Page 1


Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 10 • Issue 8 • August 5, 2005


Buy or Sell A Home With Us & Use This Truck!

* ton! orated/GSMLS)



ea el y, or

Beautiful Mother & Daughter One Family home in a great area. 3 large bdrms, Living Room, Dining Room, Eat-In-Kitchen, 2 and 1/2 baths, 2car garage.


Call 877-833-2365



w d . 2

Well Kept Home Features 3 bdrms, full bath, Dining Room, Eat-In-Kitchen. Living Room, Powder Room. Ask for Tom/Peggy Lubanski.


Call 877-833-2365



. B d

Spacious 2 Family Home Unit 2 is perfect for a large family, featuring 4 bdrms, 2 baths, LR, DR, ELK and large deck. Ask for Wendell Maki.


A Tumultuous Decade Persists


Call 877-833-2365


During the next three years, the new millennium rolled on— bringing with it issues plaguing a divided city. While new building and housing were here to stay, the contentious school debate would not go away. As it had done during the decade, Clifton Merchant Magazine called for leadership from the city’s politicians on critical issues, especially school overcrowding. In the April 2005 election, Clifton demonstrated its internal divide as the school budget passed by less than 100 votes. Later that year, sensing the coming fight, the BOE delayed the planned opening of the school annex for at least a year. In 2006, the school issue influenced the April BOE and May city council elections, as voters demanded change. BOE candidates Michael Paitchell, Michael Urciuoli and incumbent Lizz Gagnon—who supported a school to be built on Latteri Park—won election, defeating anti-Latteri incumbents Kolodziej and James Smith, and candidate Julie Skolnik. Voters also rejected the school budget. In the May, only three council incumbents retained their seats: Mayor Jim Anzaldi, Kolodziej and Steve Hatala. They were joined by former council member Peter Eagler, and newcomers Joe Cupoli, Frank Fusco and Tony Latona, who finished just 252 votes behind front runner Anzaldi. Defeated were Stefan Tatarenko, Ed Welsh, Donald Kowal and Gaccione. Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


The end of 2006 did bring some closure. On Dec. 12, Clifton’s registered voters came to the polls and voted on a Latteri Park referendum. They elected to keep the park, but approved a $2.4 million measure to build enclosed walkways at CHS to provide hallway congestion relief. While the debates raged, the 2006 Mustangs provided football victories to unite the city and gave Clifton its biggest thrill of the year. The Mustangs entered the state tournament as a 5-3 eight seed. They upset top-seed North Bergen and then beat favored Randolph to earn a trip to Giants Stadium in East Rutherford. On Dec. 2, the Mustangs trounced Eastside High, 26-0, to win the NJSIAA North 1, Group 4 title before 8,000 cold fans. “We wanted this more than anything,” said lineman Brian Fierro during the championship run. “Our coaches, fans and alumni have waited 30 years for this.”

The Battle Goes On As the calendar flipped to the year 2007, the turmoil continued. Clifton Merchant Magazine continued its activist stance, bemoaning the lack of the city’s Master Plan and taking definite positions on elected officials and school overcrowding. Later that year, bundles of the magazine were removed from a local business, likely in response to the Merchant’s political views. A complaint was filed and settled against the individual. 16,000 Magazines

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


1288 Main Avenue, Downtown Clifton, NJ 07011 (973) 253-4400 • tomhawrylko@optonline.net turn our pages at cliftonmagazine.com © 2019 Tomahawk Promotions

follow us on:



March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Art Director Ken Peterson

$35 per year or $60 for two Call (973) 253-4400

Graphic Designer Natalia Dymora

Contributing Writers

Business Mgr. Gabriella Marriello

Jack DeVries, Joe Hawrylko, Irene Jarosewich, Tom Szieber, Jay Levin, Michael C. Gabriele, Ariana Puzzo, Patricia Alex, Tyler Gamba

Social Media Mgr. Ariana Puzzo

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Selling your car, whether through a newspaper or online through a website like Craig’s List is a process loaded with pitfalls. Once your phone and address is “out there,” who is going to show up at your home? Selling your car privately is a hassle and it takes a lot of time and energy to complete the sale.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Plus you’ll need to be ready to answer numerous phone calls at any time, even late at night. Many of these potential buyers just waste your time and never show up. For those that do show, you’ll have to deal with test drives, tire kickers, low-ballers, negotiations and weirdos. Instead sell your car to Fette, a name you trust.

Trust the Fette Auto Group when selling a car. Since its founding in 1952 by the late Henry Fette and now run by his grandson, John, Fette makes the process secure and easy. Either go to FETTEBUYSCARS.com or visit the showroom and tell us the details about your car like year, make, model, mileage and condition.

Sales Manager Chris Ciresi or one of his team will make an appointment to inspect the car and make an instant offer. Be sure to bring all the necessary documentation. You’ll instantly receive a check for your car. The team at Fette makes the car-selling process safe, easy and hassle free.

Many sellers are legitimately concerned about strangers coming to test drive the vehicle at their home. Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


In the April BOE elections, incumbents Kim Renta and Norm Tahan retained their seats (with Tahan barely winning by seven votes), but challenger Jim St. Clair totaled the most support. St. Clair took a centrist stance, but acknowledged a new school was needed. Though the adults were constantly arguing, the student athletes were able to block out the noise and simply... win. Along with its football Mustangs, CHS boasted a litany of championship teams during the school year with titles in many sports and a state champion softball team. Meanwhile, Clifton’s leaders continued to fight the proposed annex approved by voters. After 17 meetings, the Clifton Zoning Board of Adjustment denied a variance to build the school which was later overturned by Passaic County Superior Court Judge Robert Passero in August. Passero called the23

zoning board’s decision “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” and that a school was needed. In June, School Superintendent Michael Rice, a vocal critic of school overcrowding, announced he would leave Clifton to become superintendent in Kalamazoo, Mich. While some citizens disagreed with Rice’s stance, there was no denying his achievements in the Clifton school system. In October, Van Ness Plastic Molding So., Inc. filed an appeal of Passero’s ruling before the N.J. State Appellate Division to stop the high school annex. The BOE disregarded it and voted to authorize its architecture firm to begin construction on the Brighton Rd. annex. Mahwah Clifton’s political world continued to simmer. In Ramsey 2007, voters elected Matt Ward to fill the council term of former Councilman Latona, who resigned over con287 17 flict of interest concerns Wyckoff (Latona was also a city fire-




Pequannock 287

Available Now


75,000 SF | 5-Story Office Building with a 2-Story Atrium Lobby Montville


Elmwood Park








Clifton Parsippany





Morristow Morristown wn Airport






• Direct 4-way Route 3 interchange 24 • Generous parkingChatham ratio: 4/1,000

Short Hills

777 Passaic Avenue Clifton, New Jersey 78


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

New York City

West Orange

Suites available from 750 SF - 15,000 SF • Minutes from the Garden State Parkway, NJ Turnpike, I-80, Routes 3, 17, 21, 23, 46, and the Lincoln Tunnel

Fort Lee

• 2 blocks to NJ Transit train station 280• Two neighboring hotels & conference 495 facilities 1-9 Newark • On-site security & covered parking • Bus toJersey Port Authority across the street City 78

www.777PASSAIC.com Newark Liberty Libe erty y International Internation nal l Airport


fighter). Ward had been previously appointed by the council to serve a one-year term in Latona’s absence. He won the special election and completed the term, totaling 3,068 votes, a 1,400-vote margin. While the school issue headed toward eventual resolution, Clifton found itself as a city reborn with

new growth and an expanding diverse population. No longer were voters silent; they were now vocal, unpredictable and opinionated. But, as any observer of Clifton history knew, things would change. The Great Recession loomed. Look for the history recap to continue in an upcoming edition.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


“As the fifth year of the 21st century begins, it’s an appropriate time to talk with city officials about what lies ahead for Clifton. What are their plans for 2005 to help ensure a promising future for the city? What do they see as Clifton’s top-priority concerns and what will they do to address them? What is their vision for Clifton going forward? Fran Hopkins spoke with many of our elected and appointed officials to discuss their goals as we enter the new year.” See who they were on page 12 Jan. 2005: The Clifton Savings Bank’s Josephine Scavone is appointed to a three-year term as director of the North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce. Jan. 1, 2005: Joseph Frost turns 100. The U.S. Navy veteran has lived in the city since 1923 and worked at Frost Family Market on Van Houten Ave. for 30 years.

Jan. 4, 2005: Clifton Police Chief Robert Ferreri presents an ambitious recommendation to meet staffing needs, but disputes that he wants to add 42 people to his current 156 department employees. The Clifton City Council forms a subcommittee to study the chief’s recommendations and what can be done in light of the state’s 2.5 percent budget cap. Centenarian Joseph Frost

Jan 10, 2005: The 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Jazz Festival, promoted by Seifullah Ali Shabazz, is held at Clifton’s Church of the Assumption.

Jan. 18, 2005: Albert Greco is named city manager by a 6-1 vote with Councilwoman Gloria Kolodziej dissenting.

The Corrado Family (above) held its sixth Annual Amateur Winemaking Competition Jan. 6, 2005 at Venetian in Garfield, and 1,000 attended.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Jan. 20, 2005: The Clifton Recreation Installation and Recognition Dinner honored Elsa Giaconia and MaryEllen Collucci as Staff Women of the Year; Vinny Colavitti Sr., supervisor of the Clifton Special Police, was Staff Man of the Year. The Famous MidTown Grill —Panagiota and Gerasimo Dimitratos with Jimmy Doris—was the Sponsor of the Year while Tom Hawrylko of Clifton Merchant Magazine received the Friend of Recreation.

David Feinberg of Cutter’s Edge Sharpening Service at 345 Lakeview Ave. celebrated his 30th year in business on Jan 6, 2005. In addition to selling and sharpening knives and scissors for home use, his clients include surgeons, hospitals and mortuaries to butchers, carpenters and local industries. At their induction, Clifton Board of Recreation Commissioners with Mayor James Anzaldi (center), from left, Joseph Bionci, Doreen Delancy, Tom Fieldhouse, president, and Tom Mullin.

Feb. 4 2005: Catholic Schools Week is held; seven area Catholic schools participate. They are St. Paul School at 1255 Main Ave., the oldest in the city; St. John Kanty School at 37 Speer Ave. in Athenia; Sacred Heart School at 43 Clifton Ave. in Botany; St. Andrew the Apostle School at 418 Mt. Prospect Ave. in Richfield; St. Brendan School at 154 E. First St. in Lakeview; St. Clare School at 39 Allwood Rd. in Del-

awanna; and St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic School at 223 President St. in Passaic.

Feb. 4, 2005: John and Ginny Kostisin are featured in Clifton Merchant Magazine’s annual “Love Stories” issue. Married 47 years, the Kostisins are sharing their home with a Ukrainian girl as she recovers from heart surgery in the U.S., through the Ukrainian Gift of Life program.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


From top left, Al Greco, Don Kowal, Dr. Michael F. Rice, Peter Eagler, Ed Welsh, Frank Gaccione, Jim Smith, Joe Kolodziej, John Traier, Keith La Forgia, Kim Renta, Liz Gagnon, Marie Hakim, Jim Anzaldi, Norman Tahan, Stefan Tatarenko, Steve Hatala, Jim Leeshock and Gloria Kolodziej.


by Fran Hopkins

s the ability to transform a portion of the former Athenia Steel factory from a contaminated site to a school for 1,700 students in time to open in Sept. 2008 slips away, the Board of Education is considering options. These include 1) the Board-owned portion of Main Memorial Park, 2) purchase of 330 Brighton Rd., the Mayer Textile property adjacent to 310 Brighton Rd., (for which the Board already has voter approval to build a high school annex) and 3) a smaller school on Board-owned Latteri Park. The Board passed a resolution at its Feb. 16 meeting to authorize an engineering firm to conduct studies of the Board-owned portion of Main Memorial Park at a cost of $10,400. But using Latteri Park to build a school has long been opposed by some Board and community members as well as the City Council. How is taking a part of Main Memorial different? The city owns about 10.7 acres of Main Memorial and the Board owns about 23 acres, said Board President Joe Kolodziej. “The state recommends using 10 acres for the size school we’re looking to build, so based on this math, roughly two-thirds of the park would remain a park,” he said. But Kolodziej’s math may not add up so easily. The portion of Main Memorial that the Board owns is

The Athenia Steel Disappearing Act Can It Be a School Site in Time or Not?

To build on Athenia Steel or not? A contro1313 Van Houten Avenue • Clifton, NJ 07013 Phone 973 546-2000 • Fax 973 779-3749 versial idea supported by Clifton Board of Timothy J. Bizub, Mgr. Education President JoeNJKolodziej was to Lic. No. 4022 515 Lexington Avenue • Clifton, NJ 07011 transform a portion of the former Athenia Phone 973 777-4332 • Fax 973 772-0108 Steel factory land from a contaminated Thomas J. Bizub, Mgr. No. 2732 site to a school for 1,700NJ Lic. students in time www.bizub.com to open in Sept. 2008—an idea lampooned in the above cartoon featured in the May 2005 Clifton Merchant Magazine. Clifton Merchant • March 2005


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com



Visit GardenStateHonda.com


GREEN SAVINGS MONTH! Get Pre-Qualified Instantly and Drive Home TODAY! ✓ FREE Credit Score ✓ No SS# Required! ✓ Pre-Qualified Auto Loans and Rates

2019 Honda Fit Sport

Get the complete transparency you deserve!

Visit GardenStateHonda.com and click the iprecheck™ banner to get started!

2019 Honda Civic LX

2018 Honda Accord Touring

2019 Honda Passport

Text GARDEN to 90407 for Our Virtual Catalog

Two Convenient Locations:

584 Rt 3 West, Clifton and 225 River Dr., Passaic


Follow us on:

Honda Check Engine Light On?

We’ll Analyze it FREE! (most dealers charge up to $100) Visit our 225 River Dr. Passaic location

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


From left, John and Ginny Kostisin; Bill and Rhoda Frisch; Anna and Fred Torres; and Michelle and Corey Genardi.

Feb. 6, 2005: Clifton Recreation, CASA, Clifton Merchant Magazine and 21 individuals sponsor the seventh annual Clifton Super Bowl Family Day at the Boys & Girls Club. More than 300 attend. Feb. 6, 2005: The CHS 16th Prom Fashion Show is held in the JFK auditorium.

Feb. 28, 2005: Six candidates file to run for three seats in the April 19 BOE election: incumbents Marie Hakim, Jim Leeshock and John Traier, and challengers Steve Goldberg, Marie Kowal and Bill Sichel.

March 1, 2005: The City Council approves the Historic Botany Village Special Improvement District (SID). March 4, 2005: Clifton Firefighter George Anglim (bottom left) is featured in Clifton Merchant Magazine. Since May 2004, Anglim has been on active duty in Iraq, flying Blackhawk helicopters as a member of the U.S. National Guard. March 24, 2005: Beloved Rev. Hank Dwyer (at left) of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church dies suddenly. Dwyer called his house of worship, “Clifton’s welcoming church.”

Above middle, Rev. Hank Dwyer; above lower, Boy Scout Troop 3 received its first charter in 1924. Commissioner Roy Berkenbush and District Executive Ken Mayti (both far right) present the 2005 charter to Scoutmaster Keith Oakley. At left is the Clifton Fire Department’s George Anglim while serving in Iraq.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com


Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Event

MON • MAR 11 • 5:30-6:30PM JAG-ONE PHYSICAL THERAPY CLIFTON 50 Mount Prospect Avenue, Suite 207 Clifton, NJ 07013

Join us for food, fun and giveaways as we celebrate the grand opening of our Clifton facility! To RSVP email Amy Oliver at aoliver@jagonept.com Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


April 2005: Clifton Savings Vice President Dennis Hahofer retires after 45 years.

April 1, 2005: Clifton Merchant Magazine asks “Who Can Afford to Run for City Council?” on its cover. Inside, war chests of candidates are listed, with Frank Gaccione’s $53,776 leading the pack (Mayor Jim Anzaldi is second with $36,425). April 18-24, 2005: The City’s Clean Communities Committee begins Clifton Earth Week with a goal to clean-up every community section. There are more than 50 organizations and nearly 10,000 citizens involved in the Clean Communities Program.

Brookwood first featured in April 2005, from left, Pete Cetinich, his brother Mike, Dan Pugliese kneeling and John Giardina.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

April 19, 2005: On Election Day, voters approve the school budget by less than 100 votes, 2,561 to 2,475. The new budget will expand full-day kindergarten from School 17 to also include Schools 1, 4, 9 and 16. Winning three-year teams on BOE are John Traier, Marie Hakim and Marie Kowal; losing are Jim Leeshock and Bill Sichel. Though it seemed the budget debate and BOE elections were hot-button issues, just 15 percent of Clifton’s 39,772 eligible voters came out to the polls.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


May 22, 2005: The Optimist Club honors the Clifton Special Police with the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award; Tom Fieldhouse (top left) receives the 2005 Friend of Youth Award, Tom Miller (middle) wins with the Stanley Zwier Community Service Award. At right, Dr. Fred Paternoster.

On April 10, 2005, Jaclyn Hanrahan, 7, was riding her bike down the infamous Vernon Ave. hill when she hit a pothole and flipped over the handlebars. She was wearing a helmet, but did impact her front teeth. Dr. Fred Paternoster spent four hours repairing the damage. Clifton Special Police Officers, rear from left: Vincent Colavitti Sr., Bob Bracken Sr., George Planthaber and Steve Ruppert; middle: Lance DeMuno, Jim Derco, John Lyons and Vincent Colavitti Jr.; front: Dom DiMinni, Frank Robinson, Larry Posey and Pat Castaldo; missing Chris DiBella, Jim Janisheski, Bert Pampanin, Charles Theodora, Marty Wilkos and Sharon Berkenbush.

April 20, 2005: Clifton Merchant Magazine’s Tom Hawrylko discusses his December trip to Ukraine at Mario’s Restaurant with the Optimist Club. Hawrylko served as an international observer for the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. April 23, 2005: Clifton Stallions U10 Soccer Team leaves for Rome to train at a soccer center.

April 28-29, 2005: The Friends of Morris Canal Park and Nature Preserve hosts the first Arbor Day “Clean and Grow Restoration Campaign.” The two-day event


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

started as a clean-up project. On Arbor Day, volunteers plant new horticulture at the Broad St. green space. The mission is to increase the species identification plaques and historical signage.

May 15, 2005: The Chopin Singing Society celebrates its 95th anniversary with a concert with Aria Chorus at the Polish American Cultural Center in Passaic.

May 27, 2005: Michael A. Carpenter graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and is commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Carpenter graduated from St. Paul Elementary School and is still a member of St. Paul Church, where he served in the ministry of altar server. May 30, 2005: Fire Captain Gary M. Bolcar is remembered as Engine 6 is dedicated in his memory.

June 9, 2005: Filip Bondy signs his book, Bleeding Pinstripes: A Season with the Bleacher Creatures of Yankee Stadium at Clifton’s Barnes & Noble.

June 11, 2005: Clifton Merchant Magazine staff and city residents paddle a kayak or canoe on the Passaic River. The event was the second tour of the river that the magazine conducted with the Hackensack Riverkeeper. The first river tour in July 2004 was to let people know the Passaic River was user-friendly.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


June 17, 2005: The School 3 Class of ’98 reunites to open a time capsule sealed in 1997. Among the contents were newspaper clippings, memorabilia from the Dole vs. Clinton presidential election and personal items. Alumni included Giuseppe Rossi, Joe Musleh, Jonathan Grant, Danielle Doerflein, Amanda Di Angelo, Mark Stuart, Dena Sela, Mike Corsi, Paul Boyko, Gabby Malaszuk, R.J. Pruiksma, Laura Peskosky, Kasia Machocka, Elizabeth Post and Patrick Egan, and teacher Mrs. Cannata. June 18, 2005: The dedication of “The John Samra Park Without Boundaries” in Chelsea Park is established in the late officer’s memory.

June 23, 2005: ReMax Excellence hosts an open house to celebrate moving their office to 730 Clifton Ave. Broker and owner Halina Strzepek and husband Krzysztof founded the Clifton ReMax in 1998.

June 24, 2005: Members of the Japanese Cleaning Productivity Council, the largest chain of drycleaners in Japan, visit DeLuxe Cleaners on Main Ave. to study techniques, trends and procedures. The stop at the landmark art deco building in Downtown Clifton (above), was one of only two visits the group made on their way to an international trade show. DeLuxe, operated by founder Joseph DeLora’s grandchildren, Patrick Jr. and Linda, is celebrating its 75th anniversary.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

July 1, 2005: Proprietor Margaret Pipala, who owned Teddy’s Catering since 2001, relocates from Third St. in Passaic to 1014 Main Ave., Clifton, next to Bellin’s Pool. Teddy’s has catered thousands of weddings, private parties and celebrations for more than 60 years.


“The Established Leader”

Since 1978

1624 Main Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07011

Nicholas Tselepis Broker/Owner Cell: 973-725-3778


Fred Spoelstra Broker Associate Cell: 973-632-9973

Gladys Mesones Realtor® Associate Cell: 862-881-7892

Alberto Mesones Jr. Realtor® Associate Cell: 862-239-2904

Hugo Meza Nancy Rodriguez Realtor® Associate Realtor® Associate Cell: 973-689-4667 Cell: 973-418-9234

Roselys Ramirez Realtor® Associate Cell: 917-902-6754

Linton Gaines Broker Associate Cell: 973-563-2367


Francisco Sanchez Realtor® Associate Cell: 201-978-4913

NJ REALTORS® Distinguished Sales Club Member, 10 + years as award recipients

Alexandra Constandinou Tatiana Mosquera Edgar Meza Sophia Constandinou Realtor® Associate Realtor® Associate Realtor® Associate Broker Salesperson Cell: 862-686-8319 Cell: 973-634-8853 Cell: 973-725-4519 Cell: 201-491-6771

Dave Kelley Realtor® Associate Cell: 973-868-4261

Patricia Elmahdy Realtor® Associate Cell: 201-927-4203

Jose Gignoux Realtor® Associate Cell: 973-931-8356

Luis Yzaguirre Realtor® Associate Cell: 862-249-5827

Marcelino Hernandez Realtor® Associate Cell: 551-206-2953

Cliftonmagazine.com • February 2019 


July 5, 2005: Mario’s Restaurant at 710 Van Houten Ave. marks 60 years. The founders of the famous city landmark were Mario and Emma Barilari Sr.; Mario (lower right) passed away in Dec. 1998, and Emma (top right) in July 2001.

June 25, 2005: Allwood Play and Learn Nursery School in the Allwood Community Church re-opens under private ownership. Led by the mother/daughter partnership of Dee Faller and Ashley Anderson, the school remains under the direction of Linda Caruccio and employs the same teachers and staff. July 17, 2005: SS Cyril and Methodius Church honors Sister M. Marie Glodava, Order of the Sisters of St. Francis, as the parish celebrates her golden jubilee.

July 23, 2005: Clifton Chiropractic & Physical Therapy in the Bobbink Shopping Center celebrates its 10th anniversary. Dr. Suzi Schulman, who operated the practice with her brother Dr. Jeff Schulman, founded it. July 28, 2005: Saxophonist Adam Brenner of Clifton performs at the Passaic Park band shell on Passaic and Van Houten Aves. as part of a free concert series. A week earlier, Grammy Award winner Jimmy Sturr returned to that Third Ward Park stage.

CHS class of 2005 (some pictured above before the morning newscast) graduated on June 22 at Clifton Schools Stadium.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 



March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


City Manager Al Greco tossed out the opening ball at Jackal’s Stadium when the Clifton Optimists sponsored a community night July 12, 2005. Above right, the Clifton Hawks at Nash Park in the summer of 2005, top from left, Matt Patterson, Eric Vinciquerra, Ron Gavazzi, Dan Leonard, Bryan Hackett, Mike Picarello and Doug Meier; bottom, from left, Andrew Dziopa, Jason DeMarco, Jose Rosado, Tom Csigi, Pete Dziopa and Mike Santosuosso. Not pictured are Anthony Genchi, Ryan Lill, Steve Mancinelli, Neil Guerriero. The Clifton Hawks team was founded by Dave Santosuosso in 1997.

Aug. 10, 2005: Lou Capuano (CHS ’87) opens a TCBY parlor in the Richfield Shopping Center.

Aug. 16, 2005: The Rotary Club’s Robert P. Hammer 3rd Memorial Golf Outing at Crystal Springs in Hamburg honors of the former city manager who died in office in 2002. Aug. 18, 2005: Higher Elements Recording Studio at 730 Van Houten Ave. opens. City artists Allison Petrucciello, Michael Diaz and Faheem Jackson offer production and recording for all genres and styles.

At the Aug. 16, 2005, Clifton City Council meeting, Teddy Harshagy and others spoke regarding the decision by Commerce Bank not to post a flag pole and fly the American flag at its two locations on Clifton Ave.

Aug. 5, 2005: Acquackanonk Gardens, the neighborhood of about 200-plus homes just off Van Houten Ave. and Valley Rd., is facing issues regarding subdivisions within the community. In a Clifton Merchant Magazine story, homeowners rallied to stop what they called the over-development as the specifically-cited issues with the height allowed on some new projects.


March 2019 2019••Cliftonmagazine.com Cliftonmagazine.com

Aug. 19, 2005: “Athenia property may soon be a park,” the front page of the Dateline reads. From news reports, it sounded imminent—Athenia Steel, the landlocked 35-acre former factory on Clifton Ave., would become the city’s largest park. One week earlier, the Herald News reported on their front page: “Park plan closer to reality. Plan would require demolishing car wash.” The car wash was (and today is still) located on Paulison Ave. City officials said they planned to raze that structure, which is across from Washington Ave., and make an entrance for the park. The idea was to build a roadway across the rail line and provide access to the park. Federal rail regulators quickly sunk that idea but it was a plan the city chased a few weeks.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Left, Habib Hosseini, Riel Bilto, Mehdi Eliefifi, Sandra Grazioso, Rev. Carlise Dickinson of First Presbeterian Church and Assemblyman Peter Eagler invited all to a Interfaith Candlelight Service on Sept. 11, 2005, at Lambert Castle. At right, during St. Paul School’s anniversary Mass on Sept. 17, 2005, a student looks to the heavens during the Lord’s Prayer.

Sept. 10, 2005: Quiznos Sub opens its first Clifton location in Botany Plaza, near the entrance to Rt. 21.

Sept. 18, 2005: St. Paul School celebrates 90 years of educating young Catholics in a “family atmosphere” with a special delivery from United Parcel Service—a new $25,000 language lab, equipped with 25 computers. The lab dedication by Father Victor Mazza, St. Paul’s pastor, coincided with a weekend of celebration, including a morning Mass and afternoon reception attracting 145 people, mostly alumni.

Oct. 2005: Clifton Merchant Magazine marks 10 years as a publication acting as “the pulse of the city it serves.” The Oct. 2005 edition is dedicated in part to recalling how the magazine got its start and evolved over a decade of turbulence and change.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Oct. 7, 2005: CHS marks its 100th anniversary. The high school was originally founded in 1905 on the upper floors of the long gone School 10, an old wooden structure at the corner of First and Clifton Aves. By 1926, a new high school was built on Piaget Ave. to accommodate the growing population. The facility would become CCMS in 1962 when the current CHS building was dedicated on Colfax Ave.

Oct. 9, 2005: The mayor and council proclaim “Honor Grandmother Sunday” to recognize the efforts of The Phenomenal Grandmothers, a local charter of the National Federation of Grandmothers Clubs in America. Their mission: to serve ill and less-fortunate children and adults, especially during the holidays. That month, the new club marked an anniversary.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Oct. 25, 2005: A Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing about the future of 290 Brighton Rd. and the 500-student CHS annex that the BOE plans to construct attracts a crowd. Signs raised during the proceedings read: “We Said Build It!” referring to the overwhelming Dec. 2004 vote in the project’s favor. Those opposed also attended, including Brighton Rd. residential neighbors and William Van Ness, owner of Van Ness Plastics, the industrial neighbor of the proposed school site. Nov. 5, 2005: The BOE delays the opening of its annex at 290 Brighton Rd. by a year—from Sept. 2006 to Sept. 2007, meaning at least one more year of no change in the crammed halls of CHS. Signs at the meeting read: No Brighton Road School. Creative scheduling by the Planning Board, as was warned, led to the postponement of a referendum on the Brighton

Marching Mustangs twins Bowen (left) and Sage, their uncle, Joe Walsh holding a guitar and their dad Frank. The Walsh family provided the Takamine acoustic guitar signed by all four Eagles— Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Timothy B. Schmidt and of course Joe Walsh— as a raffle to benefit the Mustang Band Parent Association. The winner was to be selected on Thanksgiving Day, 2006.

project’s next stage. The referendum, originally set for Dec. 13, is pushed to Jan. 25, 2006.

Nov. 6, 2005: Firefighters Anthony Latona, who served in Iraq with the Air Force Reserves, and Chris Struening, who served in Iraq with the N.J. Army National Guard, are co-grand marshals of the Veterans Parade.

Nov. 13, 2005: The Clifton Education Foundation honors Marching Band Director Bob Morgan (CHS ’66) at the Valley Regency as a CHS student who achieved great things since graduating. Morgan became band director in 1972 and had a key role in helping the Mustangs earn the “Showband of the Northeast” moniker. Thanksgiving 2005: The Fighting Mustangs beat the Passaic Indians, 7-6, at Clifton Schools Stadium.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

ast E


Niches | Mausoleum | Garden Graves | Non-Sectarian Monumental Graves | Advance Sales Counseling

For information call: 973-777-1920 eastridgelawncemetery.com

CEMETERY & CREMATORIUM Main Avenue, Clifton 255255 Main Avenue, Clifton

In our Mausoleum, pause, reflect and remember the lives of those who have passed.

We’ve added a new section of Customized Glass Niches in our Mausoleum.

Cremation Scattering Grounds


New Prime Plots

Offering a focal point for your memorial service, our scattering grounds are private and can accomodate your family & friends.

Our new columbarium is an attractive and meaningful place for families and friends to memorialize their loved ones after cremation.

New plots have been added offering exceptional landscaping and beautiful views of the NYC skyline.

Financing available one-year at no interest on easy monthly plans. Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Questions posed in the January 2006 Clifton Merchant Magazine:

On Jan. 24, 2006, Clifton said “no” to a new school on Brighton Rd. They didn’t just say no, they shouted it, with 59 percent voting against. For those who backed the initiative, it was difficult to understand how a project seen as a tremendous city benefit could be viewed so differently by 4,851 voters. The Brighton Rd. battle was over, but what would be the next move to address school overcrowding?


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

• Will this be the year Clifton stops debating its overcrowding and starts building schools? • What impact will the results of the Jan. 24 referendum have on other Clifton elections? • Will former Assemblyman and Freeholder Peter Eagler find a job and will he run for city council? • Will the form of city government change to one of issues or remain a popularity contest? • Is Mayor Jim Anzaldi running for reelection or will he be named DPW director or city clerk? • Can Frank Gaccione come back from his freeholder loss and win reelection to the council? • Will new strong council candidates emerge who can beat the three or four vulnerable incumbents? • Will the BOE and city council meet, share goals and lead together? • Who will run for the school board? • Can the BOE pass another budget on April 18? • Will Senator Nia Gill, and the Assembly’s Tom Giblin and Sheila Oliver open a Clifton office?

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Jan. 18, 2006: The Clifton Recreation’s Staff “Man of the Year” is the father and son team of John and Dan Cabral. Staff “Woman of the Year” is given to Linda Hart.

Jan. 23, 2006: K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons, the 810-unit housing project being constructed on Valley Rd., is hit with a fine of $102,000 from the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection. The fine is a result of 2005 DEP inspections where violations of the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act were found, as well as noncompliance with conditions of their Wetlands and Stream Encroachment permits.

Feb. 6, 2006: True Colors, a winter color guard, is formed by Joe Nikischer. Practicing at School 3, they perform the art of marching, dance, rifle and flag spinning.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee at the opening of their new office at 246 Clifton Ave. on Jan. 17, 2006. From left, Bassima Mustafa, treasurer; Hani Khoury, president; and office coordinator Amal Elrafei. The ADC chose the site near Downtown Clifton because of the community surrounding it—they estimated nearly 20,000 Arab-Americans live along Main Ave. in Clifton, Passaic and Paterson. The 2006 city council election is underway. Announced challengers profiled in the Clifton Merchant, include, from left, Frank Fusco, George Silva, Joe Cupoli, Anthony Latona and Matt Ward.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


CHS Ice Hockey brought home the Earl Hoerner Cup by beating Paramus Catholic, 5-1, on Feb. 25, 2005, at South Mountain Arena in West Orange. The Mustangs are 17-3-4 and headed for the NJ State Championship Tournament.

Feb. 9, 2006: BOE Commissioner Norman Tahan speaks before a group of 35 citizens at the Firemen’s Benevolent Association Hall to rally support for building a new school on Latteri Park.

Feb. 15, 2006: A preliminary BOE budget for the 2006-07 school year of $126.8 million is presented. The total represents a $9.8 million increase over last year’s spending and, if approved, would cost the average homeowner an additional $112 per year in property taxes. If the budget is approved April 18, eight new teachers will be added for the expansion of the full-day kindergarten program to Schools 5, 8 and 12. March 11, 2006: Michael David Hart and Mark Patrick Mattera are inducted in an Eagle Scout Court of Honor attended by scouts, parents and leaders of Troop 21, which is affiliated with St. Philip’s Church.

March 15, 2006: Hungarians mark the 1848 peaceful revolution and independence of the European nation with a flag raising at Clifton City Hall. April 10, 2006: Amazing Deals takes over the store near the intersection of Main and Clifton Aves., which formerly housed JO Grand. It is the second location for Amazing Deals, which has a store in Teaneck. Trustees of Clifton’s Historic Botany District after the Jan. 17 council meeting in which their 2006 budget was approved. Botany Plaza and Botany Village were designated a Special Improvement District last year. Trustees include Jeff Matusek, Elia Matusek, Gloria Vidal, Arleen Nikischer, Joe Nikischer, Jr., Vera DiPietro, George Silva, John Penkalski, Josephine Fabi and Joe Nikischer, Sr. Not pictured was Judith Francis.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

April 18, 2006: The BOE elections offer six candidates including incumbents Lizz Gagnon, Joseph Kolodziej and James Smith, and newcomers Michael Paitchell, Julie Skolnik and Michael Urciuoli. The overcrowding issue plaguing CHS and two middle schools for the last decade has spilled over into a contentious public squabble between board commissioners, council members and voters. Winning are Gagnon, Paitchell and Urciuoli. The school budget fails.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


People profiled in the 2006 Clifton Merchant Magazine included, from left, Ed Looney, Erin (Shaughnessy) Monahan, Corey Bleaken, Noel Coronel and Nick Telep Jr. and Cassie Craig.

April 23, 2006: Several legendary athletes and teams are inducted into the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame, including the undefeated state champion 1959 Mustangs football team led by All-State players Wayne Demikoff and Bob Papa. The ’52, ’53 and ’54 track and field Passaic Valley Conference champs, sparked by Ken Lenert, are also recognized.

April. 24, 2006: Ed Looney, the executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey and former owner of Henry’s Deli from 1959 to 1986, knew the impact gambling had on everyday people. That’s because on July 1, 1968, with debts mounting, six small kids, a wife and a business ready to fall into the hands of loan sharks, he turned to a 12-step program and changed his own life. In his story shared with Clifton Merchant Magazine, he told of challenges faced and changes made. He continued his advocacy until his death on Jan. 2, 2016.

May 2006: NOC Automotive Solutions at 574 Van Houten Ave., is the city’s newest auto body shop. Proprietor Noel Coronel moved his firm from Belleville to the former Telep Motors building. Coronel started his business in Passaic in 1996 but the move to Athenia is a homecoming for Coronel, a Clifton resident.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

May 2006: CHS senior Corey Bleaken, a 145 lb wrestler, ranked fourth in all time Passaic County victories with 118.

May 9, 2006: Cliftonites select from 16 Council candidates. The winning seven (in order) are Jim Anzaldi, Anthony Latona, Peter Eagler, Joe Cupoli, Gloria Kolodziej, Steve Hatala and Frank Fusco. Coming up short are Matt Ward, Stefan Tatarenko, Roy Noonburg, Joe Chidiac, Ed Welsh, Don Kowal, George Silva, Frank Gaccione and Alam Abdelaziz. May 16, 2006: CHS Principal Bill Cannici is feted at a retirement dinner at The Venetian in Garfield.

May 17, 2006: The Council and BOE agree to cut $1 million from the 2007 school budget at a joint meeting. The council is required by state law to review the BOE’s $126.8 million spending plan after it was rejected by voters in April, and either cut spending on non-mandated items or leave the plan intact. May 22, 2006: CHS teacher Cassie Craig is named an “Outstanding Educator” by The College of New Jersey, nominated by former student Patrick Egan, who attends the ceremony. Craig was one of 12 teachers of nearly 100 nominated to receive the award.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


The Optimist Club honors (from left) Debbie Oliver, John Biegel and Keith Oakley. They are seen with Optimist Club President Bill Bate (right). The CHS Jr. ROTC was also awarded for their service at the event at the Boys & Girls Club.

Services to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice— ones who died while in service to America—are held across the city on Memorial Day 2006. At the monument in Main Memorial Park, Clifton’s two oldest vets are pictured. They are Mike Gulywasz, 96, a WWII paratrooper in the Army’s 11th Airborne, and Joseph Jacob, 96, who served in the Air Force in India.

Summer 2006: WWMS students and their families experience the history and culture of Italy. The trip was organized by Harry Meyers who once taught social studies at WWMS. The group visited landmarks and sites in Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Venice. July 12, 2006: A massive fire rips through the building at the corner of Main and Clifton Aves. (left), destroying a number of business and apartments. All 27 on-duty Clifton firefighters respond, as do crews from nine surrounding departments.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 



ON PEAK RESULTS MEMBERSHIPS! Offer ends 3/31. Stop by or sign up on CrunchClifton.com



895 Paulison Ave • Clifton, NJ • 973.553.9470 /CrunchClifton


Offer valid on Peak Results memberships at the specified location and expires 3/31/19. Pricing and amenities may vary by membership and location. Additional fees and restrictions may apply. See club for details. © 2019 Crunch IP Holdings, LLC


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com


Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


On July 1, 2006, Clifton City Council members before taking the oath of office at CHS. From left are Tony Latona, Gloria Kolodziej, Steve Hatala, Frank Fusco, Peter Eagler, Joe Cupoli and soon-to-be-named mayor, Jim Anzaldi.

MSU Red Hawks Head Lacrosse Coach John Greco and his assistants Kent Bania and Adam Torrisi, all CHS ’95 grads, together salvaged the LAX program at Montclair State during the summer of 2006.

July 13, 2006: Les Herrschaft dies at age 80. A CHS grad who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, Herrschaft served Clifton for years as a councilman, BOE commissioner and president, and as a Passaic Valley Water commissioner. He is shown above in a campaign photo with his gnarly rescue hound, Baby. His theme was “Keeping Clifton on Track,” and thus he is shown walking along the tracks at the Clifton station.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Mid-July 2006: Volunteers meet and rejuvenate the Friends of the Clifton Public Library. President Alice McCauseland is leading the charge with Kathleen Boyle, Doris McFarlane, Marie Stefanelli, Kathe Pinchuck, Barbara Polk and Colleen Murray. Aug. 24, 2006: Ukraine’s blue and gold flag was raised at city hall to mark the 15th year of that nation’s independence from the former Soviet Union. About 75 people attended, including politicians and community leaders, who sung the American and Ukrainian national anthems.

Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 11 • Issue 8 • August 4, 2006

The Marching Mustang’s first Drum Majorette, Marie (Vullo) Giunta, pictured here in 1938, helps us kick off another edition focused on Clifton History.

July-Aug. 2006: Clifton Merchant Magazine publishes its nostalgia and history editions. Inspired by the late David L. Van Dillen, who authored the first 300-year timeline of Clifton area history, the magazine focuses on events beginning in 1678 through 1967 that define and illustrate the city’s origin and story. In the 244 pages of city history, special attention is paid to founding events, leaders, influential personalities, commerce and stories about Clifton’s sports teams, parks and houses

of worship. Along with the timeline, articles include tales of Clifton’s first inhabitants, the Lenni Lenape, the Dutch settlers, when Babe Ruth and the Yankees came to Clifton and the impact of the attack on Pearl Harbor on the city. For today’s citizens, this definitive historical timeline provides a comprehensive perspective of their home city. History continues to be an important part of the Merchant, as the current timeline picks up from the Aug. 2018 issue.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Bob Foster and Dolores Colucci at the Boys & Girls Club; at right in Botany Village, butchers at Stefan & Sons.

Aug. 2006: The Boys & Girls Club marks its 20th anniversary. Since the Boys Club and Girls Club consolidated in 1986, Dolores Colucci was the executive director. Upon her retirement, the position was given to Bob Foster, who remains in the role today.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Sept. 8, 2006: “Stroll along the streets and avenues of Botany Village on any given day, look up and you’ll see the flags of dozens of nations waving along side the Stars and Stripes. Listen and languages from across the globe will be heard. Shop and purchase products and services that reflect the international flavor of this old world neighborhood.” So wrote Joe Torelli in his cover story, Reinventing the Village, which told of how corporate investors, local merchants and neighborhood people were working together thanks to the recently formed Clifton’s Historic Botany District, a Special Improvement District or SID. Funding for physical improvements, promotion and events comes from a 5.7 percent tax assessment on 80 businesses and 36 residences in the district which generates about $80,000 annually, which the city will match.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


As part of our “Made in Clifton” series, in Oct. 2006, we featured Jesse Hasting and mom Alicia, who, along with Alicia’s husband Rafael, own American Piano Covers. The Highland Ave. firm makes custom piano covers, shipping worldwide. That month we also featured the neighborhood of Lakeview. At what was then the Community Police substation across from Lakeview Bakery, from left are James Flanagan, Henry Ribitzki, Edward Holster, Mike Meffen and Robert Luciano.

Sept. 4, 2006: Bellin’s Clifton Swimming Club closes for its final season. The property will be redeveloped into a retail center with senior housing.

Oct. 6, 2006: “At the intersection of Crooks and Lakeview Aves. sits a large brown brick church,” our October cover story on the Lakeview neighborhood begins. “Set on a hill overlooking Paterson to the north and with a view of the New York skyline off in the distance, St. Brendan’s Roman Catholic Church and its adjacent school have been in many ways the gateway to the American Dream.” “It used to be that people would move from Botany to Lakeview,” said the Rev. Frank Weber, 71, who has been the pastor of St. Brendan’s Church for the past nine years. He knows the Lakeview story well because he lived it—his family owned a tavern in Botany and he grew up in the apartment above it. “It was a step up for them,” Weber said as he explained the evolution of Lakeview. “This was and still is a move-up community. When they bought a home in Lakeview, the oldtimers were moving to the suburbs— they were moving out of an apartment and into their own homes. They achieved their American Dream.” Today, newcomers who are purchasing homes in Lakeview are moving to this Clifton neighborhood from Paterson, Passaic and Garfield, noted Weber, who graduated from CHS in 1952. “This is their way of moving up; it’s become a stepping stone for them.”


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

In Oct. 2006 are the School 11 5th grade safety patrol’s Emily Theodore, Julie Baez, Deborah Mankiewicz, Pamela Nunez and her sisters Merlina and Jadelle.

Oct. 6, 2006: Jay Horwitz is a Clifton kid who made it in the big leagues, writes Jack DeVries in our October magazine. Now in his 27th year with the New York Mets as the team’s VP, media relations, Horwitz, CHS ’62, is one of the best-liked and respected people in Major League Baseball.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Oct. 15, 2006: 10 year-old Miguel Vidal and his “Miguel Marchers” participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk to Cure Diabetes at Berkeley College, West Paterson. Vidal has Type 1 diabetes and walks with his family and friends to raise money for a cure.

Oct. 15, 2006: The Slovak Catholic Sokol Assembly 162 celebrates its 90th anniversary at a gathering at S.S. Cyril and Methodious Church on Ackerman Ave.

The 2006 Fighting Mustangs varsity, top from left, Louis Feliciano, David Fahy, Adam Justin Dela Mota, Brian Fierro, Nick Cvetic and Anthony Giordano; middle, Joshua Texidor, Paul Andrikanich, Phillip Buzzone, Mirsad Bruncevic and Barron Johnson; front, Matthew Detres, Johnathan Brito, Derrick Stroble, Omar Saleh, Tim Jacobus and Rob McClear.

Oct. 18, 2006: Anthony Latona reluctantly resigns his post as councilman. Since Latona is a Clifton firefighter, his voting ability is severely restricted as many decisions on city issues cause a conflict of interest. Oct. 27, 2006: There’s one second left on the clock and Clifton is down, 17-14, against public school powerhouse Ridgewood on a cold, rainy October night at Clifton Stadium. It’s fourth down at the Maroon one yard-line in a game with playoff implications. On the sidelines after spiking the ball on third down, senior Mustang QB Anthony Giordano confidently asks coach Ron Anello to call a quarterback keeper rather then go for the tie. This has the makings of a legendary Mustangs game. Giordano takes the snap and fakes a hand-off to junior fullback Matt Davella and sprints to the left side of the end zone, just beating out the Maroon defenders by diving across the goal line. The fans who stayed and braved the weather at Clifton Stadium went crazy, reminiscent of the days of the Mustangs dynasty teams under Joe Grecco and Bill Vander Closter. This was a true team effort, a gritty and crafty win against a formidable opponent. The implications of this win will go far beyond this year, as Clifton has makes a statement this season: the Fighting Mustangs are once again a force to be reckoned with. They go on to beat St. Joe’s on Nov. 3 and No. Bergen on Nov. 10 to earn the number 8 seed in the playoffs.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Oct. 29, 2006: Msgr. Peter Doody of St. Philip Church is honored at the St. Philip’s Knights of Columbus Degree Exemplification. Nov. 21, 2006: After being chosen by the Clifton City Council, Matt Ward is sworn in for a one-year council term to replace Anthony Latona. Ward had finished eighth in the May election.

Nov. 24, 2006: The Boys & Girls Club hosts a reunion for those who passed through its doors. The club was established in 1947 on one floor in Botany’s School 7. Dec. 2, 2006: The Fighting Mustangs football team defeats Eastside High at Giants Stadium, 26-0, to win the North 1 Group 4 State Championship before 8,000 fans.

Dec. 3, 2006: The Clifton Jewish Center suffers a fire. Rabbi Ari Korenblit says the center will be repaired and it will host a Feb. 12 brunch to celebrate 59 years of service to Clifton.

Dec. 12, 2006: Voters come to the polls to vote on a Latteri Park referendum. If the referendum passes, the plan calls to move the ninth grade to the new middle school, the two exiting middle schools and a new high school annex at 290 Brighton Rd. Voters reject the idea and elect to keep the park. However, they do approve a $2.4 million measure to build enclosed walkways at CHS to ease overcrowding.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


“We need to get real with a strategy for our city’s growth,” we state in our Jan. 2007 editorial. “That means being realistic when it comes to our most pressing problem, overcrowded schools. This issue has pitted Clifton vs. Clifton, as Board of Education representatives have spent countless hours before both the Planning and Zoning Boards, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars in fees for all ‘sides.’ During that time, our children continue to attend Clifton High School and our two middle schools in shamefully overcrowded conditions. We all deserve better.”

ACTION Clifton neighborhood representatives: Pat Blair, Helen F. Berkenbush, Ellen De Losh, Joseph Kolodziej, Margaret Nysk, Steve Goldberg, George Silva, Frank Furia and Steve Abill.

Jan. 2007: The ACTION (All Clifton Together in Our Neighborhoods) group begins. ACTION’s focus is to provide the Clifton City Council feedback from every neighborhood.

Jan. 2, 2007: Now that Clifton voters have rejected Latteri Park as the site for a new middle school, the city council again offers to let the BOE build the school on land it has owned since 1999, the former Athenia Steel property. BOE President Marie Hakim, along with other BOE members, said she is not in favor due to the site’s soil contamination. Hakim adds she doe not believe the N.J. Dept. of Education will approve the site until the environmental issues are settled. Jan 6, 2007: Two grant programs are available to property owners in the Downtown Clifton SID through the Clifton Community Development Dept.—one for facade improvement, the other for extensive repairs up to $50,000. The grants are intended to entice investors to come to the area. The city awarded $70,000 in grants during its previous fiscal year.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Jan. 7, 2007: “Frank the Barber” Schiro, 74, gives his last haircut to Ros Halaburda. Since 1966, Schiro served thousands of Cliftonites in his 1308 Main Ave. shop across from the White Castle.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


On the Feb., 2007 cover, from left is Elizabeth Sainz of the Famous MidTown Grill , Suzanne Bailey of White Castle and Mike Duch, owner of Homemade Pirogi; kneeling, from left, Jimmy Doris, co-owner of the MidTown and Jimmy Pappas, owner of San Remo Pizzeria. Landmarks of NYC is the theme of the 2007 calendar created by these CCMS students in the 8th grade Enriched Art class. Standing from left, Amanda Greco, Michael Gabriele, Stephanie Cherico, Michelle Lima, teacher Jeff Labriola, Natali Korostil, Lesley Sanchez and Mariola Antolak; sitting from left, Nayadira Pacheco, Paige Sciarrino, Nicolette Camacho and Tracey Gomez. Not pictured is Gianna Pavan.

Jan. 18, 2007: Sen. Nia Gill and Assembly members Tom Giblin and Sheila Oliver meet with the city council and 20 residents in the Senior Barn at City Hall to discuss issues and representation. Mayor Jim Anzaldi presents 30 items for discussion.

Feb. 2, 2007: “What does the future hold for Downtown Clifton?” the February Clifton Merchant Magazine asks. “What are the big issues this commercial area is facing—and what are the positive attributes it offers to Downtown shoppers, property owners, merchants and potential investors? “For the last few weeks, we have been running around Main Ave., visiting old time merchants and meeting newcomers. We’ve been out in the early morning and late at night. It’s been a fun project; another segment in our neighborhood series. But coverage of the business and commercial district filled more pages than we anticipated. “As a result, we’ll be writing about the people who live in and around Downtown Clifton and the neighborhoods near Hazel St. in next month’s edition.” Feb. 4, 2007: The annual Clifton Super Bowl Family Day is held at the Boys & Girls Club; 400 attend.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Feb. 7, 2007: The 16 elected members of the Clifton BOE and City Council meet to discuss the need for a new school. Clifton Merchant Magazine calls it “a good start to the planning practice.” Feb. 16, 2007: The Clifton Planning Board approves a 208-unit affordable senior housing complex behind Richardson Scale Park on Van Houten Ave. March 2, 2007: A decision on full-day kindergarten for Schools 2, 11 and 15 will be on the April ballot. School Superintendent Michael Rice says that physical constraints prevent full-day kindergarten at Schools 2, 13 and 14. March 2, 2007: The CHS Sports Hall of Fame announces its 2007 honorees: Rich Ceynowa (’86, wrestling); Mark Harner (’71, tennis); Kim Feldner (’98, volleyball); Stanley Lembryk (’87, soccer); Dimitra “Tula” Kofitsas (’90, basketball, volleyball and softball); Rich Fincken (’56, basketball); Ron Plaza (’51, baseball); Severin Palydowycz, Jr. (1981, soccer and golf); Coach Lou Fraulo (track, swimming and cross country); the ’62 Mustangs (football) and ’93 Mustangs (softball).

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


March 2, 2007 It’s just past 11 am 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 Madeline and 6th Aves. for at least six decades, may not have some fat guy-turnedskinny success story as their spokesperson 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.” 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.”

Top 3 Elected to 3-Year Term 1. Jim St. Clair..................... 2402 2. Kim Renta (I)................... 2166 3. Norm Tahan (I)................ 2007 4. Paul Graupe....................... 2000 5. Steve Goldberg.................. 1912 6. John Houston.................... 1687 7. John Salierno..................... 1400 8. Kevin Coradeschi.............. 743 9. Maura Giron...................... 279 Budget Defeated No..........2611..........Yes........2577 Include absentee & provisional ballots.

Newcomer Jim St. Clair (left) and incumbents Kim Renta and Norm Tahan were the top three vote-getters among the nine candidates for three open seats on the Board of Education. Tahan had to wait until provisional ballots were counted in Paterson on April 24 before officially securing the third spot.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

March 7, 2007: Players (ages 7-14) are sought for the recently-united Clifton Junior Mustangs and Clifton Colts football program. March 16-17, 2007: CHS presents The Sound of Music. Chris Roberston and Kristen Hariton are the leads.

March 26, 2007: Mustangs legendary football coach Bill Vander Closter passes away at age 82. Taking over for Joe Grecco in 1964, “Vandy” compiled a 111-287 record and his teams won five state championships.

Some 60 groups, from schools and landscapers, as well as business districts and civic groups, were honored at the 18th annual Clean Communities Awards event on March 8, 2007 at Clifton High School.

April 15, 2007: Mike and son Mickey Soccol share the 2007 Optimist Club Friend of Youth Award for their work with special-needs athletes. Passaic County Surrogate Bill Bate wins the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award, and Pat Dyche wins the Stanley Zwier Community Service Award.

April 22, 2007: BOE President Marie Hakim is honored as the 2006 State School Board Member of the Year by the NJSBA. Hakim has served as a Clifton BOE member for 17 years.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


These 20 CHS students and their teacher chaperones Cassie Craig and John Lesler represented our city while in Greensward College in Hockley Village, Essex, England. From April 19-30, 2007 each Cliftonite was paired with a student and their family as a part of cultural exchange program which CHS has participated in since 1997. The Clifton students attended classes with their counterparts, lived in their homes, socialized with their friends and traveled to London and other sites. Participants pictured here, in no particular order: Sara Austin, Melissa Aviles, Maja Bradaric, Brianna D’Errico, Katherine Estrada, Casey Hawrylko, Rebecca Hurlbut, Julia Komarczyk, Eric Latham, Gha-


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

lib Mahmoud, Chris Papademetriou, Ashley Parsons, Abhay Patel, Catalina Rodriguez, Michelle Sauerborn, Bryan Stepneski, Jeannine Termyna, Chris Tietjen, Sarah Weiss and Chelsea Welsh. In 2008, these young adults and their families will play host to the English students when they visit Clifton.

April 26, 2007: The EPA recognizes Clifton’s recycling coordinator Al DuBois, pictured above, for 20 years of service. April 26, 2007: The City of Clifton celebrates its 90th anniversary.

April 30, 2007: The Rainbow Montessori School is celebrating a quarter-century of serving Clifton families at the same location adjacent to Sacred Heart School. The program was founded in 1982 by Arlene Rippey with the support of Msgr. Julian Varettoni, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Botany.

In an only-in-Botany moment, the Sneaky Silver Bullets were part of a wrestling card being held on the second floor of the Italian American Co-Op on April 28, 2007. They headlocked Anthony Tamburro and Lou Bevere of the Memphis Soul Blues Band Enzo and the Bakers, who were performing on the first floor. Below, barkeep Felix Rossi hosted the Tonemasters in Rossi’s Tavern, one of four stops on the Blues Crawl.

May 2007: Clifton City Council announces plans to transform the Athenia Steel property into a 30acre recreation site and expects the first phase to be completed in 2009. The city purchased the property for $5 million in 1999.

May 2007: Realtor Pina Nazario presents the Boys & Girls Club with a $1,000 check while ITT gives the Club nearly $18,000 for new computers. Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


May 6, 2007: Registered Nurses of the Clifton Health Dept.— Mary Nora Caldo, Barbara Luzniak and Supervisor Jane Scarfo—are spreading the word about their profession during National Nurses Week, May 6 to 12. RNs are essentially the front line of health care, especially in the area of public health.

May 17, 2007: Modell’s Sporting Goods opens in Styertowne Shopping Center on the lower level, taking over some 14,300 square feet of what used to be the basement sales area of Rowe Manse Emporium. May 18, 2007: CHS senior prom at the Skylands Manor.

May 18, 2007: Morris Canal Park volunteer Jack Kuepfer wins the $2,500 Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference. He uses the funds for upkeep at the Broad St. park. Kuepfer was employed at Sheet Metal Products in Newark for 35 years, retiring as Superintendent in 1984. After retiring, he founded the Morris Canal Park where he devoted much of his time and efforts over the past 30 years. The park was renamed in his honor. May 28, 2007: Joseph Jacobs, 97, who served in the Army Air Force, is honored as Clifton’s oldest veteran; 200 people attend a Memorial Day service at the War Monument on Main Ave.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

On May 15, 2007, these students and others participate in Youth Week, an annual program in which students ‘shadow’ city officials.

June 7, 2007: The Zoning Board denies the application for a new school annex at 290 Brighton Rd., 4-3, saying it would negatively impact the industrial zone.

June 9, 2007: The CHS Mustangs softball team (above left) win its fourth Group 4 State Championship with a 2-0 triumph over Toms River East in 10 innings behind pitcher Deanna Giordano.

June 9, 2007: School Supt. Michael Rice announces he will be leaving Clifton to become superintendent in Kalamazoo, Mich., to be closer to family.

June 13, 2007: Msgr. Julian Varettoni of Sacred Heart Parish in Botany retires after 41 years of service to the Paterson Diocese. Varettoni was named pastor of Sacred Heart in 1966, the same parish in which

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 



March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Pastor Julian Varettoni, Chris Karcz, Schools Supt. Dr. Michael Rice, and his interim replacement, Dr. Anthony G. Barbary. Below, that’s Joseph Walker, his sister Gianna and Samantha Russell at Racy’s Pond on Aug. 16, 2007.

he was baptized and celebrated his first Mass. He was named a monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1984. June 22, 2007: CHS graduates 688 students.

July 2007: The U12-Stallions Soccer Girls go 9-0-1 and win the Northern Counties Soccer title. The team plays in a Disney World tournament and goes 2-0-1. July 2007: Former CHS soccer Mustang (’01) Chris Karcz is signed by the New York Red Bulls. July 1, 2007: Clifton holds its annual city picnic.

tertainer was Frank Sinatra’s “favorite piano player,” and the two became lifelong friends. Aug 6, 2007: The Boys & Girls Club’s 36th Golf Classic is held at the Upper Montclair Country Club.

Aug. 13, 2007: Yankees great Phil Rizzuto, 89, dies. “The Scooter” owned the Rizzuto-Berra Lanes in Styertowne with teammate Yogi Berra. August 19, 2007: CHS Cheerleaders are Pine Forest Cheerleading Camp’s Cheer Champs.

July 4, 2007: Nearly 1,000 flags fly at Clifton’s Avenue of Flags around City Hall.

July 6, 2007: Clifton Merchant Magazine celebrates CHS sports with its “City of Champions” issue. During the school year, the Mustangs football, softball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls bowling, boys volleyball, girls winter track, golf and baseball teams win state, league or division titles. Boys tennis and girls soccer place second in their respective leagues. July 31, 2007: Clifton Chaos girls softball defeats Saddle Brook, 7-4, to win the 12-U UGirls title. Aug. 3, 2007: Hometown singer Frankie Randall is celebrated in this magazine. Known as Frank Lisbona when he was a member of CHS Class of ’55, the en-

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Aug. 29, 2007: Slavco Madzarov is named honorary consul of the Republic of Macedonia and hosts a ceremony at his Getty Ave. construction business.

Aug. 30, 2007: Passaic County Superior Court Judge Robert Passero finds the zoning board’s decision to deny the BOE’s school application was “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” and that a need for the school annex exists.

Aug. 30, 2007: A complaint against Kevin F. Coradeschi by Clifton Merchant Magazine is settled with an apology and payment. Coradeschi, who was a candidate for the Board of Education, removed bundles of the April magazine from a local retailer. “I am truly sorry,” he wrote.

Aug. 2007: School Supt. Michael Rice ends his fiveyear run at Clifton. During his tenure, city schools raised math and science scores, increased the number of students taking AP classes by 89 percent (CHS doubled the number of AP courses), and instituted college programs for high school seniors. The BOE selects Dr.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Anthony Barbary, a former Clifton elementary school principal, as interim superintendent to replace Rice. Sept. 1, 2007: CHS Marching Mustangs take the field with 100 musicians, majorettes and color guard.

Sept. 7, 2007: Clifton is awarded an $82,498 FEMA grant for costs incurred during an April storm.

Sept. 28, 2007: CHS Girls Volleyball Team beats Passaic and wins the Clifton-Passaic Optimist Club trophy. Oct. 3, 2007: CHS boys soccer coach Joe Vespignani picks up his 100th career victory with a 2-0 win over Belleville.

Oct. 9, 2007: Former child actor Scott Schwartz, who played “Flick” in the movie classic, A Christmas Story, visits CCMS to speak with students.

Oct. 11, 2007: Van Ness Plastic Molding files an appeal before the N.J. State Appellate Division of Judge Robert Passero’s decision against the Zoning Board’s decision to block a high school annex on Brighton Rd.

In Oct. 2007, 1973 CHS grad Andy Mooney celebrated the 50th anniversary of the auto repair show his dad founded in 1957 on 817 Clifton Ave., across from Colonial Pharmacy. Above from left at Mooney’s Service Garage: Andy, his son Patrick, then 18, and founder Ken. At right, Councilman Matt Ward, who is defending his interim seat, George Silva, Joe Chidiac and Beverly Carey. They are running in a Nov. 6 Special Election to fill the rest of Tony Latona’s term, which runs through 2010. Ward wins with 3,068 votes.

Oct. 23, 2007: Clifton’s “Mr. Baseball” Bob Potts passes away at 73. Potts led the Clifton Phillies (who played their home games at Nash Park) for 45 years. The Phillies won more than 1,500 games, 32 league or division titles and a 1959 state championship. Forty-two Phillies signed pro contracts. Oct. 30, 2007: Despite the Van Ness appeal, the BOE votes 8-0 to authorize its architecture firm to begin construction on the Brighton Rd. annex. Nov. 1, 2007: CHS Mustangs Dave Szott and Frank Pecci, along with Coach Bill Vander Closter, are inducted into the Old Timers Athletic Association’s Greater Paterson Hall of Fame.

Nov. 2007: The CHS Boys Soccer Team goes 20-51, winning the Group 4, state sectional championship. Girls Cross Country (33-3) wins the league title, while the Boys Cross Country (31-4) finishes second. The Girls Volleyball Team (17-6) wins its league crown.

Nov. 2007: A BOE-appointed residents group presents a $46 million proposal to construct two 500-student academies, one near CCMS and the other next to CHS. Nov. 2, 2007: The Clifton Boys & Girls Club celebrates 60 years with a gathering at the Club.

Nov. 4, 2007: Clifton’s oldest military veterans, Joseph Jacobs and Rudolph Zajak are co-grand marshals at Clifton’s Veterans Parade.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


James D. Gwyn, Bob Potts, Nikki Krzysik and Blanche Goldstein with Thomas Brunt.

Nov. 5, 2007: Fire Chief John Dubravsky retires after 39 years as a firefighter (10 as chief).

Nov. 10, 2007: Dutch Hill poet James D. Gwyn, a 2007 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards “Editor’s Choice” recipient, reads his work at the Hamilton Club Building in Paterson.

Dec. 7, 2007: Municipal Prosecutor for Clifton Blanche K. Goldstein prepares to retire after serving the city for 24 years. Assistant Prosecutor Thomas F. Brunt will take over her position.

Nov. 16, 2007: Clifton celebrates the 50th anniversary of the CHS’s football Mustangs victory over the Montclair High Mounties, 26-0. Coach Joe Grecco called the win, before 13,000 at Montclair’s Woodman Field, the greatest in his career. Up to that game, CHS last beat MHS in 1947.

Dec. 12, 2007: The BOE holds a special meeting to determine if schools are actually overcrowded before voting on a resident committee’s recommendation to build two 500-student academies.

Nov. 15, 2007: CHS students present the play Cactus Flower at the JFK auditorium.

Nov. 22, 2007: The CHS football Mustangs beat Passaic, 18-13, to win the Optimist Cup Trophy in the annual Thanksgiving Day game at Clifton Schools Stadium.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Dec. 10, 2007: Clifton’s Margaret Kaufmann of the Lakeview section celebrates her 100th birthday.

Dec. 16, 2007: CHS ’05 grad Nikki Krzysik of the University of Virginia is named to the First Team All-American NCAA Women’s Soccer Team. Look for us to continue our timeline of the not-so-distant past later this year.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 




Clifton Oasis By Jack DeVries


On April 6, George Bellin is being recognized by Paramus Catholic as one of eight contributors at its 2019 Paladin Legacy Gala. The honor is well deserved as Bellin spent 14 years at the school as a teacher, coach and athletic director. But that’s only part of his life story. Clifton people and others from surrounding towns remember the genial Bellin for another reason—it was his family who helped create their summer memories. Beginning in 1965 as owners of Bellin’s Clifton Swim Club, known also as the “Clifton Pool,” many spent the hot months at the refreshing oasis at 1016 Main Ave. “What I loved most,” said Bellin, 76, “was the camaraderie we had with our members. We thoroughly enjoyed them and our members enjoyed us.” Bellin, along with his wife Diane and son Christopher, operated the business until 2006 when they sold the property. “It was such a friendly atmosphere,” he said. “People socialized together. They all had their own little spot they gravitated to. There are friendships still going on from that pool, and we’ve been invited March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

to weddings of couples who met there, as well as communions, and Bar Mitzvahs.” Though the Bellins live in Hillsdale (Christopher lives in Atlanta), their hearts remain close to Clifton. “We hired Clifton and Passaic kids to be lifeguards,” Bellin said, “and I’m still friends with quite a few of them. People were lifeguards for 10 years. Everybody kept coming back because it was a great place to work. Kids went away to college and came back and worked summers. “And we had great clientele—my wife Diane and I are still friends with many of them.” Pool History The Bellins’ history at the pool begins in the 1940s, but the pool actually opened on Memorial Day, May 30, 1932, as “Rentschler’s Swimming Pool.” Built on a 2.5 acre site, admission to the poured concrete pool was a nickel and its opening attracted up to 2,000 guests. The pool measured 225 by 100 feet and ranged from 2 to 10 feet deep. “It was an odd size, not Olympic size, but it was huge,” said Bellin. “It took a million gallons of water to fill. When it was built, it was state of the art—the walls, the bottom… it was magnificent! It was well-constructed facility.”

Rentschler’s gave area residents a break from the hot summers at a time when only movie theaters offered air conditioning. With music playing over its loud speakers, Rentschler’s offered frozen Milky Way bars for sale and featured a kiddie section for toddlers. In 1946, George Bellin Sr. got a job at the pool as a manager. Originally from Paterson, Bellin Sr. lived in Totowa with his wife Margaret (Guenthner), who graduated from CHS and grew up on East 4th St. Prior to the pool, he had worked in a Little Falls foundry making airline parts for Curtiss-Wright. “My father had no background in the pool business,” said Bellin. “He came across as pretty bright and they hired him. The owner, a man named John Altman, put an awful lot of trust in my father.” When Altman decided to sell the Clifton location in 1965, Bellin Sr. bought it and named it “Bellin’s Clifton Swim Club.” At the time, the pool was attracting 1,500-2,000 guests on weekend days and lines to enter snaked down Main Ave. Swimmers, many arriving by bus, were supervised by up to 25 lifeguards. While the swim club business seemed like constant fun, there were headaches. Anyone paying the admission price was free to jump in—regardless of their swimming ability. Consequently, the lifeguards were busy, saving up to 15 people on a weekend day.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


“The water was crystal clear,” Bellin said, “and they couldn’t tell how deep it was—though we had it marked all over the place. “We were also getting a lot of people who got out of hand. My father decided to turn it into a members-only club in 1970. That gave you control over everyone and limited the problem people. He said that if it doesn’t work in three years, we’ll sell.” Then costing $15 per individual, the members-only concept was not an immediate success. “The first year,” Bellin said, “people were hesitant. The second year, membership doubled. In the third year, it tripled.” A by-product of the members-only pool was lifeguard rescues dropped dramatically, now averaging just two or three a week. “The members,” said Bellin, “had to swim across the pool comfortably to go into the deep end.” A refreshment stand sold burgers and other fare, though guests could bring their own food. Also available was a sand beach area with volleyball courts. Other activities included basketball, ping pong and handball. The club featured 135 sets of tables, chairs, and umbrellas for picnicking and lounging. “Our best years were from 1970 until the early nineties,” said Bellin, who estimates the pool had 1,000 members in its heyday. Membership didn’t slack off until 1995.” Swimmer Turned Football Player Also in 1946, the Bellins moved from Totowa to Waldwick when George was 4. He later went to high school at St. Luke’s in Ho-Ho-Kus for a year and then on to Peekskill Military Academy in New York, a prep boarding school founded in 1833. The school attracted students from 42 states and 27 countries. “They were in the process of building an athletic program,” said Bellin. “They took in people who had athletic ability, and I was lucky enough to be one of them. I played football, lacrosse and swam on the swim team.” Peekskill’s swim team was nationally ranked and competed against college freshmen teams. Its swimmers, notably Carl Robie and Stephen Rerych, went on to win gold medals in the Olympics. However, Bellin would find his athletic glory on the gridiron. Newspapers described him as a “triple threat” running back with a nose for the end zone (in one game he scored six touchdowns).


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

From left, Christopher, Diane and George Bellin

“I turned into a football player,” he said, “instead of a swimmer.” While a senior at Peekskill, Bellin joined the Marine Corp in 1961 and served six months of active duty stateside and five and half years in the reserves. After graduating, he spent a year at Virginia Military Institute and then went on to play for Wagner College and was named the team’s MVP in his senior year. Bellin graduated from Wagner with a business degree, later earning his teaching certificate. After working in several New York prep schools as a teacher, football coach and athletic director, Bellin got a job in 1971 teaching history at Paramus Catholic. By 1973, he was the Paladin’s head football coach, serving in that position until 1980 (he also served as the school’s AD from 1975-83). “We had good football teams but played about .500,” Bellin said. “We competed against Bergen Catholic, Don Bosco and St. Joe’s—big time teams. We also played against Pope Pius and Paul VI in Clifton. We had great kids at Paramus Catholic.” In 1985, Bellin, now chair of the school’s physical education department, retired to run the swim club fulltime. He was later inducted into the Paramus Catholic Hall of Fame. Lifelong Memories When Bellin left teaching, his father retired to his second home in Vermont. “He would come down in late March,” Bellin said, “and prepare the pool, and go back to Vermont on week

ends. After I left Paramus Catholic, he walked out of the office one day with this big pile of clothes. He went to the garbage can, dropped the clothes in, shook my hand and said, ‘Good luck, I won’t be back,’ and left... after all those years.” Bellin’s parents would visit once during the summer, spending a day or two at most. “My father couldn’t handle it anymore,” Bellin said. “He’d tell my mother, ‘If you want to spend a few extra days, I’m going back and I’ll pick you up at the bus stop in Vermont.’ He just had enough.” But George hadn’t—he loved his business. Wife Diane ran the refreshment stand and was a vital part of the operation. Son Christopher was the head lifeguard, following in his father’s footsteps. “We did all the swim all programs for city of Clifton,” Bellin said. “I’m very proud of that. “We also hosted a Clifton Safety Patrol Day and students from every school came for a day to enjoy the pool.” Member and later employee Jonathan Perez fondly remembers his time at the pool. Beginning in 1983, Perez, who grew up in an apartment off Main Ave., visited the pool with his mother, sister and grandfather. “I didn’t grow up in the greatest environment,” he said, “and I remember the pool being like a second family—the members were close. It was a happy place in the middle of a city.” Perez, a CHS graduate who was a member of the Marching Mustangs, began working there at age 13. “I’d ride my bike to the pool,” he said, “and clean tables and sweep up. Later, I worked at concession stand. In the winter, I shoveled snow and painted the pool during the pre-season. George took meticulous care of facility; he was there before the sun came up.” By the mid-nineties, attendance at the pool declined as people put in their own swimming pools or went

down the shore. Membership fell from 1,000 to 500 members. In 2002, the pool experienced its most tragic moment came when a 16 year-old Passaic youth, along with five friends, broke in at 1 am and drowned in the deep end—despite the 15-foot walls surrounding the complex, some topped with barbed wire. Bellin, expressing remorse for the incident, told newspapers it was the first drowning since the pool opened. Labor Day, Sept. 4, 2006, marked the last active day for Bellin’s Clifton Swim Club as it was sold to make way for retail and residential use. The oasis on Main Ave was no more. “As the pool aged,” Bellin said, “it became more and more work. That was a contributing factor in selling.” Summer Wind Today, the Bellins continue to stay active, working as substitute teachers in Bergen County in an autistic program. Like his parents did, George and Diane also spend time at their home in Vermont. But as summer gets closer, so do memories of the swim club and seasons past. “George and Diane were huge influences in my life,” said Perez, who owns a heating and air conditioning company in Atlanta and works with Christopher Bellin. “Much of my success today is due to their guidance. I think of them as a mom and dad—incredibly generous, incredibly friendly, true role models. “They made the place. George always greeted everyone with a smile, and every member felt welcome.” “We just enjoyed everyone,” Bellin said. To honor George Bellin and attend Paramus Catholic’s Annual Legacy Gala at The Terrace at Biagio’s in Paramus, go to paramuscatholic.com for info.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 



March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


GLORY TO UKRAINE At the Feb. 5 State of the Union address, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell was spotted wearing a unique flag in his suit pocket, next to the American flag. “While Donald Trump’s speech mentioned Russia,” Pascrell said, “I was proud to wear a Ukrainian flag in solidarity with our ally and friend as Ukraine’s people continue to stand against Russian aggression.”

St. Brendan’s School is hosting a Tricky Tray on March 24. Doors open at 1:30 pm and drawing starts at 2:30 pm. Before March 15, admission is $25 and $30 for each value pack (two for $50). After March 15, admission is $30 and $35 for each value pack (two for $60). Bring your own food and BYOB. Call 973-7721149 or 973-772-6329 for orders and info. Limited tickets available; no one under 16 admitted. St. Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church at 81 Washington Ave. hosts a “Ukrainian Easter Egg (Pysanka) Decorating Class,” April 10, 6-8 pm. at the church hall. Class fee is $15 and includes eggs and supplies. Register by April 8 by leaving your name, number of students and return telephone number on the church answering machine at 973-546-2473. The kitchen will be open and feature homemade perogies and Ukrainian-themed gifts for sale. The Rosary Society of St. Paul Church will host its annual Fish-N-Chips Dinner/Tricky Tray March 21. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for children under 12. Catering provided by Tastefully British. Take-out orders are available and can be picked up between 5-5:30 pm. Sit down dinner follows. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Ample parking, elevator and handicap-accessible bathroom is available. Call Louise Moccia at 973-478-2605. CCMS teacher Kimberly Dreher is seeking volunteers for Clifton’s 14th Annual Cut-a-thon on March 4. Donations will benefit Children With Hair Loss (CWHL). To participate and donate (hair must be at least 8 inches) contact Kim Dreher at CCMS via email at kdreher@cliftonschools.net.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

The 15th Annual Relay for Life of Clifton is May 18, from 4 pm to midnight at Clifton Schools Stadium. Relay for Life brings the community together to help the American Cancer Society and neighbors create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. The theme of this years Relay event is “Going 15 Rounds with Cancer.” Go to relayforlife.org/cliftonnj for more info. More Relay for Life News: Carol’s Shining Stars, a Relay for Life team, will partner with Zinburger on Route 3 March 12 for a fundraiser. From 11 am to 10 pm, 20 percent of your check, before taxes, will be donated to Carol’s Shining Stars. Go to www.relayfor life. org/cliftonnj for the flier to give to your server. The CHS Class of 1979 is holding its 40th reunion Nov. 16 at the Black Bear Golf Club in Franklin, N.J. Tickets are $79 and must be purchased by Sept. 1. To learn more, email Debra Hatem Gorny and Linda Haraka DiFalco at chs7940years@gmail.com. CHS Class of 1970 is looking for the current info on classmates, such as mailing addresses, emails and phone numbers. Ann Marie Ayers-Williams is beginning the planning stages for the 50th reunion on Oct. 11, 2020. Send your info to clifton1970reunion@gmail.com. Turn off the Stress at the Clifton Public Library. Attend free one-day “Stress Relief Workshop” at the Main Library’s Community Room B, March 9 from 1-3 pm. Learn exercises to help identify where you are experiencing high stress levels. Workshop includes a free stress evaluation to take home.

Clifton’s first All American, running back Bobby Boettcher (far right), attended a Feb. 10 book party for City of Champions at the North Jersey Country Club. Author Hank Gola’s book tells the story of the Garfield Boilermakers and their triumph over Miami High School to win the mythical 1939 high school football championship (Garfield’s’ coach Art Argauer and its star player Benny Babula were native Cliftonites). At the party—attended by high school greats like Boettcher, 90 (whom Gola introduced as “Clifton’s great running back who played in the Oyster Bowl”), and Eastside’s Al Kachadurian, 95—the author thanked all who had supported the book. Learn more about this great read and see team video at hankgola.com. Young at Heart Club Meetings are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Masonic Lodge, 1476 Van Houten Ave. Refreshments are available at 11 am, followed by a brief meeting at noon. Bingo is available. Upcoming trips include: March 10­, Theater League of Clifton: Parody of TV shows held at Mario’s Restaurant; March 21, Camp Hope/St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: Corned beef lunch, dancing and music; April 12, Tastefully British-Fish & Chips: Luncheon by AARP 4192 & Young at Heart Club at Masonic Lodge, take-out available. Call Lillian for info 973-779-5581.

Clifton Cares has shipped more than 5,000 packages to our troops serving overseas since it first began in August 2010. To make it happen, volunteers need contributions of various items or checks for postage. Make your tax-deductible check payable to Clifton Cares Inc. and mail to Clifton Cares, Clifton City Hall, 900 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ 07013. Clifton Cares is a 501(c)(3).

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


The Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes, set aboard an fancy ocean liner, takes place on March 15 and 16 at 7 pm, and March 17 at 1 pm at the CHS JFK Auditorium. Performing are over 40 talented actors, singers, and dancers; a stage crew of 20 students; and a student pit orchestra of over 30. Advance tickets are adults $12, seniors and students $10; at the door, adults $15, seniors and students $12. Tickets available at http://our.show/chsanythinggoes.

Clifton Community Recreation Center at 1232 Main Ave. on March 21 for dinner and a movie. Dinner is served at 5:30 pm and the movie, Small Foot, begins at 6:30 pm (doors open at 5 pm). Cost is $6 per person for movie, unlimited popcorn, juice, a bag of movie candy and dinner of French fries and choice of hot dog, hamburger, cheeseburger or grilled cheese, and soda or water). Seating is limited. Pre-register (required) at the Clifton Rec office or at cliftonrec.com. Online registration ends March 19. For info, call 973-470-5956. More at the Clifton Rec Department: Family Bowling will be held March 8 at 6 to 8 pm at Garden Palace Lanes, 42 Lakeview Ave; Sundae Bingo March 24 from 3-5 pm at the Rec Center; The Bunny Bash on April 13 and the JigSaw Puzzle Contest on April 23. For info and prices, visit cliftonrec.com or call 973-470-5956.


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

The Passaic County Historical Society is now accepting applications from Passaic County schools, clubs, camps and scout groups interested in subsidized 2019 tours of Lambert Castle museum. The program provides reimbursement for student transportation and admission costs, and funds will be dispersed on a first come basis. In 2018, 627 children participated in this program. For info, visit lambertcastle.org/school_tours/. The Trio Fontes chamber ensemble will perform at the Main Clifton Library March 6 at 1:30 pm and again April 30 at 7 pm. Appearing are Yevgeniy Dyo, violinist; Suji Kim, cellist; and Sojung Lee, pianist. The concert performances are free, thanks to the fund raising done by sponsored by the Friends of the Clifton Public Library. For info, or to join the Friends, call Denise Regalado at 973-777-7883.


On Feb. 11 Clifton’s Disabled American Veterans (DAV Chapter 2) on Hazel St. at the intersection of Crooks Ave., reopened. Now infused with new and younger members, the chapter, the state’s second oldest, celebrated with a ribbon cutting. Pictured with DAV members are Mayor Jim Anzaldi (front, second from left), DAV Commander Malvin Frias (third from left) and Councilwoman Mary Sadrukula (fourth from left).

The St. John Lutheran Church’s “Thrift Shop” will open March 2 from 9:30 am to 1 pm. at 140 Lexington Ave. in Passaic. Gently used clothing, household items, toys and games will be available at low prices. Power of One’s new support group, “Cancer? Choose Hope,” meets the third Wednesday each month (the next meeting will be March 20 at 11:30 am to 1 pm and 6:30-8 pm at 796 Van Houten Ave. Contact Kim Castellano at 201-328-2326 or kim@powerofoneccom. org for more info. CHS Class of 1969 is holding its 50th class reunion on Oct. 26. For info on the festivities, and more details, register on reunions-unlimited.com.

New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation awards two $2,500 scholarships to high school seniors continuing their education at a college, university or trade/technical school. Graduating seniors must be state residents and write a reflective essay based on their visit to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Applications and essays must be received by April 12. For info, go to njvvmf.org or call 732-335-0033. A Fat Tuesday Pancake Supper will take place on March 5 from 5:30 to 7 pm at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 380 Clifton Ave. Meal includes regular, blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes, sausage and beverage. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children, 10 and under. For info and reservations, call 973-546-5020.

Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Freshman Kamil Soltys, Sophomore Lea Hallak, Junior Lindsay Juranich and Senior Murad Arslaner.

March has arrived for Mustangs of the Month.

The vice principals from each Clifton High wing have spotlighted four students who have gotten a head start on the latest activities on the campus, one from each grade. Accepted into NJIT and Northeastern with plans to major in computer science and engineering, Murad Arslaner is on his way to becoming programmer/hardware engineer. Speaking about his STEM classes, Arslaner said, “They are logical and quantitative, and it’s interesting learning how things work. I’ve always been better at solving problems and doing things practically versus reading, writing and memorizing things.” The senior says two people have inspired during high school: his older brother and AP physics teacher Mr. Burns. “My older brother has always been around to help me when life gets tough,” Arslaner said. “He’s been a role model for me to live up to, especially since he’s been successful as a civil engineer. “Mr. Burns is knowledgeable about his subject and excited to teach it. It rubs off on me. I learned a lot about the applications of physics with the different physical projects. “I often go to his room to talk to him because he’s very chill and down to chat about anything.” Arslaner said being on the CHS robotics team since his freshman year has also inspired him. “Getting the actual engineering experience,” he said, “has taught me so much.” While juggling his honors/AP classes and extracurriculars, like robotics and the Physics and Engineering


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Club, consume much of his time, Arslaner relies on a solid work ethic to excel and have fun. “I still find the time to relax and hang out with friends,” he said. Junior Lindsay Juranich has much going on. “A major and ongoing hurdle,” Juranich, “is balancing all AP and honors classes with two varsity sports, as well as my personal life.” Along with playing soccer and lacrosse, she is also in the Athletic Training Club and a member of the National Honors Art Society. For inspiration, she looks to her mom.“She is constant motivation for me to do my best and try my hardest in every situation, in and out of school,” Juranich said. “I have a close bond with my mom; not only is she my parent, but she is also my friend.” Her teachers are another source of inspiration. “I have been Mr. Henry’s student for the past two years in APUSH I and APUSH II (Advanced Placement United States History),” she said. “I thoroughly enjoy his teaching style and enthusiasm. US History has opened up my eyes and gave me a better understanding of where we, as a nation, came from, and how we changed over time.” But Juranich’s most influential educator is Ms. Such, her honors chemistry teacher from sophomore year. “She motivated me to challenge myself and take AP

Chemistry my junior year,” she said. “She made chemistry, a challenging class, not only interesting, but fun.” After CHS, Juranich plans to pursue an occupational therapy career with a focus on special needs children. Along with basketball, sophomore Lea Hallak loves her studies. “Biology is my favorite subject,” said Hallak, a varsity and JV Mustangs player who wants to go to college and land a job in the medical field. Her determination has been shaped by two influential people. “My parents,” Hallak said, “Joseph and Carla, inspire me the most due to everything my family has been through. My parents keep pushing and fighting to provide my brother and me a better life, an education, and a bright future. “They taught me not to give up and to always keep on working hard.” She has also been inspired by her teachers. “If I have to choose one,” Hallak said, “I would choose Ms. Turk, my English teacher. She encourages and believes in me, and is always pushing me to do my best not only in her class but in all of my classes.” Hallak wants to take advantage of CHS’s college programs—but with one important condition: It has to be one that allows her to keep playing basketball. “Something I love to do,” she said. For now, Hallak is sticking to her personal success plan: “Working hard and trying to manage my time in the best way to achieve my goals—it hasn’t been easy, but focusing on what I want and love to do gave me the power to do so.”

Soltys plans to examine all CHS has to offer, including school’s college programs. “I do consider myself taking advantage of these academic programs,” he said, “to help me succeed in school and in life.”

Freshman Kamil Soltys has made the transition from middle school to high school through self-discipline. “I managed to stay successful,” he said, “by staying focused and using time wisely.” For inspiration, he draws from the strength of a familiar group of Mustangs. “My relatives who went to this school—they inspired me to work hard and get good grades,” Soltys said. Soltys has not participated in any extracurricular activities yet, instead concentrating on his studies, especially world history. “Mr. Sarsano, my world history teacher,” he said, “teaches us in a way where it’s not boring and fun to learn. He likes to teach us in unique ways.” Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 


Birthdays & Celebrations - March 2019

Happy Birthday to.... Send dates & names .... tomhawrylko@optonline.net

Sloan DeVita turns 2 on March 22. Casey Hawrylko celebrates her 29th birthday on March 2. Kenneth Bucsko will celebrate his 23rd birthday on March 19. Teddy Harsaghy is 90 on March 11. Congratulations to Corey & Michelle Genardi, celebrating their anniversary on March 28. Their daughter Bianca Eda had her 13th birthday on March 2. Elaine Sassine will be 72 on March 15, the Ides of March. Ruth Basta will be celebrating her 18th birthday on March 27. Julie Generalli Dominick........ 3/1 Kathleen Pocoek.................. 3/1 Meaghan Franko................. 3/1 Kenzie Lord......................... 3/3 Amelia Lara......................... 3/3 Amanda Perez..................... 3/3 Amelia Ipenza..................... 3/3 Valerie Godowsky................ 3/5 Alice Paxton........................ 3/5 Patricia Vigh........................ 3/5 Carol Crudele...................... 3/6 Ted Grzybowski................... 3/6 Pat Smith............................. 3/8 William Thomson................. 3/8 Victoria Crudele................... 3/9 Pamela Culque.................. 3/10 Tiffany Sabo...................... 3/10 John Gorny....................... 3/11 Eddie Gasior, Jr................. 3/12 Mike Pesaro...................... 3/12 Victor Berdecia.................. 3/13


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Charles Bucsko Jr. and Colleen Soliman married November 3, 2018. Diego Hernandez.............. 3/15 Tyler Hughes..................... 3/15 Laura Lee.......................... 3/15

Samira Abdelhady............. 3/16 Suzanne Ciok.................... 3/19 Janette Hughes.................. 3/19 Caitlin Lotorto.................... 3/19 Colleen Murray.................. 3/20 Holly Sorenson.................. 3/20 Nenad Vuckovic................ 3/20 Monica Ahmed.................. 3/21 George Andrikanich........... 3/22 Elisabel Reyes.................... 3/24 Carmen Rivera................... 3/24 Kyle Hooyman................... 3/24 Suzanne Wachtler.............. 3/26 Michele Andrikanich.......... 3/27 Jennifer Mondelli................ 3/27 Nic­­holas Surgent............... 3/27 Aidan Tedesco................... 3/27 Muriel Curtin..................... 3/28 Francis Salonga................. 3/31 Paul McVeigh.................... 3/31 Chris Kolodziej.................. 3/31

Going to press on Feb. 26, we got a call from Hank Hafelfinger as he was standing atop a 5,000 foot mountain on the Appalachian Trail. “It’s hard work but it is just gorgeous,” he said. As we reported in February, Hafelfinger began his 2,200 mile north-bound trek Feb. 9 in Springer Mountain, Ga. When he called us, he was 114 miles along. “One state down,” he said, “I’ll be into North Carolina tomorrow.” During his first 14 days, it rained for 11, producing “fun stuff” on the AT. “The trail was under water,” Hafelfinger said. “Muddy is not the word. I fell three times. My boots, my clothes... everything was soaked. I needed to stop and dry out in a hotel.” While Hafelfinger felt prepared for the AT, he said it is like a long learning curve. For instance, he is gradually increasing his per day hiking mileage. He was on pace for 14.8 miles on Feb. 26 but hikers he saw doing 20 mile days when they began in early February already got off the trail due to exhaustion. “You have to gradually increase,” he explained. “I’ll be doing 20 mile days but not in the beginning.” As he heads into the 6,500 foot high Great Smoky Mountains, we’ll catch up with Hank Hafelfinger again in our April edition. Cliftonmagazine.com • March 2019 



Members of the Clifton/Passaic chapter of the UNA: Maria Drich, Marie, Duplak, Eliane Ilnitski, Rev. Andriy Dudkevych, Vasyl Harhaj, Halyna Semenyak, Stefan Zurawski, Nadia Dovhan

Throughout 2019, the Ukrainian National Association (UNA), one of America’s oldest fraternal insurance societies, will celebrate a landmark anniversary—125 years of protecting Ukrainian Americans and Canadians, and serving Ukrainian communities. Anniversary events began Feb. 22 in Shamokin, Pa., the city where the UNA was established. As a fraternal society, the UNA is a not-for-profit association. Proceeds from insurance product sales are not given to anonymous


March 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

investors; instead, proceeds go directly to provide benefits to UNA members and Ukrainian communities. The UNA’s 1894 founding was driven by the need to help thousands of Ukrainian immigrants who worked dangerous jobs in Pennsylvania coal mines. Deaths were frequent and young widows did not have the ability to pay for a funeral, much less receive future income. From the original “burial policies” that paid funeral expenses

and provided income to bereaved families, the UNA expanded into a full-service insurance provider with tens of thousands of members. The anniversary theme is “UNA: Insuring Our Community for 125 Years.” Throughout 2019, the UNA will introduce special programs and benefits to celebrate, including a restructured youth scholarship, as well as charitable giving. The anniversary finale will be a grand concert, “Celebrating 125 Years!” It will be held Nov. 2 at the Dolan Performance Hall on the campus of College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, N.J., and feature performers from the U.S., Canada, and Ukraine. Info about the UNA and its 125th anniversary can be found through UNA publications Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, both in print and online (svoboda-news.com and ukrweekly. com), on the UNA website (unainc.org), as well as by following Ukrainian National Association on Facebook.

Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main Avenue Clifton, NJ 07011

Fred Spoelstra

David Kelley

PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 280 Lanc. Pa 17604

Linton Gaines

Nancy Rodriguez

Luis Yzaguirre

Angela Cardenas

Wendell Maki

Walter Porto

Patricia Elmahdy

Jose Gignoux

Gladys & Alberto Mesones

NICHOLAS TSELEPIS Sophia Constandinou

“The Established Leader”

(973) 859-2270

1624 Main Ave. Clifton, NJ 07011

Broker/ Owner Top 1% Realtor in New Jersey


Alberto Mesones Jr.

Call today & Start Packing!


Mabel Mesones

Alexandra Constandinou

Hugo Meza

Edgar Meza







Roselys Ramirez

Cesar Guzman

Juana Torres

Francisco Sanchez

Nikolas Ralli

Sheila Esdaile







Tatiana Mosquera

Jacqui Rogers

Find out the Value of Your Home:


Marcelino Hernandez

Angelica Saenz

Micah Francis

Evelyn Munoz

Owen Eccles

Joanna Arias

Emilio Oscanoa

Jorge Ventura

Bobby Persaud

Nina Robayo

Jose Trinidad

Vilma Suarez

Yanet Iturralde Santana

Profile for Clifton Merchant Magazine

Clifton Merchant Magazine - March 2019  

Clifton Merchant Magazine - March 2019