Clifton Merchant Magazine - March 2007

Page 1

Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 12 • Issue 3 • March 2, 2007

Full Day Kindergarten… Page 8

The Heart of Hazel…Page 54

Optimist Club

Freezin’ for a Reason… Page 42

Friend of Youth

Page 48



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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

The Path to Clifton Tomorrow Commentary by Tom Hawrylko Over the years, I’ve rallied against overdevelopment, called for a moratorium on massive housing projects and written about the need to invest in our schools. While some of these issues have stuck and even been addressed by our elected leaders—and often carried onto a greater level of community discussion by voters—I find that the underlying theme to all of these issues is the biggest challenge facing Clifton—the need for better planning. It is a topic I will continue to be an advocate for, one that I hope will be addressed in 2007. The Feb. 7 meeting of the 16 elected members of the Board of Ed and City Council to discuss the need for a new school was a good start to the planning process. The overcrowding in CHS, WWMS and CCMS and where to build a school must be part of the so-called Master Plan. 16,000 MAGAZINES are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants the first Friday of Every Month. SUBSCRIPTIONS: PAGE 72 $15/year in Clifton $25/year out of town CALL 973-253-4400 entire contents copyright 2007 © tomahawk promotions

Continue that thought... in Schools 3, 13 and 14, we cannot accommodate full-day kindergarten. Shouldn’t that topic be on the table as well, as part of the big picture for Clifton’s future? And if we cannot offer full-day K in those schools, how can an option of moving 6th graders back to the elementary schools be considered? So where are we with Clifton’s Master Plan? No farther along than we were a few years back. It is an often cited document (in fact it is an ace in the hole for developers, lawyers, judges and journalists who can manipulate its broad statements to meet their needs) but one which offers no vision or a path to Clifton tomorrow. So how do we create a vision for the Clifton of the future? Neighborhoods such as Historic Botany and Downtown Clifton have begun the process by

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Tell us your opinion: forming Special Improvement Districts, and to a lesser degree so has Athenia, except it is not a SID. But as these groups create their vision, shouldn’t a city planning official be part of the discussion? Over the years, I’ve heard Councilman Steve Hatala talk about creating ‘Mini Master Plans’ for each of our neighborhoods, but nothing has materialized. Instead, we see reactionary project planning as opposed to creating a strategy for our neighborhoods. The photo here of Clifton Ave. at Fourth St. illustrates the point. A large old home and the office building pictured are demolished and will be replaced by a bank. The question I ask of city officials is what is the plan for Clifton Ave. from Main to Paulison Aves? With its mix of homes and businesses, will the city just project plan its way through the neighborhood or should it rezone the district so it is a designated commercial area? What does the city—and more importantly the residents living there— envision for Clifton Center? Now take that question and apply it to your neighborhood... Botany, Rosemawr or Lakeview. That is the type of conversation we need in our community. But to do that, our city leaders need to make a commitment to planning and an investment in a person or people to craft strategy. Is Clifton ready for its future?

There’s nothing wrong with knocking down a building and constructing something new, but the question is does our city have an overall strategy?

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Letters to the I’ve read the stories and reviewed the photos of the Feb. Downtown edition so many times I can envision myself right there again. For many years, my parents were the ‘supers’ of the apartment at 80 Union Ave. where I lived with my sisters Lee (Robinson who lives in Weasel Brook) and Evelyn (still in Allwood). Our home was an easy walk to great times in the downtown. For instance, as a child after the onset of World War II, I recall climbing about the rubble of the demolished Clifton Hotel to search for whatever metal objects were left to salvage for the war effort. Doing so, I knew we’d get into a Saturday matinee at the Clifton Theatre. But I fondly recall my school years when I worked in the central Main Ave. stores of the time. I started off shining shoes at Tilly and Marino’s Shoe Repair, likely getting polish on the socks of folks like Doc Surgent, Bill Holster, Marty Parian and Fran Quinlan. Soon, I priced goods and stocked shelves at Epstein’s Department store, scooped ice cream, sold cigars and greeting cards at Koenig’s Candy Store (later Mac and Murray’s), then worked as a sales clerk at Industrial Stationers. I worked at Ronnie Aron’s Ceramic Studio across from Doherty Silk Mill... and ate Yankee Pot Roast at Scotty’s Diner, across the street. After graduating CHS in 1952, I was a cashier at the city center A&P (across from today’s Midtown) before entering the Army.

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We got this undated photo from ‘Lou the Shoe’ Marino just recently and who knows, that may be George M. Schmitt at left finishing off a customer.

Returning from the Army in ‘55, my employment took me to Allwood where I worked until 1960 with jobs at Fette Ford on the circle and AMF Pinspotters on Brighton Rd. During this time, I often visited Harold Cheeseman of Clifton Camera to ask how best to use dad’s Kodak camera that took postcard size photos. In 1958, I purchased my $165 Gibson Les Paul model guitar—what a buy!—at Clifton Music, next to the camera shop. When I married my wife Monica in 1960 and left Clifton. . . ‘a lot of water has passed over the bridge, as my dad use to say.’ We spent several years in Bergen County, where I served on the Borough of Northvale Council

before moving to Florida in 1969. I served as Director of Employee Relations for the City of West Palm Beach until my retirement in 1992 but I would like to credit my interest and career in the public sector to Doc Surgent who steered me in that direction. While I enjoyed my 50th CHS reunion in 2002 and look forward to returning for the 55th this year, I must say that your Downtown Clifton edition took me home again and I wanted to thank you. Finally, thanks to Lee and her husband Frank for sending me copies of your magazine and keeping me connected to my hometown. George M. Schmitt Jupiter, Florida March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Clifton Public Schools

Full-Day Kindergarten A Success by Any Measure By Joseph R. Torelli

School 1 kindergarten teacher Carla Urbanowycz with her class on a recent morning.


arla Urbanowycz is one of those rare people who actually looks forward to going to work each day. “I do love what I’m doing,” said the School 1 kindergarten teacher, “especially now that we’ve gone from half-day to full-day classes.” Urbanowycz has been teaching kindergarten in Clifton for the past 18 years. While this is only her second year in the full-day pro8

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

gram, she said she’s convinced the extended school day is helping to prepare her students much better for first grade and beyond. Kindergarten used to be a place where children acquired or sharpened social skills while learning rudimentary educational tasks like reciting the alphabet and recognizing numbers. By contrast, today’s kindergartners must learn to read and do math, science, social studies

and computer lessons as well. “The kindergarten curriculum now is what first grade used to be,” said Urbanowycz, “and the extra class time I spend with my students really is invaluable.” School Board President Marie Hakim agreed that education today requires far more from younger students than it once did. “For children not to go to all-day kindergarten programs stalls the learning process,”

With the exception of the Abbott districts, the NJ Dept. of Education provides no money for kindergarten classes at any level.

Studying more than their ABC’s at School 1.

she said. “It has become a necessary aspect of a child’s education.” Full-day kindergarten programs have been around since the 1980s, but local school districts have been reluctant to implement them because of cost. Funding for kindergarten classes, whether full-day or half-day, has always been a local responsibility. With the exception of the special-needs Abbott districts, the New Jersey Department of Education provides no money for kindergarten classes at any level In its historic 1990 Abbott decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that children in 31 designated low-income districts must


receive full-day kindergarten, and it ordered the state to fund the programs. Non-Abbott districts that wanted to offer their students the advantages of full-day kindergarten were left to pay for it themselves. That is what the Clifton Board of Education decided to do in 2003, when it incorporated the introduction of full-day kindergarten as a major objective in its five-year strategic plan. The Board decided upon a phased implementation plan because of state-imposed budget restrictions and space constraints in the elementary schools. A pilot program was introduced at the newly-opened

School 17 in 2004. The program expanded in 2005 to Schools 1, 4, 9, and 16, while Schools 5, 8, and 12 began the full-day classes this year. Funding to continue expansion to Schools 2, 11, and 15 is included in the 2007-08 school budget that will be placed before voters in April. However, extending the program to Clifton’s final three elementary schools - Schools 3, 13, and 14 may be more difficult because of extremely severe space limitations (see accompanying story). Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice believes the administration and Board will find the means to continue expanding and improving the full-day program. “This initiative is too important,” he said, “especially for children who are challenged by language, or from not having had the advantage of attending pre-school.” Rice added that the more challenged a child is, the more profound and enduring full-day kindergarten becomes. “That’s the real critical piece,” he said.

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Carla Urbanowycz agreed. She said more children are entering her classroom today without preschool experience than ever before. “We have to meet a much wider range of abilities in our students now,” she said, “some of whom are especially low-functioning.” Urbanowycz and Clifton’s other full-day kindergarten teachers have more opportunity to reinforce the lessons they teach. The added classroom time allows them to work with students in smaller groups, re-teaching and helping them with more customized instruction where it is needed. Eileen Whiting and Linda Centinaro, two veteran first-grade teachers at School 1, have both noticed improvements in their students’ receptiveness and performance. This year’s students are the first to have gone through the fullday program, but both teachers said the benefits are already evident. “More exposure to literature in kindergarten has made a big difference,” said Whiting. “These students have better consonant and sight vocabulary skills, and that allowed us to get into our reading program much sooner.” Centinaro said her students were far less apprehensive about first grade this year than in the past. “I always tell my students on the first

Eileen Whiting and Linda Centinaro, two veteran first-grade teachers at School 1, have both noticed improvements in their students’ receptiveness and performance.

There’s still fun and games in kindergarten, but academics takes a greater role.

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Above and below, kindergarten students at School 8 photographed this past fall.

able over time. Some research has indicated that as students progress through elementary school, the early performance advantages demonstrated by full-day kindergarten students appear to diminish. While the jury may be out on the long term benefits, the Kansas State study found that a majority of professional educators and parents of kindergarten children throughout the country strongly favor full-day programs. Urbanowycz echoed those findings. “I think it’s a definite win for Clifton,” she said. “Building and investing in a better school system is an investment in the entire community.”

day of class that they’re in the big leagues now,” she said. “This group took it more in stride than any I’ve seen in the 27 years I’ve been teaching first grade.” Independent research confirms the benefits of full-day kindergarten that teachers like Urbanowycz, Whiting, and Centinaro have observed - at least in the short-term. A Kansas State Department of Education study in 2001 found that “full-day kindergarten students demonstrate somewhat higher academic and social achievement than half-day kindergarten students.” The study went on to say, however, that it was unclear if the higher academic achievement is sustain-

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Clifton Public Schools

Running Out of Room for

Full-Day Kindergarten? By Joseph R. Torelli

School 3 at Washington and Seventh Aves. in Clifton Center is one of the three schools which can’t accommodate full-day K.


he phased implementation of full-day kindergarten classes in Clifton’s public elementary schools, a program that began in 2004, will have to be put on hold after next year. At least that’s the opinion of Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice, who said the problem is a lack of classrooms to accommodate the continued expansion. The proposed 2007-08 school budget, which must be approved by city voters in April, calls for rolling out full-day kindergarten to Schools 2, 11 and 15. That would bring the total number of schools with the program to eleven, leaving Schools 3, 13 and 14 as the only schools not offering full-day kindergarten classes. 12

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

“We literally can’t make it happen in those schools because of physical constraints,” Rice said. He said the program was made possible in other schools by converting art and music rooms to kindergarten classes and having the teachers bring those subjects to students in their regular classrooms—a method often called “art on a cart.” Rice termed the conversion of classrooms as a ‘subtle change,’ designed to make full-day kindergarten available to as many students as possible in the most economically viable way. “We’re constantly moving things around to accommodate the maximum number of children as quickly as possible,” he said.


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But it is not possible to do that in Schools 3, 13 and 14. School 14 already has two classroom trailers on site, and Schools 3 and 13 have experienced recent growths in their student enrollments. Different solutions are needed to be able to provide full-day kindergarten at those schools. BOE Commissioner John Traier said the Board and the school administration are working on the problem. Among the solutions under consideration are building an extension to School 14 and realigning the neighborhood boundaries served by the other two schools. Traier and Rice both emphasized that the discussions concerning alternatives are preliminary and that nothing has been finalized. Traier said an addition to School 14 would require a referendum and it would not be presented to voters as a stand-alone proposal. “All future school construction will be part of the district’s compre-

School 13 on Van Houten Ave. in Athenia has experienced student growth.

hensive long-range facilities plan that we are currently developing,” he said. And Rice stressed that if redistricting became necessary, it would be designed to displace as few students as possible. Regardless of how they’re packaged, however, neither proposed

solution is likely to sit well with the public. Clifton voters turned down two of the last three school construction referendums and redistricting, on any scale, has always been an unpopular and difficult task. The Board and the administration remain united, however, on the

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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

It is physically impossible for Schools 3, 13 and 14 to house the full-day kindergarten program.

School 14 on St. Andrew’s Blvd. already has two classroom trailers on site.

importance of full-day kindergarten. By the end of the next school year, more than 1,000 Clifton children will have benefited from the program. While the administration and Board would have preferred implementing full-day kindergarten simultaneously across all district

schools, budget constraints and physical limitations have made that impossible to do. Only lowincome schools receive state or federal aid for full-day kindergarten. The New Jersey Legislature is currently working on a new school funding formula, which may be

good news for Clifton. Lawmakers involved in the process seem to be in favor of state government assuming financial responsibility for full-day kindergarten. “I wish the state would pick up the tab,” said Traier, who noted that local School Boards struggle each year to stay within state-mandated budget caps. “The program is too important for local districts to have to come up with the money on their own.” Regardless of what the legislature does, Rice said that the district must continue to implement fullday kindergarten. “We can’t wait for all the pieces to fit,” said the Superintendent. “We owe it to our young children to seize the moment, whenever we can.”

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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Board of Ed Elections April 17, 1:30 to 9 pm By Jordan Schwartz with Joe Hawrylko


n April 17, voters will have the opportunity to vote for three of nine candidates to fill threeyear terms on the Clifton BOE and approve the tax levy for the proposed 2007-08 general fund budget. The board has nine members, with three seats up for election each year. This year, Norman Tahan and Kim Renta are running for re-election, but Keith LaForgia is not. Board members are volunteers who help decide educational policy. Important issues this year include school overcrowding, full-day kindergarten and test scores. The proposed tax levy is $106.7 million, a 5.3 percent hike from the current levy. That comes out to a $180 increase for the average home assessed at $175,000. The BOE is scheduled to consider preliminary approval of the spending plan on March 7. Voters will have a chance to weigh in from 1:30 to 9 pm on April 17. The last day to register to vote is March 27. Turn to page 23 for a voter registration form.

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School Board Elections April 17th • Polls Open 1:30 PM - 9 PM

Kim Renta Kim Renta is seeking re-election to her second term on the BOE because she says the Board needs to include a customer of the school system. “I’m a taxpayer, a homeowner and a parent,” said Renta. “That gives me a unique perspective because I’m benefiting or not benefiting from what’s going on in the district.” Renta says she’s proud to have been a part of the board’s many accomplishments over the past three years. One of which is the continued expansion of the full-day kindergarten program. Renta says the initiative has given the youngest students twice as much instructional time at a point in their lives when “their brains are like sponges.” The proposed 2007-08 school budget calls for expanding full-day kindergarten to three more schools. Renta says even if voters reject the budget, she is hopeful that the City

Council will leave in the kindergarten funding during its review. Renta says she is pleased with the improved relationship between the Council and the BOE. “We have had a couple successful meetings with the City Council and I believe they really want to work with us,” said Renta. And she knows there’s a lot of work to be done. Renta wants to be a part of the board that finally comes up with a solution to the overcrowding issue.

“I’m a taxpayer, a homeowner and a parent. That gives me a unique perspective because I’m benefiting or not benefiting from what’s going on in the district.” –Commissioner Kim Renta

“We have, with the help of our city’s voters, passed a new school referendum at 290 Brighton Rd., which upon completion will remove 500 students from CHS,” said Renta, referring to the project that still awaits final approval from the Zoning Board. “Again, with our citizens’ support, we will be constructing elevated walkways at CHS, scheduled to open in Sept. 2008, which will greatly alleviate the congestion during the change of class,” Renta added. But Renta knows a new school must still be built to remove the entire ninth grade from the high school. She has a couple of ideas, with the location of the school determining its grade structure. The first is to locate a centralized eighth and ninth grade junior high school at the Capitol Soap site on Colfax Ave, but Renta doesn’t know if the property’s owner would be willing to sell. Renta’s second idea is to locate a sixth through ninth grade middle school in Delawanna or near the proposed Brighton Rd. school. Renta says reducing overcrowding will improve safety for students as well as their ability to learn.

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“New schools will provide stability for our community and give strength to neighborhoods.” –Challenger John Houston

John Houston John Houston, 57, wants to bring his more than 30 years of experience in education to the BOE. The 16-year Bennington Ct. resident is an Associate Dean of undergraduate studies and professor of History at Fordham University in the Bronx, where he also earned a doctorate degree. “I offer to the Clifton Schools a background and knowledge about staffing, curriculum development, budgeting, testing and learning styles,” Houston said. He says schools are the center of any community, and a new building would not only alleviate overcrowding, but it would also help the city.

“New schools will provide stability for our community and give strength to neighborhoods,” said Houston. “New buildings can provide for new technology that helps learning, and they also give confidence to the business community.” Houston is unsure where a new school should be located, but he knows one is necessary. “People need to visit the high school to learn how the rooms are utilized during the day and what the students’ needs are,” he said. “When people have more information, they can make a better decision about the need for a school.” Houston also supports full daykindergarten. “It is one of the needs of a community, not just for the idea

of working parents, but it’s also a head start that all children need to prepare them for first grade.” Houston is not extremely concerned about relatively low standardized test scores at the middle schools and the high school. “I don’t think grades are always the complete way of understanding what schools are about,” Houston said. “It’s only one way of looking at the effectiveness of learning.”

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School Board Elections April 17th • Polls Open 1:30 PM - 9 PM

“It’s hard to get people to support building projects when you have people disputing that there’s an overcrowding problem.” –Commissioner Norman Tahan

Norman Tahan Norman Tahan has changed his views on full-day kindergarten since being elected back onto the Board three years ago. “It seems to be a successful program,” said Tahan, who served on the Board from 1993 to 1999 and then again since 2004. “The reason I had originally been against it was because I wasn’t happy with the implementation of it. I just felt it was unfair for some of the schools to have it and not all of them.” Tahan is in favor of the plan to expand the program to Schools 2, 11 and 15, but he knows getting full-day kindergarten in the final three elementary schools (3, 13 and 14) will be difficult. “We’d have to make for facility arrangements so we could accommodate the classrooms,” said the Clifton Fire captain. “We’re short on space at the schools, so it may require additions to be put on at a couple of schools.” Tahan says space is also in short supply at the middle and high schools, despite what some say.

“It’s hard to get people to support building projects when you have people disputing that there’s an overcrowding problem,” he said. Tahan proposes taking those “non-believers” on a tour of the buildings. That’s how he realized there was a problem. “I remember I walked into CCMS to talk to the principal, and when I walked in, there was a teacher in the lobby at a desk with two students going over some work. That’s appalling,” Tahan said. He says poor learning environments lead to poor grades, but that’s not the only thing pulling scores down. “It’s difficult because we have a large transient population with kids who have been taught to lower standards in other districts,” said Tahan. He’d like to see different statistics published for students who began their schooling in Clifton and those from other towns. Tahan has been a Clifton Firefighter since 1979 and has also worked as a substitute teacher in the Passaic School District. Tahan’s son Joseph, 15, just completed WWMS and is now a freshman at Seton Hall Prep. His daughter Nicole, 20, is a CHS graduate who attends Kean University.

“I’m not going to introduce a referendum that will fail again.” –Challenger Steve Goldberg 20

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Tahan holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and lives on Rutgers Pl. in the Albion section of town.

Steve Goldberg Steve Goldberg thinks many of the district’s problems can be solved by creating educational academies. “Like a school for science or performing arts like other districts have been doing that make educational systems smaller,” Goldberg said. He isn’t sure where these academies would be located but Goldberg does suggest conducting a utilization study of every school building to determine if they’re all being used to capacity. “Maybe there’s some way of reallocating the space that we have,” he said. Goldberg says building smaller academy schools or moving sixth grade back into the elementary schools would alleviate some of the overcrowding in the district.

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

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

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

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

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School Board Elections April 17th • Polls Open 1:30 PM - 9 PM But he says cooperation between the BOE and the City Council is paramount in achieving any goal. “If we are going to introduce a referendum, every one needs to join in it,” said Goldberg. “We need to develop a kinder and gentler BOE. I’ve been to many forums and there’s lots of name calling and that’s something I won’t be a part of.” Goldberg says the Board also needs to gain the public’s support. “I’m not going to introduce a referendum that will fail again,” he said. While Goldberg has never served on the School Board, he says he does have experience as an educational consultant with districts such as Elmwood Park. He has a masters degree in psychology from the School for Social Research in New York City and a post masters in educational administration from City University. Goldberg hopes to return to school to complete a doctorate in education. Goldberg, 46, has lived in Rosemawr for 12 years. He has three children including a fourth grader at School 9. Goldberg wants voters to consider whether or not the district is better off today than it was three years ago before they head to the polls on April 17. “We’ve had two of three referendums fail and every one’s at each other’s throat,” Goldberg said. “That doesn’t sound better to me.”

Jim St. Clair According to Jim St. Clair, the biggest problem Clifton faces today is its unity, or lack there of. That’s why his motivation to run for the Board of Education is to end the division amongst neighbors. “My campaign signs have the slogan ‘A Call for Unity’, because our city is fractured,” explained St. Clair, a Clifton resident of 36 years. “All of this division is from the schools situation. We’ve got to come together and solve this problem because it’s not going to go away.” St. Clair has first hand experience with the schools dilemma. A retired chemistry and physics teacher at CHS for 35 years, he has full knowledge of the difficulties of educating a science lab class that is ment for 24 students but has 28. “I’d just like to give back a little to Clifton for all that it’s given me,” said St. Clair, whose wife Ruth Ellen and two sons all teach. “Education is in my whole family, that’s why I want to run.” St. Clair thinks there are three opinions in town. There is the group that believes no new school is needed, since the district’s enrollment is similar to that of the 1970’s. St. Clair cautions that times have changed and that such an argument is not valid. “It’s no longer 1975, you’ve got special needs kids, who many times need one on one teaching,” explained the BOE hopeful. “It’s a whole different animal now.”

“We’ve got to come together and solve this problem because it’s not going to go away.” –Challenger Jim St. Clair 22

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

The other factions are divided between people who do believe the school system must be expanded, but can’t agree on whether to add on to existing schools or to construct a new one. St. Clair favors the latter, but he doesn’t wish to take open space for a school. He favors taking a former industrial track and remediating it. However, St. Clair pointed out that he is not dead set on any property just yet. If he is elected, he hopes to work closely with the BOE and the City Council in their joint sessions, which he says have been an excellent sign of progression. “I’m happy with the joint meetings. For too long, it’s been very adversarial,” St. Clair continued, adding that while he does not have a true master plan, he wishes to discuss ideas about full day kindergarten, standardized testing and the prevalence of gangs. “Education is the backbone of this community. If you don’t have quality schools, no one is going to want to move in.” “In the high school, our science and math departments are second to none in the whole state. Great teachers, tremendous resources, but

registered to vote where you live now, Voter Registration: If you are not you may register by completing this form.

Mail to: Passaic County, Commissioner of Registration, 311 Pennsylvania Ave., Paterson, NJ 07503 • 973-881-4516 Print clearly in Ink. Use ball-point pen or marker Qualification of an Eligible Applicant You must be a citizen of the United States and, by the date of the next election, at least 18 years old and a resident of New Jersey and your county for at least 30 days. The Commissioner of Registration will notify you upon receipt of this form. The Registration deadline to vote at the next election is 21 days prior to election day. Check if you wish to be a board worker/poll clerk ❑ in future elections. Check if you are permanently disabled, unable to go to the polls to vote, and wish to receive information on an Absentee Ballot. ❑

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This page is brought to you as a community service. For questions regarding this Voter Registration Application, call the Passaic County Superintendent of Elections at 973-881-4516. March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


School Board Elections April 17th • Polls Open 1:30 PM - 9 PM

“I am not against spending money as long as the money reaches the classrooms.” –Challenger Paul Graupe

we’re just too overcrowded,” he said, as he concluded his thoughts. “We really do have a quality school system, but it just needs a little help to keep up with our growth.”

Paul Graupe Paul Graupe says it has not been proven to him that there is an overcrowding problem in the Clifton School District. Graupe, 70, sat on the Zoning Board of Adjustment back in May 2005 when the district first filed an application for zoning approval for the ninth grade annex at 290 Brighton Rd. He says over the course of 17 hearings, the school district never proved to the board whether the need for more space was a design problem or an overcrowding issue. Graupe says that is why he was one of the five board members that voted against the application on March 16, 2006. The Allwood resident says he is concerned about the kids that are in the middle. He says they often get

lost in the shuffle between gifted students and those with special needs, and he would like to see the average students get more attention. Graupe also hopes the full-day kindergarten program is extended to every elementary school, but he is not sure where Schools 3, 13 and 14 will find the space to accommodate the program. Graupe understands that the Board of Education needs to have a better working relationship with the City Council if anything is going to get accomplished. “I would make every effort to bring them both together as long as every one is very sincere about what they are doing,” Graupe said. “If this is just something they are doing for publicity on their own part, then it would be a waste of time. But it appears that at the last meeting (between the BOE and Council), they are making an effort.” Graupe is a life long Cliftonite who graduated CHS in 1954 before earning a degree in public safety administration from William Paterson College (now William Paterson University) in Wayne. Graupe was a Clifton Police Officer from 1959 until he retired on Feb. 1, 1993. He then went to work for the Passaic County Board of Social Services. Graupe says

“...there’s a lot of open classrooms... I don’t know if building new schools is the answer.” –Challenger John Salierno 24

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton has always been very good to him and he would like to give something back. “I am a diehard City of Clifton person and I am not against spending money as long as the money reaches the classrooms.”

John Salierno John Salierno is fed up with the politicians in town. That’s why he has decided to run for the BOE. “I say what other people are afraid to say. That’s the difference between me and the other Board members,” explained Salierno, 65. “People who abstain shouldn’t be on the Board.” “It’s not that I just appeared out of the woodwork to run. I’ve been coming to Board and Council meetings for the last 20 years and now I’m just disgusted,” he continued. “I feel that I can’t make a dent unless I’m actually on the BOE.” According to Salierno, those in power can’t put their personal differences aside, so he has mixed feelings about the recent joint Board/Council sessions.

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School Board Elections April 17th • Polls Open 1:30 PM - 9 PM “I’m not prudent to inside info, but I do know that it’s a personality conflict. Whether it’s your wife, a family member or whomever, there’s only one way to better a relationship: changing your attitude,” stated the former Passaic Valley High School Italian and Spanish teacher, who retired after 34 years. “Why do both parties not want to change their attitude? It’s probably power.” Salierno went on to claim that certain BOE commissioners “act as puppets to Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice”. While the candidate acknowledges the overcrowding in the CHS hallways due to an architectural flaw—citing his four children as sources, all of whom attend or have attended CHS—he is not convinced about the classrooms. “I think the overcrowding issue is a scare tactic by Dr. Rice. Is he try-

ing to further his resume for when he leaves? He was in Ann Arbor (Michigan) on May 6 applying for another Superintendent job,” claimed Salierno, who works as an agent with Clifton’s Weichert Realtors. “You have to look at the enrollment figures first hand.” “I’ve been told that there’s a lot of open classrooms after 12:30 pm, so I don’t know if building new schools is the answer,” he continued. Salierno added that he wishes to call Dr. Rice to schedule visits to each of Clifton’s schools prior to the election. “I’m not sure we’re utilizing our space and making the best use of resources. If that’s the case, we shouldn’t go around saying we need to make new schools, when, in effect, we don’t have to.” He then went on to talk about School 16 and full day kindergarten.

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“What do they do in full day kindergarten? Is the kid being overwhelmed? I’m not sure it’s good for the kid,” concluded Salierno. “Lets assume they have an excellent program. Why can’t we utilize School 16, which has only 216 students, and maybe use a certain part in the morning for kindergarten and another area in the afternoon? How can you introduce this program when the whole city pays taxes and not everyone gets it? That’s discriminating.”

Kevin Coradeschi Kevin Coradeschi says the most important thing right now is giving students more room. “We need to make a school a learning environment where people aren’t worried about getting bumped into,” Coradeschi said. Specializing in Medical & Surgical Foot & Ankle Correction

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“We need to make a school a learning environment where people aren’t worried about getting bumped into.” –Challenger Kevin Coradeschi

“We need to make an environment where it’s easy to learn.” He says in the long run, this can be done by building a new school or expanding the ones that already exist. But Coradeschi says construction can take a while, and so a more immediate solution would be to analyze the space the district has now. “We need to look into what we’re doing with it and try to maximize the use of space in the schools,” said Coradeschi. He says this may also free up space for full-day kindergarten so every child in the district can have access to the program. “You can’t have a quarter of the town not having it,” said Coradeschi. “Every one pays the same taxes, it’s not fair that some parents are able to

send their kids to full-day kindergarten, while others can’t.” Coradeschi says standardized test scores would be improved if the curriculum was narrowed down to focus on the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. The Washington Ave. resident says he attends almost all Board of Education meetings and he agrees with the Commissioners and teachers that say 2,500 students would be a comfortable number. The current census for CHS, which was reported to the state, is 3,397 children. Coradeschi says the recent meetings between the BOE and the City Council are a good step forward towards working together to come to a conclusion that serves the people.

Coradeschi, 46, was born in New York, but he moved to Morristown when he was three years old and later attended Madison High School. He graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy with a degree in marine engineering. Coradeschi says he has been in law enforcement for the past 17 years, including the last two working for the investigative division of the U.S. Department of Treasury.

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School Board Elections April 17th • Polls Open 1:30 PM - 9 PM

“The overcrowding overwhelms and challenges teachers and staff unfairly as well as forcing many families to seek other educational systems.” –Challenger Maura Giron

He says he will use these skills on the Board. “I believe in looking at the facts and coming to a conclusion based on facts,” said Coradeschi.

Maura Giron Maura Giron believes that offering adult education programs to parents who have kids with low test scores or poor attendance is the way to keep children in school. “By helping our parents, we are also helping our students stay in school, graduate, finish college and become successful in whatever career they pursue,” Giron said. She would like to further lessen the drop-out rate in Clifton, and as a family advocate, Giron believes the effort should begin in the homes. “Most of the times the test

scores are low either because the kids are coming from bad homes or no homes,” Giron said. “We need to work with the families to bring up the test scores.” The Maplewood Ave. resident says the overcrowding issue also contributes to drop-outs. “This situation deprives our children of the education that they deserve,” said Giron. “The overcrowding overwhelms and challenges teachers and staff unfairly as well as forcing many families to seek other educational systems.” Giron says a new school must be built and she still thinks Latteri Park is one of the best locations for it because the Board owns the property. Giron says opening another school would also give every child in the district an opportunity to participate in the important full-day kindergarten program. “It’s needed not only because there’s a lot of working parents, but

it would also benefit all the kids’ educational needs,” Giron said. But in the end, she says progress is only possible if there is teamwork between the BOE, the City Council and residents. Giron, 36, was born and raised in Passaic but has lived in Clifton for the last five years. She is divorced with three children who attended School 9 and Christopher Columbus Middle School before they moved to Georgia to live with their father. Giron works nights as an auditor for La Quinta Inn & Suites on Rt. 3 West in Clifton. During the day, she is an advocate for families in crisis and a family worker with the Paterson School District. “As a Board member, I believe that my dedication, energy, experience and goals will make a valuable contribution to the team effort to improve the schools in the City of Clifton.”

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Performances at CHS on March 16 and 17 at 7:30 pm and on March 18 at 3 pm. Tickets are $10 and $7 for seniors & students.

The Sound of Music, the wholesome and sentimental Broadway musical with sympathetic heroes, historic villains and famous songs—a perfect show for families—will be staged by the students of CHS on March 16-18 . Set in the town of Salzburg in Austria, the story opens with Maria (Kristen Hariton), who is studying to become a nun. She is sent to be a governess to the seven children of Captain Georg Ritter Von Trapp (Chris Robertson), a widower and a decorated WWI Captain in the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Chris Robertson and Kristen Hariton are the leads while some of the other cast members include, top from left, Marcial Zaldivar Jr., Dominick Marrone and Mike Purdy. Middle: Schuyler Schrickel, Ashley Leeshock, Cara Ruggierio and Amy Nydam. In the front: Adam Zaccone, Karla Yeamans, Jake Wilson and Beata Gabriela Koziol.


March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Some of the dancers from the cast strike a pose. Standing, from left: Allison Zutterman, Ariel de Leon, Jeff Tejeda and Chris Chilimintris. Kneeling is Nicole Sepulveda, Amy Macalino and Ivanna Massa. In front is Katherine DeLacruz.

As the children eventually warm to her, Maria finds herself falling in love with the Captain, who is engaged to Baroness Elsa Von Schräder (Karla Yeamans). But the Captain too finds himself warming to the young governess. After winning the children’s hearts by teaching the family the joy of song (favorites include Edelweiss, My Favorite Things, Climb Every Mountain, Do-Re-Mi, and Sixteen Going On Seventeen) and after some soul searching by Maria and misunderstandings fostered by the Baroness, Maria leaves the convent and marries the Captain. The CHS performers will host two fund raisers to cover costs. On March 3 at 4 pm, the cast will sing their sets at the Clifton Barnes & Noble until closing. On March 9, they’ll perform at the Atlanta Bread Company in Styertowne from 4 pm to closing. The Von Trapp children with School 3 fifth grader Jilly Hagberg, from left: Danielle Maglente, Courtney Schriebner, Kristen Obolsky, Cassandra Trujillo and Cassandra Porter.

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2007 CHS Athletic

Hall of Fame Severin Palydowycz Jr., Class of 1981 Sports: Soccer, Golf

Honors: First freshman in CHS history to make a varsity team, threetime All County, two-time All State, two-time team leading scorer, team MVP, Senior Captain, National Scholar Athlete, Star Ledger Athlete of the Week. Learning To Play: Palydowycz’s father Severin Palydowycz, Sr. started the soccer program at CHS in the mid ‘60s, coaching the team for many years. The younger Palydowycz worked with his father’s teams and always dreamed of some day playing for the Mustangs. Growing up in the Athenia section of Clifton, Palydowycz played soccer in the street with fellow Ukrainian children as well as the many Slovak and Polish kids that lived in the neighborhood. Most Influential People: My father was my biggest influence along with my two high school coaches Angelo Izzo and Fernando Rossi. I was also greatly influenced by the skilled athletes I played with in Italy during the summer after my sophomore year. I was one of two nonItalian citizens selected to play on the Fraina Town Team in the Province of Chieti Summer Tournament. That essentially opened my eyes up to that level of play. Memorable Mustang Moment: It wasn’t any single achievement, but more the camaraderie that was built 32

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

amongst the players that I remember most. I cherished the leadership role I had as senior captain. I took on a lot of responsibility that helped me grow much more beyond the sport; it helped me grow as a person. What It Meant To Be A Mustang: Having seen my father take the sport from a stage of infancy in Clifton to a team that won the state championship, it was a goal that I set as a child to become part of. It was an experience that helped build and define my character.

Life After CHS: Palydowycz went on to play varsity soccer for Brown University, becoming the only player of his generation to play every game of his four-year career. He earned All Ivy and All New England section honors, led the league in scoring in 1984 and became captain in 1985. After graduation, he went to medical school and is now a practicing opthamologist with offices in Middletown, NY and Milford, PA. He continues to coach both soccer and hockey and lives in Goshen, NY.

Richard Fincken, Class of 1956 Sports: Basketball

Life After CHS: Fincken went to Tusculum College in Greenville, TN where he was a triple-major in physical education, english and social studies. His coaching career began in 1963 at Garfield High School where he was an assistant under current ESPN analyst Dick Vitale. In 1966, Fincken became an assistant coach at Sparta High School for three years before beginning 28 legendary years as Head Coach of the Hopatcong High School basketball team. He earned Coach of the Year honors as well as 391 wins and several county championships. Fincken left Hopatcong in 1998 to coach four years each at Sussex and Morris County Community Colleges. He is now assistant coach at Vernon High School. Fincken lives in Wantage with his wife Fran of 41 years. He has three daughters and five grandchildren.

––––––– Compiled by Jordan Schwartz ––––––

Honors: All-County, All-League, All-Group IV, All-Metropolitan, Dell Sports Magazine Top 500 High School Players in the Country. Learning To Play: Fincken’s interest in basketball came from his father who had played the game when he was younger. Fincken started playing in seventh grade in a Clifton recreation league against seventh and eighth graders from Paterson and Passaic. Most Influential People: CHS assistant football coach Bill Vander Closter spent so much time with me after practice. We’d leave the gym downstairs when the rec leagues would come in and we’d go to the third floor to shoot one-on-one after practice. He was very instrumental in my development.

They now live all across the country but the Mustangs featured on the following pages share a common bond in the Maroon and Gray glory of the past. To honor their achievements, the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame will induct nine new members and two championship teams at a luncheon at the Brownstone in Paterson at noon on April 15. Here’s a look at the careers of these athletes as they share a few Mustang memories. Thanks to Lou Poles and Flo Calise for their help with these stories. For tickets ($45), call Flo Calise at 973-470-2321.

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Memorable Mustang Moment: Winning the Passaic Valley Conference Jamboree my senior year. I was honored to be one of the 15 players named to the Clifton Merchant Magazine All-Century basketball team in 2000.

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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


The 1962 Fighting Mustangs The Clifton High School football team went undefeated in 1962 bringing the state championship to the new home of the Mustangs. That season, Clifton scored 209 points in nine games and gave up just 39 on its way to being ranked by various sources as third in the entire nation. That year’s edition of the Fighting Mustangs were mostly juniors, but a group of seniors really led the team to its perfect season. Tight end Bruno Debiak was one of the team’s best blockers and receivers. He scored the only touchdown of the game in a 7-0 victory over Nutley. Tackle and linebacker Bob Gogick was an All-American.

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Gerry Mogavero, captain Tom Papa, Jim Schneider and Charlie Tomesko were also named to a number of all-star teams, while fellow seniors John Scalzo and Cliff Freund also played an important part in the team’s success. Junior Joe Gouse led the rushing attack after replacing Gerry Mogavero who suffered an injury early in the season. Another junior, Tom Brady, took over at the quarterback position when Richie Smith was hurt in pre-season practice. The 1962 state championship was the eleventh for legendary Coach Joe Grecco.

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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant



Louis Fraulo Coach 1974-2001 Sports: Track and Field, Swimming, Cross Country Honors: Inducted into the NJ Coaches Hall of Fame for swimming in 1983 after winning 50 consecutive meets and three straight league championships from 1979-1981; Inducted into the NJ Coaches HOF for track and field in 1998; Received NJSIAA award for Coaching Excellence in swimming and track and field Learning To Coach: Fraulo ran and swam for AAU teams during high school because there were no varsity teams at Collegiate School in Passaic. While attending the University of Colorado, Fraulo met Dr. Joe Vijil who was coaching the US Olympic track and field team for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Fraulo decided that it would be interesting to learn from Vijil and so he took his physiology classes. Fraulo was amazed by what Vijil had to say about how to improve athletes through training. Most Influential People: Dr. Joe Vijil’s dedication and determination to have athletes achieve at their maximum potential influenced me a lot. Being around world class runners training at altitude in Colorado also spurred me on. Memorable Mustang Moment: There are two. I was coaching the girls swim team and we were going for our 50th consecutive duel meet win versus Ramsey at Ramapo College. We were behind and needed to finish first, second and third in the 100 yard breaststroke to win the meet. I pulled the girls aside and, quoting from the movie Meatballs that was out at the time, told them It just doesn’t matter, you’re going to beat them. The girls got on the block and gave me a wink before diving in the pool. The race was dead even until the final turn when they sprinted ahead and finished one, two and three. The second? I carried the Olympic flame through Clifton in 1996. The principal of CHS at the time let the school out to watch me carry the torch. I was nominated for the honor by a CHS shot putter named Laurie McCoy. In 1995, the district eliminated the winter track team of which Laurie was a member. Another coach and I went to the BOE and told them we’d coach the team for free. I got a bus driver’s license so I could drive the team. Laurie thought what I did was so giving that she wrote hundreds of letters to the committee that chooses who gets to carry the Olympic torch and they picked me. Life After CHS: Fraulo, 57, had to step down from his What It Meant To Be A Mustang: Growing up in Clifton but attending school in Passaic, I always wanted to be a Mustang. I spent more time in Clifton Stadium than anywhere else. Becoming a coach at CHS and knowing that I was a part of the Mustangs was a dream come true.

coaching post in 2001 when he became the director of guidance counseling at CHS. He continues officiating to this day and owns a business that does race timing and photo timing work for the NJSIAA. Fraulo plans to retire from CHS this year to travel around the world and ride across the country on his motorcycle.

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

What It Meant To Be A Mustang: It was an honor. We didn’t have that many kids on the ballclub, but it was a pretty good group.

Ronald Plaza, Class of 1951 Sports: Baseball Honors: Senior Captain Learning To Play: At age 13, Plaza joined a group of about nine Italian and Polish kids in his Harrison Street neighborhood to form a recreation league. He says they won the league every year they played. Most Influential People: The peers that I played with were my biggest influence growing up. We kind of figured out the game ourselves, we just played baseball the way we knew how. In high school, Coach Eddie Bednarcik taught us some things and then my semi-pro coach Joe Popek influenced me as well. Memorable Mustang Moment: Getting into the playoffs was a great experience. I was fortunate to

have some good years with the club. Legend says I was the first person to hit a home run out of Clifton School Stadium. My teammate Armando Buongiorno and fan Lou Poles swear I hit it out, but my other teammate Frank Pecci says it never happened. I really don’t remember it, but if they say it happened, maybe it did.

Life After CHS: At age 16, Plaza signed a professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in the parking lot of the supermarket by the old Clifton High School. He played nine years in the Cardinals organization, but never made it to the Majors. When his playing career ended, Plaza got involved in managing for the Cardinals at the minor league level from 1963 to 1968. He was the first base coach for the Seattle Pilots in 1969 and then took a position as coordinator of the Cincinnati Reds minor league program from 1970 to 1977. Plaza then coached with Reds from 1978 to 1983, before joining the Oakland Athletics organization in 1984. He still works for the A’s as a minor league roving instructor. Plaza, 72, lives in Florida with his son David.

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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Stanley Lembryk Class of 1987 Sports: Soccer, Basketball Honors: first team All-State; All-County; All-Area; AllLeague; senior MVP; team captain; played in the north/south senior all-star game at Rutgers University; Mid-Atlantic All-American Learning To Play: Lembryk’s dad, from soccer-hungry Poland, introduced the sport to him. Lembryk says Clifton was a good environment in which to learn how to play because there were a number of children from a variety of backgrounds who would always be kicking the ball around in the streets. Most Influential People: My dad taught me the game and my mom was always willing to help in any way possible. Fernando Rossi was a very good coach who helped me become a professional soccer player. Memorable Mustang Moment: Being able to participate in the fierce rivalry with Kearny. Playing in the state sectional finals twice and competing for two county championships were also memorable. It was a lot of fun to be in those games with so much on the line. What It Meant To Be A Mustang: Coach Palydowycz and Coach Rossi established a strong tradition that marched down into the roots of Clifton. The sport promoted the city and helped people move on to play at the next level so it was great to be a part of that. Life After CHS: Lembryk received a scholarship to play at Loyola College in Baltimore. He then went on to play professional soccer for nine years with Maryland and Ft. Lauderdale of the American Professional Soccer League and the New York New Jersey Metrostars of Major League Soccer. Lembryk also coached soccer and basketball at CHS for nine years. He now teaches history in the special education department at CHS and coaches at the Red Bull Academy, one of the MLS player development academies.


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Dimitra “Tula” Kofitsas Class of 1990 Sports: Basketball, Volleyball, Softball also a positive influence. After CHS, my college coach Brenda Riley became one of my biggest inspirations, not just on the court, but personally I learned so much from her. She was like a surrogate mother... a coach, a friend and a confidant. She passed away from cancer in 2000 and that was a difficult time for me. Honors: Most Athletic; Basketball Rookie of the Year; All-State, MVP Learning To Play: Kofitsas’ two older brothers Peter, two years older, and Chris, five years older, taught her how to play. She says they were tough on her growing up, but they taught her how to play everything. Most Influential People: Definitely my brothers. They taught me how to be tough, stand above the rest and not give up. Coach Alan Carline was

Memorable Mustang Moment: I wish I could say playing Kennedy and beating them but we never beat them. Some of the awards like the MVP were great achievements. What It Meant To Be A Mustang: Pride. I loved Clifton High. We had a great athletic program and the coaches and the staff and everybody were great. Pride is the one thing that sticks out in my mind every time someone asks me where I went to school. People knew us.

Life After CHS: Kofitsas went to Central Conn. State University for her undergraduate studies and then got her Masters at the University of Connecticut. She played professional basketball in Greece for two years before returning to the US to play for the Springfield Spirit of the Women’s American Basketball League. Kofitsas now owns a canine physical therapy business Tails of Rye in Rye, NH.

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Looking back at the 1993 New Jersey Group IV Champions. From left sitting on the ground, Dana Jeannetti and Carolyne Ruffilo. Sitting on the bench, Assistant Coach Stetz, Dawn Finer, Danielle Fischer, Randi Meyers, Cara Kling, Andreanna Marrocco and Assistant Coach Lyons. Standing, Kim Artim, Assistant Coach Nolan, Danielle Dolinoy, Jodi Lampmann, Wendy Pavlicek, Dana DeVito, Jen Paci, Tara Sakevich, Head Coach LaDuke and Gina Roberto.

The 1993 Lady Mustangs The 1992 CHS Softball team’s 28-1 record was a tough act to follow, but the ‘’93 squad exceeded all expectations by capturing the Group IV State Championship.

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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

The Lady Mustangs were led by several seniors including pitcher Randi Meyers, infielders Danielle Fischer, Dawn Finer and Cara Kling and outfielder Andreanna Marrocco. Kling anchored the defense with her great play at third base. Juniors Dana Jeannetti, an AllAmerican at second base, Carolyne Ruffilo in the outfield, Kim Artim and Dana DeVito on the mound and Jennifer Paci behind the plate were also a big part of the team’s success. Jeannetti, now Dana Murdock, says the team worked hard all year. “I think every one of us loved softball and obviously winning states was our goal,” said Murdock, who today teaches basic skills at School 12. An early exit from the 1992 state tournament left a bad taste in the girls’ mouths.

“My sophomore year, we were undefeated until the sections, so it was a little bit of redemption for us to win the states,” Murdock said, adding:“We were going to win it no matter what.” Murdock credits a great deal of the squad’s success to the chemistry percolating from the girls. “A lot of us had been playing summer ball together for a lot of years. We really jelled well,” said Murdock. She says Coach Rich LaDuke was a big part, too. “He always brought out the best in all of us. We worked hard in practice because he ran a tight ship,” Murdock said. “He was a good motivator and had a competitive edge about him. We all took that and ran with it. He was definitely a good inspiration for all of us.”

Richard Ceynowa Class of 1986 Sports: Wrestling, Football Honors: Passaic County All Decade wrestler for the ‘80s; Ranked third in the country in the 189 lb. weight class; #2 in New Jersey in 1986; two-time regional champion; All Star linebacker and center in football Learning To Play: Ceynowa learned how to wrestle in second grade through the Clifton Rec wrestling program. Most Influential People: My peers David Szott and Brian Smith pushed me to always improve. Coach Steven LePage always brought out the best in people. No matter what the odds were, he always made us feel like we could win. Memorable Mustang Moment: Beating Mike Gibbons 4-3 in overtime of the regional finals when I was just a sophomore. What It Meant To Be A Mustang: It’s great to be a part of history and Clifton has a rich athletic history. Life After CHS: Ceynowa attended Montclair State, but he did not participate in any college sports. His wife Lillian is a fellow ‘86 CHS grad and they have two children, Alaina, 6, and Nicholas, 4. Ceynowa works for Prudential Financial in Newark and lives with his family in the Montclair Heights section of Clifton.

Help us find these...

Missing Mustangs Mark Harner Class of 1971 Sports: Tennis

Kim Feldner Class of 1998 Sports: Volleyball

We tried but were unable to contact Hall of Fame inductees Mark Harner and Kim Feldner. If anyone knows how we can reach them for these profiles, call us at 973-253-4400. March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Freezin’ for a Reason

by Jordan Schwartz


hy would someone voluntarily jump in the ocean during the winter? Some do it for the thrill. Some for the recognition. Edward Dyle takes the frigid plunge to help children dying of cancer. Dyle, 62, of Landis Place in Richfield is not an official member of the famed Polar Bear Club, but he did take part in its Coney Island swim this past New Year’s Day. He did it as a volunteer for Camp Sunshine, a retreat for kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families in Casco, Maine. Dyle raised $200 for the camp on Jan. 1 and then another $400 at a Long Branch swim on Feb. 3. It costs $1,500 to sponsor a weeklong stay at the camp for a child and their whole family. The retreat includes all meals and accommodations, recreational activities, psychological workshops for adults and an onsite physician. Dyle is planning to raise even more money when he takes a dip again at the Camp Sunshine camp in Maine on March 3. “The motivation came when I saw this ad in the Daily News in December,” said Dyle. “I always wanted to do that so I thought I’d do it this time because of the kids.” Dyle knows first-hand the help sick children need. His 10-year-old grandson Evan, who lives on Valley Rd., is autistic. That’s not the only hardship Dyle has faced in his lifetime. He lost his job of 32 years when Garden State Paper Company in Garfield folded in 2001. Dyle’s wife Janice Gail Smith died the next year from a blood infection while vacationing in California. 42

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Edward Dyle, at left, and above, as he emerges from the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island on New Year’s Day.

In 2003, their son Edward Louis Dyle died at age 28 from complications associated with an Anthrax vaccine while serving in the U.S. Marines. He passed away while attending Marquette University in Milwaukee before being deployed to the Persian Gulf. Given the adversity he’s encountered during his life, Dyle says he draws strength from helping others. “I guess I found my niche, this may be what I do. I feel great when I help out,” said Dyle. In addition to his work with Camp Sunshine, Dyle assists his friend Ray Kaminsky who owns Foodies Cafe in the Richfield Shopping Plaza and another restaurant in Fair Lawn. Dyle is retired now and so he can often be seen at Foodies helping out or just hanging around. He’s put up a poster for Camp Sunshine there to try and get more people to volunteer. “I meet a lot of people that complain that they have nothing to do. I say there’s plenty to do. Volunteer your services, there’s plenty of people that need help,” said Dyle. To sponsor Dyle, drop off a check at Foodies made payable to Camp Sunshine. Contact Dyle at home at 973-778-7849 or on his cell at 973-632-0156. For more info on how to help out, visit the camp’s website at Not all volunteers have to splash around in 46 degree water when it’s 16 degrees out like Dyle does, though. He says he doesn’t mind the icy temperature, attribut-

ing his tolerance of the cold to the fact that he was born in the winter, on Leap Year, in fact. Dyle’s really only celebrated 16 true Feb. 29 birthdays. Maybe that’s why he still has the enthusiasm of a teenager.


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1291 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton

973. 340. 8888 n Main Avenue, the smell of freshly roasted nuts wafts through the air from the Castle of Nuts. There are dozens of varieties of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, chocolates and freshly ground coffees for sale. The store does its own roasting right on the premises. The variety offered at the store is incredible.

type of dried fruits or fresh nuts great for gifts or a snack.

There are pinoli nuts and sweet white raisins, perfect for a turkey stuffing. Walnuts and pecans for making fresh Christmas cookies. Dried pineapple, apples, prunes, cherries... almost any

The staff will patiently work with customers to put together a little of this and that until the right mix is created. Castle of Nuts is open ‘till 8 six days a week with extended Sunday hours.


There is also on display of many different nut and fruit gift packs at various prices ready to be picked up. But if customers want to create their own gift packs, that’s not a problem.

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Clifton is still home

Karin Korb rolls in with her “A” Game * by Jordan Schwartz Karin Korb likes to say no worries. You would think a woman who broke her back in a gymnastics accident and has been forced to live in a wheelchair for the past 22 years would have plenty to worry about. But that’s not how Korb, 39, approaches life. “I get up in the morning and I’m excited,” said Korb. “I’m excited to do my cardio work-out, I’m excited to go to work. I only do things that create joy in my life.” Korb’s life changed in April 1985. She was a 17-year-old gymnast at CHS competing at a meet in Carlstadt. Korb landed awkwardly while attempting a vault and was paralyzed. For the next 10 years, she worked to fit into society despite her disability. Korb attended Kean University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She then moved to

Florida to pursue a legal career. Korb resisted joining the disabled community until, at age 27, a friend told her about wheelchair tennis. She began playing in her everyday chair and enjoyed the sport so much that she flew to California to take part in a wheelchair tennis camp. Korb recalled showing up at the camp and thinking, “Look at all these cool people, they look just like me!” Korb stayed in California an extra two weeks after the camp concluded and picked up a tennis wheelchair. “I just played for the cardio, and the next thing I know, I got consumed and my world changed.” She became the first disabled woman to receive a Division 1 athletic scholarship to play wheelchair tennis on a collegiate level. While playing tennis at Georgia State University, Korb earned a master’s degree in Sports Management.

Korb’s sister Simone, mother Hedwig and father Robert who recently passed away. 44

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Karin Korb competed in the inaugural wheelchair division event at the U.S. Open in Flushing, Queens in 2005.

She is a two-time Paralympian competing in the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia and four years later in Athens, Greece. Korb is currently preparing for the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China. She appeared in the “Faces in the Crowd” section of Sports Illustrated in 2005 after being the only wheelchair tennis player competing in the women’s 3.5 division in the National Public Parks Tennis Championship in Stamford, Connecticut. At the event, Korb beat an able-bodied opponent. “It’s fascinating to play against able-bodied people,” Korb said. “They don’t know what to do until a forehand gets ripped past them and they’re like, ‘Oh boy, this is real tennis.’” Korb now works as a Regional Program Director with BlazeSports America in Atlanta.

Despite her self-motivation, Korb attributes most of her success to her mother Hedwig and her father Robert, who passed away a year ago. “I don’t think there’s a day that goes by where I don’t think about my dad and his tenacity,” she said. Korb was born in the United States, but grew up in Germany until she and her parents moved back to America at age nine. “They lived the American dream, I aspire to be like them,” said Korb. Karin tries to get home to Clifton at least once every two months to visit her mother. “I love coming home, and I do consider Clifton home,” said Korb. “The roads are familiar, the bagels actually taste good, and let’s not never try and forget the pizza!” “You never ‘leave’ Clifton. I don’t think you ever forget the place where you have your first love or your first heartbreak or being homecoming queen amidst tremendous adversity,” Korb continued.

Clifton’s Karin Korb with some of her Disabled Divas at Camp Dream in Warm Springs, Georgia, site of the annual BlazeSports Summer Camp.

Korb says she has learned a lot from her disability and works to help other disabled women. She is a contributor to the GoGirlGo Atlanta project and recently established the “Disabled Diva” Sports Camps.

But, Korb says, she always has to make time to do her cardiovascular work-out twice a day. “When you’re a rolling billboard for your message, you have to bring your “A” game.” No worries about that.



he Helen Sanders Thrift Shop at Daughters of Miriam Center is a bargain hunters dream—filled to the brim with beautiful, new and gently used clothing and housewares at great prices. Whether you are searching for fabulous designer and vintage clothes, many with tags still attached, or outfitting a new home, the Helen Sanders Thrift Shop is the place for you. For more information or to donate new or gently used, clean clothing or household items call (973) 253-5377. You will receive a receipt detailing the items donated for your records.


Shop Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM March 2007 • Clifton Merchant



March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Friend of Youth Mike Soccol isn’t one to talk about his accomplishments. For the past 17 years, he has been the coach of Chuck Rohde’s Western Wildcats, a baseball team for physically or mentally disabled individuals between the ages of 6 and 21. While he may downplay the significance of what he does, it has certainly not been overlooked by his peers. “I’ve always told everybody I like to stay under the radar,” explained Soccol. “When I got the UNICO Service Above Self Award (in 2006), I was so nervous, I told my son, Mickey, ‘This is why we don’t talk about this stuff!’” Whether he chooses to acknowledge it or not, his actions have touched the lives of many. That’s why Mike and Mickey Soccol will be honored with the 2007 Optimist Club Friend of Youth Award on April 15. The elder Soccol’s coaching experience actually pre-dates his involvement with the team, beginning with Mickey, a 1989 CHS grad, whom he coached in the Clifton Midget League. It was around this time that a certain event motivated him to make a difference in the lives of disabled children. For 30 years, Soccol had worked for Arnold Bread as a breadman. One day while stocking shelves in a grocery store, he glanced down the aisle and, from behind, he thought he saw a woman walking with his then eight 48

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Stories by Joe Hawrylko

Mike Soccol and his son Mickey who share this year’s Friend of Youth Award.

year old son. Startled, he went to go investigate and became convinced it was him, so he confronted the woman. It turned out that it wasn’t his son Mickey, but a boy named C.B. who had Down Syndrome. “C.B. was a huge Mets fan and just loved baseball,” recalled Soccol, 60, who now works in the Clifton Tax Assessor’s Office. “I thought to myself then, ‘too bad he could never play.’”

Soccol ended up befriending the child and his mother. However, shortly after their encounter, she became ill and he never saw either of them again. Still, the memory of the young boy stuck with him, which gave Soccol the motivation to one day form a team so that children like C.B. could play. “After that, it became my dream to help out people like that,” explained Soccol. “I wanted to one day coach a team to help people like that.” As fate would have it, in 1990, he happened to catch wind of a new idea in just that field: the North Jersey Challenger League. Soccol seized the opportunity and decided to volunteer his time. In the first practice, there was 17 kids and 20 adult coaches, so he immediately knew it was going to be challenging. Then came a surprise: at the conclusion of the first day, the league president asked Soccol if he would like to be the manager for the team. Soccol obliged, but had no idea how difficult his new position would be. In the next game, he found that his coaching staff had dwindled down to just one individual. The next day, the lone straggler had bowed out and Soccol was left to manage the squad on his own. Recognizing that he needed help, he recruited his son Mickey to assist him with the team. The rest, as they say, is history.

Nearly two decades later, little has changed. Now affiliated with Clifton Western in the Clifton Little League Challenger Division, the team is coached by Soccol and his son, Michele Cornell and Melissa DeMolli. His daughter, Melanie, also helped with the team for quite some time, but had to bow out once she started a family of her own.

The Annual Friend of Youth Beefsteak is on April 15 at 4 pm at the Boys & Girls Club on Colfax Ave. Sponsored by the Clifton Optimist Club, those being honored include Michael Soccol, Sr. and Michael Soccol, Jr., Pat Dyche and William J. Bate. Tickets are $40 per person. For info, call club president Ted Munley at Clifton Savings Bank at 973-473-2200 x12 or members Joe Bionci at 973-472-1707, Dennis Hahofer at 973-835-2474 or go to Bringing Out the Best in Kids is the theme of Optimist Clubs worldwide. The Clifton Chapter, while small in number, is involved in positive service projects aimed at providing a helping hand and being a Friend of Youth. By believing in young people and empowering them to be the best they can, Optimist volunteers make this world a better place to live. New members are always welcomed; call Ted Munley for info.

Serving the community since 1928.


March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Behind the scenes is Passaic County Superior Court Judge Chuck Rohde, who Soccol likes to call his silent partner. Between the two of them, they have funded most expenditures for the team. But over the past few years, as word of the good work the Soccols and their various “silent partners” has spread, other groups and individuals are providing funding, most recently, American Legion Post 347 and Nina’s Hair Salon.









TEXAS C I T 1961 e Sinc LL I R HOT G

Beyond paying whatever bills appear, the fundamentals of pitching. catching, throwing and batting can be a difficult, yet rewarding task, said both the coaches. The players on the team have varying degrees of handicaps, ranging from mild disabilities to the severe, but everyone gets an equal opportunity to have fun and play ball. “It’s hard to do at times but we always find a way,” explained Soccol. “But with these kids here, it’s always a joy.”


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Are You Pregnant? Many expectant mothers will gain an average of 25 to 30 lbs during their pregnancy which may cause stress on their lower back as their center of gravity shifts. Many women have found relief to their lower back pain and have had easier deliveries by receiving chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy. Please check for additional tips on a more comfortable pregnancy. Also attend Wellness Moms America which meets 2nd Weds of each month at 7:30PM at the Clifton Memorial Library.

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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


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Practice is generally run the same for everyone, however, some players require special attention. In particular, Mickey has taken extra time to help a blind girl who was struggling at first. With a little hard work, he has now molded the child into one of the top hitters on the team. “The heart and soul of my team is my son Mickey, and a parent, Michele Cornell,” said Soccol, noting Cornell began when her now 22 year old daughter joined the squad. For the coaches, their dedication is paid off at the end of the season, when they, the players and the parents have their annual pizza party at Mario’s. The whole team and their relatives are invited at no cost. Once everyone gets seated and gets their food, the coaches award trophies to all of their players. It’s a rewarding experience for all. “It’s chaos, but the kids love it,” said Mike Soccol. “If they are smiling at the end of the game, I’ve done my job.”

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Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award OPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL

Bill Bate, the Passaic County Surrogate, has been involved with law and public service for most all of his adult life. After receiving his degree from the Georgetown Law Center, Bate burst into public service after placing first in the 1966 Clifton City Council election. Although he was snubbed by his peers for the Mayor’s position which traditionally goes to the highest vote getter, Bate would not be deterred. By 1969, Bate won a seat as a Passaic County Freeholder. He later served one term as a New Jersey State Senator and four terms as a NJ Assemblyman. Then, in 1982, Bate was elected to the position of Passaic County Surrogate. Now in his 36th year, he is the longest tenured of any Passaic County elected official. For his life long dedication to the law and public service, Bill Bate has been selected as the recipient of the 2007 Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award. Born in 1934, Bate is a lifetime Clifton resident and the eldest of five siblings. He attended School 1 and spent his freshman year at CHS before transferring to St. Peter’s

William Bate

Prep in Jersey City. After graduating second in his class, Bate earned a full academic scholarship to St. Peter’s College, where he went on to earn the “Most Noble Order of the Peacock,” a distinction earned by 10 graduating seniors with the highest GPA (Bate was No. 4). His outstanding efforts earned him a scholarship to the prestigious Georgetown Law Center. Bate’s interest in public service was sparked by his maternal grandfather, George S. King, who was active in Passaic politics. Following graduation, Bate stayed in Washington to work as an aide to Congressman (later Superior Court Judge) Charles S. Joelson. It was around this time that Bate met his future wife, the former Clara Estrela of Santo Domingo.

Today, as the County Surrogate, Bate’s role is to admit wills to probate, which means the will is proved to have been executed in the manner required by law. The surrogate is also used when a person dies without a will; the surrogate decides who will administer and oversee the estate. The word surrogate means “one who speaks for another.” “I love my job,” says Bate, a longtime fixture at events and social functions across Passaic County. “I love helping people during times of need, especially after a loss of a loved one. I also have a marvelous staff that does a wonderful job helping others.” Still, despite his gregarious nature, he was not so keen on accepting this year’s award. “To tell you the truth, I felt a little funny at first saying yes, but with Clara’s prodding, I did accept this honor,” said Bate. “It’s nice to be recognized in my role as an attorney. I’ve been one for 49 years and to receive this is humbling.” Bate said the most endearing aspect of the award is who it is named for. “While he was only eight years older than me, Judge Salerno was a role model to me in many ways. I especially admired him as a father and as a husband. It is indeed a great honor.”

Many remember the late Joseph James Salerno, at left, as the honorable Passaic County Superior Court Judge, a position held until his death in 1992. But to Cliftonites, Judge Salerno, a longtime Optimist, was also respected for his contributions to his hometown. To commemorate his association with Clifton, Judge Salerno’s name will forever be associated with the Clifton Optimist Club’s Respect For Law Award. The Clifton Optimist Club’s Community Service Award is a fitting tribute to the late Clifton Mayor and longtime Optimist Stanley Zwier, at right, because Zwier was involved in many community events, even up until his death in 1999. March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Stanley Zwier Community Service Award OPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL

Assisting the physically and mentally challenged has become a full-time avocation for Pat Dyche. As the volunteer head coach for the Clifton Special Olympics for the past 25 years, she has dedicated herself time and time again to those who are in need. However, in the past few years, she has gone above and beyond, opening a group home for disabled male adults and most recently, leaving her full-time job to open a women and children consignment shop. For her altruistic deeds, Pat Dyche has been selected as the recipient of the 2007 Optimist Club Stanley Zwier Community Service Award.

Pat Dyche

Dyche’s involvement with the handicapped dates back to about a quarter century ago, at the Passaic County Special Olympics which

were being held at William Paterson University. It was a one-time volunteer job that ended up turning into a life long passion. “Back then, I worked at a local bank and the Passaic County Special Olympics were at William Paterson,” she explained. “The bank officers had asked us if anyone wanted to volunteer and I went. That’s pretty much how I got involved.” Once active with the Special Olympics, Dyche set out to recruit municipalities to sponsor the games. Among the towns that she contacted was Clifton. “I came here to recruit the Recreation Department for the Olympics,” she said. “But at one point, some people we needed didn’t show up, so I basically just went in and kind of took over and have been doing it ever since.”

The Friday Night Canteen is a Rec Dept sponsored program for mentally or physically challenged people that meets every Friday at 6 pm at the Rec Center on Main Ave. Founded over 30 years ago, the Canteen’s activities include Special Olympic competitions, trips, social events and bowling. During warmer months, the Canteen meets at School 3 for softball. For more info on volunteering or to enroll a participant, call 973-470-5956. 52

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

The Special Olympics in Clifton give about 50 athletes an opportunity to compete in various sports, including softball, track and field, basketball, bowling and bacci ball. Although the general principal of the games is for participants to have fun, there is also a strong sense of competition. Top finishers in each event can then move onto the County Games. From there, they get to battle for top honors in the State. Winners at this level are then eligible for the National Games. Dyche has actually had the opportunity to coach in the first National Games, which were held in Ames, Iowa. She was selected from hundreds of applicants That’s Pat, volunteers and participants at an evening of bowling at Garden Palace. across the United States. For employment, Dyche recently left a job and opened “You go to a coaches training camp, where they inter- her own consignment shop in North Haledon for women view you and then place you with athletes from the rest and children. The store, named Repeat After Me, offers of the State as a test. It’s basically a lottery.” recalled for sale “gently used clothing and an assortment of other Dyche, who resides in Haledon . “It was very reward- second-hand items for the home.” ing to be selected.” Reflecting on her longtime involvement with disadBesides the Special Olympics, Dyche manages to vantaged individuals, Dyche said: “They just amaze me find time to help the mentally and physically challenged with that they can do. And it makes so many people so in several other ways. happy. I just find what I do very rewarding.” In Clifton, she volunteers as the head of the Friday Night Canteen, which meets every week at 6 pm at the Rec. Center on Main Ave. Dyche also maintains several other projects that are geared towards helping those Law Office that are less fortunate. In Haledon, she operates a group home for handiGeneral Practice Concentrating in: capped male adults called Living In Freedom. The nonprofit agency houses four individuals who were mem• Real Estate bers of the Friday Night Canteen and will celebrate its Residential sixth year this April. Commercial

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The Heart of Hazel by Joe Hawrylko

Ace & George owners, from left: George Balkjy Sr., George Frederick Balkjy and his wife Laura.

It’s just past 11 on a rainy Thursday morning, yet the door of Ace & George is already opening and closing to an almost precise rhythm. The phone seems to ring non-stop and hungry customers are chatting as they wait to place their orders. These sounds mean just one thing: you’ve entered the Heart of Hazel. Ace & George, a landmark corner store at the intersection of Madeline and 6th Aves. for at least six decades, may not have some fat guy-turned-skinny success story as their spokesperson, a gimmicky song or tv ads but it seems they manage to pull in more customers in their peak hours than their corporate rivals. And they don’t need a huge advertising budget to attract customers to their store. “We get our customers by word of mouth,” said owner George Frederick Balkjy, a lifelong Clifton resident who now resides on Friar Lane. “But we still get a lot of our neighborhood guys. We still sell milk, eggs and all that stuff.” 54

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Indeed, the store has changed quite a bit since his father—WWII veteran, George Balkjy Sr.—purchased the building after returning home in 1945. Originally a neighborhood grocery store, A&G evolved to become more of a lunch time deli as chain supermarkets took over that industry. But one thing has not changed: the Balkjy family still serves up fast, friendly service, quality food and unbeatable deals. “Years ago, we did a lot more, but we’ve gradually changed. We were open until 10 pm, then 8 pm, then cut it back to 6 pm.” said the younger Balkjy. “We still have liquor and beer, but it’s a side thing. We’re basically just a deli now.” “We cater to the lunch crowd.” continued Balkjy, who works with his wife, Laura, and his father, George Sr. “All morning we prepare for lunch, which runs from around 11 am to 2 pm. After that, its just cleaning up before closing around 5:30 pm.”

The first thing you notice when you hit the corner of Sixth and Madeline Ave’s. is the abundance of cars parked up and down the street. Work vans, police and fire vehicles, company cars, many of which have their occupants sitting inside since there is no seating available at Ace & George. Balkjy’s store draws in people from all over the region. And the customers aren’t limited to residents or those that work in town. “I’ve been coming here for 32 years,” said Angelo Paolella, a Fairlawn resident who works on the Garden State Parkway, which is how he learned of A&G. “This is once of the best spots to come for a sandwich; a working man’s place. George is a good guy.” The scene at A&G during the peak hours resembles a shark feeding frenzy right off of the Discovery Channel. One second, the store has no one in it. The next thing you know, a whole crowd has swarmed

Armand Buongiorno, who lives around the corner, has sworn by Ace & George for almost 50 years. “What’s not to like” he said. “Great food, great people.”

onto the place. A line often meanders up the skinny and crowded aisles, right to the front door. For some, such as Todd Williams, it’s this atmosphere that draws him in.

Todd Williams has moved to West Orange but returns loyally to the old neighborhood for great lunchtime values. “All the old Clifton guys still come here,” he said.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid with my grandfather,” explained the 28 year old employee of nearby Lamart Corp. who grew up on Hazel St. and now lives in West Orange. “Sure, its a bit old fashioned, but every day I get to see old George and his smiling face.” According to Balkjy, the thing that draws in most customers is his specials menu, which is written up daily on wet wax paper and posted on the deli case. “Everyday we make a hot special and soup,” explained George Balkjy Jr., 51, who has worked at the store since he was 16. “We have an early lunch, so by the time 12:30 rolls around, most of the stuff—if not all—is gone.” It’s true, get there late and you’ll miss out. The disappointment you’ll feel when seeing the person in front of you order the last portion of the hot broccoli rabe you were craving is something you don’t want to experience.

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


“I’d rather make less food than get stuck at the end of the day with leftovers.” said Balkjy, who attempted to justify the business decision. But after going into the store and seeing how busy it can get, one can argue that that is a conservative statement. However, if your favorite special is crossed off the make-shift specials list on the deli case, there are options. The rest of the menu is just as diverse and equally as affordable. In a rush? There are pre-made sandwiches up front, as well as a variety of salads and other on-the-go foods, all of which are made that morning. But if you got a few minutes to queue in line, you can get yourself a real bargain by ordering a freshly made sub.

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For over 12 years now, Ben Peterson, 81, has been a fixture behind the counter at Ace & George. Also pictured is CHS senior Patrick Guardiano, who has worked there for about a year.

“It’s a great value. You get a lot for not a lot of money,” explained Vince Murray, who has eaten here regularly for the past seven years with co-workers from AGL Welding Supply. “And it’s a really nice, friendly atmosphere. Plus, I like talking to George Sr.” Foot long sandwiches come packed with quality meat, more than you’ll find at any chain place. And the aroma of storemade roast beef often wafts in the air. Quality Italian breads from Gianella’s in Paterson or Dom’s of Hoboken also make sandwiches tasty. The best part is, most of the subs are only $3. With all that is offered at Ace & George, it’s easy to see why they don’t have to worry about advertising or competition. How do they do it? “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. We work on volume here... we own the building and we pride ourselves on being fair and having quality food at a good price,” claimed Balkjy. And the customers appreciate it. Perhaps Derek Gerrard, a CHS ‘99 grad who lives in Dutch Hill, said it best: “Listen, for $3 a sub, how can you eat anywhere else?”

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Frozen foods manager John Forminio, pictured right with his staff, Marco Arroyo, Alejandro Lozano and Wilbert Kennedy, remind you to shop the three aisles of frozen foods during March. All month long, you’ll find great savings on products. For coupons and info on how to enter the $10,000 Freezer Favorites Sweepstakes, go to

Fresh Fish and Seafood You might recognize Pasquale Castaldo. He’s a part-time Clifton Special Police Officer, a job that he takes much pride in. Likewise, he treats his full-time job at the Paulison Ave. ShopRite the same way. As the head of the Seafood Department, it is Castaldo’s job to ensure that only the freshest fish and seafood are offered daily. Like the rest of the store, his department is spotless, so there is no doubt that you are getting the day’s catch. For the upcoming holidays, Castaldo has a variety of traditional seafoods on hand, including shrimp, lobster, baccala, scungilli, calamari and pulpo, all of which can be combined into a platter. Castaldo also welcomes any special orders you may have. March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Taking ACTION by Jordan Schwartz

Hazel residents, from left, Robert Darcy, Vivian Lalumia, Elaine Yaccarino, Matt Lalumia and the Lalumia’s 12-year-old Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Max meeting in the Lalumias’ home on Van Orden Pl. This and facing photo by Christopher Sadowski.

Vivian Lalumia says residents need to take the initiative if they want to see improvements in the Hazel section of town. That’s why she stepped forward to represent her neighborhood on the new All Clifton Together In Our Neighborhoods (ACTION) group. She did so after reading an article about the group in January’s Merchant. In it, Lalumia found that the Hazel section of town had no representative. She took her activism one step further when she sent a letter to all her neighbors on Feb. 1. Attached to the letter was the Resident Customer Satisfaction Survey published in this magazine. The survey asks respondents to rate the main weaknesses in the city such as transportation and schools. At its first meeting in January, the ACTION group met with members of the Clifton Police Department. 58

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Lalumia’s Van Orden Pl. neighbor Robert Darcy probably wishes he was there for that meeting. He says over the past couple years he’s heard of neighbors having their tires punctured, windows broken and lawn mowers stolen. Darcy says some teens tried to take bicycles from his driveway last summer, but the police apprehended them before they were able to get away. “The crime is coming more and more and maybe more patrols would help, but it’s not all on the cops,” said Darcy, who moved to the area from Allendale 11 years ago. “The people are the ones that make a neighborhood good, and the people who don’t belong here are the ones that make it bad.” Lalumia says residents don’t sit out on their porches like they used to, and that lack of a neighborhood

watch may be contributing to what appears to be an increase in criminal activity. Lalumia remembers a time when Mrs. Worchola across the street would look out her door all day, keeping a watch over who was walking through the neighborhood and calling the police if she didn’t recognize some one. But Mrs. Worchola died recently, and so Lalumia now pokes her head out once in a while to see what’s happening on her street. Darcy says the crime problem and issues in the school system are related. The real estate investor and father of two is concerned by the need for metal detectors at CHS. “My kids aren’t going to that high school, it’s not a safe environment for my girls,” Darcy said. Darcy’s nine and 11-year-old daughters attend School 1, a school their father says has great teachers, but he’d move before sending his kids to CHS. Safety is a concern for residents of Downtown Clifton as well. “There used to be foot patrol but policing has been cut down,” said Marie Schultheis, an ACTION group member who represents Clifton Center East. “The police are working as hard as they can, but there should be increased staffing in the gang unit.” The Passaic County Sheriff’s Department is scheduled to discuss gang-related activities with the ACTION group in March. Carmini Laloo has lived in Schultheis’ Burgh Ave. apartment building for the past seven years. She agrees with her neighbor. “You have kids walking around all hours of the night. If there’s cops around, the kids will scatter,” said Laloo, an immigrant from Trinidad. Laloo has worked in Downtown Clifton for 20 years, starting out at Belly Busters on Main Ave. before it became Master Pizza. She now works at Greater

Burgh Ave. neighbors Carmini Laloo (left) and Marie Schultheis at the Midtown Grill said they agree that the overall quality of Downtown stores has declined over the years. Community Bank in Downtown. While Laloo is worried that two new Downtown banks may cause congestion in the marketplace, she says she’d rather see smaller community banks open up than bigger franchises. “Smaller banks cater better to the customer,” said Laloo. “You have that personal relationship with customers.” Schultheis and Laloo both say one of the best things about living Downtown is the proximity to the banks, the post office and other businesses such as Walgreens and Dunkin’ Donuts.


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But they agree that the overall quality of Downtown stores has declined over the years. “You used to have places that were worth going into,” said Schultheis, noting the shopping area does not offer much. She added that parking is a problem as well. She says residents and merchants would like to see meters installed because visitors to Pioneer Science Academy on Main Ave. take up a lot of parking spaces when there’s an event going on there. Schultheis says she’d also like to see more night time recreational opportunities for children because the parks don’t have lights and so youngsters can’t play there after the sun goes down. These are some of the issues that Schultheis brings up at ACTION meetings. She, like Lalumia, believes that the key to success is a group effort. “We need neighbors to come together in order to solve problems,” said Schultheis. Special

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All Clifton Together In Our Neighborhoods (ACTION) is a nonpolitical committee made up of two people from each of the 15 neighborhoods in Clifton. The group meets on the second Monday of the month. At its most recent session on Feb. 12, ACTION members met with the head of the Public Works Department. “I didn’t know how much public works does,” said Vivian Lalumia, who’s lived in the same Van Orden Pl. house for the past 65 years. “People should know what services they provide.” Public works director Vincent Cahill told the two dozen people in attendance at the Clifton Senior Center that his department is responsible for tree and recreation maintenance, cleaning and repairing city owned property and vehicles and recycling. Cahill reminded Cliftonites that the city does not pick up plastic from curbs and it should be brought to the recycling center instead. In January, Clifton began a seven month program in which it will send a different city department each month to meet with the committee. Police Chief Robert Ferreri along with a number of his staff met with ACTION on Jan. 8 because a December survey of the group’s 25 members ranked police and downtown safety at the bottom of their ‘Customer Satisfaction’ list. The Passaic County Sheriff’s Department is going to discuss gangrelated activities with the ACTION group in March. To find out who represents your neighborhood on the ACTION committee, call the City Clerk at 973-470-5829.

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Clifton Center by Jordan Schwartz

While many parts of Clifton are experiencing an influx of newcomers, one section of Washington Ave. in Clifton Center is home to a number of veteran Cliftonites. Harry Murphy may have been born and raised in Kearny, but he’s spent most of his life in his Clifton neighborhood. Murphy, 75, moved to Valley Rd. in 1955 after marrying his wife Arlene. Seven years later, they purchased a home on Washington Ave. across from School 3. The couple still lives there today and recently celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. Murphy says the best thing about his street are the neighbors. The only problem he’s ever had with them is when years ago School 3 parents and employees used to park on the street in front of his house. Murphy solicited the help of city officials and they responded by building a parking lot on the side of the school. Overall, Murphy says the City Council is doing a good job and his only gripe is taxes. He’d also like to see something done about the way high schoolers dress. “I can’t believe the parents let them go out like that,” said Murphy. “Kids’s a different world.” But Murphy isn’t holding it against them. He voted in favor of the failed Latteri Park school referendum in December. “They need schools bad. Classrooms are too crowded,” Murphy said. Murphy’s two sons and one daughter each went through the

“I receive the body and blood of Christ and then it seems like the rest of my day just falls in place for me,” said Harry Murphy standing outside of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic at the corner of Union and Second Aves. Clifton school district, walking across the street to School 3 before graduating CHS in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Two sons Glen, 48, and Brian, 47, went on to attend Fairleigh Dickinson University and daughter Lisa, 42, attended Berkeley. Glen is only a few months away from becoming a deacon in Sparta and Murphy couldn’t be more proud. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Murphy attends liturgy at

St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church a few block away every morning. “I receive the body and blood of Christ and then it seems like the rest of my day just falls in place for me,” said Murphy. He’s been spending a lot more time at church since retiring from his job as a carpenter. Murphy’s fellow parishioner and long-time neighbor Sarah Lombardo retired 13 years ago from her job at City Hall.

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


She started working there in the late ‘50s as a telephone operator and moved up the ranks for 35 years until she ended up as telephone systems supervisor. Lombardo was born in Passaic, but her family moved to Clifton when she was a teenager. She married her husband Fred in 1946 and they moved to Washington Ave. nine years later. Lombardo says there was no Paulison Ave. back then and they lived next to a farm. “I could walk 10 blocks and be in the bustling center of Clifton, then go home and feel like I was on a farm,” said Lombardo. Like many other Downtown veterans, she says the worst thing to happen to Clifton Center was the relocation of City Hall. “It affected it terribly,” Lombardo said. “I would like to see Clifton Center restored to what it was. There are a lot of empty stores down there right now. You need a good anchor store like a nice department store. There’s enough room down there.” However, Lombardo is happy with the housing department and Council, but would like changes.

Sarah and Fred Lombardo.

“I would like to see the Mayor and the Council’s salary increased. The Mayor makes $4,500 and Council members make $4,000 a year. It’s ludicrous right now,” Lombardo said. Lombardo is also pleased with the city’s school system. Her children went to School 3, Christopher Columbus Middle School and CHS, where husband Fred taught.

What makes your neighborhood unique? It’s still relatively quiet. We have nice neighbors, that’s what a neighborhood is to me. You can be as involved as you want to be. People are there to help if you need them, but they don’t butt into your lives.

Peter Bakarich It’s almost like a big city.

Robert Merrell I’ve met a lot of people that I’ve had connections with for different reasons. I also like going to Neil’s Pizza, that’s why my pants don’t fit. It’s a love-hate relationship.

I’ve always liked my neighborhood. It’s quiet and yet we’re close to everything—highways, shopping, Corrado’s. It was a neighborhood that never really changed that much until the past 10 years, but we’re very happy here.

Joe De Liberto

I love gardening and flowers and the other neighbors follow up and make the block look beautiful.

William Kabbash I have children so I liked the fact that it’s near School 3. The girls always had people to play with when they were little.

Rae Angela Ruggiero

My neighborhood’s probably the best kept secret in Clifton.

Tom Mullin

Robert Darcy

Rich DeLotto It’s very quiet. The neighbors are very friendly and people look out for each other. It’s convenient with easy access to all the major highways and we’re close to all the schools.

The homes here are older but they have the charm of pre-war construction. My home was built in the ‘20s and has beautiful stained glass windows.

Rose Misajet

Louise Sela

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Thomas Woroschak

It’s good to be close to the stadium so you can go over to watch the band, football team and fireworks.

Christopher Columbus Middle School and Clifton High School are within walking distance.


The pride my neighbors take in maintaining their properties.

Ann Gunderman

It’s family-oriented and friendly.

Vivian Lalumia The sense of togetherness during the holidays created by the special events held Downtown. It’s also very convenient to have so many busses running down Main Ave.

Carmini Laloo Quiet, friendly neighbors.

Robert Pasch

Fred Lombardo’s fellow high school teacher and next-door neighbor Tom Mullin is yet another Washington Ave. mainstay. Then just a sixth grader, Mullin moved with his parents from Paterson to 344 Washington Ave. in 1953. “It’s a nice neighborhood, well kept, it’s stable, it’s safe, we can walk around any hour of the day or night,” said Mullin, 65. “It’s close to stores, churches and the school is across the street.” Mullin began teaching at CHS in the early ‘70s and married his wife Joan in 1973. He retired two years ago but remains involved in education. He serves on the board of the Clifton Education Foundation. It’s a group of people who provide grants to Clifton teachers for projects they would like to do, but aren’t budgeted for. “Anything that would make their subject more meaningful to their students,” Mullin said. Mullin has also been the commissioner on the Board of Recreation for more than 30 years. He voted against locating a new school on Latteri Park because he says the park gets a lot of use and should remain as such. Mullin says the Athenia Steel property is the best choice for a school because it’s centrally located and could be secured at a very low cost. Over on Piaget Ave., a younger couple would disagree with Mullin. Cheryl and Ray Mauro married and moved into 311 Piaget Ave. in Jan., 1993. They have two young children and the close proximity to Main Ave. and the library comes in handy. Their 11-year-old daughter Taylor is in sixth grade at Classical Academy and their seven-year-old son Reed attends second grade at School 3. Ray says the public schools are fine at the elementary level, but he’s not happy with CCMS or the high school. “Kids are the first order of business. I would like to see less crowding in the school and better protection for our kids,” said Mauro. Ray voted in favor of the Latteri Park school and was disappointed to see the referendum fail. He and his wife are now considering moving out of Clifton when Reed completes elementary school. Mauro, 49, says he would also like to see the litter issue improved. “We’re an offshoot of Rt. 46 and we get lots of garbage on our front lawn from the traffic and from Burger King and White Castle,” Mauro said. The ‘76 CHS grad may have some complaints, but he says there’s a lot of good in Clifton, too. “I still love the city,” said Mauro. “There’s still a lot of potential.”

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


or the first time, we are “springing ahead” on March 11th. How welcome the longer day light will be! For all those people who have trouble changing the date and time on their watches, don’t hesitate to stop in. We will be happy to do it at no charge. As you can see from our “ad” on pg. 43, we are now buying old gold. For all who are holding on to bits and pieces of broken or no longer used jewelry, we suggest that you convert it into money. Gold is at a 15 year high, so turn your scrap into cash - or put it towards a new exciting piece of jewelry! If you ever wanted to own a Concord watch, this is the time. we are offering deep discounts because we are currently overstocked. There are other close-outs available in Raymond Weil, Roven Dino & Movado. Now a jewelry update! Yellow gold is showing up in all the lines we’ve been seeing. It has been quiet for the last decade - but it’s warm glow is a welcomed change.

Combinations of all metals are being coupled with a huge variety of semi precious stones. The cuts and colors are truly unique. If you add one thing to your jewelry wardrobe, think color for this spring. White gold is still dominant but keep your eyes on yellow and pink gold too. The birthstone for March is Aquamarine, which is found in refreshing shades of pastel blue. the myth: Universal symbol of youth, hope and health. This stone ensures a long and happy marriage. Have a “Memorable March”. We’ll talk to you again next month.

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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

What issues would you’d like the City Council to address? I’m really unhappy that where my child lives determines if she goes to full or half day kindergarten. We all pay the same taxes. As education gets worse, no one is going to want to move to Clifton. I’m not really happy with the fact that we voted for a change and our City Council really can’t do much.

Greg Pych Getting minority people involved with community committees.

Vivian Lalumia Slow down traffic at school crossings to 25 mph; add neighborhood police patrol cars. The Council needs to work with the Board to add on to existing schools.

William Kabbash

The overcrowding in the schools.

Rose Misajet Pick a spot and build a school, I mean, come on. Other cities are able to do that and we’re just marching in place and the problem keeps getting worse.

Joe De Liberto In government, a little more cooperation and less personality problems that get in the way.

Rae Angela Ruggiero Cars speeding on Luddington Ave. We’ve had signs up to try and curb the traffic, but it’s still difficult to get out of the driveway. The schools need some work as well.

Roy Noonburg

The way property owners do not maintain their property.

I don’t think the Council should be worried about fixing someone’s sidewalk, they should be worried about bigger issues. In some ways this community is still living in the 1950s. We need to look forward if we’re going to grow.

Robert Pasch

Bob Morgan

Potholes have been repaired over and over on Barrington Ave.... it should be repaved. The Council should also impress upon the immigrants to learn our language and to take care of their properties so as to not bring Clifton down.

Traffic in the morning and at 5 pm on 7th St. It needs to be a one way! And school overcrowding.

Thomas Woroschak

Robert Darcy

Stop the rampant development of dwellings. I think the condo development on Colfax was a mistake.

There’s too much overdevelopment which is bringing more kids into schools that are already overcrowded. I’d like to see more senior housing.

No more schools or restaurants! There’s too much traffic and litter, too many chiefs, not enough Indians.

Susan Olivieri

Tom Mullin Give the kids get a new school.

Michele Perez Cars flying up and down the road and people going through your garbage.

John Filippone

Marie Schultheis

Solve the school issue and provide a clear plan for Clifton’s future. The schools situation... it’s the economic engine for the town.

Overcrowded schools. School 3 was fine, but now I send my two daughters to private schools because the middle and high schools are too crowded.

Bill Rooney

Janice Grant

Peter Bakarich

The love of Clifton is what’s kept Ann Gunderman here since birth. She has been living on Union Ave. for the past 16 years, but spent her whole life in Clifton. She and her husband Tom married in 1981 and lived on Edward Court off of Hazel St. before moving to Union Ave. Gunderman worked at School 3 for 11 years as a lunch aide and paraprofessional The proximity to the school is one of the things she likes about the neighborhood. She recently returned home fulltime to care for her new grandson so her daughter Christine, 30, could go back to work. Gunderman has three children, including a 16-yearold in the high school. While she doesn’t have a big problem with CHS, Gunderman says the overcrowding issue affects students. Her son Justin is a zero period student. To ease the overcrowding, he attends school from 7 am to 1 pm. Gunderman knows there’s no easy solution to the problem. “I don’t think anyone’s going to be happy with any place they put it,” said Gunderman. “We do need another school, though.” John Filippone, 78, of Luddington Ave. agrees. He would like to see city officials come together and finally iron out the school issue. “They’re wasting a lot of time trying to find a solution, and in the meantime, the kids are suffering,” Filippone said. Locally, he would like to see traffic calming devices installed on his road. “It’s 25 miles per hour and people go down like it’s a highway,” said Filippone. But on the whole, he says he likes where he lives. “All my neighbors look out for one another,” he said. Filippone was born in Passaic but moved to Clifton when he was eight. He would marry his wife Rose

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Marie and move into a two-family house on Grace Ave. Deciding they wanted a home with a garage and a larger yard, they moved to their Luddington Ave. home near Fifth Ave. in the early ‘80s. Across Luddington, Sam and Louise Sela have lived in the same house for 28 years. They chose it, in part, for its unique colonial exterior and spacious interior. Louise says there have been one or two problems over the years such as when they wanted their sidewalks fixed. Sela said the city refused to pay for the work because it had already made improvements within the past 25 years. “I don’t think it’s fair that we had to replace it ourselves,” said Sela. But at other times, she said the city is very accommodating, such as when the DPW clears away branches and overgrown roots. Louise says Luddington Ave. was a good neighborhood for her kids to meet friends when they

People move to Clifton for many reasons. Some are attracted to its quiet neighborhoods, others to its unique homes, but for Bill and Kathy Rooney, it was just simple geography. were growing up. Her children are now in their twenties and Sela says they’ve decided they don’t want to settle back in Clifton because the community is changing. The temple Sela belonged to in Passaic closed last year due to a diminishing congregation. She chose to join a new synagogue in Montclair because she was afraid the Clifton temples would suffer the same fate. But people move here for many reasons. Some are attracted to its quiet neighborhoods, others to its unique homes, but for one couple, it was just simple geography. “We moved to Clifton after getting married in 1977,” said Bill Rooney, who lives with his wife Kathy on Washington Ave. “She worked in Parsippany and I worked

in North Bergen, so we took a map, drew a line between the two towns, bisected it, and that was Clifton.” Rooney figured they’d buy a house, stay in Clifton for five years and then move somewhere else, but he and his wife wound up liking the neighborhood and city so much that they stayed. “We have a very active neighborhood. It’s kind of fun during the summer, we close off the street and have a street fair with all the neighbors. It’s a pretty tight-knit group,” said Rooney. “A lot of our friends who live in surrounding higher-priced towns have to spend most of their time in the car with their kids,” Rooney added. “In Clifton, everything is so close so you don’t have to ferry the kids around.”

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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

The Clifton Middle Schools Carnival is May 30 to June 3 at CCMS Field. Parents of kids in Christopher Columbus and Woodrow Wilson middle schools are organizing the fundraiser. There will be carnival rides for all ages, games and food. Ride wristbands are being offered at the pre-sale price of $50. To reserve a wristband, send a stamped selfaddressed envelope along with a check made payable to WWMS H.S.A. to Ken Bender, 137 Harrington Rd., Clifton, NJ 07012.

Taoist Taiji or Tai Chi is a classical Chinese internal martial arts form that is expressed by slow, graceful, round movements, pictured above. Variations of its basic training forms are practiced and are said to offer powerful healing properties. Clifton resident Karen Schulz, who will be leading a class in the art on Tuesday mornings at Yogacentric in the Route 46 Shopping Plaza, said with regular practice, it can energize, strengthen, and unify body, mind and spirit. Classes are accessible to anyone regardless of age or physical condition. Call 973-278-0591 for info.

The Clifton Jr. Mustangs and the Clifton Colts (above at Albion Park) have united to form a stronger football program. Youth ages 7 to 14 can enroll for one of the four levels of competition. Registration is at the Main Ave. Rec Center on March 7 and 8 from 7 to 8:30 pm. For info, call 973-473-5276. Board of Ed President Marie Hakim will be honored by the Clifton Education Foundation at the Valley Regency on April 22 at 12:30 pm. Hakim is the 2006 State School Board Member of the Year by the NJSBA and has served 17 years on the Clifton BOE, four as President. She also serves on the Passaic County School Boards Association. Tickets are $50. For tickets or ad journal info, call 973778-7704 or 973-523-6215. Clifton resident John Muller has been recognized for his fundraising efforts at Roosevelt School 17 in Elizabeth. The sixth grade teacher was honored by that district in Nov. for helping students raise $600 for the Amish families affected by the Nickel Mines tragedy. Muller was

recognized again, along with several other teachers, last month for outstanding service to students and for dedication to community service. Since Sept., the school has raised $1,300 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Here in Clifton, Muller has coordinated the annual Blues Cruise for St. Peter’s Haven and various events related to the musical genre of the Blues. He has been with the Elizabeth Schools for 19 years. The CHS Concert Choir hosts fundraising nights at the Burger King in Clifton. Purchase food there on March 6 or 27 between 4 and 8 pm and the choir will receive a portion of the sales. The money raised goes toward the group’s scholarship fund and expenses incurred for concert trips. The CHS Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) meets March 5 at 7 pm in the media center at the high school. Meetings are held every first Monday of the month and are open to all parents or guardians of students attending the high school so they can stay informed and involved.

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


The Third Annual Michael N. Corradino Service Above Self Awards is presented by the Clifton -Passaic Chapter of UNICO National at its Gala Award Dinner Dance. The black tie optional event is March 16, 7 pm at Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove. The award is presented to those organizations and individuals in Passaic and Clifton, recognized for their unselfish service to the community and for work above and beyond their normal duties and which best exemplifies the UNICO motto “Service Above Self.” Receiving the awards are Clifton Junior Mustang Football Coach Joe Gaccione, Passaic Police Sgt. Louis Gentile and Congressman Bill Pascrell. For tickets or ad journal info call David D’Arco at 973-417-0731 or Ricky Bagolie at 201-618-0508.

The Geraci Citizens League’s 77th anniversary feast of Sicilian culture, food and music is on March 9 at the Valley Regency. Call Nina and Frank Corradino for tickets at 973-278-0356. The League was first organized in 1930 by Passaic residents from the Sicilian village of Geraci Siculo. School 11’s Pirates’ Treasure Cove Tricky Tray is March 16 at the Grand Chalet in Wayne. Tickets are $25 and include dinner and a sheet of small prize tickets. For tickets and info, call 973-546-5111.

Congressman Bill Pascrell, pictured above, Coach Joe Gaccione and Passaic Police Sgt. Louis Gentile will be honored by UNICO on March 16.

The School 15 Home & School Association’s Tricky Tray is on March 30 at 6:30 pm at the Boys & Girls Club on Colfax Ave. A $15 ticket includes a sheet of main prize raffle tickets. Call Nancy Delaney at 973-951-5024 for info. School 16’s Casino Night and Tricky Tray hosted by the Home and School Association is on March 15 at the Valley Regency on Valley Rd. Tickets are $45; call Geralyn Plaskon at 973-471-0779. Marian Rosary Society of SS. Cyril & Methodius Church on Ackerman Ave. presents a fish and chips dinner on March 21 at 5:30 pm in the church hall. Tickets are $12 and take out orders are available. For info call 973-777-9617 or 973-772-8806. St. Andrew’s Home and School Association’s Annual Beefsteak Dinner and Night at the Races is on March 10 in the church hall at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $35. Call Holly Cedro at 973-773-1946, Rosemary Trinkle Baran at 973-779-4611 or the school office at 973-473-3711.

Clifton Hungarians will mark the 1848 peaceful revolution and Independence of this nation with a flag raising on March 15 at 9:30 am at Clifton City Hall. Pastors from St. Steven’s RC Magyar Church and the Hungarian Reform Church in Passaic will be on hand. The public is invited. For info, call Teddy Harsaghy at 973-340-9075. 70

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

St. Brendan School’s Beefsteak Dinner Dance is on March 10 from 7 to 11 pm. For $40 tickets, send checks payable to St. Brendan School, 154 E. 1st St., Clifton, NJ 07011 or call 973-772-1149.

Paramus Catholic High School is holding its Spring Craft Show on March 18 from 10 am to 5 pm at the school on Paramus Rd. The event has grown to feature more than 125 artisans offering a variety of items. Crafters will display original handmade spring and holiday gifts and decorations, floral arrangements, jewelry and pottery. Tickets are $3. For info, call 201-907-0448.

The Marching Mustang Band Alumni hosts moonlight bowling at Parkway Lanes in Elmwood Park at 8:30 pm on March 3. The $40 ticket includes three games of bowling and shoe rental for two, and buffet. Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund and other activities for the Showband of the Northeast. For info, call Ron or Paula Burrofato at 973-772-2032.

Carole Werksman Leipzig, Penny Perley Randvanly and Bryant Stanley of the CHS Class of 1953. Call Virginia Hakim Contrino at 201-337-1098 for info on plans for the 55th year reunion in 2008.

The CHS Class of 1953 is planning its 55th year reunion. While the event will be held in 2008 on a date and at a location TBD, organizers Carole Werksman Leipzig (201-6770556), Nancy Taylor Egan (973778-4164 or and Virginia Hakim Contrino (201337-1098 or seek help in finding classmates. Write or call them for more details.

Student Ambassadors of St. Andrew’s RC School are pictured with their Principal Sr. Margaret (at right) at the City Council meeting during Catholic Schools Week. Councilman Steve Hatala presented the students with a resolution honoring Sr. Mary Charles (at left), Hatala’s 5th Grade teacher when he attended St. Andrew’s.

Join us on our Lenten Journey! Who hasn't taken the journey with Judy Garland as Dorothy as she makes her way down the yellow brick road in "The Wizard of Oz?" Or the trek with Moses to the top of Mount Sinai in Cecil B. DeMille's "The 10 Commandments." The Christian seasons are all about journeys -- not unlike those of Dorothy and Moses. What you might not know is that actress Judy Garland and director Cecil B. DeMille were also Episcopalians. They were in good company: So too were George Washington; Betsy Ross, the famed flag maker; Natalie Cole, daughter of vocalist Nat "King" Cole; Buzz Aldrin, who stepped on the Moon right after Neil Armstrong in 1969, and Clifton's first mayor, Clarence Finkle. Come join St. Peter's Episcopal Church -- Clifton's only Episcopal parish -- as its marks the seasons of Lent and Easter.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

380 Clifton Ave. Sunday services at 8 and 10:15 a.m.; Sunday School at 9 a.m. 973-546-5020 March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


The 3rd Annual Blues Cruise Sunset Sails serve as a fundraiser to benefit Clifton’s St. Peter’s Haven for Families in Need. Departure aboard the historic A.J. Meerwald, pictured at right, takes place at 6 pm from Liberty State Park for a two-plus hour cruise along the Hudson River skyline. Coordinator John Muller has lined up bands to perform on the deck on July 10, 12 and 18. For info: 973-546-3406.

Party aboard the A.J. Meerwald on July 10, 12 and 18 with friends of St. Peter’s Haven.

St. Peter’s Haven is holding its annual fundraising Tricky Tray and Dinner on May 3 at 6:30 pm at the Brownstone in Paterson. Proceeds will allow the Haven to expand its temporary sheltering program. Fore more info, call 973-546-3406.


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The Passaic County Mental Health Board is a volunteer Freeholder Advisory Board that provides elected officials with information on issues related to the mental health population. Its mission is to promote wellness and to end the stigma associated with mental illness. The next meeting is March 7. Members are always needed. Call Francine Vince at 973-225-3700 or e-mail her at Are you a member of a Passaic County non-profit organization looking for funding for a project related to New Jersey history or a Passaic County non-profit history group looking for support funding? If so, contact Amy Birnbaum at for info as the PCCHC begins a new grant program through the New Jersey Historical Commission. Clifton’s County Democratic Committee hosts a St. Patrick’s & St. Joseph’s Day Luncheon on March 17 at noon at the Clifton Elks Lodge at the corner of Clifton and Colfax Aves. Admission is $20 for an all-you-caneat corned beef and cabbage dinner. R.S.V.P to Margaret Nysk at 973-470-9166 before. March 9. Make checks payable to Clifton Democratic Organization, and mail to 32 Greendale Rd., Clifton, NJ 07013.

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The Clifton Chapter of Wellness Moms America has been launched. It’s a group devoted to empowering today’s families to optimize their health potential. Topics on how to raise healthy children will be discussed each month. Issues such as eating healthy, exercise, pregnancy and natural birthing advice are among the many issues that may be discussed. Monthly meetings will be held on the second Wednesday of each month from 7:30 to 8:45 pm at Clifton Memorial Library. Free. For more information call Dr. Suzi Schulman, 973-742-3400.


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March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

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Reunion organizers are still looking for class pictures from these years: 1983, 1981, 1980, 1978, 1973, 1966, 1964, 1962, 1958 and 1957. Alumni of all ages are invited to get involved. . Call Toni Russin at 973-546-4695 with any information.


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Sacred Heart School in Botany Village has a great history and one which we intend to celebrate later this year. To get alumni involved, we are publishing this photo of the Class of 2003 to urge you to become involved. To support your school and find out more, call Toni Russin at 973-546-4695. March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Give my regards to the Boys Club As part of our year long celebration of the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton’s 60th anniversary, we’ve found more interesting photos. And while searching the files, we came across a common theme: over the years, the club had numerous live performances, from orchestras to rock and roll shows. On these pages are three of the bands and performers who were either members or entertained the kids at the club. While the two bands offered no written clues—we’re hoping readers will let us know the names of the boys in the photos—this photo at right came with some details on Joey Sheptock. Handwritten on the back of his publicity still was Joey’s address—56 Cheever Ave., and a phone number which is now disconnected. The blonde hair, blue eyed 12 year old was a dancer, singer, comedienne and impersonator and it was noted he also played piano and did magic. The handwritten bio stated Sheptock was a regular on the Startime TV Show and performed at several high-profile Borscht Belt resorts in The Catskills, such as Grossinger’s and the Concord. Sheptock made appearances on the Milton Berle Show, Jerry Lewis Show, performed for various telethons and was on the stage at Madison


March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

We found this publicity still of Joey Sheptock from Cheever Ave. in the club’s archives. Can you help us find him and the other boys pictured on these pages?

Square Garden. He was a busy kid, that Joey Sheptock. But whatever happened to Joey and the other boys pictured on these pages? We’d like to know and we ask your help in finding out. If you are pictured in the photos or can identify someone who is, contact us. If you’d like to share this info or other memorabilia regarding the Club, call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400 or write to As part of the Club’s 60th anniversary celebration, we will publish other photos and stories during 2007.

The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton has come a long way from its founding in Botany in 1947. Located at 820 Clifton Ave. since 1958, the organization is seeking former members to rekindle their bond with the club by joining the Come on Home campaign. For details on today’s Club and to find out how it has expanded it services, or to donate a gift to support the good work it does, call the Club’s Executive Director Bob Foster at 973-773-0966, go to or write to him at

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‘Congratulations to the Boys & Girls Club on 60 years of Service to Clifton’ For the last 10 years, Dante Liberti has travelled the United States, talking to retirees and soon-to-be retirees in seminars and workshops. All over the country, the questions are the same: • If I or my spouse becomes sick, will we lose everything? • What if we outlive our money? • Do we need a trust to take care of our assets? • Are we paying too much tax? There are real and straightfor- Hampshire. He is an expert in the Dante P. ward answers to these questions, insurance, investment, financial and Dante would like to help you and estate planning areas, particuLiberti, CFP larly as they pertain to the needs of find out about them. Dante Liberti is a member of the seniors and retirees. From 1995 to 2001, Dante hosted Stratford Financial Group of Fairfield, New Jersey. Mr. Liberti is “For Your Benefit”, a syndicated a Certified Financial Planner who financial call-in radio show in the The show was has been advising people on finan- tri-state area. cial matters since 1983. Dante is a recently renewed, and now airs national speaker for the nationally Sunday mornings from 9:00 to acclaimed Elite Producers Group 10:00 on AM 1250, WMTR. Tune in based in Manchester, New some Sunday morning! March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


New Jersey Music and Arts, Inc. is presenting the 4th One Heart International Festival of music, dance and drama on April 1 at 5:30 pm at the Woodrow Wilson Middle School Auditorium. Tickets are $10, $8 for students and seniors. There will be a 4:30 pm free preperformance lecture by Prof. Robert Beebe on Culture and World Peace. The theme of the festival is Beauty in Diversity, a celebration of the many cultures of the world. Among the performers will be Korean concert pianist Tae Yeon Lim, Japanese singer Sahoko Sato, Mexican singer Virgina Herrera, The Kennedy Dancers, classical guitarist John Chamley, the Inka Dance Group (Peruvian dance), the New Hope Players and the One Heart Dancers. There will also be an art exhibit by Clifton artists Michael Rossi and Elise Lambert. This program is sponsored in part by the Passaic County Culture and Heritage Council. The auditorium is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 973-272-3255 or visit them online at The Peruvian Dance troupe Inka, pictured above, will perform in the One Heart International Festival on April 1 at WWMS. At left, Kaleidoscope, on exhibit at the Clifton Arts Center.

The Clifton Association of Artists presents Kaleidoscope at the Clifton Arts Center from March 7 to April 14. The exhibit will include works in various art mediums such as oil, acrylic, pastels, and mixed media by professional and amateur artists from Clifton and surrounding communities. There will be a reception on March 10, from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $1. Gallery hours are Wed. through Sat., 1 pm to 4 pm. Group tours by appointment. Call 973-472-5499. 76

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

The Clifton - Passaic Chapter of UNICO National is holding its Sixth Annual Spring Concert on April 15 at 3 pm at Bliss (formerly Joey’s) on Allwood Rd. Performing are El Supremo at 3:30, Brookwood (at right) at 4:30 and the Flying Mueller Brothers (below) at 5:30. The concert benefits CHS Project Graduation, the Mustang Marching Band, the Passaic High School Marching Band and the UNICO Italian American Scholarship Fund. For tickets ($10), call 973-773-2110.


Spr ing

Brookwood rocks at Bliss on April 15 in the Sixth Annual UNICO Benefit Spring Concert.

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‘07 Clifton Family Super Bowl Party

Now in its 9th year, the Annual Clifton Super Bowl Party has progressively gotten bigger and better. Over 400 people came to this alcohol and gambling free event thanks to the Boys & Girls Club, which once again offered their building for use. For those unin-

terested in watching the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears, there was an open pool and gym, as well as plenty of hot dogs, pizza, drinks and dessert. The photos on the following pages are a sample of the people who came out to enjoy themselves on Feb. 4.


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Thanks to our volunteers, Chitey Jimey, Amanda Catanese, Christie Butterfield, Joni De Guzman, Angelka Mazur, Tatiana Gerardino, Perla Esquivel, Jessa Byrne, Bassel Bashjamish, Natalie Castrillon, Gino Escobar, Felix Ryan, Justin Hogges, Jonathan Abreu-Cabrera, Steven Knight, Punam Patel, Tom Hawrylko, Cheryl Hawrylko, Carly Hawrylko Marie Angello, Susan Polito. There was also many students from the CHS Jr. ROTC, REBEL and The Keystone Club. Mike Pagani, Josh Killian, Joe Killian, Brenna Heisterman, Deanna

Perez, Casilda Serrano, Karen Olazabal, Ivan Perez, Wendi Wayne, Roy Velasco, William Pichardo, Luis Quispe, John Cespedes, Giancarlo Cossio, Hector Skilen, Mario Mauro, Stephanie Cornejo, Mark Leszczyszar, Rhicia Bertrand, Eloisa Paredes, Marcial Zaldivar, Jordan Bissom, Ivan Donesa, Kelvin Knudtarraria, Jasmine Adams, Kevin Petersen, Chelsea Gurley, Samantha Reese. Tabia Mallison, Donnalayha Cook, Karolann Jones, Donte Glenn, Felicia Barbosa, Rebecca Williams, Tiombe Johnson, Joelinne Mateo, Johanna Mateo, Malcolm Carter.


Best Value • Lowest Prices • Great Store

1135 Broad St., Suite 208 • Clifton • 973-471-8600 Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5 pm Wednesday 8:30 am – 8:30 pm (for check-ups, too!) Sunday 9 am – 12 noon •

Dr. Maury Buchalter

50 % Ki


Sto ou nt De pa r t me n t

Infants • Boys • Girls • Furniture

Di s c


Dr. Joanne Aranoff

Any Single Item with this ad only.


Excluding Furniture.

We Accept Personal Checks Dr. Robert Jawetz

Dr. David Wisotsky

We welcome new patients in Clifton and our other locations! Tenafly 32 Franklin St 201-569-2400

Fort Lee 301 Bridge Plaza N. 201-592-8787

Paramus 26 Park Place 201-262-1140

Oakland 3 Post Road 201-651-0404

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• Free Layaway Plan • Friendly Customer Service • Name Brands For Less • Lowest Prices Anywhere • Yankees & Mets Clothing

Kid City • Styertowne Shopping Center 1065 Bloomfield Ave., Clifton


Mon.-Sat. 10 am to 9 pm • Sun. 11 am to 6 pm March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Visit us in Downtown Clifton: 1103 Main Ave • 973-473-4999

We Don’t Sell Parts… …We Sell Service Machine Shop On Location No Order Too Large Or Small FREE DELIVERY

Two Stores In Clifton 973-473-1997


802 Van Houten Ave • Clifton Mon-Fri 8-6pm • Sat 8-5pm • Sun 9-1pm

1103 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton Mon-Fri 8-6pm • Sat 8-5pm • Sun Closed

Our Other Locations: 201.843.8040


136 Essex St • Rochelle Park Open Sundays

101 Route 46 West • Saddle Brook Open Sundays



5 Hawthorne Ave • Park Ridge New Location

614 Pompton Ave • Cedar Grove New Location

201. 261.0411 59A E. Ridgewood Ave • Paramus New Location

973.338.9292 1278 Broad St • Bloomfield New Location

973-694-2228 1168 Hamburg Turnpike • Wayne New Location

973-423-1700 93 Goffle Rd • Hawthorne New Location 1036

Visit us in Athenia: 802 Van Houten Ave • 973-473-1997 80

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Thank You Sponsors... • Clifton Against Substance Abuse • Jim & Rita Haraka & Family • Passaic County Surrogate Bill Bate • Steve & Ellen Corbo & Family • Optimist Club of Clifton • Barbara Dougherty in memory of Henry Dougherty • in memory of George H. Trinkle Jr. & George H. Trinkle III • Anonymous • Council on Compulsive Gambling • JSK Landscaping • Vito’s Towing • in memory of Murray “Moe” Abill • Clifton Firefighters FMBA Local 21 • Rotary Club of Clifton • Chem-Dry of Clifton • in memory of Elisa Lieb-Schneider by Doris Lieb and Mark Schneider • Clifton Police PBA Local 36 • Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin • Tom Miller & Estelle Palko • Clifton Moose Lodge 657 • Carlet, Garrison, Klein & Zaretsky, LLP • Clifton Merchant Magazine • Boys & Girls Club of Clifton • St. Philip the Apostle 1671 Knights of Columbus • Mayor, Council, City Manager City Attorney, City Clerk

PASSAIC COUNTY: According to a recent scientific report, you can discover what leading researches has proven but your local doctor may not want you to know. This free report is available, and reveals the secrets to eliminate most headaches once and for all. To receive this controversial free report, call this toll-free-24-hour recorded message:1-888-682-8465. No cost or obligation. Advertisement



C. Genardi Contracting Inc.Clifton



A DDITIONS & A LTERATIONS March 2007 • Clifton Merchant



FREE With This Coupon Coupons May Not Be Combined.


2 00 OFF

Any Size Ice Cream Cakes Coupons May Not Be Combined.



194 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell • 973-403-9968 –– 2 Union Ave., Paterson • 973-595-1647


March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


FREE SUNDAE Buy One Ice Cream or Yogurt Sundae, Get Another

Fran is back! SPRING BLOWOUT! Under New Management ALL BIKES ON SALE $

20 - $150 OFF






1074 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton





Your Network Solution Specialists

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30% Off 1st Hour with Ad 84

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

Open 9am to 3pm Sept. - June



973-787-3083 •

Where learning begins and the fun never ends

Classes for 2 1/2, 3 & 4 year olds

Registration Now in Progress! 94 Chelsea Road • 973-779-4844

Gambling Problem? 1-800-GAMBLER CALL



March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Birthdays & Celebrations! send us your upcoming family birthdays &

Evangeline Joy Kohle was born on Jan. 31 to parents Rick & Melanie Meaghan Franko . . . . . . . . 3/1 Kathleen Pocoek . . . . . . . . 3/1 Kenzie Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/3 Valerie Godowsky . . . . . . . 3/5 Alice Paxton . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5 Ted Grzybowski . . . . . . . . . 3/6 Joe Rusnak . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/7 Jenny Sichel . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/9 Pamela Culque . . . . . . . . 3/10 Tiffany Sabo . . . . . . . . . . . 3/10 Teddy Harsaghy . . . . . . . . 3/11 Eddie Gasior, Jr. . . . . . . . . 3/12 On March 1, Eric Sudhalter, Manager of Van Houten Lanes and staunch supporter of youth bowling, turns 44.

Happy Birthday to Casey Marie Hawrylko who will legally be behind the wheel of her bright red Jetta on March 2. 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 Andreas Alectoridis . . . . . 3/30 Francis Salonga . . . . . . . . 3/31 Paul McVeigh . . . . . . . . . . 3/31 Chris Kolodziej . . . . . . . . . 3/31 Happy Birthday! Victoria Crudele turns 2 on Stephanie Marie Eromenok & March 9 & Grandma Carol NYPD Officer Charles Brown III celebrates March 6 Crudele on Dec. 15 announced their plans to marry in 2008. Mike Pesaro . . . . . . . . . . . 3/12 Victor Berdecia . . . . . . . . 3/13 Elaine Sassine . . . . . . . . . . 3/15 Laura Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/15 Suzanne Ciok . . . . . . . . . . 3/19 Caitlin Lotorto. . . . . . . . . . 3/19 Holly Sorenson . . . . . . . . . 3/20 Nenad Vuckovic . . . . . . . 3/20 Monica Ahmed . . . . . . . . 3/21 George Andrikanich . . . . 3/22 Pat Hiller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/22 Corey & Michelle Genardi Happy 1st Birthday to Best wishes to Pat Smith (seen here in 1992) celebrate Bianca Eda Genardi who turns 20 on March 8. their 15th anniversary March 28 on March 2. 86

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant

A Century on Top

Richard Gincel, Sr. , above and below, who turns 100 years old on March 6.

Long time Cliftonite Richard C. Gincel, Sr. is celebrating his 100th birthday at the Prospect Heights Care Center on Prospect Ave. in Hackensack on March 6 at 2 pm. Gincel’s father Karl immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1898. Five years later, he brought over his soon to be wife Ida Kretschmer. Richard was the second of four children, born on March 6, 1907. On the day of his birth, Richard’s father rode his bicycle to work in Passaic in order to save the trolley car fare. As a snow storm hit, Karl got a phone call notifying him that his wife had gone into labor. With the trolley shut down due to the storm, Karl carried his bike on his shoulder and trudged all the way home to Paterson. Growing up, Richard worked for his father who was a builder, cabinet maker and machinist. In 1929, Richard began his own business as a rigger, industrial contractor and steeple jack and continued to operate it until he was 96 years old. Among the jobs he also held over his 10 decades was working as a repo man and truck driver during the Great Depression.

But after a short tenure, he decided that repo work was too dangerous and retreated to the safety of his rigging work on high places, according to his daughter Sally Lawler. Richard’s work included erecting, demolishing, painting and repairing commercial stacks, water tanks, flag pole antennas and commercial signs. Lawler says her father worked on almost every church in northeast New Jersey. Gincel has lived in the Clifton area most of his life. He resided on River Rd. in Delawanna until around 1960 when he and his fam-

ily relocated to Somerset Pl. Gincel lived there until going to the Care Center for rehabilitation. Richard and his wife Jessie Dougherty were married in 1929. They have two children Sally and Richard, Jr, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Mrs. Gincel passed away six years ago. Richard’s daughter Sally says her father’s passion for life and his work continue to this day, adding that if you were to ask him what he’d most like to do today, he would probably say, “Go work on a stack or church steeple.” Steeplejack Richard C. Gincel, Sr., spent a lifetime on the top of church steeples, factory smokestacks and other high places. He is pictured here climbing atop a spire at age 96.

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant



eborah Schachtel (above) knows good food. On Feb. 17, the Nutley resident won $10,000 for her Mouthwatering Cheddar Popovers recipe in the Treasured Recipes Contest in San Francisco. Four days later, she took a drive over to Clifton to eat lunch at the new Papaya King in the Corrado’s Family Affair shopping center on Getty Ave. “I don’t have to go to Manhattan anymore,” said Schachtel, 45. The location just next to Corrado’s wholesale food and winemaking shopping center is the first in New Jersey for the legendary New York City hot dog and smoothie landmark. The restaurant represents a homecoming for CHS Class of ‘76 grad Leslie Whalon. She and her husband Matt Visconti, 49, of Wyckoff own the Papaya King. “It’s a nice feeling to come back,” said Whalon, who’s brothers Craig (Class of ‘73) and Guy (Class of ‘80) also graduated CHS. “I’ve already seen a few familiar faces, like my dentist from when I was a little girl.” Whalon and her husband didn’t just pick the location for its sentimental value, though. 88

March 2007 • Clifton Merchant


Papaya King... and Queen By Jordan Schwartz

Some may remember today’s Papaya Queen as Leslie Whalon, here in 1976.

“As soon as I saw the place, I fell in love with its 28-foot ceilings and large atrium in the front,” said Visconti. Owning a restaurant is something he’s wanted to do for the past 20 years. “The timing finally

fell into place and I was able to make a deal with the franchise owners,” said Visconti, who’s been working in the auto industry since graduating college. Visconti held a ‘soft opening’ on Jan. 24 so he could train his staff before the ‘official opening’ on March 2 at noon, to which the public is invited. “It was slow going in the beginning but the last week with advertising and the weather breaking, all of a sudden we had quite a bit of activity,” he said. Schachtel was one of more than 200 people who ate at the Papaya King on a clear Wednesday in late February, but she may have been the most qualified to judge the quality of the food.

“My next upcoming cooking contest is the 43rd annual Pillsbury Bake-off,” said Schachtel. “And if Matt Visconti would only give me his recipe for his Papaya Juice and his hot dogs, I’m sure I’d win the million dollar grand prize.” Pub 46 on Route 46 East serves up an extensive menu of soups, salads, burgers and entrees. In addition to the standard bar and grill foods, the landmark club also offers dinners such as grilled and blackened seafood items to a variety of pasta dishes. Pictured at right are Nicole Couillou and Jaclyn Bergantino, two of the staffers who serve food seven days a week from 11 am to 2 am. The bar is open til 3 am and there is no cover.




Styertowne Shopping Center 1045 Bloomfield Ave. • Clifton

973.779.0199 1215

Chef Young prepares a daily feast and serves up tasty King Crab Legs daily on the regular menu.

King Crab Legs at Century Buffet Fresh, Colossal, Delicious... now on the menu at No Extra Charge! If you love King Crab Legs and great value the place to go is Century Buffet. Now as part of the dizzying display of a buffet served up for dinner Mon-Fri and all day on weekends, Chef Young has added the colossal seafood as part of the regular menu. Seafood is just one of the many delicious foods presented on the 3 hot and 2 cold serving stations at Century. A sushi station Bar & continuously offers items and next to Grill 166 Main Ave • Clifton that, beef, pork, poultry and other items are continuously grilled. Other new items include the 12 pc. Jumbo Shrimp, served scampi, with garlic or General Tso style, for just $1.95 additional on the buffet price or add a DINNER BUFFET whole 1 lb. lobster for $30 or more before tax. Cash only. Limited time only. Cannot be combined $6.95 more. Stop in to see w/any other offer. Not good on any holiday. Coming Soon other specials Chef Young has added.



Lunch Buffet is just $5.95 Mon-Fri (holidays excluded). Delivery Service coming soon...



March 2007 • Clifton Merchant




Two-way football star senior Nick Cvetic, a TE/DE for the 2006 Champion Fighting Mustangs, will attend Colgate University in Hamilton New York in the fall. Cvetic was granted a partial scholarship to the prestigious school after

accumulating 26 receptions and 345 yards with 2 TD on offense and 66 tackles and 2 sacks on defense. The money and the opportunity to start as a freshman were his deciding factors in committing to the Raiders. Above is a picture from the official media

signing day, organized by Mustang head coach Ron Anello. Standing, from left, is Cvetic’s father, Pete and CHS Principal Richard Tardalo. Seated below from left is Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice, Nick Cvetic and coach Ron Anello.

Pictured with Dr. Moore is Pedro Yee of Yee's Hung Ga Kung-Foo Academy in Clifton. Mr. Yee (right) will lecture on how Emotions Affect Your Health, from a traditional Chinese Medical perspective, on March 27 at 6 pm.

Call for free information & to reserve your seat (space is limited)

David R. Moore, D.C. 850 Clifton Ave. • Clifton

973-253-7005 Stay on Track for Life. www 90


March 2007 • Clifton Merchant



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