web analytics

Author Archive


A story in last week’s issue of The Observer about the Kearny Town Council preparing to fill a vacant council seat misstated the name and workplace of one of the three nominees. Jenny Mach is one of the nominees. She teaches in the Tenafly public school system. The Observer regrets the error.

Wilson Ave. gun arrest & more: KPD

Last week’s Kearny Police Department blotter included an incident in which a local man allegedly threatened another with a gun during a verbal altercation.

Well, it happened again. Different man, though. At 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 25, Officers Frank West, Sean Kelly, Daniel Esteves and Giovanni Rodriguez were dispatched to the 50 block of Wilson Ave. where, during a dispute between tenants, one of the parties reportedly had pointed a weapon at another.

Andrew Falastin, 22, of Kearny, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon (a Smith & Wesson handgun) and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes.


Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

Jan. 24 

Officer Patrick Becker, checking the registration on a double-parked vehicle at Kearny Ave. and Rose St. at 4 p.m., found that the owner had a suspended license. Becker stopped the car at Rose and Maple Sts., confirmed the identity of the owner-operator and charged Richard Jara, 44, of Kearny, with driving while suspended and failure to surrender a suspended license.

Jan. 27 

At 6 p.m., the Vice Squad observed Janusz Chytla, 25, of Kearny, riding a bicycle at Chestnut St. and Wilson Ave. Police said they had reason to believe he had been involved in a drug transaction, detained him for questioning and subsequently confiscated 13 folds of heroin, stamped “Aston Martin.” [Editor’s note: Who picks these names?] Chytla was charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia.

Jan. 28 

At 9:30 p.m., pursuant to an ongoing investigation, Vice arrested Dominique Solise, 23, of Newark, on a charge of engaging in prostitution. Police did not disclose the location of the arrest, but they did disclose her alias, “Nina, Your Favorite Fun Girl.”

– Karen Zautyk 

Man charged in beating case & more: NPD blotter

A Clifton man accused of beating up a Nutley resident in the resident’s apartment last week has been arrested, according to Nutley PD.

Police gave this account: At 11 p.m. last Tuesday, Jan. 27, a patrol officer spotted a man on Church St. who had injuries to his body and face.

The victim was taken to an area hospital where detectives questioned him about his injuries, including a broken nose, police said. The man told them that while he was home sleeping earlier that night, a man he described as his girlfriend’s daughter’s boyfriend allegedly entered his apartment and assaulted him with his fists and made threats to his life.

Police said the man identified his alleged attacker as Andrew Duval, 20, of Clifton.

Police said Duval subsequently came to police HQ where he was booked on charges of burglary, terroristic threats, aggravated assault and robbery of a set of keys to the victim’s apartment and a local gas station where the victim works.

Duval was then transported to Essex County Jail after failing to post $75,000 bail. Police said the keys weren’t recovered.

Police Chief Thomas Strumolo said that, based on an investigation, police suspect that Duval was defending the victim’s live-in girlfriend after the victim and girlfriend reportedly had a prior argument. Between Jan. 24 and 30, Nutley PD said they responded to 16 motor vehicle accidents, 13 disputes, four burglaries, 39 medical calls and these incidents:

Jan. 24 

Two residents called police to report wires down on Spring Garden Ave. and Freeman Place. No one was hurt and utility companies responded to repair the downed lines, police said.

Jan. 25 

A Franklin Ave. business reported a shoplifting incident and police said that three females were seen on the store’s surveillance camera removing the contents of a Coricidin HBP box – about 15 tablets – and walking out of the store.

Jan. 26 

Police responded to a Park Ave. residence on a burglary report. The owner told officers that when they returned home at about 5 p.m., they noticed pry marks to the front door. Detectives are investigating.

Jan. 27 

A Vine St. resident reported the theft of thousands of dollars worth of tools. Police said they found no signs of forced entry to the building. Detectives are investigating.

Jan. 29 

Police issued township ordinance tickets to two residents, one on Walnut St. and another on Nutley Ave., charging them with failing to have their sidewalks shoveled of snow in the proper amount of time.

Jan. 30 

A Glendale St. resident and a Bloomfield Ave. resident were ticketed on the charge of failing to have their sidewalks cleared of snow in the proper amount of time.


A Franklin Ave. store owner reported an attempted burglary. The owner told police that someone had tampered with the vent cover to the boiler room and officers who responded verified that was the case. Detectives are investigating.


Detectives are checking into the report of a burglary at a Rhoda Ave. residence whose occupants told police they’d returned home at about 4 p.m., only to discover that someone had entered the house.

– Ron Leir 

Adding up the benefits of calcium


Calcium, the most common mineral in the body, plays an essential role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, and bone and tooth formation.

Studies indicate that calcium plays a role in blood vessel contraction and dilation which affects blood pressure.

A constant level of calcium is maintained in body fluid and tissues so that these vital body processes function efficiently. More than 99% of body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth; the remaining 1% is found in blood, muscle, and the fluid between cells.

Calcium is lost from the body every day in urine and feces, and trace amounts are lost in sweat, shedding skin, hair, and nails. The lost calcium is normally replaced by calcium from food. If your diet does not contain enough calcium or if you don’t absorb enough calcium from your food or supplements to replace the lost calcium, the body breaks down bone to get the calcium it needs.

To absorb enough calcium, your body also needs vitamin D. Your skin can make vitamin D when it is exposed to direct sunlight. Other sources of vitamin D are fatty fish, eggs, liver, butter, fortified foods such as milk and multivitamins. People at risk for having too little vitamin D are elderly adults, those in institutions and some people with chronic neurological or gastrointestinal diseases. People living in northern latitudes may need supplements in the winter to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, the amount of calcium you need each day depends on your age:

Children ages 1 to 3 need 700 milligrams (mg) a day.

Children 4 to 8 need 1,000 mg a day.

Children 9 to 18 need 1,300 mg a day.

Adults ages 19 to 50 should get 1,000 mg a day.

Ages 50 to 70: Men should get 1,000 mg a day; women should get 1,200 mg a day. B

oth men and women older than 70 should get 1,200 mg a day.

The best way to get calcium is from food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a minimum of three cups of nonfat or low-fat vitamin D-fortified milk or equivalent milk products each day.

Many benefits 

A consistent level of calcium in the body’s fluids and tissues is needed for muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and transmission of messages through the nervous system. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake throughout a person’s lifetime can help build and maintain proper bone mass, helping to prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium from dairy products in combination with a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy can help keep blood pressure in check and help prevent the absorption of dietary fat; this helps decrease blood cholesterol.

 Getting enough calcium 

To ensure you consume enough calcium each day, start with food and drink. Calcium in food is better absorbed by the body than calcium in a supplement. The additional compounds in dairy products act with calcium to promote its benefits. Strive to consume at least three calcium-rich foods daily such as low-fat or nonfat yogurt, 1% or skim milk, low-fat ice cream, calcium-fortified orange or grapefruit juice, low-fat cheese and lowfat cottage cheese.

Also, look for foods with added calcium such as rice and some breakfast cereals. Aged cheese and yogurt tend to be more easily digested by people who are lactose intolerant; eat them in small quantities along with other food. Foods made with active or “live” cultures, like yogurt or buttermilk, are also easier to digest because their “friendly” bacteria help digest lactose. Other options include lactosefree milk, lactose-free cottage cheese and nondairy sources of calcium, such as calcium-fortified soy milk, tofu, baked beans, almonds, broccoli, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables, and canned salmon and sardines with the bones. For canned fish, you need to eat the bones to get the calcium.

Vitamin D is necessary for your body to absorb the calcium you get from foods or supplements. You can get vitamin D from foods fortified with it or by spending five to 30 minutes in the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least two times per week. Adults 19 to 50 need at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day; those 51 and older need 800 IU a day.

Sizing up your supplement

If you’re not consuming at least three calcium-rich foods per day, consider taking a calcium supplement. If you use a supplement, however, don’t depend on it to meet your calcium needs.

A good bet: Take a 500 mg calcium supplement each day and try to get the remaining 500 to 700 mg of calcium from food. In order to absorb the most calcium, you should take only 500 mg or less at one time.

Calcium supplements come in different forms, such as calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Some have vitamin D added to them for extra benefit. Calcium carbonate is affordable and is also found in some antacid tablets. Because it relies on stomach acid for absorption, it is absorbed best when taken with food. Calcium citrate is absorbed the same with or without food and is good for people with low stomach acid.

Research indicates that calcium citrate is absorbed better than other supplements, such as calcium carbonate. But to enhance a calcium supplement’s absorption, take it with a citrus-based food, such as orange juice.

To learn more, stop in and see in-store Registered Dietitian Julie Harrington, R.D., at the ShopRite of Lyndhurst, 540 New York Ave., Lyndhurst, N.J. 07071. For information on health and wellness events, contact Julie at 201-419-9154 or Julie. harrington@ wakefern.com.

around town


Belleville Public Library and Information Center’s Children’s Room, 221 Washington Ave., announces the following activities for children:

  • A Hibernation Party kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7. Children are invited to create a wintry craft and enjoy hot chocolate and other treats. Come in your pajamas and bring your favorite stuffed friend.
  • Pajama Storytime is set for Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 6 p.m. For more information, call 973-450-3434.

The Woman’s Club of Belleville meets the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse, 51 Rossmore Place. Prospective members are welcome. For more information, contact Terry Landon at 973-751- 6529.

Belleville High School music department presents its first annual winter coffee house, featuring performances by the school’s jazz band, acapella chorus and the Tri-M Honor Society on Tuesday, Feb. 10, in the school cafeteria, 100 Passaic Ave., at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 and includes one beverage. Baked goods and additional beverages will be sold during the performances. For more information, contact Anthony Gotto, director of bands, at 973-532-5012, ext. 1619, or via email at Anthony. gotto@bellevillek12.nj.us


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., announces the following programs:

  • Humanoid Cartooning class offers an opportunity to learn to draw human proportions Feb. 11, 4 to 6 p.m. Registration is required. To register, visit http://www. bplnj.org/programs/.
  • Elder law attorney Benjamin Eckman will discuss issues facing seniors Feb. 18 at 6:45 p.m. Eckman has lectured extensively on elder law, special needs and disability planning and estate planning. This seminar is free.
  • The Finance Book Club resumes Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. The group meets every Tuesday night, Feb. 17 to March 31, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Midday Movies are screened every Monday and Thursday at 12:15 p.m. Here’s this month’s schedule: Feb. 5 – “The Giver,” Feb. 9 – “Love and Basketball,” Feb. 12 – “And So It Goes,” Feb. 16 – “Head of State,” Feb. 19 – “Flower Drum Song,” Feb. 23 – “The Man” and Feb. 26 – “The Hundred Foot Journey.”

The library also offers the following weekly programs for children: Toddler Time, open to ages 19 to 36 months, is held Tuesdays at 11 a.m., Pre-K Storytime and craft, open to ages 3 to 5, is offered Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Baby and Me, open to ages 0 to 18 months, is available Thursdays at 11 a.m. The library will be assisting the Junior League of Montclair-Newark in collecting toiletries for children in the foster care system through the Bloomfield Office of the Department of Child Protection and Permanency. Collection boxes will be available in both the children’s and adult buildings throughout February. Items being collected include toothbrushes and toothpaste, lotions, soap, hair brushes, deodorants, feminine hygiene products, washcloths, blankets and reusable back packs or duffle bags. They will be delivered to the Bloomfield DCP&P for distribution to the children they serve on an as need basis.

The library is open from Mondays to Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library will be closed Feb. 16 for President’s Day. During inclement weather, call the library at 973-566-6200 to check on its status.


Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., offers these free programs for children in February:

  • Preschool Play and Story Time, for ages up to 5 with adult participation, takes place Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to noon. Classes repeat Thursdays, 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. There will be no 11:45 a.m. classes Feb. 12 and 26.
  • At the Branch library, 759 Kearny Ave., Preschool Play and Story Time will be held Thursdays, 10:15 to 11 a.m. There is no class Feb. 12.
  • Children are invited to celebrate Valentine’s Day at the library Friday, Feb. 13, 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. Make Valentines to take home and listen to Valentine’s Day stories with your library friends. All ages are invited to participate.
  • The library will screen the following Academy Award-nominated films:– “Guardians of the Galaxy” (PG 13) on Friday, Feb. 13, at 1 p.m., “Grand Budapest Hotel” (R) (adults only) on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m., “Ida” (PG-13) on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m., “The Boxtrolls” (PG) on Friday, Feb. 20, at 4 p.m. and “Big Hero 6” on Friday, Feb. 27, at 4 p.m.
  • Celebrate the Chinese New Year at the library on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. This event includes a food demonstration with samples, an ancient music recital and a calligraphy demonstration. Call the library at 201-998- 2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org for more program information.

The Woman’s Club of Arlington meets Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 1 p.m. at the Girl Scout House, 635 Kearny Ave. Participants are asked to bring the front of holiday and other greeting cards for delivery to St. Jude’s Children Hospital.

Kearny High School’s Project Graduation sponsors a trip to Atlantic City’s Bally’s Casino Sunday, Feb. 22. A bus will depart Kearny Federal Savings, 614 Kearny Ave., at 9 a.m., with check-in at 8:45 a.m. and return to Kearny by 8 p.m. Cost is $30, and you’ll get $20 back in slot dollars. Coffee, tea, donuts and rolls will be served on the bus. For reservations, call Judy at 201-991-5812 or send email to jh519@aol.com. Reservations can also be made with Vi Abello at the front hall of Kearny High, at Mid Realty at 572 Kearny Ave., or by sending payments to Kearny Project Graduation, P.O. Box 184, Kearny, N.J. 07032. Deadline is Feb. 17.


Knights of Columbus Council 2396 will hold a Tricky Tray Friday, Feb. 20, at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. The $10 admission includes coffee plus one prize sheet of tickets. No alcohol is permitted. No tickets will be sold at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call Steve Cortese at 201-657-0800 or Sal Russo at 201-446-7244.

Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad holds its annual Tricky Tray fundraiser Feb. 19 at The Fiesta, 255 Rt. 17 S, Wood- Ridge. Doors open at 7 p.m. Drawing starts at 8 p.m. A variety of ticket packages are available at different prices. For more information, call 201-804-2469, email trickytray@emergencysquad.com or visit lyndhurstnj.org.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society are co-sponsoring a Lucky Great Backyard Bird Count Friday, Feb. 13, at 10 a.m., at DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst. Visitors will walk along the park’s trail system, counting waterfowl, raptors and any other birds they can find. To register, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4gmail.com or call 201-230-4983 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov and click on “Events.”

The Lyndhurst Library Children’s Room, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following February events:

  • Bring your child for a walk-in story on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. Grades PreK to 2 are welcome. No registration is required.
  • Winter/Spring Storytime, for ages 3 to 4 1/2, is available for two sessions at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and will be offered every Thursday from Feb. 19 to May. Registration deadline is Feb. 13.
  • Children in grades 1 to 4 are invited to create a Valentine mobile and St. Valentine’s Day cards Thursday, Feb. 12, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration is required. Call ahead of time. To register for programs, call the library at 201-804- 2478.

North Arlington

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, announces the following programs for adults:

  • Sit and Stitch Knitting and Crocheting Group meets Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m.
  • Author Rose Marie Cappiello presents a demonstration of mediumship following a discussion of her new book “Speaking from Spirit” Monday, Feb. 9, at 6:30 p.m. Books will be available for purchase for $20. For more information on library programs, call 201- 955-5640 or visit northarlington.bccls.org.

North Arlington Elks, 129 Ridge Road, hosts a Fish Fry Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, 4 to 7 p.m. Admission is $12. Dinner includes fish (fried or broiled) or fried shrimp, plus French fries, a bowl of clam chowder, a baked clam and coleslaw. Also available are shrimp cocktails, and clams on the half shell for the price of $5 for a half and $8 for a full dozen.

Garden State Rollergirls (GSR) are looking for new skaters, referees and nonskating officials for the 2015 roller derby season.

GSR’s veteran coaches will teach you how to skate, stop, master the rules of roller derby and eventually join full-contact gameplay.

GSR’s “First Skate” program is held the first Saturday of every month. Next session is Feb. 7. Practice runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Inline Skating Club of America, 170 Schuyler Ave. There is a $10 fee. Bring your gear (loaner skates/gear will be available) and a positive attitude. To R.S.V.P. or for more information, email GSRrecruit@gmail.com.

Down it comes







Photo by Ron Leir
A demolition contractor took down the old Lynn Chevrolet showroom on Kearny Ave. last Friday as the first phase of making way for a new Walgreens in Kearny. As part of the site clearance, the
former Teddy’s bar and Irish Shop, along with two homes on Quincy Ave., are also being demolished.

Nationally ranked Red Hawks feature local talent

2-4 Lucas_web

Kearny’s Aquino, Harrison’s Lucas playing big roles at MSU, now 20-1

By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

Janitza Aquino cannot comprehend that four years have passed since she left Kearny High School to play basketball at Montclair State University.

“It has definitely flown by,” Aquino said. “It’s like I just got into Montclair yesterday and now it’s coming to an end. I’ve really enjoyed every year.”

“It went fast,” Montclair State head coach Karin Harvey said. “I’m happy for Janitza and the career she’s had with us. I’m so proud of her. She’s improved every year. It’s amazing how much her game has improved. She’s played some great basketball for us.”

The Red Hawks own a 20-1 record and No. 10 national ranking among NCAA Division III schools, thanks in part to the play of Aquino, the 2011 Observer Female Athlete of the Year recipient, and to the play of another local talent, namely sophomore guard Rayven Lucas of Harrison, who has played a bigger role this season with the Red Hawks.

Aquino has been a mainstay with the Red Hawks since her sophomore year. She is currently ranked among the top 10 scorers in school history with almost 1,300 points. This season, Aquino is leading the Red Hawks in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game to go along with nearly three assists and three rebounds.

“She wasn’t a 3-point shooter when she came here,” Harvey said. “But she has worked on that aspect a lot and has become a very good shooter from the outside. She now holds all the school records for 3-pointers. What really has impressed me about Janitza is that she’s become a phenomenal leader. She takes the younger kids on her own and gets to know them well.”

Aquino believes that she has become a better player each year at Montclair.

“I’ve enjoyed each year and I’ve gotten better each year,” Aquino said. “These have been some of the greatest times in my life. I think each year I had to grow into a different role as a player. This year, I think the entire team just wants to keep improving. It’s not just me.”

Aquino has played both the point guard and off-guard slots this year in order to get freshman Kate Tobie more comfortable being a floor leader.

TOP PHOTO: Photos by Jim Hague Harrison native Rayven Lucas (l.) and Kearny’s Janitza Aquino (r.) are two of the reasons why the Montclair State women’s basketball team is ranked No. 10 nationally among NCAA Division III schools and own an impressive 20-1 record this season. ABOVE: Photo by Jim Hague Kearny’s Janitza Aquino (15) brings the ball up the floor against Rutgers-Newark last week. Aquino is leading Montclair State in scoring with a 15.8 point per game average.

Photo by Jim Hague
Kearny’s Janitza Aquino (15) brings the ball up the floor against Rutgers-Newark last week. Aquino is leading Montclair State in scoring with a 15.8 point per game average.


“I was always a point guard in high school, so I had to have the ball all the time,” Aquino said. “Now, I share the ball. Shooting was never my main thing, but now I can step out and shoot the three. I had to develop my game. Shooting was always a struggle, now it’s my main priority. I do what I can to help the team.”

One of the things Aquino has done in terms of helping the team has been the development of Lucas, the daughter of former Jets quarterback and current football TV and radio analyst Ray Lucas.

“That’s been one of the greatest things this year is watching Rayven develop,” Aquino said. “She’s up to learning new things. She knows I’m a senior this year and I was once like her. I’ve been in her spot before. She’s going to be a huge asset for this program when I’m gone. She’s learned all that she can. I’m just trying to do my part to help her learn. She’s always working hard.”

Lucas has seen her playing time dramatically improve this season. She’s averaging nearly two points per game and playing 10 minutes per game.

“It’s been like night and day since last year,” Harvey said of Lucas. “We all knew that Rayven had the athletic ability, but she still had a long way to go. She worked hard in the offseason. We gave her a list of what she needed to work on and she did that. It usually takes another semester for it to kick in, but she’s starting to do the things we want to see.”

“I worked on everything over the summer, shooting, ball handling, running,” Lucas said. “I hoped that my role would increase, because last year, I didn’t play much. I had to work hard and I’m glad that all the hard work I put in is finally paying off. I give Coach Harvey a lot of credit for giving me the chance to show I am a different player.”

Harvey likes Lucas’ improvement.

“I’m excited for her,” Harvey said. “She’s a nice young lady who comes from a great family. They all want her to be successful. She’s contributing to our team now and it’s only going to get better from here. She can continue to grow and develop. We need to get more kids like Rayven and Janitza.”

Lucas credits Aquino for her development.

“Janitza has really helped me a lot,” Lucas said. “I know that she’s leaving and there will be huge shoes to fill. I’m just grateful to help she has given me and it’s not just me, it’s everybody. She has the strength to lead us and she has the ability to find our weaknesses. We feel like we have a different connection because we’re from the same area.”

“I’m just trying to do my part,” Aquino said. “I’m trying to help on the floor and off the floor.”

Aquino will receive her degree in criminal justice in the spring. She doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life after graduation.

“I might want to come back to Kearny and become a police officer,” Aquino said. “I’m already doing my internship with the campus police here, so we will see what happens.”

Lucas knows that her final two years at MSU will be much improved thanks to her hard work and the tutelage she has received.

“This was just a stepping stone for me,” Lucas said. “There’s always room for improvement. It’s an honor to be part of this great team, highly rated, nationally ranked. It’s been a lot of fun.”

“We went to the Sweet 16 my sophomore year and the Elite Eight last year,” Aquino said. “So this year, we’re gunning for the Final Four. I couldn’t ask for a better scenario here. It’s been a privilege to be a part of something so great. A lot of people dream about what has happened to me. I got to share it with my family, my friends, my teammates. We have a great team and we’re all focused on the same goal, which is winning.”

Hopefully, the winning will continue all the way through March.

“I want to go all the way,” Lucas said. “With Janitza here, this is her year to do it. We have to do it.”

There’s no stopping Montclair State’s West Hudson connection.

Nutley hockey once again solid as a rock


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

After struggling somewhat at the end of last season, veteran Nutley High School hockey coach Eric Puzio didn’t know what to expect this season.

The Maroon Raiders did graduate nine seniors and had only three seniors returning for this season. Needless to say, there was a cause for some concern.

“I didn’t think the transformation would happen overnight,” said Puzio, who is in his ninth season as the head coach of the Maroon Raiders. “I thought it might take until midseason for them to gel and get going.”

Well, Puzio didn’t have to wait until the midway mark of the campaign for the winning to begin, because this young group of Maroon Raider ice warriors has been winning from the onset of the season.

After a 2-0 shutout victory over Livingston Saturday afternoon, the Maroon Raiders are an impressive 14-3 and are battling Livingston and Montclair for top honors in their division of the Super Essex Conference.

“The last few years have been really good for us,” Puzio said. “We’re getting a ton of production from a lot of guys. We have about nine forwards we can put out there and about five defensemen. So things are going pretty well.”

But the Maroon Raiders have two excellent net minders as well.

“I think it’s essential to have quality goalkeepers,” Puzio said. “It all starts between the pipes. You can have bad days up front and get a lack of production, but if you have a solid goalie, you have a shot to win.”

Junior Joey Hoarle has been rock solid in net.

“He started for us last year as a sophomore and was the co-MVP of the team,” Puzio said. “He has continued his stellar play for us.”

Hoarle just posted a shutout in a 2-0 win over Livingston Saturday night the Codey Arena in South Orange.

But the Maroon Raiders also have sophomore Tim Spitalnik, who gets a spot start here and there and has been undefeated since he has put on a Maroon Raiders uniform. Spitalnik is 5-0 this season and was 4-0 last year.

Senior defenseman Angelo Gaeta is the mainstay in the Maroon Raiders’ back line. Gaeta, the team’s assistant captain, has been what Puzio dubbed “a shut down defenseman for us.”

“Angelo has become a true leader for us,” Puzio said. “We only have three seniors this season, so Angelo is doing a great job as being a leader. He’s hit his stride this year and played very well.”

Gaeta has four goals and five assists this season.

A pair of juniors, namely Greg O’Connell and Joe Fontanals, has been also solid on the defensive back line.

“Both guys are doing a great job there,” Puzio said.

Sophomore Dan Caputo, a transfer from Don Bosco Prep, junior Sean Giordano and freshman Mark Frade are the rest of the Maroon Raiders’ defensive corps.

Mark Frade’s older brother, Mike, a senior center, has been the Maroon Raiders’ top scorer thus far, collecting an astounding 23 goals and adding 13 assists. The elder Frade is now 10 points shy of 100 for his career at Nutley.

“We’re fortunate enough to have a couple of guys who have tremendous numbers,” Puzio said.


Photos by Renee Hoarle TOP: Nutley junior goalkeeper Joey Hoarle has been rock solid in goal for the Maroon Raiders, picking up a shutout in a 2-0 win over Livingston last Saturday night. BOTTOM: Nutley senior center Mike Frade (l.) skates up ice during Nutley’s 2-0 win over Livingston Saturday at the Codey Arena. Frade leads the Maroon Raiders in scoring with 23 goals and 13 assists.

Photos by Renee Hoarle
TOP: Nutley junior goalkeeper Joey Hoarle has been rock solid in goal for the
Maroon Raiders, picking up a shutout in a 2-0 win over Livingston last Saturday
night. BOTTOM: Nutley senior center Mike Frade (l.) skates up ice during
Nutley’s 2-0 win over Livingston Saturday at the Codey Arena. Frade leads the
Maroon Raiders in scoring with 23 goals and 13 assists.

Junior Christian McCue is the left winger on Mike Frade’s line. He has five goals, but an amazing 16 assists this season. Junior Zack Vaughan is the right winger on Frade’s line. He has eight goals and 20 assists, leading the team.

“We’re getting a lot of production from that line,” Puzio said.

It doesn’t end there. Junior Dan Render anchors the team’s second line. Render has scored 15 goals and has 13 assists.

Junior Brendan McCormack has nine goals and eight assists and sophomore Gerard LaFuria has 11 goals and seven assists. “It’s fantastic, the way they’re spreading it out,” Puzio said.

Senior Michael Spagnuolo is the team’s resident grunt player.

“He’s a workman-like guy,” Spagnuolo said. “He is a big ‘rah-rah’ guy. He’s one of the leaders in the locker room. He doesn’t wear the ‘C’ on his chest (like a captain), but the rest of the team follows him.”

Junior Brendan Ruiz fills a role as one who “does the dirty work,” according to Puzio.

Freshman Cullen McCormack, the younger brother of Brendan, has played a big role already with four goals and four assists.

“He has a great future,” Puzio said.

Ryan O’Mara is another freshman who has fit in right away, scoring five goals and collecting three assists.

“He’s playing well and getting good ice team,” Puzio said.

The Maroon Raiders’ losses have come against state powers Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair and undefeated Madison.

“We’re in a good standing in the league and right there in the hunt,” Puzio said.

The Maroon Raiders are also in good position for the upcoming state playoffs.

“Everyone is upbeat and everyone gets along,” Puzio said. “That’s the best thing so far.”

NA’s Fisher wins NJSIAA sectional gold in pole vault


By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

The way Travis Fisher looks at it, he was born to compete in the pole vault.

After all, Fisher’s grandfather, Lance Cooper, was a standout in the pole. As were Fisher’s two uncles, Don and Bruce Cooper. Not to mention, Fisher’s older sister, Tara, the former Observer Female Athlete of the Year in 2010.

They all preceded Fisher with the pole vault at North Arlington, so it made perfect sense that Travis would follow suit.

“I was definitely fascinated by it,” Travis Fisher said. “I liked watching Tara doing it. I guess I was in the fifth or sixth grade, when I went down with my grandfather and I tried it for the first time. I jumped only about nine feet. I was pretty good right away.”

It was definitely in his blood. It also didn’t take long for Fisher to want to pole vault all the time.

“It became an obsession,” Fisher said.

So twice a week, Fisher would take lessons and train at the Apex Vaulting in Fairfield.

However, once the winter track season begins, the training becomes just a tad more tedious. That’s because there is no facility for a North Arlington athlete to use for practice during the indoor season.

“It does get hard,” Fisher said. “I do training and conditioning with my teammates, but then I have to go to Apex.”

Famed coach Branko Miric has helped Fisher work on his technique to become a better pole vault athlete.

“I have gotten bigger and stronger,” Fisher said. “I do practice more. It’s all good.”

What is also good was the effort that Fisher and his mother, Leanne, put in to convince the North Arlington Board of Education that indoor track should be a viable varsity sport in the winter months.

It used to be that the track team pretty much had to train on their own during the winter months. Fisher and his mother thought that idea was foolish.

“We were the driving force behind it,” Fisher said. “We made the push to get indoor track as a sport. We saw other schools have it and said, ‘Why can’t we have it? We put out a petition and got a lot of signatures. The Board of Education was up for it. So were the coaches. We figured it would be hard. I thought it would take a couple of years. I honestly thought it would happen when I was out of high school, or maybe my senior year at the earliest.”

The program was initiated last year and in its first year of existence, North Arlington crowned a state champion in Danny Cordeiro, last year’s Observer Male Athlete of the Year who is now a soccer standout at NJIT.

Now, the program is in its second year and maybe it’s only fitting that the next state sectional champion should be the guy who helped initiate the program.

Fisher cleared the bar at 12 feet, six inches last Saturday at the Bennett Center in Toms River, to capture the gold medal at the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I championships.

Yes, Travis Fisher is a state sectional champion.

For his efforts, Fisher has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week, much like his older sister did on a couple of occasions during her brilliant athletic career.

“It feels pretty good to win,” Fisher said. “I’ve already hit 13 feet twice this year. My goal is 13-6. Fourteen feet would be awesome. I feel pretty confident now. I’ve had a couple people close to me who tell me what I should do. I think I have a pretty good shot to go higher.”

Fisher was once a football player at North Arlington, spending time on the gridiron both as a freshman and a sophomore.

“My grandfather and I had a conversation about it and I didn’t want to injure myself playing football,” Fisher said. “I also like doing the pole vault more.”

North Arlington indoor track coach John Zukatus likes Fisher’s determination.

“He’s very dedicated to the sport,” Zukatus said. “He comes to do training and conditioning with us, then goes to Apex and works out there. That’s what you need these days to be competitive in that sport.”

During the outdoor season, Fisher will also compete in the high jump, but his main focus in the pole vault.

“That’s where his heart is,” Zukatus said. “He’s quite reserved, but he can also be funny. He’s a mix of everything. But when he’s getting ready to vault, he’s very focused. He makes things easy for me as a coach. All I have to do is go over heights with him and watch him go.”

Zukatus was asked what it was like to have a second state sectional champion in only two years of the program.

“It’s good for the kids and good for the program,” Zukatus said. “They asked for the program themselves, got their parents involved and this is the result. I’m happy for Travis. He’s worked very hard to get where he is.”

Zukatus believes that Fisher could reach even better heights at the overall Group I state championships on Feb. 14.

“I’m not going to be shocked if he wins,” Zukatus said. “We have to see what happens. He definitely has a shot.”

Fisher said that having Tara Fisher as an older sister has been a motivation to him.

“She helped me a lot,” Fisher said. “She’s now serving as a volunteer coach with us. Having Tara and watching her as a kid gave me someone to look up to and admire. My uncle Don (the former head volleyball coach at North Arlington) also helped me a lot. And having my grandpa as a personal coach has been a huge help. I have a good relationship with my family. I know that my family all did well in the pole vault. It made me really get into it.”

Fisher said that he’s looking into the possibility of competing on the college level. Seton Hall, Caldwell and Rutgers- Newark have all shown interest. He would like to major in accounting because Fisher said he’s an excellent math student.

Right now, he’s busy being excellent in the pole vault, because after all, it was all in his family.


Marlene J. Bartholomew 

Marlene J. Bartholomew of Kearny died Jan. 28. She was 79.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service was held at the First Lutheran Church followed by burial in Arlington Cemetery, both in Kearny. (www.armitagewiggins.com)

Marlene was active with the First Lutheran Church. She was a lab clerk for many years at West Hudson Hospital and worked as a receptionist for Dr. Peter Taddeo, both in Kearny, before retiring.

Wife of the late Dale Bartholomew, she is survived by her children and their spouses: Dale and Laura, Glenn and Phyllis, Thomas and Richard and Jean Bartholomew, Catherine and Stephen Peterson and Hope and Arturo Gonzalez. Sister of William and Harry Von Busch, she is also survived by 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Summit Speech School.

Julia Gallagher 

Julia Gallagher (nee Chojnacki) passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 31.

Born in Jersey City, she had lived in Kearny since 1958.

Visiting will be on Tuesday, Feb. 3, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. Relatives and friends are invited back to the funeral home on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 11 a.m., and burial will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery. (www.armitagewiggins.com)

Julia was a fashion designer for Merros Sweater Designs in Jersey City.

Wife of the late William and sister of Mary Manzo and the late Eugenia Speer, Lillian Usiak, Loretta Preckop, Henry, Leonard and Michael Chojnacki, she is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews and their families.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the hospice of your own choice.

 Alice J. Green 

Alice J. Green of Kearny died suddenly on Jan. 18 at St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark, after having just celebrated her 90th birthday the week before.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by interment in Arlington Cemetery, Kearny.

Alice was a lifelong resident of Kearny, graduating from Kearrny High School in 1940. She then attended the Berkeley Secretarial School, East Orange.

She worked as a secretary for Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company, Newark, for over 40 years, retiring in 1983.

She was installed at age 18 into the Star of The East Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, Kearny, having been installed a year after her mother, grandmother and several of her aunts, and she remained a member of the OES for over 70 years.

Some of her happiest moments were spending weekends and vacations at her family’s home in Belmar, enjoying front porch views of the sunsets at Lake Como.

She was the beloved daughter of the late Morton and Alice Kenney Green. She is survived by her relatives Lillian Paul, Kenneth Green and William Gee. Godson Brian Paul. She is also survived by many second and third cousins.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or the charity of your choice would be appreciated.

Amanda Rae Kiernan 



Amanda Rae Kiernan, of Harrison, was taken from us too soon on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the age of 23.

Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church in Harrison, followed by interment in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.

For information, directions or to send condolences to her family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Newark, she was a lifelong resident of Harrison.

Amanda worked as a one-on- one personal aide for New Beginnings, Fairfield. In her free time, she volunteered at Camp Fatima, Lebanon, and was currently studying to obtain her degree in special education. Amanda was an avid Green Bay Packers fan.

Amanda is survived by her devoted mother Maria Santos, her beloved pet, Ginger, the love of her life Kenneth Sheehan Jr., her cherished grandmothers Catherine Santos (Neri) and Darlene St. John, her dear aunt and godmother, Teresa Santos Kinsella and her husband Uncle Joey, and their children, Ava and Ryan Kinsella (cousins), Kenneth and Trish Sheehan, Courtney Sheehan Goncalves and her husband Chris and their children Maddon and Kinley, her father Shawn Kiernan and his companion, Jen and their children Shawn, Brycen and Emily Kiernan, her aunt Kim Lumba and her children A.J., Ariana and Leia (cousins), her Uncle Darren Des Londe, his children Edward and Jamie Des Londe (cousins). She is also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends.

Elizabeth M. ‘Betty’ Long 

Elizabeth M. “Betty” Long, of Harrison, passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 28. She was 81.

Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral service was held at the funeral home. Cremation was private. For information, or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Newark, Elizabeth was a Harrison resident. She was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving her country from 1953 to 1957. She worked as a customer service supervisor for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Newark, retiring after 30 years in 1996, when she moved to Newport Richey, Fla., for a decade with her sister.

Elizabeth is survived her daughters, Rosemary and her husband Lawrence Bennett, Carol Long and her son James Long; her granddaughter Elizabeth DePierola and her husband Jules and their daughter Kelly Elizabeth, her granddaughter Sarah Rodriguez and Tito and their children Vanessa and Ryan, her granddaughter Allison and Louie and their children Alana and Jocelyn, and her grandchildren Matthew, Randi, Emily and Spencer. She is also survived by her niece Susan Cicchino and her nephew Donald Cicchino, Jr.

She was predeceased by her parents James and Sarah (nee McMahon) Boyd, her grandson Lawrence Bennett Jr., her sister Rosemary Cicchino and her brother-in-law Donald Cicchino.

Patrick Norton 

Patrick Norton, 41, died peacefully in his home on Jan. 21 in Tucson, Ariz.

Born on Sept. 9, 1973, in Belleville, Patrick grew up in Kearny, graduated from Kearny High School and earned his B.A. degree in biology.

Patrick is survived by so many who loved and cherished him: his mother Linda Delli Santi; his siblings, Thomas Norton and wife Lynn, Kimberly Smith and husband Tom, Sara Norton, Richard Norton and wife Sue; his nephews, Jack Norton, Adam Norton, Ethan Smith, Thomas Z. Smith, and Kyle Norton; and his nieces, Adrianna Smith and Daylyn Smith; and so many more.

A memorial was held at Queen of Peace Church in North Arlington, followed by a repast. Patrick was taken too early and will always and forever be known for his kindness and loyalty to his family and friends.

Arrangements were by the Adair Funeral Homes-Dodge Chapel, Tuscon, Ariz.

Madeline A. Palmer 

Madeline A. Palmer (nee Webers) died Jan. 26. She was 66.

Born in Newark, she lived in Kearny before moving to North Arlington in 1980.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service was held at Grace United Methodist Church, followed by burial in Arlington Cemetery both in Kearny. (www.armitagewiggins.com)

Madeline had been a property management supervisor at Mack-Cali Realty in Edison.

She is survived by her loyal husband John L. Palmer and her loving children Wendy Raftery (Kevin) and Brian Palmer (Michelle). She is also survived by her dear sisters Nancy Rowe (Marty) and Diane Owens. She was the sister-in-law of Heide Webers, Tom Owens and Jean Toropiw. Also surviving are her cherished grandchildren Kathryn, Liam and Aidan. She was predeceased by her brothers Gary and Douglas Webers.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Barnabas Hospice or The American Cancer Society.

Robert Trzepla 

Robert Trzepla, 61, died suddenly on Jan. 31.

The funeral will be from the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 8:30 a.m. A funeral Mass will be offered at St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, at 9:30 a.m. Cremation will be private. Visiting will be on Tuesday, Feb. 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thielereid.com.

Mr. Trzepla was born in Newark and had lived in Kearny for the last 54 years.

He was a driver for the Town of Kearny’s Meals on Wheels and Dial A Ride programs. Prior, he was a senior computer analyst at Hartz Mountain in Secaucus for 20 years.

Robert is survived by his wife Lois (nee Zbuchalski); children Melinda Kelly (Christopher), Kevin Trzepla (Jennifer) and Daniel Trzepla. He was the brother of Stephanie Palmer, Carol Bittman (Rich), Janet Cardullo (Stephen) and Edward Trzepla (Karen). He was the grandfather of Emma and Katelyn Trzepla.

Robert was predeceased by his siblings Ann Marie Sylvester, Walter Trzepla Jr. and his brother-in-law Walter Palmer.

Please omit flowers. Contributions to the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) in Robert’s memory would be greatly appreciated.

Barbara E. Washburn 

Barbara Esther Washburn, 61, of Rhoadsville, Va., passed away Sunday evening, Jan. 25, with her husband by her side, after a lengthy illness.

Barbara was born Aug. 22, 1953, to Howard John and Barbara Ethel (Lemke) McCarthy in Newark. She graduated from Kearny High School and continued her education, taking courses in nursing. She met and married Douglas Nelson Washburn Aug. 31, 1971, in Conway, S.C. They relocated several times before moving to Fredericksburg, Va., in 2001 and to Burr Hill, Va., in 2005.

Barbara had worked as supervisor of 911 dispatch, in Sumter County, Fla., and as a department manager for Walmart, before retiring due to her illness. But her most important job had been as mother to her two sons.

Survivors include: her husband, Douglas; two sons, Douglas Edward Washburn and Erik John (Robin) Washburn; two brothers, Michael and David McCarthy; three sisters, Dorothy Gawronski, Linda Norton and Deborah Gill; and three grandchildren, Paige, Robert and Morgan.

Private family services will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be made at laurelhillfuneralhome.com.