By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent KEARNY – After months of wrangling with his employer, the Kearny Board of Education, Frank Ferraro has tendered his resignation as Kearny superintendent of schools, effective Nov. 1. Ferraro, who was facing the threat of being fired after the board had brought tenure charges […]
KEARNY – A 13-year school employee has been promoted to vice principal assigned to Kearny High School. Paul Measso, 37, was appointed to his new job Oct. 20 at an annual salary of $128,163 (pro-rated), pending receipt of his principal certificate of eligibility from Trenton. He completed a master’s degree […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent HARRISON – The town’s first affordable residence for senior citizens at 774 Harrison Ave. is getting ever closer to reality. As construction of the 15-unit building nears completion, the sponsor, Domus Corp., the housing arm of Catholic Charities of Newark, has begun the process […]
By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent KEARNY – When Kearny Vice Squad detectives busted a Newark man for drug possession/distribution Oct. 17 on Maple St., they reported recovering 135 folds of heroin. While the suspect was languishing in the Hudson County Jail on $40,000 bail, the KPD […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent EAST NEWARK – A court ruling has cleared the way – over objections by Harrison – for a Nov. 4 nonbinding referendum asking borough voters, “Should East Newark high school students be sent to Kearny High School instead of Harrison High School?” Harrison Board […]
Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., offers storytime for toddlers and preschoolers beginning Oct. 8 and every Wednesday at 11 a.m. No registration is required. For more information, call the library at 973-450-3434.
All civic associations, classic cars and motorcycle clubs are invited to participate in the Belleville Veterans Day Parade slated for 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., hosts the following events:
- Join certified Hypnocounselor Kathy Lindert and learn more about using hypnosis to help manage stress, lose weight and more on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m.
- Movie Screenings: “Jobs” (Ashton Kutcher) (PG-13) on Oct. 2, “Olympus Has Fallen” (Aaron Eckhart) (R) on Oct. 6, “What Maisie Knew” (Julianne Moore) (R) on Oct. 9, “Labor Day” (Kate Winslet) (PG-13) on Oct. 16, “Noah” (Jennifer Connelly) (PG-13) on Oct. 20, “The Spectacular Now” (Miles Teller) (R) on Oct. 23, “About Time” (Domhnall Gleeson) (R) on Oct. 27, “The Haunting” (Richard Johnson) (NR) on Oct. 30. All films start at 12:15 p.m.
Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave., announces the following events. For tickets, reservations or more information, call the Oakeside office 973-429-0960.
- Bloomfield Mandolin Orchestra performs a selection of traditional Italian music on Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15.
- Garden of Pink Dedication celebrates the center’s “Sponsor a Tulip” program for its Breast Cancer Awareness garden on Oct. 18 at 10 a.m.
- Kids 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.
Harrison Lions Club will conduct its White Cane fundraiser from Thursday, Oct. 2 to Saturday, Oct. 5, at various locations throughout Harrison. Club members will be in front of Red Bull Stadium from 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 5, accepting donations and old eyeglasses. For more information, visit http://e-clubhouse.org/ sites/harrisonnj/index.php or e-mail harrisonlionsclub@ yahoo.com.
The annual Blessing of the Animals, marking the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, will be held Saturday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m. at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center (formerly Boystown), 499 Belgrove Drive. The pets (cats, dogs, birds, goldfish, etc.) will be gathered on the front lawn by the St. Francis statue. For more information, call 201-998-0088.
Trinity Church, 575 Kearny Ave., hosts a fish, chicken and chips dinner Friday, Oct. 3, 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and two for $30. Take-out will also be available. Tricky Tray will be held 8 to 9 p.m. For tickets, call Annamarie at 201-998- 2368 after 5:30 p.m. or the parish office at 201-991-5894.
Grace United Methodist Church, 380 Kearny Ave., sponsors a fair on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The church’s tea room will be open all day. For more information, call the church office at 201-991-1132.
Good Shepherd Church, 780 Kearny Ave., holds a blood drive, in conjunction with New Jersey Blood Services on Oct. 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., sponsors an Oktoberfest on Friday, Oct. 24, in the church basement. The event includes live music and food. (BYOB). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $25. For tickets, call 201-991-2808 or the rectory at 201-998-4616.
Kearny UNICO hosts “Wheels for Vic,” a fundraiser to purchase a power wheelchair for Kearny resident Victor Muniz, Sunday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m., in the former Boystown gym, 499 Belgrove Drive. The $30 admission covers a raffle, lunch and live music. Muniz was paralyzed after a tree branch fell on him during a 2008 summer storm. For tickets or more information, contact Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409, Joseph Sgalia at 201- 998-6879, Rossana McLaughlin at 201-407-7262, or Judy Hyde at 201-991-5812. The committee also welcomes both monetary and/or gift donations for this event.
Pathways to Independence sponsors its 13th annual Walk-a- Thon Saturday, Oct. 4, 10 a.m. to noon, at West Hudson Park, Schuyler Ave. entrance. All are welcome. Proceeds benefit adults with disabilities who attend Pathways programs. Registration forms are available at Pathways, 60 Kingsland Ave. or before the walk, starting at 9 a.m. This event includes refreshments, raffles, a free T-shirt for participants donating $100 or more in pledges and much more. For more information, call Pathways Executive Director Alvin Cox at 201-997-9371, ext. 18.
A Doggie Halloween Parade and Festival, sponsored by KUEZ, is set for Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Arlington Depot Park, off Midland Ave. between Forest and Elm Sts. Dogs can be registered to participate in a costume contest. Current dog license and proof of rabies vaccine are required. Forms are available at www.kearnynj.org, KUEZ, 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.
Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m. Children ages 8 to 17 are welcome to use the club’s gym, pool tables, electronic games and more. The club also plans to offer a teen basketball league and monthly dances, among other activities. For more information, call 201- 991-6734.
Registration is open for a walk to benefit the American Diabetes Association set for Sunday, Oct. 5, at Riverside County Park, Riverside Ave. (entrance on Valley Brook Ave.) Participants must check in at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 11 a.m. The event will include vendors, health seminars and activities for kids. To register, visit www.diabetes.org/lyndhurstwalk.
The first Sunday of the month free two-hour nature walk with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society, is set for Sunday, Oct. 5, at 10 a.m., at the Mill Creek Marsh, Secaucus. Check meadowblog. net for last-minute weather updates. You will have to sign a standard liability release 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.
American Legion Post 139, 217 Webster Ave., announces its eighth annual Clam Lover’s Family Barbecue is slated for Oct. 4, 1 to 6 p.m. Advance tickets cost $25. Includes all-you- can-eat clams steamed and on the half-shell and much more. For tickets or more information, call the Post at 201-933-4120.
Lyndhurst Public Library, 353 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following events:
- Walk-in Story is open to kids in pre-k to grade 2 every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. No registration is required.
- Fit4Kids Magic Show for children ages 3 to 10 is offered Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 3:30 p.m. Registration is required. Call the library at 201-804-2478.
The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst sponsors a children’s Tricky Tray on Oct. 18, at the Senior Building, 250 Cleveland Ave., at noon. Tickets are $5. For tickets, call Janet at 201- 935-1208.
Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., hosts a dinner and osteoporosis seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m., at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. Call the department at 201- 804-2500 to register.
American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37 meets on Monday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. at the VFW hall, 222 River Road. For more information, call 201-214- 8253,
North Arlington High School Competition Cheer Squad sponsors a clothing drive on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the high school’s front entrance on Ridge Road. Clothes, coats, shoes, handbags, linens, towels, comforters, curtains and toys will be accepted.
Queen of Peace Rosary Society sponsors a Tricky Tray on Friday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m., at San Carlo Fine Caterers, Lyndhurst. Admission is $40 and includes four-course dinner and one sheet of small prize tickets. Prizes include gift baskets, gift certificates and more. Grand prize values start at $500, which includes an iPad and much more. For more information and tickets, call Betsy at 201-997-3914 or Pegeen at 201-246-1030.
North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, offers the following programs. For more information, call the library at 201-955-5640
- Carole King tribute show is set for Saturday, Oct. 4, at noon.
- The annual Friends of the Library Attic Treasures Sale is set for Saturday, Oct. 4 and Sunday, Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Senior Center, located behind the library.
- Learn all about self-publishing on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m.
- Attend a lecture on coin collection on Saturday, Oct. 11, at 11 a.m. • SAT practice test is open to grades 9 and up on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 1 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.formstack.com/ forms/?1774866-DWur9MjZPt.
North Arlington Elks, 129 Ridge Road, hosts a fish fry on Oct. 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. Cost is $12. Shrimp cocktail and clams on the half-shell will also be available for $5 for a half-dozen and $8 for a dozen.
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 to attend. 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. For more information, call 973-667-0405.
- For children: • Preschool Story Time, featuring picture books and crafts, is held Wednesday, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Registration required.
- Two-Year-Old Story Time meets Friday, Oct.3, 10, 17, 24, at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Registration is required. • Play Fridays is open to all ages to play board and video games on Oct. 3 at 3 p.m. No registration required.
- Manga/Anime Teen Club for grades 7 to 12 meets Friday, Oct. 3 and 17, at 3 p.m.
- Lego Tech Club for grades 2 to 6 meets Monday, Oct. 6 at 3:30 p.m. • P.J. Story Time is open to all ages on Monday, Oct. 6 and 20, at 7 p.m. Registration is not required.
- Babygarten is open to 23 months and under, every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. and includes books, nursery rhymes and playtime. Registration is required. Only residents may attend.
- First Friday Films presents “Heaven Is for Real” Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.
- Meet Nutley’s Catherine Greenfeder, author of “Wildflowers,” a western historical romance, on Monday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.
- A Touch of Sinatra, a musical show about the life and music of Frank Sinatra is set for Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. Seating is limited.
The Department of Parks and Recreation, 44 Park Ave., offers an art workshop open to grades 1 to 6. This eight-week program resumes Oct. 11. Classes will be held Saturdays at the department. The fee is $30 per child. Class size is limited and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Online registration is available at https://nutleynj.my.govi. com/recreation. For more information, call 973-284-4966, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The Department of Public Affairs, in collaboration with the Fine Art Alliance of Nutley, hosts the Kingsland Manor Experience on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Kingsland Manor, 3 Kingsland Road. Artists will be creating new work using various media as patrons walk the grounds of the manor. A suggested donation of $5 per person will be collected at the door, with all of the proceeds going to the Kingsland Manor.
Scores crucial goal in 3-1 win at Red Bull Arena
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
When the high school soccer season began in early August, Edgar Najarro was simply a backup goalkeeper to Kearny High School’s celebrated net minder Sebastian Ferreira, one of the best goalies in the entire state.
Najarro knew that there wasn’t going to be much playing time in net with the Kardinals.
“I was a goalie on the club level this summer, but I’ve always been a field player,” Najarro explained. “I was the leading goal scorer on the JV (junior varsity) team the last two years. I just wanted to get a chance to play.”
Two weeks ago, Najarro got a chance to play on the forward line as a reserve.
Last week, Najarro scored a huge goal in overtime, giving the Kardinals a tough 3-2 victory over North Bergen. Last Saturday, the Kardinals faced neighboring rival Harrison at Red Bull Arena, with approximately 5,000 avid soccer fans in attendance.
Najarro was hoping to make his mark.
“I woke up in the morning and realized that I had to go out there and prove myself, if I got a chance to play,” Najarro said.
Najarro did just that. Inserted into the game after halftime, Najarro got himself in perfect position to score a gigantic goal.
“I just put him in the game,” Kearny head coach Bill Galka said. “And he made a beautiful chip to the goal from 20 yards out. It was as beautiful of a goal as you’re going to see.”
On his first touch of the game, Najarro got his foot on the ball and fired it.
“Matthew Neto had the ball, but he just ran out of space, so I got it,” Najarro said. “I hit it well and it went to the top left corner of the net.”
Najarro’s goal in the 53rd minute snapped a 1-1 tie and propelled Kearny to a 3-1 victory in the showdown of the area’s top two clubs.
It was the first time that the two teams had played in Red Bull Arena in three years. Kearny won that game as well by a 2-1 score.
Galka was not pleased with his team at halftime with the game deadlocked.
“I came off a little upset at half,” Galka said. “We were a little outnumbered in the midfield and they had too much possession of the ball. So we talked about it and made some adjustments. We were able to defend better and counter their play. We were able to get more control of the ball. We picked our game up in the second half.”
Ferreira was outstanding in net for the Kards. He made nine saves, several of which were sprawling stops.
“He was big all game for us, stopping shots from a long distance,” Galka said. “He made some tremendous saves to keep us in it. He showed good poise, because it was a back and forth game.”
Daniel Vicente, who returned to the Kearny program this season, got the Kardinals going with an early goal in just the second minute of the game. It looked like Kearny was ready to run the Blue Tide right out of Red Bull Arena.
But Christian Restrepo’s header in the 20th minute tied the game for Harrison, which is the way the game stayed through halftime.
It was soon to be Najarro time.
“It meant a lot to me that my mom (Diane) and dad (Rolando) were there to see it,” Najarro said. “I also have the game on tape, too. I’ve scored some big goals, like the North Bergen one, but not quite as big as this one. Especially on that stage, in front of all those people.” And against the dreaded rival, who had a tough week. Everyone in Harrison was concerned about the health and well being of former Harrison All-State great Modou Sowe, who collapsed during a Ramapo College game last week and was rushed to a hospital. Sowe was later released after it was learned he was suffering from the ill effects of a concussion, but there was a ton of concern for Sowe, even at the game Saturday.
Najarro made sure that it was going to be a frightful Saturday afternoon for the Blue Tide.
“It was definitely the experience of a lifetime,” Najarro said. “From the minute we got off the bus to the minute we went back home, everything was professional. I’m absolutely going to remember it for the rest of my life.”
Arturo Sanchez capped the scoring with a goal with about seven minutes left to play, giving Kearny the twogoal advantage.
“Anytime you play at Red Bull Arena, it’s a thrill,” Galka said. “I know both teams like playing there and the towns like it as well. There was great fan support for both teams. The faculty, administration, students, local fans, you name it, they were there. It was a great atmosphere and a great experience for the kids.”
Galka’s team now owns a state ranking (No. 16 overall) and an undefeated mark at 6-0-2, with ties against St. Peter’s Prep and Union.
“We’re playing well,” Galka said. “We just got some players back. (Marcelo) Matta just got back from a concussion. He was big for us in the second half. He only had two days of practice. Alexi Velasquez was also injured and couldn’t practice all week, but he played well. I think we’re finding our way.”
Just like the former goalie found the net – and created a memory of a lifetime.
The Kearny girls completed the sweep of the doubleheader, handling the Harrison girls in easy fashion, 6-0.
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
When the New Jersey City University men’s soccer team prepared to begin the 2014 season, the Gothic Knights were missing a very important ingredient. They needed a goalkeeper.
NJCU head men’s soccer coach Patrick Snyder thought he had two recruits entering the program this fall.
“We had some options, but one kid just didn’t fit our profile,” Snyder said. “Both of our goalkeepers from last year didn’t return – one chose to leave and the other didn’t have the academics down.”
So Snyder made one phone call – to former Observer Male Athlete of the Year Tyler Krychkowski.
The celebrated North Arlington High School graduate, the recipient of The Observer’s top award in 2012, had been a midfielder with the Gothic Knights for the first two years of his college career.
Krychkowski was always asked to be the emergency fill-in at goalie – even though he never played the position at all.
“I told Tyler that he had to be ready to help if we needed him,” Snyder said. “I really thought we had at least one goalie, but that didn’t work out. I know I should have asked Tyler if he wanted to be the goalie, but I guess I basically told him.
” The response was typical Tyler.
“I just told him I would do it for the team,” Krychkowski said. “There was no one else around to step up and take over. I wanted to have a good season, so I decided to do it.”
With no formal goaltending training at all, Krychkowski donned the gloves, got a new uniform to wear and headed toward manning the goal.
“I worked hard with our goalie coach Mike Coughlin,” Krychkowski said. “I guess my athleticism helped me. I worked really hard with Mike to get ready to play.”
Krychkowski’s natural athletic ability carried him. After all, Krychkowski was a three-sport standout at North Arlington – a goal-scoring machine in soccer, a 1,000-point scorer in basketball and a track and field expert. It was a no-brainer the year he was selected as Observer Male Athlete of the Year.
“I didn’t have any doubts in myself handling it, because I worked so hard at it,” Krychkowski said. “The key was not making too many mistakes.”
“He really took to it,” Snyder said. “We just didn’t know if he could handle it, but after training a little, Tyler got better and better and felt pretty comfortable with it. He’s just a selfless kid. I just hoped that his athleticism and dedication would carry him.”
Snyder likes what Krychkowski has done in the new position.
“He’s a roaming goalie,” Snyder said. “He likes to come outside of the box and go after the ball. He can jump well and knows how to use his body.”
The results have been staggering. Krychkowski, thrust into a new position that he never played before, has become one of the best net minders in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
Krychkowski collected a shutout in one of his first games as a goalie. In 11 games, he’s surrendered just 17 goals, a 1.44 goals against average, and he’s collected 68 saves.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed, as Krychkowski was named the NJAC Player of the Week, the league’s defensive player of the week and was honored by the ECAC as its Defensive Player of the Week. Krychkowski was also honored as the Disney Soccer/ NCAA Division III National Player of the Week.
Let’s go one step even further. In the Sept. 15 editions of Sports Illustrated, Krychkowski was featured as one of the prestigious magazine’s Faces in the Crowd.
Yes, the impromptu goalie getting national recognition. Not a bad gig at all.
“I was really nervous before the first game, but I got the shutout,” Krychkowski said. “Then, I realized I can be pretty good at this. I am definitely surprised by it. The defense has played very well in front of me. If the guys in front of me are playing hard, we have a good chance of not allowing a goal.” Krychkowski said that his experience as a field player has helped him as a collegiate soccer goalkeeper.
“Just knowing where the forward is playing has helped me in goal,” Krychkowski said. “I just reversed it all. I learned all the key words I have to say to my teammates. I’m still learning that. The athleticism I have definitely helps. I know where I have to be. I just know the game and I’ve learned a lot from my goalie coach. I know now I can be a goalie. The confidence level is high playing goalie. I just do what I have to do.”
Snyder said that he knew he had a winner when he told Tyler to change positions.
“Our whole team philosophy has changed in that we’re trying to defend more,” Snyder said. “Everyone on the team wants to defend. They knew what was good for our program. As soon as Mike and I made the decision to go with Tyler, we knew. Tyler just threw a pair of gloves on, had a few practices and was ready to go.”
Krychkowski had some tough moments in the last week, facing NJAC powers Montclair State and defending league champion Rutgers- Camden. But he’s still there, still in goal, still doing what’s best for the Gothic Knights.
“It is a little different,” Krychkowski said. “The attention and everything has started to settle down. I’m getting used to being in goal. I like where I am right now. It could have been far worse.”
But Krychkowski isn’t about to make playing goalkeeper a permanent slot.
“It’s definitely a one-year deal,” Krychkowski said. “Scoring goals, there’s no better feeling in the world. Okay, I won’t do it this year, but I will be back trying to score goals next year, no doubt.”
“I think it’s a testament to Tyler and the whole team,” Snyder said. “We are now going after good kids, good students. I know it can work.”
As long as Snyder finds diamonds in the rough like Tyler Krychkowski, a former goal scorer supreme now working his tail off to prevent goals from scoring. Such is life as a soccer player.
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
Craig Merkle didn’t have to go far to find inspiration in becoming a standout high school football player. The Nutley High School junior could have easily found that motivation in his own living room.
That’s because Craig Merkle has two older brothers who paved the way for him to become a Maroon Raider.
First, Chris Merkle went from being a fine two-way performer with the Maroon Raiders to a great career at Montclair State and eventually became a professional football player, toiling for a few years in the Arena Football League.
Then, middle brother Kevin came along and played for the Maroon Raiders before heading off to Union College two years ago.
“They definitely motivated me a lot,” Craig Merkle said. “I used to always go to Chris’ games when he played and I always followed Kevin. I always wanted to be a good football player like my older brothers. It was definitely a little tough, knowing all that Chris did and how far he got. They were some huge shoes to fill.”
Merkle definitely showed that he was ready to become the next in line last year, when he went from being a sophomore reserve to a prime-time performer.
“We tried to break him in slowly last year, because he was a sophomore,” Nutley head coach Tom Basile said. “But he ended up scoring 11 touchdowns every way imaginable, running, catching, kick returns, defense. He ended up leading the team in tackles. We worked him in as the season went on. He became a starter and wasn’t coming out.”
In fact, the youngest Merkle brother was so impressive that he earned a remarkable distinction as a sophomore.
“We gave him the Most Outstanding Player award at the season end banquet,” Basile said. “It’s virtually unheard of to give it to a sophomore, but that was the way to show everyone how talented he is. Obviously, he was our best player. He’s a good all-around football player.”
Merkle said that he was shocked that he earned the MVP trophy.
“I was pretty surprised,” Merkle said. “I didn’t think I had a chance to get it. It was a great accomplishment.”
But Merkle knew that he couldn’t rest on the laurels he gained a year ago.
“I knew I had to keep working hard,” Merkle said. “I knew that I would be the main running back this year, so that made me work a little harder. I loved the idea that I would be getting the ball more.”
In Basile’s eyes, it was a nobrainer.
“I did expect Craig to be the workhorse back this year, somewhere in the 20-to-25 times per game,” Basile said. “We do have other weapons, but Craig is our go-to guy. He’s the one who can get the tough extra yard, but he’s also the one who could break one. He’s that kind of kid.”
Merkle proved to be that kind of player – and then some – Saturday afternoon against West Orange. He carried the ball 29 times for 192 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 13 and 51 yards. Merkle also gathered an interception and returned it 77 yards for another touchdown, leading the Maroon Raiders to a 49-27 victory, a win that pushed Nutley’s record to an impressive 3-0 in the early stages of the 2014 season.
For his efforts, Merkle has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week. Merkle is the first honoree for the 2014-2015 scholastic sports season. The weekly feature will culminate with the presentation of the Observer Male and Female Athletes of the Year sometime in June and July of 2015.
Basile said that Craig Merkle is a combination of his older two brothers.
“Craig is the best of both worlds,” Basile said. “He has the personality of Kevin and the intensity and physical level that Chris had. Kevin was more cerebral, but Craig has the best of both brothers. It’s a great football family. They’re all supportive of the program.”
Basile said that he loves Craig’s work ethic.
“He’s the one who is working all year round,” Basile said. “He never misses a day in the weight room and he also runs track in the spring, so he’s training all the time.”
Basile said that Merkle is also a great student and product of the Nutley community.
“He’s a solid B-plus student,” Basile said. “He does his job in the classroom. He’s also involved in the community. He’s the total package. He’s just a well rounded guy.”
Basile also feels that Merkle is a college football prospect.
“I think he’s still going to grow some,” said Basile of Merkle, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 220 pounds. “He’s basically still a baby. I obviously think he can play in college. He has the size and the strength to do it.”
But Merkle is just a junior. He has another year of high school football to worry about.
But Merkle has that goal in his sights already.
“That’s what I hope for every day,” Merkle said. “I want to play in college. That’s my dream.”
Merkle said that he doesn’t have a preference for which way he would want to play, either running back or linebacker.
“As a kid, I always played defense and it was my favorite,” Merkle said. “But when I got to high school, I liked running the ball, so now, I really don’t know. I like to play both.”
The Maroon Raiders will now get challenged in their schedule, facing Montclair this week.
“It’s a reality check now,” Basile said. “Our schedule gets solid now. We’re going to see what Nutley is all about.”
“We’re going good right now,” Merkle said. “We have a tough schedule coming up, beginning with Montclair, so we have to go in with a good mind. But right now, this feels great. Everyone is looking good.”
Just not as good as the Maroon Raiders’ best player, the one from the strong football family.
Patricia Ann Caruso
Patricia Ann Caruso died peacefully on Sept. 14. She was 74. Born in Jersey City, she lived in Kearny since 1985. Arrangements were handled by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was offered at St. Stephen’s Church, followed by burial in Arlington Cemetery. To leave online condolences please visit www.armitagewiggins.com
Patricia is the wife of Joseph B. Caruso and is the mother of John Caruso (Geralyn) and the late Bernard; sister of the late Nora Driscoll, Dorothy Hansen and Michael Driscoll. Also surviving are her grandchildren Kristen, Lauren, Jenny and Gillian and four great-grandchildren
In lieu of flowers kindly make a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Stephen J. Nemeth
Stephen J. Nemeth, 92, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 28, at Hackensack Medical Center in Hackensack. He was born in Throop, Pa., and lived in Kearny for the past 45 years.
Steve worked for Breeze- Eastern Corp. in Union, for over 63 years. He served on the U.S. Army during World War II and was honorably discharged.
He was the son of the late Louis and Louise ( Nee Horvath ) Nemeth; dear brother of the late Margaret, Anna, Cecelia, Louise, Rose and John; cherished uncle of Gail Bellog (his goddaughter), Joanne Pearn, Dennis Bellog and his wife Michelle and Arleen Kinsley and her husband Raymond Jr.; he is also survived by many cherished nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Relatives and friends are welcome to attend the funeral on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. at the Shaw-Buyus Home for Services, 138 Davis Ave., at Bergen Ave., Kearny, followed by a funeral Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kearny, at 10 a.m. Entombment will be in Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington. Visitation is Tuesday, Sept. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.buyusfuneralhome.com.
Agnes R. Gretchen
Agnes R. Gretchen (nee Pawlowicz) died peacefully at home on Sept. 21. Arrangements were handled by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was offered at St. Stephens Church, followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.
Agnes was the wife of the late Matrue Gretchen and is survived by her children Lorraine Gretchen and Dennis (Carolyn) Gretchen. Sister of Alice Daniels she is also survived by her grandchildren Denise Doorly and Michael Gretchen and her great grandchildren Donovan, Hayden and Katarina.
In lieu of flowers kindly consider a donation to Van Dyke Hospice.
ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, and Ultra Fitness Center/ The Unique Women’s Gym recently hosted an Outdoor Exercise Extravaganza at ShopRite’s New York Ave. store.
Zumba and strength-training classes were offered to the public as part of National Cholesterol Education Month and ShopRite’s annual Partners in Caring program. Participant donations benefited Partners in Caring, designed to raise hunger awareness and funds for local food programs. As weights, the sessions used canned goods that were purchased by and collected from participants to be donated to a food drive.
Each month, ShopRite of Lyndhurst hosts a wide range of LiveRight events that are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Julie Harrington at 201-419-9154 or email Julie.harrington@ wakefern.com.
At about 4:35 p.m., the owner of a 2009 Hyundai Elantra came into Harrison Police HQ to report that someone damaged his vehicle while it was parked on Cleveland Ave., just off Hiram Place, sometime between 4 p.m. Sept. 20 and 9:45 a.m. Sept. 22.
Police said the vehicle was scratched on the driver’s side, from the fender to the rear door.
The owner told police that two weeks prior, when his vehicle was parked in the same location, someone had placed on his vehicle’s windshield a note written on the back of a receipt from Kearny Auto Spa saying that the way the vehicle was parked, it had taken up two parking spaces. At that time, the vehicle was untouched, the owner reported.
At about 7:30 p.m., a man entered HQ to report a theft. The man told police that when he’d entered his Washington St. apartment at 4:30 p.m., he discovered that his laptop and iPod were missing.
The HP Pavilion laptop was valued at about $700 while the iPod touch was priced at about $200, the tenant told police.
Earlier in the day, the man told police he had friends in the apartment.
Detectives are investigating.
– Ron Leir
By Karen Zautyk
On Sunday afternoon, at a Mass of Thanksgiving marking the 75th anniverary of the dedication of St. Stephen’s Church, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda stood in the sanctuary and gazed up at the breathtaking Gothic architecture and told the congregation that what he was viewing wasn’t a parish church.
“This,” he said, “is a cathedral.”
Observer readers who have been fortunate enough to visit St. Stephen’s would agree. The soaring vaulted ceiling, the columned nave, the magnificent reredos behind the main altar, the light coming through the exquisite stained glass windows … it all lends a particular sense of grandeur to this house of worship.
Later, after the readings and the gospel — and hymns that had echoed through the building — Hebda took to the pulpit to deliver the homily, which he prefaced with the comment, “Not only does this church look like a cathedral, it sounds like a cathedral!”
But bricks and mortar and glass and marble and wood are just part of the story of St. Stephen’s. Citing “the vitality of this parish after 75 years,” the archbishop noted: “This building is only a manifestation of what it going on in your hearts.”
“We know that God is here,” Hebda said, and for 75 years “this has been a place where people could open their hearts to the Lord.”
Hundreds of hearts were opened on Sunday, for the huge church was filled for a celebration not only of parish history but, more importantly, of the common Roman Catholic faith the parishioners cherish.
Hebda was the representative of the Archdiocese of Newark at the Mass, at which more than a half-dozen other clergy officiated along with the pastor, the Rev. Joseph A. Mancini. And the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard added to the ceremonial pomp. As did the incense wafting through the nave.
It should be noted that St. Stephen’s Parish predates the church at Kearny and Laurel Aves. by four decades.
The parish itself was founded in 1899 as a mission of St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny. In 1900, St. Stephen’s began holding services in what had been a small Methodist church on Chestnut St. in the Arlington section.
Eventually, the parish built its own church, and school, at Midland Ave. and Chestnut St. (St. Stephen’s School operated for many years before being replaced by Mater Dei Academy, which occupied the building from 2009 to 2012.)
The present church was dedicated Sept. 17, 1939, and there is a photo taken at that ceremony showing the Rev. John P. Washington leading a procession into the building.
A little more than three years later, on Feb. 3, 1943, Father Washington would die in the North Atlantic — one of the Four Chaplains whose heroism would be remembered not only at St. Stephen’s, but around the world. Along with Protestant ministers the Revs. George L. Fox and Clark V. Poling and Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, the priest perished on the USAT Dorchester, which had been torpedoed by a German submarine. The Four Chaplains gave up their lifejackets, and their lives, to save Dorchester crewmembers.
St. Stephen’s was Washington’s last parish assignment before he was appointed a U.S. Army chaplain in World War II. There has long been a plaque inside the church honoring him, and now the Four Chaplains Memorial, an impressive bronze sculpture, graces the church lawn.
On Sunday, following the Mass, adults and children were gathering around that memorial — and then, more than 360 of them sat down for a picnic on the lawn. A table, running nearly the width of the grassy plot, bore a bounty of food, all of it prepared by parishioners. There would also be music, and games for the children, and even a “dunk tank.” (Alas, we could not stay for the festivities, so we don’t know who got dunked, but somehow we doubt it was the archbishop.)
We chatted briefly with Cyndie Schirm, who was arranging the food table, and we learned that the event was planned and brought to fruition by a committee of Parish Council members. Kudos to all.
The sight of the overflowing trays and bowls and casseroles brought to mind something Hebda had said in his homily. Citing the parable of the loaves and fishes (five loaves and two fishes with which Christ fed a multitude), the archbishop noted that afterwards, the disciples had gathered up the scraps that were left from the feast, and these filled 12 baskets.
“Count the baskets of God’s blessings before you,” he told the congregation at the Mass. “You should rejoice, for what a blessing this parish has been.”
In his remarks following the service, Mancini referred to a bit of popular history. The year 1939, the same year the beautiful St. Stephen’s Church was dedicated, brought, he noted, “two very important cultural events.”
On July 4, in his farewell appearance at Yankee Stadium, the dying Lou Gehrig told the crowd, “. . . today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
And later that year, “The Wizard of Oz” was released.
“Today,” Father Joe said, “we consider ourselves to be the luckiest Catholics on the face of the earth because there is no place like our spiritual home.”
(Editor’s note: The Giants won Sunday, didn’t they? We saw more than one Manning jersey in church. We’re not saying, we’re just saying.)
By Ron Leir
A sacred relic has been purloined from Holy Cross Church in Harrison, according to police and church officials. The religious artifact is believed by the church faithful to be a piece of the original Cross of Christ from Jerusalem and has been in the church’s keeping at least since its founding in Harrison in 1886, said the Rev. Joseph Girone, pastor of Holy Cross.
“We were told by [former pastor] Monsignor John Gilchrist that the relic was brought here when the church was built as a gift from Rome,” explained the Rev. Francisco Gonzalez, parochial vicar of Holy Cross and youth minister.
A Harrison PD report issued last Monday, Sept. 15, gave this account of its disappearance: On the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 11, police were called to the church on a report of a burglary. Upon arrival, officers were told that the night before, at about 7:15 p.m., a church volunteer found a stranger in the sacristy carrying one of the church’s donation collection bags.
When the volunteer asked the man what was inside the bag, he replied: “Trash.” At that point, the volunteer told the man she was going to get a priest, Father Rodriguez, and left the sacristy.
After being alerted to the situation, Father Rodriguez confronted the intruder in the rectory kitchen where the man was searching through the cabinets. When asked what he was doing, the man replied: “I’m hungry.” The priest asked the man to leave and escorted him to the rear kitchen door.
Going to the sacristy, where the man was first seen, Father Rodriguez discovered that the relic – which, according to Father Girone, had been left in its receptacle on a table to be polished in preparation for Sunday’s Feast of the Holy Cross – was missing.
Girone said the artifact is normally kept in a rectory safe but had been removed for its once-a-year cleaning. The reliquary is in the shape of a cross about a foot long encased in a brass canister with the tiny relic itself contained in a glass “eye” and is used on special occasions, such as when priests offer a blessing for the sick.
What police described as “an unknown amount of rare gems” were said to be affixed to a portion of the artifact. Father Girone produced a framed certificate of authenticity for it written in Latin and signed by James J. O’Gorman, possibly a bishop of the period, and dated April 21, 1907.
This past Sunday, Sept. 14, the church had another surprise visit – this one from members of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Police Department – who were returning two liturgical identified as being from Holy Cross which they said were found near railroad tracks in Jersey City along with a canopy known as the “banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” which the church displays during the annual Feast Day on Dec. 12.
Girone said the intruder is believed to have removed the missals or books of prayer from a shelf in one of the rooms of the rectory. He said these were “old translations” of prayers that have since been replaced by the church.
“When the Port Authority police brought them to us, they were waterlogged,” he added.
Girone said the intruder apparently entered the rectory by climbing through a window on the side of the building.
Police described the suspect as African-American, between 50 and 60, about 5-feet-10, with short black and gray hair, a black and gray beard, wearing a black shirt and denim shorts.
In other recent criminal activities logged by Harrison PD, police listed these incidents:
Two bicycle thefts were reported.
In the first incident, reported at 2 p.m., the owner of a green Huffy valued at $30 told police he parked his bike in front of 506 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. N. at 12:20 p.m. and when he returned at 1 p.m., the bike was gone.
The second theft, reported at 7:46 p.m., involved the disappearance of a gray Mongoose with orange tire rims, valued at $350, which, according to its owner, had been secured at the bike rack near the Harrison PATH station at 8:30 a.m., but which, upon the owner’s return at 7 p.m., was missing.
Hilario Gonzalez, no age or address listed, was pulled over in front of 36 Harrison Ave., at 2 p.m., after police said they observed his vehicle cross the painted median as it approached the intersection of Harrison Ave. and First St. In questioning the driver, police said they detected a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Gonzalez was ticketed for DWI, reckless driving, being an unlicensed driver and maintenance of lamps.
By Ron Leir
EAST NEWARK –
East Newark wants to ask its residents, through a non-binding referendum, this question: “Should East Newark high school students be sent to Kearny High School instead of Harrison High School?”
The borough wants the question to go on the ballot for the Nov. 4 general election and the Hudson County Clerk’s Office has prepared such a ballot. Sample ballots were to be mailed out this past Monday.
But the Harrison Board of Education – which stands to lose a lot of money if the switch is done – has gone to court to block its neighbor from conducting the referendum, which – by itself – has no legal standing to change anything.
Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Bariso reserved decision at a hearing held in Jersey City last Friday. He will likely rule on Harrison’s request on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 3 p.m.
The East Newark Board of Education, meanwhile, has hired its own lawyer to draft a feasibility study to make its case with the state Commissioner of Education to end a more than 100-year-old practice of sending its school children to Harrison High. East Newark has a single school which educates students in pre-K through grade 8.
But East Newark Mayor Joseph Smith, whose wife Marlene is president of the local school board, has previously said that the tuition fees assessed by the Harrison school board are too high for borough taxpayers so the borough is looking for an alternative – which, in this case, happens to be Kearny High.
Currently, East Newark is sending 125 students to Harrison High at a cost of $16,300 a year per student, according to Harrison school board records.
For the past several months, representatives of the East Newark and Harrison school boards have been talking about a possible compromise, with interim Executive Hudson County Superintendent of Schools Monica Tone serving as a sort of referee. At the same time, the East Newark school board is, through its legal advisor, pursuing the path toward separation that could take effect as early as the 2015- 2016 school year.
On May 14, the East Newark Borough Council resolved “to obtain the sentiment of the voters … on whether the send-receive relationship with Harrison High School should be ended and East Newark high school students [be] sent to Kearny High School.” And, on May 29, the borough asked Hudson County Clerk Barbara Netchert to put the question on the November ballot.
Princeton attorney Richard E. Shapiro, retained as special counsel by the Harrison Board of Education, filed legal papers last week with Hudson County Superior Court, asking the court to order the county clerk to “refrain from placing the proposed question … on the ballot,” or, failing that, to “remove the proposed question from the ballot….”
In the brief filed with the court, Shapiro argued that the borough exceeded its statutory authority in calling for such a referendum because state law limits municipalities to seek such action only to “… any question or policy pertaining to the government or internal affairs” of the municipality.
Viewed in this context, Shapiro reasoned, the proposed question “relates to an educational issue within the purview of the Borough of East Newark’s Board of Education,” and, therefore, fails to meet the criteria set by the statute.
As such, Shapiro says, the proposed question “… is illegal and cannot lawfully be placed on the ballot for the next general election on Nov. 4, 2014.”
In his legal papers, Shapiro cites a 1958 case known as Botkin v. Westwood in which the state Appellate Court held that Westwood’s municipal governing body’s proposal for a non-binding referendum on whether there should be a “deconsolidation” of the consolidated school district of Westwood and Washington Township was improper.
The court found that “this particular referendum question does constitute a prohibited intrusion … in school district affairs by a body which has no business intermeddling with them in the slightest degree except as the legislature has permitted.”
East Newark school board’s feasibility study is still in process but the Kearny Board of Education went on record in March to accept the borough’s students at Kearny High if and when that possibility unfolds.