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Clifton History

A Life Well Spent The passing of Coach Kostisin Ginny and John Kostisin in recent years and, at left, Coach Kostisin back in the mid-70s.

The announcement of Clifton’s John Kostisin’s passing on Oct. 16 after a long illness brought an outpouring of sorrow and tributes on Facebook. Kostisin, a longtime Woodrow Wilson Middle School teacher and Clifton High basketball coach, was revered for the guidance and support he bestowed on his students and players, and the many lives he touched. But there is more to his story. Coach K was also an unsung hero to Clifton Merchant Magazine readers. Though quoted occasionally in the publication, it was Kostisin’s memories that drove many stories as he recounted athletes, places and games in vivid colors.

For example, when telling of Clifton High’s basketball battles against Passaic Valley and its star John Gerdy during the seventies, he described, “What I remember about all our games was how the gyms rocked. At the end of the games, it was one side or the other singing ‘Good bye, Gerdy’ or ‘Good bye, Clifton.’” Kostisin did more than accurately recount the past; he ensured others weren’t forgotten. He told of Willie Gumann and his booming punts while playing against Passaic… on the day Gumann’s sister died; Ray Van Cleef and his lefty shot that keyed the winning 16,000 Magazines are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants on the first Friday of every month.

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Clifton History 1949 basketball team; and his mentor Emil Bednarcik, who coached basketball for 42 years with only three losing seasons. Coach K made sure you knew about these people. In his eyes, they were Clifton legends, and he was always ready to pay their Mustang memories forward. His stories were to be learned, appreciated and passed on to future generations. Kostisin was a fine basketball player and coach himself. He played for Clifton High, the US Army and Paterson State Teachers College. He coached Clifton’s freshman and JV teams from 1962 to 1972, and served as varsity coach from 1972 to 1976, and again from 1982 to 1984. As noted in his obituary, Coach K’s Mustangs won the 1972 Passaic County Christmas Tournament, the 1974 Passaic County Tournament, and the 1975 NNJIL Championship. However, his approach never changed. He opened his basketball practice every year with the same statement: “It’s a simple game, boys – get ball, put ball in basket.” Athletics were only part of his life. Family and friends were his priority. He also had a seemly endless

supply of energy, going on to three more careers after Woodrow Wilson – at Yavneh Academy, the Ridgewood Post Office and Scott Tire in Clifton – before finally retiring at age 73. At each stop, Coach K touched more people with his stories, kindness and enthusiasm. One of his favorite accomplishments was getting involved with the Ukrainian Gift of Life organization, which facilitates pediatric heart surgeries for Ukrainian kids. John and Ginny, his wife of 59 years, opened up their home to one family during their child’s surgery and recovery in 2005. Coach K will be missed by his wife Ginny; children John Kostisin, Claudia Mattson, Ted Kostisin, and Meg Gray; and his eight granddaughters. And he will also be missed by us – his students, players, and the readers of this magazine, the ones who heard his treasured Clifton stories without knowing who was behind them. Remember those stories. And remember Coach Kostisin. A memorial service will be held at Grace Church, 45 Hazel St. in Clifton on Nov. 25 at 11 am, with a repast to follow at the church.

Immedicenter

1355 Broad St. • Clifton • 973-778-5566

www.immedicenter.com Dr. Michael Basista, Medical Director of Immedicenter Mon-Fri 8am to 9pm • Sat & Sun 8am to 5pm Walk-in Medical Care Weekday Appointments Available 4 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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By Douglas John Bowen Kim Castellanos heads up the Power of One but makes it expressly clear from the outset: By no means does she consider herself “the one” in any way, shape or fashion. Her deep faith holds that she’s a conduit, or facilitator — “not a visionary,” she forcefully clarifies — of the power of the Almighty, The One. But as head of her nonprofit effort, Power Of One, Castellanos’ role as a life coach also reflects a belief in helping numerous individuals to tap their own strengths, and enhance their own abilities, one at a time, channeling their own power of one. Pausing to measure her words, she offered, “It’s about one ear to heaven, the other on the ground.” “I feel called to do this,” Castellanos said late last summer over a light supper at a diner in nearby Lyndhurst. “If you don’t feel called to do this, don’t do it. There’s a driving force inside. Life is an adventure, and what I do comes from my faith, what I believe. My beliefs drive my every day, keep me inspired, focused.” 6 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

On Sept. 29, some 80 employees of ImageFirst partnered with Power of One for a Beautification Day in Athenia. Some 60 volunteers from the Kuller Rd. firm, and members of the Athenia Business Association, painted and cleaned up 80 decorative street lamps along Van Houten Ave. that needed to be repainted due to graffiti removal. ImageFirst provided the manpower and the supplies to paint the lamps on Van Houten Ave. and afterwards, a catered lunch was provided by ImageFirst for everyone at its Clifton facility.

That drive has helped make her organization a recognized and valuable Clifton asset. Said Mayor James Anzaldi, “The work of Kim’s group is so helpful to many families and their children. I congratulate her for all she does to make our hometown a welcoming and helping place. Just another great example of ‘Clifton, the City that cares!’” The nonprofit’s website (powerofoneccom.org) explains: “Power of One Coaching and Outreach Ministries, Inc. is a nonprofit a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to serving the disadvantaged by


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Kim’s a recognized and welcome presence among those making the Clifton Avenue of Flags display a big success.

providing life coaching and outreach to the local community. Power of One is organized to operate as a charitable program for the disadvantaged in providing life coaching, counseling, mentoring, and outreach by means of group, one-to-one sessions, workshops, conferences and community outreach projects. Power of One engages in a variety of activities which further its purposes.” Basic service options offered include Life Coaching, Compassion Ministry, and Workshops. Talk to Kim Castellanos and her daughter, Kelly Keil, and you discover the options are surface descriptions meant to organize a variety of services designed to help those in need – one person at a time. Finding a focus Kim describes Power of One as a calling, though she acknowledged she hasn’t always been sure just what she’s been called exactly for. Often, she said, she’ll identify a resource first, then find a need the resource can address, instead of the other way around. That could describe her arrival in Clifton. “In 2000, I was looking for a church. I wasn’t familiar with Clifton at all, though some family had lived there,” Castellanos recalled. With her daughter, Kelly, “We went camping in the baseball field… part of the Family Camp Out in Albion Park, I think it was called. That’s all I knew [about Clifton], but we had fun.” Mother and daughter found that church, an evangelical Lutheran congregation on Clifton Ave. “I just felt like I was home,” Castellanos said. “They took me in, as a single mom; Kelly was about 9. I made that my home 8 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

church. For eight years, that’s where I went. We did fun things in Clifton, but did many ‘good’ things, too. We would visit shut-ins. We did park cleanups, fun things in the community that benefitted the community.” Kim became a deaconess at the church and moved to Clifton in 2004, finding an apartment that was “walk to church.” To her dismay, the Lutherans sold their church in 2007, leaving her future unclear at best. “What was I going to do?” she pondered. “I did find a church but it was in South Hackensack.” Through family discussions, a personal mission statement became clear: “Organize everything you’re doing, put in under one umbrella.” But “what do we call it? I wasn’t afraid to start a business, but what do we call it?” Kim remembers wondering. Daughter Kelly provided the answer. “Kelly said, ‘Power Of One.’” Kim initially didn’t take to the title. “I didn’t, don’t want it to come off as being about me,” she emphasized. Rather, it was an acknowledgment to God’s power, and also a message to potential ‘clients’ that “You’re an amazing person, if you’d allow yourself to help yourself.” Life-coaching the approachable Far from seeing herself as a miracle worker, Castellanos says she’s willing to work hard with someone if that someone is ready and willing to help him- or herself. “People ask, ‘Who are you coaching?’ Well, before someone picks up a drink, I like to get them right before that. That’s when I like to grab them. It’s easier to


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At School 12, the Power has multiplied way past “One” as evidenced by the gathering above.

sit there for just an hour. Those are the people I like; people who have a dream but are just stuck. “You have to be healthy enough to make one or two steps on your own,” she asserted. If not that, maybe a one-on-one situation is called for. If a situation (or mental stress level) is just too overwhelming for all concerned, “you can talk to us and we’ll connect you to professional help,” whether it be priest or psychiatrist. In a sense, Kim’s Power of One life coaching began with, and remains anchored to, some introspection through training. “I have to keep on learning to be certified to whatever comes my way,” she said. “It took a year for me to get that material into myself. I didn’t realize I was a bad as (everyone else).” With Kelly’s assistance, Kim took a year to compile and write material for Power of One’s 10-week program. They then “knocked it down to five weeks.” At present, the approach is in two parts: Stress coaching, and then feedback, entitled Journey to an Authentic You. “So, the techniques you learn in the stress coaching you carry over when you begin the ‘journey,’” Kim explained. Often, the life coaching groups assembled unite to reinforce a positive vibe. Said Kelly, “We’ve noticed that when we start a group, by the third week they’re encouraging each other, sometimes engaged in the process before class actually begins. We’ve been amazed; it is such a tight-knit little thing that keeps moving.” Participation is indeed encouraged and not overly structured. “It’s not a lecture format; it’s more of we’ll talk about this stuff, but there are questions allowed between the slide presentation,” Kim clarified. Tellingly, daughter Kelly herself delved within her own self even as she assisted her mother. “I sit through 10 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

all the coaching sessions; I hit the PowerPoint button. But through the coaching, I realized how miserable I myself was. I love marketing and business, but I didn’t want to do that for a career. So I’m going back to be a teacher,” she said. Kelly hasn’t procrastinated. This past summer, “I got offered a job at the church assisting the children’s ministry programs. It made me realize the more I was teaching, the more it felt right,” she said. The Clifton connections Castellanos began by tapping her private-sector experience managing projects and spenddowns for Standard Elevator over a five-year period, and applying what knowledge she had toward forming a nonprofit cause. “We did it with virtually no money, none from traditional grant sources,” she said. “I did all the paperwork myself. So I wasn’t afraid. But it did take me two years.” Launching Power of One in October 2011, the 501(c)3 entity gained official nonprofit status in May 2013 – impressive as a standalone accomplishment, made even more so as New Jersey was scrutinizing issues and illegalities among nonprofit organs. “It was a bad time,” Kim noted. But Power of One was a reality. Power of One “started in a vacant apartment in Maywood, where a friend had a vacant 2nd floor,” but both Kim and Kelly thought of Clifton as the best base of operations. “We went through SCORE,” part of a national network of volunteer, expert business mentors, and met with the regional SCORE chapter at the Clifton Memorial Library on Piaget Ave. for counsel. “Then they suggested, and we realized, we could meet regularly in the library,” Kim recalled with a smile.


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Kim, second from right, at a sub sandwich fundraiser held by the Marching Mustangs and their parents.

Clifton officials went one better. “The Board of Education said, ‘Why don’t we give you a specific meeting room? Pick a media room. So I picked Woodrow Wilson Middle School because of the location, on the first floor, because it was easily accessible. It’s akin to a Barnes & Noble; that’s the feeling people tell us they get. We meet every Thursday night as long as the school is open, and we work our schedule around” Woodrow Wilson’s main educational focus, she said. Within the private sector, Clifton Savings Bank also has lent a helping hand, and if CSBK has a point person dedicated to the Power of One, it’s Community Banking Specialist Maria Kosmider. An Athenia native with 46 years at CSBK, Kosmider has found a way to integrate her job and Castellanos’ efforts, with the bank’s blessing. “I’m glad Clifton Savings said, ‘Go with it,’” Kosmider said “I’m so grateful they allow me to do this.” Kosmider, seemingly without effort, combines the synergy of CSBK’s business development efforts with the Power of One (among other organizations). “I love it,” Kosmider said. “My company says they don’t need a bubbly person; they already have one. And Kim’s passion for helping is phenomenal. We talk and we get an idea or two, and we sort everything out.” As just one example, “Kim said this year we needed toothbrushes, so I visited a host of dentists” in Clifton and nearby locales to meet the need. Kosmider met Kim Castellanos late in 2015, “after reading an article in the December Clifton Merchant Magazine,” she said. “I read the article and cried like a baby. I called Kim two hours later and we talked for a long time. I couldn’t help her in 2015, but I told her to give me a call in 2016, and she did,” leading, among other things, to CSBK’s involvement with Power of One’s Back2School program. 12 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

“I’m glad Clifton Savings said, ‘Go with it.’ I’m so grateful they allow me to do this.” – CSBK’s Community Banking Specialist Maria Kosmider Backpacks and family backup Both Kim and daughter Kelly point out that the Back2School program, one of the oldest they oversee, started off with 75 backpacks donated to students at School 12. “Six years later, we had 400,” Kelly said. Added Kim, “All of them were donated by the community. Any monetary donations we get, we buy school supplies.” Kim Castellanos had a personal need to use backpacks as a way to honor those who had helped her when she herself need it. “I was a child in my elementary years who was helped by a teacher and school. I came from a large family, and my family struggled, so we didn’t always come prepared. Every year one of my siblings was struggling with something. Teachers got us jackets, got us clothes, all out of their own pockets.” Kim was determined to “pay it forward” toward those in need today. Again, from the website: “Since the beginning of the ministry, the Back2School Outreach has reached 1,000 students through-out the City of Clifton by providing backpacks and school supplies through its program.” Said CSBK’s Kosmider, “Backpacks [work] this year was phenomenal; we secured 26 fully loaded backpacks and over 200 other items.” The program is highly appreciated, Kosmider added, “because this stuff is really expensive and there’s such a need.”


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Taking a class? Contact a doctor? Said Kim, “Clifton has been Contact a friend? 100% supportive; the city has been The answers were equally varbehind me. Behind us,” she amendied: “I don’t have time, I’m overed, glancing at daughter Kelly, who committed, my life’s not balgraduated from Montclair State anced, I have too much stress,” University in 2014 with a dual Kim noted, adding, “Then I realdegree in Business Marketing and ized, about 100 people that I’ve Administration. influenced are stressed out.” The Kelly, who thought up the title survey, in part, was a double“Power of One,” also provides an edged sword. alternate viewpoint Kim Still, Power of One conrelies on. “She’s the young tinues to improve and person; I need that because expand. “People over 40 are of technology changes, “I still have to Google myself saying, ‘Where were you 20 what’s cool and what’s not. around [Clifton]. People will years ago?’” Kim said, She’s my sounding board. laughing. “They’re retired, She’s attuned to the culture; say, ‘Just follow me.’” done with the babies,” etc., I’m not. She’s attuned to and are seeking guidance what’s too ‘old school.’ for the next stage of their life, whatever it might be.” And when we’re in the coaching groups, she helps me Both Kim and Kelly know they have their own limits, set up; she helps me shut down.” and take time out to recharge. “When I feel edgy, I have The arrangement allows Kim, for instance, to focus to sit, or take a walk. I know my body. If I’m tired, I’ll on someone handling a crisis, while Kelly handles daygo to bed,” Kim stated. She enjoys baking, walking to-day matters, such as opening and closing shop – “and through the park, or (pure Jersey!) relaxing at the beach. once a year organizing the crayons” for returning school Kelly shares her mom’s enthusiasm for baking and students, she added. beachgoing, while also enjoying yoga, “a good book,” and following the Yankees during baseball season (curAlways room for improvement rent favorite: catcher Gary Sanchez). Power of One continues to evolve, though as with any With self-deprecating humor, Kim noted that while growing organism not without mishap. Group discusshe loves living and working in Clifton, “I still have to sions don’t always proceed effortlessly, Kim noted. Google myself around. People will say, ‘Just follow me, “When you’re participating in life coaching, you have to Kim.’ I’m still learning the sections, the neighborhoods.” be a little healthy, to be able to make your own decisions, Plenty of fellow Clifton residents are willing to be but sometimes someone who’s under severe stress can Kim’s guide, from Mayor Anzaldi to CSBK’s Kosmider cause an imbalance, “in effect causing other people in to others throughout the city, as Kim becomes something the group to worry about that person and not themof a local public figure, something she accepts with some selves,” she offered as an example. discomfort. “I want to stay grounded,” she said. “I like “When I meet with someone, I want to see where are who I am, and I feel safe enough to be myself. I just think they, and if it’s time to help. Sometimes it’s not time; of myself as a person and try to treat everyone else with they still need to figure things out, perhaps work through the same respect. some immediate grief,” Kim said. “I don’t see their race, color, political party, business Kim also recalled when she and Kelly drew up a survey to determine a course of action. “What better way position. I just see a person,” she continued. than a survey? We asked about 15 questions: family, Maybe so, but many Clifton residents see Kim work; Where are you? What would help you best? If you Castellanos as something special, a Clifton resource. were to get help, where would it come from? Books? Perhaps that’s also the Power of One.

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The Healthy Food Pantry at St. Peter’s Haven is ready to once again provide Thanksgiving meals to families in need. It’s time for Cliftonites to embrace their own Power of One and help fill the pantries for this noble annual endeavor. This year’s Thanksgiving Turkey Drive collection continues through Nov. 20. Shopping for Thanksgiving? Consider buying an extra non-perishable item that the folks at St. Peter’s Haven can distribute. These include stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, canned vegetables, rice, or beans. For those wanting to donate a fresh or frozen turkeys, be sure to make that delivery on Nov. 19 and 20. Financial donations are always welcomed as the staff at St. Peter’s can effectively use the funds to purchase in bulk specifically needed items. Checks can be mailed or dropped off at St. Peter’s Haven Healthy Food Pantry, 380 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ 07011. As a witness to that, the Passaic-Clifton Lions Club on Oct. 26 at its Tricky Tray made a surprise presentation of a $1,000 check to St. Peter’s Haven President Joanne Krudys. She noted that St. Peter’s had a funder which matched financial donations dollar for dollar, growing the gift to $2,000. The Power of One multiplies... St. Peter’s Haven is open Tuesday through Friday, from 9 am to 3 pm, so be sure to plan the delivery of items on those days. Do not leave bags of food on the steps. Call 973-546-3406 with any questions. Families or individuals who would like to receive a Thanksgiving meal should call in advance and register so plans can be made to pick up items on Nov. 20. 16 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Passaic-Clifton Lions Club President Tom Simpson and members Ebru Kuscan, Angela Montague and Vincent Malba, with President of St. Peter’s Haven Joanne Krudys on Oct. 26, after the Lions Club presented a $1,000 check donated to Healthy Food Pantry.

For more than 30 years, St. Peter’s Haven has been providing healthy food and shelter to needy families and individuals in Clifton and in our area. According to Feeding America’s “Map of the Meal Gap,” almost 11% of New Jersey residents did not consistently have an adequate supply of food. “If those numbers are correct, then 11,000 Clifton residents skip meals or face chronic hunger,” said Krudys. “St. Peter’s Haven is the only food pantry in Clifton, and serves 800 individuals every month. As members of the Emergency Food Coalition of Passaic County, St. Peter’s Haven knows that hunger is a real issue in New Jersey affecting families, children and seniors.”


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Sensation

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BEHIND THE SCENES

Pat Meyer is quick to praise Clifton’s stable of can-do people, obscuring the fact that he himself is a standout volunteer.

By Douglas John Bowen Pat Meyer likes working behind the scenes, behind the camera, or behind the microphone. So if you think you’ve seen him in the background at more Clifton community events than you can count, you’re unusually observant. And probably right. Make him the subject of an interview – as Clifton Merchant Magazine somehow succeeded in doing last month – and Pat Meyer, though gracious, becomes decidedly uncomfortable, preferring almost reflexively to offer praise and credit to other volunteers that help make Clifton what it is. “You’ve got what you need, right?” Meyer asked more than once while barely pausing during ongoing preparations for the city’s Avenue of Flags display Nov. 7, in honor of Veterans Day. Meyer, sitting at a desk in City Hall Park’s B5 barn, was on the phone raising funds for the city’s renown flag display, with an emphasis on finding sponsors for World War I Clifton veterans who gave their lives in the line of duty. 18 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Versatile job skills Graduating from Clifton High School in 1974, Meyer’s career has been more varied than most. He learned journalism skills working for The Leader, a weekly newspaper. He also crafted advertising campaigns “for the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.,” he half-bellowed in mockseriousness, pronouncing the official name of A&P. And he helped his father operate an auto shop just across the Delawanna border in Nutley, just one month before his father was stricken ill. And he volunteered. Among earlier efforts, Meyer lent his skills as a ham radio operator to Clifton’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which coordinates city response to emergency situations (such as hurricanes) with Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), New Jersey Office Emergency Management (NJSP) and Passaic County Office Emergency Management.


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Which led to local TV. “We were in OEM, and had to put appropriate information on emergency TV,” Meyer recalled. “So the guy in charge of TV said we needed more than just emergency information as part of the programming. I said, ‘I have an idea for a show; why don’t we do a spot on animals in shelter for adoption.’” In 2002, Meyer got the go-ahead, with a catch: He had to create and produce a half-hour TV show. “In the beginning it was kind of tough; some people didn’t have good speaking voices” or TV presence, Meyer said. Still, the show, entitled Pet of the Week, caught on, informing city residents of dogs and cats available for adoption.” “I had to finance the whole thing by myself,” including the purchase of cameras, videotape, and other TV necessities. “But I didn’t mind; it was a hobby.” Meyer produced 300 episodes before the concept ran out of steam, and considered expanding the show to include other nearby communities. But a city ruling blocked that approach: “If you do something in the [Clifton] studio, you can’t do it anyplace else. We still do a show once in a while; it’s now more like ‘Pet of the Month,’” he said with a smile. Made for TV Undaunted, he suggested and advanced several other shows for the station. By his own reckoning, at one point he was involved with up to 90% of the station’s television programming “besides the meetings” held by City Council and other city agencies. He’s serving his fourth year as chairman of the Cable TV advisory Board. “We’d like to bring more history shows into the channel” cataloguing Clifton’s past, he said. Recent discovery of some amateur photography negatives from 1901 to 1905, depicting Clifton at the turn of the century, deserves a wider audience, he said, noting the city’s Art Center may arrange such a presentation. Which is fine; “we also cover all the art show” on TV, he said. With few exceptions, such historical visits would be Cliftoncentric. “We don’t want to travel too much,” he quipped. One recent effort Meyer cites with some pride involved broadcasting relief effort opportunities to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. “We made commercials to advertise where to bring the stuff” for collection, with city firehouses the primary drop-off points, he said. “We had two commercials, part of a two-week effort.” The TV ads were shot “in the 20 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Pat and his dad John W. Meyer, III at the station which was at 117 Kingsland Ave. Clifton in 1969.

basement of the Elks Club,” with the club overseeing the collection, packing, loading, and shipping of donations, Meyer said, praising club members effusively. Honor the flag(s) Fundraising for the Clifton Veterans Avenue of the Flags is something Meyer holds dear. Clifton’s flag display “grows every year; we’re now at 1,812 flags and headed for 2,000,” Meyer said with relish. “I’m sure we have the most flags here on the East Coast.” And those flags lovingly stored in B5, he pointed out, “are fullsized flags.” But he noted that some veterans have inadvertently been overlooked, something he seeks to change. “A lot of [Clifton WWI veterans] weren’t given a flag,” he observed. “Everybody’s gone; no descendants are alive to buy them a flag. We want to make that right.” Also being added this year: A list of Clifton vets killed in action (KIA). “We just got grant money and we’re going to expand the ‘Killed in Action’ section for those killed in all wars.” Clifton brings the flags out for display at least five times a year: Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July, Patriot Day (Sept. 11) and Veterans Day. (Weather conditions can force changes or adjustments to the schedule.) Lots of people-power, i.e., volunteers, go into motion to raise and then lower all the flags, usually between sunrise and sundown on a given day.


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When the flags are resting in storage in B5, “We do the maintenance,” Meyer said, with volunteers engraving plaques for each flag, as well as inspecting, cleaning and repairing flag poles (“made with high-quality wood, ash and oak”) when feasible.

doesn’t,” he explained. “We want to be fair; we’re trying to be neutral; we don’t want to wade into gray areas, into religion or politics.” Some shows hosted by a political figure “go black” for 90 days before Election Day, Meyer noted, in order to avoid appearances of favoritism or impropriety. All-purpose volunteer Meyer, born in Athenia “and still there Pat’s presence throughout Clifton is today,” he said with pride, nonetheless Pat Meyer, CHS 1974. so ubiquitous that many assume he’s a played down his role in the project, heappaid employee. Not so. He’s not complaining, but did ing praise instead on the Athenia Business Association note that this year’s Clifton Centennial Celebration and Councilman Ray Grabowski. pushed all the city’s volunteers to the limit. As for the flags, Meyer included praise for ‘Power of “It was exhausting,” Meyer admitted. Demand for One’ star Kim Castellanos, who happened to be nearby the flag’s presence in 2017 forced him and others to during the interview, saying, “She’s helped me immensescale back their usual efforts supporting the Car Show ly with the brochure.” In playful retaliation, Castellanos and various concerts, though Meyer noted others effusively praised Meyer in return, saying, “He’s a city stepped in to help. treasure. He gets things done.” “People ask me to do these various things; they think Reluctantly relenting while accepting a compliment, I get paid,” he said. That includes requests for TV coverMeyer responded, “The work is something we all can be age on the city’s station, and even that is fraught with proud of.” Clifton residents can and should be proud of some risk. “We have to weigh what goes on TV and what Pat Meyer’s ongoing dedication.

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By Douglas John Bowen

Michelle Petrasek takes a diverse approach to music so that parishioners at St. Andrew’s don’t just attend... they get involved!

It takes work and dedication to direct a musical choir. Multiply that time three – add a substitute fourth assemblage during the summer! – and you’ll find Michelle Petrasek at the helm of a superlative effort by any standard. Petrasek runs three vocal choirs for adults, teens and children, as well as a family choir in summer, as Pastoral Associate of Music and Youth Ministry of St. Andrew the Apostle Church on Mt. Prospect Ave. Her responsibilities range far beyond music, though music is the central core of her job. “I was promoted in 2016 to Pastoral Associate at the church, which basically means I help Father Rick Kilcomons run the church,” she said. “Everyone asks, ‘What does a pastoral associate do?’ because it’s such a vague title. Basically, I run the music ministry, youth ministry, website and social media,” somewhat proud and certainly pleased to broaden the church’s social outreach effectiveness through 21st century means. 24 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

“But I also do things like participate on the Finance Committee, assist with creating the church bulletin every week, and promoting both parish and school events, aside from watering the plants and feeding Father Pat’s cat,” she quipped, referring to Rev. Msgr. Patrick J. Scott, In Residence. Preparing tomorrow’s parishioners Petrasek believes a large part of her job is to encourage youngsters to view church attendance as an enjoyable experience, not just ritual, and choir is one way to achieve that. It’s one reason, she added during an interview last month, why attendance at St. Andrew’s has remained relatively stable even as other houses of worship throughout New Jersey (and the US) have struggled with declining rolls. And the parishioner base at St. Andrew’s has “a lot of enthusiasm. That’s why I love it there. It’s the greatest job in the world,” Petrasek said.


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St. Andrew’s teen and youth choirs.

Father Rick Kilcomons credits Petrasek for igniting much of that enthusiasm at St. Andrew’s. “You found the right person in Michelle,” he said. Backing that enthusiasm is some solid planning – along with some trialand-error. “I realized that the best way to get people in the doors is to get a kid’s choir so we have a future for the church,” because young choir members “would eventually trickle into the adult’s choir,” she explained. It also alleviates the anxiety young or inexperienced singers might have joining an established choir. “It’s hard to sing well when you’re intimidated from the start. “I think it’s important to note that, as a youth minister, I try not to flood youth group nights with things like Bible readings or formal prayer, but rather facilitate discussions and provide opportunities for community service,” she observed. That way, “the teens can share their experiences as young Catholics in a modern world, all within a safe space where we can talk about anything, and we can be good to one another in the way Christ’s teachings remind us to be.” Music is her primary tool. Petrasek runs a vocal choir for adults, one for teens, and a third for younger children during the school-year months. The tripartite approach wasn’t her first effort, she acknowledged. “I created a bad mix at first, with seniors mixed with second graders,” she recalled with amusement. “That didn’t work well at all. I figured we needed a teen choir.” The lineup today, per Petrasek: A children’s choir “for kids in the 1st through 5th grades; it sings Sundays at 9 am mass, which also has a children’s liturgy of The Word so it’s a great mass for families”; 26 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

A teen choir “for preteens and teens in the 6th to 12th grade; it sings alternating Saturdays at the 5pm vigil mass, preceding youth group, which is open to high schoolers almost every Saturday at 6 pm”; and The adult choir for both adults and musically advanced teens, perhaps the most “traditional” of church choir membership arrangements. It sings “every Sunday morning at the 11:15 am mass.” All three groups normally rehearse on Thursday evenings. “I have them all in one day, all in a row,” Petrasek said. In part that’s because “it’s easier for the parents. I have a couple of parents who have a kid in children’s choir and one in teen choir, and they’re in the adult choir. That’s a full day for anyone, not just me.” Summer sessions and handbell hopes Petrasek also weighs parental considerations during the summer, in essence organizing a fourth choir at St. Andrew’s. “We operate a Family Choir in the summer, due to parishioners being on vacation and other matters,” she said. “The choir sings for six weeks during the summer, a song per week.” Petrasek said the twofold motivation is to allow regular choir members to take a break from their yearlong duties, without guilt, and to accommodate summer plans, also without guilt.


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“The traditional choirs that sing throughout the year meet every week for nine months; it’s a lot of work and they’re expected to be there very week,” regardless of age, she said. “But in the summer, that would be unfair.” Beyond that, “A rigid schedule just wouldn’t work,” she said. During the summer, choir members can “come for one summer week, or all six weeks, or It’s not all about song—sometimes it’s fun, games and ghouls. whenever they can,” she said. and myself together, or a meal is donated by a parent or How about yet another choir, making five in all? group of parents,” she said, noting the help she gets with Petrasek hopes to reinstate a handbell choir at some the effort. “Some nights are formal meetings where we point, but faces some logistical issues, such as old handdiscuss upcoming programs like parish or school events bells that sat unused for up to 20 years. Handbells in that the teens are volunteering at. Some are a movie good condition are delicate as it is, and the ones at St. night or peer-led night on a topic of a peer’s choice.” Andrew’s “were super-old,” she said. Outside St. Andrew’s, Petrasek volunteers for singing “There’s no handbell choir right now because, after duties at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Saddle Brook. practicing with them for months for last year’s Beyond music, Petrasek is a fundraising volunteer Christmas show, we basically destroyed them,” she with Angels of Animals in Clifton, which advances pet added. “We need to raise close to $3,000 to have them adoption. She also offers private music instruction and all refurbished and repaired. youth workshops (MichellePetrasek.com), leveraging “So: Perhaps next year,” Petrasek said, with an Easter her experience as a piano teacher and librarian. presentation a tentative target at the moment, conditions Outside interests aside, Petrasek has more plans for permitting. Not that new handbells will resolve every expanding St. Andrew’s outreach, musically or otherobstacle. “Handbells are difficult to handle, even when wise, in line with previous efforts, and she readily credone isn’t singing,” she said. its the support from others. “I held a parish logo contest In November, “we begin rehearsing for our annual which parishioner Martha McGowan won, so she creat‘Carols by Candlelight’ night, which is a free Christmas ed the parish logo we now use. Parishioner Veronica concert/sing-along event in the church on Dec. 10 at 5 Pirog created a youth group logo we now use, too, pm. It’s free, but we do take goodwill offerings that will because I think it’s super important to brand ourselves.” go toward refurbishing our handbells,” she said. Petrasek also praises St. Andrew’s Office Manager Barbara Quinlan “who does a super job” with the Other tasks, other venues church’s bulletin at standrewsclifton.org each week.” Outside of being a virtuoso choir director, Petrasek’s What’s to come? Petrasek’s goals include “bringing past duties have included teaching music to grades K-8 back a spring concert (eliminated in 2017 due to at St. Andrew’s School, singing at all masses, playing Clifton’s 100th anniversary events), and hopefully piano as needed, and participating at wedding opening up a parish pop up shop where we can sell and funeral services not just at St. Andrew’s but for items with our church logo to fund raise for the parish many churches in the region. — not just for the youth ministry or music ministry but She’s proud of her efforts directing the parish’s the parish itself.” Certainly, Father Rick young group for teens, grades 9 through 12, linked but Kilcomons praise of Michelle Petrasek as the “right perin addition to choir rehearsals. “Every youth group night son” for his musical flock seems fitting, indeed. includes a ‘family’ dinner, usually cooked by the teens 28 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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By Jay Levin Weather permitting, volunteers will descend on the Clifton municipal campus before sunrise Nov. 11 – Veterans Day — to place flagpoles bearing the Stars and Stripes along the walkways and roadways and on lawns. More than 1,800 flags, each dedicated to a veteran, will transform the seat of city government into a breathtaking tableau of red, white and blue – a daylong tribute to the men and women from Clifton who served America in the military. The Avenue of Flags draws throngs of onlookers on the holidays when the flags are raised: Memorial Day in May, Flag Day in June, the Fourth of July, the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and Veterans Day in November. To those who make it possible, this 15-year-old Clifton tradition is a labor of love. Now, the tradition is getting an infusion of new ideas and energy. The Avenue of Flags began with the Power of One: World War II vet Walt Pruiksma. 30 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

On Memorial Day in 2001, while visiting his son in Sheldon, Iowa, he happened upon a park where a similar star-spangled display honored local veterans. “It gave me goose pimples,” recalled the old soldier, now 94. Pruiksma corralled other veterans and secured the go-ahead from city officials to create an Avenue of Flags in Clifton. It debuted on Labor Day 2002, with some 200 flags representing local veterans. Pruiksma moved to the Shore not long afterward. The Avenue of Flags has since been nurtured and steered by John Biegel Jr., a Korean War vet, and Keith Oakley, son of a career Army man. But age and health concerns have compelled Biegel and Oakley to recruit newcomers for the committee of Clifton Veterans Avenue of Flags, the nonprofit which administers the display. Two who recently joined are poised to assume leadership roles, though Biegel and Oakley plan to remain involved. “Over the years I watched the Avenue of Flags grow bigger and bigger, with the flags moving to new


sections,” said Joe Tuzzolino, a retired Clifton police detective and Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, and grand marshal of the city’s 2009 Veterans Day parade. “It was impressive at 200 flags, it was impressive at 500 flags. Who would’ve thought it would get up to 1,800 flags? “I initially had no intention of joining the committee,” said Tuzzolino, whose name graces one of the flags that fly on the holidays. “I’d come down and help put up and take down the flags, but then I got a message that they wanted to talk to me. John and Keith said it was getting hard for them to move around, and they were thinking of getting someone down here and my name came up. How can you say no to that? I’m humbled.” Marie Schultheis, a home health aide and another volunteer, also is stepping up her involvement. Her father and uncle were in World War II; another uncle was in the Korean War; and her cousin’s son was killed in the Iraq War.

Walter Pruiksma was a 20-year-old Military Policeman when he landed in Normandy, France in 1944. Soon he was approached by an ill Frenchwoman and her family who spoke no English and pleaded for help. Pruiksma volunteered to escort the family over the front line to a hospital. For this specific incident and for his role as an American GI who participated in the French liberation from the Nazis, Pruiksma was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the President of France in 2016. The honor was created by Napoleon in 1802 to acknowledge service rendered to France by persons of great merit. Some 70 years later, Pruiksma’s bravery is still recognized by people thousands of miles away and here in Clifton. Honor vets like Pruiksma by adding a banner to the Avenue of Flags, which are posted, dawn to dusk, six times a year on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, 9/11 and Veterans Day. To purchase a flag for a vet ($110) or to volunteer with set up, call Keith Oakley at 201-774-6666. Cliftonmagazine.com • November 2017

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“It’s a beautiful sight to see and it says a lot about Clifton that we honor our veterans this way,” said Schultheis, who views helping with the Avenue of Flags as giving back to veterans and to her hometown. For $110, any veteran who lives or used to live in Clifton, or any family wishing to honor a Clifton veteran living or deceased, can purchase a spot on the Avenue of Flags. The $110 buys a 3-by-5-foot flag, 10-foot pole, brass nameplate that identifies the veteran, and the gear that allows the pole to be stuck into the ground. The flags have to be assembled, no small undertaking. Clifton Veterans Avenue of Flags foots the bill to replace worn flags and poles, which makes fundraising a priority. Collection jars have been the preferred method, but Tuzzolino and Schultheis say they want to expand the nonprofit’s fundraising. Tuzzolino also wants to find a bigger space for the flags and poles, which are now stored in a barn on the municipal campus, and to computerize recordkeeping. At present, details on every flag – who it represents and where it is placed on the Avenue of Flags – are handwritten in ledger books. Come 2018, the Avenue of Flags will be even more impressive. A $15,000 grant from Passaic

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US Navy 2nd Class Petty Officer Alfred Aiple Jr. and his 83 shipmates aboard the USS Bullhead remain on Eternal Patrol, a term used by Navy historians to denote a submarine lost in combat. Aiple, who was 23 years old when he entered WWII, lived on 8 Englewood Rd. As a quartermaster on the Bullhead, he had completed two patrols in the western Pacific and the ship was in the Java Sea when the sub made its last radio transmission on August 6,1945, the same day as the Hiroshima bombing. The 84 on the Bullhead were the last crew and vessel lost in WWII, and among the war’s 400,000 KIA, or killed in action. The Bullhead was not declared MIA until after V-J Day, September 2, 1945. As of 2017 the US Defense Dept. knows the location of six Navy subs lost in WW II; the Bullhead is not one of them. Aiple’s flag flies in the MIA section of Clifton’s Avenue of Flags. – by Rich De Lotto

County is allowing the nonprofit to buy flags for 175 service members whose names are etched on the city’s war memorial on Main Avenue but not currently represented on the Avenue of Flags. Those banners will be added to the Avenue’s Field of Honor section –


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for those killed in action – and should be raised next Memorial Day. That would bring the total flag count to about 2,000. Not surprisingly, Clifton’s Avenue of Flags has far outgrown the Avenue of Flags that inspired it. After all, Clifton – population 85,000 — is 17 times bigger than Sheldon, Iowa. Sheldon’s Avenue of Flags started in 1979 and consists of 700 flags, each representing a local veteran. As in Clifton, the flags go up on five holidays, but the schedule is different: Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, both in May; Flag Day in June, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day in September. Veterans Day is not observed because in November, the ground in northwestern Iowa is likely to be frozen or covered by snow. Bernie Wissink, a Korean War-era Army veteran, was in charge of Sheldon’s Avenue of Flags when Walt Pruiksma first saw the display. Pruiksma reached out to Wissink. “He and I had a good conversation,” recalled Wissink, who was happy to share Sheldon’s Avenue of Flags procedures with Pruiksma. Clifton adopted those procedures, ranging from the size of the flags and poles to how the flagpole holes are dug, almost to the letter. The 89-year-old Wissink has never visited Clifton but the Iowan feels a kinship with New Jersey’s 11th-largest

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Steve Bykowsky was a 19year-old Prisoner Of War who was “fattened up by his Nazi captors before this pictured was taken in December 1945,” said his son Stephen, who recently purchased a flag to commemorate his dad. A paratrooper with the 101st Airborne, I Company, from Ft. Campbell KY., Bykowsky jumped into Nazi Germany on June 5, 1944, the night before the Normandy invasion. Due to high winds, the jump went bad and he was captured within two hours of landing. Held prisoner from June 6, 1944, he was released six months after the war ended and returned to his hometown of Jersey City. In 1955, he and his family moved to Clifton where he lived until his death in1991, and where his family still resides.

city. “Not a lot of people know that you patterned your Avenue of Flags after us,” he said. “But you’ve got a much greater display.” Pruiksma, the patriot who brought the Avenue of Flags to Clifton, is happy that the tradition will continue to thrive under new leadership. “I’m thrilled and excited that we’re reaching the 2,000 mark,” he said, “and I’m proud of all the men and women from Clifton who served.”


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Grand Marshal Bill Van Eck Leading the march from Athenia to City Hall By Tom Hawrylko As a member of the C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery in the fall of 1965, Bill Van Eck, shown at right, fired some of the biggest guns in Vietnam. But one of his most memorable days “in country” occurred when he and his comrades took up small arms to save the life of an officer caught in an ambush sometime during January 1966. “I was in the command post talking to the company clerk, who was a buddy of mine,” he said. “A sergeant ran in, all upset, telling us that he needed help. His outfit had been ambushed up the road and the infantry commander, Captain Fritz, had been thrown out of his jeep and knocked unconscious.” Van Eck and about 15 others jumped into an armored personal carrier and raced to the scene. While he and others took up defensive positions to give covering fire, the officer was pulled to safety. “I never found out if he survived or not,” said Van Eck. In terms of his artillery experiences, Van Eck Back in ’Nam, Bill Van Eck circa 1965 and, inset, today. said his unit was the first to shoot the 36-foot He’s active in veterans affairs as a member of barrel, 175mm artillery guns, which had a range of American Legion 347 and Vietnam Veterans of more than 20 miles. Working so close to the big guns America. of Vietnam, which dispersed more than 100 pounds of Van Eck, who lives in Lakeview, has been the nuts explosives per round, eventually resulted in Van Eck and bolts guy with the Avenue of Flags for 12 years, being classified as legally deaf in both ears. where he handles daily maintenance and works along“They’re dinosaurs now,” said of the big guns. side John Biegel. “He’ll be the boss there until he “You’ll find them in museums.” dies,” said Van Eck, laughing. After being discharged, Van Eck, who graduated Except on Sunday, November 5. That’s because from Passaic High School in 1961, worked as a chemBiegel and Keith Oakley nominated Van Eck to lead ical operator at the Giuvadan plant and moved with his the line of march for the Veterans Parade as the 2017 young family to Clifton in 1966. Clifton Grand Marshal. Come out along Van Houten He was later employed by the head custodian at the Avenue and cheer on the men and woman who served West Essex Regional High School until retiring in our country in both peacetime and at war. The parade 2009. The 75-year-old is married to his wife, Mary, begins near Huron Ave. and winds its way to the City and has two kids, Elisabeth and William, as well as Hall campus where it passes a reviewing stand. four grandkids, Maddie, Lexie, Bryan and Dominic. 36 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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Sailing The World, Serving Her Country Cliftonite Valeria Lozano sets course for a career in the US Navy, backed by family, friends and her own abilities. By Douglas John Bowen Some people want to see the world, quite literally. Some families have trends and traditions that make such a goal possible. For Valeria Lozano’s family, the US Navy holds sway, making it a logical career choice for the CHS 2016 graduate. Lozano enlisted in the Navy last April, graduating from Boot camp in June. She’s currently an E-1 (seaman recruit) stationed on the USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitzclass nuclear-powered supercarrier named for former Mississippi US Senator John C. Stennis. The Stennis ended sea trials in August, returning to her home port of Bremerton, Wash., to await her next assignment. Onboard, Lozano is part of the carrier’s Air Department V-2 Division. Her current role is Aviation Boatswain. “I launch and recover the aircraft,” Lozano explained. It’s a career Lozano has planned for even as she attended CHS.

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“I was 15 years old when I decided that I wanted a different experience, that I wanted to follow my brothers’ footsteps,” she said. She was a CHS junior at the time, having skipped 7th grade. She enlisted at age 17, with her parents’ consent. Truth be told, Lozano, who grew up on Lake Ave., has seen a fair portion of the world already, though at a young age. “She played chess [in tournaments] as a child, traveling all over,” according to Lillian Vega, office administrator for St. Peter’s Haven, who got to know Valeria well. Lozano tried to prepare for her naval journey while at CHS. “I took honor classes and college coursed like EMT, criminology and criminal justice,” she said. Perhaps surprisingly, “I was not in ROTC. My recruiter went to basic training and A school with my older brother, Einstein.”


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With (and without) family aid Lozano considers herself fortunate to have role models in the family, including her oldest brother, Einstein Arguello, currently serving as a Navy veteran, and her younger brother, Jorge Lozano, also serving in the Navy. But she still had to adjust to Navy life on her own. “I went to Great Lakes, IL, for basic training,” Lozano recalled. “What was difficult about it was having to live for eight weeks with strangers, staying awake, being away from my family [for an extended period] for the first time. What I learned about myself was how resilient I am, the importance of working as a team, [and] that when I’m put in a very stressful situation I don’t panic.” The growth process wasn’t automatic, or easy. The USS Stennis is on an extended world tour, making contact with Clifton and family a sporadic thing at best. “At first, I was depressed,” Lozano acknowledged. “The berthing is small; I didn’t know anyone; it was lonely.” But those items weighed on her less as she became familiar with the ship and its crew. In addition, “Most important of all I have a routine… When I’m out to sea, I’m able to email my family. Once I hit a port, I’m able to communicate with them.”

Eager to serve Lozano already has shown a strong desire to serve and to help others, according to Lillian Vega, at St. Peter’s Haven. “Valeria started volunteering at St. Peter’s Haven Food Pantry at the age of 14, and remained with the program until “she left for the US Navy,” Vega said. Vega herself began work at St. Peter’s Haven in July 2015, and Lozano “was already here,” Vega said, describing how the two met. “She spoke Spanish fluently so that helped with our clients. She helped organize food drives, helping distribute food on our Thanksgiving Drive and so on. We hired her as a [CHS] student on Saturdays and she helped beyond that when she could. Her help was invaluable. She has good head on her shoulders, very helpful, trying to do anything to help.Wwe’re all very proud of her,” Vega added. Between graduation from CHS and enlistment, Lozano attended Passaic County Community College for two semesters. “My motivation is my mom and my sister,” Valeria said. “I want a better life for my mom and to set a good example for my younger sister. I hope to achieve all my goals like earning my medical degree, to put my mom in a better situation.

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From top left: Judith A. Bassford, Lucy Danny, Frank Kasper and Andrew White, candidates for Clifton’s Board of Education. At right, former Secretary of State – and Vietnam veteran – John Kerry on Oct. 11 visited the VFW Post 7165 on Valley Rd. and joined Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, and Murphy’s running mate Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, to discuss veterans’ issues.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7, and Clifton citizens are urged to vote for local, county and state government candidates appearing on their ballot despite 2017’s categorization as an “off”-year election. Herewith a rundown of candidates on the ballot in Clifton, along with brief biographies and/or position statements, and a description of the two public questions state voters can decide. CLIFTON BOARD OF EDUCATION Three of the nine seats on the Board of Education are being contested, with four candidates vying for the slots. Current BOE at-large member Tafari Anderson is seeking a state Assembly seat. Board members Judith A. Bassford and Lucy Danny filed for re-election and are facing former candidate Frank Kasper and relative newcomer Andrew White. Lucy Danny, first elected to the BOE in 2011, said she first ran because “I was unhappy with [Gov. Chris 40 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Christie] attacking the general culture of school systems.” Danny believes Clifton schools offer “a quality education, and the worst part is we don’t advertise it as much, the wonderful things that we do,” including the city’s art program, STEM program, and AP classes “that students take to get 30-plus credits and reduces college costs. We should showcase more of that.” Danny holds two Master’s degrees and is pursuing a Doctorate in educational leadership in instruction. Currently a teacher in Paramus, she has 16 ½ years of teaching experience. Danny considers herself “a team player and I work well with the Board, which is important on a board of nine.” Judith A. Bassford, also first elected to the BOE in 2011, has lived in Clifton since 1986, and has two children who are CHS graduates. She’s served on BOE committees covering “Finance, Residency, Negotiations, Education and Chair of Policy.” Bassford also tapped “training provided for me by the New Jersey School


Boards Association (NJSBA), worked diligently at becoming a Certified Board Member (2013), Master Board Member (2014) and a Certified Board Leader (2016).” Last May she was elected president of the Passaic County School Board Association by delegates from each district in the county. “On a state level for the NJSBA I serve as the Legislative Representative for the 34th District,  Delegates Assembly, Urban School Boards, Resolutions Subcommittee and Finance Committee,” Bassford wrote in an email. Bassford also has been active in numerous Clifton organizations, including the Girl Scouts of America, and is “one of the founding members of Clifton PRAISE (Parents Requiring Action Information Special Education).” Challenger Frank Kasper hopes to attract more voter support than in previous elections, saying, “I feel I have a better chance this time around.” Kasper hopes to advance a three-point agenda, including: security, including evaluating the feasibility of hiring more resource officers; securing a seat on the Finance Committee; and ensuring accountability “from board members to administrators to teachers.

He added, “I would like to help the Board put policies and procedures together to ensure students get the best education.” Andrew White, whose campaign for a BOE seat in 2014 gained respectable support though falling short, said, “There are some strengths and opportunities within the district which I believe I can help leverage. Clifton is a very diverse community, and it’s incumbent upon us to insure that our schools provide the utmost educational needs for our children.” With a son in first grade within the city school system, “I’ve seen firsthand the dedication” of teachers and staff, White said, adding, “There has to be a partnership including teachers, parents, administrators, the community, and of course students.” PASSAIC COUNTY FREEHOLDERS Three seats of the seven comprising the Freeholder Board are being contested this year. One is to fill a oneyear unexpired term, pitting Republican Michael Vivino against Democrat Assad Akhter. For the other two seats involving three-year terms, incumbent Democrats Theodore “TJ” Best, Jr. and Bruce James face off

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Thomas P. Giblin, Sr., Sheila Oliver, Nicholas G. Surgent, Tafari Anderson and Nia Gill.

against Republicans Lori Mambelli and John Cappo, Jr. Theodore “TJ” Best said the incumbent Freeholder Board has “done a good job and I want to continue the work we’ve done. We’ve increased our bond rating, stabilized our taxes and provided quality service,” he said. The county’s rating has risen five times in the last eight years “because we budget extremely conservatively; we budget for the future; we try to not go after any one-time gimmicks. When we see a problem in one [budget] year, we try to remediate that going forward.” Rejecting accusations of reckless spending and too much debt, Best said, “By law we have to provide a balanced budget; we can’t go to a money tree.” Cautious debt is cost-effective when the county has better credit, and “our borrowing capacity is a lot more than we’ve considered; we’re nowhere near capacity, and we have a substantial rainy day fund,” he said. “We believe we have a better handle [than his challengers] on how government works.” Best is proud of the reinvestment in Weasel Brook Park, including hiring staff “to protect those investments to keep it clean and secure,” and the county’s recently created Drug Policy Council, recently created to address the opioid epidemic from a regional standpoint. Bruce James has served as a Freeholder since 2006, and seeks to continue in the role because, he said, “I enjoy it.” He retired from the Passaic County Board of Social Services, but because of that stint people continue to seek him out. “Anything to do with someone in need, I usually get a call. If you don’t enjoy that, you shouldn’t be in the business. You’re here to help people. You need to listen to people in respond. If you don’t listen, you don’t belong here,” he said. The Clifton resident has worked to aid city nonprofit organizations involving open space, and funding for Art Center and Hamilton House improvements. 42 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

James also is pursuing funds for handicap bathroom access at Surgent Field “because that’s where our handicapped kids play,” he said. Countywide, James credited the freeholders for a “zero tax levy increase this year; that wasn’t easy to do,” and also said Passaic County had five bond rating upgrades while New Jersey’s rating fell 11 times. For the Republican challengers, John Cappo, Jr. seeks to apply his 32 years of business acumen in advertising and marketing, education in finance, and 41 years of county residency to the Freeholder board. “At this point, if you want to get involved in politics, you have to give it your all,” he said. “As a businessman I know what it takes, and I think the county’s business should be run more like a [private enterprise] business. You can’t spend more than you take in,” and it’s unfair to burden Passaic County taxpayers with perennial budget shortfalls, he asserted. Cappo opposes cutting existing programs, “but we have to look at the budget and look with a microscope” to ensure a cost-effective approach, he said. Cappo noted Passaic County is “one of the most heavily taxed counties in the state,” with his hometown of Wayne the largest contributor and “Clifton right behind it”; together, the two municipalities cover 40% of the county budget. “I think that’s a little unfair,” he said. Lori Mambelli, Cappo’s running mate and a lifelong county resident, echoes many of Cappo’s concerns, including the burden on Wayne and Clifton, and seeks to highlight accountability. “Our seniors and families are moving away” because of safety and rampant crime concerns “and because of our taxes,” she said. County reliance on “one-offs” doesn’t help stability, either, she said: “There is no sustainability in financing; we can get a grant this year and that’s great, but next year [the cost] is on the taxpayer’s back to maintain and so forth.”


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Lori Mambelli, John Cappo, Jr., Assad Akhter, Theodore “TJ” Best, Jr., and Bruce James.

The current board’s decision-making process, she said, often ignores or defies the wishes of county residents. In one instance, she asserted, an Astroturf soccer field installed “against the wishes of the residents and the mayor … the residents appealed it, but the freeholders moved foreward with it anyway.” Retired after 25 years with the Passaic County Sheriff Department, Mambelli said her career gave her extensive experience that “goes beyond law enforcement,” including handling major project and drafting resolutions. “So I have county experience,” she stated, “and I understand the sustainability aspect of grants and outside revenue.” Mambelli also asserted the county has amassed $175 million in debt in the past three years, putting its debt total at more than $578 million at the end of last year. As for filling a one-year term, Republican Michael Vivino vies against Democrat Assad Akhter. Assad Akhter, a graduate of Seton Hall University, was appointed freeholder last December after Freeholder Hector Lora resigned to become mayor of the City of Passaic. Akhter is running to serve out the remainder of the term. He had served as deputy chief of staff for Congressman Bill Pascrell (9th district) prior to his appointment, spending “half my time in D.C. and half up here in New Jersey,” he said. Akhter is a resident of Paterson’s Lakeview neighborhood, “not far from the Clifton border,” he noted, and is director of Community Outreach at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. Outreach is critical for any effective public official as well, he asserted, saying, “I want to be part of that process. I’ve tried to talk to people about making government more accessible to them.” On the flip side, “The answer is not to [just] rail against government. You need an engaged citizenry, and I ask people to get involved,” he said. That’s not always 44 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

easy, he allowed, due to work and family issues. In addition, “Some people don’t know what a freeholder’s role is and are embarrassed to ask,” he said. Opposing Akhter is Michael Vivino, a resident of Wayne, who won the Republican primary special election last spring with nearly 80% of the primary vote. Vivino has run a low-key campaign, though he did appear in a debate with Akhter in mid-October, sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Efforts by Clifton Merchant Magazine to reach Vivino for comment before press time were unsuccessful. NEW JERSEY STATE ASSEMBLY Thomas P. Giblin, Sr. (D) and Sheila Oliver (D), both incumbents in the 34th district, are being challenged by Republicans Nicholas G. Surgent and Tafari Anderson. Thomas P. Giblin, completing a fourth term as Assemblyman, has advanced environmental legislation that, among other items, seeks Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines for public schools, and incorporating solar panel design and construction in new public schools. Sheila Oliver, also running for Lieutenant Governor on the Democratic ticket led by Philip Murphy, must relinquish her Assembly seat she has held since 2004, should she win the executive position. (Should that occur, Clifton residents will once again go to the polls at some future date to elect an Assembly representative.) As an Assemblywoman, Oliver has supported increases in the minimum wage, equal pay, and making millionaires and corporations pay a larger share of the tax load. She also supports funding for Planned Parenthood. Republican Nicholas G. Surgent is a Financial Reporting Associate at Prudential Financial in Newark. Born and raised in Clifton, the CHS 2011 gradu-


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ate obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Business Analytics from Drexel University, and is attending Seton Hall part-time for an MS in accounting. Surgent said his motivation to run for office began “during the last few years of high school; I saw some of the budget cuts hit the sports department and music department (I was a member of the Mustang Marching Band). You could see it going on, and it’s only gotten worse since I left high school.” Surgent also noted On Oct.10, Clifton ASAP (Advocating Solutions and Progress) hosted a Board of that Clifton at present is the Education candidates night at the Allwood Library. Among residents attending: “largest city throughout the state BOE candidate Lucy Danny (seated, far left), ASAP’s Mary Sadrakula (seated secwithout direct representation,” ond from left), and BOE candidate Judith Bassford (seated third from left). something his election would school vouchers. Past efforts include sponsoring legislaaddress directly. That said, “We want to make sure every tion to strengthen New Jersey's money laundering and municipality in the 34th district has its voice heard,” he check cashing laws, and legislation to strengthen the stated. ability of municipalities to use public funds for developSurgent’s running mate for Assembly, fellow ing low-and-moderate income housing. Cliftonite Tafari Anderson, is an at-large representative Challenger Mahir Saleh, a practicing dentist on Main on the Clifton Board of Education, first elected in 2012. Ave in Clifton for 13 years, who also resides in the city, He worked as a network engineer at St. Mary’s General graduated from New York University / College Of Hospital in Passaic for 14 years, and is currently Dentistry Medical School in 2004. He said that as a state Technology Director for the Milltown (NJ) public school senator, he will fight for the “efficient spending of tax system. dollars and to ensure our schools are safer and fairly While on the Clifton BOE, Anderson advocated susfunded.” He supports school vouchers, adding that “partainable special needs programs on all grade levels and ents of schools in under-performing schools should be bridge the quality gap amongst schools in Clifton School given the option of choosing a better school.” District, educational transparency and accountability, implementing intelligent technology and computer proNEW JERSEY GOVERNOR gramming curricula to improve learning and offset disLieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno (R) seeks to trict expenses. Last year Tafari ran for a Passaic County rise to the state’s top elected slot after serving eight years Freeholder seat, but fell short. in the No. 2 executive position; her running mate is Carlos A. Rendo. Guadagno’s Democratic challenger is NEW JERSEY STATE SENATE Philip Murphy, a former Wall Street executive. Incumbent State Senator Nia H. Gill (D) is running Murphy’s running mate is Assemblywoman Sheila against Republican Mahir Saleh, a relative political Oliver, also on the ballot for her Assembly seat. Others novice, for State Senate in the 34th district. running for governor include: Libertarian Party candiNia H. Gill, a state senator since 2002, emphasizes date Peter J. Rohrman; Matthew Riccardi of the her support for public schools and her opposition to 46 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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Constitution Party; Gina Genovese (Reduce Property Taxes); Seth Kaper-Dale of the Green Party; and Vincent Roth (We The People). Guadagno and Murphy agree on some issues, such as New Jersey rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (pronounced “REGGIE”), an environmental iniRepublican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno, running mate tiative including other northeastern states, Carlos Rendo and senate candidate Mahir Saleh. and the need for Amtrak’s Gateway Project, improving rail capacity between New Jersey PUBLIC QUESTIONS and Manhattan. Both also are pro-choice on abortion. Voters statewide will vote on two Public Questions: But the two major candidates differ sharply on immiThe State Library Construction Bond Act, and a progration policy, with Murphy suggesting New Jersey posed Constitutional Amendment Dedicating Moneys become a “Sanctuary State” while Guadagno adheres From State Environmental Contamination Cases. more closely to current federal policy on the matter. Co-sponsored by Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin, Guadagno also advocates “immediate relief for the peoThe State Library Construction Bond Act would ple who need it the most” with a plan to cut property authorized bonds worth $125 million for “the constructaxes, something current Gov. Chris Christie was unable tion, reconstruction, development, extension, improveto do. Murphy counters with a proposal for educational ment and furnishing of New Jersey’s public libraries; credits for moderate-income families, designed to ease providing the ways and means to pay and discharge the the average New Jersey’s fiscal burden in that manner. principal of and interest on the bonds; providing for the Guadagno’s choice for succeeding her as Lieutenant submission of this act to the people at a general election; Governor, Carlos A. Rendo, currently serves as mayor and making an appropriation therefor [sic].” of Woodcliff Lake, NJ, elected to the post in 2015. He The proposed Constitutional Amendment was co-chair of the Marco Rubio campaign in New Dedicating Moneys From State Environmental Jersey in the race for the Republican presidential nomiContamination Cases, advanced by the state Senate, nation in 2016. He also is an immigration lawyer at amends the state Constitution “ to dedicate all State monNorth Bergen-based Mulkay & Rendo. eys received from settlements and awards in cases of Rendo has attacked his Democratic opponent, Sheila environmental contamination for certain environmental Oliver, for her January 2016 “unauthorized” trip to purposes.” The purposes “could include preserving, Cuba; Rendo immigrated to the US from Cuba from “the repairing, or restoring natural resources. They may also same regressive regime that my family and I fled, that is include cleaning contaminated sites and underground now harboring a cop killer,” a reference to escaped constorage tank sites, funding water quality programs, or vict Joanne Chesimard, who was sentenced to life in preserving open space, farmland, or historic buildings or prison for her role in the killing of a New Jersey state sites,” according to the proposal’s interpretive statement trooper in 1977. on the ballot. At present, such funds may be redirected to For her part, Sheila Oliver has indirectly trained her any state program, which critics say can undermine state criticism at Guadagno, not at Rendo, suggesting environmental efforts. Guadagno had only token responsibilities at best in her In terms of negative campaigning, Guadagno has sugstint as Lieutenant Governor. Oliver last summer assertgested that Murphy’s background with Goldman Sachs ed that Murphy has “said to me repeatedly that this L.G. is evidence that he is out of touch with average New will be a real job,” she said. “This isn't going to be a ribJerseyans’ concerns, including the Garden State’s high bon-cutting job.” As noted, Sheila Oliver has held her property tax burden. Murphy’s campaign has strived to Assembly seat since 2004 and, if elected as Lieutenant paint Guadagno as an obedient pawn of Gov. Christie. Governor, would have to relinquish her legislative post. 48 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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It’s time once again for the Annual Boys & Girls Club get-together, celebrating past triumphs and also casting an eye on the future. B&G Club alumni and friends will gather at The Club on Nov. 17 at 7 pm, to induct six generations of ‘kids’ who were members and are being named to the Club’s Hall of Fame. On the following pages are bios on some of those folks. Tickets for the event are $40. All are invited. The Club is powered by dedicated volunteers, but more members and sponsors are always welcome. For more info, call Development Director John DeGraaf at 973-773-0966 x 111.

Albert Moubayed Boys & Girls Club sports opportunities were the breakthrough route for Albert Moubayed, who immigrated to the US from Syria in 1984 when he was just 7 years old. Indeed, sports was the “common language” for a child who arrived at the Club speaking no English. “I loved the ping-pong tables, banging off those low walls boards for indoor soccer and shooting basketball,” said Moubayed, who is now 42 and among the handful of Club Alumni being inducted to the B&G Club’s Hall of Fame. “I won the 3 Point Pepsi Shooting Contest two years in a row,” he said laughing, then added in a serious vein, “I’ll be bringing the trophies to the beefsteak.” Moubayed learned English thanks to tutors at School 2 and went on to graduate from CHS in 1996. But when he recalls his early days in Clifton, he points to early mentors such as Don Knapp, Rich BelBruno, Tom Acton and Maryann Goodwin, among others, who helped him acclimate to not only Clifton but to America as well. 50 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

He recalls a particular act of kindness: “The truth is my mom never had money. I was doing pretty good at soccer but I couldn't afford goalie gloves. Somehow Mrs. Schneider heard and bought me a set of gloves,” he recalled. “She was really nice.” Then there are his good friends, like Danny Quassi and his brother Sam, as well as fellow Hall of Famer Randy Natoli. Moubayed also can count on his “little brother” Riad, now 38, who with his wife Bethany just had a baby girl named Alexis. As a teenager, Moubayed and his “gang” spent a lot of time at the Teen Center and, sometimes, on the front stoop of the Club where they would “order two pies for $10 from Villa Roma and munch them down right there on Clifton Ave.” Many Cliftonites recognize Moubayed today as the counter man at Bagel Station on Van Houten Ave., where he’ll offer a joke or two and otherwise engage in conversation with his customers. “Hey... I’m hoping to see some of my customers at the Beefsteak. Come out. Support The Club.”


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Jill Troller Jill Troller recalled initially being apprehensive upon hearing that The Girls Club of Clifton, founded in 1966, would be merged into the Boys & Girls Club. “We didn’t know what to expect. What would be different? Would it be as good? “Well, it was different and each club had its pros and cons, but the constants Jill and Kelly Troller in their Club days. Above, Jill and Kelly today. were always Patty [Lavender] and Mary Jo [Foster],” Jill continued. “Being honored with this induction is something “What building we were in didn’t matter; it was the very special to me and my sister,” Jill said. “It feels people that made the club.” like a reciprocation of all of the love, admiration and “After the merger, I started attending Camp Clifton. respect we have had for the Club and its staff over the I have made friends during that time of my life that I decades.” still am in touch with today,” she said. Jill has plenty of good memories. “I remember Kelly Troller starting the Girls Club and meeting Powee (Patty “It’s an honor to be one of the first Girls Club kids Lavender) and Madooshka (Mary Jo Foster) as my to be inducted into the Boys & Girls Club Alumni Hall counselors, and feeling like I had a second home. Our of Fame,” said Kelly Troller. mother, Susan, had always been a single parent and “I have so many great memories of both clubs. I’ve worked three jobs for as long as I could remember as a made friendships that have lasted through time. The child so having a place like the Girls Club was fantasClub was an important part of my life growing up in tic growing up,” she said. Clifton. I love that I can bring my son Stephen here As well, “I remember taking field trips from Sun today and it’s still like family here,” Kelly said. Tan Lake to Great Adventure with the Club. [And] That’s high praise coming from someone for whom doing my homework after school once I was dropped family is paramount. off by Powee, who would pick us all up from our indi“I always say my first job is my son, my part-time vidual schools all over Clifton in the Club van,” she job is always my second job,” she said. For Kelly, as said. for her sister Jill, the Boys & Girls Club played a vital “I learned gymnastics, learned to cook, make role. “I started at the Girls Club and I would cry every friends, play sports and have confidence in myself. day; ask Patty [Lavender]!” she quipped. “I was with Interestingly, the people who ran the Club (Gloria) and the Club when the two clubs merged together. There I the counselors, Patty, Mary Jo, Eileen and plenty of learned to swim, shoot pool, play cards and play box others, were all women,” Jill pointed out. “This set a ball.  So many great memories. great example of how women can be strong, independ“I went to Camp Clifton, sleepaway camp in ent and successful, reiterating what I already knew Jefferson, for a couple summers. As a teen I was also a about my mother, but seeing it in many more women member of the Teen Club and the Keystone Club, [and was just icing on the cake and confirmed to me that I have] fond memories traveling with the group. Also could be the same. one summer I was a CIT at the Club, Kelly said. “I was honored to receive the Junior Miss Award The Club’s impact is something Kelly tries to honor during my time at the Girls Club,” which was located through participating in charitable activities. “I volunon Mt. Prospect and Van Houten Aves. Jill said. “It was teer at work through Gap Inc.’s Be What’s Possible the first award I ever won and made me feel like I had Foundation,” she said. “I was the community leader really accomplished something and that the women at for my store in 2016. I organized Adopt a Family for the Club saw something special in me, even back then. the holidays.” 52 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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Charlene Gustafson Calling her induction into the Alumni Hall of Fame “an honor,” Charlene Gustafson said she spent 15 years as a Club member. “Since I can remember, I was enrolled in summer camp as a kid,” Gustafson said. “Aside from summer camp, I was a member of the Clifton Seahawks swim team and participated in the summer swim clinic until I grew old enough to become a part-time lifeguard and swim instructor at age 14. “It was also at that age that I attended practice for the Clifton Mustangs Swim Team while attending high school classes at the club my freshman year,” Charlene said. All in all, she amassed “a lot of time and great memories made here throughout my lifetime that I am and will be forever grateful for.” Charlene’s charitable endeavors today including participation in Light the Night: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Charitymiles.org, and the

Charlene Gustafson and her sister Christine honed their swimming skills through the Boys & Girls Club.

ASPCA. A graduate of Rowan University, Charlene today is an account executive in sales and account management, Charlene is active in Business Network International (BNI) and the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. Swimming remains an important component of her free time. Christine Gustafson “Most of my time growing up was spent at the Boys & Girls Club,” Christine Gustafson recalled. “From Kinderkare to joining the Clifton Seahawks Swim Team when I was five, to Summer camp and swim technique camp.” Swimming was as key an interest to Christine as it was for her sister Charlene. “I traveled with the swim team down to Florida for Nationals each year to compete and represent the Clifton Boys & Girls Club,” Christine said. “I loved being at the Boys & Girls Club every day because I knew it was a safe place and it always felt like my second home.” Graduating from William Paterson University with a Bachelor’s of Science in nursing (BSN, RN), Christine serves as a mentor in the university’s Peerto-Peer program. Like her sister Charlene, she continued honing her swimming skills during her university years. Though not formally involved in charity work, she offers free babysitting service “to help out friends and family,” she said. Echoing her sister Charlene’s sentiments, Christine stated, “It would be an honor to become a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.”

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The following three inductees were profiled in October’s Clifton Magazine.

Mukundha B. Maneyapanda For Dr. Mukundha B. “Mookie” Maneyapanda, now a physicians affiliated with St. Joseph’s University Medical Center and with a private practice in Clifton, the Boys & Girls Club Mukundha B. Maneyapandea, Kathy Dittrich, and Kevin Colluci. was an invaluable plus in his life and help others, which ultimately led me to teaching,” she helped shape his career. “The club gave us a safe place said. “I loved it so much that I volunteered my time to socialize with our peers and learn core values,” he whenever I could during my teenage years.” said. “Bob Foster not only taught my siblings and me Kevin Collucci how to swim, but he served as a mentor,” Mookie said. Clifton Police Officer Kevin Collucci worked at the “His kindness, patience, and compassion are a few of Boys & Girls Club from 1992 to 1995, serving as the his attributes that my sister, brother and I value and try basketball coach for middle school students. He also to incorporate into our daily lives as physicians.” participated in the after-school program as the 5th and 6th grade group counselor, the after-school counselor Kathy Dittrich for School 12, and was a teen counselor for the club’s Kathy Dittrich said the Club was her “happy place” summer program. The experience of coaching helped during her youth. “My formative years were spent him to “develop an understanding as to how to comlearning from caring and compassionate counselors, municate with different age groups,” he said. building lasting friendships, and fostering my desire to

56 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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AL U N N A H T 0 1

A R M A S JOHN

ALK W / N U R K 5 , 2017 OCT. 22

Thank you sponsors! Allwood Diner • R&J Land Care Spencer Savings Bank • Gun for Hire Healing Hands Rehab Integrative Wellness Center John Samra was a Clifton motorcycle officer who was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 21, 2003. To keep his memory eternal, Clifton PBA 36 established a scholarship fund in his name and proceeds from the Oct. 22 event help fund it. Photos from the 10th annual race and walk, which began and ended at City Hall and wound its way into Downtown Clifton, are shown here on these two pages. Pictured top of page are Edgar Aguilar, Miguel Partelo and Nicholas Surgent, the top three male finishers. Kate Hyde, Diane Szatlarski and Ashley Papa were the top three female finishers. At left is Clifton Officer Billy Bais, who paced the runners on his motorcycle and was the honorary chair of the race, as he is set to retire later this month.

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Top: the 2006 Fighting Mustangs with Coach Ron Anello at center showed off their Championship rings, Above left: the 2001 Lady Mustangs soccer team with Coach Stan Lembryk. Above right: Flo Calise with her husband, Frank.

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60 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Roofing • Siding • Gutters Ventilation • Chimneys


Pitching ace Deanna Giordano, who led the Mustangs to a 2007 Softball Championship, second from left, with family. Mustang hockey players Frank Del Vecchio, Thomas Steele and Jim Margitich with their 1976 coach Rick La Duke.

The glory days of being a Mustang were celebrated at noon on October 15 as the Clifton Athletic Hall of Fame inducted a new slate of legends. Pictured here are the inductees with family, friends, coaches and teammates at the Brownstone. Inductees included: Coach Rick La Duke, Coach Florence Calise, 1967; Stephen Yacykewych, 1995; Cara Boseski, 1997; Paul Kornaszewski, 2004; Anthony Yelovich, 2006; Deanna Giordano, 2007; the 2001 CHS girls soccer team; and the 2006 CHS Fighting Mustangs.

Softball player who went on to become coach Cara Boseski and family.

Pawel Kornaszewski with track coach John Pontes, and iceman Anthony Yelovich, family and coach Tom Danko. Cliftonmagazine.com • November 2017

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Clifton surrounds Passaic like a horseshoe, framing its neighbor on three sides. Passaic’s fourth side is bordered by the Passaic River. Since 1923 it’s been this way – big Clifton ready to push smaller Passaic into the water. At least on the football field that is. While the cities exist in relative harmony, on the gridiron, it’s war. Clifton’s Mustangs are forever trying to beat Passaic’s Indians and be done with them. And guess what? Passaic’s not going anywhere. Since their first meeting, the Clifton and Passaic high school teams have battled every year with the 62 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

exception of six seasons. In their 88-game history, the Mustangs have won 11 times more; the Indians say that provides inspiration for this year’s battle. There are many reasons for this intense rivalry with proximity and familiarity the most obvious. But history drives this grudge match – one that extends through bloodlines. Perhaps former Indians Coach Ray McCrann said it best in 1987. “Make no mistake about it,” McCrann told the Dateline Journal before the annual game, “this is big-time intense, that’s for sure. Check the parents over there,” he said referring to


Facing page, Ray Malavasi, Roland Moss, Nick Cvetic and Craig Heyward. In 1947, nearly 13,000 were at Passaic Stadium (including those sitting on top of the snack stand) to watch Clifton’s Bobby Boettcher score a touchdown against Passaic. Clifton won, 32-0. At right, kneeling, Bobby Boettcher, Andy Sventy, Dominic Di Paolo, standing, Tony Eardly, Bob Pityo and Jim Haraka.

the Clifton side. “Most of them graduated from Passaic.” Today, those parents are grandparents but little has changed. That single-minded purpose still runs through families – that game on the calendar with the red circle around it, now made more special by being played on Thanksgiving Day. Winning can cap a great season or salvage a dismal one. And losing? That makes the coming winter much colder and more miserable. To learn more about this storied rivalry, Clifton Merchant Magazine took a look at the series’ great moments, facts, stories and lore. And, if your favorite game or play isn’t mentioned, you’ll likely be angry with us. We understand. When it comes to Clifton vs. Passaic football, someone is usually upset. Enjoy!

The first game On November 4, 1923, the Passaic High football team, known as the “Blue and Red,” traveled northwest on Main Ave. for its first football game against Clifton High’s “Maroon and Gray.” Passaic, a thriving city of 60,000 plus, was already famous due to its basketball “Wonder Team,” then in the midst of an incredible 159-game winning streak. Clifton, a sleepy rural city of 26,000, featured an upstart team known for demolishing its competition. In short time, Clifton had discovered a winning formula: recruit. In 1921, Carlton Palmer, Clifton’s first coach, brought in athletes of ability, size and strength. Because of lax age rules, these players were five and six years older than high school students. “They were not in school (at first),” said quarterback Milt Sutter in a 2002 interview. “I don’t Cliftonmagazine.com • November 2017

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THE PROS Clifton and Passaic NFL and AFL players: Clifton Mustangs • George Barna (1925): Frankford Yellow Jackets • Angelo “Doc” Paternoster (1938): Redskins • Larry Mialik (1968): Falcons & Chargers • Ray Malavasi (1948): Head coach, Broncos & Rams • Joe Scannella (CHS assistant coach 1954): Assistant coach, Browns & Raiders • Dave “Moose” Bosson (1962): Titans (hurt knee, never played) • Bob Holly (1978): Redskins, Eagles & Falcons • Dave Szott (1986): Chiefs, Jets & Redskins

Passaic Indians • James Castiglia (1937): Eagles, Colts & Redskins • Augie Lio (1937): Lions, Yanks, Colts & Eagles • Russ Carroccio (1950): Giants & Eagles • Roland “Sonny” Moss (1965): Colts, Bills, Chargers & Patriots • Jack Tatum (1966): Raiders & Oilers • Ron Mikolajczyk (1968): Giants • Dennis Johnson (1969): Redskins & Bills • Nick Mike-Mayer (1969): Falcons, Bills & Eagles • Steve Mike-Mayer (1971): 49ers, Saints, Lions & Colts • Mark Stevens (1980): 49ers • Tyronne Stowe (1983): Steelers, Cardinals, Seahawks & Redskins • Craig Heyward (1984): Saints, Falcons, Bears, Colts & Rams • Amod Field (1985): Cardinals

Ray Malavasi, Bob Holly, Angelo “Doc” Paternoster, Rolland Moss, Ron Mikolajczyk and Augie Lio.

know what the arrangements were, but they came back to class and attended like everyone else.” Sports historian Lou Poles said the coach would find athletes – some on farms, others in factory jobs. “Palmer,” Poles said, “would tell them by going to school and getting their diploma, they might do something better with their lives.” Top players like Art Argauer and Vince Chimenti were added to form Clifton’s team. “Argauer worked in his father’s tailor shop,” said late sports historian Harry Murtha. “Ziegler, the big center, had a job on the railroad when Palmer found him.” Though Palmer was gone by 1923, Clifton remained powerful, going 6-2 that season. Against Passaic, they looked ready to push the Blue and Red back to their hometown. Playing at magnificent Doherty Oval (now part of 64 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Getty Ave., behind the former Doherty silk mill), Clifton’s Argauer, then 23 years old, “electrified the spectators” by plowing into the end zone twice in the first 11 minutes. But, as the Paterson Morning Call reported, “…with their backs against the wall, (Passaic) Captain Janowski’s warriors fought all the harder for victory.” Janowski, a left tackle and member of the Wonder Team, spurred his team on with its signature “Rip ’em up!” yell. Passaic battled Clifton evenly through the second and third quarters, and dominated in the fourth, scoring a touchdown on an “aerial toss” but fumbling away another scoring drive on the Clifton 20. Down 12-7, the Blue and Red drove to the Clifton 18. But, just as Passaic was poised to score, the final whistle sounded, giving the Maroon and Gray the first win in the iconic series.


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Jim Jenkins rushed for 1,113 yards and 22 TDs in 1973.

It’s a rout! Clifton-Passaic games are often nail-biters but there are years when the score gets out of hand. In the series’ early days (before the passing game gained popularity), a rout was often a 26-0 score – like the one the Red and Blue hung on the Maroon and Gray in 1930. In fact, from 1927 through 1931, Passaic shut out Clifton five consecutive times – that’s five years without scoring a single point! But the Mustangs got revenge beginning in 1956, and Clifton scored plenty. The Mustangs’ greatest rout came in 1973. Entering the contest as a huge favorite, the Mustangs’ Charlie DiGiacomo described it as a “scary game” because so much was a stake – notably the state championship. Clifton, undefeated since November 1971, had a right to be scared. With its shotgun offense, Passaic only trailed, 14-12, at the end of the first quarter. But the Mustangs put fear to good use, rolling to a 75-12 victory behind Jimmy Jenkins’ four touchdowns and Ken Ritoch’s three.

Rivalry Hijinks

Five biggest routs (ranked by point differential): 1973 Clifton 75 Passaic 12 (63) 1963 Clifton 50 Passaic 0 (50) 1970 Clifton 49 Passaic 0 (49) 1956 Clifton 48 Passaic 0 (48) 2004 Clifton 48 Passaic 0 (48)

In any rivalry, fans and players love to have fun at the other side’s expense.

The bell disappears According to 1950s Mustangs great Frank Pecci, the 250-pound brass bell was donated by the Erie Lackawanna Railroad in December 1953 to promote good sportsmanship and fair play. Whichever team won the CliftonPassaic football game would keep the bell until the next contest. If a team won three years in a row, the bell would remain in that city permanently. From 1956 to 1974, Clifton had a long winning streak, and the bell’s significance faded. It was abandoned under the stands at Clifton School stadium before it was re-discovered in 1971. The restored bell remained in Clifton… until it was stolen late at night in 1982. Indians athletic director and former coach Manlio Boverini (inset) said his 66 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

coaches put the bell in a van and took it back to Passaic. “After we took the bell,” Boverini said, “we started getting calls from the school and finally the police called. After talking with them, I made them understand it was all done in fun and just a matter of a long-time rivalry between two schools. But they told us we still had to give it back and we did.” Mustangs ride in Passaic Looking to pay Passaic back for their bell theft in 1983, Clifton Coach Jack Jones had a Mustang logo made specifically to fit over the Indian at Passaic’s stadium. Legend has it that Jones hammered the logo in himself. However, the prank backfired as Passaic trampled Clifton that year, 20-7.


3.

As Christmas approaches, the students, faculty and staff of Paramus Catholic High School participate in the Adopt-A-Family Christmas Project in association with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark. “Catholic Charities makes it possible for the Church to exercise charity – to be a Church that reaches out and lives the mission of service to the poor and vulnerable – providing help and creating hope.” Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark Artist Linnea Capobianco, PC ‘18

Combining Faith and EduCation

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Oyster Bowl bound In 1946, Clifton’s first great season since the 1920s, the Mustangs were a runaway juggernaut, paced by AllAmerican running back Bobby Boettcher (inset). Against Passaic, the snake-hipped Boettcher was unstoppable, stunning Passaic with touchdown runs of 66, 52 and 48 yards. The Mustangs won, 26-14. “Passaic had a line of 250-pound players,” recalled Boettcher. “They were big favorites. Our line of Calo, Tamoosh, Cross and the others weighed about 160 pounds each and pushed them around all day.” After an undefeated season, the Mustangs were invited to play in the Oyster Bowl against Granby High School in Norfolk, Va. Playing before 22,000 people, the Mustangs lost, 6-0, after an apparent Boettcher touchdown was waved off. 1964: Passaic goes undefeated Heading into the final game against Clifton, the unbeaten Indians were a “confident group,” according to Passaic tackle Steve Ontell. Coach John Federici had instituted a weight training program that summer, and the strong team was led by Roland “Sonny” Moss – perhaps the greatest all-around athlete to play for the Indians. “Clifton was our biggest rival,” said Passaic’s Ron Smith, a friend of Moss. “If you wanted a seat at those games, you had to get there early. The players really wanted to beat Clifton. And between (quarterback) Jimmy McKoy and Sonny Moss, they didn’t know who to tackle first.” 68 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Smith has nothing but praise for Moss. “Sonny is a gentleman,” he said. “He was senior class president, polite, well-spoken and what an athlete! The funny thing was Sonny knew nothing about sports – he just played them.” Also on the team was hard-hitting sophomore linebacker Jack Tatum (inset). “My first ‘big game,’” Tatum recalled in 2009. “I was a substitute wingback and carried the ball a lot that day. I scored my first touchdown on about a 45-yard run. Clifton had a big stadium, big crowd… but the fans were pretty much stunned that day.” Indeed they were as Passaic won 27-0 and capped its undefeated season. Clifton finished a mediocre 5-4 in Bill Vander Closter’s first year as head coach. After the game, the Paterson Morning Call asked, “End of an Era?” It wasn’t. Revenge on the Old Hometown Mark Graham lived in Passaic as a grade school student. After playing at Paterson Catholic, he transferred to his new hometown high school and became a Mustang. This didn’t sit well with his old Passaic buddies who, as Graham told The Record, made a couple of comments at a football camp the previous summer. In the Nov. 14, 1987, game between Passaic and Clifton, Graham made a few comments of his own. Using his 4.46 speed, he ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns and intercepted two passes to lead the Mustangs to a 24-13 victory. “They had it coming Saturday,” Graham said in response to his Passaic friends. Ground and pound On Thanksgiving Day 1997, Clifton (6-3) was up, Passaic (3-5) was down. But when teams are rivals, ignore their records. Playing at Clifton Stadium, the Indians were a ground force. Senior Lawrence Booker, who missed most of the season to injury, rushed for 92 yards. Sophomore Jawan Anderson was even better, running for 199 yards. For the Mustangs, UNLV-bound running back Joe Haro, playing his final game for Clifton, rushed for 118 yards.


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TIES & STREAKS With the score tied, 14-14, Passaic put together a furious drive that ended at the Clifton 3-yard line with Booker stopped on second-and-goal as time expired. In overtime, Clifton took to the air for a touchdown from quarterback John Antonucci to tight end Ryan Mikula. The two-point conversion pass play failed. But Passaic kept it on the ground, as Anderson plunged over for the touchdown. Quarterback Rahkeem Oliver racing in for the two-point conversion, giving the Indians a 22-20 win.

Ties: Just as good… or just as bad: 1941: Passaic 0 Clifton 0 – A moral victory for the Mustangs after Passaic’s seven-straight victories. 1948: Clifton 7 Passaic 7 – The Indians showed pride after five-straight Clifton wins. 1967: Passaic 7 Clifton 7 – In a Clifton dominated era (1956 to 1976), Passaic stood firm. 1988: Clifton 22 Passaic 22 – Trailing 15-0, the Mustangs rallied for three scores. 1993: Passaic 0 Clifton 0 – Mustangs Coach Jim Kelly called deadlocking the 8-2 Indians a “gut-check.”

Someone is always disappointed when Clifton plays Passaic. Above, Mustangs Coach Bill Vander Closter reacts to an official’s call.

Streaks: Years of joy and despair Streaks are fun for winners and awful ones for the losers as students graduate without ever seeing a win. In 2006, Mustangs Derrick Stroble, Coach Anello, Timothy Jacobus and Anthony Giordano.

Overtime quagmire In 2006, 7-3 Clifton had its ticket punched to the state championship game in December. All that remained was to get by Passaic on Thanksgiving Day. It wouldn’t be easy. A quagmire of mud and water awaited the Mustangs at Boverini Stadium. Clifton came out flat and was soon behind after an 11-year run by Abad Santana. The PAT was blocked, leaving the score Passaic, 6-0, at halftime. At the start of the third quarter, the Mustangs capped 70 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Here’s a look at the rivalry’s biggest winning streaks: 1924-1932: Passaic won nine straight and shut out Clifton six times. Streak Breaker: 1933: Clifton 7 Passaic 6 1934-1940: Passaic beat Clifton seven straight and shut out Clifton three times. Streak Breaker: 1941: Passaic 0 Clifton 0 1958 to 1963: Clifton beat Passaic six straight. Streak Breaker: 1964: Passaic 27 Clifton 0 1968 to 1974: Clifton beat Passaic eight straight Streak Breaker: No Game, conference change 2000 to 2011: Clifton Beat Passaic 12 straight. Streak Breaker: 2012: Passaic 29 Clifton 0


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an 80-yard drive with a 33-yard Matt Davella TD run. The following two-point conversion failed, leaving the score knotted, 6-6, where it would remain when the clock expired. In overtime, Passaic’s Tariq McDaniels scored a TD, making the score 12-6 (the two-point conversion failed). However, the Mustangs answered with a Derrick Stroble 21-yard touchdown. On the ensuing conversion, Stroble found the end zone again, giving the Angelo “Doc” Mustangs a 14-12 win. Paternoster. “I was cold and I wanted to go home,” Stroble said after his scores. Mutual admiration In the twenties and thirties, beating Clifton was standard for Passaic. “When we played Passaic,” said Angelo “Doc” Paternoster, “it was a big game – not to them, but to us.

They had some great players: Jimmy Castiglia was a big tough fullback, Augie Lio was an outstanding guard.” “Back then,” recalled Passaic running back Joe Gyorgydeak, “we didn’t have scouting reports on the other players. We got information about our opponents from the newspapers. But Coach Pickett and his assistants were aware of Paternoster, and warned us about him before the game.” Gyorgydeak found out why. “He was Clifton’s best player. ‘Pat’ was terrific on both offense and defense – strong, aggressive, and fast for a player his size.” In 1936, Paternoster became Clifton’s first player to be selected First Team All-State. He earned letters in baseball, basketball, and track as a shot putter, while excelling in the classroom.

To Dr. Edward Dominguez—Dr. Paternoster’s associate for the past year and who has joined the practice full time—dentistry is a blend of art and science. “Every shape, color, form and angle of restoring a tooth is another part of the journey we experience as dentists,” said Dr. Dominguez.

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Playing with a heavy heart They buried Willie Gumann’s sister that morning after her death from tuberculosis. Gumann, a star Clifton running back and punter, headed home with his grieving family. When his Aunt Mary heard there was a game against Passaic that afternoon, she asked: “What can you do here? Go play.” “My teammates didn’t think I was coming,” said Gumann. “They were happy to see me.” As were a large chunk of the 8,000 fans packing Passaic Stadium. Behind running back Walt Semon, Clifton beat Passaic, 12-6, its first win over the Red and Blue in a decade. Besides booming punts, Gumann contributed a 29-yard pass to set up a Semon touchdown. After the game, ecstatic Clifton fans tore down Passaic’s goal posts. “I didn’t think of my sister during game,” said Gumann. “There was too much to do. But I was glad I played in that game. It gave me a release from what I’d just gone through.” Between father and son Augie Lio (inset) was a star for Passaic and later a sport columnist for the Herald News. His son Rich Lio was an outstanding player during Clifton’s 1966 state championship season. “I felt a lot of pressure,” said the late Rich Lio in 2002, “thinking people might feel the only reason I was out there was because I was Augie Lio’s son. I didn’t even want him to come to my games. Later, my mother told me he would sneak in to watch.” When Augie made a game prediction in the newspaper, Rich heard about it on the field. “We’d be in the huddle,” laughed Lio, “and (team captain Bob) Csuka would repeat what my dad wrote. He’d say, ‘Augie picked us by 10, we better win this by that much.’ Bob would use his quotes to fire us up.” The Mud Bowl The Mustangs welcomed Passaic to Clifton School Stadium in 1966. Leading the Indians was running back Jack Tatum, a future NFL All-Pro with the Oakland Raiders. 72 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Coach Vander Closter and some of the 1966 Mustangs who would hold Tatum to only 36 yards and defeat the Indians 7-0 in a muddy, memorable game in Clifton. Top row, from left, Robert Csuka, Rich Lio, Glen Kolk, Russ Triolo. Middle: Bob Duch, Les Croland, Mark Winkler. Bottom: Gary Russo, Vandy, Larry Ferrara.

“Jack was a nice young man, very quiet – you never heard him swear,” remembered Vinny Magliarditi, a volunteer assistant coach at Passaic. “But when that whistle blew, look out. Jack had a style of hitting you just couldn’t teach – a natural. He’d rock you.” A monsoon-like rain had fallen over the stadium, giving Bill Vander Closter as the hometown coach the option to play or cancel the game. Knowing the wet field would slow Tatum, Vandy decided to play. “Only two games were played in the state that day,” said Tatum, “And that was one of them. The field was all mud.” “Our trainer Lou Capuano,” remembered Clifton’s Larry Mialik, “had us step in a pan of motor oil before going on the field, saying the oil would keep the mud from sticking. I don’t know if it worked but we did it.” After an opening return by Clifton’s Richie Tate to the Passaic 22, quarterback Larry Ferrara hit end Bob Duch for a touchdown. Clifton had a 7-0 lead with only 33 seconds gone in the game. At halftime, the wet Mustangs got a surprise. Waiting for each player was a dry uniform. “We dried off and changed into the uniforms,” said Ferraro, “and felt a lot better. Five minutes into the second half, we were probably soaked through again, but that wasn’t the point. We felt better, and having the sec-


Clifton’s Dave Szott, A&E Sports Center owner Al Madirossian and Passaic’s Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward.

school student-athletes,” said Madirossian, who also had an A&E store in Paterson. “There was great camaraderie between the kids from Passaic and Clifton. Whenever they did well in games, we’d place the newspaper article in the window. We encouraged them, and they did well in school and went on to college – that’s what I’m most proud of.” Madirossian, a member of Clifton’s class of 1956, ond set of uniforms showed preparation on Vandy’s part. Passaic had to wear their muddy uniforms the entire game.” “We held Tatum to 36 rushing yards that day,” Vander Closter said. “(Bob) Csuka was all over him – I bet he tackled him six times for losses.” Clifton made its one touchdown stand up, beating Passaic, 7-0. Harmony in a sporting goods Store On the gridiron, Clifton and Passaic are fierce rivals. But in a sporting goods store in Passaic from 1978 through 1989, the Mustangs and Indians players were good friends. A&E Sports Center owners Al Madirossian and Ed Morba employed many of the schools’ students and players. It was not unusual to see Clifton’s Dave Szott and Passaic’s Craig “Ironhead” Heyward helping customers, or the Mustangs’ Richie Ceynowa or the Indians’ Marshall Grier updating stock. “We employed a lot of high Cliftonmagazine.com • November 2017

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became a mentor for Heyward – someone Mustangs fans shudder to remember. When the All-American running back played from 1981-83, the Indians beat the Mustangs every game, and Passaic won state championships in 1982, 1981 and 1983. Thanksgiving Day tribute: Dedicating Joseph S. Grecco Field On a cold Thanksgiving Day in 2003, two dozen former players and former coach Bill Vander Closter, along with Coach Joe Grecco and his wife Tess, gathered at Clifton Schools Stadium for a ceremony before the game against Passaic. Coach Grecco rode in a golf cart to the 50-yard line in front of the concrete home bleachers. He wore a long coat and a hat, breathing through a clear tube that ran to an oxygen tank. Despite the sun and blue skies, the air was cold, but the old coach refused to let it bother him. He kept smiling his gap-tooth grin as his brown eyes danced behind his glasses. Around him were his boys, now old men, his friends and family, and a sea of faces in the concrete stands. Unable to speak to the crowd, his daughter Phyllis read his speech over Above Coach Joe Grecco with his Fighting Mustangs; below, Grecco confers a field microphone, written on loose with players Ray Capelli (left) and Sal Barcelona. leaf paper by his unsteady hand. thank Teresa, my wife of 62 years. Also, thanks go to “I have received many honors – local, state, and our loyal Mustang Fans who inspired us to reach the national – but this Clifton Mustang gridiron bearing my very heights. “I want to close by thanking My Lord and name is a magnificent tribute that EXCEEDS them all! Savior, Jesus, for His love and guidance.” “I want to thank my Fighting Mustangs! Your deeds, And that was his entire life – football, hometown, on and off the gridiron, made this honor possible. family and God on a crisp fall day. Thanks to all of my assistant coaches, especially my The golf cart rode out past the north end zone where right-hand man, Bill Vander Closter, who is sharing this a large sign waited to be unveiled, the old players folday with me.” lowing behind. When they gathered, the cover was After thanking his family, the speech continued, “As removed revealing the large sign that read: “Joseph S. all coaches know, the ones who keep the family togethGrecco Field.” er during those hectic days are our wives. I want to 74 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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The crowd roared. Though many there were not alive to know his teams, seeing the sign and the dying man began to affect them. Most didn’t know how many wins or championships his Mustangs won, but at that moment, they could sense the history – how this place, this team – was because of him. They saw the reverence with how the old players treated him and the tears on the faces of the old fans. They began to understand… this was a great man. And they were part of his last great moment. Standing around the large sign at the back of the far end zone, the forThanksgiving Day, 2003. From left, Ken Kurnath, Dick Moran, Tom Tieffenbocher, Roger mer players wanted to Fardin, Bobby Boettcher, Lou Poles, Joe Grecco, Bill Vander Closter, Jim Haraka, Bob take photos, swapping Papa and Bob Amoruso. each other’s cameras. As the cart drove along the sideline, the crowd stood The game started, and the current Clifton and Passaic and applauded – a wave of people that spread, all standplayers began the battle that had taken place on that haling as the cart slowly passed by. The officials would lowed ground since 1950. Minutes ticked off the first not dare start play. Clifton’s coaches and some of the quarter but, in the end zone, the old players and their players also applauded. coach remained by the sign, still taking photos, content As the golf cart moved past the south end, the entire to absorb the past and laugh. They knew there would crowd stood, applauding the old man tethered to an be no more times like this one. oxygen tank, smiling his gap-tooth grin and waving his Finally, the golf cart began to make the loop back, great hand. And the cheering didn’t stop until the cart riding along the running track toward the concrete pulled beyond the field house door. stands that stretched across the field. Again, his players The coach who had accomplished so much, helping followed behind. to build a program, a stadium and an entire town – the As the cart neared the concrete bleachers, the fans coach who built boys into successful educated men – began to stand and applaud. Not a maniac cheer of the was leaving for the last time. fourth quarter, but a strong, loud respectful ovation. Three weeks later, Coach Joe Grecco went to sleep The PA went silent. Grecco began to wave. The game and never woke up again. stopped, and now the current players and coaches turned to the sound. The cart slowed; the driver realizThe field remains. ing what was happening. 76 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


2017 @ Clifton on Thanksgiving Day

Passaic vs. Clifton 1923 1923 . . .Clifton 12 ......Passaic 7 1924 . . .Passaic 23 ......Clifton 0 1925 . . .Passaic 21 ......Clifton 6 1926 . . .Passaic 21 ......Clifton 6 1927 . . .Passaic 13 ......Clifton 0 1928 . . .Passaic 24 ......Clifton 0 1929 . . .Passaic 24 ......Clifton 0 1930 . . .Passaic 26 ......Clifton 0 1931 . . .Passaic 7 ........Clifton 0 1932 . . .Passaic 26 ......Clifton 7 1933 . . .Clifton 7 ........Passaic 6 1934 . . .Passaic 26 ......Clifton 0 1935 . . .Passaic 6 ........Clifton 0 1936 . . .Passaic 34 ....Clifton 14 1937 . . .Passaic 6 ........Clifton 0 1938 . . .Passaic 19 ......Clifton 6 1939 . . .Passaic 31 ......Clifton 6 1940 . . .Passaic 13 ......Clifton 6 1941 . . .Passaic 0 ........Clifton 0 1942 . . .Passaic 19 ......Clifton 0 1943 . . .Clifton 12 ......Passaic 6 1944 . . .Clifton 26 ......Passaic 6 1945 . . .Clifton 6 ........Passaic 0 1946 . . .Clifton 26 ....Passaic 14 1947 . . .Clifton 32 ......Passaic 0 1948 . . .Clifton 7 ........Passaic 7 1949 . . .Clifton 12 ......Passaic 0 1950 . . .Passaic 20 ......Clifton 7 1951 . . .Clifton 26 ......Passaic 6 1952 . . .Clifton 33 ....Passaic 12 1953 . . .Clifton 21 ....Passaic 20 1954 . . .Passaic 7 ........Clifton 6 1955 . . .Passaic 7 ........Clifton 0 1956 . . .Clifton 48 ......Passaic 0 1957 . . .No Game 1958 . . .Clifton 40 ......Passaic 7 1959 . . .Clifton 41 ....Passaic 21 1960 . . .Clifton 28 ......Passaic 6 1961 . . .Clifton 35 ......Passaic 7 1962 . . .Clifton 31 ......Passaic 6 1963 . . .Clifton 50 ......Passaic 0 1964 . . .Passaic 27 ......Clifton 0 1965 . . .Clifton 15 ....Passaic 13 1966 . . .Clifton 7 ........Passaic 0 1967 . . .Passaic 7 ........Clifton 7

2016

INDIANS MUSTANGS 36 Wins 47 Loses 5 Ties

47 Wins 36 Loses 5 Ties

1968 . . .Clifton 27 ....Passaic 10 1969 . . .Clifton 40 ......Passaic 0 1970 . . .Clifton 49 ......Passaic 0 1971 . . .Clifton 20 ....Passaic 12 1972 . . .Clifton 35 ......Passaic 6 1973 . . .Clifton 75 ....Passaic 12 1974 . . .Clifton 47 ......Passaic 6 1975 . . .No Game 1976 . . .Clifton 28 ......Passaic 6 1977 . . .No Game 1978 . . .No Game 1979 . . .No Game 1980 . . .No Game 1981 . . .Passaic 20 ......Clifton 3 1982 . . .Passaic 33 ......Clifton 0 1983 . . .Passaic 20 ......Clifton 7 1984 . .Clifton 16 ......Passaic 0 1985 . .Passaic 28 ......Clifton 7 1986 . .Passaic 21 ......Clifton 8 1987 . . .Clifton 24 ....Passaic 13

1988 . . .Clifton 22 ....Passaic 22 1989 . . .Passaic 22 ......Clifton 0 1990 . . .Passaic 14 ......Clifton 7 1991 . . .Passaic 33 ....Clifton 16 1992 . . .Passaic 13 ....Clifton 10 1993 . . .Passaic 0 ........Clifton 0 1994 . . .Passaic 12 ......Clifton 7 1995 . . .Passaic 21 ......Clifton 7 1996 . . .Clifton 23 ......Passaic 6 1997 . . .Passaic 22 ....Clifton 20 1998 . . .Passaic 25 ......Clifton 0 1999 . . .Passaic 20 ......Clifton 7 2000 . . .Clifton 21 ....Passaic 14 2001 . . .Clifton 20 ....Passaic 19 2002 . . .Clifton 19 ....Passaic 14 2003 . . .Clifton 17 ......Passaic 0 2004 . . .Clifton 48 ......Passaic 0 2005 . . .Clifton 7 ........Passaic 6 2006 . . .Clifton 14 ....Passaic 12 2007 . . .Clifton 18.....Passaic 13 2008 . . .Clifton 28 ......Passaic 0 2009 . . .Clifton 7.........Passaic 0 2010 . . .Clifton 42........Passaic 0 2011 . . .Clifton 55.......Passaic 29 2012 . . .Passaic 29........Clifton 0 2013 . . .Clifton 21........Passaic 6 2014 . . .Clifton 20.......Passaic 14 2015 . . .Clifton 35.......Passaic 12 2016 . . .Clifton 48.......Passaic 20

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Clifton Coach Ralph Cinque and Passaic Coach William Widener are approaching the Nov. 23 game with equal enthusiasm but different perspectives. Cinque, who leads his 5-2 Mustangs (before the Hackensack game), has a long-term view. “I grew up hearing about the Clifton-Passaic games and the players,” Cinque said. “For Passaic, there was Ironhead Heyward, the Stowe Brothers and Amod Field. For Clifton, we’d hear about Dave Szott, Richie Ceynowa and Billy Shaughnessy. When I became a

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As a preview to the 2017 Thanksgiving Game between the Mustangs and the Indians, which is at Clifton Stadium, are from left front: Diego Parra, Adrian Sanchez, Mariano McGaskey and Kervin Coleman. Standing: Richard Castillo, Chelsea Ceron, Tiana Williams, Aleksandra Janowska, Angel Feliz, Ziare Clarke, Arleth Cespedes and Mackenzie Miller.


player for Clifton, we knew ter, the game could have an this game meant something.” impact on either team making Widener brings a fresher the playoffs – that would perspective. A former assismake it more exciting. We tant at Hillside, this will be could even start new tradihis second Clifton-Passaic tions like a battle of the bands game and first at Clifton the night before. It’s an idea Stadium. we should explore.” “I’ve been to Clifton Right now, Cinque’s Stadium a few times to Mustangs are focused on Coaches William Widener and Ralph Cinque. scout,” said Widener. Hackensack. “The crowd reminds me of “As the game gets clos“I’m honored to be part of the Passaic fans. Both er, I’m sure the players cities are into their footwill start thinking about this rivalry. The history and ball.” Passaic,” he said. “Many tradition of these programs Widener, who leads a 3of the players know each 5 Indians team, underother and live close by – is something I respect.” stands the nature of the sometimes a half a block – Ralph Cinque historic rivalry. determines which school “Though it’s my second you go to. When the game year as head coach,” he said, “I know this is a big game arrives, both teams will absolutely be up for it.” for the community. I’ve heard whatever your record is, Widener agrees. “Our kids know the Clifton kids,” you make sure you beat Clifton. It’s been mentioned by he said. “I don’t plan on saying anything special to my our fans and players since Day One.” players, because they’re already up for this game. I Though he loves competing against Passaic, Cinque hear often about ‘doing well in the Turkey Bowl.’ I’m believes the game would benefit if played earlier in the sure it will be a great game, and I know Passaic is season. ready.” “Clifton-Passaic has been played on Thanksgiving As are Cinque and the Mustangs. for the last 25 years. Before that it was played at differ“It was an honor for me to play in the Clifton-Passaic ent times. Thanksgiving can make it hard for families game,” he said, “and an honor to coach in it. I know the to come to the game and, in late November, weather great coaches who walked these sidelines, and I’m honcould be an issue. ored to be part of this rivalry. The history and tradition “If we played in September when the weather is betof these programs is something I respect.”

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Clifton Centennial

CHS Class of 1968 50th year reunion is on June 8 and 9. Events begin on Friday night at 7:30 pm at the Bethwood. Cost is TBD; dress will be casual, though Hawaiian shirts are recommended. Plans also include a visit to the Hot Grill and a tour of CHS on Friday afternoon. Saturday events include a golf outing and a mile run/walk, followed by a visit to the Grande Saloon. For info, write CliftonHSReunion 68@gmail.com.

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In celebration of Clifton’s Centennial, the Recreation Department, the Barrow House and the Clifton Centennial Committee held a Citywide Scavenger Hunt on Sept. 30. A total 11 teams (pictured above) competed by racing around Clifton that led them to various landmark locations in town solving clues to earn points. They were required to take photographs of the team in front of all of the sites. At 10 stops along the way, teams had a chance to answer Clifton history questions to receive bonus points. Teams also were able to earn extra points by bringing back special items from around Clifton. That included photos of a Mustang, Clifton pizza box and menu, as well as a copy of the Clifton Merchant Magazine. They could also get points for taking funny creative or unique photos. In the spirit of the event, some participants created team shirts, studied up on their Clifton history and planned out a strategy to get around town. The teams had two and a half hours to find as many items as they could. Prizes were awarded to the top three teams. The winners were: First place, The Valley Vultures; Second place, Team TALA; Third place, Team A to Z. Prizes were donated by the Barrow House, IHOP of Clifton, Uno Chicago Grill of Clifton, Mr. Cupcakes and the Philly Pretzel Factory. Cliftonmagazine.com • November 2017

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In just 20 months since coming to the United States, CHS senior Hailey US history is a crash Parikh has adjusted successfully course for Parikh, since “I enough to notch the honor of moved to the United States November Student of the Month. from India in April 2016,” she “I will always remember my first said. Family stability has helped day at CHS; it was like entering a counter the wrenching change; “I did whole new world,” Parikh recounted. not realize how important my family “It was intimidating because I had was ’til I came here. I live with my never really experienced public schoolmom and my younger brother. Our ing or diversity. Learning to open up home is our own little world in a comHailey Parikh and express myself in not just a new pletely new country.” school, but a new country, was the Outside school and home, “My hobbies include a biggest hurdle I had to overcome. With time, expresswhole array of, sometimes completely unrelated, ing myself became effortless and I came to love the things. I enjoy drama very much. I am part of the school, its vibrancy and diversity.” school play cast,” she said. She’s taken a proactive approach to CHS. “My best CHS drama teacher Lisa Poggi noted Parikh, who school-related experience was being able to start my performs this month in the CHS fall production of own club,” she said. “The Physics E&M club at the Alibis, is a drama standout. school has had a really good turnout and successful “Hailey can be counted on to always go above and meetings so far.” beyond,” Poggi said. “She is hardworking, conscienParikh intends to leverage that experience. “I plan to tious, and so smart and caring. She is one of the most major in physics at college and aspire to become a responsible, polite, and diligent students I have ever physicist,” she said. “I also want to continue to learn had the pleasure of working with. She is very interestand, therefore, wish to enter an academic field. I want ed in drama and is a great actor. She was the only stuto attain a Ph.D in particle physics and be able to condent last year to place in the top 12 of the competition. tribute to the Grand Unified Theory, which explains Hailey also has such a curiosity and love of learning.” every possible physical phenomenon in the universe, Such passion transcends math, physics and drama. from quantum theory to our macroscopic world.” “I also love to dance. The dance styles I usually perFittingly enough, “My favorite subjects at school are form include Kathak (a North Indian classical dance physics and calculus,” she said. “I took both AP classform), jazz and contemporary,” Parikh explained. “On es in my junior year. They are abstract subjects with the weekends, I am learning to how play the harmonivery real applications. These subjects have enabled us ca and how to cook Indian food.” to understand the way our universe works at the most “To quote Albert Einstein, I have no special talents, fundamental level.” I am only passionately curious,” Parikh said. She also named CHS physics teacher Raymond But beyond that, she asserted, “Doubt is a dire Burns as one of her favorite teachers – again, a logical enemy for teenagers. Doubt kills more dreams than fit – but also lauded US History teacher Christopher failure ever will. When faced with a problem, instead of Henry, who “has helped me learn how to think criticalthinking yourself incompetent of solving it, you must ly about history and how important it is to realize the learn to think your way around it. Persistence is key to implications of historical events to understand our presbeing able to solve problems of all kinds.” ent circumstances.” 82 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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Live Theater The Play is the Thing in Clifton this month. The Theater League of Clifton present the 1922 era musical Thoroughly Modern Millie on Nov. 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12 at the Theresa Aprea Theater, 199 Scoles Ave. Ticket are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. For students and seniors, prices are $15 and $20 at the door. Clifton High presents Alibis: an Agatha Christie murder, mystery and whodunit set in an estate in the English countryside in 1947. Performances are Nov. 17 and 18 at 7 pm and Nov. 19 at 2 pm. For ticket prices and more info, call CHS at 973-470-2337.

The lead performers in TLC’s “Thoroughly Modern Millie” include Craig Woodward, Jessica Albano, Greg Gwyn and Rachel Zegler.

The CHS cast and crew of Alibis, from left rear: stage manager Miranda Mattila with crew Jaden Evering, Mayra Garcia, Brandon Moreta and Jezmin Monroy. Seated cast members: Anthony Zawrak, Evan Martinez, Sylvia Dwornicki, Doga Aktop, Sarah Siano and Wendy Olmos; Front row performers: Hailey Parikh and Faith Popowich. Missing is Nicole Aramboles.

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Music & Arts Marching Mustang Drum Major Mackenzie Miller is flanked by Highlander Band Drum Majors Brian Macarell, Connor Partington, Cindy Cintron and Kathryn Keller as a prelude to the 18th Annual Military Concert and Tattoo in West Milford. This indoor musical showcase of bagpiping bands, drum corps and the high-stepping Marching Mustangs is on Nov. 11, 6:30 pm at West Milford High School. Visit wmhighlanderband.com. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players performed a free program of popular Broadway tunes from West Side Story, The Sound of Music, The Lion King and more on Oct. 12, at School 3 in Clifton. The event is part of the Clifton Centennial Concert Series and was sponsored by the PSEG Foundation.

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Christmas is Coming The Chopin Singing Society presents its annual Christmas concert on Dec. 3 at 3 pm at the Polish Peoples Home, 1-3 Monroe St., Passaic. Tickets are $40 which includes hot buffet and show. For tickets and info, call Arthur Sroka at 973-916-0788.

Shown are two of the Christmas cards evoking Ukrainian folk themes. The Ukrainian National Foundation (UNF), working with Tomahawk Promotions of Clifton, produced packets of 10 cards (8 Christmas; 2 all-occasion) and distributed them to Ukrainian National Association members. Recipients are asked to send a donation of $30 ($20 per additional boxes) to fund ongoing maintenance and operations of Soyuzivka Heritage Center in Kerhonkson, NY. To purchase a set of cards and envelopes, go to soyuzivka.com or call 973-292-9800 x 3041.

Clifton Candyland is on Dec. 9 from 5 to 8 pm in the rolling greens of the city hall campus, courtesy of the Recreation Department and Kinder Pediatric Urgent Care. Ride the Polar Express Train, fly at the Reindeer Flight School, use night vision in the Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt, play interactive games in the Candy Cane Play Station, DIY holiday crafts, enjoy a hot chocolate and cookies at the Santa Snack Shack. Pre-registration of $5 at cliftonrec.com or at the Rec office, second floor in City Hall. Cost is $8 at the door. Children can’t go into event areas without parental supervision. Don’t forget your camera; a visit from Santa is part of the program. St. John Lutheran Church at 140 Lexington Ave., hosts a Thrift Shop is Nov. 4 and Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 18. For info, to vend (Nov. 18; $20 fee includes tables and chairs) call the church at 973-779-1166.

which means Tomahawk Jr. is trained and nationally certified in restorative water drying methods by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, also known as IICRC. Cliftonmagazine.com • November 2017

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Mustangs

photos by Dan Lojek

Clifton Soccer won its 20th Passaic County Championship title on Oct. 28 against Passaic, 2-1. This is Clifton’s first title since 2012. That’s senior goalie Jake Padula at center who shares captains honors with Michael Algeri and Tommy Miazga. The Stangs were to play Passaic again on Oct. 31, as we went to press.

Members of CKO Clifton on Rt. 46 punched out cancer on Oct. 28 by raising more than $1,000 for breast cancer research. Visit ckoclifton.com or call 973-507-9160 for more info. 88 November 2017 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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Clifton’s Halloween Parade & HarvestFest were washed out on Oct. 29 but Clifton Rec has announced a costume contest to be held on Nov. 5 at 4 pm at city hall. Arrive at 3:30 to register. Enter via Colfax Ave. only as the Van Houten Ave. entrance will be closed for the Veterans parade and there will be limited parking. Awards will be given for kids up to age 12, teens, adults, families, floats and pets.  All entrants will receive a goody bag. This will be costume judging only; no parade. In case of rain, registration will still be at the side entrance of city hall but judging will be in the court room. As we went to press, we received Halloween photos from our friends at NJEDDA on Main Ave. and from the Clifton Marching Mustangs, shown here.

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Healthcare

On Oct. 26, Paladina Health opened its second New Jersey location at 4 Brighton Road in Clifton. Mayor James Anzaldi cut the ceremonial ribbon, with (from left): Craig Peterson, Paladina Health; Mark Blum, America’s Agenda; Dr. Pearl Guerzon, Paladina Health; Sarah Geiger, NJEA; Ryan Edwich, NJEA; and Matt Weissert, Paladina Health. Paladina Health provides primary care services to public employees, emphasizing doctor-patient relationships. More info at paladinahealth.com.

If you’re a teacher or state employee in New Jersey’s State Health Benefits Program or School Employees’ Health Benefits Program, Paladina Health new approach to delivering health care may be great news. As part of the Direct Primary Care Medical Home Program Paladina Health provides primary care services in what officials from the group say are comprehensive, individualized healthcare to public employees and their families through a physician who can devote the time

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needed to treat and care for patients via a more personal relationship. “Everyone deserves high-quality healthcare and easy access to a doctor who truly cares about their well-being and has time to care for their needs,” said Paladina’s Pearl Guerzon, M.D, who is based in Clifton. “I consider it a privilege to be a family physician. Caring for kids, their parents and grandparents allows meaningful, trusting relationships to form with all my patients.”


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Giving & Helping

On Oct. 16 Spencer Savings Bank presented a check for $100,000 to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts from Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Spencer Chair and CEO JosĂŠ B. Guerrero (center) is pictured with William Miller (left) and Steven Spinner of the Red Cross. Funds will be directed toward widespread and varied needs of storm-damaged areas, including Texas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and other islands in the Caribbean.

Clifton Parents Requiring Action and Information for Special Education (P.R.A.I.S.E.) is a non-adversarial parent support group for parents/families with special needs children based in Clifton. Their next meeting is Nov. 27 at 7 pm at the Allwood Library. Liz Kinstlinger

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from MassMutual SpecialCare will present a workshop on special needs trusts, ABLE account, eligible tax credits and deductions and guardianship. There is not charge to attend or to join PRAISE. For more information, email cliftonpraise@gmail.com.


From Clifton’s own Row Freeholder Bruce James. Dear Fellow Cliftonites, For the past 12 years, I have been honored to serve the people of Clifton and Passaic County as your Freeholder. Over those years I believe my team and I have accomplished much for our citizens. We have worked hard to stabilize taxes and improve services resulting in no Passaic County tax increase to Clifton this year. After four Bond Rating increases, we now are in the best fiscal shape with the best bond rating in the history of Passaic County. We have improved services to our seniors and veterans and expanded training programs for the unemployed and underemployed. Our economic development team continues to attract new companies to find their home and create jobs in Passaic County.

B

All the Way

By working with groups such as Clifton’s Athletic Associations, the Arts Center, Hamilton House, and the Avenue of Flags (which we helped incorporate to be able to apply for funding), we have increased awards to Clifton by over $1.5 million dollars. These grants have led to improvements to Clifton fields and historic sites. It also helped fully fund the Killed in Action section of the Avenue of Flags, completing another section to this patriotic display. I am proud of our record and want to continue to serve my hometown of Clifton and Passaic County. I thank the voters of Clifton for your past trust and support. That is why, as election day approaches on November 7th, I once again humbly ask for your vote so my team and I can continue our good work.

Thank You, Bruce James

Paid for by Bruce James for Freeholder, Mukesh Tandya, Treasurer. Cliftonmagazine.com • November 2017

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Birthdays & Celebrations

Nicole Mokray will be 17 on Nov. 7. Nicholas Glodova is 22 on Nov. 12. Van Houten Ave. jeweler Frank Lacki turned 91 on Nov. 2. Happy 32nd birthday to niece Nancy Hawrylko on Nov. 19. Bev Lacsina is 28 on Nov. 8. Peter and Heather Fierro’s son Matthew will turn 6 on Nov. 25. That jovial friend of Santa, Alan Spoto, turns 63 on Nov. 3. John Seiple will turn 76 on Nov. 26.

Happy Birthday to... Send dates & names... tomhawrylko@optonline.net Jazzlyn Caba ................11/1 Robyn Jo Paci................11/2 Thomas Scancarella .......11/2 Kelly Tierney .................11/3 Paul Guzowski ..............11/3 Lance Dearing ...............11/4 Olivia Nysk ..................11/4 Andrew Seitz ................11/4 Mr. Cupcakes................11/4 Victoria Krzysztofczyk ....11/5 Tanya Ressetar...............11/5 Kristina Azevedo ...........11/6 Nicole Lorraine Bonin.....11/6 Martha Derendal ...........11/6 Danielle Osellame .........11/6 Kristen Soltis..................11/6 James Ball.....................11/7 Kevin Lord.....................11/7 Francine Anderson.........11/8 Ray Konopinski..............11/8 Beverly Lascina..............11/8 Marie Sanzo .................11/8 Donna Camp ................11/9

Martha Derendal celebrates her 63rd birthday on Nov. 6, reports her husband Matthew. Tricia Montague ............11/9 Brandy Stiles ...............11/10 Tom Szieber ................11/10 Stacey Takacs..............11/10 Joseph Franek III ..........11/11 Laura Gasior ...............11/12 Geraldine Ball .............11/13 Patricia Franek ............11/13 Robert Paci .................11/13 Gregory Chase ...........11/15 Ken Peterson ...............11/15 Kathy Schmidt ............11/15 Matthew Phillips ..........11/16 Anthony Wrobel ..........11/16 Michael Zangara.........11/16 Marilyn Velez ..............11/18 Joseph Tyler ................11/19 Joseph Guerra.............11/20

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Jon Whiting ................11/21 Andreas Dimitratos ......11/22 Katerina Dimitratos ......11/22 Margaret Egner ...........11/22 Carol Peterson.............11/24 Brian Derendal ............11/25 Eileen Fierro................11/25 Peter Kedl ...................11/25 Crystal Lanham............11/25 Rachel Prehodka-Spindel ..11/25 Brian Derendal ............11/25 Kristen Bridda .............11/26 Jessi Cholewczynski .....11/26 Dillon Curtiss...............11/26 Bethany Havriliak ........11/26 Kelly Moran ................11/27 Sami Suaifan...............11/28 Amanda Grace Feiner..11/29 Anne Hetzel ................11/29 Christopher Seitz .........11/29 Kaitlyn Graham ...........11/30 Barbara Luzniak ..........11/30


Judith and Joseph Fierro will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary on Nov. 15.

On Nov. 16, wish a Happy 71st birthday to this sweet cookie at Corrado’s... Rosario LaCorte Cliftonmagazine.com • November 2017

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Valley Goes Pink

Valley National Bank hosted its ninth annual breast cancer walk on Oct. 14 in Wayne. Valley Goes Pink! raises money for and awareness of the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF). More than 1,000 Valley associates, family members and others gathered for the event, which featured prize drawings and a 50/50 raffle. Proceeds will be used for research and conferences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and other national and international research facilities.

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November 2017 cover_Layout 1 10/24/17 10:34 AM Page 3


November 2017 cover_Layout 1 10/24/17 10:34 AM Page 4

Tomahawk Promotions 1288 main avenue Clifton, NJ 07011

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Clifton Merchant Magazine - November 2017  
Clifton Merchant Magazine - November 2017