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Ferrarro resigns, takes buyout

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  After months of wrangling with his employer, the Kearny Board of Education, Frank Ferraro has tendered his resignation as Kearny superintendent of schools, effective Nov. 1. Ferraro, who was facing the threat of being fired after the board had brought tenure charges […]


New high school VP named

KEARNY – A 13-year school employee has been promoted to vice principal assigned to Kearny High School. Paul Measso, 37, was appointed to his new job Oct. 20 at an annual salary of $128,163 (pro-rated), pending receipt of his principal certificate of eligibility from Trenton. He completed a master’s degree […]


Lottery for senior apts. next month

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  HARRISON – The town’s first affordable residence for senior citizens at 774 Harrison Ave. is getting ever closer to reality. As construction of the 15-unit building nears completion, the sponsor, Domus Corp., the housing arm of Catholic Charities of Newark, has begun the process […]


Heroin/gun rap for felon

      By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  When Kearny Vice Squad detectives busted a Newark man for drug possession/distribution Oct. 17 on Maple St., they reported recovering 135 folds of heroin. While the suspect was languishing in the Hudson County Jail on $40,000 bail, the KPD […]


Borough voters getting school question

By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent  EAST NEWARK –  A court ruling has cleared the way – over objections by Harrison – for a Nov. 4 nonbinding referendum asking borough voters, “Should East Newark high school students be sent to Kearny High School instead of Harrison High School?” Harrison Board […]


Belleville Police Blotter

Feb. 8

At 3:12 p.m., officers noticed a suspicious person walking on and off the train platform at Watchung Ave. Because the area has recently experienced a high level of robberies and burglaries, they stopped the man for an identification check. It was learned that Louis B. Jordan, 40, of Newark had an outstanding warrant for $208 out of Paterson. He was later released on his own recognizance by Paterson authorities.

Feb. 7

A motor vehicle theft at 24 Carpenter St. was reported at 9:55 a.m. The victim stated that their blue 2002 Subaru Impreza had been parked on Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m. and was found missing the following morning.

Feb 6

At 7:28 a.m., an officer patrolling Magnolia St. observed a vehicle drive past a stopped school bus near Belleville School #4. After stopping the vehicle at 84 Magnolia St., the driver, Jared Serrano, 32, of Belleville was asked for his license. Serrano stated that he didn’t have the license in his possession. A subsequent check revealed an outstanding no-bail warrant from the Somerset County prosecutor’s office, and a suspended license. Serrano was arrested, issued several motor vehicle summonses, and transported to headquarters where Somerset officials later retrieved him.

At 11:21 a.m., officers were dispatched to Watchung Ave. after a complaint of suspicious persons looking into motor vehicles. When an officer tried to approach an individual who fit the description, the man began walking at “a quick pace” toward the light rail station. When police stopped him at 70 Watchung Ave., he identified himself as Reggie Blaine, 36, from Irvington. Blaine was found to have two outstanding warrants out of Irvington totaling $1347. He was taken to headquarters and later handed over to Irvington officials.

Feb. 5

Officers responded to 45 Continental Ave. at 2:33 a.m. on a report of a man brandishing a handgun. While en route, they were advised that a motor vehicle repossession employee had delivered paperwork for a vehicle at that address. When units arrived, the repo employee stated that the resident had pointed a handgun at him when he attempted to take possession of the vehicle. He explained that as he backed his tow-truck up to the silver 2004 Mercedes in an attempt to hook it, Belleville resident Paul Deluck, 64, exited his house and pointed a handgun at him. Deluck was placed under arrest for two counts of possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, and two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon.

Feb. 4

A property damage call from 9 Carpenter Terrace was received at 9:40 a.m. The property owner pointed to a grassy area where a Ford UHaul truck was parked. Police spoke with the driver who said that he was moving and loading his truck at that location. The man was issued a motor vehicle summons for parking on the grass.

An auto theft victim flagged down a police cruiser at 347 Union Ave. The man said that his silver 2009 Nissan Versa had been left unlocked at that location on the prior evening. He claimed that he heard an alarm sound at about 11 p.m. that night but thought that it was his children checking the vehicle, so he didn’t bother to investigate. Items inside of the stolen car include a debit card, cosmetic case and sets of keys. Police are investigating.

– Jeff Bahr

A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Prevent a tragedy



How ironic that on Saturday we heard of Whitney Houston’s death and Sunday was the annual Grammy awards. Houston’s voice was one that brought chills up your spine and tears to your eyes. Simply, it touched your soul.

Growing up in the ‘80s, Houston’s voice and style was one that many wanted to mimic. How many couples danced to her famous 1992 hit from The Bodyguard, “I Will Always Love You.”

When the news went across the screen Saturday evening, I was not shocked. I felt a deep sadness for the family. We could not fathom the fight that Houston has been fighting over the years with addiction, despite her fame and fortune. While we are still waiting for toxicology results, the nation is still baffled by yet another possible celebrity meltdown.

What we need to do is look around us in our everyday life and wonder many sad souls are hiding behind some form of addiction, whether it be from prescription or street drugs. Over the years, acid, pot and pills, have consumed the lives of many. For some, they’ve managed to get past it while others didn’t quite make it. Nowadays, help is all around us. If you or someone you love is in need, get the help.

A new holiday would be ‘Super’

Around this time every year, I always end up asking myself the same question, why can’t the day after Super Bowl be a national holiday?

I know I’m not the only one who thinks this, as nearly seven million Americans annually conjure up the best excuse they can just so they can lay in bed all day in celebration of the biggest sporting event of the year.

As a Packers fan and having one class on Mondays at this time last year, I definitely “called in sick” (Sorry Mom, you didn’t just read that) the day after Jarrett Bush picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the final play of Super Bowl XLV.

However, now that the Giants have won this year and our whole area has apparently caught Giants fever, I think it was worthwhile now, more than ever, that I write this column, because there has to be a day off after the Super Bowl next year.
Belmar attorney Thomas Ehrlich noted in a Google posting that in New Jersey alone this year, there were 96 DWI cases on the day after the Super Bowl reported by the State Police. Ehrlich goes on to say the volume of DWI incidents gets even bigger if you include local arrests, which are presumed to number more than 300.

I know that the people who drive are doing so at their own risk of arrest, but think about the amount of people who could simply stay at a hotel or wherever their party may be, instead of attempting to drive back to their homes, saying, “I can’t stay; I have to be up in the morning for work.”

Americans consume millions of gallons of booze each Super Bowl, leaving mighty hangovers on “Super Mondays.” Can anyone say productivity really rises on days when people are hung over just trying to stay awake, and can barely look at the computer screen?

Even those who refuse to partake in the drinking aspect of Super Bowl festivities will still stay up later that usual just to catch the end of the game.

Again, this is still a choice people who watch the Super Bowl will have to make, but with an estimated 111.3 million people watching Ahmad Bradshaw fall into the end zone this year, that’s a lot of decision making turned one way.

The question is: What day would people choose to give up in exchange for “celebrating” Super Monday?

Would anyone actually care if Columbus Day was taken away and shifted to February to become Super Monday? Workers still get the 10 federal holidays off a year and wouldn’t be forced to give up a day of vacation in the process.

Moving a meaningless holiday like Columbus Day (celebrating a guy who never really discovered the United States and really just got lost, finding a cool place in the process) would allow Americans to move an off-day to a day when the nation could really take full advantage.

Even businesses across the nation would see an increase in sales. This year, Modell’s saw their sales skyrocket based on the Giants’ victory and could do even better the next day, provided the day after the Super Bowl is a federal holiday.

On a totally different point, couldn’t a presidential candidate make this one of his or her issues and grab a large portion of the 111.3 million people who watched the Super Bowl? I will never say that I understand politics and am currently not a registered voter; however, I feel like this is an issue that I could get behind.

Instead of honoring a man who has been completely miswritten by many grammar school history books (Columbus), make the day after the Super Bowl a day not only for adults to recover, but another day for children to honor the freedoms we have as Americans to be able to put on such a worldwide spectacle.

And if you dislike sports (which cannot be many of you because we all know loving sports and being American are one in the same) just claim the day as whatever you want, whether its “Do Some Laundry Day,” “New Years Resolution Catch Up Day,” or my personal favorite: “ I Don’t Have Work, Let Me Sleep In Day.”

-Anthony J. Machcinski

Try Tequila Rose for modern country approach

Photo courtesy Rick Newport/ Tequila Rose after a recent performance (l. to r.): Gary Holly, Rick Newport, Mike Smith and John Brite.



By Anthony J. Machcinski

While country music can’t be listed as one of the more popular music genres today, a resurgence in country music, led by artists like Toby Keith, the Zac Brown Band, and Lady Antebellum is creeping onto radio airwaves. A country band from an unconventional Northern home hopes for this trend to continue.

Tequila Rose, based out of Central Jersey, was created in 2001. Since that time, it has been one of the bands taking an underground approach in the latest country movement.

“I go to Sirius radio and I can hear a new country hit every day,” said Tequila Rose vocalist/guitarist Rick Newport. “There is just so much great, new music written. Since we are a cover band, it’s the stuff people ask for.”

Country, however, was not something that came naturally to Newport. A rock ‘n’ roll guitarist before the creation of Tequila Rose, Newport was initially reluctant to switch genres, but rose to the challenge.

“I was a little hesitant at first because a guitar player, when you get into country, it’s a lot more challenging,” Newport said. “There’s a lot of fast guitar playing. I spent a couple of years really studying country guitar playing. It’s a completely different style and I put a lot of work into it. It’s certainly paid off very well.”

Tequila Rose, which initially had two girls in their lineup, switched to a four piece, four-man lineup a few years back and has performed at gigs all over New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

The band has made its name performing with a modern country style and staying true to the covers that it performs.

In the popular song “Toes,” written by the Zac Brown Band, Tequila Rose provides the same relaxing feeling as the original. The band’s range is demonstrated in its performance of Blake Shelton’s, “Hillbilly Bone.” The song is much edgier than “Toes” and Tequila Rose is able to make the transition between the two songs a seamless affair.

Newport and the rest of the band even manage to pour a little Tequila Rose into Jimmy Buffet’s “Margarittaville.” With the ability to perform vastly different songs in its repertoire, Tequila Rose has become one of the more popular cover bands in the area, playing gigs in both South and North Jersey. Even so, their musical career isn’t yet something that the band can make into a full time job.

“None of us are making a living strictly off of (performing),” Newport said. “If you were trying to make a living, you would struggle. There just aren’t enough places that have live bands at night. Even if you were playing modern rock, it’s not like it was 15 to 20 years ago.”

Despite the difficult climate for all musicians, Tequila Rose still manages to get a full slate of shows for the summer months. Whether it’s at a festival in Pennsylvania or New York, or performing in front of a small crowd at a local summer concert, Tequila Rose puts on great shows for their dedicated fans.

“Country music crowds are by far the most responsive and dedicated fans I’ve ever seen,” Newport explained. “There are dedicated fans who try to make it to every event. Quite often, they’re traveling an hour to an hour-and-a-half to see us.”

While Whiskey Café is one of the band’s favorite spots, there are plenty of other places that Tequila Rose hopes to get to.

“One place we would love to play is the Colorado Café (in Watchung),” Newport explained. “They have a huge hall in the back where they have a lot of line dancing. We’d all love to bring our band in there.”

Wherever and whenever their next show takes place, the band hopes to continue playing in front of its fans and to continue to gain exposure for modern country music.

“Our future plans are to play bigger and better festivals and more summer concerts,” Newport said. “We hope that a country radio station will appear in New York so more people can become exposed to it. We just hope that it continues.”

After having played the Whiskey Café in Lyndhurst on Feb. 9, the band will head to another favorite spot, Prospector’s, in Mt. Laurel. For more information on Tequila Rose, visit the band’s website at www.tequilaroseband.com.

Harrison Police Blotter

Feb. 7

A vehicle parked in a private lot was broken into and a GPS unit was stolen.

A 2000 Honda Civic was stolen from a private parking lot at Second and Essex Sts.

Three cars were broken into while parked on Bergen St. under Rt. 280. A GPS unit was reported stolen from one of the vehicles.

Feb. 5

A patron passed two fake $20 bills at a local gas station. After paying for gas and leaving the station, the attendant realized that the two phony bills were folded up with two real $1 bills.

A vehicle parked on the 400 block of Hamilton St. was broken into during the night. The intruder got away with a GPS unit and textbooks.

Feb. 4

A N. Fifth St. resident reported that someone entered his unlocked vehicle during the night and removed cash from the glovebox.

Feb. 2

Police arrested Nathan Hulstrum, 24, of Kearny, on DWI charges after his vehicle hit a street light on Frank Rodgers Blvd. South. Hulstrum also received summonses charging him with careless driving and driving while suspended.

At 7:30 p.m. someone skateboarding grabbed the headphones off the head of a juvenile walking in the area of Hamilton St. and Kingsland Ave. and fled. The juvenile was unhurt. The headphones were valued at $350.

Juan Guarnizo, 27, of Newark, was arrested on shoplifting charges after police said he tried to walk out of a local business with eight soccer jerseys without paying. Police said Guarnizo was also wanted by Newark police on an outstanding warrant. Guarnizo was released pending separate court appearances.

Angela Perez, 21, of Harrison, was arrested after police said they discovered a hypodermic syringe and five packets of heroin among items that Perez reportedly left in a relative’s home. She was released pending a court appearance.

Around Town


Bloomfield Public Library Book Club will meet on Monday, March 12, from 6:45 to 7:50 p.m. in the conference room to discuss “Lake Wobegon Days” by Garrison Keillor.

The book contains a series of linked stories, both funny and poignant, about a rural community where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

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.

New Jersey’s premier business to business directory Corfacts is now available online from the Bloomfield Public Library.

Access more than 64,000 N.J. company profiles and 30,000 email addresses. Locate new customers by company name, city, county, zip code, revenues, employee size, and key description word. Convert any of your results into detailed custom reports or pre-formatted mailing labels.

To utilize this service, connect to www.bplnj.org/ databases.html and click on the Corfacts link. This service is available from within the library and remotely with a valid Bloomfield Library card.


Molly the Therapy Dog will be back at the library’s children’s room on the following dates: Thursday, Feb. 23; Thursday, March 15; Thursday, April 19 and Thursday, May 27, each date 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Due to the huge interest in the Paws to Read program, space is limited to the first 25 children each month. Story hour will start promptly at 3:30 p.m. Parents will be asked to wait in the upper level of the library. If you have any questions, email mdunphy@harrison.k12.nj.us or call the library.


First Presbyterian Church, 663 Kearny Ave., is holding a Winter Blowout Sale on Saturday, Feb.25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sale items include clothing for the whole family, small household items, books and more.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, at 4:30 p.m. art teacher Desiree Mills will host a special art project honoring Dr. Seuss’s birthday for children ages 4 and up at the Kearny Branch Library, 759 Kearny Ave. The program will be free of charge. All other sup – plies will be provided by the library. For further information, please call the Main Library at (201) 998-2666. Check the library’s website <www.kearnylibrary.org> for more program information.

Kearny Seniors Inc. has lowered the age requirement for membership. Now, anyone age 50 or older may join the club. The group meets every Thursday morning at the Henrietta Benstead Building, 60 Columbia Ave., Kearny. Meetings start at 11:30 a.m. Hospitality, coffee, rolls and donuts are available, starting at 10 a.m. Members need not be Kearny residents.

Trinity Episcopal Church, 575 Kearny Ave., Kearny, welcomes all members of the community to celebrate Mardi Gras on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 6 to 10 p.m. The menu will feature buffet favorites, beverage and dessert. Following the dinner will be the crowning of the Mardi Gras King and Queen, the Mardi Gras procession to New Orleans style jazz, games, prizes and fun for all ages. A free-will donation will help cover the cost of the dinner. For more information, call the church office at 201-991-5894 on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1 to 6 p.m.

Roosevelt School PTA will host a Tricky Tray on March 22 to raise funds to support the purchase of educational tools, equipment and assemblies for the students, defray the cost of class trips and finance many family activities held at the school.

The PTA is asking local businesses for merchandise, gift cards/certificates or monetary donations to fill the prize baskets. All donations are tax deductible and all contributors will be recognized in a program for this event.

Donations may be sent to: Roosevelt School PTA, 733 Kearny Ave., Kearny, N.J. 07032. Make all checks or gift certificates payable to the Roosevelt School PTA.


The Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Ave., Lyndhurst, has a supply of both canned and dry dog food available to anyone that due to financial situations cannot feed their dog. Just stop by Mondays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or for more information, call 201-896-9300.

A Great Backyard Bird Count Walk will be held on Friday, Feb. 17, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst. This free, 90-minute guided walk will include keeping track of the number of species seen and the totals for each of those species, and sending them into the event organizers, the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This familyfriendly event is sponsored by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society. Check meadowblog. net for last-minute weather updates. Participants will have to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@ aol.com or 201-230-4983.

Lyndhurst V.F.W. Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., will host Karaoke on Friday, Feb. 17, starting at 7:30 p.m. The VFW hall is also available for rentals for all occasions. For more information, call the post at 201-939-3080.

A veteran’s ward party will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Chestnut Hill Extended Care facility, in Passaic, starting at 2:30 p.m. This party is being co-sponsored by Frances Cantore in memory of her husband James and by Vincent Troncone Sr. and his wife Vera in memory of his father Sabino Troncone If you would like to support these monthly programs, please contact American Legion Post 139, Rehabilitation Committee, Lyndhurst at 201-438-2255.

North Arlington

North Arlington Knights of Columbus, Queen of Peace Council #3428, will host its sixth annual Shrove Tuesday celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 21, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall on the corner of Belmont Ave. and River Road in North Arlington. The event will feature a traditional pancake meal along with foods representing different cultures from around the world. A video history and presentation on the background of this special day and its roots in the Christian calendar will also take place at the event.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for children 12 and under and can be purchased at the Queen of Peace Church rectory during regular operating hours or at the Council’s hall, Wednesday through Saturday after 4p.m. No tickets will be sold at the door.


St. Mary’s Rosary Society in Nutley is hosting its second annual fish and chip dinner on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22. The dinner entrees are being prepared by The Thistle restaurant of Lyndhurst and will be served in Msgr. Walsh Hall in the basement of St. Mary’s Church, 17 Msgr. Owens Place in Nutley.

Take-out orders may be picked up between 4 and 5 p.m. that afternoon. From 5 to 6:30 p.m. that afternoon guests may pick up orders or dine in the Hall. A dult portions are $15 and child portions (for those under 14) are $7. Proceeds will benefit St. Mary’s Parish.

To place an order, please call the Parish Center at 973-235-1100. Tickets must be purchased before the event.

Nutley Public Library’s first annual Wii Winter Olympics will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. Healthy snacks and juice will be available. This event is for children only. Registration is not required.

Compete in a live action Angry Birds challenge at the library on Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m. Children must be age 12 and up to compete. Registration is required. Feel free to bring in plush Angry Birds. Check the teen website for further details at http://nutleypubliclibraryforteens. wordpress. com.

The Nutley Department of Park and Recreation announces registration is open for spring tennis lessons. The program will be directed under the supervision of Barry Rubach, an accredited member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and former Collegiate Champion. Classes range in age groups starting in first grade to adult sessions. The program will run for five weeks.

Online registration is now available for recreation programs at www.NutleyNj.org or forms may be turned in to the Parks and Recreation Department, 44 Park Ave., prior to the first session on April 13 at Msgr. Owens Park. Class sizes are limited and are filled on a firstcome, first-served basis. All rain dates will be made up at the end of the session.

For more information on this or any Recreation Program, please contact the department at (973) 284- 4966, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Kearny’s Gamero gets chance to play with Puerto Rican national soccer team

Photo courtesy NJIT Athletics/ Kearny’s Franco Gamero, now playing soccer at NJIT, will travel to play with the Puerto Rican national soccer team later this week.


By Jim Hague

When Cesar Markovic was hired last year as the new head soccer coach at New Jersey Institute of Technology, he told Kearny’s Franco Gamero that he had connections with the Puerto Rican national soccer team.

“It was the first day I met him,” said Gamero, who was a standout soccer player at Kearny High School before moving on to NJIT. “He asked me if I was Puerto Rican and he told me he had a friend involved with the Puerto Rican national team.”

Gamero’s mother is from Puerto Rico. His father is from Argentina, but he was born in the United States. When Markovic made that statement when the coach met the player for the first time, Gamero didn’t think much of it.

That is, until recently.

“I struck up a friendship years ago with the vice-president of the Puerto Rican Soccer Federation, Dariel Collazo,” Markovic said. “We became good friends. A couple of years ago, I had an opening at Stony Brook (where Markovic coached before NJIT) for an assistant coach and I brought Dariel in. He stayed with me for six seasons, then he went back to Puerto Rico.”

Collazo called Markovic and asked if he knew of any players who were of Puerto Rican descent. Markovic immediately thought of Gamero, a junior at NJIT who led the Highlanders in scoring last fall.

Markovic told Collazo that Gamero would be a good addition to the Puerto Rican national team, so Collazo invited Gamero to come to train with the squad for some international friendly contests against El Salvador and Nicaragua later this month.

“Honestly, when I first heard of this, I thought Coach (Markovic) was joking,” Gamero said. “I never thought I would get this kind of opportunity. But when he said it, then he called the coach and put me on the phone with him, I realized it was for real.”

Gamero leaves later this week for San Juan and will join the Puerto Rican national squad for the two contests and another opponent to be determined.

In essence, it’s like a tryout for Gamero, but it’s coming on the international soccer scene.

“They’re bringing in five or six guys from the United States who are Puerto Rican,” Gamero said. “It’s definitely the biggest opportunity of my life. There is nothing in my life I’m looking forward to more.”

“It’s a tremendous experience for Franco,” Markovic said. “He’s getting a chance and we’ll see where it goes. At the very least, he’ll get an international cap (appearance) out of it and that’s a tremendous experience in itself. No one will ever take that away from him.”

Markovic said that Puerto Rico is trying to develop its national team, so it’s a good situation for Gamero to be in.

“Puerto Rico is a country that is still trying to develop the game of soccer,” Markovic said. “But over the years, they are getting better. They are working their way up the ranks. They’re still a developing soccer country and it’s different than the other Latin American countries. But the growth has been tremendous and they’re developing a good soccer background.”

Gamero was asked if he would be ready to play competitive soccer again. After all, the Highlanders’ season ended in October.

“Coach Markovic has us all in full training mode, like it’s preseason,” Gamero said. “We’re doing workouts at 6 a.m. three times a week. We’re working with a strength and conditioning coach. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we have two-a-days. I feel like I’m in good stamina shape. We’ve also been working outside, because the weather has been nice. I’m pretty sure I’ll be alright, even though I really haven’t been playing.”

Gamero will be gone until the end of the month, traveling to Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

“This is definitely a door-opening situation, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Gamero said. “I have to take advantage of it. I honestly thought that it was first the U-23 (under 23) team, but it’s the real national team. I’m traveling to Central America with a chance to play internationally. This is the kind of stuff I only dreamed of. I’m thankful it’s happening.”

Markovic believes it’s a blessing for the entire NJIT soccer program.

“It gives us exposure and gives him tremendous experience,” Markovic said. “It gives Franco more of an understanding about international soccer and he can share that with his teammates. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

And definitely a dream come true for a kid from Kearny.

Lyndhurst bowling adds state title to ‘triple crown’

Photo courtesy Michael Rizzo/ The Lyndhurst bowling team celebrates after capturing the NJSIAA North 1-A state sectional championship at Bowler City in Hackensack on Saturday. From left are Lexus Lopez, Paul Ulrich, John Missagia, Carmine Battista, Nyquan Johnson and Jordan Lopez.


By Jim Hague

One would never guess that the exploits of a track and field team would serve as motivation for a bowling squad.

But that’s what happened at Lyndhurst High School.

Last spring, the Lyndhurst track team had a season to remember, winning four titles, the Bergen County Relays, the Bergen County individual championships, the NJIC-Meadowlands Division title and the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state crown. It was the first time in the school’s history that the track team earned all those championships.

Well, Lyndhurst bowling coach Michael Rizzo decided to use what the Golden Bears did on the track as a springboard to try to duplicate the feat on the lanes.

“I told our kids early on that our goal this year was to win the league, the county and the state sectional,” Rizzo said. “I told them that if the track team could do it, that they could win the ‘Triple Crown,’ then we could do it. It was our motivation. They had to step up when the pressure was on.”

The Golden Bears already had two-thirds of the “Triple Crown” in place, namely the league and the county titles. On Saturday, they headed to Bowler City in Hackensack for the third piece of the puzzle, the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1-A championships.
Going into the tournament, Rizzo felt like he had the team to beat. Others believed it as well.

“On paper, we were the favorites,” Rizzo said. “But I had the other coaches breaking my chops, saying that they were all bowling for second place. When you’re expected to win, you always get nervous, because something could happen. You might not have a great day. Some other team could step up and have a great day. Nothing is handed to you.”

As it turned out, the Golden Bears really didn’t bowl up to their capabilities, but they still managed to do well enough to hold off the rest of the competition.

Led by freshman Jordan Lopez’s sensational 278 high game and 675 series, the Golden Bears rolled a three-game series total of 2,853 pins, easily outperforming runner-up Becton Regional and third place New Milford for the state sectional crown.

It was the second state title for Lyndhurst in the last three years.

“We bowled a 1,017 in the first game and were up by 100 pins,” Rizzo said. “We were in good shape. After the second game, we had a 200-pin lead. At that point, we were bowling against the clock. We had a big lead, but the lanes were breaking down. We didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but a win is a win.”

And the youngest of the Golden Bears led the way.

Jordan Lopez began the season bowling the conventional way, as a one-handed thrower. But he then switched over to throw the ball uncharacteristically with two hands.

“It’s really become the new trend in bowling,” Rizzo said. “A lot of kids are doing it now. When Jordan first did it in practice, I thought he was fooling around, but he was serious. You can’t say anything about the success. He’s getting 212 every day, so it’s safe to say he’s mastered it.”

Lopez’s series was seventh in the entire state and he now heads to the NJSIAA individual state sectionals this week at Carolier Lanes in East Brunswick. His 278 high game, rolled in the first game of the series, was the second highest single game total for any individual.

Lopez’s older sister, Lexus Lopez, a junior, also played a big part in the success of the team. She rolled a 546 series and had a high game of 201. It’s a potent 1-2 brother/sister act that the Golden Bears have going for them. Both will head to Carolier Lanes this week to participate in the state tournament, which is quite an accomplishment, but Lexus will get to finally compete with and against fellow girls this week instead of battling with the boys.

Senior Paul Ulrich was also big. He had a 211 in the first game, the second highest game of any Lyndhurst bowler, and ended the day with a 568 series, trailing only Jordan Lopez among the Bears.

“Paul was fighting pain in his wrist, but was still out there,” Rizzo said. “He was hurting, but he still managed to focus and do well. He’s come a long way and I’m very proud of him.”

Senior Carmine Battista, the team’s leader, had a 530 series and senior Nyquan Johnson had a 534 series.

Senior John Missagia and sophomore Connor Sheldrick acted as substitutes and bowled a few frames to get in the festivities.

“It’s tough to win when you’re expected to win,” Rizzo said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

On Friday, the Golden Bears will head to the overall Group I state championships, also at Carolier Lanes.

“Right now, after the ‘Triple Crown,’ anything we get is gravy,” Rizzo said. “The top three would be nice, but I really think we have a shot to win. I’m not bragging or anything, but we have a shot.”

And if Rizzo needs help getting his team ready, he can just turn to the track team for a little touch of moral support.

Kearny’s Bush poised for solid final wrestling go-round

Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny senior wrestler Dave Bush is looking forward to a fine end to his wrestling career, one that he hopes takes him to the NJSIAA state championships in Atlantic City next month.


By Jim Hague

Dave Bush knows that it’s his final season of high school wrestling and the Kearny senior is ready to give it his all down the stretch.

That’s why Bush became more of a dedicated wrestler before this season, religiously attending the NJAC Wrestling Facility, owned and operated by former Kearny state champion Dave Cordoba, currently the head coach at St. Mary’s of Rutherford.
As soon as the high school baseball season came to an end, Bush put the bat and glove down and headed back to the wrestling room with Cordoba, the program’s all-time leader in victories with 141.

“I’ve learned a lot from him,” Bush said of Cordoba. “Right after baseball is over, I go right to wrestling. Even sometimes during the baseball season, I go train a bit, but that can be a little tough.”

But Bush had to make the necessary sacrifice to become a better wrestler.

“I felt like I had to do it,” Bush said. “I wasn’t too happy with the way my seasons have ended in the past.”

In each of the last three seasons, Bush made it to the finals of the NJSIAA District 16 tournament, only to lose in the finals.

“I knew I couldn’t do that again,” Bush said. “I knew I had to do something different. Enough is enough.”

So Bush was determined to become a better wrestler and that meant spending more time training.

“He has all the tools,” veteran Kearny head wrestling coach Tony Carratura said. “He just needed that something extra. He needed to get a little more determined. He works hard after practice, then hits the weight room and then goes to train. He knows that’s what it takes to take it to the next level. That extra work is needed, even though he plays other sports.

Added Carratura, “Dave is a very good baseball player. But to take it to the next level and to get to Atlantic City (in the state tournament), Dave had to put in the extra work. It’s all about what you put into it. Then that’s what you get out of it and that gets you to the next level. He’s put a lot of time and effort into it and it’s shown. It’s put him a step above what he was last year.”

Bush said that he could feel the improvement.

“I went to a lot of summer tournaments and that got me ready,” Bush said. “I felt better. I felt quicker. Since I lifted a lot, I felt stronger. I really felt good about myself.”
Bush was rolling along in fine fashion, holding fort at 160 pounds in the Kardinals’ lineup, when disaster struck a month ago.

“He rolled his knee and that kept him out for a couple of weeks,” Carratura said.

“It started to bother me in practice a little and then I realized it was sprained,” Bush said. “The doctors said I had to sit out for two weeks and that was horrible. I knew that no matter what, I was going to come back and be 100 percent. I worked too hard to have anything happen.”

Bush received medical treatment and did some rehabilitative exercise to get his knee back to full strength.

“It never crossed my mind that I was going to be out for the season,” Bush said. “I was going to wrestle no matter what. It was a little shock to the body to be out, but after a couple days, I got right back into it. I feel good now.”

Bush certainly is showing no signs of the knee injury. He currently has a stellar 23-1 record this season as the long-awaited District 16 tournament approaches next weekend.

Bush also reached an impressive milestone last week. In a match against Union, Bush won via a pin and in the process, collected the 100th win of his career, becoming only the seventh Kardinal wrestler to ever reach the impressive milestone.

“It’s a great honor to be with those guys,” said Bush of a list that includes Cordoba and current Kearny assistant coach Vin Abbott. “It’s actually amazing I’m with that group.”
Others include Jon DGravina, Angel Colon, Brian McDonnell and J.T. Nash.

For his efforts, Bush has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.

Bush is also acting as a leader for a very young Kardinal team that features an astounding 18 freshmen.

“They all look up to him and mimic what he does,” Carratura said. “Even some of the older guys watch what Dave does. They all look up to him. It’s a different Dave Bush these days. He’s stronger. He has experience. He’s more determined. His technique is better and he has more finesse. He has a good chance to win the Districts and the Regions and move on to Atlantic City.”

That’s another goal. After three close calls, Bush wants to make sure that his season ends in Atlantic City.

“It’s exciting and nerve wracking,” Bush said. “We’re getting down to it, but I’m ready. I think having the nerves help. Right now, I’m in good position to win the Districts and try to win the Regions to get to Atlantic City. That would be a great thing. I’ve always thought of it. It’s always been inside my head. I feel like I’m hitting my peak at the right time.”

And after three disappointments, Bush feels like he’s saving his best for last.

“It could definitely happen,” Bush said. “I can feel it.”


Harvesting your portfolio


By Randy Neumann

Because of the turmoil in the markets these days, it’s a good thing that there is some leeway in planning for Required Minimum Distributions. Let me explain. RMDs are a way for the government to collect taxes. The first Individual Retirement Account (IRA) was created by the ERISA legislation in 1974. Back then, you could put a maximum of $1,500 into your IRA.

Over time, Congress has increased the contribution limits to qualified plans to the current levels: $17,000 for a 401(k), plus a catch-up of $5,500 if you’re over age 50. Ditto for a Roth IRA and $5,000 for a Traditional IRA, plus a $1,000 catch-up if you’re over 50. However, individual Roths still have ceilings. You cannot contribute if you make over $125,000 as a single or head of household, and $183,000 based on a joint return. Additionally, you are allowed to rollover from one qualified plan to another.

In the 1980s, Congress realized that they’d shot themselves in the foot because of rollovers—they wouldn’t get any tax revenue until the account holder died. So they came up with the RMD strategy to get some money now! When the RMDs first came out in 1987, they were complex and nobody understood them. Over time, they were made less onerous and more understandable. However, do not compare simplicity with largess because the penalty for under withdrawal is still 50%!

Furthermore, it is now easy for the IRS to catch under withdrawers because the custodians of the plans must report annually to the government how much you are supposed to withdraw. They no longer have to catch you on an audit, which are few these days; they merely send you a letter of deficiency if your total does match the total provided to them by the custodians.

Now, for the good news. You get to pick and choose how much you want to take out of each IRA. This can be very important and here’s why. Let’s say that you have three IRAs. One is invested in stocks. The second is in bonds and money markets, and the third is in a variable annuity with a guarantee of 8% while in the growth phase.

How much do you have to withdraw? You must take out a percentage of the prior year’s Dec. 31 value. Although there are complicated factors to arrive at the amount, in today’s high-tech world, there are calculators available that will give you the number. Assuming that each account above was worth $100,000 (for a total of $300,000 last Dec. 31 and you are 72 years old, your RMD for this year is $11,718.75. The number is just below 4% of the account value, so if your long-term return on the account is 8%, the account will have a 4%-plus net return after the withdrawal. Not so bad.

But where do you take the money from? That’s a good question. If you have a guarantee on an annuity from a solid life insurance company, you’d want to put that on a backburner. If the stock market is down, as it is now, at year end, you wouldn’t want to take it from there either. In the above example, you have $100,000 in an account made up of money markets and bonds.

Cash is no longer king. With money market rates ranging from 0.10% all the way up to 1%, the choice is obvious. If you subtract the current inflation rate of 3.5% from a 1% money market return, the $100,000 you started with in January will be worth $97,500 in December. However, you have to pay tax on the 1%; therefore, if you are in the 25% bracket, the $100,000 nets down to $97,250. So this is the place to take your withdrawal.

The above is an example. The point of this column is that you should pay as much attention to how you harvest your portfolio as you do to how you grow and maintain it. The second point is—you can take the withdrawal in any amount from any qualified plan that you own as long as the total withdrawal amount matches the number that the IRS has from your custodians.

Good hunting.

(Fixed annuities are longterm investment vehicles designed for retirement purposes. Gains from taxdeferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Withdrawals made prior to age 59 1/2 are subject to an IRS 10% penalty tax and surrender charges may apply.)

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual. Randy Neumann CFP (R) is a registered representative with securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA> SIPC. He can be reached at 600 East Crescent Ave., Upper Saddle River, 201- 291-9000.