web analytics

Angelo Feorenzo, father of former Observer Publisher Lisa Feorenzo, dies at 75

Above: Tina Feorenzo, Angelo J. Feorenzo and former Observer Publisher Lisa Feorenzo. Angelo James Feorenzo, 75, of Toms River, died Thursday, Jan. 22, at Community Medical Center in Toms River. Born and raised in Hackensack, he moved to Toms River in […]


4th year for CANstruction

By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Several years ago, Paul Rogers of Kearny visited a unique exhibit in Manhattan. Sponsored by a group called CANstruction, it featured wonderfully imaginative “sculptures” that students created from canned goods. Following the project, the food would be donated to the needy. We’d guess […]

$3.7M deficit confirmed

BELLEVILLE –  Well, now it’s official. An audit of the Belleville Board of Education for the 2013-2014 school year has confirmed what school officials and the district’s state monitor had suspected all along … that the district did, indeed, overspend its budget. As best it could determine from BOE […]


Medical school will be Roche tenant

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  NUTLEY –  Roche USA, the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company that is marketing its 118-acre property straddling Nutley and Clifton, continues to seek a buyer for the site but has inked a tenant for part of the site. Roche spokeswoman Darien Wilson said last week that […]


Fitzhenry picked for vacant seat

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent NORTH ARLINGTON –  Republican loyalist Brian Fitzhenry was rewarded for his longtime service to the party with an appointment to the North Arlington Borough Council last Thursday. Fitzhenry, 50, a Jersey City native and St. Peter’s College alum who has spent most of his […]


Enjoy Life to the fullest…while you can

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press/ The wreckage of the van from the April 29 accident

Every now and then, I lose my sense of appreciation for life around me. Everything from a walk to work on a nice spring day to a fresh home-cooked meal can lose its freshness with the everyday blandness of life.

Unfortunately, there are moments that then force me to rethink my approach on life.

This week, I was left with two such incidents that rejuvenated my appreciation for the little things. In a matter of a few days, our area experienced two tragedies: the fatal car accident on Belleville Turnpike on April 25 (covered in this week’s edition) as well as the van that lost control on the Bronx River Parkway and went over the guardrail, off a bridge, and falling nearly 60 feet into a closed off section of the Bronx Zoo, sending seven people to their death.

In situations like this, my mind always drifts to the families who lost these loved ones in such horrific ways. I could never fathom losing someone close to me in the manner it had occurred in the past week. I can almost feel the pain that they are suffering through, wishing they could enjoy just one more dinner, one more laugh, or one more moment with the recently deceased.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets a reality check when it comes to these tragedies. If there’s one thing that can come out of tragedies such as these two, it’s that life needs to be appreciated.

One event that especially hits home to many in our area would be the 9/11 attacks, which believe it or not, will be coming up on its 11-year anniversary. While I was lucky enough to not have lost anyone in the attacks, the emptiness of the skyline after the attacks was enough to make me realize I have to appreciate what is around me, even if it only is a few minutes a day.

That being said, I have just one last reminder: Don’t make it so that you need a tragedy to remind you to appreciate life. Enjoy life to its fullest extent, even if that means just five minutes a day in a park enjoying the weather. Life is far too short to take for granted.

-Anthony J. Machcinski


In the April 25 issue of The Observer, in the story, “Meadows parcel is taxing issue” on North Arlington’s battle with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission over property taxes, misstated the names of two members of the North Arlington Borough Council. Those members are Richard Hughes and Chris Johnson. The Observer apoligizes for those errors.

This dog’s a real ‘Bruiser’

By Anthony J. Machcinski

Kearny police and firefighters had their hands full on April 26 when a dog slipped out of its choker and attacked another dog and its owner.

The incident occurred at 1:54 p.m. near the intersection of Garafola Place and Forest St. when members of the Kearny Fire Department saw a man running across the street in an urgent manner.

Members of the Fire Department investigated and discovered that a larger dog had been attacking a smaller dog, with the two owners attempting to separate the canines.

Kearny Police arrived soon after to aid in the struggle. According to their report, “Bruiser” a large Pitbull/ Greyhound mix, proved to be too strong for the owner’s girlfriend, slipped his leash and attacked a smaller Pug, “Rocky”.

Firefighters Damien Caceres and John DiGiovanni attempted to pull the dogs apart using their hands and feet, even using a CO2 fire extinguisher and a water extinguisher, but to no avail.

Eventually, with help from the Kearny Police, the dogs were separated and Bruiser had his leash restored.

Both Rocky and his owner sustained injuries, but neither was seriously hurt and the owner refused medical attention.

Officer Neil Nelson later followed up with Bruiser’s owner, who had been away, and found that the dog wasn’t licensed. A violation notice was expected to be issued for that infraction.

‘Sticks And Stones’ provides inspiration for the bullied


By Jeff Bahr 

At its least effective music acts as background sound, a sort of “pink noise” that gets lost behind the grinding din of our conscious thoughts. At its best, it touches us – often in ways that we hadn’t anticipated before listening to it.

“Sticks and Stones”, a new CD released by former Harrison resident Jo-Ann Barton is aimed squarely at the latter. Through the magic of music the singer/ songwriter hopes to inspire the children of gay parents who may be dealing with bullying issues. But in a larger sense, Barton’s songs are intended for any and all who need reassurance that things can and will get better, just so long as they put one foot before the other and keep going.

Twelve years in the making, the CD has finally come to fruition. But the journey wasn’t an easy one. “My partner and I wanted to have children and I had major anxiety over it because I didn’t want my kids to be picked on or bullied for having gay parents,” explained Barton about the uncertainty that she and her civil union wife Darlene faced before having kids. “I never did anything about it (putting together the CD) until my old drummer, James Pesler, talked me into doing the project. He said, ‘What are you doing? Get off your ass and do it!’ It was the nudge that I needed. The children were my main inspiration.”

“Sticks and Stones” signals a move back to the music scene for Barton. As the proud and doting mom of two boys, Brandon, 12, and Bryan, 9, the former singer (who now works in the investment banking industry and resides in Clifton) “came out of retirement” after more than a decade to produce the collection of eight songs.

Despite her lengthy absence from the music scene, Barton’s credentials are impressive. Her last CD, “Pop and Circumstances”, spawned a number one hit song “Weekend” at college radio stations across America. In 2001, Barton released a 9/11 tribute song entitled, “Ordinary Day”. It was played at the World Trade Center during the second anniversary observance.

Barton stressed how important her bandmates were in making the CD a reality. They include Vincent Cinardo, formerly of Harrison, who Barton describes as “a very talented musician who plays everything”; Mark Radice, Barton’s “go-to guy who also plays everything – he toured with Aerosmith and wrote music for Sesame Street and Elmo,”; and Paul Ippolito, who played bass and lead guitar on a “couple of songs,” according to Barton.

The eight tracks on “Sticks and Stones” range from the light and bouncy rocker, “There for You” to the more subdued ballad, “Watch What You Say”. The aptly named title-track, Sticks and Stones, imparts a feeling of empowerment to any who have suffered the slings and arrows of others bent on bringing them down, while “We All Cry” demonstrates how quickly even the worst situation can turn around:

Sometimes life is hard

And it can tear you apart

You hold your little head in your hands

Because you don’t understand

But I can tell you a secret about this crazy thing called life

You may not want to believe it, but it changes overnight

My personal favorite – “Long Way to Go” – maps Barton’s personal search for acceptance in an oftencruel world. Much like her other inspirational tunes, the song somehow manages to remain uplifting. Given the weightiness of the subject matter, that’s no easy trick.

“Sticks and Stones” is a well-crafted rock & roll CD that not only sends out an uplifting message of hope, but is a genuine blast to listen to. “If I can help just one kid it would make it worthwhile,” says Barton about her hopes for the CD’s overall impact. “It all came from my heart and soul.”

Groups that endorse the new CD include:




“Sticks and Stones” can be purchased at the following locations:

ITunes, Amazon.com, and other online outlets.

Or send check or money order for $8.99 to: Magical Music Entertainment, 1360 Clifton Ave. #182 Clifton, N.J. 07012

A New Spring has sprung for Kearny UEZ

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ The window painting at Irish Quality Shop


By Anthony J. Machcinski


As spring begins and buds sprout, a number of local businesses hope that a new initiative by the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ) helps to stimulate their own growth.

With the combined effort of the KUEZ and Kearny High School, 20 businesses had their windows painted on April 24 and 25. The window painting is a contest for the KUEZ. Patrons have to find the Kearny Kardinal within five window paintings and place their submissions within any of the participating stores.

Winners will be chosen from correct entries and randomly selected. The lucky winner will receive a Kearny Shopping Spree.

The main goal of the KUEZ window painting is to drive up revenue in the town and hopefully push people to shop locally.

“Not only are (shoppers) discovering businesses that they may not have known existed, but the people are forced to go inside and drop off the submissions,” said KUEZ coordinator John Peneda, who also commented that by being in the store, shoppers will be more likely to look around the inside of the stores.

The window paintings come in two variations, a kite design and a nature design. The designs were created by Kearny High art teachers Chris McShane and John Bednarczyk.

“The KUEZ asked us to come up with a simple style design, nothing too complicated,” said Supervisor of Art, Music, and Media at Kearny High Kathleen Astrella. “The students then created templates for the windows for them to work on.”

The idea was met with excitement from students of the high school’s art program, who came out in droves to sign up for the project.

“Several teachers had signup sheets in their rooms,” Astrella explained. “We had 38 students sign up the first day and another 24 on the second day.”

However, just because the artwork was done by students doesn’t mean that the quality of work suffered.

“The kids did a great job,” said Maggie Millar, owner of Irish Quality Shop on Kearny Ave. who was one of the twenty businesses that signed up. “I had a choice between the two different designs and they were also able to incorporate a shamrock into it. It looks very nice.”

However, Millar was not the only business that had a piece of their identity incorporated into the painting.

“The owner of (Eminent Paintball) had some input into his window like putting some paintball splats on the window and a mask on the girl in the window,” Astrella said. “(All the businesses) are all pretty nice.”

The participating businesses include Gild-N-Son, Irish Quality Shop, Kearny Gold Store, Kearny Mattress Outlet, Mr. Nino’s II Brick Oven Trattoria, Rosa’s Accountax Services, Firepit Barbeque, Hey There… Cupcake!, Brazilian Spices, A&J Seabra’s Supermarket, Midtown Pharmacy, Cathy’s Hair Fashion Center, Eminent Paintball, Fighting Tigers DoJo, Clydesdale Auto Body, Coccia Reality, Applebee;s, Brady, Brady & Reilly, and Mace Brother’s Fine Furniture.

Around Town


The Bloomfield Art League and the Bloomfield Recreation Department presents “The Town Paints” 61st annual “Art on the Green” on Saturday, May 12, on the green opposite Bloomfield Civic Center, 84 Broad Street, Bloomfield.

Open to adults and children from all towns. You do not need to belong to the Art League or live in Bloomfield to enter. Cash prizes.

Categories are: Professionals & Non-Professionals: watercolor, mixed media (Pastel, Oil & Acrylics) and photography.

Size limits: 44” x 44” including frame. All artwork must be framed with wire on back for hanging.

Fees: Professional: $7 for one entry; $13 for two entries; $18 for three entries.

Non-Professional: $5 for one entry; $9 for two entries. Children are free.

Delivery: between 10 and 11 a.m., on the green. Judging: 11:30 am.

Prize ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on the green.

Removal: after prize ceremony.

For further information please contact: Jackie Hanlon 973-667-6372.

East Newark

East Newark Health Department will offer a free rabies clinic for dogs and cats on Wednesday, May 2, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the East Newark Firehouse, Sherman Avenue, East Newark.

Dogs must be leashed and handled by a responsible person. Cats should be transported in a cat carrier and also be handled by a responsible person.

If you have any questions, please call the Kearny Health Department at 201-997-0600 or email: JSarnas@KearnyNJ.org.


A bus ride to Resorts Casino is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8, at 9 a.m. The bus will leave from the Harrison Senior Center. Price is $30 with $25 back. Coffee will be served prior to departure. Call Rita at 973-268-2468.


Heaven Cent Thrift Shop at First Presbyterian Church, 663 Kearny Ave., is open Wednesday and Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm., selling new and gently used clothing and small household items. Donations welcome. Use upper Laurel Ave. door. The church’s food pantry is open on Friday between noon and 1 pm. Use first door on the Washington Ave. side of the building.

First Presbyterian Church, 663 Kearny Ave., is hosting a Fish and Chip Supper, catered by the Thistle, on Saturday, May 12, from 4:30 to 7 p.m.. Adults are $15; children $8. Menu choices are fried fish or fried chicken. Reservations are essential. Call 201-991-3513 to reserve your seat.

The Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., Kearny, will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the church hall. Jane Mackesy of the Hudson County Genealogical and Historical Society, will present a program entitled “Ask Granny – Finding Your Roots.”

St. Cecilia’s Church is having a flea market on May 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 114 Chestnut St., Kearny. Vendor tables are available. Call 201-991-1116. Clothes, furniture, toys, appliances and DVD’s will be available.

The next meeting of the St. Stephen’s Seniors announce the next trip to Atlantic City is May 23. For club information, please call Tom at 998-8258.


The Lyndhurst Library is once again collecting coats and clothing for the First Cerebral Palsy Center’s Coat Drive to help the homeless of St. John’s Soup Kitchen through the spring and summer. New and gently used coats are being accepted for all seasons, spring/ summer clothing, and shoes in all sizes from adult to infant. The drop off boxes are located inside of the main entrance of the Library. For more information, please call the Lyndhurst Library at 201-804-2478, ext. 7.

The Humane Society of Bergen County has a supply of both canned and dry dog foods of all brands and treats available ( FREE OF CHARGE) to anyone due to unemployment, disability or any financial problems cannot afford to feed their dog. Just stop by Monday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or call 201-896-9300.

The Lyndhurst Public Library invites the community to join in a continuous program titled, “Connecting With Your Inner Self,” geared for those 50+ years old. The purpose is to get people to talk about topics such as fears, aging, changing obstacles into opportunities, dealing with problems optimistically and appreciating where you are in life. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, May 10, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. For more information, please call the library at 201- 804-2478, ext. 7.

On Thursday, May 31, Commissioner Robert B. Giangeruso will be sworn in as Mayor of the Township of Lyndhurst.

The Lyndhurst First PAC will be honoring Mayor Giangeruso at a gala to be held at the Venetian in Garfield on the evening of his inauguration. There will be a cocktail hour, which includes an open bar, dinner and star-studded entertainment.

Guests will be entertained by America’s #1 Show Band and the area’s premier live performance group, The Infernos and New Jersey’s favorite oldies group, The Cameos.

Tickets can be purchased for a donation of $100, which includes cocktail hour with open bar, dinner and entertainment. While the venue can hold a capacity of 1,000, tickets are nearly sold-out.

Advertisement opportunities are also available for the evenings commemorative Program Journal.

For ticket information, contact, 201-939-0002, lyndhurstfirst@ yahoo.com. Further information is available on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LyndhurstFirst.

The Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, presents “What’s in the Water” for families with children ages 7 to 11 on Saturday, May 5, at 1 p.m. Collect live creatures, examine plant life and discover the salt marsh as you hike through DeKorte Park Park with a few pit stops along the way for fun! Through dip-netting and water testing, children will learn about the many organisms found living in our marsh. Be prepared to spend most of the time outside. Admission is $5/ person; $4/MEC members.

For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit njmeadowlands.gov/ec

First-Sunday-of-the Month Walk with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society will be held on May 6 at 10 a.m. This free twohour nature walk starts at the entrance to Losen Slote Creek Marsh in Little Ferry. Check meadowblog.net for lastminute weather updates. You 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.

Join the Meadowlands Commission’s Jim Wright on a 90-minute bird walk at De- Korte Park in Lyndhurst during prime time for migration on Sunday, May 6, at 1 p.m. Wright keeps the NJMC’s popular nature blog, writes birding columns for local newspapers and helps lead twice-monthly guided walks with the Bergen County Audubon Society.

Admission is $5/person; $4/ MEC members. For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit njmeadowlands.gov/ec

The Meadowlands Museum, in cooperation with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, presents a program on the Lenape-Delaware Indians , presented by John Kraft, an archaelogist and authority on our region’s prehistory. The program will include slides and artifacts which helps to tell the story of the Native American history of the Lenape culture up through today on May 8 at 2 p.m.

Admission is free. The program will be presented at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst. For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit njmeadowlands.gov/ec

North Arlington

The North Arlington Health Department will host a free lecture on Tuesday, May 8, at 7 p.m. at the Senior Center, rear of Health Department Building, 10 Beaver Ave., North Arlington. The program will feature Daniel Jurkovic, Certified Elder Law Attorney.

Elderly individuals and their children are faced with a wide range of issues such as nursing home expenses, Medicaid qualifications, living wills, planning for disability of loved ones, and protecting assets.

Learn about these issues and more from a practicing attorney specializing in elder law.

This program is open to surrounding communities. To register, please call the North Arlington Health Department at 201-955-5695.

St Michael’s Senior Leisure Club, Lyndhurst will have a bus trip to the Sands Casino in Pennsylvania leaving the Church parking lot on Page Ave at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 17. For reservations please call Georgiana at 201-438-7847.

The American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37, 222 River Road, North Arlington, will hold it’s monthly meeting on Monday, May 7, at 8 p.m. All veterans are welcome. For more information, call 201-412- 8253

North Arlington Seniors, Inc. have scheduled the following trips: Atlantic City – (Casino to be determined) on May 10, June 14, July 12 and Aug. 2 (Winery and casino). For more information, call Rose at 201-991-2423 or Marie at 201- 998-6510. All are welcome. You don’t need to be a member to attend.


During the month of May, the Friday Matinee program at the Nutley Public Library will feature classic film musicals. The films to be screened are: May 4 – “Singin’ in the Rain” starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, May 11 – “Blue Hawaii,” starring Elvis Presley, May 18 – “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Judy Garland, and on May 25 – “Barkleys of Broadway,” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers. The films will be screened at 2 p.m. and light refreshments will be served.

Call the library at 973-667- 0405 for more information on this and other programs at the Nutley Public Library. The schedule of programs is available at the library and on the library’s web site at http://nutley.bccls.org.

Join the Pen to Prose Writing Group at the Nutley Public Library on May 21 at 6:30 p.m. as Catherine Greenfeder, romance author, shares her knowledge of the e-book publishing process. Learn the ins and outs of e-book creation. All are welcome.

Catherine Greenfeder is a Nutley resident and author of novels “Sacred Fires”, “Wildflowers” and “Angels Among Us.” Along with being a novelist, Greenfeder is a poet and a teacher of language arts. Learn more about Greenfeder at http://catherinegreenfeder.vpweb.com. Greenfeder will remain with the group for the critique session.

For more information, visit http://nutley.bccls.org or call 973-667-0405.

Blue Tide leaves rivals in its wake

Photo by Jim Hague/ The Harrison High School boys’ volleyball team accomplished a first last Saturday, winning the Comets Volleyball Classic in Hackensack, defeating Kearny in the title match for the school’s first-ever volleyball tournament title. Back row, from left, are assistant coach Anthony Sabia, Tijani Rezki, Luann Oliveira and David Penaherrera. Front row, from left, are Varinder Singh, Matthew Muchowski, Andreas Economou, Matt Oliveira and head coach Nick Landy. Missing from the picture are Victor Narvaez, Carlos Gutierrez and Lucas Nogueira.

 Harrison wins Hackensack Volleyball Tournament; first-ever in school history

By Jim Hague

When the Harrison High School boys’ volleyball team won 19 matches a year ago and advanced to the second round of the NJSIAA state tournament, it was believed to be a one-shot deal.

After all, the Blue Tide was scheduled to lose Rahim Douelfakar to graduation and Krzysztof Osiecki to age limitations. Those two were the center of the Harrison front line.

“It’s hard with Krzysztof still being in the hallways,” Harrison head coach Nick Landy said. “But he’s ineligible because he’s too old.”

Even after losing those two standout players (Douelfakar is at Rutgers-Newark), Landy wanted to make sure that the Blue Tide continued the winning ways.

“We had been doing well lately, winning 15 matches two years ago and 19 last year,” Landy said. “We needed a bunch of guys to step up, but we had high hopes that we could be able to continue what we were doing, keep the same winning ways. For us, it was about maintaining status quo. We may have lost some good players, but we wanted to keep moving in the right direction.”

The Blue Tide won nine matches before last weekend and competed in high quality tournaments in Passaic Valley and Bloomfield earlier in the season to prepare for the Comets Volleyball Classic at Hackensack High School last Saturday.

The tourney at Hackensack provided quality competition, with a solid field of eight teams.

“I think participating at Passaic Valley and Bloomfield got us ready,” Landy said.

The team competed in those tournaments without senior middle hitter Matthew Muchowski, who had to return to Poland after the untimely passing of his father.

“We certainly missed him when he was away,” Landy said of the 6-foot-7 Muchowski, who was also the goal-tender on the Blue Tide soccer team in the fall.

Muchowski has since returned to the lineup and was ready to lead the Blue Tide at the Hackensack tourney. But no one could have ever anticipated what would transpire.

The Blue Tide won all three matches in the tourney, defeating Dover and host Hackensack to get to the fi nals, where they faced neighboring rival Kearny.

In the championship round, Carlos Gutierrez had six kills, Varinder Singh added three and setter Victor Narvaez added to his school record total of assists with 13, as the Blue Tide defeated Kearny, 26-24, to capture the tournament title.

It marked the first time ever that Harrison won a boys’ volleyball tournament title.

Needless to say, it’s another successful season for the Blue Tide, which owns a solid 9-4 record thus far.

“That was a great win for us,” Landy said. “The kids were defi nitely ready for it. They played well.”

Muchowski has been a force in the middle.

“He’s gotten better and he’s more mature mentally,” Landy said of Muchowski. “He’s become a big player for us.”

Singh, a junior who played for Landy during the basketball season, has also become a top player.

“When he first started, he didn’t know the sport at all,” Landy said. “He’s long and lanky and has grown to love the sport, maybe even more than basketball. He’s really come along for us.”

Gutierrez, a junior outside hitter, is devastating with his power.

“He’s probably one of the hardest hitters I’ve ever seen,” Landy said. “When he’s on, he’s on.”

Senior Andreas Economou has been a member of the Blue Tide varsity for three seasons.

“He has a lot of experience and that has helped us,” Landy said.

Tijani Rezki, another junior, is another outside hitter.

“With our junior class, the future looks very bright,” Landy said.

Narvaez is the team’s setter who eclipsed the 1,000 assist plateau earlier this season.

“It shows how long he’s been playing with us,” Landy said. “He’s a big leader.”

Senior Lucas Nogueira has been the team’s libero for the last two seasons. Nogueira, also a soccer player, missed the Hackensack tourney because he had to take his college placement tests. Freshman David Penaherrera stepped in for Nogueira and did a sensational job.

“He’s also played setter when Narvaez can’t play and he’s never played setter before,” Landy said of Penaherrera. “He’s played wherever we need him.”

Luann Oliveira and Matt Oliveira (not related at all) are also solid backline players for the Blue Tide. Luann Oliveira was also a member of the highly successful soccer team.

Needless to say, the fi rst-ever tournament victory is going to help the Blue Tide as they move towards the Hudson County Tournament and later the NJSIAA state tournament.

“It’s definitely good experience,” Landy said. “I’m not totally surprised about what they’ve been able to do. We knew we had some talented kids. They all played together and they played with Rahim and Krzysztof last year. They just had to step it up and do it on their own. We knew we couldn’t replace those two, but we also couldn’t cry about it. We had to move forward and I think we’ve done that.” Winning in Hackensack, beating the host team, then the neighboring rival, certainly goes a long way to proving that.

Golden Bears: On the rise once again

Photo by Jim Hague/ From left, Eric Angus, Danny Gaspar, Mike Morreale, Thiago Fernandes and Cap Ki Kim are just five of the reasons why the Lyndhurst boys’ track program won the Jack Yockers Bergen County Relays for a second straight season.


By Jim Hague

When you lose an athlete, a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon such as Patrick Rono, your team is naturally supposed to decline somewhat, maybe falter.

After all, Rono was the best all-around track and field athlete in Lyndhurst High School history, perhaps the finest athlete to ever come out of Bergen County. He was the nobrainer selection a year ago as The Observer Male Athlete of the Year, earning the honor without even the slightest of debate. Rono, now performing more than admirably at the University of Arkansas, simply made everyone around him better and he simply cannot be replaced.

However, veteran track and field coach Tom Shoebridge was quick to point out that the Golden Bears didn’t lose only Rono to graduation.

“We graduated 10 other seniors, some other great kids and athletes,” Shoebridge said. “We lost athletes like Erik Quezada, Tommy Grimmeyer, Vin Acosta, Michael Fusco, Gabe Ruggiero, Nick Marino, Kyle Jankowski. It wasn’t just Patrick. People thought because we lost Patrick that we were dead and done. But we lost more than just Patrick.”

Shoebridge wasn’t ready to throw a damp rag over the entire program. He knew that the Golden Bears were far from done, despite the massive losses to graduation.

“I think we all truly believed we could have another super year,” Shoebridge said. “We knew what we had coming back.”

First and foremost, the Golden Bears have depth, almost unheard of number participation for a small school. There are almost 75 kids participating in the entire track and field program at the school, which is totally unfathomable.

“We are so deep, much deeper than last year,” Shoebridge said. “We have so many kids doing so many different events.”

Those numbers have gone a long way, because the Golden Bears just captured the small schools division of the Jack Yockers Bergen County Relays, winning the team title in the county relay meet for the second straight year.

“We hadn’t won it since 1985 and now we’ve won it twice in a row,” Shoebridge said. “It’s a credit to the kids. We’ve gone 6-0 in dual meets and we used the Richie Pezzolla Memorial Lyndhurst Relays and the Aviator Relays (at Hasbrouck Heights) as ways to find the right combination. As it turns out, we may be even better than we were last year. Winning the county relays again is a big win and I’m so happy for the kids.”

Shoebridge is very pleased with the performances of the distance runners, who are trained regularly by assistant coach Ed Tessalone.

“He’s done a great job getting those distance kids ready,” Shoebridge said. “They’ve set new school records in three different distance relays.”

Seniors Thiago Fernandes and Danny Gaspar are holdovers from the Golden Bears’ solid cross country team. They’ve transcended their talents to the track. Max Estevez, Rudy Suarez and freshman Mike Cavello and Kane Mc- Dermott have done excellent jobs in competing right away with the two talented seniors.

“They’ve been posting some phenomenal times,” Shoebridge said. Senior Mike Morreale, the standout wrestler, has been doing a stellar job in the pole vault.

“He’s already flirting with 14 feet,” Shoebridge said.

The team has so much depth that there are three who compete in the pole vault. Some schools are lucky to have just one. Juniors Nathan Daquilla and Ian Yunis are the others who clear the bar. Shoebridge has had a rich history in developing quality pole vault athletes.

The team also has its share of talented hurdlers in junior Cap Ki Kim, a junior, has been the best hurdler thus far, but he’s joined by seniors Ali Kone and Evan Fitzsimmons and junior Brent Nogiero.

“The hurdlers have been unbelievable, shattering school records,” Shoebridge said.

Senior Eric Angus has also been sensational, competing in a handful of events, like the sprints and the jumps. Angus has already broken the school record in the triple jump at 43 feet.

Junior James Wenger also competes in the 100-meter dash and the high jump. Sophomore Anthony Giaquinto has already eclipsed 51 seconds in the 400-meter run an astounding five times. Senior Sebastian Perez is another fine sprinter.

Shoebridge had to develop his entire throw team, but they’ve all done well, led by junior Dominic Rega, sophomore John Mercado and seniors Vincent Carini and Parker Luland.

Shoebridge was even able to get J.P. Manzo to come over from the baseball team and compete in the 400-meter run and have seniors Anthony Maldonado and Eduardo Silva compete in the 400 and 800-meter runs.

“We really are so deep that it’s amazing,” Shoebridge said. “Sure, we may not have anyone like Patrick, but we do have kids like Thiago and Danny who have been leading the way. They’re winning and working hard. They’re very focused and they led us to the championship.”

The relay championship just leads the way toward the individual championship meets that are coming up later this month.

“It’s really exhilarating,” Shoebridge said. “Everyone thought we would be down this year, but the kids have listened and learned, but more importantly, they believed. It’s so great. I’m happy for the kids. Everyone said that we were good only because of Patrick. But you can’t win in track and field with just one kid.”

This latest championship is obviously proof.

Versatile Kearny lad is double threat

Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny senior pitcher/infielder Nick Beauchene.


By Jim Hague

Nick Beauchene had hit the proverbial wall. The Kearny High School senior wasn’t performing like his coach, Frank Bifulco, knew he could.

“He kind of just mellowed out and was flat lining,” Bifulco said. “He started to get frustrated a lot.”

So Bifulco had a little heart-to- heart with his standout pitcher/corner infielder.

“I had a little talk with him and told him he needed to step it up a little,” Bifulco said.

“I was just over thinking too much,” Beauchene said. “The talk we had defi nitely helped me. I needed someone to tell me what I was doing wrong. He called me in and told me that I just needed to relax and become a better player.”

Maybe all it took was just a little pep talk.

“In reality, I’ve now taken a different approach,” Beauchene said. “I don’t think at all now. I just play. The team has also picked me up. That’s all I’ve been doing lately. I’m trying to make it all a little easier. I’m seeing the ball and hitting the ball.”

Last week, Beauchene certainly saw the baseball and smacked the daylights out of it.

Beauchene had a three-run homer against Memorial, then followed it up with a 3-for-4 day with a homer and fi ve RBI, leading the Kardinals to a big 16-8 win over state-ranked North Bergen. In that game, Beauchene limited the Bruins to just three earned runs in collecting the victory on the mound.

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

Bifulco said that he had a good feeling that his chat with Beauchene was going to pay dividends.

“I could tell he turned it up,” Bifulco said. “He hit the homer against Memorial, turned to me and said, ‘Boom, I’m back. I’m ready to go.’ I told him that I needed him to be back.”

Bifulco said that he likes Beauchene’s personality.

“He’s the kind of kid that you know exactly how he feels,” Bifulco said. “He wears his emotions on his sleeve. He doesn’t like losing and he lets you know it. He wants to perform so well all the time.”

Beauchene said that his confidence has helped the turnaround.

“I know what I can do and I believe in myself,” Beauchene said. “I think taking a new approach has definitely helped me. I used to get upset a lot if something didn’t go well. But now, if I let up a hit or if I strike out, there’s nothing I can do to change it. I stay within myself and wait for the next at-bat, the next game to get another chance. I know that I can’t always fail.”

Beauchene likes the idea that he had his breakthrough game against North Bergen, which was ranked No. 17 in the entire state at the time.

“It definitely gives me and the team a lot of confidence,” Beauchene said. “It was a huge accomplishment. I didn’t go up to the plate, thinking I was going to hit a home run, but doing it against a team ranked in the state really means a lot. I don’t think we’re afraid of anyone now. We know we can beat any team any day, as long as we come to play.”

The Kardinals have also defeated St. Peter’s Prep recently, as Dave Bush fired a one-hitter against the Marauders, another local power.

“Beating St. Peter’s and North Bergen shows that we’re a good team, as long as we put our minds to it,” Beauchene said. “We just have to let the game come to us.”

And as for Beauchene?

“I had to do it,” Beauchene said. “I had to prove it. I know I’ve become an accomplished hitter, but I like to pitch as well. I like pitching. I’ve grown into it. I’m now becoming a better hitter every day.”

Bifulco seems to think that Beauchene’s success has come from feeling less pressure.

“We changed the lineup a little and moved him from third to fifth in the batting order,” Bifulco said. “He’s seeing more fastballs there and he’s jumping on them, hitting the ball hard. He now has a different approach to the game. I felt like he was trying to do too much. I told him that I didn’t need him to do more.”

Bifulco also likes Beauchene’s mental status.

“His attitude is a lot better,” Bifulco said. “He’s happy on the fi eld and he’s more balanced at the plate. He’s also pitching better. He’s doing the little things that have made him more dominant. When he’s on, look out, because he’s dangerous. Nick is always going to be Nick. He marches to his own drummer. But he’s done a great job lately, pitching, hitting, playing third and first. He’s starting to get it now. He’s been working hard at it.”

Bifulco believes that Beauchene can become a college baseball player.

“He definitely can swing a college bat,” Bifulco said. “He’s working hard to use the whole fi eld. We’ve been trying to tell him to drive the ball the other way and that’s helping him.”

Playing college baseball is now something that is in Beauchene’s mind.

“That’s one of my biggest goals,” Beauchene said. “I want to play on the next level. I’m going to continue to show my abilities and see what happens.”

Caldwell College and New Jersey City University have expressed some interest. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot,” Beauchene said.

Sure beats over thinking every day.

Message for the Soul: The happiness hunt

You have got to find what you love. Happiness is the single most important emotion that can make your life beautiful. Happiness is a state of mind. A happy mind is a healthy mind. If a hobby, business opportunity or a professional job, doesn’t work for you, you need not get disheartened; try another and if that doesn’t work either, then try yet another. There are only two things that are possible with any choice you make. Either it makes you happy or it doesn’t and in the process of looking for one that brings you contentment, you will at least learn about all the things that you dislike. There is a reason behind every action or choice you make. Don’t shy away from it. You made the choice, so somewhere you probably knew that, that was the best for you. So don’t quit midway. Go for the ultimate joy. Don’t compromise. There are also alternative techniques in feng-shui and vaastu shastra that you can use to your advantage in matters of contentment and peace of mind. These mainly involve the location, direction and placement of the bed that you sleep on, or the place or desk on which you conduct your professional business and also your surroundings. One tip that most people felt worked wonders for them is to make sure that you have at least one green plant in your bedroom, which you can look at while you lie on your bed. Green plants invite calm and clarity in our lives. Also it is important not to face a blank wall from where you sit at work. If that is so, then I suggest you have a poster or a picture of a flying falcon on your desk or if possible on the wall opposite you. This will encourage your spirits to soar and to look at your problems from a bird’s eye view which in turn will help you battle your daily chores with ease. And one other tip that many in India believe in, is to keep a lemon with a few green chilies and a small piece of magnet wrapped in plain white paper at your desk at work. This is to invite prosperity and success and help to ward off the bad vibes that you may be surrounded with. Happiness can come in many forms. For some it may be their finances: for a few, it may be the well-being of their family, while as for others, it is probably their own self development and achievements. Whatever may your need be — from a simple hobby to perhaps changing the world — it is all possible when you go after your desire to be content. Hunt down the things that bring you happiness. The journey may not always be pleasant but know that the storm and the rain play an equally important part as the sun to help form a rainbow. Good luck.


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