Clifton Merchant Magazine - November 2004

Page 1

Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 10 • Issue 11 • November 5, 2004

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A Walk on the Mountain




The Struggle for School Space . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Over the last few weeks, my daughter Carly and I have spent Saturdays hiking local trails and enjoying the changing colors of autumn. But a walk in the wilderness will get you thinking about life, and issues like ‘What will be our Legacy?’ See essay, page 4.

Bird’s Eye View of Athenia Steel . . . . . . . . . .12 Progress, Challenges at Clifton Schools . . . . .25 What would Anna Latteri Do?

. . . . . . . . . . .26

Barbara Sacks: One Day at a Time

. . . . . . . .28

The Way Our Government Works . . . . . . . . . .32

Pvt. John Mullen

Pvt. Arthur Secker

2/c John Maier

Pvt. Edmund Chitko

Historic Botany Becomes a SID . . . . . . . . . . . .40 CHS Students on DuBois Resignation . . . . . . .46 Salute WWII Vets, November 7, 2 pm . . . . . . .52 Clifton Optimist, Friend of Youth . . . . . . . . . .90 The Play’s The Thing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92 Clip Skip For Five . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98

CHS Class of ‘44 Reunion, pg. 70

Local results of the November 2, 2004 Election: 8th Congressional District Bill Pascrell Jr. (D) 87,789 George Ajjan (R) 31,756 Joseph A. Fortunato (G) 1,032 Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale (D) 110,033 Mark J. Michalski (R) 37,393 Passaic County Clerk Karen Brown (D) 76,519 Ronni D. Nochimson (R) 64,330 Passaic County Freeholder Terry Duffy (D) 80,034 Pat LePore (D) 78,170 Mike Mecca (R) 59,271 Walt Porter (R) 58,692

Clifton Merchant Magazine is published monthly at 1288 Main Ave., Downtown Clifton • 973-253-4400

What will be our Legacy? ––––––––––– Opinion by Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko ––––––––––– Clifton’s major controversy over the past year and a half has been where to find the land, then win voter approval and finally build a new school for 8th and 9th graders. The Board is now focused on a former factory, the landlocked Athenia Steel on Clifton Ave. But this may be another long shot. In this column, I ask readers to look beyond the school issue and see that we are at a crossroads. Taken as part of a bigger solution, we have the chance to accomplish a number of goals to stabilize our community, and leave a legacy for our children. Make Clifton City Hall the 8th & 9th Grade School. For all this talk about Athenia Steel, the contamination and traffic congestion issues may never be resolved. Also, if the State of New Jersey or the voters say no to building a school on Athenia, what next? We can go back to Latteri Park, consider Main Memorial Park or change course and propose an alternative site as part of a bigger picture. That site is city hall. I am not the first person to say let’s convert city hall, which is adjacent to CHS, to classrooms. First occupied in 1980, it is likely the building can be easily updated. Proponents of Athenia Steel should apply the same logic they did for that property... city hall is adjacent to CHS, and it is free, owned by the municipality. One final piece of logic: someday soon, somewhere in town, Clifton will build a new school. If the Board and Council truly collaborated to find a solution, this mess could become an opportunity and a grander plan for our city’s future can be offered to voters. Purchase Bellin’s Pool, move the Municipal Offices Downtown, Police to Lakeview and the CFD to Botany. One of the more memorable conversations I’ve had over the past 10 years was with former City Manager Bill Holster in which I asked him what was his greatest regret. He said without a pause: “Moving city hall from Main 16,000 MAGAZINES are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants the first Friday of Every Month. SUBSCRIBE: PAGE 71 $15/year in Clifton $25/year out of town CALL 973-253-4400 entire contents copyright 2004 © tomahawk promotions


November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Ave.” Let’s think out of the box, Clifton: use the current city hall for the 8th and 9th grade school, and move the city hall staff into a new structure on Bellin’s Pool (pictured at right) in Downtown Clifton. By buying Bellin’s and building a new city hall on that property, hundreds of daily visitors will once again have a reason to visit the Avenue. Bellin’s is on two acres and located near the Passaic border. The owners have long discussed closing the facility and entertained proposals regarding construction of a multi-story senior housing project there. Then recently, Councilman Frank Gaccione proposed that we save the 71-year-old facility, making it a cityowned-and-operated Pool and Community Center. The City Council is looking into both the senior housing idea and researching if a community pool is feasible. But buying a 71 year old pool and club house is not a wise investment. Since we do need a site for a school, converting city hall into classrooms, then purchasing Bellins, razing it and constructing municipal offices on Main Ave. makes sense. It will be a year-round anchor for the community. The Police and Fire Departments can’t be accommodated on that space, so decentralize. Find a lot in the center of Botany Village and put Fire Headquarters there. The Police Department should go on Lakeview Ave. It’s proven that the construction of public facilities in commercial districts can be the catalyst for change and stabilization in ailing neighborhoods. Make Athenia Steel the Community Pool, and More. The 35-acre former Athenia Steel property has some well documented major issues. Forget about all that for a moment and consider this beautiful swath of green space on Clifton Ave. If the City Council is serious about creating a city-owned-and-operated Pool and Community Center, then Athenia Steel is where it

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should be. Walk this long-vacant former factory complex and find rolling hills, open fields and mature trees. We talk often about preserving open space in Clifton, yet we are looking to put black top and concrete over this vast natural area. Done right, Athenia Steel could be the Central Park of Clifton, complete with a pool, the walking trails and ball courts once envisioned. And creating a jewel of a park on contaminated land will have minimal impact on congested roads and be safer, less expensive and easier to complete than a school. 62, 61, 35, 33, 29, 24: That’s the ages of me, my wife and our kids in 2020. How old will you and your family be? As you look around and consider the current state of the city, ask yourself: are we building a Clifton of Tomorrow in which you and your family will want to stay and be a part of? What will be our Legacy? While I often offer my opinions and suggestions on how to create that legacy, it’s really up to our elected Clifton politicians to make policy that shapes our future.

City Hall, adjacent to CHS, should become our 8th and 9th grade school.

Clifton Tomorrow: Over the last year and a half, we have heard rhetoric and seen false starts on how our 16 elected leaders hoped to solve the school crisis. But as 2004 concludes, no solid plan exists. A majority of the Board, with the support of the Council, proposes Athenia Steel as the school site but without a plan, timeline or funding to deal with contamination, access and traffic. That’s not a solution. The plans I’ve proposed here are certainly not flawless, but if studied, may prove to offer a positive impact on various segments of our community. Please consider them.

Some will write them off right away because they are from me. Others may share my vision. Some may laugh. I don’t care. Just tell your friends and start a conversation about Clifton Tomorrow. A conversation not exclusively about the schools, nor the downtowns, or any neighborhood, but about the future of our entire community. The last 18 months have been painfully spent, slowly going nowhere. Perhaps it’s time to put aside the proposals that have stagnated this process and take a look at another idea. Please. We need to work together, for Clifton Tomorrow. Clifton Merchant • November 2004


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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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Clifton Merchant • November 2004


Can Joe Kolodziej Build a School on Athenia Steel? ––––––––––– Story by Fran Hopkins –––––––––––


November 2004 • Clifton Merchant


ow that an April referendum seems to have slipped through the Board of Education’s fingers, Board president Joe Kolodziej still hopes to pull a 1700student school at Athenia Steel out of his hat in time to relieve overcrowding in Clifton’s upper grades. What will make this result truly magical is that another month has passed with nothing more known about the condition of the Athenia Steel property. While most Board members still view Athenia Steel as the answer, the 35 acre property remains filled with questions. October was the month by which a decision had to be made in time for an April 2005 referendum, Kolodziej told Clifton Merchant in September. This was the second missed deadline; the Board balked at the opportunity for a December 2004 referendum by not reaching a decision in June.


Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Rice, interviewed in late October, said that it would now be “very difficult to get something on an April ballot.” Generally six months are needed for the referendum planning and approval process between the date a site is selected and the date of a referendum. According to state law, the next possible date for a referendum is September 2005. But Kolodziej said in October that a referendum in September or even December 2005 “would also permit for the required construction timeframe,” with the goal of opening the new school in September 2008. While the Board delays a decision, there’s no more information today about Athenia Steel than there was three months ago. And the more time that passes, the more illusory it seems that Athenia Steel will offer a school overcrowding solution anytime soon.

What We Actually Know The holdup with Athenia Steel continues to be its environmental status: with what is it contaminated and how long will it take to clean up? Here are the facts, as best as can be determined: Dawn Pompeo of TRC Raviv Associates, Inc. of Millburn, hired by the city to help expedite the process of investigating the entire Athenia Steel property, has completed an Remedial Investigation Workplan (RIW) for the site. Pompeo was also hired to apply for a state grant to pay for the investigation. The City Council approved the RIW at its Oct.19 meeting. The next step is for Pompeo and a contingent of Council and School Board representatives to meet with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Trenton. This meeting has been scheduled for Nov. 9.

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We contacted Pompeo to ask her about the goal of this meeting. “There’s no formal agenda yet. We want the DEP to expedite the review of the RIW and to review the grant application,” she said. Councilwoman Gloria Kolodziej said that, although the specific meeting attendees have not yet been finalized, she expected that those participating might include Dr. Michael Rice, Clifton Superintendent of Schools; Board President Kolodziej; possibly Board Secretary Karen Perkins; City Manager Barbara Sacks; and Mayor James Anzaldi. “We want to tell DEP that this is where we are and this is where we want to go,” Kolodziej said. The hope is that DEP will “fast track” its reviews and approvals as the process of investigating and remediating Athenia Steel goes forward (Pompeo formerly worked for the DEP and is familiar with the players there). In order for the grades 8-9 school to open in September 2008 as planned, Board President Kolodziej told Clifton Merchant in October that ground must be broken by Spring 2006. Doing the math, this means that the investigation, cleanup, and referendum approval from the state must be all be completed in about 18 months. But pinpointing the actual status of the investigation has been difficult. Clifton Merchant was told by Board member John Traier that additional testing of the northern portion of the site was performed during the past month. By contrast, Board president Kolodziej said that he thought that additional testing had been done at the central portion. Councilwoman Kolodziej said that Davis Wire “was supposed to do additional testing but we haven’t

seen it.” (The city is buying the property from Davis Wire but Davis Wire is responsible for cleaning it up first.) We then asked TRC Raviv’s Pompeo about this; she said that she was not aware that any additional testing has been done since July. Calls to both Dennis Petrocelli at Matrix Environmental, another city consultant, and Richard Lev at Mellick-Tully, the Board’s consultant, were not returned.

Case for School Space

Why Won’t Trenton Go Along With the Plan? At the Oct. 27 Board meeting, Board attorney Anthony D’Elia referred to a letter he’d written to Superintendent Rice about a conversation D’Elia had with the NJ Department of Education (DOE). D’Elia said that he’d “asked the DOE the Board’s question” and had gotten “the answer.” What question? And what answer? No Board member asked this question publicly, so we obtained a copy of D’Elia’s letter afterwards. According to D’Elia’s Oct. 18 letter, the Board had asked him to inquire about a regulation that “states that the DOE will forward any proposed school site to the DEP for review and comment. If the DEP fails to respond within forty-five days, then (you were told) the DOE would approve the referendum,” D’Elia wrote. Key excerpts from D’Elia’s letter follow. “I asked Mr. Pao (the DEP representative who’d be responsible for reviewing a proposal for a school referendum involving the Athenia Steel site) to apply that ‘new’ regulation to the scenario presented by Athenia at this time; namely that we do not have any environmental information relating to the

A review of dates and facts... Aug. 7, 1950: The Board purchased 7.5 acres of land for ‘$1 and other good and valuable consideration’ from Helga and S. John Lundsted. Oct. 1, 1970: The Board, for $1 per year, leases the 7.5 acres to the City. May 2, 1976: Official dedication of land to be known as Latteri Park. April 19, 1994: The $16 million Shulton purchase rejected by voters. April 11, 2001: The 11 member Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is given the task of researching an ideal site for a junior high school. Dec. 12, 2001: Supt. Liess announces he would retire July, 2002. May, 2002: The CAC submitted its initial recommendation that the former Pope Paul VI High School, on Valley Rd. now a Paterson Diocese Elementary School, be purchased. June 17, 2002: Paterson Diocesan Schools rejected Clifton’s offer to purchase the Valley Rd. school. July 31, 2002: Supt. Liess retires after 17 years and the CAC’s report languishes. Aug. 19, 2002: Dr. Michael Rice becomes the fourth Clifton Superintendent. CAC members said Rice provides access to the info and experts they needed to come to a new conclusion. Clifton Merchant • November 2004







Car Wash

GS Parkway

Site Entrance

November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Route 46

Paulison towards Paterson


Fornelius and Svea

Cambridge Crossings Parkway Iron

Clifton Ave

nce a r t En e Sit

Clifton Merchant • November 2004







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A vea






all seb ld a B Fie

With only once entrance to the 35 acre property onto an already congested Clifton Ave., politicians offer a solution. They plan to use eminent domain to purchase the car wash at right, raze the building and create a road level crossing over the rail line to create a Paulison Ave. entrance.


Field r e c c So

all seb ld a B Fie


om Winthro munity of p Cambrid Court and ge Cros sings

637 Cond oC FREIG HT

Field r e c c o S

Entrance/Exit T hrough this Car Wash?

ll tba s e sk t Ba cour

Since 1999, the City Council has considered various proposals for the 35 acre Athenia Steel property. This sketch, provided by the city in 2002, shows the plans for walking trails, picnic areas, ballparks and 250 units of senior housing. There has also been talk of building an ice hockey arena on the property. The photo on the facing page, taken during mid-October, shows the single entrance for the property leads to the only development on the land— 125 units of subsidized senior housing.

T he City’s Proposed Concept, 2002

GS Parkway Route 46 Parkway Iron Proposed School would use about 12 acres starting at Parkway Iron property line and continue towards Clifton Ave.




Colfax Ave. @ CHS 7:30am, 10/21/04


November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

northern site except for that small portion which was tested this past summer. He asked if a preliminary environmental report had been completed and whether that indicated whether the northern site had any potential for contamination.” D’Elia continued: “We do not have an environmental report finalized, but I provided the essence of any report which would be prepared by Mr. Lev )the Board’s environmental consultant) in light of the current available information. I described the surrounding properties, potential groundwater and soil issues and the condition of the central site of Athenia Steel. We also briefly discussed the history of the Athenia Steel site. “(Mr. Pao) told me that the Department of Education, upon receipt of such information, would either (a) refuse to forward the site for approval to the Department of Environmental Protection because of the reasonable probability that contamination is present at the northern portion of

January, 2003: An enrollment study predicted a growth of 953 students in Clifton Schools by Sept., 2007. An estimated 863 of these new students will be adding to the the two middle schools and CHS. Sept. 24, 2003: The CAC presented its new findings. They recommend building a 1,700-student school on Latteri Park, and a 500-student school at 290 Brighton Rd. Oct. 18, 2003: The Case For Space, an open public forum, was held at Clifton High School. Here, students and teachers talked about the problem of overcrowding. Oct. 21, 2003: The City Council voted 6-0 to oppose the use of Latteri Park. This was in response to growing opposition by Clifton Unite, which had collected 750 petitions. Oct. 28, 2003: The Case For Space 2 was held at CHS. This time, community members, including Clifton Unite which opposes the use of Latteri Park, were able to discuss potential solutions to the problem of overcrowding. Nov. 10, 2003: The first joint Board of Education and City Council meeting was held behind closed doors to discuss potential school sites. Nov. 25, 2003: A second joint Board/Council meeting was held behind closed doors. They had still not reached a consensus, but were re-considering several sites the CAC had ruled out. Jan. 3, 2004: Members from the Board and Council went on a bus tour of Clifton to visit potential school sites. 1176

Dec. 11, 2002: Voters approve an $8 million bond to construct School #17, Clifton’s first new school since CHS was completed in 1962, but it does not address overcrowding at the middle and high school levels.

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Jan. 9, 2004: Clifton Merchant Magazine published a revised list of potential school sites. These include Schultheis Farm and the Valley Rd. quarry, added to the list during the closed joint Board/Council meetings. Jan. 12, 2004: After a third closed joint Board/Council meeting, officials announced they had reached a consensus on a new school site, but did not disclose what that location is. Jan. 12, 2004: Municipal Attorney Gerald Friend writes to Schultheis Farms, LLC: ‘The City of Clifton is interested in purchasing the property in order to maintain it as open space, for recreational purposes or for the construction of of new school.’ Jan. 13/14, 2004: The Herald News followed up the Clifton Merchant Magazine article with its own stories, confirming the added locations by interviewing people from Schultheis Farm and K. Hovnanian Co. March 5, 2004: The joint Board/Council releases a statement announcing its consensus selection: the Schultheis Complex and the Mayer Building, 290 Brighton Rd. April, 2004: Opposition mounts to the selection of Schultheis Farm and a petition drive is launched. May 4, 2004: At its meeting, the City Council voted 7-0 to oppose the use of Schultheis Farm. This was in response to a show of 300 residents, which presented 2,661 petitions. May 5, 2004: Board of Education withdraws plans to build a grades 89 school at Schultheis Farm. May 26, 2004: Board and Council meet and agree to meet again on June 2. Board votes to hold a special meeting on June 1 at School 14 (possibility of razing School 14 in order to build a grades 8-9 school there had leaked out, upsetting the School 14 community).

Athenia Steel or (b) the DOE would forward same to DEP but would not approve the site for a school even if the DEP failed to respond within fortyfive days because it would be clear to him that there is a strong potential for environmental contamination at the northern site.” D’Elia concluded: “He again emphasized that he (the DOE) would not consider a site for approval if preliminary information established a probability of unreasonable delay/contamination issues at the site.” The information from this letter is important because some on the Board had hoped that, given the limited information currently available about the northern portion of the site (a sampling of a small area of the site came back “clean” over the summer), the state might bless proceeding with the referendum on faith. Apparently the state of New Jersey doesn’t make school site decisions on faith but on facts.

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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What About Latteri Park? While most Board members seem to have eliminated Latteri Park from consideration, a minority remain vocal in support of it. At the Oct. 13 meeting, Board member Lizz Gagnon said: “We should put Latteri Park on the ballot and let the people decide.” Gagnon also expressed concern that “state funds may dry up soon” – i.e., the school construction aid available to school districts via the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act may be gone by early 2006. Member Norman Tahan, an outspoken opponent of the Athenia Steel proposal, reminded the public at the Oct. 27 meeting that the Board had endorsed Schultheis Farm as the site for the 1700-student school earlier this year. “No one said that Schultheis was too small for a school that size,” Tahan said, noting the ‘too small’ argument is often made by Latteri Park opponents. Latteri Park is 7.5 acres in size; the Schultheis ‘complex’ – the farm and two adjacent properties that would have been utilized as well – was “less than seven acres,” Tahan noted.

Citizens Plead with the Board to Decide At both October Board meetings, Clifton residents begged the Board of Education to do something.

Recently it was reported that state funding for new school construction and renovations may run out in early 2006. This aid, made available by means of the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act, was authorized by the NJ legislature in July 2000. It provides for 100% funding of school construction projects in the 31 Abbott (i.e., special needs) districts and up to 40% funding of such projects in districts like Clifton. Of the initial appropriation of $8.6 billon, $6 billion was set aside for Abbott district projects and the remaining $2.6 billion was made available to the 558 non-Abbott districts. “That $2.6 billion for non-Abbott districts is now about 70% gone,” said Mike Yaple, spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA). Is there any way to project if this funding – utilized so successfully in the construction of School 17 – will still be there when Clifton needs it for a 1700-student grades 8-9 school? “It took more than four years to spend 70% of the non-Abbott funding,” Yaple said, “and the law was made retroactive to include projects approved after September of 1998. It appears as if school construction proposals have tapered off somewhat this year as compared to previous years. So it’s difficult to speculate how long it will take to utilize the remaining 30% of state funding.” Dominick DeMarco is Public Information Officer for the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation, the state agency that administers state funding for school construction. DeMarco confirmed that the funding available to non-Abbott districts is “65-70% allocated,” meaning that 30-35% of the original $2.6 billion is still available. “The state may reauthorize the funding,” DeMarco said. “It’s a priority for the legislature. But there’s no set timetable for dealing with it.” Ron Rice, a spokesman for the NJ Department of Education, took an optimistic view of the situation. “Districts are not in any danger (of loss of state aid) for the next year or two,” Rice said. “We’re not overly alarmed. The intent of the legislature with the original appropriation was clear. It was to provide much-needed construction for the provision of a thorough and efficient education for students in accordance with the state’s Core Curriculum Content Standards. “We’re confident that the Legislature will do whatever’s necessary to continue the appropriation,” Rice said.


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Clifton Merchant • November 2004


June 1, 2004: Board holds special meeting at School 14 to discuss possibility of razing School 14, temporarily relocating its students to trailers at Latteri Park, building the grades 8-9 school on the site, and eventually moving the School 14 students to a refurbished Mayer Textile building. School 14 community opposes the plan. June 2, 2004: Choices narrowed to Athenia Steel and Latteri Park. June 9, 2004: Board withdraws School 14 from consideration as the grades 8-9 school site. The Board must choose another site at this meeting in order to place a referendum before voters in December 2004. Instead, it votes to place only the Mayer building for 500 high school students on the referendum. A decision on a grades 8-9 school site is postponed as the Board requests environmental and traffic studies for both Latteri Park and Athenia Steel. This delays the opening of the new school from September 2007 to September 2008. July 28, 2004: Results of additional Latteri Park and Athenia Steel studies are not yet in. Aug. 25, 2004: Board again reports that it has not seen the studies. Sept. 14, 2004: Board and Council meet again; Council introduces its new environmental consultant, TRC Raviv Associates. TRC Raviv promises to quickly prepare an Athenia Steel remedial investigation workplan (RIW) and then to arrange a joint Board-Council meeting with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to discuss Clifton’s plans for the site and the need for expedited DEP approvals related to site investigation and cleanup. Sept. 22, 2004: Environmental test results for both sites and traffic study for Latteri Park (but not for Athenia Steel) are back. No decision is made and a date for the DEP meeting has yet to be set. Board President Joe Kolodziej indicates that a decision must be made by the Board’s Oct. 13, 2004 meeting in order to hold an April 2005 referendum. Oct. 13, 2004: Still no date for DEP meeting and no site decision made. Oct. 27, 2004: No site decision made; deadline missed. Nov. 9,, 2004: Council and Board representatives and TRC Raviv will meet with the DEP in Trenton to discuss Athenia Steel property. Dec. 14, 2004: Referendum on the Mayer building is scheduled to go before Clifton voters (but may be delayed until Jan. 25, 2005). Sept. 2005: Next possible date for referendum on 1700-student grades 8-9 school.

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Former Board member Matt Ward addressed the Board on Oct. 13. “I want Latteri Park on the April ballot. Put it on the ballot! If it’s defeated, then look at something else. We can’t wait anymore. The only reason this has been held up is because of politicians and NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard),” Ward said. “You’ve got to focus and get your credibility back.” Another former Board member, Ken Kurnath, commented, “I favored Globe (Products), but we were told ‘that’s too contaminated.’ If that’s too contaminated, what about Athenia?” he asked. “Something doesn’t add up.” At the same meeting, Luddington Ave. resident Alvin Kipnis asked the Board to “stop delaying. School costs are going up. The costs are probably quadruple now.” Both Keith and Judy Bassford spoke out at the Board’s Oct. 27 meeting. Keith suggested that, since ballfields and other recreational areas are planned for Athenia Steel, the Board should consider building the school at Main Memorial Park. “We may lose fields, but we’ll gain fields at Athenia Steel,” he said. “We already own the property.” Twothirds of Main Memorial Park, located in Downtown Clifton—some 23.1 acres — is owned by the Clifton Board of Education. “It’s time,” Bassford said. “We’ve got to move on this.”

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Following her husband to the podium, Judy Bassford, President of the School 5 Home And School Association, said that she was speaking for numerous parents at her school. “Parents want to get this resolved. Five families that I know are moving out of Clifton because of this.”

Other Locations? If the Board won’t select Latteri Park, and if the cleanup of Athenia Steel will take too long, what then? does the Board have other options in the planning stages? “The Board has not formally discussed options to these two sites,” Board President Kolodziej said. “Obviously, various Board members favor different alternatives, but no specific site or sites have been discussed as a Plan B, so to speak,” he said. “Most of the sites I’ve heard are the same sites from the list of alternatives a year ago.” Member John Traier said that Main Memorial Park might be con-

sidered “if Athenia Steel falls through.” He also mentioned Weasel Brook Park on Paulison Ave. as another location. Lifelong Cliftonite and Botany Village resident Helen Berkenbush thinks that using part of Main Memorial Park “sounds like a good idea, frankly.” She also wonders why the Howe Richardson Scale property at 680 Van Houten Ave. isn’t being considered. “It seems to have disappeared under the rug.” Howe Richardson was among the sites considered by the Community Advisory Committee. It’s a 17-acre property with 11 acres available (a building on 6 acres is leased) but was found to have “traffic access problems” and “environmental cleanup issues,” according to the May 2004 Merchant. It was also more expensive and would take longer than other options. And its use for a school would remove a ratable from the city tax rolls.

But don’t mention ratables to Helen Berkenbush. “The public is tired of hearing ‘ratables,’” she said. “We’re having ratables shoved down our throats but it doesn’t help us. Our taxes aren’t going down.” As for Athenia Steel, Berkenbush said, “They’re talking about taking two properties on Paulison Ave. to make another access to it,” she said. “Aren’t they ratables?”

Board Members Opine Board member Keith LaForgia advised the public on Oct. 13 not to “rush” the Board’s decision. “Don’t be influenced by the negativity in letters to the editors, newspapers, and monthly magazines,” he cautioned. “When we do reach a decision, it will be the best possible one.” Member Kim Renta left no doubt as to her stand. “I want Athenia Steel on an April ballot,” Renta stated. She supports Athenia Steel because it’s bigger than

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or some 32 years now, Anthony A. Accavallo, shown here, has been helping make the American Dream become a reality, right here in Clifton. As President of Federal Mortgage & Investment Corp. at 1111 Clifton Ave., Clifton, he and his firm have written millions of dollars worth of mortgages which have allowed people to purchase homes. And while that work has been fulfilling, Accavallo said he is getting his greatest satisfaction these days by helping senior citizens with reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a special kind of mortgage loan for seniors. “It is a safe, easy way to turn your home equity into tax-free cash,” he continued.

“Unlike a home equity loan, you do not have to make monthly payments. Instead, a reverse mortgage pays you. More importantly, you do not have to repay the loan for as long as you live in the house. It’s a great way to keep your home and get money from it at the same time.” The name “reverse mortgage” describes exactly what the mortgage is — it is the exact opposite of a conventional mortgage. That is, with a conventional mortgage the borrower pays the lender but with a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the borrower. In the past, a senior citizen in need of money would have to take out a loan against their house and immediately start making monthly payments again or sell their home.

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But a reverse mortgage allows seniors to borrow against the equity they already have in their home... and they never have to make a monthly payment. Each reverse mortgage candidate is required to attend a free counseling session with a local independent housing agency approved by FHA (Federal Housing Administration). Candidates are encouraged to bring other family members with them to help in the decision-making process. “This process ensures that the borrower understands the program fully and aides them in determining whether or not a reverse mortgage is for them,” said Accavallo.

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Latteri Park; it’s closer to the High School than Latteri Park; and busing costs should be less because Athenia Steel is more centrally located than is Latteri Park. “People talk about Shulton as a missed opportunity,” Renta said. (A referendum to build a school on Shulton—now the 637 unit condo community, Cambridge Crossings —failed ten years ago.) “If we don’t use Athenia Steel, we’ll be talking about it the way we talk about Shulton,” Renta predicted. Board member Jim Smith took a different position: “I don’t agree with the grades 8-9 school on either site,” Smith said. “Does that make me a bad Board member? You elected us to make this decision,” he told the public. “So until we have the proper location, stop criticizing the Board and each other.” At the Oct. 13 meeting, Board President Kolodziej made a lengthy statement to his fellow Board members and the public.

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Clifton Real Estate prices are still climbing! With the average price for a single-family home in Clifton at $343,243 in the third quarter of 2004 the market is up almost 11.5% compared with the same period in 2003 when the average single-family home sold for $307,880.* The statistics for multi-family homes are even more interesting with the average price of $389,622 in the third quarter of 2004 up 16.4% from the same period of 2003.*

“The City Council says that Athenia Steel will be cleaned up in time for a school. They’ve committed this to us and we can hold them to it. Despite the City’s cooperation, some segment of the city thinks this is a bad thing. It’s hypocritical and contradictory to say ‘listen to the Community Advisory Committee’ [that recommended Latteri Park as the school site] but not the Council,” Kolodziej said.

Board Urges Passage of the Mayer Property At its Oct. 27 meeting, Board members spoke about the upcoming Dec. 14 referendum on the Mayer Textile building, a proposal that will ask voters to approve conversion of the Mayer site on Brighton Road into a high school annex for 500 students. Most members urged passage of the referendum, warning that portable classrooms will be required if the Mayer annex is not

created. Board member Marie Hakim, however, said that she does not support Mayer alone; she continues to believe that a single referendum with the complete solution – both Mayer and the 1700-student school – should be put before voters at the same time. Tahan addressed residents who are upset with the Board for not implementing both parts of the “total solution” simultaneously. “I know that there are people who don’t want to support Mayer because of this. But we need Mayer, or we’ll get trailers at the high school. This is not a scare tactic, this is reality. “If you want to send a message to the Board by not supporting Mayer,” Tahan said, “you’ll be hurting the kids. Let’s approve this one now.” But if the Board doesn’t put an end to the delays and address the long-term needs of the district soon, Clifton is in danger of becoming known as the city that doesn’t care – about its students, at least.

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Clifton Merchant • November 2004


About Mayer O n Tues., Dec. 14, Clifton voters will be asked to approve use of the Mayer Textiles building at 290 Brighton Rd. to house 500 CHS students. If the referendum passes, the building will be ready for students in September, 2006. Use of the Mayer building was originally part of a two-part solution to school overcrowding proposed by the volunteer Community Advisory Committee in Fall, 2003. That non-political, volunteer group offered a two part recommended to the Board of Education: 1. that it build a 1700 student school on the Board-owned Latteri Park and; 2. use the Mayer building to provide short-term relief of overcrowding at the high school. Since that time, the Board has rejected the first recommendation and now offers the Mayer building in what some call another band-aid solution to school overcrowding. The Mayer property is about three acres in size. The building itself, a cavernous and now vacant former textile-producing plant, is approximately 71,000 square feet and was built in 1959. Conversion of this ratable to a school, according to Clifton Tax Assessor Jon Whiting, will result in the loss of about $95,000 annually in taxes. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Rice said that the total cost of the project, including purchase and renovation of the property, will come to approximately $15 million. However, it is expected that the State will fund up to 40 percent of this amount via New Jersey’s Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act.


November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

But Rice said that the district hasn’t yet heard from the state about how much funding will be provided, so the cost to taxpayers and the precise wording of the referendum have not yet been finalized. He said it might be ready at the Nov. 10 Board meeting. He also said that, while a Dec. 14 referendum is “likely,” there’s a chance that the referendum may have to be held on the fourth Tuesday in January if details from the state aren’t finalized shortly. But a six-week delay wouldn’t affect the planned September 2006 opening of the school. If passed, who will attend the new school? “A committee of educators will be looking at this over the next several months,” Rice said. “What we do know is that we won’t have 12th graders there and that no kids will drive there.” Discussions with owners regarding purchase of the property will not begin unless the referendum passes.

And, Rice fervently believes, the referendum must pass. “The Mayer referendum is huge,” Dr. Rice said. “The question residents must ask themselves is this: do you want to educate youngsters in portable classrooms, or in schools? The referendum must pass; otherwise it’s portables indefinitely.” Rice spoke about the Mayer referendum at the Oct. 27 Board meeting. “Portable classrooms are spacious, climate-controlled, and calm,” he began. “They’re fine – unless it rains, or snows, or you have a disability, or they’re spread all over. I wouldn’t want to put my kids in them; most people wouldn’t,” he continued. “And while you can use them in a very limited way for short periods of time, you can’t have a lot of trailers for an unlimited time. “People don’t come to Clifton to educate their kids in portable classrooms,” the superintendent said. “They didn’t, they don’t, they won’t, and they shouldn’t. “Please pass the Mayer referendum,” Rice implored.

Mayer Textile owns two properties on Brighton Rd., but the plan is to purchase the 71,000 square foot office building at 90 Brighton and convert it into a school to accommodate 500 high school students.

Progress, Challenges


lifton Public Schools are making significant progress in a variety of areas but space constraints are an urgent challenge at the upper grades, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Rice reported at the October Board of Education meetings.

• Seniors enrolled in classes at Montclair State University increased from 28 students to 38 this year. • The number of seniors involved in the Career Internship Program grew from 14 last year to 27 today.

CHS Highlights

In addition to recapping the above successes and those highlighted in his Sept. 22 Board presentation on district-wide improvements in standardized test scores (see October 2004 Clifton Merchant), Rice noted other district accomplishments and challenges in his ‘State of the Clifton Public Schools’ report on Oct. 27. Achievements include: • New materials in language arts, math and science. • Some class sizes at the high school and at Christopher Columbus Middle School have been lowered. • Elementary school class sizes have stabilized. • Each elementary school now has a full-time nurse, basic skills instructor, and world language teacher. • Each middle school now has a vice principal. • A new school, School 17, opened in Clifton the first new facility in the district in nearly 40 years. • Full-day kindergarten is being piloted at School 17. Among Clifton’s unique challenges is the fact that more than half of Clifton public school students speak a language other than English at home, with more than 65 languages spoken at home. This makes Clifton “the most linguistically diverse school district in the state,” please turn to page 45 Rice said.

Among the high school highlights noted by Rice on Oct. 13 were the following: • The number of students taking college-level advanced placement (AP) courses is up 27% this year over last year – from 173 to 219 students. • Students scoring 3 or higher on AP exams increased 7.5% in 2004 over 2002; the number who scored 4 or 5 (the highest score) went up by 5.5% in the same timeframe. Many colleges offer credit for scores of 3 and almost all offer credit for exam scores of 4 or 5. • For the first time ever, all sophomores and juniors took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) this year. • The graduation rate increased from 85.3% in 2002 to 88.2% in 2004 (the national average is about 72%). • The percentage of graduates with plans to continue their education after high school increased from 70% in 2002 to 83% in 2003 and 2004. Participation in three new high school programs has increased from last year to this. • Enrollment in the Marine Corps Junior ROTC program for freshmen through seniors went from 93 students last year to 119 this year.

State of the Clifton Public Schools

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Clifton Merchant • November 2004


Clifton History

Anna Latteri


iven that she passed away more than 30 years ago, it’s hard to speculate what Anna Latteri would think of the idea of building a school at the park that bears her name. But if the newspaper accounts of her time as a politician are any indication, she would have a strong opinion and voice it strenuously. Latteri was in her third year as Clifton’s first woman mayor when she died in 1973 at age 62. Her career in politics began in 1957, when she became active in the election campaign for State Sen. Frank Shershin. In December of that year, she was appointed as a member of the board of Valley View Hospital, which later became Preakness. In September 1960, Mayor Stanley Zwier appointed Latteri to the city’s Board of Library Trustees. Two years later, Zwier appointed by her to the Board of Education, and from that point, she developed a reputation as an outspoken public figure with forceful opinions, bent on doing what was best for the city regardless of popular opinion.


November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Her years on the school board were described as turbulent. Reports had her feuding constantly with presidents Joseph Seader and Stanton Weiss and Superintendent William Shershin. She reportedly berated them in a farewell speech upon leaving the post in January 1963. In 1966, when the Botany Village restoration was first proposed, Latteri, who had once lived there with her husband, Alfio, became an ardent supporter of the project. That same year, she became the first woman elected to Clifton’s City Council in a hotly contested race. During her council years, Latteri was outspoken in her war on drug abuse, opposed highly specific sex education programs for all grades in public schools and was a ardent booster of beautification and urban renewal projects. In her subsequent re-election bid, she earned 13,021 votes, topping a field of 27 candidates to become mayor. She continued to take an active interest in the affairs of the library and school boards.

Her battles to keep explicit popular novels off library shelves often catapulted her into the national news media and touched off widespread local controversy. By mid-1971, her health had begun to fail and she underwent cancer surgery, which kept her out of action for some time. A year later, she had more surgery and was away from her post for four months. But by the end of the year, she apparently was feeling well enough to accept a spot on the human resources committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and in early 1972 she was back with a full schedule of duties and social events. She lobbied very strongly against the statewide income tax sought by then-Gov. William T. Cahill, speaking against the proposal in many parts of the state. The mayor’s health soon began to decline again, however, and she was confined to her bed for several weeks during the summer of 1973 before passing away on July 8 of that year. Latteri Park was dedicated just a short distance from the late mayor’s home on Heights Road.

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Do They Want to...

Fire Her?


itting in her office at City Hall on a mid-October morning, Barbara Sacks seems calm, even serene. She speaks in soft, pleasant tones. She smiles often. Not exactly the picture of someone who’s about to get fired. Nonetheless, Sacks seems poised to lose her $130,000-a-year post as Clifton’s city manager. In a move spearheaded by Councilman Ed Welsh, the mayor and council appointed a three-member committee on Oct. 5 to explore different methods of performance evaluation, with an eye towards preparing a formal critique of Sacks’ year on the job. Many observers think the review is a prerequisite to a dismissal. “Don’t make something out of this that it is not,” Welsh warned on Nov. 1 when questioned if he and other council members want to fire Sacks. “We want to review her performance.” Barbara Sacks, Clifton’s City Manager 28

November 2004 • Clifton Merchant


In her 20 years of managing other towns, and 14 more years working under a “strong mayor” in Newark, Sacks said she had only received written performance evaluations when it came time to discuss potential increases in her salary. “I got a beautiful one [evaluation] in Fair Lawn,” she said, referring to a town she’d previously managed. “Two of them, actually, They both were very favorable, and obviously [the municipality] gave me very handsome raises.” But this will be the first time she’s ever been subjected to a review unrelated to salary, and also the first time Clifton has ever done such an evaluation since it adopted the council/manager form of government some 70 years ago. Asked why she thinks the city has taken this unprecedented step, she said she believes her detractors on the council want to document whatever grievances they may have in terms of her performance to fortify their campaign to dismiss her. “If council members or the mayor want someone else in this position, all they need to do is have four votes, and I’m gone,” she said. “They don’t need to give me a reason.” The decision to prepare the written evaluation, she said, “is strictly political, I think. To try to cloak it in the veil of performance is ridiculous.”

How will They vote? A Clifton City Manager is always four votes away from termination. It is expected that, top from left, Mayor Jim Anzaldi and Council members Ed Welsh and Frank Gaccione want to end Barbara Sacks’ tenure here. Her supporters include Don Kowal, Gloria Kolodziej and Steve Hatala. And in the hot seat as the deciding vote: Stefan Tatarenko.

Sacks said that while the vote to hire her last year was unanimous, some council members have made little effort to conceal their opposition to her appointment. Essentially those same members, she said, would now like to appoint “their own person” to the post. “Let’s put it this way: Some people were open-minded and gave me support right from the beginning,” she said, “and they’ve decided

they’re very, very happy with my performance. Other people never gave me a chance.” Sacks declined to name her adversaries on the council, but added, “I know who they were, I know who they called, and what they said to the people they called.” To those council members, she said, “nothing I do will ever be any good, because they never wanted me here to begin with. That’s the fact; that’s the reality.”

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Sacks said that when she was hired in September 2003, the mayor and council had “a list of things they had told me that they wanted addressed, and that’s what I worked on.” As she became more familiar with the city and its operations, she said, she discovered “a lot more stuff” that needed to be addressed. In Clifton’s form of government, the city manager has broad executive powers. The mayor and council create the guidelines, but it’s the manager’s job to run the business of the city within those set parameters. “Policy comes from them, but the day-to-day operations — hiring people, managing the budget, promoting people, firing people, all personnel decisions — those are all the city manager’s [responsibility],” Sacks explained. “In other words, everything that’s executive, as opposed to legislative, is the city manager.” Sacks said the council would become involved in hiring an employee if a position had to be created by or revised according to ordinance. For example, she said, the council requested that the position of EMS director be civilianized. “I did all the research. I went back and said, ‘Here’s what the title should be, here’s the proper salary range, but we need to create this by ordinance,” she said. “The council did it. When they finished, then I was able to fill it, and I hired somebody.” In cases where a new employee is to be hired to fill an existing position, however, the city manager has total authority. “By law, they can’t interfere,” Sacks said. As has been the tradition in Clifton, she said, she reports all new hires to the council after the fact; these appointments are featured on the agenda for the next council meeting. 30

November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

The Work of the Committee


uring its Oct. 5 meeting, the City Council appointed a threemember committee to examine different methods of performance evaluation, with an eye towards conducting a formal appraisal of Barbara Sacks’ first year as city manager. Mayor Jim Anzaldi and council members Gloria Kolodziej and Steve Tatarenko were appointed to the committee, which was formed at the request of Councilman Ed Welsh, who reportedly had pushed for an evaluation of Sacks’ performance at the prior two council meetings. In an Oct. 19 interview, Tatarenko said the committee had already reviewed different types of appraisals and was poised to recommend to the council the method it had determined to be the best. “Once that is approved, it will be distributed and will be done by each council member,” he said. He added that a separate meeting would be set up to conduct the formal evaluation in early November. Asked if he could list any specific concerns he may have with Sacks’ performance, he said he and his fellow council members “can’t discuss it.” He added that having read an Oct. 7 article about the matter in the Herald News, he was “rather surprised that people are speaking so much. “I’d rather not get into details at this time,” said Tatarenko. “To be fair about it, I think the question should be, why hasn’t it been done before? Î’m of the opinion that performance appraisals should be done for every employee in the City of Clifton, and that’s something that will have to be addressed with the full council. So this is perhaps the beginning of more to come. I mean, how do people work and not know where they stand?” Given that Sacks was hired in Sept.. 2003, Tatarenko was asked whether the appraisal is designed to be an annual review or one based on performance concerns. “The only thing I can say to answer your question specifically is that she will be here a year within a short period of time,” he said. “Councilman Welsh brought up the issue, and we adhering to his request.” Tatarenko acknowledged that, by law, the city manager can be dismissed, without a stated reason, as long as the majority of the council votes to do so. Asked why the formal evaluation was needed, Tatarenko exhaled hard, cleared his throat, and said: “I really don’t have a comment on that at this time.”

Sacks said that at no time during the past year has the council as a whole raised any particular concerns about decisions she’s made or the job she’s done. But she said a few individual members of the council have “challenged” her about some of the people she’s hired. “Certain council members asked

and get into details about people’s credentials,” she said. “Some have their own people who they’d prefer me to hire, but that’s not with all cases. It depends. It has happened where the [council] people want someone else hired, and I just hire based on the best, most competent person I can find.”

At the end of 2003, Sacks presented an annual report to the council, which she said none of the previous city managers had done. She had vowed at that time to prepare such a report at the end of every year, but the council’s decision last month to formally evaluate her performance prompted her to hasten the process this year. “I keep a sort of a running log as we do things,” she said. “I wasn’t going to do it until December, but since they’re going to do the evaluation, I thought, I’ll give it to them now so they don’t have to sit here and say, ‘What did we do this year?’ Here it is in black and white.” Sacks expressed confidence that the most recent report she presented to the council speaks for itself. In the event the mayor and council deem otherwise, however, she seemed equally confident that she’ll be able to put her experience and skills to use elsewhere. “It’s a matter of who controls the office,” said Sacks. “With a professional city manager, the office is not political, and I’ve tried very, very hard for the past year to keep the politics out of the office. So if I lose the battle, I lose my job, and, you know, what can I say?” But given the chance, she’d very much like to stay on. “I like Clifton,” she said. “I love the residents here. The business community’s terrific. People have just welcomed me with open arms, and I’m very comfortable. “I like the town; I like a lot of things about it, and it has so much potential. There are just so many great things that can happen in Clifton. There hasn’t been the type of long-range planning that I’m trying to put in place. But I think if that’s put in place and if there’s a proper plan followed, in five, 10, 15 years, this city is going to be a gem — an absolute gem.”

Her Accomplishments


n Oct. 2, Barbara Sacks submitted a report of her accomplishments for 2004 to the Mayor and City Council. From among the 37 items listed, here are a few highlights: • Applied for the city’s first-ever Smart Growth Planning Grant. • Received a state grant of $532,000 to install solar panels on City Hall to generate free electricity. • Received a $150,000 Extraordinary Aid grant from the state. • Created an Illegal Housing Task Force using first responder police and fire personnel to identify illegal occupancies. • Hired a full-time professional planner to develop a new Master Plan for the city.

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How Clifton Government is Designed to Function 7-Member City Council Develops Overall Policy (Elected every four years, Political )

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the History an appointed city manager, and a new non-partisan seven-member council, serving consecutive fouryear terms, was elected to office. Seven full-time city managers were appointed to run the day-today business of Clifton’s government before Barbara Sacks came on board late last year. The following is a summary for each:


lifton became New Jersey’s 12th city when the citizens of Acquackanonk Township voted to incorporate in 1917. They chose a Mayor/Council form of government, dividing the city into five wards with two council members representing each ward. The mayor had broad executive powers, and terms of office for both the mayor and the new City Council were set at two years each. Elections were conducted on a partisan (political party) basis and were staggered, with five council seats up for election each year. After twice failing to change this system of government during the 1920s, voters passed a referendum in 1934 adopting the Council/Manager

William A. Miller (1934-1951)

William A. Miller

system that is still in place today. Executive administrative duties were transferred from the mayor to

Miller was Clifton’s city clerk in 1934 when the electorate voted to adopt the Council-Manager form of government. Though a Clifton native who was highly respected during his 15 years in the clerk’s office, his appointment was not without controversy. The newly formed city council approved

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his selection by a 4-2 vote with one member abstaining. Citing their disillusionment with the city’s political environment, Miller’s opponents had sought an impartial candidate from outside the city to fill the post. The council allowed Miller to continue in his position as city clerk while he served as city manager. He

John J. Fitzgerald

collected a dual salary, with the clerk’s job paying nearly 60 percent more than the city manager position.

John J. Fitzgerald (1951-1957) Fitzgerald was Clifton’s city engineer at the time he was named successor to Miller. According to former Clifton Councilman Lester Herrschaft, Fitzgerald was a robust man, large in physical stature and “a real straight shooter who was never afraid’ to take on the challenges of the city manager’s job. He retired in 1957 after serving the city during, perhaps, its most explosive period of growth. While Fitzgerald was manager, Clifton added two elementary schools (14 and 16) and the Woodrow Wilson Middle School to serve its burgeoning population. Fitzgerald also oversaw the transfer of the city’s water system to the Passaic Valley Water Commission because it had more extensive resources to offer.

William Holster

William Holster (1957-1982) Commonly referred to as ‘Mr. Clifton,’ Holster was also Clifton’s city engineer when he was appointed to the manager’s position in 1957. He was a strong, dynamic leader who, according to newspaper accounts, enjoyed widespread support from the city council during his 1671

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25 years in office and was well known in county and state political circles. Holster was considered an adept administrator and excellent problem solver with a no-nonsense reputation. He was the longest-serving city manager and the last one to have tenure in the position. Though revered almost as a legend in Clifton, stormy exchanges between Holster and council members reportedly were commonplace. In 1981-82, he survived a formal reprimand over large cost overruns incurred during a storm sewer project. Nonetheless, he retired with great fanfare less than a year later.

for continually getting the council involved in issues that they claimed Holster and Fitzgerald would have handled themselves. He faced heavy and constant criticism from several on the city council, most notably then-Mayor Gloria Kolodziej, the only council member to vote against his appointment. Though credited with a strong work ethic, Lynn was never able to develop a solid political base. Lacking tenure because of changes in state law, he resigned in 1987 in the face of an almost-certain council vote for his removal.

Dickinson universities while city manager, Kemp also had difficulty securing support from the council. Councilman Donald Kowal was particularly critical of his performance, citing what he termed ‘crisis management’ under Kemp’s leadership. Kemp resigned in 1987 to take a lower-paying city manager’s position in Meriden, Connecticut.

Roger Kemp (1987-1993) Joseph Lynn (1982-1987) Lynn’s five year term as city manager was fraught with controversy. In contrast to his tough and dynamic predecessors, Lynn, Clifton’s Purchasing and Personnel Manager at the time of his appointment, was mild-mannered and easygoing. His detractors criticized him

Kemp was the first city manager hired without a Clifton background. A Californian and holder of a doctorate degree in public administration, he was appointed by unanimous vote of the council after a nationwide search for Lynn’s replacement. A prolific author who taught courses in government at Rutgers and Fairleigh

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At the time, several council members said they would look to replace him with a ‘home-grown’ city manager — someone, according to Kowal, “whose concern is about Clifton rather than bolstering and enhancing their own resume.”

Edward Murphy (1993-1995) In a novel effort to save money, the Council appointed Murphy as city manager on a consultant basis. Murphy had asked for the classification so he could collect the state

pension he had earned after working for 15 years as Cranford’s administrator. The council agreed with the request, saying it would enable the city to avoid paying Social Security taxes, health insurance and pension contributions for the city manager. However, city auditors later determined that the contractor classification was illegal because Murphy was performing the duties of a full-time employee. The state’s Public Employees Retirement System then Robert Hammer

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ruled that Murphy could not continue to work for Clifton while collecting the pension and ordered him to repay more than $40,000 he had collected from the pension fund while he worked for Clifton. Facing a council ultimatum to quit or be fired because of the ensuing controversy, he resigned in May 1995.

Robert Hammer (1995-2002) In his seven years as manager, Hammer gained a reputation for being a skilled negotiator and for fostering unity within city government. He completely restructured and reorganized municipal departments to increase their accountability and he was credited with maintaining minimal tax increases during his tenure. In addition to serving as city manager, he was a member of the Clifton Planning Board. He tendered his resignation to the council in November 2002 because of health problems and pledged to serve in an advisory capacity during the transition to a new manager. Hammer died on Dec. 20, 2002, before the council could appoint a successor. Health & Human Services director Al Greco was named acting city manager and served for roughly a year before the council appointed Barbara Sacks to the post.

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Special Improvements Five Years Later, Historic Botany SID

––––––––––– Story by Joel Samberg & Tom Hawrylko –––––––––––


hen approval was given last month by the City Council to create a Special Improvement District for Botany Village and Botany Plaza, many retailers, property owners and residents there assumed their revitalization prayers would be answered. But what some of them neglected to realize—as those involved with Main Avenue’s Downtown Clifton SID have already realized—was that a new SID always creates more questions than it began with. Who will manage the Botany SID? Can Botany share staff, or even a director, with Downtown Clifton? Will there be one management team for both SIDs? What overwhelming challenges are on the horizon as the Botany effort gets underway? Will retailers like Pathmark and K-Mart (soon to become Sears) be willing to cooperate with their decidedly smaller Botany neighbors? “Botany Village is ripe to be one of the finest downtowns because of its location and its historic appearance,” said Mayor Jim Anzaldi. “As is true for the Downtown Clifton SID, it will be an evolving process for the new Botany Village SID to reach its full potential. Yes, there may still be many unanswered questions, but I’m confident they’ll all be answered in the short term.” Who will run the Historic Botany SID, whether or not to appoint a full time manager (as is the case with Downtown Clifton), and if shared staff or management between the two districts can work, are likely to be the more hotly debated issues.


November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Then there’s Don Smartt. His firm, The Community Advocates, sets up and manages downtowns and helped establish Downtown Clifton and most recently Botany. His proposal is to manage both Clifton SIDs for a one year trial. For a combined fee, he will absorb Downtown Executive Director Kirk Johnson into Smartt’s company, use Johnson’s skills to organize Botany and ‘put staff people on the streets’ and help with various other tasks.

Joe Nikischer, Jr. of the Botany Village Merchants Association and owner of J. Michael Florist and Gift Shoppe said that he and many of his fellow merchants are leaning towards this team approach. “We’ve already talked to the people on Main Avenue,” he said. “We know what they’ve done, what their shortfalls are, and what to expect. No matter which route we end up taking with regard to the management of the SID, I think progress will be swift.”

Despite Nikischer’s optimism, naming a leader rarely lends itself to a speedy resolution. Nor does adopting a budget. After a process that was first considered nearly five years ago and begun in earnest 15 months ago, the council at its Oct. 19 meeting introduced an ordinance creating the Clifton Historic Botany District, Inc. as the management body. While currently no personnel at all have been appointed, the final ordinance is expected to be formally adopted at a public hearing this month. Once legally established, the funds collected from SID commercial and residential property owners through tax assessments will go toward projects related to safety and security, maintenance, beautification, special events and increased publicity for the combined Botany Village and Botany Plaza. “At the very early stages it was an uphill fight, only because nobody jumps at self-taxation unless there is proof that it will come back to them ten or twenty times over,” reflected Clifton Economic Development Director Harry Swanson. “But little by little, as Main Avenue’s SID got stronger and stronger, merchants in Botany Village realized it was the way to go.” It may take a while for Historic Botany to find its exact niche, but today most of those same merchants see an optimistic future. “I don’t think it’s going to be difficult at all,” Nikischer predicted. “I think it will be pretty smooth. We anticipate the whole area being revi-

What exactly is a SID?


group of property owners within a designated district which self-impose an additional tax on properties in the area. Additional funding is generated from annual city contributions and from private sponsorships and grants. The property owners and businesses in the SID use the funds to pay for services that they determine to advance revitalization. These services are designed to complement not replace municipal services. The assessments are collected by the city and turned over to the SID. Operation of a SID is governed by a District Plan and by a Board of Directors of business and property owners as well as city officials. Downtown Clifton’s SID has been in existence since 1999.

talized. In fact, I’ve talked to some people who have just opened up businesses here and they realize what we are doing and say they can see the future.” Historic Botany will encompass about 80 businesses along Randolph, Dayton and Parker Aves., including Pathmark, K-Mart and all stores and offices in Botany Plaza, as well as 36 residences in the district. In total, the 5.7% tax assessment will generate about $80,000 annually, plus the SID will receive a match from the city.

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“It became clearer than ever that Botany Village had to reinvent itself,” said Smartt, who over the last 20 years has helped establish more than 30 similar districts. Over the past year, he has been involved in organizing the plan and getting the Botany Village merchants and

Botany Plaza owners together to say yes, then bringing all parties to the City Council for final approval. “It is an old and very historic district and its challenges are relatively unique,” he observed. “With the creation of Botany Village Plaza (in 1999), there suddenly was a modern

mall within an old urban district.” That clash of retail cultures, said Smartt and other observers, could be one of the key challenges or opportunities that must be examined. This effort will be the second go around at renewal for Botany Village. Back in the late 1970’s, the city worked with merchants and changed the cityscape of Botany with covered walkways and Victorian styled buildings.

The old Botany Merchants Association Over the years, anchor stores on the square, such as the A& P closed, as did local factories which supplied shoppers. Then Botany lost the exit off Route 46 East to accommodate Route 21. Next, the inevitable began: an exodus of longtime retailers. Throughout these changes, a few key Botany Village merchants kept things going. They created street fairs, car shows and other events, to let the rest of Clifton know Botany Village ‘was not going away.’


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Those individuals included the late Perry Iommazzo, and others still at the forefront during this new era: George Silva, John Penkalski, Joe Nikischer Jr., and Arlene and Joe Nikischer Sr. Starting around 1999, when the idea of creating a SID was first proposed to Botany, they saw it as the wave of the area’s future, and their persistence takes us to 2004. Now, with the SID a reality, the hard part begins: answering all the questions while simultaneously moving into 2005 with as many plans and programs as possible. From management and budgetary issues to specific projects, the Botany Village SID is embarking on a new road, and many involved acknowledge that just how bumpy that road becomes may be directly related to how willing participants are to cooperate with one other and reach compromises when necessary. “We have to be progressive,” said Donna Sidoti, director of Clifton Community Development who is

also the city’s hands-on person for both projects. “That may very well mean that one SID might have to take a tactic or two that’s different from what the other one is used to. Not everything can always be handled the same way. That’s just common sense. We also have to remember that just because there are two commercial districts, it’s still one town, and that’s why it’s common sense for both to work side by side.” However, not everyone in Downtown Clifton, including the merchants who sit on the SID board, is willing to commit to an opinion during this sensitive period of discussion and debate—yet there are opinions on all sides of the proposal. “I think it’s a good idea to have people already experienced in SID management come in and handle it,” offered Fernando Andrade, vice chair of Downtown Clifton and proprietor of Continental Dance Studio. “There are still so many things we have to accomplish here, and obvi-

ously many things that have to be accomplished in Botany Village,” he continued. “So maybe having the overall support of an organization that runs SIDs as its everyday business is the way to go. As least that’s one possibility, and one that I’m glad is being discussed.” Ernie Schneidemann, Downtown Clifton Treasurer and owner of the Ernest T. Schneidemann Agency, holds an opposing view. “I believe the Botany Village SID should be on its own,” he said. “As it is, I don’t know if here in Downtown Clifton we’ll ever be able to accomplish all our goals, so to share responsibilities right off the bat with another district may not be the wisest move right now. Perhaps when they’re up and running there can be an amalgamation. Not now.” Reflecting the cautious stance that is more the rule than the exception, Sidoti said that the one-manager option is at least worth a serious look. “If someone can come in


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with additional, skilled SID staffing at an attractive cost, as well as with new ideas and a strong motivation, then it would be worth pursuing further,” she said. Downtown Clifton SID Executive Director Kirk Johnson, who works full time to run that business district, said that fiscal responsibility may play an important role in reaching the ultimate decision. “There may be some things that can be done with respect to the management of one or both SIDs that can save the town and the merchants some money. But we have to wait to see what the city fathers—the mayor, the council and others—have to say on the matter.”

Mayor: Maybe to all Things For his part, Anzaldi asserts the importance of having a single, on-site manager who can ‘walk the neighborhood’ knowing all the merchants and residents, and who will therefore feel duty-bound to be involved in all events and activities in the district day after day. But Anzaldi stops short of weighing in on whether or not that manager or a firm can handle both Downtown Clifton and Botany Village. Harry Swanson, Clifton’s part time Economic Development Director, cautioned that Botany shouldn’t proceed in a vacuum. “The Botany Village SID will need the help of all the area merchants and residents,

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town officials, and everyone involved with Main Avenue in one way or another,” Swanson suggested. “Their experience and expertise will be of tremendous value. It may turn out that we have to run it as one big group.”

Downtown Clifton Plateau Smartt’s proposal to combine the management of Botany and Downtown Clifton under his business umbrella may either be a challenge or an opportunity for he and the merchants he is an advocate for. But with two SID entities in one city, it is likely that the discussion of combing service between the two groups—under Smartt’s leadership or someone else’s—will continue. So how does a group measure success, progress? “We’ve made great strides and we’ve managed to stabilize the commercial center,” offered Schneidemann. “But there’s more work to be done. We all know that. Many kinds of businesses are migrating into the ‘big box’ stores, and we may be dreaming about attracting the kind of businesses that just don’t want to come here.” Schneidemann added that perhaps Downtown Clifton is at a plateau and new goals have to be set and met, a comment heard often on the Avenue. Other Downtown Clifton merchants said they are pleased that a SID is operating and pushing for positive change—and appreciative of the changes that have been made—but offer positive criticism of the efforts. “On one hand, SID members are very open to suggestions,” said the owner of Clifton Electrical Supply, Kevin Trotter, who has been active in the SID and also received a major grant for renovations, expansion and facade improvement on his Main Ave. buildings. “On the other hand, one thing I’ve learned since I’ve been participating is that you have to be very, very patient. Things just don’t happen very quickly at all.” But by this time, some five years later, most involved in creating Historic Botany know that quite well.

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Progress from page 25 Another looming challenge is “severe space constraints.” Noting that the opening this past September of School 17 eliminated the problem of elementary school crowding, Rice said, “Now we must begin to address high school and middle school crowding.” Rice said that the creation of a 500-student high school annex at the former Mayer Textile plant and the construction of a 1700student grades 8-9 school will “relieve, firmly and forever, the crowding in the high school and middle schools.” Rice acknowledged that “many of us would have preferred” one referendum on both the annex and the 1700-student school; “but it is no longer possible… The fact is that we can no longer afford to wait. A successful DecemberJanuary referendum would make possible the 500-student high school annex by September 2006.” The superintendent warned that without the 500-student annex, for which the district will seek voters’ approval next month, “We would need portable classrooms, approximately 18 of them.”

CHS Enrollment Enrollment at CHS now officially stands at 3,376 students, according to superintendent Rice. He provided revised high school enrollment projections for the next several years: 2004

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Clifton Merchant • November 2004


Students React to Resignation


n Aug. 6 article in Clifton Merchant Magazine about Al DuBois’ resignation from the city’s Environmental Protective Commission (EPC) drew strong reactions from Marietta Steransak’s environmental science class at the high school. On July 20, DuBois resigned as a volunteer member and chairman of the EPC after 16 years of service. He cited “the ongoing development of nearly all of our open spaces in Clifton, the impervious paving with asphalt” and “the raping of Garret Mountain” as his chief reasons for stepping down. The commission, he said, “hasn’t protected anything and is ignored, forgotten about, and never asked to interact with the City Council, planning and/or developmental committees within our City.” He continues in his full-time job as the city’s recycling coordinator. In September, Steransak’s students wrote letters to DuBois expressing their thoughts about his

resignation. The majority of the students wrote that they disagreed with his decision, saying he should have stayed and continued to fight for the city’s environment. Environmental science is an elective course for juniors and seniors at the high school, Steransak explained. Part of the course involves talking about current events that pertain to environmental concerns. “We discuss an article and then they have to say whether they’re pro or con,” Steransak said. “I read the parts of the letter from Mr. DuBois in your magazine to the class, and I wanted their opinion. Most of them didn’t want him to retire, because they thought he should fight for what he wanted.” Student Francheska Caputo was among those who said they thought DuBois should have remained in his post.“Many of us students agree with your opinions on Clifton building too many buildings and parking lots while rapidly destroying our envi-

ronment,” she wrote. “…I believe that you were the perfect person to stand up for our town and stop the destroying of our wildlife. I know you have your reasons for resigning, but I think we need your help still to stop the cutting of trees and the building of parking lots.” “I am quite sad and angered to hear that you have resigned and not pursued the idea of really pushing these committees to stop building, what seem to me, (are) useless stores and parking lots,” wrote student Nadine Thabata.

Students in the CHS environmental science class include, left to right, Sonia Lopez, Rachel Markovich, Toni Luciano, Patrick Egan, Luis Miranda, Francheska Caputo, Brian Batres and Janirys Lebron.


November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Natalia Lebida called DuBois “a great inspiration” and expressed thanks for his having served on the commission for 16 years. “I disagree with your resignation, though,” Lebida wrote, “…I believe that if you had stayed, you could make a difference…I know if there was something I could do, I would surely do it.” “I realize it must be very frustrating trying to fight for something and only a few people are behind you,” wrote Shannon Lancaster. “I hope receiving this letter will show you just how important this is, to not just you but other residents that see Clifton changing for the worst.” Luis Miranda said he was “puzzled” that someone as passionate about the environment as DuBois would resign. “I understand that things didn’t go your way, but that doesn’t mean you quit,” Miranda wrote. “If anything (it) should make you want to work harder and get things to go your way.

In her letter, classmate Courtney Terry said DuBois did “a very brave thing” by “standing up to what you believe in…But on the other hand, nothing will be changed if there is no one there to be the opposing side. We need people to be there to take a stand against the city.” “I think it was a cowardly act just quitting like that,” wrote David Smith. “…Commissioners of organizations are supposed to be the strong, fearless leaders and not someone who runs away when issues get a little heavy.” “… With your inspiring ways and your long history of experience, I believe you would have changed Clifton if you stayed,” wrote Anna Jurgowski. Contacted for a response on Oct. 18, DuBois said he’d hoped his resignation would draw attention to and create discussion among elected and appointed city officials about the problems plaguing the EPC and other volunteer boards.

“They should look at themselves and say, are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing?” he said. “Do we have a committee that’s not doing what they should be doing? “They’re not, and we’re not,” DuBois continued. “We’re not protecting the waterways, we’re not in there involved in the Green Acres grants, which we should be. I mean the city gets Green Acres grants all the time, but the commission should be part of that.” DuBois also acknowledged the merit of some the student’s comments in their letters. “I know what they’re saying,” he said. “I was thinking about going to speak to them to let them ask me” about his decision not to stay on. The former EPC chairman said there are still several ways he could continue to have an impact on local environmental issues, such as writing a column, serving as a public speaker and voicing his concerns at government meetings.

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VISIT OUR LOWER LEVEL CLEARANCE DEPARTMENT——DESIGNER SHOES $9.99 & UP! Styretowne Shopping Center is where shoppers will find two quality stores: The Men’s Gallery and The Shoe Gallery. These are the type of shops one expects in a highway mall or at an outlet center, yet these classy stores are in Clifton’s landmark shopping center, Styretowne. The Men’s Gallery features men’s quality name-brand shoes, clothing, imported Italian suits, shirts, socks and lots of easy wear casual clothing. Brands like Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis and other top Italian designers. Rockport, Bostonians, Clarks of England and Florsheim are some of the men’s shoe brands carried. While the selection is vast, prices are affordable. For instance, 100 % wool suits start at $99. Cotton shirts are as low as $29. Quality leather shoes from $39.99. Just in for the holiday is a new shipment of men’s sweaters which start at $24.99—purchase two for $40. Beyond that, there is the personalized service owner Adel and his family offer each customer. “With our expert tailor on the premise, we can custom fit your purchase right away,” said Adel a grad of St. Peter’s College. “And since we have a cobbler on premise, we can adjust your shoes for a perfect fit while you wait.”

The Shoe Gallery, which sells both men’s and women’s shoes, is also located on the upper level of Styretowne, three doors away from the Men’s Gallery. Always well stocked, imported and domestic brands for women include Rockport, Easy Spirit and Etienne Aigner and Caressa, just to mention a few.

Customers know that Adel and his wife Mona, pictured at left, buy first quality merchandise in volume and pass the savings along, offering great buys. Need to perfectly color match shoes and accessories? The Shoe Gallery has dyable shoes and handbags which can be custom colored to match a wedding dress, prom gown or any article of clothing. Accessories? Mona sells a line of beautiful yet very affordable jewelry, along with a large selection of handbags and other accessories. The store is a family affair as Adel and Mona and their children Peter, Joseph and Christine are always on hand to help.

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NJ Army National Guard Cpl. Chris Struening, his wife Kristen and fellow Firefighters from Station 6 visited School 16 on Oct. 5. Over the past months, the kids had corresponded with Struening while he was in Iraq. This photo by CFD Deputy Chief Tom Lyons tells the whole story.

Welcome Home

USMC Sgt. Mateusz Erszkowicz visited St. John Kanty School on Oct. 25 to thank the students for their prayers. The combat engineer, who was born in Poland and came to the United States at age 16, survived an attack on June 29 but he still carries shrapnel. “Thanks for your prayers,” he told 107 kids, “they definitely worked.” US Army Capt. Robert Soltis spoke before the City Council on Oct. 19 to thank Cliftonites for the care packages they’ve been sending his troops. He commands Alpha Company, 725th Main Support Battalion, 25th Light Infantry Division, deployed to Afghanistan. Contact the Clifton Rec Dept. at 973-479-5956 for the type of donations needed. Please keep us informed about the men and women serving our nation.

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Clifton Merchant • November 2004


Generations of Service


ne can’t describe the 20th Century without speaking about wars. The grandfathers of Baby Boomers fought in World War I, the fathers in World War II and Korea. The Baby Boomer generation had Vietnam. And their sons and daughters now fight wars in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s not unusual then to find Clifton families who have generations of service to their country. This is the story of one such family, the Van Dillens. Through three generations, they have served America in all branches of the military, from Europe to the South Pacific, and also on the home front here in Clifton. The story begins with Sgt. David C. Van Dillen, at right, who spent 16 months in France as an American Expeditionary Forces soldier during World War I. As a member of the 26th Engineers, he led his company in building dams and laying water lines. The purpose: to supply safe, potable water wherever it was need. Sgt. Van Dillen was transferred to the front in September 1918. In a letter dated November 11, 1918, the last day of the war to end all wars, he wrote: I have been on duty for 36 straight hours. The last 15 minutes of ‘Peace Notes’ sent by the Allies against the Bosch was tremendously noisy. It would be the last bombardment of that conflict, but as we all know, many more bombs would fall on countries across the globe in the years to come. In March 1919, Sgt. Van Dillen departed France on the WA Luckenbach, bound for Hoboken. He was discharged from the Army the following month. But when America entered the Second World War, Van Dillen came to the aid of his country again, this time as a Zone Captain on Clifton’s Civil Defense Council. He helped coordinate activities for members of a block organization and taught them to conduct dimouts, air raid drills, bomb precautions and security. During World War II, veterans turned civilians like Van Dillen did their part on the home front to help knock Hitler and his cohorts back on their Axis. They purchased war bonds, gave blood, made bandages, and recycled metal. They and other American men, women and children curtailed their travel, supported organizations that aided servicemen, wrote letters and sent ‘care’ packages to the boys on the front. They prayed for the safety of family and friends and for the cause of freedom.


November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

In Van Dillen’s prayers during this time were his two sons, David L. and Roger, who were among the more than 5,500 Cliftonites who served in the armed forces during World War II. Others were employed in defense plants. Some were part of both efforts. David L.Van Dillen, Clifton’s prolific and longtime historian who died in 1998, worked for a yearand-a-half for the Wright Aeronautical Corporation in Paterson before serving for four years in the Army Air Corps. As a First Lieutenant, he served as a weather forecaster and also used his meteorological training to locate hurricanes over long distances. His brother, Roger, served in the Navy and was stationed in the South Pacific. Paul D. Van Dillen, the grandson of David C. and son of David L., served in the Cam Rahn Bay area of Vietnam during 1971-1972. Following his one-anda- half-year tour in Southeast Asia where his primary duty was base security, he entered the Peace Corps for duty in the Dominican Republic. As one can see, the Van Dillen family has represented Clifton well, for generations of service. On behalf of the community, we at Clifton Merchant Magazine offer a grateful salute to the Van Dillens and the many other families in town for stepping forward when their country called. Some of their stories are on the following pages...

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Dorothy Den Herder “As soon as I saw her,” he proclaimed, “I sensed to myself that this was the girl I’m going to marry.” -George Den Herder A driver for the commander of the 37th Hospital Group.


hen Dorothy Den Herder’s sense of patriotism led her to join the US Army shortly after the start of WWII, she had no idea how life-changing the experience would be. In the three years that ensued, she treated the wounds of thousands of Allied soldiers and helped save hundreds of lives as an army nurse in Italy and northern Africa. In the process, she also got to eat lunch with Marlene Dietrich, shake hands with the Pope, and fall in love with the man to whom she’s still married, some 62 years later.

Dorothy and George over 62 years ago.

Now, that may not sound like a typical hitch in the army to you, but then again, Dorothy Den Herder is not your typical WWII veteran. Unlike many of her contemporaries who seem burdened by the passage

of time, the diminutive Dorothy still has the spark of adventure in her eye and the sound of wonderment in her voice, especially as she talks about husband George. The two met when George, a driver for the commander of the 37th Hospital Group in Camp Landing Fla., made a delivery to one of Dorothy’s patients. “Of course, I noticed immediately how handsome he was,” she said, “but I really didn’t give him much thought at first.” Not so for George. “As soon as I saw her,” he proclaimed, “I sensed to myself that this was the girl I’m going to marry.” Their unit soon shipped out to Tunisia in northern Africa, and as their days at sea dragged on, they got to know each other better, thanks, in part, to Dorothy’s ingenuity. As a nurse, Dorothy dined in the officer’s mess where the food was of considerably higher quality than that served to the enlisted troops.

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This column was originally started by our founder, the late Murray Blumenfeld. In his spirit, we continue its publication.


s the seasons change and the sky darkens early, the lights are always on at Morré Lyons. We are very excited about the festivities for the upcoming holidays and are definitely gearing up! Our showcases will be filled with so many new items to tempt you and yours. Some of seasons trends are long linear earrings, diamond circle pendants, antique reproductions and PINS, PINS, PINS (which you will see on shawls, ponchos and lapels). For the marcasite lover, very unique pieces - both whimsical and elegant - have arrived from Judith Jack. Diamonds and colored stones are very strong; and the right-hand rings are here to stay. Beautiful combinations of sterling, stones, leather and pearls seem to be the favorite of designers Lori Bonn, Lois Hill and Honora. The Swarovski Collection is guaranteed to make the season bright and cheerful. A selection of holiday pins and pendants can add a touch of glitter to any outfit. This year, for the first time ever, a Swarovski crystal star will adorn the top of the legendary Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center. Swarovski created a Christmas Tree Pin with a replica of this star for you to wear and enjoy. The birthstone for November is Topaz and it can be found in all different colors. In ancient times if a figure of a falcon was carved on a topaz it was thought to help acquire the goodwill of kings, princes and magnates. The Greeks felt topaz gave them strength. Have a good November and enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday. We’ll talk again next month.

“I’d always manage to get some extra food,” said Dorothy, “to take to the boys.” And of course, she made sure that one of those boys was George. They spent the next year-and-a-half serving in northern Africa where Dorothy treated the wounded from General George Patton’s army during their invasion of Sicily. Their relationship blossomed as their unit moved on to Naples in Dorothy Den Herder was an late 1943 where they set officer and a nurse in the Army. up hospital tents on fair grounds once owned by deposed fascist Dictator, Benito Mussolini. While in Italy, Dorothy personally escorted famed actress, Marlene Dietrich, through the hospital wards as she visited wounded allied soldiers. Later, a family friend of one of the army’s doctors was able to arrange a private meeting with Pope Pius XII, to which Dorothy was invited. “The Pope was very generous,” said Dorothy, who is Lutheran. “As he clasped my hand, I asked him to bless several of my friends, and he graciously assured me that he would.” But Italy wasn’t all entertainment for Dorothy and George. They moved onto Rome where they toured a cave used as a mass grave for the enemies of Mussolini. “The smell of death was everywhere,” said George who vividly recalled the images of the slaughtered corpses. George was later shipped to a combat unit in northern Italy where he was seriously wounded in the collapse of a building that was destroyed when an army officer pried open a booby-trapped safe. He was dug


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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant




Veterans Parade, Nov. 7th 2pm • From Main & Sylvan Aves. to War Monument in Main Memorial Park from beneath the rubble by some German prisoners who had been captured by the Allied Forces. When Dorothy learned of George’s injuries from a nurse at the hospital where he was being treated, she commandeered an army vehicle and immediately drove to see him. George recovered and returned the favor shortly after when he took a trip, albeit an unauthorized one, south to see Dorothy during Christmas 1944. With a hint of irony in his voice, he recalled the reaction of the officer who had caught him going AWOL. “After seeing Dorothy, he told me that if he had known how beautiful she was, he’d have given me a furlough to see her,” he laughed. When the war ended, George and Dorothy reunited in Brooklyn and were married there in November 1945. They moved to Clifton, where George, whose family emigrated

Dorothy & George in a recent photo.

from Holland in 1929, had relatives. They soon built a house in Delawanna where they raised their son, George, and daughter, Doris. Throughout their life together, both during the war and in the years since, the Den Herders have relied on an abiding faith in God to guide them. They are faithful members of St. John’s Lutheran Church on Broad Street where they worship together nearly every Sunday. Dorothy said that she developed her strong relationship with God when, as a teenager, she was separated from her family after the unexpected death of her mother. “I really had no one to go to,” she said, “so I learned to trust in God to see me through.” Recalling how fortunate she was to have met and fallen in love with George with all the death and destruction around her, she added, “I’m glad that I did.” by Joe Torelli

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-Cornelius ‘Casey’ Breure

He served with the Army’s 79th Infantry Division in a tour of duty that took him to his ancestral land.

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“The dykes were busted by the Germans. My cousins were flooded out of their homes and farms.”

n 1942, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Breure Sr. of Dutch Hill had three of their sons — Adrian, Cornelius and Matthew Jr. — drafted into the Army at the height of World War II. The brothers had come to the United States with their parents and other siblings by ship from Holland 14 years earlier. The family, which also included older brothers Teddy and Bill and older sister Minnie, settled at 40 Helen Pl. A sixth Breure brother, Leonard, was born six months later, and came to be known in the family as “The Stowaway.” Within months of being drafted, Adrian, Cornelius and Matthew Breure would draw separate assignments in the European Theater. Adrian served 18 months as an administrative clerk with the 170th Hospital Train, evacuating wounded soldiers. While on detached service with the 106th Division, he participated in the Battle of the Bulge. Cornelius, nicknamed ‘Casey,’ served 18 months in the European Theater with the 79th Infantry Division in Northern France, the Rhineland and Central Germany. Matthew was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and served in the Mediterranean and European Theaters for two-and-a-half years. With the First Airborne Task Force, he took part in campaigns in Sicily, Southern France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. Coincidentally, each of the three Breure brothers got a chance to return to the land of their birth at different points during the war. “The dykes were busted by the Germans,” Casey recalled of his return to Holland. “My cousins were flooded out of their homes and farms.” During their separate tours of duty, there was no way for the brothers to keep tabs on each other. Back home, news about the Breure brothers was not much easier to come by, according to Casey’s wife, the former Ann Van Beveren.

Veterans Parade, Nov. 7th 2pm • From Main & Sylvan Aves. to War Monument in Main Memorial Park “Don’t forget, there was no television, and very little news, sir — not like today,” said Ann. She recalled that loved ones occasionally received ‘V-mail’ — short, censored, printed letters from soldiers serving abroad. Luckily, no news was good news. All three of the brothers made it back home, alive and essentially well, within weeks of each other in December 1945. The most serious injury suffered by any of the three “was shrapnel in my neck,” noted Casey, as the result of mortar fire that struck a tree. Casey, discharged with the rank of private first class, earned the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, European Theater of Operations (ETO) Ribbon with three battle stars, the Victory Medal and the American Theater Ribbon. Matthew, a private, sustained a bad case of frostbite on his feet while

Three of the Breure brothers served simultaneously during World War II, from left, Matthew, Cornelius and Adrian, and then came home to serve their community.

serving overseas, but he recovered, according to Casey. Matthew earned the Presidential Citation and the Braid of the Dutch Willems decoration and the Belgian honors awarded to his division, as well as the Purple Heart and the European and American Theater ribbons.

Adrian, who became a corporal, won three battle stars on his ETO Ribbon, as well as the Victory Medal and the American Theater Ribbon. During their time of service, the boys’ parents had moved in with Teddy, their oldest son, at his home on Trenton Ave.

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Veterans Parade, Nov. 7th 2pm • From Main & Sylvan Aves. to War Monument in Main Memorial Park The return of the three young veterans to Clifton was the subject of an article in the Jan. 14, 1946 edition of The Herald News. A photo showed the three young veterans, in dress uniforms, admiring Leonard’s model airplanes. After the war, Matthew opened the Breure Sheet Metal Co. on Walman Ave. Adrian worked in New York as an accountant for

many years and was the longtime president of VFW Post 142 on Piaget Ave. Casey became a carpenter by trade. Adrian and Matthew died a few months apart from each other in 1995. Matthew’s son, who shares his father’s name, now runs the sheet metal shop. Leonard would go on to serve his country during the Korean War; he died in 1998. Teddy and Bill have

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also long since passed away, leaving Casey and his sister, Minnie Dysktra of Grove St., as the only surviving Breure siblings. In 2000, Casey received a Distinguished Service Medal from the State of New Jersey. He remains active in the VFW Post 7165 located on Valley Rd. Unlike many veterans, Casey says he hasn’t seen the more recent, realistic depictions of World War II such as Saving Private Ryan or HBO’s Band of Brothers. “I was not interested in war theater after I got home. I was filled up to here,” he says, placing the back of his hand firmly under his chin. Now retired, he lives with Ann, his wife of 62 years, just a few houses away from the one in which he grew up. Ann had moved into the couple’s current residence at age 16, when her mother purchased it. There, Ann and Casey raised five children, one of whom — a daughter, Dorothy — passed away six years ago. They have 13 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren (with a 14th on the way). Sitting in his dining room last month, Casey expressed pride at having served his country, but he prefers not to talk so much about the war, unless it’s in the context of the three Breure boys who served, returned home and went on to live full and productive lives. In another room of the old house on Helen Pl., a young boy cried out in excitement at spotting a cherished toy in a catalog. He knows nothing of Casey Breure, soldier and WWII veteran. In his world, the man at the dining room table is ‘Grandpa’ — and Christmas is coming. by Mike Daly

Seeds of Discipline “I learned about life,” he said. “I learned discipline. Discipline isn’t a bad thing. There are rules in life both in and out of the service. As long as you toed the line, you were all right.” -Ed Noll

A reflection on his year in the CCC, and how it shaped him as a person.


uring a 22-year career in the armed forces, Ed Noll served in the US Navy during World War II and the US Army during the Korean War. But he got his indoctrination to military training as a member of ‘Roosevelt’s Tree Army’ — more formally known as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in March 1933, the CCC put millions of unemployed men aged 17-25 to work during the Great Depression. The president had the power to call officers from the Army, Naval and Marine reserves to active duty with the corps.

Ed Noll served in the Civilian Conservation Corps, the US Navy and US Army.

For a dollar a day plus room and board, members of the CCC worked fighting dust storms, restocking streams, preserving forests and wildlife and building roads, bridges and dams. They even contributed to the early WWII defense effort. Camps were in every state as well as in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. There were more than 2,650 camps in operation. As a 17-year-old boy living in Passaic Park, Noll read about the CCC in a newspaper and visited a recruiting office to find out more. His parents approved and signed the necessary papers and Noll was soon off

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to the Paterson YMCA for his physical exam. Next, he was on a bus to Fort Dix along with the other recruits. “I would now live a military lifestyle,” Noll recalled. “We had inoculations, and we were fingerprinted and sworn to oath. After dinner, we marched to a warehouse, where we had to strip down and were assigned clothing sizes. We were issued heavy Army shoes, boots, underwear, socks and khaki uniforms for the summer, and spruce green uniforms for the winter. On the second day we left Fort Dix by train. The trip was five days. We were tired, dirty and hungry.”

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Veterans Parade, Nov. 7th 2pm • From Main & Sylvan Aves. to War Monument in Main Memorial Park Noll was assigned to Company 257, just outside the town of Bovill, Idaho. “I was in a forestry company,” he said. “We snagged lumber; in the forest they had a lot of dead trees fall or falling, and we cleaned up the area. If there was a forest fire, we fought it, then cleaned up after that and planted white pine trees. They brought the trees in from Montana; they were seven years old. We’d form a skirmish line, seven across, and every seven feet would throw a ‘pickmatic’ (a trench-digging tool) into the ground and plant a tree.” The 17-year-old took about a month to fully adjust to life in the CCC. Noll soon found himself appreciating the regimented lifestyle, making friends with contemporaries from other parts of the country whom he’d never have met. “They sent kids from the east to the west, from the west to the east, from north to south and south to north,” he said.

For Noll, the CCC offered more than friendship and physical labor. He was among the 40,000 taught how to read and write as each camp had a library. In down time, the cadets could take classes in typing, carpentry, auto mechanics and truck driving, to name a few. Of their $30 in pay per month, CCC members were required to send $22 back home. Given that they had free room, board, clothing and meals, Noll said he and others had little trouble getting by on $8. “You got a pack of cigarettes for a nickel,” he said. “We would buy Bull Durham (loose tobacco sold in a packet) and roll our own.” In 1941, when Noll completed a year in the CCC, he was honorably discharged and sent home. By that time, Hitler was moving pretty well through Europe and Noll’s father suggested it would be better for his son to enlist than drafted.

“He said, ‘If you enlist, you’ll get up in there first,’” Noll recalled. “I asked ‘What does that mean — first to fight?’ He said, ‘No, you’ll have more knowledge than the draftee.’” The younger Noll gave it some thought and enlisted in the Navy, where he served in the Aleutian Islands, the Asiatic Pacific and Korea. When his four-year hitch ended in 1945, he returned home to take a job in a foundry along with other GI’s, but they learned they would be making 55 cents an hour — as opposed to the non-veterans, who were earning a nickel less — Noll and several others figured they’d be better off returning to the military. There they would get room, board, three squares and better pay. Noll signed up for another hitch. When it came time to re-enlist in 1949, Third Class Petty Officer Ed Noll was given a choice of either a carrier or a battleship; he balked.


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He then visited an Army recruiting office, where he learned that after completing basic training, his time and rank from past service would transfer. Thus began Noll’s 14-year stint in the Army, during which he met Soonie who in 1958 would become his wife, while they were in Korea. When the Nolls returned stateside, Soonie lived with Ed’s mother on Arthur St. in Lakeview. He subsequently was stationed in Germany, Iran and in the US before he retired as a sergeant in 1963. Ed and Soonie bought a house on Gould St., and he took a job in the security for Bendix Corporation in Teterboro, where he worked for near-

ly 20 years before retiring. Soonie owned and operated Eosin Panther on Main Ave., manufacturing martial arts uniforms. They raised five children: Victor, Robert, Peter, Maria and Okhui and now have six grandchildren. Ed is active in American Legion Post 347 as well as . Looking way back to the beginning, Noll said he’s come to recognize that his year in the CCC proved particularly invaluable. “I learned about life,” he concluded. “I learned discipline. Discipline isn’t a bad thing. There are rules in life both in and out of the service. As long as you toed the line, you were all right.” by Mike Daly

Sweet Years of Youth “After our planes went on their mission, we would go swimming. We ate beautiful ripe grapes and this was the first time I ever ate a fig from a tree. This is what you remember.” -Jack Kuepfer

His time in Sicily was memorable... ‘nice duty, right along the beach.’


ust about everyone from the World War II generation remembers what they were doing when they heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor. But like millions who gathered around radios on Sunday, December 7, 1941 to listen to sketchy news reports, Jack Kuepfer was geographically in the dark. “I was working in Bergen Pines Hospital at the time and passed through a room where the radio was on,” said Kuepfer, a Clifton resident for over five decades and a member of the Allwood Veterans Post and the Quentin Roosevelt American Legion Post 8. “Someone called to me, ‘Hey Jack, listen to this.’ After I heard that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, I said, ‘But what is a Pearl Harbor?’” Kuepfer, at left, soon learned, and his mystification quickly turned to anger. “The next day, I went down to a recruiting station in Paterson and joined the Army Air Force,” he said. “I wanted to be a pilot. I couldn’t wait to get in and start killing Japanese.” A few route changes occurred in Kuepfer’s plan however. Instead of going up in a plane for pilot training, Kuepfer remained on the ground, at an air mechanics school near Biloxi, Mississippi. The other detour took Kuepfer to Europe instead of the Pacific.

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War is Hell During the Battle of Iwo Jima, Lt. Linzenbold took over his company after his superior officer was killed. He led his men in an assault that wiped out an enemy pill box. -Lt George Linzenbold Clifton’s most decorated veteran returned home with two Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts, two Presidential unit citations and four battle stars.


eorge Linzenbold spent his life in service to his country and to his community. The CHS Fighting Mustang enlisted in the Marines after Pearl Harbor was bombed. On July 6, 1944 Linzenbold won a battlefield commission during the fighting on Saipan. Despite serious wounds he led his men through heavy enemy fire killing 12 Japanese. During the battle of Iwo Jima, Lt. Linzenbold took over his company after his superior officer was killed. He led his men in an assault that wiped out an enemy pill box. He also saw extensive fighting on the Marshall Islands. By the time the war ended Linzenbold had been awarded two Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts, two Presidential unit citations and four battle stars.

After the war he returned to Clifton and joined the Clifton Police Department where he served for 25 years. He died in 1981. A plaque in his honor hangs in Clifton City Hall. Linzenbold Drive was dedicated in his name in December of 1983. His widow Alma still lives on Luddington Ave. “He often risked his own life to save somebody or make their life better,” his granddaughter Shannon Harney recalled. “Everything he said, everything he did came from his heart. I will always feel heartsore that he was taken from us before I got a chance to ever meet him.”


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Veterans Parade, Nov. 7th 2pm • From Main & Sylvan Aves. to War Monument in Main Memorial Park On June 4, 1942, Kuepfer, then attached to the 307th Fighter Squadron of the 31st Fighter Group, was shipped to England aboard the Queen Elizabeth with 15,000 troops. Kuepfer said his outfit was the first Americans to go into combat in the European theater. “Our planes took part in the Dieppe raid in August, 1942. I was a ground crew mechanic. We were using the British Spitfires, the best fighter plane there was at that time,” he said. In October ‘42, Kuepfer boarded a ship for North Africa for what turned out to be a miserable trip. He was seasick for 14 days. “We landed in Oran, North Africa and started to work our way eastward. Sometimes we were only five miles from the Germans. The Spitfire didn’t have long range.” Suddenly, the Germans went on the offensive, pushed the Americans back and got a lot closer to Kuepfer

than five miles. His worst day of the war was on Valentine’s Day 1943. That was the day a German Messerschmitt fighter plane dove out of the sun, strafing his airfield. “The Messerschmitt had this peculiar roar. There was no mistaking it for anything else. My buddy and I ran across the field and jumped in a ditch,” he laughed, “you’re so scared you start crying.” After the Allies won the North Africa campaign in 1943, Kuepfer found himself on an invasion force again, this time bound for Sicily. “Sicily was beautiful. At the last airstrip where we were at, right at the top of Sicily, we had nice duty, right along the beach. The Germans never came around there to bother us. After our planes went on their mission, we would go swimming. We ate beautiful ripe grapes and this was the first time I ever ate a fig from a tree. This is what you remember.”

Kuepfer finished up his service in Italy, farther from the front now, since the Army was now using the American-made P-51 Mustangs, which had a much longer range then the Spitfires. Kuepfer, who by March 1945 had attained the rank of Staff Sergeant, remembers the day he found out he was going home. “They had started the rotation back home that winter, using the point system. We were overseas for three years. We really thought the Army had forgotten we were there. Those who had accumulated enough points would have their names put into a hat and then a name would be drawn. I asked the flight leader that day whose name had been pulled, and he said, ‘you.’” “I said, ‘we don’t have a Hugh in the outfit’. And he shouted at me, ‘No, not Hugh. You! You fool! You’re going home!’” by Robert Wahlers

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The Athenia Canteen “We wanted to do something nice for the boys. We gave each serviceman a carton of cigarettes. We would give them theater tickets and take them out for a snack.” -Stanley Zwier While he served on the homefront, the former mayor had three brothers, Robert, Henry and Michael, in the Army.


f you weren’t in the service, you waged a campaign on the home front, from participating in scrap drives, buying war bonds, and doing everything possible to repay all the “boys” for what they were doing for us. Stanley Zwier, who was Clifton Mayor from 1958-62, helped to launch the Athenia Canteen at 754 Van Houten Ave. in the early part of 1942. After the war, the storefront became the first headquarters for the Athenia Veterans Post, Zwier noted in an interview prior to his his death in 1999. “Most of us had family in service. We wanted to do something nice for the boys from Clifton who were home on furlough or getting ready to ship out,” he said.

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

happenings. Zwier said Clifton’s version of a USO Club had support from the business community and private citizens, and it was manned by he and members on the Athenia Canteen Committee. They included Rose Bucaro, Margaret Svec, Frances Mirabella, Mary Bieganowsky, Steve Kleaha, Marie Van Acker, Bob Colvin, Basil Zito, Jean Luszkow, and Irene Zwier, among others.

“We gave each serviceman a carton of cigarettes. We would also give them theater tickets and take them out for a snack,” said Zwier, whose three brothers, Robert, Henry and Michael, were all in the Army. The organization also published the Canteen News, which was mailed to Clifton residents who were serving in the military to keep them abreast of hometown

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Veterans Parade, Nov. 7th 2pm • From Main & Sylvan Aves. to War Monument in Main Memorial Park

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The Youth of the Nation are the Trustees of Posterity was the theme of the CHS Class of June 1944, shown above at their 60th reunion. Rear, from left: Ray Damiano, Roy Glerum, Charles Coppola, James McLean, Jarka Burian, Norman Van Brockhoven, Dorothy Hildebrand Dyk, Edward Seelogy, John Maier, Alfred Kaptein, Alex Craig, Rosalie Vullo Fontana, Virginia Sparr Rauch. Second

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Charles Coppola

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The Clifton Rotary Club’s 31st Annual Beefsteak Dinner is on Nov. 11 at 6 pm at the Three Saints Cultural Center in Garfield. A crowd of over 600 is expected, and the event is famous for its super prizes. Funds raised at the dinner go to local charities that Rotary annually supports. President Russ Schneider of Schneider’s Flowers on Clifton Ave., said this year’s special project—to mark the 100th anniversary of Rotary International —will help to fund the construction of the John Samra Memorial Playground in Chelsea Park. Samra is the first Clifton police officer killed in the line of duty. Tickets are $35. Call 973-779-7343.

St. Philip’s Knight Gary Kaiser invites readers to have a glass of wine and support a good cause on Nov. 13.

Co-chairs of the 29th Annual NJ Unico District IV Christmas Party are, from left, Nina and Frank Corradino, with their son, Frank Jr. and Anna Belle and Michael N. Corradino. For tickets, or to donate, call 973-812-0065.

The members of St. Philip’s Knights of Columbus host the 2nd Annual Wine Tasting Gala on Nov. 13 from 7-10 pm in the School Auditorium, 797 Valley Rd. Attendees will get to sample more than 30 wines from regions such as Italy, California and Australia. Hors d’oeuvres, cheese and crackers and fresh fruit will be continuously served. The Knights also offer a variety of door prizes. All proceeds help local charities. Tickets are $25. For info or to reserve a table, call Steve Kishel at 973-684-5629 or Ray Lill at 973-472-1756.

UNICO’s 29th Annual Christmas Party for the women from Cottage 9, North Jersey Developmental Center, is Dec. 9 at the Brownstone. The tradition began in 1977, when Unican Michael Corradino hosted a party that has, year after year, touched the hearts of many. Goodwill from Unicans across the region prevails to keep the tradition of giving alive. Robert Giaconia visits as Santa, and music is provided by John Morano & the Sisco Lane Trio. Proceeds from last year’s event built a gazebo at Cottage 9. Call Mike Corradino at 973-812-0065 for tickets/info.

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Joe Grecco was a high school Vince Lombardi—a fiery Clifton coach with a booming voice who set a standard of excellence never seen before. From 1946 to 1963, Coach Grecco led the Fighting Mustangs, compiling a 137-38-3 record. But what Coach Grecco meant to his players eclipses the gridiron. Beyond football, he was also Dr. Grecco, an educator who checked his players’ report cards, enlisted tutors for help and constantly encouraged his boys to go to college. The lessons that he taught—the value of discipline, the love of learning, and quest for achievement—set the tone for his players’ lives.

To honor Coach Grecco’s legacy, players, friends and his family have created a scholarship fund. Each year, a scholarship will be awarded to one Mustang football player who exemplifies the coach’s spirit of excellence on the field and in the classroom. To raise funds for the scholarship, the “The Joseph Grecco Scholarship Fund” committee will hold its first annual Beefsteak on Nov. 19, at 6:30 pm at the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton. The dinner will be catered by the family of beefsteak originator Hap Nightengale, and tickets are $35 each. For more info, call 973-478-2478.

Circa 1950: That’s Coach Grecco with former Mustang Ray Malavasi who played at Army and then went on to his own illustrious coaching career. Clifton Merchant seeks photos of Malavasi for a feature article we are preparing. To share photos and info, all Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

Members of the CHS Class of 1979 will hosts a 25th reunion on Nov. 26 at the Bethwood in Totowa. There will be a five hour open bar, buffet, DJ and dancing. The cost is $75 per person. For tickets, call Susan Kral Sorber (973-473-4119), Rosemary Trinkle Baran (973-7794611), Debbie Hatem Gorny (973778-6702), George Hariton (973815-2827) and Linda Haraka DiFalco (973-778-1992).

That’s coach Ron Agnello and Fighting Mustangs captains Joe Hathaway, Bryan Barker, Emmanuel Ihim and Tom Jacobus handing the game ball to lineman Tom Szeiber after his leg was broken in a 32-24 victory over Eastside on Oct. 1. The 3-4 Mustangs are at Ridgewood on Nov. 5 at 1 pm.



November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

On Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, volunteers are needed to help post 700 flags at the Avenue of Flags at City Hall, beginning at 7 am. For details, call John Biegel at 973-471-8828 or Keith Oakley at 973-473-7770.


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Monday: Cancer survivor Janet Mozolewski, left, raised $15,650 for the NYC Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Mozolewski made the 26.3-mile trek in memory of Lisa Ann Trombino, above right, who died from the disease on Jan. 28 at age 37.

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Janet Mozolewski raised $15,647.91 for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in New York City. Inspired by friend Lisa Trombino, who succumbed to the disease in January, Mozolewski walked 26.3 miles to raise funds to help eradicate breast cancer. “My muscles are aching but I can still walk.” Mozolewski said. “My six months of training really paid off — no blisters. The walk was both physically and emotionally draining but well worth the effort. One alarming statistic stuck in my head: In the time it took us to complete the walk, 720 more people were diagnosed with breast cancer.” Overall, the Walk raised more than $7.2 million.

Lobster ravioli in pink vodka sauce Flounder fillet stuffed w/ crab meat in lemon/butter sauce Chicken primavera (whitesauce) over linguini

The 7th Annual 5K Stampede through Clifton is on Nov. 21st at 9 am. The race is sponsored by Clifton Rec and the CHS Track Booster Club. A free T-shirt will be given to all pre-registered runners and to postregistered runners, while supplies last. Runners may register the day of the race after 7:30 am. The race will begin behind the Municipal Building at Dog Pound Rd. at 9 am and make a right onto Colfax, then continue to Clifton and Van Houten Aves. before turning onto Pershing Rd., then Urma Ave. From there, it is back to Van Houten and through the CHS lot before the finish at Dog Pound Rd. Awards will be given to the first three male and female finishers in categories from 14 and under to 70 and over. Awards given to the first place male and female overall winner. Entry fees are $15 before Nov. 17th and $20 after. Registration forms are at Clifton Rec—call them at 973-470-5956—or go to

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

The North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with Jacobs Enterprises and PSE&G, sponsored another in a series of networking events on Oct. 26. This one was designed for Clifton retailers to meet and greet elected and appointed city officials. At the Clifton Arts Center, from left: George Jacobs, Pratibha Sharma of Valley National Bank, Allwood Branch, Gloria Martini of the Chamber, City Manager Barbara Sacks, Ray Kunz of Jacobs, Matt Merville and Greg Krauss of the Acme in Styertowne. Call the chamber at 973-470-9300. Donald and Tawny Korty, pictured here with their children Victoria and David, are the owners of Where Victoria’s Angels Stitch on Allwood Rd. This unique shop is one of the few needlework shops left in the area. It was started over five years ago but opened at this location last February. The business is mainly a needlework shop offering advice and supplies for counted cross stitch, crewel, silk ribbon embroidery, hardanger and drawn thread work. Many of these types of needlework are almost a lost art. But at Victoria’s Angels, the walls are full of pieces that took stitchers hundreds of hours to do. There are pieces of everything—from a four foot sampler to angels that look as if they are in flight. Classes are conducted weekly. There is also a yarn, knitting and crocheting section. The shop also offers professional custom framing for everything from needlework to prints, paintings and photographs, as well as sports memorabilia and business items.


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Unity Dental Open House: Over 50 people toured the offices of Unity Dental on Main Ave. at another Meet and Greet in Downtown Clifton, an event to encourage networking in the business district. From the Passaic border to Piaget Ave., there are about 300 businesses in the area who impose an additional tax and use the funds to market the area. The next Meet and Greet is at Executive Office Systems, 1121 Main Ave., on Nov. 11 at 5:30 pm. On Dec. 9,, the PNC Bank at 1184 Main will host another. Call 973-253-1455.

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant


45th Anniversary: The Famous MidTown Grill has been a Downtown Clifton landmark since 1959 when brothers Tom and John Foukas opened the hot dog stand. In 1998 they sold the operation to Jimmy Doris and Jerry Dimitratos who have expanded the menu and continue to innovate. To mark the completion of a facade and interior renovation, the owners hosted an anniversary celebration on Oct. 27. They gave out free soft ice cream cones (a menu addition) and offered a display of racing cars coordinated by Ace Lane Motorsports. Above, from left: architect John Fotiadis, Jerry Dimitratos, Ace Lane, Jimmy Doris, Michael Andalaft and Dr. Richard Sabbagh.

Craig Yaremko will perform at Luna Rossa (39 Harding Ave, just off of Main Ave) Nov. 18 and Dec. 17 at 8:30 pm. The performances mark somewhat of a homecoming for the saxophonist, who rarely has the opportunity to perform in town. A lifelong Clifton resident, Yaremko, at right, was a member of the Marching Mustang Band. He was also involved in leading and performing with the student run big band Tarsus. Since his graduation in 1997 Yaremko’s performing career has taken off. An in demand free-lance musician, he has performed with many well known jazz, classical, and pop artists. He currently per-

forms every Monday night with the Cecil’s Big Band at Cecil’s jazz club in West Orange. ABC’s Nightline will air a segment featuring the Big Band, and an interview with Yaremko later this month. Yaremko’s skills as a bandleader have matured as well, with Persistence, his latest recording (visit for CD and performance info). His Brazilian-inspired group will be showcased at Luna Rossa. Owner Al Pfeuffer completely renovated this longtime Downtown Clifton restaurant landmark and established a classy dining establishment and jazz destination without the big time prices. For info, call 973-340-6125. Artisans Touch Gallery has just completed the move from downstairs in Styertowne Shopping Center to Suite 1A—upstairs, right above Alice’s Cards. The showcase gallery, run by artists Michael Bertelli and Teri Hislop (at left) has an upscale new look and expanded focus, incorporating arts education and an arts outreach program into the studio. Fine art and quality collectible bronzes grace the big room. The exhibit changes frequently, to feature a particular artist or style of work. Other innovations and additions include the artists-in-residence, providing presentations and demon-

strations for churches, senior centers and community groups. Recently, woodcarver PR Drumm held a group of Rutgers alumni spellbound at a dinner function in Wayne. Teri Hislop has been making the rounds in the church community exhibiting her religious woodcarvings and singing the hymns that inspired them as she accompanies herself on folk harp. The first opening of the season will be ‘From There To Here’ , the works of Sally Diaz. The acrylics exhibit will run from Nov. 7-19 with a reception on Nov. 7 from 2 to 5 pm. Call 973-471-0001 or write

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Clifton Merchant • November 2004


A Musical Salute to World War II Veterans is Nov. 18 at 7 pm at CHS, 333 Colfax Ave. The free concert will feature World War II patriotic tunes, dancing and USO style events. Attendees are asked to bring non-perishable food items as the price of admission. These items will be packaged into Thanksgiving baskets for needy families. Financial donations are welcome and will be used to purchase turkeys and additional items. For info, call 973-470-5956 or visit The Metropolitan Vintage Dance & Social Club hosts its third Armistice Day Ball on Nov. 20 at 7 pm at the Clifton Rec Center, 1232 Main Ave. Live ragtimeera music will be provided by The Flying Romanos. From 2 to 4 pm, a workshop in ragtime-era dance will be offered. Tickets are $30 and include the dance workshop, admission to the ball and a dessert buffet. Modern formal or businesswear or period attire or military uniforms is encouraged. Info: The 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Jazz Festival and Dinner is on Jan. 15, 6 pm to midnight at the Church of the Assumption, 35 Orange Ave., Clifton. Tickets are $35 and may be purchased at the Record City stores in Passaic and Paterson. Call Seifullah Ali Shabazz at 973-478-4124. The Garden State Opera on Nov. 21 at 5 pm is a double bill at Woodrow Wilson Middle School on Van Houten Ave. The first is the premiere of The Marriage Counselor, a romantic opera in one act in which a wise marriage counselor helps a struggling couple to understand their true heart. The composer is Francesco Santelli. The second work is La Cambiale di Matrimonio (The Bill of Exchange of Marriage) in which an English merchant plans to repay his debt to an American businessman with a marriage deal that goes wrong. The productions are fully staged with orchestra. Tickets are $25 or $20 in advance. Call NJMA at 973-272-3255.

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

The art of Ray Mauro (sample above) will be displayed at the Hamilton House throughout November. A reception for the artist is Nov. 7 from 2 to 4 pm. The Hamilton House is at 971 Valley Rd., right next to the Alexis Steak House. A donation of $3 to the Hamilton House is appreciated.

The Hamilton House Museum, at 971 Valley Rd. in Clifton will host various events over the next two months. The museum asks for a $3 donation at these events unless otherwise noted. On Nov. 7, there will be a Group Art Exhibition with refreshments from 2-4 pm. On Nov. 14, Tracy Sterni will present ‘All About Clifton’ from 2-4 pm. On Dec. 3, the annual traditional candlelight tour with the CHS Madrigal Singers begins at 7 pm. Refreshments will be served and a donation of $4 is requested. Afterwards, the holiday shop will be open for purchases. On Dec. 5 at 2 pm, children will be treated to a visit from St. Nicholas, including songs, stories, games, goodies and gifts (a donation of $4 is requested). On Dec. 10 and 11, a Red Hatter and Friends Victorian Tea will be held at 11:30 am; reservations are required for the tea and the requested donation is $10. Annual membership is just $5 and donations always appreciated. Call 973-744-5707 for info.

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East Ridgelawn Cemetery... ...invites you to visit our Mausoleum on Main Avenue to see the inspirational art adorning our new building. Within the Mausoleum, our artist has painted a serene and peaceful view, entitled ‘Eden’, where visitors can pause to celebrate the lives of those who have passed.

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973.777.1920 Clifton Merchant • November 2004


Year after Year, we tell you not to miss this party. Clifton’s Halloween Parade and HarvestFest is always awesome. This year it was on Oct. 24th along Lakeview Ave. The following pages show how much fun it was. After a 12:30 step-off from Lakeview Ave., the parade heads into Nash Park where there are inexpensive games, awards for best costumes, plenty of food and a live petting zoo. The parade, founded in 1948, goes on rain or shine so if you have kids or just want to act like one again, be sure to be there next year... on the Sunday before Halloween. For info on this event and the other great things being done by the Wonder Woman gang in Clifton Rec, call 973-470-5958.

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant







3-5 Village Square East Botany Village, Clifton

Styertowne Shopping Center 1045 Bloomfield Ave. • Clifton



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1215 Clifton Merchant • November 2004


Styertowne S H O P P I N G Use This Directory of Stores When Shopping: Celebrations 973-458-8200 Atlanta Bread Company 973-777-2211 Bertelli’s Liquors 973-779-0199

ACME 973-594-0590

Cleaners 2000 973-614-1400 Amazing Savings

973-777-8073 Taste of Tuscany

Pet Stuff 973-778-1617


Alice’s Cards & Gifts

Styertowne Bakery



Fascination 973-473-6105

973-473-9631 CVS Pharmacy


Antonio’s Hair Stylist 973-472-1011


Kim’s Nail Salon 973-471-8118

The Men’s Gallery

The Shoe Gallery



Corbo Jewelers

US Post Office



Shereed’s Ladies & Mens Clothing

The Chiropractic Center at Styertowne



The Shoe Doctor




Marty’s Shoes

AC Moore



The New Brava For Women



Grand Opening

Valley National Bank 973-777-6283

The Season’s Fine Chinese Cuisine

Dunkin Donuts & Baskin Robbins



Kid City

Footnotes Bookstore



Artisian’s Touch

Dress Barn



Exchange Place Florist

Kid City 973-614-1111 2 Floors of Children’s Clothing Girls 2-14 • Boys 2-18 Plus Cribs, Strollers, Juvenile Furniture, Fitting Rooms, & Elevators


Artisian’s Touch

Footnotes Bookstore

973-471-0001 Now on the Second Floor

973-779-6122 Now on the Lower Level

Exchange Place Florist 973-594-0700 New to the Lower Level

Retail & Office Space Available. Call 973-591-5222 for info. 82

November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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Kids Discount Dept. Store Clifton Merchant • November 2004



The Marching Mustang Band gets the party started as they lead the parade along Lakeview Ave. and then into Nash Park for a musical standstill before costume judging. 1303

Sarge Painting

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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Tel: 973.777.3111 Fax: 973.777.0509 Clifton Merchant • November 2004


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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant


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Clifton Merchant • November 2004


Clifton Optimist Optimist Club Hot Dog Night, Clifton Rec Center, Weds., Nov. 17, 6:30 pm Optimist Cup Game, Passaic’s Boverini Stadium, 10 am Thanksgiving Day The football contest that’s going to count this month is the Optimist Cup. At 10 am on Thanksgiving Day, the Mustangs will square off against the Indians in Passaic’s Boverini Stadium. The winner of that game owns the bragging rights to a year’s worth of football and gets to take home the Optimist Cup Trophy. As a result of last year’s contest in which the Mustangs defeated the Indians 17-0, the Optimist Cup Trophy has been a Clifton possession. And for the record, the Mustangs lead the series 36-35-5, in a rivalry which began in 1923. The Optimist Club Trophy is awarded to the winning team at the conclusion of the game. In addition, there are the MVP trophies, which will be awarded to four players during the post game ceremony on the field—one for offensive MVP and one for defensive MVP on each team. The four players will be selected by the opposing team’s Athletic Director. We’ll see you Thanksgiving Day.

The members of the Clifton and Passaic Optimist Clubs want you to get to know your neighbors and be a Friend of Youth. Come to the Clifton Passaic Optimist Club Frank Fest at 6:30 pm on Weds., Nov. 17. Offering an exclusive hot dog menu served by the Famous MidTown Grill, the event good naturedly celebrates the rivalry between our two towns. Traditions like the Frank Fest hark back to the good old days, when the Clifton C Club and the Passaic Time Out Club used to host dinners for the opposing players. The idea today remains the same as in the past—to get the schools and students to forge relationships and have respect for one another. In addition to celebrating the football teams, the Girls Volleyball teams and Clifton’s Special Olympians will be honored. Optimist Club members from both towns want the kids and adults from our adjoining communities to know each other not only as competitors but as neighbors. Come out and support us.

The Clifton & Passaic Optimist Clubs’ invite you to a...

Hot Dog Night Wednesday, November 17, 6:30pm to honor the Football Teams of Clifton & Passaic High Schools at the Clifton Recreation Center 1232 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton

Adults $10 Donation (kids free) OPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL

Friend of Youth 90

November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Tickets: Call Tom Hawrylko at


Friend of Youth

Junior Optimist Program is now at Christopher Columbus Middle School Community Partners & more Clifton Optimist Club Members Needed! Friend of Youth is the slogan and mission of The Optimist Club of Clifton and all its affiliated members across the globe. For over 50 years, the Clifton Chapter has remained true to its motto of ‘Friend of Youth,’ through its advocacy for the city’s young people. The goal is to promote positive youth activities which incorporate friendship and patriotism and try to make young people aware of their role in our communities. For decades, the Clifton Optimist have simply funded activities, but as members evolve, they seek to bring the service organization to the next level. That’s why we turned to Jimmie Warren, Principal of Christopher Columbus Middle School. With his support and leadership and staff, the Club is going to start a new Junior Optimist Club we can focus the youth members into addressing one or two projects that involve the school and the community. Perhaps it relates to Downtown Clifton or maybe it is an essay or oratorical contest. Maybe it incorporates all of the above...or something not yet considered.

The point is we want to create a relationship which fosters Optimism, Civics and helps our Youth to create a Better Clifton. Our reasoning is that by working through the youth at our middle schools, we can help nurture the next generation of Clifton Optimists through CHS, where we expect them to grow and start yet a second youth chapter at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. From there, we hope to see these youngsters grow into productive Americans and Cliftonites, who go to college and return to their hometown and contribute to its betterment, in short: Clifton, the Next Generation. In the here and now, the Clifton Optimist would also like to note that national dues for our Junior Optimist Club is being underwritten from an anonymous donor. So let’s get started. Later this month, we are going to be having our first meeting at CCMS. If you’d like to learn more, get involved or help fund activities, call Tom Hawrylko at Clifton Merchant Magazine: 973-253-4400.

Don’t let your Turkey be the Centerpiece

Clifton Merchant • November 2004


CHS’s fall theater production, The Children’s Hour, will be staged on Nov. 11-14. Written by Lillian Hellman and published in 1934, The Children’s Hour is the story of a lie taking on a life of its own at a girls’ boarding school. It’s based on the true story of a scandal at a school in Scotland in 1809, in which a malicious student charged that the two headmistresses had ‘an inordinate affection’ for each other. “This play isn’t about ‘inappropriate relationships,’” stressed director David Arts. “It’s about the power of a lie. This is a universal story in a setting to which we can directly relate. What could be more relevant to teenagers than a powerful story set in a school.” Of the 13 characters in the play, 12 are female. The two teacher roles are played by Carolyn Liberti and Anna Broniszewski. Best friends in real life, they spend much of their extracurricular time together in the school’s Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers and have worked together in nearly all of the stage productions presented during their time at CHS.

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The cast of The Children’s Hour includes, in the front, from left: Cassandra Trujillo, Allison Zutterman, Chris Robertson and Ashley Leeshock. In the middle row, from left: Anna Broniszewski, Karla Yeamans, Justine Jensen, Jessica Loeber and Carolyn Liberti. In the back from left: Michelle Spages, Jamie Leather and Lessette Alvarez.

Others in the cast are sophomores Karla Yeamans, Cassandra Trujillo, Allison Zutterman, Jessica Loeber, Ashley Leeshock, Justine Jensen and Ashley Gagnon, junior Jamie Leather, seniors Lessette Alvarez and Michelle Spages, and the lone male cast member, sophomore Chris Robertson. Tickets: 973-470-2312. Maestro Gabe Navola, conductor of the Bloomfield Mandolin Orchestra, mandolin player Annamaria Menconi and Unican Ricky Bagolie after the Oct. 12 Columbus Day flag raising.



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hair • nails • color 88 Market Street, Clifton 973.365.0220 92

November 2004 • Clifton Merchant


Joe Niland

The Conservatory Players presents Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon. Performances at St. Paul School on Main and Washington are Nov. 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Purchase in advance by calling 973-772-6998. The Wizard of Oz, presented by the Childrens Theater Company of the YM/YWHA on Scoles Ave., is performed at various times on Dec. 4-12. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and children, to age 12. Info, 973-779-2980 x103. Favorite Pastimes Mosaics by Anne Oshman is on exhibit at the Clifton Arts Center through Nov 19. A sample of her work is shown. Hours are Wed. to Sat. 1-4 pm; group tours available by appointment. Call 973-472-5499 for info.


Board of Ed Commissioner John Traier, at left, and Joseph Conklin, drama facilitator at WWMS, have been cast in Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical, presented Nov. 17-21 at La Fortuna, Fairview. Traier portrays a 12-year-old Catholic boys’ school student, while Conklin is the school’s Reverend Mother. Mark Peterson is also in the cast as Sister Amnesia. The show is being presented as a dinner-theatre production by La Fortuna in conjunction with the Park Players repertory company: Show dates and times are as follows: Nov 17-21 Tickets and dinner are $40 to $45. Call 201-941-6030. FREE PORTFOLIO REVIEWS COLLEGE 529 PLANS TAX-FREE BONDS

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Clifton Merchant • November 2004



Visit us in Downtown Clifton: 1103 Main Ave • 973-473-4999

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Happy 4th Birthday on 11/7 to Nicole Mokray! Jazzlyn Caba. . . . . . . . . Robyn Jo Paci. . . . . . . . . Thomas Scancarella. . . . Kelly Tierney. . . . . . . . . . Lance Dearing. . . . . . . . Andrew Seitz. . . . . . . . . .

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802 Van Houten Ave • Clifton New Location

1103 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton New Location

Congratulations to Jerry and Pat Franek who celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary on 11/3.

Our Other Locations: 201.843.8040


136 Essex St • Rochelle Park Open Sundays

101 Route 46 West • Saddle Brook Open Sundays



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Visit us in Athenia: 802 Van Houten Ave • 973-473-1997 94

November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

11/1 11/2 11/2 11/3 11/4 11/4

Tanya Ressetar. . . . . . . . 11/5 Joe Angello. . . . . . . . . . . 11/6 Nicole Lorraine Bonin. . . 11/6 Danielle Osellame. . . . . . 11/6 Kristen Soltis. . . . . . . . . . . 11/6 Christina Ambrose. . . . . . 11/7 James Ball. . . . . . . . . . . . 11/7 Nicole Mokray. . . . . . . . . 11/7 Ray Konopinski. . . . . . . . 11/8 Marie Sanzo. . . . . . . . . . 11/8 John Fostek. . . . . . . . . . . 11/9 Brandy Stiles. . . . . . . . . 11/10 Tom Szieber. . . . . . . . . . 11/10 Joseph Franek III. . . . . . 11/11 Laura Gasior. . . . . . . . . 11/12 Tina DeMarco. . . . . . . . 11/12 Geraldine Ball. . . . . . . . 11/13 Happy Birthday to Edward Termyna who turned 75 on 10/13.

Patricia Franek. . . . . . . . Robert Paci. . . . . . . . . . . Emil J. Soltis Sr.. . . . . . . . . Gregory Chase. . . . . . . . Kathy Schmidt. . . . . . . . . Matthew Phillips. . . . . . . Anthony Wrobel. . . . . . . . Marilyn Velez. . . . . . . . . .

11/13 11/13 11/14 11/15 11/15 11/16 11/16 11/18

Best wishes to Flossie Rusnak who celebrated a birthday on 10/16 Nancy Hawrylko. . . . . . . 11/19 Joseph Tyler. . . . . . . . . . . 11/19 Rudy Domyon. . . . . . . . . 11/20 Joseph Guerra. . . . . . . . . 11/20 Katherine Stankiewicz. . . 11/20 Jon Whiting. . . . . . . . . . . 11/21 Andreas Dimitratos. . . . . 11/22 Katerina Dimitratos. . . . . 11/22 Margaret Egner. . . . . . . 11/22 Eileen Fierro. . . . . . . . . . . 11/25

Happy Anniversary to Joe and Susan Angello who will be married five years on 11/14

Birthday Boy! Frank Lacki of Lacki’s Jewelers turned 78 on 11/2

Belated Nuptials on (9/18) Jeff and Jenn Chandler 1141

Join Us For A Special...

Holiday Memorial Program ...On Thursday, December 2nd 7:30 pm at Marrocco Memorial Chapel, 470 Colfax Ave. We are opening our doors to assist individuals who have experienced death of a family member or close friend. This program is our way of reaching out to families we have served, and to others in our community, to let them know that they are not alone this holiday season. Everyone is welcome to attend our memorial program. The program is free. Reservations requested but not required. Please call 973-249-6111.

Crystal Lanham. . . . . . . . 11/25 Rachel Prehodka-Spindel. 11/25 Kristen Bridda. . . . . . . . . . 11/26 Jessi Cholewczynski. . . . . 11/26 Bethany Havriliak. . . . . . . 11/26 Sami Suaifan. . . . . . . . . . 11/28 Christopher Seitz. . . . . . . 11/29 Kaitlyn Graham. . . . . . . . 11/30


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Clifton Merchant • November 2004


The sport of Cheerleading has provided Kimberly Topping many opportunities and on Oct. 25 it brought her to Broadway. The CHS senior and third year varsity Mustang cheerleader performed at City Center with members of her competition team, the Freeholdbased World Cup Shooting Stars, in a benefit entitled Career Transitions for Dancers. In September, the Shooting Stars coach received a phone call from MTV to work with Toni Basil, singer of the 1982 one hit wonder Mickey, a classic cheering song. They performed on the City Center Stage along with such greats as Debbie Allen, Phylicia

Rashad, Marge Champion, Chita Rivera, Arthur Mitchell, and dancers from the American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet and Dance Theater of Harlem. The weeks leading up to the event were hectic, said Topping. “I would go from school straight, then to work, then drive an hour and a half to the gym for practice,” said Topping, who also works at Celebrations in Styertowne. “I thought nothing could top going undefeated and winning seven national titles,” said Topping, looking back on the championships competitions won by the Shooting Stars. “I never dreamed of the places cheering could take me.” Kimberly Topping with ‘Hey Ricky You So Fine’ singer and choreographer Toni Basil.

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November 2004 • Clifton Merchant


Topping and the 15 other girls soon learned that the Oct. 25 gig was not the final Mickey performance. The always outlandish Bette Midler was in the audience that night, loved the energy and asked the team do another show with Toni Basil the following evening. Midler was hosting Hula-ween which was to raise money for her pet project, the New York City Parks Restoration. She requested that the Shooting Stars accompany Toni Basil as the opening act of Hula-ween. “It was really exciting knowing that we were performing in one of the biggest benefits of the year, but that was all we knew,” said Topping. The girls got another surprise when they found out Billy Crystal was host and the finale was a song by Patti Labelle. So what’s next for the Shooting Stars? “When we left Ms. Basil on Tuesday night she was mumbling something about a performance at the Grammys in February and her last words to us were don’t put those pompons away,” said Topping. “Could you imagine?” by Joe Hawrylko

Clifton Firefighters and Clifton’s IHOP will hold their 9th annual free Thanksgiving Day Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 25. The dinner is for residents who cannot afford their meal or might be spending the holiday alone. It has been held annually at the Clifton Senior Citizen Center, 900 Clifton Ave. Each year, IHOP donates the food which the firefighters and other volunteers will prepare and serve with the help of their family and friends. The dinner begins at 11:30 am and is limited to the first 150 residents who register. To make reservations, call Ann Marie Czaplicki at Fire Headquarters for more details: 973-470-5802. St. Peter’s Haven, shown here, was established in 1986 by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Clifton Ave. to provide emergency and transitional housing for homeless families. The Haven also provides counseling and support services to lead to permanent stability. The Haven has two locations in town to accommodate those families in need. In addition to the shelter, St. Peter’s runs an ongoing Community Food Pantry which provides food for hundreds in need. Volunteers operate the Pantry and donations are received from community sources. Volunteers are needed on an ongoing basis. The Family Support Center seeks to help families make positive change. To donate, or for more on any of the services of St. Peter’s Haven, call 973-546-3406.

Gambling Problem?

Helping Your Neighbors

Individuals from the Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant faiths are all invited to worship and celebrate together on the eve of Thanksgiving, Nov. 24th at 7:30 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 303 Maplewood Ave. “We will all share from our individual religious faiths,” said Rev. Carlisle H. Dickson of the Presbyterian Church. Groups thus far committed include St. Philips Catholic Church, First Presbyterian and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. After the service, there will be a reception in Fellowship Hall below the Maplewood Ave. church. Rev. Carlise asked attendees to bring a desert to share. For info, call 973-464-8876.

TENAFLY ENAFLY PEDIATRICS EDIATRICS 1135 Broad St., Suite 208 • Clifton • 973-471-8600 Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5 pm Wednesday 8:30 am – 8:30 pm (for check-ups, too!) Sunday 9 am – 12 noon •

call 1-800-Gambler or visit




Dr. Nancy Mallon

Dr. Robert Jawetz

Dr. David Wisotsky



Dr. Maury Buchalter

94 Chelsea Rd.

Linda Caruccio, Director

973-779-4844 Register Now! • Nursery School • • Extended Hours • Pre-K Programs • • Classes for 2 1/2, 3 & 4 year olds Open 9 am to 3 pm

We welcome new patients in Clifton and our other locations! Tenafly 32 Franklin St 201-569-2400

Fort Lee 301 Bridge Plaza N. 201-592-8787

Paramus 26 Park Place 201-262-1140

Oakland 3 Post Road 201-651-0404

Clifton Merchant • November 2004


Clifton 77, the city’s cable network, seeks volunteers ages 16 and up for behind the camera work. Take part in broadcasting civic meetings such as the City Council, the Zoning or Planning Boards, as well as other community events. No experience needed. Call 973-470-5753 and speak to station manager Sai Bharadwaj. The young producer and station manager is also conducting a survey to determine what access programs people are viewing School 17 Open House: The public is invited to tour the new Clifton Public School 17 at 361 Lexington Ave., at 3 pm on Nov. 20. After a dedication ceremony, guided tours of the new school will be conducted every 10 minutes until 5 pm. Because of limited space, visitors should park at School 12 at 165 Clifton Ave. or at CHS where a shuttle bus will make round trips commencing at 2:30 pm. Call 973-470-2260.

Clif owner Skip Kazer wants to raise a $1,000 or more for childrens’ charities by offering a chance to cut his pony tail. Stop down at The Clif or call for details.

Clip Skip for $5: Charles ‘Skip’ Kazer, the owner of the landmark saloon on Clifton Ave., The Clif, says it’s time. After growing his pony tail for the past 20 years, the 14 inches of locks will be clipped! He is offering friends, neighbors and Cliftonites the chance to do the shearing when they purchase a $5 chance. His goal is to raise $1,000 for local charities which benefit children. Stop in at the tavern to buy a chance or call 973-365-9745 for details.

Dr. David R. Moore, Chiropractor


Pictured (right) with Dr. Moore is Rob Stern our Patient of the Month. He is an extreme sports athlete who takes on all terrain with either his four-wheeler or snow board. Rob knows the importance of having his spine aligned for optimum performance and health.

Mon • Wed • Fri Chiropractic Health Center 241 Crooks Ave • Clifton • 973.253.7005 Tue • Thu • Sat Elmwood Park Athletic Club 690 River Dr • Elmwood Park • 201.794.0155


November 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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Cash, checks, Mastercard, Visa and Discover gladly accepted. All sales final. Fitting room available. Handicap accessible. No strollers. No children under 12. No pets. All coats and packages must be checked at door.



THURSDAY N O V . 1 1 TH 9am - 9pm

FRIDAY NOV. 12TH 11am - 5pm

SATURDAY NOV. 13TH 9am - 6pm

SUNDAY NOV. 14TH 11am - 5pm

D I R E C T I O N S T O WA R E H O U S E : 125 Delawanna Ave • Clifton, NJ From 3 East — Take 3E to Main Ave. exit — Turn right onto Main Ave. — Go to 4th traffic light — Turn right onto Delawanna Ave. — 2nd parking lot on right after railroad trestle. From 3 West — Take 3W to Main Ave. exit — Turn right onto Main Ave. — Go to 3rd traffic light — Turn right onto Delawanna Ave. — 2nd parking lot on right after railroad trestle.

Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main Avenue Clifton, NJ 07011



TOP 1% REALTORS Direct Line 973-340-1107 Selling? Call Nick and start packing! Buy or Sell A Home With Us & Use This Truck!

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Free Report #1

Find Out What the Home Down the Street Sold For To hear a brief recorded message call

1-866-831-4517 ID# 1741 Call anytime 24/7



Lovely Colonial, LR w/fireplace, FDR, kitchen, sun room, 2 Bdrms, ceramic tiled bath, Full fin.bsmnt, 1/2 bath, 1 car gar. Private yard, Well maintained, Close to all amenities & schools. Must see!

Call Alberto/Gladys 973-859-7506



Lovely large split well maintained, large Living Room, Formal Dining Room, Modern EIK, 3 bedrooms, family room + rec room with wet bar. 2 _ baths. 3 car garage.

Call 973-340-1202



Cute 2 family home. Nicely kept, 2 bedrooms, kitchen, Living room on each floor. Driveway with parking for additional cars. Large Back yard.

Call 973-340-1202

Free Report #2

Moving Up! How to Avoid Getting Stuck with Two Homes To hear a brief recorded message call 1-866-826-9875 ID# 1772 Call anytime 24/7







Nice large 1 family. Features 4 bdrms, 2 on each floor. LR, DR, EIK, fin. bsmnt w/full bath, rec room, summer KIT and office. 1 car garage plus driveway.

Well kept 1 fam home. LR, MEIK and 1 bdrm on the 1st Flr. 2nd. Flr has 2 bdrms and a den that can be a possible 4th bdrm. Full unfin. Bsmt and a nice size enclosed yard.

Immaculate One family home 3 bedrooms, LR, DR, Modern EIK, one car garage plus driveway with additional parking.

Call 973-340-1202

Call 973-340-1202

Call 973-340-1202

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Selling? 27 Quick & Easy FixUps to Sell your Home FAST & FOR TOP DOLLAR! To hear a brief recorded message call 1-866-831-4517 ID# 1723






Must be seen on the inside! Massive 2nd Flr apartment, includes a family room with laundry plus 2 additional bedrooms and 3rd full bath on the 3rd level. For more details.

Beautiful condominium features 2 bdrms, 2 full baths, LR with fire place, 1 car garage. 24 hours security, pool, tennis and more amenities. For more details.

Call Charles 973-930-5033

Call Charles 973-930-5033

Call Alberto/Gladys 973-859-7506

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Just like Brand New Inside! Must be seen to be appreciated. 2nd bedrooms could be divided to two. Bright and very Clean! HW floor.

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