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Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Table of Contents

What’s Inside? 6

The Reason We Celebrate Trip of a Lifetime Recalls The Fallen

22 From Clifton to Nam and Back Resident Honors Country, Loves Family

26 Pedaling for Johnny Samra PBA 36 Tribute for a Fallen Brother

38 Relay For Life What a Difference a Decade Makes

34 Last Minute Pardon For Pooch Firefighter & FMBA 21 to the Rescue

48 Exterminator: She’ll Be Back Surviving & Thriving in a Man’s World

60 Hot Fun on Grove Street Three Generations Keeping it Cool


74 Clifton Youth Week at 60 Six Decades, Diamond Anniversary

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4 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Business Manager Gabriella Marriello Graphic Designer Ken Peterson Contributing Writers Domenick Reda Carol Leonard Jack DeVries Irene Jarosewich

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


SERENDIPITY By Domenick Reda Picture it, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944 as U.S. troops coordinate the invasion on Omaha Beach to thwarttheNazitakeoveroftheregion.RichardDavala wasthereasa20-year-oldGI. Now fast forward 70 years later and we see Davala whoatnearly90,wantsonethingmorethananyother thisMay26—forpeopletoknowtherealreasonwerecognizeMemorialDay. A year ago Davala went back to the European soil where he saw the demise of so many of his buddies, includinghisbestfriend.Andwhereheservedhiscountrysoproudlyasthatyoung,scaredArmyprivate. Todaythecalm,mellowspeaking,sharpmindedformerWindsorAve.residentconsidershimselffortunateto beheretotellthewarstoriesthatthosewhomadethe ultimatesacrificefortheircountryarenotalivetotalk about. That’s why we commemorate the holiday; to honorthosefallensoldiers. The Stench of Death “Ididn’tgoonthefirstwave,”Davalarecalled.“IfIdid, 6 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Iwouldprobablynotbetalkingtoyourightnow.Those guystookahellofabeating.” Exact figures are elusive, but it is estimated that at least 2,000 Americans troops and 3,000 other Allied forcesdiedonthatfatefulday,alsoknownasD-Day.Of the five beaches in Normandy, France, casualties were highestatOmaha. “The stench of death was unbelievable,” Davala recalled.“Therewerestiffbodiesofguyswhodiedwhile dressing their wounds. There were dead animals and whoknowswhatelse.” AmongthosewhodiedwasTrevorJones.Davalamet Jonesduringthewarandknewhimforalessthanayear. Davala was not with Jones when he was killed. Jones receivedaPurpleHeart,posthumously. “Hewasinmyoutfit,”Davalasaidsoftly.“Weused to pull guard duty together. We became close during thoseboringtimes.Duringwar,youmakefriendswith guys over night, and you feel like you know some of themforyears.” Bothmusicians,thetwosangandplayedmusic

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Memorial Day Davala was given an American flagtoplaceonJones’grave. Jones also had a pontoon bridge namedinhishonor. “It was such a thrill to finally be there,”Davala recalled. “Istood by the cross and they told me to get closeandgrabapaleofsandandrub itonthenametomakeitstandout. Whenyoulookoutoverthatfieldof whitecrosses,youcan’thelpbutget tears in your eyes.All those young guysintheprimeoftheirlives.” Oncetheyknewofhisserviceas A Trip Back In Time anArmyGI,membersofthetravelA year ago Davala returned to inggroupwerealsohonoredtomeet thewarzonewithhisgalGenevieve Davala. Generalli,forthefirsttimesincehe “Each one of them came over to servedinthewar.Thetripwasbitme and shook my hand,” Davala tersweetforDavala,butoneofthe recalled. “Iwas the only American firstthingshewantedtodowasvisit soldieramongthegroup.Ifeltalittle DutchcemeteryofhisformerArmy embarrassed.” buddy. The couple went on the trip to Generalli, Davala’s companion visitmuseums,churchesandtakein ofnearly15years,saidthetripwas alittleshoppingandallthatEurope the “gift of a lifetime.” They realhas, but according to Generalli, izedhowmuchthesacrificesofso “somehowourjourneytookonalife many American soldiers meant to ofitsown.” thepeopleofEurope. “This visit was so important to The couple toured Holland, Rich,”shecontinued.“Itwas Amsterdam, Belgium, asadbutimportantvisit.We Luxembourg and France were so happy we had the shortly before Davala’s opportunitytodothis.” 89thbirthdayonMay28 The couple’s trip through last year along with 42 Luxembourgbroughtthemto othertravelers. the grave of General George “OurtourleadermenPattoninHamm. tioned to the officer in The famed Patton, who chargethatRichardwasa was in Luxembourg even war veteran revisiting after the war, died Dec. 21, places from the war 1945—12daysafterbeingin years,” she said. “They a car accident—and was escorteduspolitelytothe exact location of Trevor buried alongside other war Jones’grave,” veterans,aswashisrequest. Richard Davala today, playing his trusty harmonica and Thecemeteryislocat“TheyaskedmeifIwould 60 year prior, as a young GI. Bottom photo, the Davala brothers, from left Bernie, John and Richard. edinMargaten,Holland. lay a wreath on his grave,” duringthose“boringtimes.”Davala playedtheharmonicaandstillgets up on stage today. He harmonized withJoneswhosangalong. “IhavebeenplayingsinceIwas akid,”saidDavala,whowasinhis senioryearinPassaicHighin1942 whenhegothisnoticefromUncle Sam.Heshippedoutin1943. Davalaalsodoesfoundartsculpture and has won awards for his work.

8 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Davalarecalled.“Thatwasreallya thrill. Little old me, a PFC was asked to lay a reef on Patton’s grave.”

turret and four machine guns, from1944-45. “The guy operating the machine gun was whoever got theirfirst,”herecalled.

Band of 3 Brothers Davala had two older brothersLife After Death, JohnandBernie,whoalsoserved Destruction and War ournationinWWII.Bothbrothers Davala left high school early to survived the war but have since serve his country. “When Iwas died. drafted,Iwasremovedfromhigh “Oneofmybrothersfoughthis school,”Davalarecalled. Rich and Gen Generalli. way through Italy,” Davala So when he returned home, recalled.“Whenitendedthere,hejoinedourskirmish. Davala went to Fairleigh Dickinson University, which OnedayIwasinafoxholewhenIgotacallfromheadwasinRutherford,togethisdiploma. quarters. It was my brother. He said, ‘I think Iknow At that point, in 1946, still only in his early 20s, whereyouare,Iamgoingtocomeseeyou.’Isaid,‘you Davalahadtofigureoutwhathewasgoingtodowith gottabekiddingme.’”John,theoldestofthethree,who therestofhislife. wasabatterycaptainfortheArmywhilefightinginItaly, “I was just a kid when Iwent in so Ididn’t have a came up through South France and the brothers were chance to build up any kind of cash reserve,” Davala reunitedonenemygrounds. said. “I had nothing. So, Iwent and took a course in Davala received basic training at Fort Eustis near refrigeration, heating and air conditioning in Paterson Newport News in Virginia prior to shipping out and andIstayedwiththatmywholelife.Imadeadecentlivbeingpartofafive-mancrewinahalf-tracktankwitha ingandIwasabletobuyahomeonWindsorRd.”


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Memorial Day DavalamarriedPaulineFascellaofGarfieldin1949 while still living in Passaic. He and his wife had two kids—Richard Jr. who was born in 1957 and Janet in 1960—and both children went on to graduate from CliftonHighSchool.Davalaalsohasfourgrandchildren. Generallihassixchildrenandninegrandchildren,one ofwhichisdeceased. But while he was living in Passaic someone who wouldbecomeveryspecialtohimwaslivingjustafew blocksaway. In 1951 the Davalas were at a party when they met twowhotheyquicklybecamefriendswith.Thatcouple was Generalli and her husband at the time, Ernie.The foursome,liketheMertzandRiccardosortheNortons andKramdens,becameverycloseandstayedthatway fordecades.Thenin1996Davalareallyneededhisgood friendswhenhiswifeof47yearsdied. “Theywerereallythereforme,”Davalarecalled. Drifting Together Davala said he already knew all of Generalli’s kids andfamilyfromtheirlong-timefriendship. “Wekeptupourfriendship,”Davalasaid.“HerhusbandwasmybuddyandmywifewasfriendswithGen. HerhusbandErniepassedawayin1998.Wewerewhat wasleftandwekindofjustdriftedtogether.” Generalli made her own footprint on society as elementary school teacher for nearly 30 years, mostly at School 14 on Mt. Prospect Ave. After she retired, Generalli was curator of the Hamilton House Museum onValleyRd.,forfiveyears.ShealsomentoredteachersinCliftonandheldarealestatelicense.Generalliwas livingonGroveSt.,thenalmostnineyearsagothecouplegotaplacetogetherinLakewood.

10 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Davala and Generalli both share a respect for the many generations of war veterans that have served the United States. “We happened to be in Luxembourg on VictoryinEuropeDay,”Generallisaid.VEDayisthe publicholidaycelebratedtomarktheMay8,1945formal acceptance by theAllies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces whichmarkedtheendofWorldWarIIinEurope. “Ialwayshaditinthebackofmymindtogoback there,butIcouldnevergobecauseIwassobusyworking,” Davala said. “We could not have planned it any moreperfectly.”Nowbothretired,thecouplefinallyhad an opportunity to go. Davala said the contrast over 70 yearswasstark.“WhenIwasthereitwasinshambles,” Davalarecalled.“It’ssobuiltupnow.Iwaitedalotof yearstoseethat.” Speaking Of the Unspeakable; Remembering Heroes Likemanyveteransofforeignwars,Davalareallydid notspeakspecificallyaboutthebattleshefought,inthe 70yearssincehereturnedhome. “ForyearsInevertalkedaboutthewar,”Davalasaid. “Throughmostofmymarriedlife,Inevertalkedabout it.The reason Iam speaking about it now is because I find there are very few people who realize what took place.Peoplesaytome,‘wereyouinWWII?’likeit’sa bigsurprise.” DavalawassotouchedbythewayU.S.veteransare rememberedinEurope,andthewayhewastreated.Now hehopesthisMemorialDaypeoplehererealizethesignificanceofwhythosesoldiersgavetheirlives.“Ijust want people to know why those white crosses are out there,”hesaid.“Thoseguysgavetheirlives.That’swhat IthinkofwhenIthinkaboutMemorialDay.”

Clifton Merchant • May 2014





Above during World War II, a board was erected on what today would be the parking lot of School 5 on Valley Rd. Listed on the board are the names of neighborhood men who served in the Pacific and European front in all the Armed Services. 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.

Proudly Serving Assembly District 34... Clifton, Orange, East Orange & Montclair

Be sure to visit Clifton’s Avenue of Flags this Memorial Day, May 26, from 6am-7pm.


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12 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


REMEMBERING OUR World War One Louis Ablezer Andrew Blahut Timothy Condon John Crozier Orrie De Groot Olivo De Luca Italo De Mattia August De Rose Jurgen Dykstra Seraphin Fiori Ralph Gallasso Otto Geipel Mayo Giustina Peter Horoschak Emilio Lazzerin Joseph Liechty Jacob Morf, Jr. William Morf Edwin C. Peterson

14 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Robert H. Roat Alfred Sifferlen James R. Stone Carmelo Uricchio Angelo Varetoni

HONORED DEAD Michael Vernarec Cornelius Visbeck Ignatius Wusching Bertie Zanetti Otto B. Zanetti 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 2014


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


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

16 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

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

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

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

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

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...

• Dan E. Ackerman • Michael Agustin • Howard Bickoff • William Clark • Jaroslaw Czerwoniak • Jack Fortunato • Joseph H. Kuhl Sr.

• Donald Moers • Frank P. Musano • Joseph Nieglos • Charles Orlando • Salvatore Perrone • Joseph E. Zack Jr. • William David Zukosky • Albin E. Zwiazek

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

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

HONORED DEAD 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

Diamond Memorials 973-471-5008 • 800 Broad St., Clifton We’re Here to Discuss Your Needs Mon-Fri: 10 am- 4pm • Sat: 10 am-3 pm

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Clifton Merchant • May 2014


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 25 • 7 pm - Volunteers decorate the area around the War Monument in Main Memorial Park with American Flags Monday, May 26 • 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

We Honor America’s Veterans





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20 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

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 26 ceremonies, call Mayor James Anzaldi at 973-470-5757.

Honor Our Veterans! God Bless America! Passaic County Clerk

Kristin Corrado Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Memorial Day

Red Horse Vet

By Domenick Reda All Ken Brand wanted to do was fix planes. So when he joined the Air Force in November ‘66, he didn’t plan on being deployed to repair bombed out military bases. “I would have been drafted, but I volunteered,” recalled Brand, 65, a Clifton native who grew up on Oregon St. and today lives on Springdale Ave. “The Air Force didn’t have a draft; the Army did. I wanted to be a jet mechanic. I figured I would stay out of Vietnam, but the Air Force thought better of it.” Instead, the lean 18-year-old, just months removed from walking in Clifton Stadium for his 1966 CHS graduation, was now part of a brand new detachment of the Air Force specializing in heavy damage repair. And although combat construction was his main responsibility, Brand also had to be ready to fight as the Vietnam conflict was growing in intensity. So before any of that, Brand and the other members of the battalion, just like all the other young men thrust into battle during that era, had to learn quickly. First it was basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in 22 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Texas, followed by instruction in heavy equipment operation at Port Hueneme on Malibu Beach in California. Then there was a new episode—a month’s worth of survival training at Okefenokee Swamp, a shallow, 438,000 acre, peat-filled wetland straddling the Georgia/Florida border “In order to be self-sufficient so our squadron could fight and survive, we trained with the Green Berets,” Brand said. “They knew about survival.” Now Take Me To War By June ‘67, Brand was ready for Vietnam. Almost immediately, Brand was on a C141 jet for a 27hour, nearly non-stop flight headed to the war zone with about 100 other young men to be part of the just formed Red Horse Battalion—Rapids Engineering Deployment of Heavy Operational Repair Squadron of Engineers. “On the way, we only landed once in the Philippines to refuel,” Brand remembered. “We were scared. It was pretty quiet in that plane going over there, but at that age, you

know, you feel invincible. It was a little bit exciting, but we were apprehensive.” Once they landed, it was all businesses. “Then from there we were in charge of repairing the damage,” Brand said. “We went to Da Nang. It was a oneyear deployment.” The Air Force also enlisted the help of 50 Vietnamese on the ground. But Brand said his higher ups found out the hard way that the South Vietnamese citizens were not all on the same side as the soldiers. “We had hired a lot of them to work for our side,” Brand said. “They started attacking us. We didn’t know who to trust. There were only two left at the end of the deployment. Some were killed by our own guys.” From what was going on around him in Vietnam, Brand knew the war was changing and the action there was building to a crescendo. His battalion was in Vietnam for the Jan. 30, 1968 attack known as the Tet Offensive. Tet was a coordinated campaign of surprise attacks against military and civilian commands and control centers throughout South Vietnam. More than 100 towns and cities were struck. The movement was the largest military operation conducted by either side up to that point in the war.

“I saw bodies piled up all over,” he recalled. “The commanders in the Air Force didn’t know much. It was all new to them.” But Brand said his battalion was lucky; no one from the crew was injured or killed during their time in Vietnam. As the troops held their position, the fighting went on, but we saw a lot of craziness over there,” he said. “Marines were trained to kill, and that’s what they did.” Meanwhile Red Horse, with its training in airfield repairs, did their what they came to do: construction. “We were like the Sea Bees,” Brand said. “We built bases andair fields. If a runway got bombed out we would repair it. You build during the day and then at night everybody had another job to do.” Brand’s night job during that entire year of deployment was as a medic and it exposed him to more “craziness” and the horrors of war. “I got the kind of experience you didn’t want,” Brand recalled. “We saw a lot of death; a lot of injuries. We were very lucky, but still we saw enough. We had a doctor with us as part of the training and we had some pretty serious on the job training in the midst of the storm.” When his hitch in ‘Nam was over, it was back to the states for Brand who was still enlisted in the Air Force at that point.

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Memorial Day Hop Along Kenny During his eight-year tenure in the Air Force Brand moved around a lot. After Vietnam, he worked at several American bases. Prior to returning to the U.S., Air Force officials warned the soldiers to do one thing before they left. “When we came back from Vietnam we landed in Seattle,” Brand recalled. “We had to take off our uniforms and throw them in the trash to travel across the country on leave. It was very unpopular when they found out you had military service. There were protests back then. Soldiers were getting spit on. I think that is why there is such a difference now; because of what that generation of soldiers experienced.” After Vietnam, it was off to serve one year at Wichita Air Force Base in Sheppard, Tex. where Brand drove staff cars and limousines. “I used to pick up generals and high ranking officials,” he said. “That was a choice assignment.” While on assignment in Texas, Brand married the love of his life; Marjorie Dean from Paterson. The couple met just prior to Brand’s deployment to Vietnam, but despite the transitory nature of her new groom’s work, Dean stood by her man from the day they met.

“It was a blind date,” he recalled. “We met through my best friend, Bob Walton, who I grew up with in Clifton. We have been friends since we were five years old. We are still close today.” During those years in the Air Force the couple had two kids; Pam in 1969 and Ken Jr. in 1970. Besides Texas, Brand served in Louisiana, on a top secret mission regarding nuclear weapons. “I had to sign a paper,” he remembered. “They told me if I spoke about that mission to anyone, I would be serving 25 years in Leavenworth.” Brand also worked in Dayton, Ohio, as part of a search and rescue team. He used much of his heavy equipment training on other missions in Dover, Del., and Alaska. Brand got the news he was going to be stationed 200 miles north of Anchorage, right along the Yukon River, the same day his son was born. “They told me, ‘hi, you are the new assistant fire chief for the Air Force base,’” Brand said. “I did a little bit of of everything there.” Despite Brand’s pledge to the service and his wife’s loyalty to him, the stint in Alaska was, by his own admission, trying. “I was glad when that year was over,” Brand said. “My wife was happy to see me get out of there too.”

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24 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Kenneth Brand Sr. holding grandson Riley with his wife Marjorie kneeling in front. CHS Drum Major Gabriella Barcelona, Keith Barcelona Jr., Pamela Brand Barcelona, Kenneth Brand Jr.


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The Family Guy When Brand finally returned home to Clifton he moved back to Oregon St. to take care of his ailing mother. After serving in the Air Force nearly half way to a pension, Brand left the service and worked mostly in construction. He said the traveling became increasingly difficult to juggle with life as a family man. “There is a high divorce rate in the service,� Brand said. “When I was in Alaska, I didn’t even have my family with me.� Throughout his life Brand, nicknamed “Zeke� since his Clifton youth, has always been loyal. His best friends today are people he met as an elementary school student at School 1, a 7th grader at School 10 and as an 8th and 9th grader at Christopher Columbus Jr. High School. His best friends at School 1 were Walton and Dominck Sciattano. “If you saw me, you saw Bob and Dominick,� Brand recalled. When he got to Christopher Columbus, he met another kid, Bob Morgan, who would become a lifelong friend. Today Morgan is director of the CHS Band where Brand’s granddaughter Gabriella is a drum major. Walton, has since co-authored a book—Route 66, The People - The Places - The Dream. Brand and Walton remain best of friends to this day. Sciattano did not have the same luck as the other three. When he was getting ready to ship out for the Army in Germany, Sciattano got

hepatitis from allergy shots and died. He was barely 19. “He was allergic to everything,� Brand said. “It was sad. He was not listed as a casuality, but he died the same as if he had been over there.� Brand still goes to the Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day services and 10 years ago he reached out to some of his old Air Force buddies through social media. Today the Red Horse Association, which began 47 years ago as a new battalion when Brand was that young kid, is still going strong. As for his personal life, Brand retired from construction a few years ago, but still works handyman jobs, for friends and family. He also plays golf and babysits his grandchildren. “I don’t see as well as I used to,� Brand said. “But I enjoy being with my family and I still beat my son at golf.�




Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Police Unity Tour

PBA 36 Police Unity Tour Riding for Johnny When I first became a member of the Police Unity Tour, Clifton Police Officer Randy Colondres and I were in the middle of a training ride, getting us in shape to make a 300 mile bicycle trek to Washington D.C. It was about time for us to take a break when he pushed me to ride on a few more miles. We continued through Elmwood Park and along a busy road just off Route 20. Up ahead was Fair Lawn; a bit farther along in front of a church and a school was where we stopped. “That’s where Mary Ann was killed,” he said, pointing to the churchyard where Fair Lawn Officer Mary Ann Collura was shot and murdered on the night of April 17, 2003. Also shot and nearly killed that night was Clifton Police Officer Steve Farrell. The incident began at about 10 pm in Clifton when Farrell tried to stop a speeding car, then chasing it along Route 46 to Route 20 and into Fair Lawn, where the car crashed on the lawn of a church. Responding to a call 26 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

for assistance, Collura pulled up as one of the occupants got out of the car and began waving his hands as if to surrender, but then the driver jumped out of the car and ran. Farrell holstered his gun and took off after him. Collura steered her cruiser toward the church and pinned the fleeing suspect against the wall. Farrell tackled him in the rear lot of the church. “Steve was reaching for his mace to subdue the guy when (Omar) Marti drew a gun from his pocket and shot Mary Ann twice, point blank,” Colondres continued. “Steve took out his gun but before he could fire, Marti shot Steve.” The drug dealer Marti—who would eventually shoot and kill himself in Florida rather than face charges—fled by stealing Collura’s patrol car, running her body over as he sped away. Farrell was able to empty his weapon at the car, but the suspect was not hit. To add to the tragedy, on November 21, 2003, Clifton Police Officer John Samra would die in the line of duty

We Ride for Those Who Died...

We ride to Washington D.C. in their memories: Passaic Police Officer Robert Strone died on May 8, 1958; Port Authority Officer John Skala died on Sept. 11, 2001; Fair Lawn Officer Mary Ann Collura died on April 17, 2003; Clifton Police Officer John Samra died on Nov. 21, 2003; Paterson Officer Tyron Franklin died on Jan. 7, 2007.

while attempting to apprehend a suspect who fled a traffic stop. Above are the photos of Samra and Collura, as well as other local officers killed in the line of duty. There is Passaic Police Officer Robert Strone murdered by two Clifton hoods in 1958; Clifton resident and Port Authority Officer John ‘Yash’ Scala—who perished rushing in to save lives in the Trade Towers on 9/11—and Paterson Officer Tyron Franklin, shot and killed after being identified as a police officer during a robbery attempt at a fast food restaurant in 2007.

Those of us pictured on the facing page (see the complete list on page 28) and those PBA 36 members who support us along the way, are also riding to honor the memory of thousands of officers from across America who died in the line of service and whose names are etched on the memorial in Washington, DC. It is an awesome honor to ride for those who died, the motto of the Police Unity Tour. To all that have supported us in any manner, the Tom Hawrylko members of PBA 36 say thank you.

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Police Unity Tour

At the conclusion of the 300 mile bicycle ride, Clifton Police Officer Randy Colondres placing a commemorative wrist band bearing John Samra’s name at the Police Memorial in Washington, DC. At right, the late Clifton Police Officer John Samra.

28 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Bicyclists: Daniel Ishak Andrew Alvarez Patricia Katz Robert Bais Randy Colondres Richard DiBello Brian Fopma Tom Hawrylko John Kavakich

David Kishbaugh Michael Adamo Michael Davey Jose Padilla Kristofer Eliasz Joseph Klein Christopher Kelly Gerald Wyhopen Gabriel Zirpolo

Motors: Vincent LaRosa William Bais Derek Fogg Darren Brodie Robert Bielsten Support: Gary Giardina Tara Berberich

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Police Unity Tour Send Off April 25 at Pub 46

30 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Clifton History The Clifton Police Department can, to some degree, trace its origins to the 1905 opening of Fairyland Park, which was located near the current day Corrado’s. One of three amusement parks in the state, this attraction created the dilemma of providing protection to homeowners and the pleasure seekers. Security was handled by hiring constables, one of whom was a Bill Coughlan. On Jan. 1, 1908 William J. Coughlan was named the first Clifton Police Chief. But it was not until 1917, the same year Aquackanonk became incorporated as Clifton, that the first automobile, a Ford, was purchased for Chief William J. Coughlan police work. Much has changed since then but to Jan. 1, 1908 provide some history, we present the dates of servDec. 13, 1931 ices and photos of all who have served as Clifton Police Chief since our city’s incorporation.

Chief Tunis Holster Dec. 16, 1931 April 13, 1934

Chief James N. Marsh Aug. 8, 1934 June 1, 1955

Chief Paul Dittrich Aug. 2, 1955 Oct. 31. 1957

Chief Joseph A. Nee Jan. 1, 1959 Sept. 23, 1977

Chief Edward J. Kredatus May 24, 1979 March 1, 1990

Chief Frank J. Lo Gioco March 1, 1990 May 31, 2002

Chief Robert Ferreri June 1, 2002 March 1, 2010

32 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

John Link, pictured above, will take the helm of Clifton’s Police Department as Chief this month. The Albion resident has been with the CPD for 27 years and has worked in every division. The 49 year old will be the 10th Police Chief in our city’s history. Pictured at right is the retiring Chief, Gary Giardina, at his swearing in ceremony on March 26, 2010. Also in attendance that day were the two prior chiefs, from left, Frank Lo Gioco and Robert Ferreri.

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CFD Pet Drive

Firefighters Aide Animal Shelter Brownie was a charmer from the start. Unfortunately, the laid back Labrador Pit bull mix was at the Clifton Animal Shelter for more than 100 days and was sentenced to be euthanized. Enter Clifton Firefighter Charles Stauhs who knows a thing or two about rescues. “Inside the shelter, she was the only dog who really didn’t bark,” remembered Stauhs, who visited the shelter a little over four years ago with his wife Donna Ploch. “Her cage was the length of the building inside, and she kept a watchful eye on us when were looking at other dogs.” It was March 2010, and just prior to his visit to the shelter, Stauhs injured his back working at the fire department. “I was out of work for about two weeks, with spinal disc herniation” he recalled. “I was then assigned to fire headquarters for two months on light duty. I thought it was the best time to get a dog.” Meanwhile, Brownie’s life also changed. Her previous owner was an elderly woman who was admitted into a nursing home and sadly had to give up the dog. So there was Brownie-a then two-year-old half Lab, half Pit mix, approaching her limit at the shelter, which like other facilities across the country, deals with animal overpopulation on a daily basis. As the couple walked the line-up of other hounds at the shelter, Brownie’s gaze followed their every move. But she wouldn’t bark. Her unique behavior caught their attention so they went over to investigate. “Brownie gave me her paw and the rest is history,” Stauhs said. “On March 10, 2010, we took home our best friend.” Brownie’s New Life Today Brownie, now six, enjoys ever day with the couple she adopted. “She is a very spoiled dog,” Stauhs admitted. “She goes just about everywhere with us— the park, bank, post office, hiking, fishing, to the beach and the farm. My wife and I wish more people would 34 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

adopt from their local shelter. All of these animals deserve a second chance.” Stauhs said the Clifton Animal Shelter made the experience of adopting Brownie a pleasant one. “The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable,” he recalled. “ They took the time to introduce us to a bunch of dogs. Many people are turned off by shelter dogs.” But Stauhs said Brownie is a great companion. He said adopting a dog (or a cat) from the shelter is a good way to give an animal a second chance. There are many to select. To find out more, call the Friends of the Clifton Animal Shelter at 973-470-5936 or see more at The shelter is on Dog Pound Road, behind City Hall, 900 Clifton Ave. No Adoption, But Like To Help? Clifton FMBA members and the Clifton Fire Department have organized its first pet drive to collect food, funds and items to benefit the Clifton Animal Shelter and its “residents.” Run by the volunteer Friends of the Shelter, Clifton Firefighters are asking residents to donate animal toys, treats and food to make a big difference in easing the anxiety and stress some recused animals feel while waiting for their “furr-ever” home. Donations of items or checks (to Clifton Animal Shelter) will be accepted at the city’s six fire stations or fire headquarters, on the municipal complex, 900 Clifton Ave., in the yellow house, through May.

Shelter Wish List The shelter needs cat toys, dog toys (strong and washable), Purina Cat Chow (blue bag), Purina Kitten Chow, Fancy Feast canned cat food, Friskies canned cat food, Pedigree dry dog food, Pedigree canned dog food, cat or dog treats, KMR kitten powder formula, small animal bottle feeding kits, nylabones, dog collars or leashes, bath or dish towels (new or old), pet beds and small or medium litter boxes. Residents can also donate any washed bath or dish towels.

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Pictured from left: Firefighter Charles Stauhs with his adopted hound Brownie. Showing off pets available for adoption, Deputy Chief Michael Sauer and Lt. Craig Hopkins, Ann-Marie Lancaster and Firefighter Derek Cotten.

Drop off at Clifton Fire Stations: Station #1, Madison Ave/1st St. Station #2, 7 Dumont Ave.; Station #3, 180 Mahar Ave., Station #4, 144 Main Ave.; Station #5, 51 Brighton Rd.; Station #6, 1202 Van Houten Ave. Clifton Merchant • May 2014


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GET ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS 200 Memorial Dr., Paterson • 36 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

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One-Stop Career Center Board of Directors, Chair, Freeholder Bruce James Trustee Freeholder Hector Lora Trustee Rev. Randall Lassiter Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Walk to Cure


foR life

at 10 By Irene Jarosewich

Christine Liszner vividly recalls the day that she found out she had cancer. While packing her bags for a vacation to California, she took a break for an appointment with her longtime chiropractor, Salvatore Patti on Clifton Ave., to get an adjustment. She always had her back adjusted before a flight. She showed Patti a growth on one side of her neck that worried her. He frowned and suggested she go to see her general doctor. Right away. Her doctor looked at the growth and told her she needed tests. Right away. “That’s how it starts for a lot of people,” said Christine, “one minute you’re packing your bags for a flight to San Francisco, the next thing you know, you’re hooked up to chemo.”

38 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

A 15-year cancer survivor, Christine had an early diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma; she considers herself lucky with the great treatment and support that she received from her doctors, co-workers, friends and family, in particular her two sons. She had lost her mother to cancer. Motivated by her own experience and that of her mother’s, Christine became active in Clifton’s annual Relay for Life. “I do this because we have to find a cure,” she said with determination, “I don’t want my children and grandchildren to have to face this. No one should ever have to lose a mother or a loved one to cancer. This is what I tell everyone: together we are more powerful than cancer can ever be.” Organized under the direction of the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Relay for Life is a national grassroots program to raise funds for cancer research. While deaths from cancer nationwide have steadily decreased for the past two decades due to early detection and better treatments, the number of cancers diagnosed annually is still staggering.

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Walk to Cure

According to the ACS, in 2014 there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the United States. The Relay for Life program is based on teams of 10-15 people that register with a local Relay for Life committee and then raise funds throughout the year. In Clifton, each year when the Realy begins the last week of May or first week of June, these teams come together to spend 12 hours walking non-stop throughout the night. Taking turns, team members walk until dawn, stopping at 6 am. Team members walk around a designated track doing laps, as Christine says, “in celebration of hope and survival. Cancer never sleeps, so neither do we. We do laps, because until we find a cure, there is no finish line for cancer.” Relay for Life starts in Clifton In 2004, the first relay in Clifton was held on City Hall grounds. Laura Byrouty, a lifelong Clifton resident, remembers that first year. She had read an article in the Clifton Journal about the start of a Relay for Life of Clifton committee and went to the meeting. “The woman from the American Cancer Society was wonderful. I saw the 40 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

enthusiasm for getting this started here. Her enthusiasm got inside of me, and it’s still there. Everyone knows someone who has had cancer; I knew a lot of people who suffered from cancer, some survived, some did not. I really wanted to do something.” Last year Laura had surgery to remove thyroid cancer. “I started Relay for Life long before I got cancer. Then it happened to me. My diagnosis was a freak diagnosis,” she added ruefully, “I went for tests for upper back pain, and then they found nodules on my thyroid.” She has no cancer now and looks forward to walking the first lap of the relay, known as the Survivors Lap, walked by those who have beat cancer. Laura continues to serve on the Clifton organizing committee, and notes that the most dramatic change for the past ten years has been in the number of teams and the amount of money raised. “We struggled at first, with five or six people organizing and only raising about 40 thousand dollars, but since year three we’ve really grown.” The growth was so substantial that a new venue was needed. The relay was relocated to Clifton Stadium. The 2013 Relay for Life of Clifton brought out 550 participants and 55 teams, raised more than $110,000 and 61 survivors walked in the Survivors Lap.


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Walk to Cure

The Tenth Anniversary This year, because the Clifton Stadium is undergoing repairs, the 10th annual Relay for Life, with the theme “What A Difference A Decade Makes!” will be held at Clifton High School on the Mustang Marching Band practice field on Saturday May 31. The event set up will start at 2 pm and the opening ceremony and first lap, the Survivors Lap, will begin at 4 pm. From then to the next morning, it’s a lot of walking and talking, meeting old friends and making new ones. In short, it is a celebration of life. Christine has been with the Relay for Life of Clifton for eight of the past ten years. She remembers going to a meeting with a friend and in no time, found herself the captain of her own team, the Red Hat Angels. Besides dedicating herself each year to the relay, Christine, 70, is filled with the kind of energy those two times younger could envy. She has lived in Clifton since 1957 and always found time for volunteer work in the community. She helps with Clifton Cares, putting together packages for our troops abroad and formed her Relay for Life team 42 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

around the local chapter of another organization she belongs to, the Red Hat Society, an international social and civic group for women over 50. Besides fundraising as a team through events and by finding business sponsors, members raise money individually to add to the team goal. As her personal fundraising goal for the 10th anniversary, Christine hopes to raise $2,500. So far, she has raised $2,300. The Red Hat Angels have a team goal of $10,000; they have raised $6,900. With a month left, there is no doubt Christine and her team will hit their marks! “There’s a saying at the American Cancer Society,” noted Christine, “Create a World with Less Cancer and More Birthdays. I believe in that. That’s one of the reasons I do this.” Another cancer survivor looking forward to celebrating the 10th anniversary is Evelyn Kovacs, 75, who was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. Early detection and treatment has made her cancer free. “I thank God that He gave me a warming and a second chance” said Evelyn, “and I believe that it is my purpose to educate. I’m very driven, very emotional about this. I fully understand the trauma of hearing

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Walk to Cure your doctor tell you, ‘you have cancer.’ So, every time I can, I say ‘get your mammogram, don’t put it off.’ I feel that for the younger women, especially, it’s so important. My cousin passed away, she just waited too long. And that’s why I’m involved in the relay, and tell all women ‘go, just get it done!’” Evelyn also tells everyone that you realize that you need to do what makes you happy, which for her includes her family, her daughter Cathy Flynn with husband Kevin, granddaughters Mikayla, 13 and Juliana, 10, and her husband Ed. She has been a resident of Clifton for 65 years and she and her husband Ed look forward to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next year on Oct. 9. They have lived in the same house on Highview Drive, near Notch Road, also for almost 50 years, “moved in right after our honeymoon” and she says that every day she looks for the joys in her life. “Do what you love to do. I do Tuesday morning Ladies Bowling at the Van Houten Lanes, swim laps at the Boys and Girls Club. And every morning my husband and I set off our granddaughters, to school. This is our joy.”

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44 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

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Volunteers are the Best Along with Barbara Maak and Kristen Hariton, Melissa Vogel is one of the co-chairs of the Relay for Life of Clifton committee. She became involved when her chiropractor, Andreas Skounakis, asked her to join his team nine years ago. Eight years ago, she became a cochair of the Clifton committee, the longest serving of the three current co-chairs. Melissa has only praise for the volunteers that put together the annual Relay for Life. “People on the committee are the best, and all the volunteers are terrific people,” said Melissa, “so that it’s a pleasure to work with everyone. Another reason I want to work with Relay for Life is that it raises money for all types of cancer. Some organizations focus only on one type of cancer, but the American Cancer Society, which is a wonderful organization, not only funds all types of cancer research, but is also an all-around services organization for those who suffer from cancer. They provide services to patients, caregivers and families.” Melissa, who lived in Clifton for 31 years, and whose parents, Louis and Louise De Molli still live here, walks with the team NRC

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US Army Staff Sergeant Oscar Buonafina returned last November from a 9month deployment to Afghanistan. Like many returning veterans, life and business obligations ‘back home’ were put on hold while he was deployed to the front lines. In Afghanistan, the Lakeview resident enlisted his construction expertise with a section of US Army engineers under the 310th Military Police Battalion working in an Afghan Detention Facility in Bagram. The self-employed father of four said coming back to his business after almost a year away had challenges. Over that year, he has focused on growing his Clifton business. “Being in business is about growing and that’s my mission now. My phone is answered around the clock. We do emergency calls at a fair price and the everyday services as well.” • Faucet Repair & Installation • Drain Cleaning & Rooter Service • Sewer & Water Replacement • Sewer TV/Video Inspection • Boiler Repairs & Installations • Hot Water Heaters • Sump Pump Installation Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Walk to Cure Pirates that is composed of teachers and staff from the middle school in Paterson where she teaches. This year is especially poignant for Melissa since both a cousin and another close family member were recently affected by cancer. Melissa understands that for some people the thought of taking turns and walking all night might seem unconventional, but there are many ways to get involved, such as donating to a team or buying a luminaria in memory of a loved one or attending the Luminaria Ceremony at 10 pm on May 31. Come by 9 pm, she said, and with your registration fee of $10, you can place a luminaria along the track during the ceremony. The Lumanaria Ceremony For the participants of the Relay for Life, the most beautiful and often heart-wrenching aspect of the event is the Lumanaria Ceremony. After darkness falls, hundreds of luminaria, candles inside small, white translucent bags, lit in memory of someone who has died of cancer, or in honor of a survivor, are brought out onto the field. At the Clifton Stadium, in the bleachers, luminaria were placed to spell out the word HOPE. During the course of the ceremony, volunteers silently moved the luminaria until by the end of the ceremony the word CURE appeared. This tradition of transforming HOPE into CURE will be continued in the new location for the 10th anniversary. Jane Beck, who was born and raised in Clifton and along with her husband Walter once owned Penellas Restaurant, has been a member of the Red Hat Angels team for many years. And every year she lights a luminaria for a friend. “I lost a good friend who was only 32,” said Jane, “she was a beautiful girl, a healthy girl, a truly gorgeous girl inside and out. Colon cancer was metastasizing while she was pregnant; she had no idea. She died within a year after giving birth. Her father was so upset that he committed suicide. It was a horrible, horrible situation, horrible death. Fortunately, she had a beautiful boy, how 15 years old, but her death affected me terribly. I could never shake that feeling ‘there but for the grace of God, it could be me, or it could be you.’ The entire ceremony is very moving.” 46 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

For Michelle Dehaven, 35, the Lumanaria Ceremony is also particularly haunting. She lost her mother, Mary Rossi, to breast cancer on September 25, 2010. Mary had been a long time member of the Relay for Life committee and fought with her cancer for several years. “The Lumanaria Ceremony is beautiful,” said Michelle, “everyone is drawn to this ceremony. There is a lap of silence, with the luminaria lit in the darkness. The only sound is a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace.” Each year, this ceremony draws me in. This ceremony is a beautiful way to honor everyone we have lost, support those who are fighting and celebrate those who have survived.” Relay for Life is a family affair for Michelle. Her sister, Nicole Rossi, 31, heads up the family team that her mother started called The Angels. Joining Nicole is Ed Rossi, her father; Nancy Rouse, her mother’s sister with husband Ralph and their daughter Rachel Ventrella, all of Clifton, and if he can make it, Michelle and Nicole’s brother Michael, 33, who now lives in Florida. While Nicole is team captain for The Angels, Michelle, who teaches Reading Recovery in 1st grade at School 12, is team captain of another team, the Push

for a Cure Pandas, composed of teachers and staff from her school. Besides being team captains, Michelle and Nicole are the Activities Chair on Clifton’s Relay for Life committee. However, their brother Michael is the one that got the family involved. “My brother started in 2004,” said Michelle, “when he worked at the Clifton Library in Allwood. Then in 2005, he became a co-chair of the Clifton Relay for Life. We all wanted to support him, but my mother was the leader in supporting him. Then after she was diagnosed, it wasn’t just my mother. We all became very deeply passionate about doing this.” Get Involved The Red Hat Angels Team will host a fundraiser May 7, at Bruno’s Restaurant, Route 46, Clifton Plaza. Mike and Rich owners of Bruno’s are donating 20% of all checks (pretax) from 11 am to 9 pm on dine in and take out orders.

The Tri M Music Honor Society Team hosts a May 7 fundraiser at Applebee’s at in Clifton Commons. From 4 to 10 pm, Applebee’s will donate 10% of pre-tax bills to their team. Visit Relay for Life of Clifton on FB to print out the coupon to give to your server. Teams Running on Empty and My Angels host a fundraiser on May 8, at Carvel, 750 Van Houten Ave. A percentage of all sales from 4 to 8 pm. Running on Empty and My Angels team members are teachers and staff of School 13, the neighborhood school to Carvel. The team members will be behind the counter serving up your ice cream requests. So if students and parents want to see the teachers and staff of School 13 with an apron on and a scooper, make sure to stop by at Carvel on May 8 and order a triple! For more information about Relay for Life of Clifton, visit

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Spring Clean-Up “It’s not the warmest industry. It’s not like we are crocheting. It’s male dominated. I’m usually the only girl when I go for continuing education, so I really stand out.”

By Domenick Reda When Adriana Blauvelt’s husband died suddenly, she didn’t even have time to grieve. Flashback a little over a decade ago; Blauvelt, a native of Argentina, who today owns and operates Exterminator Pest Control on Main Ave., was living the American dream. She had a great career, was happily married and the mother of an 18-month -old toddler. Then everything changed. It was 10:30 pm on Oct. 18, 2003 and Blauvelt was at her home in Ringwood, NJ with her young son “Niko” when the police sergeant knocked on her door and gave her the news that would change her whole life; her husband, stock car driver William “Billy” Blauvelt, was killed earlier that day in a single car collision while racing at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Buttonwillow, Calif., the result of blunt force trauma to the brain. He was air lifted from the 3.1-mile track to Kern County Medical Center but was pronounced dead upon arrival. He was 38 years old. 48 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

“I will never forget that night,” Blauvelt recalled. Almost instantly she had to decide what her next course of action was going to be. William, besides racing cars, also ran his own pest control company. Originally started by his father in 1969, the younger Blauvelt, in less than 15 years, built the company with much of his own clientele, virtually “from scratch” according to Adriana, who did not want to see that hard work dissolve. “I wanted to continue to build with Bill’s legacy,” she said. “I did not have any grieving period.” With not only herself, but also Niko to consider, Blauvelt decided to leave her job as a supervisor at William Paterson University and take over the pest control business; a somewhat unprecedented move for a largely male dominated field. In fact, although there are women in high ranking positions among some of the larger pest control companies, the majority of operations are mom and pop serv-

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Spring Clean-Up ices and only 5.5 percent of all workers are women, however that number is up 4 percent from 2008, according to February 2011 Bureau of Labor statistics. “When I first took over the company, people would ask for Bill, and I had to tell them the whole story,” Blauvelt said. “They would say, ‘where’s Bill?,’ or ‘why are you running the company?’ He was very charismatic. When he would walk in a room, he had a presence.” But soon after, Adriana won the clients over with her own charm; plus they quickly realized she was smart and competent and was more than capable of running the company. “He had a good base when I inherited it,” she remembered. “About 95 percent of the clients stuck with me.” But Blauvelt said she also received resistance from people in the industry who were surprised to see a woman running her own pest control company. “When I would go to meetings for people in the industry, I would get, ‘are you a sales rep?’ or comments

along those lines,” she recalled. “It’s not the warmest industry. It’s not like we are crocheting. It’s male dominated. I’m usually the only girl when I go for continuing education, so I really stand out. ” Blauvelt said she personally only knows of one other woman in the industry, was particularly touched by her story. “It was similar to mine,” Blauvelt said. “She became a widow after her husband was working on a roof and fell off. She saw an interview I did and she reached out to me. She said she was inspired by my story.” And through it all, Blauvelt has really come to love what she does. And she has come a long way since her humble beginnings. At the time she was starting out, Blauvelt was required to go to school, which involved taking an open book test, and then completing a minimum of 40 hours on the job training prior to getting licensed. She

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Spring Clean-Up said the requirements have gotten stricter since then. “Now it’s a closed book test,” she said. “A lot has changed. But I like what I do. If you dislike it, why are you in it? I have had my fair share of gross encounters with insects. I have had cockroaches

jumping on me. But I love entomology; the biology of the insect. I am an avid reader. I am curious by nature.” Blauvelt said there are many more environmental issues to consider in the pest control industry, including the need to preserve the honey bee population, which is crucial because of the need for pollination. Blauvelt said when it comes to the ever growing problem of bed bugs, she still believes human detection is the best way to combat that problem. She also believes in more humane methods of pest control, including re-locating or deterring many rodents and birds instead of eliminating them. Blauvelt’s company services Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Union and now Morris counties. She said the largest infestation problems are

roaches, rodents, ants and then bees, in that order. “Roaches and rodents are our bread and butter,” she said. And although the work is the life blood of her company, Blauvelt said its her customers needs are what always come first. “I like customer service,” she said. “I believe in one-on-one interaction with customers and I always get back to them within 24 hours— even when I am on vacation.” Blauvelt hosts webinars through and communicates with customers through Twitter with the handle @pestworld, and also via email, text and phone. Meet her at the Downtown Clifton Street Fair on May 17 at a booth in front of 1193 Main Ave. Or call 973-253-2847 (BUGS) or email

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C. GENARDI CONTRACTING, INC. Roofing, Siding, Gutters • 973.772.8451

SPRING MEANS CHECK GUTTERS & ROOF With Spring and the rainy season here, Corey Genardi of C. Genardi Contracting Inc. said homeowners often overlook rain gutters because they often function on their own. “It makes it easy to forget that they need to stay in tip top shape,” he said. “A home without a good gutter system will have water running down the side of the house or it will cause water to run underneath the shingles. Without gutters, waters will collect around your home and seep into your basement.” Genardi installs seamless gutters which eliminates the possibility of leaks, protects the beauty of your home and landscaping and will be formed at your home for exact measurements. “We complete our jobs in a day and offer most any color to choose from,” he said. “Seamless gutters will complement your home.” Genardi also installs Weather Watch Leak Barriers which create a watertight seal to keep water from the vulnerable areas of the home—eaves and rakes, around chimney and in valleys. “It prevents water damming in your gutters from wind driven rain or where ice collects,” he concluded.

Seamless Gutters are stronger... adding roof flashing will keep water flowing into the gutters where it belongs. Based in Clifton, the family-run and owned business was started in the late 1960’s by Corey’s father Ronald. “I was pretty much born into it,” said Genardi. “And I have installed most every type of roof there is.” Genardi uses superior products such as GAF and offers a variety of roofs for every type of home and at every price—choices range from asphalt shingles to wood shakes and modified rubber systems for flat roofs. Asphalt shingles, the most affordable, are available in a dozen or so different colors both solid and blended. Using GAF products, Genardi said the roofs he installs are guaranteed for 20, or in some cases 30 years, making them an excellent value. Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Spring Clean-Up

Want to enjoy a fire in resort surroundings or chatting with friends at an outdoor cafe? The experts at Athenia Mason Supply can tell you how Cambridge Pavingstones can make it happen... in your Clifton backyard... 54 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

What makes an outdoor living space special? Landscaping a home’s exterior, styling a pool deck, a fire pit or patio should translate into an extension of the homeowner’s lifestyle. That’s where Athenia Mason Supply can help. Using Cambridge Pavingstones, Wallstones and kits for every area of the yard, the team there can help you create a resort at your Clifton home.

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Spring Clean-Up With complete kits from Cambridge Pavingstone, the experts at Athenia Mason Supply make it easy to create a backyard that’s decorative and functional. Because of the array of styles, colors and textures, it can also be said that hardscaping products can make the transition from indoors to outside fluid, incorporating designs of the home and then make them part of the yeard’s natural surroundings. At Athenia Mason Supply, homeowners can see that comfort features from the home can be incorporated in the open-air kitchens, fireplaces, columns and other components found in outdoor living areas. Cambridge offers high-end features as standard on many products, ranging from kitchens, grills and refreshment bars to fireplaces, fire pits and tables. Cambridge and Athenia Mason Supply also offers you and your contractor a wide choices of color and style combinations. Although the features are designer-inspired amenities from interior rooms, they are made of materials manufactured and tested to hold up against outside elements. Many of them are available as fully-assembled components or in pre-cut/pre-packaged kits ready for your landscape designer or contractor to design/build into a completely, personalized outdoor room. Find out more. Come to Athenia Mason Supply at 72 Mina Ave., just off of Lakeview Ave. and meet the experts who can help you put it together. 56 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


In 2001, Dr. Neville Mirza was the first neurosurgeon in the area to perform a miniminally invasive cervical and lumbar discetomy. Since then, he has performed over 1,500 of those procedures—right here on Main Avenue. Along with Pain Management Specialist Dr. Shams Qureshi, this team of highly trained physicians and healthcare specialists have dedicated themselves to the diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of the entire spectrum of neurological and pain disorders. It is all done at the Bergen/Passaic Ambulatory Surgery Center on Main Ave. in Downtown Clifton which offers state of the art services in modern facilities. 58 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

1084 Main Ave., Downtown Clifton


321 60th St., West New York, NJ


For the past 20 years, Dr.’s Dobrow, Beg, Mirza & Qureshi have successfully treated patients who suffered with pain after a car accident and job related injuries. At their state of the art surgery center on Main Ave. in Downtown Clifton, they will diagnose the sources of pain and restore health and function. They are supported by a staff of 10 specialized healthcare providers trained to treat and care for patients who have undergone surgeries related to pain management, spine, orthopedic and sports medicine. They will schedule your procedure so there is no waiting and no driving... a member of our team will pick you up from your home and bring you to and from our state of the art surgery center. At the Pain Relief Center, there is no need to drive to NYC and wait in traffic. Have your surgery done in Clifton and be home in four hours.

Dr. Mizra (left) and Dr. Qureshi perform a minimally invasive Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy at the Pain Relief Center on Main Ave, in Downtown Clifton.

Endoscopic Laser Surgery: Not so long ago, back pain relief surgery mean a large incision, open surgery and weeks of recuperation. However, in one of the more popular pain-relieving procedures performed by Dr. Neville Mirza and Dr. Shams Qureshi at the Pain Relief Center in Downtown Clifton—the Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy—the only incision made is covered by a small bandage and the patient can be home in four hours. Having trained at George Washington University Hospital Center and as an attending neurosurgeon at area hospitals, Dr. Mirza is a much sought after specialist in Neurosurgery and Micro-Surgery and has performed over 1,500 Endoscopic Discectomy procedures of cervical and lumbar disease.

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Here Comes Summer!

Summer on Grove St.

3 Generations Of Coles at the

Montclair Beach Club By Irene Jarosewich

From left, founder Charles E. Cole, his son, a young Quentin and his son, Roger.

It is late April and crystal-clear water already fills the swimming pool at the Montclair Beach Club. Rippling and sparkling with help from the light wind and bright sun above, owner Roger Cole and his crew are getting this Clifton oasis into top shape for the May 3 orientation for new members and the Memorial Day 2014 weekend opening. 60 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Here Comes Summer! The winter was long and hard and the late snow put some pressure on the time schedule. “Every winter there’s some kind of project that we want to finish before the next season,” said Roger, but now, with only weeks to go, the finish line is in sight. Shiny white tables are placed neatly around the pool, with a blue and white umbrella near each one, the playground equipment has been scrubbed clean and leaf and twig debris swept from the walkways. Roger is the third generation to run the family business located on Grove Street in Clifton, just a few hundred feet shy of the Montclair border. He grew up working at the club and then took over from his father, Quentin Cole, who had taken over from his father, founder Charles E. Cole.

A Place for Memories Roger has great memories of his summers at the pool and there is no doubt in Roger’s mind that he is really lucky to have the chance to do what he loves in life - to keep creating a special place for friends and families to gather and make their own memories. “Friends that I used to come here with began to come with their kids, and now they are bringing their grandchildren. It’s really great for me to see,” said Roger, understanding that this family business has been a constant in the lives of hundreds of area families for generations. The Montclair Beach Club was established in 1931, built on an old horse farm that Roger’s grandfather Charles had purchased in 1929. Charles noted that a 105-foot-deep artesian well was located on his newly purchased land and soon learned that the farm 62 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

The Girls Ballet team in 1941, a view of the pool facing the snack bar, circa, 1960, and scenes from last summer.

lay atop an underground reservoir, part of the an extensive system of water flow that originates in the Great Lakes and continues to feed many of the local reservoirs in northern New Jersey.

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Here Comes Summer! Not really wanting to be a horse farmer, Charles then decided to build a large swimming pool, open to the public during the summer, and drilled a 125-foot well through solid bedrock to provide the pool with fresh artesian well water. This well and the dimensions and location of the 75’ x 150’ pool are part of the original structure that still stand and are still in use today. Originally named simply the Montclair Swimming Pool, Charles brought in some sand and created a huge sandbox at one end of the lot, providing the reason for the word beach when the club later changed the name. First open to the public on a day-rate basis, the pool became increasingly popular. To manage the ever- larger crowds, the pool became membership only in the 1950s, and changed its name to Montclair Beach Club. Over the years, the Coles added shuffleboards, tennis courts, cabanas, lockers and showers, a snack bar and now a playground for small children where the beach once was.

Friends, Family, Lots of Fun... Sharing a pleasant summer day with family and friends became the trademark of the Montclair Beach Club and for the 500 families that now belong, that tradition continues. “I remember when I was a little kid,” said Roger, “and had to go back to school, I missed my friends from the pool so much that I would cry on the first day back. Here we’d play from early day into dusk. There is something magical about swimming in the pool when the underwater lights are on. That’s what we do, we make the summer fun for people.” Families come from Montclair, Glen Ridge, Clifton, Bloomfield, Nutley. Since the bus stop for the bus from Manhattan is close to the club’s entrance, some families even come in from New York City. And although children go to different schools during the year and often don’t see each other for months, Roger knows that lifelong friendships are formed during summers at the pool. “I see it especially among the teenagers, some come back to work with us 64 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

in the summers even after they have gone on to college,” said Roger. The Montclair Beach Club employs about 15 fulltime lifeguards each summer and 25 part-time workers for the entrance gate, snack shop and entry-level “cabana boys” – a job that Roger did for his father

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Here Comes Summer! for several years. He also employs instructors to teach swimming and lead water aerobics, a popular activity. Among the instructors is Clifton High School tennis coach Andrea Bobby, who “grew up at the club” and for years is the tennis pro who offers lessons for children and adults on the four courts o nthe property. The summer is filled with social activities such as picnics, barbeques, July 4 celebrations, plus adds Roger, there are usually about 100 children on the swim team.

Focused on the 100 Year Milestone Besides having northern New Jersey in his blood, Roger also has a lot of Florida in him. Roger’s grandfather, Charles E. Cole, grew up in Montclair, but became a snowbird. After the summer pool season ended, he would leave for Florida. Roger’s father met his mother, a Florida native, soon after leaving the Army. For college, Roger attended Florida Southern where he swam and played tennis on the school’s teams. However, in this area, the Cole family goes back five generations having lived in the neighborhoods now known as Upper Montclair and Montclair Heights. Roger, his brother Chas, who teaches at CHS and sister Carrie Hewlett grew up in a house on Woodlawn

66 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Ave. that was part of the original parcel of land his grandfather purchased. A short little street that runs between Grove and Valley roads, it’s walking distance to the beach club. Now Roger and his wife live in a house in Upper Montclair that once belonged to his great-great grandfather. “Back then,” said Roger, “they lived most of the year in Brooklyn, yet every summer, they would pack up the house, bring along the cow and spend the summer on their farm here.” On more than one occasion, the Coles have been approached to sell the beach club property to real estate developers. Since business has always been good, he feels fortunate that has never needed nor felt the urge to sell. “I’ve never had to advertise, all our membership is word of mouth,” said Roger. At 62 years old, he feels that he has a more than a few more years left in him to dedicate to the family business. So far, neither of his two sons has shown interest up until now in becoming the fourth generation to carry on. Yet Roger feels confident that there are others who would be willing to continue the Montclair Beach Club tradition. “We’re in our 84th year,” he said with a smile, “and I want to see it reach 100...”

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Community Events

Optimist Friend of Youth Awards Jessica Vasilenko and Bill Lemke will share the top honors for the Clifton Optimist Club’s annual Friend of Youth Spring Awards Dinner, June 12. The duo is being recognized for their many years of service with the Clifton Recreation Department. Clifton Rec has a seemingly endless array of activities and Director Debbie Oliver said Lemke and Vasilenko are either at hands-on at the programs, making things happen, or, weeks before, doing the planning behind the scenes. Vasilenko said getting recognized with this honor really emphasizes what Clifton Rec does for the people of the city. “I am very honored that they thought of me and recognized my work,” Vasilenko said. “What we do is very important and I enjoy making a difference in the lives of children and citizens.” Vasilenko, who has been recreation program coordinator for the since October ‘98, plans and coordinates

68 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

recreation programs for youth from preschool to teenage as well as for adults and seniors. She also recruits and trains volunteers for special events, which the team organizes and promotes in Clifton. Vasilenko hires and trains counselors as well. She was named Recreation Staff Woman of the Year in 2002. Previously, Vasilenko supervised children at Camp Clifton Sleepaway Camp until it closed in 1995. Vasilenko went to School 14, Woodrow Wilson Middle School and graduated Clifton High School in 1994 where she played soccer with the Clifton Stallions. She graduated from Kean University with a bachelor’s degree in recreation administration in 1998 and from Montclair State University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Service Counseling in 2000. She currently lives in Pompton Lakes with David, her husband of nearly 12 years. The couple has two daughters and is expecting a third child in September. Lemke is happy to work at a job that allows him to use his analytical skills while at the same time enabling him to encourage personal growth in people. For him, getting the award made him realize others also see that what they do is important. “I’m just very honored,” he said. “It’s nice to know they recognize the hard work we do at the Clifton Recreation Department.”

Lemke has been with Clifton Rec since August ‘05 and is responsible for formulating and maintaining the yearly budget, running youth and adult sports programs as well as assigning field space for the department’s 38 parks. He also worked for the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Clifton from 19931998 where he organized and compiled a summer events calendar and was responsible for supervising and children and young adults who attended the club. Lemke moved to Clifton in 2005 and is a volunteer coach for indoor soccer, baseball, basketball, flag football and roller hockey. He graduated North Arlington High School in 1989 and went on to Rutgers University, Newark College of Arts and Science, where he majored in biology and minored in anthropology. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1997. Besides Vasilenko and Lemke, the Clifton Police Unity Bike Tour members will be recognized with the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award. The Club was formed in June 1951 and is involved in many programs throughout the year as well as fundraisers that are used to support various youth-oriented programs. The basic philosophy of the Club is found in the Optimist Creed and the club’s motto, Friend of Youth. The dinner and awards will be at the Rec Department, 1232 Main Ave. Tickets are $35. For info call either Joe Bionci at 973-472-1707, Dennis Hahofer at 973-513-9796 or Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400. The awards dinner will begin at 6:30 pm.

United | Skavenger | Animal | Fuji We’ve Moved! 770 van Houten Ave. clifton • 862-899-7979

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• repairs & Sales of BMX & More • Mechanic in shop 7 days a week Mon-Fri 10-7pm • Sat 10-5pm • Sun 10-4pm

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Apparel Accessories Helmets and more!

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Fit Bike co | eastern | 3G Bikes | Kent The Kocsis Family is proud to sell bikes and provide repair service right in the heart of clifton. Please visit The Bike Shop at 770 van Houten Ave.

Owned by the Kocsis Family Kyle with his mom Deb and dad Jeff

1 Year Free Service With New Bike Purchase Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Memorial Day Five times a year, volunteers erect nearly 1,600 flags throughout the grounds of the Clifton Municipal Complex. It is a sight to take your breath away as they billow in the breeze. So on Memorial Day, May 26, be sure to take it in. While 1,600 flags seems like an awesome number, there is still room for more. Citizens can honor a veteran by purchasing flag for his or her birthday, a special occasion, like Father’s Day or a wonderful tribute for their service. The cost of $100 is for the flag, pole, sleeve, name plate and ground socket. To honor a vet—either living or deceased, those who served in comabt or stateside—a form must be completed. For details, go to and click on Avenue of Flags and downloaded the form. The Avenue of Flags is now in its 11th year and it will be displayed on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Patriot Day (911) and Veteran’s Day.

Volunteers are always needed to raise and lower the over flags at dawn and dusk. The job is not easy and it takes many hours of labor. But chair John Biegel Jr. and his Quartermaster Bill Van Eck (pictured here on our cover last May) promise “you will get an overwhelmingly good feeling for being a part of honoring those who served their country.” Van Eck is a regular on the grounds at city hall, working weeks before, handling behindthe-scenes prep work that culminates in this beautiful display. Flags must be put together, caps painted and the grounds generally maintained. The beautiful display would not be possible without the upkeep of the flags, poles, caps, trolley carts and general housekeeping of the flag areas. Biegel is the chief of the grounds, running the operation, managing where things and people go and where new banners can be added. Can you spare some time? Call 973-519-0858.

Wanted: 300 Hungry Cliftonites Good News, Bad News: The Clifton Veteran’s Parade Committee has cancelled its annual fundraiser beefsteak. Instead they have come up with a new event: The Amazing Foods of Clifton Salutes Our Veterans on June 23 at 6 pm. Fine dining restaruants, caterers, food vendors and wine merchants are being signed up to participate and share their specialties with attendees. The event will be staged at the Boys & Girls Club and the idea is to get supporters to enjoy the specialties of fine restaurants and food vendors while having some fun. 70 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

To participate, call Mayor Jim Anzaldi at 973-470-5757. This new venue for the committee is limited to 300 hungry Cliftonites so get your $30 ticket early. Checks, made payable to the Clifton Veteran’s Committee, should be mailed to Clifton Veteran’s Committee, c/o Clifton City Hall, 900 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ 07013. The event is held to raise funds for the annual Veteran’s Parade, which this year is on Sunday, Nov. 9. Funds are needed to pay for marching bands, staging of the roadway, sound equipment and various other expenses.

Alma Bank in Downtown Clifton hosted a business card exchange with the Hispanic American Chambers of Commerce on April 23. About 50 people from the region met and mingled at Clifton’s newest bank at 1133 Main Ave. Pictured third from left is Margarita Pappas, the VP of the Clifton branch. At right, Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Mayor Jim Anazaldi and other officials were at Clifton City Hall on April 26 to raise the flag of the nation of Turkey. The event is a prelude to the May 3 Turkish American Day Parade on Main Ave., which concludes around noon in Main Memorial Park with a Festival.


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Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Arts & Events

Frank Favata as Tevye, second row at left, and the cast of Fiddler on the Roof. The musical is performed May 9 to 18.

The musical Fiddler on the Roof will be staged by the Theater League of Clifton (TLC) at the Theresa Aprea Theater, 199 Scoles Ave. Shows are at 8 pm on May 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 with 2 pm matinees on May 11 and 18. Set in Tsarist Russia in 1905, the story revolves around Tevye and his five daughters and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors or students. Go to or call 973-928-7668. The Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Commission is offering arts and history re-grants. The deadline for arts applications is July 10 and for history applications, July 17. Applicants must be based in Passaic County and have been in existence at least two years and must meet other criteria. Grant funds must create programming that culminates in a public presentation for an arts or cultural project to take place in Passaic County in 2015 or a history project, between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. More details are at Contact Susan Balik at or 973-684-5444 to schedule a meeting to help with the grant writing process. 72 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Students of the CHS Art Department will exhibit and offer for sale their artwork at the Clifton Arts Center from May 7 to 24 in a show entitled American Idols. Teacher Katherine Karcz explained: “We all worship in our own way. We choose to worship our gods, our people, our animals, our objects, our places, our ideas... their names fall from our mouths daily when giving praise. They can be both objects of desire as well as objects of awe. But what do we worship? And to whom? And why? This show explores the idols—both true and false—of the American people and what they say about us as a greater population.” A reception, open to the public, is on May 8, from 6 to 8 pm. Admission is $3. The Arts Center & Sculpture Park are at 900 Clifton Ave. Call 973-472-5499 or go to The Passaic County Senior Citizen Art Exhibition is open to those age 60 and over. There is no fee to enter but entries must be show-ready and participants are limited to one exhibit. To enter, bring one show-ready piece of art to Senior Services from 9 am to 4 pm on June 2 to 5. Entries will be displayed June 9 to 27 at the Passaic County Senior Services office, 930 Riverview Dr., Suite 200, Totowa. A reception and an awards ceremony is on June 27 at 2 pm. For details, call 973-569-4060. Send your news and photos of upcoming events to

The next meeting of the Clifton Democratic Club is May 12 at the Allwood Library at 7 pm. Guest speakers will be Passaic County Freeholders TJ Best and Bruce James as well as County Clerk candidate Jeff Gardner. For more information, contact Club President John Pogorelec at 973-778-1604.

Do you know, teach, or love a child or adult with autism? Then join the Walk-a-Thon and Free Family Carnival on June 8 at 11 am at CHS. That’s last year’s photo above. Presented by Parents of Autistic Children, the group also offers a free workshop on Engaging Your Child through Game, Play and Ipad Activities at the Allwood Library on May 19 at 6 pm. For more info on the group, the walk, or to connect with Clifton families already involved with these programs and services, go to or call 732-785-1099.

Clifton Firefighters (FMBA Local 21) stages its annual Food Drive during May. Residents are asked to drop off canned and non-perishable foods items at any of the six Clifton Firehouses. The donated items will be packaged up and brought to food banks such as St. Peter’s Haven for distribution. If you cannot deliver the items to a firehouse, write to to make arrangements for pickup. Passaic County 200 Club Annual Valor & Meritorious Acts awards dinner honoring Passaic County’s Police, Fire and EMS officials is on May 6 at 5:30 at The Brownstone. Tickets are $55. Checks to Passaic County 200 Club, 3 Garrett Mountain Plaza, Suite 204, Woodland Park, NJ 07424. For questions and or reservations, call Lauren Rinaldi 291-450-1271 or email

Clifton Merchant • May 2014



Youth WEEK

2003 The goal of Clifton Youth Week, which begins on May 3, is to get and keep adolescents and teens involved in the city. Now in its 60th edition, and run by staff and volunteers at the Recreation Department, the following pages celebrates the events over those six decades in photos. This year’s theme is Clifton Youth Shine Bright Like A Diamond to mark the 60 year milestone. Recreation Director Debbie Oliver explained the symbolism: “We want to encourage Clifton


1949 74 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

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Youth Week

youth to look for those special qualities about themselves that make them shine,” she said of the participants, who are teens from private and public schools. “They may even find hidden talents, qualities or special features that they did not realize they have. Right now they may feel like a diamond in the rough, but Clifton kids have great potential.” To give them opportunities to explore their potential, Oliver and her team have planned a series of events. It is all explained in a handbook. Find it at City Hall or by requesting one in writing from

76 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Our records show that Clifton Youth Week first began on May 12, 1953 as ‘Youth in Government Day,’ featuring teen counterparts for city officials. The pairs break at a fancy luncheon and then conducted visits to industrial sites and municipal offices. Clifton joined the national observance of Youth Week on May 12, 1956. The chair that year was Charles Epstein, the proprietor of the former family clothing store on Main Ave.

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Youth Week

in the 70’s

1972 Fashion Show 1972

Talent Shows - 1977

1972 Fashion Show 78 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

C2 Education Tutoring Center Opens in Styertowne Center

" "

! "



C2 Education’s tutoring center in Styertowne Shopping Center is the group’s 25th in New Jersey. Tutors offer a variety of academic programs: SAT prep, ACT prep, K12 subject tutoring, college admission counseling, preparation for NJASK testing, and preparation for high school admission tests. Director Ashley Haimson leads a team of Clifton tutors who have graduated from some of the top schools in the nation, including Rutgers University, Fordham University, and Columbia University. Several tutors either currently hold or are working toward graduate degrees and all have prior teaching experience. Ashley, who holds teaching certificates in New York and New Jersey, said she joined C2 Education so that she could help students achieve their short and long term ambitions. She said she is proud to lead a team of tutors who are genuinely invested in their students’ success.

One student commented that C2 tutors “really cut through the confusion of college applications and SAT strategies. With C2s help, I was able to stay ahead of the college admissions game. My C2 teachers were knowledgeable and genuinely invested in my success.” Students begin at C2 with an Academic Assessment, the fee of which will be waived when simply mentioning this article. Ashley uses the results of these assessments to identify each student’s academic needs. She then meets with students and parents to discuss the results and establish each student’s academic goals. Ashley and her teachers are then able to create a fully customized program to build on strengths and address weaknesses, maximizing student results and boosting student confidence. To get started, call Ashley Haimson at 973-778-7300 at the Clifton C2 Center or email her at Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Youth Week

For the next six decades, Clifton Youth Week has evolved but even today, it still seeks to instill in city kids values such as respect for elders, special needs groups, animals, the environment, the schools and the Golden Rule of helping one another. As in the past, Clifton firms or local organizations sponsor events. Participating schools often have a volunteer representative to help coordinate things like getting kids to city hall. Held on a variety of days, events include fishing, bowling, basketball, creative writing and poster design. As the photos on this page illustrate, Youth in Government day—this year on May 20—is always popular. Another very popular event is the talent show at Clifton High School on May 3 at 6:30 pm.

80 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

And yes, there still is a fishing contest, and it is still sponsored by our friends at Meltzer’s Sporting Goods. Rain or shine, it will be held May 17, from 7 to 10 am at Racy’s Pond in Main Memorial Park. The contest is open to kids through 8th grade. Ribbons and recreation dollars will be given for largest trout caught and most fish. Finally, fish, sometimes those huge carp, must be snagged by hook (no nets) and that hook must still be in the mouth of the fish when presented for judging. For all the details, rules and options for Clifton Youth Week 2014, call, 973-470-5956. More photos (like those shown here) from past years and details on the events of Youth Week 2014 can be found at

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


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

Owners Jackie Licata-Alectoridis and Jane Maffucci

-Dr. Maria Montessori

The Montessori Method “Whoever touches the life of the child touches the most sensitive point of a whole, which has roots in the most distant past and climbs toward the infinite future.”

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Infants • Pre-School • Kindergarten • Full Day & Half Day

Mustangs Dance

Getting ready at the CHS Dance Studio: Gabriela Daniele, Shayna Mercedes, Heather Pastor, Dhiti Kapadia, Jailene Perez, Jasmine Roque, Lucia DuBois, Juan Adamez, Brittany Griffin, Sarah Bielen (Scorpian), Pamela Prandy.

The CHS Dance Concert serves up a cross curricular twist on May 28 at 7:30 p.m. The theme of the concert is Dancing Through the Cinema. CHS teachers Christina Paulin, Lois ManzellaMarchitto and Natalie Babiak are teaming up to produce this lively musical event. Students, pictured here, will perform various styles of choreography including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, as well as Modern and Contemporary . The music varies from retro types such as Thriller and Footloose; classical, including Habanera and the Shim Sham Shimmy, to pop, featuring Happy and Beggin. The performance will be in the J.F.K Auditorium at CHS on Colfax Ave. The cost is $5 in advance or $10 at the door. Buy tickets at the door or write to 82 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


By Domenick Reda Meet our CHS Students of the Month, selected by the VP’s of each wing. Overcoming Challenges His first day at Clifton High School was a bit daunting for Annex Freshman Michal K. Dlugosz. “I had no idea where any of my classes were and I knew that none of Michal K. Dlugosz Avani Sojitra my friends were here,” he recalled, laughing at his befuddlement. “It was challenging to say the least.” A Big Heart Dlugosz worked through it, like any Karen Friedman, a North Wing good freshman. But he said that good senior, believes the true meaning educators helped make the transition from of fulfilment is the ability to help middle school to CHS easier,. others. “Next year I will be One of his favorites is Mike Rivera attending the University of who teaches physical education. “He Connecticut and majoring in makes it entertaining,” Dlugosz said. Psychology,” Friedman said. “I Dlugosz’ favorite class is 8th period hope to one day help people, Language Arts with David Radler. preferably teenagers and chil“Mr. Radler is very smart and helps dren.” many of us with questions or concerns we Presently, Friedman keeps have,” he said. busy at CHS by playing basketKaren Friedman Dlugosz is also adapting to his new surball and softball, being an officer roundings with the help of good friends, with the French Club and working like Clifton Stallions soccer teammate John Pina. on the Yearbook Committee. “He has my back at all times,” Dlugosz said, who But it’s her compassion that always shines through. hopes he can play soccer for a long time to come, but if “I also love animals and volunteer at the animal shelter not, he has a back up plan. and I foster kittens in my free time,” she said. Friedman “I would like to go to an Ivy League college and conalso likes to spend her time with good friends. “I have tinue playing soccer,” he said. “But if my soccer career many people I consider close, but one of my best doesn’t go as planned I would like to become a pilot.” friends is Bobby Lupo,” she said. “We met during His future aspirations aside, Dlugosz consistency in sophomore year and have gone through a lot together. ” the classroom that has earned him the distinction of Besides participating in sports and seeing friends, being named one of the Students of the Month for May. Friedman also studies hard. “Of course I complain “I take pride in having good attendance and getting about school work just like everyone else but I truly do high grades,” he said. “I believe I am being recognized like to be challenged to work hard,” said Friedman, as one of the Students of the Month because of this.” who believes her diligence led to her to being named as 84 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

one of May’s Students of the Month. “I try to have a positive attitude about everything.” French teacher Lindsey Cinque and English teacher Dr. Elissa Greenwald are two CHS educators who Friedman says really help bring out her best “They are both truly inspiring,” she said. Team Work There are certain things Central Wing Senior Avani Sojitra really enjoys about school; paramount among them is the comradery she enjoys when working with others. “I love being a part of sports teams or any school club,” she said. “It showed me I can rely on others.” Besides being part of the Asian Club, Sojitra also manages the girls and boys basketball teams and was captain of the girls volleyball team where she was named All-County. “My volleyball team does stand out,” she said. “We are like a family now. We can really count on each other.” Sojitra also enjoys the company of new friends she has made during high school. “I can always meet new people at school,” she said. Sojitra appreciates her teachers as well. “My favorite would have to be Dr. Greenwald,” Sojitra said. “She really enjoys what she teaches.” Sojitra, who volunteers at St. Mary’s Hospital, calls AP Biology her favorite class and plans on studying pre-med in college and eventually pursuing a career as physician’s assistant. “I have always been fascinated by biological sciences,” said Sojitra, who credits improving grades with getting her named as one of the Students of the Month. Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Students of the Month A Matter of Chemistry South Wing Senior Nikola Kamcev never particularly liked math until she took chemistry. “It completely changed the way I approach mathematics and school in general,” she recalled. “When I saw its practically and use in science, my mindset completely changed.” Kamcev said the confidence she gained, helped her become one of May’s Students of the Month. When she is not studying, Kamcev says performing with the Mustang Marching Band, as a drummer, is her “most treasured activity.” Kamcev also values her friends at CHS, but says she has the most “chemistry” with her best friend Kevin Biernat. “Kevin is one of the most sincere, kind-hearted people I know,” she said. Upon graduation, Kamcev intends to pursue a degree in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Kamcev has already displayed the hard work and dedication at CHS she will need for her future aspirations. “School teaches us to push ourselves and work as hard as we can,”

86 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Kamcev said. “This work ethic is directly carried over into every aspect of our lives.”

Aarti Kasabwala

Nikola Kamcev

Building Character Aarti Kasabwala, an East Wing senior, has always been a hard worker when it comes to his studies, but until recently, he was not always satisfied with the end result. “I was compelled to study hours a night reviewing the material discussed during class, and sometimes such effort would prove fore not come test time,” Kasabwala recalled. He became discouraged, but through determination and with the help of good educators, like Daniel Chilowicz, who teaches chemistry, his perseverance paid off. “It was through such experience that I built character,” Kasabwala recalled. “I managed to gain an A average for the course.” Kasabwala also lists English teachers Shannon Youncofski, for her “wisdom and honesty” and Greenwald, for her “gentleness” as favorites, along with Christopher Henry, who teaches history. “Mr. Henry is always willing to help his students in times of need.” Kasabwala’s best friends at CHS are Vaidehi Upadhyaya and Pamela Fernandez because, “we understand the qualities we ourselves lack and appreciate them in each other.” Kasabwala has been a member of the Botany, French, Key and Robotics clubs, along with the Knights of Pythagoras. Kasabwala has volunteered for Lamington Pediatrics and the Clifton Recreation’s Safety Town Program and has plans to major in pre-med or biology at a four-year university after graduation.

April 22 was Earth Day and various classes at CHS came to the Clifton Recycling Center on the City Hall complex to learn more about the environment and ways they can do their part. Pictured above is Clifton Recycling Coordinator Al DuBois who met with students throughout the day and explained more about the curbside collection of plastic bottles and containers on April 1. For more information, or to arrange a tour for a class or a group, call DuBois at 973-470-2237.

Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Birthdays & Celebrations - May 2014

89 Birthday wishes to Glory Read on May 8. Rocco Locantore & Graziella Spinella celebrate their second anniversary on May 12. Alexis Raine Vandenberghe turned 3 on April 20. Happy 5th Birthday to Chloe Skye on May 14. Happy Birthday to Kyle J. Magaster who turns the big 30 on May 27.

Birthdays & Celebrations

Send dates & Richard Hango ................. Mike Szwec ..................... Samantha Cruz ................ Lou DeStefano .................. Jessica Perez .................... Jordan Lynn Bykowsky ....... Maria DeGraaf ................ Julia Komarczyk................ Irene Kuruc ...................... Margie Maloney............... Thomas Zangara .............. John Anderson Jr............... Spencer Flynn................... Russell Courtney ............... Dolores Hatala ................. Jordan Kulesa................... Vanessa Laine Montesano.. Mary Domyon .................. Margie Hatala.................. Dorothy Alburo................. Terry Capilli ..................... Jim Findlay....................... Alexandra Homsany ......... Rory Houston ................... Frank Lo Gioco................. Ashley Kulesa................... David Peter Mosciszko ...... Matthew Nagy ................. Christine Siluk ..................

5/1 5/1 5/2 5/2 5/2 5/3 5/3 5/3 5/3 5/3 5/3 5/4 5/4 5/6 5/6 5/6 5/6 5/7 5/7 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8 5/8

88 May 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Gia Camille Genardi is 14 on May 2 and her cousin...

...Brianna Mayer is 24 on May 29. Thomas Steranko .............. 5/8 Petey Pathos..................... 5/9 Ray Zang......................... 5/9 Joe Gore........................ 5/10

Rebecca DeChellis .......... Brandon Gorny .............. Jessica Camp ................. Joe De Liberto ................ Michael Lonison.............. Donna De Liberto............ Jeff Reilly ....................... Michael Zawicki ............. Chuck Amucka ............... Alice De Liberto .............. Dorothy Brown ............... Earl Grosser Jr. ............... Victoria Leja ................... Fred Gurtman................. Mark McGuire................ Rosemary Canavan......... John Hawrylko ............... Vick Ascencio................. Jamie Antal .................... Michele D’Amico ............ Walter Hryckowian ......... Mariana Pineda ............. Becky Kuter .................... Jennifer Mulick ............... Ken Bender .................... Joe Murolo..................... Matthew Palladino .......... Kage Lord ...................... Danica O’Brien .............. Danah Alburo ................ Jessica Bielen ................. MaryEllen Krattinger .......

5/11 5/11 5/12 5/12 5/12 5/13 5/13 5/13 5/14 5/14 5/15 5/15 5/15 5/16 5/16 5/17 5/17 5/18 5/18 5/18 5/18 5/18 5/19 5/20 5/21 5/21 5/21 5/22 5/22 5/23 5/23 5/23

Paul C. Lewis turns 55 on May 9. He is the son of Colleen Murray Michele Perez .............. Donald Lopuzzo ........... Michael Santosuosso..... Brittney Abell................ Olivia Hryckowian........ Connie Paladino........... Derek Bykowsky ........... Alyssa Dalbo................ Kaylee Pinter ................ Jonathan Rideg............. Fred Antes ................... Steve Bielen ................. David J. Ricca .............. Anthony Alcalde ........... Valerie Gancarz ........... Anthony DeSomma ....... Rachel Gergats............. Christopher Ramirez...... Christopher Smith ......... Logan Thompson...........

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

Congratulations to Gene and Gloria Toma who celebrate their 51st Wedding Anniversary on May 5. Clifton Merchant • May 2014


Boys Club

At the April 24 dinner at Mario’s Restuarant to celebrate the conclusion of the Great Futures Campaign, from left Boys & Girls Club of Clifton Board members Angelo Crudele, (Executive Director Bob Foster), Lauren Ricca, Angela Montague, Victor Habrahamshon, Keith Oakley, Cindy DeVos and Rich Mariso. Development Director Joihn DeGraaf noted the campaign netted $50,000 for the Club, which helps fund general programming. Back in May 1964, Wayne, Keith and Cindy Oakley were at their Summer St. home, dressed and ready to get on the bus to sing with the Boys Club Glee Club at the World's Fair in Flushing.

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Clifton Merchant Magazine - May 2014  
Clifton Merchant Magazine - May 2014