Clifton Merchant Magazine - May 2015

Page 1

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Table of Contents

What’s Inside? 14 Roll Call of Fallen Heroes Those Killed in America’s Wars

24 NJ’s Bugler Robert Krupinski The Solemn Final Salute for a Veteran

30 On V-E Day, May 8 1945 Clifton Reacts to War’s End in Europe

42 The Lives of Joe Verderosa From Pollywog to Fire Chief

58 Debbie Oliver to be Feted St. Andrew’s Gala on May 12

66 Ralph Cinque Takes the Reins Named New Fighting Mustang Coach

Pages 68-73 Dance, Music & Arts

76 Ameti Voted Best Pizza

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Clifton Merchant • May 2015




teammates in

Soccer teammates at CHS in 1964, they were fallen soldiers in 1967. In the fall of 1964, after a 25-year hiatus, soccer was re-established as a boys’ varsity sport at CHS (the program had been dropped in 1939). The soccer team, under the leadership of head coach Severin Palydowcyz, and team captain Mike Osman, achieved a .500 record. Robert Kruger and Bohdan ‘Bernie’ Kowal were members of that Mustang soccer squad. Like Kruger, Kowal died in Vietnam. Born in Germany on May 25, 1946, Bohdan was the son of Stanley and Helen Kowal, Ukrainian immigrants who had been forced into slave labor by the Germans during World War II. The Kowals came to the United States in 1949 and lived on Paulison Ave. The family, which included two younger sons, Michael and John, were parishioners of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Passaic. Kowal graduated from CHS in June 1965. In December of that year he was drafted into the Army. After boot camp, he began his tour of duty in 6 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant


fallen soldiers in

Bohdam Kowal and Robert Kruger.

Vietnam in July 1966, assigned to C Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division. Much like he did for Kruger, local historian Richard DeLotto searched for information on Kowal’s service in Vietnam. Kowal, a rifleman, was killed by enemy small arms fire on Saturday, April 8, 1967, in Hua Nghia Province—just one month before his CHS teammate Kruger was slain.

Kneeling from left: Florian Cortese, Jerry Butkus, Walt Yurcheniuk, Irving Zeller, Chet Guzik, Charles Rybny, Gary Shaffer, Al Jurkewicz, Jim Watson, Jerry Greenberg, Ron Mack, Coach Severin Palydowcyz. Standing from left: John Stolarz, John Debiak, Bohdan Kowal, Brent Del Hagen, Donald Winkler, Bill Vrable, Dennis Cullen, John Kidon, Bob Kruger, Mike Osman, Felix Semtac, Ken Wanio, Larry Twoomey, Randy Rutler, Ed Augostoni, Peter Dobko, Fred Sadrak, Greg Petruska, Ed Marzelis, Mike Duch, and Elie Sabba.

Although DeLotto was unable to locate Kowal family members in the Clifton area, his research did uncover a newspaper article that quoted a grief-stricken Helen Kowal at the time of her son’s death. “He never had anything. He never went anywhere or had a chance to enjoy anything,” she said. “Why do they take the boys so young, when there are so many older men around?” As did many soldiers and sailors serving in foreign

lands, Bernie was homesick and expressed this heartache to his parents in a series of letters. One note mentioned how much he hated being in Vietnam. In one of his final letters, he wrote to his parents: “I’ll be home in 103 more days.” Two CHS graduates, two soccer players, two guys named Robert and Bernie, two young men of Clifton lost nearly 50 years ago in Vietnam. We honor their memory and service.

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Died A Hero By Michael C. Gabriele

It began as a mild, uneventful day in the spring of 1967 when 15-year-old Crystal Kruger looked out of the front window of her home on West Second Street and saw three men approaching. Rev. Paul Boester, their pastor from Clifton’s old Trinity Lutheran Church, was walking side by side with two men in military uniforms. Crystal, along with her grandmother, Frieda, her mom, Antoinette, and brother Roger, waited for the knock on the door. The room was still. No one spoke a word. They all knew that they were about to receive tragic, dreadful news. In 2005, local historian and retired Clifton Fireman Rich DeLotto was having a longdistance phone call with a decorated Marine veteran in California named Fred Monahan. DeLotto, at the time, was on a heartfelt quest, doing research on city soldiers killed in Vietnam. As their conversation unfolded and became more specific and intense, DeLotto asked Monahan if he remembered a particular young Marine from Clifton. DeLotto mentioned the Marine’s name and there was a long, uneasy silence on the phone line. Finally, Monahan answered: “Do I remember him? I was one of the guys who put him in a body bag.” 8 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


MEMORIAL DAY One Courageous Marine Of the men listed on the Clifton war monument, among those that died in Vietnam, one of the youngest to be killed in action was 18-yearold Private First Class (Pfc.) Robert H. Kruger Jr., a member of CHS Class of 1966. Kruger enlisted in the Marines immediately after graduating and left for basic training. This period was the height of the Vietnam conflict, with over 375,000 American soldiers stationed in Southeast Asia. It also was the period when protests against the war fomented political strife and social tensions. This was the turbulent Sixties and the polarizing “Generation Gap” was creating bitter divisions in towns, Bobby Kruger as a lad with parents Robert, Antoinette families and throughout the United States. Kruger arrived in Vietnam in January 1967. He “I believe Pfc. Robert Kruger was a member of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam. should be posthumously decoratAccording to research by DeLotto, Kruger and his ed for his action that morning.” company were on maneuvers in a place known as Hill -Frederick G. Monahan 881 North, Quang Tri province, in the region of the country known as Khe Sanh. This was where the epic “Battle of Khe Sanh” took place during the first half of 1968. DeLotto, via e-mail, obtained the text of an affidavit from Monahan, issued to a military review panel, titled: “To Whom It May Concern: One Courageous Marine.” The statement, confirmed under oath, is a sad, harrowing remembrance that The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor depicts Kruger’s valiant service during combat. in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed Monahan stated that Echo Company “was posiupon an individual serving in the Armed Services of tioned on a hilltop vacated by an enemy unit our size. the United States. We moved into the freshly dug fighting holes and The Medal of Honor is presented to a recipient by bunkers constructed by the North Vietnamese Army the President of the United States of America. In (NVA) unit that had left just hours earlier.” He accordance with United States Code Title 10, Subtitle recalled that in the early morning hours of May 3, C, Part II, Chapter 567, the President may award and 1967, during thunderstorm with heavy rain, “the present the medal to those that distinguish themselves north side of our position was attacked by the NVA conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk with mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and rifle of his life above and beyond the call of duty. fire,” which initially killed 12 Marines. Created in 1861 during the Civil War, over 3,460 Rifleman Kruger and another Marine were medals have been awarded to 3,446 different people assigned from the east side of the hill to strengthen (there have been a number of double recipients). the weakened perimeter on the north side. Four NVA Among Vietnam War veterans, more than 245 Medals soldiers most likely sprung out of the dense of Honor have been awarded. undergrowth killing Kruger’s buddy. One NVA 10 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


MEMORIAL DAY soldier was killed before both Marines’ rifles jammed enabling the remaining three NVA to capture Kruger. Monahan said he and the remaining members of the Marine company could hear Kruger shouting. But before they could react, they heard a grenade explode. Eventually, the enemy attack was repulsed and when the sun rose Monahan John and Crystal Hayes, cousin Marianne Belotti, Elsa and Roger and the other Marines walked down the hill Kruger at the Clifton dedication of Kruger Court. to survey the battle site. They came to a We’re very proud of Robert.” small clearing and found four bodies— She said her brother joined the Marines in order to Kruger and three NVA soldiers. They determined get financial benefits to go to college. Her dad, Robert Kruger must have pulled the grenade pin ring with his Kruger Sr. died in 1963; her mom passed away in 1970. teeth while he was being captured in order to “take out” John Hayes said he knew Robert since their days as the three enemy soldiers, who would have gone back friends at Christopher Columbus Junior High School. up hill to attack the other Marines. “Robert was a good athlete,” Hayes said. “When we “I remember it like it was yesterday and have told were in high school, he played soccer and I became the story the same way over and over for the last 47 involved in track. He was an even-tempered guy and a years,” Monahan stated in the affidavit. “I believe Pfc. friendly kid.” Robert Kruger should be posthumously decorated for A longtime neighbor and family friend, Hayes—who his action that morning.” The affidavit was signed: grew up on West Fourth Street—recalled being invited “Sincerely and respectfully submitted, Frederick G. to have supper at the Kruger house once a week. Monahan, National Commander, 2014-2015, Legion of “Robert was a great guy, but he also was a prankster. Valor of the United States of America.” He would joke with Crystal and play tricks on her, like Clifton did name a cul-de-sac, Kruger Court—locata typical big brother.” Hayes graduated CHS one year ed just off of Colfax Avenue, one block from CHS—in after Robert, joined the Air Force and also served in honor of its fallen son. Vietnam. He and Crystal were married in 1973. It’s Hard to Handle Marine Pfc. Robert Henry Kruger Jr. was born July Kruger’s sister, Crystal, said she and her husband, 19, 1948. He’s buried in Beverly National Cemetery, John Hayes—who was a friend of Robert—met with located in Burlington County. Originally from Passaic, DeLotto and are most thankful for his efforts to gather Kruger lived in Clifton most of his life. He attended information. “Years ago, when we were first told Robert School No. 4 and Christopher Columbus. While at was killed, we didn’t get many details,” she recalled. CHS, he played on the varsity soccer team and enlisted “Thanks to Rich DeLotto, this information about my in the Marines before his high school graduation and brother and how brave he was is coming to light.” started his service one week after commencement cereThough grateful to DeLotto, she did confess to havmonies in June 1966. He and his family worshipped at ing mixed emotions about learning the full story of her the now-disbanded Trinity Lutheran Church in Clifton. brother’s fate. Originally, the family was told Robert Should Kruger be honored posthumously with a lost his life due to mortar fire in Quang Tri province. medal for his valor in the field of combat? It’s a ques“After all these years, it’s good to know what really tion that historian DeLotto said he intends to pursue. happened to Robert, but it’s also hard to handle. It’s “He sacrificed himself,” DeLotto said of Kruger. “He very sad, but very impressive how he conducted himwas only 18 years old. What must have been going self. He exploded the grenade to save other soldiers. through his mind when he was captured?” 12 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

We’ll never know, but we do know that, in those final, fateful moments, Robert Kruger, the young man from Clifton, was a brave Marine. Man on a Mission What drives Rich DeLotto and his passion to gather information on Clifton’s deceased military heroes? It was DeLotto’s dedicated work as a military historian that sparked the interest to develop this article—a fitting tribute to a fallen Clifton Marine, as the city prepares for its annual Memorial Day ceremonies. A 1971 graduate of CHS, DeLotto said that while he himself didn’t serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, he feels inspired to help piece together the stories of those who never returned home. He recalled how the Vietnam War sparked bitter controversy and protests throughout the country, and that the 1970s were years when, unfortunately, people in the military, especially returning Vietnam veterans, were held in low esteem. Nearly all U.S. military personnel had left Vietnam by the end of 1973. However, in the absence of American troops, fighting continued between the armies of North and South Vietnam.

Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, fell on April 30, 1975. One year later the government of South Vietnam formally surrendered to the North, which eventually led to the country uniting as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Throughout America, the negative fallout and emotional turmoil from the Vietnam War became an unfair burden to bear for those who served, even though they served with distinction and honor. Those who remember that era of the 1970s know that, for many years, there were no gala celebrations or grand parades to welcome home the troops returning from Vietnam, or thank them for their service. This was a sad, contentious period in the country’s history. Even though he didn’t say it himself, it seems clear that DeLotto’s patriotic fervor and efforts as a local historian represent his way to redress that post-Vietnam era and pay tribute to veterans. Working as a private citizen without fanfare, he is determined that those who served should not be forgotten. “People that served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice deserve that respect,” he said. His interest in the life of Kruger is one example of his passion.

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Memorial Day

Monday, May 25

11am Services at War Monument, Main Memorial Park

Events to Attend Sunday, May 24 • 7 pm - Volunteers decorate around War Monument in Main Memorial Park with American Flags

Monday, May 25 • 6 am - Avenue of Flags Set-up, City Hall • 8:15 am - Fire Dept. Service, Brighton Rd. • 9 am - Memorial Day Parade, Hepburn Rd. • 9:30 am - Allwood Memorial, Chelsea Park • 11 am - City Memorial Service, Main Memorial Park • Noon - Military Order of Purple Hearts, Clifton Library • 12:30 pm - Post 347, Clifton Rec Center • 2 pm - Athenia Veterans, Huron Ave. • 6 pm - Avenue of Flags Take Down at City Hall Questions? Call 973-470-5757

14 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Memorial Day

Monday, May 25

Starting below and organized by the war in which they served, we have again published the name of every Clifton man who died while in service to our nation.

World War One Louis Ablezer Andrew Blahut Timothy Condon John Crozier Orrie De Groot Olivo De Luca Italo De Mattia August De Rose Jurgen Dykstra Seraphin Fiori Ralph Gallasso Otto Geipel Mayo Giustina

Selling replicas of the original Flanders’ poppy originated in some of the allied countries immediately after the Armistice of WWI. Disabled veterans make these artificial flowers, and earn a small income after their work is sold by members of local veterans posts on Memorial Day. Peter Horoschak Emilio Lazzerin Joseph Liechty Jacob Morf, Jr. William Morf Edwin C. Peterson Robert H. Roat Alfred Sifferlen

James R. Stone Carmelo Uricchio Angelo Varetoni Michael Vernarec Cornelius Visbeck Ignatius Wusching Bertie Zanetti Otto B. Zanetti

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Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Memorial Day World War Two

Monday, May 25 Peter Pagnillo Harold Weeks William Weeks Salvatore Favata Herman Adams Edward Kostecki Charles Hooyman, Jr. Salvatore Michelli Richard Novak James Potter

Joseph Sperling Charles Peterson Thomas Donnellan Jerry Toth Frank Lennon Joseph Carboy Julius Weisfeld Edward Ladwik Israel Rabkin

The memory will live forever. Over the past year, we have had the privilege of serving the families of many veterans. In recognition of the service these veterans rendered to their country, we would like to show our appreciation this Memorial Day. In memory of their lives and their service, we recall...

• Elroy Bakelaar • William Cannady • Jack Dominick Ciminello • Frank J. Cuccaro • Francisco Sanchez Delgado • Louis De Simone • Roger W. Frey • Walter Gardzielik • Ronald S. Genardi

• Joseph Mendillo • John F. Mingione • Charles Orlando • Monserrate Quinones • Sal Scafidi • Donald F. Schwarz • Dr. Marvin H. Soalt • Michael Urti • Michael A. Valentino

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Adam Liptak John Van Kirk Carlyle Malmstrom Francis Gormley Charles Stanchak Joseph Ladwik Karl Germelmann Robert Stevens Albert Tau William Scott Benjamin Puzio James Van Ness Gregory Jahn Nicholas Stanchak Frank Smith, Jr Carl Bredahl Donald Yahn Joseph Belli Edwin Kalinka Stanley Swift Charles Lotz Joseph Prebol Walter Nazar Benedict Vital Thaddeus Bukowski Leo Grossman Michael Kashey Stephen Messineo John Janek John Yanick Herbert Gibb William Nalesnik Joseph Sowma Bronislaus Pitak Harry Tamboer John Olear John Koropchak Joseph Nugent Steven Gombocs Thomas Gula Raymond Curley Harry Earnshaw James Henry

John Layton Charles Messineo Joseph Petruska Bogert Terpstra John Kotulick Peter Vroeginday Michael Sobol Donald Sang Andew Sanko George Zeim, Jr. Robert Van Liere Vernon Broseman Harold O’Keefe Edward Palffy Dennis Szabaday Lewis Cosmano Stanley Scott, Jr. Charles Hulyo, Jr. Arnold Hutton Frank Barth John Kanyo Bryce Leighty Joseph Bertneskie Samuel Bychek Louis Netto David Ward Edward Rembisz Lawrence Zanetti Alfred Jones Stephen Blondek John Bulyn Gerhard Kaden William Lawrence Robert Doherty Samuel Guglielmo Robert Parker Joseph Molson Stephen Kucha James De Biase Dominick Gianni Manuel Marcos Nicholas Palko William Slyboom Herman Teubner Thomas Commiciotto

Stephen Surgent Albert Bertneskie Charles Gash Peter Jacklin Peter Shraga,Jr. John Aspesi Micheal Ladyczka Edward Marchese Robert Stephan Roelof Holster, Jr. Alex Hossack Siber Speer

Frank Klimock Salvatore Procopio Harry Breen Gordon Tomea, Jr. Douglas Gleeson Fred Hazekamp Harold Roy Andrew Servas, Jr. Francis Alesso Walter Bobzin Vincent Lazzaro John Op’t Hof


My family and I... honor the service and legacy of America’s Veterans. - Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik Paid for by Berdnik for Sheriff

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Memorial Day World War Two Joseph Sondey John Zier Peter Hellrigel Steve Luka Arthur Vanden Bree Harold Baker Hans Fester Patrick Conklin John Thompson Thomas Dutton, Jr. Harold Ferris, Jr. Donald Freda Joseph Guerra Edward Hornbeck William Hromniak Stephen Petrilak Wayne Wells Vincent Montalbano James Miles

Monday, May 25 Louis Kloss Andrew Kacmarcik John Hallam Anthony Leanza William Sieper Sylvester Cancellieri George Worschak Frank Urrichio Andrew Marchincak Carl Anderson George Holmes Edward Stadtmauer Kermit Goss George Huemmer Alexander Yewko Emil Chaplin John Hushler Edgar Coury Robert Hubinger Wilbur Lee

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Vito Venezia Joseph Russin Ernest Yedlick Charles Cannizzo Michael Barbero Joseph Palagano William Hadrys Joseph Hoffer, Jr. Joseph Piccolo John Robinson Frank Torkos Arthur Mayer Edward Jaskot George Russell Frank Groseibl Richard Van Vliet Benjamin Boyko Harry Carline Paul Domino John Fusiak

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Kevin V. White, Director NJ Lic. No. 4964 Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Memorial Day World War Two Louis Ritz William Niader Alfred Aiple Mario Taverna Sebastian De Lotto Matthew Bartnowski John Bogert Joseph Collura Matthew Daniels James Doland, Jr. Walter Dolginko Peter Konapaka Alfred Masseroni Charles Merlo Stephen Miskevich John Ptasienski Leo Schmidt Robert Teichman Louis Vuoncino Richard Vecellio

Monday, May 25 Robert Hegmann Ernest Triemer John Peterson Richard Vander Laan, Jr.

This photo of a Clifton sailor and his family is from 2007 but the Clifton tradition remains: services at 11 am on Memorial Day, Main Memorial Park.

Happy Holidays from allVeterans of us at... We Honor America’s





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Stephan Kucha ‘Gigito’ Netto Michael J. Columbus

Korean War Donald Frost Ernest Haussler William Kuller Joseph Amato Herbert Demarest George Fornelius Edward Luisser Reynold Campbell Louis Le Ster Dennis Dyt Raymond Halendwany John Crawbuck Ernest Hagbery William Gould Edward Flanagan William Snyder

Allen Hiller Arthur Grundman Donald Brannon

Vietnam War Alfred Pino Thomas Dando William Sipos Bohdan Kowal Robert Kruger, Jr. Bruce McFadyen Carrol Wilke Keith Perrelli William Zalewski Louis Grove Clifford Jones, Jr. George McClelland

Richard Corcoran John Bilenski Donald Campbell James Strangeway, Jr. Donald Scott Howard Van Vliet Frank Moorman Robert Prete Guyler Tulp Nicholas Cerrato Edward Deitman Richard Cyran Leszek Kulaczkowski William Malcolm Leonard Bird John France Stephen Stefaniak Jr.

US Army/Special Forces Captain Michael Tarlavsky was killed in Najaf, Iraq on Aug. 12, 2004 and buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 24. Tarlavsky, CHS Class of ‘92, was captain of the Swim Team and enlisted in the Army in 1996. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star. He is survived by his wife Tricia, son Joseph, his parents Yury and Rimma and a sister, Elina. The Veterans Alliance engraved his name on the Downton Clifton Main Avenue War Memorial in 2004— the first name added in 34 years.

Nov. 8, 1961 Plane Crash Robert De Vogel Vernon Griggs Robert Marositz Robert Rinaldi Raymond Shamberger Harold Skoglund Willis Van Ess, Jr.

Honor Our Veterans! God Bless America! Passaic County Clerk

Kristin Corrado Clifton Merchant • May 2015





FAREWELL By Irene Jarosewich Few sounds cut to the heart more than the haunting chords of “Taps.” Robert Krupinski has heard these sad notes hundreds of times. More often than not, he was the one playing them. Police officer, firefighter, veteran – all are entitled to military honors at their funeral, honors that include the playing of Taps. Since 1994, Krupinski has been playing this final farewell. “For the family, hearing a recording is nothing like hearing Taps played live. That’s what our heroes are entailed to. That’s what they deserve. That’s what Congress decided they should have. The reason people use a recording at a funeral service is because there simply aren’t enough buglers out there like me.” Krupinski, for his part, has played at hundreds and hundreds of funerals, far more than he can remember. 24 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

“And each time I play, it’s still emotional. But I have a job to do. A funeral is supposed to provide closure for family. The playing of Taps gives the family honor and respect, it gives their loved one honor and respect. There is no room for a mistake. I have to believe this helps families heal.” Krupinski uses a trick to keep his mind focused and keep sad emotions in check, like the time he played at the funeral of fellow Class of 1980 CHS graduate and law enforcement colleague John Samra. Clifton police officer John Samra died on November 21, 2003, from injuries sustained when the motorcycle he was riding was purposefully struck by the suspect he was pursuing. “The way I get through something like that is I pretend that I’m just playing ‘lights out’ on a military base. That was the original purpose of the tune.”

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


MEMORIAL DAY Besides being called Taps, this melancholy melody is also called “Day is Done” – heard around the evening campfires of boy and girl scouts worldwide. It is also known as “Butterfield’s Lullaby” after the Union general, Daniel Butterfield, who wrote the tune during the Civil War. Krupinski was born and raised in Clifton and only recently was the family home sold, the one where he grew up on Emma Pl. with brother Marty and sisters Doreen and Lynda. It was in this home that Krupinski was given a trumpet to play when he was a five-year-old. He loved it. His parents, Jean and Martin, decided to give him private lessons. He then studied music, went Robert Krupinski as a young boy, with his parents Jean and on to join a drum and bugle corps and played Martin, older brother Marty and sisters Doreen and Lynda. until he got to high school. At CHS, Krupinski Even back then, Bob Krupinski was already a bugle boy. decided he preferred hockey to the trumpet and put the horn aside. ful for what my parents did for me. They gave me a “My father handed me a trumpet when I was five. lifelong gift.” My father had one and he wanted to learn to play, and Graduating CHS in 1980, Krupinski wanted to follow sure enough, I ended up teaching him! I am very thankin the footsteps of his brother Marty, now retired

26 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


MEMORIAL DAY as Paterson Fire Deputy Chief and their dad, Martin, who retired in 1983 after 30 years with the Clifton Fire Department. While he worked other jobs, Krupinski took the civil service exams several times to become a fire fighter. Although interviewed, he never got an appointment. He then applied for law enforcement and was called in by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department. Near the end of his five months of academy training in Mahwah, Krupinski heard a tape recording of

28 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Taps. “It didn’t sound so great. I told my instructor that I could play it better live.” He brought his trumpet to the academy, played Taps live, and next thing he remembers is being drafted

into the Honor Guard Division of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department. “Honestly, I remember the moment to this day. I was stunned. I was proud that my father and brother were fire fighters and I wanted that, too. But I had a different talent, God gave me a different path and I’m proud of that.” In 2000, Krupinski was injured while working as a corrections officer. He remembers that the first two years after the injury were really hard. He had completely ripped up his ankle. “Soon it was clear that my officers could not rely on me because of the injury. Fortunately, I was still allowed to wear the uniform and serve in the Honor Guard.” Then came the warm September day in 2001 that changed American lives forever. Like the rest of the world, Krupinski was completely unprepared for the shock of 9/11. He was immediately assigned to the Port Authority to play Taps at the funerals of the fallen heroes. “I know people say this all the time, but it was surreal. The first funeral at which I played was Sept. 14 in the Bronx. People in the neighborhood came out into the streets, perfect strangers, started hugging me. I didn’t understand it. But now I think I do. They were scared of what was happening to this country. They were very grateful that I gave them some comfort, something familiar.” It’s a tough statistic to wrap your head around, but from Sept. 14, 2001, until end of January 2002, Krupinski served at 32 of the 37 funerals of Port Authority officers who died during 9/11.

“The officers lived on Staten Island, Long Island, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, of course New York. I’ll never forget it. For months, everywhere, all the police departments came together as a family.” He played his coronet at these funerals, an instrument similar to a trumpet, but smaller and lighter with a gentler, even more haunting sound. He still uses this coronet, “but someday it will be mounted on a plaque and will hang in the 9/11 museum.” Even though they are all called “horns” the trumpet, bugle and coronet are not all the same. While trumpets and coronets have valves to make playing easier, bugles do not. Playing Taps on a bugle without making a mistake is difficult— the work is done by the player’s lungs and lips. “Taps can be played on a trumpet or coronet, but the original Taps was played on a bugle. At first, it was the only instrument used at military funerals,” said Krupinski. In honor of Krupinski’s dedication and talent, former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey gave him the moniker “NJ State Bugler.” “In Clifton, in Bergen, they call me the NJ State Bugler. It’s not official, but the governor was very sincere. I don’t want to comment about his troubles, but regarding law enforcement, he was a stand up guy. I served detail on a lot of events with him, including the funerals of many police officers. He learned all of our names. Always addressed us personally.” Each year, Krupinski participates in the New Jersey Law Enforcement

Memorial Service held the third week of May. This years the event will be held May 19 in the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove. A solemn ceremony, this event brings together law enforcement officers from the entire state. The names of all of the New Jersey police officers that have died in the line of duty are read dung the service, beginning with officer Maxwell Badgely of the Newark PD who died in 1854. While a the playing of Taps solo is the tradition at funerals, noted

Krupinski, at memorial services such as these, “Echo Taps” or “Silver Taps” – an arrangement for multiple players – is often used. “It’s always an honor for me to play Taps, but this ceremony in particular. It’s an honor to play in memory of fallen comrades. Sometimes people think that because I play for heroes, then I must be one, too. I want to be completely clear, I’m not a hero. But we have real heroes among us. And I want to continue to serve them.” Serving NJ / NY Area

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Clifton Merchant • May 2015



Victory in Europe! Looking back at V-E Day May 8, 1945

During WWII, Cliftonites purchased $760,000 in war bonds through the Buy a Bomber campaign. Their efforts helped build the Spirit of Clifton, a B-17 Flying Fortress which is pictured here.

Story by Don Lotz tail gunner. The distance between us and Many World War II veterans and citthe ground continued slipping away too izens include in their Memorial Day fast for comfort, and we were tossing out observances a memory of Victory in everything that wasn’t bolted down, and Europe or V-E Day, May 8, 1945. some stuff that was. Flak was still coming Clifton greeted Victory in Europe with up fast and fancy. A close one ripped the gratitude, sorrow and a face to the No. 4 engine and it wouldn’t give full future. Newspapers of May 7 to May power, leaving us with just an engine and 10, 1945, contained articles about a half to fly on. And we did. It took some Clifton’s citizens involved in the fightmighty sharp maneuvering, but the pilot ing in Europe and Asia. pushed that wreck over the lines to an Gunner S/Sgt. Charles Librizzi’s haremergency landing field in Brussels.” rowing experience aboard a Flying Julia DeNike, of Fenner Ave., Fortress B-17 bomber stated the target received word that her son Pvt. Joseph of their bombing raid was Leipzig, Bush was liberated from a Nazi Prison Germany but Leipzig returned the favor Joseph Sperling was the Camp by the 83rd Infantry Division at with antiaircraft shells. first Clifton serviceman Altengrabow, Germany. Pvt. Bush was The Clifton veteran, recipient of the Air killed in World War II. He captured in March by the Germans and Medal with five Oak Leaf clusters and son died at Pearl Harbor on was moved frequently, with his family of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Librizzi of Dec. 7, 1941, serving not hearing from him since December. Ackerman Ave. said: “They began by aboard the USS Curtis. Pauline Chaplin, of Alyea Terr., howknocking out our Nos. 1 and 2 engines ever, received news that her son, paratrooper Lt. Emil right after ‘bombs away.’ That cost us 4,000 feet of altiChaplin, had been killed March 24, 1945, during tude right away. A burst in the nose about that time “Operation Varsity” in Germany. wounded the pilot and co-pilot, another in the rear hit the 30 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015



Chaplin had two other sons in service at the time she received word of Emil’s death. Lt. Emil Chaplin was an honor graduate of CHS, a winner of the Rensselaer Institute of Technology award in math and a graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. When he entered service on Feb. 13, 1942, he was teaching school and preparing for a master’s degree. The May 3, 1945, Kiwanis meeting at the Robin Hood Inn featured the U.S. ambassador to CzechoSlovakia, William Kelgard. His topic: “The International Peace Conference at San Francisco.” He said that although democracy was not perfect, “it still represented the only form of government under which free enterprise can exist and thrive.” Victory in Europe seemed imminent, yet certain war measures remained in place—rationing prospects appeared even bleaker for the balance of 1945. District OPA Director Richard J. Tarrant said “we will still have a hard war ahead in the Pacific and on the inflation and scarcity front…” and emphasized the importance of rationing and price controls. The gas, tire, shoe, and automobile situation seemed gloomy enough, but the availability of food and fuel oil appeared even bleaker. On May 8, Admiral Karl Doenitz, Hitler’s successor, had addressed the German people “saying he ordered the High Command to surrender unconditionally the night 32 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

During World War II, boards were erected in neighborhoods listing the names of men who served in the Pacific and European front in all the Armed Services. The second photo is from the archives of the Athenia Canteen. Turn to page 38 for the story.

of May 6 on all fronts,” and concluded that “on May 8 at 11 pm the arms will be silent.” The news of the end of fighting in Europe was greeted by President Harry S. Truman with his radio address and proclamation: “This is a solemn but glorious hour. Gen. Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the U.N. The flags of freedom fly over all of Europe.” Mill whistles blared, church bells tolled, but no crowds appeared in the streets of Clifton on V-E Day. Flags remained at half-staff, as they had been since the death of President Roosevelt. Mayor William E. Dewey and City Manager William A. Miller ordered all offices at the City Hall closed. Mayor Dewey next proclaimed “I Am American Day” in Clifton, calling upon all of its citizens to join in the observance on May 20 to honor foreign born men and women who have been naturalized, as well as great numbers of native-born citizens who had become of age during the previou year. Dewey said, “these citizens are giving strength to our Democracy in its struggle against tyranny and it’s striving to make secure through international organization the rights and opportunities in our own and other sovereign

nations.” Mayor Dewey asked patriotic, civic and educational groups to hold appropriate exercises in celebration of the event. Richardson Scale and Dumont Laboratory closed, while Curtiss Propeller and Bright Star Battery Company remained opened, although several departments at Bright Star were shut down when joyous workers left their posts. Supt. George J. Smith had schools opened and held assemblies, where teachers impressed upon students the importance of the effort in Japan and urged them to continue to buy war bonds and stamps. The children were sent home after the assemblies. The police and fire department had off duty officers report in case of emergency, but all remained calm. Clifton’s calm response to V-E Day was in fact no indication of its continuing response to support the effort and those returning home. Maj. George Mount Richmond’s family, received word that the air commander of B-17 Flying Fortress group formations in a hospital in France recuperating from burns received after being shot down during a mission against Nazi installations. His wife had previously received word that Richmond and his crew had to bail out and that his crew was picked up by the

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


MEMORIAL DAY Through scrap drives in 1942 and 1943, enough tin and foil is collected by Clifton students, like those here, to fill seven railroad cars with flattened metal. Can anyone names these kids pictured here? We’d like to meet them.

Americans, while Richmond was listed as MIA. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in Feb. and also holds the Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters. Staff Sgt. William D. Pavlik, of the Engineer Combat Battalion, had been awarded the Silver Star Medal for heroic action in France. The citation read… During an air raid in France, on June 11, 1944, a truck loaded with high explosives and ammunition was hit by a bomb, wounding and killing several men. Pavlik, disregarding the intense heat from the burning truck and constant threat of further explosions, remained at the scene of the fire to help remove the wounded men to safety and administer first aid. The courage, coolness and disregard for personal safety displayed by this enlisted man reflect the highest credit upon himself and the armed forces. Pavlik had been overseas 22 months, in India, Africa, and France, before going to Germany. He was a CHS grad and athlete. Victory in Europe did not stop the news of death; Pvt. John Robinson was killed April 19 in Italy. He had been there since last July and had entered the service Oct. 17, 1942. His wife Jeannie Robinson and daughter Elizabeth Jean resided on Kenyon St. 34 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Members of the Clifton Defense Council called upon its thousands of volunteers in police, fire, radio, nursing and other community services to “stay on the job” until final victory in the Pacific. War Bond Drives, Salvage Collections and other public service continued and the OCD asked its forces to “stand by.” City Engineer John L. Fitzgerald, who has been the commander-in-chief of the OCD since in 1941, said he hoped that public-spirited citizens who have been doing “such a marvelous job on the home front,” would continue their services. He suggested OCD could concentrate in Community War Services, of which City Treasurer John Franz had been chairman, and Loretta Schleich, secretary. State OCD Director Wachenfeld urged that the OCD forces be kept intact, until final victory. Wachenfeld also expressed the hope that the OCD would again play an important part in the Seventh War Loan drive. The FCC had renewed the license of WKKQ, the Civilian Defense short wave station in Clifton. Frank Takacs, radio aide, and Emil Ploenes, assistant aide, will remain in charge, under the direction of Crine Hellegers, chairman of OCD communications. Other efforts in Clifton included a “canning demonstration… planned by the nutrition committee of

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


MEMORIAL DAY Community War Services Division of the Clifton Defense Council. Mrs. R. R. Hill, chair of the nutrition committee, invited all Clifton women to attend the demonstration on May 23.” Passaic County Home Demonstration Agent Fontilla Johnson said, “This year, it is imperative that housewives make plans for their summer and fall canning early and put up as many foods as possible. We are being warned of a food shortage in the months to come.” Quentin Roosevelt American Legion Post No. 8, invited CHS Principal Harold J. Adams to discuss, “programs through which the high school authorities cooperate in the education of men in service, to assist them in completing their high school courses and obtain their diplomas, and gave an outline of the facilities for furthering the education of returning veterans.” Adams “stressed the importance of high school training for the post-war world, predicting that the high school diploma will be the ‘big filter in the future,’ in seeking jobs.” He also said, “Clifton will have a well rounded program, probably with adult evening classes and vocational guidance.” The Clifton Junior Red Cross packed for shipping 25 overseas boxes of games at the Clifton Red Cross. The Seventh War Loan Drive brought the students of School 13 to the forefront with their weeks of planning. Conrad O. Schweitzer, School 13 Principal, “announced at a special assembly that although the campaign starts officially May 14, the school will fire the opening gun tomorrow May 11.”

36 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

On April 28, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson, fearing a second Communist takeover of a Caribbean nation, sent US Marines and the Army’s 82nd Airborne paratroopers to the Dominican Republic. After two years of political upheaval inspired by Communist insurgents, it took American forces several months to calm down the situation and reinstall a Democratic regime. One of those Marines was Staff Sgt. George McClelland, whose family lived at 28 Second St. while he was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. McClelland spent 90 days in Santo Domingo, during which time 13 American serviceman were Killed in Action, mostly by snipers. Upon his return, McClelland served as a drill instructor at Parris Island. Thirty months later he landed in South Vietnam and was ordered into the Khe Sanh firebase. Less than two weeks after his arrival, the base came under heavy attack by north Vietnamese forces. On Feb. 25, 1968 S/Sgt McClelland was killed in action when his unit was struck by enemy assault. He left behind a wife and two children. This Memorial Day, take a moment to remember servicemen like George McClelland. —By Richard DeLotto

Clifton’s post V-E Day economic well being was discussed at a Chamber of Commerce merchant’s forum. Arthur Rigolo, chair of the Committee for Economic Development, told businessmen to make “immediate post war plans to take care of increased consumer demand as soon as restrictions are lifted. Each firm and businessman should analyze his problems because competitors throughout the country are making similar plans.” Ford dealer Henry Fette, chairof the commercial division, summarized division activities since the first of the year, providing a positive outlook. Peter R. Barns, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, concluded the meeting by informing businessmen on future trends in retailing and post war markets.

Clifton Merchant • May 2015



Athenia Canteen If you weren’t in the service during WWII, you waged a campaign on the home front, collecting scrap metal, buying war bonds and doing everything possible to support the ‘boys over there’. The late Stanley Zwier, Clifton Mayor from 1958-1962, did just that as he and others launched the Athenia Canteen at 754 Van Houten Ave. in 1942, a group that would eventually become the Athenia Vets Post. “Most of us had family in service. We wanted to do something nice for the boys from Clifton who were home on furlough or getting ready to ship out,” Zwier said in a 1998 interview. His three brothers, Robert, Henry and Michael, were all in the Army.

On furlough, back home, relaxing in Clifton, circa 1944, from left Joe Menegus, Billy Bogert, Steve Kalata, Jerry Agnello, and Ed Riuli. Photo below, that’s some of the organizers of the Athenia Canteen, including Stanley Zwier at right.

“We gave each serviceman a carton of cigarettes. We would also give them theater tickets and took them out for a snack.” The organization also published the Canteen News, which was mailed to Clifton residents around the world who were serving in the military to keep them abreast of hometown happenings. Zwier said Clifton’s version of a USO Club wouldn’t have been possible without contributions from businesses and private citizens, as well as the efforts of his fellow members on the Athenia Canteen Committee, including Rose Bucaro, Margaret Svec, Frances Mirabella, Mary Bieganowsky, Steve Kleaha, Marie Van Acker, Bob Colvin, Basil Zito, Jean Luszkow, and Irene Zwier, among others. 38 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015



That’s Willie Zawisha, who was bed-ridden most of his life, dictating a letter to his niece which will be sent to ‘Clifton boys’ serving across the globe, back during World War II.

In an article published in Oct., 2003, readers were introduced to Willie Zawisha, who was homebound during World War II because of arthritis of the spine. With the help of his niece, he published a wartime newsletter that kept his Clifton chums connected despite scattered overseas assignments. Today, these classmates and veterans call themselves the Sag-A-Bits, and still meet yearly. Izzy MacDonald, daughter of Sag-A-Bits member Charles Manella, saw the article and provided pages from Zawisha’s old newsletter, which were found among Manella’s belongings after he died on Sept. 19, 2003. Here are two excerpts...

Sag-A-Bits member Joe Menegus estimated these letters were written after June 6, 1944 (D-Day). According to Menegus, Bill Tomea was never found and Gerry Agnello, who asked to join Zawisha’s group, survived the war but is no longer alive today. 40 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

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Boiler Room How the Navy Shaped Clifton Fire Chief Joe Verderosa’s Life By Joe Hawrylko

“There was a boiler chief there who took me under his wing, got my head on straight so I was the best I could be... He basically taught me that you’re not just doing it to help the individual. Doing that also helps the organization move forward, which helps get the job accomplished faster. People under you are more motivated as opposed to when they fear you.” When (retired) Clifton Fire Chief Joe Verderosa talks about his time in the US Navy, he has many memories. Sure, he’ll tell you about crossing the equator twice, or the challenging fun of training with SEALs in the Naval Special Warfare Unit 2. But the experiences that perhaps most shaped who he is today took place in the boiler room of the USS Fox, where Verderosa learned about hard work, leadership and becoming a man. Before he joined the Navy in 1973, Verderosa was just an 18 gearhead from Clifton who spent his days tinkering with his car in shop class or chowing down on Hot Grill with friends. It was still a turbulent time period back then —Vietnam was winding down but still hung like a cloud over the country’s youth. For a while, Verderosa didn’t know what he wanted to do. School was not something that interested him, so college wasn’t on his radar, but he wasn’t particularly keen on any kind of trade. But it was a friend of his uncle, Jim Kuebler, that got him interested in the Navy. 42 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

“My uncle’s best friend, Joe, joined the Navy and was on a minesweeper,” said Verderosa. “He travelled the worl... went to Vietnam... he came home and told me all these stories about what it was like working on engines and all this stuff, and that’s what really led me to the military. I wanted to work on small boats and diesel engines. I was always a gearhead.” Verderosa quickly learned that the military often has a different vision for you. “I went to the recruiter and told him what I wanted to do,” he recalled. “He said, Oh yeah, I’ll call them right now—and he picked up the phone — he probably called his wife or something like that and told me—no problem.” Under that premise he got his parents approval and enlisted in March of 1974. By June, he was in Orlando, Florida for boot. Once there, it became clear that the recruiter’s promise was hollow: Verderosa was heading to Illinois to learn to be a boiler technician, a few decks down, deep inside the bowels of ships.

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


MEMORIAL DAY While he was dismayed by the deception, Verderosa got a pleasant surprise when he got to boot. “Mark Osburn, he was my childhood buddy growing up. They had a buddy program where you could serve at the same time and I said, come on, let’s join the Navy. He had the long rock and roll hair and he said I’m not cutting it, so he didn’t join up with me.” he laughed. “I got into boot and three weeks later I’m in Orlando, Florida and who comes running out of one of the buildings?” Chief in 2013 at his daughter’s wedding. From left, Chief, daughter “I ended up yelling to him and the next Lee Ann, son-in-law Steven DeHaas, and Chief’s wife, Glenna. thing I know the drill instructor is yelling Osburn did his four year hitch and returned to civilian and I’m doing push ups,” continued Verderosa. The two life, while Verderosa continued on his military career, continued to stay in touch over the next couple of years. going on two deployments during his five active years, “I was stationed in San Diego on the USS Fox, and one for six months and another for nine, crossing the Mark was in San Jose on the USS San Jose,” he recalled. equator twice while enroute to the South Pacific. “His ship was a supply ship and I was on a cruiser. While out in the Indian Ocean, they’d send us supplies From Pollywog to Shellback and he’d tape on a letter to the box. Here we are, two For sailors, crossing the equator is a memorable event, kids from Clifton, keeping in touch with no cell phones a rite of passage celebrated by navies as well as or anything like that.”

44 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


MEMORIAL DAY civilian ships all across the globe. In the US Navy, it is typically a two day ceremony in which pollywogs (rookies) are initiated by shellbacks into the Court of Neptune. “The first time you’re being initiated,” Verderosa recalled. “The second time, you’re the initiator.” Those who had not crossed yet are known as pollywogs; afterwards they are known as shellbacks. “All the people, including commanding officers, if you had not crossed you were going to get it.” The shenanigans that ensued were gross but still friendly. “The fire fighting foam was made of animal protein - it stank like something nasty,” recalled Verderosa. “They would stick you in this box, a coffin like thing, and they’d be beating on it while firing in a bunch of that stuff. You spent two weeks cleaning up the ship after that stuff, it smelt so terrible.” Another regular tradition was the kissing of the Royal Bellybutton: “They got the biggest guy on the ship, greased him up, and you had to get a cherry out of his bellybutton,” laughed Verderosa. The end of the induction culminated with a dive in the pool where the pollywogs were symbolically transformed into shellbacks, finally inducted into Neptune’s court. First On, Last Off Outside of special events like that, Verderosa spent most of his shifts in the bowels of the USS Fox. The 547 ft long Belknap-class cruiser was a steam powered ship, complete with a crew of boiler techs and other engine room crew that kept the ship’s four boilers and two steam turbines operating while out at sea. It was far from a glamorous job—hours were long, light was non-existent, and temperatures could easily top 100 on hot days.

“It was a job that you had to be the first one on the ship to light the boilers to get them going and up to steam,” said Verderosa. “And when you pulled into port it took time to shut them off and refuel so we were the last one off. The crummiest job in the Navy, no doubt.” Despite the job being a drag, the Cliftonite made the best of it, and learned some important life lessons: “There was a boiler chief there who took me under his wing, helped me get my head on straight and be the best I could be,” Verderosa recalled. “He basically taught me that pulling someone aside like he was doing to me, you’re not just doing it to help the individual. Doing that also helps the organization move forward, which helps get the job accomplished faster. People under you are more motivated as opposed to fear, like you’re holding a hammer above their head.” Suffice to say, Verderosa was happy to not be working in a boiler room every day when his active duty ended in 1979. Once he returned home, Verderosa became a Amtrak transit cop, a job he would hold until 1990. Ultimately, the Clifton native’s goal was to return to his hometown as a fireman or policeman. While waiting for his dream career, Verderosa decided to enlist in the US Naval Reserves not long after returning home in 1979. “So I walked from my house on Troast Ct. and walked over to the Naval Reserve Center in Clifton. The chief petty officer was an old guy, he signed me up no problem, and then tossed me out and said, ‘Now go get a haircut!” he laughed. Unlike his stint in the boiler room, Verderosa’s next occupation was more his speed. He joined the Naval Special Warfare Unit 2, out of the Kearny Reserve Center. He was attached to the elite unit until he retired from the Navy in 2001.

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MEMORIAL DAY “I absolutely loved it, I couldn’t believe I was getting to do this stuff. It was basically SEAL stuff and small boat guys,” he explained. “This particular unit was attached to Scotland. I did different kinds of training: jumping out of helicopters into the ocean, beach recon, and all sorts of cool stuff.” After waiting for several years, Verderosa got good news: he had been accepted to both the Clifton Fire and Police Departments. Eventually, he settled on the Fire Department. Verdersoa was hired in November of 1990, and after training he started his career at Station Six. “I was actually 36 years old when I was hired,” he said. “You had to be on the list before your 35th birthday and I just made it. I was very very lucky.” Then the Gulf War started in August of 1990, and his unit was activated, a part of more than 500,000 US troops that served during the conflict. “In Desert Storm, my unit got activated, and I went over to Scotland around Feb. of 1991,” he recalled. Though the war ended in the same month that he was activated, Verderosa spent the next four months in Scotland. “I was only on the fire department for about four months at that time. You had to be on for a year to get in the union, but the guys got together and

48 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Top left, Joe Verderosa in 1973 while in boot, top right as an Amtrak Police Office circa 1985, bottom left, in his first stint as chief with the US Navy circa 1995. At bottom right, as Clifton’s Fire Chief, 2009.

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


MEMORIAL DAY voted me in early, and I very much appreciated it. This was when I had a young daughter, and my wife was losing her job because she couldn’t find anyone to babysit, so that was weighing on my head while I was out there.”

50 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

“Initially, I think being a fire fighter was a little more scary because you feel like you’re not as in control,” he explained. “You can’t see very far, it’s smokey and you’re going in blind. As a cop, even if a guy’s got a knife or something, he’s in front of you. As a fire fighter, you’re going into an unknown environment with all this heavy gear on.” Verderosa was promoted lieutenant in 1998, and then again to captain in 2001. It was then that he became a training officer. “I loved it,” he recalled. “That was absolutely my favorite time on the Fire Department. I enjoyed setting up the training, challenging guys, writing grants, and going on all these cool training missions.” Verderosa said his interest in taking a leadership role stemmed from his time in the bowels of the USS Fox boiler room, one of the many

life-long lessons he received from the military. That philosophy was something that Verderosa carried over to his training, as well as his short tenure as chief. “Sometimes when we would do the training, people would complain, ‘Oh why do we got to do this,” he said. “But once you get them motivated, they go in and do it, and then you come out all sweaty after you just finished it and you’re like yeah!” Verderosa continued in that capacity throughout the 90s and into the next decade, through 9-11. Like most fire fighters, he has profound memories of that day. “I was in Costco and I heard about the plane crash so I went over to Station 4, and the next thing you know the other plane hits,” he said. “Then I headed over to Station 5. We put another engine into service just in case. There was some

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MEMORIAL DAY controversy about going over in case people get hurt. But by Sept. 13, we just said, we don’t care, and two bus loads of us went to NYC to help in any way we could.� “It was just surreal, very surreal...There was metal just stick up straight into the air. Total chaos. We did our best to look around and try to help in any way we could,� he recalled. “Everything was covered in white powder and paper ashes everywhere. But the biggest thing that struck me was when we got out of the bus and were walking down the West Side Highway towards Ground Zero, people were stopping on the side, clapping and calling us heroes. It just made me feel uneasy.� Verderosa and his Clifton brothers ultimately found themselves helping by attending the funerals for their fallen comrades in New York. About a decade later, the public’s view of fire fighters had drastically changed. Verderosa was named chief in 2009, and with Clifton and many other cities reeling from the economic crash in 2008, local governments were pushing for concessions from unions. “Fast forward to right around the time I retired in 2010, and we’re on the other end of the spectrum: to some, we’re the reason the economy crashed in New

Jersey,� said Verderosa. “The reality is for both, we have a job to do. And for the contract, all things were negotiated in fairness, everything was legal.� Verderosa’s tenure as Clifton’s top fire fighter was short lived, serving just one year from 2009 - 2010. “I just found out I was really not cut out for the position. I was more of a hands on, let’s get this done kind of guy,� he recalled. “Instead, I was there making some really tough decisions. I was the only guy who had to lay off fire fighters and close a fire house. But I also hired the first women fire fighter, Angela Tirado, so there was some cultural change there too.� Ultimately, Verderosa found himself not enjoying his work as much as chief due to all of the tough decisions he was forced to make. In 2010, he made the toughest one of all, finally calling it a career. Though it was hard to end his career on that note, the former Chief said that his tenure in the Navy, fire department, and police department gave him a lifetime of memories and lessons. “But what’s that old saying, ‘I wouldn’t do it over again, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything?’� continued Verderosa. “It was great—great friends, great camaraderie, a great sense of togetherness.�

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Call us toll-free 1-888-BANK-UKE or visit us online at Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Regina Mundi Officers, from left: Former Grand Knights Marty Neville and Peter Kueken, current Deputy Grand Knight Robert Bolletino and Outside Guard Ray Cramer.

In 1999, the building was sold to make way for a new post office. Presently, meetings are held at St. Andrew’s and St. Paul’s churches. Having celebrated the 60th anniversary of the council’s founding this year, Regina Mundi (which means “Queen of the World” in Latin, a reference to the Mother of God) remains active throughout the Clifton community, Among the groups, organizations, and charities to which the council donates and with which members volunteer are the Clifton Adult Opportunity Center, the Boys and Girls Club, the NJ Special Olympics, the Polar Bear Plunge, Katrina/Tsunami/Haiti and other natural disaster relief funds, Autism.NJ, as well as donations to Clifton parishes and their schools. The council chaplain is the pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, Rev. Richard D. Kilcomons. The current Grand Knight is Pablo Casiano, the current Deputy Grand Knight is Robert Bollettino The council continues to be vibrant, holding social events, as well working to reaffirm Catholic teachings, such as participation in March for Life, funding Keep Christ in Christmas billboards and support for crisis pregnancy centers. For their dedicated service, Regina Mundi Council No. 3969 will be honored May 12 with the Mayor James Anzaldi Community Service Award to be given at the St. Andrew the Apostle Gala and Awards Dinner at the Brownstone. 56 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Community Leaders Gloria J. Kolodziej Community Enhancement Award

Debbie Oliver “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” Ever since she was young, Debbie Oliver knew she was destined to be a teacher. Moving from St. Louis to West Orange in the late 1960s, the former Midwesterner became a Jersey Girl and graduated William Paterson College in 1978 with a degree in Physical Education and Health Science. Her next step was to get a teaching certificate before post-graduate studies at Indiana University and Cooks College in Public Health. She was prepared to begin a teaching and coaching career but her career path began with the American Red Cross and then the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark and Union. Next stop was Program Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club. In 1996, she was named Clifton’s Recreation Supervisor. Since then, her Rec team, which includes Jessica Vasilenko, Bill Lemke and others, have won numerous state awards and grants. “I am a dreamer and they are the talent that makes my dreams happen,” she said of her staff. Through vision and persistence, Oliver has put recreation in the forefront of Clifton’s identity, renovating and rebuilding facilities, and increasing the quality and quantity of programs. “We are a town that is committed to offering old and young the friendships gained by playing together,” she said, ackowledging some of her plans can be ambitious, Oliver said she has learned to trust her inner child. “I have learned to trust what some people call ‘my crazy ideas.” She sees her role as Clifton’s physical education and health teacher, focused on the health and wellbeing of her 80,000-plus ‘students.’ 58 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Debbie Oliver with her favorite veteran, her dad Paul.

“With healthier and happier citizens, the community becomes a better place to live, work, play, grow and raise a family,” said Oliver. “Better health and a better outlook on life, makes playtime more fun.” And that is not just for everyone else. Oliver competes in volleyball and softball leagues and has entered a new phase of life, competing in the World Senior Games aka the Senior Olympics. “More than 11,000 athletes from around the world compete,” said Oliver, adding with a laugh “This is a whole new level of experience, for women in particular, to compete into your 60s, 70s.” A plaque on Oliver’s desk on the second floor of city hall embodies her approach to work and life: “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Community Leaders On May 12, at the Fifth Annual St. Andrew the Apostle Gala and Awards Dinner at the Brownstone, Oliver will be honored with “The Gloria J. Kolodziej Community Enhancement Award” for her contribution to, and the enhancement of, the community of Clifton and for embodying the values of commitment to faith and community that the parishioners of St. Andrew’s support. Oliver credits her family for her outlook, growing up with a strong commitment to her Christian foundations and a zest for getting the most out of life. Her family was always active. She remembers that as an adolescent, she was already pulled in as arts and crafts instructor. Her father instilled in her the ethic for hard work, her drive and a solid spiritual foundation. From her mother, she also got her work ethic, but also her sense of creativity, her love or play and problem-solving skills. Oliver serves on the Board of Trustees for the NJ Recreation and Parks Association, is co-chair of the Community Recreation Society and volunteers for the American Red Cross. Oliver loves to work and loves the work she does. However, if you asked Debbie Oliver what she would rather be doing the answer would always be … playing.

60 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


In Our Schools Ed Kurbansade and Halina Qasem of Spencer Savings Bank in Clifton helped to promote financial literacy. They met with students of School 8 on April 14, National Teach Children to Save Day. Their effort is part of Financial Literacy Month, a nationwide program sponsored by the American Bankers Association and organized by banking volunteers to help youth start saving early in life. Beginning with the basics of what a bank is and why it’s important to have a bank account, the two also touched upon the concept of a penny saved is a penny earned.

School 4: The Little School on West Second PTO parents Reem Yousef, Rosemary Pino, Principal Jason Habedank, Vivian Vaz, Joelle Rosetti and Nitza Roman and children at School 4.

School 4 on West Second St. is the smallest school in the district with about 175 children. Because of the smaller enrollment, PTO leaders are working on getting parents and community more involved so as to benefit the students in this community school. Parents have planned a bargain-priced Beefsteak and Tricky Tray for May 15 on school grounds at 194 West Second St. If the weather agrees, the Spring Dinner Extravaganza will be held on the playground. The event will move indoors if it rains. The fun begins at 5:30 pm. “This will be our first year doing a Tricky Tray and we ask for community support,” said PTO member and Clifton Board of Ed Commissioner Rosemary Pino. 62 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

The team of volunteers, some of whom are pictured above, seek donations of complete baskets or monetary contributions towards the event. For those that would just like to come and support their efforts, tickets are $15 and the price includes a Beefsteak dinner catered with all the traditional trimmings by their neighbor, Nightingale. Kids are also welcomed to this community Tricky Tray and admission is $5 that includes pizza and soda. There will also be a kids’ zone with games and activities. For tickets, more information or to make a donation call Rosemary Pino at 201-774-2538 or Joelle Rosetti at 973-454-1917.

which means Tomahawk Jr. is trained and nationally certified in restorative water drying methods by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, also known as IICRC. Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Hop-A-Thon The kids at Rainbow Montessori of Clifton had fun on April 17 in their annual Hop-A-Thon to raise money for an organization called Healing the Children, a non-profit that helps provide medical care to children all over the world. Some participants are pictured here. The owners of Clifton’s Rainbow on Varretoni Pl. in Botany, Jackie Alectoridis and Jane Maffucci, have been doing this fundraiser for more than 25 years. They are both host parents for Healing the Children and allow host families to attend the school while they are here tuition free. This year Carlos from the Dominican Republic returned to once again live with the Alectoridis family while he is fitted with prosthetic legs.

64 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


22 Varettoni Pl., Clifton • 973-772-2330 1293 Broad St., Bloomfield • 973-338-8300

Mustang Coach

CHS 1993, Football, Baseball, Hockey

Ralph Cinque Now Fighting Mustangs Head Coach By Joe Hawrylko Ralph Cinque Jr., newly named Head Coach of the Fighting Mustangs, was not a star in just one sport. Whether it was football, hockey or soccer, and even in the classroom, the 1993 CHS grad excelled. Cinque said his success was due to his large size and his father, Ralph Sr., who made sure that his son was playing any sport that he was interested in. “The best thing that my father ever could have done for me was put me in everything,” said Cinque. “I even played basketball as a kid growing up. I didn’t play it in high school, but as a kid, I played everything.” “He was athletic. He grew up in Hudson County and was a big football guy,” Cinque said of his dad. “There was the fact that I was pretty big at a young age and he saw there was some potential. He also got me into playing hockey at a young age. It helped me with my hand eye coordination and agility, just learning to skate.” Cinque began playing hockey at around six years old, competing at a rink in Secaucus. “When I was growing up, they had a clinic on Sunday mornings,” he recalled. “I used to go there to play with a lot of the older kids. I was big for my age, so I was 66 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

able to play with them. It makes you better, it makes you more hungry, more aggressive. Just a better competitor.” Hockey also gave Cinque discipline. To secure ice time, hockey players typically must get to the rink at obscure hours. Pre-dawn skates are a staple of the sport. And it gets more competitive as you get older. Cinque recalled his father logging many hours in the car as they went to more than 70 traveling games. When he finally got up to the high school, Cinque found himself lining up in different positions frequently. “We didn’t have a lot of guys on the team,” said Cinque, who typically played center or defense. “Coach Tom Danko was supportive of me and gave a lot of ice time. I played whatever the team needed.” Though the Mustangs were a .500 team for most of his playing career, Cinque fondly recalled his time spent with the team on and off the ice. “You build a lot of different bonds with these guys,” he explained. “Sometimes you see guys around town: ‘Awww, you remember 92-93 when this happened?’ It’s fun. It’s the memories, you know?”

Cinque finally got to taste victory on the ice years later in 2001 as an assistant coach, as the Mustangs went on to win the State Sectional Group 4 Title. “Danko and LaDuke were coaching,” he recalled. “It was pretty interesting. They gave me a lot of opportunities and I’m very greatful that they let me coach.” It was on the gridiron that Cinque had his most memorable athletic day ever: Against Paramus Catholic, he carried the ball 28 times and rambled his way to 288 yards and three TDs on the ground. That, combined with a 30-yard reception and 12 tackles from his linebacker position, gave Cinque one of the best days in Fighting Mustang history. “It was cool. I got some accolades for it,” he recalled. “But we lost the game. It would have been nice if I ran for 80 yards and won instead, that would have been a lot better.” Like other sports, he started young. “I played at like five years old,” recalled Cinque. “I grew up in North Bergen and moved to Clifton at seven. I was always a bigger, chubby kid and got stuck playing line so I gave up football for a while.” However, in middle school, the Cliftonite had the opportunity to join the now-defunct Colts, which played in an unlimited weight league except for skill positions. Cinque was still being used mostly on the line until the end of the season. “We had two extra exhibition games against Montclair and Passaic,” recalled Cinque. “I

begged the coach to give me a chance at running back and did ok at it. I thought maybe I was a little fast for my size and weight, and I thought it would be a good position for me and it worked out.” The Cliftonite also excelled on the baseball diamond. Using his size to his advantage, Cinque eventually become a very good pitcher on a great Mustang squad.

“In high school, I got to play for one of the best baseball coach I’ve ever come in contact with, Paul Pignatello,” said Cinque. “He taught us a lot about accountability— that’s a huge thing that some of these kids today lack. He taught us respect for yourself and your teammates, being on time and he taught us a lot about baseball.”

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Dance & Music Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) is what the Mustangs on this page will be doing at 7:30 pm on May 27 in the JFK Auditorium. That song was made famous in 1937 by Benny Goodman and remains a favorite today. The show’s theme is Chasse through the Century and the girls perform Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Modern, Swing and Hip-Hop to songs such as the infectious Uptown Funk and the twisting Jailhouse Rock. The show will also include music by the CHS Orchestra, Jazz Band and the a cappella singing of the Madrigals. Advance tickets are $5 and $10 at the door. Contact Lois ManzellaMarchitto at or call 973-470-2319.

68 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

At Paramus Catholic, from left, Anna Mariano, Ebuka Onwucheckwa, Jessica Santana, Christopher Daniello, Ramdy Horna, Jessica Van Wie, Kaitlin Azevedo and PC’s Music Director Gary Sabak.

With a Blessing, construction on a music conservatory at Paramus Catholic High School began on April 30. PC’s investment will produce more than 3,000 square feet of space dedicated to the music program. The new facility will include a 120-seat amphitheater style band room, three practice rooms, a music office, and storage for the growing music program, said Gary Sabak, PC’s music director. In addition to concert band and choir classes, PC also offers piano and guitar classes, theory and independent study courses.

Sabak, who was the longtime music director at St. Brendan’s Church, said he is especially proud to be the founding director of the Marching Paladins in 2010. Last season, the group took first place in the USBands Fair Lawn competition, along with the best High School Band award from the Pearl River St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. Parents of students interested in PC and the diverse programs offered there can call 201-445-4466 or go to

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Arts & Music

The 30+ person cast of South Pacific, which opens in Clifton on May 8 includes: Ayana Ayscue, Sydney Chan, Wyatt Remegio, Mariah Ayscue. Seated from left: William Powers, Arabelle Luke, Craig Ernest Woodward, Katie Shuster, Don Flynn, Leslie Silverman, Zach Abraham, Joseph Pacella. Second row: Mia Balsamo, Erin Pach, Rebecca Shuster, Sabrina Curry, Susan Liberti, Alexandra Poage, Alyssa Flaherty, Judi Layne Niebuhr, Kate Liptak. Rear: Frank Favata, Michael Sconzo, Felipe Rodriguez, Marquise Figueroa, Gregory Gwyn, Kenneth Fowler, Juan Beltran. Not pictured: Nicole Aleles, Noa Avital, Paul Carrazzone, Danielle Petrucelli, Michael Purdy.

The Theater League of Clifton, or TLC, presents the Broadway classic, South Pacific. This epic musical romance by James A. Michener centers on a group of American sailors and Navy nurses stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. Dates are May 8, 9, 10 and 15, 16 and 17 and it is staged at the Theresa Aprea Theater at The Learning Center, 199 Scoles Ave., Clifton. For tickets, leave a message at 973-928-7668 or go to The Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council is offering 2016 arts and history re-grants. The deadline for arts applications is July 9, 2015 and for history applications, July 16, 2015. The applicant must be 70 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

based in Passaic County; be a tax-exempt non-profit organization or a municipal government entity; have been in existence at least two years; demonstrate that the project has clear artistic or historic merit; match every dollar of the arts re-grant with one dollar of its own and match every dollar of the history re-grant with fifty cents of its own; create programming that culminates in a public presentation; and use the re-grant for an arts or cultural project to take place in Passaic County in 2016 or a history project, between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. Go to for details. Contact Susan Balik at or 973-684-5444 to schedule a meeting to help with the grant writing process.

The 14th Lollipops & Roses Intergenerational Concert by the Clifton Community Band under the baton of Bob Morgan is on May 16 at 2 pm at the CHS Auditorium, Colfax Ave. Tickets are $7 and children under 12 are free. Proceeds benefit the Clifton Education Foundation and the Clifton Community Band. For tickets, call 973-771-3751 or write to The Passaic County Senior Citizen Art Exhibition is open to those age 60 and over. There is no fee to enter, but entries must be show-ready; participants are limited to one exhibit. To enter, bring one show-ready piece of art to Senior Services from 9 am to 4 pm on June 1 to 4. Entries will be displayed June 8 to 26 at the Passaic County Senior Services office, 930 Riverview Dr., Suite 200, Totowa. A reception and an awards ceremony is planned for June 27 at 2 pm. Call 973-569-4060. The 2015 Lambert Castle Concert Series continues on May 3 at 5 pm when the Passaic County Historical Society will host CJSO on the Go, a chamber music outreach program featuring members and friends of the Central Jersey Symphony Orchestra. On May 31 at 5

The Apache Twins, the real life, song-making, country western brothers from Garfield, perform in Historic Botany Village on June 12. Their show begins in the twilight at 6:30 pm in Sullivan Square as part of the Friday night free Summer Concert Series.

pm the Clifton-based Original Blue Valley Music and Acoustic Favorites performs their vocal harmonies and memorable melodies and lyrics. Admission is $15 to each event. The Lamber Castle is at 3 Valley Rd. on the Clifton/Paterson border. Info at or call 973-247-0085.

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Arts & Events

Michael Lenson “Self Portrait with Paint Rag” circa 1968, acrylic on wood, will be displayed in Clifton.

A Humanist Vision: The Paintings and Drawings of Michael Lenson is an exhibit of artworks on display at the Clifton Arts Center, May 13 to July 25. Lenson, who lived and painted for many years in Nutley, has been called “New Jersey’s most important muralist” by Who Was Who in American Art. Lenson’s works are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Johnson Museum at Cornell University, the Princeton University Art Museum, the Butler Institute of American Art, and others. Lenson was born in Russia in 1903 and came to America with his family in 1911. After studies at the National Academy of Design in New York, he awarded the $10,000 Chaloner Prize that paid for him to study in Europe from 1928 through 1932. Upon his return to the US, he presented a series of one-man exhibitions that won him critical praise. From 1936 until 1943, he worked with the WPA in New Jersey, surpervising art installations and completing seven murals of his own, four of which remain. A reception open to the public is on May 16, from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $3. The Clifton Arts Center also features a Sculpture Park. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, from 1 to 4 pm. Info at or call 973-472-5499.

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We are a Bargain Hunter’s Dream! To View the Collections, Visit Us on Facebook 72 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Kim Castellano’s The Power of One Christian Coaching and Outreach has been doing a lot of good in Clifton since its inception. Recently, the group partnered with School 12’s Minds in Motion after school program with to provide kids in need with book bags and classroom essentials. “The outreach provides basic needs to children during the school year so they can come to school prepared and ready to learn,” said Castellano. To help fund their efforts, a May 15 Spring Gala & Cocktail Party is being held at 7 pm at Lambert Castle. Tickets are $50 and the attire is business casual. Proceeds will support Power of One Christian Coaching and Outreach Ministries, Inc. Call Kim Castellano at 201-328-2326 or visit

The “Adopt-a-School Book Drive” collected more than 500 books for Clifton School 15 that were delivered by Councilman Joe Cupoli, pictured with Principal Luginda Batten-Walker. “We hope to do similar events for other Clifton schools,” said Gerard Scorziello, president of the Clifton Republican Club, which organized the drive. Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Planning Ahead

Planning for the Sept. 20 Boys & Girls Club of Clifton Car Show, from left: Angela Montague, Keith Oakley, John DeGraaf, Jeremy Lastra, Drea DeLuca and Nick Galletta. Seated: Amit Deshmukh, Joe Opalka and Odette Coronel.

The Second Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton is set for Sept. 20 with a raindate of Sept. 27. Staged at the Atrium on Brighton Rd., the event is a family affair with lots of activities for the kids, a midway of food vendors and hundreds of vehicles. To vend or become a sponsor, call John DeGraaf at 973-773-0966 ext 111.

The Clifton Democratic County Committee and Clifton Democratic Club hosts an open house on May 20, at 7 pm, at the Allwood Library. The event is free and open to the public with soda and pizza to follow the meeting. For info, call President John D. Pogorelec, Jr. at 973-778-1604. The Clifton Kumon Math and Reading Center on Market St. is holding an Awards Ceremony on June 7, from 2 to 4 pm, at the Athenia Veteran’s Post, 147 Huron Ave. Call Misayo Bien at 973-968-6638. Help raise 1,676 flags on Memorial Day, May 25 at 6 am on the roads around City Hall’s Avenue of Flags. Call John Biegel at 973-519-0858 or Keith Oakley at 201-774-6666.

74 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Best Pizza

Ameti’s Voted Best Clifton Pizza By Irene Jarosewich Jonathan Bender believed that the Clifton Masonic Lodge could afford to take some risks as it approached 100 years and maybe do things a bit differently. As the youngest Master in the history of the lodge, he decided to try a more contemporary approach and hold fundraisers that included all the residents of Clifton, not just lodge members. While Brooklyn can have their hot dog eating contests, what could possibly be more North Jersey, more Clifton, than a contest for the tastiest pizza pie? Bender confessed, it wasn’t his inspiration, he had already seen the Nutley Jaycees do something similar successfully. He correctly assumed that it was time to bring the idea home to Clifton. And so was born the Clifton Masonic Lodge First Annual Clifton Pizza Contest, which was held on April 18 at the lodge’s building on Van Houten Ave. Fourteen pizzerias from across the city brought their signature pies to win over the discerning palettes of Clifton’s pizza-loving residents. 76 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Among the highlights were Chicken Marsala Pizza (Julians Restaurant), Eggplant Parm Pizza (Scottos), Bacon Pizza, aka “Family Favorite (Barilari’s) and the Grandma Pizza (Angelo’s Pizza). However, Ameti’s Pizzeria stole the show this time with its signature buffalo chicken and ranch pizza. Angelo’s and Bruno’s received second and third spots respectively. Quickly on the heels of this competition will be the Second Annual Clifton Masonic Lodge Car Show to be held on May 30. To register a vehicle the cost is $15. The judges will award trophies to the top three vehicles from each decade. Admission is free for those looking to peruse the vehicles and vendors while listening to the DJ spin tracks from yesterday. These events are only a few of several that will be held in coming months, leading up to the celebration of the Clifton Masonic Lodge’s centennial on June 3, 2016. The lodge website ( and Facebook page (Clifton Masonic Lodge) list all of the events leading up to the 100th anniversary event.

On facing page, at Ameti’s Pizzeria, 2015 Clifton Pizza Contest judges from left: Jonathan Bender, Anthony Valente, Jason Bochner, Robert Madlinger. Above Officers of the Clifton Lodge

“We have been lending a hand for nearly a century and hope to continue into the next,” he said. Clifton Masonic Lodge 203 is home to many organizations such as the Order of DeMolay and the Rainbow Girls (both youth organizations), Scottish Rite, Eastern Star, Daughters of Scotia, and Tall Cedars of Lebanon, all of which promote a specific charity. Lodge members also open their building for use by various organizations for positive events, such as those held by the Clifton PBA, a monthly blood drive and large family reunions and events. According to Bender, who is a funeral director with Allwood Funeral Home, one of the goals for the centennial is the renovation of the lodge’s fellowship hall, a popular room for large gatherings. He promises to keep the community posted.

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May Events The Clifton FMBA Local 21 will again conduct a food drive during the month of May. Residents can drop off canned and non-perishable foods items at any of the six city firehouses. The items will be packaged and delivered to St. Peter’s Haven on Clifton Ave. Those that cannot get to a firehouse can write to to make arrangements for pickup. “We have had great success over the past years with our Food Drive, Coat Drive and Toy-4-Tots Drive,” said Chair Steve Turi. “Thanks to people like Mike Placko at Signarama, and everyone that helps make Clifton a great place to work and live.”

Clifton Firefighters Steven Turi, Sal Guardascione, Todd Healy and Lt. Gary Warcholick kicking off the food drive with St. Peter Haven staff.

One of the many teams that makes Relay for Life successful.

You have been reading for years about Book a Cure, Running on Empty, My Angels, Red Hat Angels and many other team names. Who are the people who are behind these names? They are Relay for Life teams. They sell candy, shake cans, sponsor tricky trays, sponsor ladies nights, car washes, Bingo games and other 78 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

fundraiser’s. They hang ribbons in May in the heat and tag in front of supermarkets when it is 25 degrees. With the 11th annual Clifton’s Relay for Life set for May 30, members from these 50 teams will continue the ritual and report for ‘spring training’ to make sure every Clifton resident knows about Relay for Life.

They will hang ribbons from poles and trees, put signs on corners, fundraise using every possible creative idea that is legal. They will do this willingly and with fierce commitment so you or someone you love will not hear the words you have cancer and the donated funds will continue the research needed to find a cure. If you would like to join this extremely dedicated group of Cliftonites and be a part of finding the cure, start or join a team. Attend the next Team Captains meeting on May 7 at 6:30 pm at the Clifton Senior Center. For Relay for Life Clifton info go to or contact Staff Director Kristin Bruno at ACS at 973-285-8041. RFL Clifton begins at 2 pm on May 30 on the fields at Clifton High School and concludes May 31 at 6 am. Learn more about ACS and its programs, visit

Clifton Merchant • May 2015


Birthdays & Celebrations - May 2015

Bill and Mary Van Eck celebrated their 40th Anniversary on April 12. Gia Camille Genardi turned 15 on May 2. Greyson Pierce Tauber’s second birthday is May 2. Joe & Connie Sjosward are celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary on May 23. 90 Birthday Blessings on May 8 to Glory Read.

Birthdays & Celebrations

Send dates & Richard Hango ................. Mike Szwec ..................... Samantha Cruz ................ Lou DeStefano .................. Jessica Perez .................... Jordan Lynn Bykowsky ....... Maria DeGraaf ................ Julia Komarczyk................ Irene Kuruc ...................... Margie Maloney............... Thomas Zangara .............. John Anderson Jr............... Spencer Flynn................... Russell Courtney ............... Dolores Hatala ................. Jordan Kulesa................... Vanessa Laine Montesano.. Mary Domyon ..................

5/1 5/1 5/2 5/2 5/2 5/3 5/3 5/3 5/3 5/3 5/3 5/4 5/4 5/6 5/6 5/6 5/6 5/7

Margie Hatala.................. 5/7 Dorothy Alburo................. 5/8 Terry Capilli ..................... 5/8 Jim Findlay....................... 5/8 Alexandra Homsany ......... 5/8 Rory Houston ................... 5/8 Frank Lo Gioco................. 5/8 Ashley Kulesa................... 5/8 David Peter Mosciszko ...... 5/8 Matthew Nagy ................. 5/8 Christine Siluk .................. 5/8 Thomas Steranko .............. 5/8 Petey Pathos..................... 5/9 Ray Zang......................... 5/9 Joe Gore........................ 5/10 Rebecca DeChellis .......... 5/11 Brandon Gorny .............. 5/11 Jessica Camp ................. 5/12

Find out all the details on Page 79

80 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

Joe De Liberto ................ 5/12 Michael Lonison.............. 5/12 Donna De Liberto............ 5/13 Jeff Reilly ....................... 5/13 Michael Zawicki ............. 5/13 Chloe Landrith ............... 5/14 Chuck Amucka ............... 5/14 Alice De Liberto .............. 5/14 Dorothy Brown ............... 5/15 Earl Grosser Jr. ............... 5/15 Victoria Leja ................... 5/15 Fred Gurtman................. 5/16 Mark McGuire................ 5/16 Rosemary Canavan......... 5/17 John Hawrylko ............... 5/17 Vick Ascencio................. 5/18 Jamie Antal .................... 5/18 Michele D’Amico ............ 5/18 Walter Hryckowian ......... 5/18 Mariana Pineda ............. 5/18 Becky Kuter .................... 5/19 Jennifer Mulick ............... 5/20 Ken Bender .................... 5/21 Joe Murolo..................... 5/21 Matthew Palladino .......... 5/21 Kage Lord ...................... 5/22 Danica O’Brien .............. 5/22 Danah Alburo ................ 5/23 Jessica Bielen ................. 5/23

Rocco Locantore & Graziella Spinella celebrate their third anniversary on May 12. MaryEllen Krattinger ..... 5/23 Michele Perez .............. 5/23 Donald Lopuzzo ........... 5/24 Michael Santosuosso..... 5/24 Brittney Abell................ 5/25 Olivia Hryckowian........ 5/25 Connie Paladino........... 5/25 Derek Bykowsky ........... 5/26 Alyssa Dalbo................ 5/26 Kaylee Pinter ................ 5/26 Jonathan Rideg............. 5/26 Fred Antes ................... 5/27 Kyle J. Magaster .......... 5/27 Steve Bielen ................. 5/27 David J. Ricca .............. 5/28 Anthony Alcalde ........... 5/29 Valerie Gancarz ........... 5/29 Anthony DeSomma ....... 5/30 Rachel Gergats............. 5/31 Christopher Ramirez...... 5/31 Zachary Sjosward ........ 5/31 Christopher Smith ......... 5/31 Logan Thompson........... 5/31 Congratulations to Gene and Gloria Toma on their 52nd Wedding Anniversary on May 5. Clifton Merchant • May 2015


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Hablamos español 82 May 2015 • Clifton Merchant

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