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Relief for commuters

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  LYNDHURST –  After what Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Giangeruso characterized as “33 years of starts and stops,” the township – with help from Bergen County – is finally beginning to see the start of improvements to the intersection at Kingsland and Riverside Aves. The changes […]

Convicted in mortgage swindle

A Belleville man was among three defendants convicted earlier this month in federal court for their roles in a $15 million mortgage fraud scheme involving condominiums in New Jersey and Florida, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman reported. Last month, another Belleville resident pleaded guilty in the same scam. According to […]

Walmart is keeping cops busy

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  The Walmart in Kearny is conveniently located on Harrison Ave., with easy access to Rt. 280, the N.J. Turnpike and feeder roads to Newark and Jersey City. This is a boon for shoppers. However, according to Kearny police, it is […]

2011 layoffs affirmed

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY – Four former Kearny workers, including a union chief, have lost the first round of a bid to reverse their New Year’s Eve dismissals nearly three years ago. In a 21-page ruling issued Sept. 3, the state Office of Administrative Law […]

Go pink at St. Michael’s

Don your favorite pink attire and join St. Michael’s Medical Center for a Breast Cancer Awareness Month event — Breast Health & You — on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at SMMC’s Connie Dwyer Breast Center, 111 Central Ave., Newark. Dr. Nadine Pappas, director of […]

 
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A WORD WITH THE PUBLISHER: Delivering holiday joy

publisher@theobserver.com

 

 

By Lisa Pezzolla

Deep in the hollows of- Kentucky, Thanksgiving was celebrated bigger and better
then ever by the folks in Knott County.
This year, the Kentucky Care trucks arrived late due to the overwhelming outpouring of donations and organizer Gino Montrone had a little setback.
Before heading down, Gino had to coordinate with the kids at the school to help unload the trucks. When I spoke to them the day after, the excitement in the voices of Cordia liaison Anita Madden and Gino were heartwarming.
This year, we doubled the number of families helped. The children were so excited with all the toys, clothes, and bikes. The simple things we take for granted on a daily basis are the greatest gifts these kids can get; new or used, it means something.
Please read the story in full and see the photos that the folks from Kentucky shared with us.
I want to thank everyone who donated and a special thank you to James, Shawn,Steve, Bob, Norman (Bogie), and Chuck Kerr for all the time they volunteered. To the firefighters and police, thank you for all the valuable time. It was a community effort all and all. Once again, thank you for putting a special smile on the faces of our friends in Kentucky

Don’t judge all cops by actions of few

Images coming across TV screens of late go beyond troubling. If you think I’m referring to the senseless acts of terrorism and the myriad atrocities playing out across our world, I am not. Terrible as these are, they already receive ink from a wealth of news sources. I doubt that I could cast any more light upon them.
What I am referring to is something that I had hoped had gone the way of the Edsel. But before I delve into this, let me first explain my perspective, lest misunderstandings
occur.
My family features two members who work as cops in one of New Jersey’s largest cities. They take their positions very seriously. I have nothing but respect for them and the many other career officers who strive for integrity and professionalism in their work. Therefore, what I am about to say about certain law-enforcement officials isn’t a nod to cheap journalism, but rather a plea on behalf of these dedicated public servants
whose good names and reputations will be sullied if a few bad eggs aren’t reeled in.
You may have noticed that the Occupy Wall Street protests are on the move. I have personally seen small groups assembling within our coverage area. These gatherings have been peaceful for the most part, with the exception of one incident that I witnessed personally. It involved a lanky student protester and a rather large cop.
As I was sitting at a stoplight in my car, I saw the two men exchanging words. OK, these things can happen. But then something alarming occurred. As the protester remained seated, the cop inexplicably pushed him. In no way, shape or form was this
citizen inciting the crowd, challenging the officer, or attempting to resist arrest. Yet he forcefully pushed him. Luckily, the matter ended as quickly as it began without any apparent injury to the student.
Recently, a few cops sprayed military-grade pepper spray directly into the faces of seated, non-violent protesters at UC Davis, California. The act was so over-the-top and sadistic that School Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi denounced it as “appalling.” The two officers involved in the incident were suspended from duty on Nov. 20. Their final fate
hangs in the balance.
If the moral of this isn’t already apparent to you, it should be. Police officers move throughout our communities each and every day. The vast majority keep the peace by assisting those in need and arresting those who have broken the law. In order to do
their jobs properly an element of trust needs to be maintained with the very citizens that they serve. When rogue cops like the aforementioned bullies come “off of the rails,” so to speak, it obviously does harm to those citizens that they have pushed, peppersprayed, or otherwise assaulted without cause. But an even more insidious form of damage will exist long after the incident has passed.
After watching the UC Davis incident on TV, one of the cops in my family put it bluntly: “Man, this isn’t good. It’s hard enough for us out there! These cops obviously don’t have the right temperament for the job, but in the end it won’t be just them who
end up hated and mistrusted – it will be all cops.” No matter where your views on the current protests fall, truer words have never been spoken.
— Jeff Bahr

WE’VE GOT MAIL

To the Publisher:
To the person who found my house and car keys, a great big thank you. I lost them on Tuesday, Nov. 15, near the Henrietta Benstead Center. It was very thoughtful of you to leave them on top of the mailbox at the Senior Center.
Some friends and I had asked St. Anthony for help in locating the keys. The next day, I received a phone call informing me that the keys were found. We honestly believe He answered our prayer through you. Thank you.

Catherine Pirrello
Kearny

Kearny UEZ to hold tree lighting

 

Photos by Linda Kraus-D’Isa/ Scenes from last year’s event. Decorations in front of town hall (top). Carolers along with Santa and Kearny Mayor Al Santos

By Anthony J. Machcinski

With Thanksgiving officially crossed off the calendar, residents of the area can now
focus solely on the Christmas season. Whether it’s seeing the houses lit up around the area or going to a local Christmas tree lot to get the best pine, the Christmas season
just has a tradition that is unmatched by any other holiday. With that in mind,
the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ) will be holding its annual tree-lighting ceremony.
The lighting will take place on December 1st, starting at 5:30 p.m. The event, sponsored by KUEZ with help from Midtown Pharmacy and River Terminal Development, has been a popular way for Kearny residents to kick off their Christmas
season.
“The event has been very successful,” said KUEZ coordinator John Peneda. “Some
estimates of the past few years have had crowds over a thousand people.”
To help ring in the holiday season, the KUEZ has gotten several groups to perform
at the event. These groups include the Washington School Dream Team, Franklin
School 5th and 6th grade chorus, excerpts from Mater Dei Academy Drama Club,
St. Stephen Children’s Choir, and performances from Teen Drama and Stonehenge.
Among other activities, children will have the opportunity to sit with Santa and take a picture, providing their parents have their cameras with them.
The KUEZ has hosted the event for the past couple of Years. They see it as a way to bring attention to the town’s business district. The organization is hopeful that
people will do their holiday shopping here.
“The whole idea is to get people to come to the center of town and do some shopping,
but also keeping the town united,” Peneda explained. “Our member stores
charge only 3.5 percent sales tax, as opposed to the 7 percent in normal stores so
customers will save money by shopping in town.”
For Peneda, the event isn’t just about bringing savings to the town’s residents, it’s
about bringing the holiday spirit. The town has done this by putting up Christmas
lights on the telephone poles.
“It’s the Christmas season and like everyone puts lights on their houses, we like to
dress up the town,” Peneda said.
One new way the KUEZ hopes to provide the holiday spirit is through “Frosty’s Dance Party,” an event for children that will feature several beloved characters including Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the Gingerbread Man, and even the Grinch.
While there is fun for the children, the parents also get a gift from the KUEZ. From
December 9th through December 26, curbside parking on Kearny Ave. will be free
in order to promote shopping in the KUEZ zone.
Even Mayor Al Santos will be in attendance, as he will help Santa light the tree.
“This tree lighting festival has become a wonderful start to the season,” said Mayor
Santos. “I encourage all residents to come out and enjoy the holidays in Kearny.”
The tree lighting will be held on Thursday, December 1st from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. outside of Kearny Town Hall.

A message for the soul: Show that you care

Perhaps the quality most responsible for success is humility.
A caring word and a warm smile can go a long way in developing new relationships
and enhancing the ones we already have. Pride, on the other hand, can destroy
all that we have built over the years and leave us feeling lonely. It is in our hands to control our moods.
We must learn to rise above our problems and tame our temptation to unleash
our anger upon others. It is important to pause for a moment and think before we act.
We all lead stressful lives but it is the art of handling this pressure that distinguishes
a sage from others more ordinary. We must strive to be more patient with our own frustrations.
This is when we need to tell ourselves to calm down and reflect on our actions.
It is believed that meditation helps in clearing our thoughts. Inhaling therapeutic vapors can also be helpful to the human psyche. Ginger scent can help one deal with feelings of loneliness, whereas sandalwood has been known to combat fear and confidence issues, and to improve selfesteem.
There is a solution to every problem; all it takes is some effort and perseverance
to survive the storm while looking forward to a brand new day.
Today, I encourage you to start afresh. Bring your mind, body and soul together. Try to be nice to others and to do a good deed selflessly. This act will heal you. It will help you
deal with your own insecurities.
Few people make their dreams come true, yet each new day gives you a chance to do just that. Be the person you have always wanted to be. Don’t let your anger, pride or ego deter you from your goals. You have it inside you to nurture your business and personal relationships. Doing so will not only help you gain respect among your peers,
but will establish your credibility within society. It is all within reach if you are willing
to give yourself another chance at living the life you have always imagined for
yourself.

 

 

About the author…

Shweta Punjabi’s credits are as numerous as they are varied. In addition to her skills as a renowned Tarot Card reader, Punjabi has also prepared daily horoscopes for Mid-Day, DNA, and Yuva newspapers, and Seventeen India magazine.
Punjabi has also functioned as a television host for Walt Disney Television, India.
Ms. Punjabi’s offerings will include horoscope and dream interpretation, principles of numerology and color therapy: in short just about anything and everything that currently carries an “alternative” tag.

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

Around town

Belleville

Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC) and Bethany Lutheran Church will present a breast health awareness program on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Bethany Lutheran Church, 188 New St., Belleville. Anabela Cunha-Almeida, RN, will discuss the importance of breast health awareness and answer your major questions and concerns. Light dinner will be served. To register, please call Anabela Cunha-
Almeida at 973-844-4173.
The Chorus of Communities presents its 21st Christmas concert “Gaudete!” Midnight Mass for Christmas by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, based on French carols and other Christmas music, on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. The concert will be held at the Church of St. Peter, 155 William St., Belleville. Advance tickets are currently on sale for $15, seniors and students $12 and at the door on concert day $15. For reservations, call 201-472-9362.

Bloomfield
Bloomfield Public Library announces the following schedule for its Monday Afternoon at the Movies program: Dec. 5 – “The Bishop’s Wife” (NR) (Cary Grant; Dec. 12 – “White Christmas” (NR) (Bing Crosby); Dec. 19 and 26 – Library closed for the holidays.
The library’s Thursday Afternoon at the Movie schedule is as follows: Dec. 8 – “A Christmas Carol” (NR) (Alastair Sim), Dec. 15 – “March of the Wooden Soldiers” (NR) (Laurel & Hardy). The library will be closed on Dec. 22 and 29. All films start at 12:15 p.m. in the library theater. Admission is free and all are welcome.
Bloomfield Recreation Department will have its annual tree lighting ceremony on Monday, Dec. 5, at Bloomfield Municipal Plaza at 7 p.m. The Recreation Department will also host its children’s holiday celebration on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Civic Center. Residents are welcome to drop by to join the festivities and to meet Santa Claus.

Harrison
Harrison Lions Club will host a Winter Wonderland fair on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to
4 p.m. at the Harrison Community Center, 401 Warren St. Over 40 tables of vendors
will be available. Santa will also be there to take pictures for $5 a picture and Harrison
High School’s Soundwaves will perform Christmas carols. Spots are still available for
interested vendors for $25 for a 6 ft. long space. Vendors must supply their own tables and chairs. Interested vendors can reserve their spots by emailing harrisonlionsclub@yahoo.com, visiting the Harrison Lions Facebook page or calling 201-618-9545.

Kearny
Paula Reyes and George Rosko of Coccia Realty, are currently conducting a Toys
for Tots Drive, in conjunction with the United States Marines. New and unwrapped
toys are being collected until Dec. 20 at local Coccia Realty locations: 636 Kearny Ave.,
Kearny; 273 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst; 11 Park Ave., Rutherford. For more information call Paula or George at 201-320-2958 or Coccia Realty’s Lyndhurst office at 201-939-8900.
The Salvation Army, 28 Beech St., Kearny, is offering computer classes on Monday
and Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon. A $30 fee is charged per 12 hours of instruction. The classes cover basic computer skills (mouse, keyboard, Internet), email, as well as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
West Hudson Christian Center, 557 Kearny Ave., presents “A Night in Bethlehem”
on Friday, Dec. 2, from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. Visitors are invited to journey through time as they tour live nativity scenes. Bring the family and receive a special gift (one per family) and a complimentary photo.
The Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., will host its annual carnival on Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. The event will include over 100 games of skill, an arts and crafts table, homemade toys and baked goods. The carnival is under the direction of PBGC Executive Director Thomas Fraser, Co-Chairman Richard Wagner and Chairman of the Board Paul Vieira.
The Friends of the Kearny Public Library will host a special event at the Kearny
Public Library to salute and celebrate our veterans on Dec. 7, the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. At 10 a.m., light refreshments will be served and at 10:30 a.m., “The Story of the Intrepid,” a documentary on the history of the famed aircraft carrier, will be shown. All are welcome to this special event, which will take place at the Main Library, 318 Kearny Ave.
The library also announces the continuation of the free museum pass program, which
includes a pass to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. For more information, contact the library at (201) 998-2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.
The Kearny Rotary Club meets every Wednesday afternoon at 12:15 at La Fiamma
Restaurant, 440 Harrison Ave., in Harrison. Business leaders from Harrison are invited to attend to learn about the work that Rotary International accomplishes
around the world and in local communities. For more information about the
Kearny Rotary Club or to join them for a meeting, call Joe D’Arco at 201-955- 7400 or Jose Fernandez at 201-991-1040.
Lunch With Santa will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Boystown Gym, 499 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. The event will include lunch, door prizes, bouncy ride, pictures with Santa – don’t forget your camera, 50/50, Christmas movies, and bringyour-own decorated ornament contest. Admission is $10 per person. For more information, call 201-998-0088, ext. 4145 or register at www.newarkoym.com (All children must be accompanied by an adult.)
The next meeting of the St. Stephen’s Seniors will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the church’s Hedges Hall. There will be a board meeting at 10:30 a.m. The St. Nicholas party will begin at noon for paidup members only. Scheduled events include a trip to Atlantic City on Dec. 28. Bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. sharp. For club information, please call Tom at 998-8258.

Lyndhurst
St. Michael’s Senior Leisure Club, Lyndhurst, announces a bus ride to Showboat Casino in Atlantic City on Wednesday, Dec. 28, leaving the church parking lot, 624 Page Ave., Lyndhurst, at 10 a.m. Cost is $20 with $30 slot cash-back. For information, call Georgiana at 201-438-7847.
The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society will
have its first Sunday-of-the-month Nature Walk on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 10 a.m. This free two-hour program at DeKorte Park features a short talk and slide show on raptors and winter waterfowl of the Meadowlands by the NJMC’s Jim Wright, followed by a walk along Disposal Road. We’ll meet just inside the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. Check http://meadowblog.
net/”meadowblog.net
for last-minute updates and weather advisories. You will
have to sign a standard liability release for 2011 if you haven’t already. For further information, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at: greatauk4@aol.com or at 201-230-4983.
The Home School Association of Sacred Heart School, Lyndhurst, will host its annual
Tricky Tray on Friday, Jan. 20, at Sacred Heart School, 620 Valley Brook Ave., at 6 p.m. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed. Raffles are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and are non-refundable. No one under 18 will be admitted. Ticket deadline is Jan. 10. For tickets, call Patty at 201-939-4277 or 201-803-9580.

North Arlington
Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus will have a celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 7
p.m. at the council hall, 194 River Road, North Arlington. The event will include the
lighting of the manger scene, Christmas carols and refreshments.

Nutley
Thursday, Dec. 1, is Adult Scrabble Night at Nutley Public Library, starting at 7 p.m. Prizes are awarded for first and second place scores. Films are shown every Friday at the library at 2 p.m. Please check the monthly calendar, flyer or Facebook for the titles of the films.
Nutley High School student Danielle Louise Ciminnisi will perform solo compositions
from her CD “Piano Sketches” at the library on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. Saturday Story Time and crafts for all ages is scheduled at the library for the following Saturdays: Dec. 3, 10, 17 and 31 at 10 a.m. Registration is not required.
BabyGarten, for children from birth to 22 months and their caregivers, is scheduled
at the library for the following Mondays: Dec. 5, 12, 19 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Enjoy great books, nursery rhymes, playtime, and meet other babies from the Nutley area. Registration is required.
The library’s Manga and Anime Club will meet on Mondays, Dec. 5 and 19, from
3 to 4:30 p.m. The group will watch anime, read Manga and advise the library on its Manga collection.
Pajama Story Time, for children of all ages is scheduled at the library for Mondays, Dec. 5, 12, 19, at 7 p.m. Registration is not required. Experienced and non-experienced
players are welcome to play Bridge at the library every Tuesday at 1 p.m. No registration is required.
The library’s Tuesday Evening Knitting Club will meet on Dec. 6 from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Both beginning and experienced knitters are welcome. Please bring your own supplies. The group meets on the first Tuesday of every month.
The Wednesday Afternoon Knitting Club meets every week at the library from 1 to 3 p.m. Both beginning and experienced knitters are welcome. Please bring your own supplies.
An origami holiday ornament workshop will be held for teens only at the library
on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. Registration is required online through the Teen Blog.

Nutley ends gridiron season with solid win on Turkey Day

Maroon Raiders seniors go out in style, 49-14

 

Photo by Jim Hague/ From left, Nutley seniors Mike Hovan (22), Lou Meggiolaro (24), Matt DelMauro (34) and Jordan Yuppa (12) escort a senior cheerleader onto the field before the annual Nutley-Belleville football game played at the Nutley Oval on Thanksgiving, a game won by Nutley, 49-14.

By Jim Hague

NUTLEY – After his football team lost to Parsippany Hills in the opening round of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group III playoffs two weeks ago, Nutley head coach Steve DiGregorio didn’t have to worry about the Maroon Raiders bouncing back to play their final game of the 2011 season.
That’s because they were facing Belleville in their annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry
showdown.
“If the season would have ended with the loss to Parsippany Hills, it would have been
tough,” DiGregorio said. “We had the great rivalry to look forward to. I didn’t have to
worry if they would be ready. They did a great job of responding. If it was any other team other than Belleville, I might have been concerned, but they were ready. We had about five or six very good practices leading up to the game.”
It certainly showed, because the Maroon Raiders dominated the Turkey Day clash from start to finish, coming away with a 49-14 win.

Photos by Jim Hague/ Nutley head coach Steve DiGregorio (far left) gets ready to lead his seniors down the stairs from the school to the Nutley Oval for the Thanksgiving Day rivalry game against Belleville.

 

Photos by Jim Hague/ The Belleville Buccaneers get ready for the opening kickoff at the annual Nutley-Belleville game.

 

Photos by Jim Hague/ The Belleville mascot, the Buccaneer, was ready for action on Thanksgiving Day in Nutley.

 

It marked the third straight year that the Maroon Raiders won on Thanksgiving Day over the Buccaneers and enabled the Maroon Raiders to finish the season with a
solid 6-4 record. Belleville, which last defeated Nutley on Thanksgiving Day of
2008, completed the year with a 3-7 mark.
Nutley now leads the alltime series, 48-19-4. The game was moved to Thanksgiving
Day permanently in 1984. Nutley has not lost a game at the Nutley Oval on Thanksgiving since the rivalry was shifted to Turkey Day. Belleville’s last win in Nutley was in 1983.
There was a 14-14 tie in 1993. Some of the Nutley seniors played huge roles in the win in their final game at the Nutley Oval.
Senior running back Matt DelMauro had a sensational game, carrying the ball 25
times for 174 yards and three touchdowns.
“Matt put back-to-back seasons where he got 1,300 yards,” DiGregorio said. “That’s pretty darn good. He smashed the Nutley all-time career rushing record. When I think of Matt, the word that comes to mind is tenacious. He was just tenacious and always ready to play.”
DelMauro ended the year with 19 touchdowns. He had an extraordinary career. Lou Meggiolaro, who suffered a broken collarbone in October, forcing him to miss four games, returned to action and had a fine game, scoring two touchdowns and collecting three interceptions.
“It was a pretty unique thing,” DiGregorio said. “Lou intercepted a pass and then on the very next play, he caught a touchdown pass. That doesn’t happen often.” The Maroon Raiders had 18 seniors on their roster and all of them that were healthy got a
chance to get on the field Thanksgiving morning.
“We had a good lead (28-6) at the half and felt pretty good where we were,” DiGregorio said. “So we were able to get everyone a chance to play and that was good
for everyone.”
Nick Rodriguez closed out the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run. DiGregorio, who is a Nutley graduate, recalled the feeling he had when he was a senior and a member of the football team.
“I tell the kids all the time that I got hurt against Irvington the week before we played
Belleville in 1978, hurt my knee bad and couldn’t play against Belleville,” DiGregorio
said. “I had to watch that entire game on the bench. I really never got over that. So any time we can beat Belleville, it’s special for me. This was three in a row.”
DiGregorio reflected on the seniors that will move on.
“They’ve won more playoff games than anyone in Nutley history,” DiGregorio said. “They accomplished a lot. These seniors know nothing but winning.
They’ve been winners their whole careers here at Nutley. They’re terrific kids, a special bunch. I’m going to miss them an awful lot. We’re going to have a lot of spots open,
so the work for next year begins sooner than later.”
DiGregorio knows one thing. Nutley has a program now and has established a winning
tradition.
“It’s one of the things we wanted to do when we took the job seven years ago,” DiGregorio said. “We’ve made the state playoffs five out of those seven years and
advanced in the state playoffs to the state finals. We don’t want to take any steps back. We want to keep moving forward.”

Kearny alum Bifulco named new baseball coach

Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny High School graduate and former two-sport standout Frank Bifulco has been named as the new head baseball coach at the school, replacing the retired Jim Sickinger.

 

By Jim Hague

When Frank Bifulco was an athlete at Kearny High School, playing soccer and baseball for the Kardinals, he got a little taste of success and craved more.
“I think that was the key to everything for me,” said Bifulco, who never allowed a lack of height to deter him in either soccer or baseball. “I was fortunate to play for successful teams during my four years at Kearny. There was a process to it all and we were pushed to do our best.”
In Bifulco’s senior year, he was a part of a soccer team that shared the Group IV state championship and a baseball team that won the state sectional title and played for the overall Group IV crown.
“I don’t think there’s any question that it fueled the fire in me,” Bifulco said. “In baseball, we won 20 games every year and won the Watchung Conference all four
years. We were very good and I always talk to my buddies about that year.”
Bifulco graduated from Kearny High in 2004 and headed off to Montclair State to play baseball for a stint.
He returned to Kearny for a football game, when he was approached by long-time
Kearny head baseball coach Jim Sickinger.
“Coach Sick asked me if I wanted to get involved in coaching,” Bifulco said. “I told him that I did want to get involved, that I wanted to give back something to Kearny.”
So Bifulco became a volunteer assistant coach, soaking up everything he could from
the veteran coach.
“I was a volunteer for two years and when the opportunity opened up to become the
JV (junior varsity) coach, I jumped at it,” Bifulco said.
Sickinger saw the potential in Bifulco and eventually brought his former second
baseman up to coach the varsity with him.
“Coach Sick sat me down and asked me if I was ready to take another step and work
with the varsity,” Bifulco said. “I had to go to camps and clinics and learn as much as I could.” Sickinger continued to groom Bifulco every step of the way.
“I learned a lot about the behind the scenes stuff, like scheduling, equipment, you
name it,” Bifulco said. All along, Sickinger knew one thing. That when the time came for him to step away from coaching, he was hopefully going to be able to turn the keys of the Kardinal program over to his former player.
“I always believed Frank was the best person for the job,” Sickinger said. “I felt
very comfortable with him.
He put in that much time and effort into it that I really could see it getting passed on
to him.”
Last June, when the high school baseball season came to a close, Sickinger shocked
everyone by announcing his retirement from coaching after spending 30 years of his life as a Kearny Kardinal player, assistant coach and head coach.
“I don’t think any of us expected him to retire this quickly,” Bifulco said. “I didn’t know until he announced it before our final game.”
And Sickinger made a promise to Bifulco.
“He said, `If this is something you really want to do, then I’ll recommend you get
the job,’” Bifulco said. “We talked several times about it. He said, ‘Think back to all
the things I had you do. Well, there was a reason.’”
Last week, the Kearny Board of Education made it official and appointed the 25-year-old Bifulco as the new head baseball coach, replacing his mentor, tutor, coach
and friend.
“You can never be fully prepared for something like this, but I hope I’m ready,” Bifulco
said. “There are things that I still have to learn. There’s always room to grow. I think I’m ready.”

Sickinger is sure.
“He’s going to be able to keep the tradition alive,” Sickinger said. “I know he’ll call me from time to time and I’ll support him every step of the way. But it’s his job now. He showed the interest. He paid the dues and he gets rewarded by being the head coach. I’m excited for him that he’s going to be the head coach. It’s been a dream for him.”

Bifulco isn’t going to upset the cattle cart too much. He’s retained Kearny’s resident
baseball guru Doug Gogal as an assistant. No one in the town knows more about baseball than Gogal, who spent nearly 25 years of his life molding young talent
in the Kearny Little League before moving on to the high school level a few years ago.

“I can’t even begin to explain how valuable Mr. Gogal is,” Bifulco said. “He’s a great
baseball man and I’m glad I will be able to bounce every idea off him. He has the same
attention to details that I have.”
Bifulco will also retain Dave Smart as a pitching coach and Rob Kelly as the JV coach. Scott Millar, the son of athletic director John Millar, will become the freshman coach.
But it’s Bifulco’s show now.

“I’m very excited about it,” Bifulco said. “Kearny is always where I wanted to be. There’s nothing like coaching at the place where you played and grew up. There’s all this tradition I have to live up to. It’s going to be tough replacing someone like Coach Sick, but he’s always been there for me.”
Bifulco got one last piece of advice from his former coach.
“He told me that I have to be my own person,” Bifulco said. “That I have to implement
things on my own. I might have received a lot of my baseball knowledge from Coach Sick, but it’s a new beginning. We have a chance to become an elite program again. We lost nine seniors, but we have some young kids ready to step up. I think we’re going to be strong again.”
If the Kearny players take on the hard-working, gritty personality of their new
young head coach, then they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Kearny’s Farih lands at SPC

Former Kardinal standout makes Peacocks’ roster as walk-on

Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny native Mohamed Farih has earned a spot on the St. Peter’s College men’s basketball roster as a walk-on.

 

 

By Jim Hague

As the St. Peter’s College men’s basketball team was going through its warm-up drills Saturday night at the Prudential Center, a kid from Kearny was right there, among the rest.
Mohamed Farih was among those Peacocks, preparing to take on Seton Hall in the
annual showdown between New Jersey Catholic colleges.
The 6-foot-4 Farih, fresh out of Kearny High School, had made the Peacocks’ final roster as a walk-on.
Yes, a kid from Kearny was playing NCAA Division I basketball – and only God
knows how long it’s been since Kearny had a legitimate Division I basketball player.
Farih, who scored four points for the Peacocks in his debut last week, a win over
Binghamton, used his due diligence to earn a spot on the roster. He’s also already made his mark as a key practice player, as the Peacocks, due to injury and illness, were down to only eight scholarship players in practice last week before facing Seton Hall, a
game the Peacocks would lose in a game effort, 63-54.
The story of Farih’s ascent to the world of Division I basketball began in earnest
last February, when Kearny head boys’ basketball coach Bill Mullins reached out to
St. Peter’s assistant Bruce Hamburger and told Hamburger about Farih’s hopes and
dreams of walking on to the Peacocks’ roster.
“I got an e-mail from Billy that said he had a kid who was coming to St. Peter’s and was interested in trying to walk on,” Hamburger said.
Farih, who had some interest from some Division III schools to play, received a
nice academic scholarship/financial aid package from St. Peter’s, so that’s where he was headed regardless.
“I decided it was a good choice for me academically,” Farih said. “But I also truly believed I could get a chance to make the team. I just wanted to make sure I got that shot.”
The Peacocks, who made the NCAA Tournament last March after winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, graduated four key players from that team, so there were some roster spots open.
Farih got in touch with Hamburger and the two began the odyssey.
“I first talked to him in July and told him what he had to do in terms of paperwork to
get eligible to play,” Hamburger said. “When school started, even before he touched a
basketball for us, he was really persistent and was at the office almost every day, asking me if everything was in line.”
“I’ve always been a persistent guy,” Farih said. “I always want to make sure I get my
stuff done and be ready,” Farih said.
Hamburger told the Kearny teenager to go play more and work on his game. So that’s
what Farih did, religiously working out at the Newark
YMCA, playing with and against players who were either pro players in Europe or
solid college players locally.
“It really helped me, playing with the better competition,” Farih said. “It got me ready.”
Farih also became a fixture at the open workouts that SPC head coach John Dunne had with his players in the offseason.
“During our preseason workouts, I’d always see the kid, but I had no idea who he
was,” Dunne said. “Every time I turned around, there’s this kid watching the workouts. He was very polite, just watching, but he was there all the time, so we let him hang around.”
“I just wanted to make sure that they knew who I was,” Farih said. “I stayed and
watched what they were doing. I wanted to know everything I could.”
Hamburger and Dunne then met to discuss the possibility of having a walk-on tryout.
“I didn’t know if we were going to keep any walk-ons,” Dunne said. “I didn’t know if
we needed any.”
But the coaching staff decided to have the tryout.
There were 13 prospective players who were vying for the chance to be a walk-on.
“I thought I played well,” Farih said. “I did some good things.” “Of the 13, about four had decent enough skills,” Dunne said. “But we had to see who could handle the practices, who was coachable, who could handle the whole deal in being a walk-on. As it turned out, Mohamed had the right attitude and he ended up having enough skill. Demonstrating a great attitude went a long way.”
It was also remarkable, considering Farih missed most of his senior season due to a
broken wrist.
After three days of the tryouts, Dunne made a decision about Farih and fellow walkon
candidate Tyler DeChalus of Elmont, N.Y.
“I called them in and gave them the spiel about how they might never get in a game, but how they need to be ready at all times,” Dunne said. “They had won a spot after a couple of days.”
“You could tell right away that he was into it,” Hamburger said. “You could give
him the simple drills and he knew what he was doing. He paid attention, listened and
separated himself a little from everyone else. He figured it all out.”
Then came the biggest test, whether Farih, an undersized kid from Kearny, could handle the physical rigors of playing with and against guys much bigger on a daily basis.
“It was a challenge,” Farih said. “Of course, they were bigger and stronger, but I
thought I handled myself.”
“He showed a lot of toughness and didn’t back down at all,” Hamburger said. “The
other guys on the team respected him and accepted him and he just went from there.
He fit in right away.”
With that, Mohamed Farih became a Division I basketball player. He’s a member of
the St. Peter’s Peacocks and amazingly has already scored collegiate points.
“I was so excited,” Farih said. “My hard work had paid off. It feels good to be part of
the team.”
Dunne beams when he talks about Farih.
“I can’t rave about Mohamed enough,” Dunne said. “If he doesn’t change, he could be
one of our best walk-ons ever. He’s extremely smart, he’s coachable, he’s proven he can compete. He has a great work ethic. He’s extremely cerebral and picks things up quickly. Even when he’s just standing on the side, he sees things and picks it up and is able to help the others. Some others have to do it over and over to get it, but not Mohamed.”
And last week, with the Peacocks battling injury and illness, Farih had a key role
in practice and was learning to play a new position, that of small forward.
“I’m getting a lot of time, learning different things,” Farih said. “I played the three
(small forward) this week and I never did that before. I just wanted to see what I could
do to help the team. It’s crazy how this all turned out, but it’s what I wanted.”
There are no guarantees in the life of a walk-on. It’s a thankless position. Farih may
never play in another game, yet he has to continue to work hard, practice hard, just to
keep his spot on the roster.
But he’s doing the right things – and that just might make him a permanent fixture
on the SPC roster. And there is a kid from Kearny playing Division I basketball. Believe it. Mohamed Farih certainly does.

Obituaries

 

George Brown Ford
George Brown Ford, 73, of Jackson, passed away on Nov. 21 at Kimball Medical Center, Lakewood.
George was born in Jersey City, and resided in East Newark, before settling in Jackson Twp. 36 years ago.
George proudly served his country in the United States Navy.
Mr. Ford was employed as a truck driver by Paul’s Trucking Company in Edison. He was captain and a volunteer fireman in the East Newark Sherman Hook and Ladder Fire Company.
George was a communicant of St. Veronica’s Roman Catholic Church in Howell.
Predeceased by his parents, Allan and Jean Ford, he is survived by his wife of 38 years, Sara V. Ford; his sons, Allan Ford of North Arlington, George Ford of Baytown, Texas, Andrew Ford of Jackson, and Francis Ford of Jersey City; his daughters, Cathy Ford of Bethlehem, Pa., Margie Ford of Sanford, N.C., Maryanne Addud of Medford, and Sarita Ford of Jackson; his brother, Pat Ford of Lanoka Harbor; his sisters, Catherine Lowe of Rockville, Md.; Marylin McGowan of Toms River, and Jane Murphy of Kearny; his 17 grandchildren, and expecting another grandchild soon, and four grea-grandchildren; and his former wife, Margaret Tomasko of Sanford, N.C.
Arrangements were by the George S. Hassler Funeral Home, Jackson. A funeral Mass was held at St. Veronica’s Roman Catholic Church, Howell, followed by interment in
St. Mary’s Cemetery, Lakewood.
In lieu o f flowers, donations may be made to the American Lung Association, 1031 Route 22 West, Suite 203, Bridgewater, N.J. 08807.

Julia Esteves
We celebrate the long and beautiful life of Julia Esteves.
She was born in Pardilho, Estarreja, Portugal to Antonio Joaquim Vaz and Maria Jose Valente de Almeida on July 24, 1925. She loved telling the story of how her father did not register her birth until Sept. 2, 1925.
Julia had the pleasure of celebrating two birthdays for 86 years. Julia married her
sweetheart, Jose Luciano da Silva Esteves, who was also born in the same town.
They moved to Angola, Africa, early in their marriage but Julia returned to the home they built on Lugar-do-Lugar when she was eight months pregnant with her son, Jose Amilcar Marques Esteves. A daughter followed 15 months later, Maria Alexandrina Marques Esteves.
With brothers in the United States anxious to bring family members to America, papers where processed and the family flew to America on Dec. 5, 1967. Harrison
was the place they would call home and where Julia lived until her death. Julia,
a devoted Catholic, had a strong faith and other than her family the Lord was her daily companion. After her husband’s death and for the last 30 years, her life has been truly dedicated to God and her children.
The gift she always said was the most precious to her was time spent with family. She carried around a photo album of family and friends who gathered to celebrate her 85th birthday party for weeks afterwards.
Her face would light up every time she spoke of her granddaughter, Amanda Mae Cohen, and she never missed any opportunity to see Amanda’s performances or be
witness to her accomplishments.
She was blessed with a wonderful son-in-law, William P. Warner, whom she adored and two beautiful step-daughters, Jessica and Christine Warner. She loved to dance, she loved to watch Spanish Soap Operas and she love walking up Harrison Avenue to Holy Cross Church. She lived 86 years and seven weeks in good health, and only several weeks ago was diagnosed with brain lymphoma. On Nov. 26, at 8:18
p.m., the Lord came for his sister. You have given us many memories to keep you in our hearts….be at peace….you are loved, and you are missed.
The funeral will be conducted from the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison, on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 10:30 a.m., following visitation from 9:30 a.m. A funeral Mass will be held in Holy Cross Church, Harrison, at 11 a.m. Interment
will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.
For directions, information or to send condolences, please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org.

Dolores A. Callaghan

Dolores A. Callaghan (Maccia), 76, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at her
home in Kearny while surrounded by her loving family.
Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home 585 Belgrove Drive,
Kearny. A funeral liturgy was offered in St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.
Dolores was born in Newark, lived in Bloomfield and moved to Kearny in 1966. She was employed as a medical coder at St. Michael’s University Medical Center, Newark,
for 30 years. She retired 14 years ago. Mrs. Callaghan was a member of the Kearny Senior Citizens and the St. Stephen’s Seniors.
She is survived by her children; Catherine Santangelo (James), Debra Taylor (David)
and Robert (Arlene); 11 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and her daughter-in-law Marcella (Handlin) Callaghan.
She was predeceased by her husband Donald A. Sr. in 1976 and her son Donald A. Jr. in 2010.
In lieu of flowers Dolores wished that you all enjoy life and spend quality time with
friends and family.

Robert A. Dobosh
Robert A. Dobosh, 59, passed away on Nov. 22.
Private funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.
com
.
Robert was born in Newark and has lived in Toms River, Nutley and most recently Kearny.
In 1971, at age 19 he opened Bob’s Deli on Davis Avenue in Kearny, working there until
closing it in 1983. In 2007, he re-opened the deli under the name of Bob’s Again Deli where he was working until the time of his death.
He is survived by his children Stephen Dobosh of Kearny, Robyn Comer of Kearny, Stephanie Dobosh of Tucson, Ariz. and his brother Stephen Dobosh of Kearny.

James Patrick Dunrovich
James Patrick Dunrovich, 44, passed away suddenly on Nov. 21 at his home in Kearny.
Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral liturgy was offered in St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny, followed by
interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.
James was born in Newark and was a lifelong resident of Kearny.
He was an elevator mechanic employed by the International Union of Elevator Constructors, Local 1 of New York and New Jersey for the last 11 years.
He is survived by his parents John P. and Marion (Myles) Dunrovich and his two sisters, Marion and Susan Dunrovich.
He was predeceased by his brother John “Jackie” Dunrovich.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at www.stjude.org.

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