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Clifton Merchant Magazine is published the first Friday of every month at 1288 Main Ave., Downtown Clifton • 973-253-4400


2009

Letters to the Editor

Clifton Merchant Magazine 1288 Main Ave. Clifton 07011

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Clifton Comics: Thank you so much for the notice about my appearance at the Clifton Comic Expo on Nov. 8 at the Rec Center on Main Ave. I had a few people, including my nephew, alert me to it, and my mother-in-law picked up a copy of the October edition for us. I very much appreciate your support. The comic book image you used is actually part of the cover of the new issue that’s coming out! Jeff Kipnis (Author of Lightning Squirrel) CHS 1989

October’s Butterflies: I look forward to reading the Clifton Merchant every month; I always pick up a copy when I am shopping around the neighborhood. A friend of ours from Santa Fe Salon called to say my girls were on the cover. What a wonderful surprise and honor to see my twin daughters,

Julia and Samantha, on the cover of your October issue. When we saw the cover, we couldn’t believe it. We were so excited, the girls were jumping up and down, but then to open up the issue and see all three of us inside was overwhelming. Julia (left) and Samantha are graduates of Patty Cakes Preschool and are currently happy kindergartners at School 1 (they took copies to school for their teachers). Samantha enjoys learning how to play guitar and Julia has a passion for cooking and baking. We have been attending the HarvestFest at Nash Park since they were two years old and look forward to going every year. Thank you so much for putting my daughters on the cover. We all

had great big smiles when we saw the photo and heard from our friends. Elizabeth Berkenbosch Clifton

Correction: Republican Assembly candidate Michael G. Mecca III is not the current Chair of the GOP Strong party, but instead the son of the man who holds that position and once served as a Passaic County Freeholder.

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Shades of 1970: Your August issue on the music scene for our generation brought me back to a great time. I was surprised to see my band, Purple Grass, mentioned and appreciated. Unfortunately, as is common, we lost track of each other over the years. We had two drummers and that was unplanned. Bob Williams and Carl Lomauro showed up at the first practice, and rumor has it, did not know each other was asked into the band. As to the name, purple was the psychedelic color of the day and grass should be selfexplanatory. Above, Purple Grass of Clifton won the 1970 Battle of the Bands at Paul VI Regional High School. From left: Elliot Zolt, Bob Kerns, Larry Cosden, Bob Williams and Carl Lomauro.

You sure did your research covering many groups and musicians. Perhaps you or your readers can get some information on a band called The Ride from about 1968. On a personal note, after being out of the music scene for almost 25 years, at 54 years old, I am currently back out playing guitar and pedal steel, southern and country rock for the fun of it. Music, it seems, never leaves your system. Larry Cosden Mahwah The Surftones in the old Boys Club, circa 1963, from left bass player Louie (name unknown), Tommy Graziano, Steve Giovenco and Lenny Daidone.

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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A Thanksgiving Tradition of Sharing

From left, Kevin O’Neil of IHOP, Clifton Firefighter Tony Latona, CFD Deputy Chief George Spies and Joe Argieri of Baskinger’s.

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

by Tom Hawrylko


ike many industries today, profits are off for restaurants and catering services. But the down economy didn’t stop Kevin O’Neil and Joe Argieri from donating all that’s needed for the 15th Annual Thanksgiving Day feast. Working with Clifton Firefighters and FMBA Local 21, the Route 3 IHOP and Baskinger’s Catering make possible a free Thanksgiving Day dinner to residents who might otherwise be having theirs alone, or who might not be able to afford one at all. The meal will begin at 11:30 am on Nov. 26 at the Clifton Senior Citizen Center, behind City Hall at 900 Clifton Ave. Seating will be limited to the first 150 residents who respond before Nov. 12. To register, call Ann Marie Lancaster at 973-470-5802. There will also be two pickup locations for hot meals at 50 Sade St. (10:15 am) and 714 Clifton Ave. (10:30 am). This Thanksgiving Tradition of Sharing began in 1994 when Deputy Chief Tom Lyons (above, who retired in 2008) asked Kevin’s mom Maureen to donate the turkeys. “We’ve been doing it ever since and we hope to do it for decades to come,” said Kevin. “We even provide the breakfast food for the volunteers.”

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Since Lyons worked at Baskinger’s, he asked the Crooks Ave. landmark to help, noted Clifton Deputy Chief George Spies. “Joe is great. He gives us everything we need to cook and serve the dinner. Utensils, aprons, a professional slicer... both these guys are quality people.” While Spies and Firefighter Tony Latona have long been part of the work crew, they took over coordinating the event when Lyons retired. Dozens of other Clifton Firefighters and their families, as well as Scout Troops and others, volunteer from the early morning hours to prep, cook and serve. “But I’m amazed that we always need help when we clean up,” Spies said with a laugh. So if you’d like to clean some pots and pans and be part of a wonderful Clifton Tradition of Sharing, give the number at the left a call. Another way to help: St. Peter’s Haven seeks donations for its Thanksgiving Turkey Program to support shelter and pantry families. Since there is limited freezer space at the Clifton Ave. church, frozen turkeys must be delivered on Nov. 22, between 1 and 2 pm. The thawing birds will be distributed on Nov. 23 at 10 am. Gift certificates to local food stores would also be appreciated. To request a turkey or to make a contribution, call 973-546-3406.

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Overcoming Adversity Optimism helps David Gabel learn to live as an Amputee Story by Joe Hawrylko avid Gabel may have lost his hand, but his sense of humor is still intact. The 21-year-old fully intends on getting a few laughs at the annual Northern New Jersey Boy Scouts’ Halloween event. “I can’t wait for Fright night,” he laughed, “I’m going to be Captain Hook.” Gabel, a 2006 Clifton High School graduate, nearly lost his life this summer in an accident on the Garden State Parkway.

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Tragedy Strikes On Aug. 20, Gabel and his friend, Jeff Lenik, another ’06 alum, were returning home from the Gabel family shore house in Manahawkin. The two had spent the day replacing the wooden docks around the house in preparation for a homecoming party for Gabel’s brother, Ryan, who had just completed USMC boot camp. They left southern New Jersey around 7:30 pm and immediately hit traffic as they entered the Garden State Parkway. Gabel slowly meandered up the highway in the dead heat of August with the windows down and the radio blasting. By all indications, it was just another long ride home. But just an hour later, Gabel’s life was forever changed. As he was approaching Exit 115 for Holmdel, he felt the front end of his 2004 Chevy Blazer jolt. Suddenly, Gabel lost control and the sports utility vehicle jumped out of the slow lane and veered

At therapy at JZV Rehabilitation, Gabel uses sticks covered in various fabrics to stimulate the damaged nerves in his arm so that he can be fitted for a prosthesis.

sharply towards the embankment dividing the highway. Gabel tried to quickly correct his error by jerking the wheel to the right but overcompensated, rolling the Blazer onto the driver’s side in the fast lane of the Parkway. The seat belt prevented him from being discharged from the car, but Gabel, who was driving with his arm out the window at the time, wasn’t quick enough to escape injury.

Sandwiched between the asphalt and the driver’s side door of the Blazer, Gabel’s arm was shredded by the roadway. It was pinned beneath the SUV, which skidded down the fast lane for nearly 100 yards before finally coming to a halt. “The radio was still blasting when the car stopped,” Gabel recalled. “I turned the flashlight on and that was the only time I actually saw my hand and I just knew it wasn’t good.” November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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The bone had been split in half just above the wrist, leaving what remained of his hand dangling by a few bloody strands of sinew. But he was still alive. Knowing that he very well could die of blood loss before even getting to the hospital, Gabel put his scout training to use and instructed his friend to craft a makeshift tourniquet out of his belt. “Then an off-duty fireman—I don’t know his name—put me over his shoulder and carried me to the grass,” he recalled. “The pain wasn’t nearly as bad as appendicitis.”

But as he waited for the ambulance to negotiate the traffic that had now built up, Gabel’s shock began to wear off and pain set in. Emergency medical technicians arrived and prepped him for the trip to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where trauma surgeons would attempt to salvage his hand.

The Aftermath “They could have said that they weren’t going to try and save it,” said Gabel. “I knew from seeing that one image of it.”

Ryan and David Gabel in South Carolina following Ryan’s graduation from Marine boot camp this summer.

The doctor’s reassuring words were the last thing that he remembered prior to surgery. Gabel awoke a few hours later in the recovery room, his senses dulled from the morphine coming from an IV. He went to move his left hand, but there was only a stump beneath layers of bandages. His family was already by his side, since Gabel had a good samaritan place a phone call at the scene of the accident. “I definitely laughed,” said Gabel. “I specifically remember that I was like, ‘Mom, look what I did this time!’” It’s definitely an odd rection, but Gabel isn’t one to dwell on a bad situation for long. “I lost my whole hand,” he said. “but it could have been my whole arm out the window. I could have been out the window.” Gabel spent less than 48 hours in the hospital before being sent home to continue with the most difficult part of his recovery. 10

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Readjusting to Life Once his arm had sufficiently healed, Gabel began physical therapy three times a week at JZV Rehabilitation on Broad St., where therapists are helping his body acclimate to the muscle changes from the operation. Sessions typically start with a magnetic machine designed to reduce swelling and improve circulation. Gabel’s muscles may also be electronically stimulated with a machine to reduce pain. One of the most important roles of the therapy is to prepare Gabel for a prosthesis. He must first adjust to the shortened muscles in his forearm, as he still has difficulty turning his elbow due to the trauma. Advancements in prosthetic limbs allow for electronic replacements that could be hardwired to muscles and nerves. Senses in his amputated arm have been dulled, and so therapists must restore Gabel’s sense of touch. His rehabilitation includes rubbing sticks lined with varying types of soft and coarse fabric over his repaired arm. Gabel must first show improvement in his muscles and nerves before a prosthesis can be applied. “It will make life so much easier in the long run,” he said. “I get by now, but having a hand again would be a bit more convenient.” Still, even though he anticipates a prosthesis—and the freedom that comes with it—Gabel is doing his best to be independent without an artificial limb. “Zipping up my sweatshirt took about an hour the first time, but now I’m used to it,” he laughed. “But the other day, I had a total stranger do it for me.”

USMC Private First Class Ryan Gabel “He’s amazing,” Ryan Gabel said of his older brother Dave. “He just keeps on going. That really inspires me.” Dave’s sibling had just graduated from the famed Parris Island U.S. Marine Boot Camp in South Carolina and returned to Clifton when the accident happened. “I saw him for a couple days in the hospital before I left,” said Gabel. Now in training at Ft. Knox, Ky., where he’s learning the intricacies of being a crew member aboard an M1A1 Tank, he reflected on what helps his brother through this life-changing event. “It’s really the humor. It’s the biggest thing. He can joke about it and kept on saying how he’s going to be a pirate for Halloween.” As far as Ryan’s life changer—enlisting in the Marines—the 18-year-old said he made the decision to join the military as a sixth grader, when he saw the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. “I’ve always wanted to be a Marine,” he said. “At that point, I wanted to make a difference and be a part of making sure something like that never happens again.” A CHS 2008 grad, Gabel was a two-year member of the school’s Jr. ROTC. He said that challenging experience on the CHS campus is what confirmed his decision to select the Marines over other military branches. Following his discharge in 2012, Gabel plans on becoming a police officer and may work towards a degree while in the Corps. “I haven’t made a decision yet. I’d like to take a couple of courses when I’m in. I’ve already got credits from boot,” he said. “I want to be a canine cop when I get out. They require two years of school or four years military.”

Gabel’s optimistic attitude is the reason that his progress has been largely positive to this point. “I’ve been really calm. It’s the best way to deal with it,” he said. “Being angry won’t make August 20 go away.” Overcoming the new challenges that arise from his condition is a motivational boost for Gabel. Each little accomplishment is another step towards recovery. He recalled a recent afternoon when he was home alone with only a can of tuna fish for lunch. Gabel wasn’t about to order a pizza. “There’s points where it’s difficult,” he laughed. Gabel was able to eat after wrangling with the can for nearly an hour. “But I was determined to eat lunch. Ultimately, I’ll do what I set out to do. I’m not going to lay in bed and

wish my arm grew back.” He’s taking a traumatic situation in stride and probably handling the loss of a limb as best as one can. Gabel refuses help unless absolutely necessary and generally keeps a positive outlook on life. He even goes as far as joking about his hand with friends. In his mind, he got lucky. Gabel recalled an amputee Boy Scout that he met just before his accident at Camp Turrell in New York, where he works annually. “He had it worse than me,” said Gabel. The young boy had lost his arm up to the elbow, “and he was there, kayaking. I didn’t think in a month that I’d be like that.” That anecdote is much more poignant given his condition. The young boy didn’t let his November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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amputation stop him, why should Gabel focus on his limitations? “I’ve played saxophone since the fourth grade. I can’t do that anymore,” he said. “But drums, I

love drums. Why even think I can’t play saxophone again? I can still play drums.” Gabel doesn’t anticipate his injury permanently derailing his

David Gabel and his brother, Ryan (back to camera) in 2006. Gabel, then a senior, was profiled in the June 2006 Clifton Merchant because of the sound production company he started with his brother—who, David said, always has his back.

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music production career. As an ambitious high school senior, the CHS alum was profiled in the June 2006 graduation edition of Clifton Merchant Magazine for his start-up company, Pulse Sound Systems. “I can still lift stuff,” said Gabel. “I’ve still got a hand.” Before the accident, the 21 year old was enrolled in Montclair State University’s arts and theatre program for sound production, but dropped out. Once his arm is completely healed, he plans on transferring to another school to continue his education, focusing on the business side of music. Gabel also has an internship waiting for him at the Boy Scouts of America, which could potentially end up as a full time job. Once he is fully recovered, Gabel is confident that he’ll be able to live like the accident never even happened. “Once I get my prosthetic,” he said, “I can do anything.” Specializing in Medical & Surgical Foot & Ankle Correction

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


The Walk of Her Life Ashley Friedman overcomes Dystonia Story by Joe Hawrylko

n her four years at Clifton High School, Ashley Friedman has never set foot on the upper levels of any of the four wings. She’s never had to navigate the mass of bodies that converge in between periods in the dreaded mosh pit at the South Wing intersection. Most students would love the convenience of being scheduled all on one floor, or the opportunity to get out of class seven minutes early. But Friedman just wants to be a normal kid again. The senior has dystonia, a movement disorder in which muscles spasm uncontrollably due to defective neurotransmitter. Her condition affects the legs and hands, potentially turning a short walk into a perilous journey without assistance. Friedman’s condition is inherited and did not give her any problems until she was seven years old. “When I was little, I started walking on my tippy toes,” she recalled. “It was the only way I was able to walk.” The symptoms indicated the onset of dystonia in Friedman’s feet, but her physician misdiagnosed the condition and fit her with an uncomfortable brace. When that didn’t help, the same doctor hypothesized that the young child was simply manifesting a mysterious ailment to gain attention. It took more than two years and a dozen doctors to properly diagnose the disorder as dystonia, which had already spread up Friedman’s legs and had now taken up residence in her hands as well. Naturally, as her condition worsened, Friedman’s life began to change. She quit dancing and gave up her dream of becoming a cheerleader. Friedman picked up art, a hobby she still enjoys, but even that can be nearly impossible at times, depending on how severe her symptoms are on any given day. Physically, dystonia prevented her from having a normal, active childhood, and the stigma of being confined to a wheelchair impaired her mentally. “Kids are not very open,” Friedman said of her peers. “This one girl invited every girl in the fifth grade class but me. She told me her house had a lot of stairs.” Doctors began treating her with a number of drugs, each with varying degrees of success. Most beneficial to Friedman were botox injections to her foot, which relaxed the volatile muscles.

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Ashley Friedman’s Clifton High School senior picture, which was taken prior to her June 30 brain surgery.

“I do ask why me, why does this happen,” she said. “But that doesn’t help anything.” For a number of years, a plethora of different drugs kept the disorder reasonably in check. Between the medication and injections, Friedman’s body was occasionally stable enough to do art. Unfortunately, there are always days when everything is uncontrollable. “I can sense when I’m going to have a spasm,” she said. “I can sense when I’m going to fall and can try to control it.” Medications largely kept Friedman’s dystonia in check until her teenage years. However, changes in her body necessitated a more permanent solution: surgery. “I was going backwards instead of forward,” she explained. The medications are only used to control the disorder and over time, begin to lose effectiveness. But the two-part operation that had been proposed carried potential risks. Doctors would have to drill into the skull to hardwire the brain and insert a battery pack to stimulate the defective neurotransmitter. To mitigate the chance of infection, Friedman’s head would be entirely shaved—a large request for anyone, let alone a young girl. November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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Because of fears of surgery and concerns about her appearance, Friedman opted to forgo the operation for more than five years. It wasn’t until her final semesters at Clifton High that she decided to have the necessary surgery. “It was going to be my senior year and I wanted to walk on the field,” said Friedman, who tried to donate her hair to Locks of Love, but was denied because she had dyed it. The first operation was completed on June 30. Doctors drilled two holes on the front and back of her head to place the wiring. “I was awake for the surgery,” said Friedman. “He wanted to see my brain activity and he can’t do that if I’m asleep. I heard my skull crack.” Friedman returned home only 48 hours after the initial procedure and was back in the hospital less than a week later so doctors could place the battery pack. The second surgery was a success, but recovery was not as smooth. “It was worse, I could hardly walk,” said Friedman. “I couldn’t get into the car. I would get up and then lay backwards.” To correct the problem, doctors adjusted the voltage emitting from the battery, which must eventually be replaced, since Friedman opted out of a rechargeable.

Ashley Friedman in a recent photo.

“I can never remember to charge my phone, let alone myself,” she laughed. Within a few weeks, Friedman started physical therapy, and there finally were tangible results. “I could walk in the house. I used walls, but I don’t need to now,” she said. “It’s the first time ever I can walk around without assistance.” One of the first big milestones for Friedman post-surgery was helping do the family shop at ShopRite. It was the first time she had ever walked in the grocery store without holding onto a walker or a shopping cart. Each day since the surgery, Friedman’s health has been

improving. She still travels around CHS in her wheelchair with her favorite aid, Margueritte Shackil, for precautionary measures. But outside of the public eye, Friedman is making sure she’s ready to accomplish the goal she set prior to surgery. She shuffles around the family apartment with short, choppy steps, determined to get her strength up for the June graduation. Just a matter of months ago, something as simple as getting off the couch and going to the bathroom required assistance. The surgery has given Friedman independence she hasn’t had in years. There’s still lots of work to be done in the recovery process. Friedman is likely to have another surgery to loosen the rigid tendons that were contorted into uncomfortable positions due to years of uncontrolled dystonia. But even after all the doctors, surgeries and rehabilitation sessions, there will be nothing as therapeutic as walking across Joe Grecco Field to receive her diploma on June 26. On that day, Ashley Friedman will just be another kid graduating from Clifton High School, ready to make her mark on the world.

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


High School Drama

Story by Jordan Schwartz

Sofia Black-D’Elia is Bailey Welles on All My Children hile all of her friends are back at Clifton High School sitting in math, science and English classes, senior Sofia D’Elia, 17, is on the set of All My Children in Manhattan, taping scenes for the popular soap opera. The young actress portrays Bailey Welles, a teenage mother whose baby was adopted by another character on the show, only now, Welles thinks she might want her child back. “She’s 17 and I’m 17, so I understand where she’s coming from,” D’Elia said about her role. “It’s not something that’s really far-fetched; where she’s coming from is really natural.” As a 12th-grader, the advanced placement and honors student has cut down on her workload this year, and so she hasn’t fallen too far behind in school. “My parents are really happy for me,” she said. “They’ve been supporting me through it.” D’Elia’s father, Tony, is a former School Board attorney and her moth-

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Sofia Black-D’Elia is a 17 year old teenage mom on ABC’s All My Children.

er, Elinor, is a printing broker. They got their youngest child involved in the performing arts at a young age. She was just five when she began dancing at Broadway Bound in Lyndhurst and started acting in original musicals there when she was 11. “I was really awful at first,” said D’Elia.

The D’Elia family, from left: Kyle, Sofia, Tony and Elinor.

“I almost wanted to quit, but I’ve always loved entertaining people and making them laugh. “I’m always the class clown,” she continued. “I was always really outspoken and never shy about anything. When I started doing the plays and stuff, I fell in love with it. “When I got on stage, I was never nervous. I would be nervous for sports, but never on stage.” D’Elia played three years of volleyball at CHS, but had to quit for the show, which she started working for in September. “Soap operas are such a good starting point,” she said. “A lot of actors and actresses started out on soap operas. Just from the short time I’ve been there, I’ve learned so much. The other actors on set have been there so long; they have so much to teach.” D’Elia took a commercial acting class at 14 and was signed by CESD, a talent agency in New York City. November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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The CHS Drama Club presents Death of a Salesman. Cast, from from left rear, Michael Sunbury, Bhavin Shah, Anayzah Thomas, Ariel DeLeon, Matthew Szewczyk and MaryKate Wrigley. Front: Roy Tejeda, Sarah Robertson, Dominick Marrone and Kurt Irizarry. Not pictured are Darlene Ramos, Fernando Cerezo and Paige Sciarrino.

Dominick Marrone is the tragic Willy Loman and Sarah Robertson is his enabling wife Linda in the CHS production of Death of a Salesman. Produced by Dave Arts and staged at the school’s JFK Auditorium on Nov. 13 and 14 at 7:30 pm and on Nov. 15 at 3 pm, the Arthur Miller classic is considered one of the greatest American dramas. “It is the story of a man who misunderstood the real ‘American Dream’ and instead, struggled his whole life in pursuit of a grotesque, misinterpreted conception of that dream—with cataclysmic results,” noted Arts, an American history teacher at CHS. He added that Miller’s ideas for the tragedy of Willy Loman came from two sources. The first was when his father’s business was destroyed by the Great Depression. His father’s sense of self-esteem and his mother’s belief in her husband were shattered and neither ever fully recovered. Additionally, Miller based Willy on one of his uncles (his father’s brother) a man Arthur saw infrequently growing up. Death opened on Broadway in 1949 and ran for 742 performances. That year, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Tony Award and the NY Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play. 16

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Tickets to the CHS production are $10 or $7 for seniors and students. Call 973-470-2312. Arts also noted that the set for the play is being designed by Julie Chrobak, and will be built by members of the CHS Stage Craft Club under the direction of Clifton resident Ken Kida. (Cont’d) Sofia Black-D’Elia: While she modeled for magazines and in-store ads for Target and Walmart, her first paid acting gig was for a children’s improv show on ABC Family—a sort of teenage Saturday Night Live. D’Elia says she prefers comedy to drama and lists Tina Fey of NBC’s 30 Rock and the legendary Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy among her favorite actresses. After graduating CHS in June, the performer plans on enrolling in an acting program and is considering a number of schools, including Rutgers University and the California Institute of the Arts. Her goal is to one day move to Los Angeles and continue working in television and film. “I’m definitely going to stick with it,” D’Elia said. “I can’t see myself doing anything else at this point.”


November is Diabetes Awareness Month: Know the Symptoms. Diabetics are prone to foot ulcers, due to neurological and vascular complications. The complications of diabetes are many and in the foot, problems begin with ulcers yet the treatments options are diverse. Do you ever feel burning, tingling or numbness in your feet and toes? Don’t ignore the symptoms—they could be a warning sign of diabetes. Thomas Graziano, DPM, MD, FACFAS, says those symptoms may be caused by diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage. Neuropathy in the feet can lead to permanent numbness, deformities such as bunions and hammertoes, and dry skin that cracks open and won't heal. “Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is not only painful but dangerous,” says Graziano, a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons with offices in Clifton. “It's a leading contributor to foot ulcers in people with diabetes." In the United States, diabetes is the leading cause of peripheral neuropathy and can lead to further complications. And it’s often undiagnosed—out of the 23 million Americans with diabetes, one in four don’t know they have it. According to FootPhysicians.com, even diabetic patients who have excellent blood sugar control can develop diabetic neuropathy. “When you have diabetes, especially diabetic neuropathy, a minor cut on your foot can turn into a catastrophe,” says Graziano, who noted that 20 percent of ulcer cases require amputation. Patients who are black, Hispanic and Native American are twice as likely as whites to need a diabetes-related amputation. The annual cost for diabetic ulcer care in the U.S. is estimated at $5 billion. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Graziano at 973-473-3344 or visit www.drtgraziano.com. November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


On Oct. 17 at Clifton Schools Stadium, Staphany Diaz and Ariel De Leon were crowned Homecoming King and Queen. Other members of the court included Vanessa Pinto, Jesus Cabrera, Samantha Roman, Joseph Tahan, Heily Guzman, Emilio Polanco, Jake Wilson and Emily Urciuoli. At right, CHS driver’s ed teacher Joseph Randazzo with juniors Leart Krasniqi and Jason Garcia. Both are members of the Class of 2011.

Dan Irizarry, the CHS PTSA President (Parent Teacher Student Association), invites parents to meetings held the first Monday of every month at 7:30 pm. The Dec. 7 meeting is at the CHS Annex on Brighton Rd. while on Jan. 4, they are at CHS on Colfax Ave. The rest of the schedule looks like this: Feb. 1 (annex), March 1 (main), April 12 (annex), May 3 (main) and June 7 (main). The group’s Calender Raffle sale is a fundraiser to subsidize student activities. Winners are selected daily, with prizes ranging from $25 to $200, and three grand prizes of $250, $500 and $1,000. Calenders are $10 and include 90 drawings. The first

drawing is on Jan. 13, and the grand prize will be awarded on April 12. Calenders can be obtained at CHS, school functions, through students or by e-mailing Councilman Steve Hatala at hatalagoyankees@aol.com Winners will be announced at clifton.k12.nj.us. For more on the CHS PTSA, call 973-470-2312. CHS driver’s education instructor Joseph Randazzo has been teaching kids how to drive for 32 years and estimates he’s schooled 18,000 students behind the wheel. He can often be seen around town after school and on weekends, instructing CHS drivers-to-be how to change lanes, parallel park and learn the road.

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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Blue Jay History

Story by Jordan Schwartz

CHS teacher Scott Orlovsky is inducted into JHU HOF s a Clifton Mustang, Scott Orlovsky was a tall and lanky right-hander, filling out his 5-foot-10-inch frame with only 150 pounds of bone and muscle. “I was just a little guy throwing a good curveball in high school,” he said. Under Coach Paul Pignatello, Orlovsky became an AllState pitcher his senior year in 1994. That season, he helped lead the team to a 28-3 record, a County title and a deep run in States. “He knew a lot and was a great guy to play for,” Orlovsky said of the CHS coach. “He was a religious man; he would never curse. If he got upset, he would substitute other words for curses, but he had that personality where you’d listen.” The pitcher was recruited by Princeton and Cornell, but chose to play for Johns Hopkins University after meeting with Coach Bob Babb. “He wasn’t a dictator,” said Orlovsky, who now lives in Florham Park. “He knew the sport really well, but he let his players play it.” And that’s exactly what the hurler did. Growing to 6-footone and bulking up to 185 pounds, Orlovsky added a few miles-per-hour to his fastball and became one of the most dominant pitchers in JHU history. The Clifton native tied the school record for career wins with 29 to go along with just three losses. His .906 winning percentage was, at the time, a Blue Jay record. Orlovsky still holds Hopkins records for longest winning streak (19 games) and innings pitched (260 2/3) and ranks among the top 15 in strikeouts (160), games started (36) and complete games (17). Between 1997 and 1998, the right-hander went 21-2 and remains the only pitcher in school history to twice win 10 or more games in a season. Orlovsky earned Centennial Conference Pitcher of the Year honors in both of those seasons, and he was a First Team All-Centennial, All-ECAC South and ABCA All-Region selection in each of those years. Orlovsky completed his career with a selection as a Third Team ABCA AllAmerican in 1998. The pitcher led JHU to a 117-45-1 record during the four years he was there, including two Centennial Conference Championships, a CHS History teacher Scott Orlovsky holds the Johns UAA title and two trips to the Hopkins University record with 19 consecutive wins. He and his wife Laurie are expecting a child in March. NCAA Tournament.

A

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


The 1998 squad went 36-4, was ranked as high as fourth in the country and earned the top seed in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. “We had a phenomenal team my senior year,” said Orlovsky, who has been married to his wife, Laurie, for more than two years. “I was really fortunate to play with the guys I played with that year.” For his efforts, the pitcher was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame earlier this year. “That was really cool,” he said. “It was a really special feeling.” Orlovsky injured his arm towards the end of his senior season and was forced to get a cortisone shot and eventually surgery on his rotator cuff, ending his baseball career. “For a while, I was upset,” he said. “You do something for so long, when you lose it, you miss it. After some time, I found other things to do and you pour your heart and mind into those things.” That began by attending grad school at the University of Colorado, where he took up snowboarding—something too risky to try when he still had dreams of playing in the Major Leagues. In Boulder, Orlovsky studied history and became a teacher’s assistant. This sparked his interest in the profession and after graduating, he got a job teaching the subject at CHS in 2001. “Doing it in Clifton makes me doubly happy because it’s where I grew up,” he said. Orlovsky was raised near Nash Park and attended School 12 and Christopher Columbus. As a child, he played a number of sports, but his favorite was baseball. The athlete’s father, Dennis (who owns an auto repair shop at the corner of Lakeview and Piaget Aves.), began teaching his son the game at age five. “I really didn’t want to do it when I first got signed up,” said the Hall of Famer. “I really wasn’t very good at all, but my father took me out and taught me. He’s probably the reason for my success. I don’t think I would’ve done it without his original prodding and following through.” Orlovsky used the CHS swim team as a way to get in shape for baseball season. When he returned to the school as a faculty member, he helped out coaching the swim team for seven years. Orlovsky recently left that position because his wife is expecting their first child this March and he wants to be able to go straight home after school to spend time with his growing family.

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On November 17, before the Optimist Cup...

HOT DOG NIGHT

The Optimist Clubs of Clifton & Passaic present...

Captains from the Clifton and Passaic football squads, who will clash in the annual Thanksgiving Day game on Nov. 26. From left, is Jesus Vicioso (TE, OLB), Andre Dixon (QB, CB), Jashon Dawson (RB), George Grosz (G, DT), Nick Giordano (FB, LB), Mike Chiavetta (RB), Jorge Vicioso (LT, DT) and Nick Van Winkle (TE).

Bringing Out the Best in Kids is the mission and vision of the Optimist Clubs of Passaic and Clifton. That’s why before the annual Optimist Cup Thanksgiving Game between the Indians and Mustangs, they sponsor a Hot Dog Night. Held on Tues., Nov. 17 at 6:30 pm at the Clifton Recreation Center, the event celebrates the tradition of an 81-game rivalry between the two high schools, which spans a history of 86 years.

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

And it’s just not the gridiron rivalry being celebrated that night. Two girls volleyball teams, both squads of cheerleaders and members of both marching bands will attend. A tradition for the past decade, all kids eat for free and that’s why Optimist Club members seek the community’s support. The public is invited—tickets are $10—and we ask parents, community leaders and adults to purchase tickets even if you can’t attend.


During the Nov. 17 hot dog dinner, a student athlete from each team will say a few words about their experience on and off the field and what the rivalry means to them and their teammates. As Optimists, we hope that the Hot Dog Night makes the world a little smaller and gentler, as kids from the two towns get to know each other not only as competitors but as neighbors. Then on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26 at 10:30 am, the Mustangs and Indians battle at Clifton Stadium for the Optimist Cup trophy, held by the Fighting Mustangs, who possess a 40-35-5 (see page 25) lead over their Passaic rivals.

The Optimist Cup—along with four MVP trophies, selected by the opposing team’s athletic directors—is awarded on the field at the conclusion of the contest. The game will be broadcast on North Jersey 1500 WGHT with CMM’s Jordan Schwartz doing play-by-play. For tickets or to make a donation, call Clifton Optimist and Clifton Merchant Magazine editor and publisher Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400, Ted Munley at Clifton Savings Bank at 973-473-2200, ext. 112 or Passaic Optimist John Ciuppa at 973-470-5602.

On Oct. 21, in the 10th Optimist Cup volleyball game, Clifton bested Passaic, 26-24, 25-17. Sylvia Zubek was named MVP for Mike Doktor’s Lady Mustangs, while Michelle Jimenez took home the award for Angelo Gomez’s Indians. Seniors players are pictured with Passaic H.S. Vice Principal Ron Estrict, Passaic Optimist Club’s John Ciuppa and Clifton Optimist President Mike Gimon.

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


HOT DOG NIGHT

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

2008

INDIANS MUSTANGS 35 Wins 40 Loses 5 Ties

40 Wins 35 Loses 5 Ties

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 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 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

1976 . . .Clifton 28 ......Passaic 6 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 . . .at Clifton Stadium

Happy Thanksgiving and many thanks for your continued support

Surrogate Bill Bate November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

25


Board Transparency

Story by Joe Hawrylko

BOE President Jim Daley hosts Open Town Hall Meeting

T

o fulfill his campaign pledge of transparency, Board of Education President Jim Daley hosted an open town hall meeting on Oct. 6 at Main Memorial Library. About 30 people attended the one-and-a-half-hour event in the library conference room. The meeting was not endorsed by the BOE, and Daley’s opinions did not reflect those of the Board. The crowd, which included many familiar faces at Board meetings, also featured Commissioners Jim St. Clair and Michael Paitchell, the latter of which Daley ran with on a ticket in April’s elections. Former Board President Michael Urciuoli, and ex-Councilmen Ed Welsh and Frank Gaccione were also present, as were former Council

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Board President Jim Daley said he plans on holding more town hall-style meetings in the future.

candidate Roy Noonberg. Rosemawr resident Mary Sadrakula was also there distributing petitions to become eligible for the May 2010 Council election. “I was very pleased,” said Daley, when interviewed following the meeting. “I was glad there was a cross section of the community. I don’t want it to turn into a pep rally.” The town hall meeting eliminated the five-minute limit for speakers, which is required at regular Board meetings. Citizens also received prompt responses, instead of waiting until the end of a public session. Daley said he believes the change in format is what kept the discussion generally civil, unlike recent Board meetings.


November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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calling for teachers and Board employees to pay in “That’s part of it,” he said. “And not to be selfintelligent, but I don’t think I’m as much of a lightening more. Daley noted that many employees in the private rod as some members on either side of the fence. I’m sector are making concessions, but declined further pretty straight forward and low key on stuff.” comment, since the Board is currently in contract But while the format was different, the topics disnegotiations with teachers. cussed were virtually the same as the The discussion ones reviewed by the Board as a whole. then moved to the Daley opened the meeting by disbudget surplus, which cussing State funding, noting that was $13,000 last Clifton may be out $4 to $5 million in –BOE President Jim Daley year, and then $1.3 next year’s budget. If not for a Federal million this year. stimulus package, the city would have a shortfall for Sadrakula demanded that the Board president give an the current budget, which is $150 million. explanation and Daley said, “I don’t even have a The district must also replace fire doors to satisfy partial answer for you.” State code at an estimated cost of $1.2 million, which is He then speculated that surplus may be due to admincurrently not allocated in the budget. istrative cuts of untenured teachers, who were later Daley continued speaking about the district’s rehired. Daley said the unclear figures were due to a expenses that make up the budget, noting that health disconnect between the Board and its business adminiscare for both full and part-time employees will cost $25 trator, Karen Perkins. “In my experience with Ms. million, including a 14 percent increase in premiums. Perkins, she’s a little more forthcoming than when I got The figure drew a gasp from the crowd, with many here,” he said. “But it’s not where I want it.”

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Continuing with the theme of transparency, Daley noted that he requested for the Board’s agenda to be placed on the Web site by at least the Friday prior to a meeting. He also requested that Superintendent Richard Tardalo have emails for teachers placed in an easily accessible spot on the district site. The discussion once again changed gears as former Councilman Ed Welsh spoke. He said the Board and city residents are divided, and believes it stems from the actions of former Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice and Assistant Superintendent Maria Nuccetelli. Welsh also opined that the city should look into an appointed Board. “The thing is, how do you get the best quality people on that Board?” Daley pondered when asked his position on the matter in a follow up phone conversation. “It’s who is doing the appointing and who is doing the running, and I don’t see a clear cut pattern that you would do better one way or the other.” The discussion then shifted to the controversial Brighton Rd. CHS Annex, which still has a temporary certificate of occupancy. Daley stated that he has requested a punch list on the deficiencies from Perkins several times. “I haven’t seen it yet,” he said. “It goes through Ms. Perkins’ office, but Mr. Tardalo is the superintendent and he needs to get after her and make sure it’s produced.” Daley also stated that the roof of the annex is in need

nder of e are the sons of the fou , a family R.F. Knapp Construction ed in Clifton owned business found the beginning, nearly 50 years ago. Since Siding prodwe have been using Alcoa ens-Corning. ucts as well as GAF and Ow ing, gutters, We specialize in roofing, sid a call and us e leaders and windows. Giv int appo ment to we will gladly set-up an and go over a discuss your job needs . complete written estimate

of repairs, which would place another financial burden on the Board of Education. He also would like an investigation into the actual cost of the facilities. “The project budget was for $15 million,” said Daley. “It’s somewhere between $17 and $18 million. I know a number of contracts, if they’re 20 percent over the budget, the State [Department of Education] had to approve a change order and we’re over the 20 percent.” Towards the end of the meeting, former Councilman Frank Gaccione inquired about the possibility of purchasing Paul VI School on Valley Rd., which is owned by the Paterson Catholic Diocese. Daley noted that the district is short on funding, but was intrigued by the prospect of a joint venture with the Clifton City Council. “There may be grants and other monies that don’t cost local taxpayers a dime,” said Daley over the phone. “The Board doesn’t have access to Green Acres.” The meeting concluded with a discussion about the Board’s legal representation. In one of the only minor outburts of the evening, Sadrakula yelled at Commissioner St. Clair over what she perceived to be a conflict of interest. However, the Board’s president was pleased overall with the event and the ideas it produced. “I plan on having more and I want to get the word out the best I can in the future,” said Daley. “Maybe we could have them every other month.”

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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Clifton School Uniforms? Survey circulated, forum held on controversial proposal Story by Joe Hawrylko Despite the cold and rainy weather, more than 50 people attended an open forum to discuss a proposal for student uniforms in all of Clifton’s public schools on Oct. 16 at CHS. According to Superintendent Richard Tardalo, the concept was proposed last year by parents on the district’s Advisory Council. Prior to the meeting, students were sent home with surveys to gauge interest from parents. The information was compiled and the district informed residents of the open forum just four days before the event took place. “The cost would be one [reason for not mailing the questionnaire], but the survey was designed really to be done by the parent, of course with talking to their child,” said Assistant Superintendent Maria Nuccetelli. “That’s how we usually send things home. That’s not an uncommon practice in the district.” The assistant superintendent revealed the findings of the informal survey in a PowerPoint presentation at the meeting. It claimed that between 5,000 and 6,000 responses were received, approximately a 60 percent response rate. Of that figure, roughly 70 percent of parents, 90 percent of staff and 100 percent of principals supported uniforms. Dr. Nuccetelli’s presentation cited improvements in school spirit, school image and safety, as well as cost cutting for parents and reduced peer pressure as benefits of school uniforms. However, the presentation did not include any citation of scientific studies. 32

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

The 500-student CHS Annex on Brighton Rd. officially opened on Oct. 11 as current and former board members, as well as some city council members, cut the ribbon. A community open house followed and CHS Principal Jimmie Warren is pictured here with potential future students, their parents and interested residents.

Instead, the district relied entirely on empirical evidence from administrators in Bayonne, Kearny and Garfield, which currently have uniform policies. Bayonne, which has a population of over 60,000 and 9,600 students in the school district, is the municipality most similar to Clifton demographically. However, despite numerous efforts to contact Bayonne Superintendent Patricia McGeehan over a two-week span, she did not return phone calls. After the presentation, the microphones were opened up to the public. Of the more than 50 people present, only three speakers—two parents and one student—were in favor of uniforms. “Since the weather was not great, we didn’t have a good turnout,” said Nuccetelli. “We are going to

probably hold another within the next couple of weeks.” Those who spoke in opposition noted that the presentation did not give any factual evidence to support the claimed benefits of uniforms. Superintendent Tardalo admitted that studies are largely inconclusive, but cited talks with administrators in other districts. Parents also raised concerns about the erosion of parental and student rights and challenged Nuccetelli’s claims that uniforms would save money by creating a limited wardrobe. At the meeting, Nuccetelli stated that several vendors, including ones in Clifton, have been contacted, and uniforms were available for under $20. She stated that vendors “said they would work with us” to address financially strapped families


November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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who currently receive free or reduced lunch and cannot afford uniforms. In Clifton, 3,161 students qualify for free lunch, and 834 qualify for reduced lunch. Of those figures, 2,592 children eat free lunch, while 542 utilize reduced lunch. The figures are calculated based on the number of people in a household and gross salary. For a family of four to receive free meals, gross income must be less than $28,664 for the year. In addition, families who receive food stamps automatically qualify for free lunch—a total of just under 1,200 students. “We’re not sure they would all qualify,” Nuccetelli said. “Some would show hardships, some may investing for the day when not. [Anonymous prospective

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Where do the Commissioners stand? Though uniforms are supposed to be implemented through a consensus by parents, teachers and administrators, the ultimate responsibility falls to the nine policy-making Board of Ed members, whose votes determine the fate of the proposal. President Jim Daley and Commissioners Kim Renta, Jim St. Clair, Norm Tahan, and Michael Paitchell all were present at the meeting to hear community feedback. Jim Daley doesn’t believe uniforms are a sound investment. “Both in the economic and strategic point of view, I don’t see the need,” said the Board President, who added that the benefits of uniforms are marginal at best. “I don’t think the district needs to address it considering the financial condition for both individuals and the Board.” Kim Renta is against uniforms because of the cost to taxpayers. “We’ve been told the school uniform company will work with us,” she said. “I don’t know what that means.” Renta also questioned if uniforms will help test scores. As a parent, she cited the need for indiviuality. Renta dislikes uniforms because of her nine years in a Catholic school. Jim St. Clair wants to go with public opinion and cited his experience with uniforms as a student. “I’m not a big fan of uniforms,” he said. St. Clair noted parents have a choice to send their students to private school where uniforms are mandated and said he’d probably vote no. Lou Fraulo, a former CHS counselor, said he didn’t see many gangs—one of the main incentives for the uniform push—during his tenure at the school. He wants to follow public opinion, but noted the lack of statistical evidence and said there’s more pressing needs. Fraulo would vote no if taxpayers had to pay for uniforms for financially strapped families. Joe Yeamans is still undecided. He is doubtful of the benefits of uniforms and noted that parents asked if the questionnaire was a ‘push survey.’ “If I had to prioritize, I’d put uniforms last,” said Yeamans, noting that the district needs money for window, door and roof repairs, among other things. John Traier is still not sure that the negatives outweigh the positives. “I’m concerned about potential cost to the district of having to supply Title One or free and reduced lunch kids,” he said. “I think we’ve got bigger issues to deal with than dress.” Traier noted the importance of the freedom of expression and there should be more enforcement of the current dress code. Michael Paitchell believes that a uniform pilot program, “might help improve self-esteem, attitude, and school performance for many of our students.” However, he would vote no if it taxpayers had to foot the bill. Norm Tahan is in favor of uniforms because of talks he’s had with other administrators. “I’ve talked to Kearny, Belleville and Bayonne,” said Tahan. “Overall discipline issues are reduced, kids seemed to be more focused on school and less focused on the fashion show that goes on, and there’s less theft issues.” Paul Graupe would like to follow the public’s wishes, but he noted that the turnout at the meeting differs from the survey results. As a US Army veteran and former Clifton police officer, he personally is in favor of uniforms but is more concerned with saving money for taxpayers.


vendors] said they would be willing to finance a number, and give a certain number of free uniforms. They would offer parents an additional discount.” The assistant superintendent said she wasn’t sure that the district would have to pay for students receiving free or reduced lunch. Nuccetelli said the district could mandate a golf shirt instead of a full uniform to cut costs. That ultimately would be decided by uniform selection committees. Nuccetelli believes parents will benefit financially regardless of the style of dress selected. The assistant superintendent believes uniforms will reduce the need for other clothing. “What you would wear after school might be less expensive,” she said. “It could be sweats or whatever. Whereas if you’re wearing stuff to school, especially middle or high school, it’s fashionable and costly. I think you’d have those after

school clothes anyway, even if you had regular clothes.” Nuccetelli insisted that uniforms won’t stifle individuality. “If you look at [the students] now, they all try to look like each other anyway,” said Nuccetelli. “Having a standard of dress or student uniform is another step in that process, because whatever happens to be the trend for that day, that’s what they try to wear.” The Board of Ed must vote on the uniforms at least three months prior to implementation. Legally, there is legislation that allows districts to mandate uniforms if parents, teachers and administrations can come to an agreement on the clothing. However, as many in the audience noted, there is a distinct possibility of a legal challenge, which could potentially cost the district thousands of dollars. But the assistant superintendent believes the courts will side with the school.

“It’s been challenged in courts and found legal to have a mandatory dress code policy,” said Nuccetelli. “I think the attorney would have to rule on that at this point, but there is case law that supports that and I’m not sure the challenge would go anywhere.”

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There have been several MiddleEastern restaurants springing up on Main Ave. between Piaget and Colfax Aves., but Kamil’s Lebanese Cuisine may be the most popular thanks to its hookah license. “We’re the only restaurant in the city to serve hookah because we were in business prior to 2004,” said Dany Nijm, part-owner of the establishment located at 1489 Main Ave. “What hurts us is that in Paterson, the restaurants serve hookah even though it’s illegal,” he claimed. “The problem is, it’s not enforced.” Nijm said he and other MiddleEastern business owners have decided to locate in Clifton because it is cleaner, safer and offers more parking than in Paterson, where most of their clientele resides. Other cultural eateries in the area include Al Khayam Restaurant at 1543 Main Ave., Baranda Fine Mediterranean Restaurant at 1551 Main Ave. and Al-Jannah Restaurant at 1462 Main Ave. There’s even a hookah distributor, Hookah Paradise, located at 1275 Main Ave. Owner Simon Sheik is on hand seven days a week. Nijm, a Lebanese immigrant, patronized Kamil’s since it opened in 2002, before deciding to buy into a portion of the business last year.

send Clifton business news to TomHawrylko@optonline.net

Above, Kamil’s Lebanese Cuisine manager Jamil M. and part-owner Dany Nijm.

While he is at the restaurant everyday, Nijm is also an information technology project manager, an automated teller machine business owner and real estate investor. There is seating for 60 indoors and 45 outdoors at Kamil’s covered patio. Hookah smoking is permitted both inside and out, but most customers enjoy going outside to smoke, especially during the

warmer summer months. “Back in the day, only our grandmothers and grandfathers used to smoke the hookah,” said Nijm. “But since the invention of flavored tobacco, the younger generation is getting into it.” The part-owner said Kamil’s was affected slightly by the recent recession, but avoided a bigger impact thanks to the culture of his patrons.

Three other Middle-Eastern dining establishments between Piaget and Crooks Ave. are Al Khayam Restaurant (1543 Main Ave.), Al-Jannah Restaurant (1462 Main Ave.) and Baranda Mediterranean Restaurant (1551 Main Ave.). 36

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


“Middle-Easterners don’t sit around and watch the news and worry about money,” he said. “The Lebanese, especially, like to spend even more than they earn.” Kamil’s serves lunch and dinner and is famous for its grilled kebab, chicken and hummus. The restaurant also serves hookah in fresh fruit varieties including watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, apple and grapefruit, as well as flavors ranging from double apple and mint to grape and cherry. Hookah is such a big deal at Kamil’s that the restaurant employs three ‘gurus,’ whose sole responsibility is to tend to the smoking apparatuses. Nijm, 41, came to the United States in 1976 to escape the Lebanese Civil War, and he lived in Paterson for two decades before moving to Cambridge Crossings. His brother is a firefighter in Paterson and their mother resides in by Jordan Schwartz Clifton.

Investors purchases Banco Popular branches

Earlier this year, Investors Savings Bank purchased the Bloomfieldbased American Bank of New Jersey, which had a branch at 500 Clifton Ave. at Fourth St. Most recently, Investors, headquartered in Short Hills, completed the acquisition of six Banco Popular branches in New Jersey, including the one at 1610 Main Ave. (above) and another at 10 Botany Village Square East. The company also acquired $227 million in deposits from Banco Popular, which is based in Puerto Rico, but not any loans as part of the deal. With the acquisition, Investors now operates 63 branches throughout New Jersey from Ocean to Warren Counties.

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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Golden Source Tile at 1390 Main Ave. is expanding its operation, converting the former Verizon space (2,000 square feet) in the same building. “It will give us more room for displays,” said manager Alpar Uzun. A tile importer and retailer that sells kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, ceramic tiles, glazed porcelain tiles, natural stone, hardwood floors, building supply and counter tops, Golden Source Tile is creating a Main Ave. retail showroom while Istikbal Furniture & Bedding (below) is undergoing a major facade renovation which continues from Main to Getty Ave. Both firms are at the corner of Main and Troast Ct.

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Uzun said items are imported from various countries such as Brazil, Turkey, Spain and Peru. “They refinished the entire building and went from a warehouse to a retail building with plate glass windows,” said Clifton Economic Development Director Harry Swanson. “This is a success story for Clifton because he found the market here and has been very successful at keeping the business going.” Golden Source Tile was established in 2004 and currently has several warehouses and design showrooms in various locations totaling more than 20,000 square feet. The property is owned by Evangelos Megariotis of Ravona St. Across Troast Ct., Istikbal Furniture & Bedding is doing an extensive renovation of its facade, which begins on Main Ave. and continues to Getty. Despite numerous attempts to contact a representative, details were not available.

Bookstore & Cafe at Main & Clifton Avenues

The Genardi building at Main and Clifton Aves. recently added ANT Bookstore at 345 Clifton Ave., taking over the space once occupined by the Clifton Main Diner. Offered are a variety of books in different languages, primarily in English and Turkish. It serves as a major outlet for the publications of The Light Inc, of which it is a subsidiary, as well as a number of major international publishers. The store also offers book in the Spanish language, children’s literature, magazines, accessories and a large full-service cafe. It is open seven days per week. The Genardi building underwent renovations after a fire in 2007 and this store fills a long held vacancy in Downtown Clifton.

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That’s Kevin Apologan pointing to the $45,000 figure, this year’s fundraising goal. Also pictured in front of the Boys & Girls Club on Clifton Ave., first row, from left: Zoriah McCargo, Danylo Zurawski, Nia Brown, Carlos Reynoso, Matthew Sillen, Brionia Garris, Rafael Rivera, Raymond Romanski and Justin Ayala. They are pictured with Campaign Chair Cindy DeVos and Executive Director Bob Foster.

The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton, which serves 5,200 registered members and an additional 7,965 children, is making a call for donations to its 2009 Annual Giving Campaign, chaired by Cindy DeVos. This year has been a challenging one for the Club. Due to cutbacks at all levels, it has seen a 14 percent decrease in grants and contract awards and a five percent drop in fundraising from Bingo. These two sources account for most of the operating budget. The goal this year is $45,000. Visit bgca.org or call 973-773-2697.

Serving Clifton since 1952, the Club today offers early childhood programs, after-school and summer camp for youths, teen leadership and character development for ages 13-18, aquatic programs, swim lessons for all ages, youth sports and school site extensions. The Club employs 19 full-time youth development professionals, led by Executive Director Bob Foster. While donations are always appreciated, he suggested another way to support the Club is to attend the 2009 Hall of Fame dinner which is on Nov. 13 at 6:30 pm.

View The Giblin Report Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Channel 76

Proud to Represent Clifton Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin 1333 Broad St., Clifton, NJ 07013 office: 973-779-3125

www.assemblymangiblin.com 40

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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Please call 973-778-2222 to make a private appointment with Dr. Nackman during the month of November. A community service brought to you by...

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Dr. Gary Nackman November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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The NJRCC presents YBP Networking Night benefiting the Boys & Girls Club will be Nov. 18 at 6 pm at the Water Bar in Bliss Lounge on Allwood Rd. The first drink is free and there will be catered food and raffle prizes. Berkeley College and Verizon-New Jersey have been selected as NJRCC’s 2009 STAR Awards recipients. The awards will be presented on Dec. 3 at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park. Berkeley has seven campuses throughout New Jersey and New York, including Dover Business College in Clifton. The Chamber will also be holding a Young Entrepreneurs event at Bliss on Nov. 18. Visit njrcc.org. Space Port, a premier state-of-theart members only entertainment destination, is opening at 301 Main St. in Paterson on Nov. 20. Space Port is a two-level, 32,000 sq. ft. space located in the Center City Mall. Log on to spaceportnj.com or call 888-81-SPACE.

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

At a tour of the North Jersey Federal Credit Union on Oct. 15, Chief Operating Officer Richard Bzdek, Marketing VP James Giffin, board member John Kirk, Chief Financial Officer AnnaMaria Goldinak, President and CEO Lourdes Cortez, and Vice Chair of the Board, Helen W. Mault, who has been a member since 1965.

Spencer Savings Bank is teaming up with the NJRCC and Bluberries Advertising to host the Networking Royale Event, one of the largest networking events in the area. It’s on Nov. 12 at the Royal Manor in Garfield from 5:30-9 pm. Tickets

are limited and can be purchased for $40 ($50 at the door). Call Marzena Czachor, Garfield Branch Manager at 973-772-6700, Nick Sadowski, Bluberries Partner at 973-478-2200 ext. 26 or Gloria Martini, Chamber President at 973-470-9300.


A New York Style Salon / Spa Comes to Clifton (without those New York Prices!)

From left, Stylist Tracy Callari, Owner Joyce Lehansky, Esthetician & Stylist Kasia Wojciechowska, Esthetician Kristi Breen, Stylist Antoinette Felton, Stylist Fran Kramer, Stylist Vivi Vasconcelos. Missing from photo is Lisa Trombetta.

Van Houten Ave. Welcomes The Hair Spa ARE YOU READY TO MAKE A CHANGE? Understanding how hard it can be to find a quality, trustworthy and well-priced salon, Joyce Lehansky has opened The Hair Spa. “I’ve selected the best stylists who have good knowledge of trends and styles, and created a place where our clients can relax for a few hours,” said Joyce, who leaves behind a career with fashion icon Ann Taylor to open The Hair Spa in her hometown. “If you are ready to make a change and want stylists, nail technicians and estheticians who listen to your needs, ideas, and then offer you creative style advice, you’ll find them here.”

The recently completed renovation of her salon offers customers hair care in a beautiful main area along with manicures, pedicures, make-up application (or lessons), as well as waxing, lash extensions or LCN nail treatment in private facial spa rooms. There is also a great line of hair and skin care products, unique to this area. For hair, there’s Bumble and Bumble and Redken. Our skin care line includes Guinto (call for our free Dec. 3 event), B. Kamins, La Bella Donna Mineral Make Up and Blinc Kiss Me Mascara. You’ll enjoy the change at The Hair Spa. Hours are Tuesday and Friday, 9 to 8, Wednesday and Thursday 10 to 8 and Saturday 9 to 5.

The Hair Spa • 844 Van Houten Ave (near Mt. Prospect) • 973-685-9774 November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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C o m p u t e r i z e d

F i n a n c i a l

A c c o u n t i n g

W

hen you love what you do for a living it shows. Just ask KSL students pursuing a Diploma in the Computerized Financial Accounting Program taught by Clifton’s Janet Carnevale. Since 1998, she has been affiliated with the Mt. Prospect Ave. school. Over the past decade, she has helped students from all walks of life to become well versed in the techniques of computerized accounting, as they gain an understanding of basic business practices. Whether in government or private business, every organization needs somebody to account for its funds and Computerized Accounting Specialists go on to jobs such as payroll clerk, data entry clerk, bookkeeper, or accounting clerk. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), those with skills in automation of accounting procedures earned an annual income of around $28,500 in the last report.

“KeySkills has been in Clifton for 25 years and it is a wonderful resource. I am very proud of the environment we’ve created for our students.” Computerized Financial Accounting Instructor Janet Carnevale Like many KSL students, Janet came here after the CPA firm she worked for was downsized. While she started her own bookkeeping and consulting firm after being laid-off, she realized she had a lot to offer and some skills that needed to be updated. 44

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

She decided to attend KSL as a student and soon thereafter was asked to share her knowledge as a part time instructor. Four years ago, she began working full time and she is proud to be on the KSL staff. “I grew with KeySkills and like the


Another familiar Cliftonite on the KSL staff is Hank Gola. Students pictured with Hank and Janet from left; Carlos, Oswaldo, Leana and Nancy.

other instructors here, I am very proud of the environment we’ve created for our students,” said Janet. “We have less than 18 students in a classroom. There’s lots of one-on-one interaction. We work with our students so they learn at their own pace. Keyskills has been in Clifton for 25 years and it is a wonderful resource.” While many KSL graduates find employment in banks, insurance, real estate and business offices, some go on to a

4 year college for a BA Degree in Accounting. The Computerized Financial Accounting Diploma Program prepares students for the advanced operations of accounting programs like Microsoft Excel, Peachtree, Medisoft, Quickbooks and others. Students are taught basic accounting cycles and practices and learn how to balance the budget, manage payroll and other important accounting functions of a small or large business.

“If you are a mom returning to the workforce and want to add an edge to your resume, KeySkills is a great way to reenter the workforce,” said Janet. If you have been unemployed, or are a Veteran, financial aide may be available through the NJ Labor & Workforce Development Agencies and other resources. Potential KeySkills students may learn more about the costs and possible financial assistance for their tuition when they talk to an Admission representative.

50 Mt. Prospect Ave. Call

973-778-8136

Founded in Clifton in 1985 • Classes Start on Mondays Other KSL Schools are located in Jersey City & Orange

www.KeySkillsLear ning.com November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

CLIFTON STUDENTS • CLASS OF 2011

Ask Our Clifton Students Why PC is Their School of Choice

Pictured are some of the Clifton residents who attend Paramus Catholic High School. We welcome them and encourage you to ask these students and their parents why they have made PC their high school of choice. Please call or visit to learn more about Paramus Catholic.

CLIFTON STUDENTS • CLASS OF 2010

425 Paramus Road • Paramus, NJ 07652 (201) 445-4466 • www.paramuscatholic.org


November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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CLIFTON STUDENTS • CLASS OF 2013

• The Class of 2009 earned $25 million in Scholarships & Grants. Clifton graduates earned $1.25 million of those Scholarships & Grants • 126 course offerings including 26 Honors and 16 AP level courses • Cost effective tuition for families • Large school offerings, small class size • Stable, strong and focused on the future • 3 round trip neighborhood bus routes provided from Clifton

About Paramus Catholic...

• Clifton students from the Class of 2009 were accepted to such prestigious colleges and universities as: Boston University, Columbia, Fairfield, Fordham, NJIT, NYU, Penn State, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Stevens Institute of Technology

CLIFTON STUDENTS • CLASS OF 2012


M o r e

T h a n

F r u i t s

a n d

Ve g e t a b l e s

The newest Corrado family businesse is the Pet Market where you can get everything for your pet—except live animals.

T

he late James Corrado must be looking down proudly on what his kids and grandkids have accomplished since he opened the flagship Corrado’s Family Affair on Main Ave. in 1975. This year alone, the family opened a second supermarket in the Point View Shopping Plaza in Wayne. But their most recent and unique addition here in Clifton is the Pet Market on Getty Ave. across from the Garden Center.

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

Open 7 days and neatly organized from wall to wall, the super-sized Pet Market is animal friendly, loaded with great merchandise and staffed by knowledgeable people. And deals? Pick up a 100 count box of Wee Wee Pads for $19.99, great for housebreaking a puppy. How about a 44 lb bag of Iams premium foods for dogs and cats at just $29.95? These are prices and deals you won’t find in any national chain store or wholesale club.


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Gift giving time is here and Corrado’s Pet Market offers aquarium kits, habitats for little creatures, hermit crab shells and sets, bird cages and other items that make great Christmas gifts. So bring your pet and take a tour— and be sure to ask for a free gift. As one manager said: Everyone that visits becomes a repeat customer!

Next door, Corrado’s Garden Center turns from being a fall harvestfest into a winter wonderland of poinsettias, wreaths, grave covers and more. On a recent visit, premium food brands were $3 to $7 cheaper than most any place else and you will find most every brand name food found in supermarkets. Shop the price for Alpo, Purina, Fancy Feast, Friskies and you’ll find bargains. Plus, premium lines like Iams, Eukenuba, Science Diet, Newman’s Own and others are offered in varying sizes and at great prices as well.

HEALTH & BEAUTY ITEMS Purchasing FRONTLINE® Plus for Dogs, vitamins or heart worm medicine? Corrado’s Pet Market is certain to be competitive on those items too. Healthcare and beauty supplies, from shampoos and conditioners to toe nail clippers and all types of merchandise for grooming your animal, are also offered. Soon shoppers will be able to drop their dog or cat off at the Pet Market for Professional Grooming while they fill their grocery list at the supermarket or the Garden Center, both a short walk away.

1578 Main Ave Clifton, NJ 07011

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www.CorradosMarket.com November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Screen Door Confessional Rev. Peter Carey got his calling as a Clifton postman Story by Jordan Schwartz eter Carey wanted to serve his country. So, in the fall of 1961, the 22-year-old Cliftonite went down to Paterson Local Board 38 and tried to enlist in the U.S. Army Reserve. But a bronchial condition disqualified him for entry and he was turned away, while the 22 other men there that day were accepted and boarded a plane to boot camp. On Nov. 8, 1961, those 22 men, including seven from Clifton, perished when the plane crashed in Richmond, Va. Fifty-two other recruits from Scranton, Pa. and Baltimore, Md. were also aboard and suffered the same fate. Some may believe Carey was spared because God had a higher calling for him—one that he fulfilled by serving as pastor at Wallington Presbyterian Church for the past 25 years and helping create the Parish Nursing program. But the reverend bristles at that notion. “People say, ‘You better get down on your knees and thank God,’ but I don’t need them to tell me to thank God,” the 70-year-old said from his small office across the hall from the church’s surprisingly large sanctuary. “God didn’t have plans for those other 74 men.”

P

Parish Nursing is a program at Wallington Presbyterian Church. From left, R.N. Marion Spranger, director Rev. Peter Carey and volunteer coordinator Peg Carey.

The near-death experience, combined with growing up during war time and air raid drills at school, contributed to Carey suffering a nervous breakdown. For two years, he took medication and questioned his faith. The 1957 Clifton High graduate was raised Catholic by his Irish Catholic father, Peter, and Protestant mother, Emma. Carey attended the former St. Paul’s Roman Catholic school at the corner of Washington and Main Aves. for his elementary education and never missed a Sunday service.

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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We’ll cook it at our store & Deliver it to Your Home on...

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Let us deep fry your turkey • Lemon and garlic • Teriyaki • Balsamic • Buffalo • Orange • Butter & herb $5.99lb

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Delicious turkey dinner • Fresh turkey breast • Mash potatoes • Stuffing • Fresh vegetables • Gravy • Cranberry sauce $9.95 per person

Limited quantities Place your order early! 52

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


Peter Carey (far right on bottom) was on the 1953 CHS freshman basketball team that went 17-0. It was the first year the Mustangs also won the Passaic County freshman tournament. Kneeling, from left, are Irwin Sacks, Ronnie Stern, Pete LaCorte, Carl Bondinell, Andy Yuhas, Victor Marchioni and Carey. Standing are Coach Ed Bednarcik, Bruce Carlson, Roger Fardin, Mike Novack, John Angelo, Alan Wernau and manager Gene DeLorenzo.

Good practice for a priest. “I was always religious,” he explained. “If I was sick, At age 29, Carey decided that he wanted to enter the I’d be breaking the door down to go to church.” Protestant clergy, and so he went back to school and But in his late-twenties, Carey became a Protestant. studied philosophy at a Rutgers campus in Paterson. “The God that I knew was vindictive, but I learned He later transferred to Bloomfield College and graduatthat he was also loving,” he said. “I respect the ed with a degree in Catholic Church; it just wasn’t for me.” religion in 1975. The youngest child of a telephone Carey earned his worker and a waitress didn’t always master’s in divinity want to be a man of the cloth. from Drew in 1979 After receiving his diploma from – Reverend Peter Carey and was ordained CHS, Carey was accepted to Montclair the following year, when he began as chaplain at State Teacher’s College (now Montclair State Passaic General Hospital. University), but he dropped out after one day because A few years later, despite having a good job with a he didn’t know if he wanted to be a teacher. pension at the post office, the priest left his position and The following year, he got a call from the Clifton started serving full-time at Wallington Presbyterian. “It Post Office and began his 26-year tenure delivering wasn’t difficult to leave because I wanted to be a mail. “I loved it,” said Carey, whose main route was minister,” he said. along Lexington Ave. “I didn’t like being rained on, In 1984, Carey and his wife, Margaret Ann Burns from but I met lots of friends.” Passaic, whom he married in November 1960, moved Many of those friends came to trust the kind-hearted from Clifton to Wallington. postman and would often use conversations with him Their only child, Maryellen Lavery, now 46 and through the screen door of their homes as a form of living in Denville, had already graduated CHS in 1980. confession. “People came out and they liked to talk to Carey added a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew to me,” he explained. “I guess what I said was helpful. his resume in 1991. People need to know that someone heard their pain.”

“I hope that I have fulfilled what God wanted me to do.”

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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Three years later, the reverend met a nurse named Marion Spranger, and the two established the Parish Nursing program. “Hospice care gives dignity to the dying,” Carey said. “We thought we could bring dignity to the living.” The program involves providing medical and spiritual care to people who are sick and their families. There’s also an educational side that works to prevent people from falling ill in the first place. Spranger, who has been in nursing for more than 30 years, got the

idea from reading an article in the Journal of Christian Nursing. “It just lit up my brain, and I was so excited about it,” she said. “I brought it to Father Carey, and he thought it could work at his church.” The reverend’s wife, Peg, is the program’s volunteer coordinator and so she arranges service to between 15 and 25 individuals. Volunteers are always needed and Mrs. Carey matches their skills to the needs of the program. Those interested should call 973-779-2640.

Peter Carey, CHS ’57

Parish Nursing doesn’t charge the patients any fees. Instead, the church finances a quarter of its budget and the rest of the funding comes from grants and donations. Carey said he’s gotten used to spending a lot of time around sick people. “It used to be hard, but when you realize you can do something to help them, you’re a hope giver,” said the priest, who also serves as Protestant chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic. The outreach program celebrated its 15th anniversary on Nov. 1 with a luncheon at the Wallington Civic Center on Union Blvd. Carey spends about two to three hours every day visiting with patients either at their homes or in the hospital. Once in a while, he will even run into one of the people to which he used to deliver mail. The minister also leads a bereavement support group on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm and last month, expanded it to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Clifton Ave. Only recently did he share with the group his story about dealing with the loss of 74 peers nearly a half-century ago, and the guilty feelings he had from being spared. “I hope that I have fulfilled what God wanted me to do.” 54

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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A Week in November, 1961 Story by Rich DeLotto t began Sunday, Nov. 5. U.S. Navy Seaman Louis F. Lynch Jr., 18, was killed in a ship fire aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. Lynch had only been in the Navy a short time; he enlisted immediately after graduating from Passaic High School in June 1961. Upon his death, Passaic City Hall was draped with memorial bunting to honor his memory. However, an even greater tragedy was about to unfold. The same day Lynch lost his life, Harold Skoglund was having an early Thanksgiving dinner with his family. The 22-year-old CHS grad, married for just over a year, had been drafted and was getting ready to report for active duty on Nov. 8. On that fateful Wednesday at 7 am, Skoglund and 27 other men began their military induction process at the Paterson City Hall Annex before being bused to Newark for tests. Before being sworn in, six men were excused and sent home for a variety of reasons. One of the excused recruits from Clifton, Joseph Niland, was deferred from induction because of an unpaid traffic ticket. The remaining 22 received their oaths, were given a box lunch and bused to Newark Airport. The plane departed at 6:30 pm and made stops in Scranton, Pa. and Baltimore, Md. to pick up additional recruits. The final destination for the 74 men was Fort Jackson, S.C. where they would begin basic training.

I

Forty-eight years ago, a series of tragic events involving military personnel from the Clifton/Passaic area shocked, saddened and struck our community. There was never a greater loss of life in a seven-day period in our city’s history than those described here.

Expert Bathroom Remodeling!

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


There were seven Clifton men among the 74 aboard the transport that crashed on its way to Fort Jackson, S.C. on Nov. 8, 1961. They included, from left: Vernon Griggs, CHS ’56, Robert Rinaldi, CHS ’57, Harold Skoglund, CHS ’57 and Willis Van Ess Jr., CHS ’58. Not pictured are Robert DeVogel, Robert Marositz and Raymond Shamberger.

However, at about 9:15 pm, the pilot maydayed from 10 miles west of Richmond, Va. The airport tower gave the flight clearance to land at Boyd Field and prepared for the worst. The plane approached the landing zone, but aborted because of trouble with the landing gear. It circled to the south in order to attempt another approach. Losing altitude, it crashed in a swampy marshland. Witnesses said there were explosions after the impact which engulfed the plane in flames. Thousands of onlookers created a massive traffic jam on Rt. 60, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through. Others that lived closer to the airport wandered through the woods near the wreckage, hampering the efforts of police on the scene. It took more than an hour for the first fire engine to get past the mud, trees and bystanders. Once at the site of the crash, all the firefighters could do was contain the fire. Only two people survived the crash: the pilot, who escaped from a cockpit window, and the flight engineer, who found his way out through an emergency door.

Tragedy continued that fateful week in 1961 when on Friday, Nov. 10, Navy Photographer Second Class Dennis M. Dyt, 20, was transporting two Navy personnel when his car went out of control and overturned near Upper Marlboro, Md. Both passengers survived the accident, but Dyt did not. Ironically, the Clifton resident had less than four months to go on his tour of duty. During that one-week period, in early November 1961, 24 men between 18 and 23 years old from our area died tragically while in military service. During the two weeks following the accidents, the remains of these servicemen would be identified and returned and their funerals were held at various churches in our community. With this article, we hope to keep their memories alive. Honor those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and commemorate the memories of the approximately 300 Cliftonites who died while in service to our nation by attending the Clifton Veterans Parade on Nov. 8. It begins at 2 pm on Sylvan Ave., continues on Main Ave. and concludes with services at the Main Memorial Monument near Piaget Ave.

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Jon Seda is Sgt. John Basilone in HBO’s upcoming miniseries

Portraying a Jersey Hero Jon Seda assembled his water-cooled machine gun as his fellow Marines slept in two-man tents in the South Pacific. Tomorrow, they would travel a couple miles to meet the Japanese army stationed beyond the brush. Story by Jordan Schwartz ut this was Queensland in 2007, not Guadalcanal in 1942, the soldiers were actors and the bullets weren’t real. Seda, who grew up in Clifton, underwent two weeks of boot camp training in Australia to prepare for his role portraying World War II hero John Basilone in the HBO miniseries, “The Pacific,” set to debut in March. “Basilone was an expert with the machine guns, so I had to learn them in and out: how to put them together, how they worked,” said Seda. “It gave us a sense of what these men went through. These Marines were out there for years and they were starving. They were undermanned and they didn’t have enough weapons.” The training was run by the project’s military advisor, Capt. Dale Dye, who also worked on “Band of Brothers” and Saving Private Ryan.

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This was a life-changing role for Seda, who got his first taste of acting by soliciting Herald News subscriptions door-to-door in Clifton when he was a teenager. “We’d show up to the house and ring the bell, and I’d start with, ‘Hey, listen, I’m just one order away from having a potential to get a full scholarship for college,” he remembered during a telephone conversation from Los Angeles. “You’d get some sweet old lady and she just couldn’t not give you the order. Meanwhile, it’s just getting you an extra five dollars on your paycheck.” Growing up on Sylvan Ave., the son of a pastor at Bethel Church in Passaic had no desire to enter the entertainment business. Flipping through the 1988 Clifton High School yearbook, you won’t find Seda’s picture on the drama


club page. But turn to the sports section, and you can’t miss him— carrying the pigskin as a running back on the gridiron, pinning an opponent on the wrestling mat or posing as a shortstop in the baseball team photo. “I grew up wanting to be a sports star,” he said, adding that some of his best memories are of playing pick-up baseball games at Weaselbrook Park. But after graduation, Seda got a reality check when he realized he wasn’t going to be the next Bo Jackson. However, that didn’t mean he was done with athletics. “I was just running some odd jobs and ran into some boxers,” he recalled. “I grew up watching a lot of fights next to my dad [Hector], and I went to Lou Costello’s gym in Paterson and started working out there. I really loved it, so I made that my goal to be a professional boxer.” Seda went on to train at Dominic Bufano’s gym in Jersey City and ascended the amateur ranks until he finished second at the 1989 New Jersey Golden Gloves. After three-and-a-half years in the ring, the Clifton native’s mother, Dharma, began to worry about her son’s safety, and attempted to distract him by signing him up for acting classes in Manhattan. “I did it just to please my mom,” said Seda, who has two brothers and three sisters. “Sometimes, I didn’t even show up, but the teacher kept telling me she saw something really natural inside of me and wanted me to continue a career in acting.” The instructor got him an audition for Gladiator, a boxing film released in 1992 that also featured James Marshall, Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert Loggia and Brian Dennehy.

New Jersey’s USMC Sgt. John ‘Manila’ Basilone Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone grew up in Raritan. He earned the Medal of Honor for gallantry at the 1942 Battle of Guadalcanal, where he held off 3,000 Japanese troops after his 15-member unit was reduced to two men. After receiving the military’s highest honor, Basilone returned home and toured the U.S. selling war bonds. Basilone’s buddies on Guadalcanal called him “Manila John” because he served with the Army in the Philippines before enlisting in the USMC. Medal of Honor recipients are generally not allowed to return to combat. However, Basilone requested a return to the fighting in the Pacific theatre. Serving with the Marine’s 27th Regiment, 5th Division during the invasion of Iwo Jima, he and his platoon were pinned down by enemy gunfire. He single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse, allowing his unit to capture an airfield. Minutes later he was killed by an enemy artillery round. After his death, he was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart, making him, what is believed to be, the only enlisted Marine in WWII to be awarded all three honors. In Basilone’s memory, the football field at Bridgewater-Raritan High School, two nearby bridges, a Navy ship and a highway in California have been named after him. His image is on a U.S. postage stamp, featured on the cover of this magazine. The 28th annual John Basilone Memorial Parade was held in the hero’s small hometown in Somerset County on Sept. 27 with 6,000 spectators in attendance, including Seda and HBO crews.

“I went to a ‘cattle call’ in New York, which is like a thousand people on line, and I ended up getting a co-staring role in the film,” he recalled. Seda, who was unloading trucks at Caldor in West Paterson on Rt. 46, working at a gym and ushering at the former Clifton Theater at the intersection of Clifton and Main Aves. to pull in just $250 a week at the time, hit a big payday when he landed the role, getting paid $40,000. “I blew all that money on a nice new car that I drove around Clifton,” he laughed. “I got a Dodge Stealth before anyone else had one.” After discovering he could make a living as an actor, Seda quit the ring. “The truth was there was no guarantee in boxing that I would’ve made it,” he explained. “Even the greatest fighter could get hurt in one fight and then it’s over. “I miss boxing, I really do. But I think it made my mom a lot happier.” Seda made the right choice as he went on to appear in Carlito’s Way (1993) with Al Pacino and Sean Penn, Boys on the Side (1995) with Whoopi Goldberg and Drew Barrymore, Twelve Monkeys (1995) with Bruce Willis, Selena (1997) with Jennifer Lopez, and Bad Boys II (2003) with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. “I learned a lot from those guys,” Seda said. “Pacino, I just remember being on set, standing in the back and just kind of watching him work November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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At left, Seda at the 1989 New Jersey Golden Gloves. The Seda family, from left: Jonathan, Lisa, Madison, Haley and Jon.

to get into his character. I kind of took down notes in my head as to how he would prepare.” The former Mustang has also played parts on television in Ghost Whisperer, CSI: Miami and an Oct. 19 episode of House, during which he played an edgy cop from New Jersey whose family had a history of heart disease. Whenever Seda gets cast as a police officer, he remembers the pointers he picked up from spending time with his good friend, Joe Genchi, a retired Clifton Police detective. In preparation for his 1997-99 role as Det. Paul Falsone on NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street, Seda spent some time on the job with Genchi. “I played this Italian no-holds-barred, hot-headed guy and that’s kind of how Joe is,” the actor joked.

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“He took me around the precinct and he would let me look at actual homicide files.” “It’s rewarding to see that it paid off,” said Genchi, who laughed at the notion of being hot-headed. “He applied what he learned here and it enhances his characters to make them more realistic.” But Seda said his biggest role to date is depicting U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. John ‘Manila’ Basilone in a 10-part HBO miniseries from the creators of “Band of Brothers.” “For me, portraying John Basilone for his home state ... I just felt an added responsibility on this one,” said Seda, who noted that the soldier’s death scene was ironically filmed on Feb. 19 this year. “I had a script sent to me and I just really felt connected, and I was definitely meant to play this role.”


Seda auditioned in front of the miniseries’ producers, which included Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. “I was nervous, but it was more of nervous energy,” he said. “If you don’t tune them out, then you’re a nervous wreck because they’re icons.” Seda in his 1988 CHS yearbook “The Pacific,” and with Clifton Detective Joe which also follows the Genchi in May 1998. lives of two other U.S. Marines, Robert Leckie and Eugene Sledge, began shooting in August 2007 and reportedly had the largest budget ever for HBO at $250 million. “It’s just such an important story to be told,” said Seda, who moved from Maclean Rd. in Clifton to Los Angeles two-and-a-half years ago. “It’s a voice for all those Marines that never got to let those at home know what they were really going through, and how heroic they were to help give us that

freedom that we have and cherish.” The miniseries is also a big stepping stone in the actor’s career. “I think I’m at a point now where I don’t want to just do anything,” he said. “I want to have stuff where I’m able to really bring out the best in the characters. “I’d also like to produce films and have my own production company, so I can bring some stuff back to Clifton.”

The 1987-88 CHS wrestling team went 12-3. Front, from left: Steve Banya, Fred Goldbach, Jon Seda, Alex Kenny, Todd St. Laurent and Bill Renault. Back: Ray Viola, Dave Niland, J.C. Gouse, Sean Mulholland, Bill Wagner, Cory Hefner, Bill Lahanas, Robb Pami, Matt Cole and Dennis Nevin. November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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Rosario LaCorte Vietnam Vet & Clifton Cop Story by Joe Hawrylko

osario LaCorte still remembers his mother’s anxiety back in 1966, when the 19-year-old revealed his plans to enlist in the military. The unpopular war was being covered by hundreds of media correspondents, bringing the brutality of the conflict right into the homes of Americans. LaCorte’s mother knew her son was draft eligible and would be deployed to Vietnam soon enough, so she begged him to pick a safe branch of the military. “I wanted to go to the Marines, but my mother didn’t want me to go,” he laughed. “I basically knew I was going to Vietnam.” But LaCorte heeded his mother’s advice and enlisted with the Navy in January 1966 and was shipped to Great Lakes, Ill. for boot camp. After completion of his training, the 1965 CHS graduate was assigned to the USS Walke DD-723 destroyer as a high pressure pipe welder. “On a tin can ship, everything breaks and cracks because of the constant pounding,” said LaCorte. As a result, much of his time was spent below deck, in the bowels of the destroyer, which carried roughly 200 personnel. “It would rock the ship if you turned starboard or port side,” he said. “Because it was such a small ship, each shot would throw it right or left. On that ship, you were more apt to get sick. Our tables had metal edges so that stuff wouldn’t fall off of it.” LaCorte and his shipmates were fortunate enough to not engage in direct combat. The USS Walke primarily served as a sea-to-land artillery craft, generally keeping the crew out of harm’s way.

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Third Class Petty Officer Rosario LaCorte next to the artillery cannons aboard the USS Walke. He served during Vietnam and then went on to a career with the Clifton Police Department. Today, you’ll see him keeping things orderly at Corrado’s Family Affair. 62

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However, the heavy guns created an intense strain on the vessel, keeping LaCorte busy. Working so far beneath deck mean that there were few escape routes. A major accident could potentially trap him in the bowels of the ship. “The ship caught fire when we were leaving California [for Vietnam],” he recalled. “The hull caught fire and we didn’t even get out of the harbor. The ship was on dry dock for months.” LaCorte was in Vietnam for 13 months before being reassigned to the USS Shenandoah, a destroyer tender repair ship. Despite leaving the war zone, he still longed to return home. “You tend to stay in touch with family. That’s how I was anyway,” said LaCorte. “It’s hard though, because even though you’re making new family on the ship, your ties are back home. Especially on the destroyer, since there’s only 200 some odd men on it. You opened up to each other constantly.” “You grow up real quick,” he added. “You don’t have the family support system right behind.” LaCorte was discharged in October 1969 as a shipfitter third class and returned home to a changed America. “People know you’re in the military. Your hair is short, especially at that time,” he said. “People had pony tails, sideburns and facial hair.” But while the general reception to returning veterans was negative, LaCorte did not face any resentment back

home in Clifton. He assimilated back into civilian life, returning to his pre-war job at Frank Taibi Fuel. In 1980, he applied to become a Passaic County Park Policeman. His military stint made him well-prepared for the police academy. “It was nothing compared to Navy boot camp,” LaCorte laughed. However, budget cuts forced the County to let go of a number of officers, and he was unemployed after less than a year on the force. LaCorte then applied to the Clifton Police Department, and was hired in 1980. “I was a patrolman. I was black and white my whole career,” said the Allwood resident. “Lakeview Ave. and the Botany section is where I spent most of my years. I like those neighborhoods.” LaCorte was a member of Clifton’s Finest for almost 25 years, retiring on Dec. 31, 2003. Shortly after ending his Clifton Police career, LaCorte got a job as the head of security at the sprawling Corrado’s Family Affair, between Main and Getty Aves. Soon, he plans on ending his second career to ride off into the sunset with his fiancee of five years, Regina Carfora, a suiting end for someone who spent years serving the public. “For about 19 years, I’ve owned a condo in South Carolina,” said LaCorte. “In a year or so, I’m going to retire out there.”

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Jam Dive: 1970

Angles & Dangles in the Atlantic Writer James Fasino, pictured after he earned the rank of Third Class Petty Officer in 1972. He previously wrote for us in the September edition, recalling his experiences of living on his boat which was anchored in the Hudson River on 9/11/01.

here I was, a 19 year old Navy Seaman, fresh out of Submarine School, standing in the control room of the USS Pargo, SSN 650, a U.S. Navy Attack Submarine, some 200 feet underwater off the east coast of Florida. I, along with my two shipmates, stood ill at ease staring up at Captain Kurk as he stood authoritatively on the periscope stand. He had a reputation for being a bit off, but his crew loved him. Rumor had it that he tried to roll this submarine completely over by repeatedly executing submerged, high speed turns at flank speed. This, of course, is an engineering impossibility but he wanted to test that theory. Although unsuccessful, he did manage to get it to lay on its side at about a 60 degree. “You all know what to do in a jam dive, don’t you?” “Yes sir,” we replied in unison. The three of us had been assigned TAD—Temporary Assigned Duty—aboard this 637 Class Nuclear Fast Attack Submarine for a three-week training run to Port Everglades. This was while our submarine, the USS Bluefish SSN 675, was still under construction at electric boat ship yard in Groton, Conn. “Okay then! Each one of you will take a turn at the helm. I will order ahead flank speed and that the stern planes be put into full dive. However, you will not

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react whatsoever until I give the order, ‘Jam dive!’ Is that understood?” “Yes Sir, Captain!” This would be what is known in submarine jargon as practicing angles and dangles. Crews actually love it ... except for the cook that is. The maneuvers make his dishes, pots and pans fly all over the galley, and he and his gang will spend hours cleaning the mess. The Captain singled me out as the first to attempt the jam dive and I moved to assume the helm. “We’re at ahead two-thirds,” said the helmsman. “We have a two degree up bubble. And we’re at 200 feet.” I repeated the info verbatim so he knew I understood. “Ready?” he asked. “Ready.” The helmsman unbuckled his seat belt, and while keeping one hand on the wheel, slid out of the seat and stood up. I got in, buckled up, grasped it with both hands and he let go of the wheel. I had done this exercise dozens of times on a training simulator, but never at the helm of a real Naval vessel. Generally, you’re expected to hold depth within two feet and course within one degree in either direction. But since I was new at this, they were watching me very closely. Nothing less than perfection was acceptable. “Ahead flank,” ordered the Captain. I grasped the knob on the engine order enunciator and clicked it once ahead to ahead standard, then again to ahead full, then once again to ahead flank. The response indicator rang and the answer arrow clicked to ahead flank, telling me that the throttleman in the engine room got the change in speed order. I felt an increased vibration in my seat as the prop pushed our 4,200-ton submarine though the water.


We breached 22 knots—well over 25 miles per hour— hurtling through the water in the dark. I tensed in anticipation, my knuckles going white as I grasped the wheel. Briefly, my thoughts drifted back to a different time on a dark New Jersey highway, when my hands gripped a different steering wheel ... the one on my ’66 GTO, careening down the road at high speed, side by side in a drag race with my buddy’s ’68 Chevelle. It was a long leap in a short time span from that scenario of an irresponsible, street racing kid to this of a young trained torpedoman at the helm of a nuclear submarine. It was just last year, but it seemed like a lifetime ago.

“Relax, sailor,” said Captain Kurk, as he placed a hand on my shoulder. I loosened my grip slightly and took a deep breath. “Full dive on the stern planes!” The stern planesman sitting next to me skillfully pushed his control stick forward until the indicator showed full dive. The stern planes are two wing-like devices at the rear of the sub which are similar to flaps on an airplane. Things began to happen rapidly and the sub nosed down abruptly. Suddenly, I was hanging by my waist from my seat belt, struggling to hold the stick up against the gravitational force. I put my feet up on the control panel that was now below me to brace myself.

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Around me, sailors were hanging from the piping, dangling in mid air. The feet on the depth gauge were clicking by so fast that I could only make out 100 feet increments as we breached 400 feet. It seemed like an eternity and it had only been a few minutes. Then I heard it: “Jam dive, Jam dive! Full rise on the sail planes! Full rise on the stern planes! All back emergency!” Beads of sweat formed on my forehead as I struggled to reach for the engine enunciator. Simultaneously I threw the rudder to full left as I struggled with all my might to pull up on the control stick to put the sail planes in full rise. I could hear the pots and pans crashing below us in the galley as the cook screamed. I relayed the completed orders to Captain Kurk. He responded coolly, but I was hanging on for my life. The depth gauge read 650, the bubble indicator was at 85 degrees down. We were in a high speed dive, barreling straight down into the dark depths of the sea. I felt a heavy rumbling in my seat as the prop started to bite into the water to reverse our descent and I was pulled even harder into my seat belt as we slowed. The entire boat was shuddering and the hull was moaning from the stress of the increasing sea pressure around us. As we slowed, the depth gauge was becoming more readable. “Passing 800 feet and slowing,” said the diving officer. “800 feet, aye,” said Kurk calmly while hanging form the periscope behind me. He had unquestioned confidence in his crew. We descended over 600 feet in a flash and the ship slowed to a brief stop. It was standing still, on its nose, at 830 feet below the Atlantic when finally we began to back out of the dive. The depth gauge started

to click back slowly ... 829, 825, 800 feet. At 600 feet, the sub began to level and the pressure hull creaked and moaned. At the 40 degree down angle, I could lower my feet to the deck again. My whole body was trembling, sweat was pouring from my forehead. My clothes were damp with perspiration from the stress and shear physical exertion. We leveled off. While I was drained physically and emotionally I was exhilarated. I couldn’t wait to do it again. “Next!” said Kurk, reminiscent of a chain style restaurant maitre d’.

For him, this was just another day at the office. For me, the most exciting day of my young life. I was relieved on the helm by the next trainee, then took my turn on the stern planes. The speed was increased to flank. I eased the stick forward smartly and the bow angled down sharply. It was the start of another wild ride. Already, I could hear the cook screaming and everyone in the control room was smiling. It’s been more than 40 years now, but I will always remember my first jam dive.

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t’s been close to 150 days since his last drag—the longest he’s ever gone without smoking a cigarette in 30 years. And Brian Fopma couldn’t be happier. The Clifton motorcycle cop, a 23-year veteran of the force, finally ditched the unhealthy habit earlier this summer after being challenged by fellow officers and friends, Randy Colondres and John Kavakich. This isn’t the first time he’s quit smoking—in fact, it’s probably Fopma’s sixth attempt. But this time, he’s got extra incentive: riding in the Police Unity Tour. It’s an annual 300-mile bike ride held in May. Some 600 officers from throughout the nation pedal to Washington D.C. to honor fallen comrades and raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (policeunitytour.com). For the past two years, Fopma, 47, has been part of the tour, riding his police-issued Harley Davidson on the route as he and other officers secured side streets and highways so the bicyclists could ride safely. But come May 9, 2010, Fopma is ditching the leather spats and motor for Lycra riding shorts and a selfpropelled bike. He’ll be pedaling alongside Colondres, Kavakich and his fellow officers. “It was motivation and it kind of gave me a goal,” Fopma said of his decision to quit smoking and take up cycling. “If I do this, I’ll actually be able to ride to Washington.” The first step was to totally quit cigarettes, which can be incredibly difficult after being hooked. “I mostly picked it up from when I was working at a gas station growing up,” the 1981 CHS grad said of his habit. “I was a mechanic, and we were smoking while working.”

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Wheeling from Smoking Story by Joe Hawrylko

Over the years, the habit progressed. From a few at work to a pack-and-a-half a day. He’d light up with coffee. When he parked his Harley while on the job, he’d naturally reach into his pocket for a pack of smokes and his lighter. Fopma had always been in shape, but smoking prevented him from fully reaching his potential. His lungs were hampered by thick black tar and dense plaque choked off blood supply to needy muscles.

Fopma’s physician gave him an order for Chantrex, which was able to keep him off of cigarettes. “You still get urges, but not as much as it used to be,” he said. “Maybe after a good dinner or something, I could go for one.” Finally smoke free, Fopma went to the Allwood Bike Store and got a new set of wheels for training. “I went on the bicycle and I was like, ‘Oh, this is killing me and I’m not able to breathe,” Fopma


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laughed. He had not been on an unmotorized set of wheels in four decades. “I don’t think I went a mile on the first day.” Eventually, his body began to adapt to the absence of nicotine and training became easier. Fopma rides two to three times a week, usually logging between 10 and 20 miles per session. “I definitely feel better. I don’t have that cough where you’re hacking up your lungs that I used to get,” said Fopma. “I can see the difference when I’m riding the bike, I have more lung capacity.” Since the Unity Tour will test the limit of his stamina, it is imperative that Fopma’s health is in top shape. Due to the health benefits of quitting and intense training, Fopma completed a 62-mile ride through the Ramapo Mountains in the dead heat of August. He also rode on a 50-mile tour from the George Washington Bridge to upstate New York and back last month.

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The Great American Smokeout is on Nov. 19 The purpose of the Great American Smokeout is to help smokers quit. Give up the habit for at least one day, many will tell you, with the hope that you’ll break the cycle and be motivated to quit completely. But anyone who has beat tobacco will also tell say that quitting smoking is difficult. Nicotine is an addictive drug, but there are resources to help. Smokefree.gov recommends using the START method. Set a quit date. Tell family and friends of your plan. Anticipate the challenges of quitting. Remove tobacco products from your home, car and work. And Talk to your doctor about getting help. The craving can be triggered by being around other smokers. Feeling stressed or depressed? That could get you reaching for your pack. Alcohol can bring about the urge to smoke as well. For many, a cigarette is a ritual, such as having one in the car on the way to work, starting the day with a few puffs or having a few drags on work break. Breaking the cycle can improve your chances of kicking the habit for good. So if you think you are ready, try it on Nov. 19. For help, call the Passaic County Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Prevention at 973-473-3366 x101 or the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345.

That’s quite the improvement for someone who was going through a pack-and-a-half a day just four months ago, especially since Fopma hasn’t ridden a bike since his childhood.

“A lot of guys didn’t think I’d be able to quit. Even my wife ... she didn’t think I was going to quit at first,” said Fopma. “I made up my mind and quit smoking and it really did change my life.”


John Samra

Memorial 5K Race John Samra Memorial 5K winners included Freddy Ruiz, Jose Carmona, Ted Mussano, Edgar Sandoval, David Gierek, David Silva, Alex Juarez, George Roa, Carl Demmie, Howard Goldberg, Keith Francis, Eugene Vater, Norma Millet, Anibal Martinez, Krista Bassi, Gary Anolik, Melika Ayan, Sigrid Weihenig, Ligia Vallejo and Christina Sayler.

John Samra was a Clifton motorcycle officer who died in the line of duty on Nov. 21, 2003. To keep his memory alive, a scholarship fund was established in his name and events such as the John Samra Memorial 5K on Oct. 11 help fund it. Presented by the Clifton PBA and supported by the Clifton Roadrunners, participants included newcomers, youth, competitive runners and seniors.

The Clifton Roadrunners Annual Turkey Trot is on Nov. 14 at 10 am at Garret Mountain. The 5K run and 2K walk is presented by the police departments of Clifton, Passaic and William Paterson University located in Wayne, with proceeds going to the Police Unity Tour. Preregistration is $10 or $15 on race day. Info and registration at raceforum.com or cliftonpba36.com.

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2009 Samra scholarships recipients at the Oct. 11 run. From left: Clifton Police Sgt. Wayne Krulikowsky on behalf of his daughter Tracy, Joseph Hillyer, Brianne Sweeney and Andrew Bandurski. Also pictured: PBA Sgt-at-Arms Det. John Kavakich, PBA State Delegate Det. Michael McLaughlin and PBA President Det. Stephen Berge.

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Clifton Jr. Mustangs Football’s annual beefsteak/tricky tray is on Nov. 20 at 7 pm at the Boys & Girls Club. Tickets are $45 and include dinner, beer and wine. The Flying Mueller Brothers will perform. Call Robin Gibson at 973-418-4033. Former Cliftonite Cecilia Zalkind recently received the 2009 Florette Angel Memorial Child Advocacy Award from VOICES for America’s Children. The 1965 CHS graduate is executive director of the Association for Children of NJ, a Newark-based research and advocacy group, where she has worked for 25 years. Her parents are Al and Margaret Zwiazek of Union Ave. The Red Hat Angels have already begun their fundraising campaign for the 2010 Relay for Life. The team will be shaking a can at neighborhood stores so watch for its mascot, CUREious Charlie. The Angels—Janet Mozolewski, Joann Mack, Chris Liszner and many of their friends and neighbors—recently held a garage sale to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Interested in forming a team for the 2010 Relay? Go to relayforlife.org/cliftonnj. Cliftonite Janet Mozolewski once again took part in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on Oct. 11. Her team, Loretta’s Ladies, raised more than $79,000 this year. You can still give at avonwalk.org/goto/Janet.Mozo or send a check made out to Avon Walk for Breast Cancer to Mozolewski at 78 Scoles Ave., Clifton, NJ 07012. Mozolewski recently received a Spirit Award from the New York Mets on the field at a game.


In a file photo, UNICO members from left, Michael N. Corradino, Nina and Frank Corradino, Andre Dimino, John Morano, Joe Agresti and Anthony Lattella. Seated is Santa (Ronaldo Giaconia) with a NJDC guest. At right, Clifton Historian Don Lotz at the Oct. 10 Passaic County History Day at Lambert Castle, and below, the Christmas tree at the national landmark gilded age mansion.

The 33rd annual UNICO Christmas party for the girls of the North Jersey Developmental Center of Totowa is at 6:30 pm on Dec. 1 at the Brownstone in Paterson. Begun by Michael N. Corradino, who now serves as Honorary Chair, it is currently organized by Frank and Nina Corradino of Nina’s Salon on Valley Rd. To donate, or for tickets, call Nina at 973-278-0356 or Past UNICO National President Joe Agresti at 973-473-3873. The CHS Class of 1960’s 50th reunion is May 15 at 6 pm at the Russian Hall in Little Falls. Cost is $75 and includes dinner, dancing, a memory book and prizes. Cash bar. Call Kathy Ploch Mack at 973-618-1830 or e-mail Nancy Lewis Zink at nadelma@yahoo.com. A CHS Class of 1999 get-together is Nov. 28, 7-10 pm at 3 East Bar and Grill, on Rt. 3 East in Secaucus, owned by Class’ 00 grad Frank Ponte. A $50 entrance fee includes open bar and appetizers. Call Amy Pasternack at 201-694-2711. This event is not in place of the official 10-year reunion scheduled for the night before. Christmas Spirit at Lambert Castle: From Nov. 7-29, rooms inside the landmark on Valley Rd. will be transformed into showcases of crafts and gifts. Over 200 juried crafters and artisans offer items of original design for sale. New and replacement items are put out daily for selection. Holiday House Boutique hours are 10 am to 9 pm on Tues. through Fri. and 10 am to 5 pm on Sat. and Sun. Entrance is a $6 donation to the Passaic County Historical Society. People may return two times to shop with that donation. Visit lambertcastle.org or call 973-247-0085 ext 200. November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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The Clifton Arts Center Gallery will present Artists’ Interpretations, an art exhibit and sale of watercolor art by the New Jersey Water Color Society. The exhibit (sample above) opens Nov. 11 and runs through Dec. 19. There will be a reception open to the public on Nov. 14 from 1-4 pm. Visit cliftonnj.org. One World, Different Music and Dance Day is Dec. 5 at 2 pm at the Clifton Public Library on Piaget Ave. Performers of Russian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Albanian and Gregorian descent are invited to volunteer to appear for one performance. To participate or for details, call Colleen H. Murray of the Phenomenal Grandmothers Chapter #1036 at 973-253-9579. Maestro Francesco Santelli, artistic director of the Clifton-based Garden State Opera, presents a double bill at the YM-YWHA on Scoles Ave. on Nov. 7 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, and a portion supports the Clifton Public Schools’ Adopt a Music Student program. Call 973-272-3255 or visit gardenstateopera.homestead.com.

120 Market Street, Clifton

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November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

The Blessed Virgin Mary is a beloved icon of Ukrainian Catholics. The one at right is part of a series of the Virgin and Christ Child featured in a set of Christmas cards published by the Ukrainian National Assoc. A total of 12 images by 12 artists is in the package, which costs $25. For info, call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

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BICYCLES 74

The 15th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Jazz Festival & Dinner is on Jan. 16 at the Church of the Assumption, 35 Orange Ave. Produced by Seifullah Ali Shabazz, performers include Ike Brown’s Jazz Prophets Ensemble, Arnetta Johnson & Subito Sound and others. Dinner is at 6 pm. Tickets are $35 or $40 at the door. For more information, call 973-478-4124. A Tribute to Doo Wop Legend Ronnie I is on Nov. 28 at the Lodi Boys & Girls Club, 460 Passaic Ave. The late Ronnie Italiano has long been hailed with keeping the genre alive through his United Group in Harmony Association (UGHA) and at his Downtown Clifton store. Tickets are $35; call 973-365-0049. Issue #3 of The Adventures of Lightning Squirrel continues a six-part miniseries written by Clifton native Jeffrey F. Kipnis and drawn by an international team of artists. The series takes place almost entirely in Clifton, and stars the superpowered squirrel, his arch-nemesis Swimming Lady, and her genius boyfriend Comic Man. In this issue, our hero battles an evil ice cream vendor and a slimy sewer monster, while Comic Man aids his lady-love’s efforts to destroy her furry enemy forever. The book is available at indyplanet.com. Andy Warhol: Through a Glass Starkly is an exhibit of Warhol’s photographic works, specifically his Polaroid shots and black-and-white silver gelatin prints at MSU’s George Segal Gallery, 1 Normal Ave. in Montclair. The exhibition runs through Dec. 12. Call 973-655-3382.

973.574.9001


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We’ll Help You Make it a

Hungarian Holiday! For the past 20 years my family and I have run our meat market at 189 Parker Ave. Using traditional recipes, we prepare pork, beef and meat products, home-style hickory smoked ham, sausage, salami and all kinds of cold cuts. We also sell ground poppy seeds and ground walnuts and many traditional Hungarian food ingredients. All our products are prepared with know-how and tender love and care. In my store, or via UPS delivery, you will receive the best— foods which praises the tastes and inspires the soul.

The Jozsa Family Marika, Andrew & Mike

We’ll Mail Your Order! • Pork,

Beef & Meat Products • Home Styled Smoked Sausage • Salami & All Kinds of Cold Cuts • Holiday Hams & Traditional Foods • Hungarian Delicacies • Spices & European & Hungarian Sweets 76

November 2009 • Clifton Merchant


On Oct. 23, members of the Hungarian community, led by Father Laszlo Vas (St. Stephen’s R.C. Magyar Church, Passaic) and Reverend Jozsef Vasarhelyi (Hungarian Reform Church, Passaic) and city officials raise the national flag at City Hall. Those in the revolution cut out the Soviet emblem that was placed on the flag during Russian occupation.

hile March 15 officially marks the 1848 independence of Hungary, this nation’s flag with a hole cut into its center was raised on Oct. 23 at city hall to commemorate the 1956 uprising against Communist rule in the capital city of Budapest. During the uprising, revolutionaries cut out the ‘Rákosi badge’ a state coat of arms in line with socialist heraldry closely resembling that of the Soviet Union’s, that was – Laszlo placed on the the national flag by Joseph Stalin’s appointed dictator Mátyás Rákos. The Soviets had occupied the country during World War II after Hungarian leaders surrendered and remained in control following the end of the conflict in 1945. Stalin’s hand-picked puppets took a hold of the country, eliminating political opponents and dissenting intellectuals. Living and working conditions became deplorable, as the country was transformed into a heavy industrialized state. Eventually, Hungary become one of several countries hidden behind the Iron Curtain. Years of oppression culminated in a demonstration in Bern Square by several thousand students from Budapest University on Oct. 23, 1956. The group marched towards Parliament, where they read a list of 16 demands. The demonstration continued into the evening and eventually shifted over to the Magyar Radio building, where it became violent.

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Revolutionaries tried to enter and broadcast their demands and were detained by the secret police, who then opened fire on the crowds. Eventually, demonstrators got a hold of weapons meant for the police and the bloody uprising escalated. The following morning, Red Army troops Kerkey rolled into Budapest, commencing a nationwide struggle between militias and the Russians until a ceasefire on Nov. 10. Many Hungarians fled their native country, and some refugees ended up in New Jersey. Parishioners from St. Stephen’s R.C. Magyar Church in Passaic raised more than $4,000 to house and aid some 106 refugees fleeing Hungarians. Back in Europe, members of the silenced rebellion were rounded up by the Soviets, who executed more than 230 revolutionaries and imprisoned thousands. Even after the revolution, people continued to come to New Jersey and St. Stephen’s received more than 120 refugee families from Hungary. Though the 1956 revolution was ultimately quelled by the Soviets, it was the first sign of a chink in the Iron Curtain. “We were the first to stand up to the Soviets,” said Laszlo Kerkey, a board member at the American Hungarian Museum in Passaic. For info about the museum or revolution, visit magyarmuzeum.org.

“We were the first to stand up to the Soviets.”

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Photos by Derek Teixeira

ather greeted Clear skies and mild we idents in the annual hundreds of costumed res rvestFest on Halloween Parade and Ha g down Lakeview October 25. After paradin they enjoyed an Ave. and into Nash Park, air and food (even afternoon of games, fresh st!) and fun. an apple pie baking conte

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Have Clifton Merchant Mailed. $27/Year Subscription

Sorry but due to problems with Bulk Mail Delivery, we no longer offer a $16 rate for Clifton Subscribers.

Name: __________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________________________ City:________________________State ______________Zip:______________________ Phone:________________________Email:___________________________________________ PLEASE MAKE CHECKS TO TOMAHAWK PROMOTIONS, 1288 MAIN AVE., CLIFTON, NJ 07011 November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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Apple Pie Contest Winners

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We Serve $6 Breakfast First Sunday of Every Month, Oct-May Eggs, Meat, Homefries, Toast, Coffee & Juice on the First Sunday of Every Month (Oct-May) from 8 to 11 am

Call Hall Rentals & Membership

Manning our Mess Hall, Cooking Good Grub: Carol Ference, Jerry Ference, Jackie Hanrahan, Bob Mantz Jr., Johnny 'Rotten' Donetz, Ed Nebbling, Dennis Suto, Jim Pangaro, Amanda Pangaro, George Cucco, Ellie Matulewicz, Scott Juengling, Bob Langeven November 2009 • Clifton Merchant

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Melissa De Molli & Kevin Vogel announce they will marry on 11/11/11. Nicole Mokray turns 9 on Nov. 7, Nancy Hawrylko is 24 on Nov. 19 and Olivia Margaret Nysk celebrated her first birthday on Nov. 4.

Jazzlyn Caba. . . . . . . . . . .11/1 Robyn Jo Paci. . . . . . . . . 11/2 Thomas Scancarella. . . . .11/2 send us your dates and names... tomhawrylko@optonline.net Kelly Tierney. . . . . . . . . . . .11/3 Lance Dearing. . . . . . . . . 11/4 Andrew Seitz. . . . . . . . . . .11/4 Victoria Krzystofczyk . . . . .11/5 Tanya Ressetar. . . . . . . . . 11/5 Nicole Lorraine Bonin. . . .11/6 Danielle Osellame. . . . . . .11/6 Kristen Soltis. . . . . . . . . . . .11/6 James Ball. . . . . . . . . . . . .11/7 Kevin Lord. . . . . . . . . . . . 11/7 Walaa Abdelazim is 23 on, Nov. 4 notes dad, Abdul “Joseph” Elgamel. Francine Anderson. . . . . .11/8 Marguerite Craig Heerschap celebrate her 102nd birthday on Nov. 14. Ray Konopinski. . . . . . . . 11/8 Congrats 2009 Veterans Parade Grand Marshal George Tuzzolino. Marie Sanzo. . . . . . . . . . . 11/8 Geraldine Ball. . . . . . . . .11/13 Joseph Tyler. . . . . . . . . . .11/19 Donna Camp. . . . . . . . . . 11/9 Patricia Franek. . . . . . . . .11/13 Joseph Guerra. . . . . . . .11/20 Brandy Stiles. . . . . . . . . . 11/10 Robert Paci. . . . . . . . . . .11/13 Jon Whiting. . . . . . . . . . .11/21 Tom Szieber. . . . . . . . . . .11/10 Gregory Chase. . . . . . . . 11/15 Andreas Dimitratos. . . . .11/22 Stacey Van Blarcom Takacs 11/10 Matthew Phillips. . . . . . .11/16 Katerina Dimitratos. . . . .11/22 Joseph Franek III. . . . . . .11/11 Anthony Wrobel. . . . . . .11/16 Margaret Egner. . . . . . . .11/22 Laura Gasior. . . . . . . . . .11/12 Marilyn Velez. . . . . . . . . 11/18 Eileen Fierro. . . . . . . . . . .11/25

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CHS sweethearts Lauren Iapicca ‘00 & Bryan Hackett ‘01 wed on Oct. 30. Angela & Gerard Iapicca and John & Donna Hackett are parents.

Joe and Sue Angello will be married 10 years on Nov. 14 & celebrated Joe’s 50th birthday (Nov. 6) with a trip to Greece.

Crystal Lanham. . . . . . . 11/25 Rachel Prehodka-Spindel 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 Christopher Seitz. . . . . . . 11/29 Kaitlyn Graham. . . . . . . .11/30 Barbara Luzniak. . . . . . . 11/30 Gunnar Kester turned 6 on Oct. 12

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Hannah Montana impersonator Courtney Searle performs at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm on Nov. 22 at the grand opening of the Classy Lady Boutique, in the Richfield Shopping Plaza. Located at the intersection of Allwood and Clifton Aves., owners Mark and Sondra Leinkram offer a variety of moderately priced women’s fashion, including petite and plus sizes.

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The CHS Jr. ROTC received a $500 donation from the Air Land Sea Marine Corps League Detachment 710 of Nutley on Oct 22. Commandant Bob Jones reported that the veterans solicited contribution at local supermarkets and other events. In the past, Air Land Sea Marine Corps League has donated to the Wounded Warriors Project, given Segways to veterans and annually awards a scholarship to a student with a relative in the service. For info, call 201-866-4484. A benefit dinner for Cathy Boseski is on Nov. 21 at 2 pm at Connelly Station, Belmar. The Cliftonite has suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for nearly 27 years. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Cathy Boseski, which is largely comprised of her pals from St. Peter’s College, from which where she graduated in 1974. Boseski has been married to her husband, Bill, for 33 years; the couple has three children: Cara, a teacher in the Clifton School District, Billy and Samantha. Tickets are $60 and include food and two complimentary drink tickets. A cash bar will follow. Call Mike Milano at 201-747-6795 or e-mail mrhm52@aol.com. Jewish Family Services and the Riskin Children’s Center within the YM/YWHA on Scoles Ave. offers a bereavement and support group for parents who have suffered the loss of a child or spouse. For times of meetings, call 973-777-7638 or e-mail jsfclifton.org.


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As the owner of a business in Clifton and also a Councilman, I invite you to live and work in our city. We offer a great workforce, a stable city government and quality schools where you can educate your children. Thanks Nick for being a Clifton advocate.

Why Clifton?

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Profile for Clifton Merchant Magazine

Clifton Merchant Magazine - November 2009  

Clifton Merchant Magazine - November 2009