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Call him the ‘Golden Boy’ of the ring


North Arlington teen Cammett aspires to become professional wrestler


By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

Mike Cammett has always been a fan of professional wrestling. Ever since he was a little boy, Cammett would envision himself as becoming the next Shawn Michaels.

“Watching him as I was growing up, he was always a role model to me,” said Cammett, a 17-year-old senior at North Arlington High School who plays football and is a member of the track team. “The whole electric format of wrestling really intrigued me.”

So Cammett would practice moves he learned watching the Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment stars like Michaels with his friends.

“I was jumping and diving off my dresser, breaking beds and walls in my house,” Cammett said.

Cammett said that he was looking for a wrestling school, trying to learn the ins and outs of the professional wrestling game.

Enter Kevin Knight. The Nutley native has been involved in professional wrestling for almost two decades.

Knight never expected himself to be a part of pro wrestling. He was a student at William Paterson in the radio and television production department and had a job at WGHT Radio doing sports.

“Someone said that I would make a great ring announcer, so I decided to give it a try,” Knight said.

At the time, Knight became friendly with pro wrestler Rik Ratchet and Ratchet started to give Knight some pointers at becoming a pro wrestler.

“I worked with him prior to some shows and I learned what to do,” Knight said. “I had the right height and I had a good personality.”

Knight was able to keep his own name as he moved his way up the pro wrestling ranks, eventually doing some shows with the WWE.

“I got beat up by some of their big stars,” Knight said. “Brutus Beefcake, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, the ‘A Train,’ they all got me.”

Knight attended a host of local wrestling shows for four years or so; then he got an idea from other fans.

“People would always ask me how could they get into it,” Knight said. “There were really not a lot of places to learn.”

Knight started his Independent Wrestling Federation, which was housed for 12 years in West Paterson (the town was eventually renamed as Woodland Park).

“While I still wrestled, I taught classes,” Knight said. “I brought in some of the superstars of wrestling to help teach the class like Tito Santana and ‘The Honky Tonk Man.’ They were instructors.”

One of Knight’s pupils, Darren Young, has become a regular with the WWE shows for the last four years.

But Knight’s business was devastated by flooding on several occasions and after a while, he decided to walk away from the sport to become a fitness trainer.

“I sold everything,” Knight said. “But every day, I would still get e-mails and correspondence, asking me about teaching the classes.”

In May, Knight decided to get back into the wrestling ring and reinstitute his IWF, but now in a location on Franklin Ave. in his hometown of Nutley.

“I needed some time away,” Knight said. “But there was always the thought of coming back. Being in Nutley really helped. I get a lot of support from the community and the town. It’s a good fit.”

Since he started classes again four days a week, Knight has 25 students in his regular training program. He usually requires the students to be at least 18 and to have had some sort of athletic background.

For anyone younger, Knight requires parental approval.

Cammett found out about Knight and the IWF on the Internet.

Cammett’s father suggested the lessons as a birthday present, so he agreed to send his son.

“I had been looking for a wrestling school for a long time,” Cammett said. “This was the best birthday present ever. I was happy that I got accepted. My father knew that this was something I wanted to do for a long time, but my friends were asking, ‘Are you really going to do this?’ But I was serious about it.”

Cammett knew that there was a big difference between high school athletics and pro wrestling.

“I know that it’s entertainment,” Cammett said. “I always have to keep that in mind. But I’m always going to perform like it’s real and we’re putting on a show. It’s athletic entertainment, but it’s definitely a different transition from football.”

Knight was a high school athlete, so he knows.

“I’d say that it’s 80% showmanship and 20% athleticism,” Knight said. “When they start out, it’s athletics, but then it becomes show business. But in reality, all of sports is like show business. It’s no difference than ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ There’s a routine, the lights, the costumes.”

Cammett has been attending classes with Knight for three months, but he’s already performed in four events.

“He picked things up very quickly,” Knight said. “It usually takes three months to get in the ring for an event, but Mike was a great student. He has a lot of discipline. I think it’s his athletic background in football and track. He is also a high honors student.”

Cammett isn’t the biggest guy in the world, standing about 5-foot-8 and weighing 175 pounds.

“But if you watch wrestling, it’s not a big guys’ sport anymore,” said Knight, who stands 6-foot-4, but is lean. “It’s about dedication and desire. It’s about passion for what you do.”

Knight teaches his students every aspect of pro wrestling. It includes getting in the ring with a microphone and performing like the wrestlers do, complete with taunting and dramatics.

It also meant that Cammett needed a nickname like most wrestlers.

“I thought about ‘The Real Deal,’ but that didn’t really work,” Cammett said.

Because Cammett has long, flowing blond hair, the eventual nickname was extremely fitting.

“One of my good friends, Maribel Bermudez, has been calling me ‘Golden Boy’ since elementary school,” Cammett said. “I actually like it.”

So sure enough, he’s known as “The Golden Boy Mike Cammett.”

Cammett said that he was a little nervous performing in his first show.

“My hands were sweating,” Cammett said. “It was different in front of an audience. But once I got out there, it wasn’t that hard. It was something I knew I could do. I could be entertaining and I have to be entertaining to be out there.”

Cammett doesn’t have visions of grandeur just yet. He knows that the WWE isn’t calling anytime soon. He also knows that football practice begins this week, so he has to juggle his time between being an aspiring pro wrestler and a high school linebacker and running back.

“No matter how exhausted I am from football, I know I’m going to be back here,” Cammett said. “I’ll be here whenever I can. I finally found that this is the place where I want to be and I’ll take it as far as I can go. I can’t believe I was in my first show in a little over a month. I was just so eager and wanted to learn. It’s everything I could have asked for.”

Knight likes what he sees from Cammett.

“He’s a good kid,” Knight said. “He’s very dedicated and wants it. If he sticks with it, who knows how far he can take it?”

The IWF holds small shows in Nutley every other weekend. They also host private parties for youngsters, like birthday parties. Chances are that “The Golden Boy” will be golden in some of those shows in the future.

Knight’s next beginner classes begin Sept. 7 for adults 18 and older. The IWF Wrestling Centre is located at 75 Franklin Ave. in Nutley. For more information, log on to www.CampIWF. com.

McCourt, O’Neill got coaching starts in Kearny


Thirty years ago this fall, Kearny High School enjoyed a soccer season to remember, perhaps the greatest single year in a litany of soccer excellence in a place called “Soccertown, USA.”

In 1984, the Kardinals posted an undefeated 24-0 record, rolling to another NJSIAA Group IV state championship. But the Kards were also crowned as the No. 1 team in New Jersey and to top that, they were the recipients of the mythical national championship.

It was a team filled with superstars like eventual World Cup standouts John Harkes and Tony Meola (who was a sophomore forward on that team). But the team also featured two best friends, namely Rob McCourt and Mike O’Neill, two guys who grew up together, whose fathers were best of friends since arriving in Kearny from their native Scotland, two buddies who did practically everything together from diapers through corner kicks.

Now, three decades later, those two longtime friends hold another distinction. They are both major college soccer coaches in their home state.

McCourt has been entrenched as the head men’s soccer coach at Monmouth University. McCourt has guided the Hawks to numerous championships over his incredible tenure and will lead the Hawks this season as they begin their second season in a new league, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

In fact, as they prepare to begin practice in earnest this week, the Hawks are the preseason favorites to win the MAAC title and hopefully will return to the NCAA Tournament this fall.

O’Neill gets a golden opportunity this season, as he takes over the head coaching reins with the Rutgers University women’s program, becoming elevated to the top spot after the retirement of former head coach Glenn Crooks last month.

O’Neill had been an assistant coach at Rutgers for the last several years, after first helping the women’s program at Seton Hall become a solid force.

Now, O’Neill gets to run a major college program on his own.

What are the odds of two best friends becoming major college coaches? It doesn’t happen often.

“We’re best friends, as thick as thieves,” McCourt said. “It all goes back to my roots in Kearny. I think that’s the way for the both of us. It’s 100% of what we’re made of. Our character, the base of all our success, comes from being from Kearny.”

O’Neill was the star of the 1984 team, earning the Coggins Award as the top high school player in the country. McCourt was a fine player in his own right, but he believes that coaching was in both of their futures even back then.

“There was no MLS and the NASL ceased to exist,” McCourt said. “There weren’t many chances to play professionally. John (Harkes) eventually went overseas, but at that time, coaching was the way to stay in the sport and something we could do for the rest of our lives. I think that’s what Mike and I thought back then.”

McCourt got his start as a coach as the freshman coach at Kearny High and was a teacher in the district before moving on to become an assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Their head coach, current Kearny athletic director John Millar, knew that both of his standout players would become solid coaches.

“Surely they both had the tools to be leaders back then,” Millar said. “They had the respect of their teammates and they always had great leadership skills. They were both very mature at a young age and worked with our staff and other members of the team very well.”

McCourt remembers his buddy as being one of the first coaches, even at an early age.

“Mike was the one who always took charge, organizing the teams at the (Harrison) Courts, making sure who wore what number and what colored T-shirts to wear,” McCourt said. “He was always the guy we looked up to. In a way, I guess it’s fitting that we got into coaching. It’s like a role we always were meant to have.”

McCourt was asked about the idea that both are now coaching NCAA Division I college programs in their home state.

“That is pretty ironic,” Mc- Court said. “When I started coaching, my goal was always to get back to New Jersey. Mike said the same thing when he was coaching in Indiana. So that part is pretty ironic that we’re both here. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I think Mike feels the same way. We’re two guys from Kearny. Some say we’re crazy to do what we do, but I know we both have the same passion. Jersey roots are Jersey roots. Kearny roots are Kearny roots. Mike’s family is like my family and vice versa.”

McCourt said that he always likes to come back to his hometown, make a stop at the Kearny Scots-American Club where he and O’Neill spent many a night and played many a soccer match together.

“It always helps to come back and learn even more about the great soccer history of Kearny,” McCourt said.

McCourt said that he remains close with long-time friends Bill Galka, the current head coach at Kearny High, and Sal Rosamilia, who was a longtime assistant coach to both Millar and Galka.

“I think it’s fitting that we all got into coaching,” McCourt said.

McCourt has another Kearny product in his coaching staff at Monmouth in former Kearny High three-sport standout Hugh MacDonald, the first-ever Observer Male Athlete of the Year in 2003 who had a stint with the MetroStars. MacDonald played for McCourt at Monmouth after starting his career at VCU.

McCourt also coached former Kearny High standouts Michael Millar and Christian Nogueira at Monmouth.

For having a hand in all of their growth, the elder Millar has a gigantic sense of pride.

“Absolutely, I still have a great feeling about those guys,” Millar said. “I’m never able to grow old because of it. It’s a lot of fun. Robbie always finds time to talk to people from Kearny. We try to get to as many games as we can. I know a lot of Kearny people like to go to Monmouth games because of Robbie. He’s done a great job there.”

Added Millar, “Mike has always expected to win wherever he’s been. I don’t think he got the credit he should have received for what he did at Seton Hall. I hope he can elevate Rutgers to a higher level.”

O’Neill was instrumental in the recruiting of former Kearny High standout Stefanee Pace to Rutgers.

In a way, it’s all part of that strong soccer circle that comes from “Soccertown, USA.”

Nutley’s Papaccio finds new baseball home with Rockland Boulders


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

After getting drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 18th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball free agent amateur draft, Giuseppe Papaccio thought he was well on his way to a successful professional baseball career.

The Nutley product and former Seton Hall University standout shortstop handled himself well during two stops in the Cubs’ organization last year with the Cubs’ rookie league affiliate, then with the Midwest League Class A affiliate in Kane County, Illinois.

Papaccio hit .279 with two homers and 13 RBI in 37 games at Kane County, dividing his playing time equally at second base, third base and shortstop.

It appeared as if Papaccio was a rising star, well on his way.

“I thought I had a good year,” Papaccio said in a phone interview.

But then, something happened along the way – and Papaccio doesn’t exactly understand why.

Two weeks ago, Papaccio was released by the Cubs. Three days later, he signed a contract with the Rockland Boulders of the independent Can-Am League in nearby Rockland County in New York.

Papaccio tried to put the pieces together of what happened with the Cubs after he went to spring training in Arizona in March.

“I thought I did pretty well in spring training, but then they sent me to extended spring training,” Papaccio said.

The stint in extended spring training began Papaccio’s sojourn through four different stops in the Cubs’ organization, ranging from Boise, Idaho, to Daytona Beach, Florida, to Knoxville, Tennessee, and then finally a return trip to Kane County, Illinois. The Knoxville Smokies are the Cubs’ Class AA affiliate, so he was two steps away from the big leagues, but Papaccio only had two at-bats with the Smokies.

“I wasn’t playing every day,” Papaccio said. “I felt like something was a little off. I went from extended spring training to Tennessee and Class AA for a week. I then went to High Class A in Daytona for six weeks. But I wasn’t playing. It was all so weird. I wondered what I did wrong. Looking at it on paper, I should have been playing. But I wondered, ‘Did I play myself out of a position?’”

Papaccio played just six games with the Kane County Cougars when he was called into the office by manager Mark Johnson, the former major leaguer.

“He told me that they had no room for me,” Papaccio said. “With all the rookies coming in and the team packed with talented infielders, there was just no room. There was a logjam of talent. I left on good terms. It just didn’t work out. I have no regrets.”

The 23-year-old Papaccio, who was an All-Big East selection in 2013, earning Third Team All-America and the New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, didn’t hang his head after receiving his walking papers from the Cubs.

“I wasn’t too upset,” said Papaccio, Seton Hall’s all-time leader in doubles and fourth on the Pirates’ all-time hit list with 237. “I don’t think I could have done anything differently. I didn’t think my baseball career was over. I’m only 23 and I still feel and believe I could play at any of the levels I was at this year. I just needed to play every day.”

Papaccio’s agent made a phone call to the independent Boulders and he signed a contract with Rockland just three days after receiving his release from the Cubs.

“I feel more confident,” Papaccio said. “All I thought was that I needed a chance to play.”

It has only been six games with the Boulders, but Papaccio feels extremely comfortable. For one, he’s living at home in Nutley, eating his mother’s home cooking, seeing family and friends again.

“It’s only 40 minutes away,” Papaccio said. “Over the weekend, we played at Montclair (against the New Jersey Jackals), so that was easy. It feels great to be home.”

But there’s still an empty feeling, still wondering what went wrong that his dream of playing with the Cubs ended so suddenly.

“I do have mixed feelings,” Papaccio said. “I’m really surprised. I never thought I’d be out of the Cubs’ system by now. I thought I did pretty well.”

Papaccio did enjoy his homecoming last weekend against the Jackals.

“I had about 10 of my friends there,” Papaccio said. “I had my Mom and Dad there, my girlfriend there, my sister there. I’m playing baseball and it’s fun again. I’m with a great group of guys. I don’t feel any pressure.”

Papaccio’s former Seton Hall teammates Will Walsh and Greg Terhune are also on the Boulders’ roster, so that has made Papaccio comfortable in his new surroundings.

“The way I look at it, the competition is good,” Papaccio said. “About 75% of the guys in the league have played affiliated ball before on all levels. It’s a good operation.”

And Papaccio figures his stint with the Boulders for the remainder of the summer will be a good tryout to go back to affiliated baseball next spring.

“I’d like to get the opportunity to get back,” Papaccio said. “I’ve always worked hard in everything I’ve done. Ever since I was younger, I was never the best player, but I worked hard, doing the same thing, working my way up. I’m going to play hard, take each out at a time and see what happens. That’s the biggest thing I see. I have my confidence level back. I feel fine, both mentally and physically.”

In six games with the Boulders, Papaccio is hitting .273 with four RBI and one double. He’s playing ball close to home. The dream still lives.

“Things with the Cubs just didn’t work out,” Papaccio said. “I’m still playing.”

Then & Now

Photo by Karen Zautyk

Top: Photo courtesy Kearny Public Library/Museum Bottom: Photo by Karen Zautyk

Regarding the site depicted in this week›s ’Then’ photo, the following description is by William C. Brigham Jr. published in The Observer in 1933: ‘The New Jersey Home for Disabled Soldiers, located on Belgrove Drive, north of Bergen Ave., is one of the oldest [1887] and most familiar landmarks’ in Kearny. Built to accommodate Civil War veterans, ‘it also became a haven for Spanish-American War soldiers.’

’For years, it was a common and beautiful sight for passersby to see the old veterans sitting under the trees . . . and telling a group of wide-eyed children their heroic tales of Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg and Chancellorsville.’

As the number of veterans diminished, ‘it became necessary to consolidate the home with the one at Menlo Park, and in June 1932, the old soldiers, numbering only 46, of which just 13 were Civil War veterans, left the Arlington home. At present, the last building has been razed and the destiny of the plot has not been decided . . .’

The destiny of the plot was to become Veterans’ Field (or ‘Bunnyland Hill,’ named for the small zoo that once was there.) And last week, it was once again full of wide-eyed children, fascinated by a State Police helicopter at the KPD’s National Night Out Against Crime.

Logged on the Nutley police blotter

Aug. 2 

At 3:29 a.m., police responded to a call of a motor vehicle crash on Franklin Ave. near Vreeland Ave. Upon arrival, officers saw a tree and other items lying in the road along with a vehicle on its side on Franklin. The driver, Geraldo Vaccalluzzo of Nutley, was charged with DWI and careless driving and was released to a family member.

At 6:54 p.m., police were sent to Monsignor Owens Place on a report of a motor vehicle theft. The victim told police that his white Buick was stolen while it was parked on the south side of the block, sometime between 9 p.m. Aug. 1 and 6:54 p.m. Aug. 2. Police said they observed broken glass next to the curb where the vehicle was last seen.

Aug. 4 

Nicholas Stefanelli of Clifton was stopped for a motor vehicle check in front of 100 Franklin Ave., at 4:18 p.m., when police learned that Stefanelli was wanted on a warrant from Montville. Police turned Stefanelli over to Montville PD for processing.

Aug. 5 

At 12:19 a.m., polilce were called to Yanticaw Park on a report of an assault. At the scene, officers said they located a Bloomfield man with facial and head injuries. The man told officers he was assaulted by five Latinos. He was taken to Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, for treatment. Police referred the matter to the Essex County Sheriff’s Department for investigation since the incident happened in a county park.

Police arrested Andrea Delvecchio of Newark while she was walking on Prospect St., at about 1 a.m., after learning that she was wanted on a warrant from the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. She was taken to Essex County Jail pending a court date.

At 2:13 p.m., a Wilmington Drive resident reported getting a call on his cellular phone from someone stating that his father was being held at gunpoint and that he needed to send $460 via Western Union to Rochester, N.Y., to get his father freed. The resident told police that he sent the money before realizing he was being scammed. Police said someone picked up the money in Rochester, N.Y., before the transaction could be canceled.

Aug. 6 

At about 12:40 a.m., police said they observed Daniel Cloban of Nutley banging on street signs on Chestnut St. and, after being approached by an officer, Cloban ran into Memorial Park and continued to bang on objects along the way. Police said they finally caught up with Cloban in the park and issued him summonses charging him with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was released pending a court appearance.

During the night, police responded to six separate calls reporting criminal mischief involving slashing of vehicles’ tires. Police said four of the incidents took place on Alexander Ave., one occurred on Coeyman Ave. and the other on Overlook Terrace. Detectives are investigating.

Aug. 7 

A River Road resident reported that someone had scratched her vehicle on the hood, truck, lights and both doors sometime between 1 and 10 a.m.

A Warren St. resident reported that someone bent the antenna on his vehicle during the night.

 – Ron Leir 

Police probing attack at local night club


Police reported a stabbing incident at the Rivas Blue night club, 525 Riverside Ave., Lyndhurst, early Monday.

The victim, identified only as a 21-year-old man from South Orange, was listed in stable condition at University of Medicine & Dentistry Hospital, Newark.

Det. Capt. John Valente of Lyndhurst said police were called to the scene, inside the Kings Court Fitness Center, at 1:55 a.m., on a report of a fight with injuries in the parking lot.

Upon arrival, officers found a large pool of blood in the parking lot but no one there, Valente said. Inside, however, on the second floor, officers found a man lying on the ground with puncture wounds to his chest and side, he said.

Valente said that detectives surmised that the victim was involved in a fight in the parking lot and, after being wounded, that he rushed back inside to get assistance. Valente said that a special event of some kind was being held at the club that drew a big crowd, possibly several hundred people.

As of Monday, detectives were reviewing surveillance footage from the club in hopes of picking up additional information as to what happened.

Police had no suspect as of Monday, Valente said.

– Ron Leir

SMMC urges cataract awareness




St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark, advises community members to take control of their eye health and know the signs and symptoms of cataracts during Cataract Awareness Month in August.

Cataracts affect more than half of Americans age 65 and older. The leading cause of blindness in the world, cataracts cloud the lens of the eye, resulting in vision impairment.

“Cataracts are most often caused by our normal aging process,” said Dr. Matthew Marano, chief of ophthalmology, SMMC. “Other contributing factors may include too much exposure to sunlight, trauma, certain medications, or genetics.”

A cataract may not impair vision noticeably at first, but as it continues to grow, it can impact vision in any of the following ways:

• Fading or dimness of colors

• Cloudy or blurry vision

• Difficulty reading small  print

• Difficulty seeing while driving— especially at night

• Seeing halos or auras around  lights

• Frequent changes in eyeglass  prescriptions.

“Cataracts tend to develop slowly, but will start to interfere with one’s vision over time,” Marano said. “Patients often describe their vision as looking through a fogged-up window. This impaired sight can become frustrating, as it begins to affect people’s daily activities, in which case surgery is needed.”

Since the only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery, those with cataracts usually wait to seek treatment when their daily activities become limited, affecting their quality of life. “Each  case is different,” said Marano. “It is important that each individual speaks with his or her eye doctor to weigh the benefits and risks of cataract surgery and determine if and when to intervene.”

At SMMC, Board-certified eye-care physicians and surgeons treat patients with cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and other conditions. For more information about ophthalmology services at SMMC or to schedule an appointment, call 973-877-5000.


Frances Case

Frances Case entered into eternal rest on Monday, Aug. 4.

Born in Kearny, Frances was a lifelong resident of East Newark.

She is survived by her children, Louis Carratura and Nicole Antunes, and sisters Teresa Marion, Patricia A. Tighe (Charles) and Joan Corblies (Thomas. Sr.). Frances is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church, on Friday, Aug. 9. Her interment took place in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

For information, please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Vera M. Romagnola 

Vera M. Romagnola (nee Cudnik), 97, died in Kearny on Aug. 7.

Born in Kearny, she lived in Jersey City and Kearny before moving to North Arlington 21 years ago. She retired from Mueller’s Macaroni in 1982. She was an active member of the Henrietta Benstead Senior Center.

Vera loved baking and crocheting. She enjoyed providing her friends and family with delicious baked goods including her famous “tossies.”

She was the beloved mother of Judith Ruddy (the late James), Michael Romagnola, Deborah Romagnola and grandmother of David Ruddy, Michele Rollins, Michael Ruddy, and Courtney Meyers. She is also survived by nine great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Michael in 1971 and brothers Anthony, Chester, and Michael Cudnik, and sisters, Stella Faccone, Estelle Keller, Carrie Baranski, and Helen Savoy.

The funeral was from the Parow Funeral Home, 185 Ridge Road, North Arlington on Monday, Aug, 11, with a funeral Mass at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington. The interment followed in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

Dorothy M. Sommer 

Dorothy M. Sommer (nee Munro), 96, passed away on Wednesday, July 30, at Chelsea in West Milford.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A memorial service was held from the funeral home on Aug. 9. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.

Mrs. Sommer was born on March 27, 1918, in New York City. She grew up in Greenwich Village and remembered standing in the Salvation Army’s food lines on W. 14th St. On some Fridays, she would skip school and attend the Ladies Day N.Y. Giants games at the Polo Grounds for 10 cents.

Dorothy met her husband-to- be William W. Sommer at the Salvation Army’s Star Lake Camp in Butler while they were both counselors working with children from New York City. They were married for 69 years from 1938 until his death in 2007. She lived in Kearny, Little Falls, Monmouth Beach and Beachwood before moving to Chelsea in West Milford.

For many years, she and her husband worked together at the Sommer Badge Company in Newark. Mrs. Sommer was a Salvationist and through the years attended their services in New York, Newark, Kearny, Asbury Park and Toms River. Throughout her life she enjoyed volunteering and helping people.

She is survived by her children William Sommer (Kathy) of Theresa, N.Y.; Nancy Linko (Pete) of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Don Sommer (Jane) of Oak Ridge and eight loving grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in memory of Dorothy Sommer to the Congenital Heart Defect Coalition at CHD Coalition, 45 Carry Ave., Suite 106, Butler, N.J. 07405 or at www.chdcoalition.org.

September meeting on backups


The borough has completed a jet cleaning of the Geraldine Road sanitary sewer line and a camera inspection of the line, undertaken to assess the condition of the pipes, officials said. Borough Engineer Tom Lemanowicz said he’s waiting for a report on the camera inspection, which was conducted by the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission before making any recommendations to stop sewer backups into residents’ basements.

“Once the engineer has time to review the report in depth, and present some recommendations for further action to the council, then we will have a meeting with residents to discuss this ongoing problem with sewer backups,” said Borough Council President Al Granell.

Meanwhile, a volunteer committee appointed by Mayor Peter Massa will be conducting a door-to-door survey of homes in the impacted area to review the frequency and extent of the backups and the frequency of wet basements unrelated to sewage backups.

Lewanowicz has speculated that the intrusion of water into basements could be the result of any number of things including water infiltration through cracks in the sewer pipes, leaky manhole covers, water from roof drains and basement sump pumps or by the drainage system installed by the developer of the residential area decades ago.

“Once we have some solid information to share with the residents, we will call for a special meeting of the sewer committee and the people living in the area to discuss an action plan and answer people’s questions,” Massa said.

Massa said he expects that meeting to be scheduled sometime in mid-September.

Mounds keep growing


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


Those piles of trash being dumped in the Keegan landfill in Kearny keep growing and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission just approved a proposal to allow those mounds to ascend even more.

On July 23, the NJMC agreed to amend its solid waste management plan “to increase the final elevation of the site from 60 feet to 100 feet, providing additional capacity from an original projected closure of June 2016 to a projected capacity date of December 2019.”

A public hearing the NJMC held on the proposal July 10 drew no opposition so the commission anticipates moving ahead with its plan. Read more »