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Around Town


The Township of Belleville hosts a Community Shredding Day for residents only (no businesses) Saturday, Oct. 18, 8 a.m. to noon, at the Senior Recreation Center, 125 Franklin Ave. Proof of residence must be shown.

Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., hosts a screening of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” Saturday, Oct. 18, at 2 p.m. and a Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m. No registration is required.

Belleville Elks Lodge 1123, 254 Washington Ave., holds its monthly breakfast Sunday, Oct. 19, 9 a.m. to noon. Cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children under age 10 and children under age 3 are admitted free.

Belleville UNICO sponsors a bus ride fundraiser to the Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Sunday, Oct. 19. Cost is $30 prepaid or $35 the day of the trip. (Receive $35 slot play) The bus will leave at 8:50 a.m. from the Senior Citizens Center, 125 Franklin Ave. A continental breakfast will be served at the center at 8 a.m. Call 973-759-9259 to reserve seats. (No last minute cancellations. Mail checks, payable to Belleville UNICO, to: Gene Antonio, 436 Joralemon St., Belleville, N.J. 07109.

All civic associations, classic cars and motorcycle clubs are invited to participate in the Belleville Veterans Day Parade Sunday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. Those interested may contact Bill Steimel at 973-759-4692 (home) or 973-955-7211 (cell) no later than Oct. 17.


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., announces these upcoming events:

  • Learn about the reasons for hauntings and related topics from Shirl Knobloch, author of “The Returning Ones, A Medium’s Memoirs,” Saturday, October 25, at 2 p.m.
  • Book Club meets Monday, Nov. 3, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m., to discuss “I Am Not Esther” by Fleur Beale. For more information, call the reference desk at 973-566-6200, ext. 219 or 220.

Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave., offers these events:

  • A Garden of Pink Dedication celebrating the center’s “Sponsor a Tulip” program for its Breast Cancer Awareness garden is slated for Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. A one-time $25 fee buys a bulb and assures its care.
  • Children ages 3 to 9 are invited to “Party with the Great Pumpkin” and enjoy snacks, crafts and a chance to take a picture with the pumpkin on Oct. 18 at 11 a.m. Reservations are required.

For tickets, reservations or information, call 973-429-0960.

East Newark 

Borough Council urges residents to avail themselves of free breast and prostate cancer screenings. Fill out an eligibility form at the Municipal Building, 34 Sherman Ave., on Mondays and Wednesdays, between 5 and 7 p.m. Screenings are open to women ages 35 and 64 for mammography, women ages 21 and 64 for pap smear and men ages 50 and 64 for prostate/colon screenings. Eligible participants must have no insurance or indicate that their current insurance will not pay for these screenings. Income limits vary with the degree of insurance, so those with limited or no insurance are advised to fill out an initial eligibility form.


The Women’s Social Club of the Harrison/East Newark Elks Lodge sponsors a bus ride to Caesar’s Casino, Atlantic City, Sunday, Oct. 26. Cost is $30 with a $25 slot bet in return. A bus leaves from the lodge, 406 Harrison Ave., at 10 a.m. For reservations, call Shirley at 973- 483-6451. Participants must pay in advance.


Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/Coccia Realty sponsors a coat drive, Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, at its Kearny, Lyndhurst and Rutherford offices. Coats will be distributed to the less fortunate in the area. Drop off gently used or new coats between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays or from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends at any of these participating offices: 636 Kearny Ave., Kearny; 273 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst; or 11 Park Ave., Rutherford. For more information, call Randy Wine at 201-939-0001.

Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., hosts the East Coast Professional wrestlers Friday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $12 and are available at Sunset Deli, 680 Kearny Ave., and at Big Nick’s Pizza, 72 Davis Ave., or call Tom Fraser at 201-991- 6734.

Kearny Recreation Department is holding registration for the 2014 Street Hockey League season through Friday, Oct. 17, at its office at Town Hall, 402 Kearny Ave. Registration hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. All boys and girls ages 6 to 14 (must turn 15 after Jan. 1) are eligible to participate. A registration fee, proof of residence and birth certificate are required. Players must furnish: hockey shin guards, gloves, elbow pads, helmet with cage, mouth guard, athletic cup (for boys) and hockey stick. Coaches, assistant coaches and referees are needed. For more information, call 201-955-7983.

Kearny Lions Club sponsors a flea market and collectible show Sunday, Oct. 19, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Frank Vincent Marina, 205 Passaic Ave. (next to Applebee’s and Burger King). Admission is free. For information, call 201-998-1144 or email events@jcpromotions.info.

The Salvation Army of Greater Kearny, 443 Chestnut St., offers classes in basic computer skills plus Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to noon. The fee is $30 for 12 hours of instruction. For more information, call 201-991-1115 or Pete at 201-889-1352.

Grace United Methodist Church, 380 Kearny Ave., sponsors a turkey dinner Friday, Oct. 17, 5 to 6:45 p.m. Admission to the dinner is $10 but there is no charge for a live auction beginning at 7 p.m. Dinner tickets may be purchased at the door. Take-out orders will be available. For more information, call 201-991- 1132.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., offers the following free programs:

  • No-Bake Cooking classes, for ages 4 to 8, are held Wednesdays, 4 to 5:30 p.m., beginning Oct. 22. The class will meet for four weeks. Recipes will take food allergies into consideration.
  • Tempest Storybook Theatre, an interactive story and craft program, open to all ages, celebrating the books of Bernard Waber, is offered Saturday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m.

Space is limited. To reserve a spot, call 201-998-2666.

The Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., sponsors an Oktoberfest, with live music and food, Friday, Oct. 24, in the church basement. (BYOB). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $25. For tickets, call 201- 991-2808 or 201-998-4616.

A Doggie Halloween Parade and Festival, sponsored by the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone program, is set for Saturday, Oct. 25, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Arlington Depot Park, off Midland Ave., between Forest and Elm Sts. Dogs can be registered for a costume contest by providing a current dog license and proof of rabies vaccine. Registration forms are available at www.kearnynj.org, the KUEZ office at 410 Kearny Ave., or K-9 corner, 169 Midland Ave. For more information, call 201-955-7985 or email Halloweenpawrade@kearnynj. org. All dogs either attending or participating in the festival must be leashed.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1302 and American Legion Post 99, in conjunction with the Kearny Police and Fire Departments, host Octoberfest Saturday, Oct. 18, noon to 6 p.m., at Veteran’s Field, Bergen Ave. and Afton St. Proceeds will be used to send items to N.J. National Guard soldiers deployed overseas. Bring nonperishable items to send. The event features live music, food and displays from both the Kearny Fire Department and the N.J. National Guard. Vendors and sponsors are needed. For more information, call the post at 201-991-9645.


Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., hosts karaoke on Friday, Oct. 24, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The post hall is available for all occasions. For more information, call 201-939-3080.

ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, 540 New York Ave., hosts the following free programs, each led by in-store registered dietician Julie Harrington. Advance registration is not required, unless otherwise noted. For more information or to pre-register for a program, contact Harrington at 201-419-9154 or email Julie. harrington@wakefern.com. ShopRite’s retail dietitians can serve as guest speakers/ instructors at wellness events hosted by local organizations. Here are the upcoming events:

  • Fall Harvest Cooking Class teaches how to use fall’s fresh bounty to prepare a delicious and nutritious meal Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required.
  • Scary Facts about Sugar are shared at the Dietitian’s Corner Thursday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • High Fiber Friday at the Dietitian’s Corner explains how to meet your fiber requirements Fridays, Oct. 24 and 31, noon to 2 p.m.
  • Soups and Stocks Cooking Class offers tips on how to make a tasty stock and a new soup recipe Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

The Third-Tuesday-of-the- Month Walk with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society is slated for Tuesday, Oct. 21. This free two-hour nature walk starts at 10 a.m. at the entrance to Losen Slote Creek Park in Little Ferry. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute weather updates. Participants are asked to sign a standard liability release for this event that is good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS or call 201-230-4983.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 353 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following events:

  • Children ages 3 to 10 can meet “Belinda Bumble Bee” author Jennifer Katafigotis Wednesday, Oct. 22, 4 to 4:30 p.m. • Halloween craft, for K to grade 4, is held Monday, Oct. 27, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.
  • Halloween Parade, for Pre- K to grade 3, steps off Friday, Oct. 31, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Book Club discusses “The Body in the Library” by Agatha Christie Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. Call the library at 201-804-2478, ext. 7, for more information and to obtain a copy of the book. Space is limited.

Registration is required for all of these events. To register, call the library at 201-804-2478.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst sponsors a children’s Tricky Tray Oct. 18, at noon, at the Senior Building, 250 Cleveland Ave. Admission is $5. For tickets, call Janet at 201-935-1208.

Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., hosts a dinner and osteoporosis seminar Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m., at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. Call 201-804- 2500 to register.

North Arlington 

Queen of Peace Rosary Society sponsors a Tricky Tray Friday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m., at San Carlo Fine Caterers, Lyndhurst. The $40 admission includes a four-course dinner and one sheet of small prize tickets. Among the prizes are gift baskets, gift certificates, an iPad and more. Grand prize values start at $500. For more information and tickets, call Betsy at 201-997-3914 or Pegeen at 201-246-1030.

North Arlington Elks Lodge 1992, 129 Ridge Road, hosts its 11th annual Memorial Tailgate Party on Sunday Oct. 19. The parking lot opens at noon. Admission is $ 20 (kids free). Queen of Peace Church in North Arlington will celebrate Priest Appreciation Sunday, Oct. 26, 1 to 3 p.m. Call 201-997- 0700 for more information.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, offers the following programs:

  • Computer Basics class is slated for Mondays in November from 6 to 7 p.m.
  • Decorative Arts program features a representative of the Newark Museum presenting an overview of the museum’s vast decorative arts collection Thursday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m.
  • Woman’s Club Craft, open to K to grade 5, is held Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. No registration is required.

For more information, call the library at 201-955-5640. Registration is required, unless otherwise noted.

The Senior Harmony Club of North Arlington sponsors a trip to Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Tuesday, Oct. 21. Cost of the trip is $25. Attendees will receive $30 in slot play and $5 for food. Non-members are welcome. For reservations or more information, call Florence at 201-991-3173.

North Arlington Woman’s Club sponsors a beefsteak fundraiser Friday, Oct. 24, 7 to 11 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus hall, 194 River Road. Tickets are $40. Proceeds benefit various local charities. For tickets and more information, call Christine at 201-577-1088 or Fran Sardoni at 973-818-6421.


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, offers the following programs:

  • Teen Graphic Novel Club, open to grades 9 to 12, meets Monday, Oct. 20, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Teach a Librarian Minecraft, open to grades 7 to 12, is offered on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. The library will have food and some devices available but kids are encouraged to bring their own if they can.
  • Cook-with-a-Book Reading Club. for grades 4 to 6, meets Friday, Oct. 24, at 3:30 p.m. The group will discuss a book and cook up something fun to eat. Registration is required.
  • Halloween Costume Party is slated for Monday, Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m. Registration is required.
  • Teen Zombie Night, open to grades 7 to 12, will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 6:30 p.m. This event includes zombie costume contest, pizza, games and a movie.
  • Pumpkin Painting, with pumpkins and supplies provided, is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30, at 10:30 a.m. Wear an old T-shirt and bring a box to take your pumpkin home. This is open only to Nutley residents with library card. Registration is required.

For more information, call 973-667-0405.

Postman charged in check thefts


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

A U.S. Postal Service letter carrier has been charged with stealing more than $20,000 in federal tax refunds from four Lyndhurst residents’ mailboxes, police said.

Investigators from the USPS working with Lyndhurst Police Sgt. John Kerner traced the thefts to a particular postal employee who delivered mail to all four victims who live in the same neighborhood, according to Lyndhurst Det. Sgt. John Valente.

In the process, “we cleared four cases dating from last spring and summer,” Valente said.

Police charged Elvis Castillo, 45, of Union City, with four counts of theft on Oct. 8 after federal postal investigators brought the suspect to police headquarters for processing.

Castillo was released, pending a court date, after posting 10% cash of his $5,000 bail, Valente said.

Castillo has been linked to these federal tax refund thefts:

• A check in the amount of $4,215 reported stolen May 31, 2013, from a location in the 700 block of First St.

• A check for $4,183 reported stolen July 8, 2013, from a location in the 600 block of Lewandowski St.

• A check for $4,407 reported stolen July 23 from a location in the 700 block of Third St.

• A check for $7,200 also reported stolen July 23 from a location in the 600 block of Third St.

All of the victims are within a couple of blocks of each other, Valente said.

Valente said that Castillo reportedly told postal investigators that he was involved in a scheme to take the checks through another individual who would actually take them from the mailboxes and that he (Castillo) would get $500 for each of his “tips” to the alleged confederate.

Valente said he hasn’t been made aware of any other individuals who may have been charged in the caper.

Valente said the stolen checks were cashed at various banks but, again, he said he wasn’t privy to the means or method of how that happened. Any possible forgery charges, for example, would be filed in the community in which the crime occurred, he said.

In other criminal incidents logged by Lyndhurst PD during the past week, police corralled two North Arlington teens in connection with burglaries to vehicles parked in the area of Elizabeth Ave. and Lewandowski St. on Oct. 10.

Police responded to the area at 9:17 p.m. on a report that two females were seen in the neighborhood checking out parked cars and got a description of the females from a resident. A bit later, police – acting on those descriptions – grabbed Maria Mendieta, 19, at Schuyler and Elizabeth Aves., and a 17-year-old girl at Union Ave. at the North Arlington border. Each had less than $5 in pocket change – pennies, nickels and dimes – which police believe was taken from two of the cars in Lyndhurst. Both were charged with theft. The 17-yearold was released, pending a juvenile hearing, to her parents.

On Oct. 12, at 6:08 p.m., police received a report that a boy’s Pacific Silver Wing bicycle, yellow and red, with two flat tires, valued at $100, was stolen from the rear of a residence in the 200 block of Tontine Ave.

And, on Oct. 5, police issued Christine Renna, 32, of Lyndhurst, a summons charging her with shoplifting after security personnel at ShopRite on New York Ave. detained Renna as she was allegedly trying to leave the store with $73 worth of miscellaneous items in her shopping cart.

Nutley wins SEC XC championship

10-15 Nutley_web

First league championship for cross country program in 32 years


By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

Before the current cross country season began, Nutley head coach Gerald Ryan believed he had the makings of a special team.

“I had an inkling that if we stayed healthy and if we could stumble across one or two freshmen who would become pieces to the puzzle, then we could contend for a league championship,” Ryan said.

Well, that’s exactly what happened last week, when the Maroon Raiders won the Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division championship at Branch Brook Park in Newark.

The Maroon Raiders won by nine points over runner-up West Essex with Glen Ridge third.

It marked the first time that Nutley had captured a league championship in boys’ cross country since 1982, when the Maroon Raiders won the old NNJIL crown.

Ryan, a proud Nutley alum, was 10 years old the last time Nutley won a league championship.

“I was in fourth grade,” Ryan said. “It’s been a while. It’s really great for the kids. The sense of determination grows every day in these kids.”

Leading the way is junior Luke Michels, who won the overall individual title in 17:12.

“Luke pulls everyone along together,” Ryan said. “He has a disciplined work ethic. He’s always pushing himself and wants to be able to pull the rest along.”

Michels believed that the Maroon Raiders would be successful at the league meet.

“I really thought we could do this,” Michels said. “We prepared all summer for this and we just went all out. We’re all one big unit. We have pasta parties together all the time. We feel connected to each other and we’re willing to help each other out.”

“Luke understands the team concept,” Ryan said. “He’s not concerned about himself as much as he is with the others on the team. He was in a tough spot, being out there all by himself.”

Michels won the race by a full 47 seconds. “When you’re running by yourself, it’s hard to push yourself,” Ryan said. “At the mile mark, he was already in the lead by 15-to-20 seconds.

There was no one there with him. At that point, you can’t even hear footsteps. But he’s running well.”

Ryan believes that Michels should be in the hunt for an NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group III title at Greystone Park in Morris Plans in a few weeks.

“He’s run Greystone already (at the Greystone Invitational last Friday) and finished fifth overall in 16:37,” Ryan said. “So he should be in the mix there.”

“It’s been a real confidence booster,” Michels said. “I’m looking forward to the sectionals and hopefully moving on to the Groups (at Holmdel Park). That’s my goal and I feel like I can do it.”

Sophomore Eric Vogler was next for the Maroon Raiders at the SEC meet. Vogler finished fifth overall in 18:08.

“He ran track for us last spring, but didn’t run cross country last year,” Ryan said. “His attitude has really impressed me. He’s a hard worker who is willing to do anything for the team. He really has emerged as a runner and has been very consistent.”

Freshman Jimmy Quinn was next for the Maroon Raiders, placing 13th overall in 18:41.

“I went to high school with his dad, Jim,” Ryan said of the younger Quinn. “I’ve known Jimmy growing up, but I definitely never expected what we’re getting from him. He’s been a pleasant surprise. I think he feeds off Luke a little and pushes himself to be like Luke.”

Senior Steve La was right behind Quinn, finishing in 14th place in 18:47.

“He’s always working,” Ryan said of La. “I think that’s the MO of the entire team. Steve has been around the program for a few years and is a great kid. I’m glad to see that the hard work he’s put into the sport is beginning to pay off.”

Junior Michael Conca was next in line, finishing 15th , right behind teammates Quinn and La.

“The Conca family name has been running for Nutley since the 1970s,” Ryan said. “Michael just falls in line with the rest of his family. Mike started late this year, but has worked himself back into running shape and is now making a contribution.”

Junior Anthony Castronova was 26th overall.

“He’s the vocal leader on the team,” Ryan said. “He has a great attitude and gives 100% every race.”

Freshman Gerard Dimayuga was 28th overall.

“He’s been a big surprise,” Ryan said. “From the first day of practice, he’s shown a lot. He learned how to push himself and has matured fast. He’s making big contributions to the program.”

Ryan is soaking up the team’s success. He’s been the head coach for eight years and coaching track in the district for 18 years.

“This definitely gives me a little sense of accomplishment,” Ryan said. “It’s something that can never be taken away. Records come and go, but there will be a banner up in the rafters. It will be on T-shirts and jackets that we won the league. It’s great for the kids and a great accomplishment for our program. Nutley is not one of the better known spots for runners.”

Michels is also pleased that the team will be forever remembered.

“It’s really amazing being put next to the 1982 team,” Michels said. “It’s really awesome.”

It’s also pretty awesome to make a little history in the process.


Lyndhurst girls’ volleyball: Making strides toward respectability


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer


Alan Clements enjoyed an excellent career as a volleyball coach, first at Fair Lawn High School, where he still teaches, then on the college ranks at Bergen County Community College, then Felician College and finally Mercy College in New York, where he spent three years.

But then Clements walked away from coaching the sport he loved – because of two other people he loved more.

You see, Clements is a single father, raising his son and daughter on his own.

“They were a junior and senior in high school and they were starting to search for colleges,” Clements said. “So I had to get away from coaching for a while.”

But after both of his children had settled into college, they pleaded with their father to do one thing.

“They said, ‘Dad, you have to get back into it,’” Clements said. “So I started looking.”

A little more than a year ago, Clements made a few phone calls to friends in the volleyball ranks. He found out that Lyndhurst needed a new head coach.

“I knew that Lyndhurst was rebuilding,” Clements said. “But I like building things. It’s not the place most coaches would go, but I thought I could blend in and build something.”

When Clements arrived last year, the Lyndhurst girls’ volleyball program was in transition.

“But I never had a group of girls who worked harder,” Clements said. “We were basically starting from scratch. These girls bought in and had a summer program. They went to camp together.”

The Golden Bears won a total of nine matches last season, but had almost a complete turnover from last year. Most of the starters on last year’s team graduated.

Clements knew that this year’s team was ready to work.

“We scheduled the first practice at 3:30 p.m. because I still work in Fair Lawn,” Clements said. “We got out early that day and I went straight to Lyndhurst. When I got there at 2:15, I found 29 girls sitting outside in the heat, waiting to practice. That showed me they were eager. Then, after practice was over, they asked if they could stay and keep going. They’re not great volleyball players, but they’re dedicated athletes.”

Most of Clements’ roster never even played the sport of volleyball before they enrolled at Lyndhurst.

“I joined the sport because I wanted to do something new,” said senior outside hitter Rachel Martin. “I always played soccer before high school. But I wanted to do something different.” Michael Rizzo, currently a vice-principal and a former assistant volleyball coach as well as the school’s bowling coach, taught a lot of the current members of the Golden Bears when they were in eighth grade. Rizzo encouraged many of them to consider playing volleyball – and they did.

“I really thought it would be fun,” said Kathleen Totaro, a senior defensive specialist. “Rizzo was the one who brought me in, because he sounded like he knew what he was doing.”

“I wanted to try something new things in high school,” said senior Jessica Shortino. “Volleyball just seemed so intense. Coach Rizzo was so enthusiastic about me playing.”

Others liked what the sport offered.

“I liked the intensity of it,” said senior settler Samantha DaSilva. “I loved diving on the floor after the ball. The game is real quick. I loved the pace of the game.”

“I just like being involved,” said senior setter Emily Young. “My sister played volleyball, so I knew about the sport. Rizzo helped by putting the bug in my ear.”

But there was no guarantee that the newcomers would be successful.

“We knew it was going to be tough, because none of us had experience,” Young said. “We were all starting from scratch. We were building a team.”

So the new coach was inheriting new players who all had the same goal.

“We wanted to do something special,” Shortino said.

As they all entered their senior year, the Golden Bears wanted to make their final season their best.

“I always feel like we’re going to have a successful season,” Clements said. “That’s just the way I feel. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to make the state playoffs and the county playoffs.”

Seemed like a lofty goal for a team that won only nine matches last year. But the Golden Bears have defied the odds and have already won 10 times this year.

“I think we have a group of overachievers,” Clements said. “They work so hard all the time. They are good role models. The freshmen actually look up to them. It’s all good. They want to learn the right way to play and are doing some really nice things. Other coaches are amazed with what we’re doing, but I always had faith. I think we’re where I thought we would be.”

The players are enthused about their prospects.

“It feels great,” Martin said. “We never had a winning season before. I think we’re setting an example for those younger than us. “

“It’s almost surreal,” Totaro said. “As a senior, it’s great that we’re finally able to win. I’m excited for the entire program, because I know the program will succeed after we leave.”

DaSilva agreed.

“No one expected us to do well,” DaSilva said. “This is such a change from years past.”

“Every senior wants to go out with a bang,” Young said. “We’re proving everyone wrong.”

Led by a coach who always believed in his team.

“I get up every morning and can’t wait to get here,” Clements said. “I love my job in Fair Lawn, but these girls are like my second family. They all have great attitudes and want to play. I never have a discipline problem with them. It’s been great.”

So have been the results. The Golden Bears have a winning volleyball season. That says it all.

Kearny’s Paiva enjoying epic scoring season

10-15 AOW_web

By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

Barbara Paiva was born in Brazil, entering a family that had a strong background in the sport of soccer. Her father, Adao, was a premier soccer player there. Her uncle, the late Achilles Reis, was a professional player who had a stint with the Brazilian National team.

One would think that Paiva would naturally gravitate toward the sport as well.

But that wasn’t the case.

“I was into karate,” said Paiva, who came to Kearny when she was seven years old and started playing soccer two years later.

“I thought I should give soccer a try,” Paiva said. “I always watched the sport. My dad always played. I figured, ‘Why not? I should try it.’”

Paiva tried out for the famed Kearny Thistle youth soccer program and didn’t exactly enjoy instant success.

“When I first started with it, I never expected to actually play,” Paiva said.

But Paiva became dedicated to the sport and used her father as a powerful instructor.

“I worked on the game with my dad,” Paiva said. “I always used to practice with him. He told me that I had to run more, that I had to be fast to play, so he would make me run sprints. He always made me run and I thank him every day for it.”

Adao Paiva also taught his daughter incredible ball skills.

“We used to watch Ronaldinho videos and my dad used to bring me to the park to work with the ball,” Paiva said.

It was that dribbling skill and ability to use both feet that caught the attention of Kearny High School girls’ soccer head coach Vin Almeida.

“I remember Barbara being in sixth grade and she would hang out at Harvey Field (the home field for both the Kearny boys’ and girls’ soccer teams),” Almeida said.“I used to see her juggling the ball on the side and she had such outstanding touch with the ball. I had to make sure that she came to Kearny High School. We’re very fortunate that she came.”

Incredibly, Paiva wasn’t sure she would be able to play varsity soccer.

“When I first tried out, I thought I had no chance to play,” Paiva said. “But (former assistant coach Lauren) Roemer told me that I could do it and she gave me a lot of confidence. I just started picking it up and after a while, I realized that, hey, I could play.”

Paiva has been a mainstay on the Kearny girls’ soccer program since she arrived a little more than three years ago.

As a sophomore, Paiva helped the Kardinals win the Hudson County Tournament championship, scoring four goals in the title game against Bayonne.

But that was nothing compared to what Paiva has produced this season as a senior.

Paiva has been a goal-scoring machine this year. In one game against Peddie a few weeks ago, she tallied five goals in one game.

Last week, Paiva scored nine goals, including three in a game twice against Harrison at Red Bull Arena and again against Union City in the quarterfinals of the Hudson County Tournament, taking the first step toward leading the Kardinals to their sixth straight county crown.

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

On the season, Paiva has now tallied 24 goals and seven assists in 13 games, leading the Kardinals to an impressive 11-2 record thus far. She scored 25 goals all of last season and she’s within reach of the school’s single season goal record set by Stefanie Gomes three years ago.

“Yeah, I’m pretty amazed at what I’ve done this year,” Paiva said. “But I’m not worried about any record. It’s not about me. It’s for the team. I’ll do anything to help the team. But I’m not even thinking about that (a record). I kind of just go with the flow and don’t let anything get to me.”

Almeida said that he is not surprised at all by Paiva’s scoring explosion this season.

“To be honest, I expected a lot from Barbara this season,” Almeida said. “I always knew that she was really skilled. She has a lot of speed and with her ability with both feet, she is able to put it all together. I thought she could take it to another level this year. With her speed and she’s super skillful, she brings a lot to the table. When she’s clicking on all cylinders, we’re a pretty good team.”

Almeida is impressed with Paiva’s ability to shoot with both feet, a rarity in girls’ soccer.

“She’s amazing,” Almeida said. “Her right foot has always been strong, but her left foot has become very good. She can punish you with both feet. It’s a lot of fun to watch.”

Paiva said that she also worked hard to be able to shoot with both feet.

“Every day, I work on shooting with my left foot,” Paiva said. “I work on that in my yard, so whenever I score a goal with my left foot, I say, ‘Yeah, Dad, look at that.’ He worked on that with me, too.”

It’s safe to say that Paiva was born to play the sport.

“Yeah, it’s in my blood,” Paiva said. “It just took me a little while to realize it. Everyone else around here started playing before I did.”

Paiva has aspirations to play soccer in college. She has interest in Rutgers (coached by Kearny native Mike O’Neill), as well as Monmouth and the University of Delaware. St. Peter’s University has expressed interest in her.

“That would really make my day,” Paiva said about her chances of playing on the next level.

Paiva is already a well respected player around the state. She spent a few years playing club soccer for US Parma and now plays for the storied STA program in Morristown.

For now, her focus is solely on the Kardinals and a pursuit of both a Hudson County and NJSIAA state title.

“I just hope she’s able to keep it going,” Almeida said. “She has it all, speed, strength, technical ability. She’s definitely a better player than she was last year, in terms of her mentality and maturity. She’s also better physically. She’s just having a great season.”

One that Paiva and Almeida hope that continues straight through the rest of this month and into November.


Yolonda Girdwood

Yolonda Girdwood (nee Gaglio) of Kearny passed away quietly at home on Oct. 8, surrounded by her beloved family and friends. She was 80.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Sorrows, Kearny, followed by burial in Holly Cross Cemetery. Condolences may be left at www.armitagewiggins.com.

Yolonda was a retired bank teller and was a proud member of Our Lady of Sorrows Rosary Society, the Ladies Auxillary of the VFW Post 1302 and the Wolf Packs. She was loved by her friends and neighbors, and was always cooking for a houseful of people.

Mrs. Girdwood is survived by her beloved husband Henry “Hank” and her sons and their wives Stephen (Carolyn) Girdwood and Victor (Ann) Girdwood. She is also survived by another daughter-in-law Michelle. She was predeceased by her sons David and Michael. She was the sister of Santina Girdwood and the late Mary Gaglio, Faye Scorsone, Angelina Passarella, Gerardo Gaglio and Joseph Gaglio. Also surviving are many beloved grandchildren, great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Dugald A. McAllister 

Dugald A. McAllister died Oct. 11 at St. Mary Hospital in Passaic. He was 71.

Born in Newark, he lived in Kearny, many years in Long Valley and then Toms River, before moving to Georgia five years ago.

There will be a memorial visitation on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 9 a.m., at the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The service will be at 11 a.m. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Dugald was a printer for Hatteras Press in Manasquan. He was past exalted ruler of the Kearny Elks and was a life member of the Schooley Mountain Volunteer Fire Department.

He is survived by his wife Jane C. (nee Wright) and his children David and Robert McAllister and Virginia Thatcher. He is also survived by his grandchildren Avery, Olivia, Dean, Jake and Liam “on the way”.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to www. WoundedWarriorProject. org/Donate.

John C. Modzelewski 

John C. “Moe” Modzelewski died Oct. 9. He was 65. He was a lifelong Kearny resident.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by a private cremation.

Mo worked for the Public Works Department in Kearny and was well known at the VFW.

He is survived by his mother Genny, his sisters and their husbands Debbie and Joe Pereira and Terry and Joe Alfano. He was also the uncle of Joseph, Jeremy, Jennifer, John and the late Michael.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the VFW Post 1302 in Kearny.

Then & Now

Top Photo: Town of Harrison Bottom Photo by Karen Zautyk

Top Photo: Town of Harrison
Bottom Photo by Karen Zautyk


Once again, we venture into yesteryear Harrison, the specific year being 1930. The specific day, Jan. 30. The horse-drawn trolleys cited in last week’s ‘Then’ photo have been replaced by modern electric ones, but those who share the street with them are still taking risks. 

Note the car on the left, which we presume (hope) is parked, not traveling, perilously close to the tracks. 

The view is identified only as ‘Harrison Ave. & 4th St.,’ and we wondered in what direction one was looking. In a search for the address of Pletter Furniture (sign on building at right), Google wanted to send us to links for ‘pleather furniture.’ (Who still buys pleather furniture?) Then the light bulb lit: Of course! The trolley is making a right turn off 4th St. onto Harrison Ave. 

This is a view looking north toward Kearny. Closer inspection also revealed the number on the trolley. It is the 39 — the same as the old No. 39 bus that followed the same route.

 –Karen Zautyk 

Uniform salute


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


Currently hanging in the office of Daniel Jacoby at the Nutley Bureau of Veteran Affairs, 149 Chestnut St., are two uniforms. One is Jacoby’s own camo garb, worn during the former U.S. Army specialist’s deployment in Iraq. The other is a bit older. Nearly a century old, in fact. It was worn during the war that was supposed to end all war.

Jacoby has displayed the two next to each other, but with the World War I uniform slightly in front of his, “to show respect for the generations that have gone before,” he explained.

The older uniform has breeches, resembling jodhpurs, that are laced at the bottom, the better to accomodate puttees and boots. The jacket bears a sergeant’s stripes and an embroidered caduceus, indicating that the wearer was a member of the Army Medical Corps.

That wearer was Sgt. Luke A. Kenney, who lived in Nutley from 1959 until his death at age 80 in 1973. It was his daughter, Pat Rush of Nutley, who donated the uniform to the Nutley Museum, to honor not only her father, but all veterans of the Great War. No date has yet been set, but sometime in the coming weeks there will be a special Historical Society ceremony, after which Kenney’s uniform will be permanently on display at the museum, 65 Church St.

Despite its age, the uniform is pristine, no apparent restoration necessary, despite the fact that, over all those decades, there were no special efforts to preserve it. “It was just hanging in his closet at home,” Rush told us.

Rush, who is a very young 83, decided to make the donation after attending a religious retreat, where she learned that a special retreat was being organized for veterans. She contacted Commissioner Steve Rogers about that planned program, and then offered the uniform as a veterans’ tribute.

Rush also has her father’s identity discs (the precursor of dogtags) and a collection of his military papers, but those treasures she is rightfully keeping to hand down to her children (she and her husband Robert had eight) and grandchildren.

The documents show that Luke Kenney of Newark, age 25, 5-foot-4, grey eyes, brown hair and “ruddy complexion,” was inducted into the Army on May 27, 1918, and was honorably discharged (also having been commended for his “excellent character”) on June 25, 1919 — the war having ended the previous November.

On Aug. 26, 1918, he had sailed for France, where he served as a medical technician with the American Expeditionary Forces. He arrived back in the U.S. on June 22, 1919. We don’t know at which port, but we assume it was New York. In any case, the Army noted that he was “entitled to a reduced fare to Newark.”

While in France, he became a corporal, on April 1, 1919, and was raised to the rank of sergeant exactly a month later. (Editor’s note: We don’t know his circumstances, but such rapid field promotions were not uncommon in World War I, the casualties among the troops being massive.)

Photos by Karen Zautyk Uniform details: Buttons bear Great Seal of the U.S.; below the sergeant's stripes is a caduceus, indicating Medical Corps.

Photos by Karen Zautyk
Uniform details: Buttons bear Great Seal of the U.S.; below the sergeant’s stripes is a caduceus, indicating Medical Corps.

“Did he ever talk about the war?” we asked Rush. “Very little,” she said.

“But he did talk about it being very cold. He had just two thin blankets, so he saved all his newspapers, including the Newark News, put them between the two blankets and stitched them all together.”

“He also talked about the Salvation Army,” she recalled. “He said that was the best group for coffee. He said the Knights of Columbus wouldn’t give you anything unless you paid for it.”

“And,” she added with a laugh, “he was a Knight!”

After returning to the States, Kenney and his wife, Marie, and their daughter lived in Newark and then Nutley. He worked for the City of Newark Water Department, retiring as superintendent.

Kenney was also active in veterans’ affairs, particularly the Newark chapter (Newark Barracks #90) of the Veterans of World War I, which had its headquarters in the Krueger Mansion on High St. (now called Martin Luther King Blvd.). Kenney became the commander and later served at the group’s chaplain, attending the wakes and funerals of all the deceased members.

At those wakes, the current Barracks #90 commander would offer a eulogy composed by Chaplain Kenney himself.

In part, it notes that the veterans in attendance were there “to pay our respects to a loyal, patriotic citizen whose service to his country deserves far more than our ability to give.”

It continues: “He contributed his bit, like other loyal Americans in the past, and the readiness to offer his life, if need be, to preserve for us those hard-earned rights of Freedom and Justice. . . .

“He assumed his duties in a strange land and risked exposure to the discomforts of war, hunger, disease and death.

“Yes, our buddy deserves far more than we here can offer.

“While we are but a few because of fast-diminishing ranks, there is nothing wanting in the sincerity of our grief at our buddy’s passing. May his soul rest in peace.”

On the back of this document, which is one of those Rush is keeping, she has penned a note for her family: “This eulogy was composed by your grandfather/greatgrandfather. How sincere, touching and well-written — by a gentleman who had an 8th grade education.”

And to us, she said, “I have always been so proud of my dad.”

Rightly so, Patsy.

Rightly so.

Scouts’ mission continues


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


On March 20, 1960, the Girl Scout House in Kearny opened its doors, thereby kicking off a new era for a then-growing scouting movement among girls in West Hudson.

Today, with membership slacking off a bit locally and nationwide, the Kearny-based girl scouts want to send out a message to the communities of Kearny, Harrison and East Newark that the scouting mission is still operating.

But the home base at 635 Kearny Ave. could use a shot of adrenalin to keep it going so, to that end, the West Hudson Girl Scout Council – revamped in 1963 as the WeHudCo Trust to maintain the building – will hold a “rededication” of the Kearny House and kick off a fundraising drive on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon. Mayor Alberto Santos will preside at a ceremonial ribbon- cutting slated for 11 a.m.

Girls from kindergarten to grade 12 and their parents are invited to attend the open house. There will be crafts for kids and everyone is welcome to pitch in with preparing decorations for the Girl Scouts float for the town’s upcoming Halloween Parade.

As a follow-up activity, the scouts have scheduled a Home Party Vendor Day for Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Kearny House with proceeds of all sales going to the House fundraising drive.

Some background on the evolution of the Kearny House: Archibald Salmond is credited with the introduction of Girl Scouts to Kearny in 1918. The West Hudson Girl Scout Council was incorporated in 1930 to represent Kearny, Harrison, East Newark and North Arlington. Troops met in a rented storefront on Midland Ave. opposite the firehouse.

In Sept. 1955, New Jersey Gov. Robert Meyner signed a bill that allowed municipalities to give or lease property to organizations that previously excluded Boy and Girl Scouts. “Kearny was the first town to take advantage of it,” noted WeHudCo Trust member Teddie Jablonski, who began her foray into scouting as a Brownie in 1950.

In March 1956, Kearny leased the then-vacant lot at 635 Kearny Ave., off Columbia Ave., to the West Hudson Girl Scout Council for 99 years at $1 a year and the Council immediately began a fundraising effort to construct a headquarters. A total of $120,000 – including more than $20,000 from the DuPont Co.’s Arlington Employees Welfare Fund – was collected, of which $80,000 was used to complete the building, with the balance to be used for office staff and future maintenance.

The cornerstone was laid in 1960 and the first troop meeting was held at the House in 1961. Today, it’s is one of the few facilities wholly owned by a Girl Scout unit in the state. Most meet in schools or houses of worship. The Kearny House is open to – and has hosted — girl scout troops from as far as Canada.

The Trust, which is now known as WeHudCo, Inc., has recently been granted 501 (c)(3) tax exempt status. With its contingency fund pretty well depleted, it is gearing up to raise money “to ensure the future of our building, our Kearny Scout House, and the future of the Girl Scout program,” said Jablonski.

For the present, she said, that means repairs to the roof, downspouts, new gutters, flushing out of the main drain, waterproofing the basement, fixing the blacktop in back, updating the kitchen and new drapes.

Today, the West Hudson unit – which claimed nearly 400 members in the late 1990s – has fallen off to 70 scouts and 17 adult volunteer leaders doing cookie sales, learning cooking, sewing and knitting skills, as well as community service projects like food and clothing drives for post-Sandy victims, holiday toy drives for kids in the hospital and darning little wool hats for infants.

And scout leaders are finding new ways to connect with girls. Margy Hill, with 40 years in scouting in Belleville and Kearny, recently moved to Pennsylvania but is still leading a troop of older girls through weekly “video meets” via Google Plus and monthly in-person meets in Kearny.

“Scouting is something I’m very passionate about,” Hill said. “It’s a big priority for me. I grew up in a scouting family and I love seeing what the girls get out of it,” particularly in developing life and leadership skills.

Hill recalled one ex-scout calling her “to thank me for making her participate in selling cookies” because she found later that the experience of going out and dealing with consumers stood her in good stead “when she got her first job in retail sales.”

“That, to me, was high praise,” said Hill.

All creatures great and small


By Karen Zautyk

Observer Correspondent 


If you were out and about Saturday morning, you know that the rains were torrential — biblical, one might say. But this did not deter pet owners from gathering at the Archdiocesan Youth Center (formerly Boystown) for the annual Blessing of the Animals. (We expected to see some ducks, since it was nice weather for them, but none attended.)

Various events in Observer towns were postponed because of the downpour, but we knew this particular one would go on on rain or shine.

A large canopy was erected on the Belgrove Drive property to protect the pets and people who huddled there.

And despite the deluge, this was a place of warmth and brightness, for it is a joy to be among humans who care so much for their non-human companions.

As he does each year, Msgr. John Gilchrist presided at the ceremony, which took place near the statue of St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day is Oct. 4.

Many churches, both Catholic and Protestant, hold similar programs on or around that date.

To Catholics, St. Francis has for centuries been known as the patron saint of animals, and in 1979, he got an additional assignment when Pope John Paul II declared him patron saint of ecology/ the environment. (By the way, one of the pets at the blessing was a cat called John Paul. “Yes, he’s named for the Pope,” his human companion noted.)



Photos by Karen Zautyk Top Nozi Chinosi and human Mai (same last name), and Gidget, with human Roseanne Evaristo.

Photos by Karen Zautyk
Top Nozi Chinosi and human Mai (same last name), and Gidget, with human Roseanne Evaristo.

The annual blessing is a reminder not only of St. Francis’ love for God’s creatures, but also that they are, indeed, God’s creatures and that they have been placed in mankind’s care. It is our duty to be their stewards, be they the pets who share our homes or the wild beasts and birds and fish, et al, who share our world.

As the communal prayer preceding the actual blessing noted, God has given humankind rule over His works, including: “All sheep and oxen, yes, and animals of the field, the birds of the air, the fishes of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas.”

The prayer of blessing notes that God “created the world to serve humanity’s needs” and asks: “Give us the grace to see all animals as gifts from You and to treat them with respect for they are Your creation.”

And then, all the little gifts who were on Belgrove Drive were brought forward by their owners to be sprinkled with holy water. (We have attended several of these programs in the past, and it has always amazed us that even the barkiest dogs went quiet when the ceremony began.)

Afterwards, goody bags of pet food and treats were distributed to the attendees, who then headed home through all the rain.

As we were leaving, we glanced toward the Passaic River at the foot of the hill. We can’t be sure, but we think we saw an ark down there.