthusiasm, the camaraderie, and the hard work by both players and coaches Chilowcz and Amanda Gryzskin resulted in the accomplishments of the team being recognized by The Lacrosse Report and Aeropostale. Anyone in the Clifton community who would like to give Coach Chilowicz a hand in launching a youth lacrosse program for girls should contact him via e-mail at or call him at 973-696-0568. Chilowicz said, “Energy and enthusiasm are mandatory requirements, but experience is not.”

CHS junior Susan Martinez (center) finished fifth in the 800 meter race at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions on June 6 at Frank Jost Field in South Plainfield. Teammates Kristin Venning (left) and Eloisa Paredes (right) helped Martinez prepare for the race by pacing her at the Clifton Stadium track.

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Time for for Turf? Turf? Story by Joe Hawrylko

Ron Anello describes himself as the kind of guy who, when he sets out to do something, he does it right. He sees it through to completion and doesn’t accept mediocracy. That’s why the state of Clifton Schools Stadium bothers him. The fourth year coach of the Fighting Mustangs says that students and athletes—whether the football team, softball, girls lacrosse or whoever—deserve a better stadium that everyone can use. To him, it’s all about the kids. “We have great kids, aside from the records. It’s not about winning,” explained coach Anello. “It’s about good kids who deserve to have a good field. That’s not to say that the stadium is bad. We just want to be like everyone else in Group 4.” In the past, students have referred to it as the Dust Bowl or the Mud Bowl due to the constant lack of grass on most of the playing space. When it rains, the field is reduced to a muddy quagmire. But go through a long dry spell and you’ll see dust devils dancing on the field during games. If you go to the stadium now, opponents will most likely note that the field seems healthy and green. But looks can be deceiving, Anello cautioned. “It’s not cost effective,” the coach said of the natural turf. “It’s nice now, but you play one rain game on there and it’s ruined for months. Factor in maintenance—chemicals, lawn mowers, manpower—turf just makes sense.” If the maintenance problems with the natural turf aren’t convincing enough, there’s always the potential for a major health crisis. Canadian geese from the neighboring Main Memorial Park often flock over to Joe Grecco Athletic Field and feast on what little greens remain. The problem there is what they leave behind... namely one to two pounds of manure daily per goose, which often ends up smeared all over the jersey of whatever athlete was playing on the fields that day. Coach Anello wasn’t the only one complaining about that. 32

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

“The parents got the ball rolling on that one. The city does a pretty good job, they have the ‘geese police’come around with their border collies and chase them, but come on, are they going to do that forever?” he asked rhetorically. “Even then, the geese are only a small part of the problem. The field is not in good condition in general, even without the geese manure all over it.” According to Anello, who is also the CHS Assistant Supervisor of Physical Education, the easiest way to remedy the situation is by installing field turf at the Stadium. Geese would no longer flock to the field, there would be no more dust or mud bowls and the required maintenance would be much less than for natural turf. The new field would be able to endure much more wear and tear than a natural one, which would make it available to all of Clifton’s sports teams. “It says Clifton School Stadium. We should make it so that all the kids

can use it for their home games... the girls lacrosse team, softball, soccer... everyone. They love playing in here, it’s a sense of pride,” said Anello. “But we can’t because of the natural grass. It just can’t take it.” Even with football as the primary benefactors of the stadium, the turf takes quite a beating during the course of the year. In addition to soccer, softball and a couple other games, Anello’s boys practice and use the facility year round. Their short off-season lasts only a few weeks between their last game and the first week of January, unless his athletes are playing another sport. “I always encourage them to play other sports,” he added, implying that there is a strong connection between academics and athletics. “It’s high school, they should play all the sports they can play. It will force them to manage their time and leave them better off overall in life.” Even with all of the multi-sport athletes on his squad, Anello’s off-

season workout attendance hovers around 100. While they spend a lot of time in the weight room —which is also very small by Group 4 standards, something else Anello hopes to get changed—there are many times that the athletes practice drills on the field. This, coupled with the fact other teams use the stadium, gives the grass very little time to recover from the pounding it receives under the hoofs of the young Mustangs. That’s why the field’s condition degenerates every year; it gets no rest. “When it rains, we can’t practice because the field gets soaked because there’s no grass,” said Anello. “Then we go inside to a 60 year old gym, where there is no room, so we end up sending all of our young kids home or to the weight room. We don’t get to have a full practice as a team.” In addition to sports teams, Anello said that others could

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benefit from upgrading the stadium as well. Artificial turf enable CCMS students to have their gym classes held on the field. In turn, this would create less wear and tear on the smaller, adjoining fields on the campus, preserving them for the freshman soccer, football and softball teams that use them. “The biggest thing that people forget about is the phys ed classes. They could use it too,” stated Anello. “At CHS, we couldn’t even use our fields for gym classes

because they were so bad from all the sports teams playing there.” The coach knows that Clifton’s recent track record of spending money on schools makes him an underdog in his quest to get the public to fund the restoration of an aging stadium filled with tradition. But that’s a role that Anello has relished in before. To him, it’s common sense. He’s a blue collar guy, born and bred in North Jersey too. He knows the cost of living isn’t cheap, but he

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implores those that oppose his views to think of the big picture. “I live in North Jersey too. I lived in Montclair and Clifton for 11 years and now I’m in Lafayette. You live in New Jersey, you’re going to pay high taxes. I know what it’s like,” sympathized Anello. The crux of his argument is clear: the benefits outweigh the costs. This project would be a community investment, not a luxury. “Why wouldn’t you want to keep your property values high? It’s improving the school district.” He says there are other municipalities with teams in Group 4 that are in similar financial situations like the one in Clifton, but still manage to give their kids top-flight sports facilities. “Hackensack has got an amazing stadium and they are blue collar just like us,” reasoned Anello. “All of our opponents have nice facilities. We just want to be like them. I know money and budgets are tight, but other towns have it. I know we are bigger than many cities, but everything is relative.” “Coaches beg, borrow and steal plays and info from one another for sports,” Anello continued. “Let’s ask other towns how they got the funds for their own stadiums.” Even though a he’s normally an optimistic guy, Anello can’t help but get depressed when he sees how some citizens vehemently oppose any improvements to educational and sports facilities in Clifton. He wishes that the city could come together to make it happen. “There’s too much red tape here. Everyone thinks that they are important. You know who’s really important?” said Anello, pointing over his shoulder to the 100-something kids in the stadium weightroom, who were dangerously close to one another while lifting “These

The weightroom at Clifton Schools Stadium is split into two wings. Coach Anello said that nearly 100 students will cram in these walls to get their work out. “Other kids would complain,” he said. “But they don’t know any other way.”

kids... our future. We’ve got a great program, now lets make it better.” “You know, I can see the field in my mind... in one end zone, there’s the word Mustangs and Clifton in the other. In the center is a big

Fighting Mustang logo,” envisioned Anello. “What’s with the reserved seating signs all over? It should be like other towns. It should read, ‘Joe Grecco Stadium, Home of the Fighting Mustangs.’”

Going beyond the condition of the sod and his team’s need for a large weight room, Anello added that there’s also the little things that go unnoticed. “The first thing you see when pulling into the stadium parking lot is the old, faded softball championship signs,” he said. “How much effort would it be to paint those?” “It’s a matter of pride,” Anello continued. “People always talk about history and tradition. Where is it?”Still, even with the odds likely stacked against him, the coach believes that his goals are attainable. It will take time, said Anello, adding that five years is a realistic possibility. “Tradition never graduates. This is still a beautiful place. But it can be the best stadium in the area. It just needs a little tender love and care.” concluded the coach. “Emil Gacy got the stadium built after the 1946 season, but it is up to this current generation to take it to another level.” Special

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For the Love of the Game by Jordan Schwartz

Clifton’s boys of summer continue playing even after the school season ends Post 347’s first baseman threw down his glove like a hockey enforcer looking for a fight. This, after Post 8’s center fielder nearly stepped on his foot during a close play at first base that ended the inning. Words were exchanged and the benches cleared. No punches were thrown, but before the melee ended, both players and a coach from each team were ejected from the game. Not the prettiest sight, but one that illustrates the intensity of a cross-town rivalry that dates back to WWII. Clifton Posts 347 and 8 both sponsor teams that play in the Bergen County Area American Legion Baseball League. The league is made up of 18 squads of 16- to 19-

year-olds from Passaic, Bergen and Hudson Counties. It offers the teenagers a chance to continue playing after their high school and college seasons conclude. This has been going on since the mid ‘40s when Joe Popek and Tony Romaglia were coaching Post 8. Popek said the team played for three state championships but lost each time—twice to Trenton and once to Belmar. Post 8 finally won a state title in 1986 under Coach Paul Pignatello. Popek still attends games at Nash Park to talk about the good old days with Clifton’s unofficial sports historian Lou Poles, who played for Post 347 from 1950 to 1952.

Clifton Post 8 team members include Ryan Akers, Phil Buzzone, Anthony DeSomma, Kevin Ferreras, Ryan Gorney, Michael Huk, Matt Hunkele, Alex and Tom Lesch, Justin Martinez, Marc Ortiz, Ken Peterson, Wayne Richardson, Darren Ritchie, Jonathan Satkowski, Kyle Terry, Mike Urciuoli and Nick Van Winkle. They are managed by John Condel. 38

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Post 347 team members include Edwin Cabrera, Guido Cunillera, Anthony Diaz, Franklin Duran, Elias Feliz, Desmond GodBolt, Jordano Hernandez, Sergio and Thomas Irizarry, Anthony and Joseph Koban, Christian Luciano, Johnny Mayi, Gabriel Moreta, Jasmin Pjetrovic, Jesse Scudilla and Jon Walsh. They are led by Manager Tom Corradino, Coaches Tom Corradino Jr., Joe Corradino and Joe Jeffers.

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Poles was the team’s MVP in ‘52 when he played catcher and led the team in hitting. Post 347 won the league in ‘51—its only championship until Coach Vinny Tiberi was at the helm in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Recent CHS Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Ronald Plaza was on that 1951 team. After the season, Plaza signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in the parking lot of the supermarket by the old high school. He played nine years in the Cards organization, but never made it to the Bigs. A decade and a half after Plaza departed, School 12 principal and Ramapo College assistant softball coach Sal Anzaldi was 347’s star player in the mid ‘60s. Today, Post 347 is led by a number of Clifton kids. There are 11 current or former Mustangs on the roster and another Cliftonite who attends Passaic County Technical Institute. They are joined by four players from Elmwood Park and one from Saddle Brook. There are several CHS students on the Post 8 team as well. Those include All-County second team outfielder Marc Ortiz and All-Passaic honorable mention Ryan Akers and Tom Lesch. Despite the more decorated lineup, Post 8 lost the near-brawl game on June 19 by a score of 9-5. Lou Friendly rivals Joe Popek, 82, of Post 8 and Lou Poles, 72, of Post Poles called the win “the biggest victory for 347 in 347 played American Legion Baseball when the league first start- several years.” ed shortly after World War II. He would know.

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The Clifton Hawks are a member of the North Jersey Amateur Baseball League. Standing, from left, are Edward Frias, Frank Devalle, Ben Mejia, Matthew Patterson and Manager Ron Gavazzi. Kneeling, from left, are Eric Vinciguerra, Greg Perret, Jose Rosado and Joe Coveney. Not pictured are Tom Csigi, Jason DeMarco, Anthony Genchi, Neil Guerriero, Doug Meier, Mike Picarello, Dave Sica, Mike Vinciguerra, Mike Santosuosso and Onix Ortiz.

Clifton Hawks Clifton Hawks player/manager Ron Gavazzi says the North Jersey Amateur Baseball League is the best around. The Hawks joined the 18 and up league five years ago after a successful run in the AAU ranks. Cliftonite Dave Santosuosso started the team in 1997 as a tribute to the Newark Hawks Athletic Club baseball squad his father Joe played for in the ‘40s. The new team was made up of Dave’s son Mike and his friends who were all 13 at the time. “They were getting out of Little League and they were looking to play more competitive baseball,” Dan said. “The city had the Babe Ruth League, but that ended early in the summer and the kids wanted to keep playing so they could get ready for high school baseball.” Players were selected from Clifton’s six Little League divisions. The team then participated in local leagues such as Stan Musial and AABC Mickey Mantle. The Hawks also competed in the New Jersey

AAU Tournament and other state tournaments in New York, Connecticut and Florida. Playing at the 16-yearolds level in 2000, the team came in second place in the state tournament and advanced to the AAU Nationals. The Hawks have had the opportunity to play at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY, Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Florida, Yogi Berra Stadium, Skylands Park and Waterfront Park. Several players on the ‘97 squad went on to become members of the ‘00 and ‘01 Clifton Mustangs that captured back-to-back NNJIL championships. When the players became too old to play AAU ball, the Hawks joined the NJABL. Unlike the American Legion League that uses aluminum bats, the NJABL is strictly a wooden bat league. It’s made up of 15 teams and is designed to give college athletes some extra practice over the summer. But there are also members, such as Gavazzi, whose collegiate playing days are over but whose competitive drive carries on.

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


This column was originally started by our founder, the late Murray Blumenfeld. In his spirit, we continue its publication.


uly kicks off with fireworks to commemorate our Independence Day. We here at Morre Lyons are creating sparks of our own - as we commence our buying in preparation for the 2007 holiday season. We know it can be difficult to picture Christmas with the blistering summer heat still in full force, but Swarovski’s 2007 Christmas Ornaments are already here! Make an early dent in that long holiday shopping list - they make wonderful gifts and help your holiday decorations really sparkle. A round of exciting jewelry shows will preview the coming fall and holiday season merchandise. We have already begun making purchases and eagerly anticipate their arrival. We always enjoy seeing what each coming season has in store and so far we’ve seen some definite winners. Highlights include round link necklaces, pearls in every color of the rainbow and large diamond hoop earrings. Stainless steel will also make its way into the Men’s department. This is just a small preview of what’s coming soon to Morre Lyons. The New York Jewelry Show will take place at the end of July. We look forward to viewing all the new and exciting designs available this year. It will be our job to select a variety of styles sure to please every taste. These beautiful collections will be here in plenty of time for early holiday shopping. July’s birthstone is ruby. The ideal ruby’s color is a perfect red and variations may show some shades of pink or brown. It has long been believed that to own a ruby insures one a healthy, safe, peaceful and content life.



July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Upcoming Schedule Mon 7/9 8 pm Tue 7/10 8 pm Wed 7/11 6 pm Fri 7/13 8:45 pm Wed 7/18 6 pm

Clifton Hawks @Paramus Red Sox @Paramus Pitbulls Saddle Brook (Nash Park) @Fair Lawn Wyckoff (Nash Park)

American Legion Post 8 Fri 7/6 6 pm North Arlington (WWMS) Sun 7/8 7 pm @West New York Tue 7/10 7 pm @Bergenfield Thu 7/12 6 pm @Wyckoff

Have a Joyous July and we’ll talk to you next month.

At 26, Gavazzi has been the youngest high school baseball head coach in the state for the past six years. Two years after graduating CHS in 1999, he took a job at Bayley-Ellard Catholic in Madison for four years before moving on to Montclair High School. When Santosuosso tapped him to lead the Hawks prior to this season, Gavazzi was already familiar with all the players on the team. The roster is made up of Ron’s former CHS teammates and guys he’s coached at Bayley and Montclair. Prior to Gavazzi, Santosuosso’s son Mike was the manager, and before that, Dave himself was in charge. Dave still owns the team at a cost of about $3,500 a year out of his own pocket. That pays for league and umpire fees, equipment, insurance and trophies. The city helps out by providing fields for the Hawks to play on. Nash Park looks a lot better this year than it did in 2006, but Gavazzi said it could still use a lot of work. A hole often develops in front of the pitching rubber on the mound, making it difficult for hurlers to plant and throw. The infield and outfield grass is high and riddled with weeds, greatly slowing down ground balls before they reach the fielders. But baseball is baseball, and the Hawks are just happy to be playing well into the summer.


American Legion Post 347 Sat 7/7 6 pm Bayonne (Nash Park) Tue 7/10 6 pm Jersey City (Nash Park) Sat 7/14 6 pm Lyndhurst (Nash Park) For more information, visit

CHS Graduation 2007

Hats off to the CHS Class of 2007 as they celebrated their commencement at Clifton Schools Stadium on June 22.


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There were 688 members of the CHS graduating Class of 2007 on June 22. Another 33 students are scheduled to receive their degrees following the completion of summer courses. More than half (52 percent) of graduates are headed to four-year colleges, 31 percent will be attending twoyear colleges, seven percent are on their way to trade or technical schools, six percent are heading right into the working world, one percent are joining the military and three percent are undecided.

Congratulations Graduates! We’ve been dedicated to serving the community for 46 years and will continue improving our service, atmosphere & food. We appreciate your patronage and pledge to make Hot Grill a truly enjoyable dining experience!




973-772-6000 July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Since 1961



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Downtown Clifton presents:

Salsa Night 1

2 Pi Friday, July 13 • 7 pm to 11 pm Sals ece a Ba Corner of Clifton Ave & First St. nd Dancing Contests • Food • Free Admission Free Salsa Lesson by Continental Dance Studios

DJ o uit q i h C

Rain Date: July 20


Featuring the music of Frankie Ruiz!

Wendy Palma


Victor Rojas

Danzas Mexicanas


Hosted by the Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group for info call 973-253-1455 or go to This project is funded, in part, by the Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council, at Passaic County Community College, through a grant from the NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. 46

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

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Bader Farm of Pine Brook, NJ July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Shop Right on Paulison Ave. Story by Jordan Schwartz

Rafael Cuellar could have been a Commander in the Navy by now. He could have been two months away from retiring at the age of 38 and collecting a tidy pension with full health benefits. He could have been selfish and fulfilled his dreams. But his family needed him. Cuellar was a lieutenant on active duty in the US Navy when his father Evelio died unexpectedly in May 1996. Evelio Cuellar was a Cuban immigrant who fled to Madrid, Spain with his wife Daisy and son Evelio, Jr. in the ‘60s. It was there that Rafael was born. The family then came to the United States and Evelio opened a bodega in Paterson in 1974. He ran the 494 Supermarket for a decade before selling his stake in the company to his partner. Evelio then formed ECO & Sons, Inc. as the holding company for President 48

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Supermarket on the corners of Washington, Jefferson and Hoover in Passaic. The store was extremely successful because Cuellar catered to the various demographics in the area. Three years after his father bought President, Rafael graduated Paul VI High School in Clifton in 1987. He was just 17, but Cuellar immediately enlisted in the Navy. “I wanted to pay for college on my own and be my own man,” he said. Cuellar went to Fordham University on an NROTC scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He then became an officer aboard the USS Detroit and worked his way up to the rank of Lieutenant. Rafael was responsible for 250 sailors and a $14 million quarterly budget. He was getting set to attend medical school to become a Navy surgeon when

his father passed away one Saturday. Rafael was then faced with a difficult choice. “It took me about three seconds,” Cuellar said of his decision to sacrifice his lifelong goal in order to help his family. Rafael received a hardship discharge, and just like that, his nearly decade-long tenure in the military was over. Cuellar returned home to grieve with his mother and brother. He also had the responsibility of taking over his father’s business. Rafael’s structured military background and strong work ethic formed from laboring at his dad’s store since he was five, made him a natural to follow in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps. Cuellar boosted revenue by 25 percent during his first year as CEO of ECO & Sons. He eliminated the practice of micromanaging at President and allowed many employees to be their own managers.

“This is my neighborhood, these are my neighbors,” said Rafael Cuellar. “They’re my customers, but they’re also my friends.” One of those employees who worked his way up the employment ladder is store manager Guillermo Garcia, 45. He immigrated to the United States from Peru in 1988 and soon got a job as a cashier at President. Garcia was eventually promoted to frozen foods manager and then dairy manager. He got married in 2002 and moved with his wife to Georgia to work for Kroeger Supermarkets. Garcia was there for a couple years before he received a phone call from Cuellar. “Raffy called me and told me he needed me back to run the place,” said Garcia, who has now been with Cuellar for 18 years. “You can train anyone to do anything, but you can’t train loyalty,” Cuellar said.

He eventually sold President in 2005 in order to pursue a much larger business venture. Cuellar bought the massive ShopRite on Paulison Ave. at the Clifton/Passaic border. He and his form went from owning a 13,500 sq. ft. store to a 65,000 sq. ft. franchise. “It’s difficult to run a store like this as an independent,” said Cuellar, who’s the only Hispanic and the youngest ShopRite owner among the 205 in the nation. “You’ve got to be part of the community.” He did this by stocking the shelves with a whole line of Spanish, Arabic and Kosher products to satisfy the demand of his diverse clientele. The Rosemawr resident sees this diversity right in front of him when he peers through the windows of his second floor office.

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Rafael Cuellar, (at right) now owner of the ShopRite on Paulison Ave., with his brother Evelio, Jr. and their father Evelio, Sr. in the mid ‘90s at a President Supermarket Mother’s Day event in Passaic. Evelio, Sr. passed away in May 1996 and Rafael left a 10 year career as an officer in the US Navy to run the family business.

“I come up here on a Sunday and I look down at my customers,” he said. “I can see an Orthodox Jewish lady shopping right next to a Muslim woman dressed in a burqa.” A wide selection of ethnic food isn’t the only unique part of Cuellar’s ShopRite. He employs a chef who teaches cooking classes to about ten customers on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the “Presidential Cafe” (a tribute to his old store). The chef also serves lunch from 11 am to 3 pm with a different speciality everyday. Cuellar walks the aisles of his ShopRite at least once a day. He often runs into people he’s known since he was a little boy and converses in English or Spanish. “This is my neighborhood, these are my neighbors,” Cuellar said on a recent tour of the store. “They’re my customers, but they’re also my friends.”

Back upstairs in Cuellar’s office, several pictures hang on the wall. There’s one of him with former President George H.W. Bush at a National Republican Gala. There’s another with him and former Secretary of State Colin Powell at William Paterson University. A third photo features Cuellar smiling alongside former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman at her farm. A fourth shows him with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at a US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event. But all the way on the left side of the wall, closer to Cuellar’s desk than any of the patriotic photographs, is a picture of Rafael with his smiling brother and father at a President Supermarket Mother’s Day event in the mid ‘90s. It’s easy to see why he came back.

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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


send local business news to

Hot Bagels Abroad, 859 Clifton Ave., right across from City Hall, has fully renovated its facilities, and marked the project with a grand reopening on June 16. Owner Anthony Di Marco, at right, said the store is open 365 days a year and is staffed by many familiar faces— Clifton’s high school and college students. In addition to breakfast and lunch service, Hot Bagels Abroad also offers a catering menu. For info, call 973-591-0661.

Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute Board of Trustees has named Dr. Howard B. Baum, pictured here, as President. He is the fourth generation member of his family with ties to Daughter of Miriam Center, located at 155 Hazel St. Baum, a 1977 grad of the Cornell University Medical College, is a founding partner of New Jersey Physicians, LLC, and practices internal medicine and gastroenterology. Daughters of Miriam Center or DMC, is a state-of-the-art long-term care and subacute facility. Divisions include a skilled nursing facility, a subacute care wing, a dementia care pavilion, a rehabilitation program, a medical day and dementia care day program, a sheltered workshop, hospice care, a respite program, and senior housing with services. Founded in 1921, DMC is non-profit and non-sectarian organization licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health. Call 973-772-3700 for info or go to

Ding Dong, Avon Calling! We’re not sure if Donna Prawetz still uses the timeless saying but she received top honors at Avon’s Annual President’s Club Dinner recently held at the Venetian. The lifelong Clifton resident was presented with the Spirit of Avon Award and the Number One in Sales Increase honor. An employee of Avon for 21 years, Prawetz has annual personal sales exceeding $20,200 with overall Unit Sales of nearly half a million dollars, which includes a team of 83 representatives. Visit her at

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The Allwood-Forlenza Agency, 482 Notch Rd., West Paterson, has been named as a Director-level Key Producer by the member companies of the Ohio Casualty Group. Founded in 1963 by Cliftonite John A. Forlenza Sr., this business serves the North Jersey area, specializing in auto insurance, homeowners insurance, business insurance, employee benefits and life and health insurance. With John Sr. semi-retired, his sons John Jr. and Rick handle the day to day affairs of the business. They noted only about 20 percent of the independent agencies that represent Ohio Casualty are Key Producers. For info, call Allwood-Forlenza Agency at 973-256-5500.


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Community Gardens

Story by Jordan Schwartz

Clayton Powers of Harrington Rd. poses beside his quarter-acre garden off of St. Andrew’s Blvd. by School 12.

Rich Brock kneels in the black soil of his garden. He’s shirtless and so the sunlight shines off his broad sweaty back on a 90 degree morning in June. Brock is just one of 35 Clifton residents who maintain 20’ x 50’ plots of land at Community Gardens—a small area of open space tucked between Clifton Ave. and the Garden State Parkway by the Richfield Village Apartments. Brock’s been growing beans, beats and carrots here for nearly four years. “I don’t have access to a yard and there’s nothing like eating fresh vegetables,” said Brock, who 52

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Rich Brock and his buddy Joe Marrocco each maintain a plot of land at Clifton’s Community Gardens between Clifton Ave. and the Garden State Parkway.

works in the produce department at Stop N Shop in Carlstadt. “I can really see the difference from the ones we sell in the store. My vegetables are all fresh and I put pride in growing them.” Brock’s friend Joe Marrocco turned him on to Community Gardens. Marrocco got his plot five years ago. “You come here and watch the cars go down the Parkway and you feel sorry for them,” Marrocco said, adding that he’d

“You come down here and watch the cars go down the Parkway and you feel sorry for them,” said gardener Joe Marrocco. rather sit outside in the heat than be stuck in traffic in an air conditioned car. That’s the philosophy of most who garden here. They come to get away from the modern world for a bit and spend some time with friends while working on their favorite pastime.

PSE&G employee Jeff Colavitti stands in front of his garden where he grows cauliflower, brussels sprouts, zucchini and spinach.

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“It’s always been a hobby of mine,” said Bob Naletko of Doherty Dr. “My family likes fresh vegetables on the table.” Naletko, who is the president of DeMattia-O’Brien Real Estate, has had his garden for three years. He enjoys getting out of the office for a little while to water his tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and beans. “An hour a day, keeps the weeds away,” he said. Naletko and the other 34 tenants of Community Gardens each pay $10 in annual fees that are used to offset the cost of water on the property. “We tapped into the Passaic Valley Water Commission’s supply, so every plot has a share of water,” said Clifton Tax Assessor Jack Whiting, who’s one of the original members of the Gardens. Community Gardens was created in 1979 with the aid of CEDA money. Whiting said the government was trying to create jobs and so the money was used to hire workers to clear the land. Whiting and the other charter members established a board with a president, vice president and










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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


treasurer. Whiting led the board in the ‘80s, but the current president is Clifton Police Officer Bryan Eromenok. Whiting’s uncle originally owned the land during the first half of the 20th century. Public Service Electric and Gas came through in the ‘40s and ‘50s and bought up the property. PSE&G installed gas and electric lines before agreeing to lease the land to the city for $1 per year. City Manager Al Greco has been a member since 1996. He visits his garden a few times a week to water his tomatoes and cucumbers. “Everyone gets to know each other after a while,” he said. Whiting turned one of his employees on to the Gardens. Clifton Senior Assistant Tax Assessor William Schmidig, 43, of DeMott Ave. has had his plot for three years. His father Ernie taught him how to grow vegetables while he was growing up. They’d go out and tend to the garden behind the house. Schmidig still gets tips from his dad, but Ernie, 75, rarely makes it out to garden himself anymore. “He’d rather just eat the produce now,” said William. About three new gardeners come aboard each year, replacing members who have moved or passed away. There’s currently one garden open and no waiting list, so

The Community Gardens is located beneath PSE&G power lines on a plot of land between Clifton Ave. and the Garden State Parkway.

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The growing season begins around May 10, according to Whiting, and continues through October and sometimes beyond. “I’ve picked beats on Thanksgiving morning,” he said. But from December to April, Community Gardens lies empty, waiting for the next growing season to arrive. Empty, except for Rich Brock who likes to bring his dog Sparky to run around in the snow. Rich keeps his shirt on in the winter. Follow the power lines east from Community Gardens for about a half mile and you’ll stumble upon another place where Cliftonites grow flowers and vegetables. The large plot of land off of St. Andrew’s Blvd. near School 14 is also owned by PSE&G, but for $1 a year, a part of it could be yours. Clayton Powers, 69, of Harrington Rd. has been leasing a quarter-acre for 31 years now. He began gardening at a young age while growing up on a farm in Iowa.

William Schmidig and his father Ernie stand behind William’s tall grape vines.

When he moved to Clifton, he had a garden next to his home, but it died out because it was shaded from the sun by nearby trees. Powers then saw an advertisement in the paper for the available space on St. Andrew’s Blvd. and he jumped at the opportunity. He grows strawberries, sweet corn, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, raspberries and flowers.

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And he does it all without the use of on-site water. “I just have to hope and pray we get enough rain,” said Powers. Unlike Community Gardens, the land by School 12 isn’t tapped into the Passaic Valley Water Commission and so Powers has to get creative. “I mulch a lot so that weeds don’t grow and steal the water from my plants,” he said.

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Paulison Avenue 7 am to Midnight ShopRite 7 Days A Week 503 Paulison Ave., 973-471-0868

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Summer Place... Headed to the beach or ready to get the party started in your own backyard, stop first at the Paulison Ave. ShopRite. From outdoor furniture including tables and umbrellas to chairs, coolers and toys, we are your Summer Place for savings. Need a grill, charcoal and BBQ tools? We got you covered. Going out to the woods with the kids and the dog? We have bug spray and lotions for every member of the family, including your pets. Keeping our summer merchandise well stocked are, from left: David Robles, Emily Pi, General Merchandise Manager John Guy, Alfredo Chiriboga and Craig Schmidt.

Open ‘til Midnight, 7 Days a Week... Lazy summer days means plenty of sunshine so if you want to shop after the sun goes down, a team of professionals at Paulison Ave. ShopRite are ready to serve you, until midnight, seven days a week. Among our associates you may meet, from left...


July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Butcher Carlos Mata, Assistant Store Manager Braulio Fernandez, Courtesy Desk Rep. Elizabeth Rodriguez, Front End Manager Daniel D’Stteffano and our Seafood Expert Luis Vazquez. At Cuellar Family Markets, we are here to serve you.

Jack Youngman knows Cape Cod gardening. Long since moved to Massachusetts but ‘always a Cliftonite at heart’, Youngman, who grew up in Lakeview, has released a new revised edition of his gardening book Cape Cod and Islands Lawn & Garden Almanac/ Manual.

Youngman, 73, dropped out of CHS to join the Marines in 1952. Upon his return, he earned his degree and enrolled at FDU where he studied business administration for six years. Youngman then took a job as a salesman at the Green Stamps company in Paramus. In 1978, Green Stamps transferred

Back in the summer of 1951, Jack Youngman talked his high school pals into driving up to Saratoga, NY to bet on the ponies. Pictured from left are Henry Nalepka, Joe Bidler, Billy DeGraaf, Jack Youngman and Steve Garabics.

him to Massachusetts and so he and his wife Mary moved to South Dennis on Cape Cod. Youngman (above today) later switched jobs and began working at a garden center. He also took gardening courses at Cape Cod Community College and became a Mass. Certified Horticulturist. His interest in the topic grew so that he penned the first edition of his book in 1997. Youngman did all the marketing and promoting of the book by himself and has sold 15,000 copies over the past decade.


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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Schultheis Farm

by Jordan Schwartz

Two years after purchasing Schultheis Farm, the city is looking to have someone maintain the property. City Manager Al Greco said Gro-Rite Garden Center in Lincoln Park, a commercial hydrangea grower and a food pantry are the three entities interested in farming the whole acreage. Greco said the city is also planning to demolish the farmhouse and the old storage building that are located on the premises and replace them with a 10,000 sq. ft. auxiliary garage to store emergency fire vehicles. “The council has authorized us to meet with the Schultheis Committee to confirm moving forward with this,” said Greco. “This is something the city has been working on for three years.” Clifton currently stores its extra emergency vehicles in various places throughout the city. The City Manager said the Schultheis location would act as a centralized garage and backup emergency communications center. The $2.3 million facility would also house a small training room for fire personnel. Construction wouldn’t begin until next year and there is no word on how long it would last. And then there’s the question of the mysterious heaps of asphalt that recently appeared on the Schultheis property (in a photo above provided by Bob Wittmann). Greco said the asphalt was going to be used to create a small parking lot for the American Legion Hall that was supposed to be relocated from Lake St. to 58

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

the farmhouse. Now that the American Legion moved to the Rec Center on Main Ave. instead, Greco said the asphalt will be removed. Schultheis Farm was at one time being discussed as a potential school site. On Jan. 12, 2004, Municipal Attorney Gerald Friend wrote to Schultheis Farms, LLC: “The City of Clifton is interested in purchasing the property in order to maintain it as open space, for recreational purposes or for the construction of a new school.” Two months later on March 5, 2004, the BOE and City Council released a statement announcing Schultheis and 290 Brighton Rd. as its consensus pick for a new school location. But opposition mounted the following month and a petition drive was launched. On May 4, 2004, the City Council reversed course and voted 7-0 to oppose the use of the farm for a school. This was in response to 300 residents who presented 2,661 petitions. In 2005, the city purchased the 5.8 acre farm from the Schultheis family as part of Clifton’s Master Plan to maintain green space. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Karen Hershey said the city will receive the $1.3 million in Green Acres funding it applied for to offset the cost of the purchase as soon as it submits all the proper documentation to the DEP. Hershey said the portion of the property set to be used for storage will not be available for Green Acres funding.

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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Parking lot to become restaurant? The Clifton Zoning Board of Adjustment has a lot on its plate this summer, but it is only meeting once in July and once in August. The matter of a proposed restaurant or retail store at the corner of Main and Harding Aves. won’t be heard until Sept. 5.

This parking lot at the corner of Main and Harding Aves. next to the PNC Bank in Downtown Clifton is the proposed site of a new restaurant or retail store. The matter will be considered by the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Sept. 5.

A new restaurant or retail store may be on its way to Downtown. On June 20, the Zoning Board of Adjustment granted Clifton Main Mall, LLC of Englewood a use variance to establish a second principal use on one lot. The developer, represented by attorney Frank Carlet, proposes to build a 3,700 sq. ft. building on a portion of the parking lot next to the PNC Bank at the corner of Main and Harding Aves. Since there is already a bank there, and because the lot is in the Main Ave. overlay district, Clifton Main Mall needed to apply for a use variance to put a restaurant or store there as well. Zoning Board Attorney John Pogorelec, Sr. said the developer must now return to the Zoning 60

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Board on Sept. 5 to present a site plan for approval. The initial plan for 1184 Main Ave. also required variances for the size of parking spaces (9 x 19 feet required, 9 x 18 feet proposed); parking area setbacks from corner; side and rear property lines (10 feet required, five feet proposed); interior parking lot landscaping; off-street loading spaces (one required per building, none proposed); parking in required side yard setback; and minimum side yard setback (half the building height required, 7.3 feet proposed). In a split vote, the Zoning Board of Adjustment recently rejected a variance application for the proposed Clifton Professional Plaza right down the street at 1260 Main Ave. due to a lack of parking.

The ongoing saga of the proposed 500-student 9th grade high school annex at 290 Brighton Rd. continues with no end in sight. This, after the Board of Adjustment voted 4-3 during a special meeting on June 7 to deny the school district’s variance application to convert an industrial building into the school. The majority opinion on the Zoning Board was that the school would negatively affect the neighborhood. School Board Attorney Anthony D’Elia said the district will once again appeal the decision to Passaic County Superior Court Judge Robert Passero. D’Elia said a date for the hearing has not been set, but he predicts it will be held sometime near the end of July.

Passero has previously ruled that the project does not conflict with Clifton’s Master Plan. The Clifton Zoning Board of Adjustment first denied the district’s application for a variance to

build the annex following 10 months and 17 hearings in 2005 and 2006. Cliftonites passed a referendum on the annex in a 68 to 32 percent vote on Dec. 14, 2004.

Clifton Zoning Board Commissioners took a trip to this large estate in West Paterson last month to view the quarry in its backyard where a 128 unit apartment complex is planned. Resident Charles Paraboschi is one of the individuals against the plan, which includes building an entranceway through a dead end in Clifton.

Garret Pointe Associates will have to wait at least another five weeks before the Zoning Board rules on its use variance application to construct a driveway to service a land-locked lot in West Paterson. The developer’s engineer Arthur Hanson of Wayne once again testified on June 6 under direct examination from Garret Pointe’s attorney Frank Carlet. Hanson also answered questions under cross examination from attorney Glenn Peterson, who is representing two complainants in the matter. Hanson reiterated that Paxton St. off of Mountain Park Rd. in Clifton is the only possible entranceway to service a proposed group of 128 residential units on the West Paterson lot. He said the project would be located in a quarry and the 50-foot walls make entry impossible from anywhere in West Paterson. The matter was continued to the Aug. 15 meeting. by Jordan Schwartz

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Want to run for

City Council? One seat open in Nov. 6 Special Election • by Joe Hawrylko “I’m like a relief pitcher trying to crack the starting line up,” said interim Councilman Matt Ward. He, George Silva and other yet unnamed candidates will be vying for Antonio Latona’s unexpired term (three years) on the Clifton City Council on Nov. 6. The date will coincide with the regular general elections. The path to this fall’s election began in July of 2006, after Clifton Firefighter Antonio Latona was sworn in as a Councilman following his second place finishing in the May vote. However, the question of whether or not he could serve was raised after speculation that his job would conflict with his duties on the City Council.

2006 City Council Election Results 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 Matthew J. Ward............3,703 Stefan Tatarenko ...........3,583 Roy Noonburg ................3,577 Joseph W. Chidiac ..........3,577 Edward Welsh ................3,136 Donald R. Kowal ...........3,037 George J. Silva ................3,029 Frank Gaccione ..............2,887 Alam Abdelaziz ..............1,397 62

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Matt Ward, left, is currently the interim City Council member. He has announced his intentions to run in the Nov. 6 special election, along with George Silva, right.

On Oct. 16, 2006, Passaic County Superior Court Judge Robert Passero ruled that Latona would be in a conflict of interest by holding both positions. Since he would essentially be his own boss, Passero instructed Latona that as both a paid Firefighter and Councilman he would be unable to vote on various matters, among them issues regarding employee pay, disciplinary proceedings and budget items. Rendered powerless, Latona resigned Oct. 18. In Nov., the remaining Council decided that they would appoint an interim for a year, rather than attempt to function without a seventh member. This averted potential quagmires, since a Council consisting of six members could reach a tie on an important vote. Three candidates were considered using the Council’s new interview process, which ultimately led to Matt Ward’s appointment on Nov 21.

However, by law, Clifton is required to hold a Special Election on Nov. 6 to determine who will serve out the rest of the term, which will expire in July of 2010. To be eligible, a candidate must secure signatures of one percent of the registered voters in Clifton (about 400 names). However, there is a catch: unlike the normal petition process for regular Council elections, voters are not permitted to sign for more than one candidate. “There’s only one open seat, that’s why you only get one signature.” said City Clerk Dick Moran, explaining the reason for the limitation on the petitions. When the candidates turn in their petitions on the Sept. 13 filing date, the lists will be scrutinized for duplicates. All names must be listed in alphabetical order. If any signatures are found twice, both entries will be null and void.

Such a situation is bound to show the true colors of Clifton’s voting population. Thus far, only George Silva—who finished 14th in a field of 16 in the 2006 Council elections—and interim Councilman Matt Ward have formally announced their candidacy and requested petitions. Both say they are progressive candidates with experience that aim to represent the changing face of Clifton. “I’m for a ward-style government, term limits... basically the same platform that I ran on in 2006,” said George Silva. “But I also want to get out and get grant money. Let’s do something instead of saying that we are going to do something.” He said that the Council and others need to do less bashing of the Passaic Count Freeholders and other county officials. Silva claimed that all it does is create unneeded animosity between Clifton officials and county political brass. “You keep on bashing them and they are never going to help us,” he explained. “We finally got the Sheriff to come down to Botany and help us and he said all we had to do was ask. The County Police is now doing patrols down there, but they weren’t before because they don’t go into other people’s territory without someone asking for it.” Silva said he believes that since he has remained visible since the May 2006 election—he said that he attends all meetings—it will help him this time around. Silva, who is the Botany ACTION representative, has also been involved with the community for several years and has a growing base in Lakeview and Dutch Hill, where he sits on the residents association. But he said that he needs to expand his influence.

To be eligible, a City Council candidate must secure signatures representing one percent (about 400 names) of registered voters. However, for the Nov. 6 Special Election, there is a catch: residents may only sign one petition, unlike regular Council elections, where there is a seven signature cap. “I need to reach out to other districts, like Allwood and Montclair Heights, and let them know who I am,” explained Silva. “I’m not just a Botany person, I’m a people’s candidate. I’m just well known in my area for what I’ve done.” Matt Ward believes that he has a slight advantage over the other possible candidates. This is because he has served as an interim Council member and so people have an idea of what to expect from him.“Part of what gives me standing with people is that, in addition to the Council, I’ve been on other boards,” he said. “In order to lead a change, you have to have credibility.” “The reaction I’ve gotten so far from people has been mostly positive,” Ward continued. “People look at things not so much in the singular, but in the collective. “We

don’t get things accomplished if we fail to get four or more votes on a matter. But I think people are looking at me and saying, ‘are the things he’s saying and the way that he’s approached these things, are they an asset to Clifton?’” While he acknowledges that some have said that the current Council hasn’t made much progress, Ward said it’s just a matter of time. Improvements will have a lot to do with implementing a ward-style government. “I think we’ve reached a point where people are seriously entertaining the idea, otherwise, I would have placed worse than eighth,” he explained. “The city has changed dramatically and we need leadership that is ahead of the curve, not just reacting.” For info on running, call City Clerk Dick Moran at 973-470-5829.

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Nearly 1,000 flags covered the roads around the City Hall campus on Flag Day and July 4, when volunteers helped put up our nation’s colors for the Avenue of Flags. The idea for the Avenue was conceived by Walter Pruiksma, John Biegel and Keith Oakley as a way to honor Clifton’s veterans—deceased or living, from all wars and eras of service. The flags are posted six times a year, from dusk to dawn, on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, 9/11 and Veteran’s Day. The Clifton project is recognized as one of the largest flag displays in the country. To post a flag in honor of a veteran, or to volunteer with set up, call 973-471-8828. The fee per flag is $100. Be sure to walk through the display on Labor Day, September 3.

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Interim Superintendent Dr. Anthony G. Barbary A former Clifton assistant superintendent and principal has been selected to fill the position of district interim superintendent. The BOE tapped Anthony Barbary, 59, of River Edge (pictured at right) to replace Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice, who has resigned and will be leaving in August to take the top public school job in Kalamazoo, Mich. Officials said Barbary would serve as interim superintendent for most of the upcoming school year. The BOE voted unanimously to appoint Barbary, after also considering Assistant Superintendent Ira Oustatcher, Business Administrator Karen Perkins and former Clifton school chief William Liess. The search for a permanent superintendent now begins, but that person may not start until the fall of 2008. Barbary is currently a consultant for the Tenafly School Board. He previously worked for the Clifton district for 31 years as principal of two elementary schools, the last being School 5 on Valley Rd. Barbary also served as assistant superintendent before leaving the Clifton district in July 2003. 1917

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The Clifton Adult Opportunity Center is holding its 25th Annual Beefsteak Dinner at the Three Saint Cultural Center in Garfield on Sept. 28. In conjunction with its annual fundraiser, the Center will be distributing an ad journal that night. To advertise, call 973-777-7114.

Assemblyman Thomas Giblin recently presented Cliftonite Corporal Rob Warchola (at right) with a copy of a NJ Assembly Resolution honoring Warchola for his service during his two tours of duty in Iraq. Warchola was attached to the United States Marine Corps 5th Regiment and the Operation Iraqi Freedom military personnel. The Clifton Lions Club has launched its annual drive to aid those who have visual impairments. A non-profit organization, all proceeds, less postage and printing costs, go directly towards sight charities. The club, which is headed locally by President Dr. Vincent J. Malba, is a part of Lions Club International, the world’s largest active service club. For the past 58 years in Clifton, the Lions Club members have collected used eyeglasses in the two public libraries and City Hall.

They also have been involved in an eyeglass recycling program within the Clifton schools. The Lions are currently conducting a membership drive. To join, or to send a tax-deductible donation, call Malba at 973-777-0058. Send us publicity and photos and we will publish info as space permits. Mail to: Clifton Merchant Magazine, 1288 Main Avenue, Downtown Clifton, 07011 or email to

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The Clifton-based Coalition for Brain Injury Research hosts a poker run fundraiser through New Jersey and New York on July 28. The event, which costs $15 per person and includes a raffle ticket and food, will kick off at the Bergen County Harley-Davidson, 124 Essex St., Rochelle Park. Registration is from 9:30 to 11 am and the ride will start after. The ride will end at Kosco HarleyDavidson, 1149 Rt. 23 South,

Kinnelon. All proceeds will go towards the Coalition for Brain Injury Research. For info, call 201-843-6930 or 973-632-2066. Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the neighborhood and people of Dutch Hill as its Residents Association hosts a milestone dinner on Oct. 18 from 6 to 10 pm at the Brownstone. For $25 tickets or to place an ad in the Souvenir Booklet, call Joan Sanford at 973-778-8337 by Sept. 18.

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As the Lady Mustangs softball team was headed to the Group 4 State Championship Game in Toms River, Clifton Merchant Magazine published a commemorative tabloid on June 8. The publication features detailed game summaries and great color photos from the team’s season-long ride to a fourth state title. It is available free of charge, thanks to participating advertisers. To get a copy, stop by our office at 1288 Main Ave. in Downtown Clifton. St. Philip’s K of C Golf Outing is July 13 at High Point Golf Club in Montague. Lunch is at noon and tee-off is at 1 pm. The event will be played shotgun-style. The beefsteak is at St. Philip’s at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $150 for golf, cart rental, lunch, snacks and the beefsteak, or just $125 for golf. Tickets to the beefsteak are $135. Sponsors are also needed. Call 973-779-6200 or e-mail Stop by the Clifton Rec. Dept. on the second floor of City Hall and pick up a summer events brochure. Programs run until Aug. 10 and cost only $35 per week. Camps run Mon. to Fri., from 9 am to 3 pm and all staff is CPR and first aid certified. To register, stop by the offices or call 973-470-5956.

Sports and Fun Camps CHS Head Soccer Coach Joe Vespignani is running a super camp during the week of Aug. 13 to 17. There will be three camps held for boys and girls. For high school boys, players will meet at School 2, 1270 Van Houten Ave., from 9 am to noon. The high school girls will meet at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, 1400 Van Houten Ave., at the same time. Both camps are $125. Youth co-eds, ages 3 and up, meet at School 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Cost is $90. For info, call 973-334-0207 or go online to Track and Field Skills Camps: Andrew Piotrowski, CHS pole vault and hurdle coach, and John Pontes, distance and sprints coach, will be holding track and field camps in July for ages 7 to 13 and 14 to 18. All camps run from 9 am to noon at Clifton Stadium. The camp is $130 per week for ages 7 to 13 and $150 for ages 14 to 18. You can also sign up for all four weeks. All participants will receive a tshirt. For more info, call Coach Piotrowski at 973-246-6896 or email

Safety Town is is open to kids entering kindergarten this fall or those children going into first who have not yet gone through the program.

Safety Town is an annual program for children entering kindergarten which teaches little ones the basics on how to keep safe and healthy on the street, as well as at home and at school. A miniature town, complete with streets, buildings and traffic signs, is created behind School 2. The program, a Clifton institution in existence for nearly 30 years, is conducted over two weeks, from 8:45-11:30 am, Monday through Friday, and this year will be held from July 23 through Aug. 3. Safety Town is run at School 2 at 1270 Van Houten Ave., and, thanks to community

support and volunteerism, the fee for Safety Town remains at just $20. To register, or for more info, call 973-470-5757. Cliftonite & SHU Coach Brian Stanchak, assistant women’s basketball coach at Seton Hall University, announced openings for Phyllis Mangina Girl’s Basketball Camp, which will be held from Aug. 1 to 3 at SHU. Girls ages 10 to 18 must show up at 8 am on the first day to register at the cost of $150. Hours of the camp are from 9 am to 3 pm. For info, contact Stanchak at 973-761-7364 or by email at

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Students from Mrs. Herwitt’s eighth grade class at CCMS traveled over to School 5 on Valley Rd. to help mentor and tutor the first graders as they worked on their projects. The event was orchestrated by first grade teacher Cheryl Bender and Roz Herwitt. “It was an idea that just evolved,” explained Bender, a long time teacher at School 5. “Brian, my son, was doing a lot of writing in his class and I thought it would be nice for them to help my kids.” “It’s thanks to our growing friendship,” added Herwitt. “We share a child... I’m his teacher and she’s his mother.” Students started by creating puppets for their frog and toad story before moving on together to reading and writing. CCMS students at WPU: On May 22, five students from Christopher Columbus Middle School attended an awards ceremony for the Stock Market Game at William Paterson University in Wayne. The students, which included Andrew Singh, Brian Bender, Mark Korcznski and Jay Tailor, were accompanied by their advisor, Nadia Dubanowitz. The stock market game is an educational simulation that is played world wide from grades 4 to 12. Teams of 3 to 5 students invest a hypothetical $100,000. Clifton’s students accumulated more than $14,000 in 10 weeks. They also participated in InvestWrite, where students composed essays detailing their strategies for the game. The Passaic County Fair is July 18 through July 22 at Garret Mountain Reservation in West Paterson. The event will offer a 4-H show, rides, games, food, music, dancing and a talent show. Hours of operation on 70

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Above, some of the students that participated in the School 5/CCMS group project. In the rear, from left, stands Mrs. Herwitt, eighth grade teacher at CCMS, Andrew Singh, Brian Bender, Kelly Yoo, Whitney Marte, Kelly La Forgia and School 5 first grade teacher Mrs. Bender. Front: Kayla Buchta, Nicole Kosmider, Mathieu Guerneri, Mackenzie Miller and Erica Passenti.

Wed. and Thurs. are from 5 to 11 pm; Fri., from noon until 11 pm and on Sat., from noon to 8 pm. Admission is free. For more info, call 973-225-5382 or go to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 7 St. Francis Way, Passaic, hosts a four day food festival and carnival, from Aug. 9 to 12. There will be a variety of food, including traditional American, Filipino, Spanish and Italian, as well as rides and games of chance. Also, a 50/50 raffle will be drawn on Aug. 12 at 10 pm. For info, call 973-473-0246 or email

The National Night Out Against Crime, coordinated by the Clifton Police Department’s Community Policing Division, seeks sponsors to defray costs for the Aug. 7 event. The evening at Main Memorial Park features antique cars, a 50’s concert, kids games and prizes. For info, call 973-340-5151. Adopt A Cat through Angels of Animals. Every Friday from 6 to 9 pm during July and Aug., volunteers from the group hold adoptions at the PETCO Store, Rt. 3 West. For info, call founder and President Amy Kozell at 973-471-0622 or visit

Nicholas Potkalesky, CHS ‘02, graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management. Potkalesky is the son of Thomas and Elaine Potkalesky and the grandson of Fred and Sarah Lombardo.

The CHS Class of 1962 will hold its 45th reunion on Nov. 24 at the Athenia Veterans Post on Huron Ave. The $50 ticket includes a hot and cold deluxe buffet, DJ and cash bar. For more details and info, email or 1642

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Craig Casperino, a senior at CHS, was named the recipient of the 2007 Boys and Girls Club Dolores Colucci Healey Education Scholarship Award. Casperino, above, was a four year swimmer at CHS. He received the award at the Club’s yearly dinner. Casperino plans to attend Montclair State and hopes to become a history teacher.

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50 Year SHS Reunion all classes, staff, teachers, friends and family are invited... Saturday, November 24 at Sacred Heart School, 43 Clifton Ave, Clifton. Call Vic Terranova 973-478-6180 or Toni Russin 973-546-4695

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


’ David s The Porter Clan celebrates the life of ‘Super Dave’


story by Joe Hawrylko

June 17, 2005 was a typical summer afternoon, recalled Mike Porter. He and his wife Jennifer were lounging in the backyard by the pool with their five children when their son, David Nicholas, slipped on the deck and hit his back on the stairs. Mike ran over and took care of his then three-yearold son, who promptly got up and resumed playing with his siblings. It seemed like your typical minor bruise; nothing to worry about. But a few minutes later, Mike and Jennifer were startled when they heard David’s scream from the bathroom. There, the couple made a startling discovery: he had blood in his urine. Jennifer immediately called the doctor, who set up a blood test for the next day. When it returned inconclusive, her pediatrician—still convinced it was something minor—scheduled an ultrasound the same day at Clara Maass Hospital in Belleville. When Jennifer arrived, there were six doctors in the room for what was to be a simple test. After it was completed, she went home and received a call from the physician, who wanted David and his parents in his


July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

office at 5 pm. Now she knew something was wrong. The blood that was in David’s urine was not from a simple fall, it was something much more grave: he had a mass on his kidney and needed surgery immediately. “In six short days,” recalled Jennifer. “My life was turned upside down.” “You really don’t have a reaction because you have so much to do,” added Mike. “It was around 6 pm and they told us that we had to pick a hospital by 8 pm and pack our bags to go there.” Mike also had to set up plans for his job at the Allwood Funeral Home, which the Porter clan has owned for three generations. While it was easy for his family to accommodate him during his crisis, he and Jennifer had a bigger problem in their own home: what exactly do you say to your other four kids? “After the surgery on the 20th, we told our kids that David had to have his kidney removed,” said Jennifer, whose son was diagnosed with Stage III Wilms’ Tumor. “We never said the word cancer through the entire 14 month ordeal, but our older children knew.”

The choice seemed logical, as David had a very long road to recovery ahead of him. They thought it might be hard for their young children to understand. “After the surgery, they gave us the pathology report. There are two types of Wilms’, encapsulated, and the more dangerous diffused one, which goes through the lymph system. He had the second,” said Mike. “But you wouldn’t have known that. When he was released on the 25th, he got his Big Wheel out right when he got home.” According to his parents, that’s just an example of David being David. Not even cancer could keep down the kid who loved fast cars, anything green and loud HarleyDavidson motorcycles. Both Mike and Jennifer agree that even while

The Porter Clan, 2005. Standing from left: Alexis, Cassandra, Mike. In front is Michael William, David, Jennifer and Miranda. Photo by Impressive Impressions.

A Wilms’ tumor is a rare type of kidney cancer that typically occurs in children. It was named after Dr. Max Wilms, a deceased German surgeon who first identified this form of cancer, also known as nephroblastoma. On average, approximately just 500 are diagnosed in the United States annually. Of those cases, 75 percent occur in otherwise normal children, while around 25 percent are associated with other developmental abnormalities. Typically, it is highly responsive to treatment, with about 90 percent of patients surviving at least five years. Children who are at risk should be screened for Wilms’ tumor every three months until they turn eight. Possible signs include a lump in the abdomen and blood in the urine. Usually the tumor can be removed in surgery, but other treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, biologic therapy or a combination. For more info, go to

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David was going through a six month chemotherapy treatment, visitors would be hard pressed to see ‘Super David’ in a foul mood. As an example of his spirit, Jennifer recalled how David would call in nurses on the intercom to set them up with a cool blast from a water gun hidden in his bed. “We found a lot of friends along the way,” recalled Jennifer. “In radiation, a nurse named Diane would come in an hour early just for David and prepare his bed for him. And she always brought M&M’s for him.”

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“He never complained and never lashed out at anyone,” she added. “The only time he’d get mad is if you stood in front of his TV. He loved watching NASCAR.” Although he never gave any of the doctors a problem when they tried to treat him, David—or Super Dave as his parents playfully referred to him as—still had questions for them to answer. Why was he going to the doctors and taking this medicine that made him sick? Was it because he slipped and fell? “I think he tried to rationalize the whole situation and he thought it was from falling by the pool. He was blaming himself,” recalled Jennifer. “I told him that he was just sick and the doctors had to make him better so that he wouldn’t pee blood anymore.” “He was just three years old when he was diagnosed,” she continued. “How could you even begin to explain it to him?”

Life goes on… Indeed, how could you possibly explain it to anyone, let alone your four-year-old son who was suffering from a rare form of cancer? Your child is never supposed to die before you do. But sometimes, life doesn’t go the way it should. After his chemo treatment ended just before Christmas, the Porters thought they had defeated the cancer. But by January, it had metastized throughout his small body. On Aug. 25, 2006, David Nicholas Porter lost his 14 month battle with Wilms’. However, during a chat on a recent summer afternoon in their living room, Mike and Jennifer recalled the joy that their Super Dave brought into their family during his four short years. “He did a lot of living while he was with us,” said Jennifer, recalling how, despite the circumstances, the Porters managed to still function as a whole family.

The parents recalled how David was able to celebrate twins Michael William and Mirada’s birthdays in the intensive care unit with his family, thanks to a friendly doctor who bent the rules. In fact, each member of the family celebrated a birthday in the hospital with Dave. There was the time in August of 2006, shortly before his passing, that the Porter Clan spent a weekend down the shore at the beach, crabbing and playing mini-golf. “He just wanted to play minigolf all day,” laughed Jennifer. Even though he is no longer physically present, David’s spirit still clearly lives on through his family. In conversation, Jennifer recalled how her son was practically obsessed with the color green. Green ice cream, green sprinkles and everything else. “They would give crayons and paper to kids, but they never had any green,” she laughed. “The nurses knew he always had them.”

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On July 8, 2006, the Porter Clan celebrated the first David’s Day, with the intention of making it an annual event for David. But with his passing, the Porters established the David Nicholas Foundation. She reminisced how, despite his rapidly declining health, you couldn’t keep David down. Even after rounds of chemotherapy, Super Dave would be on his Big Wheel, doing laps around the driveway, occasionally stopping to vomit. “I lived through a mom’s nightmare,” said Jennifer. “He did it three times that day before I went hysterical and made him lay down. Still, he wouldn’t let it beat him. He just wanted to play.” That fun-seeking, carefree spirit that David possessed was the founding principal for David’s Day. The idea originated in the spring of 2006, during the height of his illness. David had several requests of his parents during this time, but there was one that stuck with his parents and inspired them. 1799

David Nicholas Porter with Miss Hunny Bun in a photo shortly before he was diagnosed with Wilms’ Tumor, a rare childhood cancer of the kidneys.

“He asked us, ‘When can I have a David’s Day like Mommy and Daddy’s Day?’” recalled Jennifer. “All he wanted was a day that was full of fun, contentment and family. David asked for a Bob the Builder cake, hot dogs, a pinata filled with goodies, lots of games and everything had to be green.” For the Porters, it was a chance to allow their four year old to be a normal child once again. On July 8 of that year, the Porter Clan celebrated the first David’s Day, with the intention of making it an annual event with David. But even with his passing, the Porters carried on his legacy and established the David Nicholas Foundation. “I have to start out somewhere. We want to give back to families that went through what we went

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through, ” said Jennifer. “But eventually, we want it to also go towards research for pediatric cancer.” On Saturday, July 7 at 11 am, the Foundation will hold a bike rally for David’s Day, in honor of the four year old’s love for Harley’s. Bikers will meet at the Clifton Masonic Temple at 1476 Van Houten Ave. Costs are $25 for riders, $15 for non-riders or passengers and $10 for children. Then at 2 pm, participants will be treated to food and beverages at the Porter home. It will be a day of family, friends and fun, just as David would have wanted. For info on the bike run, call the Porters at 973-777-6935 or email Or go online to

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Downtown Clifton’s Salsa Night is July 13, from 7 to 11 pm at the corner of Clifton and First Aves. There will be six bands, DJ’s, free dance lessons, food, fun, and more dancing. Rain date is July 20. Call 973-253-1455. Clifton’s Sunday Evening Concert Series is now in its 11th season under producer Bob “Music Matador” Obser. Starting July 8 and continuing on eight consecutive Sundays until Aug. 24, the main performance begins at 7:30. New this year is the Clifton Showcase, a homegrown talent who will open at around 7 pm. The free events are at the stage in Main Memorial Park on the Park Slope side. Be sure to bring lawn chairs. For a list of performances—which range from country to big band—see the Clifton Rec. program brochure or call 973-470-5680. Join the Rec. Dept. at 6 pm for a walk around the pond, another new feature of the series.

This sculpture by Mike Bertelli honors the legacy of Dr. Jerome Rafael. See it behind city hall in the Sculpture Park, which the late orthodontist helped create.

Diversity in Style, an exhibit and sale of work by Clifton Public Schools art faculty, is displayed at the Clifton Arts Center, until July 22. This work by Mary-Ann Baskinger is an example of the variety of media. For info, call 973-472-5499. 76

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Our favorite Caballero, George Hayek, noted that his Hawthorne Caballeros and nine other drum and bugle corps return to Clifton Stadium for the 43rd annual Drum Corps Grand Prix on July 14 at 7 pm. Call 973-423-9702 or visit for info.

The Clifton Community Band, under the baton of Bob Morgan, performs at the fifth annual Clifton Arts Center free outdoor concert on July 14 on the lawn. The only thing you need to bring is something to sit on. In the event of rain, the concert will be held next door in the Clifton High School auditorium. For info, email or call 973-777-1781.

School 13 held a Community Day on June 13, featuring a local history exhibit compiled by John Silva, a teacher at the school, which is at 782 Van Houten Ave. It included dated post cards of Athenia, photos of student life from the 1930’s through the 1950’s and a timeline of events at School 13. Graduating class photos were also featured. For info, call 973-470-2410.

The School 13 basketball champions, circa 1930, a photo which is part of an exhibit by teacher John Silva.



Clifton’s Historic Botany Village Sullivan Square concert series is on Friday nights from 6 to 9 pm, weather permitting. The free shows are at the corners of Parker and Lake Aves. until Aug 24. Upcoming events include Jeff Randall and On the Verge with Vern Warta on July 13; Tex Doyle and the Country Thunder Band July 20 and DZ Vibe on July 27. For more on concert dates and other events, call 973-857-1467.



Tex Doyle and his Country Thunder Band perform in Botany Village July 20.

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Styertowne Shopping Center 1045 Bloomfield Ave. Clifton 779-0199 • July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


CAA Art Show in Jubilee Park...

The Clifton Association of Artists has installed its Board of Directors for the 2007-2008 season, which includes: President Louis Pounds, 1st VP Pat Johnson, 2nd VP Dorothy Nieradka, 3rd VP Eugenia Gore; Treasurer Marie Hyman; Recording Secretary Maria Caparelli and Corresponding Secretary Pat Johnson. The CAA meets the first Friday of each month, from Oct. From left, some of the organizational staff of the CAA: Dottie Nieradka, through May at the Clifton Senior Membership Chair; Marie Hyman, Treasurer; Lou Pounds, President, Eugenia Community Center on the City Hall Gore, Show Chair and Dom Mauro, who handles public relations. campus. For info, call 973-742-2712.

Here are the winners from the Clifton Association of Artists’ Outdoor Show at Jubilee Park on June 3. From left, Ed Zak, oil; Joe Konopka, acrylic; Richard McCrohan, oil; Helen Houser, water color; Lou Pounds, oil; Gil Hermes, photo; Anton Rosner, photo; Alan Jordan, photo; Jackie Hanlon, pastel; Theresa Ruffo, water color; Loretta Rizzuto, pencil.

The Nutley Little Theatre has open auditions scheduled for the Neil Simon comedy, The Sunshine Boys, on July 15 at 2 pm and on July 16 at 7:30 pm. They will be held at the NLT Barn, 47 Erie Pl., Nutley. The cast requires seven actors: the leads, two men in their late 50’s to 70’s; a man in his 30’s or 40’s; two men of any age; a woman in her 20’s or 30’s, a nurse described as ‘beautiful and voluptuous;’ and a nurse of ethnic background in her 20’s to 50’s. For more info, call 973-6670374 or visit 78

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

History Grants are available from the Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council at Passaic County Community College to non-profit, or historic Passaic County organizations and units of municipal government planning local or New Jersey history projects for fiscal year 2008. A workshop will be held on July 18 at 1pm, at the Hamilton Club Building, 32 Church Street, Paterson. It will consist of a grant writing session and a historic register nomination session. Applications due by Aug. 23. For info, call 973684-6507 or email

Polka King and sixteen-time Grammy Winner Jimmy Sturr returns to Passaic’s Third Ward Park on July 18 at 7:30 pm for a free concert. Call 973-473-5111. Grant applications are due Aug. 2 at the PCCHC for arts and cultural projects planned by Passaic County arts and cultural organizations in 2008. For more info, call Amy Birnbaum at 973-684-6507, or write to her at or visit

George Tice, the award-winning photographer, will be at the opening of an exhibit of Paterson II, on July 7 from 2 to 4 pm at Lambert Castle, Valley Rd., 973-247-0085. His photographs (see left) will be displayed until Oct. 7. Tice began his 40-year photographic documentation of the architecture of his home state with Paterson in 1967. Five years later, the photos formed part of his acclaimed one-man show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Crooner and barrister Anthony D’Elia celebrated his 50th birthday on June 13.

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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Herbert ‘Poppie’ Schwartz celebrated his 84th birthday on July Fourth.

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

John Raymond Federle and Melissa Sue Dutch were married on June 16. Ron Curtiss . . . . . . . . . . . . . Angelo Grippo . . . . . . . . . Edward Sepulveda . . . . . . Jenna De Liberto . . . . . . .

Ann Schamble . . . . . . . . Michelle Ann Snell . . . . . Derek Dobol . . . . . . . . . . Jessica Dobol . . . . . . . . . Joanne Gursky . . . . . . . . Carrie Szluka . . . . . . . . . . Alexander Razvmov . . . . Ryan Saccoman . . . . . . . Cocoa Saccoman . . . . . Ashley Jacobus . . . . . . . . Megan Suaifan . . . . . . . . Kaitlin Vinciguerra . . . . . . George Shamar . . . . . . . Kayla Lord . . . . . . . . . . . .

7/15 7/15 7/16 7/16 7/17 7/18 7/19 7/19 7/19 7/19 7/20 7/22 7/23 7/24

Downtown Clifton’s former US Postal Service pro Harry Quagliana turns a tender 57 on July 23. Eva Gasporowska . . . . . . Joseph Lopez . . . . . . . . . Ornella Ganoza . . . . . . . Gina Oliva . . . . . . . . . . . . Amanda Fabiano . . . . . . Stephen Camp, Sr. . . . . . Mary T. Mancin . . . . . . . .

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Bob and Alice DeLiberto celebrated their 20th anniversary on June 27.

7/25 7/27 7/27 7/28 7/29 7/30 7/30

Emily Jacobs turned 90 on July 4. Emily is the wife of Clifton’s oldest veteran, Joseph Jacobs (turn page).

Jennifer Bladek and Nicholas Rakowski were wed on June 16. Joyce Sunshine . . . . . . . . . 7/8 Kristi Schopfer . . . . . . . . . 7/10 Anthony Zaccone . . . . . 7/13 Alyssa Marie Misyak . . . . 7/14

Emma, Olivia and Viktoria Green turned 1 on June 24th. July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Clifton’s Oldest Veteran J Story by Joe Hawrylko

oseph Jacobs has seen quite a lot in the past 97 years. He’s lived through The Great Depression, World War I, World War II (in which he served) and every major world event in the last century. At the May 28 Clifton Memorial Day Service, Jacobs, a resident of Day St., was honored as the city’s oldest living veteran. Still as sharp as he was at 28, the Army Air Force veteran sat down to chat about how things have changed since 1909. Theodore Roosevelt was just leaving office that year, making way for the 27th President William Howard Taft. Ironically, Roosevelt’s cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was the first President that Jacobs voted for. “To me and a lot of other people, he’s the third best President after Washington and Jefferson,” he said. The coming of FDR brought about many changes that directly affected Jacobs. The President abolished Prohibition, which banned the sale of alcohol in the United States from 1920 to 1933. That was good news to Jacobs, who like many, liked to go out for a few drinks with his friends to socialize. “I went to speakeasies in Paterson when I got a little older. You’d walk down to a door with a little slot in it that opened,” recalled Jacobs, whose father used to distill whiskey prior to the Prohibition. “If the guy recognized you, he’d let you in. There was a lot of them around here.” However, Jacobs believes FDR’s greatest accomplishment during his tenure was leading the 82

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Joseph Jacobs snaps a salute in his WWII US Army uniform at the Clifton Memorial Day service at Main Memorial Park on May 28.

country out of the Great Depression. “My family had bought a seven room house for $7,700 in 1929 and The Depression hit right after,” he said. “I had a little red wagon that I’d take to get coal for fifty cents. We didn’t have enough money to

heat the furnace, so we got just enough to use the kitchen stove.” Jacobs continued: “Banks were in such bad condition that they said that we could have the house for just $2,000 up front. But my parents were in such bad debt that they couldn’t do it and lost the house.”

But when FDR took power, Jacobs saw a glimmer of hope. He found work building roads thanks to FDR’s Works Progress Administration program. Jacobs also remembers the President’s regular fireside chats, radio broadcasts about current issues that aired from 1933 to 1944. While common in the 30’s and 40’s, Jacobs remembers when radios were rare. Back in 1910’s and 20’s, this area was all farmland. “I used to make crystal sets in cigar boxes, which were homemade radios using a bunch of wires and a crystal quarts,” recalled Jacobs, who was just 16 when he got the radio-making job in a machine shop. “Back in 1923, not everyone could get a radio.” The US economy finally came around by the late 30’s. However, a large reason for the resurgence was due to World War II brewing in Europe. Soon enough, Jacobs, who was employed as a car seat manufacturer, found himself working for Uncle Sam at the age of 32 in 1942. “The ones that volunteered were mostly in the Coast Guard or the

Navy. We were drafted... everyone over 17 got a number and if yours came up, you were going to war,” he recalled. “Originally, my outfit was mostly older guys from Jersey City, Garfield and other cities in the area. They got rid of a lot of the older guys as more young kids came in.” After basic training in Colorado Springs, CO, Jacobs boarded the USS America in Bayonne with the US Army Air Force 958th Topographical Engineers division, enroute to Calcutta, India. Going to the region had always been a dream of his, however, he had never imagined getting there like this. “When I was a kid in school, I loved geography.” he recalled. “I loved to read about Mandalayn, Rangoon and here I was in the Army making maps to bomb it! Every time they bombed a target, I made a map for another one.” In the headquarters, Jacobs was in the detached service. There, he would see many high ranking officials planning out the war while working map makers from Rand McNally. They would use layers of transparent acetate paper to form

detailed color maps. Although there was work to be done while in Calcutta, there was always time for fun as well. The 958th had their own bar, the Tekee Club, which was frequented by local service men. Some of Jacobs’ memorabilia includes a business card for the club which features an insignia for the 958th that was designed by Walt Disney. “We also had a pet leopard for a while,” he recalled. “Some guys were clearing out an airfield and they found it as a baby. We kept it chained up in the center of our camp until it grew too big.” After 39 months, Jacobs was discharged and returned home to New Jersey in 1945. Once there, he married his girlfriend of seven years, Emily, in 1946 and the two have been together ever since. So what’s their secret to their 61 year commitment? “We were of the same mind and never argued about money,” said Jacobs, who worked various jobs before retiring from the South Hackensack Post Office distribution center in 1971. “We’re retired and completely free.”

Jimmy Sturr in Passaic’s Third Ward Park Free Concert on Wednesday, July 18, 7:30 Third Ward Park is at the corner of Van Houten and Passaic Aves. Rain or Shine

Bring your chairs and put on your dancing shoes to enjoy the Big Band sound of Grammy Award winner Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra -- called “the #1 Polka Band in the Country.” The concert is being hosted by the City of Passaic Recreation Department.


Call Greg Komeshok for more info: 973 - 473 - 5111 The Jimmy Sturr concert is made possible through the generosity of the following sponsors and supporters: Wawel Savings Bank, Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union, Passaic Mayor Sammy Rivera, Congressman William Pascrell, State Senator Paul Sarlo, Assemblyman Fred Scalera, Assemblyman Gary Schaer and Freeholder Bruce James. This project is funded, in part by the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council at Passaic County Community College, through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of the State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Clifton’s Big Show...

Thanks to planning by four key organizers—Joanne Berthold, Lucy Pavan, Patty Ronneau and Steve Hatala—summer launched on May 30 at the Clifton Middle Schools Carnival. For four days, the CCMS field was transformed into a fair ground with a midway, plenty of rides and lots of attractions. Parents from both schools pitched in and the joint effort by the volunteers netted lots of fun... plus the HSA’s of each school earned around $15,000, funds which will be used to provide extra activities for students at CCMS and WWMS.


July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

July 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Since 1947, the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton has been at the forefront of youth development, working with young people from all city neighborhoods and from all walks of life and family circumstances. Today, more than 5,000 boys and girls are taking advantage of the services provided by the Club which offers daily access to a broad range of programs. It is a place where children are provided with an opportunity to set and achieve goals, make friends and have fun. One of the major fundraisers to help the club pay for these services is on Aug. 6. That’s when the 36th Annual Golf Classic is at the Upper Montclair Country Club. Last year, over 160 golfers teed off and then enjoyed a reception on the terrace of this beautiful Clifton country club. Why not join them this year? Various local individuals and companies are participating as spon-

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sors and golfers, including: Arco Construction, Bind-Rite Services, Inc., Clifton Savings, CSR Associates, PA, Hanson & Ryan, ITT, Liberty Lincoln Mercury, Neglia Engineering, Pepsi, PSE&G, Richfield Farms, TD Banknorth, Valley National Bank, the Nicholas Martini Foundation, Weichert Realtors, the Sol and Margaret

Berger Foundation, Commerce Bank, K. Hovnanian Homes and Zozzaro Brothers. Those who would just like to golf can still register. You can tee off at the price of $495 per player. Even if you’re not a duffer, you can still show support and attend the dinner and reception for $150. For info on the Club and this event, call 973-773-0966.

Bob Rittereiser made the Hole in One in the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton’s 34th Annual Golf Classic at the Upper Montclair Country Club on Aug. 1, 2005. His prize was a Ford Five Hundred ponied up by Fette Ford. He is shown being given the keys to the new sedan by then Club President Frank Calise and former Executive Director Dolores Colucci. Golf in this year’s fundraiser; call 973-773-0966.


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Some members of the 36th annual Boys & Girls Club Golf Committee. Standing, from left, is B&G Club Development Director Jacquie Yorke, Co-Chair Vincent M. Ponte, Dr. Kent Bania, Jack Morton, Gary O. Foerster and Elaine Robertazzi. Seated is B&G Club Executive Director Bob Foster, Dr. Edward Healey, Co-Chair Jeff T. Cupo, and Frank Carlet. Other committee members not pictured include Angelo Crudele, Charles Duess, Skip Herrschaft, Richard Mariso, J.R. Ryan and Brent Rudnick.

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They Did Time at Sing Sing The sound of a ball bouncing on a small court. The clang of an old rim. These are the things that Ron Snack remembers from a Feb. 1954 trip to Sing Sing Prison with his teammates from the Precision Gears basketball team. He would join Cliftonites Ron Plaza, Max Kashtan and Jake Pluta to play the inmates from the infamous jail in Ossining, NY., 30 miles north of New York City. The event was orchestrated by Steve Craig, who invited Snack to join the team since he was a senior not playing varsity ball at CHS. According to Snack, Craig had an unknown connection in the New York State penitentiary that allowed him to set up the game. While he was initially skeptical and nervous about playing ball with convicts, Snack knew that the opportunity was too good to pass

up and joined his teammates for the trip upstate. “We arrived at Sing Sing in two cars. We parked and went into the administration building, where they searched us and our bags. We then walked to the prison gate and it opened electronically,” said Snack. “The door then closed behind us and there was a pit below us where cars were searched. We were searched again and then they opened the second gate, where there was a paneled truck with the rear door open. We filed in and sat on the benches against the side of the truck.” The truck took them to the back door of the gym, where they were searched again before being shown the locker rooms. Once changed, they headed to the gym to warm up before the game. “It was a big bowl with 15 foot high chain link fencing all around.

The stands were just large concrete steps and it was divided into 10 or 12 sections and only one section had fans... of course they were prisoners,” said Snack. “I’d say 90 percent of them were bald. A guard told us that one of the things the prisoners had to pay for were haircuts, so most had their hair cut off.” After a quick warm up, the teams assembled for the beginning of the game. Before tip off, the squads met up to shake hands. “The center on their team was the biggest guy I had ever seen in person. He was not only tall but looked like a body builder,” recalled Snack. “When he shook my hand, it was like he had a catcher’s mitt on.” Snack said the game was played tightly, with the prisoners up by seven at the quarter. He noted that

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July 2007 • Clifton Merchant

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“The game was a lot of fun,” said Snack, some 40 years later. He finished with five points in the loss. “It was an experience that I will never forget.” Years later, other Clifton athletes coached by Joe Popek returned to the prison to play baseball.

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seems that the prison team was given a lot of time off to practice and the other prisoners were kind of jealous.” The inmate’s ended up prevailing in the end, outscoring Paterson Precision Gears 20-9 in the fourth quarter to overcome a three-point deficit.


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Ron Snack, left, and Max Kashtan played basketball together 53 years ago at Sing Sing Prison and recently met up once again at a reunion to take this picture.

at the end of each quarter, a bell would ring and prisoners would exit the stands. On the opposite side of the court, a whole new section would fill up with more prisoners. “We were told it was how they controlled the prisoners,” he said. “The prisoners were rooting for us. It


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The annual Clifton City Picnic was on July 1 on the path around Racy’s Pond in Main Memorial Park Festivities concluded with a spectacular fireworks display that evening.

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