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More apartments eyed for Bergen Ave.

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Carlstadt builder Ed Russo is looking to expand a residential development project already in progress in a Kearny redevelopment area at Bergen and Schuyler Aves. Russo told The Observer last month he has a contract to purchase an additional 2.25 acres of […]

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Local taxes up again in borough

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  NORTH ARLINGTON –  Borough residents should be getting their property tax bills by the first week of December, CFO Steve Sanzari said last Thursday, after the Borough Council finally adopted the 2014 municipal budget. Passage of the budget, introduced back in July, has […]

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Vets’ photos wanted for ‘Wall of Honor’

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  NUTLEY –  This township, which has been in the forefront when it comes to offering support and assistance and recognition to veterans, has launched yet another project to pay tribute to the men and women who have served our nation. This time, going […]

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Carved in stone

    Photo by Karen Zautyk On Veterans Day, the Township of Kearny added this new memorial to Monument Park on Kearny Ave. It will commemorate local members of the armed forces who make the supreme sacrifice in the War on Terrorism. […]

 
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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.”

Vikings look to be vastly improved on the diamond

Photo by Jim Hague/ The North Arlington baseball team will look to be improved, thanks to a deep pitching staff. From left are Ryan Fego, Eric Costela, head coach Paul Marcantuono, Jeff Frytek and Mike Brazzel.

By Jim Hague

Paul Marcantuono knew that his North Arlington High School baseball team would take its share of lumps a year ago.

“We had a bunch of kids who never played varsity before,” said Marcantuono, who begins his fourth season as the head coach of the Vikings. “We had a very young team.”

The end result was a team that only won five games.

Well, as the 2012 season gets ready to begin, Marcantuono still has a young team – but at least they now have experience.

“We have only two seniors,” Marcantuono said of his squad, which will begin the new season April 2 against league rival Secaucus. “The core players are still young guys. But I think they’re coming in with some confidence, because they have experience. They’re a little more confident now and you can see the difference. Even though they’re young, they’re all now varsity players with a year under their belts. You expect them to pick things up quicker. We’re still trying to iron out some things, figure out some things, but we’ll be better.”

The Vikings will count on an experienced pitching staff, led by junior right-hander Eric Costela, who earned three of the Vikings’ five wins a year ago.

“He throws strikes and the team makes plays behind him,” Marcantuono said. “He’s thrown three innings in the preseason and looked good.”

Junior Jeff Frytek is another junior righty who has looked good so far.

“He didn’t know he was going to pitch last year and we threw him into his first game against St. Mary’s (of Rutherford) and he did well,” Marcantuono said. “He has a lot of poise. Nothing seems to bother or rattle him. He’s a gamer.”

Junior Ryan Fego is another solid right-hander. He’s also the Vikings’ top hitter, having collected 36 hits last season, batting .500 and earning All- NJIC Meadowlands honors.

“He’s an all-around clutch hitter who gives us what we need,” Marcantuono said.

Another quality pitcher is left-hander Jeff Brazzel, who transfers over from neighboring Queen of Peace and must sit the mandatory 30 days due to the NJSIAA’s transfer rules.

“He has good stuff and will help us,” Marcantuono said of Brazzel.

The catching duties are currently being shared by senior Rob Mullins and sophomore P.J. Sirotiak.

Senior Joey Ford and junior Matt Rosko are battling for playing time at first base. Ford can also pitch when called upon.

Second base will be handled by junior Jeremy Melendez, who is a newcomer to the program.

Sophomore Kenny Kuzmuk, who was inserted as a starter at second base right away last year as a freshman, has moved to shortstop. Kuzmuk has a sensational glove with great range.

“He has great potential,” Marcantuono said. “He just needs to improve at the plate. But he has all the tools.”

Fego holds fort at third base when he’s not pitching. He plays a crucial role if the team is going to be improved this spring.

Frytek is the team’s starting left fielder. Junior Julian Ortiz is in centerfield, but Brazzel can also play there when he becomes eligible later this month. The right field duties are being shared by a pair of sophomores in Neffry Peralta and Mike Long.

Marcantuono truly believes that the Vikings will be vastly improved this spring.

“I really do believe that,” Marcantuono said. “They’re a little more confident and that helps. They’re all supportive of each other and that helps. There’s still a lot of learning going on. I think this team is going to be tough and scrappy.”

The Vikings will know right away how tough they are, as they open their season with games against Secaucus, Becton Regional and Elmwood Park.

“When you are coming off a losing season, you want to get wins early to build the team’s confidence,” Marcantuono said. “You don’t want to have a couple of losses and then the thought is, ‘Here we go again.’ It’s very important to get off to a good start, especially with a young team.”

Look for the Vikings to be improved this season.

Former rivals DelMauro, Ramos now teammates in All-Star contest

Nutley standout back, Belleville lineman selected to 34th annual clash

Photo by Jim Hague/ From left, Belleville’s Armando Ramos and Nutley’s Matt DelMauro were selected to play for the North squad in the 34th Annual NJSFCA North-South All-Star Classic June 25 at Kean University.

By Jim Hague

Armando Ramos had to admit that there was something different being a Belleville football player on the same team with a member of the dreaded rival Nutley.

“Yeah, it is a little weird,” Ramos said.

Matt DelMauro, the standout running back from Nutley, admitted the same thing.

“I think we’ll be able to get along,” DelMauro said.

Whatever the case, the Belleville lineman and the Nutley running back share a common goal now. They have both been selected to participate in the 34th Annual New Jersey Scholastic Football Coaches Association’s North-South All- Star Classic.

This year’s game will take place at Kean University in Union on Monday, June 25. The game will come after both players take part in a grueling three-day training session, complete with dormitory living on the Kean campus, with several practice sessions scheduled.

For DelMauro, the All-Star game will represent a chance to get accustomed to college life before he heads off to Bucknell University in the fall.

“To play at that level, I have to get ready,” DelMauro said. “It’s a little bittersweet, because this will be the last time I play representing Nutley. I have so many good memories. But when I heard about this game, I jumped at the opportunity to do it one more time for Nutley. I want to be able to go out with a bang.”

DelMauro ended his career as the all-time leading rusher and scorer in Nutley football history. Considering all the great backs that have worn the Maroon Raider uniform, it’s a great achievement. DelMauro, also an excellent student, also weighed offers from Columbia University. He will study business at Bucknell.

“I want to be well-rounded,” DelMauro said. “I didn’t want athletics to dictate me. I worked hard on my grades. I just thought Bucknell was a better fit for me. The coaching staff was great and the campus is beautiful. I just think it was the right choice for me.”

DelMauro went to the NJSFCA press conference announcing the All-Star rosters at Piscataway High School Sunday. He got to meet his teammates on the North squad, including Ramos, and the coaching staff.

“It’s definitely a great thrill to be picked for this team,” DelMauro said. “Only the best of the best are here. I want to perform to the best of my ability to show people that I am one of the best.”

Ramos, who has not decided where he will attend school, is weighing offers from places like Albright and Franklin & Marshall, was also elated to be part of the festivities.

“It’s a great honor,” Ramos said. “It’s something that I can add to my resume. I was very surprised that I was selected. Not many from Belleville get a chance to play in a game like this. When I found out, I was real excited.”

Ramos will more than likely play offensive tackle in the game, like he will in college.

“There’s definitely a sense of pride being here, representing Belleville and the football program,” Ramos said. “I knew I still wanted to play football in college. It’s such a big passion in my life.”

Ramos said that he still has a tough time getting over the loss to Nutley last Thanksgiving Day.

“It’s still a little upsetting, but I’ll get over it,” Ramos said.

And as for being a teammate of DelMauro?

“I think we’ll work things out,” Ramos said.

“We’re together now. I know we definitely want to win this game. It’s going to be a real good experience.”

DelMauro is also looking forward to the game, something he never could have dreamed would become a reality when he first started playing football as a youngster.

“It goes to show you that if you always set your goals, you work hard, pour sweat and when it happens, it’s amazing,” DelMauro said. And it’s amazing that two local rivals will bond for one huge cause come summertime.

Be tax efficient in retirement

By Randy Neumann

A great vehicle to save for your retirement is using qualified retirement plans. You get an income tax deduction when you make the contribution. You get tax deferral on earnings in the account until you make withdrawals, but when you take money out of a retirement plan, you pay tax on every nickel (unless it’s a Roth IRA). However, as Meatloaf lamented, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

Okay, everything that comes out of a retirement plan is taxable. What’s so bad about that? Nothing, if you are in a low tax bracket. But what are the chances of that? Not good, if you hear what is coming out of Washington.

Out of one side of their mouths, they talk of tax reform, lower rates and payroll tax cuts, which will further weaken an ailing Social Security. Out of the other side of their mouths, they talk of higher rates, fewer deductions, redistributing the wealth, wa wa wa wa wa.

Bottom line is that taxes will most likely go up because of money hungry local, state and federal governments. What can you do about that? Start planning. Here are a few ideas.

One possibility is to convert your Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. This is not often a favored technique because you have to pay the tax now on the promise of no taxes in the future. However, in some cases, it works. But first, what is a Roth IRA?

It is a retirement plan named for the man who proposed it to Congress, Senator William Roth from Delaware. Basically, it works in the opposite way of a Traditional IRA: while you do not get an income tax deduction on contributions, you do not pay tax on withdrawals. There are also limits on contributions to these plans based on income. Simply stated, if you make too much money, you can’t make a contribution. Currently the limit is $125,000, if you’re single and $183,000 if you’re married.

A few years ago, the tax code was amended to allow for anyone to convert a Traditional IRA to a Roth, so let’s see how it works.

If you are in your 50s, generally your prime earning years, and you are gainfully employed, converting to a Roth would be futile. Here’s why. Assuming you are a married couple earning $212,000 annually (or single earning $84,000), you are in the 28 percent bracket. If you were to convert to a Roth, you would withdraw X amount of dollars from your Traditional IRA. This would put you into the next tax bracket(s) which could be 33 or 35 percent. You would pay the higher rate on the transaction and you would be left with 65 or 67 percent of the money you started with. This is why very few people convert Traditional IRAs to Roths.

However, there are situations in which the conversions can make sense. If a high income taxpayer is laid off for the better part of a year, they may find themselves in a lower tax bracket. In this situation, a Roth conversion might make sense.

Other examples would include a taxpayer who sells rental property at a loss, or claims major deductions and exemptions associated with charitable contributions, casualty losses or medical costs. But there is one situation that is more common and less stressful than any of the above.

I have seen many clients over the years retire prior to age 62. When presenting their financial plan, it is demonstrated that they are too young to collect Social Security, and without income, there is no tax. I had one client who lived in New Jersey and worked in New York, so the lack of paying three income taxes caused him to do handsprings around the conference room.

I cautioned him that despite the good news, there was bad news: he would lose several tax write-offs like his mortgage interest, property taxes, etc. These write-offs cannot be carried forward. They can only be used in the year that they occur, but there is a fix for that as well. How does one create income to offset tax write offs in retirement? That’s easy, take money out of qualified retirement plans.

Actually, we run cash flows to see how much money can be taken out of a retirement plan and still remain in a low tax bracket. If you’re single, you can take $34,500 in income and still be in the 15 percent bracket. If you’re married, the number is $69,000.

So, if you want to transfer funds from a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you can put the $34,500 or $69,000 into the Roth and use other non-qualified income for your living expenses.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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.

Obituaries

Thomas G. Buck

Thomas G. Buck, 70, died on Saturday, March 3, at the Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Buck lived in Manhattan before moving to North Arlington 36 years ago. He worked as a broker for Lehman Brothers in New York City, retiring in 1977.

He was a member of the Arlington Players Club in Kearny. He served in the United States Army National Guard from 1964 to 1970.

He was the beloved husband of Catherine Buck (nee Brennan); the devoted father of Thomas G. Buck II, and dear brother of Marilyn Weigner and John Buck.

Visitation was held at the Parow Funeral Home, 185 Ridge Rd., North Arlington, on Thursday, March 8, followed by a private cremation.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to St. Peter’s Prep, 144 Grand St., Jersey City, N.J. 07302.

Mildred (Pacheco) Capella

Mildred (Pacheco) Capella, 82, died on Sunday, March 11, in the Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville.

Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral liturgy was offered in St. Cecilia Church, Kearny. Interment followed at Rosedale Cemetery, Linden. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thielereid.com.

Mildred was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and lived in the Williamsburg section for many years. She moved to Kearny in 2010. Mrs. Capella was a laborer for Leviton Electrical in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for 19 years, retiring 22 years ago.

She is survived by her husband Albert J.; children Jo-Ann Capella-Jimenez and Joseph Capella; sister of Margaret Laboy and grandmother of Mildred Marie Cuevas.

She was predeceased by her daughter Theresa Capella in 1990.

Richard J. DiMurro Sr.

Richard J. DiMurro Sr., 82, lifelong resident of Harrison, entered into eternal rest on Monday, March 12.

Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held in Holy Cross Church, Harrison, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information or to send condolences, please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Richard is survived by his devoted wife of 62 years Rita; his loving children Gregory and his wife Patricia, Donna Harris and her husband Edward and Gina Tipton and her husband William; cherished grandfather of Ceallaigh, Diarmad and Deaglan DiMurro, Thomas and James Harris, Benjamin and Samuel Tipton; dear brother of Carmella Rada and loving uncle of many nieces and nephews.

Richard is predeceased by his son Richard, Jr., brother Benedict, sisters Mary Petti, Giovanna King and Nickoleona Behney.

Please kindly omit flowers and make donations to St. Jude Children’s hospital c/o of the funeral home in memory of Richard.

Wilfredo ‘Freddie’ Guevarez Sr.

Wilfredo “Freddie” Guevarez Sr., 60, of Harrison, entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, March 14.

Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held in Holy Cross Church, Harrison. Interment was in Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington. For information or to send condolences please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Son of the late Flora, Freddie was born in Puerto Rico. He worked for the Town of Harrison, the Township of Maplewood and Holy Cross School in the maintenance department for over 20 years.

Freddie is survived by his ever-loving father Felix, his devoted wife Maureen (nee Baranowski), loving children Wilfredo Freddie III and his wife Jennie, Maximo and his wife Jill, Felix and his wife Lindsay, his step-daughters Melissa, Tammy and Heather Sak. He was the cherished grandfather of Brianna Corcoran, Madison, Lexi, Reese and Jaxon; dear brother of Harry and his wife Kirsys and James.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the American Cancer Institute c/o of the funeral home in memory of Wilfredo.

Edward S. Krupinski

Edward S. Krupinski died on March 14. He was 88. Born in West Virginia, he lived in Newark before moving to Kearny 45 years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in St. Casimir’s Church, Newark. Entombment was in Holy Cross Cemetery. North Arlington. To leave online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

Edward is a retired dock worker from Branch Motor Trucking in Newark.

Husband of the late Vicki (Wolowitz), he is survived by his brother and sisters Stanley Krupinski, Stella Delli Santi and Agnes Santos. He is also survived by his nephew Joseph Krupinski along with many other nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to The American Cancer Society.

Helen C. Kulesa

Helen C. Kulesa (nee: Kazmierski) 92, of Kearny, on Wednesday, March 14.

Helen was born in West Virginia the daughter of the late Andrew and Catherine Kazmierski and the beloved wife of the late Frank (1991). As a child she was raised in Scranton, P.a., and then had moved to Harrison where she worked as a seamstress for Natalie Green in East Newark. During World War II she made uniforms for the U.S. Government Armed Forces. Helen lived in Kearny for the past 60 years and has lived a full and fruitful life; her memory will be memorialized in the hearts of all her family and friends.

She is survived by her loving children Helen F. Kulesa, Ann Rekuc and Lori Zawacki, and her husband Michael; cherished grandmother of Donna Krusznis, and her husband Michael, Steven Rekuc, Jennifer Goodeman, and her husband Jason, David and Allison Rekuc, adored great-grandmother of Michael and Drew Krusznis, dear sister of Walter Kazmierski, Bernice Polukort and Edward Kazmierski.

Helen is predeceased by her brother Frank Kazmierski and sister Mary Ogorzat.

Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held in St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, followed by burial at St. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Scranton, Pa. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Salvation Army in her memory. For information or to send condolences to the family, please visit: www.mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Edward Mulvanerton

Edward Mulvanerton died on March 15 in Bayonne Medical Center. He was 58. Born in Jersey City, he moved to Kearny in 1979.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service was held in the funeral home, followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Ed, known as Eddie Moe, was a mechanic and truck driver for Tug and Barge Dry Dock in Jersey City. He had a great passion for motorcycles and was a member of various biker clubs and owned Able Motor Cycle and Driving School.

Husband of the late Concetta (nee Brown) “Connie”, he is survived by his sisters and brothers-in-law Edith and Martin O’Malley and Frank and Barbara Brown. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews Kathy Mattoon, Joanne Gouveia, Robert O’Malley, Cheryl Beech and Aurora Galaris and their families.

Herman C. Siemer Jr.

Herman C. Siemer Jr. died on March 11. He was 81. Born in Kearny, he moved to North Bergen four years ago.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by interment at Fairmount Cemetery in Newark.

Mr. Siemer worked for the IRS and was a member of Copestone Ophir Lidge in Kearny. He is survived by his sister in law Josephine Siemer and his two nieces Lila Zimmerman and Lisa Siemer. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to Grace United Methodist Church in Kearny.

Helen V. Smith

Helen V. Smith died on March 14 at home. She was 87. Born in Harrison, she lived in Kearny for many years.

Arrangements were the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held in Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington. Entombment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

Wife of the late John, she is survived by her children and their spouses Karen McClure, Kenneth J. (Arlene) Smith, Irene Connolly, Kathryn (Jack) Mount, Robert (Kathlene) Smith and Annamarie Smith. Sister of Irene Kryspin and Alfred (Arlene) Kryspin Also surviving are her grandchildren Michele, Dana, Kristen, Jamie, Lisa, John, Kyle, Kourtney, Kelsey, Karlee, Michael, Ryan and Stephanie and her great grandchildren Riley, Emily and Andrew along with many nieces and nephews.

Know what matters the most

The one secret that sets the rich and successful apart from others is the knowledge they have about the things they need to focus and concentrate upon. They know how to separate the majors from the minors. A lot of people can’t do better for themselves because they tend to major in minor issues. It is important not to let petty matters use up all of your energy when you can put your focus where the probability of success and achievement may be higher. It is good to be busy; however don’t mistake activity with achievement. It is very easy to be fooled by the idea of being busy doing futile chores, rather than investing your time and thought processes into something worthwhile. Remember, we do not have a lot of time on our hands. Any minute of any day could be our last, so why waste our precious reserve in backbiting, gossiping, complaining? How does it help you to get to a better stage in life? If you choose not to focus on these and instead start concentrating on building better relationships you will not only enrich your own life but the lives of others as well. Use your time in the most efficient manner; snap those thoughts out of your mind which encourage you to think bad about another being. Instead invest the same in something more promising. There are plenty of things that probably need your attention, but you need to choose wisely which ones actually deserve it. Elevate yourself by knowing the difference between things you must give more importance to from the stuff that you shouldn’t be wasting time on. It is in your hands to make the change. Prepare a mental list and allocate your activities, chores and other important matters as per their result-yielding ability. Remember that opportunities to succeed don’t come by very often and when they do, you need to be wise and act immediately on the ones which will take you closer to your goal. That will only be possible when when you aren’t wasting your time and energies elsewhere. So make that change today and see how wonderful life can be. Focus on the good, and good shall come to you.

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

ANOTHER FALLEN CANDLE, ANOTHER FIRE

PHOTOS BY BRUNO CABALLERO/ FOURTEEN PEOPLE WERE FORCED OUT OF THEIR APARTMENTS IN A MARCH 6 FIRE. INSET: FIRE ERUPTS ON TOP FLOOR OF 50 KEARNY AVE.

 

By Anthony J. Machcinski

KEARNY–

It’s déjà vu all over again in Kearny.

A second fire traced to a fallen candle in a little more than a week displaced 14 people from a three-story, multi-family building at 50 Kearny Ave., off Woodland Ave., on March 6.

A four-alarm fire at 187 Brighton Ave. that fire officials also blamed on a falling candle left one family out in the old on Feb. 27.

A passerby walking along Kearny Ave. reported seeing flames coming from a third-floor apartment a little after 3 p.m. Nearly 30 firefighters and at least 10 police officers responded to the scene. Pre-rush hour traffic was diverted off Kearny Ave. between Johnston Ave. and Rose St. The two-alarm fire was deemed under control within 45 minutes of the initial call.

Harrison and East Newark Fire Departments also responded to the blaze while North Arlington and Jersey City provided stand-by coverage at Kearny firehouses.

The fire left 11 adults, three children and three cats homeless. They were transported, initially, to an emergency shelter set up at Washington School before they were eventually taken in by either family members or by the Red Cross.

Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl said that the building, which is occupied on the ground floor by Bottega Gabriella, a vintage and antique store, owned by Eder Assuncao, “will be shut down pending a review by the building department.”

The blaze left one police officer injured from falling debris, but he was not listed as being seriously hurt.

The Knox Presbyterian Church, just south of the blaze, was left untouched.

This is the second fire to strike Kearny in an eight-day period. The fires on Brighton and Kearny Aves. have been ruled accidental with the source of the fires stemming from candles within the homes.

“Candles should not be left unattended,” said Dyl. “Even in a glass jar, candles should be left on top of a plate or something non-combustible. They should not be left on top of wood surfaces, not near curtains, and not near combustibles.”

Dyl also referenced an alert on the Kearny Township website which notes: “The majority of candle fires result from human error and negligence.”

The website also gives several tips to prevent candle fires including:

Avoid using lighted candles. Consider using battery operated flameless candles.

If you must use candles, ensure that they are placed in sturdy holders.

Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

Keep candles away from children and pets.

Never leave burning candles unattended.

Dyl thanked the Fire Departments of Harrison, East Newark, North Arlington and Jersey City for their help in controlling the blaze as well as the Kearny Police Department who helped in the initial response and directing traffic around the busy area.

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