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Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Table of Contents

What’s Inside? 7

16,000 Reasons to Remember The Meaning behind Memorial Day

12 Roll Call of Honored Dead Michael Tarlavsky, CHS ‘92, KIA ‘04

28 Examining a Notorious Nazi Eyeball to Eyeball with Rudolf Hess

34 Clifton Vets, Living History Share Stories of Service at WWMS

38 Avenue of Flags at City Hall See the Patriotic Display on May 27

40 Unforgettable People Lois Wienbrock Remembers Coach Bob

20 Johnny Ace in Vietnam

42 Putting Out Hunger Clifton Firefighters Host Food Drive 16,000 Magazines

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4 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Business Manager Cheryl Hawrylko Graphic Designer Ken Peterson Staff Writer Joe Hawrylko Contributing Writers Tania Jachens, Carol Leonard, Rich DeLotto, Don Lotz, Jack DeVries


School #5

46 Free Hearing Screenings At Montclair State’s Bloomfield Clinic

50 Lax Hair. Not Friends



Anniversary 1913-2013

CHS Junior Brendan Schreiber

52 A Mustang in the Shadows Josh Navanjo Undercover

56 Route 66 Road Trip Bill Walton Wrote the Book

66 1973 CHS Reunion Party Planning Mustangs

82 Moments of Grace Chris de Vinck’s Essay

60 Infiniti Party at Fette

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


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6 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant


MAY 27, 2013

16,000 Reasons to Remember In 1944 alone, over 16,000 POW’s perished in ship sinkings in the Pacific theatre. By Rich DeLotto

Memorial Day is a day to remember the sacrifices madebymilitarypersonnel. NosinglegroupsufferedmorethanthePOW’stakenbythe JapaneseinthePacifictheatreduringWorldWarII.Asmany as80,000AmericansfellintoJapanesehands,includingsixfrom Clifton,betweenthefallofWakeIslandinDecember1941and theB-29bombingraidsofTokyoinAugust1945whenJapansurrendered. OnehalfofthePOW’snevercamehome,some40,000mendid not survive.  Torture, execution, non-existent medical care, and other forms of death prevailed. They died on prison ships, called hell ships because of the unspeakable conditions; on the Bataan Death March where they were worked to death on the Burma Railway,orinJapanesecoalminesandfactories. What happened to the Doolittle Raiders was a perfect example of JapanesePOWtreatment. The raid occurred onApril 18, 1942.  Eighty men in sixteen B-25 bombers attacked Japan.  Three were killed in action, and eight were taken as POW’s. Three men were executed as “war criminals.”  Five were sentenced to lifetime solitary confinement, where one died from malnutritionandonesufferedamentalbreakdown.Eventuallyfourmen returnedhomeinSeptember1945,onlyonehalfofthosecaptured. However, even these atrocities cannot compare with the thousands of POW’swhoperishedbydrowningwhenprisonshipswereshelledandtorpedoed—unknowinglybyUSNavyships. In 1925, Clifton’s Joseph V. DeLiberto who lived on Barkley Ave., served as a bugler with the National Guard in Ossining, New York Clifton Merchant • May 2013


MEMORIAL DAY In early 1942, the International Red Cross requested thattheJapaneseNavymarktheshipscarryingPOW’s. At first, the Japanese refused, then began marking all theirships,includingthosecarryingonlyweapons. By1943theDepartmentofWarmadetheirdecision —theonlywaytoshortenthewarwastodestroyshipping—therefore all ships were to be attacked. Uncoveredattheendofthewar,recordswerekeptbythe enemy of ship and cargo losses—guns, ammo, POW’s. In1944alone,over16,000POW’sperishedinshipsinkingsinthePacifictheatre. It should be mentioned that in the European theatre, American POW’s were more than double those of the Pacific.POW’sdiedatthehandsoftheNazi’satabout a5percentdeathrate.Nearly10,000Americansdiedin captivity.TwentymilitarycemeteriesinEuropeholdthe remainsofmorethanonehalfofthesemen. ThisMemorialDay,rememberthemenandwomenwho paid the highest price for our country, especially the POW’s.CometotheWarMemorialMonumentonMain Ave.onMay27at11amtohonorthosekilledinaction.

MAY 27, 2013

2001 photo by Al Zwiazek

Happy Mother’s Day from my family to yours... Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik

8 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant


Two Who Died in Vietnam May 5 will be the 43rd anniversary ofthedeathinVietnamofFirstSgt. William E. Malcolm Jr (5/5/70), 101stAirborne, U.S.Army, the last manfromCliftonlostinthewar. It should be noted that Malcolm servedatPresidentKennedy’sfuneral as Commander of the 21-gun saluteinNovember1963.Heispictured here at President Kennedy’s grave.OnNovember22,itwillbe50 yearssincethepresident’sassassination,and50yearssinceatwenty-one year old Clifton soldier served his country,firstinpeacetime,andseven yearslater,theninwar. The Dwyer family moved to Delawanna from New York in the late 1940’s during the famous baby boomexplosion.Theneighborhood didnottakelongtonoticethegood naturedkidnamedMatt. VFW 7165 member Pete Carroll still remembers coming back from Germany in his Army uniform and talking to Matt in the early 1950’s. “Justthenicestkidyoucouldimagine.Lotsofquestions,andalwaysa bigsmile.” People from Delawanna always remembered when the Dwyer’s boughtahomeinNutleyandmoved away around 1960.  No one could forgetakidlikeMatt.Sowhenhe graduatedfromhighschoolin1964,nobodywassurprisedhejoinedtheMarines. PFC Matthew M. Dwyer Jr. went to Vietnam as a combatengineerinMay1966andcamehomeinJuly 1967 as a corporal, with a Purple Heart from a leg wound.Sixmonthslater,hereceivedordersforasecondtour.ArrivinginearlyFebruary1968,hewassent tothe3rdMarinedivisionduringthemostfamousperi-

odofthewar,theTetOffensive.OnFebruary28,1968, Dwyer was ordered into Khe Sanh by helicopter.  He nevermadeit.Approachingthebase,theCH-46with twenty-three on board was struck by ground fire, crashedandexploded. In early March 1968, Marine Corp. Matthew M. Dwyer Jr. was buried at East Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clifton,justblocksfromtheneighborhoodthatalways rememberedthekidwithasmile. Clifton Merchant • May 2013



During World War II, communities across America created honor rolls to let friends, neighbors and passerbys know of those men serving the Armed Services of our nation. This board was erected on what today would be the parking lot of School 5 on Valley Rd. Pictured inset from left is Louis, Catherine and Bessie Lotz pointing to the name of their brother. Beginning on the following page 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.

10 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

MAY 27, 2013


Clifton Merchant • May 2013




Jurgen Dykstra Seraphin Fiori Ralph Gallasso Otto Geipel Mayo Giustina Peter Horoschak Emilio Lazzerin Joseph Liechty Jacob Morf, Jr.

Louis Ablezer Andrew Blahut Timothy Condon John Crozier Orrie De Groot Olivo De Luca Italo De Mattia August De Rose

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...

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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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The poppy, still associated with Memorial Day, was inspired by the poem In Flanders Fields written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces in 1915 before the United States entered World War I. Selling replicas of the original Flanders’ poppy originated in some of the allied countries immediately after the Armistice. 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.

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


REMEMBERING OUR World War Two Joseph Sperling Charles Peterson Thomas Donnellan Jerry Toth Frank Lennon Joseph Carboy Julius Weisfeld Edward Ladwik Israel Rabkin Peter Pagnillo Harold Weeks William Weeks Salvatore Favata Herman Adams Edward Kostecki Charles Hooyman, Jr. Salvatore Michelli Richard Novak James Potter

HONORED DEAD 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

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

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Be sure to visit Clifton’s Avenue of Flags this Memorial Day, May 27, from 6am-7pm.

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Clifton Merchant • May 2013


REMEMBERING OUR World War Two 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

16 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

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

HONORED DEAD 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 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 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 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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REMEMBERING OUR 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 Robert Hegmann Ernest Triemer

John Peterson Richard Vander Laan, Jr. Stephan Kucha ‘Gigito’ Netto

Memorial Day Weekend Ceremonies Sunday, May 26 • 7 pm - Volunteers decorate the area around the War Monument in Main Memorial Park with American Flags Monday, May 27 • 6 am - Avenue of Flags Set-up at City Hall • 8:15 am - Fire Dept. Memorial at the Brighton Rd. Firehouse • 9 am - Memorial Day Parade, Hepburn Rd. • 9:30 am - Allwood Memorial at Chelsea Park • 11 am - City Wide Memorial Service at Main Memorial Park • Noon - Military Order of Purple Hearts at the Clifton Library • 12:30 pm - Post 347 Memorial at the Clifton Rec Center • 2 pm - Athenia Veterans Memorial on Huron Ave. • 6 pm - Avenue of Flags Take Down at City Hall

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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

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.

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.

Nov. 8, 1961 Plane Crash Robert De Vogel Vernon Griggs Robert Marositz Robert Rinaldi Raymond Shamberger Harold Skoglund Willis Van Ess, Jr. To volunteer in decorating Main Memorial Park for the May 27 ceremonies, call Mayor James Anzaldi at 973-470-5757. To help out with the Avenue of Flags, turn to page 38 for details.

Honor Our Veterans! God Bless America! Passaic County Clerk

Kristin Corrado Clifton Merchant • May 2013




Johnny Ace A Degree in Life from the USMC By Joe Hawrylko

20 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Marines put a lot of stock in bearing. One of the 14 Marine Corps Leadership Traits is defined as: The way you conduct or carry yourself. Your manner should reflect alertness, competence, confidence, and control. Now look at the photo of those Marines in Vietnam. Clifton’s Johnny Ace, the 19 year old kid with the machine gunner’s bandolier across his sinewy body, embodies those traits and more. Lean and steely-eyed, he has swagger, looks a little scary and is ready to lead. Ace was the Platoon Sergeant in charge of three squadrons and two rocket crews, some 50 men. He was under the command of Lt. Abel Daredes who was perhaps six years older. They were leading the men of Company F, Second Battalion, First Marine Division, back in 1967. “I always covered ammo for the gun teams. Everybody takes turns. That’s so if you get caught in the field with your pants down, you got some ammo.” On more than one instance, Ace would need not only those belts of machine gun ammunition but also all of his Marine Corps training to get him and his men back home alive. Looking back on his time in the jungle, and the meritorious service which earned him the Navy Commendation Medal with the Combat “V”, Ace has remorse for the lives of young men left on the battlefields and in the rice paddies of Vietnam. Perhaps too he is sorry about the shaky years after his return to civilian life and the failed marriages. But as far as being a Marine, Johnny Ace has no regrets. “When I’m making decisions in life,” he continues, “I take into consideration, subconsciously, the same things I’d make in the field, only in a civilian way.” Now 65 and retired from the commercial real estate business and after almost two decades as a lonely cross country trucker, Ace lives with his fourth wife in Arizona. But looking back to the Marines and his time in Vietnam, he said the enlistment was the first right move he made. “I would take my experiences from the Marine Corps—not only Vietnam, but my four years in the Marine Corps active duty—and say that it was the best thing that I ever did for myself. I was heading to jail the way that I was going.” Now look at the inset of that young Clifton boy on this page. Clifton Merchant • May 2013


That’s Clifton’s Johnny Ace, (also pictured below today), the kid with a mischievous smile in 8th grade at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School, the year before he dropped out and tried to enlist. Ace was his birth name. “No kiddin’. That was my father’s name. He left when I was two.” He does not remember his dad but like the lines in a Johnny Cash song, he has no great love for his namesake. “Ace was a little hard. Try being called an acehole all the time.” He was raised by his mom and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Thaddeus and Evelyn Motyl on Graham Place in Acquakonack Gardens. He recalled good times growing up in what was then called the Veterans Barracks. Ace went to School 5 on Valley Rd. and ran with the Nobles and the Bolero Boys—for the landmark bowling alley where Fette Ford is today. Some of his old street corner pals included Jimmy Brittan, Rich DiOrio, John Henry, Bobby McDermett, Richie and Mike Brechko. Ultimately, Ace wasn’t cut out for school. He dropped out at 17, and took up a dead end job at a factory. With few prospects to improve his lot in life, Ace made the choice to enlist in the Marines one afternoon in the summer of 1965 while in New York City with some friends. “There was five of us and we all wanted to join the Merchant Marines,” he recalled. “We went down to the New York harbor and they said ‘We’re not hiring anybody,’ One of the guys was like why don’t we join the Marine Corps and so we did.”

Though Ace had filled out paperwork in New York, he was still only 17 at the time, and needed his mom’s approval to go. “I just said I am going,” he recalled. “She had to sign for me to get into the Marines, and I said I am splitting out of here if you don’t.” Ace’s parents eventually signed, and he went off to Parris Island for boot, graduating in December of 1965. The Cliftonite was then assigned to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines out of Camp Lejeune. Ace would spend the next 11 months getting combat ready. “It was good for me,” he recalled. “I learned to read a map, I learned to call artillery. I learned all that stuff that you would use in the field but that you’d never get if you went to boot and then to Nam. That’s why I was able to pick up rank. I knew the inner workings. Most guys were going through boot and getting shipped out right away. At least I knew what to expect and what I had to do. I believe that saved my ass. That and my grandmother’s (Anna Levendofsky) prayers, of course.” Ace received his orders in the fall of 1966, and spent 23 days in November at sea aboard a transport before arriving in Da Nang, Vietnam. One of the first things that Ace noticed upon landing was the notoriously brutal weather. “The heat was always there,” he said. “The only thing you had for it was the monsoon season, when it would rain for 30 days straight. Sometimes it was a blessing if you’re in a fire fight. Rockets or bullets would

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In 2001, Johnny Ace with some of his Clifton family which includes Patricia Motyl, Larry Motyl, Jane Motyl, Lois Ace Uhleman, Joseph Gebbia, Arnold Uhleman, Susan Ace, Tammy Motyl Gebbia, Joseph Motyl, Christian Motyl, Jake Gebbia and Lisa Uhleman Bisher.

be dampened. Most of my feet, the skin fell off. Your feet are always wet. It still bothers me to this day. I’ve got dead nerves under my toes.” Over the course of his 13 month deployment, Ace estimated that he participated in 10 major operations, eventually taking over the lead of the platoon at just 19 years of age. Eventually, his paperwork was sorted out and he was attached to the 1st Marines. “Major fire fights and all that stuff, I remember very clearly,” he said. “We were in combat just about every single day because we had the helicopters. The average infantry man in Vietnam spent 240 days in combat out of 13 months. In World War II, they spent about 40 days in combat out of four years. The whole thing was mobility.” Ace said that the harsh weather conditions, boobytraps and constant ambushes took a mental toll on him and his comrades. In a June 1967 letter home to his mom and dad, Ace wrote bluntly about the action, some of the conditions and the things he saw. It was later published that year in a local newspaper. The booby traps and mines took most of the Marines. It’s not a pretty sight, Mom. Especially when it’s your good buddies getting it out there. I watch them fall and 24 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

try to help but I have to keep my men going cause if we don’t find Charlie in a hurry he’ll only get more of us. So we have to kill him and everyone who sympathizes with him. They are all no good, Mom. I shoot everyone of them I see. But despite the killing and chaos going on around him in Vietnam, Ace said he tried to do his best to stay focused in the field and complete his 13 month tour. “Everybody counted the days. When you’re with infantry company, if you make it to three months, you got a pretty good shot of making it out of there. We lost many guys because they were new,” he said. “I used to go by month when I was still in the field. When I was supposed to be out I really wasn’t even thinking about home... I was thinking about staying alive. At one point I am still in the field on my last day and they send a chopper in for me and take me out. I didn’t think about rotating. If you think about it, it may take away from your attention span that you need to keep your ass alive.” When he was discharged in October of 1967, Ace was nominated for the Bronze Star, and ended up receiving the Navy Commendation Medal, which is one of the most prestigious honors in the Navy.

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The following is an excerpt the Commanding General of the Pacific Fleet Marine Force wrote about Ace: As a Platoon Sergeant, on 7 September, he led a squad of swimmers across a river and, despite a heavy volume of enemy fire, skillfully deployed his men, forcing the enemy to withdraw. Again, on 14 September, when one of his squads was pinned down by a numerically superior Viet Cong force, Sergeant Ace unhesitatingly led a relief unit to the besieged Marines and forced the enemy to abandon numerous packs and equipment and flee in panic and confusion. “The award is one thing. It’s the faith that your guys have in you. The trust you platoon commander puts on you, those are the most rewarding things,” said Ace. “My guys never questioned me, and my platoon commander never questioned me. That was worth more to me than anything, any commendation.” The former Marine did his best to return to civilian life, but had his fair share of troubles adjusting. Eventually Ace did find solace on the road as a truck driver for Filigree Foods. “Most of the time, I used to run the 48 States and Canada,” he said. “I liked it because most of the time, I

was by myself. I didn’t wanna deal with people, so it worked out real well. Being alone when I was on the truck was no responsibility as far as I was concerned.” But what Ace didn’t realize that was his aversion to people wasn’t just a personality quirk—it was PTSD. He only realized that after two back surgeries derailed his trucking career, and he started to develop depression from lying about the house. “I was diagnosed in 1984,” he recalled. “Everything I did I thought was right until I went to the VA in 1982 or 1983. I told them I’ve got these problems. I told them exactly what happened: nightmares, flashbacks, my temper... they put me in a program and gave me medication. I still do the same thing to this day. It keeps me stable.” “They had just made it a disability in 1983 or 1984,” Ace continued. “I didn’t know what it was. I just thought it was normal stuff. Probably the worst part was the depression. That’s what sent me to the VA to start. I can deal with flash backs. I can deal with dreams. Depression? It will make you kill yourself. I am not a suicide guy, but I know a lot of guys who have pulled the trigger because of depression.”

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Since being diagnosed and undergoing treatment, Ace’s quality of life has improved dramatically. He eventually recovered enough to return to work, and spent many years working in commercial real estate. But even though it has been decades, Ace still finds himself thinking like a Marine. “I have an office at home where I have all my stuff from the Marine Corps in there,” he said. “I draw strength from that... War time experience gave me the mentality that everything can be figured out tactically. It’s when emotions get involved is when stuff gets messed up.” While the war ended on April 30, 1975 with the Fall of Saigon and the formal reunification of Vietnam into a communist state, Ace knows that his struggles against PTSD and depression will be a battle for the rest of his life. “It’s a dull pain in your mind that doesn’t go away,” Ace continued. “I can go two weeks without a dream, but then I will wake up in the middle of the night soaking wet, I smacked my wife... I just don’t know when this stuff is gonna come up. It ain’t my fault. I try the best I can. It is just something that stays with you.” Go to to see more about Johnny Ace.

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Treating The Prisoner

In Berlin, Dr. Gregory Zipf Met the Infamous Nazi Rudolf Hess... and his Clifton Bride! By Joe Hawrylko

In the center of the photo above, that’s Dr. Gregory Zipf at the Berlin Wall. He was an Army opthamologist in Germany from 1982 to 1985. While there, Zipf treated the infamous Nazi, Rudolf Hess, pictured before his death and during WWII.

When Cliftonite Gregory Zipf accepted his health professional scholarship, he knew that it would entail him serving three years for Uncle Sam. What the opthalmologist didn’t know was that he would be shipped to Berlin, Germany, where he would not only meet his future wife, but would also come face to face 28 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

with one of the most infamous Nazis from World War II, Rudolf Hess. Prior to enlisting, Zipf was a standout football player at CHS, where was a part of the undefeated team that won the state championship prior to his graduation in 1973. He then attended Notre Dame

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Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Clifton’s Sandra Palinkas and Greg Zipf were married on June 15, 1984 in Berlin, where they met.

before going on to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia. There, as a part of his agreement with the government, his final three years of school were paid for in exchange for three years of military service with the Army. “Senior year, they sent me to Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco, and then when I graduated, they sent me to San Antonio for overseas training,” he said. Zipf also did his basic in San Antonio, TX. “Then they sent me to Berlin on Sept. 1, 1982.” At that point in time, tensions were still extremely high in Germany due to the Cold War. Following the end of World War II, the occupying powers in Germany—the United States, Britain, France and the USSR—divided Berlin into quarters, each being governed by a single country. Eventually, the Cold War progressed, international relations worsened and the Soviets absorbed their territory—dubbed East Germany—into the Eastern Bloc, ultimately constructing the infamous Berlin Wall to keep out Russia’s enemies. “We were always on constant alert because they were always thinking the Russians were coming over,” recalled Zipf. “About my third or fourth night there, they put me up in the officers apartments. About 4 am, 30 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

the whole building started shaking. I looked out and it was tanks rolling on by.” But outside of occasional drills and shows of military prowess, life in Berlin was relatively quiet. Most days, Zipf would go to work, see his patients and then end up with buddies over at the local officer’s club. “They took Hitler’s hotel, where he hung out in World War II, and we made that into our officer’s club. It was an absolutely awesome building,” he recalled. “The whole bottom floor was a gigantic bar. We’d have happy hour on Fridays, and everyone would come, from generals to colonels, all the way down. Everyone would come drinking in their fatigues. You were drinking a 16 ounce German beer for 25 cents. Any kind of drink was maybe 40 cents. We had a huge buffet too, all you can eat.” Another ever-present reminder of what had transpired in World War II was the looming presence of Spandau Prison, located in West Berlin. “Spandau dated back to the 1500s. It kind of looked like a castle or fortress,” recalled Zipf. After the Nuremberg Trials, some of the highest ranking Nazi officers were imprisoned at Spandau, including Karl Dönitz, Konstantin von Neurath, Baldur von Schirach, Albert Speer, Erich Raeder, Walter Funk and Rudolf Hess. Of those seven, Hess was the only one still incarcerated when Zipf was in Germany, as he was serving out a life sentence. Hess was primarily known for two things: being Adolf Hitler’s right hand man while in power, and his bizarre capture in 1939, when Hess secretly flew over to England to negotiate a peace treaty and was instead taken into custody. As an Army doctor, Zipf had only heard stories about Spandau and Hess from other soldiers that he had cared for. But in late August of 1984, the Cliftonite wound up caring for the man known as The Prisoner. “I was actually on optometrist on call to the emergency room. It was a Friday. Back then, Fridays were great. You’d get out of work in the afternoon, go home and then go to the officer’s club,” said Zipf. “On the way home, my beeper went off. I stoped at the PX and I called in and they said, ‘Oh, we’ve got an emergency. Go home, get your dress uniform, and then come back to the hospital.’ What the hell? So I get my dress uniform and run back and the internist is there waiting with a limo and they said ‘Hop in, we’re going to Spandau, we’ve got an emergency. I just thought, this is going to be crazy.”


ting 20 Ye s ar

So much Surgi cal Expe rtise from our Staff, to our P hysicians When we opened one of the region’s first Same Day Surgery Center back in 1993, the founding physicians and staff of Clifton Surgery Center knew we were on the cusp of change. Two decades later, as we mark our anniversary, our surgeons and staff continue to innovate and evolve.

Over those 20 years, our mission remains true: to deliver superior surgical service more efficiently and cost effectively than area hospitals. We continue to invest and improve our facilities, not only our operating suites but also to our landmark building. We are proud of our service and look forward to many more decades of providing quality healthcare.

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


“It was in the summer. We were having our big festival at the German American Folk Festival on our base. We’d set up gigantic tents like they had at the Clifton picnic, food, sausage, beer... just a great time,” he laughed. ‘That’s where I was supposed to be and here I am at prison and I can’t believe it.” Zipf arrived at Spandau and proceeded passed the big iron doors at

32 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

the front gate, but the guards there stopped him. “I just had my Army ID and couldn’t get in,” he said. “You had to have your ID signed by all four governors (from each Allied country). The internist was having a fit.” Eventually, the needed representatives were contacted and Zipf was allowed access. He went into the main building to a small clinic, and

a few minutes later, in walked Rudolph Hess. “It was a total shock. I never thought we were involved with the prison. I always thought if they had a problem, they’d bring in a specialist,” he said. “The crazy thing about it was, while I am looking at him, the French, the Russians... all of them are looking over my shoulder. They had me there to determine if he was having a retinal detachment. If he was, everything would go crazy. They’d have to close down whole sections of the city to get him out of the prison and over to the British hospital.” It turned out that Hess, who already did not have vision in his right eye, was actually suffering from macular degeneration, which is an aging of the eyes and not serious. After the session was over, Zipf went back out to meet his friends at the officer’s club. “I told them, ‘I just happened to see somebody on the way here,’” laughed Zipf. Eventually he let on that he was at Spandau, and everyone realized where Zipf was. “Everyone was kind of flipping out. It was kind of amazing.” Zipf returned to treat Hess twice more. The Cliftonite was later questioned by authorities after Hess tried to get an early release by claiming that the American doctor had told him his vision was failing. In August of 1987, Hess was found hanging in his cell, reportedly dead of suicide at the age of 93. In addition to his run in with The Prisoner, Zipf remembers his time in Germany due to meeting his wife, Sandra Palinkas, whom he was introduced to in February of 1983.

“My buddy, who was an infantry guy, we were talking and he said ‘My girlfriend said there’s this girl that just got a job in finance and she’s from New Jersey. Do you want to invite her the next time we come to the officer’s club,’” he recalled. “The next week, we go in there and she’s supposed to come at 7. About five to seven, I’m looking around and said I wouldn’t mind meeting that blonde over there and he said, ‘Oh, that’s her.’ I asked her and said north or south. And she said, oh my dad is originally from Clifton. I thought my friend had set me up.” But it was true—Sandra’s father was originally from Kulik St. in Botany Village, and her aunt and uncle lived on the same street as his parents. Sandra ended up in Berlin because her father was a career military man who was stationed in Germany after earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star in World War II. Zipf and Sandra quickly hit it off and began dating regularly. “We had our first date and from that point forward we were seeing each other. Then a year and a half later we were engaged in 1984,” he said. “We had a double wedding. If I didn’t get married there, then I couldn’t bring her back as my wife. We were married on June 15, 1984 at Berlin City Hall. We had the reception at the officer’s club.”

Greg and his brother, John Zipf, a former Clifton cop.

On Nov. 3, 1984, Zipf returned home to Clifton to have a ceremony with family. They were wed at St. Brendan’s Church, and the reception was held at the Knights of Columbus on Main Ave. Eventually the two moved to Pompton Plains, and then settled in Washington, NJ, where they have lived for 26 years. The Zipfs have two children: Eric and Stephanie.

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


By Joe Hawrylko Eighth grade students at Woodrow Wilson Middle School will be celebrating an early Memorial Day with their 13th annual Veterans Teaching History program. Eighth grade teachers Jennifer Lanzerotti and Vanessa Gaba coordinate the May 17 event, which will bring in area veterans to share their experiences with the young teens. The veterans will also enjoy a luncheon and then a special concert. Veterans who served in war or peace from any era are invited to volunteer and share their stories of service. To participate, leave a message and phone number at the WWMS main office: 973-470-2350. “Vets come in and talk to the students for about 30 minutes, and then everyone goes to the auditorium where the bands plays and we have an assembly in their honor,” said Lanzerotti. “There’s poetry that students have written, and the chorus sings too. We allow veterans to speak if anyone wants to. A couple have spoke in the past, but not many. And then they march out.” This is the first year that Lanzerotti has been in charge of the program, which she estimated has been around for over 10 years. “It’s really student driven,” she said. “The HSA pays for the luncheon, but everything else is in 34 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Woodrow Wilson Students Honor Veterans with Fanfare & Conversation

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Ashley Cordeno, Don Gross, Isaiah Buonafina, David Buonafina, Jennifer Lanzerotti, Vanessa Gaba and Charles Clayton. At right is Don Gross while in the Army, who was a corporal in 1976.

house. The students are responsible for creating invitations and sending them out. They help create the program too.” The day starts with a brunch for the veterans. Afterwards, the vets go to 8th grade classrooms to talk about their experiences and field questions from the students. After that has concluded, the veterans parade into the auditorium, where the band plays and stu-

dents recite poems for their guests. “Sadly, many of our WWII veterans are dying, so it is becoming increasingly important to pay tribute so they are not forgotten,” said Gaba. Donald Gross, a woodshop teacher at Woodrow Wilson, is also one of the participating veterans. Gross, who hails from North Bergen, enlisted in 1973, hoping to use the GI Bill to go to school at the end of his service.

Al Zwiazek, Frank Smith and Bob Cirkus participated in last year’s program.

36 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Gross did his basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and was assigned to the 541st Engineers of the 549th Battalion. For the duration of his service, Gross was stationed in Schwetzingen, Germany. After returning home, Gross went to Montclair State, where he studied graphics and electronics. For many years, he worked for Reader’s Digest. However, Gross saw changes in the industry and then one day he was ordered to prepare a job so it could be outsourced overseas. “I didn’t serve this country to send jobs out of the country. I quit.” he said. “I still stand by that.” In 2006, Gross met with former CCMS Principal Bil Hahn and was hired as the woodshop teacher. He learned about the veterans program in 2007, and has been participating since. “I met a lot of friends through this,” said Gross. “Veterans like to talk and tell stories, and share what they’ve been though. I enjoy doing it.”

Clifton Merchant • May 2013




On May 27, the campus of City Hall at 900 Van Houten Ave. will once again be decorated in red, white and blue, as more than 1,500 American flags dot the landscape. Known as the Avenue of Flags, it is one of the largest exhibits of Old Glory east of the Mississippi River, and it’s all put together with the help of several generous volunteers. The Avenue of Flags was the idea of Walt Pruiksma, who in 2002, floated the idea to a group of old soldiers and sailors. The concept was simple: on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Patriot Day (9/11) and Veterans Day, volunteers get up at the crack of dawn to put up the flags, and at the end of the day, they return to take them down. By Veterans Day of that year, more than 300 flags were up on the grounds of City Hall. With each passing year, that number slowly grows. Today, the Avenue has surpassed 1,500 flags and is coordinated by John Biegel. There are even maps and volunteer guides available to help donors locate where their flag is displayed.

Avenue of Flags

38 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

The public is invited to sponsor a flag to honor a veteran, living or deceased. The $100 donation includes the flag, pole, sleeve, name plate and ground socket. The necessary form for a flag can be found at by clicking on links and looking up Avenue of Flags. Volunteers are also needed. For more information or details on how to help, email or call John Biegel at 973-519-0858.

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Unforgettable People Remembering Robert Wienbrock

by Lois Wienbrock

It was supposed to be a busy couple of days in 1986. My sister was getting married on Saturday and my husband Bob was “giving her away.” And on Monday night, Coach Bob was being honored at a dinner for his sports related contributions to the youth in Clifton. At this point in time Bob was quite ill battling lung cancer, and unfortunately he did not get to partake in the festivities. He passed away the day before the wedding and three days before the dinner. He was 52 years old. Bob began coaching children before our own children were old enough to play, and continued to coach after they graduated high school. He coached basketball for our church league. He then turned to Little League Baseball when Delawanna had its own division. While in that division he held the office of vice president and president. He coached football for Delawanna and a city team for young boys, and later American Legion baseball. 40 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

He was fondly known around town as Coach Bob. I was usually known as Coach Bob’s Wife. Some of Bob’s proudest moments would be seeing a CHS Mustang athlete that he had coached playing either football or baseball. And of course, watching his own children playing. We had two children—his daughter played softball and his son played football and baseball. Bob also had two children from a previous marriage. Bob received a few accolades over the years for his efforts including the Gil Hodges Award from Post 8, Citizen of the Year from the VFW, recognition from the City Council and our Congressman. The dinner to honor him in 1986 was a culmination of all his achievements. There were 400 people scheduled to attend, so there wasn’t any way to cancel at such a late date. Besides, how could I not acknowledge so many people that thought enough of him to attend? It was bittersweet to say the least. Our minister said she had never spoke to such a large congregation and surely wouldn’t again. The most touching moment was when the host asked for every young man that had been coached by Bob to please stand. It was mind boggling! Dozens of kids stood tall. My heart burst with pride. It’s been almost 25 years, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of him. We were married for 23 years. We have two grandchildren that are involved in sports, a CHS grad who played basketball, baseball and bowling. Another Mustang, graduating next month, who plays volleyball, basketball, and softball. I can only imagine how proud Bob would be of them. Editor’s Note: Do you have an unforgettable person in your life? They can be living or deceased. Let us know in a short essay and perhaps we’ll use your story. Be sure to include your phone number. E-mail

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Food Drive

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Help Clifton Firefighters Collect Food to Fill the Pantry at St. Peter’s Haven By their sworn duty and because they want to, FMBA Local 21 members have long supported their community. In addition to fighting fires and responding to calls for ambulance service, Clifton Firefighters do charity work. That includes annual fundraisers for Toys for Tots and a coat drive to benefit St. Peter’s Haven. Recently when they heard the shelves were low at St. Peter’s Haven Food Pantry on Clifton Ave., they’ve organized a May food drive. Firefighter Steven Turi is the coordinator for this campaign. He said that Local 21 decided to get involved after they learned that the pantry shelves tend to get a little bare over the summer. 42 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

d n

Since the fight against hunger is a 365 day battle, Turi rallied his fellow firefighters around the cause. “We became first responders because we want to help others in our community. In an emergency, it is easy for us to see who needs help and it is easy for people to call on us for help. But there are times when needing help is not so obvious to others,” explained Turi. Turi and the other firefighters turned to St. Peter’s Haven, which has also has a long history of helping Cliftonites in need. Since 1986, the Haven has been providing food and shelter to At left Firefighter Steven Turi, and on this page Derek Cotten, Cpt. Ryan Fitzsimmons, and Lt. Gary Tufaro. On our cover: Lt. Dominick Gallo, Jeff Escalante, Lt. Billy LeGates, Brian Reilly, John Warchola and Edward Polak.

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Food Drive the region’s most needy individuals. Today, more than 300 Passaic County residents utilize the facilities each month. And the need to keep the shelves filled is an ongoing operation. “Schools and civic organizations, a lot of those types of groups take off for the summer, so that’s why it is an important time to get food,” Reverend Peter DeFranco of St. Peter’s Haven offered as to why donations slow down now. “Thanksgiving and Christmas, we get the most food, and then we dry up in January and Feb and then things start up again.” In addition to food and shelter Staff workers at St. Peter’s Haven help fight hunger year round. Call 973546-3406 to volunteer or donate. From left, Giovanni Bellina, Barry Rochester, Yiset Bellina, Elizabeth Zapata and Rev. Peter DeFranco

the pantry also provides seasonal items such as school items in the fall, turkeys for Thanksgiving, Christmas toys and coats for cold weather. The food pantry is open Tuesday through Thursday, and on Saturdays from 9 to 11:30 am. Clifton’s bravest will be collecting canned and dried food and other non-perishable items

throughout the month. Collection stations are at each fire station: Station 1, 69 1st St., Station 2, 7 Dumont Ave., Station 3, 180 Mahar Ave., Station 4, 144 Main Ave., Station 5, 51 Brighton Rd., and Station 6, 1202 Van Houten Ave. To arrange a pick up, email For info, visit or call St. Peter’s Haven at 973-546-5020.

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Better Hearing Month

Free Hearing Screenings Clifton’s Deidra Ramos-Perez among those offering services at MSU Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Pace University in 2010, Deidra Ramos-Perez considered a number of career options then took some sound advice. “I took Intro to Audiology during my second year at Pace and I fell in love,” the 24-year-old Dutch Hill resident recalled how she discovered her calling. “I found it interesting how the field encompasses so many different disciplines.” Now in her third year of the four year Doctoral Program in Audiology at Montclair State University, Ramos-Perez is on track to be a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.). She attends classes at MSU’s state-ofthe-art facility on Broad St. in Bloomfield. The program is the only of its kind in the Garden State and one of 70 nationwide. Audiology is the study and treatment of hearing loss. RamosPerez, who attended School 15 and Woodrow Wilson Middle School before graduating from Eastern Christian High School in 2006, originally went to Pace considering a career in teaching. “Actually first I wanted to be a chef,” she admitted. “My father is a chef.” She fulfills her desire to teach by instructing Sunday School at Hope Reformed Church at Burgess Pl. and Third St. Once at Pace, Ramos-Perez found audiology more to her liking. It was one of her professors, Dr. 46 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Abbey Berg, Ph.D, who helped put her on the path towards a career in audiology. “I was two years in and she asked if I was available for an internship at Columbia New York Presbyterian,” she recalled of the internship which turned into a job. “She got me that internship. She’s

always been there for me.” Dr. Berg, along with her boss at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Maria Olmeda-Jenkins, have both become important mentors for RamosPerez, and ultimately influenced her to enroll at MSU. “I don’t know if I would be so passionate about audiology


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Better Hearing Month Free Hearing Screenings: For Better Hearing and Speech Month in May, the Montclair State University Center for Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology will offer free hearing screenings from May14 to 24 by appointment at the Center’s off-campus clinic at 1515 Broad St., Bloomfield. To schedule a time, call 973-655-3934. without those two,” she said. “Dr. Berg, who got me my internship, told me to apply there.” The Broad St. facility which is within an office park, is not only a teaching center but also a hearing clinic. The public can come for hearing testing, auditory processing disorder testing, complete hearing aid services, custom earmolds, balance testing and auditory brainstem response testing. “My program, in my class alone there are just 10 people. It’s a very small, tight knit program,” she explained of the Doctor of Audiology program. There are just over 40 people in the program. After graduation, students from this field are offered a wide variety of opportunities for employment. One of the most popular fields of employment is pediatrics, either at a private practice or in a hospital. “Hackensack has a great program,” added Ramos-Perez “One of the professors at Montclair is the head of the newborn area over there.” Given her inclination to teaching, Ramos-Perez said she envisions herself one day working at a busy hospital. “I really like the medical field. I love being in the hospital,” she 48 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Cliftonites Deborah Verderosa (left), graduate advisor and Joann Kuebler (right), administrative assistant, with Fredi Jarmel, MSU’s clinic director. For more on the services of the center on Broad St., call 973-655-3934.

said. “I love that whole dynamic. You’re working on a team with EMTs, doctors, occupational therapists. I like being a part of that whole cooperative.” Ramos-Perez said she would also like to do charity work and help low-income individuals get care for their hearing problems. “I would really like to do a hearing mission,” she said. Ramos-Perez recalled seeing the hearing aid manufacturer Starkey use its non-profit foundation to donate hearing aids to a school in a low income neighborhood in the Bronx. “All this money is coming in, and they use it to give back to the community and have audiologists go out and fit hearing aids. That would be an excellent way to utilize my education and give back.” While that option may lay in her future, these days Ramos-Perez remains busy. During the week,

Ramos-Perez is at the audiology center. In addition to the clinic time and classroom work she does at MSU, her internship which piqued her interest in the field of audiology has turned into weekend employment at New York Presbyterian. “We’re under the supervision of an audiologist,” she explained. “Basically we go into the nursery rooms and test all the babies that are born the day before. Usually we wait until about 11 hours.” The small probe emits a tone that is able to detect if the sounds are being properly received and processed by the brain. “It is the little things like that which make me feel blessed to be in this field,” said Ramos-Perez. “The science of audiology is a gift and I am so proud to be practicing it.” Despite the pace and the long hours, she loves the career path she has chosen.

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Beating Cancer Photo by Quinci Peri

In late January, Brendan Schreiber was snowboarding with friends when he noticed a lump under his armpit. After a few doctor’s visits, on March 1 he got the news: Lymphoma. Since then, he has undergone surgery to remove two large tumors, and began an aggressive round of chemotherapy. Throughout it all, the CHS Junior has been doing all the stuff a Clifton teen does. He continued to work and attend school. That cleared him to return to the lacrosse field where he plays on defense for the Mustangs. After a few rounds of chemo, Schreiber began to lose his hair so he went for the buzz cut. In a show of support, his teammates decided to make a statement of friendship and went and buzzed their heads as well. 50 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Relay for Life is an annual overnight event held at Clifton Stadium on June 8. This year’s theme is Viva Las Relay, Do Not Bet on Cancer, Bet on A Cure. Participate as an individual or hook up with a group, such as United Against Cancer. They will be at the Downtown Clifton Street Fair on May 18. selling food and snacks to benefit their efforts. To participate and for more details on volunteering or becoming a sponsor, visit On April 7, the entire Varsity team, along with some junior varsity members and even one member of the junior program gathered at teammate Joe Cupoli’s house. They lined up and fell under the clippers of Anthony Bianchi of Pal Joey’s Salon in North Arlington, who donated his time. Three hours later, more than 20 lacrosse players were bald. Brendan’s mother, Stephanie, came to witness the event. Schreiber, who had treatment all day Monday, arrived at the Varsity game midway thru the first quarter to find the stands and fans dressed in purple clothing, purple streamers, and purple bandanas to support the Cure for Lymphoma. Schreiber, who works at the Venetian in

Garfield, played as if nothing was out of the ordinary. It was not until halftime when his teammates removed their helmets that he saw all of the shaved heads.

As of April 26, Schreiber was still strong and had one chemo treatment left. His blond hair has begun to grow back—white—as he is pictured on the facing page.

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Interesting Jobs

Mustang Suit in the Shadow

Clifton’s Josh Naranjo got Nick Carter’s back.

In late 2003 Josh Naranjo was a pretty average Ohio State Buckeye. Studying music performance and business management information systems, the former Marching Mustang tuba player was only a few semesters short from graduating and entering the work force. But at the end of the 2003, a lightening bolt of opportunity hit. He decided to drop out of school to pursue a career as a personal body guard. It was a risky decision, but one that has come to pay off. Ten years later, Naranjo, now 31, it seems what some may have considered foolhardy had turned to good fortune. Over the past decade, Naranjo, who still calls Clifton home, has visited almost 50 countries on every continent except for Antarctica while serving as personal body guards for artists such as the Backstreet Boys, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Sum 41 and others. Naranjo is also an aspiring entrepreneur, and one of three owners in Kros International USA, a company that sells uniquely designed urinals that cut down the wait line at restrooms at entertainment events. Since there is no clear path to becoming one, Naranjo charted his own path to the personal body guard industry. While still in Ohio 52 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

State, be began making the move by doing part time security at Nationwide Arena, which is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL. Naranjo would network with the personal security outfits that would come in during concerts. Hang around enough and eventually, a job opportunity appeared. Soon thereafter, opportunity prevailed. The 2000 CHS grad became the man in the middle. “The Brittney Spears Dream Within a Dream Tour came through at the end of 2001, and I was the liaison to her security and our security,” he said. “I spent quite a bit of time with them. One of their security guys, I made a connection with. He was from New York and I’m from New Jersey. So basically I just pursued that. They saw that I wanted to get into it, to break into the industry. Eventually, he took me under his wing as my mentor.” Over the next couple of years, Naranjo had an unpaid, on the job training program as he was traveling around the country to do various jobs with the outfit. Eventually, he got his first crack at personal security in January of 2005, when he was assigned to the Olsen twins of Full House fame, Mary Kate and Ashley. “You’re no longer responsible for an arena or a stadium,” he explained. “You’re now responsible for two

individuals. You’re now on somebody’s personal time.” Unlike venue security, personal security is no punch a clock and go home. Naranjo’s work mirrored the life of the celebrities he was covering. Hours fluctuated depending upon their appearances or performances so he spent a lot of time standing by waiting for the next move. But that never posed a problem. “They lived in the city. It was close so I can go home to Clifton every night,” he said. “You’re basically there from the time they get up to the time they go to bed.” “Certain people have security guys up from 7 am to 4 am,” continued Naranjo. “If they decide they want to be up early, you just sleep whenever you can in the car.” Naranjo worked for the Olsen twins for about a year before moving on to other opportunitys. In 2007, he started to work for The Backstreet Boys. He has traveled with the group on and off since then, going on three world tours: Unbreakable, This Is Us, and the NKOTBSB tour with the New Kids on the Block. “With the Backstreet Boys, we went to Vietnam. I’ve been to China four or five times now,” he said. Naranjo said that he’s been to 48 countries on his travels. “I’m blessed. I didn’t think, coming from Clifton, that ‘s be going to any one of these places.”

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Interesting Jobs When on tour, each guard is assigned to one performer, and Naranjo paired up with singer Howie D. In 2011, Howie D went on a solo tour to South America, and the Cliftonite went as the star’s personal body guard. “Howie and I hit it off. His mother is Puerto Rican and my mother is Puerto Rican. You become part of that family,”said Naranjo. “Howie D of the Backstreet Boys, he likes to go sight seeing. He’s adventurous, likes to try new foods.” While the ability to see many new countries is a plus, eventually, life on the road becomes tiring. “Three months straight, you do begin to miss your bed,” said Naranjo, who still lives in Clifton. “You miss your friends at home, your family. Granted, you do make friends in these other countries. But you miss your friends, and you miss food from home.” Currently, Naranjo is on a three week tour with Emblem 3, the group which achieved fame on the show, Xfactor. But when he’s not traveling around the globe, the Cliftonite invests his time into his business, Kros International USA, Inc. The company sells cross sectional urinals which are rough about the same size as a normal portapotty, but can hold four people at once.

54 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

The urinals are popular across Europe, which is where Naranjo first saw it being used. “My business partner is a Dutch international, and he told me to take a look at it when I was over in Holland last year during Queensday,” he recalled. Naranjo immediately liked what he saw, and became a business partner this past February. “This is my entrepreneur side coming out. What I really want to deal with is increasing the participant experience.” Ultimately, Naranjo would like to add in token machines to his company’s product line. “It would be used at venues for beer and food,” he said. It is designed to cut down theft and streamline services. Naranjo and his partners are now in the process of attending trade shows to make headway into industry in the United States. Though he has a lot on his plate at the moment, the Cliftonite is very happy with the direction his life is heading. “I still think that I wouldn’t have had the opportunitys I have had today if I had not left school in 2003,” said Naranjo. “I feel I have learned a lot too culturally. It’s a unique opportunity that I don’t think you’d get to experience every day.”

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Clifton Author

Route 66 Road Trip Leads to Jay Leno Gig By Joe Hawrylko

Bill Walton (far right) is a CHS 1966 grad who went on a road trip down Route 66 with friend, Sal Santoro, and wrote a book about it. The two are pictured with Jay Leno. On facing page is Walton with his niece Allison Hoey who did artwork for the book.

As a young boy growing up in Clifton, Bill Walton used to watch the Route 66 TV series and thought to himself one day, I’m going to do that. So in the summer of 2009, the 1966 graduate of Clifton High finally got around to doing the drive, taking a 38 day road trip in his red 1968 Cadillac de Ville with his good friend Sal Santoro. Afterwards, the two compiled and edited more than 8,000 photos and 125 pages of journal notes into a book, Route 66, The People, The Places, The Dream. That book caught the attention of Jay Leno, who flew out the two to Los Angeles on April 6 to tape a segment for his book club show. It’s still a lot to process for Walton, 65, who originally just wanted to knock off a childhood dream off of his bucket list. “It just has an atmosphere, almost a mystique. A lot of Europeans say if you really want to see the US, you have to drive Route 66,” he said. Known as the Main Street of America, Route 66 originally ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. “What that mean is so much of what 56 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Europeans see of America is movies and television, and movies and television take place in big cities.” “The places on Route 66 are blue collar people,” Walton added. “It is shop owners. They’re part of the mystique. So many of the people that we met along the highway were wonderful. Some of them we would spend hours talking with.” Though he had always wanted to take the journey down Route 66, Walton never seriously considered the trip until meeting Santoro though the Cadillac Club of North Jersey, which Walton founded in 1991. His obsession with Cadillacs started when he was a young boy growing up on Greenland Ave. in Clifton. “Ace & George’s was a block away on Madeline Ave, and for many years the owner, George Balkjy, he was a Cadillac driver,” Walton recalled. “It was not a Cadillac neighborhood. It was a Chevy/Ford neighborhood, so I would remember when he would drive by.” Years later, the CHS 66 grad would end up working for the owner of Ace & George’s. “He had this ‘59 sedan with these giant tail fins and bullet lights,” said Walton.

“I got to drive that thing when I started working for him in 1965, sometimes doing deliveries.” Decades later, Walton drives his own Caddy, a red 1968 de Ville. It was this classic that the former Mustang took on the road in the summer of 2009. Planning for the trip started in 2008, when Walton retired after teaching middle school music and elementary school for 37 years in the Bergenfield school district. Walton and Santoro compiled a list of landmarks, museums and cities they wanted to see along the way, hopped in their car and set out for Chicago to start their trip, which lasted 38 days and took them across the heartland of America. “We envisioned this as our retirement gift to ourselves,” he said. “We had zero responsibility. We got in the car and just went. We didn’t even know when to tell our wives when wed be home!” The trip allowed them to experience parts of America unlike anything around here. “Those of us who live in suburban New Jersey, we don’t get to see the sky like they do out there,” Walton added. “Arizona, New Mexico, even Texas, it is all flat. You can see in miles for all directions there is all this stuff and nothing blocking it. They have trains a mile and a half long and you can see the whole thing. There’s no building obstructing it.” By the time they returned home over a month later,

the two had more than 8,500 photos and 150 pages of journal entries between the two of them. Eventually, Walton and Santoro whittled down the photos to 500 and showed their collection friends in the Club. “People said you should write a book, you should have a PBS special and we were laughing, just, yeah right,” he recalled. But the two friends changed their minds, and spent the next two years writing, editing and designing their self published book, Route 66, The People, The Places, The Dream, which was released in July 2012. Walton’s niece, Cliftonite Allison Hoey, did the book’s artwork. Walton and Santoro were happy completing their book, but definitely did not expect their brush with fame that brought them to Los Angeles. The two are fans of Jay Leno, and decided to submit their book for review for his bookclub. “We didn’t hear from them, so a couple months go by and I sent them a letter. About a month ago, I get a call: Sal? ‘No, this is Bob’ Oh, this is Jay Leno,” he laughed. Leno apologized for not reviewing the book promptly and invited the two friends out to LA to tape a segment for his website, “I don’t know whether we were more excited to be interviewed by him or see his collection. Visit to see more photos and stories or to purchase the book.

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Arts & Music Clifton’s Yuri Turchyn brings his blend of Latin, Jazz and World Music to Trumpets Jazz Club and Restaurant in Montclair on May 5 at 7 pm. His Grupo Yuri Jazz has played at worldclass jazz festivals, concerts and clubs throughout the NY/NJ metropolitan area. Visit or call 973-744-2600. The Theater League of Clifton is staging the French comedy Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti on May 10, 11 and 12 and May 17, 18 and 19 at the Aprea Theater, 199 Scoles Ave., Clifton. Ticket prices and times at or by calling The Theater League’s Box Office at 973-928-7668. The Clifton Community Band presents the 12th annual Lollipops and Roses Intergenerational Concert on May 18 at 2 pm at Clifton High School, 333 Colfax Ave. Tickets are $7; children free. Proceeds will benefit the Clifton Education Foundation and the Clifton Community Band. Email or call 973-771-3751. The Hamilton House Museum, 971 Valley Rd., celebrate Thomas Jefferson 270th Birthday April 6 at noon with a luncheon typical of what our third president might have served his guests. Tickets are $22. Reservations only: 973-744-5707. Paramus Catholic High School presents Little Shop of Horrors, a hit broadway musical by Howard Ashman. Showdates are May 3 and 4 at 7:30 pm, and May 5 at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors, or $10 for adults. Family rate is $25. Call 201-445-4466. 58 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

From top, Yuri Turchyn leads Grupo Yuri at Trumpets on May 5. TLC presents Boeing Boeing on May 10-19 with John Fraissinet, Danielle Petrucelli, Karol Scott, Louis Balsamo, Kodi Milde and Susan McDonald. Face to Face is an exhibit of art by CHS students at the Clifton Arts Center which opens May 8.

Face to Face, an exhibit and sale by CHS art students, will run from May 8 to June 1 at the Clifton Arts Center. The theme comes from the idea that a child’s first drawing is almost always his or her face. The student artists of CHS and the CHS Annex have taken on the challenge of creating portraits head-on, exploring as many art media, styles and interpretations as the human imagination can conjure. A reception open to the public will be held on May 9 from 6 to 8 pm. Donation is $3. CHS Music Department student will perform at the reception. Exhibiting artists will also be present to discuss their art. Regular gallery hours are from 1 to 4 pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Group tours are available by appointment. For more info, go to or look up the Arts Center on Facebook.

Be Part of the 7/13/13 Garage Sale. There’s a City-Wide Garage Sale on July 13, rain or shine, to benefit the Clifton Arts Center. The fee is $25 of which $10 will be used by the Arts Center to obtain a garage sale permit and $15 is a tax-deductible donation to Clifton Arts Center Inc. “The goal is to initiate a new ‘signature fundraiser’ for the Arts Center and strengthen our connection with a larger cross section of our community,” said Jeff Labriola, Clifton Arts Center Advisory Board Chair. “Bring out your treasures from the attic and basement and make some lucky deals on 7/13/13.” The CAC will provide advertising and a listing of all participating home addresses on its website three days prior to the event. For info, email or call 973-472-5499. 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 and participants are limited to one exhibit. All entries will be displayed June 10-28 at the Passaic County Senior Services office, 930 Riverview Dr., Suite 200, Totowa. A reception and an awards ceremony is on June 28 at 2 pm. Free; call 973-569-4060.

Impact 100 Garden State is offering $133,000 in grants. Proposals from non-profit groups that have programs or projects in Passaic, Morris, Somerset and Sussex counties may apply. Applicants must offer services in arts & culture, education, environment, family, health and wellness. Letters of intent must be filed by May 10 with grant applications due on June 10. More details at

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Business & Commerce

On April 18, Mayor James Anzaldi, North Jersey Regional Chamber Executive Brian Tangora, Valley National First Senior VP Thomas Sparkes, owner John Fette and his wife, Kristin, and Assemblyman Thomas Giblin cut the ribbon and start the party for the opening of the new Infiniti facility. (John Agnello Photography)

Fette Automotive Companies cut the ribbon on its new Infiniti facility at the intersection of Routes 3 and 46 on April 18. The state-of-the-art building encompasses more than 22,000 square feet and houses sales, service and lots of high end vehicles. “It’s Infiniti’s flagship model. The building is the only one of its kind in the New Jersey District. Frankly you could even say the great New York area,” said Fette Infiniti Executive Manager Pat Murray. “It’s a total luxury environment.” Part of the treatment that Fette Infiniti customers can expect is complementary Starbucks and snacks, a free hand car wash, and if necessary, a free loaner vehicle. “There’s a three lane, enclosed service reception area, which is a pretty big deal,” said Murray. “The customer pulls into the third lane and we have their free loaner there. They don’t even have to go outside.” Construction on the new building had been taking place over the past year. The financing for the project was done by Valley National Bank, which has had a business relationship with three generations of Fettes. Started as a Ford dealership in 1952 on Main and Madison Aves by his grandfather Henry, the Fette dealership moved to its present location in 1977. John worked with his dad, Larry, until his death on May 9, 2008, and has since taken over the helm. Over the years, the family expanded the landmark building and 60 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

added other lines. Today, Fette sells Ford, KIAs and Infiniti. In fact the new dedicated facility was added because Fette’s Infiniti sales had been so high. “Over the last two years, we’ve had so much growth that we ended up as 12th in the nation (out of 214 dealerships) for Infiniti new car volume,” he said. “We outsold Lexus in our market area, which is unheard of.” Visit or call 973-473-3100. The Passaic County 200 Club Valor Awards Dinner will be held on May 7 at 5:30 at The Brownstone, 351 West Broadway, Paterson. The event honors outstanding police, fire and EMT officerss for their acts of heroism in the past year. In addition, the Club presents five $2,500 scholarships to the family members of those serving public safety in Passaic County. The Club is an organization of individuals who stand ready to provide financial assistance to the families of law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel. Within 48 hours after the death of a public safety officer, the club presents a $10,000 check to the family of the deceased to help them get through the difficult times ahead. For more information about the Club to become a member or a sponsor, call 201-450-1271 or visit

NOC Autobody of Clifton is offering a $500 scholarship for high school students who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Asperger Syndrome is now being offered thanks to NOC Autobody. Applicants must complete a form and provide documentation of their disorder, their acceptance of into a school, and a written letter of recommendation, a personal essay of up to 1,000. Applications must be turned into NOC Autobody, 574 Van Houten Ave., by May 31. Be sure to keep a copy of your application. For info, call 973-594-1005. The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton, will host the 34th annual North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce Career Exploration Day on June 6 at the Club. Students will meet at the Club for breakfast at

On April 25, Boys & Girls Club Director of Education Debra Lesnick hosted Mayor Jim Anzaldi and PSE&G President Ralph LaRossa in a face off against youngsters in a game of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.” They competed in five categories: science, technology, engineering and math —with some Clifton-area trivia for good measure. LaRossa also announced that PSE&G provided Boys & Girls Clubs of NJ a grant for after-school programming.

8:30 am, and will then accompany their sponsor to the sponsor’s workplace. The event still needs

sponsors at the cost of $5 per student. To help out, call Debra Lesnick at 973-773-2697, ext. 20.

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Clifton Milestone

School #5


Anniversary 1913-2013

In the heart of Albion, Clifton’s School 5 on the Mountainside marked 100 years of service on April 9. Former students, teachers and parents returned home to see old schoolmates and teachers at 6:30 pm in the School 5 auditorium Coordinated by Physical Education teacher John Silva, he narrated a power point presentation of the history of Clifton and School 5. Those in attendances were also able to walk around and view the historical photos, documents and yearbooks that were on display in the auditorium while enjoying some snacks. 62 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

After the presentation, the 200 or so guests toured the school and sat in their desks in their former classrooms, often meeting their ‘old’ teachers. “Despite generational differences, there remains a connection between the students who attended the school,” said Silva. “School 5 is truly an amazing place. I am blessed to be employed here amongst such dedicated and hardworking people. I also want to mention that our current students did a wonderful job at the parent assembly the next day, April 10. The students performed songs from the past and recited historical facts from the previous decades.”

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School #5


Anniversary 1913-2013

More photos of the School 5 reunion, at

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Class of 1973

From Bell Bottoms to Baby Boomers

The Class of ’73 reunion committee, from left, Philip Read, Bruce Rissmiller, Bernice Knowlton Mekita, Diane Natonick Goode, Valerie Watterston, Pete Garnevicus, Doris Pohle, John Orlwosky, and Lori Struck DeSilva.

It was the height of the baby boom generation’s coming of age. The graduating class of Clifton High School in 1973 – a bell-bottom-wearing, long locks crowd -was a hair under 1,000 strong. In those days, John Orlowsky was steering his maroon 1965 Chevy Impala Super Sport, with 283 cubic inch engine, into the student parking lot alongside CHS. There, the music coming off all those car stereos included “Dream On” by Aerosmith, just in time for summer, as well as tunes by the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, and Rod Stewart. Today, Orlowsky is steering something entirely different. It’s a group of alums putting together this year’s 40th reunion of the Class of ’73, many of whom are still

firmly planted in their old hometown but others who hail from such places as the Jersey Shore and Pennsylvania . All were just close enough one late February day to make it to Mario’s Restaurant for a strategy session for the big gathering now set for Nov. 9 at the Bethwood in Totowa. “I use to play New Year’s Eve in there,” said Orlowsky, a keyboard player whose band “Counterpoint” hit many such venues as the Bethwood in the 1980s. The highly organized Orlowsky – who had a hand in the successful 35th reunion – came with his 4-inch-thick binder, packed with emails and reunion documents sorted with page tabs.

3 7 19

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Class of 1973

Some from the Class of ’73 from top left: Philip Read, Bruce Rissmiller, Bernice Knowlton Mekita, Diane Natonick Goode, Valerie Watterston, Pete Garnevicus, Doris Pohle, John Orlwosky, Lori Struck DeSilva and Cheryl Paicer.

“This is Vol. 1. Vol. II is in the truck,” he quipped. The docs included updates on the number of CHS alum who had made contact via the group’s website, The early numbers were promising, with 188 already likely to reunite from 7 pm to midnight Nov. 9 at the Bethwood for an “elite buffet” with prime rib, cocktail hour, and a DJ banging out hits from the era. Call sheets were passed out, to drum up more attendees. The hunt for lost alumni could be daunting, with committee member Bruce Rissmiller at times tracking down classmates by scouring obituaries of their parents to pinpoint addresses decades later. Then came a somber moment, with word that as many as 58 classmates had passed away, and some 222 others who could not be located, known on the excel sheets as MIA, for missing in action. Still, many more emails and phone numbers had been collected since the 35th gathering, setting the stage for a large turnout. When Orlowsky reminisced about his ’65 Super Sport, committee member Lori Struck DeSilva chimed in: “That’s what I had. Oh, my God. I loved that car!” “A ’66 Mustang Comet, turquoise blue,” Valerie Watterston said of her first set of wheels. “Blue 1967 MG Midget,” Philip Read said of his. At one time or another, the committee members all 68 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

knew of one another. The familiar faces included Carol Thorpe, who took accordion lessons as youngsters at the same locale as Orlowsky but didn’t connect again until the class’ “50th birthday bash,” a reunion tied to that milestone. Rounding out the reunion committee are Doris Pohle, Pete Garnevicus, Bernice Knowlton Mekita, Diane Natonick Goode, and Fred Sloan. “Everyone brings something unique to the table,” said Orlowsky, whose career in custom software design sent him on international excursions to England, France, and Malaysia. In fact, he first met the woman who would become his wife on the United Kingdom trip. The topic soon shifted to enticements. There would be a “Free to Me” drawing that will enable one alum to get a refund of the $80 ticket price. Reaching into his briefcase, a half-joking Orlowsky pulled out a flyer from a well-known Clifton institution. It appeared there might be a replay of the 35th reunion – when in a surprise mode, the wait staff delivered White Castle hamburgers to tables of CHS ’73 alums to reignite some of those long-ago memories. “Anybody want to have a 50-50?” said Orlowsky as he pulled from his briefcase a roll of tickets left over from the 35th and no doubt will be put to use again for the 40th on Nov. 9.

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Clifton People

Cliftonite Crowned Jessica Markovich is Miss NJ USA Ambassador—Next Stop Tampa By Joe Hawrylko On March 17, Cliftonite Jessica Markovich was crowned Miss New Jersey USA Ambassador in a regional pageant in Toms River. Now, the Cliftonite, who attended CHS and graduated from Queen of Peace in 2008, will be competing in the USA Ambassador national event in Tampa, Florida, during the from August 1 to 4. For Markovich, this is her first major win since she started competing in pageants as a freshman at Clifton High. The former Mustang became interested in competing after the school invited a former pageant winner to come speak. “She was actually the title holder for National American Miss. Mr. Baker (the guidance counselor) was like, you need to talk to her, this girl sounds like you,” she recalled. Eventually, Markovich was introduced and a few months later she was off competing in her own pag-

70 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

eants. And while she is an experienced competitor, the March 17 win was Markovich’s first win in a serious event. Markovich and the other participants compete in interview, stage question, evening gown, casual wear categories, and optionally, in photography and talent. “If your talent scores higher than your casual wear, it replaces it, “ she explained. After being declared Miss New Jersey, Markovich decided that her platform will focus on the fight against bullying. “Actually, while I was in high school, I was picked on quite a lot,” she said. “I was bullied pretty badly while I was a freshman.” Markovich is currently studying early childhood education at William Paterson University, and would like to eventually get her Master’s to become a counselor.

The Cliftonite’s goal is to inspire young teens who were bullied in the same way that she was as a freshman at CHS. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Obviously, I love kids, but I do want to continue school and get my Master’s while teaching,” she said. “I want to help kids who were like me... when I was in school, the counselors did try to help, but according to them, there was bigger issues than bullying at the time. I want to be the counselor that I didn’t have.” For more information about USA Ambassador, visit If you’d like to contact Markovich regarding publicity work, call 201-953-9294 or email

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Events & Briefs Since 2010, Clifton Cares has been supporting our service men and women stationed overseas. To date, over 3,000 packages have been shipped to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Filled with cookies, candy, gum, beef jerky, powdered drink mixes and small sizes of toiletries such as shampoo, soap and deodorant, more donations are always needed. Money for postage ($14.85) is also needed. To donate, visit Lizz Gagnon at the City Hall Tax Office. Make a check payable to Lizz Gagnon and earmarked Clifton Cares. Team Awesome’s Beer Pong fundraiser at the Rock Bar is on May 18 at 9 pm. Team Awesome is a group participating in the Relay for Life at Clifton Stadium on June 8. Door fee is $5 per person, and $10 per team, which entitles you to drink specials. For info, visit The Second Annual Clifton PBA 36 Freedom Roast—a motorcycle run and pig roast—is on June 9. Register at 7:30 am, and the police escorted ride departs at 10 am from The Motorcycle Mall, Washington Ave., Belleville. The ride will end in Clifton, where participants will feast on pig. Those who register by June 1 pay $25; after is $30. Ride passengers pay $15. Food and drink only price is $25. Proceeds from the event will benefit Adopt A Soldier, the USO, and Wounded Warriors. Make checks payable to Clifton PBA Local 36, Freedom Roast, PO Box 1436, Clifton, 07015. For info, call officer Wayne Stine at 973-332-6279 or officer John Kavakich at 973-885-5238. 72 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Eighth grade science teacher Jill Hayes at left, co-coordinated the third NJ ASK Pep Rally at Christopher Columbus Middle School on April 26. Students got charged up to take the state’s standardized testing on April 29 with musical chairs, multiplication facts game and a video with test taking tips. “Our goal is to have the students feel excited and confident for test day,” said Hayes, who worked with eighth grade social studies teacher Mary Keenan. Hayes is pictured with students Yasmina Zaynoune, Nacin Adams and Albaroluis Vargas.

St Paul’s Leisure Club meets in the church basement in Downtown Clifton on the second and fourth Wednesday. The next excursion is to Camp Hope on June 5. For info, call 973-546-7690. The Red Hat Angels, a team walking in the June 8 Relay For Life at Clifton Stadium, has a fundraiser on May 15 at Bruno’s Restaurant, Clifton Plaza. Mention Relay when dining in or ordering out and Bruno’s will donate 20 percent. The Richfield Christian Reformed Church hosts a free open faith forum every Saturday at 10:30 am. It is a casual meeting in which people discuss faith, spirituality and current events. Meetings are in the parsonage at 267 Pershing Rd. For more on the forum, call 973-632-1305.

The Dutch Hill Flea Market is on June 1 in Weasel Brook Park from 9 am to 6 pm. Vendor spaces are $35 in advance and $40 cash on the day of the event. Food vendor space is $100. There will also be a free concert from 4 to 6 pm, featuring Bobby Valli of the Jersey Boys and JT Carter, the former founding member of The Crests. For rates and info on this event or the Dutch Hill Residents Association, call George Silva at 973-470-0679. The Coalition for Brain Injury Research hosts a beefsteak on June 7, 6:30 pm at the Clifton Boys & Girls Club. With entertainment by Uncle Floyd, silent auctions and 50/50 raffles, tickets are $50. Proceeds benefit the search for a brain injury cure. Info, call Dennis Benigno at 973-632-2066 or

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Events & Briefs

The Passaic-Clifton UNICO and Sante Fe Salon will hold a fundraiser on June 2 at the Clifton Boys & Girls Club in honor of Jill Stolarz Rubio, above, who passed away on March 27. Rubio was a loving wife to husband Willie and mother to three daughters. All money from the fundraiser will go towards the family to offset any expenses. Any additional money will be put in a trust for the children. The event will start at 5 pm. Tickets are $45 and includes beer and soda. For info, call 973-417-0731. Former Ramsey Mayor Richard Muti will speak at an anti-gun violence panel at the Clifton Democratic Club meeting on May 13 at 7 pm at the Allwood Library, 44 Lyall Rd. Muti has authored four books and has more than 100 publishing credits on public policy, law, politics and government. He has also spent 19 years as a trial prosecutor, and has taught at three New Jersey Universities. Muti’s fourth book, Essays for my Father, is out June 17. To attend, or for more info, call Club President John D. Pogorelec, Jr. at 973-778-1604. 74 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Project Graduation registration is on May 14 and 16 at 7:15 am and then from 6:30 to 8 pm, and on May 21 and 22 from 6:30 to 8 pm. Tickets are $55, thanks to the CHSPTSA picking up $25 off of the ticket price, and donations from Mustang Clifton Pride, CASA, and the St. Philips Knights of Columbus so far this year. Only cash or money order is accepted. Project Graduation is an overnight drug and alcohol free event that takes place after graduation on June 28. At 10 pm, they board buses which will caravan up to a party venue where they will be locked in from 11 pm till 6 am. Chaperones are still needed. Inquire about volunteering at a meeting on May 13 at 7 pm in the Media Center of CHS. Call Maryann Cornett at 973-779-5678. Students and teachers at Woodrow Wilson Middle School are supporting one of their own who has cancer. The unnamed student was given $2,800 by teachers, who raised the money following a district-wide dress down day. On April 10, a fundraiser was held at Grimaldi’s Pizza, and another $1,000 was raised. The website, also gave $1,000, and arranged to have the student meet former NJ Devils defender Ken Daneyko. Donations are still be accepted at the school. Call Forrest Elliott to help out: 973-479-2350. A breast cancer fundraiser sponsored by 58 Pearledrivers will be held on May 19 from 4 to 8 pm at 329 Lakeview Ave. The event will feature makeovers, massages, refreshments, vendors and more.

Tickets are $10 and proceeds will benefit Susan G. Komen ( a breast cancer foundation. Call Sandra HamlinRivers at 570-850-1484. AARP 4192 meets on May 10 at noon at the Masonic Lodge on Van Houten Ave. The group is collecting items for veterans. There is also a luncheon at the Mountainside Inn on June 7, and a regular meeting on June 14, where members will celebrate AARP’s anniversary. There is also an Atlantic City trip on May 14. Call 973-471-4271. The St. Peter’s Haven Tricky Tray will be on May 23 at The Bethwood, Totowa. Tickets are $45. This fundraiser is one of the Haven’s largest events during the year. Gift donations are needed. Call 973-546-3406 or email St. Peter’s Episcopal Church will host its ongoing market fair, starting on May 4 and 18. Vendors are also needed. Prices are $25 if bringing a table; $30 if renting a table. Future dates at For more info, call 973-886-5105. The Woman’s Club of Allwood meets on May 13 at 7:30 pm at the Allwood Community Church, at the corners of Merrill and Chelsea. Club members will be presenting their antiques. Call 973-778-5276. Colleen Murray of the Phenomenal Grandmothers is the curator of a display of prom and bridal artifacts on display at Main Memorial Library on Piaget Ave. The exhibit will be on display through June and is accepting photos and more. Call 973-253-9579.

Sixth grade math teacher Kim Dreher was selected as the Clifton Teachers’ Association Educator of the Year on March 28. Dreher, who works at Christopher Columbus Middle School, began teaching in Clifton in 2002. She actually began her career in Germany and moved back to the United States in 1994. At CCMS, she goes the extra mile both in the classroom and for extra curricualr activities. Among her favorite projects are the annual Locks of Love cut-a-thon, the Diversity Dinner, and the St. Jude fundraiser. Dreher will be presented with the award at the CTA dinner on June 6.

Kim Dreher was selected as the CTA Educator of the Year.

Prior to joining the Board of Ed in May of 2011, Commissioner Judy Bassford had no experience on an elected body. But in the year and a half since, Bassford became a student. Taking courses through the NJ School Board Association, she amassed 20 credits and is now recognized as a Certificated Board Member. “Education is really important to me. I am not an educator—I only have a high school diploma— but I am now a certified educated Board member,” she said. “The Board is giving me a certificate to say that I am one, which I am proud of.” While becoming a CBM is optional, all local commissioners must attend mandatory seminars in three topics: roles and responsibility, finance and student achievement. “You get board credits for these things. Some people chose to go to them and some don’t,” she said “You become a better board member, absolutely. Now I know which questions to ask.” “When I get into something, I’ve got to jump into it feet first,” Bassford added. “I have to learn about it as much as possible, like I did with my son’s disability.” In addition to her role as a commissioner, Bassford is also an advocate for special education. She first became involved on behalf of her son, Keith, a CHS junior. Bassford is currently a senior parent consultant and training coordinator at the Association for

Special Children and Families in West Milford. She also formed Clifton Praise, a parent support group that meets on the fourth Monday of each month at the Allwood Library. However, after taking the courses, Bassford said that she would like to focus on improving student achievement in the district. Through the courses, Bassford has met many commissioners from around the state, which has given her different perspectives on how to deal with education issues. “It’s given me so many opportunities to meet people from other districts and hear the struggles they are having,” she said. Bassford said Clifton’s most pressing issue will be the district’s switch to the common core curriculum in 2014. It will include state testing online, and the district will be working on upgrades to make sure that each student can connect. Bassford said that the information she learned at the School Board Association will help her guide the district as it navigates upcoming challenges. “As a Board, we have to come together to make tough decisions on how to get the district up to speed,” she said of the nine member board. “It’s been working well thus far, but I think we can do better. There’s always room for improvement.” Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Student of the Month

Family and Culture Christian Patti is a Proud Ukrainian & Volunteer By Joe Hawrylko Family and culture are two of the most important things in Christian Patti’s life. For the CHS Student of the Month, those two are often very intertwined. Since he was a young boy, Patti has been immersed in his mother, Ukrainian background. Until the fifth grade, Patti attended St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic school in Passaic, where he learned to speak the language of his ancestors. His mother, Daria (Halburda), is Ukrainian, and her parents are immigrants from that nation. Patti visits his grandparents who live in Clifton once a week and speaks fluent Ukrainian with them. Pretty good for a red-haired half Irish lad. “I actively try to keep up on it,” he said of speaking Ukrainian. “Especially through Plast. I speak it with my grandparents.” In addition to his involvement at St. Nick’s school and parish, Patti is also a member of Plast, which is a national Ukrainian scouting organization. “I had been attending Plast since I was four or five,” he said of his trips to upstate New York. “I plan on being a member for the rest of my life.” “Plast is a very cultural thing,” Patti continued. He also attended Ukrainian Saturday school classes in a Ukrainian Cultural Center in Whippany for many years.

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76 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Student of the Month “I have very close friends that I met through Plast. You get people frome Cleveland, Chicago, New York... all up and down the eastern seaboard. I have friends from Canada and all over the world.” Plast is how he fell in love with volleyball, one of two sports he plays at Clifton High. The Student of the Month first started playing on a club team with Plast, and later went on to compete

78 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

on Varsity for two years at CHS, where he is a captain this year. Patti is also the captain of the CHS swim team, and recently wrapped up his fourth year in the program, and the third on Varsity. Outside of sports, Patti also volunteers regularly. His time is primarily spent between two groups: Vovcha Tropa Plast camp, and helping sisters at the St. Mary’s motherhouse in Sloatsburg, PA.

Patti and his father, Joseph, became affiliated with the house because one of the sisters had previously belonged to St. Nicholas in Passaic. What initially started out as a favor has become regular volunteer work. “We do a lot of maintenance work for them. Anything they need, really,” said Patti. His dad and he also do volunteer work at Vovcha Tropa, a Plast camp in East Chatam, NY. “My parents are involved there. My mom is an administrator and my dad is the head of facilities,” he said. “It’s a camp for three weeks over the summer. About 300 to 400 people from all over the United States come.” Patti had attended camp there from ages seven to 16, and eventually became a volunteer. “Now I am a counselor and the main life guard,” he said proudly. “We go every weekend from April through June.” “It’s fun to me. My father and I have a good time and I get to spend time around him,” Patti added. “Counseling younger kids, you get to see your work pay off later.” Once he heads off to Rutgers New Brunswick this fall, Patti plans on making time to continue his volunteering endeavors. He expects to do club volleyball and swimming for the Scarlet Knights. As far as a major, Patti is still undecided, but is leaning towards something in engineering. “I don’t want to be behind a desk,” he said. “Just from volunteering, I’ve learned that I’d rather be out in the field working with my hands.” Who knows, it may even lead him back to service in his grandparent’s homeland, Ykraina.

Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Birthdays & Celebrations - May 2013

88 Birthday wishes to Glory Read on May 8. Rocco Locantore & Graziella Spinella celebrate their first anniversary on May 12. Alexis Raine Vandenberghe turned 2 on April 20. Zachary Liam Tomaiko turned 2 on Feb. 17. Happy 4th Birthday to Chloe Skye on May 14.

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................... Jordan Kulesa...................

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

80 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Russell Courtney ............... Dolores Hatala ................. Vanessa Laine Montesano.. Mary Domyon .................. Margie Hatala.................. Ashley Kulesa................... Jim Findlay....................... Dorothy Alburo................. Terry Capilli ..................... Alexandra Homsany ......... Rory Houston ................... Frank Lo Gioco................. David Peter Mosciszko ...... Matthew Nagy .................

5/6 5/6 5/6 5/7 5/7 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 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 Joe De Liberto ................ 5/12 Michael Lonison.............. 5/12 Donna De Liberto............ 5/13 Jeff Reilly ....................... 5/13 Michael Zawicki ............. 5/13 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

Gia Camille Genardi is 13 on May 2 and her cousin Brianna Mayer celebrates her 23rd b’day May 29. Danica O’Brien ............ Kage Lord .................... Danah Alburo .............. Jessica Bielen ............... MaryEllen Krattinger ..... Michele Perez .............. Donald Lopuzzo ........... Michael Santosuosso..... Brittney Abell................ Olivia Hryckowian........ Connie Paladino........... Derek Bykowsky ........... Alyssa Dalbo................ Kaylee Pinter ................ Jonathan Rideg............. Fred Antes ................... Steve Bielen ................. Kyle J. Magaster........... David J. Ricca .............. Anthony Alcalde ........... Valerie Gancarz ........... Anthony DeSomma ....... Rachel Gergats............. Christopher Ramirez...... Christopher Smith ......... Logan Thompson...........

5/22 5/22 5/23 5/23 5/23 5/23 5/24 5/24 5/25 5/25 5/25 5/26 5/26 5/26 5/26 5/27 5/27 5/27 5/28 5/29 5/29 5/30 5/31 5/31 5/31 5/31

Congratulations to Gene and Gloria Toma who celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary on May 5. Clifton Merchant • May 2013


Moments of Grace

Built to say Goodbye Dad, can you help me with my English homework? Daddy? Did you see my baseball mitt? Dad, I need a ride home. Can you come get me? Essay by Chris de Vinck


nd so it was for 23 years, my children defining who I was in the house my wife Roe and I bought 26 years ago. I liked driving the children to the zoo. I liked driving Michael to fencing lessons. I liked reading Treasure Island aloud to David. I liked teaching Karen how to ride a bicycle. “Don’t let go, Daddy!” Karen called out with nervous laughter as she and I made our way down the street. I didn’t realize that suddenly it would all end. Yes, David went off to college to become a doctor. Karen went off to college, and majored in English. And Michael, well, he was the last, the youngest, he was always around, then suddenly he was in college and I walked up the stairs one night and found three empty bedrooms. It has been difficult for me to adjust to what is commonly called “the empty nest.” I call it an empty heart. Where are my babies? What happened to the young father who carried the little boy on his back as he counted the stairs? What happened to the man who pushed the little girl on the swing as she called out in glee, “Faster, Daddy! Faster!” Somehow I think we human beings are built to say good bye. We know how to nurture, to love, to build up a home and a family and a place where routine and Scrabble become hints of heaven, and we didn’t even know it. And then it is all gone. The games are tucked away in the hall closet, the children grow up and fall in love, travel, set out for other lives that cast long shadows back to where they once knew the sound of their father’s voice. 82 May 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Letting go is difficult, especially if what we must relinquish is filled with our own inside sense for what is good and conformable and safe. But we are not creatures locked in time and space. We grow old. The earth revolves around the sun each 24 hours no matter how much we wish we could hold back time. But we remember the spinning wheels of a daughter’s bicycle, and the laughter of a son’s voice when his father made the pirate sound of Long John Silver. At the end of the Robin Williams’ film Hook, one of the lost boys in Neverland says to Peter Pan just before Peter leaves, “That was a great game.” When I am close to my own end, I hope that I can look up into the eyes of my children and whisper, “That was a great game,” for it is in this game of living among those we love where we do, indeed, find greatness. Such greatness cannot be discovered unless we let go of those we love and watch them blossom.

Christopher de Vinck is the Language Arts Supervisor at CHS and the author of 13 books. His best known work is The Power of the Powerless a frank reflection on the struggles and joys of loving his severely disabled brother. To order his most recent work, Moments of Grace, call 1-800-218-1903 or look for it in bookstores or online.

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Profile for Clifton Merchant Magazine

Clifton Merchant Magazine - May 2013  

Clifton Merchant Magazine - May 2013