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Post 99 is 95!

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY -  Ninety-five years ago this week — Aug. 19, 1919 — 13 veterans of the Great War, as World War I was then known, gathered in the Kearny home of Fred E. Portz to organize a local chapter of the American Legion. […]


Pressing for bridge funding

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  LYNDHURST –  Lawmakers from all levels of government, led by State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney, assembled for a press conference on the banks of the Passaic River Aug. 12 to declare their support for a replacement for the 109-year-old DeJessa Memorial Bridge that links […]


Facing a new gun charge

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – A Kearny man, who two years ago accidentally shot himself in the jaw with a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver, was arrested last week in Newark on weapons charges. This time, authorities said, he was in possession of an AR-15 assault rifle. […]


New spin on house party

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY– A house-party host got a bit more than he bargained for when he hired a disc jockey for the festivities and an “associate” robbed him at knifepoint, Kearny police reported. Thanks to some determined detective work, the alleged assailant was tracked (pun intended) down […]


Cops nab suspects in stabbing, theft

LYNDHURST – The Lyndhurst Police Department last week announced the capture of suspects wanted in connection with a stabbing at a local entertainment spot and with a residential theft. On Monday, Aug. 11, at about 2 a.m., police were called to the Riva Blue night club, 525 Riverside Ave., […]


Home Sweet Home!

If there is one place you want to be at the end of a tiring day, it is the warm familiar surroundings of your home. It is important for your home to be calming; a place that relaxes you and helps you unwind so you can keep the stress levels at bay. Your home is a reflection of yourself. You must create a space that allows good energy to breathe. To come home and find a sink full of dirty dishes and laundry that is piling up doesn’t do your sense of well-being and happiness any good. Hence, I encourage you to make a change in your life.
Think about the things that make you smile, and then incorporate those elements in your house. These could be books, candles, scented oils, green plants or things that inspire you. You must place these where you can see them and absorb their energy on a daily basis. However, it is also important to keep your place free of clutter and to not go overboard with these ideas. Balance is the key here. As with Feng Shui and the ancient science of Vaastu Shaastra, both which focus on the flow of energy in our home and environment, it is believed that good health and peace flourish in a clean place, free of dirt and filth.
Sometimes, even though everything looks fine to our eyes, we can sense some discomfort when we enter a place, and we know that it doesn’t feel quite right. This may also be true in situations where current occupants are experiencing similar problems to previous residents. Here, it is clear that the space needs to be altered to invite growth. There are five essential elements that must be in complete harmony for any place to provide you with its optimum potential. These are the earth, metal, fire, wood and water.
Turning your home and office environment into a calm and serene space will help you benefit from the universe that we live in. So take that first step today towards a better life. Let your home be an extension of yourself, a place you are eager to go back to. Let the sunshine illuminate not just your home but also your heart, body and the soul. Eject the unwanted and create space for the new. Make your place your own personal haven!


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

Lyndhurst man charged in alleged swindling scheme

Nicholas A. Rubertone


By Jeff Bahr

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office arrested and charged Nicholas A. Rubertone of Lyndhurst on Dec. 7 for his alleged role in a white-collar swindling scheme that bilked unsuspecting investors out of more than $200,000. Charged with Theft by Deception and Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition, the 37-year-old was processed and released on his own recognizance.
The charges stemmed from an investigation by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office White Collar Crime Unit under the direction of Chief of Detectives Steven Cucciniello. According to the Crime Unit, “Rubertone solicited and received over $200,000 from various people” to invest in the transport of shipping containers that held goods from the U.S. and foreign countries. Despite repeated attempts to contact Rubertone for updates on their investments, Rubertone never divulged any information to the investors.
“The investigation revealed that, instead of investing the funds as represented, Rubertone diverted the funds for his personal use,” explained the Crime Unit. “Once Rubertone received money from the victims in the form of wire transfers and checks deposited into his personal bank account, he would almost immediately withdraw the funds for personal use.”

Out of jail, serial burglar back at it again, cops say

Gerard McCollum mugshot


By Ron Leir

A Kearny man who is no stranger to local gendarmes was picked up recently by police and charged with a series of burglaries dating back several weeks.
Gerard McCollum, 40, formerly of Harrison, was arrested Dec. 1 at 9:30 p.m. at Kearny Ave. and Halstead St. on warrants charging him with eight counts of burglary to a motor vehicle.
The most recent of those alleged crimes involved the burglary of a car parked on Quincy St. and the removal of two GPS units valued at between $350 and $400 on Nov. 30, Police Chief John Dowie said.
Dowie said the other incidents to which McCollum has been linked were vehicular burglaries at locations scattered around town where entry was made either to an unlocked car or with the use of “slim-jim” pry tool, Dowie said.
Records show that since November 2002, McCollum has been arrested 20 times in Kearny for crimes typically involving burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and eluding police and he has had three periods of confinement, the most recent lasting from Sept. 2007 to March 2011, according to Dowie.
Dowie credited Det. Lt. Anthony Gouveia with leading an investigation into McCollum’s recent alleged criminal activities that resulted in the securing of arrest warrants and a stakeout of the area around Kearny Ave. and Halstead St. on the night of Dec. 1, culminating in the suspect’s arrest.
McCollum is currently being held at the Hudson County Jail, Kearny, awaiting court action.
Dowie advised residents to exercise caution when parking their vehicles, to properly secure them and to avoid leaving valuables in open view, especially now during the holiday shopping period, so as not to tempt potential thieves.
“ ‘Tis the season, as we say,” the chief noted.
In another high-profile crime event that took place during the past week, two Kearny cops had a close call during a high-speed chase, led by State Police, of a driver in a stolen car in the early morning hours of Dec. 6.
Dowie said Officers Adrian Marques and Barry Green were in a patrol car at 1:30 a.m. monitoring a State Police radio broadcast alerting local cops to their pursuit of a stolen 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche pickup on Rt. 280 East.
As the pursuit proceeded off of the highway and onto Harrison Ave., then to Fish House Road in South Kearny, Marques and Green joined the chase and sought to block the Avalanche as it zoomed along Jacobus Ave.
Instead of stopping, however, the driver attempted to ram the officers’ patrol car head-on, but the officers avoided the collision and pursued the suspect into the River Terminal parking lot.
As the suspect tried to exit the lot, the Avalanche sideswiped the officers’ car along the passenger’s side door, and, at one point, climbed a grassy mound before heading away.
Before giving up the pursuit, the officers last saw the Avalanche traveling north in the southbound lane of Rt. 1&9, heading for Jersey City, where police from that city were waiting on the other side of the Rt. 1&9 bridge.
There, Jersey City cops managed to stop the Avalanche and arrest the driver, David Spurgeon, 36, of Plainfield.
For his actions in Kearny, Spurgeon was charged with possession of a weapon (the Avalanche) for unlawful purpose and two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer.
Dowie commended Green and Marques for “keeping their heads” under pressure. “No shots were fired during the pursuit,” he added.
Neither officer was injured and aside from a dent on the passenger side, their patrol car remained in service, Dowie said.
In another incident, a Kearny man who began the night of Dec. 3 watching a boxing match on TV at a friend’s house on Tappan St. ended up the bloodied victim of an unplanned violent encounter with a stranger on the street in the early hours of Dec. 4.
Dowie said the 40-year-old resident told police he’d just left his buddy’s place and had reached the corner of Kearny Ave. and Hoyt St. when he met a man he didn’t know. For some reason, unknown to police, the stranger hit the resident in the face with a liquor bottle and took off, running, north along Kearny Ave.
The resident, who Dowie said, “was cut up pretty good,” shouted for help and that brought his friend to the scene, but all he could do at that point was call police for help. The incident was logged in at 3:19 a.m.
Dowie said the victim was taken to the emergency room at University Hospital & Medical Center, Newark, where he was held for possible plastic surgery.
On Dec. 3, at 10:45 a.m., Det. Michael Gonzalez collared Juan Munoz, 42, of Kearny, after Munoz – who appeared to be intoxicated – interacted with several juveniles in a way that frightened them. After learning that Munoz was wanted on an outstanding $532 warrant from Woodbridge, Gonzalez placed him under arrest. Munoz was held until Woodbridge cops could pick him up.
At 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 5, at Quincy and Ivy Sts., Officer Michael Andrews pulled over a car whose 19-year-old driver reportedly wasn’t wearing a seat belt. After detecting a marijuana-like odor wafting from the car, Andrews looked inside and found a glass pipe typically associated with the smoking of marijuana in the ashtray. He also discovered a cigarette package containing a partly smoked “blunt” and a Xanax tablet. The teen was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
Officer Neil Nelson arrested Eli Santos, 41, of Kearny, at 3 p.m. on Dec. 5 at Johnston and Grant Aves. in connection with an outstanding $250 Kearny warrant stemming from a theft. Santos was released after posting bail.

Nutley Police Blotter

Dec. 9
Someone smashed the rear of window of a 2001 Cadillac registered to a Brookline Ave. resident. The incident was reported at 12:45 p.m. Police are investigating.
At 8:41 a.m., an East Centre St. resident told police that someone removed a spare tire that was mounted and covered from the back of his Jeep and replaced it with an old flat tire.
A Franklin Ave. resident called police at 6:13 a.m. to say he was following a man who’d just slashed the tires on his vehicle in Belleville. Police responded and detained the accused vandal, Ryan Landrigan, 35, of Belleville, until Belleville Police arrived and placed Landrigan under arrest and impounded his car.

Dec. 8
Angelica Marin, 18, of Belleville, and a 17-year-old companion were charged with shoplifting from a Franklin Ave. business at 6:50 p.m. Police said the store manager had stopped Marin as she was leaving and Marin turned over some items she hadn’t paid for and left. But after getting information about her vehicle from the owner, police said they were able to find Marin and her companion. Both were freed pending court action.
At 1:21 p.m. police pulled over Merna Masoud, 19, of Avenel, after she allegedly failed to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk on Centre St. Masoud was arrested on a $750 warrant from Roselle and was given summonses for driving with a suspended license and for failure for yield to a pedestrian. She was released after posting bail.
A River Road resident reported that someone in New York had made repeated efforts to access her bank account to try and withdraw more than $3,000. Police said they are working with banking institutions to determine who is attempting the withdrawals.

Dec. 7
Police recovered a homemade knife from Nutley High School at 3:07 p.m. after school officials reportedly found the item on a hallway floor. Educators and police are trying to locate the person responsible for bringing it onto school property.
Police are investigating an apparent effort to defraud a Mountainview Ave. resident by someone who ordered a cellular phone through an Internet site and had it delivered to a Florida location.
Someone flattened a tire and broke a windshield of a 2000 Honda SUV registered to a River Road resident. The incident was reported at 12:50 p.m.
At 7:35 a.m., police went to High St. to deal with a dispute between a bus driver and rider over a fare issue. The passenger had presented a day-old receipt from a ride the day before which was interrupted when the bus broke down but the driver insisted on getting the fare now. After officers advised the passenger on how to follow up with the bus company, the passenger paid the fare.

Dec. 6
At 9:44 p.m. police went to check on the condition of a passenger slumped over his seat on a bus after the bus stopped on Washington Ave. and determined he was intoxicated and sleeping. Police notified a relative that the man was being transported to an area hospital for evaluation.
A River Road resident told police he noticed that a North Face fleece jacket was missing from his closet after he’d just received a mattress delivery and noticed that the garment had disappeared a short time later. The incident was reported at 7:01 p.m.
During the early evening, police questioned several people ringing doorbells on Raymond Ave. and soliciting for siding business and, after learning that they lacked permits for solicitations, advised them to stop.
Police are investigating an apparent case of fraud reported by a Cambridge Heights resident who told police that $26,000 had been withdrawn from the resident’s account through ATM machines in Montreal.
At 3:05 p.m. police responded to a 911 call from a school bus driver at Centre St. The driver was unable to calm a 10-year-old special needs child. After speaking to a parent of the child, police said they were able to allow the driver to proceed and take the child home.

Dec. 5
Police were called to a Park Ave. location at 2:33 p.m. where a neighbor claimed a man was allegedly kicking and punching his dog repeatedly. When officers arrived, the dog’s owner told them that he was scolding the black Labrador because it almost ran into the street. Police said the dog appeared healthy and unhurt.
Police are investigating the report of a Passaic Ave. resident that someone had run up more than $1,000 of fraudulent charges on a credit card.
Police responded to a report of two intoxicated people at Passaic Ave. and Centre St. at 12:20 a.m. While officers were questioning the pair, one of them leaned on the patrol car and broke off the side view mirror. Both were taken to their Nutley residence with charges pending.

Dec. 4
At 4:13 p.m. police went to Nutley High School where a 14-year-old wrestler had injured his neck. Police took the student to an area hospital for treatment.
Police pulled over a 2006 Volkswagen on Park Ave. at 2:12 a.m. with an expired motor vehicle registration and impounded the vehicle.
Police responded to Passaic and Hancox Aves. at 1:59 a.m. to investigate a noise complaint but, upon arrival, couldn’t locate anyone.

Dec. 3
Someone smashed the window of a resident’s car parked in a Washington Ave. parking lot. Police are investigating the incident, reported at 9:24 a.m.
Police pulled over a car driven by Jorge Galvan, 31, of Newark, on Washington Ave. at 2:52 a.m. after Galvan was observed weaving in traffic. Police said Galvan had slurred speech and was unable to answer the officers’ questions. Galvan was arrested and turned over to immigration authorities who are investigating his citizenship status.
Police stopped the driver of a 1999 Honda for erratic driving on Rt. 21 at 1:29 a.m. It was discovered that the driver was driving an unregistered vehicle that wasn’t inspected.

Queen of Peace boys’ hoops squad moves forward with new coach McGuire

Photo by Jim Hague/ The Queen of Peace boys’ basketball team welcomes a new head coach in Tom McGuire (center), an alumnus of the school and a North Arlington native. From left are Nick Malcolm, Devin Sharpe, McGuire, Dante Bennett and Derrick Maurer.

By Jim Hague

Ever since he graduated from Queen of Peace eight years ago, Tom McGuire was preparing himself for the day that he would become a head coach.
McGuire just never dreamed that chance would come before he reached his 27th birthday.
McGuire spent the last three years as an assistant coach to Christian Boyce, a QP alumnus like McGuire.
“I was doing anything Christian needed me to do,” McGuire said. “I knew about the coaching aspect and I knew the game, being a former player.”
When Boyce decided to step down after a highly successful 18-10 season that included a win in the Bergen County Jamboree to concentrate on his education, he recommended that McGuire should slide into the head coaching position.
“I realized that running an entire program is totally different and a little more challenging,” McGuire said. “I knew the basketball side of coaching. It’s everything else that is a challenge. but I do feel like I’m ready.”
So McGuire will be the head honcho when the Golden Griffins open their 2011-2012 season Friday night against Queen of Peace.
McGuire will get some major assistance, as his former head coach at QP, Tom Decara, will be on the bench with McGuire as his assistant coach.
“It really helps having my old coach around with me,” McGuire said. “He’s a good calming influence on me. I’ve learned to coach enough to get this team ready. I think I’m ready.”
While the Golden Griffins lost their leading scorer of the last two seasons, Jim McLane, to graduation (McLane is playing at William Paterson University these days), they do have a host of talented performers back from last year’s surprising squad.
“It’s tough losing Jim, but I think we’re going to be a different team than what we had last year,” McGuire said. “We’re going to be smaller. We’re going to rely a lot on our speed. We’re going to try to push the ball up and down the court.”
Leading the way is senior guard Dante Bennett, who averaged nine points and six assists per game last season. The 5-foot-9 Bennett is a bundle of positive energy and is an excellent floor leader.
“I expect him to do some tremendous things for us,” McGuire said. “He’s a real special player.”
Derrick Maurer is a 6-foot-2 senior who will also be called upon to score. Maurer is coming off a fine soccer season and looks to continue that success on the hardwood.
“He’s a good shooter and has great touch,” McGuire said. “He can give us a quick hit offensively.”
Fellow senior Nick Malcolm is a six-foot swingman.
“He can do a little bit of everything,” McGuire said of Malcolm. “He can shoot, rebound, and defend. He has long arms and is very disruptive on the defensive end in every sense of the word.”
Devin Sharpe is another senior guard. The 5-foot-6 Sharpe is the team’s shooting guard.
“He’s also the team’s best ball handler, but he’s improved his shot tremendously,” McGuire said. “I’m looking for him to shoot.”
McGuire definitely wants the Golden Griffins to be an up-tempo squad.
“That’s what we’re trying to preach right now,” McGuire said. “We want to get the ball up the floor, but with more of a controlled break.”
Junior Bobby Keegan is the fifth starter. The 6-foot-3 Keegan, who had an excellent football season on the QP line of scrimmage as a two-way lineman, will look to use his strength and size to control play in the paint.
“He’s very tough inside,” McGuire said. “He has excellent feet and his footwork is tough to deal with inside. He has to man the glass, because he’s really the lone big guy we have. He’s also a very vocal player who voices his opinion from time to time.”
Junior Marquise Adams is a 5-foot-10 guard who will come off the bench and provide instant offense. Brandon Irizarry is a 6-foot-2 junior forward who can play either forward slot. Senior Brian Matias, another member of the QP football team, is a 6-foot-1 senior guard.
The Griffins will improve tremendously once Brian Webster sits out the mandatory 30 days required by a transfer. Webster had to endure the same penalty for football after coming to QP from Paramus Catholic, but the 6-foot-2 forward will definitely make a mark when he’s eligible.
The Griffins play host to Lyndhurst December 16th, then face a new school, Great Falls Academy, next weekend in their second game.
“I’m excited about this team,” McGuire said. “I think we’ll be able to do some nice things.”

Nutley grid coach DiGregorio resigns after eight seasons

Photo by Jim Hague/ Nutley head football coach Steve DiGregorio announced his resignation last week after eight successful seasons, five of which ended with appearances in the NJSIAA state playoffs.


By Jim Hague

Steve DiGregorio knew for weeks that he was going to step down as the head football coach at Nutley High School, but he didn’t tell a single soul outside of his immediate family.
“No one in Nutley knew,” said DiGregorio, who officially announced his resignation last week after eight successful seasons at the helm of the Maroon Raiders, including five appearances in the NJSIAA state playoffs. “I wanted to keep it to myself. I didn’t want things to get too crazy. I wanted it to end on a good note. It was special for me to have my whole family there and we walked off together. It was pretty neat.”
It was his commitment to his family that DiGregorio cited as his main reason for stepping down.
“There are two really strong reasons for this,” DiGregorio said. “I have three boys and my middle son, Derek, has a very rare disease.”
Derek DiGregorio, who is 14-years-old, was born with ataxia-telangiectasia, or “A-T,” as it is called in general terms. It’s a progressive, degenerative disease that affects a variety of the body’s systems. It begins with a degeneration of the brain that leads to a lack of muscle control and eventually leads to the patient being confined to a wheelchair.
“It’s a brutal disease,” DiGregorio said. “It’s taken away Derek’s ability to walk and has destroyed his immune system. It was misdiagnosed for 12 years and the life expectancy is only to age 20. So my family has put in the investment to help support research for it and that takes up some time.”
DiGregorio’s older son, Zack, is a junior at Princeton High School and he’s the starting quarterback there.
“I missed a portion of his games,” DiGregorio said. “A lot of other coaches have the wonderful opportunity to coach their sons. I felt terrible that I didn’t get to see his games. My wife and I discussed the possibility of Zack coming to Nutley, but we felt it wasn’t the right thing to take Zack away from his friends.”
So DiGregorio’s responsibilities as a father took priority over his responsibilities as a head football coach.
“Those were the two main reasons why I’m leaving,” said DiGregorio, who will remain as a teacher in Nutley High School. “I loved everything about coaching at Nutley, coming back to coach at my alma mater. I had great support, great leadership from the superintendent, principal and athletic director. Leaving now is something I had to do. I wish I didn’t have to, but the decision was pretty self evident. Was the decision difficult? No, it was something I had to do.”
DiGregorio said that he was pleased with what he was able to accomplish at Nutley, turning around a program that was mostly downtrodden and making it a viable state playoff contender. After not making the NJSIAA state playoffs for over a decade, the Maroon Raiders made the North Jersey Section 2, Group III playoffs five times over the last seven years, including the last three years in a row. In 2010, the Maroon Raiders made it all the way to the state sectional title game in MetLife Stadium before falling to Morristown. Nutley lost to Parsippany Hills in the first round of the 2011 state sectionals.
“I’m very proud of what the kids did in my eight years as head coach,” DiGregorio said. “The kids were tough and resilient and showed great character and great work habits. The kids really believed in what we were teaching. That’s what I’m really proud of.”
And he’s proud of the kids he coached. Not only did some make a journey to Alabama last summer to help the victims of the tornadoes that ravaged the Tuscaloosa area, but 67 members of the program went out the day after Thanksgiving to rake leaves for senior citizens in Nutley.
“On Monday, they were back in the weight room,” DiGregorio said. “That’s how dedicated they are. I’m so proud of them. That’s the way we wanted to approach this, have them become community oriented.”
It wasn’t exactly that easy eight years ago, when DiGregorio and current athletic director Joe Piro were driving door-to-door to prospective football players, asking them why they weren’t at the weight training sessions.
“We had about five or six kids in the weight room back then,” DiGregorio said. “So Joe and I drove around going to every home, wondering why they weren’t there. I had total belief in those kids and I’m real grateful to them. We never stopped believing.”
DiGregorio sat down with his players last week to inform them of his decision to step down.
“I think they were taken a little off-guard,” DiGregorio said. “But when I told them why, they understood. Sure, I think some were disappointed, but they’ll get through this. They’re going to continue to do well.”
DiGregorio thanked two assistant coaches, namely Tom Basile and Keith Smith, who were with DiGregorio from the outset.
“I’m very proud and honored to have worked with them,” DiGregorio said. “They shared my mission. I’m very proud of my entire staff. It was an excellent group.”
DiGregorio insisted that his retirement isn’t permanent.
“I don’t think I could ever leave football entirely,” DiGregorio said. “But the program is much better now. It’s well respected, not just only in our community, but in Essex County and the entire state. We have good kids, tough kids, who play hard and play well. That’s a lot to be proud of.”

Lyndhurst looks to Lally to lead wrestling program

Photo by Jim Hague/ The Lyndhurst High School wrestling program welcomes a new head coach in Dr. Jeff Lally (back left). Front row, from left, are Ermal Mera, Mike Morreale, Nick Carbone and Thomas Hayes. Back row are coaches Lally, Corey Dunn and Mike Chiappa

By Jim Hague

Although he’s focused in establishing his chiropractic office in Wayne, Dr. Jeff Lally has always had his true love of wrestling in mind.
After all, Lally was a standout high school wrestler at Pascack Hills, where he learned under legendary coach Bucky Rehbain, went on to wrestle at Virginia Tech and later became the head coach at St. Joseph of Montvale for three seasons.
But at the time, Lally’s practice was located in New York and the hustle and bustle of trying to get from Manhattan to northern Bergen County was just too much.
“I didn’t want to resign,” Lally said. “Things just didn’t work out.”
Lally was an assistant last year at DePaul, near where he moved his practice, when his old high school coach told him about the head coaching opening at Lyndhurst.
“I was looking to get back into coaching and Bucky knew that,” Lally said. “So he called me and told me about Lyndhurst.”
The former head coach, namely Lyndhurst wrestling legend Dennis McSweeney, had to resign as head coach after he entered the Bergen County Police Academy.
“I knew that Lyndhurst had such a tradition-based wrestling program,” Lally said. “I also knew it was a program with a lot of potential to restore it where it once was.”
So Lally was hired to take over the co-operative program that is shared between Lyndhurst and North Arlington.
Lally recalls the first meeting he had with the prospective wrestlers.
“I think they were all pretty relieved to have someone in place,” Lally said. “For the longest time, they didn’t have anyone to coach. Ever since I came in, they’ve been very receptive.”
Lally inherits a program that doesn’t have a ton of experience.
“We have only five seniors and even some of them have never wrestled before,” Lally said. “It’s a challenge, but we’re ready for it. We have a big freshman class who came in and are getting their feet wet. We have about eight kids from North Arlington. It’s an obstacle to get them to practice, but we’re making the most of it.”
As the 2011-2012 season begins, high school wrestling will be facing some major changes, especially with the weight classifications.
“Since most of them are new to wrestling, it’s not going to matter much with us,” Lally said “I don’t know if the changes help.”
For example, the 189-pound class is now 195 pounds and the 215-pound class now stands at 220. Lally knows that some programs will be affected by the changes, but not so much with the Golden Bears.
Leading the returnees is senior 120-pounder Mike Morreale, who has been a four-year varsity performer.
“I expect a lot from him,” Lally said. “He has the most experience on the team.”
Morreale’s younger brother, sophomore Joey, is the team’s 106-pounder.
“He has a lot of poise for a young wrestler,” Lally said. “He’s a great hard worker and should do some nice things.”
Sophomore Anthony Giaquinto should hold the fort at the 132-pound weight class, with junior Ian Yunis, a product of the Lyndhurst Recreation wrestling program, has shown a lot of promise in the 145-pound class.
Sophomore Frank Mezzina and senior Mike Carbone are battling it out for the 152-pound weight class duties, with sophomore Anthony Cardaci competing at 160 pounds.
Junior James Wenger is a newcomer to wrestling, but holding his own at 170 pounds. Seniors Ermal Mera, Rob Litterio and Thomas Hayes are all seniors who are learning every single day. Hayes enjoyed a great football season for the Golden Bears’ team that won a round in the state playoffs. If he shows the athleticism on the mat that he did on the gridiron, Hayes will enjoy instant success as a wrestler.
Freshman Lou Laregina, another product of the Lyndhurst Recreation program, is in the mix in the upperweights, along with junior Dominic Rega and Ernest Brodie, a senior who is a transfer from Harrison.
“I’m real excited about this chance,” said Lally, who is receiving assistance from Don Pritzlaff, Sr., the foremost knowledgeable wrestling person in Lyndhurst, as well as former Rutherford standout Corey Dunn, who was a two-time state medalist during his days at Rutherford.
“We all wrestle with the kids every day, get out on the mats,” said Lally, who also grapples regularly with his team. “It’s a good group. It feels good to get back into it. I always knew I would if I had the right opportunity and this is the right opportunity.”

Nutley baseball standout Kraft signs with Coppin State

Photo by Jim Hague/ Nutley senior Jack Kraft, shown here in action last spring, has signed a national letter of intent to attend Coppin State next fall.

By Jim Hague

Nutley High School baseball standout Jack Kraft already has his college plans laid out, long before he sees a pitch in the upcoming season.
The sweet-swinging left-handed hitting Kraft has signed a national letter of intent to attend Coppin State in Baltimore on a baseball scholarship. Coppin State is an NCAA Division I school.
Kraft said that he made his decision early because a lot of other colleges are already making plans for the 2013 season and completing rosters.
“There are a lot of schools that I talked to that have filled up their rosters already,” Kraft said. “I wanted to wait to see what I did this upcoming season, but if I waited, I might not have another chance to sign. It’s better to have it done earlier than not at all.”
Kraft knew that he wanted to sign with Coppin State after meeting with the coaching staff and visiting the campus.
“The coaches were great and the team was great,” Kraft said. “They also have excellent academic support there. It’s very exciting. Now, I can play this season and not have any pressure at all. I can just go out and do my thing. I don’t have to go out and try to impress other college coaches. It makes things much easier for me.”
Kraft said that it was always his dream to go to a Division I school to play baseball.
“Right from the start, it was what I wanted to do,” Kraft said.
Kraft was asked if he considered any offers from local schools like Seton Hall or Rutgers. Seton Hall is where former Nutley standout Giuseppe Papaccio is currently playing.
“Seton Hall wanted me and Rutgers wanted to talk to me,” Kraft said. “I’ve known (Rutgers head coach) Fred Hill personally for a while. I definitely know I can play at that level, but neither was ready to make a commitment. I couldn’t afford to wait. Suppose something happened, like an injury. Then I would have nothing.”
Kraft recalled a freak play two years ago when he was sliding into third base and was hit in the face with the ball thrown by the catcher, knocking out four teeth.
“I’m fine now, but I can’t go into this season thinking that something like that could happen again,” Kraft said. “Hopefully, it won’t.”
Kraft said that he feels confident he will have a great season.
“I’m definitely ready,” Kraft said. “I know being a Division I scholarship player puts some pressure on me, but I definitely like the reputation and name it’s given me. I don’t want to go out there and slack off. I want to be an example for others. We definitely can have an amazing year this year, if our fall team is any indication. It’s all about how much hard work we put into it.”
And how well the Coppin State-bound Kraft hits the ball this spring.


Cornelius “Neil” Ford
Cornelius “Neil” Ford passed away on Dec. 1, after losing his battle with cancer. He leaves behind a loving daughter, two adoring grandchildren, and many devoted friends.
A lifelong resident of Harrison, he graduated from Essex Catholic High School in 1972 and went on to work at several institutions of the Harrison Industrial Age, including Otis Elevator and Driver-Harris. He was a member of Laborer’s Local 112.
Surviving are his daughter, Kristina Ford, grandson Russell Kennedy and granddaughter Olivia Richmond, as well as many cousins and great friends.
The viewing was held on Dec. 2 at the Condon Memorial Home, Harrison. A memorial Mass will be held in the new year, so that out-of-state relatives may attend.

Alan T. Kennedy
Alan T. Kennedy died at home on April 7. He was 52.
Born in Kearny, he was a lifelong North Arlington resident.
Private arrangements are being made by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny.
Alan was a tool-and-dye maker for Standard Tool. He is the son of the late Alexander and Joan Kennedy and brother of the late Donald. He is survived by his fiancé Ellen Dunn along with relatives in Scotland and England.
To leave an online condolence, visit: www.armitagewiggins.com.

Alma D. Strauch
Alma D. Strauch (Gauch), 90, died on Dec. 6 in Arbor Glen Center, Cedar Grove.
Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The funeral service was held in the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, 663 Kearny Ave., Kearny, followed by private cremation. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.
Alma was born in Kearny and was a lifelong resident.
She was employed as an accounts payable clerk at Midlantic Bank in Bloomfield for 19 years, retiring many years ago.
Alma loved her family at the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington where she served as an elder and deacon, and was a member of the Canterbury Guild, the Presbyterian Women and the Chancel Choir.  She volunteered every year at the annual holiday fair on the first Saturday of November. She was also responsible for organizing and running the church rummage sale. She taught Sunday School for 19 years. Alma also served as a volunteer at the Kearny Public Library and was a former Girl Scout Leader.
She is survived by her children Janice R. Taub (David) and Robert A. Strauch; her siblings Frederick Gauch and Erna Moran; grandchildren Hillary Strauch, Jennifer Kissida and Timothy Kissida and three great-grandchildren. She was the mother-in-law of Virginia Strauch.
Alma was predeceased by her husband George J. Sr. and her son George J. Jr.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington c/o the Alma Strauch Fund.

Isabell Jones
Mrs. Isabell Jones, of Kearny, died on Monday, Dec. 5, in West Hudson Extended Care.   She was 81. Services were held privately.
She was predeceased by her husband Pershing Gerald Jones and a son Gerald Jones.
Isabell is survived by her children, Ronald, Barbara and Glen Jones and seven grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as her niece, Barbara Weir.

Michael A. Toriglio III

Michael A. Toriglio III, died suddenly at home on Dec. 10. He was 51.
Born in Newark, he lived in Kearny before moving to Brick 20 years ago.
Visiting will be on Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 10:30 a.m. in St. Stephens Church, Kearny, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Mausoleum, North Arlington.
Michael served in the Marine Corps after High School and was a self-employed construction contractor. He loved fishing, hunting and playing golf. He was an avid Jets fan and enjoyed his membership at The Shore Acres Club.
He is survived by his parents Michael A. Jr. and Helen (nee Degnin), his sister Michele Regelsky and her husband Billy and his brother John Toriglio. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Shore Acres Club, P.O. Box 4221, Brick, N.J. 08723. On line condolence may be left at www.armitagewiggins.com.

Annie McGowan

Annie McGowan (nee Durning), died on Dec. 11 at home. She was 94.
Born in Scotland, she lived many years in Forest Hills, Queens before moving to Kearny two years ago.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass will be on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 11 a.m. in St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, followed by internment in Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, N.Y..
Mrs. McGowan was very devoted to the Xaverian Missionaries and enjoyed her membership at the Scots and Irish Clubs. An avid ballroom dancer, she won many awards during her lifetime and had a beautiful singing voice.  On several occasions, she was given the high honor of opening the Scottish Festival in Holmdel by singing the National Anthem.
She was the wife of the late Joseph; sister of Peggy Alessi, James Durning, Katie Duffy and the late Sadie Young, Alice Pisano and Neil and Hugh Durning. She is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews and their families.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to The Xaverian Missionaries c/o the funeral home. Online condolence may be left at www.armitagewiggins.com.

Robert Dignazio
Robert Dignazio, 52, suddenly on Dec. 9.
Born in Newark, Robert lived his life in East Newark and Harrison.  He was employed by JP Morgan as a senior system analyst.  Robert was a 1977 graduate of Harrison High School and attended William Paterson University.
Robert is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Renee (Lavornia), his children, son Robert F. (fiancée Jessica), and daughter, Nicole.  He is the beloved son of Robert and Thelma Dignazio; cherished brother of Donna Marie (James T. Davies), JoAnn (James Botch), Marianne, and John (Cathryn).  He is further survived by brother-in-law Frank Lavornia (Robin) and sisters-in-law Pauline and Marie as well as many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and his faithful companion, Fluffy.
Bobby will always be remembered for his unique joie de vivre to “work hard and play hard”.  His many masterful hobbies included gourmet cooking, the stock market, horse racing and the New York Rangers and Giants.
Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison.  A funeral mass was held in St. Anthony’s Church, East Newark, followed by interment in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Camp Fatima of New Jersey would be greatly appreciated by the Dignazio Family in care of the funeral home, in memory of Robert.

Harry A. Sauer

Harry Sauer, 81, died on Friday, Dec. 9 in the St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark.
Mr. Sauer was born in Newark, lived in Lyndhurst, and moved to Kearny 40 years ago.
He was employed as a quality control manager for Becton Dickinson in East Rutherford for 35 years before retiring in 1997.
He is survived by his wife Frances M. (Rispoli), daughter Eva Turner and his sister Janet Wright.
Private arrangements were under the direction of the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home.

Top 10 reasons to ‘not’ plan for retirement

By Randy Neumann

Although you probably read or hear about some “Top Ten” list every other day, take a moment to read this one.  This list, which is very different from most, is probably not the kind of list you’d expect someone to write.
Reason #10: “I’m too busy.”  I can’t tell you how often I hear this excuse.  So many people want to plan for a comfortable retirement, yet they don’t make the effort to put the time aside.  They think they’ll take care of it tomorrow or the day after that, but before they know it several years have gone by
and nothing has been accomplished.  The best advice I can give you is to stop procrastinating and start planning today.  Many people spend more time planning their annual vacation than they do planning their retirement without realizing that retirement may be the longest vacation they’ll ever take!
Reason #9: “It’s too soon.”  I don’t know how this happened, but many people have adopted the notion that you don’t have to start planning for your retirement until the day before.  This is totally incorrect.  Truth told, the sooner you start planning, the better chance you stand of having the kind of retirement you want.  It’s never too soon.  Many people start planning in their early twenties!
Reason #8: “It’s too late.”  If you’re already near or past your retirement eligibility date, you may think that however much you have accumulated is what you’re stuck with and it’s too late to do anything about it.  Think again.  If you’re unsure of what your options are, speak to a professional.  Even if you’ve already retired, it’s important to consider how you’re receiving your income and how long it will last.  It’s never too late to revise your income distribution strategy.
Reason #7: “I don’t need to.”  I’ve heard this excuse many times and find it baffling.  Many people think that because they’ve been diligent about contributing to a savings account, they’re all set.  While saving for retirement is good, you also need a plan for income distribution once you begin retirement.  Are you certain that what you’re saving will be enough?  Have you considered your distribution plan?  What about taxes?  What about inflation?  And, are you sure your money is in the right place?  There may be other, better options for you; therefore, it may prove worthwhile to look into them.
Reason #6: “I don’t have enough money to get started.”  This excuse seems marginal at first glance, but there is some truth behind it.  You need to have money to save or invest.  However, unless your bills are exactly equal to or greater than your net income, you do have enough to get started.  Starting small is better than not starting at all, and if you plan well, you’ll eventually accumulate enough to work with.
Reason #5: “My finances are a mess.”  This is all the more reason to seek out an advisor who can help you sort through and understand your assets.  Perhaps you have a 401(k) from a former employer that has not been rolled over, a couple of savings accounts, a trust from a deceased relative, some stocks that your parents bought in your name when you were younger, etc. Although a situation like this can be confusing, leaving it as it is won’t improve your situation.
Reason #4: “The Government will take care of me.”  The bottom line is this: There’s a chance Social Security may not be available when you retire, and even presuming that it is, it probably will not be enough to provide your ideal retirement income.  If you are planning to retire on Social Security alone, I would advise you to create a back-up plan at the very least.
Reason #3: “Between my savings and my 401(k), I’ll be fine.”  Saving for retirement without an income distribution plan can be a mistake.  How will you use that money once you begin taking distributions?  While you may think that you’ll have everything you’re going to need to live comfortably, have you considered inflation?  Taxes?  Long-term care expense?  And furthermore, some people are living past 90.  Will your assets last that long?  What will happen if you outlive your income?  It’s a good idea to look ahead and plan lifelong income.
Reason #2: “I don’t want to think about it.”  Many people procrastinate simply because they find the thought of discussing financial matters (or growing old) to be troubling.  I can certainly understand that.  But consider this: If you bite the bullet now and put a firm plan in motion, you may not have to think about it again for quite some time.
Reason #1: “I don’t know how.”  If you knew everything there was to know about retirement planning, you’d probably be a financial advisor yourself.  While it is possible to do everything on your own, that generally involves a great deal of research and a huge time commitment.  If you’re putting off retirement planning because you don’t know how, consider speaking to a professional who does.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual.  Randy Neumann, CFP® is a registered representative with and securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial.  Member FINRA/SIPC.  He can be reached at 12 Route 17N, Suite 115, Paramus, 201-291-9000.