web analytics

This week’s e-Edition, classifieds are now posted

This week’s e-Edition and classifieds are now posted. We apologize for the delay.


Blood appointed

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Take away the “acting” title: the Kearny Board of Education has formally installed Patricia Blood as its official superintendent of schools. The board took the action at a special meeting held last Thursday night at the Lincoln School. The vote was […]


Kearny unveils new monument

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  On May 27, 1922, an estimated 25,000 people gathered in the streets around the small park where Kearny Ave. and Beech St. meet, to witness Gen. John J. Pershing personally dedicate the towering granite monument honoring the Kearny men who died […]


Nutley cops hunt driver in fatal hit-run

A photo (above) of the suspect van was released Nov. 19 by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.   NUTLEY –  Nutley police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating the motor vehicle that struck and killed a 77-year-old woman on Centre St. on […]


School is more than books for these kids

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  At Washington Middle School in Harrison, nearly 75% of the more than 400 enrolled are just as busy with school-related projects after 3 p.m. as they are during their regular day of classes. And that’s partly by design of the school […]


Mid-Realty in the pink



If you were on Kearny Ave. near the intersection at Midland Ave. on Saturday afternoon, you might have wondered about the crowd of people on the sidewalk — although all the pink ribbons and pink balloons should have given you a clue.

Folks were gathered in and about the offices of Mid-Realty, 572 Kearny Ave., for a Breast Cancer Awareness event sponsored by the agency to raise funds for two local people — a woman and a child — who are battling cancer.

“All the money will be divided between the two,” noted agency owner Jarlynn Hyde.

Photos by Karen Zautyk

Photos by Karen Zautyk


The first-time event was the idea of Mid-Realty agent Diane Turowski, herself a breast cancer survivor. It was held in memory of another agent, C.J. Parada, who died of cancer last year.

Every Mid-Realty agent, 50 in all, “participated in one way or another,” Hyde said.

Attendees could purchase refreshments, pink T-shirts, tote bags, bracelets and even pink hair extensions. Manicures and face-painting and temporary tattoos were available — as was a Kearny Fire Department engine for children to explore. And the KGC cheerleaders performed.

Add to that a photo booth sponsored by Investors Bank and a deejay provided by Vanguard Funding. Other sponsors included Prime Source Mortgage, First Meridian Mortgage and N.J. Lenders.

–Karen Zautyk 

You won’t go away hungry at Mama Angelo’s


By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent 


Some restaurants claim everything they make is from scratch. Eventually, you learn it’s not all really homemade. But the truth is, at Mama Angelo’s, everything served really is made from scratch — even the pasta — says owner Larry Angelo, a lifelong Kearny resident.

“Everything is fresh. Everything is made from scratch each day,” Angelo said. “I have a pasta maker, also, and we make sure the pasta is fresh each day too. Nothing frozen. Nothing processed. Nothing pre-cooked. Only the best ingredients.”

Angelo and hs family opened up the Italian-American restaurant in 2010. And ever since, he says he’s been thrilled to share his family’s love for cooking and food with the public.

“Every single recipe we have is a family recipe,” Angelo said. “They’re all from my mom, my dad and others in the family.”

At Mama Angelo’s, Larry says customers should expect big portions at moderate prices. And, he says they should expect to be treated as if they were guests at his family’s home.

“If you’re looking for a quick five-minute experience, like to grab a sandwich and run, you won’t get that here,” he said. “We want everyone to feel like they’re a guest at our home. It’s all about the family atmosphere here.”

Angelo and his family take the commitment to providing a family atmosphere so seriously that every single dish served must first pass a quality check by him or a member of the Angelo clan.

“It’s not leaving the kitchen unless I check it first or my mom, or dad — someone in the family,” he said. “We want to be certain everything we serve is as it should be. This sets us apart from many other places. We’re always here to ensure our customers get the very best. Most other places, the owners don’t even show up.”

Among the many dishes available at Mama Angelo’s that Larry says they’re most noted for are all their pastas, fresh meatballs and Giambotta pork chops.

In fact, if you go to Mama Angelo’s, there’s a contest for anyone to try.

Eat two of the huge Giambotta pork chops in 18 minutes, and you’ll get $18 plus a gift card from the restaurant. They’re that big — and that good — he says.

“No one has completed the task yet,” he said. “Not even close. Some have tried, but it really is a challenge.”

Mama Angelo’s is also noted for its thin-crust, brick-oven pizza. “If you really want Italianstyle pizza, this is it,” he said. Mama Angelo’s is a BOYB establishment. But that hardly matters, given the kind of experience you’ll go through at the place if you give it a try. There’s seating for 65 inside the restaurant, but if you prefer to dine alfresco, there’s also 20 seats outside on the patio.

“People come hungry and always leave satisfied,” he said. “What you get here is true old-world dining — and if people haven’t given us a try yet, we think they’ll enjoy what they see.”

Mama Angelo’s, at 440 Ridge Road, North Arlington, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. They’re closed Mondays. For additional information, menus and testimonials, visit www.theoriginalmamaangelos.com or call 201-997-0577. Takeout and delivery from Harrison north to Wood-Ridge is available for free.

Another wake-up call by KPD

Readers of the Kearny police blotter will recall that last week’s reports included that of a township man taken into custody after he was found sleeping on the lawn at St. Cecilia’s Church on Kearny Ave. That was on Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m.

On Oct. 15, at 2:30 p.m., Officers Brian Wisely and Kevin Arnesman found the same individual, 50-year-old Arthur Smith, in the same place doing the same thing, police said. When they awoke him, he allegedly became confrontational and told the cops, “I’ll worship God wherever I choose.”

According to police, Smith has been advised on multiple occasions that he is not allowed on the property. Wisely and Arnesman confirmed this with parish administrators, warned Smith yet again that he was not welcome and issued him a summons for defiant trespassing.

Stay tuned.


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

Oct. 8 

At 2 p.m., Officer Chris Levchak observed an SUV blocking traffic on Kearny Ave. at Halstead St. while the driver engaged in a conversation. The motorist, Gabriel Rubino, 42, of Kearny, was found to have a suspended license, police said, and was charged with that offense, delaying traffic and failure to wear a seatbelt.

Oct. 13 

Officer Tom Floyd, responding to a 4:30 a.m. accident at Central and Pennsylvania Aves. in South Kearny, arrived to find a 2010 Honda Accord impaled on a guardrail. When Floyd approached, occupant Franklin Garcia, 32, of Union City, reportedly inquired, “Officer, why did you stop me?”

Garcia was able to exit the vehicle, but the Kearny Fire Department had to cut the Honda off the rail.

He was charged with DWI, driving while suspended [no pun intended], careless driving and refusal to submit to an Alcotest.

Oct. 15 

A concerned citizen came to headquarters at 10 a.m. to advise police of a “heated dispute” between a man and a woman on Forest St. Det. Marc McCaffrey and Officer Rich Carbone responded and were told that the couple had entered a residence there. Upon investigation, the were able to determine that no domestic violence had occurred and that the female showed no evidence of an assault, police said.

However, in the hallway, McCaffrey and Carbone encountered Jamal Coote, 27, of Kearny, who reportedly had a strong odor of marijuana about his person and appeared to be clutching some weed. He was charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia after six small bags of pot were found in his pocket, police said.


At 6:30 p.m., Officer Jordenson Jean’s mobile computer alerted him to a Honda Civic with an expired registration parked near Highland and Bergen Aves. The owner, Jonathan Quevedo, 27, of Morristown, was located nearby and was found to have an outstanding warrant from Englewood, police said. He was arrested and the Englewood PD was notified.

Oct. 16 

Just after midnight, Officer Ben Wuelfing responded to a report of an accident on Rts. 1 & 9 in South Kearny. When he arrived, Officer Jack Corbett, on Pulaski Skyway traffic duty, advised him that a 2008 Ford was stuck atop a highway divider. Wuelfing interviewed the driver, Shonett Colbert, 38, of Linden, who said her car had been hit from behind by another, which fled.

Colbert’s stranded car, however, was not the extent of her troubles. She was arrested for driving while suspended [no pun, etc.] and on a warrant from Jersey City.

Police were able to identify the other vehicle and its owner has been mailed summonses for careless driving and leaving the scene.

–Karen Zautyk 

Around Town


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

  • Shirl Knobloch, author of “The Returning Ones, A Medium’s Memoirs,” will discuss hauntings and related topics on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m.
  • A Halloween blood drive is slated for Oct. 31, from noon to 4 p.m. All donors must present signed ID, know their social security number and weigh at least 120. For more information, call 973-676-4700, ext. 144.

East Newark 

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


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


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

The Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., holds its annual Halloween dance on Friday, Oct. 24, from 7 to 10 p.m. Guests are restricted to teenagers. Costumes are optional.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts Tempest Storybook Theatre, an interactive story and craft program, open to all ages, celebrating the books of Bernard Waber, Saturday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. Admission is free. Space is limited. To reserve a spot, call 201-998-2666.

First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, 663 Kearny Ave., will hold its annual fair on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy a bake table, tricky tray, Christmas crafts and more. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Raffle drawings are at 4 p.m.

First Baptist Church of Arlington, 650 Kearny Ave., holds a free clothing giveaway on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The church holds worship services Sundays at 11 a.m. with Spanish worship at 5 p.m. and Bible study on Fridays at 8 p.m.

Trinity Church, 575 Kearny Ave., will hold its monthly flea market on Nov. 8. Refreshments are available. Vendors are invited. Tables are one for $15 and two for $25. Call the church at 201-991-5894 to schedule your table or call Annamarie at 201-998-2360 after 5:30 p.m. Walk-in vendors are welcome.

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

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


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

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

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

Lyndhurst Garden Club welcomes North Arlington florist Dennis McSweeney to its meeting on Monday, Oct. 27, at the Senior Citizen Building on Cleveland Ave. at 7 p.m. McSweeney will demonstrate seasonal floral arrangements. There will also be raffles and refreshments. Prospective members are welcome. For more information, call 201-939- 0033.

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

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

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

Lyndhurst American Legion Post 139 Rehabilitation Committee holds a ward party for veterans at Chestnut Hill Extended Care Facility, Passaic, on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 2:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by John and Marilyn Faziola in memory of Marilyn’s brother Marine L/Cpl. Frank Lopinto, who was killed in action in Vietnam, and Marilyn’s parents Eugene and Madelyn Lopinto. Post members will play games of chance with hospitalized veterans and distribute treats to them. Anyone interested in sponsoring a ward party is invited to call 201-438-2255.

North Arlington 

Queen of Peace Church in North Arlington will celebrate Priest Appreciation Sunday, Oct. 26, 1 to 3 p.m. Call 201-997- 0700 for more information.

North Arlington Recreation Department’s Halloween costume parade and Trunk or Treat celebration is set for Oct. 30. Participants will assemble in the Boston Market parking lot at Ridge Road and Bergen Ave. at 6 p.m. The parade will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and will end behind North Arlington High School, where the Trunk or Treat celebration will begin.

Donations of candy or snacks are welcome. Parents are asked to bring canned food that the Recreation Department is collecting for the local food pantry.

For more information, call Recreation Director Michele Stirone at 201-852-0119.

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

  • Lego Club, for grades 1 and up, meets Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Halloween Story Time, for ages 5 to 7, meets Monday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m.
  • Comics Club, for grades 6 and up, meets Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Computer Basics class is slated for Mondays in November from 6 to 7 p.m.
  • A representative of the Newark Museum presents an overview of the museum’s vast decorative arts collection Thursday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m.

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

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:

  • Cook-with-a-Book Reading Club. for grades 4 to 6, meets Friday, Oct. 24, at 3:30 p.m. The group will discuss a book and cook up something fun to eat. Registration is required.
  • Halloween Costume Party is slated for Monday, Oct.27, at 6:30 p.m. Registration is required.
  • Teen Zombie Night, open to grades 7 to 12, will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 6:30 p.m. This event includes zombie costume contest, pizza, games and a movie.
  • Pumpkin Painting, with pumpkins and supplies provided, is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30, at 10:30 a.m. Wear an old T-shirt and bring a box to take your pumpkin home. This is open only to Nutley residents with library card. Registration is required.

For more information, call 973-667-0405.

Meet the ‘Ambassadors’


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Ambassadors and Knights walk the halls at East Newark Elementary School.

Well, actually, the Ambassadors do a lot of sitting and talking, while the Knights are busy mostly outdoors.

Explanation: the Ambassadors are older students who are part of an experiment to bolster the reading readiness skills of younger children through one-on-one tutoring sessions at the end of the school day.

And the Knights are also part of an elite group: They’re members of the first intramural soccer squad that veteran borough observers can remember functioning in many years, if at all.

Both programs came to life under the watch of Patrick Martin, the new superintendent/ principal of the borough’s only school, although Martin credits school psychologist Shelley Harrison for recommending the student tutorials as a way of breaking through the language barriers that many of the school’s ethnically diverse population face.

Because a significant number come from families whose primary language is something other than English – mostly Spanish and Portuguese – the kids are up against it when it comes to getting English homework help at home, especially if one or both parents are working the night shift, said Jeanine Cruz, now in her 15th year as a basic skills teacher in East Newark.

And that impacts kids’ performance on standardized tests, not only in Language Arts but also in math, since arithmetic word problems can be tricky without a full understanding of the words.

Enter the Ambassadors.

Every Monday to Thursday, from 3 to 4 p.m., nine students from grades 7 and 8 are matched up, individually, with youngsters from grades 1 to 4 and convene in the school cafeteria to work together.

For the first 40 minutes, the younger kids read aloud from a grade-level classroom text to their tutors, who encourage them to sound out a tricky word, break it into syllables and check for comprehension. After a snack, the tutors will spend 20 minutes guiding the younger ones through their reading homework.

Generally, Cruz said, “The little ones are excited to be working with the older students. They feel special. … They see their tutors as positive role models. They’re very chatty and smiling with them.”


Photos courtesy Shelley Harrison TOP: Tutor Elijah Brown (r.) reviews reading sample with Keanu Vargas. MIDDLE: Sharing a light moment, from l., are school psychologist Shelley Harrison, students Monica Arce, Daveed Alverio and Angela Arca and PE teacher/soccer coach Michael Caravalho. The students are ambassadors and players on intramural soccer team. BOTTOM: Model of soccer shirt.

Photos courtesy Shelley Harrison
TOP: Tutor Elijah Brown (r.) reviews reading sample with Keanu Vargas. MIDDLE: Sharing a light moment, from l., are school psychologist Shelley Harrison, students Monica Arce, Daveed Alverio and Angela Arca and PE teacher/soccer coach Michael Caravalho. The students are ambassadors and players onintramural soccer team. BOTTOM: Model of soccer shirt.


“Research shows that [working together] also helps the tutors by boosting their self-esteem,” Harrison said. Several of the tutors have brought in their own smart boards as a resource tool, she noted.

The nine tutors are: Monica Arce, Elijah Brown, Janeth Medieta, Daveed Alberio and Angela Arca, all seventhgraders; and Layza Espichan, Virginia Sacramento, Joselyn Gutierrez and Jenna Vieira, all of grade 8.

The tutorees were selected by classroom teachers while 17 students volunteered to be tutors after getting their parents’ consent and then school staff picked nine, based on high academic performance, teacher recommendations and an interview.

Eighth-grader Virginia Sacramento, who is tutoring a third-grader, said she’s happy to have been chosen because, “I love leading people in different things,” even though, she said, people tend not to see her in that light.

Even before, she said, “I was helping some of the kids in class with math, even though I don’t always understand a problem. I enjoy trying to work it out.” (A tutor training worksheet that school staff share with the students advises: “Always ask a teacher for help if you need it.”)

Fellow tutor Elijah Brown, a seventh-grader, recalled how sometimes, when he was younger, he and his older sister “played the game of teacher. On days when I was sick and not in school, she’d pull me aside for two hours and start teaching me.”

Had he resented her intervention? No way, said Elijah, also a member of the school’s Pre-Chemistry Club. “Without her, a lot of the knowledge I have today, I wouldn’t have.”

As he’s working with his fourth-grader, he uses his smart board to “write out a word and separate it into its different parts,” along with how words sound. Elijah believes his tutoree is “getting better” with his help. And, he said, “I’m very grateful because I’m doing something that’s actually useful instead of just reading myself.”

Then there are the Knights, formed at Martin’s behest, both to offer some measure of intra-scholastic athletic competition in soccer and as a morale builder for middle schoolers.

Thirty-three kids from grades 6, 7 and 8 took up the challenge, even though “very few” of them had previously played the sport, according to coach Michael Caravalho, the school’s physical education instructor and a volunteer coach for the Kearny Kardinals Junior Varsity soccer team for the past three years.

Why soccer and why so many? “That’s what the kids want,” said Martin, “so they flock to it.”

The kids play – so far, only among themselves – at the borough’s soccer field next to Borough Hall, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 4 to 5 p.m., but that could change soon. The Harrison school district has offered the use of its turf field for middle school soccer play, thereby suggesting the possibility of inter-scholastic play for the first time.

Good times at Belleville High


By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent 


Elinor Mostello and Bob Iracane were both members of the Belleville High School Class of ’65 but didn’t actually get to know each other until their senior year – which happened to be the same year the then-“new” high school opened.

“We met the first week of school in [September] 1964 when we happened to be in the same math class,” Elinor explained, “but it took him until February to ask me out.

“It was Feb. 12, 1965. We went out to the Belleville vs. Orange basketball game.” Four years later, he proposed.

Bob and Elinor remembered the good times at Belleville High last month when they joined three fellow alumni – Joseph Cervasio, Pat Bradley and Rose Pepe – and Patricia Maucione (now Pugliese), one of their former social studies teachers who has since retired, at a mini-reunion of some members of the first class to graduate from the current Belleville High.

Cervasio, who was president of the Class of ’65, which had 364 students, had called BHS Principal Russell Pagano about organizing a visit, primarily to celebrate Bob and Elinor’s initial meeting in Classroom 217.

“When I was contacted late over the summer by Mr. Cervasio, I thought this would be a great opportunity to reunite the community with the wonderful things at Belleville High School,” Pagano said. “Having alumni return to our school and speak to our students give our students an insight on what to expect when they leave the halls of Belleville High School. It provides encouragement, positive vibes, creates respect and helps student learn about success. This is why I had Mr. [BHS Vice Principal Joseph] Rotonda coordinate this event with me.”

The alums got a tour of the building from BHS seniors, ate cupcakes marked “BHS 1965” baked by the school’s culinary arts students and fielded questions from students.

“I really enjoyed high school,” said Elinor Iracane. “Belleville was a great place to grow up.” And, in September 1964, “It was heaven to be in a new place. We had spent three years in the other building on Washington Ave. [now the middle school] where we were on split sessions where it was so crowded that one year, we couldn’t even get to our lockers, so we had to carry our books everywhere.

“In the new building, we had lots of space. … I remember the excellence of the teaching staff. It was interesting to see how many had gone to Belleville High School themselves. To me, that says something very good about the community.” Elinor eventually became a software engineer for AT&T at Bell Labs.

Photos courtesy Gary Klotzin Top Photo: Recalling fond memories of their time at Belleville High, from L., are: retired social studies teacher Patricia (Maucione) Pugliese, and alums Elinor (Mostello) and Bob Iracane, Pat Bradley and Joseph Cervasio. They were treated to specially decorated cupcakes in honor of the occasion.

Photos courtesy Gary Klotzin
Top Photo:
Recalling fond memories of their time at Belleville High, from L., are: retired
social studies teacher Patricia (Maucione) Pugliese, and alums Elinor (Mostello)
and Bob Iracane, Pat Bradley and Joseph Cervasio. They were treated to
specially decorated cupcakes in honor of the occasion.


Bob Iracane, a CPA, recalled the feeling of “arriving at a new school in my senior year after spending three years in the same high school my father had graduated from 30 years before me. Everything was brand new. It was a total change. In the old high school, it was crowded, there was no campus to speak of and only a small gym. For physical education, we had to walk up to Clearman Field on Union Ave. At lunchtime, you could go to the corner pizzeria. At the new school, we had a cafeteria – there were five lunch periods and you had 25 minutes to eat.”

Overall, though, high school “was just a good time in my life,” he said. “And going back to the high school last month was such a breath of fresh air. The school was in beautiful shape, spotless. To see the kids wearing uniform golf shirts or the sport shirt of the day was very refreshing.” Bob confessed to having “planted the seed in Joe Cervasio’s head” to help arrange a return visit to commemorate that special time when he and his future wife first met.

Cervasio, a corporate executive who handles talent management services for the resort industry and the author of “Bad News on the Doorstep,” also enjoyed the occasion and interacting with the students who “were so relaxed and transparent.” He advised them to, “Live in the moment [and] not be fearful of tomorrow or overly consumed with yesterday.”

His fondest memory, Cervasio said, was of classmate Nicholas Arnold Melito, who had cerebral palsy but who “went from seemingly being least likely to succeed, to becoming one of America’s best comedy writers in Hollywood…. He was the youngest writer ever for Johnny Carson and Joan Rivers was his mentor. When he passed away in 1999, he remains an inspiration to me and all of us from the Class of 1965. He is the only member of our class on the hallowed Wall of Recognition.”

A formal reunion gathering of the Class of ’65 is being planned, possibly for fall 2015.

Kearny defeats rival Harrison again, this time in overtime


Defender Quintos becomes hero with golden goal

By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer

Andrew Quintos is a defender on the Kearny High School boys’ soccer team. He knows defenders rarely grab the headlines, because they rarely score goals.

However, Quintos has been recently finding himself in a position to put the ball in the net.

He scored three goals in a recent win against Memorial and had two more goals in a victory over Belleville. In fact, Quintos has tallied an astounding seven goals this season.

But none bigger than the one Quintos knocked home Sunday afternoon. In fact, it’s a goal that Quintos will hold dearly for the rest of his life.

Quintos got the ball off a mad scramble in the second overtime of the Hudson County Tournament semifinal against neighboring rival Harrison Sunday afternoon at Caven Point Cochrane Stadium and somehow knocked it home, giving the Kardinals a thrilling 2-1 victory.

With the win, undefeated Kearny (13-0-2) advanced to Sunday’s county tournament finale to face North Bergen, which upset St. Peter’s Prep, 1-0, in the other semifinal held at Harrison High School.

Quintos was asked to describe the game-winning play.

“The ball came right in front of me,” Quintos said. “I got there first before a Harrison defender could get to it. It was just my instinct. I had to get there.”

“There had to be about 19 or 20 players in the box,” Kearny head coach Bill Galka said. “The ball was bouncing back and forth.”

The winning play was set up by a corner kick from Calvin Carbajal, but was then touched about seven or eight times by players on both teams before it bounced back to Quintos.

“He just has a knack to get to the bouncing ball,” Galka said. “He somehow gets to it. He scored two the same way against Belleville. As our center back, he goes up for free kicks. He’s been getting goals from the back. It’s amazing.”

“Of course, it’s as big as it gets,” Quintos said. “I knew that the goal ended the game. There was a sense of relief and joy. We put a lot of hard work into it. It feels good to get to the finals. Last year, we were disappointed, because we didn’t win anything. This year, we have a chance to go far, so it makes winning important.”

Quintos knows the importance of the goal, because he gave Kearny its second win of the season against the rival Blue Tide. Kearny has never defeated Harrison twice in one year before. The previous win came at Red Bull Arena by a 3-1 decision Sept. 27.

“It’s something that gets built up for years,” Quintos said. “It feels great. To be honest, I couldn’t even have something like this in my thoughts. I’ll never forget it.”

Galka knew that Harrison was going to be a tough out, considering the two teams played a spirited game less than a month ago.

Photo by Jim Hague Kearny forward Calvin Carbajal scored a goal early on and almost had another during the Kards’ 2-1 win over Harrison Sunday afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hague
Kearny forward Calvin Carbajal scored a goal early on and almost had another
during the Kards’ 2-1 win over Harrison Sunday afternoon.


“They had a little bit more of a motivation, considering we won the first time, so there was a revenge factor,” Galka said. “So the way we looked at it, we had to play better than them. They were ready and put the pressure on us. We were up against it.”

The Kards were also without top ball distributor Marcello Matta, who was out with a groin injury.

Harrison head coach Mike Rusek thought that his team had a chance against the Kards this time around.

“I thought we battled hard with them at Red Bull Arena,” Rusek said. “We thought we could go in there Sunday and battle with them. I told our kids that it was our county championship (the Blue Tide were the defending champs) and we had to go there to defend our title. We had to go there and play like champions, which we did.”

Rusek said that it was a tough situation for his team to be in.

“I went back as far as I could and couldn’t find another time where Kearny beat Harrison twice in one year,” Rusek said. “It’s a different year. They got us twice.”

The Kardinals took the lead in the early going, when Carbajal scored in the eighth minute off a fine pass from Alexi Velasquez.

“Scoring early sometimes hurts,” Galka said. “You tend to get a lackadaisical feeling and let up. It might be easier not to score early. We had a long way to go in the game.” Midway through the second half, the Blue Tide tied the score on a goal by freshman Ney Moreno.

“It was a nice goal,” Galka said. “It really got some momentum going for them. We were defending pretty well, but it was a matter of survival.”

“We were pushing for a second goal,” Rusek said. “We played well in the second half. The wind was pretty strong and it played a factor, because we had the wind at our backs in the second half.”

With five minutes to go in regulation, the Blue Tide thought they had the game winner. Ali Lakhrif chipped one that eluded Kearny standout goalkeeper Sebastian Ferreira and appeared headed toward the goal.

“Ali chipped one from the 18 (yard line) and the ball hit the crossbar, the corner of the goal post and slid off to the side,” Rusek said. “That was tough.”

Kearny also had a chance to win the game, but Carbajal plunked one off the crossbar as well, sending the game to the overtime, eventually giving Quintos the golden opportunity to be a golden hero with a golden goal, a score of a lifetime.

“Unfortunately, when you lose on a goal like that, everything just stops,” Rusek said. “We started to think about penalty kicks already. The mind starts prepping for things like that. Then, suddenly, it’s over. You’re in shock, because you were not prepping for that. You stand there, like ‘What just happened?’ But that’s soccer.”

The Blue Tide dropped to 13-3 on the season, with two of the three setbacks to the local rivals and the other coming at the hands of Princeton.

Both teams will be forces to be reckoned with in the upcoming NJSIAA state tournament – Kearny in North Jersey Section 1, Group IV and Harrison in North 2, Group I.

“I told our kids that the only month where you have to worry about being undefeated is November,” Rusek said. “This was a good experience for us for the state tournament.”

The Kardinals have a county title to be won, facing North Bergen somewhere this weekend. The Kards defeated North Bergen, 2-1, in overtime a few weeks ago.

“We haven’t won in a while,” Galka said of the county tournament title. “We’re looking at trying to get it back again.”

As for the unbeaten mark this late in the season?

“We don’t mention it and certainly don’t talk about it,” Galka said.

Such are the superstitions of soccer.

Lyndhurst boys’ XC wins NJICColonial title


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer


It had been three years since the Lyndhurst boys’ cross country team won a league championship, so Andre Francisco wanted to make sure that his team got a chance to enjoy the fruits of winning a title one more time.

“Since we won the last one our freshman year, we had to come back and win again as seniors,” said Francisco, whose second place finish overall led the Golden Bears to the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference-Colonial Division championship last week at the Garret Mountain Reservation in Woodland Park.

“We knew we had a good team this year,” said Francisco, who finished second in 17:05. “We just wanted to make sure we got our championship.”

The Golden Bears were solid throughout the race, also placing fifth (Dylan Stanco in 17:23), sixth (William Hooper in 17:27) and seventh (Stephen Covello in 17:29). That consistency was enough to catapult the Bears to a resounding victory, defeating closest rival Leonia by an astounding 46 points.

“We felt like we had something to prove,” said Hooper, whose brother is the goalkeeper on the Lyndhurst soccer team. “We just got stronger as a team. We knew we were going to win going in. With the hard work we put in, we knew we were the best team.”

“We felt like it was our responsibility to win,” Stanco said. “We’ve been preparing for this since our sophomore year. It’s the strongest team I’ve ever been on.”

Covello agreed. “We’ve all been training hard together as a team since the summer,” Covello said. “We all have been working hard, doing double sessions, just to get better. We wanted to win this year and prove that we could become a Group I power house.”

“We wanted people to see that we have a great cross country program,” said Christopher Barreto, who finished 16th overall.

Beside the aforementioned seniors, the Golden Bears were helped by sophomore Xavier Locke, who fin ished 13th and junior Anthony Dell Aquila, who was 19th  overall in the race.

Lyndhurst head cross country coach Michael Pichardo was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We absolutely have a great group of seniors,” Pichardo said. “I had high expectations for this group this year. This is just the beginning. Winning the league was just the start of the journey. We want to win the county, the state sectionals and make it to the Meet of Champions.”

Pichardo likes the commitment he gets from his team.

“This is a very experienced team,” Pichardo said. “They won the state sectional (the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I) last year and have a chance for bigger things this year. We don’t have just five kids or seven kids. We have 10 kids who are willing to step up and do whatever it takes to continue the legacy of the program.”

Added Pichardo, “Andre was able to win the league as a freshman, but the others didn’t, so I was happy for them.”

Pichardo knows that bigger things will happen for this group.

“They’re hungry,” Pichardo said. “They get the history and tradition of the program. They all know their roles. They want to do something special.”

Pichardo knows that the next steps, which include the Bergen County Championships this Saturday at Darlington Park in Mahwah, will not be easy.

“Winning the county would be an honor,” Pichardo said. “But we’re right in the mix. And if the stars align, we have to be in the discussion for the state sectional and the Groups. The championship season is just starting now and the first step has been won. It’s a long journey, but we have a chance to get everything we want. We have a great group of kids who are totally dialed in. I can’t ask for anything else.”

“We still want to accomplish more,” Covello said. “We’re not satisfied. We want to leave more of a legacy.”

Still, leaving a league title banner on the wall of the gym won’t be too hard to swallow.

“It’s amazing,” Stanco said. “It’s going to be a great feeling to see that go up and know that we all had a part of that.”

One win from six straight: Kearny girls’ soccer rolls to finals


By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer

The Kearny High School girls’ soccer team is just one win away from an amazing sixth straight Hudson County Tournament championship.

The Kardinals advanced to the title game with a resounding 11-0 win over Hoboken in the county tourney semifinals Sunday at Caven Point Cochrane Stadium in Jersey City.

The Kards will now face Memorial in the tourney title game this Sunday at a site to be determined, quite possibly the same location.

The Kardinals received yet another stellar performance from senior forward Barbara Paiva, who is well on the way to re-writing the school’s record books.

Paiva tallied an incredible five goals in the win over Hoboken, giving her 33 on the season, tying the school mark set by Stefanie Gomes (now at Montclair State) a few years ago.

Lily Durning added two goals while senior midfielder Amanda Eustice had a goal and three assists. It was a complete domination, as the Kardinals continue to roll.

“Hoboken had a nice game against North Bergen to get to the semifinals, but they lost a lot of girls to injury,” said Kearny head coach Vin Almeida. “So they were a little light handed to face us. It was a tough situation for us to play them in the semifinals, but in way, it was fortunate, because we were able to get a lot of girls on the field.”

Almeida said that he was impressed with Paiva’s performance.

“She’s really on a roll right now,” Almeida said. “She scored some nice goals. She’s a solid finisher. She’s really heating up at the right time.”

Almeida said that he was also impressed with the play of Eustice, who missed all of last season due to knee surgery.

Photos by Jim Hague TOP: Kearny senior defender Dana Green (12) passes the ball during the 11-0 win over Hoboken in the Hudson County Tournament semifinal win over Hoboken Sunday. BOTTOM: Senior midfielder Amanda Eustice (10) controls the ball during tourney contest at Caven Point Cochrane Stadium in Jersey City Sunday. Eustice had a goal and three assists.

Photos by Jim Hague
TOP: Kearny senior defender Dana Green (12) passes the ball during the 11-0
win over Hoboken in the Hudson County Tournament semifinal win over Hoboken
Sunday. BOTTOM: Senior midfielder Amanda Eustice (10) controls the
ball during tourney contest at Caven Point Cochrane Stadium in Jersey City
Sunday. Eustice had a goal and three assists.


“She’s getting the ball to our scorers, serving the ball to where the girl can finish,” Almeida said. “It makes things a lot easier. She’s been doing that a lot lately. She’s playing in a spot where she never played before (defensive center midfielder) and she’s handling it well. She’s doing a lot of the dirty work that goes unseen. But that leads to our success.”

Needless to say, Almeida was pleased with the incredible performance.

“It’s a great feeling to be in the finals and hopefully, we can win another county championship,” Almeida said. “That was the goal coming in.”

The Kards will now face Memorial, a team that they have defeated twice already this season by 3-1 and 4-0 margins. Almeida knows the old adage that it is very difficult to beat the same time three times in a season.

“Memorial will certainly not be a pushover,” Almeida said. “We have to be sharp to beat them. We can’t let our opponent get one up on us. We have had some good tests against them.”

Memorial features standout forward Mayensy Vargas, who has 31 goals this season, so the county final will pit two of the state’s leading scorers in Paiva and Vargas.

“We shall see,” Almeida said. “It’s two of the top goal scorers playing against each other. It should be very exciting.”

Almeida knows that history is hanging in the balance. There aren’t many soccer programs in New Jersey that can lay claim to six county championships in a row.

“We just have to keep our composure,” Almeida said. “We have to come out and play our game. We just have to stay focused. We’re feeling pretty good. We’re confident, but cautious.”

Perhaps history is in the making on Sunday.


Rose E. Lyons

Rose E. Lyons (nee Power) died on Oct. 14 at home. She was 73.

Born in Canada, she moved to Kearny in 1966.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Stephen’s Church, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Rose was the devoted companion of the late Gary Sobierajski for many years. She is survived by her loving children and their spouses Lisa Marie and Joao Pita and Robert and Dolores Lyons. Also surviving are her grandchildren Ryan, Kristeen, Brian, Brett and Breonna.

Claire M. McCurrie 

Claire M. McCurrie (nee McKechan) died on Oct. 14 in Clara Maass Medical Center. She was 74.

Born in Stony Point, N.Y., she lived in Newark before moving to Kearny in 1960.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service was held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Lyndhurst, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Claire was a bookkeeper for M. Tucker and Co. in Harrison. She was also a warden at St. Thomas Church as well as being involved in many of the church functions.

Wife of the late Les McCurrie, she is survived by her sons Michael F. and James P. McCurrie. Sister of the late Richard McKechan, she is also survived by her grandchildren Brian, Matthew and Erin.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to St. Thomas Episcopal Church.