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Harrison’s Ferriero: Another county tourney gem

Defeats defending champ Hoboken with shutout 1-0 win

 

Photo by Jim Hague/ Harrison senior pitcher/infielder Anthony Ferriero

By Jim Hague

Anthony Ferriero was not enjoying the same success he had a year ago for the Harrison High School baseball team.

“I guess I wasn’t locating my pitches the same way,” Ferriero said. “I was a little shaky. I needed to get it right.”

“He was in a little bit of a slide lately,” Harrison head coach Sean Dolaghan said. “He was struggling a little earlier in the season, but I felt he was coming around.”

But both the coach and Ferriero knew that the setback was temporary. After all, Ferriero’s time of year was approaching, namely the Ed “Faa” Ford Memorial Hudson County Tournament.

A year ago, Ferriero helped to put the Harrison program on the map by upsetting No. 2 seed St. Peter’s Prep in the first round, pitching the Blue Tide to the big win.

So when this year’s tourney began last weekend, Dolaghan knew who was getting the ball, especially with the Blue Tide slated to face defending county champion Hoboken and the Red Wings’ ace pitcher, Kenny Roder, perhaps the best pitcher in the entire state.

“I knew that he was a great pitcher,” Ferriero said. “I knew that coming into the game, he had thrown four straight shutouts and two no-hitters. I knew what kind of pitcher I was facing. I knew they had a lot of confidence in him, but I also knew that I could win the big game.”

Dolaghan had all the faith in the world in his senior right-hander. “He always wants the ball in the big game,” Dolaghan said. “He wanted the ball last year when he beat Prep and when he beat St. Mary’s (of Rutherford). He knew what it takes to win a big game in the county tournament. His attitude comes from within. He’s a quiet leader, but he always wants the ball and wants the pressure situation.”

Dolaghan said that the Blue Tide had a good practice on Thursday in preparation for facing the Red Wings in the county tourney.

“We knew that they weren’t a great hitting team, so we worked on some things, small ball, defense,” Dolaghan said. “But it helped that Anthony was on the mound.”

Ferriero said that he knew that the Blue Tide was not going to get many chances to score against the left-handed ace Roder.

“We knew we weren’t going to score a lot of runs off him,” Ferriero said. “I also knew that they weren’t a good hitting team. So I thought if we scored, then it was up to me to hold them down. We had to get to him early.”

Sure enough, the Blue Tide scored one run in the first inning – driven in by Ferriero with an RBI single.

And the pitcher made that one run stand up, surrendering four hits and striking out eight in the shutout win. Ferriero and Harrison were the giant killers once again, slaying the defending champs, 1-0.

For his efforts, Ferriero has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.

Ferriero believes that this year’s performance tops last year’s upset win.

“I think this was even bigger, because we defeated the county champs,” Ferriero said. “And we beat a pitcher of that quality. It was huge. They had a couple of opportunities, but I was able to get the job done. I just was able to bear down and get a lot of big pitches. My defense made the plays behind me. I always get big help from my defense.”

Now, the Blue Tide (10-7) feels like they can take on anyone.

“We really are capable of beating any team,” Ferriero said. “We’ve done things that haven’t been done in Harrison in years. It’s a big deal for us. It didn’t matter how we got the run. We got it and we were able to shut them down.”

The Blue Tide now advances to the tourney quarterfinals, where they will try to beat the odds once again, facing fourth-seeded Marist and another top pitcher in sophomore Matt Littrell, who has pitched two consecutive one-hitters.

If Ferriero’s name is called, you can be rest assured he’ll be ready for the challenge.

“Hopefully, I get the same chance again,” Ferriero said. “But if we can beat Kenny Roder, we can beat anyone.”

Dolaghan knows he has a confident pitcher on his hands.

“He’s erased his struggles,” Dolaghan said. “He really feels he can win every game now and the team plays better when he’s on the mound. He did everything he could last year to help us win and now, he’s done the same. If he’s on his game, he can beat anybody.”

However, the Blue Tide has four scheduled games this week and Ferriero might not get the county game. Felipe Flores has also been pitching well for Harrison.

“To tell you the truth, it was Anthony’s turn to face Hoboken,” Dolaghan said. “I have been trying to stick to the rotation. But Anthony was pretty pumped up and he was definitely ready. It’s pretty amazing that he was able to do it again. I was almost ready to take him out of the game in the seventh inning, but he told me he wanted to finish it. That’s just the way he is.”

Ferriero is more than likely headed to Fairleigh Dickinson- Florham to play baseball in the fall. For now, he’s just going to continue to be Harrison’s resident giant killer.

“It felt great getting the chance to win this game and to beat those kinds of caliber teams,” Ferriero said. “It just continues to put us on the map.”

 

Embrace Your Loneliness

In today’s society there is a strong trend towards separation. Relationships are breaking, hearts are being broken and more and more people are permanently alone. Not everyone responds to loneliness in the same way. Some may feel happy being single where as a few feel unfortunate. There are also those who are unable to decide on any one side and oscillate between the two extreme ends. Also; it is important to recognize that there are those who may still feel lonely in spite of being in a relationship. Working towards inner happiness can benefit each of us. A human who does some soul searching, meditation and contemplation surfaces from the plateaus of doubt & insecurity as a new person. The ache of loss is difficult to bear and often the worst part is dealing with the fear that nothing else exists beyond that pain. Your entire life still exists. Loneliness can be beautiful if approached with a clear mindset. It provides you with an opportunity to search and connect with your true self. I recommend utilizing your time and core emotions to better use, perhaps through a hobby; and you will be surprised at how you have recovered in a short time. Don’t let loneliness depress you. Use it as a platform to grow. Learn how to move forward with enthusiasm. Force yourself away from the thoughts that bring back haunting memories. Meditate. The way of meditation allows all of our thoughts and feelings to come out. Just observe. Let your feelings be until they settle of their own accord. When you combine meditation with positive thinking, your tensions will resolve and inner happiness will show face. Take inspiration from the Sun; Its ever-bright light and its warm embrace. Surrender yourself to the universe and it will take good care of you. Loneliness is not to be shunned. This suffering will never end, however amidst everything happening in our life, we must choose to sail through it peacefully, gracefully and with all our might to slowly emerge as a wiser being; someone who is more at ease and at peace with our own self.

 

Visit Shweta Punjabi at her website solutionsbyshweta.com for more information or email her at magictaara@yahoo.com

How to ‘stretch’ an IRA

 

By Randy Neumann 

Can an IRA keep growing for a century or more? In theory, it can. Some people are planning to “stretch” their Individual Retirement Accounts over generations, so that their heirs can receive IRA assets accumulated after decades of tax-deferred or tax-free growth. A stretch IRA can potentially create a legacy of wealth to benefit your heirs, and it could also help to reduce your estate taxes.

Usually, this is done by “people of means.” Typically, an individual, couple or family has amassed sizable retirement savings – so sizable that they don’t need to withdraw the bulk of their IRA assets during their lifetimes. However, this is not always the case, it can be done by anyone who doesn’t need income from their IRA. So, how does this work? Simply put, a stretch IRA is a Roth or traditional IRA with assets that pass from the original owner to a younger beneficiary when the original account owner dies. The beneficiary can be a spouse, a non-spousal heir or a “seethrough” trust.

If the beneficiary is a person, this younger beneficiary will have a longer life expectancy than the initial IRA owner, and therefore may elect to “stretch” the IRA by receiving smaller required minimum distributions (RMDs) each year of his or her life span. This will leave money in the IRA and permit ongoing taxdeferred growth – or tax-free growth, in the case of a Roth IRA.

In fact, since you don’t have to take RMDs from a Roth IRA at age 70+, you could opt to let your Roth IRA grow untapped for a lifetime. At your death, your beneficiaries could then stretch payouts over their life expectancies without having to pay tax on withdrawals. What a deal!

Okay, what options do your beneficiaries have after your death? If truth be told, the rules governing inherited IRAs are quite complex. The explanation below is simply a summary, and should not be taken as any kind of advice or guidance. (Be sure to discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.)

If you have named your spouse as the beneficiary of your IRA, your spouse can roll over the inherited IRA assets into his or her own IRA after your death. Only a spouse can treat an IRA as if it were their own after your death. This holds some advantages such as: taking RMDs at their own age, not yours, as with other beneficiaries and gives them the ability to create a new “stretch” IRA at their death.

In the case of a non-spousal beneficiary, he or she cannot treat the IRA as his or her own, and cannot make contributions to it or rollovers into or out of it. A non-spousal beneficiary can either take the lump sum and pay taxes on it, or transfer the IRA assets to an IRA distribution account that they can then “stretch.”

Under the one-year rule, annual distributions are based on the life expectancy of the designated beneficiary and must start by December 31 of the year following the original IRA owner’s death. In this way, your beneficiary can stretch out the distributions over his or her life expectancy, which can allow more of the inherited IRA assets to remain in the IRA and enjoy tax-deferred or tax-free growth.

Under the five-year rule, there are no minimum annual distribution requirements, but the beneficiary must withdraw their full interest by the end of the fifth year following the owner’s death.

The beneficiary can be determined even after the original IRA owner dies. If by chance there is no named beneficiary, you have until the end of the year following the death of the primary IRA owner to establish one. But don’t let this happen. It is vital to establish a beneficiary during your lifetime: if you don’t, your IRA assets could end up in your estate, and that will leave your heirs with two choices. If you pass away after age 70+, the RMDs from the IRA are calculated according to what would have been your remaining life expectancy. If you pass away before age 70+, the five-year rule applies: Your heirs have to cash out the entire IRA by the end of the fifth year following the year of your death!

In closing, here are a few things to think about:

The decision to stretch your IRA cannot be made casually. A beneficiary must be selected with great care, and there is always the possibility that you may end up withdrawing all of your IRA assets during your lifetime. A stretch IRA strategy assumes that your beneficiary won’t deplete the IRA assets, and it also assumes a constant rate of return for the account over the years. It’s also worth remembering that stretch IRA planning is based on today’s tax laws, not the tax laws of tomorrow.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual. Randy Neumann, CFP® is a registered representative with and securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/ SIPC. He can be reached at 600 East Crescent Avenue, Suite 104, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, 201-291-9000.

Obituaries

Diane J. Barnes

Ms. Diane J. Barnes, of East Rutherford, died on Thursday, May 3, at home. She was 48. She was born and raised in Kearny and graduated from Kearny High School 1982.

Cremation will be held privately.

Ms. Barnes was a licensed beautician and the original owner/manager of The Right Cut on Kearny Ave., in Kearny. After selling the business, she was the office manager of PML in North Arlington.

She was active with the Jefferson School PTA, in North Arlington, when her son attended, and also with ARC in Kearny.

Diane will best be remembered as a loving mom, cherished friend and devoted sister. She is survived by her son, Nicholas VanAusdall, and her siblings, Debra Barnes, Linda Zuest, Ronald Barnes, Joanne Rollins (Tim), Robert Barnes (Ela). Also surviving are Annie, Hen and Eli. She was predeceased by her parents, Archibald and Elizabeth (McLaughlin) Barnes and her sister, Janice Barnes.

The family asks that you consider donations to the American Heart Association at americanheart.org in Diane’s memory.

Charles Economon

Charles Economon died on April 23 at home in Spring Hill, Fla. He was 77.

He was a jewelry designer by trade and is survived by his friend John.

Private burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery and arrangements were through the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home.

Walter J. Fox

Walter J. Fox, 62, died on May 1 at St. Clare’s Hospital, Dover.

Born in Jersey City, he lived in Kearny before moving to North Arlington in 1983.

He worked as a draftsman for the Dover Elevator Company in Secaucus for many years.

He was a member of the Lyndhurst Masonic Club and the Adoniram Lodge #80, Lyndhurst.

He is the beloved husband of Kathleen D. (nee Mills); the loving father of Linda Lee Fox of North Arlington, Kimberly Presti and her husband Frank of Hopatcong, Pamela Grossy and her husband Gabriel of North Arlington; the adored grandfather of Kayla Fox, Alexandra Jakiel, Anthony Grossy, Louis Jakiel, Donna Grossy, Robert Jakiel Jr., Nicholas Grossy, Andrew Presti, Leonardo Grossy; the great-grandfather of Lucas Fox; the dear brother of Agnes Pogyena and the uncle of many nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held on Thursday, May 3, at the Parow Funeral Home, 185 Ridge Rd., North Arlington.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Lyndhurst Masonic Club, 316 Riverside Ave., Lyndhurst.

William E. Gallagher

William E. Gallagher died on May 4 at home. He was 84. Born in Jersey City, he moved to Kearny in 1958.

Arrangements were by Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service will be Wednesday, May 9, in the funeral home at 11 a.m., followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. To leave online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Mr. Gallagher was a trailor salesman for Fruehauf in Jersey City and served in the Marines during World War II.

He is survived by his wife Julia (nee Chojnacki) and his sister Lillian and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to Wounded Warriors.

Elizabeth E. Gray

Elizabeth E. Gray died on April 30 in Job Haines Nursing Home, Bloomfield. She was 98.

Arrangements were by Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service was held May 5 in the funeral home, followed by a private cremation. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Elizabeth lived in Kearny most of her life. She was a comptometer operator for Public Service before retiring in 1978. She was past president of Emerson School PTA, past Sunday School teacher, deacon, trustee and elder of Knox Presbyterian Church, Kearny, where she was member for 72 years. She was a member and past matron of Liberty Chapter #88 and Eclipse Chapter# 226 Order of Eastern Star, past worthy district Deputy- District #21 and past grand representative to British Columbia; volunteer at West Hudson Hospital for many years; member of Maalas Temple Daughter of the Nile and Bonnie Doon Lodge- Daughter of Scotia and Women’s Club of Arlington.

She was the wife of the late Peter Campbell Gray; mother of Peter C. Gray III, Thomas A. Gray and the late Daniel Gray; also survived by her grandchildren, Peter C. IV, William J., David P., Susanna J., Jonathan S. Gray and her great-grandchildren Dylan M., Tyler E. and Peter C. V. Gray.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Jarvie Commonweal Service, 475 Riverside Dr., Suite 430, New York, N.Y. 10115.

Barbara A. Tonner

Barbara A. Tonner, 69, died on Sunday April 29 in St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral liturgy was offered on May 3 at St. Cecilia Church, Kearny, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thielereid.com.

Barbara was born in Newark and was a lifelong resident of Kearny.

Mrs. Tonner was employed as a telemetry technician at the former West Hudson Hospital in Kearny for 30 years retiring in 1991.

She was a member of the Newark Museum as well as a constant provider of care packages to many families in need. Barbara is survived by her husband George; children Shelley Tonner and Sean Tonner (Dawn); sister Kathleen Johnson and grandchildren Brandon Tonner- Connolly and Shawna Toner. She was predeceased by her brother Walter Johnson.

Nutley Police Blotter

April 26

A man described as 5-feet-eight tried to steal a 1994 Honda parked on Newark Ave. shortly before noon but was scared off by a local resident. The would-be thief ran north on Newark and then west on Harrison St. Police said the vehicle’s steering column was damaged.

Police are investigating the theft of eyeglasses from a Franklin Ave. business shortly before 11 a.m.

Police issued a summons to a man on Park Ave. urinating while standing with his back to passing motorists at 12:26 a.m.

April 25

Someone removed a police shield from the windshield of a vehicle parked on Park Drive during the early evening.

A man on White Terrace was struck in the head by a fallen tree limb at 5:57 p.m. He was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Someone scrawled graffiti on the wall near the waterfalls in Nichols Park. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call police at (973) 284-4940.

April 24

Two seventh-grade students duked it out after school behind an area business. One suffered a black eye as a result. Charges are pending.

A Hawthorne Ave. resident reported fraudulent charges on her charge account that were reportedly logged in Chicago, Ill.

Patricia Krentcil, 44, was arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child after she allegedly took her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth in which the child sustained burns. Krentcil, who was  wanted by the Camden County Sheriff’s Dept. on unrelated charges, was extradited to Camden County after posting the required $25,000 bail option for Nutley.

A 72-year-old Nutley man was ticketed for careless driving after his car struck a dog that had run into the street at Grant Ave. and Walnut St. at 10:17 a.m. The injured dog, cradled by its owner, was taken to a local animal hospital but the pooch couldn’t be revived.

Responding to a report of a motorist leaving the scene of an accident on Rt. 21 at 9:34 a.m., police located a heavily damaged 2007 Mitsubishi in a bank parking lot on River Road and arrested the driver, Samantha Petrullo, 34, of North Plainfield, on charges of DWI, possession of drugs and possession of a hypodermic needle. Petrullo was also ticketed for leaving the scene, driving while suspended, driving an uninsured motor vehicle, failing to report an accident and possession of drugs in a motor vehicle. The other driver involved was unhurt, police said.

A driver was stopped at Franklin and Kingsland Aves. at 8:15 a.m. after police say they saw him making an illegal turn. The driver, not identified by police, was ticketed for the illegal turn and for failure to register his vehicle, which police then impounded.

A suspended driver with an expired registration was given summonses by police after the driver was stopped on Passaic Ave. at 1:42 a.m. The vehicle was impounded. Police didn’t identify the driver.

April 23

Police investigating an anonymous letter reporting witchcraft being practiced in an Elm St. residence met with the occupants at around 9 p.m. and a “cooperative voluntary search” of the home failed to document any evidence of “satanic rituals,” according to police.

A Park Ave. resident suffered facial burns while cooking at night. She was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital for treatment.

Township workers cleaning sewer drains at 9:31 a.m. found a handgun near Myrtle Ave. and Monsignor Owens Place. Police took the weapon and are investigating to determine if it was used in a crime.

What police described as a “mother daughter dispute” on Hillside Ave. prompted the mother to flee with her 3-year-old grandson at 8:31 a.m. Police located both in Livingston and brought them back to Nutley. After learning that the daughter, Jackie McInerney, 24, of Nutley, had outstanding warrants totaling $1,150 from Livingston and Belleville, police arrested her and later charged her with simple assault with an additional $2,500 bail set. McInerney was released after posting bail, pending a court hearing.

Alerted by an activated burglar alarm, police went to a Bloomfield Ave. convenience store at 12:27 a.m. where they found the side window smashed and proceeds taken. Detectives are investigating this burglary and other area burglaries that may be linked to the same culprit.

April 22

Two people were hurt in an accident on Rt. 21 at 3:28 a.m. Police believe the accident occurred when a pickup truck was struck from behind by a Mercedes Benz. Police said the truck rolled down an embankment and hit a tree. Both of the occupants were taken to an area hospital for treatment of head injuries. The Mercedes motorist, not identified by police, was charged with DWI and released to a responsible adult pending a court appearance.

Police are investigating a report from a Nutley resident who said she was pulled over on Prospect St. by a blue pickup truck with flashing blue and red lights apparently posing as a cop.

April 21

The driver of a 2010 Toyota who, police say, fled the scene of an accident at Franklin Ave. and Glenwood Road at 9:02 p.m. continued driving along Grant Ave. where he struck a number of parked cars. When officers caught up to the driver at Centre St. and Passaic Ave., police said the driver tried to flee but was stopped and placed under arrest. Jorge Delgado, 33, was ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident and DWI. He was released to a responsible adult pending a court hearing.

Someone swiped two bicycles from the rear yard of a Kenzel Ave. residence. The theft was reported at 12:16 p.m.

A Mountainview Ave. resident complained to police about a neighbor feeding stray cats which defecate and bring small prey into an open garage, causing a foul odor and potential health risk. The Health Dept. was asked to investigate.

Police found a 45-year-old man incapacitated and lying in the street at Lafayette Place and Park Ave. at around 1 a.m. He was taken to an area hospital for evaluation.

April 20

A 55-year-old intoxicated man fell down several steps in the park off Centre St. at around 8:30 p.m. and was transported to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries.

A woman shopping at a local business shortly before 8:30 p.m. told police that as she reached for groceries on the top shelf, a woman grabbed her purse from her shopping cart and ran out of the store, with employees giving chase. Police apprehended the suspect, Kathleen Armstrong, 46, of North Brunswick, holding the customer’s purse, several blocks away and charged her with theft.

Five teens were caught with drugs while hanging out on the rail tracks near Nutley Ave. at 5:19 p.m. They were turned over to their parents’ custody and charged with possession of marijuana.

A Clifton motorist was charged with DWI after police say he rear-ended another vehicle at Franklin Ave. and Harrison St. at 1:14 p.m. Victor Bador, 40, was issued a summons and released to the custody of a family member pending a court hearing.

Kearny Police Blotter

On April 19, Officer Brian Wisely was in the area of Chestnut St. and Belleville Turnpike around 5:45 p.m. and found two individuals drinking cans of beer in public. When he asked for identification, a 49-year-old Elizabeth male produced identification and was given a summons. His companion, 21-year-old Newark resident Benito Hernandez produced an identification that was suspicious. Officer Wisely recognized that the identification was phony and placed Hernandez under arrest. He was charged with possession of a false government document and given a town summons for drinking in public. Bail was set at $3,500.

On April 20, Officer Mike Andrews was on patrol in the area of Kearny High School when he observed a teenage male that he knew from prior encounters in the area. While under Andrews’ surveillance, he saw the teenager discard a plastic bag onto the ground. Andrews stopped him and retrieved the bag, which was found to contain a sizable amount of marijuana. The 17-year-old Kearny male was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute near a park, possession with intent to distribute near a school, and possession of paraphernalia.

Later that same day, Officer Mike Andrews was in the area of Kearny High when he observed a vehicle around 7:20 p.m. in the area of Quincy Ave. and Devon St. He observed them on Midland Ave making an illegal turn. After stopping them, he saw one of the individuals attempt to conceal an object in his pocket. Officer Neil Nelson responded as backup and during a search of the vehicle, recovered a cellophane package containing suspected marijuana. A search of the driver found another package of marijuana. Both the driver and passenger were then arrested and taken to Headquarters. The two occupants, 19-year-old North Arlington resident James McEnry and 23-year-old Kearny resident Daryl Krug were charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

On April 22, Officers John Fabula and Sean Kelly responded to the Burger King on a report that a man was being attacked inside the premise with his own cane. When they arrived, they found a 65-year-old north Arlington resident who had a signifigant injury to his eye area. He described the situation by saying he had an altercation some females who then took his cane and beat him with it. Kearny Ambulance Squad was summoned to the scene. Detectives Mike Gonzalez and John Plaugic responded to the scene. Based on information gathered from the scene, they responded to Newark where they located a vehicle believed to be the getaway car. They confronted two individuals who admitted they were in the car. Backup arrived in the form of Officers Steve Hroncich, Dave Rakowski, and Captain Scott Macfie. In Newark, they arrested a 17-year-old female and 21-year-old Indira DeSmith and charged them with conspiracy, aggravated assault, and unlawful possession of a weapon. A third female was issued warrants for her arrest.

On April 24, Sgt. John Becker was on patroin the area of K-Mart where he observed a white box truck back up behind the store. Knowing that the store was closed, he engaged in survalence. With a light from the truck, Becker was able to see the men with a prybar attempt to force entry into the trailer. Becker illuminated the two individuals and held them at gunpoint until backup arrived in the form of Captain Tom Osborne. 33-year-old Patterson resident Luis Frias was charged with criminal attempted burglary, conspiracy, driving with a suspended lisence, and having an open bottle of alcohol of alchohol within the vehicle. The passenger, 30-year-old Nelson Rodriguez, also from Patterson, was charged with criminal attempted burglary and conspiracy.

SYMBOL OF U.S. SPACE PROGRAM ENROUTE TO INTREPID MUSEUM

MAIN PHOTO BY JEFF BAHR, INSET PHOTO BY PAUL LERIN/ A SPECIALLY MODIFIED NASA BOEING 747 CARRIED SPACE SHUTTLE ENTERPRISE SOUTH PAST THE NEW WORLD TRADE CENTER ON APRIL 29.

Challenges don’t faze educator

Photo by Ron Leir/ Denis Williams is the new Nutley High School principal.

 

By Ron Leir

NUTLEY–

Just spend a few minutes with Denis Williams and it becomes immediately apparent that the restless 46-year-old educator is itching to get on to the next task at hand.

Williams will need lots of energy now that the Nutley Board of Education has appointed him principal of Nutley High School, effective July 1, on the strong recommendation of Supt. Russell Lazovick.

“We were committed to fi nding the best possible candidate and we feel (Williams) is the most qualifi ed,” Lazovick said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with him for a year and, with his passion, I know he’s the right person to lead the (high school) through the challenging process ahead.”

Williams was picked from among more than 80 applicants for the post which has been filled by interim principal Edward Barry since the retirement of longtime educator Gregory Catrambone in June 2011. Williams will earn $117,568 a year.

Other administrative appointments approved April 22 included: Keith Cortright, replacing the retiring John Calicchio as principal of Walker Middle School; Joe Materia as district foreign language coordinator; and Alain Mollinedo as district director of special education.

Williams is following in a proud legacy, beginning with his granddad, Louis J. Williams, who was inducted into the Kearny High School Hall of Fame as a member of the football state championship team in the ‘20s; and continuing with his dad, Louis F. Williams, who, as president of the Nutley Board of Education, ushered in the first wave of academic technology advances during the early ‘80s.

Acknowledging his family’s West Hudson roots, Williams said: “My mom’s side came from Harrison and my dad’s side, from Kearny.”

And that family was predisposed to the importance of book learning. “I came from a household that valued education early on,” he said. “I grew up in a neighborhood in the ‘70s where people would lean across their fence and exchanged ideas about ‘Why Johnnie Can’t Read.’ ’’

Williams’ sister, Maureen, became a special education teacher in the Nutley school system and Williams, after completing his undergraduate degree in political science and history at Rutgers University and getting his teaching certification at Montclair State University, started his career in education in 1992 as a history/ social studies teacher at Kearny High.

For several years he taught in North Carolina while his wife was doing her residency at Duke University Medical School. When they returned in 1999, Williams got a teaching job with Nutley where he served as district test coordinator from 2007 to 2010 when he was named high school vice principal.

Along the way, he spent three years coaching the Nutley High crew team, having previously rowed for crew during his student days at the high school.

He also handled a number of student advisor positions, including a stretch with the high school debate team which won the state championship in 2003.

And he mentored the “Deliberating in a Democracy” program, an “international initiative designed to improve student understanding of democratic principles and civic deliberation skills” as part of “school to school exchange” with a high school in Kiev, Ukraine.

Williams shared the lessons he and his students learned during that experience as a “selected presenter” at a “Deliberating in a Democracy” international conference held at Lake Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia during the summer of 2009.

For two years Williams advised the Audubon/Outdoors Club, which was right up his alley since he’s always had an affinity for nature. “I’ve been hiking all over New York State with friends,” he said. Birding is another activity he enjoys in the wild.

Starting in September, Williams is anticipating implementing a series of new educational strategies at the high school.

“I’m looking forward to focusing on more student-centered instruction,” he said. That’s keyed to moving away from the traditional “teacher as lecturer” approach to “problem-based instruction” where students are oriented to more independent learning but still keyed to mastering all state-mandated proficiencies.

At the same time, he said, teachers will be introduced to an evaluation system known as the “Danielson method,” which takes into consideration factors such as planning, classroom environment, student performance and professional growth.

With the application of this system, Williams said, teachers will learn “what they need to improve on” so that they, in turn, can help students achieve individually.

“We’re also looking to develop the STEM (Science Technology English Math) program which integrates different curricula in, for example, such as robotics,” Williams said.

Other plans include developing a policy on the use of hand-held technology devices such as cellular phones and BlackBerrys and the introduction of a web-based student information system that will generate such things as student attendance, grades and a host of other variables to which parents and teachers will have access.

When he’s not concentrating on educational matters, Williams is focused on “raising two daughters” (Megan, 16; and Devon, 11) and “multiple animals,” including cats, fish and guinea pigs, at the Williams household in Hunterdon County where the family has spent the last 14 years.

N. Arlington woman killed in Rt. 7 accident

By Anthony J. Machcinski

West Hudson commuters headed home last Wednesday (April 25) evening were snarled in traffic after a four-car pileup near the 2.46-mile marker on Belleville Turnpike in Kearny that resulted in one fatality.

As a result of the accident, 59-year-old North Arlington resident Karen Augustine was killed from injuries sustained in the 5:39 p.m. accident.

Police believe the accident happened after Augustine, driving her 1997 BMW westbound on Route 7, slowed down for traffic and was rear-ended by a 2011 Mazda MPV operated by a 71-year-old Glen Ridge resident. The impact sent Augustine’s BMW into the eastbound lane, sideswiping a 2000 Ford van driven by a North Arlington resident before colliding head-on with a 2008 Ford Explorer driven by a Saddle Brook man.

Augustine, who taught at Public School 38 in Jersey City, was taken by Kearny EMS to Clara Maass Hospital, Belleville, where she was pronounced dead from her injuries at 6:42 p.m.

Also hurt in the crash were a couple in the Ford van who had apparently suffered minor neck and back injuries, and the Explorer driver who had neck, back, and chest injuries who was kept overnight at an area hospital.

The accident closed down a nearly two-mile stretch of Belleville Turnpike, from the Rt. 7/County Road 508 fork to Schuyler Ave. The accident itself took place near the overpass that crosses the old Erie Railroad tracks. The road was reopened around 9:15 p.m. that same night.

Kearny Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Jim Thorpe, PA – America’s ‘Little Switzerland’ beckons your visit

Photo by Jeff Bahr/ Street traffic through Jim Thorpe, Pa.

 

By Jeff Bahr

Europe in our backyard A land of enchantment, seemingly locked in a time-warp, exists roughly 100 miles to the west of Kearny, yet many from our region have never even heard of it. That’s a shame, because this “Little Switzerland” – as it has come to be known – offers a wealth of things to see and do – and one needn’t cross the Atlantic to get there. The town features its very own “first” plus a bona-fide mystery that’s sure to stand your hair on end. But that’s getting ahead of the story.

A town rises

Founded in 1815 as the village of Coalville (not too surprising given its proximity to a major anthracite coal seam) the town’s name eventually evolved into Mauch Chunk (a Native-American word meaning Bear Mountain). This new settlement, surrounded by lofty mountains, drew life from the seasonal transport of anthracite coal along the Lehigh Canal, and later via railroads.

In 1834, former Connecticut carpenter Asa Packer rose to prominence in the region. Using venture capital, Packer parlayed his assets into a sizeable share of the coal market. So sizeable, in fact, that by 1850 he had become the wealthiest man in Mauch Chunk. In 1861, this master-of-all-he-surveyed built a magnificent Italianate mansion on a bluff overlooking the town. The house stands to this very day.

In 1954, Mauch Chunk found itself in economic decline. Looking to bolster its faltering economy, the town fathers struck a deal with the widow of famed 1912 Olympic Decathlon Champion Jim Thorpe (1888- 1953) who spent his teen years in Carlisle, Pa.. In order to promote tourism, they would reinter Thorpe, then buried in Oklahoma, in a fitting memorial site in return for her permission to name the town after him. She agreed and the name change took effect.

The gambit worked. Today, the village of Jim Thorpe stands transformed. From its restored Victorian shops and restaurants, to the myriad outdoor activities that act as an additional lure, the town has become a great American success story. Let’s check it out.

Victoriana in all its glory

The thing about Jim Thorpe that strikes most people is its supremely quaint look. If a visitor arrives via Route 209, they will first see the town from high above. The word “dramatic” falls short in describing their first view of this Euro-styled village. As one moves closer, they’ll notice that Jim Thorpe is one of the best preserved slices of Victoriana left in this region. From a wealth of pretty boutiques and shops (including a throwback 5&10-cent store replete with original wooden floors) to great restaurants and inns that cater to one’s every need, this town’s a genuine keeper. But there’s a lot more to do here than shop and eat. Trust me.

Photo courtesy Anthony J. Machcinski

 

 

Outdoor central

At the center of town, visitors will find a circa 1888 train station that features scenic excursions. It’s the perfect starting point to get a feel for the town and the coal concerns that once reigned supreme in the area. Glen Onoko Gorge is situated just north of town. It contains hiking trails that lead to 75-foottall Onoko Falls, as well as a multitude of scenic overlooks. The Lehigh Gorge trail also runs through here. Bicyclists will delight in its relative flatness as they follow it north toward White Haven, Pa., some 25 miles away. If that seems too tame, Jim Thorpe is noted for some of the wildest and woolliest single-track mountain bike trails in the east. Bicycle shops located in town can hook visitors up with maps of these mountainous trails as well as rentals. The Lehigh River cuts a swath directly through town. At certain times during the year, an upstream dam releases water. When this occurs, there is nothing quite as exhilarating as shooting the whitewater. A number of commercial rafting enterprises are located in and around town to help visitors get “frothy.”

Mansions and murder

The 18-room Asa Packer Mansion and Museum is open to the public for guided tours. Visitors can step back into the past to learn everything about this unique man, while catching a great view of the town located below it. The Harry Packer mansion was built in 1874 for Asa’s son. It now functions as a bed-and-breakfast and features “murder mystery” weekends. It’s located beside the Asa Packer mansion and, rather appropriately, just below a cemetery.

The world’s greatest athlete

A visit to Jim Thorpe, Pa., should start with a visit to the Jim Thorpe memorial. The great decathlete’s final resting place is located on Route 93 just across the Lehigh River from the town proper. Contemplative boards tell Thorpe’s unique story and show how immensely talented he was.

America’s first roller coaster

In order to get coal out of the mountains and into canal boats, a unique 18-mile railway known as the Switchback Gravity Railroad was constructed in the mountains above town. Two inclined planes working on steam power raised the loaded cars where necessary, and gravity took over from there. After the route was abandoned in 1873, the coal cars were modified to carry passengers. One can only imagine how scary it must have been to ride this original “thrill ride” down the mountain at speeds of over 60-mph! In its day, the attraction was said to be second only to Niagara Falls in popularity. It is considered to be America’s very first roller coaster.

A ghostly tale

Jim Thorpe features tours of a very spooky place called the Old Jail Museum. During a 19th century labor uprising against local mine owners, a clandestine group known as the “Molly McGuires” allegedly struck back against their oppressors. They were blamed for everything from sabotage to murder. A number of the “Mollies” were tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang. Half of the executions took place at the Old Jail. Now here’s where things get interesting. Charged with murder, prisoner Alexander Campbell was held in cell # 17 while awaiting his execution. He, above all others professed his innocence from the start. Just before Campbell went to the gallows, he said, “I am innocent, I was nowhere near the scene of the crime.” He then slapped his grimy hand against the cell wall and said, “There is proof of my words. That mark of mine will never be wiped out. It will remain forever to shame the county for hanging an innocent man.” Despite repeated scrubbings and re-plastering, the mark remains to this day.