Clifton Merchant Magazine - March 2011

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

Medicine & Miracles Sgt. Billy Gibson One Man’s Bounce Back Story Against Multiple Myeloma

Jennifer Henkel The Director of Wee Care Child Care Center Lives with Laryngeal Papillomatosis

Bob Smith Lap Band Surgery, Diet and Exercise Help Melt Away 200 Pounds

Brooke Van Beveren It’s All About Attitude When You’re Dealing with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Mother Nature’s Remedies From Acupuncture to Salt Treatments and Other Naturopathic Options

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

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March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

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The Best of


or eighteen years Fred Rogers was my closest personal friend. We called each other on the phone at least once a week to catch up on the family news. I spent summer weekends together with Fred and his wife in Nantucket. When e-mail technology entered into our lives we wrote notes back and forth at least once a day, sometimes silly jokes, often times a quote we found in a book. I’d send him the newest poem that I had written, or my newest essay. Fred would send along a television script for his children’s program, or a speech he was writing for an invitation to a college. He’d ask how it sounded, and if I could make some improvements. I met Fred at the HBO studios in New York City in 1982. He flew in for some television interviews, and I was working on a children’s television program that never got off the ground, but I did meet Mr. Rogers in my research, and Captain Kangaroo, and Mr. Green

By Christopher de Vinck

Jeans, and Bill Baird the puppeteer, and producers from Sesame Street, and Julie Taymor. I’ve been fortunate to write speeches for Eunice Kennedy Shriver, been given a personal introduction to Pope John Paul II in the Vatican. I walked along the Roman roads in Belgium, saw windmills in Holland, drank beer in Germany, and saluted Big Ben in London. I dipped my hands in the Pacific Ocean in California, rode the Maid of the Mist into the basin of Niagara Falls. I guess I’ve seen about as much of the world as I am likely to see, and I see that there is blood on our hands. The world is becoming too much with us in its sorrows. The poet William Butler Yeats was right after all: Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned…. 16,000 Magazines

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

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

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


When an innocent nine year old girl is killed because she wants to take delight in the presence of a United State Congresswoman, when the President of the United States has to remind us of our own civility and purity of heart, I have to ask myself, what has happened to us as a people? I sat in a small chapel in Toronto, Canada with Fred as we prayed together for continued goodness in the world. I sat with Fred on a log at Martha’s Vineyard as we looked out over the ocean. “Right here, Chris,” and Fred pointed with his finger, “Right here is where my father often told me how much he loved me.” In 2002 Fred gave the commencement address at Dartmouth College. It was there that he reminded us that “Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel. A facet of that jewel. And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not?” Time and time again Fred would refer to the power of love when he heard of a sorrow in the world. A very famous woman was enduring a sorrow with her husband, and Fred spontaneously sent her warm,


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

loving note of encouragement and said “You know, Chris, even famous people need to be loved.” When Fred accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 Emma Award Ceremony he asked all of Hollywood to offer up ten seconds of silence. “All of us have had a special one who loved us into being.” He asked that in those ten seconds they all give thanks for that love. When I turned 50, Fred gave me a set of gold cufflinks. “Chris, my father gave me those and said that he loved me, and I want to give these to you now, passing down that love. You know, it goes on and on.” In his closing remarks at Dartmouth, Fred said these words: When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war and justice that proves more powerful than greed. Let us not give Yeats his due as he wrote “The best lack all conviction.” Fred believed in the remarkable quality of goodness that resides in everyone’s heart, no matter how awful they may seem on the surface.

We need to be loved into being. I do not deny the power of evil in the world. Evil is the absence of love. No one would shoot a nine year old girl if he were loved. If we are not loved, evil pours in. Now more than ever we need to listen to the prophets, Fred Rogers being one of our modern prophets. “Love that conquers hate,” Fred said. “Peace that rises triumphant over war,” and yes “justice that proves more powerful than greed.” One day I pointed out to Fred that the word “friend” included his name “FRiEnD.” He liked that. On January 31, 2003 at 3:37 PM I received my last e-mail from my friend. (I still haven’t deleted it from my computer.) He said, in part, “Thank you AGAIN AND AGAIN for all your prayers. That's the kind of sustenance I need every minute of every day and night. Love to you and Roe and the children, as always, and thank you again and again and again and again........your FRiEnD.” He died 27 days later of stomach cancer. Fred told me, he told the students at Dartmouth, he told everyone “in all that you do, in all of your life, I wish you the strength and the grace to make those choices which will allow you and your neighbor to become the best of whoever you are.”

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant




Feeling like your big toe is about to explode? Gout can be an extremely uncomfortable pain in the toe. It most often attacks the joint of the “Great Toe” although other joints could possibly be affected.

Gout Often Affects the Great Toe Thomas Graziano, MD, DPM, FACFAS, who surgically corrected the gout condition pictured above, said attacks are caused by deposits of crystallized uric acid in the joint. “Gout occurs most commonly in the big toe because uric acid is sensitive to temperature changes,” said Dr. Graziano, a Clifton foot and ankle surgeon. At cooler temperatures, uric acid turns to crystals. Uric acid is the result of the breakdown of purines, chemicals that are found naturally in our bodies and in food. Uric acid is present in the blood and eliminated in the urine, but in people who have gout, uric acid accumulates and crystallizes in the joints. Since the toe is the part of the body that is farthest from the heart, it’s also the coolest part of the body – and, thus, the most likely target of gout, explained Dr. Graziano, adding that gout can affect any joint in the body. The inflammatory process usually will resolve in three to ten days with treatment. If gout symptoms or attacks continue, the next approach may involve daily medication or even surgery said Dr. Graziano. “The build-up of uric acid over time can cause arthritic damage to the joint.”

Call 973-473-3344 for details. 8

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant






Spirit in the Sky Life equals 5 daughters, 2 daily glasses of milk and 63 years of marriage

By Tom Hawrylko


orm Dikdan takes his health seriously. The 85 year old still drinks two glasses of milk a day, has taken cod liver oil, fish oil and vitamin E for 50 years and attends church regularly. Weekly worship services are probably good news to his wife Laura and their five daughters; it’s like a little extra insurance for his family. That’s because a few years back, Dikdan decided to take up skydiving, a thrill he expects to do again this spring. March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Norm and Laura Dikdan in a recent photo and the young couple some 63 years ago.

Talk to Norm Dikdan over the phone and he sounds like a kid. “I feel like one,” he responded to such an observation by a caller. “I’m an up person. I’ve got a good sense of humor, strong spiritual faith...” And he comes from good Syrian stock—his dad died at the age of 94 and his mom at 96. Midway through his eighth decade, Dikdan said that with the grace of God and some luck, he expects to remain mentally and physically active— and to outlive both his parents. Meet Norm Dikdan and you’re in for a lively conversation: “People my age are dropping. Others have had a lot of surgeries. I’ve been lucky,” he observed with a chuckle. “All I had was my appendix removed.” 10

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

The laugh had nothing to do with his appendicectomy and all to do with “the only stupid thing I did.” Last February, Dikdan was driving on Overmount Ave. in Woodland Park and got stuck on an ice patch. Getting in and out of the vehicle, he somehow found himself kneeling beside the car with a hand—not a foot!—on the gas pedal and the other hand—not a foot—on the steering wheel. “Suddenly the car took traction, the door knocked me down and the car ran over me,” Dikdan recalled of his predicament. “Good thing it was deep snow... no broken bones...” He paused and reflected: “I worked on my dad’s milk truck and always drank a quart of milk,

everyday. I still do. At least two glasses a day. It’s given me real strong bones. That proves it.” Close call indeed but that was not his first brush with his own mortality and the hereafter. Dikdan is a WWII US Navy veteran, drafted from his hometown of Paterson when he was 18. After boot camp, he was trained to be a bosun mate aboard a landing craft which ferried troops to the legendary Normandy invasion. During the back and forth and all the action near those French beaches in June of 1944, he was hit with shrapnel, receiving a head wound which affected his hearing. He has worn hearing aides since that time. “I never let that stop me,” he said.

“God has granted me many years,” Dikdan added, paraphrasing a traditional chant for good health sung in his culture and at his parish, Saint Ann’s Byzantine-Melkite Catholic Church in Woodland Park. After the war, he and Laura (“she’s my real blessing,” he says of his bride) married and Dikdan found his first job as a draftsman with Bright Star Industries on Getty Ave. in Clifton. After three years, he and his family built an auto repair station on Gould Ave. in Paterson where Dikdan worked for 15 years before purchasing a used car lot from fellow Cliftonite Gabe Marroon on Main Ave. in South Paterson. After he sold that, he worked another 12 years selling cars at Caldwell Toyota before he retired at age 74. During those decades, Norm and Laura bought a home on Standish Dr. where they raised five daugh-

ters. After the kids married, eventually having kids of their own and giving the couple 14 grandchildren and one great grandchild, the house got too big for them, so they moved into a condo in Woodland Park. Over the years, Dikdan has stayed active, physically, mentally and spiritually. Having been in sales most of his life, he has a gift of gab. He enjoys sharing stories and telling jokes, saying that it keeps him in a positive mood. And it’s not just banter that fills the air around Norm Dikdan as he is exercising his mind. A few years back, he invented and patented a pull tab for old wax milk cartons, which were always troublesome to open. Unfortunately, by time his patent was published the milk industry changed the shape of the cartons and his design became obsolete. But the learning moment is there for Dikdan: “The point is

you have to keep your mind working, never stop thinking. Exercise your brain,” he advised. Ask Dikdan some of his suggestions for a long and productive life, and he’ll sum it up in an old slogan from the YMCA: a healthy spirit, mind and body. Both he and his wife are active in their church, attend services weekly and their culture and religion are at the base of their marriage of six decades. Dikdan can also fluently speak Arabic, a “gift” his father gave him when he was a boy. “My dad used to talk to me in Arabic and I would respond in English,” he recalled. “He just continued in Arabic. He made it easy to learn the language.” Norm Dikdan offers a perspective on what it means to age well and to continue to live life in a positive and productive manner. May God Grant You Many Years!

710 Van Houten Avenue • Clifton • 973-777-1559 Visit Us Online: March 2011 • Clifton Merchant







I Will Survive One Man’s Bounce Back Story By Joe Hawrylko


ccording to the doctors who treated him, it was a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and a stem cell transplant that saved his life. But Billy Gibson will tell you it was a portrait of his wife and two kids that hung on the wall in his hospital room to force his cancer into remission. The Clifton Police Sergeant battle multiple myeloma for more than three years, suffering many months in almost complete isolation in a lonely, sterile hospital room due to his compromised immune system. Gaunt, physically weak and near mental exhaustion, he contemplated giving up, chatted with God and spent hours in self-reflection, wondering it was his fate. “I just remember saying, it’s not my time to die,” he continued. “I’ve got a beautiful wife, young kids... I need to be there for my family.” Now cancer free for more than a decade, Gibson is still amazed by his good fate. If it were not for his friendship with Dr. Jeffrey Gold L MD, the aggressive and potentially fatal disease may not have been detected until it was far too late. The tale begins in November 1997, when Gibson took his mother, Agnus, for her regular check up 12

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

at Gold’s office. Afterwards, the doctor, a family friend for several decades, convinced Gibson to stay a few more minutes and get a physical, which he had been neglecting for many years. Then 45 years old, Gibson was

in great shape, but had been considering getting an exam for precautionary reasons due to his age. Three days after the physical, the Clifton cop received a call from his friend requesting a face-to-face sit down. Perplexed, Gibson went in

and immediately realized that the battery of tests had revealed something not good. “He’s got this real serious look on his face and I know it isn’t going to be good, so I told him to give it to me point blank,” he recalled. Dr. Gold explained that Gibson’s protein levels were high—a calling card of cancer. After giving another urine sample. he went to home to anxiously await the results. “I had absolutely no symptoms, I felt as strong as a horse,” he said. “But I trusted him, I knew Dr. Gold would not allow anything to happen to me.” When the second test confirmed elevated levels, Dr. Gold sent his friend to Dr. Kyudong Uhm, an oncologist, for a painful bone marrow biopsy.

Above, Billy Gibson in an undated photo after beginning his treatments with retired Clifton Police Lt. Pat Ciser At left, Gibson holds up the photo of his family with Tyler, his wife Robin and Billy which got him through tough times.

“They take it from the back part of your pelvis,” Gibson recalled “The best way I can describe it is

this: You take a 2x4 and with a big wood screw, you screw it into a hole... and then you rip it out.”




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“I’ve done karate for a long time with (CPD officer) Pat Ciser, maybe 18 years,” he continued. “A lot of that is discipline and focus. When they were doing this, I just stared at this dot and the wall while they did what they had to do.” This test confirmed what doctors had feared all along: Cancer. The culprit was multiple myeloma, which affects plasma cells, wreaking havoc on the immune system and in bone marrow. “I had never even heard of it before, I didn’t have any clue what it was,” said Gibson. “It’s a huge shock. Ok doc, I have cancer. Now what? There’s a lot going through my mind. I had a kid who wasn’t even born yet.” “It’s not really fear,” he continued. “it’s more numbing. You’re trying to digest everything, mentally get yourself in order. What do we do from here? Is it terminal? How do we address this with the kids? Where do we go from here? What the hell just happened?” Fortunately, the disease was in the very early stages. Gibson was refered to MM specialist Dr. Arnold Rubin, who administered his own battery of tests and determined that there was enough time to delay treatments to see if any new medical breakthroughs were on the horizon. Life continued as normal for Gibson, who was free of any symptoms besides night sweats. It wasn’t until two


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

years later in 1999, when another potentially deadly illness nearly took his life, that doctors decided to act. “I was on the job, chasing a stolen car,” he recalled. “I got out of the car and the hit me with his car.” Bruised and sore, Gibson figured it was just a minor lump and went home to ice up and rest after his shift. However, when he awoke with a fever of nearly 106 degrees, his wife, Robin, called an ambulance—a move that probably saved Gibson’s life. Doctors determined that he had acquired a staph infection, which can easily be fatal if not treated immediately. Surgeons scooped out huge chunks of necrotic flesh from his leg and inserted drains. Dr. Rubin was also on hand monitoring the situation, and when tests revealed that the disease had kick started the MM, he advised Gibson that his cancer treatment would begin immediately. To combat the aggressive disease, doctors planned to bombard his body with a cocktail of drugs and radiation over the course of several months to weaken the cancer and Gibson’s immune system, which is necessary for the last and most important step: the vital stem cell transplant. Gibson’s chemo regiment was intense. Spread out over four months, he would spend five consecutive days in the hospital every four weeks, where a roundthe-clock dose was administered. The Cliftonite explained that due to his physique, he was confident that he was able to handle the physical challenges. What he was concerned about was the mental challenges—dealing with hair and weight loss, depression, or just simply getting up in the morning when you know you’re going into the hospital to get pumped full of poison for five days straight. “The first couple of days you’re ok but then you start to get out of sync,” Gibson continued. “My brain was telling me, come on buddy, you’ve got things you got to do. But my body felt like it had been up for three days straight.” In an effort to be as normalized as possible, Gibson continued working out in a modified routine, dropping to the floor for sit up and push ups to pass the time. But by his third chemo session, the common side effects of the treatment began to manifest. Gibson’s hair began to thin out across his head. His beard and eyebrows began to develop patchy bald spots, and weight rapidly began to shed from his body. “It was uncomfortable,” he said. “I had really light

blond hair that I kept neat. I also lost a lot of weight, from 194 to 158 pounds.” “I lost my appetite. I just never felt like eating,” added. “I remember telling my wife, ‘Rob, I ate a teaspoon of Jello today’ like I couldn’t believe it.” More alarming was that he began to gradually lose senses in his tastebuds. “Chicken or cardboard, I couldn’t tell the difference,” he lamented. It’s at this stage that the emotional challenges become apparent. An individual’s mental make up is just as important as physical health in defeating cancer. “The way I did it all the way through the process was that I just kept on believing that I was going to beat it,” said Gibson. “I was going to fight through all the way to the end and we were going to get the best doctors possible.” Once the chemo was completed,

Gibson’s family in a recent photo from left: son Scott, daughter Lori (Smeriglio), and Bill and Robin’s boys Billy jr. and Tyler.

Gibson had to endure radiation therapy, which was designed to bring his immune system to a halt. Though such action meant that even a cold could be deadly, it was a necessary precursor to a stem cell transplant. Gibson had to spend many weeks in virtually isolation from the outside world, confined to a

lonely, sterile hospital room. In that situation, even the most optimistic of individuals would find their will to live on the wane. “I’m not super religious or anything, but I do believe in god,” he explained. “But at several points, you just sit there and think, am I really going to die in this room, isolated all by myself? You get

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


a little time to talk to the man upstairs.” It’s far easier to give up than endure hours of pain, discomfort and solitude, but Gibson kept on fighting for one thing: his family. The fear of not seeing his Robin or his four children ever again was far too much to bear. Those individuals are Gibson’s passion, his motivation to wake up every morning, to weather any challenges that life throws his way. The self professed family man explained that he loves nothing more than spending time with his family, whether it’s over dinner, going fishing or watching his children compete in sports. This is a man who traveled halfway across the globe while undergoing chemotherapy to watch

his son, Scott, represent the US in Sweeden for a youth soccer tournament in 2000. When permitted, the family spent many long hours together in the hospital by his side. And when he was in isolation, it was the portrait of his wife and his children that gave him the will power to battle on and hope that the stem cell transplant would save him. “That picture was huge— HUGE,” said Gibson, who now hangs the photo on the wall of his Richfield Home. “My wife is an angel. She stayed with me the whole time through everything. She’s unbelieveable. And my older kids, they were always in there visiting.” Things began looking up in March of 2000, when Dr. Rubin

Clifton Optimist Awards

Jack Whiting will be honored for Community Service, Gloria Kolodziej for Lifetime Achivement and Dave Szott will receive the Friend of Youth Award.

Sgt. Billy Gibson will receive the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award from the Clifton Optimist Club. He is one of four recipients to be feted at the 2011 Awards Dinner which is on May 22 at the Clifton Recreation Center, 1232 Main Ave. Other recipients include former NFLer and 1986 CHS grad, gridiron legend Dave Szott. He will receive the Club’s highest honor, the 2011 Friend of Youth Award.


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Longtime Jr. Mustang Wrestling Coach Jack Whiting will receive the Community Service Award and former Councilwoman Gloria Kolodziej will be honored for her Lifetime Achievement. Tickets are $35 and include dinner and beverages. Checks should be made payable to the Clifton Optimist Club. For more information, call Optimist member Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

determined that Gibson was prepared for the stem cell transplant. A tube to draw blood is placed in one arm and fed to a machine, which blasts the cells with radiation and reinserts them into the other arm in a four hour process. “You can’t move, you’re on a bed and they’re draining your blood, which goes through a machine that separates the stem cells,” he recalled. “After maybe three and a half hours, my left vein collapsed, It was painful, I knew something happened right away. It was like plugging a vacuum hose.” But despite the scare, the process worked and Gibson was put back in isolation to see if his body would accept the new cells. That, however, took longer than expected. Gibson was still recovering in isolation by the time May rolled around and he was getting anxious. “My anniversary was May 5, 1996, so I’m sure I was bugging Dr. Rubin,” he laughed. “I told him, I want out, I don’t care if I have to crawl out. He said ok, but he told, ‘You’ll be back in a week.’” Gibson’s taste of freedom was brief, and he landed back in St. Joe’s for a few more weeks before coming out for good at the end of May. But the road to normalcy was still long and arduous. He was still sickly and gaunt, and his trademark energy was all but gone. “It would take me five minutes to walk from my living room, downstairs and out to the backyard just to get some fresh air,” he said. “That’s not more than 25, 30 feet.” You shuffle, catch your breath and hold the wall. But I’m just stubborn, I didn’t need the help.”

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Eventually, his hair and his health began to return. More exciting was the regaining the ability to taste food again. To this day, Gibson still remembers the first time he tasted a real meal again. “I used to work security at Corrados for years. Jerry Sr., Joey Sr., and Pete Sr. came to visit me and asked, Bill, what would you like to eat,” he recalled. “I said I’d really like to have a steak. And they had a filet mignon brought over from the store. I must have ate just a tiny bit of it—I still didn’t have my appetite just yet—but it was the best steak I’ve ever had.” Life officially went back to normal when he returned to work in Sept. 2000. Gibson had been out since injuring his hip in November of the prior year.

“It just felt good going to work,” he recalled. “They had me as watch commander at first, overseeing the dispatchers. I called a Sgt. off patrol and then said I was going to lunch. I took his car just to get out, went on a ride and just drove around Botany—I love it there.” Now, more than a decade later, it’s almost impossible to pick up what Gibson’s been through just by looking at him. The reminders are subtle scars from where picks were used to insert chemo, hardly noticeable to the eye. But in an odd way, Gibson has come away from the experience with a positive feeling. Having overcome such a huge, life-threatening challenge tends to leave one appreciating life a little more than before. “You realize that some things in life that you think are important really aren’t,” explained Gibson. “Like your health. My family is the most important thing to me, number one.” “I really don’t sweat the little things. I’ve been through enough in life with my family that I think we can handle just about anything,” he continued. “And no doubt about it, it brought us closer. I was very, very lucky that I pulled through cancer, and I’m so lucky to have met my wife and have the children that I have and I respect that.”

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March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

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March 2011 • Clifton Merchant







One Woman’s Journey with

Laryngeal Papillomas By Chrissie Cluney


hen you call the Wee Care Child Care Center in Clifton, you’ll most likely have the pleasure of speaking with Jennifer Henkel. She has a very distinctive, laryngitis sounding, squeaky, whisper voice, but she doesn’t have laryngitis. She has Laryngeal papillomas, which are benign epithelial tumors that are caused by infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). Although it most likely will be difficult to understand her through a telephone, her enthusiasm, love of children, and the Wee Care message will ring through the telephone loud and clear. Henkel has been the director for 6 months of the First Presbyterian Church’s Wee Care Child Care Center, which has a staff of twenty employees. She has been working there as an instructor for eight years prior to her becoming director. Wee Care Child Care Center currently has 65 children attending and their ages range from newborns to twelve-year-olds since they have an after school program that the schooled children get 20

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Jennifer Henkel, center, with some of her students at Wee Care Child Care Center on Maplewood Ave.

transported to after their school day ends. The kids at the center are very accepting of Henkel’s condition since most of them have been there prior to her losing her voice

and her diagnosis. When Jennifer was a teacher at the center, the kids knew that she had a speech imperfection and because of this she never had to raise her voice or yell

- which she cannot do. The newer participants are curious as most kids are and ask, “When are you getting it (her voice) back?” with smiles on their adorable faces. Having Henkel as the director shows the children that you can do anything you put your mind to despite your current situation. When interacting with new parents they usually think she’s under the weather and they question sending their child to the center, but Henkel explains the situation and answers any questions they might have allowing the parents to be at ease and confident in the center’s ability to instill the knowledge, education, and compassion that is needed for their children to grow up to be outstanding citizens of the future.

Communication is difficult when talking on the telephone as her voice doesn’t get through to the person on the other end. She jokes that when telemarketers call they feel bad that she “has a cold” so they state that they’ll call back at another time. When the Wee Care Child Care Center is closed due to inclement weather she is required to announce it through a voice message and she is always afraid that the parents won’t hear the announcement and think that the Center is open when it is not. Prior to her contracting Laryngeal papillomas, Henkel enjoyed singing to herself while driving in the car, but this has stopped due to her losing her singing voice. When her children, Brian, age seven, and Bridget, age

four, were infants she used to sing to them and regrets that she can no longer have that closeness with them. Last year, her son, Brian, was enrolled in Catholic school and his teacher told Henkel that he prayed everyday that his mother would get her voice back which saddened Jennifer. Henkel enjoys reading her children bedtime stories which are filled with pirates and fantasy for her son and books that allow her daughter’s mind to go to far off places. The characters used to have specific voices, provided by Jennifer, to enhance the story, but she doesn’t have the vocal range and vocal power to perform those voices now. Before 2004, Henkel and her daughter, Bridget, liked to

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reflux, post nasal drip, and severe doctors covered by her first insurhave conversations in the family allergies. She even went to a plasance company, Oxford United car, but presently due to her conditic surgeon in Oxford’s healthcare Healthcare. It was recommended tion and the sounds of the car and plan because she thought it might to her to call each doctor asking if outside environment those converbe a nasal problem. sations are different now as Henkel first heard the it more difficult due to Laryngeal papillomatosis, also known as recurrent diagnosis of “Laryngeal Henkel’s very low voice her respiratory papillomatosis or glottal papillomatosis, is a papillomas” when she met daughter to understand her rare medical condition caused by a HPV infection of the throat. with the leading vocal mother, which disappoints Laryngeal papillomatosis causes assorted tumors or papillochord disorders specialist both of them. mas to develop over a period of time. Without treatment it is on the East coast, Dr. Peak In 2004, life changed potentially fatal as uncontrolled growths could obstruct the Woo, who was working at drastically and dramatically airway. Laryngeal papillomatosis tumors form on the larynx or Mount Sinai Hospital, in when Jennifer began to other areas of the respiratory tract. These tumors can reoccur New York City, at the time. experience post nasal drip frequently, may require repetitive surgery, and may interfere He ordered a biopsy to be and laryngitis like sympwith breathing. The disease can be treated with surgery and taken from Jennifer in toms and just thought that antivirals. 2008. However, within the she was getting a cold. She first five minutes of meeting visited her doctor’s office with her and listening to her speak, they specialized or even knew of and was told that it would go away she was diagnosed with Laryngeal her condition which, in itself, was like any normal cold would. When papillomas. The surgery was scheda difficult task to accomplish with these symptoms didn’t disappear, uled for two months after their inia speech problem. The physicians she began the journey of finding tial meeting. didn’t know what to diagnose her out what the accurate diagnosis “…They are the most common condition as. Because of this she would be. She had gone to countbenign neoplasms affecting the larhad been wrongfully diagnosed less number of ear, nose, and throat ynx and upper respiratory tract. with having strep throat, acid specialists that were on a list of

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Malignant degeneration to squamous cell carcinoma can occur, but is very rare. The overall prevalence ranges from 2 per 100,000 adults to 4.5 per 100,000 children…” according to the Center for Voice and Swallowing at UC Davis Health System. This condition restricts the vocal chords from moving normally. The virus can come back despite any surgical procedure and is caused by stress. The more stressed a person is, the weaker the immune system becomes. This condition can sometimes block the airway to result in a person having asthma. It is not transmitted and it is not something that is hereditary. If there is anything positive to be said about this disease is that speaking with it isn’t painful at all even though it sounds that way. Henkel’s first surgery took place in 2009 at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City, and it included putting her under anesthesia, shaving her vocal chords with a laser, and putting anti growth inhibitors on her the chords to slow down the growth of the virus. It was recommended for her not to speak for three weeks in order for the swelling to go down. It took six months for the swelling to subside, however her condition never went away because the virus wasn’t totally removed and it subsequently came back. “The first surgery was covered by insurance. I was informed at my post-op visit that he (Dr.Woo) was no longer a participating doctor under the policy. They actually said that at the time of my surgery because of a mix up with his provider number he was no longer a participant but because of the mix up it was overlooked and the surgery was covered,” said Henkel. Recently, Henkel has changed insurance companies from Oxford to Aetna, and has determined that this specialist is in the plan, but due to personal circumstances, Henkel will have to go through the transition process with insurance companies again and has opted

to wait to look into seeing if her vocal chord specialist is in a new plan until she is sure that she will keep the new insurance company. Her biggest annoyance with insurance companies is “being directed to doctors who the insurance companies think will assist me just to find out that the doctor can’t diagnose the problem,” said Jennifer Also Henkel finds the lack of knowledge of medical diagnoses that the insurance companies are unaware of is frustrating. The out of pocket cost of the Laryngeal papillomas surgery is approximately $5,000, which is more than Henkel can afford. If Henkel were able to find an insurance company who has Dr. Woo in their network and has the second surgery she would get most of her speaking voice back which would be a blessing to both her and her family. She wants the public to know that the condition of Laryngeal papillomas is out there and for us to have the knowledge that this disease can sneak up on a person at any time and that it is not something that she ever thought would happen to her. Jennifer Henkel: wife, mother, director, and survivor of overcoming the obstacles in her life everyday proves that anything is possible if you just believe in yourself and in your abilities.

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The Best Dentistry is Preventive Nature has seen fit to provide human mouths with a natural assortment of bacteria types that vary from individual to individual. Many of these bacteria types are harmless, but several types that many of us have produce acids as a byproduct of their metabolism. These types ingest the same foods we do, with a special love for refined carbohydrates. They also produce a sticky matrix (plaque) on which they accumulate quickly. If not mechanically removed in twenty-four hours, they are numerous enough to produce acid concentrated enough to eat through tooth enamel. Once the tooth structure is soften by the acid the bacteria then invade the tooth and begin to consume it, reproduce, produce more acid, etc. Subsequent decay progression can result in the bacteria invading the blood vessel/ nerve complex deep inside the tooth with the possible result of a severe toothache, a chronic draining infection, or an infection that can spread throughout the body. Once you can “see” a hole in the tooth or feel sensitivity to cold or sweet from a cavity the tooth is already severely damaged. Bacterial accumulation of a different type, those that do not love acid or oxygen-rich environments, can cause inflammation of the periodontal (gum) support of the teeth. This eventually causes bone loss on the tooth sockets as the accumulation continues on the tooth root surfaces, with real


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

loosening of the teeth and loss of both tooth and bone a potentiality. All these tooth woes are caused by bacterial accumulation in the presence of the chemicals in the foods we eat and drink. The simple remedy is to physically disrupt their accumulation very regularly and methodically. It is necessary to brush each tooth surface; inside biting, and outside very thoroughly with out missing any. Angling the bristles of the brush into the gumline at 45 degree angle provides best reach under gum and in between teeth where accumulation is fastest. Flossing is necessary to disrupt bacteria where the teeth touch each other and on the between surfaces below the tooth contacts. Brushing and flossing is best performed upon rising, after meals or snacks and right before retiring. The last tooth cleaning of the day is very important as bacteria multiply fastest when we sleep due to less saliva dilution and self cleaning oral movements. The average person with good oral hygiene habits should also have a professional dental cleaning and exam with selected limited x-rays to detect new cavities every 6 months. Some need more frequent maintenance depending on severity of bacterial activity naturally present or on the ability of the patient to control it. This regular maintenance is not expensive, even in a noninsured private practice situation. What is always costly, both in terms of health results and monetary involvement, is the repair of damage.






Holistic Health Taking responsibility for your health the natural way By Carol Leonard


Dr. Glenn Gero on the Passaic River.


s the cost of healthcare in the United States continues to skyrocket, some people are coming to realize that they need to do more than swallow pharmaceutical pills to get well and stay well. Increasingly, evidence is pointing to the importance of consuming a diet rich in good quality fruits and vegetables, whole grains and other plant-based nutrients, as well as taking appropriate supplements, getting regular exercise and finding ways to reduce the stresses of life that take their toll on the body. “One has to take responsibility for his or her own health and it real-

ly requires a full-time effort,” said Dr. Glenn Gero. “Wellness is not a part-time job.” Dr. Gero is a Clifton-based naturopathic specialist whose focus is on helping patients get back on the road to good health and lifelong wellness through natural therapies rather than relying on drugs alone to quell their symptoms. According to Dr. Gero, many illnesses, particularly long-term chronic conditions such as allergies, digestive disorders, depression, pain, and even diabetes and heart disease, are actually symptoms of physiological imbalances in the body often caused

by a lack of attention to healthy behaviors and exposure to toxins in the environment. Dr. Gero holds a doctor of naturopathy degree from Trinity College of Natural Health and is completing a doctor of science degree in nutrition from Hawthorne University. Among his other credentials, he is a registered nutrition counselor, a trained medical exercise specialist and cancer exercise specialist, and a certified biofeedback therapist. Naturopaths, such as Dr. Gero, do not prescribe pharmaceutical medications. Instead, they review blood chemistry as well as the March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Dr. Glenn Gero at his practice at 256 Colfax Ave.

patient’s symptoms, diet and lifestyle, and may administer or recommend other appropriate tests to uncover areas of imbalance or stress in the body. This review may also include assessing the side effects of prescription medications the patient is taking and how these drugs may be depleting the body of vital nutrients. For example, certain cholesterol lower-


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

ing medications, also known as statins, have been known to inhibit the body’s production of CoQ10, an enzyme that, among other benefits, is vital to heart strength and muscle health. In such a case, the treatment plan may include a recommendation that the patient take a CoQ10 supplement or consider other natural ways to lower cholesterol. As Dr. Gero explained, the role of

naturopathic doctors is to uncover the source of the patient’s disorder rather than just treating the symptoms. “I consider myself more of a physiological detective,” he said. “The biggest difference between naturopathic doctors and conventional medical doctors is that we don’t treat disease, we treat the imbalances that cause disease.” Dr. Gero always tells his patients to let their medical doctors know that they are seeing him. He also tries to have a dialogue with a patient’s medical doctor to find areas of agreement in the treatment plan and to suggest appropriate modifications to prescriptions and medication dosages. “I believe in integrative medicine,” he said. “In some cases, a pharmaceutical drug can save a patient’s life. But integrating conventional medical care with the natural laws of healthy living is going to produce the most optimal outcome.” Following his comprehensive

assessment of the patient’s biochemistry, medications, diet and lifestyle, Dr. Gero develops a treatment plan with the patient that focuses on the whole person -- body, mind and spirit. This may include recommendations for improvement in diet as well as supplements such as certain vitamins, minerals and herbs. It is almost certain to also include a plan to increase physical activity through daily exercise. “I consider exercise to be a magic bullet to good health and the prevention of illness,” he said. Dr. Gero also helps his patients overcome and deal with stress and the negative influences in their lives that contribute to poor health. “I strongly believe in the mindbody connection and its influence on wellness,” he said. Inside his Holistic Naturopathic Center at 256 Colfax Ave., Dr. Gero has a fully equipped fitness room, where he works with patients on corrective exercises and teaches them about the healthful benefits of daily fitness activities. He also has a room dedicated to biofeedback training, where he uses

computerized electronic instrumentation to help some patients overcome physiological patterns of behavior, often unconscious, that may result in such symptoms as high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, depression, anxiety and poor digestion. Another room houses a medical sauna, where, through the use of infrared heat, patients can receive relief from back and shoulder pain, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and various other conditions and discomforts. Dr. Gero is one of about only two

dozen qualified naturopathic doctors in the state, so his patients come from far and wide to see him. He says that on average patients travel about 45 minutes to his office. Among his more local patients is 84 year-old Clifton resident Peter Ciolino. His daughter Michele Ciolino brought him to see Dr. Gero last summer following a bout with vasculitis, an autoimmune disorder that developed following an infection that had settled in his lung. The condition led to kidney failure, hospitalization and

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March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

the need to be on dialysis and Prednisone, a corticosteroid medication. Long-term use of corticosteroids can lead to weight gain, muscle weakness, osteoporosis and other secondary medical problems. When efforts to wean Ciolino off Prednisone resulted in a relapse, his primary care physician suggested that he consult with Dr. Gero for other options. Upon evaluating his case, Dr. Gero recommended a number of natural supplements to maintain current levels of kidney function, as well as improve lung function and normalize his immunity. Michele said that she discussed with Dr. Gero some other natural anti-inflammatory supplements for her father that she had researched and he agreed that they should also give them a try. Ciolino has been totally off Prednisone since January and, according to his daughter, is doing

fine without the medication. “The amazing thing is that without the natural supplementation he had a relapse,” Michele said. “But when we added what Dr. Gero recommended, he did so much better.” Dr. Gero said that he spends about an hour to an hour and a half with patients, far more time than the average visit with most medical doctors. He is very pleased when patients or family members come to him armed with information about their conditions from the internet or other sources. “I want my patients to come in here informed,” he said. “An informed patient is a better, more motivated patient.” Dr. Gero completes about 200400 hours of continuing education every year. “This is an information booming society,” he said. “I’m in a position of responsibility and I need to stay ahead of my patients.” He believes that patients need to work in partnership with their doc-

tors and must be willing to make the necessary changes in their lives to get well. He said, “I always tell my patients, if you come to me today, I can help you feel better in seven days. But it’s not just about feeling better next week. You have to change your perspective. It’s how you feel five years from now that will tell me if I have truly made a difference in your life.” While many people would refer to Dr. Gero’s practice as “alternative medicine,” he believes it’s the other way around. “Natural remedies are the oldest form of medicine,” he said. “How could eating right, the absorption of vital nutrients, exercise and the avoidance of aberrant thinking ever be considered alternative? The real alternative medicine is drugs and surgery.” To learn more about Dr. Gero and the Holistic Naturopathic Center, visit his website at: March 2011 • Clifton Merchant







Proof Positive It’s all about attitude when you’re dealing with cancer By Joe Hawrylko


wenty three year olds don’t get cancer. That’s the first thing that raced through Brooke Van Beveren’s mind when her doctor revealed that the lumps on her neck tested positive for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “Apparently, it’s normal for younger people to get it,” she said. Hodgkin’s, a cancer of white blood cells, primarily effects people aged 15 to 35, or those over 55. “You know when you’re sick and your lymph nodes swell up? Well after a couple months, mine never went down.” The diagnosis was delivered in July 2010 and Van Beveren’s doctors immediately set out to address the disease. “The one doctor said, if you’re going to have cancer, this is one of the best ones to have,” she laughed. “I was worried, but not as worried as most people would probably think. I mean, I was a little scared, but I guess I had faith in medicine.” The first order of business when dealing with such a life altering disease is to find a knowledgeable and friendly doctor to put together a plan for treatment. “He felt like a grandpa,” Van Beveren said of the doctor she selected. “He was very nice and I trusted him. He said it was very 30

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Brooke Van Beveren, a 2005 CHS alum, survived Hodgkins Lymphoma.

early and he said that I probably only had it for about six months. But it was fast growing.” Van Beveren, a member of the CHS Class of 2005 and a 2010 Seton Hall Grad, was lucky that her

cancer was detected early. She experienced few symptoms from the cancer besides back aches and cold sweat. However, Van Beveren would still have to endure rounds of debilitating chemotherapy and

North Jersey Eye Associates radiation treatments, each having many side effects. “Chemo was very challenging,” she recalled. “The first two, my body was reacting fine, but then the third and fourth ones, I was sick. I would be nauseous for a week after the chemo. But, oddly enough, eating helped me not feel as nauseous.” Van Beveren was most concerned about hair loss, but ultimately experienced very little. “I was really worried about my hair at first. I must have asked about it a lot. But eventually, you realize it’s only hair, they make wigs,” she said. “It ended up thinning out a lot, but if you didn’t know me or how much hair I had, you’d never notice.” Besides the treatments and doctor appointments, Van Beveren did her best to live life as if she was cancer free. The only major change was taking a four month leave from her job at Brookstone in the Paramus Park Mall, returning in October. “It didn’t really effect me emotionally so much,” she said. “You do sometimes think why me, but I think I had a good attitude towards everything and I think that helped.” And if for some reason she was ever lacking self motivation, Van Beveren could count of having her spirits lifted by the generosity of her Clifton neighbors. The VFW Post 7165 on Valley Rd. hosted a fundraiser for Van Beveren on Sept. 19 of last year, raising over $10,000. The Boys & Girls Club also held a benefit beefsteak on Nov. 12. At The


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cer. This winter, while wapping up her final radiation Clif on Clifton Ave. collection buckets were kept on the treatments, doctors informed the Cliftonite that her canbartop for several months by owner Skip Kazer. cer had gone into remission. Many more donations and kind gestures were “When I told everyone before Christmas that I was canreceived, including some from kind hearted strangers cer free, my mom started crythat Van Beveren had never ing and then my dad started even met. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is most common among people crying,” she laughed. “I “I was not at all expectages 15-35 and 50-70. It is thought that the Epstein-Barr guess you could say it was ing anything like that at virus (also the cause of mononucleosis) contribues to most cases. one of the best Christmas all,” she said. “People were See a doctor if the following symptoms persist for several weeks: presents you could ask for.” constantly calling the swollen lymph nodes, itchy skin, fatigue, weight loss, night sweats Van Beveren’s radiation house.” and random fever and chills. therapy was completed on “There are people that I Hodgkin’s is considered one of the most curable forms of canFeb. 1. Now cancer free, all haven’t even talked to since cer. If caught in Stage Two or earlier, the survival rate for 10 years that’s left are her regular high school that showed up is more than 90%. Even if it is diagnosed later, the survival rate scans to make sure that the at the brunch, sent me ranis still near 90 percent and those who remain cancer free for 15 disease stays dormant and dom emails or facebook years often remain so for life. some tweaks to make sure it messages telling me that doesn’t come back. they’re praying for me,” Van “It definitely makes me want to get back into shape and Beveren continued. “It’s very surprising. You have all start exercising again,” she said. “That’s really helpful in these people that you haven’t seen in years actually staying cancer free The doctors told me that it’s not supthinking about you. It makes you feel good. I definiteposed to change my life, but that I’m supposed to work in ly wasn’t expecting that.” the changes into my life.” The support helped keep the Cliftonite positive while Although Van Beveren completed her treatments enduring the poisonous chemicals needed to kill the canweeks ago, she’s yet to celebrate the milestone. “I figure I’ll wait for my birthday,” laughed Van Beveren, who will turn 24 on March 4. “I’m too nervous to celebrate right away. You have this feeling, you ask yourself, is it really gone?” Even after all the chemo, radiation therapy and other treatments, the whole experience is still surreal. “It’s one of those things you think would never happen to you, especially at this age. You just can’t imagine 973-772-8451 Roofing • Siding it happening to yourself,” she said. “I guess you do take Seamless Gutters some things for granted.” Additions • Alterations


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Running Long For Billy Maurer and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society By Chrissy Cluney


­rin­ Cluney­ originally­ of­ Clifton,­ New­ Jersey, currently­ residing­ in­ New­York­ City,­ ran­ a­ 26.2 mile­ marathon­ in­ PF­ Chang’s­ Rock’N’Roll Marathon­ Series­ in­ Phoenix,­Arizona­ on­ January­ 16th, 2011.­ Cluney­ and­ co-workers­ from­ Coach,­ Inc­ were members­of­Team­in­Training­which­is­the­world’s­largest endurance­ sports­ training­ program,­ and­ all­ donations benefited­The­Leukemia­&­Lymphoma­Society.­ Cluney­began­her­marathon­career­in­October­of­2009 when­she­began­training­for­the­first­time­for­a­marathon

Erin Cluney, with her friend Billy Maurer.

that­was­held­in­Paris,­France­where­she­finished­with­a time­of­5:41.­Recently,­Cluney­finished­the­PF­Chang’s Rock’n’Roll­ Marathon­ Series­ with­ a­ time­ of­ 5:27,­ an improvement­of­14­minutes.­ Cluney­ran­in­honor­of­Billy­Maurer,­of­Clifton,­who is­ a­ longtime­ family­ friend.­ Maurer­ was­ diagnosed­ in October­2005­with­Multiple­Myeloma­which­is­cancer­of the­blood.­After­a­stem­cell­transplant­in­December­2006, his­ cancer­ is­ now­ in­ remission.­ Maurer­ has­ had­ two strokes,­one­in­April­and­another­in­November­of­2010. “He­attends­physical­therapy­on­an­outpatient­basis.­His recovery­ has­ been­ remarkable­ despite­ all­ his­ health

setbacks­and­he­is­continuing­to­make­strides­everyday” says­Danielle­Beazley,­daughter­of­Maurer.­­ When­ asked­ how­ the­ Maurer­ family­ is­ coping­ with Maurer’s­diagnosis,­Ashley­Maurer,­of­Clifton,­said,­“Our family­is­holding­up­the­best­that­we­can.­We­all­love­each other­very­much­and­we­are­each­other's­shoulder's­to­lean on.­The­most­difficult­part­is­the­fact­that­my­father­can't speak­all­that­much,­so­it­is­hard­for­him­to­communicate with­us­but­we­manage­to­understand­him.­The­best­part is­that­he­still­has­his­sense­of­humor­and­he­knows­how to­ laugh­ and­ as­ a­ family­ we always­ have­ a­ good­ time­ no matter­ what.­ My­ father­ would not­want­any­of­us­to­feel­sorry for­him,­so­our­lives­go­on,­but he­is­still­here­and­that­is­all­we can­ask­for!” Cluney­ is­ Senior­ Planning Manager­for­Coach’s­Full­Price North­American­ Retail.­ In­ this position,­ she­ is­ responsible­ for creating­ sales­ plans­ to­ hit­ the company’s­ overall­ corporate financial­ targets,­ and­ buying­ the­ inventory­ to­ support those­ sales­ for­ Coach­ Inc’s­ North­ American­ Retail business.­ With­ the­ assistance­ of­ generous­ family­ and friends,­Cluney­raised­$3,605.00­and­the­Coach,­Inc­team raised­ $100,000.00.­ Since­ Coach­ has­ attained­ this­ high level­of­fundraising,­an­LLS­researcher­working­to­find better­treatments­for­blood­cancer­will­be­named­in­honor of­Team­Coach's­efforts. Additional­donations­can­be­made­to­The­Leukemia &­ Lymphoma­ Society­ by­ visiting­ Erin­ Cluney’s donation­ page­ at­ pfchangs11/ecluney. March 2011 • Clifton Merchant







Hometown Doctor By Carol Leonard


f you happen to be a patient at­the­Clifton­Immedicenter­on Broad­St.,­chances­are­that­you have­ been­ treated­ one­ or­ more times­by­Dr.­Thomas­Del­Casale.­ Aside­ from­ the­ center’s cofounder­ and­ owner,­ Dr.­ Michael Basista,­Dr.­Del­Casale­is­the­most senior­member­of­the­medical­staff at­ the­ Immedicenter,­ where­ he­ has worked­for­more­than­20­years. A­ native­ of­ Saddle­ Brook­ who still­lives­in­the­area,­Dr.­Del­Casale said­he­knew­from­a­young­age­that he­ wanted­ a­ career­ in­ the­ science field.­ After­ graduating­ with­ a degree­ in­ biology­ from­ Rutgers Newark­ University,­ he­ went­ on­ to attend­ New­ York­ College­ of Osteopathic­Medicine. If­ you­ pick­ up­ one­ of­ Dr.­ Del Casale’s­business­cards­or­receive­a prescription­ from­ him,­ you­ will notice­ the­ designation,­ “D.O.” instead­ of­ “M.D.”­ after­ his­ name. This­is­because­graduates­of­osteopathic­ medical­ schools­ receive­ the title,­ “doctor­ of­ osteopathic­ medicine,”­ rather­ than­ the­ usual­ “medical­doctor”­designation. According­ to­ Dr.­ Del­ Casale, there­ isn’t­ much­ difference­ in­ the curriculum­at­regular­or­osteopathic­ medical­ schools.­ Osteopathic 34

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Dr. Thomas Del Casale and Dr. Michael Basista.

physicians­ just­ receive­ additional training­in­the­musculoskeletal­system­and­can­perform­manipulation techniques­ somewhat­ similar­ to those­used­by­chiropractors.­In­the United­States,­DOs­and­MDs­have the­ same­ medical­ practice­ rights and­philosophies­of­patient­care. Following­graduation­from­medical­ school,­ Dr.­ Del­ Casale­ completed­a­general­residency­program at­ Kennedy­ Memorial­ Hospital­ in Saddle­ Brook­ (which­ now­ houses Kessler­ Rehabilitation­ Center)­ and a­ residency­ in­ family­ practice­ at

West­Essex­Hospital. At­ the­ time­ that­ he­ joined­ the Immedicenter­following­completion of­ his­ second­ residency­ program, free-standing­ urgent­ care­ centers were­ a­ fairly­ new­ concept.­ In­ fact, when­ the­ Clifton­ Immedicenter opened­in­1984­at­its­original­smaller­location­on­the­other­side­of­Broad St.,­it­was­the­first­of­its­kind­in­this part­of­New­Jersey. “I­wasn’t­ready­to­start­a­practice of­ my­ own­ and­ I­ thought­ it­ would give­ me­ a­ broad­ range­ of­ experience­ with­ different­ kinds­ of

patients,”­Dr.­Del­Casale­said.­ The­original­idea­of­urgent­care centers­was­to­provide­a­convenient walk-in­ facility­ in­ the­ community with­ extended­ hours­ where­ people with­episodic­illnesses­or­non-lifethreatening­or­minor­injuries­could come­seven­days­a­week­for­treatment­instead­of­traveling­to­a­hospital­emergency­room. Over­the­years­that­Dr.­Del­Casale has­been­with­the­Immedicenter,­he has­ seen­ an­ expansion­ of­ this­ concept­ to­ also­ provide­ a­ setting­ for ongoing­medical­care­for­individuals and­ families.­ Today,­ about­ 50­ percent­of­business­is­from­patients­who use­ the­ Immedicenter’s­ doctors­ as their­primary­care­physicians. “We’re­ still­ like­ a­ mini­ emergency­room­for­people­who­walk­in with­injuries­and­different­types­of illnesses,”­he­said.­“But­people­can also­make­appointments­for­routine physicals­and­follow-up­visits.” Additionally,­ Immedicenter patients­can­make­an­appointment­or just­walk­into­the­facility­to­receive flu­shots­and­other­vaccinations,­and the­center­contracts­with­a­number­of employers­in­the­area­to­treat­worker’s­compensation­cases. The­Clifton­Immedicenter­as­well as­ the­ center’s­ other­ facilities­ in Bloomfield­and­Totowa­offer­patients who­need­them­on-site­visits­with­certain­medical­specialists­at­least­once­a week.­These­include­a­gastroenterologist,­a­cardiologist,­an­orthopedic­surgeon­and­a­vascular­specialist. “Patients­ like­ the­ feeling­ of being­ able­ to­ come­ back­ to­ the same­medical­practice­for­this­care instead­ of­ being­ referred­ else-

where,”­Dr.­Del­Casale­said. The­ Immedicenters­ also­ offer some­cosmetology­services,­such­as hair­removal,­Botox­and­Juvederm. During­ an­ average­ shift­ in Clifton­ or­ at­ the­ Bloomfield Immedicenter,­ where­ he­ also­ is assigned,­ Dr.­ Del­ Casale­ treats about­30­patients­of­all­ages. On­ a­ typical­ day­ he­ may­ see­ a variety­of­cases,­ranging­from­people­with­sore­throats,­ear­aches­and gastrointestinal­ complaints,­ to sprained­ ankles,­ cuts­ that­ need stitches­ and­ even­ children­ with small­objects­stuck­up­their­noses.­ “You­ just­ never­ know­ what’s going­to­walk­through­the­door,”­he said. He­ especially­ enjoys­ seeing regular­patients­who­come­in­with appointments­ for­ annual­ physical exams,­also­known­as­well­visits. Many­of­these­people­specifically ask­to­be­seen­by­Dr.­Del­Casale, so­it­gives­him­a­better­chance­to get­to­know­them­and­their­health histories,­ and­ to­ offer­ advice about­ preventative­ care­ and screenings. He­feels­that­the­most­challenging­ cases­ are­ when­ people­ present with­ chest­ pain,­ headaches­ or severe­abdominal­pain.­ “With­ those­ I­ need­ to­ be­ very careful­ not­ to­ miss­ anything,”­ he said.­ “Sometimes,­ there­ are­ cases that­ we­ just­ can’t­ handle­ here­ and we­ need­ to­ send­ them­ to­ an­ emergency­room­or­a­specialist.” He­recalled­the­case­from­a­few years­ ago­ of­ a­ man­ in­ his­ late­ 50s who­came­in­with­chest­pain.­ “He­ had­ a­ normal­ EKG,­ but­ I

just­had­a­feeling­something­wasn’t right,­ so­ I­ sent­ him­ to­ the­ emergency­room­for­more­tests,”­Dr.­Del Casale­ said.­ “He­ was­ resistant­ to go,­ but­ I­ convinced­ his­ family­ to take­him.­It­turned­out­that­he­had to­have­seven­cardiac­stents­put­in. You­just­need­to­have­a­high­index of­suspicion­with­cases­like­that.” All­patients­who­are­seen­at­the Immedicenter­ receive­ a­ follow­ up call­ the­ next­ day­ from­ one­ of­ the nurses­ to­ see­ how­ they­ are­ doing. Dr.­Del­Casale­feels­that­it’s­a­good practice­ that­ many­ patients­ don’t expect,­but­appreciate.­ “They­may­have­questions­about their­ medication­ or­ there­ is­ something­ they­ don’t­ understand,”­ he said.­“Some­people­are­too­embarrassed­to­call,­so­this­gives­them­an opportunity­to­clear­it­up.” When­ asked­ what­ advice­ he would­ give­ to­ people­ to­ stay­ well and­ free­ of­ illness,­ Dr.­ Del­ Casale had­the­following­pointers:­ • Don’t smoke. • Try to exercise regularly, even if it’s just walking. • Eat a healthy diet and avoid an excess of saturated fat. • Get a proper amount of sleep, at least seven hours every night. • Get regular physical exams and do preventive screening. He­also­recommended­that­people maintain­ good­ communication­ with their­doctors­and­avoid­using­the­internet­or­what­they­hear­in­the­media­as­a diagnostic­tool­for­themselves.­ “Stay­ informed,­ but­ be­ careful where­you­get­your­medical­information,”­he­said. March 2011 • Clifton Merchant







The Pioneers

Clifton Drs. were on the cutting edge of cataract surgery By Joe Hawrylko


n 2011, a cataract is something that­can­be­removed­and treated­ in­ a­ surgery­ center­ in about­an­hour.­­But­that­was­not­that case­ in­ the­ 1970s,­ when­ Drs. William­ Lesko­ and­ Stuart­ Wunsh of­ North­ Jersey­ Eye­ Associates were­ among­ the­ first­ in­ the­ region to­ practice­ newly­ developed­ surgery­ techniques­ for­ treating cataracts. This­tale’s­origins­trace­back­to World­ War­ II,­ when­ a­ British opthalmologist­ Sir­ Harold­ Ridley made­ an­ observation­ that­ would revolutionize­ vision­ correction forever.­­ The­ doctor­ was­ most often­ called­ upon­ to A cataract remove­ foreign­ objects is the clouding of from­ the­ eyes­ of­ his the crystalline lens in the patients.­­In­most­instances, eye, which can gradually if­left­untouched,­the­object cause vision loss and will­ ultimately­ cause potentially blindness. irreparable­ vision­ damage Treatment requires the to­the­eye,­if­not­destroy­it removal of the lenses and the insertion of a prostheentirely.­­ Dr. William Lesko, his daughter, Dr. Cecily Lesko, However,­ Ridley­ had sis. and Dr. Stuart Wunsh. documented­ several instances­where­gunners­aboard­Bcanopies­lodged­in­the­eye,­patients his­ trained­ field,­ and­ ultimately 17­ Flying­ Fortress­ bombers­ were did­ not­ exhibit­ any­ signs­ of­ the developed­ a­ prototype­ for­ an admitted­ with­ shrapnel­ wounds. body­rejecting­the­foreign­objects. intralocular­lens­for­use­in­cataract Despite­ having­ shards­ of­ acrylic Ridley­ used­ his­ observations surgery­in­1949.­­The­process­was gradually­ refined­ over­ the plastic­ from­ the­ protective­ gunner from­the­battlefield­as­inspiration­in 36

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

next­two­decades­and­began­to­permeate­the­medical­market. In­1977,­Lesko,­then­also­a­professor­ at­ Mount­ Sinai­ Medical School,­was­among­the­first­in­the region­ to­ utilize­ the­ cutting­ edge technology­in­practice. “St.­ Mary’s­ sprung­ for­ the research,”­ he­ explained.­ ­ By­ the 1980s,­ the­ procedure­ eventually came­to­be­the­standard­for­cataract treatment.­­Lesko,­who­has­had­his own­practice­since­1968,­explained how­the­eyecare­field­has­dramatically­ evolved­ over­ the­ past­ 40 years. “What­ we’re­ able­ to­ do­ now­ is phenomenal,”­ he­ explained.­ ­ “We used­to­have­to­keep­people­in­the hospital­ for­ seven­ days­ and­ now they­ go­ to­ the­ surgery­ center­ and they’re­in­and­out­within­an­hour.” Further­ advances­ have­ now made­ the­ entire­ process­ more­ efficient.­ ­ The­ incision­ needed­ to­ put the­ lenses­ was­ once­ as­ large­ as­ 8 millimeters,­while­new­technology allows­ for­ microscopic­ insertion points­as­small­as­1.8­millimeters. Dr.­ Wunsh­ is­ also­ specially trained­ in­ phaco-emulsification, which­ is­ the­ use­ of­ ultrasonic waves­to­break­up­cataracts­or­other tissue­prior­to­lens­insertion. “Now­ we­ have­ on­ the­ drawing board­a­lenses­that­you­can­put­in­the eye­and­use­a­corrective­laser­to­place it­while­it’s­inside,”­added­Lesko. Today,­ the­ two­ work­ out­ of­ the practice­office­on­Clifton­Ave.­and their­ surgery­ center­ in­ Fairlawn. They’ve­ since­ been­ joined­ by Lesko’s­daughter,­Cecily,­who­represents­the­next­generation­of­ophthalmologists­ in­ Clifton.­ ­ She­ utilizes­ modern­ intraocular­ lenses­ to correct­ astigmatism­ and­ focusing issues.

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Weigh to Go Bob Smith shed 200lbs By Joe Hawrylko


ob Smith still vividly remembers being­ so­ large that­just­getting­up­a­flight up­presented­a­challenge­that­would leave­him­out­of­breath. “My­whole­story­is­that­I­always worry­ about­ going­ back­ to­ being heavy­ again,”­ he­ said.­ ­ “That­ was my­whole­issue,­going­back­to­that.” Most­ of­ his­ photos­ from­ adult him­ show­ Smith­ as­ a­ heavy­ set man.­­It­wasn’t­always­that­way. “I­ was­ kind­ of­ skinny­ as­ a­ kid but­then­I­started­to­gradually­gain weight,”­ he­ said.­ ­ “It­ seemed­ like after­I­quit­smoking­is­when­I­really­started­to­gain.” “It’s­ been­ over­ give­ years­ now and­most­off­it­was­taken­off­in­the first­year,­year­and­a­half,”­he­said. “It’s­ hard­ to­ get­ over­ 150­ pounds now.” The­deciding­factor­in­making­a change­was­the­never­ending­health problems­from­his­weight. “I­ did­ it­ for­ the­ health­ reasons. Diabetes,­high­blood­pressure—all gone,”­he­said.­­“I­was­always­tired. I­had­no­energy.­­I­had­back­and­leg pain.­­When­a­doctor­told­me­I­had diabetes,­I­tried­losing­weight­a­little­ bit­ but­ the­ diets­ weren’t­ working.­ ­ I­ have­ terrible­ eating­ habits still­to­this­day.” 40

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Bob Smith in a recent photo five years after his lap band surgery.

Smith,­ who­ owns­ Clifton­ Auto repair­shop­on­Sabago­St.,­said­one of­ the­ main­ traps­ is­ buying­ lunch almost­ every­ day.­ ­ “I­ never­ took time­out­to­eat.­­I­eat­because­I­had to,”­he­explained.­­“And­I­ate­at­the

wrong­ times­ too.­ ­ I­ ate­ before­ I went­ to­ bed,­ late­ at­ night.­ ­ Binge eating­maybe­you’d­call­it.­­I­didn’t even­eat­a­real­lot­ever­really,­it­was just­all­at­the­wrong­times.” continued on page 45

POLICE UNITY TOUR We Ride For Those Who Have Died.

How Can You Help? ATTEND A FUNDRAISER: March 10, 2011 • 8pm

Pub Night Fundraiser at Pub 46 April 10, 2011 • 4 - 8pm

18,983. That is the number of names inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Monument and Memorial in Washington D.C. Each name represents a sad Officer John Samra story of an officer from across the U.S. killed in the line of duty, including Clifton Police Officer John Samra, who died in the line of duty on Nov. 21, 2003. To raise awareness of Fallen Officers and to raise funds for that memorial, the Clifton Police Department sends a team of bicyclists and support people every year on a 300 mile bicycle trek. This year’s trip begins on May 9 and arrives in Washington 3 days later. The Clifton team joins over 1,000 other riders and support people and together they must raise over $1.3 million to help complete that monument and muse-

Pasta Dinner at The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton BUY A RAFFLE TICKET:

$5.00 T.V. Raffle Tickets (See page 00) $5.00 Bike Raffle Tickets (See page 00) MAKE A CONTRIBUTION:

Officer John Kavakich 973-470-5897 Tom Hawrylko 973-253-4400

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Thanks to all who have contributed or supported us in any way or amount. um in the nation’s capitol. Over $28,000 of those funds must be raised by Clifton members of the Police Unity Tour and we are asking for your help. There are a number of ways you can contribute. Participating members are selling $5 raffles for a chance to win one of two tvs or a TREK bicycle. Attend a fundraiser or


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

make a contribution. In advance, we’d like to say your support is greatly appreciated. Go to for details or check out To help out, purchase tickets or make a donation, call Clifton Police Officer John Kavakich at 973-470-5897 or Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

Our thanks to Joey Barcellona of Bliss Lounge who hosted a benefit happy hour on Feb. 4 and donated nearly $4,000 to help fund the Clifton members of the 2011 Police Unity Tour. Cyclist Robert Bais Randy Colondres Richard DiBello Brian Fopma Tom Hawrylko John Kavakich Charles Kazimir David Kishbaugh Elena Siery Motor Escorts William Bais Robert Bielsten Darren Brodie Derek Fogg Support Team Rocco Locantore Michael McLaughlin

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Proceeds from these raffles benefit Clifton PBA members who participate in the 2011 Police Unity Tour. This annual 300 mile bicycle ride leaves NJ on May 9 in an effort to raise awareness of police officers who have died in the line of duty and to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The group must raise $28,000 and asks the community to support the effort by purchasing raffle tickets or sending a donation. To purchase tickets, call Clifton Police Officer John Kavakich at 973470-5897, or via e-mail or call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

40” Toshiba Value: $700

55” Bravia Value: $2600

Worth over $500 No monetary value. Winner has option of male or female bicycle.

Both Drawings to be held on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 8 pm at the Clifton PBA 36 Unity Tour Pasta Dinner

We Ride for Those Who Have Died 44

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Weigh to Go continued on page 40

This­ routine­ and­ his­ overall health­ made­ it­ difficult­ to­ shed weight­ naturally.­ ­ Eventually, Smith­ began­ researching­ surgical options­ and­ ultimately­ settled­ on lap­band. “They­ take­ your­ stomach­ and make­a­little­pouch,­about­the­size of­ one­ ounce,”­ explained­ Smith. Such­ a­ procedure­ is­ drastic­ and­ is sometimes­ risky­ depending­ on­ a patient’s­health. “I­decided­to­do­it­probably­a­year after­ my­ doctor­ told­ me­ I­ had­ diabetes.­ ­ I­ wasn’t­ losing­ any­ weight and­only­then­did­I­decide­to­do­it,” he­continued.­­“Even­my­doctor­wasn’t­ crazy­ about­ me­ doing­ it.­ ­ Later on,­one­of­the­doctors­refused­to­do­it because­of­my­size.” When­ he­ found­ a­ surgeon­ that would­ accept­ him,­ Smith­ had­ to loose­ 15­ pounds­ before­ he­ would be­ accepted.­ ­ Doctors­ also­ diagnosed­Smith­with­H.­pylori,­a­bacterial­ infection­ of­ the­ stomach, which­ was­ treated­ prior­ to­ the­ life altering­surgery. Not­ long­ after­ being­ discharged from­ the­ hospital,­ it­ was­ apparent that­the­surgery­was­successful. “All­ of­ the­ medical­ issues­ went away­ fairly­ quick­ once­ I­ had­ the surgery,”­ Smith­ recalled.­ ­ “The blood­pressure­pills­and­sugar­pills went­ away­ kind­ of­ immediately. And­the­pain­is­not­that­bad.­­They told­me­not­to­go­back­to­work­for six­weeks,­but­I­went­back­in­two.” The­ Cliftonite­ also­ become much­ more­ diligent­ in­ exercising and­dieting­after­the­procedure. “I­ walked­ every­ day­ after­ my surgery,­ every­ day,”­ said­ Smith. Such­ radical­ weight­ loss­ often

Bob Smith in an undated photo prior to his surgery.

results­in­saggy­skin,­and­his­exercised­help­mitigate­that­side­effect. But­this­radical­procedure­is­not without­pitfalls.­­Lap­band­surgery drastically­limits­what­patients­can eat­and­how­much­of­it. “The­first­couple­days—and­it’s­a funny­ thing—you’re­ watching­ TV and­ everything­ is­ a­ food­ commercial,”­ Smith­ recalled.­ ­ “Everything. It­ might­ not­ actually­ be­ one­ but­ in your­brain,­everything­is­a­food­commercial­and­you­can’t­eat­it.” “It’s­hard.­­I­can’t­eat­fried­stuff­no more,­I­can’t­go­to­Hot­Grill,”­he­continued.­­“It’s­a­big­adjustment­to­eating­ soups­ and­ everything­ else,­ like when­ you­ go­ out­ for­ dinner­ and you’re­ eating­ an­ appetizer­ when everyone­else­is­eating­some­kind­of entree.­ ­ And­ you­ can­ drink...­ but­ if you­ drink,­ you­ can’t­ eat,­ so­ you’ve got­to­make­a­choice.” Red­ meats,­ once­ a­ favorite,­ are now­a­rare­treat.­­“If­I­have­a­hamburger,­ maybe­ I’ll­ crush­ it­ up­ and put­a­lot­of­gravy­on­it,”­said­Smith.

“Steak,­ the­ first­ time­ I­ had­ filet mignon­ after­ my­ surgery,­ I­ got deadly­sick­and­that­turned­me­off to­eating­stuff­like­that.” But­despite­the­sacrifices,­Smith doesn’t­regret­his­choice. “It’s­ a­ cool­ feeling­ when­ you could­go­to­a­store­and­buy­clothes when­before­you­had­to­go­to­a­big and­ tall­ men’s­ shop,”­ he­ said.­ ­ “It was­ kind­ of­ like,­ wow­ I­ fit­ in­ 32s when­I­fit­in­48s­before.” “I­ mean,­ I­ used­ to­ wear­ sweat pants­all­the­time­because­I­couldn’t wear­ jeans,”­ Smith­ continued. “Now,­I­have­some­people­walk­into my­shop­and­ask,­where’s­Bob?­­It’s pretty­cool.” The­Cliftonite­has­a­solemn­vow to­never­let­apathy­compromise­his health­again. “I­ just­ don’t­ want­ to­ go­ back there,­that’s­my­main­thing.­­It­was a­rough­go,”­he­said.­­“It­was­like­a do­ or­ die­ thing.­ ­ You’ve­ got­ to either­ get­ busy­ living­ or­ get­ busy dying,­right?” March 2011 • Clifton Merchant







Natural Fact Drug-free Natural Therapies Growing in Popularity By Carol Leonard


e must turn to nature itself, to the observations of the body in health and in disease to learn the truth.” —Hippocrates­ Undoubtedly,­ modern­ Western medicine­has­made­great­strides­in treating­acute­illnesses­and­in­saving­lives­through­advances­in­pharmaceutical­ drugs,­ surgical­ techniques­ and­ diagnostic­ technology. But­ increasingly­ in­ our­ area­ and elsewhere­ people­ with­ ongoing pain­ and­ other­ chronic­ and­ recurring­medical­conditions­are­turning to­ older,­ more­ natural­ forms­ of treatment­for­relief.

ACUPUNCTURE: The Ancient Chinese Art of Healing Ever­since­he­was­a­teenager,­66 year-old­ Clifton­ resident­ Pierre Tessier­ had­ suffered­ with­ chronic headaches.­ A­ retired­ line­ supervisor­ for GlaxoSmithKline,­ Tessier­ would get­ up­ in­ the­ morning­ with­ a headache­ and­ go­ to­ bed­ at­ night with­ the­ same­ grueling­ pain.­ “It was­terrible,”­he­said.­“I­just­had­to learn­to­live­with­it.” Over­ the­ years,­ Tessier­ underwent­ numerous­ CT­ scans,­ MRIs 46

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Marina Doktorman doing a procedure on Cindy Stilger.

and­other­diagnostic­tests­to­try­and determine­the­cause­of­his­pain,­but to­no­avail.­“They­could­never­find an­answer,”­he­said.­“That­was­very discouraging.” For­ many­ years,­ Tessier’s­ only outlet­was­to­swallow­pain­pills,­as many­as­seven­at­a­time.­“I­was­living­ on­ Excedrin,”­ he­ said.­ “It­ was killing­my­stomach,­but­I­felt­I­had no­choice.”­ Eventually,­ Tessier­ decided­ to visit­ a­ chiropractor,­ who,­ through spinal­adjustments­was­able­to­provide­ him­ with­ some­ relief.­ But

when­ chiropractic­ treatment­ alone was­ not­ enough­ to­ get­ him­ off­ the volume­of­pain­medication,­his­chiropractor­ referred­ him­ to­ Clifton acupuncturist­ Marina­ Doktorman for­additional­help. That­ was­ three­ years­ ago­ and today­ Tessier­ is­ nearly­ totally­ free of­ headaches­ and­ swears­ by­ the benefits­ he­ has­ received­ from acupuncture. Tessier­went­for­two­treatments­a week­in­the­beginning,­but­has­since reduced­his­visits­to­once­a­week. “It’s­nice­waking­up­in­the­morn-

ing­without­a­headache,”­he­said.­“I used­ to­ carry­ Excedrin­ or­ aspirin around­with­me­everywhere­I­went. Now,­I’m­going­weeks­without­taking­anything.” Another­of­Doktorman’s­patients is­Cindy­Stilger,­also­of­Clifton. Twenty­ years­ ago,­ Stilger­ was involved­in­a­car­accident­that­left her­with­multiple­injuries­that­continue­ to­ affect­ her­ back,­ leg­ and neck­as­well­as­her­knee­and­wrist. Stilger­is­a­proponent­of­natural remedies­over­the­pain­medications and­muscle­relaxants­she­has­been prescribed­ over­ the­ years.­ In­ addition­ to­ her­ weekly­ acupuncture treatments,­ she­ has­ used­ a­ combination­ of­ chiropractic­ care­ as­ well as­ physical­ therapy­ and­ message therapy­to­find­relief.

“When­ so­ many­ body­ parts­ are involved,­ you­ need­ multiple­ treatments,”­she­said.­“Each­of­my­therapies­ has­ provided­ me­ with­ a­ different­ benefit.­ Acupuncture­ has been­a­great­help.” Although­ relatively­ new­ to­ the Western­ world,­ acupuncture­ has been­used­by­medical­practitioners in­ China­ and­ other­ Eastern­ countries­for­more­than­5,000­years. The­ practice­ primarily­ involves the­ insertion­ by­ a­ trained­ and licensed­acupuncturist­of­a­series­of very­ thin­ needles­ into­ specific points­ along­ the­ body­ to­ stimulate self-healing. Although­ the­ mechanism­ for pain­relief­with­acupuncture­is­not totally­ understood,­ simply­ stated, ancient­theory­proposes­that­within

each­ of­ us­ there­ is­ an­ intelligent, energetic­ system­ that­ maintains health­ and­ balance.­ Acupuncture practitioners­ call­ this­ energy­ Qi (pronounced­ chee),­ and­ they believe­that­our­health­is­influenced by­the­quality,­quantity­and­balance of­this­innate­energy.­ When­Qi­is­balanced­and­freely flowing,­ the­ body’s­ self-healing abilities­ are­ activated.­ But­ when life’s­stressors­disrupt­or­block­Qi’s flow,­ the­ body­ becomes­ weakened and­susceptible­to­pain­and­disease, and­self-healing­is­compromised. “The­theory­is­about­balance­and state­of­mind,”­Doktorman­said. Over­the­years,­acupuncture­has gained­ the­ respect­ of­ not­ only­ the alternative­ medicine­ community, but­ also­ many­ mainstream

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


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We now bake Homemade Hungarian Rétes Rétes, or Strudel, is one of Hungary’s most renowned dishes. We bake it like in the old days and offer it to you in Lekvar, Poppyseed, Sour Cherry, Apple. Apricot or Cheese. Our cases are filled with fresh Poppyseed, Lekvar, Apricot and other Hungarian Spices! 48

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

medical­ practitioners.­ In­ fact,­ in recent­ months,­ the­ United­ States military­ has­ been­ using­ acupuncture­to­treat­soldiers­in­Afghanistan suffering­ from­ concussions.­ Many medical­insurance­plans­now­cover acupuncture­treatments. Doctorman­ received­ her­ threeyear­training­and­a­master’s­degree at­ the­ Tri-State­ College­ of Acupuncture­in­New­York­City­and is­ licensed­ and­ board­ certified­ in both­ New­ York­ and­ New­ Jersey. She­ runs­ her­ practice­ within­ the suite­ of­ offices­ occupied­ by­ her dentist­ husband,­ Dr.­ Edward Doktorman,­at­1030­Clifton­Ave. She­said­she­has­had­great­success in­treating­patients­not­only­for­pain, but­ other­ conditions,­ such­ as­ high blood­ pressure,­ digestive­ and­ respiratory­ ailments,­ allergies,­ insomnia, depression­and­infertility. Doktorman­ said­ that­ everyone responds­differently­to­acupuncture treatment.­ “I­ try­ to­ get­ a­ quick response,­but­I­never­promise­anyone­that­they­will­get­better­in­just one­visit,”­she­said.­“I­usually­recommend­ five­ to­ seven­ treatments before­deciding­if­it­helps­you.” To­ learn­ more­ about­ acupuncture,­ you­ can­ call­ Doktorman­ at 973-778-0013,­or­visit­her­Web­site at:­

HALOTHERAPY: From the Salt Mines to Clifton If­ you­ have­ ever­ noticed­ how clear-headed­ you­ feel­ after­ breathing­in­the­salty­air­after­a­day­at­the shore,­you­may­want­to­check­out­a new­ business­ that­ recently­ opened in­the­city’s­Allwood­section. The­Salt­Cavern­at­654­Allwood Rd.­ brings­ to­ Clifton­ salt­ therapy, also­known­as­halotherapy­from­the Greek­ word­ for­ salt,­ halos.­ It­ is­ a drug-free,­ non-invasive­ treatment for­ respiratory­ ailments­ and­ other health­ conditions­ that­ has­ been used­ in­ many­ Eastern­ European countries­since­the­19th­century.­ The­benefits­of­salt­therapy­were first­ described­ in­ the­ mid-1800s­ by Polish­ physician­ Dr.­ Feliks Baczkowski,­who­was­the­country’s authority­for­occupational­health. Dr.­ Baczkowski­ noted­ that unlike­coal­miners,­who­frequently suffered­ from­ serious­ lung­ and bronchial­ disorders,­ those­ who worked­in­salt­mines­rarely­had­respiratory­ ailments­ and­ were,­ in many­cases,­healthier­than­the­average­ citizen.­ He­ often­ took­ patients with­ breathing­ problems­ into­ the salt­mines­for­therapy. Salt­therapy­has­become­a­standard­ treatment­ in­ spas­ across

Eva Dunai at The Salt Cavern

Europe­and­has­become­popular­in Israel­as­well.­ In­Russia,­salt­therapy­chambers are­certified­as­medical­devices­and many­ hospitals­ are­ opening­ salt therapy­rooms. Eva­ Dunai,­ who­ owns­ The­ Salt Cavern­with­her­husband,­William, said­that­they­had­been­researching the­ concept­ of­ salt­ therapy­ for about­ five­ years­ before­ opening their­business­last­month.­They­had the­ assistance­ of­ a­ friend­ from Canada­ who­ is­ an­ expert­ in­ the design­of­salt­therapy­rooms. Dunai,­ who­ was­ trained­ as­ a nurse­ in­ her­ native­ Hungary,

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


said­ she­ has­ always­ been­ a­ firm­ believer­ in­ natural health­therapies.­ She­ first­ got­ the­ idea­ for­ the­ business­ when­ a Hungarian­ friend­ came­ to­ visit­ and­ brought­ with­ her magazines­from­their­homeland­with­articles­about­the increasing­ popularity­ of­ salt­ therapy­ centers­ across Europe.­ In­ fact,­ she­ said­ that­ in­ many­ large­ cities­ in Hungary,­the­government­has­installed­mini­salt­rooms in­municipal­buildings­for­free­use­by­citizens. It­is­only­recently­that­the­concept­of­salt­therapy­or halotherapy­ has­ been­ catching­ on­ in­ North­ America. According­ to­ Dunai,­ The­ Salt­ Cavern­ is­ one­ of­ only nine­halotherapy­centers­in­the­United­States. The­ walls­ in­ the­ salt­ room­ at­ The­ Salt­ Cavern­ are covered­ in­ three­ layers­ of­ two­ different­ grains­ of­ sea salt­and­the­floor­is­covered­with­rock­salt.­Himalayan salt­lamps­adorn­several­small­tables­around­the­room, giving­off­a­pleasing­glow. The­ room­ can­ accommodate­ up­ to­ 10­ patients­ at time,­ as­ they­ sit­ in­ comfortable­ zero-gravity­ lounge chairs.­ Stylish­ partitions­ separate­ the­ room­ into­ three sections­to­minimize­distraction­and­provide­an­atmosphere­of­semi-privacy. As­the­45-minute­therapy­session­begins,­the­lights are­dimmed­and­soft,­soothing­music­is­piped­into­the room.­If­they­prefer,­patients­may­bring­their­own­MP3


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

players­or­borrow­one­from­the­owners,­which­is­downloaded­with­meditation­messages.­ A­ dry­ mist­ of­ Himalayan­ salt­ is­ released­ into­ the room­ throughout­ the­ session.­ The­ salt­ particles­ have natural­ anti-bacterial­ and­ anti-fungal­ properties­ and, when­ breathed­ in,­ can­ prevent­ the­ development­ of inflammation­in­the­lungs­and­bronchial­passages.­The treatment­ also­ helps­ to­ thin­ the­ build-up­ of­ mucus, improving­lung­function­and­opening­up­the­breathing passages. In­ addition­ to­ respiratory­ disorders,­ salt­ therapy­ has been­known­to­help­with­sinusitis­and­other­nasal­problems,­ear­infections­and­skin­conditions­such­as­psoriasis. Children­ and­ infants­ may­ benefit­ from­ salt­ therapy even­more­quickly­than­adults,­and­Dunai­said­she­will work­ with­ parents­ to­ provide­ a­ safe­ and­ comfortable environment­for­their­children. Among­ the­ first­ patients­ at­ The­ Salt­ Cavern­ was Michele­Cecere,­principal­of­nearby­School­9,­who­said she­ went­ for­ the­ therapy­ to­ help­ ease­ the­ lingering symptoms­of­bronchitis.­ “I­loved­it,”­she­said.­“My­cough­loosened­and­my sinuses­cleared­right­up.­It­felt­like­I­had­just­come­off the­beach.­I­even­noticed­that­my­skin­looked­better.” Cecere­ enjoyed­ the­ treatment­ so­ much­ that­ she brought­ her­ husband­ with­ her­ to­ a­ second­ session­ the next­day. Local­resident­Lisa­Bjorkfelt,­who­suffers­from­mild asthma,­had­a­similar­reaction­to­her­first­session. “My­ breathing­ was­ noticeably­ better­ and­ I­ felt great,”­ she­ said.­ “I­ wasn’t­ expecting­ to­ get­ relief­ that quickly,­but­I­was­pleasantly­surprised.” Bjorkfelt­ lives­ within­ walking­ distance­ of­The­ Salt Cavern­ and­ has­ been­ back­ for­ several­ additional­ sessions.­She­plans­to­go­for­weekly­for­treatments,­especially­ during­ the­ winter­ months,­ when­ her­ symptoms are­the­most­troublesome. Both­ Cecere­ and­ Bjorkfelt­ also­ commented­ that, aside­ from­ the­ relief­ from­ their­ respiratory­ problems, the­ salt­ therapy­ sessions­ were­ also­ very­ calming­ and relaxing,­ which­ they­ considered­ to­ be­ another­ important­benefit. Prices­for­therapy­sessions­at­The­Salt­Cavern­start­at $30­ for­ children­ and­ senior­ citizens,­ to­ $50­ for­ other adults.­Multiple­session­discounts­are­available. You­can­learn­more­about­salt­therapy­and­The­Salt Cavern­by­logging­onto­Dunai’s­Web­site­at:­,­or­call­973-928-2229.






MMC’s Goal: “Restoring hope through technology” By Chrissie Cluney


ocated on the campus of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Paterson, Medical­ Missions­ for Children­ (MMC)­ is­ a­ non-profit organization­that­focuses­on­“transferring­ medical­ knowledge­ from those­who­have­it­to­those­who­need it­ using­ the­ latest­ in­ communications­technology.” MMC­ works­ with­ pediatricians in­ the­ US­ and­ in­ over­ 100­ other countries­ to­ help­ save­ the­ lives­ of hundreds­ of­ sick­ children­ each week­ by­ providing­ the­ medical resources­ needed­ to­ assist­ physicians­ who­ are­ unable­ to­ properly diagnose­and­consequently­treat­one or­more­of­their­patients. Medical­ Missions­ for­ Children was­ co-founded­ in­ 1999­ by­ Frank and­ Peg­ Brady­ with­ the­ assistance of­ funds­ and­ partnerships­ with World­ Bank,­ the­ United­ Nations and­ the­ U.S.­ Agency­ for International­Development.­ The­ success­ of­ the­ program­ is due­to­both­hard­work­and­the­generosity­of­others. In­ 2001,­ Polycom,­ a­ leading videoconferencing­ technology company,­sponsored­a­contest­with the­ purpose­ of­ finding­ the­ most interesting­and­unique­use­of­video conferencing­ equipment.­ ­ This­ led

MMC founders Frank and Peg Brady with an unidentified boy.

to­a­partnership­with­MMC­that­has resulted­ in­ the­ donation­ of­ more than­ four­ million­ dollars­ worth­ of telemedicine­equipment­to­link­hospitals­overseas­to­U.S.­health­facilities.­ Intelsat,­the­world’s­largest­satellite­ service­ provider,­ has­ translated into­ the­ donation­ of­ satellite­ transmission­ time­ that­ allows­ MMC­ to broadcast­medical­programming­on the­ MMC­ Medical­ Broadcasting Channel­-­MBC.­ Prior­ to­ the­ founding­ of­ the organization,­ Frank­ Brady­ was­ an executive­ for­ the­ General­ Electric

of­ France.­ ­ However,­ his­ health brought­about­an­early­retirement— and­a­chance­for­a­new­calling. As­ a­ child,­ Frank­ suffered­ from spinal­ meningitis­ and­ benefited from­ one­ of­ the­ first­ penicillin injections.­­His­mother­stressed­that the­ life­ threatening­ illness­ was­ an omen­ from­ God—Frank­ needed­ to do­something­special­with­his­life.­­ He­ decided­ that­ meant­ ensuring that­young­children­everywhere­had access­to­first­rate­medical­care. The­ first­ child­ at­ MMC­ was Jordano,­a­young­boy­from­Panama who­ was­ born­ with­ a­ cranial March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


deformity.­­This­left­him­with­mild retardation,­ one­ eye,­ and­ difficulty in­swallowing.­He­also­had­a­shunt placed­in­his­brain­at­birth.­ The­ Brady’s­ welcomed­ Jordano and­ his­ mother­ into­ their­ home, where­they­stayed­for­18­months­as he­recovered­from­surgeries. The­first­was­a­10-hour­operation to­ change­ the­ shape­ of­ Jordano's skull­ and­ create­ an­ eye­ socket.­ In the­following­operation,­a­reconfigured­ jaw­ was­ added­ to­ allow Jordano­a­greater­ability­to­chew.­ Today,­MMC­offers­video­conference­diagnosis­and­treatment­consultations­between­650­to­700­US­pediatric­specialists­and­subspecialists­and pediatricians­ in­ over­ 100­ countries around­ the­ world.­ MMC­ also­ maintains­ the­Video­ Library­ of­ Medicine (GVLM)­ which­ contains­ over­ 5,000 hours­ of­ medical­ symposia­ which­ is accessible­ worldwide­ via­ Satellite and­ the­ Internet­ on­ the­ Medical Broadcasting­Channel.­


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Through­ generous­ partnerships forged­with­St.­Joseph’s­Children’s Hospital,­ Panasonic­ and­ the­ Henry Niles­ Foundation,­ the­ MMCPanasonic­ HDTV­ studio­ was­ built to­help­create­medical­video­content at­the­facilities. When­not­in­use­for­MMC’s­mission,­the­brand­new­studio­is­made available­ to­ area­ productions­ companies,­advertising­agencies­and­TV producers.­It­is­the­production­home Caucus­ Education­ Corporation “One­ on­ One”­ and­ “NJ­ Capitol Report”­with­Steve­Adubato.­­ The­ state­ of­ the­ art­ “floating” studio­ is­ vibration­ free,­ sound proof­ and­ is­ one­ of­ the­ few­ completely­ digital­ HD­ studios­ in­ the area.­All­proceeds­derived­from­the studio­ go­ to­ help­ fund­ a­ worthy cause­ and­ charity.­ For­ further information­ about­ the­ studio,­ you can­ take­ a­ virtual­ tour­ at:­­ ­ or­ contact­an­MMC­representative­direct-

ly­at­973-754-4960. Another­ MMC­ project­ is­ the Giggles­ Children’s­ Theater­ at­ St. Joseph’s­ Children’s­ Hospital­ in Paterson,­which­the­Brady’s­founded­after­visiting­a­similar­facility­in Madrid,­Spain.­ For­ those­ children­ who­ are restricted­ to­ their­ beds,­ Giggles Theater­ offer­ free­ shows­ that­ are broadcast­ and­ rebroadcasted­ over the­hospital’s­closed­circuit­TV­system.­­To­volunteer­as­a­performer,­to make­a­financial­contribution­or­to donate­ toys,­ please­ call­ Giggles Director­ Marie­ Caliendo­ at­ 973754-4623 It­ is­ Frank­ Brady’s­ dream­ that MMC­ will­ “go­ on­ helping­ people for­at­least­50­years­after­Peg­and­I are­ gone.”­ To­ make­ a­ tax­ exempt charitable­ contribution­ to­ Medical Missions­ for­ Children­ please­ contact­ John­ Riehl­ at­,­call­973-754-4960,­or­log onto­­






Spirituality Councilman Joe Kolodziej’s brush with death By Joe Hawrylko


ate. Destiny. Divine intervention. Call it what you will, but Joe Kolodziej is sure that a factor other than luck prevented him from dying in a workplace mishap last year. “Things don’t happen to us, they happen for us,” he explained. “I was in an explosion and it could have killed me. It could have killed me, but it didn’t. The real lesson isn’t what should I learn from this. It’s what will I bring to the world from this experience.” It was April 9, 2010, a normal day by all accounts. Kolodziej was working on the loading dock at his family’s Athenia business, Conveyor by North American. A delivery truck containing canisters of odorless acetylene pulled into the Huron Ave. building as expected. However, neither Kolodziej or the two drivers noticed a leaking can in the rear until a fireball spit out from the nearby furnace. The resulting explosion was massive, creating a deafening crack that vibrated windows blocks away. Kolodziej, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, suffered the worst of the group, with burns over his unprotected arms and legs. March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


“That night, they put me into ICU and no one’s really telling me the severity of what happened,” recalled Kolodziej, who was treated at The Burn Center at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston. “I suppose that optimism is a great medicine. By Sunday, I hurt so bad that I realized that I wasn’t going home.” Kolodziej’s wife, Amie, was on hand shortly after the accident to gather information from doctors. “My wife said to me, whether you realize it or not, you keeping a sense of humor helped me in terms of not panicking,” he recalled. “I kept on saying how I was extra crunchy now or how I like my chicken crispy.” Kolodziej’s optimism also masked any fears he had going in. “Prior to that, a chipped tooth is the worst I’ve had in my life,” he laughed. “Maybe stitches here or there.” The wounds from the accident were more severe than Kolodziej had originally assumed. The extent of the damage ranged from second degree burns—superficial and relatively minor—to fourth degree, which are deep, penetrating burns that harm muscle or even bone. Doctors determined that the explosion left Kolodziej with burns over 25 percent of his body. Anything over 15 percent is considered life threatening because of the extent of the trauma and the likelihood for infections and complications. The seared skin looses its elasticity, and the slightest movement can tear open freshly healed wounds. In third and fourth degree burns, the flesh becomes necrotic, requiring agonizing daily baths in 54

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Joe and Amie Kolodziej were wed on Nov. 22, 2008.

which a nurse scrubs away the rotted skin. “One of the best definitions of spirituality that I’ve heard is that religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell and spirituality is for people who have been to hell and don’t want to go back,” explained the Councilman. “Certainly 30 days in a hospital getting scrubbed daily, even with morphine, hurt beyond your worst ideas. It was a hell and back situation for sure. It was especially difficult for me because the morphine they gave me made me sick.” The side effects from the powerful painkiller also made it extremely difficult to consume the more than 3,000 calories he needed each day to allow his skin grafts to grow. But despite having a quarter of

his body covered in painful burns, Kolodziej’s upbeat, optimistic demeanor never waivered. It was his faith that gave him the power to tolerate the unbearable pain, to try walking a few extra steps in therapy when his body was begging for a break. “I think people who have that spirituality understand the bigger picture,” explained Kolodziej, whose family attends St. John Kanty RC Church. “They’re able to laugh at themselves. Humor is one of the greatest medicines you’ll take in the world. It creates that positive attitude and from that positive mindset comes positive results.” That mentality proved to be most useful during physical therapy, which began only after the

wounds had healed sufficiently for active movement. “This big guy, Roy Bond, came to help me one day, he’s been there for years... he told me we were going to walk to the tank room and he said the sooner you try to walk, the easier it’s going to be later,” recalled Kolodziej. “We get half way down the hallway and I realize I’ve got a Vulcan death grip on the guy.” Over the course of his month long stay, Kolodziej worked with Roy, gradually building up his strength to prepare his for discharge. Due to the location and the extent of his injuries, Kolodziej’s progress was slow, but the Councilman was constantly challenged by his therapist to put in a little more effort each day. “He’s one of the sweetest men you could ever meet. He’s been there since the Seton Hall fires,” said Kolodziej. “The more success

I had there, the more motivated I was. It was hard. It would be like, ok, you fell back two steps but today we took three. That’s a net gain of one step. It was all small victories.” Roy was just one of the many people who had an impact on Kolodziej during his recovery. The outpouring of support came from everywhere: hospital staff, family, friends and complete strangers. “Besides the spiritually point of view, what gets you through this is love,” he said. “My wife was there every day. She’d practically fall asleep next to my bed and would stay there until they kicked her out to go home.” “Without question, the most important part of surviving an injury like this is love. It simply boils down to love,” continued Kolodziej. “People close to me, my family and my friends, they were praying and visiting every

day. But I also got cards from people who I didn’t even know saying you’re in my prayers or here’s my mass card, we’re thinking of you. I’m firmly believe that I’m here today because of that.” Those kind gestures were not forgotten when Kolodziej left the hospital in May of last year. The Councilman, who went on to win his seat in the 2010 election just weeks after being discharged, now makes use of his political acumen and influence as a member of the Advisory Board for the St. Barnabas Burn Foundation. “(Dr. Hani Mansour) said that all the people that come in complain about how much it hurts, but every time I see you, you have a smile on your face, you’re asking how nurses are doing, you’re interested in the nurse’s daughter who is going back to college,” recalled Kolodziej, who was invited by his doctor.

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Though he had absolutely no medical background, Kolodziej was more than willing to help. Ultimately, the Councilman’s experience in politics proved to be vital in coordinating fundraising efforts for equipment not in the hospital’s budget and raising awareness in the community. “I saw it as these guys saved my life, how do I say no?” explained Kolodziej. “He’s saying we can use you, and I’m saying I don’t think you can, but I’m going to come in and help any way I can because I owe that to you and I’ve found the work very rewarding since then.” The Councilman is also involved with the burn support group, which helped him cope during those first few uncertain weeks after the accident. Kolodziej helps survivors prepare for the many lifestyle changes after a serious burn.


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Kolodziej himself still has a ways to go for recovery. Since the new flesh from the skin graft is still coming in, he wears spandex-like compression wraps to keep it even. Kolodziej still attends physical therapy regularly and has yet to return to work. But these are all just minor inconveniences—a fair trade off to get out of the hospital. “I just could not wait to get home and lay down in my own bed next to my wife,” he recalled. “That first night was absolutely glorifying despite the fact that I needed a Percocet just to fall asleep. Just absolutely glorious.” And with hard work and determination, Kolodziej is inching closer to his goal each day. “I used to not be able to stand for more than 30 seconds in the same spot without my legs screaming in

pain,” he added. “Now I can sit in front of a sink and wash dishes for an hour before I experience the same pain.” And though his tale may seem like a religious awakening of sorts, Kolodziej said it is simply a reaffirmation of beliefs he’s held his entire life. “I think that it ultimately helps you with gratitude,” he said. “Rather than lying in a hospital bed saying why me, I’m lying on a hospital bed saying thank you for sparing me.” “I don’t see any major changes in what I believe in. I was raised Catholic, was an altar boy and the whole nine yards,” continued Kolodziej. “I’ve always had a solid relationship with God. But spiritual people, they have a greater capacity for freezing the moment, smelling the flower and realizing the whole beauty of the rose.”

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As we age, the discs in our spine degenerate (lose height and dry out) slowly . This process is usually painless but can cause problems for some people. Degenerative discs are more likely to herniate, often causing pinched nerves or sciatica. It is now well known that cigarette smoking markedly speeds up this process leading to faster and earlier disc degeneration and a much greater likelihood of back pain. The discs are not able to get the oxygen they need due to damage of the tiny blood vessels around them. Quitting or avoiding smoking is a key factor in maintaining a healthy spine and enjoying a pain free life. This, in addition to watching ones weight and performing some low back and abdominal strengthening exercises, is the secret to avoiding visits to the spine surgeons office. Ari Ben-Yishay MD Comprehensive Spine Care


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


St. Patrick’s Day Guide Celebrate Thursday, March 17

Bonded by a sense of tradition, love of music and family ties, the Porter Family of Clifton marches on. Whether it’s a Gaelic function or parade, the Porters are there with bagpipes and drums in hand. “It’s something we do together,” said Mike Porter Sr. “I started Mike Porter Jr. from a photo taken at the July 1, 2006 City Council swearing in ceremony.

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playing the bagpipes about 35 years ago and my three sons became interested. It takes seven years to make a piper and it’s been great all those years.” Porter along with his three sons, Keith, Mike Jr. and Scott (all CHS graduates) belong to the Kearny Caledonian Pipe Band. When daughter Dana married James Messineo, the Porters recruited him for the band. Dana danced with the Mary Stewart

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Dancers, a traditional Scottish dance group also based in Kearny. “James is Italian, but once he married my daughter, he had no choice but to join us. It’s either sink or swim. He’s now a mainstay and we’re grateful,” Porter said. The Porters have marched in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the city’s 75th Anniversary Parade and other civic dedications. Of course, weddings, funerals and other personal appearances keep the family busy performing an array of Gaelic songs. Porter owns and operates the Allwood Funeral Home. His parents, Harold and Veronica, started the business in the 50s. “The nature of our business is tough,” he said. “Playing the pipes and performing allows you to let off a little steam. It’s an outlet, but it’s something that has bonded our family.”

“Our family has Scottish background, but on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish. You have to know history because Scots and Irish are basically kissing cousins.” A beginning piper can expect pitfalls. Coordinating the three basic components—walking, blowing into the mouthpiece and playing the nine melodic notes—usually frustrates a novice, said Porter. “Once you get the knack of it, it’s no great feat. I started playing the pipes out of fascination. I always wondered how my wife Joyce lived through those early days. There were a few sour notes, but she became immune to it.” “The pipes are unique because unlike a brass instrument, where you have the sheet music in front of you, pipers must memorize each song. That in itself is a challenge,” he said.

Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day at these establishments which are members of the Clifton Licensed Beverage Association. Bliss Lounge 955 Allwood Rd 201-773-2110 Con Sabor A Peru 109 Lakeview Avenue (973) 340-0008 Dingbatz 620 Van Houten Avenue 973-471-1145 Dingo's Den 615 Van Houten Ave 973-471-7767 Fratelli Rossi's Tavern Inc 254 Dayton Ave 973-546-9843 Grande Saloon 940 Van Houten Ave 973-472-5207 Pub 46 Bar & Grill 1081 Route 46 E 973-473-8184

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant





Mustangs and Gators—an unlikely connection By Joe Hawrylko


ormer Clifton hoops coach John Kostisin tends to gets a little nostalgic when he watches Florida University basketball. That’s because senior Gator star Chandler Parsons, a lanky, 6’10’ forward with NBA talent, is the grandson of Don Parsons, a former star at CHS and one of Kostisin’s Mustang idols as a youngster growing up in Botany Village in the 1940s. “I remember that, at that time, almost all of the basketball players were from Botany,” recalled

Kostisin. “The neighborhood was one of the few places where one could find an organized game at a playground.” “The coach was a basketball director at the park and Domiano’s was the place to be in the winter because you could go there to use the indoor courts for a nickel an hour,” added Kostisin, a CHS 1949 graduate who would later coach at Clifton in 1972, succeeding his high school coach, Emil Bednarcik. “I can

Above in the white is Chandler Parsons, a senior forward for the Florida University Gators. At right is his grandfather Don Parsons, a 1946 CHS graduate who went on to star at Rutgers. Though he grew up in Florida, Chandler still relies on the old Mustang for advice and guidance. 62

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

name like 40 basketball players from the area of the top of my head.” Parsons was a few years older than Kostisin, though he’d sometimes play with older boys. Because of a lack of neighborhood courts, the group held a monopoly on playing time. “None of the younger kids could

get on to play. We had that court for about 10 years,” he said. “There was no where for them to play.” Once the boys from Botany hit high school, there was a similar effect. Under the tutelage of coach Emil Bednarcik, talent from the east end of town helped fuel a string of some of

the greatest Mustang roundball squads in the history of the school. After Coach Bednarcik arrived in 1944, the team went 18-2 and then 22-1 the next two seaons, featuring a squad of almost entirely with Botany section guys. Though he was a very good player in his own right, Kostisin said

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that the older Mustangs were so dominant that most athletes didn’t play on Varsity until becoming an upper classmen. “That was the best team that CHS ever had,” Parsons said of the 22-1 club. The former Cliftonite now resides in Florida. “We beat the crap out of Kearny. We went down to Elizabeth and beat Thomas Jefferson by 10 points on their own court. Paterson Eastside, I almost felt bad for them. We beat them four times that year: Twice in the regular season, once in the Jamboree and once in the

district playoffs.” “I remember one game against Emerson High School, I was up against a big guy and he was making me look pretty bad,” laughed Parsons. “After halftime, I’m coming back onto the court and to my side, there’s some guy yelling in my ear. It was Coach Greco, the football coach, screaming, ‘You gotta fight, fight, FIGHT!” Despite winning 22 games straight, the team was upset in the State semis by Newark Central. However, Parson’s basketball story

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did not end in Clifton. Because coach Bednarcik put such an equal emphasis on athleticism and academics, he produced well rounded students with bright college prospects. “With Emil, when you hear people talk about what teacher you remember most and who had the most influence on you, Hal (Corizzi), Ray (Van Cleef) and I would all say Emil,” said Parsons. “We stayed in touch with him until the day he died. He was a terrific guy. He always focused on the fundamentals, in basketball and in life.” Those three stars from the 1946 squad each took separate paths that eventually led to the trio playing for Rutgers in the 1948 season. Back home, Kostisin and the other members of the Mustangs basketball squad kept close tabs on their older pals. “Lou Poles saw a game where Jerry Polatini, who played at Colgate, played against the Rutgers guys,” he recalled. “There were four Clifton guys on the court at the same time in one game.” Bednarcik was also extremely supportive of his alumni. “He convinced the Board of Education to send us down to Rutgers to watch some games,” recalled Kostisin. “One of the things that people forget about Bednarcik is that he coached for about 12 years for no money. He was a great guy and he loved seeing his boys do well.” Parsons did quite well at Rutgers alright. The 1946 CHS graduate amassed more than 1,100 points in his Scarlet Knight career, averaging almost 11 points per game. Tall and lanky, the former Mustang best known for his passing and rebounding prowess.

It’s the same talents that have allowed Chandler Parsons to become one of the elite talents in the NCAA. Though he was injured at the time of print, he still ranks near the tops of the SEC Conference leaderboard for assists and offensive rebounds. “He’s nearly 6’10 and grew up as a point guard,” added Kostisin. “When they played LSU, Dick Vitale was raving about him. Years ago, there were maybe three other 6’10 players in the whole league.” The immense pride shown by Kostisin is dwarfed by Chandler’s grandfather. “He’s a real good kid too and a decent student. We’re a basketball family. I’ve never seen a family more basketball orientated as us,” said the elder Parsons. “Sports keeps the family together and keeps the kids out of trouble in my estimation.” And while Chandler may have a future as a pro, he won’t be the first in the family to be courted by the NBA. After Don Parson’s Rutgers career came to a close, he was drafted in the sixth round of the 1950 Draft by the New York Knicks. “I met Joe Lapchick, the coach, and I met the general manager. They offered me a contract for $3,500, which I still have,” recalled Parsons, who instead chose to work for

Chandler Parsons, with his grandfather, Don, a 1946 Clifton High graduate and former standout on the hardwood.

Bendix, an aerospace company in Teterboro. He pursued his basketball dream with the Paterson Crescents of the American League. That folded after a year and Parsons then played for eight years with the Martin

Bombers Industrial League. And though it’s been years since he’s last played, some older Mustangs still might get a little nostalgic watching Parson’s Gator grandson this March.

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Blue State Productions presents the musical Godspell on various dates in April at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 380 Clifton Ave., Clifton. The show is based upon the Gospel of St. Matthew and told through a series of parables, with some consideration from the Gospel of St. Luke, including the climax with the passion of Christ. For detaisl call 973-607-1924 or email

Waterworks (sample above) is an art exhibit and sale of work at the Clifton Arts Center by the Clifton Association of Artists. The exhibit opens on March 9, with a reception open to the public on March 12, from 1pm-4pm. Admission is $3 for non-members. Hours and info at

The Garden State Opera of Clifton will present the Finale of Act I of La Boheme (Rodolfo and Mimi Duet) by Giacomo Puccini and La Cambiale De Matrimonio by Gioacchino Rossini on April 2 at 8 pm at the Allwood Community


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Church in Clifton. Produced by Francesco Santelli, both acts will also be staged at the San Giuseppe Santa Croce Camerina Society Hall in Hawthorne on April 9 at 8 pm. Call 973-928-1774 for info or details at

The 7th Annual Passaic County Film Festival is April 16 at the Fabian 8 Cinema in Center City Mall in historic downtown Paterson. Film projects created by students and independent filmmakers who live, attend school, or work in Passaic County will be screened at 1 pm. The public is invited to this free event. There is free parking in the adjacent lot. Videos and films are rated “G.” For details and info, go to

The Theater League of Clifton, in cooperation with ATC Studios, is holding auditions for Narnia, The Musical, based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Directed by Kathleen Kellaigh, the cast includes singing, non-singing and movement roles for a variety of ages; for a list go to Auditions will be held on March 12, 3 to 7 pm and March 14, 7 to 10 pm at ATC Studios, 68 Union Ave. Performance dates are May 20, 21 and 22 and 27, 28 and 29 at School 3 on Washington Ave. The Hamilton House Museum, at 971 Valley Rd., will resume its Sunday tours on March 6 at 2 pm. The restored Dutch Farmhouse is featured in Victorian, Federal and Early American periods. Suggested donation is $3 per person. For more details and other times, call the Museum at 973-744-5707.




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School 16 on Grove St. will hold its annual Tricky Tray on March 10 at the Valley Regency. Doors open at 6 pm and tickets, which are $45, include buffet and a sheet of general prize tickets. For more info, call 973-489-8323. BYOB for WWMS: The Woodrow Wilson Middle School Tricky Tray fundraiser is March 11 at the Boys and Girls Club of Clifton. Doors open 6pm, tickets are $10 and attendees can bring their own refreshments. No children under 18 allowed. For tickets, call Karen Harris at 973-744-6855. SS Cyril & Methodius Church, 218 Ackerman Ave., will host its annual fish and chip dinner on March 23 at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $15 and include cake and coffee. Takeout available. For info, call 973-772-3448 or 973-772-8806.


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Little League Girls Softball is registering girls aged 516 at the Main Memorial Field House on March 12 and March 19 from 10 am to 2 pm. This is a citywide league formed from a merger of the Clifton American and Clifton National programs. Fee is $65; for info call 973-470-5958. CCMS 6th Annual Locks of Love Cutathon is May 16 at Christopher Columbus Middle School. Anyone with at least 10 inches of hair can sign on and have their hair cut at no charge by stylists from Salon Ilona. The sheered locks will then be donated to a charity which creates wigs for individuals with cancer. “We’re hoping to exceed last year’s donation of 1,100 inches,” said CCMS math teacher and volunteer coordinater Kim Dreher. For details, call Dreher at 973-769-0500 or email

St. Andrew RC Church, 400 Mt. Prospect Ave., hosts a blood drive on March 20, from 8 am to 1 pm. Walkins are welcomed but an appointment will insure that you will not wait. Call Fr. Richard Rusconi at 973-779-6873 to donate blood. Come to Modell’s in Styretowne and choose Clifton Recreation when you make a purchase on March 5-7 and the Rec Dept. will receive a donation of 10% and you will receive 10% off your total purchase. Call 973-470-5958. The Rosary Society of St. Paul’s R.C. Church is now in its 91st year and membership is open to all. In addition to praying together at the Washington Ave. church, the group offers Catholic women a special lifelong bond and pursues various charitable endeavors. To join, call Marge Schweighardt at 973-478-2046.

The CHS 2011 Prom Fashion Show is April 3, noon, on the stage of the JFK Auditorium. The annual event is a fundraiser in which seniors participating or attending the event will receive credit towards their Project Graduation ticket. Mustang seniors are invited to volunteer as models as Deluxe Formal Wear of Clifton will provide the latest trends in tuxedos for men while the young women will showcase prom dresses provided by CoCo’s Chateau of Wayne. Tickets are $5 at the door. “We are currently looking for hair salons in the Clifton area to volunteer their services the morning of the event to style the female models,” said Maryann Cornett Project Graduation chair. “As always, we also ask for monetary donation to help underwrite the cost of this annual event.” On graduation eve, CHS students

The Late Show will rock the St. Andrew HSA 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance in the church hall, 400 Mt. Prospect Ave., on March 12, starting at 6 pm. In addition to The Late Show (from left, Mike Hoffman, guitar and vocals, Jean Hoffman Cummings, vocals, Jim Hoffman, drummer, and Ray Hoffman on keyboard), Irish Dancer Brittany Wolf will perform. Tickets, which include a corned beef and cabbage dinner, are $30. For info, call 973-473-3711.

are invited to participate in Project Graduation. The annual event shuttles hundreds of our graduates to a nearby resort where they can party all night in a safe, alcohol and drug

free environment. Next morning, the kids are bussed back to CHS... and life goes on after graduation... To support the cause, or info, call Maryann Cornett at 973-779-5678.

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From left: Amanda Zaccone, Mario Godoy, Choreographer Lois Manzella-Marchitto, Producer Elizabeth Eisenmenger, Mike Sunbury, Brian Bender, Gabby Cabacab


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March 2011 • Clifton Merchant



s she prepares to head off to college, CHS Student of the Month Jessica Kunadia is confident that she’ll enter the next phase of her life armed with plenty of experience. “I tried to dabble in a little bit of everything,” she said. “I love science and math just as much as I love humanities.” Kunadia is diverse in her interests. She challenges herself academically in a variety of subjects. She’s a competitive dancer, having trained since age 4. She also volunteers and is involved with the CHS tennis team, where she is a co-captain. “I started in classical and in the 7th grade I joined RA Dance Academy and began performing,” she recalled. The Academy specializes in Indian performance, and top dancers were featured in the 86th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “It’s influenced by Bollywood and it’s fused with a lot of other styles,” said Kunadia, who plans to travel to India for the first time in nearly half a decade this summer. “We had our big finale in front of Herald Square.”

Jessica Kunadia

Kunadia said she plans to continue dancing while in college, but it will take a back seat to academics. The Student of the Month has lofty expectations she’s set for herself. She intends to study biology at school, with the intention of one day entering the medical field. Kunadia has applied to Columbia, Princeton, UPenn, and Boston College. She hopes her diverse body of work and stellar grades (she’s currently ranked third in the class) have her Ivy bound. Kunadia said that the friendly rivalry she has with her peers at CHS has spurred her to be a better student and individual.

“[The Top 10 students], we’re all friends. It’s a healthy competition,” she said. “My parents always encourage me too,” Kunadia continued. “That kind of stuff is important, but you can’t get anywhere if you’re not self motivated too. But when you find people with the same goals and ambitions, it’s easy to challenge each other to do better. “The ER doctors are really nice,” she said. “They’d sometimes let me observe patients. It’s a good way to get into the field.” Kunadia was also selected to attent the National Youth Forum on Medicine in 2010, which was held in Boston. The two week program increased her interest in the field. In a year when most of her peers lighten the workload up, she’s taking AP biology, chemistry, calculus and English. Kunadia is also involved with the Botany Club, Asian Club and the Knights of Pythagoris, and she is a volunteer tutor. Kunadia is also a member of the National Honor Society. “I want to keep myself challenged,” she said of the remainder of her senior year in CHS. “I’m just trying to prepare myself for college.”

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Family Super Bowl Party Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011 Hundreds of Cliftonites were on hand at the Boys & Girls Club to watch the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game’s MVP was


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Packer QB Aaron Rodgers, who had three touchdowns. In Clifton, the MVPs were the volunteers, sponsors and those who attended that made the 13th edition of this alcohol, drug and gambling free event a success.

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Family Super Bowl Party Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011 Thanks to our sponsors, admission was a canned good which was donated to St. Peter’s Haven. The 13th Clifton Family Super Bowl Party was sponsored by... • CASA—Clifton Against Substance Abuse • Jim & Rita Haraka & Family • Rotary Club of Clifton • Optimist Club of Clifton • Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin • Gift in memory of Florence, George H. Trinkle, Jr. & George H. Trinkle III • Barbara Dougherty in memory of Henry Dougherty • Clifton Police PBA Local 36 • Clifton Firefighters FMBA Local 21

• Clifton Moose Lodge 657 • St. Philip the Apostle Council 11671 Knights of Columbus • JSK Landscaping/the Bassford Family • Mayor, Council, City Manager & City Attorney • Carlet, Garrison, Klein & Zaretsky • Daniel and Suzannah Brown • Vito’s Towing • Theater League of Clifton • Clifton Merchant Magazine

Register now for

July & Aug Summer Camp!


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

View The Giblin Report Thursday at 9 pm, Channel 76

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

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HONEST LOW PRICING! THE HOME OF SAVINGS SINCE 1927 Come see us and save on: • Carpet • Vinyl • Linoleum • Wood


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March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

You’re a Neighbor, Not a Number. March 2011 • Clifton Merchant



Barilari’s Italian Restaurant 755 Van Houten Ave. 973-928-4500 Ken and Kim Barilari have opened their casual storefront restaurant in Athenia. Open seven days a week, they serve lunch and dinner and offer daily chalkboard specials as well as a menu of standards.

Brother’s Quality Bakery of Allwood 70 Market St. 973-473-1467 Joe Putz, at right, who owned the Allwood Bakery for 22 years, returned to help the Gencarelli family reopen the landmark Allwood sweet shop. At the March 1 opening of Brother’s Quality Bakery of Allwood, from left, Michael Gencarelli, Jamie Basile, Jackie and Thomas Gencarelli, and Marianne Meinecke.

Realty Executives 730 Broad St. 973-766-8000 On Feb. 22, Realty Executives made their move across town official with a grand opening celebration. Pictured after the ribbon cutting, from left, Vincent Federico, owner of a Realty Exec’s franchise in Little Falls, Dan Norton, Manager of Realty Exec’s Wayne location and Roger Fields, Broker/Manager of the Clifton location. At center is Realty Exec Broker/Associate Barbara Ann Stock.


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

March 2011 • Clifton Merchant


Grace Martin celebrates her 3rd birthday on March 5. Amy Lynn Philhower is 14 on March 7. Joe and Pat Torelli and family celebrate their 40th anniversary on March 6. Congratulations to Corey and Michelle Genardi, celebrating their anniversary on March 28...their daughter Bianca Eda (below) is all smiles for her 5th birthday on March 2. Happy Birthday to Pat Hiller on March 22.

Birthdays & Celebrations

Send dates & Julie Dominick......................3/1 Meaghan Franko .................3/1 Kathleen Pocoek ..................3/1 Eric Sudhalter ......................3/1 Kenzie Lord .........................3/3 Valerie Godowsky................3/5 Alice Paxton ........................3/5 Carol Crudele......................3/6 Ted Grzybowski...................3/6 Pat Smith.............................3/8 Victoria Crudele...................3/9 Jenny Sichel.........................3/9 Pamela Culque ..................3/10 Tiffany Sabo ......................3/10 Teddy Harsaghy.................3/11 Eddie Gasior, Jr. ................3/12


March 2011 • Clifton Merchant

Mike Pesaro ......................3/12 Victor Berdecia ..................3/13 Diego Hernandez ..............3/15 Tyler Hughes......................3/15 Elaine Sassine....................3/15 Laura Lee ..........................3/15 Suzanne Ciok....................3/19 Janette Hughes ..................3/19 Caitlin Lotorto ....................3/19 Colleen Murray..................3/20 Holly Sorenson ..................3/20 Nenad Vuckovic ................3/20 Monica Ahmed..................3/21 George Andrikanich ..........3/22 Elisabel Reyes....................3/24 Carmen Rivera...................3/24

Kyle Hooyman...................3/24 Michele Andrikanich ..........3/27 Jennifer Mondelli................3/27 Nicholas Surgent ...............3/27 Muriel Curtin .....................3/28 Francis Salonga.................3/31 Paul McVeigh ....................3/31 Chris Kolodziej ..................3/31

Casey Hawrylko is 21 on March 2.

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Downtown Clifton’s Premier Medical/Professional Suites

Join our growing list of Professionals We’ll design your space..... Access Dental Mahir Saleh, D.D.S. Khalid Attili, D.D.S. Suite 1A • Tel.: 973-340-9000 Hossam O. Elfarra, M.D., P.A. Gastroenterology & Liver Diseases Suite 1B • Tel: 973-777-5778 Souhail Saba, M.D. Obstetrics & Gynecology Suite 2A • Tel. 973-772-8878 Quality Advanced Care Health & Rehabilitation Suite 2B • Tel: 973-815-1159 Fayrouz Pediatrics Hisham Gadalla, MD, Pediatrician Suite 2C • Tel: 973-928-3388 Family Health First, PA William LaGrada MD Jose E. Castaneda MD Suite 2D • 973-246-9154 82

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The Center for Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy Sammy I. Masri, M.D. Suite 3A • Tel: 973-777-0934 Bakir Altai, MD Vascular Surgery Suite 3C • 973-546-7600 Amal Al-Shrouf MD Pulmonary Medicine Mohmoud Aqel, MD Internal Medicine Suite 3D • 973-685-9922

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