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Public nap equals jail time for Newark woman

Photo courtesy Belleville P.D./ Ahmed Dar


As a Belleville Police Street Crimes unit was patrolling Washington Ave. on April 9 at 12:12 p.m., they noticed a woman walking erratically near Holmes St. As they continued to observe her, the woman sprawled out in the middle of the sidewalk and apparently fell asleep. When police woke her and asked her what she was doing, she replied without hesitation, “I was tired of walking so I took a nap.” A standard background check revealed that the woman carried a $1,000 warrant out of Union. Darla Williams, 23, of Newark was arrested and held in lieu of bail.

Using finger print records, Belleville Police were able to make a positive identification of a suspect involved in a robbery that occurred at 60 Reservoir Rd. on March 19. 18-year-old Jersey City resident Ahmed Dar has been charged with burglary and theft but remains at large. He carries approximately $1200 in warrants out of Belleville. Jersey City Police are assisting Belleville in the investigation.

In other Belleville Police happenings:

April 12

A custodian at School # 5 noticed that certain items at the school had been tampered with. He notified police at 7:22 a.m. A second-floor window was identified as the entrypoint that the thief used to steal a Dewalt cordless drill, custodian’s key ring with keys attached, American flag and multiple cases of juice boxes. Police were able to lift fingerprints from the scene.

A red pickup truck traveling south on Washington Ave. was stopped at the Academy St. intersection at 6:47 p.m., after police noticed that the driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt. It was learned that Manuel Vega, 43, of Belleville, carried a $500 warrant out of Newark and was driving without a license. Vega was held in lieu of bail and received summonses for driving without a license and failure to wear a seat belt.

At 6:55 p.m., police were dispatched to 368 Franklin Ave. on a motor vehicle accident call. While taking the report, they learned that Carlton Adams, 48, of East Orange was driving with a suspended license. He was arrested, transported to headquarters and later released.

At 10:50 p.m., police patrolling Washington Ave. observed a black 4-door vehicle driving fast with its headlights turned off. After they pulled the vehicle over, the female driver accidentally placed her gearshift lever in reverse and nearly struck the police cruiser as a result. As they interviewed the driver, she began to foam at the mouth. The woman was slurring her speech and couldn’t stand unaided. Fittingly, police called paramedics. When they arrived, the woman kicked at them, but they managed to get her to Clara Maass Hospital. After blood and urine tests were conducted, police charged Gina Sparaco, 40, of Newark, with D.U.I., failure to exhibit registration, failure to exhibit an insurance card, failure to wear a seat belt, no headlights, and careless driving. A passenger, 38-year-old Gianine Dieduardo, also of Newark, gave police a fake name before admitting her true identity. She was found to be carrying a nobail warrant from Mercer County, as well as two $500 warrants out of Newark. Dieduardo was arrested and held for pickup from Mercer County.

April 8

Police observed a vehicle speeding along Washington Ave. at 6:33 p.m. After the car passed another vehicle on the right side, it was stopped near the intersection of Rutgers St. Raul Lopez, 24, of Newark, was found to be wanted on two warrants out of Newark totaling $300. He was arrested and issued motor vehicle summonses for improper passing, failure to exhibit an insurance card, and unclear license plates. Lopez was released after posting $300 bail.

April 7

Police noticed a green ford pickup parked in the Belleville High School parking lot at 10:25 p.m. and pulled in to investigate, They found the male driver with a piece of cardboard laying on his lap, and a rolled-up dollar bill and credit card in his hand. Realizing that such a setup is usually used to ingest drugs they investigated further and uncovered 2 Ziploc bags containing what appeared to be marijuana, four yellow clonzepam pills and three Xanax pills. Nicholas Rivera. 19, of Belleville, was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of drugs, and one count of possession of marijuana. He was later released.

- Jeff Bahr

‘Rivet’ -ing performances at W.H.A.T.


Photo by Joseph Ferriero/ The Queen (Francesca Stokes) listens as her son Sacha (Tim Firth) talks about his day


By Anthony J. Machcinski

The revival of an old West Hudson tradition continues as the West Hudson Arts & Theatre Company (W.H.A.T.) presents “The Frog Princess” on April 21 and 22 at Washington Middle School in Harrison.

In what has become the first children-oriented show in W.H.A.T.’s short history,

“The Frog Princess” features a story that both children and their parents can enjoy.

“I think it’s a show that will appeal to all ages,” explained director Joseph Ferriero. “For kids, it’s an interactive show where they will get to talk to the actors and participate. For adults, there’s modern humor to keep them entertained. It’s going to be a lively experience.”

Ferriero, who was born and raised in Kearny and has now settled in Bloomfield, has provided W.H.A.T. with a dedicated and experienced director whose theatre resumé includes 10 years working in the industry, including Broadway shows.

Ferriero’s path to theatre comes from a childhood hobby that eventually turned into a prospering career.

“I started it as a hobby and now it’s become what I do,” said the former school teacher. “I minored in acting in college and thought I would give it a shot. As I did more, the more I fell in love with theatre and just the thought of getting it together.”

For Ferriero, seeing the finished product and the journey it took to get there provides the ultimate feeling of pride.

“For me, it’s been a great thing to see live theatre become what it is,” Ferriero explained. “Working for six months or a year and seeing the finished product, you get a real sense of pride for what you have accomplished.”

Bringing his experience to W.H.A.T., Ferriero and the cast will perform “The Frog Princess,” an age-old tale derived from a Russian fairy tale that was recently made into a Disney film.

“I went through quite a few shows and I like this show not only because of its name, but because of the story behind it,” Ferriero said. “It’s a story about the idea that beauty isn’t on the outside, that people have inner beauty. It’s also very, very funny and I really liked that.”

Just like any good performance, the cast involved has to have great chemistry. If that holds true, Ferriero believes that he will be directing a great show.

“We have such a great cast,” Ferriero explained, saying that while auditions didn’t bring out a lot of actors, he was able to put a cast together that cares deeply about the production. “We see actors here that aren’t just actors. They worry about costumes and things like that. This cast just works so well together.”

The building of the cast has not only formed a working relationship for the performance, but has also given the cast members the ability to meet others within their community.

“Everyone lives in surrounding towns so you really get to network in the community,” Ferriero explained. “It’s really nice to see that. The cast is already talking about doing more shows for the theatre as well.”

“The Frog Princess” will be performed by the West Hudson Arts & Theatre Company on Saturday, April 21, at 1:30 and 4 p.m., and on Sunday, April 22, at 1:30 p.m., at the Washington Middle School, 1 N. 5th St., in Harrison.

Tickets and other information is available on the W.H.A.T. website at www.whatco.org or by calling (201)-467-8624.

The cast includes: Narrator, Bernadette Obendorff; Queen Natasha, Francesca Stokes; Prince Boris. Joe Ferriero; Princess Ursula, Paula Reyes; Prince Casimir, Scott Burzynski; Princess Vassilissa, Laura Byrne Cristiano; Prince Sashaa, Tim Firth; Princess Natalia, Julie Padinha; Lady in Waiting/Tutor, Pattie Marsh.


Around Town


Dear Clara Maass Medical Center Patients, – It’s time for Clara Maass Medical Center’s (CMMC) Annual “Dear Doctor” campaign. Tell us why your Clara Maass Medical Center doctor is the greatest! Please share any stories or personal experiences that exemplify what is extraordinary about your doctor’s service to you and your family or the community.

Simply email us or send a letter by July 30. The selected letters will be shared in the Medical Center during the week of CMMC’s 55th Anniversary (August 18).

Please include your name, phone number and address with your letter, so that we can contact you.

Please email deardoctor@barnabashealth.org, or mail your letter to:

Dear Doctor, Clara Maass Medical Center, One Clara Maass Drive, Belleville, N.J. 07109.



The Bloomfield Public Library Book Club will meet Monday, May 7, at 6:45 p.m. in the conference room to discuss two novellas, “Bartleby” and “Benito Cereno,” by Herman Melville. 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.



A collection drive is being held throughout the month of April to benefit families adjusting to the first nights of their stay in domestic violence shelters, children’s runaway safe havens and other transitional housing facilities. The types of donations that are needed are toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and other personal hygiene items. Contributions can be brought to the Kearny Health Department, Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All donations will be delivered to Jersey Cares, which will send them to local housing facilities.

The Evening Membership Department of the Woman’s Club of Arlington will have its regular meeting Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Henrietta Benstead Senior Center on Columbia Ave.  The program will be a selection from Part II of Nora Ephron’s monologues presented by the Arlington EMD Players. Hostess chairman Pat Cavalier will be assisted by Connie Cammann, Barbara Branwell and Willie Almieda. Ushers will be Jane Mackesy and Marge McNamara.  The meeting will be preceded by the Executive Board meeting at 6:15 p.m.

Kearny Public Library would like to announce the schedule of Art Classes with Mrs. Mills, for the rest of the school year.  Classes at the Main Library will be on the third Thursday of every month (April 19, May 17, June 24) and classes at the Branch Library will be on the fourth Thursday of every month (April 26, May 24, June 21).  All classes will be held at 4:30 p.m. and are free of charge.

In April, children will create their own family quilts.  Please bring a picture of a family gathering to be used in this project.  In May, the project will be tissue paper bouquets for Mother’s Day.  In June, the library will welcome the summer with a sand art project where children will make a unique ocean creation!

Visit <www.kearnylibrary.org> or call (201) 998-2666 for more program information.

West Hudson Family Success Center, 655 Kearny Ave., will hold an open house April 27 from 2 to 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Come see what resources will be available in your community: parent workshops, parent/child activity, social skills, computer skills, girl talk, Boys 2 Men and financial workshops. For more information, call 201-998-0803.

Kearny High School’s Project Graduation’s annual Volleyball game is Friday, April 27. Doors open at 6 p.m. Games include: Police vs. Fire; Town vs. Board of Ed; Seniors vs. KHS Teachers; Elementary interschool play.



The Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Avenue, Lyndhurst, 201-896-9300 has a supply of both canned and dry dog food (FREE OF CHARGE) available to anyone due to unemployment, disability or any other financial problems that cannot afford to feed their dog. Just stop by or call 201-896-9300 .The shelter is open seven days a week, Monday and Saturday 10 to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Friday 10 to 5:30 p.m., Sunday 11 to 2 p.m.

Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad (LPES) will hold a “dine-to-donate” event at Joe’s Crab Shack in Clifton on Wednesday, April 18.  A percentage of sales will directly benefit LPES.  To support LPES, please visit www.emergencysquad.com and print out a flyer.  Flyer must be present for contribution to be made.

Serving the Lyndhurst and South Bergen communities since 1942, LPES is a nonprofit emergency ambulatory service comprised of 24 local volunteers.   LPES prides itself in responding to more than 1900 emergency calls a year.  Funded solely by community donations and organized by volunteers, LPES is always looking for volunteers and contributors. To join LPES or to donate to the organization please visit www.emergencysquad.com.

Are you or someone you love battling depression? Come to the Lyndhurst Health Department, located at 253 Stuyvesant Ave. in Lyndhurst, on Friday, April 20 at 10 a.m., where a Clara Maass Medical Center Behavioral Health expert will provide information about diagnosis, treatment and how to cope day-to-day with depression. Light breakfast will be served.

To register, please call 1-888-724-7123, prompt 4 or visit www.barnabashealthcalendar.org.  Walk-ins are welcome.

A Boating Course and NJ Jet Ski certification course will be held at The Masonic Club of Lyndhurst, 316 Riverside Ave.,

Lyndhurst,. Walk-ins welcome. All classes start at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 21.

The fee is $70 per person. Must complete eight hours of classroom time. Contact 862-686-3478 for more information.

The Lyndhurst Health Department will hold its annual Men’s Health Clinic on Wednesday, April 25, at 6 p.m. This free event, made possible through our partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center, includes a prostate exam, a PSA blood test, and a stool check for blood. The Men’s Health Clinic is open to all male Lyndhurst residents aged 40 years and over.  Please call 201-804-2500 to make an appointment.

Boating 101:  Staying Afloat! will be presented by the Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, at 1 p.m. April 21. Safe boating is no accident.  Join Chet Nesley, US Coast Guard Auxiliary Instructor, for an informal lecture on enjoying time on the water. Admission is $5/person; $4 MEC members. For more information, call 201-777-2431, 201-460-8300 or visit njmeadowlands.gov/ec

Earth Day at DeKorte Park, Sunday, April 22, at 10 a.m.
starts with Bird Talk and Walk with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society.

This free two-hour nature event features a short talk and slide show by Jim Wright of the NJMC on the return of raptors to the Meadowlands, followed by a 90-minute walk at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. The talk is at 10 a.m. in the Meadowlands Environment Center’s Marshview Pavilion. The walk starts outside the Meadowlands Environment Center at 10:30 a.m. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute 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.

Tom Yezerski Talk and Book Signing will be held on Sunday, April 22, from 12:20 to 1 p.m. at the Meadowlands Environment Center. This program will include a slide show with the author of the award-winning children’s book ““Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story.”

Birding for Beginners  (Optics)
a free two-hour Birding for Beginners class, which starts with a short session on birding basics at the Meadowlands Environment Center in Lyndhurst on April 22 at 1 p.m., followed by a 90-minute walk in surrounding DeKorte Park. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute 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.

Mary Lou Mullins monthly bus trip to Atlantic City is set for Sunday, April 29, going to Resorts. Cost is $25. The bus leaves St. Michael’s Church parking lot at 10:30 a.m. sharp. Please make reservations early. Call Mary Lou at 201-933-2186 for more information.

North Arlington

Join Clara Maass Medical Center at North Arlington Health Department, 10 Beaver Avenue, on Thursday, April 26 at 12 p.m. for a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Lunch-n-Learn. COPD makes it harder and harder to breathe over time. So take a breath and listen to CMMC medical experts discuss emphysema, the effects of smoking, bronchial asthma and your treatment options. Lunch will be served.

To register, please call 1-888-724-7123, prompt 4 or visit www.barnabashealthcalendar.org.  Walk-ins are welcome.

North Arlington Soccer Association is having a fundraiser at Rita’s Ice in North Arlington on Saturday April 21, from 6-9 p.m. –  20% of all

sales benefit the Soccer Association.



A Tricky Tray is set for Friday, May 4, at Good Shepherd Academy gym, 24 Brookline Ave., Nutley. Doors open at 6 p.m. and admission is $20. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Adults only. For tickets, call Roberta at 201-207-6522.

The Larry Hunt Jazz Quartet will perform at Nutley Public Library on Saturday, April 21, at 2 p.m.  Enjoy jazz standards as well as original compositions in a celebration of Jazz History Month.  Larry Hunt is a Nutley High School graduate and lives and performs in the metropolitan area.

A Teen Open/Anime Mic Night will be held at the library on Thursday, April 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. Check the teen website for further details at http://nutleypubliclibraryforteens.wordpress.com.

Nutley Public Library is accepting donations for an upcoming book sale. Donations are being accepted Monday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 24 and the sale is scheduled for Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Proceeds will benefit the library’s programs and collections.

For more information, please contact us via telephone at 973-667-0405 or via email at library@nutleynj.org.


Maroon Raiders earning solid wins in young season

Photo by Jim Hague/ Junior right-hander Joe Feraco has been a solid pitcher on a Nutley pitching staff that does not allow a lot of runs. Feraco held Bloomfield scoreless for six innings last Friday


By Jim Hague

The Nutley High School baseball team suffered through an uncharacteristic losing season a year ago, winning only 10 games. It was a year filled with injury, illness and disappointment.

But veteran head coach Bob Harbison knew that his team would bounce back and be vastly improved in 2012.

“We had a good group coming back and a good group of young kids coming up,” Harbison said. “I definitely felt that we were going to be better than last year.”

So far, the Maroon Raiders are living up to Harbison’s expectations, because Nutley has a fine 4-3 record thus far, including some solid wins over Bloomfield, West Essex and Bridgewater-Raritan.

The Maroon Raiders defeated Bloomfield, 2-1, last Friday in an excellent pitching duel and came back on Sunday to knock off Bridgewater-Raritan, as part of the Dad’s Baseball Tournament in Roselle Park.

If there’s one constant about the Maroon Raiders thus far, it’s been their stellar pitching. Even in the games Nutley has lost, they’ve been excellent on the mound. They dropped well pitched games against Montclair and a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in extra innings to Livingston.

“We’re definitely not tearing it up offensively,” Harbison said. “Thank God for our arms. Our defense has also been stellar as well. I think the kids are just putting too much pressure on themselves at the plate. But our pitching has been very solid.”

Leading the way has been senior right-hander Kevin Garcia, who could not pitch all of last season with a shoulder injury. But Garcia has recovered and has done well, posting a 2-0 record thus far, allowing just one earned run.

“He is throwing really well right now and has good command of all his pitches,” Harbison said. “He’s doing about as good as you can.”

Photo by Jim Hague/ Senior first baseman John Llano is a consistent hitter who has a lot of experience for the Maroon Raiders.


Junior Joe Feraco has also done an outstanding job on the hill. Feraco matched Bloomfield’s ace Zeb Smith pitch-for-pitch Friday and left with the game scoreless.

“He’s done a spectacular job on the mound for us,” Harbison said. “He’s done very well.”

Senior righty Skylar Petretta is another hard thrower who consistently finds the strike zone. Senior Rocco Puzzo is another right-hander who earned the win against Bloomfield in relief. Sophomore Kyle Cresci is a promising righty who has all the tools to be a good one. Senior John Ratta is a lefty who gets to see situational action and sophomore Mike Meecham is another left-hander with a lot of promise.

“I think Mike is going to be a good one,” Harbison said. “We definitely have the pitching depth you need.”

Handling the pitchers is talented sophomore Austin Kunz, who started every game last year as a freshman.

“Austin has a lot of potential and he’s done well defensively,” Harbison said. “We need a little more from him at the plate.”

First base duties are being shared by seniors John Llano and Al Petracco. Llano saw a lot of action last year and had a big bunt single to key the two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh against Bloomfield.

Junior Luke Kelly is a clutch performer who can play any of the infield positions. If the Maroon Raiders need a big hit, chances are that Kelly will be the one to produce. Kelly had two hits and an RBI double in the 8-3 win over Bridgewater-Raritan on Sunday.

Sophomore Anthony Rossi mans second base. Harbison likes what Rossi brings to the team.

“He’s a good fielder and a good stick,” Harbison said. “He’s only going to get better.”

Senior Nick Gariano, another holdover from last year, is the shortstop. Gariano delivered the game-winning hit against Bloomfield.

Senior Phil Condito, who started at third base last year, has returned to that position.

Left field is being handled by sophomore Nico Mercandante, who is another promising player.

Nick Liaci is in centerfield. Liaci is another sophomore with a ton of potential.

Senior Jack Kraft, who has already signed a national letter of intent to play at Coppin State in the fall, is the right fielder. Kraft has yet to show the pop in his bat that he had at the end of last season.

“He’s struggling a little,” Harbison said. “He should be able to get it going soon.”

The Maroon Raiders look to junior John Milici as a backup catcher and outfielder and junior Angelo Sceptaguerrcio to back up the infield positions.

So there’s a lot of promise this season in Nutley, like there always is.

“We have a lot of good baseball players,” Harbison said. “We just need to relax, play and the hitting will come around. We have to hope the pitching remains solid. I’m certainly not disappointed with what’s going on. We lost games we could have won. If we can start to score a few runs, we’ll be in good shape.”






Struggling Golden Griffins gain first baseball win


Photos by Jim Hague/ The Queen of Peace baseball team is being led by seniors Matt Tarantino (l.) and Derrick Maurer (r.). The Golden Griffins won for the first time this season last Friday night against Becton Regional.

By Jim Hague

John Ahmuty already has a lot on his plate as the athletic director at Queen of Peace High School, but last year, he added the duties of being the head baseball coach as well.

The Golden Griffins struggled to a 6-17 record last season, but Ahmuty was steadfast that his team would be greatly improved this year.

But through the first two weeks of the young season, the Griffins had nothing to show for their dedication. They played five games and lost all five. Some of those setbacks, like a one-run loss to Harrison and a 10-7 setback to neighboring rival North Arlington, were hard to swallow, because the Griffins had leads in both games, only to see the leads slip away.

“It was a tough first two weeks,” Ahmuty said. “It was really tough because we had some heartbreaking losses. Unfortunately, we would play one bad inning and that would do us in. We just couldn’t put those games away. We were definitely a better team than what we were showing.”

When a team has high expectations, then suffers through a disappointing start, there’s always a sense of an emotional letdown.

However, Ahmuty didn’t see that happening with his team.

“The team’s morale is still very good,” Ahmuty said. “It’s not easy to take those kinds of losses and remain optimistic. But I have been very optimistic about this team. It’s still early in the season. A lot of the goals we set remain the same. I have a sense we’re going to turn this around. I think we’ve proven we can play with teams. If we stay away from the one bad inning, things would be much different.”

It didn’t take long for the Golden Griffins’ fortunes to change. Last Friday night, the Griffins faced Becton Regional, totally putting aside the demoralizing setbacks to start the season. And guess what? QP earned an emotional 11-2 win, ending the early-season slide.

Ahmuty likes the fact that he has a deep pitching staff.

Senior Matt Tarantino has been a mainstay on the QP pitching staff for the last three seasons. The righty has pitched in a little tough luck in the early going.

Senior A.J. Len is another solid starter who deserved a better fate early on.

Junior Joe Peteya, who earned Second Team All-NJIC Meadowlands honors last year as a pitcher, has returned. Peteya was the winning pitcher against Becton Regional. Juniors Dan Viaud and Mark Petrucelli and sophomore lefty Nick Recarte round out the pitching staff. Ahmuty knows that the group as a whole will improve.

Handling the pitchers has been a shared duty between seniors Mike Zdanowicz and Mike Lynch. Zdanowicz hurt his arm during preseason workouts and has not been able to play behind the plate at full capacity, so they are sharing time at the moment.

The first baseman is a familiar name. Derrick Maurer, who was a standout soccer player for the Griffins in the fall and continued his prowess to the hardwoods of the basketball team in the winter, has returned to playing baseball this spring and has become the team’s power hitter at first.

“He didn’t play baseball last year because he wanted to concentrate on the other sports,” Ahmuty said. “But he’s come back this year. He used to be a third baseman, but we moved him to first and he’s done very well. He’s hitting well and fielding well. He has the ability to get the rest of the team riled up, so that’s been a plus. He can make things happen. He’s just a natural athlete.”

Peteya is the team’s second baseman when he’s not pitching, with Petrucelli holding fort at shortstop. Petrucelli made First Team All-NJIC Meadowlands last year, hitting almost .500 in the process.

The third baseman is sophomore Greg Giacalone, who Ahmuty feels has a ton of promise.

“He got a couple of starts last year as a freshman,” Ahmuty said. “He’s done well at third base. He’s the one player who doesn’t move all over. He’s the staple of the infield at third.”

The left fielder is senior Joe Hessian, with Tarantino in center and a combination of Len and Recante in right field. If the team needs a designated hitter, they can count on either Zdanowicz or Lynch, whichever is not catching that game.

So after the first five losses, the Golden Griffins finally tasted a win Friday night. It was a long time coming. Now that they finally got in the win column, Ahmuty has faith that things will turn around for the better now.

“I really think this team is coming together,” Ahmuty said. “They’re jelling together now and coming around. We have a lot of juniors who didn’t play last year. I really felt the tide turning over the last few days. We’ve been optimistic throughout. Heads were never down. They were prepared to play and ready to go. I had a sense that the win was going to come.”

It sure did … later that very same day.

“It may sound crazy, but I definitely think we have a shot to keep winning and get to .500,” Ahmuty said. “I think we can make the state playoffs (NJSIAA Non-Public A) and maybe the county playoffs. I knew we were going to be better than last year. It was just a matter of time. We’re going to win the games this year that we lost last year.”

At the very least, it’s a step in the right direction.

Lyndhurst’s Rehbein has grown (literally) into a big-time player

Photo by Jim Hague/ Lyndhurst senior Kevin Rehbein

By Jim Hague

Chevy Chase made a bomb of a movie in the 1980s that was entitled, “The Incredibly Shrinking Man.” Rick Moranis was involved with a Disney flick that was called “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” Both movies were about people decreasing amazingly in size.

Well, when it comes to the Lyndhurst baseball team, they have a standout player who has gone in the opposite direction of those two aforementioned movies. Instead of shrinking, senior Kevin Rehbein has grown and grown, in almost unfathomable proportions.

When Rehbein entered Lyndhurst High School three years ago, he was just a little wisp of a kid, standing perhaps five feet tall and barely breaking 100 pounds. He was destined to be a scrappy middle infielder, much like he was during his days in Little League.

Last year, as Rehbein entered his junior year, he stood perhaps 5-foot-7 and weighed about 140 pounds soaking wet.

“I always thought I was going to be one of the short kids,” Rehbein said. “But everyone told me that I would grow.”

Rehbein was a member of the Golden Bears’ varsity baseball team as a junior and also was a fine guard on the basketball team.

However, Rehbein enjoyed a massive growth spurt between his junior and senior year. He grew from 5-foot-7 to over 6-foot and added 50 pounds of muscle.

“All of the coaches recommended that I hit the weight room, considering I had so much growth,” Rehbein said. “I worked out five days a week lifting to get stronger. I worked pretty hard, going five days a week. All the coaches stressed it and it worked out well. They knew what they were talking about.”

Lyndhurst head baseball coach and athletic director Butch Servideo recognized the amazing growth in Rehbein during the basketball season.

“I saw it on the basketball court, how much he matured and became more athletic,” Servideo said. “His body matured and developed. I said that he was going to have a great year in baseball.”

Rehbein was one of the leading scorers on a Golden Bear basketball squad that went from being winless two years ago to winning the NJIC Meadowlands A Division title.

Rehbein hit a clutch jump shot to defeat Becton Regional to clinch the league title.

But no one could have ever predicted what Rehbein would become on the baseball field.

In the early stages of the high school baseball season, Rehbein has developed into a pure slugger, a power hitter supreme.

“In the past, I wasn’t able to hit fly balls out of the infield,” Rehbein said. “Now, I’m hitting it hard. It’s like I’m a totally different person.”

Just last week, Rehbein had a stretch of games that most power hitters simply dream of.

In one game against Becton Regional, Rehbein hit two homers and drove in the game-winning run with a double, collecting four RBI.

“I never hit two homers in a game in my life,” Rehbein said. “Not even Little League.”

Then, facing previously undefeated Secaucus, Rehbein had three hits, including two doubles and another homer and three RBI in a 12-0 win. Rehbein had eight hits in 10 at-bats for the week.

For the season, Rehbein is now hitting better than .500 with four homers and 12 RBI, leading the Golden Bears to an impressive 5-1 start.

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

Servideo said that he is obviously pleased with Rehbein’s growth – as a player and as a young man.

“He’s worked tremendously hard,” Servideo said. “He’s definitely exceeding the expectations. I mean, he’s crushing the ball. I said it would happen, but it’s another thing to see it happen. I just hope it continues.”

Rehbein can’t believe his transformation.

“I’m actually astonished,” Rehbein said. “I never imagined that I could improve this much. I am usually just trying to get a hit. It’s astonishing to me to hit the ball and just see it go. I used to hit little dunkers and grounders. It amazes me to see what’s happened.”

Servideo has a deal with his players. If they hit a homer, Servideo buys them breakfast. If they drive in the winning run, it’s a breakfast as well.

“Well, Kevin broke the all-time record, getting three breakfasts in one day,” Servideo said.

“I told him I’ll let him off easy, if he buys me dinner and a movie,” Rehbein laughed.

Servideo can’t sing Rehbein’s praises enough.

“He’s the nicest kid,” Servideo said. “He’s one of my captains. He does all the little things you want a kid to do.”

For example, last Saturday morning, Servideo conducted a clinic for 50 or so youngsters. And Rehbein was right in the middle of it, helping to instruct the little kids. After all, he was once just like all of them.

“Kevin was a big part of the clinic,” Servideo said. “I can’t speak enough about how hard Kevin works. He’s just a great kid.”

Servideo is convinced that Rehbein can play college baseball.

“Without a doubt,” Servideo said. “He’s only going to get bigger and stronger. He can play all the infield positions and he’s our hardest thrower as a pitcher. He can defi – nitely play in college.”

Rehbein serves as the Golden Bears’ closer, coming in to shut the door in tight situations.

“At first, I wanted to be a starter,” Rehbein said. “But now, as a closer, I can pitch every day and still play the field. I’d rather be in the lineup than be in the bullpen.”

That’s even more important when Rehbein has a bat in his hands.

“I can’t believe all of this, but I have to keep a head on my shoulders,” Rehbein said. “I have to stay focused and keep working hard. I hope I can do it all season, for me and my team. I want to play in college, so if I get noticed from all of this, it would be a lot better. It’s just a great feeling.” As long as he continues to grow, both on and off the field, Kevin Rehbein will do just fine.

Message for the Soul: Ask and you shall receive

The world would be a better place if we could drop our inhibitions, release our ego, stop assuming and simply ask others what we need to know. There are millions of people out there who are probably going through the same emotions as you, having similar desires, people who have probably faced an equal or even a deeper sense of loss and you can now benefit from their knowledge and experiences only if you ask them how they survived it all. Information is quite frankly the key to all problems. Even if it is something you need, all you have to do is ask. Don’t assume that you will be refused. And even if you are, then ask if there is someone else who could provide you with the same information. This applies from the most basic and common things to most critical and important matters. So often I have seen men who won’t ask for directions simply because they think it is beneath them to ask others, but there is no harm in asking. It doesn’t make you any less of a person; in fact your pride and ego will probably pose bigger problems for you at a later date if you continue to feed them. And then there are others who shy away from asking about health remedies, discounts, salary increments, bonuses, holidays etc. If you don’t ask for it, chances are you will still receive it but at a much later date or never get it at all. Being able to ask for what you want, and to ask in an effective way — which increases your chances to get it — is a skill one must practice and learn well. It is important to be assertive and clear when you state facts to another. It is extremely hard to turn down an honest person. Even if people are unable to help you in a big way, they will surely try to provide as much information as they have to comfort you; and sometimes this is all you need. I recommend you take your chances. There is nothing to lose here, and only something to gain. Very recently, I met this man who was asking for donations for a flight ticket to Paris to re-unite with his family, and although he didn’t get too many donations, he did, however, benefit from the information that was given to him, that a certain senior citizen charitable organization had an on-going promotion to give well deserved members a chance to fly to a destination of their choice and this was just the help this man probably needed. He was surely set on the right path, and this was only made possible because he decided to ask. You may not always get what you ask for, but it is one step closer to what you really want. Don’t hesitate; just ask.

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

Investment options to help pay for college


By Randy Neumann 

One of the biggest challenges for families saving for their children’s college education is that there are so many college savings plans to choose from, and one size does not fit all. Which option(s) is right for you depends, in part, on the age of your child, family income, potential for financial aid, and the expected cost of college. Here are the major college savings options to consider.

529 college savings plans

– Features of these popular state-run plans include:

• Investments grow tax deferred and withdrawals for qualified college expenses are free of federal tax.

• Some states give tax breaks on the contributions.

• Over $250,000 can be invested in many plans.

• Investor retains control, and can change beneficiaries.

• There are no income restrictions.

• Their impact on financial aid is less than many of the other alternatives.

• There can be some significant estate tax benefits available.

While 529 plans can be an especially good alternative for high-income families wishing to save a substantial amount for college, investment options are usually limited, as is the ability to move funds around within the plan.

Coverdell education savings accounts – You can contribute up to $2,000 a year per child, but there are income restrictions ($95,000 for a single taxpayer; $190,000 for married couples). Earnings are federal income tax exempt if used for qualified education expenses. Coverdells offer many more investment choices than 529 plans, and often have lower expenses.

Coverdells can be a good option for people who can save only a small amount each year or who may want to fund a Coverdell before moving on to other alternatives. Their impact on financial aid is now the same as that of 529 plans – the account is considered the parent’s asset instead of the student’s, potentially resulting in more aid.

Pre-paid tuition plans – Under these plans, you can buy part or all of a school’s future tuition bill at today’s prices. Once offered only by some states, there are now private prepaid tuition plan alternatives. Earnings from either private or public plans are federally tax-exempt.

It can be a good option for conservative investors who want to lock in tuition costs and who know what college their children will likely attend. But be aware, under current rules, prepaid plans reduce financial aid dollar-for-dollar.

Custodial accounts – Investments are held in the name of a minor, but are managed by the custodian (usually a parent). This arrangement provides some tax benefits, especially for higher-income families because they shift capital gains taxes to their lower-income children. Unlike some other college funding alternatives, there are no income restrictions. But contributions over $12,000 a year per parent are subject to gift tax, and the assets remain in the parent’s estate in some instances. Custodial accounts present three major drawbacks. One, the gifts are irrevocable. Two, the child assumes control of the assets when he or she becomes a legal adult, and may prefer a Corvette to college when the time comes. Three, the assets typically count more heavily against financial aid, though some colleges are changing their policies in this area.

Series I and EE Savings Bonds – The interest earned from these bonds is free of federal tax as long as it is used to pay for tuition and fees. However, the benefits may be reduced by other education tax breaks such as the HOPE Scholarship.

Taxable investments in the parent’s name – The advantages include nearly unlimited investment options, no income restrictions, retention and control of the assets, and the flexibility of using the assets for something other than college if necessary. The major disadvantage is the taxes on earnings. You can minimize that by gifting the assets to your child when it’s time for college and having them sell the assets; however, you may have to pay a gift tax.

Individual retirement accounts – Money taken out of a traditional IRA is free of the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty (but not ordinary taxes), if it’s used for qualified education expenses. Withdrawals of Roth IRA contributions are tax free and even the earnings may be tax free in some situations.

Well, you’ve seen an array of college savings plans available. Which one(s) are right for you? If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know the answer – it depends!

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® is a registered representative with and securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 600 East Crescent Avenue, Suite 104, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, 201-291-9000.


Mark Alday

Mark Alday,, 32, of New Milford, formerly of Harrison, passed away suddenly on Monday, April 9.

A Catholic prayer service was held on April 14 at the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave, Harrison, followed by a private cremation. Following the services there was a luncheon benefit to assist his wife and four children at The Harrison East Newark Elks Lodge. For information to send condolences to the family, please visit: www.mulliganfuneralhome. org

Mark is survived by his loving mother Maria O’Brien and her husband James, his beloved wife Louise, dear brother to Jennifer, Ashley, Theresa, Melissa and Jimmy O’Brien, loving father to Mark, Thomas, Kylie and Kimberly. He is also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Pablo Andres Fernandez

Pablo Andres Fernandez, 14, of Newark, passed away on Thursday, April 12.

Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave, Harrison, followed by a private cremation. For information or to send condolences to the family please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome. org

Pablo is survived by his ever-loving parents Marisa Torres and Emilio Fernandez; dear brother Mathew Fernandez and his wife Jena; his cherished grand-parents Valentin & Maria Torres and Emigdio Fernandez. He is also survived by many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends.

He was an eighth grade student at Dr. William Horton School in Newark, who loved drawing and had won an Art Award from Essex County in 2008. Pablo was active in MMA, kickboxing and in his spare time he loved to play his X-Box. His beautiful smile, spirit and laugh will be a memory that will always be missed.

Elizabeth W. Martin

Elizabeth W. Martin, 86, formerly of Kearny, died Wednesday, April 11, at Brethren Village, Lancaster, Pa. Born in Kearny, she was the daughter of the late Charles B. and Olga E. Bischoff Waugh. She was married for 67 years to the late Norman A. Martin.

Betty worked for the department of the Navy during World War II. She also worked for the Prudential as a data entry clerk and retired from the Internal Revenue Service as an administrative assistant. She was a member of the First Baptist Church, Kearny, where she worked on Christmas bazaars and a pastor search committee. She was an assistant Brownie and Girl Scout Leader. She was a member of the Roosevelt School PTA and served as treasurer and secretary. Betty enjoyed traveling, playing shuffleboard and bocce ball and socializing with friends.

Surviving are: two daughters, Karen E. wife of Robert DeBell of Gaithersburg, Md., Barbara M. wife of George Droz of Lancaster, Pa; two grandchildren, Daniel R. and Dana E. Droz; 1 brother, Charles H. wife of Patty Waugh of East Hanover. She was preceded in death by a sister, Olga J. wife of Michael Casey.

Funeral services were held at First Baptist Church, 650 Kearny Ave., Kearny, April 16, followed by interment in Arlington Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the First Baptist Church, 650 Kearny Ave., Kearny, NJ 07032. To send an online condolence, please visit:

KaSnyderFuneralHome. com.

John R. “Jack” Mooney

John R. “Jack” Mooney, 77, died on Saturday April 7, at his home in Kearny while surrounded by his loving family after a courageous battle with cancer.

Arrangements were by the Thiele- Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral liturgy was held in St. Stephen’s Church, Kearny on Thursday, April 12, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thielereid. com.

Jack was born and raised in Newark moving to Kearny in 1956.

He served in the Army from 1960 until 1962

Mr. Mooney was a police officer in the town of Kearny for 31 years and a member of P.B.A Local No. 21. He retired from the force as a Detective in in 1992. Jack is survived by his children Catherine Mooney (Michael Hodge) Robert M., (Patricia Bossert), John R. (Nancy) and Michael J. (Julie); brothers Cornelius Mooney (Victoria) Robert Mooney (Marylyn); sisterin- laws Eleanor Mooney and Helen Mason. He also leaves his beloved grandchildren Elizabeth, Jack, Christopher, Clare, Julia Rose, Rebecca and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife Mary T. (Fitzgerald) on Oct. 29, 2011 and his brother Andrew Mooney.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to the American Cancer Society 507 Westminster Avenue Elizabeth, NJ 07208 or at www.cancer.org

Olga O’Donnell

Olga O’Donnell 88, of Kearny, died on April 13 at her home.

Arrangements are by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Stephens Church, Kearny, followed by private interment.

Mrs. O’Donnell worked as a secretary at Linen Thread Company, Kearny before leaving to raise her family.

Beloved wife of the late Frank O’Donnell (2007), she is the mother of Barbara Czeizinger, Lynne (Douglas) Cambria and Robert O’Donnell and his companion Vicki Nuess; sister of Stanley (Ruth) and Edmund (Dorothy) Milewski; grandmother of Catie, David, Michael and Courtney; great-grandmother of Logan.


Richard W. Walingavich


Richard W. Walingavich, 79, of Kearny entered heaven on April 12.

Arrangements were by the Wilfred Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Kearny, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Mr. Walingavich was an apparatus technician with N.J. Bell (Verizon) for 34 years retiring in 1985. He also worked part time as a bus driver for Cross Country, North Arlington where he transported handicapped children to their schools. He also worked part time as a bank messenger for Howard Savings Bank, Livingston. He served in The United States Navy from 1951-1955 aboard the USS Raymond. He was a member and usher at Our Lady of Sorrows Church and a member of its Holy Name Society where he was named man of the year in 2000 as well as a member of the Golden 60 Plus Senior Club, organizing bus trips to Atlantic City, at Our Lady of Sorrows. He was a member of The American Legion, Kearny. He was an avid bowler and loved to visit Atlantic City whenever he got the chance. He never visited a casino he did not like.

He cherished his wife and family and especially enjoyed playing with his model trains with his grandchildren. He was the life of every party!

He is the beloved husband of 57 years of Dolores Pacenka Walingavich; dear father of Lynn (Allen) Curtiss and Susan (Paul) Cotton-Bernstein and grandfather of Rachel, A.J., Briana and Owen. Donations to The American Heart Association would be appreciated.




By Ron Leir


It will likely take another five years before the state completes construction of the new Hackensack River (Rt. 7) bridge that links Kearny and Jersey City.

However, that isn’t stopping Kearny leaders from acting now to urge New Jersey officials to keep Kearny in mind when it comes to attaching a name to the new span that will rise just north of the existing bridge.

A resolution passed by the town governing body on March 27 reads, in part, “The Town of Kearny hereby petitions the Governor, the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation and the Hudson County Legislative Delegation to use their best efforts to name the new bridge in honor of … a Kearny serviceman who has made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of his country.”

This proposal comes in the wake of neighboring North Arlington, in tandem with state legislators, calling on Gov. Chris Christie to endorse the naming of the Passaic River bridge connecting North Arlington and Belleville for Marine Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes de Oca, 20, who was killed on combat on Feb. 10 in the Helmond Province of Afghanistan. That bridge was revamped several years ago.

While the existing Rt. 7 bridge linking Kearny and Jersey City was named for H. Otto Wittpenn, a former three-term mayor of Jersey City from Jan. 1, 1908, to June 16, 1913, who served as a state highway commissioner and Naval officer of the Port of New York, Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos said it would be appropriate for the replacement bridge to bear a different name.

“How many people today know who Wittpenn is?” he wondered.

Interestingly, Wittpenn was accorded the honor with the bridge’s opening in 1930, when he was still among the living. He died the following year at age 59, reportedly from blood poisoning. During his mayoral tenure, he appointed reformer Cornelia F. Bradford as the first woman member of the Jersey City Board of Education.

At any rate, Santos said he’s conferring with the United Veterans Organization (UVO), an umbrella group of local veterans’ organizations, to arrive at a consensus on which of “a long list of names” of those Kearny residents “who made the ultimate sacrifice” to choose for the honor.

In past years, Santos noted, Kearny has taken pains to attach the names of Kearny veterans who’ve died in the line of duty to a myriad of public spaces – streets, flagpoles, parks and playgrounds, playing fields and even fire rigs.

When improvements to the town’s Brighton Ave. playground are completed, it’s expected that it will be named for Army Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz, of Kearny, who was at age 25 killed in Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005.

The names of those Kearny residents who gave their lives for their country were collected by the Gold Star Mothers, a local unit of a national group formed after World War I to comfort the mothers of servicemen and women killed in the war, and then enshrined on plaques in the “War Memorial Hall” in the lobby of Kearny Town Hall dedicated on Nov. 11, 2008.

Kearny lost 56 veterans in World War I, 178 in World War II, 11 in the Korean War, 11 in the Vietnam War and one in the Iraqi War, according to Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle, liaison to the UVO.

A separate plaque in the War Memorial Hall is devoted to the memory of Lt. Vincent R. Capodanno, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. Capodanno, a Navy chaplain assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, was killed in combat on Sept. 4, 1967, at Quang Tin Province, Vietnam. He was 38.

“He’s our only Medal of Honor winner,” Doyle said. “He served so honorably. He would be my choice (for the bridge naming).”

Doyle said that members of the UVO, led by Anthony Capitti, who is also commander of the Frobisher American Legion post, have preliminarily discussed the matter and are leaning in the direction of nominating Capodanno for the honor.

The UVO membership is expected to make that choice official with a formal vote scheduled for April 30, according to Doyle.

“This man (Capodanno) would be a proper choice for the bridge name,” Capitti added.

Initially, another potential candidate considered was the Rev. John Washington, a local Catholic priest, and one of the “Four Chaplains” who perished after giving up their life preservers to soldiers aboard the Dorchester which sank in the North Atlantic after being torpedoed on Feb. 3, 1943.

“The town renamed part of Washington Ave. as Father Washington Way about five years ago,” Doyle said, “so he’s been recognized in the right way.”

Capodanno’s official Medal of Honor citation reads, in part, that as 2nd Platoon, M Company was under attack by an overwhelming enemy force, “… Lt. Capodanno left the relative safety of the company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire, directly to the beleaguered platoon. Disregarding the intense enemy small-arms, automatic-weapons, and mortar fire, he moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and giving medical aid to the wounded.” This he continued to do, despite suffering mortar rounds that caused “multiple wounds to his arms and legs and severed a portion of his right hand….” As he rushed to assist a wounded Marine, “… only inches from his goal, he was struck down by a burst of machine gun fire.”

Regardless of who the bridge is named after, the legacy of that hero will span generations.