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STATE CHAMPS AGAIN!

Harrison defeats Haddon Township, 4-0, to win 25th NJSIAA state soccer title in school history (Photo by Jim Hague) The Harrison High School boys’ soccer team pose with the NJSIAA Group I state championship trophy, after defeating Haddon Township, 4-0, […]

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

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

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

 
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Buying more time: North Arlington to install new parking meters

Photo by Ron Leir/ From l. to r. Councilman Joseph Bianchi, Public Works Supt. James McCebe, and Borough Administrator Terrence Wall awaiting new meters at Belleville Tpke. parking lot.

 

By Ron Leir

NORTH ARLINGTON–

Time heals all wounds, they say.

And so it may be with disgruntled drivers looking for time-gauged places to park, now that the Borough of North Arlington is moving to install meters in spaces previously reserved for permitholders only.

That’s what’s happening in at least two of the borough’s municipal parking lots, one being the Belleville Turnpike lot, just west of Ridge Road, where according to Councilman Joseph Bianchi, public works chairman, the lot will be restriped and 19 meters will be installed.

“Years ago – at least 20 – this lot was metered,” Bianchi said, “but that was changed to permit parking at the request of the business owners in the area.”

But now the tables are turning.

Residents like former Ridge Road retailer Marie Elaine Yaccarino applauded the borough’s move at the March 8 meeting of the governing body.

“This is something I’ve been advocating for a long time,” Yaccarino said, afterwards, to a reporter. Having meters in the lot, “will at least allow customers to have the option of parking somewhere,” she said.

Additionally, the municipal lot on Ridge Road off Harding Ave. is also to be metered, with 22 slated for that site.

Mayor Peter Massa said the metered parking venture is being done “to accommodate the people in the south end of town, to help the merchants who are in competition with the Kearny UEZ (Urban Enterprise Zone).”

Actually, Bianchi said, the metering of the Belleville Pike lot should end up benefiting shopkeepers and business people on both sides of the North Arlington/Kearny border, especially the medical office directly across from the lot where patients “are generally there for a couple of hours.”

The meters will have a twohour limit, he said.

“This will help them – and other businesses on Ridge Road – immensely because there’s generally no place to park,” he added. “This will help residents, shoppers or even people going to the Lincoln (Cinemas) movies.”

One space in the Belleville Pike lot and two spaces in the Ridge Road lot will be reserved for handicapped drivers and those motorists who hold parking permits will be permitted to park in a metered spot so long as they display their permit placards, Bianchi said.

Assuming the ordinance intended to clear the way for the metered lots that the Borough Council voted to introduce on March 8 passes a second reading at a public hearing on March 22, Bianchi is hopeful that the transition can happen within a month or so.

It can’t be too soon for merchants like Sanjay Mehta, who owns Papers Plus at the corner of Belleville Pike and Ridge Road. “I’ve been losing so much business,” Mehta told a reporter last week. “I’ve been fighting with the town eight months over this. The sign (in the Belleville Pike lot) says (permit) parking from 7 to 9 (a.m.) but I open at 6 (a.m.). If somebody parks (between 6 and 7) to buy something here and gets a ticket, he’s not coming back.”

“Look at the parking lot now,” Mehta told a visitor. “It’s empty because people are afraid to park there.”

“The town is hurting town businesses,” he said.

But when asked about the prospect of replacing permit parking with meters, Mehta seemed relieved. “Meters will help the customers,” he said. “People will be happy. And at least I will be given a chance to stay in business. I work here 15, 16 hours every day, seven days a week. I want just a little chance for enjoyment, to help me and my family, and a lot of the businesses here.”

Mike Romano, who runs the nearby First Lady Salon on Ridge Road, agreed that meters should be creating additional parking opportunities, especially if there’s a two-hour limit. “That should keep the cars moving (in and out),” he said.

At El Cubanito’s café, also on Ridge Road, a visitor heard similar supportive comments from workers. “Our customers are telling us there is no parking,” one employee said. “And,” a co-worker reminded her, “mucho complaints about tickets.”

Over at the Silver Bell tavern on the Belleville Pike, owner Bob Melillo said: “Anything will help us – there’s no parking now.” To this, one of the regulars chimed in that he’d recently been stung with having to pay a $55 ticket for parking improperly in a permit-only spot.

Borough Administrator Terrence Wall said it’s estimated that each meter head will cost about $150 and each meter pole, where needed, will run $30. Total cost of equipping the two lots is pegged at about $3,000, he said. “Permit revenue will help offset the cost,” he said.

Figuring in the already existing meters at the Melray’s parking garage lot, residents and commuters driving in the south end of town will have access to a total of 68 metered lot spaces. Beyond that, the borough will be making available 25 parking permits, each offered for $300 per year, for the three south end lots. Permit holders can park in metered spaces. Parking enforcement hours are likely to be consistent with existing curbside meter hours.

In other N. Arlington developments:

• Councilman Steve Tanelli said that state lawmakers are pressing to have the North Arlington/ Belleville Bridge named for North Arlington’s fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca. “It’s a done deal,” he said.

• Restaurants and deli’s serving hot food will be expected to regularly monitor their grease traps now that the Board of Health has passed a new ordinance regulating the operation of those devices to counteract “a lot of sewer backups” that, according to Bianchi, have resulted from improperly maintained traps. Failure to do so can subject the owner to penalties of $250 a day for a first offense, leading up to a maximum of $1,000 a day for multiple infractions.

• North Arlington and Lyndhurst will be looking at possible future “shared services” for police department functions under a joint county-financed study for which Lyndhurst will be taking the lead. A separate survey is being done in the area of public works.

One Tank Escapes: Maximum excitement for minimum cost

 

By Jeff Bahr

With soaring fuel prices that have people wondering if their gas was produced by Gucci rather than Getty, we now enter the warmer vacation months. As a result of this price gouging, many will be taking “Staycations,” a thoroughly absurd alternate vacation concept that came about when the price of gas first hit $4 per gallon. We at The Observer believe that our readers deserve more than this stay-at-home nonsense! That’s why we’re featuring “One Tank Escapes” in installments throughout the spring and summer months. As the phrase implies, these are minigetaways to interesting and fun places that require less than one full-tank of gasoline (on average) per round trip. We’re even including a map to help point you in the right direction. Sound like a plan? Let’s go!

Destination: New Hope, Pa.

•Distance from Kearny: 62 miles

•Attractions and activities: Shopping, dining, antiquing, train rides, river and canal boat rides, historic points.

•Nearby: Washington’s Crossing State Park; shopping at Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, Pa.

If you’ve never been to this cute little hamlet that flanks the free-flowing Delaware River’s western bank, you’re in for a real treat. This pretty river town has roots reaching back to the early 1700s when it became a ferry stop. Since that time, New Hope has morphed into a genuine “happening” that offers an abundance of options to the day-tripper. And it’s located just a stone’s throw from a multitude of other neat places, a classic win-win proposition.

Many, if not most people flock to New Hope for the human show. An artists’ enclave, the town attracts an eclectic assortment of people that run the gamut from mild to wild. It’s not uncommon to see aging hippies replete in tie-died shirts mixing with aristocrats from the “horsey-set” moving about the village. Artists, tourists, clothing-minimalists, professionals, poets, bikers, lovers; all come to soak up the town’s charms and to watch this wonderful human hodgepodge as it ambles on by.

In addition to this street theater, New Hope is also known for its many shopping opportunities. Much like the people that it attracts, the boutiques here are many and varied and sell most everything from novelty items to antiques. A prime example of this can be found at two wildly different boutiques located just off Ferry St., the town’s main drag. In one, lovers of pop culture can buy such inexpensive and fun things as Napoleon Dynamite bobble heads and rock ‘n’ roll posters. In the store beside it, ornate, oversized vases priced in the vicinity of “Oh my Gosh!” are the order of the day. Diversity!

A canal runs through it

Much of New Hope’s charm derives from its relationship to the 60-mile-long Pennsylvania Canal that bisects it. A bucolic space that looks much like it did in the days of mule-driven “packet” boats, the well-maintained towpath begs visitors to sample its charms with a walk or a hike. Ambitious bicyclists reach New Hope (the Canal’s halfway point) after a 30-mile ride from the Canal’s northern terminus at Easton. Once in town, they park their bikes, settle in for a tasty meal at one of the town’s many restaurants, and then pedal away, rejuvenated. Thusly restored, they attack the rest of the trail south to Bristol, or head back in the opposite direction to Easton.

For those who wish to sample the canal at a more sedate pace, mule-driven boat rides are offered in season. Boatmen dressed in period garb only add to the allure, blurring the fact that you’re in the 21st century, not the 19th.

For those who’d like an upclose- and-personal view of the Delaware River, excursion boats ply the waterway from a dock just south of Bridge St. As luck would have it, there’s an old-time ice cream parlor with oodles of atmosphere located right beside it – just the thing to take the edge off of a hot day on the river. All aboard!

 

A train runs through it

The New Hope and Ivyland Railroad is a tourist railroad centered in town that takes passengers on hourly excursions through the picturesque rolling hills and valleys of Bucks County. Railroad buffs will fixate on the steam engine and scenic railroad trestles, while Hollywood fans will delight in the fact that this route was once used to film the 1914 silent film series, “The Perils of Pauline.” The vintage 1891 train station where riders buy their tickets has been restored to a pristine state. In an ironic twist, the depot is situated directly beside the Pennsylvania Canal – the transportation system that it ultimately displaced.

All of this activity is bound to stoke one’s appetite. While there are a great many restaurant choices in town, the Logan Inn (started as the Ferry Tavern in 1727) at the town’s center is perhaps the most favored. As the oldest continuously run inn in Bucks County, and one of the five oldest in the U.S., this is hardly surprising. Saturdays and Sundays in season find a horde of visitors eating alfresco on the tented patio adjacent to the main building. This section of the restaurant offers a killer view of the “people show” on Main St. situated just below it. While noshing there, diners observe a near endless procession of cars moving slowly through town, as well as a generous number of motorcycles. On an agreeable spring or summer day, bicycles are nearly as numerous.

Photo by Jeff Bahr/ Carriage beside Logan Inn, New Hope, PA.

More to see and do

Washington’s Crossing Historic Park is a short seven– mile drive south on Route 32. On Christmas Eve, 1776, General Washington and his ragtag group of Continental soldiers made their infamous journey across the ice-choked Delaware River, enroute to a surprise attack on the Hessians quartered in Trenton. As history shows, it was a worthy gamble. The Visitors Center is located near the spot where the crossing occurred and contains a wealth of material that details that pivotal day and the days that preceded it.

An interesting fact that the Chamber of Commerce won’t tell you

On a rainy and foggy October evening in 1983, NBC Nightly News anchorwoman Jessica Savitch and a male companion had dinner at Chez Odette’s (now O’dette’s) at the south end of New Hope beside the canal. As they left the restaurant’s parking lot they accidentally turned onto a little-used dirt road that put them on a collision course with the severely flooded canal. Savitch, her friend and dog were drowned when the car rolled into the ditch and flipped over in the turbulent water. They never saw it coming.

Lahaska Peddler’s Village

The quaint Peddler’s Village, located three miles west of New Hope in Lahaska, features 70 specialty shops and six restaurants. Tudor buildings and manicured gardens reminiscent of English countryside differentiate this shopping experience from that of uninspired outlet malls, and the Golden Plough Inn, noted for its sumptuous meals and uniquely decorated rooms puts a “proper” British stamp on the village.

Lambertville, N.J.

A visit to New Hope comes with value-added in the form of Lambertville, N.J., located directly to its east across the Delaware River. An easy walk across Bridge St. takes visitors to this picture-perfect village noted for its shopping, restaurants and history.

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Doomsday Preppers

publisher@theobserver.com

 

National Geographic now has a different twist to the safaris and culture studies that we’re used to. Instead, they are featuring so called ordinary families who are preparing for doomsday, otherwise known as the end of the world. Surfing through the channels it is almost hard not to stop, these folks are stocking food, ammunition, what ever it will take for them to survive. I must tell you, they are taking this quite seriously and taking matters into there own hands. Some of these folks go to extreme lengths; they even go as far as building bunks underground on their property that include all the comforts of home. The heavy artillery was something to question! Is it even legal? As I watched this bizarre program I was paying attention to the children and was taken back to see the fright in their expression. What a sad way to live day to day, preparing for the end. What a waste. So much negative energy and most of all the kids live in fear.

For America’s sake, let’s stop the Lin-sanity

No, this isn’t about sports – at least not in the way that you might think. “Lin-sanity” is used in this instance as a metaphor for the way that people behave in a society plagued by political correctness. In my opinion, it’s a damn shame. Yes, I said damn. Don’t worry, we’re still allowed to say that one.

If you’re not yet up to speed on the “Lin-Sanity” phenomenon, here’s the deal. Jeremy Lin is a pro-basketball point-guard with the New York Knicks who recently came to prominence despite being a former “bench-warmer.” To say that he proved himself to be a well-rounded basketball player is like saying that Shaquille O’Neal is sort of tall.

Almost overnight fans became captivated by Lin’s surprisingly quick moves and shooting prowess, as well as his propensity for playing “team ball” by passing the ball often and well. The fact that he’s of Asian American decent only added to the story, since the NBA features precious few players from that part of the world. Lin’s scoring streak has cooled a bit of late, but that’s how streaks go.

When Lin first came to prominence, sports writers, forever looking to differentiate from the pack literally went pun-crazy with his name. Almost every newspaper featured such uninspired phrases as Lin-spiration, Lin-sanity, Lin-surrection, Lin-ovation, Lin-put, and scores of other Lin-guistics that swapped the surname Lin for an “in” prefix. If Lin should ever get hurt while playing ball, I’m certain some dork in a tweed coat will say that he’s been “Lin-jured.” If he gets sick, they’ll say that he has a Lin-fection. The lesson is clear – one bad pun obviously deserves another.

But this, as they say is not about that. This is about what happens to good people in 2012 if they accidentally cross an often imperceptible line, as 28-year-old ESPN news-editor Anthony Federico did recently when he wrote the headline, “A chink in the armor” to describe gaps, or “chinks” in Lin’s game.

“I wrote the headline in reference to the tone of the column and not to Jeremy Lin’s race,” Federico explained after he was hypocritically raked over the coals by the media and those who chose to believe that his use of the saying was racism tinged. “It was a lapse in judgment and not a racist pun. It was an awful editorial omission and it cost me my job…”

Federico then tells of his charitable works with the poor and points out how crazy it would have been for him, a young journalist on the rise, to write an overtly racist headline.

I believe him. I have personally used the phrase “chink in the armor” numerous times in articles throughout the years. The word is defined as a gap or crevice, and the phrase is generally used to describe a weakness or “gap” in someone’s skill set – an Achilles heel in his or her arsenal if you will. A slang version of “chink” has also been used maliciously as a slur against Chinese- Americans, but any reasonable person who has ever heard this four-word combination knows that it is in no way a pejorative term. Not even close.

Lin himself doesn’t believe that Federico meant any harm with this and has openly accepted his apology. But Lin’s forgiveness doesn’t matter one iota. In a fear-driven rush, ESPN fired Federico for his oversight. Do the big-wigs at ESPN really believe that Federico’s headline was prejudice driven? Probably not. But they’re in the game to make money. To avert a potential loss of advertisers they showed typical corporate disloyalty and cowardice by dumping Federico squarely on his ass for the supposed infraction. Yes, I said ass. Don’t worry; it’s just a slang word that means donkey. Somehow, we’ll all survive.

And therein lies a lesson for all. Maybe someday it will be you that makes an innocuous remark, and then has to pay the piper for this imagined sin. If you’ve been riding the politically correct train up until that point, you’ll be mighty shocked when that train suddenly derails and the vultures of political correctness pounce upon you. And pounce they most certainly will. But don’t go looking for any sympathy. In this twisted, tiptoe-over-eggshells world that you helped endorse, it was only a matter of time. Truth be told, that’s the real chink in the armor in America, and a “bloody” sad one at that.

Webster’s Definition:

Bloody –Adjective

Covered, smeared, or running with bloo

Vulgar. Used to express anger, annoyance, or shock

Can you guess which meaning I was going for?

-Jeff Bahr

When chips are down, he gets riled up

Early on March 11, Officer Neil Nelson responded to the Quik Chek on a report of a disorderly person in the store. When Nelson arrived, he found a man who was yelling and screaming about the service in the store, telling the workers that their chips were too stale. Officer Nelson attempted to calm the individual down, but to no avail. The man was subdued, handcuffed, and arrested. Jonathan Perez, a 20-year-old resident of Newark, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Later that day, Officer Mike Andrews was on patrol in the area of Kearny and Garfield around 5:20 p.m. when he discovered a 15-year-old who was screaming on Kearny Ave. When Andrews stopped and looked at the youth, the juvenile sarcastically responded, “What are you looking at?” and continued to be belligerent. Andrews cautioned the child about his behavior, but this failed to curtail from his behavior. The 15-year-old Kearny male was arrested and brought to Headquarters pending pickup from his parents.

Just ten minutes later, Officer Brian Wisely was on patrol in the area of Devon St. when he observed two individuals who appeared to be intoxicated sitting on a stoop. Wisely questioned the pair and confirmed his suspicion of the two being intoxicated while also confirming that they were sitting on the stoop of a residence which neither belonged to.

When he asked for identification, he realized that one of the individuals was 17-years-old and in possession of a pack of cigarettes. While continuing the search, Wisely found the 17-year-old was in possession of a set of brass knuckles. The knuckles were seized and the youth was placed under arrest. The 17-year-old male Kearny resident was charged with possession of a prohibitive weapon.

On March 12, the Kearny Vice Squad received information regarding a marijuana distribution operation on Davis Ave. and set up surveillance. Around 11 p.m., they observed what they felt to be drug activity taking place, and approached the vehicle. On approach, they observed the front seat passenger throw away a plastic sandwich bag containing what was believed to be marijuana from the car. The officers took the occupants from the vehicle and placed them under arrest. Along with the initial bag thrown away from the car, another green Ziploc bag was taken from the floor of the vehicle. A search of one of the individuals found a silver-colored grinder. Based on their onsite observations, Kearny Vice was able to obtain a search warrant to search the residence of one of the males. The search of the residence found two more ounces of marijuana and a scale from within the residence with packaging material indicative of a distribution operation. Two 22-year-old Kearny males were arrested. One was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled substance in a motor vehicle. The second was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, distribution of marijuana, distribution in a school zone, and distribution within a playground/ park zone. Bail was set at $2,500.

The following day, on March 14, Officers Ben Wuelfing and Derek Hemphill were doing an evening check of the area below Schuyler Ave. by Harvey Field and observed a car parked close to the fence. The officers lit the area and found five individuals near the press box of Harvey field. Officer John Becker arrived as backup. The individuals were questioned as to how they got into the field and admitted to climbing over the fence. A search of the area found a discarded container that contained marijuana and a smaller jar with marijuana. The group was then placed under arrest. Four males and one female, all between the ages of 16 and 18 years old, were charged with defiant trespass, possession of marijuana, and use of marijuana.

-Anthony J. Machcinski

News from the Belleville Police Blotter

March 15

A stolen motor vehicle was recovered at the corner of Mill and Clinton Sts. at 3:38 p.m. Police were detailed there after a neighbor reported a car parked at that location. After running the plates on the grey 2007 BMW 50L, the vehicle came back as having been stolen from Elizabeth, N.J. on March 14. The vehicle’s interior had been stripped almost completely, with only the driver’s seat still remaining.

A resource officer visiting the junior high school at 279 Washington Ave. noticed a 13-year-old male seated near the office wearing a backpack. In one of its mesh pockets, a silver folding knife was clearly visible. When the officer confronted the youth, he said, “The knife’s not mine. Someone put it in there.” The boy was arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon in an educational institution and transported to headquarters. He was later released to his parents.

At 5:35 p.m., the CVS store at 519 Washington Ave. reported a shoplifting. When police arrived, store personnel told the officers that a Hispanic male wearing blue jeans, a black cap and black jacket left the store without paying for items. He was last seen crossing Washington Ave and heading south. Shortly thereafter police saw a man fitting that description near the intersection of Washington and Little Sts. A female store detective told police, “That’s the guy that shoplifted from our store.” The man was stopped as he was walking north through a parking lot at 140 Little St. A large bulge from the front of his shirt revealed eight Glade air fresheners and twelve packs of Trident chewing gum – a total value of $78. The man, 38-year-old Jose Rodriguez of Newark was arrested and charged with shoplifting. His bail was set at $200. Rodriguez was also found to have an outstanding Newark warrant for $5000 and a Harrison warrant for $100.

March 14

At 10:21 p.m., a burglary and theft was reported at 8 Nolton St. Police were told by the homeowner that the following items were found missing: A Sony PlayStation game valued at $200; A PS2 valued at $150; three Wii games valued at $300 in total; and an HP Pavilion G6 laptop valued at $500. Police are investigating.

March 11

At 3:05 a.m., police were sent to 91 Heckle St. on a report of a disturbance. When they arrived, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. While there, however, a bar patron flagged them down and told them that her blue 2001 Windstar van had been stolen from a parking spot at 80 Heckle St.

March 10

Police were called at 12:50 a.m. and told that a black male with a full beard wearing a blue sweatshirt had just pointed a handgun at two males and a woman at Walgreens at 325 Washington Ave. A unit traveling south on Washington Ave. encountered a male fitting that exact description standing at the corner of Joralemon Ave. and Washington Ave. Two officers exited the vehicle with weapons drawn and ordered the man to raise his hands over his head and get on the ground. He didn’t comply. Officers noticed the handle of a black handgun sticking out of the left side of the sweatshirt’s front pocket and again ordered the man to get on the ground. When he didn’t comply this time, officers tackled him to the ground and removed what turned out to be a 9mm Luger handgun from his person. The weapon, with a defaced serial number, was carrying seven rounds in its magazine. 35-year-old Daryl Henry of Newark was arrested and transported to headquarters. He was charged with possession of a weapon, certain persons not to have a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, possession of a defaced weapon, and armed robbery.

At 9:41 a.m., a vehicle was reported stolen at 25 Holmes St. The man told police that he had parked his silver 1999 A6 wagon across the street from his house the night before. A Ryobi drill worth $80 was in the car. The vehicle was later recovered in Newark.

-Jeff Bahr

Graced by the gods, locals invited to watch wily Pseudolus, anew

Photo courtesy of Matt Boryszewski/ William Ruff (l.) and John Pinto rehearse a scene from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

 

By Anthony J. Machcinski

HARRISON –

Harrison High School will turn back the back the clocks a dozen years when the school’s Drama Club will present “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at the end of the month.

“It’s a hysterical comedy on topics that everyone can relate to,” said producer Matthew Boryszewski.

The idea for reviving the performance came from Boryszewski, who acted in it during his junior year at Harrison High in 2000. He played Senex.

“I’ve tried to do a revival since I was (hired as a staffer),” said Boryszewski, who is now a social studies teacher for the high school.

And even though the play’s an old chesnut in the club archives, it continues to generate excitement among the cast.

“I think everyone is very happy with it,” Boryszewski said. “The students have been having a ball since (rehearsals) started in the beginning of the year.”

The play’s central character is Pseudolus, a slave living in the house of Senex who hopes to buy, win, or steal his freedom.

Harrison High’s Pseudolus will be played by veteran student thespian William Ruff. Ruff, a four-year member of the HHS drama club, is starring in his fourth performance. In past years, he has played Pippin in “Pippin,” Horton in “Seussical,” and Johnny Casino in “Grease.”

Photo courtesy Matt Boryszewski/ Cast and crew of Harrison High Drama Club’s upcoming production

 

“For this performance, I have to work harder and prepare and do whatever it takes to put on a great performance,” said Ruff, a recipient of the 2011 New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education for Excellence in Acting.

Among the other actors involved in the performance is ninth-grader Heather Harris, who is playing Domina, the wife of Senex. “I was very excited to learn that I was being put up to the level that the upperclassmen were at,” Harris said. “It’s been such an honor to work with these people like (Ruff) who have been here for years.”

Boryszewski hopes that Ruff, Harris, and the rest of the cast will be able to learn from this experience.

“I just want them to have a deeper appreciation for musical theatre and to grow as individuals and as actors,” Boryszewski explained. “This is an excellent experience for a musical comedy.”

For Ruff, Boryszewski’s advice has resonated strongly with the young actor.

“This is another chance to show my talent and do what I do best on stage,” said Ruff, who will attend Montclair State next year where he hopes to major in musical theater.

The lesson has rubbed off on the young Harris as well.

“(The other cast members have) helped develop me as an actor,” said Harris, who hopes to build on this year’s experience during the balance of her high school tenure. “I’ve admired this program for such a long time.” The curtain will rise March 29 and 30 at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium at 800 Hamilton St. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors.

Rounding out the rest of the players: Michael Cruz as Hysterium, Johnathan Pinto as Miles Gloriosus, Carlos Montufar as Hero, Kaina Almonte as Philia, David Pineda as Senex, Lucia Fernandes as Lycus, Wence Morales as Erronius, Natalie Camargo as Tintinabula, Vanessa Valeiro as Panacea, Alessandra Gomez and Letizia Gomes as Geminae Twins, Cecelia Rodriguez as Vibrata, Kayla Middleton as Gymnasia, DJ Droz as Tiberia, Kiara Bermudez as Statue and Eduardo Velarde as Statue. The Proteans will be played by Pola Farinas, Patty Jackowska,,Zenaida Miranda, Breann Mobus, Thayjin Suquitana, Ana Teixeira, Liliana Valeiro, Luis Velez, Daniela Villalobos, and Gennesie Zuniga. Luisa Coppola is directing; Leonardo C. DaSilva is musical director; Mary Pat Shields is technical director; and Colin Shields is set designer.

And the Oscar goes to….

Library-vet gets ‘bookish’ about books

Photo Courtesy of Ron Leir/ Maria LaBadia, ( r. ) with friend Miriam Ciffer, head of the Edible Art program.

 

By Ron Leir

NUTLEY –

Whether it was listening to her mom reading to her as a small child or devouring the Nancy Drew mystery series or volunteering at her high school library, there probably hasn’t been a time in Maria LaBadia’s life that she was very far from some form of the printed word.

So it’s no wonder LaBadia gravitated toward library science as a career of study and has been an active librarian since the early ‘80s.

On March 5, the Belleville native who moved to Nutley in 2003, took over as director of the Nutley Public Library after having most recently worked at the Montclair Public Library.

The next day, members of the Nutley community – including the mayor and Township Council, Library Board, Friends of the Library, family, friends and public – came out in force to greet her at a social given in her honor.

LaBadia got a running start during her first week on the job by familiarizing herself with local library policies, interacting with her 30-member staff and meeting with library trustees and Barbara Hirsch, president of the Friends, the library’s fundraising arm.

“We look forward to working with Maria,” Hirsch said. “She’s highly qualified in her profession and committed to her community. I’m sure the library will flourish under her leadership.”

Asked what her priorities would be, LaBadia noted that the library has been outfitted with nearly 30 computer terminals and said: “The (Library) Board is very big on technology – things like e-books and I-pads – and ways to raise money. I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of books but we have to find ways to keep up with what’s new, whether it’s blue-ray or streaming, and the Friends are going to be very important helping us keep up.”

The library’s annual budget is $1.5 million, with most of that coming from the township, and just $13,000 from state aid. With its leaders still talking about a nearly $3 million expansion to accommodate a multipurpose room for 100-plus guests and storage space, the library will mark its 100-year anniversary in 2014.

LaBadia was picked for the $85,000-a-year Civil Service job from among 21 applicants from as far west as Michigan, according to library board President Anthony Iannarone. She’ll serve a six-month probationary period.

The new director replaces Sara Lester, who left at the end of 2011 to run her hometown library in Maplewood.

LaBadia has been youth services supervisor at the Montclair Public Library since 2003. It was actually her second stretch of service there. She got her first library job at Montclair, from 1981 to 1984, before moving on to West Milford Township Library for the next two years.

“I had just gotten my MLS (master’s in library science) from Rutgers,” LaBadia recalled, “and computers were just coming out and I remember our professors telling us, ‘This is going to revolutionize our world.’ Now we have kindles and ebooks here in Nutley for our patrons.”

In 1986, after her son was born, LaBadia switched to part-time work at libraries in Denville, Sparta and Pequannock before moving to Georgia for a decade where she worked for the Gwinnett County Public Library in Lawrenceville and the St. John Regional Catholic School in Lilburn.

In 2003 she moved back to New Jersey and was welcomed back to the Montclair Library where new challenges presented themselves. Administrators were searching for ways of attracting more young people to the library and the task fell to LaBadia, who experimented with ways to reach out to adolescents and teens.

“We had rock and hip-hop concerts on the front lawn of the library, comic book workshops, we had a ‘Beatles Week,’ we got a $300 grant to buy vinyl,” LaBadia said. “This was the early ‘80s so the records we got were of bands like Squeeze and Marshal Krenshaw. I also organized a movies series featuring ‘Buster Crabbe’ and ‘Flash Gordon.’ ’’

These strategies helped heighten kids’ library awareness and participation, she said.

“I’ve always wanted to be a librarian,” LaBadia said. “Most libraries are the hub of a community.” Aside from lending books, many libraries serve as a meeting place for people of varying interests, she said, whether it’s to play scrabble, join a knitting club or a “Pen-to- Prose” group – all examples of activities hosted by Nutley Library.

“I’m a people person,” LaBadia said, “so I guess that’s why I feel at home in the library. Here in Nutley, we’re definitely the heart of the community.”

As she gets to know her new constituency, which includes nearly 13,000 library card holders, LaBadia says she’ll “try to do more outreach. I want to talk to our seniors, schools and organizations to get everyone to come to the library.”

And guess what, folks? Nutley Public Library’s new boss is also a client: She’s been a member of the library’s Book Club for the past nine years.

Around Town

Belleville

Chorus of Communities will host its third annual Cabaret Night on Friday, March 23, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church, Joralemon and New Streets, Belleville. Admission is $8 Refreshments will be served.

The Chorus of Communities has been presenting two charity concerts per year for 22 years. Singers are always welcome to join the chorus, which meets every Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church, Belleville, and is supported by the Belleville Clergy Alliance. For further information, call 201-472-9362.

Bloomfield

The Bloomfield Public Library Book Club will meet on Monday, April 2, at 6:45 p.m. in the conference room to discuss “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” by James Joyce, a novel about a sensitive student living in Dublin in the early part of the 20th century. For further information or to request help in locating a copy of the book club selection, please call the Reference Desk at 973-566-6200, ext 502.

The library’s Financial Book Club will meet on Tuesday, April 3, at 6 p.m. to discuss “The Richest Man in Town” by W. Randall Jones. This book lets you peek inside the living rooms of dozens of America’s most successful people. For further information or to request help in locating a copy of the book club selection, please call the Reference Desk at 973-566-6200, ext 502.

The library, 90 Broad St., will host a SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) seminar on Women in Their Own Business on April 4, at 6 p.m. Laura Tilden, SCORE volunteer, will discuss overcoming the unique challenges women face when starting a business. Tilden has owned several small businesses, has been involved with Women in Franchising and has over 20 years experience consulting women in business. For more information on this event or upcoming programs please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.

Harrison

Harrison High School Drama Club will present “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” on Thursday, March 29 and Friday, March 30 at 7 p.m. in the Harrison High School auditorium. Admission for adults is $10 and children/ seniors $5.

Kearny

On Saturday, March 31, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., West Hudson Christian Center, in conjunction with our FROGS Children’s Ministry, is hosting a community-wide Easter Egg Hunt as an outreach to kids ages 2 to 11 at the Norman A. Doyle Pavilion at Riverbank Park, Passaic Avenue, Kearny.

New Jersey Blood Services announces a blood drive is scheduled at Calvary Chapel of Kearny, 156 Oakwood Ave., on March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The Kearny Public Library will host a special afterschool story time, featuring local author Patricia Brady-Danzig at the Branch Library, 759 Kearny Ave., on Tuesday, March 27 at 4 p.m. Brady-Danzig’s latest book “Fabrizio’s Fable,” written in English and Italian, also includes a CD sung in both English and Italian. Copies of the book will be available for sale. This program is free of charge. For more information, call the Main Library at (201) 998-2666 or visit www. kearnylibrary.org .

The Presbyterian Boys- Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., will hold a Tricky Tray on Saturday, April 14. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and admission is $10. Please purchase tickets in advance, by calling Vanessa Vieira at 201-334-8336 or email v_vieira@yahoo.com.

Lyndhurst

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst is collecting non-perishables for the Lyndhurst Food Pantry: canned fruits and vegetables, coffee, rice and soup. Gift cards for Shop Rite and Stop and Shop and monetary donations are also welcome. Checks may be made out to The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst, earmarked Food Pantry. Items may be dropped off at the Lyndhurst Health Department, 253 Stuyvesant Ave.

The Food Pantry., 253 Stuyvesant Ave., Lyndhurst, is staffed by Woman’s Club volunteers from Monday to Thursday, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Anyone using the pantry must be a Lyndhurst resident in need and must show proof of hardship. All returning residents must show new proof because the pantry is updating its files. All information is kept confidential.

The Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Ave., Lyndhurst, has a supply of both canned and dry dog food, free of charge, available to anyone due to unemployment, disability or any other financial situation who cannot afford to feed their dog, Many brands are available, plus treats. Just stop by or call 201- 896-9300. Open seven days a week.

Special Angels Recreation, the Lyndhurst Police Department and Special Angels’ SPARKS dance team will be participating in a basketball game and special half-time show on Saturday, March 24, at the Lyndhurst High School gym. For more information, or to purchase tickets in advance, call Debbie or Tara at 201-966- 8738. Tickets are $5 and will also be available at the door. Special Angels Recreation offers year-round sports and leisure activities for special needs children and adults. For more information, visit www.puttingthepiecestogether.org.

American Legion Post 139 will host a pancake breakfast, on Sunday, March 25, from 8 to 11:30 a.m.. Tickets should be purchased at the door. Cost is $5 for adult and $3 for children, 10 years and younger. Proceeds will benefit the Dennis Tarras Scholarship program. For more information, call the Post at 201-933-4120.

The Lyndhurst Health Department will host a Women’s Health Clinic on Thursday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. This free event, made possible through a partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center, includes education on breast self-examination and a pelvic exam. The clinic is open to all female Lyndhurst residents aged 18 and over. Please call 201-804-2500 to make an appointment.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst announces its annual fundraiser, “Spring Into Fashion” Sunday brunch and fashion show, on Sunday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at The Graycliff, 122 Moonachie Ave., Moonachie. There will also be a tricky tray and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $35. For tickets, please call Rosemary at 201- 935-4836 or Marge at 201-694- 5976. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Volunteers are needed for Lyndhurst’s annual Community Clean-Up Day on Saturday, April 28 (rain date Sunday, April 29) at Town Hall Park, Delafield and Valleybrook Avenues, from 9 a.m. to noon. Busing will be provided to and from each location, and all equipment will be provided – including rakes, bags, shovels, gloves, and T-shirts. Volunteers will be treated to hot chocolate in the morning and lunch. For information on volunteering, call the Parks and Recreation Department at (201) 804-2482.

The Polish American Citizens Club, 730 New Jersey Ave., Lyndhurst, announces a seven day –six night guided tour to Pigeon Forge and the Smokey Mountains, starting Sunday, July 15 to Saturday, July 21. The price of the tour is $579 with a deposit of $75 due by April 9; final payment is due May 9. For more information, contact Alice at 201-935-3830.

Luncheon Cruise on the Hudson, presented by the Polish American Citizens Club, will be held on Sunday, June 3. The group will meet at the PACC, 730 Jersey Ave., Lyndhurst, at 10:30 a.m. The trip will be from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Cost is $75 per person. Call Alice for tickets at 201-935-3830.

North Arlington

The North Arlington U-11 girls travel soccer team is having tryouts for the spring season. If interested call (201)997-6348.

The Senior Harmony Club of North Arlington has scheduled a trip to the Taj Mahal on Tuesday, April 10, and a trip to Mt. Airy on Tuesday, May 15. For information, please call Florence at 201-991-3173. Membership in the club is not necessary to attend.

Nutley

The Women’s Initiative of Nutley will host “Ms. Independent – The Path to Independence,” a night of hands on seminars to empower women’s lives on Thursday, March 22, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Nutley High School. Speakers and hands-on instruction will be provided on a variety of topics, including: home maintenance and repair, negotiating the purchase of a vehicle and service repairs; how to get all your devices connected to the Internet; self-defense, managing finances and stress management. The FBI will teach you the steps to take to avoid fraud and identity theft. Registration and course selection begins at 6:30 p.m. The first seminars start at 7 p.m. sharp!

Nutley Public Library’s Manga and Anime Club will meet on Mondays, April 2, 16 and 30 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The group watches and reads anime and advises the library on its Manga collection.

Preschool Story Time, for children ages 3 to 5, and their caregivers meets on Tuesdays at the library at 10 a.m. The program includes old and new picture books, arts and crafts, and meet other children. Registration is required.

Paint A Pot, Plant A Flower will be held at the library on Tuesday, April 3, at 1 p.m. Registration is required. Registration is required. Fell free to bring in plush Angry Birds. Check the teen website for further details at http://nutleypubliclibraryforteens.wordpress.com

Children ages 12 and up can compete in a live action Angry Birds challenge at the library on Wednesday, April 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. Registration is required. Fell free to bring in plush Angry Birds. Check the teen website for further details at http://nutleypubliclibraryforteens.wordpress.com.

Pitching and defense: Keys to Golden Bears’ baseball success this season

Photo by Jim Hague/ The hopes of the Lyndhurst baseball team rides with pitchers, from left, Mike Polito, Anthony Calabro, Kevin Rehbein, Max Hart and Rob Nichirico.

 

By Jim Hague

Once again in 2011, the Lyndhurst High School baseball team enjoyed immense success, winning 21 games and advancing all the way to the NJSIAA North 2, Group II semifinals, where the Golden Bears lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to West Essex.

Veteran Lyndhurst head coach and athletic director Butch Servideo believes that he has the makings of yet another solid squad, which has become a tradition at the school for the last decade, including winning the overall Group I state championship in 2008.

Although the Golden Bears may have to take a different approach to winning this season.

“We’re definitely not going to have the offense we’ve had in the past,” said Servideo, who lost top hitter and All-Bergen County selection Mark Naseef to graduation. “It’s all about defense. The pitching and defense are going to tell us how we’re going to be. We definitely have potential.”

That is, if the Golden Bears can get fully healthy. Right now, the team is battling a severe case of the injury bug, with at least five players either out of action with an injury or illness.

The biggest loss in the early going has been the absence of pitcher/first baseman Joey Catena, who is battling an illness. Catena should be cleared to return to action sometime this week, but he’s missed most of the early preseason workouts. The left-handed Catena was the Golden Bears’ top pitcher last year, winning six games.

“He’s been my No. 1 pitcher for the last two years,” Servideo said.

Another key setback has been the absence of third baseman/pitcher Anthony Calabro, who was the Golden Bears’ starter at third down the stretch last season. Calabro is battling a knee problem.

Promising sophomore infielder Frank Deleva has also been sidelined with a sore knee. Junior outfielder Peter Zeole broke an ankle during the off-season and has not fully recovered to date. Junior second baseman Michael Perry is also out of action with an injury.

“We’re a little banged up right now,” Servideo said. “We need to get all the kids healthy and back onto the field. We haven’t had all of the pieces to the puzzle together yet.”

One thing is for sure: The Golden Bears have a plethora of talented pitchers and will only get better when Catena returns.

Senior right-hander Rob Nichirico, who also sees time at shortstop and first base, is a talented pitcher with all the tools to be a great one. Nichirico has looked brilliant in preseason workouts and scrimmages.

Junior Max Hart has all the tools to be a very good hurler. Hart, a lanky right-hander, won three games last year and has been looking solid thus far.

Sophomore Mike Polito has been a great addition. The right-hander pounds the strike zone and keeps the ball low in the strike zone.

“He’s been doing real well,” Servideo said. “He has a lot of potential.”

Righty Kevin Rehbein, who will be a fixture in the middle infield, serves as the team’s closer.

“I’m pretty happy with the pitching depth,” Servideo said. “We have some decent pitchers.”

That’s the first battle.

Junior Austin Meeney has been given the responsibility to handle the pitchers as the starting catcher. The Golden Bears have been blessed to have had some excellent backstops over the last few years and Servideo is hopeful that Meeney can fit the bill this season.

“We’ve really been spoiled over the years with our catchers,” Servideo said. “Austin sets up well and throws pretty well. He just needs a little work defensively.”

Catena, Nichirico and Hart are all sharing first base duties, depending on which one is on the mound. Rehbein will play a little at both second base and shortstop, also depending upon who is pitching. Servideo is expecting a big year from Rehbein.

“He’s really improved,” Servideo said. “He’s grown about five or six inches. He’s coming off a great basketball season and I expect that to carry over into baseball.”

Junior Marcus Brandon, who had a fine football season in the fall, has also evolved into a fine baseball player.

“He can hit, but more importantly, he can run,” Servideo said of Brandon, who has been seeing some time at third base and the outfield.

Another outfielder with speed is sophomore Sergio Terrelli, who will also cause havoc on the base paths.

“He’s definitely going to help us,” Servideo said of Terrelli. “He’s going to be a good one.”

When Deleva works his way back to health, he will see time in the middle infield.

Calabro, when healthy, will be at third, with Brandon seeing time there as well.

In the outfield, senior Michael Walker returns to his left field slot. Walker, a three-year starter, was the Golden Bears’ second best hitter last year in every offensive statistical category behind Naseef. Walker earned All-NJIC honors last year. He’s also the team’s backup catcher.

Senior Jimmy Fitzgerald is a fixture in centerfield. Fitzgerald had a lot of clutch hits down the stretch a year ago.

“He came on strong during the second half of the year last year,” Servideo said. “The kid works hard.”

Junior Bobby DeMarco, the football standout, has decided to return to baseball this season.

“We didn’t know if he was coming out for the team,” Servideo said. “At first, he said he wanted to concentrate on getting ready for football, but he changed his mind and came out. I’m glad he did, because it gives us an extra bat. Bobby is a good athlete.”

The Golden Bears open the 2012 season with games against local rivals Queen of Peace (April 2) and Harrison (April 4).

“We can’t afford to make errors in the field,” Servideo said. “We need pitching and defense. If we do that, then this team definitely has potential.”

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