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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., […]



As everyone knows, one of the best parts of the Yuletide season is being able to see the different Christmas decorations people put on their houses. This always sparks a debate, whether it may be what size light bulbs, using white or colors, or whether icicle lights are good or not.
Regardless of what your answers may be to those questions, the Observer needs your help.
Throughout December, The Observer will be featuring photos of several houses submitted by our readers that show the spirit of Christmas.
Send your house photos or those of a neighbor to: artdept@theobserver.com. Please include the address of the house for a chance to have it featured in an upcoming
edition of the Observer.

—Anthony J. Machcinski

New kid’s book ready for holidays

Images courtesy Christina Tsevis


Images courtesy Christina Tsevis/ The main character, Billy, poses on the front cover of “The Lucky Cake”.



By Anthony J. Machcinski

In the rush of the holiday season, many family traditions get pushed aside because of the many time constraints the holiday season imposes.
Kearny resident and author Anna Prokos hopes to restore some of these traditions and create new ones with her latest children’s book, “The Lucky Cake.”
“The Lucky Cake” is inspired by the Greek tradition of baking a cake with a coin inside for the beginning of the New Year. Once the cake is finished, it is served from oldest to youngest. The one who finds the coin in the cake is said to have a lucky year.
“This was a family tradition my family has had since I was a child,” Prokos explained. “I think that this New Year’s tradition is something that families can start whether you’re Greek or not.”
A three-time winner of the coin herself, Prokos understands the anticipation of the tradition, not just for adults but also for children.
“It’s an exciting time for kids,” Prokos said cheerfully. “They wait all year for a chance at this lucky coin and I think that would be something that all kids would like to experience for their families.”
Harboring writing aspirations since she was in second grade, Prokos began her writing apprenticeship as a columnist at The Observer in 1991, while still a junior at Kearny High, then became an author of children’s books, self-publishing this book after penning 40 other books for kids. this book after writing 40 other books for children.

“It was amazing and I’m very proud of the work that went into it,” Prokos explained when asked about publishing the book. “It was like a dream come true.”

With the success of “The Lucky Cake,” Prokos will create a second part, “The Lucky Year,” which will follow the main character, Billy, and his continuing adventures with
the lucky coin. In order to create some of the adventures needed for “The Lucky Year,” Prokos has enlisted the help of the very children she hopes to reach.
“We’re running a contest with students in schools all over New Jersey,” Prokos explained. “They’re going to submit ideas to me of adventures Billy can take. If there are enough really good ones, then maybe I’ll make it into a series.”
While Prokos looks to start a new tradition with her book, she also hopes to provide help for the community. A portion of the proceeds from her book will benefit The Greek Children’s Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance towards the daily, non-medical needs of Greek, Cypriot and Greek- American children and their families.
Prokos is scheduled for book-signings at several town events and venues, including the North Arlington Town Holiday Tree Lighting on Dec. 6, and at the Kearny Branch Library on Jan. 7.
To order her book, go to www.theluckycakebook.com.
To enter the contest, send submissions to: info@a-tozpublishing.com by Jan. 31,

Nutley Blotter: Fireworks scare residents

Nov. 24
Police rushed to the Spring Garden School area at 11:28 p.m. on a report of shots fired. Investigation, however, revealed that the “shots” were actually fireworks, police said. A gray minivan was seen leaving the area before police received the call.

Nov. 26
Rebecca Maniscaco of Bloomfield was issued a summons for being in possession of an open alcoholic beverage while standing at the corner of Prospect and Centre Sts. at 1:54 a.m., police said.
At 10:25 p.m. police pulled over a car operated by Daniel Cioban of Nutley for a motor vehicle stop on Harrison St. to ask the driver why he wasn’t wearing his seat belt. After police gave Cioban summonses for failure to wear a seat belt and disorderly conduct, Cioban crumpled up the summonses and tossed them out the car window, according to police. Cioban was then issued an additional summons charging him with throwing debris on the street.
Police responded to a neighborhood dispute on Columbia Ave. at 3:20 p.m. One neighbor accused the other of pushing him. Police told them they could sign complaints with the court if they wished.

Nov. 27
A Union City motorist was stopped for a motor vehicle check at Franklin and Kingsland Aves. at 2:19 a.m. and was arrested after a mobile computer alerted police that the registered owner’s license had been suspended. Police issued Jamie Wheaton six motor vehicle summonses and released her with a court date after she posted bail.
A Ridge Rd. resident told police she saw someone in a red pickup truck leave the area with her garbage can, valued at $25, at 9:57 p.m.

Nov. 28
Police pulled over a vehicle driven by Omar Sawaged of Secaucus at 3:38 a.m. at Franklin Ave. and Chestnut St. after the driver reportedly failed to keep in the right lane and crossed the yellow traffic line. Police said Sawaged was arrested on an outstanding warrant and was issued two motor vehicle summonses. After posting bail, Sawaged was released.

Nov. 29
At 7:12 p.m. police went to a Chestnut St. apartment complex in response to a landlord-tenant dispute. The tenant told police that the landlord had entered the apartment without permission. Police advised the tenant of the right to sign a complaint and left.
A Bloomfield Ave. resident’s suspicions were alerted after seeing three men in a late-model green Toyota Camry parked in a neighbor’s driveway at 11:23 p.m. When
police arrived, the vehicle left the area. Police said they checked the area for possible break-ins but none were reported.

Nov. 30
Police went to a Centre St. bank at 1:42 p.m. to check on a report of an argument with
a customer but upon arrival police were unable to locate the alleged disputant. No further action was taken.
Someone used a Nutley resident’s credit card to charge $1,000 on walmart.com, police
said. The credit card fraud department is investigating. The alleged fraud was reported
at 4:05 p.m.

Dec. 1
A thief swiped a large pile of scrap metal from a construction company dumpster on Franklin Ave. during the night. The scrap metal was valued at $1,000, according to the company.

Dec. 2
A Belleville resident told police he parked his 1998 Ford pickup in front of a Washington Ave. business and ran inside to pick up an item. He said that he left the
vehicle unlocked and with the motor running and that when he returned, the car was gone. He reported leaving the car unlocked and the motor running. Police are investigating. The incident was reported at 9:39 a.m.
Someone apparently broke into a Kingsland Ave. restaurant through a rear door during the night and stole various electronic equipment items, police said. The owner told police he found the rear door damaged and open when he arrived to open the restaurant at 11:54 a.m.

Message for the Soul: Don’t Quit!

Have you ever felt so tired of pursuing your dreams that at times you have just wanted to end the wait and give up? We have all experienced that feeling at one point or another. It is not unnatural to feel that way. A positive mind is very fragile. Its optimism can easily be harmed with the various stresses we encounter in our daily routine. We may often be tempted to compromise on our ambitions and settle for something less than we desire only because what we want takes longer to arrive than expected. Although it may seem like an easier path to take at the time, it is not necessarily the shortcut to success.
Life is all about choices. We are who we are today because of the decisions we knowingly or unknowingly made in the past. Each new day gives us another chance at making an informed choice. I understand that working hard towards your goals each day is tough when you have nothing much to show for it; but I urge you to carry on. Don’t quit at this stage. If you learn to master the art of excellence, success can’t be too far behind.
In Asia, people keep an “intention sachet” made of bay leaves and cinnamon in their bags and wallets. It is believed that this helps in developing will power, concentration and patience. A dream-catcher also works in a similar way. But these things will only work if you have faith. You need to have faith in yourself before anything else. If you think you deserve better, then don’t let any temptation convince you otherwise.
Know your worth and I don’t mean this in a financial way. Focus on your relationships, both business and personal. Get feedback from those who matter to you. Learn how important you are to them. This exercise will help you understand and accept that you are truly a wonderful creation. Don’t live your life thinking it is ordinary. You are unique and so are your experiences. And now you can make it even better by pursuing your ambitions.
Go the distance; that extra mile may actually help you achieve all that you have always wanted. Yes, it may take time and some extra effort, but a palace takes longer to construct than an ordinary building. Don’t fret the wait. Even if you feel lost and bewildered, hold on to that dream, clear your thoughts and start marching again. Always remember that winners never quit!



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

Around town

Belleville Elks Lodge is holding a holiday bazaar on Sunday, Dec. 11, a t 254 Washington Ave., Belleville, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The kitchen will be open and there will be a bake sale, music and more. All proceeds will benefit special needs children and veterans.
The Chorus of Communities presents its 21st Christmas concert “‘Gaudete!’
Midnight Mass” by Marc- Antoine Charpentier – based on French carols and other Christmas music, on Sunday, Dec. 11, a t 4:00 p.m. at the Church of St. Peter, 155 William St., Belleville. Advance tickets are currently on sale for $15, seniors and students $12. Door tickets will be available on concert day for $15. For reservations,
call 201-472-9362. Proceeds go to Clara Maass Medical Foundation and the new state-of-the-art cancer center.

Harrison Public Library will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Dec. 15, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.
Santa will arrive at the Harrison Library, on Dec. 17. Harrison and East Newark
children are all welcome to come and have pictures taken with him between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Santa is looking forward to reading your letters and Christmas lists.

A holiday drive to collect new toys for infants and children as well as new coats, hats, gloves and scarves for all ages, including adults, is currently being conducted at three different locations: Mid-Realty, Inc., 572 Kearny Ave., Kearny; Distano Chiropractic and Rehabilitation, 655 Kearny Ave., Kearny, and West Hudson Family Success Center, 655 Kearny Ave., Kearny.
Arlington Dog and Cat Hospital, 857 Passaic Ave., Kearny, will have pet pictures
with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. Donations are requested to benefit Orphaned Pets, Inc. For more information, call 201-991-3664.
The Kearny Public Library Children’s Room announces free events for children in December: Main library Play/Story Times for preschool-age children will continue on
Tuesday mornings from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon, and on Thursday mornings from
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (No classes on Dec. 27 and 29)
Branch library Play/Story Times for preschool-age children will continue on Thursday mornings from 10:15 – 11:00 a.m. (N o class on Dec. 29) The Branch Library is located at 759 Kearny Ave.
“Art with Mrs. Mills” for ages three-and-a-half and up is scheduled for Thursday,
Dec. 22, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Children are invited to hear a winter holiday story and also design an art project to take home for the holidays. The library will provide the art materials. This event will take place in the lower level of the Main library.
“Getting Ready for Winter” will be held from 4:30-5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, in the lower level of the main library. The group will read “The Gingerbread Man” and then each child will decorate a big, gingerbread man cookie to take home. Enjoy wintertime music while you decorate your cookie. Everyone is welcome.
Registration is not needed for any program. The Main Library is located at 318 Kearny Ave. For more information, visit us on the web at www.kearnylibrary.org or call 201-998-2666.
Library patrons can now schedule a one-on-one half-hour session with professional
librarians for help with assembling and typing a resume and applying for a job online. The sessions will be held at the main library. To sign up, call 201-998-2666.
The next business meeting of the Scots American Club, 40 Patterson St., Kearny, will be on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3:00 p.m.
Kearny UNICO will meet on Monday, Dec.12, at 7:30 p.m. Anyone interested in
attending the meeting and /or learning more about Kearny UNICO should contact
Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409.
The West Hudson Detachment of the Marine Corps League invites all former and active-duty Marines and FMF Corpsmen to attend an open house, which will be held every Friday from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at 286 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. Guests are welcome.
Registration is open for CYO Winter Camp, to be held for one week only, from Monday, Dec. 26, to Friday, Dec. 30, at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center, Kearny. Cost is $125 for the week. Enrollment is limited, open to the first 20
children age 4 – 5 and 130 campers age 6 -12. Winter camp cost includes: Camp
hours 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., free after-camp until 5:30 p.m., lunch each day, snack
at after-camp, Wednesday trip for all campers age 6 -12 to go bowling and a special
guest for kinder campers age 4-5 on Wednesday, and sports, art, computers and
other activities. Early morning care is available for $30 for the week from 7:00-8:00
a.m. The fee includes breakfast.
Please note: There are no refunds on winter camp due to illness, absence or weather-related issues. For more information, visit wwwlnewarkoym.com.

Grace United Methodist Church, 380 Kearny Ave., Kearny, will have a Christmas Spree and Supper on Dec. 9, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Enjoy a chance for a one-stop shopping spree for those quaint gifts for co-workers, neighbors, hostesses or teachers, etc., Handcrafted Christmas ornaments, decorations, candies, cookies, wreaths,
centerpieces and more will be available.
Cecilian Seniors announces a trip to Mt. Airy Casino on Dec. 14. If interested, call Johnnie B. at 201-997-9552, between 6 and 9 p.m. Bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. in front of St. Cecilia’s Church.

Lyndhurst Public Library is collecting nonperishable food items for the Lyndhurst Health Department’s Food Pantry. The drop-off box is located inside the library’s back entrance. It will remain there year-round. For questions regarding the Food Pantry, call the Lyndhurst Health Department at 201-804-2500.
Lyndhurst VFW Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., Lyndhurst, will host a Karaoke
night on Friday, Dec. 16, from 7:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. The VFW hall is also available for all occasions. For more information, call the post at 201-939-3080.
Mary Lou Mullins Special Christmas Party bus trip to Atlantic City will depart on
Sunday, Dec. 18, to Resorts Casino. Cost is $25; cash return is $25. The bus will leave from St. Michael’s parking lot at 10:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served coming and going. Please book early – only 20 seats are left. Call Mary Lou Mullins at 201-933-2186 for more information.
Lyndhurst Elks are hosting a holiday party on Friday, Dec 10, at 7:30 p.m. at Doublebarrels Bar, 442 Lewandowski St., Lyndhurst to benefit the rebuilding effort
of the Lyndhurst Elks Lodge. The Elks are also collecting toys and clothing and /or money to be distributed to a local orphanage. Admission is a donation of $10. For information, call 201-926-2398.
A special Winter Solstice family celebration will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 7:00 p.m. at the Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst.
The event will start with a discussion on the winter solstice’s significance for people in ancient times, followed by several family activities. Children will have the opportunity to create sticky rice bowls (in Asia the rice bowls are a symbol of the coming winter solstice), Yule logs (traditional Scandinavian representation of the solstice), and Native American prayer sticks (Prayer sticks are created in the days leading up to the solstice). Admission is $5. MEC members, $4. For more information, call 201-460-
8300 or visit www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.

North Arlington
North Arlington Health Department wishes to remind residents that flu vaccine is still available and will be administered by appointment only.
The vaccine is offered free of charge for those covered by traditional Medicare Part
B. Medicare card must be presented at the time of immunization. There will be a
$20 fee for those not covered by Medicare. For appointment or further information, please call the Health Department at 201-955-5695.
The North Arlington Woman’s Club holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the North Arlington Senior Center, behind Borough Hall. Guests are welcome.
Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus, North Arlington will celebrate D.J. Teen Angel’s farewell performance. If you’re familiar with Teen Angel, you know you’re in
for a night to remember while rocking to your favorite oldies. The event will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 7:00 p.m., at the Council Hall, 194 River Road, North Arlington. Tickets are $35, which includes a catered buffet, beer, wine and soda. For tickets, call Nick at 201-230-3428 or email nicholascerchio@yahoo.com.

Nutley Public Library will host a preview and discussion of a documentary film in-
progress on the success of Newark Abby and its school, St. Benedict’s Prep on Friday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m.
Big Jeff ’s Holiday Musical Show for young children will be presented at the library on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 11:00 a.m. No registration required.
The library will host an artist’s reception for Karen Floriani on Saturday, Dec.
10 at 2:00 p.m. Floriani’s photography and paintings will be displayed in both the
gallery and showcases.

Kearny’s Aquino fitting in well at Montclair State

Former Observer Female Athlete o Year making mark with Red Hawks

Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny High grad and former Observer Female Athlete of the Year Janitza Aquino is already making strides as a college basketball player at Montclair State University.


By Jim Hague

Janitza Aquino has only been a college basketball player at Montclair State University
for a few weeks now, but the former Kearny High School standout is getting accustomed to her new life and her new surroundings.
“It’s a new level and everything is a little quicker,” said Aquino, last year’s Observer
Female Athlete of the Year after excelling in three sports at Kearny. “I thought it would
take a little time to get used to it. I knew in the beginning I couldn’t expect much. I
just figured I would work hard and go with it.”
As it has turned out, Aquino has already made a mark with the Red Hawks. She was named the Montclair State Female Athlete of the Week last week for scoring 15 points
in a loss to Mount St. Mary. She’s played in all six Red Hawk games, including one last week against Rutgers-Newark in Newark.
Aquino is averaging only 3.2 points per game in those six games, but according
to Montclair State head coach Karin Harvey, Aquino is fitting in nicely with the MSU program.
“We were really excited to get someone like

Photo by Jim Hague/ Janitza Aquino (left with the ball) makes a move up court last week in a game against Rutgers-Newark’s Brittany Smith in Newark.

Janitza to come to Montclair State,” Harvey said. “She also definitely wanted to be here.
We all really liked her when she was in high school and we felt that if she came here,
she could help us right away. I think she wanted to stay close to home and that was a factor
as well.”
Harvey was asked if Aquino was going to have a tough time making the transition from
high school to college.
“Everyone develops at a different rate,” Harvey said. “I think Janitza came from a good program and her high school coach (Jody Hill) was excellent with Janitza. You could tell that Janitza had excellent coaching before she came to Montclair. I think that has helped to make the transition easier. She was prepared well for college basketball.”
Harvey likes what Aquino is bringing to the table.
“She’s a very hard worker and a team player,” Harvey said. “She has a good attitude and she’s a very good piece to the puzzle in helping us become successful.”
Harvey thinks that Aquino is a good fit for her team. “She’s a smart player who is very versatile,” Harvey said. “She can play either the point guard or the shooting guard. She gives us a little instant offense when she comes in. She also passes the ball well and looks for her teammates well. Her biggest challenge right now is on the defensive side, but she’s willing to accept
that challenge and wants to become a better defender.”
Aquino realizes that she needs work as a defensive player.
“That’s always been my biggest problem,” Aquino said. “I’ve never been a strong defender. I have been working on that a lot. I’ve been learning a lot.”
Aquino is living on campus at Montclair State, an experience she truly enjoys.
“I get to enjoy college life being here all the time,” Aquino said. “It’s been a great way to meet new people being at school all the time. It makes things easier with classes, then early practices. It’s really been a great experience.”
Aquino also doesn’t mind concentrating on just one sport in college. She’s now simply a basketball player, not worrying about running from soccer practices to basketball practices and then softball practices like she used to do when at Kearny.
“It’s actually a lot less stressful concentrating on just basketball,” Aquino said. ,“Instead of worrying about three sports, I can work on the one.”
Aquino likes the camaraderie she has already developed with her new teammates, even after only six games.
“We really do have a close team,” Aquino said. “We get along well. The seniors have been great with the other freshmen and it’s good to know that we all have each other’s back. That’s all that
matters. Our record isn’t that great right now (the Red Hawks are 2-4), but we are working hard together.”
Aquino said that she likes the relationship she has developed with Harvey.
“My coach reminds me a lot of Jody Hill, so that has helped,” Aquino said. “Coach Hill really prepared me well for the college experience. I felt like I was ready for it.”
Aquino said that she didn’t expect to make such an impact so soon.
“I’m very surprised,” Aquino said. “I really thought it was going to take a little more time. I’m still getting used to the whole thing. It’s definitely different and it’s definitely harder than high school, but it’s not something I can’t handle. I’ve had some good games early on and that’s given me a boost of confidence. I just want to keep getting better and keep doing well.”
Looks like Janitza Aquino is well on her way.

Kearny native Webster honored as member o

Photos by Jim Hague/ Kearny native Alex Webster flashes a big smile after being inducted into the New York Giants’ Ring of Honor at halftime of Sunday’s Giants-Packers game at MetLife Stadium.


Kearny native Alex Webster (seated second row) received an escort onto the field at MetLife Stadium along with former Giants’ punter and fellow honoree Dave Jennings (seated front).

By Jim Hague

Alex Webster may be 80 years old now and his gait has been diminished with each year that passes.
But nothing, not even Father Time, is going to tamper with his impeccable memory and his lasting adoration for his hometown of Kearny.
“I was back to Kearny about 6 or 7 years ago,” said Webster, the former Kearny High School great who went on to both play and coach for the New York Giants. “I remember where I lived was a oneway street when I was growing up and now it was two ways. It’s amazing how
things change. I went to the visit Kearny High School with my grandson and his friend and it was great to go back. It brought back a lot of good memories. I loved growing up in Kearny.”
Webster was back home, so to speak, Sunday afternoon, when he was honored by the New York Giants with an induction into the team’s Ring of Honor. The ceremony took place at halftime of the Giants’ game with the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium.
There was some speculation that Webster might not be able to attend the ceremony that honored him and four others, because it was reported that he was in ill health.
But Webster, who now resides in Fort Pierce, Fla., said that even though he cannot walk like he once could, was going to be there to be among the Giants’ faithful no matter what. His voice was strong. His handshake was firm and hearty. His mind was alert and his heart was pumping.
“I feel pretty good these days,” Webster said. “I wasn’t going to miss this. I could go out there and play. I just can’t walk too much anymore.”
Webster as escorted onto the field in a golf cart with two of his grandsons, who reside in Point Pleasant, alongside, both donning Webster’s No. 29 Giants jersey. They helped their grandfather to his feet so he could address the 80,000 or so fans in attendance.
“I wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” Webster said. “It means the world to me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been back. I’m just glad that I’m still alive to receive this honor. I’m enjoying every minute of it. I’m so grateful for the opportunity. The Mara family (the Giants’ owners)
have been very good to Alex Webster over the years. They were great to me for my entire
Webster earned his place in permanent Giants history with former players Carl Banks,
Mark Bavaro, Dave Jennings and the late Brad Van Pelt. All legends in their own right, all legends like the guy from Kearny.
Webster was an All-State performer at Kearny in the late 1940s and went on to play at North Carolina State for the legendary Beattie Feathers, one of pro football’s first alltime greats.
Webster was originally drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 11th round of the 1953 NFL Draft, but elected not to sign with the Redskins. Instead, Webster signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
“Big Red” remained in the CFL for two seasons, but signed with the Giants as a free agent to start the 1955 NFL season. He remained with the Giants as a player for 10 years and finished his
career with 4,638 yards and 56 touchdowns. His rushing totals were fourth all-time in totals were fourth all-time in Giants’ history until ironically Sunday, when Brandon Jacobs surpassed Webster on the alltime list with Webster there in attendance.
Webster earned Pro Bowl status twice with the Giants and helped the Giants win the 1956 NFL championship. Webster joined Frank Gifford in the Giants’ backfield, forming one of the best 1-2 rushing combinations in the league’s history. He also was a key performer on the 1958 team that played the Baltimore Colts in the NFL championship game at Yankee Stadium in what was called “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” It’s a game that changed the face of pro football in America and helped to catapult it to the status it now owns.
After Webster’s playing career ended in 1964, he soon became an assistant coach under Allie Sherman and in 1969, Webster replaced Sherman as the head coach.
In 1970, Webster guided the Giants to a 9-5 record, earning the NFL Coach of the Year honors.
In 1973, Webster returned to his Hudson County roots, as the Giants practiced daily at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, when they played their home games in the Yale Bowl in Connecticut, while awaiting Giants Stadium to be completed.
Webster never had a chance to coach the Giants in Giants Stadium, but he was part of the team’s radio broadcasts for a brief period.
And now, his name will forever adorn the walls of the new MetLife Stadium as part of the team’s Ring of Honor.
“It’s a wonderful place,” Webster said. “I’m feeling pretty good these days. It’s a great honor to be back and being here, hearing the fans, it gets so exciting. When I was growing up in Kearny, I could have never dreamed all of this would have happened to me.”
Webster may live in Florida, but his heart remains in Kearny. So much so that he admitted that he religiously reads The Observer every week online. It’s part of his weekly Thursday morning ritual.
“I read it every week,” he admitted.
So now The Observer’s most famous reader will be forever remembered in the Giants’ Ring of Honor.
“I can’t ask for more than this,” Webster said. “I’ve truly been blessed.”

Lyndhurst resident Blanco opens bowling season in style

Photo by Jim Hague/ Lyndhurst resident Gary Blanco began the high school bowling season in fine fashion last weekend, rolling a 290 high game, tops at the Bishop Ahr Tournament. Blanco bowls for St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City.

By Jim Hague

Will Blanco believes he was born with a gift – and that gift was the ability to throw a bowling ball with accuracy.
The Lyndhurst resident and St. Peter’s Prep junior was just a toddler, perhaps six years old or so, when his father, Gary, took him to the bowling alley for the first time. Although the ball itself probably weighed more than he did, young Will took the ball with two hands and found the
center of the lane almost from the very start.
“As a little kid, it was fun and something to do with my father,” Will Blanco said. “It also turned out to be something I did pretty well. I tried always to beat my dad. I never needed to use the bumpers (the guardrails that younger bowlers use to keep the ball out of the gutters). I was able
to throw it straight.”
In his early days, Blanco was recording good scores, unlike most beginners.
“I was probably cracking 100 back then,” Blanco said. “I think it was just natural.”
By the time Blanco turned 9, he was already bowling better than most teenagers. It was also around the time that Blanco was instructed by local bowling coach Orlando Lapa of the North Arlington Bowl-O-Drome Lanes to throw the ball with one hand.
“I was surprised I could do it,” Blanco said. “I saw everyone bowling one-handed and wanted to be the same. It took a little time to get used to it, but I found out that I had more control and more
accuracy. As I started to bowl one-handed, I saw my scores gradually go up.”
By the time he was 10, Blanco’s average hovered near 160. By the time he was ready for high school, Blanco’s average improved to between 190 and 200, proving that he indeed was a true natural.
When Blanco enrolled at the downtown Jersey City high school, he was already a proven commodity on the lanes, with an average approaching 220.
During his first two seasons with the Marauders, Blanco enjoyed some sense of success, including finishing second last year in the Hudson County championships.
But because he was supposed to raise the level of the entire program, there was a sense of pressure involved. He was given a nickname by opponents as “The Terminator.”
“I didn’t mind the name,” Blanco said. “But every time I picked up the ball, every single shot I took, I felt the pressure. It was a little tough. I felt the pressure of being the name for Prep, felt the pressure of keeping our team up.”
As the 2011-2012 season began last weekend, Blanco was named the Marauders’ team captain, only adding to his responsibilities, by new Prep coach Carmela Castellano.
“My job is to help the young kids and I think we will do well this year,” Blanco said.
If the rest of his teammates follow Blanco’s lead, especially after his performance in the season’s first competition, then the Marauders are going to have a solid season.
At the Bishop Ahr Tournament last Saturday, Blanco rolled a 718 series, with a tourney high final game of 290 included in that series, sending notice that Blanco is ready to have a big season.
“It was a great way to start the season,” Blanco said. “I’m happy with that start. It definitely
builds my confidence so much. I feel like I’m going to do a lot better this year.” For his efforts, Blanco has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.

Blanco knows that the opposition gets a little harder now after the first weekend, although
finishing seventh overall and bowling the high game at a tourney with a competitive field of 35 teams is nothing to sneeze at.
“I’m trying to aim higher this year,” Blanco said. “I want to bowl better than my average every time. I want to make the states this year and then try to win it. I also want to win the counties after finishing second last year.”
Blanco’s confidence is sky high, not just because he rolled a 290 over the weekend, but because on Oct. 8, he joined the exclusive club of bowlers who tossed perfect games in a sanctioned league.
At Jersey Lanes in Linden, Blanco rolled a perfect 300 game, earning his ring from the National Bowling Congress in the process. He wears the ring with pride, although it was sized too big, so Blanco currently wears it on his middle finger with a ring band.
“It was a great day,” Blanco said. “Everyone in the place came and watched. I just wanted to keep going, but my knees were shaking. I was sweating. I was so nervous. I just wanted to get through it.”
Blanco threw the three balls in the 10th frame to three different spots, yet all three went for
“They all went in different directions, but they all came together at the right time,” Blanco said. “Getting that last one was like having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I really didn’t think I’d get it.”
Blanco said that he had already bowled a 300 game last year, but it was in practice, so it’s not a sanctioned perfect game.
“But it still counts mentally,” Blanco said.
Blanco is hopeful that his bowling skills will eventually lead to a college scholarship. Although he’s only a junior, he’s already receiving interest from major colleges with solid bowling programs.
“I’m already receiving letters,” Blanco said. “The interest is there and that’s flattering to me. It’s a really big goal of mine, to see if I could get a scholarship to college.”
For now, Blanco’s just hoping to remain consistent enough to earn a trip to the state tournament
at Carolier Lanes in East Brunswick come the end of February.
“I think that would be perfect,” said Blanco, who said that his favorite lanes to bowl at are the ones at Carolier, where Blanco owns an average of 240.
“That would be amazing,” Blanco said.
It looks as if he’s well on his way.

IRS seeks to return $153 million in undelivered checks to taxpayers;

Recommends E-File, Direct Deposit to avoid future delivery problems


In an annual reminder to taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it is looking to return $153.3 million in undelivered tax refund checks. In all, 99,123 taxpayers are due refund
checks this year that could not be delivered because of mailing address errors.
Undelivered refund checks average $1,547 this year.
Taxpayers who believe their refund check may have been returned to the IRS as undelivered should use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov. The tool will provide the status of their refund and, in some cases, instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.
Taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will receive instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954.
While only a small percentage of checks mailed out by the IRS are returned as undelivered, taxpayers can put an end to lost, stolen or undelivered checks by choosing direct deposit when they file either paper or electronic returns. Last year, more than 78.4 million taxpayers chose to receive their refund through direct deposit. Taxpayers can receive refunds directly into their bank account, split a tax refund into two or three financial accounts or even buy a savings bond.
The IRS also recommends that taxpayers fi le their tax returns electronically, because e-file eliminates the risk of lost paper returns. E-file also reduces errors on tax returns and speeds up refunds. Nearly 8 out of 10 taxpayers chose Efile last year. E-file combined with direct deposit is the best option for taxpayers to avoid refund problems; it’s easy, fast and safe.
The public should be aware that the IRS does not contact taxpayers by email to alert them of pending refunds and does not ask for personal or financial information through email. Such messages are common phishing scams. The agency urges taxpayers receiving such messages not to release any personal information, reply, open any attachments or click on any links to
avoid malicious code that can infect their computers. The best way for an individual to verify if he or she has a pending refund is by going directly to IRS.gov and using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool.


John Lindsay McClelland

John Lindsay McClelland, 87, died peacefully at home on Nov. 29 surrounded by his loving family.
John was a proud Scotsman who was very proud to have adopted America as his home. He lived many years in Kearny before moving to Lakewood seven years ago.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A service was held in the First Presbyterian Church, Kearny, followed by private cremation.
John was a repairman and installer for N.Y. Telephone. He was a member of The Pioneers
of America. A devoted church-goer, he was also past master of Copestone Ophir Masonic Lodge
and was past president of The Scots American Club, both in Kearny.
He was the devoted husband of 64 years to Catherine (nee Cowan), loving father of Arthur
McClelland, Mary Buist and Jean Bartholomew; and brother of Hugh McClelland and the late
Grace Stevenson. He is also survived by his cherished grandchildren Ian McClelland, Billy and
Amy Buist and Richard, Lindsay and Kate Bartholomew and his great-granddaughter Madelyn.
In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to Summit Speech School c/o the funeral home. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.armitagewiggins.com.

John J. Reilly
John J. Reilly, 73, died on Nov. 30 at his home in Lyndhurst.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he came to the United States in 1964 and lived in North Arlington for 23 years before moving to Lyndhurst in 1990.
He worked as a pipefitter for Hoffman LaRoche in Nutley for 13 years before retiring in 2000.
He was the beloved husband of Patricia (nee McAveety), the cherished father of Annmarie Reilly of Rutherford and Pauline Rakowski and her husband David of Lyndhurst, the loving Poppy of Ava, the dear brother of May Gordon, Martha Pazikas, Margaret Linn, Patricia Watters, Josephine McBride, Anne Henderson and the late Bernard Reilly and the loving uncle of many nieces and nephews.
Mr. Reilly was a member a past exalted ruler of the B.P.O. of Elk Lodge 1992 and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Queen of Peace Council 3428, all of North Arlington.
The funeral was from the Parow Funeral Home, 185 Ridge Road, North Arlington on Saturday, Dec. 3, with a funeral Mass in Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington. The cremation was private.
Donations in his memory may be made to the St. Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care Center, 95 Old Short Hills Road, 1st Floor, West Orange, N.J. 07052 or Alzheimer’s Association, 400 Morris Ave., Suite 251, Denville, N.J. 07834.

Charles J. “Hookie” Rossmell

Charles J. “Hookie” Rossmell, 86, of Vero Beach, Fla., died Nov. 27 at his residence.

He was born Feb. 20, 1925 in Harrison, and had been a resident of Vero Beach for 29 years coming from his birthplace.
He was a veteran of the U.S. Army during World War II serving with the 54th Air Service Squadron in China and India.
Mr. Rossmell worked as a crane operator for Otis Elevator for 32 years in the manufacturing
He attended St. Helen Catholic Church, Vero Beach and was an avid Florida Lottery supporter.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Irene of Vero Beach, Fla.; son, Joseph Rossmell of Vero Beach; daughter, Annemarie Rossmell of Vero Beach; two sisters, Josephine Gardner of Toms River, and Stella Zaluski of Lake Hiawatha; two grandchildren, one great-granddaughter. He was predeceased by a brother,
Henry Rossmell, and two sisters, Anna Sweet and Jean Rossmell; and many family friends and great neighbors over the years.
The family received friends on Saturday, Dec. 3, with a funeral service at Noon at the Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home, Vero Beach, Fla. Donations may be made to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, 1317 King St., Alexandria, Va. 22314- 2928.
An online guestbook may be signed at www.lowtherfuneralhome.com.

Frances Travisano
Frances Travisano died peacefully surrounded by her loving family on Dec. 1. She was 73.
Born in Jersey City, she lived in Kearny before moving to Glen Ridge 42 years ago.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass will be held in St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny. Entombment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.
Fran is survived by her devoted husband Ronald, along with her children and their spouses Vincent Travisano (Annamarie), Philip Travisano (Andrea), Ronnie Travisano (Diane) and Laura Hurley (Michael); sister of Joanne Diglio and the late Nicholas Bongiovanni; also surviving are her grandchildren Paul, Chiara, Jessica, Nicholas, Patrick and Brooks.
Fran embraced life by working for others through her many volunteer positions. She was on the Board of Directors of Good Grief, was a founding member and past president of the Mastery foundation, she was a member of the Junior League of Newark and Montclair, the Mercier Club, Friends of The Glen Ridge Library, the Glen Ridge Woman’s Club, Country Club and Historical Society and the Montclair Garden Club.
In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to Good Grief, 38 Elm Street Morristown, N.J. 07960 www.GOODGRIEF.ORG. To leave online condolences, go to www.armitagewiggins.com.

Linda Whalen
Linda Whalen, 69, on Thursday, Dec. 1, a lifelong resident of Kearny.
Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. Interment was in Arlington Cemetery, Kearny, with a service held by the American Legion Auxiliary.
For information, or to send condolences please visit www. mulliganfuneralhome.org.
Linda is survived by her daughter Dianne Amos and her husband Scott, her nephew Brian Hartman, and a host of cousins. She is also survived by her companion Edwin G. Marshman. She was predeceased by her sister Carol Hartman and her “feline babies” Samantha and Puss.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in memory of Linda c/o the funeral home to the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion Post 282, Harrison, or the Humane Society.