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This week’s e-Edition, classifieds are now posted

This week’s e-Edition and classifieds are now posted. We apologize for the delay.


Blood appointed

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  Take away the “acting” title: the Kearny Board of Education has formally installed Patricia Blood as its official superintendent of schools. The board took the action at a special meeting held last Thursday night at the Lincoln School. The vote was […]


Kearny unveils new monument

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  On May 27, 1922, an estimated 25,000 people gathered in the streets around the small park where Kearny Ave. and Beech St. meet, to witness Gen. John J. Pershing personally dedicate the towering granite monument honoring the Kearny men who died […]


Nutley cops hunt driver in fatal hit-run

A photo (above) of the suspect van was released Nov. 19 by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.   NUTLEY –  Nutley police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating the motor vehicle that struck and killed a 77-year-old woman on Centre St. on […]


School is more than books for these kids

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  HARRISON –  At Washington Middle School in Harrison, nearly 75% of the more than 400 enrolled are just as busy with school-related projects after 3 p.m. as they are during their regular day of classes. And that’s partly by design of the school […]


Man sought in attempted armed robbery

It failed for lack of a key.
Police said a man hoping to rob the AutoZone store on Washington Ave. in Belleville on Dec. 27 gave up when the store manager told him he didn’t have the key needed to open the store safe.
The incident unfolded shortly after 6:30 a.m., police said, when the 26-year-old store manager parked his car on the side of the AutoZone and popped into a nearby shop for a coffee, then began walking back to his car to get something he’d forgotten.
As he was going to his car, police said the manager was approached by a man who told him he was having trouble with his car battery and wanted to know when the auto supply store opened.
After the manager said he was about to open the shop, police said the man pulled out some type of “metal object,” pointed it at his head and demanded that he open the store safe.
When the manager said he couldn’t do that because he didn’t have the “secondary key” required, police said the man threw him to the ground and ran away.
Police said the manager was taken to Clara Maass Hospital, Belleville, for observation and treatment.
Police described the robber as black, about 5-feet-9, with a short haircut and a mole on the right side of his face, wearing a black jacket. He was believed to have fled in a mint green Ford Taurus wagon.
Here are other incidents that the Belleville Police Department logged during the past week:

Dec. 23
Officers patrolling in the area of Union Ave. and Mill St. at 10:47 p.m. did a license plate check on a red Jeep Cherokee traveling on Mill St. and discovered that the vehicle had been reported stolen out of Newark on Sept. 28.
They pursued the car west on Mill St. to Willet St. where they pulled over the car and placed the driver, Raymundo Nazario, 35, of Newark, under arrest on the charge of receiving stolen property.
A local pizza delivery man’s vehicle was vandalized Dec. 23 in what police characterized as an apparent case of road rage.
The victim told police he was en route to make a delivery, at 10:25 p.m., when the driver of a green pickup truck began yelling at him and followed him to his delivery destination on Stephens St.
There, the victim said, the driver of the truck exited his vehicle and smashed the side rear window of his Toyota Corola.

Dec. 22
Someone removed a GPS unit, a $100 bill and a prescription bottle from a 2-door gray 2007 Honda Civic while it was parked in the 100 block of Heckel St., sometime between 1:00 a.m. on Dec. 19 and 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 22. Police said the owner left the car unlocked due to a faulty alarm system.
A Fairway Ave. home was burglarized in the early morning hours. The resident reported hearing a noise like boxes falling over at 3:00 a.m. and then, upon awakening, shortly after 9:00 a.m., discovered a side door window broken and two boxes of cosmetics and perfumes missing from the basement.
A student at Belleville High School was arrested at 9:00 a.m. in a drug-related incident. The principal called police after a teacher reportedly spotted a male student at the top of a stairwell inside the school holding a small bag of suspected marijuana and a pipe typically used for inhaling the substance. The student, 16, was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia and released to his father, pending court action.

Dec. 21
Police are investigating two criminal incidents that occurred near the Rutgers Court Apartments shortly before midnight.
In the first incident, a witness reported hearing a man screaming, “Someone took my cell phone!”, and seeing a black man wearing a hooded sweatshirt running east on Rutgers St., entering a gate leading to the apartment complex before losing sight of him. Police later found a cell phone in the street.
A short time later, a man walking out of a nearby food mart was approached by a male who asked if he could use his cell phone. After handing over his phone, the male then punched him, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked him in the face before fleeing through a Rutgers Court driveway.
Police described the attacker as a skinny black man, between 25 and 30, about 6-feet-2, with a long scruffy beard and wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
One man has been collared and others are being sought in connection with what police described as a strong-arm robbery at 11:36 p.m. in the area of Cortlandt and Holmes Sts.
The victim was walking west on Holmes St. when he was met by a man who was then joined by two other males armed with black baseball bats and wooden sticks who hit him in the back and ordered him to empty his pockets and give them everything he had. The victim surrendered his cell phone and $200 and his attackers fled. Police, however, managed to detain one man – Osvaldo Guzman, 18, of Belleville – who fit a description given by the victim and arrested him on charges of obstruction, resisting arrest, robbery, possession of a weapon (a bat and a stick) for unlawful purpose.
A man who reportedly confessed to the deed was arrested on a shoplifting charge at 7:35 p.m. at Rutgers St. and Washington Ave. Police said they spotted two men walking near the intersection and one of them appeared to be hiding something under his jacket. When asked what was under the jacket, police said the man unzipped the jacket where police found two Pro Con Air Spin Air brushes valued at $107. The man told police he’d just taken them from Walgreens on Washington Ave. without having paid for the items. After confirming the merchandise was from Walgreens, police arrested Jose Acosta-Diaz, 40, of Newark, on charges of shoplifting and possession of a hypodermic syringe, which they said they found in his pocket. Police said Acosta-Diaz was also wanted on warrants from Newark and Florida. He was taken to the county jail pending court action. The other man was released.
A store owner in the 300 block of Wayne St. reported the theft of a bundle of Star Ledger newspapers from outside his store at around 6:00 a.m. The owner told police that the paper thefts had been “ongoing” since Dec. 19 and that another bundle had been taken two weeks previously.

Dec. 20
Police are investigating a burglary in the 100 block of Stephens St. that happened sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Upon returning to the apartment, the tenant found the door to the apartment forced open, the apartment ransacked and a lockbox containing bills missing.

The Benjamins win over Lyndhurst fans

By Anthony J. Machcinski

Not everyone has the opportunity to have The Killers, Louis Prima, Lionel Richie, or the Fray play at their wedding or at a local club. The Benjamins are able to incorporate some of that plus more into their shows.
Created in 1999, The Benjamins, consisting of vocalist Joe DeGennaro and his brother bass player Ben DeGennaro, drummer Jeremy Mykietyn, and guitarist Cory Pensa have entertained thousands of people through a mix of cover songs and original material.
“We did originals first with other original bands,” explained Mykietyn about becoming a cover band. “We wanted to do something where we could make a career out of it.”
“Honestly, Joe came up with the name,” Mykietyn said. “I guess the easiest way to say it was that it was kind of slang for hundred dollar bills, so we went with that.”
Nonetheless, the band members don’t consider money-making their sole reason for playing; rather, there is a personal enjoyment that comes from being a musician, the band says.
“I enjoy playing,” Mykietyn said. “It doesn’t really matter whether it’s covers or originals. But there’s a satisfaction that you get from playing your own stuff.”
Despite the satisfaction, Mykietyn points out one trait that all successful cover bands have.
“It’s also the cover band who tries to do covers in their own way and bring a different light to the different covers they do,” Mykietyn explained, whose favorite songs to cover are offerings from Rihanna and LMFAO.
Mykietyn’s favorite songs show the diversity that the band has in their cover material. In a wedding medley that the band put together on their website, the band showcases several songs, including “Jump, Jive, an’ Wail” by Louis Prima, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, and “Over My Head” by The Fray, all with a bit of added influence from The Benjamins. The songs have the band’s own interpretation, but still keep true to the original versions of the song.
While the band has made a name for itself off of its cover material, The Benjamins’ original material is just as good, if not better.
The song “Again”, off of the band’s first CD “GO”, is a gritty piece of music that resembles the toughness of Alice and Chains with the upbeat feel of Bon Jovi. The chemistry of the four band members shines bright, as there is a feel of balance throughout the song. This chemistry is not easily achieved, and when it is, crowds appreciate the result.
No show of appreciation was larger for Mykietyn than when the band played Starland Ballroom in 2007. Opening for rock group Third Eye Blind, The Benjamins were able to play their own songs in front of a large crowd.
“On the original side of things, the place that holds fond memories is playing at Starland Ballroom,” Mykietyn explained. “Just being in front of all those people, it was one of those type of moments.”
As the band continues to progress, The Benjamins hope to create a new group with the same members that keeps their original songs separated from their work as a cover band.
“Changing the name will make it easier for those who look to book us,” explained Mykietyn. “People wonder if it’s an original band or if it’s a cover band.”
The band’s new name won’t be released until the new album comes out, but in the interim they’ll still be plenty busy.
“We’re definitely going to be writing some more,” Mykietyn said. “Our plan for 2012 is to come up with more original stuff.”
To purchase music from The Benjamins, go to their website at www.thebenjamins.net. After playing the Whiskey Café in Lyndhurst, The Benjamins will move throughout Central and South New Jersey before returning to the area when the band plays the Whiskey Bar in Hoboken.

Fixing the road that takes a pounding

Courtesy of kearnyusa.com/ Gathered at Jacobus Ave., from l., are: Alan M. Lambiase (River Terminal Development Co.), L. Ceren Aralp (Hatch Mott MacDonald/KMUA Engineer), Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle, John J. Scheri (Hatch Mott MacDonald/KMUA Engineer), Mayor Alberto G. Santos, Michael F. Berliner (Neglia Engineering/ Town of Kearny), Gregg F. Paster (Kearny UEZ and KMUA legal counsel) and Jason Menzella (Neglia Engineering/Town of Kearny).


By Anthony J. Machcinski

Many Kearny residents might be unable to answer the question, “Where is Jacobus Ave.?” For the record, Jacobus Ave. is a South Kearny road, heavily used by trucking companies. On Dec. 15, the town of Kearny announced the completion of an improvement project that repaired the sewers, replaced waterlines, and fixed the roadway.
“There are numerous businesses that are warehouse and transportation related, and for businesses that warehouse and deliver goods the roadways are critical,” said Kearny Mayor Alberto G. Santos.
“It’s an area that’s heavily traveled by trucks and the road was like a battlefield,” explained UEZ coordinator John Peneda. “It was really bad and we wanted to do it right.”
The nearly $4.5 million project was funded by the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ) and the Kearny Municipal Utilities Authority (KMUA) –  a move that spared the town any related tax increases.
“Tax dollars are scarce, so we were able to leverage UEZ funds,” Santos explained. “Anytime someone purchased an item in Kearny, the (3.5%) sales tax went to programs like this. We invest our UEZ funds in town, achieving the goals of the state UEZ.”
The project, which comprised the separation of sewers, replacement of water lines, drainage improvements, roadway reconstruction, and curb installation, was completed on Nov. 29.
Next for improvement is N. Hackensack Ave., another road in South Kearny that stretches from U.S. Rt. 1 Truck Route north Stern Ave.
“That is a very critical road for trucking-related businesses and the chemical plant,” Santos explained.
The money for that project will come from a mixture of grants and 0% loans using the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure trust fund that helps with roadway and storm sewer projects.
That project will start as soon as this spring. With the two projects, Peneda believes that businesses will stay in South Kearny as well as attract new ones.
“It’s good for the businesses, the residents, and for recruiting businesses,” Peneda explained. “It’s not a redevelopment zone, but we’re trying to draw business down there.”

Harrison Police Blotter

Dec. 28
Four vehicles parked in a private parking lot were burglarized.  Among the items stolen were loose change, a watch and a portable GPS unit.
A vehicle parked on Bergen St. beneath Route 280 was broken into.  Nothing was assumed stolen at that time.

Dec. 27
A vehicle parked on Bergen St. beneath Rt. 280 was broken into.  A portable GPS unit was stolen from the vehicle.
The window of a 1995 Nissan Maxima was broken while it was parked in the municipal parking lot on Washington St.

Dec. 26
At 1:06 a.m. police observed Fabian Guaraca-Mendez, 32, of Newark, operating his motor vehicle without its headlights on while he was talking on a cell phone at Harrison Ave. and Second St.  A motor vehicle stop resulted in Guaraca-Mendez being arrested for DWI.  Guaraca-Mendez also carried an outstanding warrant from Seaside Heights for which he was released upon his own recognizance.
Emilio Cantarero, 51, of Harrison, was arrested for shoplifting a can of Spam from a Harrison Ave. business.  He was released on a summons.
A 1995 Honda Civic was broken into while it was parked on Passaic Ave. beneath Rt. 280.  The vehicle’s radio was stolen from within.

Dec. 23
Upon responding to a parking complaint, police found Adrian Pinzon, 32, of Harrison, asleep in his vehicle while it was running.  Investigation revealed Pinzon to be intoxicated and he was arrested for DWI.
Frank Rodgers Blvd. North was burglarized when thieves smashed the front window and removed the cash register from within.

Dec. 22
A baseboard heating system and copper piping were stolen from a home being constructed on Sixth St.
Manuel Achompongo, 44-years-old and homeless, was arrested for disorderly conduct within Holy Cross Church.  Achompongo was released on a summons.
A small quantity of a substance suspected to be marijuana was found on the property of the Harrison Gardens and turned over to HPD by the Housing Authority staff.
Three vehicles parked on Bergen St. beneath Rt. 280 were broken into.  Portable GPS units were stolen from two of the vehicles.

Around Town

Bloomfield Public Library announces the following schedule for its Monday Afternoon at the Movies: Jan. 9 – “Lured” – (NR) (Lucille Ball); Jan. 16 – Library closed in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday; Jan. 23 – “The Conspirator” (PG-13) (Robert Redford); Jan. 30 – “Pirates of the Caribbean: Stranger Tides” (PG-13) (Johnny Depp).
The following schedule is for the library’s Thursday Afternoon at the Movies program: Jan. 5 – “Meet the Parents” (PG-13) (Ben Stiller); Jan. 12 – “The Lincoln Lawyer” (R) (Matthew McConnaughey); Jan. 19 – “Dial M for Murder” (NR) (Ray Milland) and Jan. 26 – “Jane Eyre” (PG-13) (Mia Wasikowska).
All movies begin at 12:15 p.m. Admission is free and all are welcome.
The library will present “Loans 101: Owning Your Own Home” on Jan. 11 at 2 p.m.
The program will be presented by Melissa Jaipal, branch manager at Sovereign Bank, in Bloomfield.  She has been with bank for five months, and has over six years experience in banking.
For more information on this event or upcoming programs please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.
The library will present “Basics of Banking” on Jan. 18 at 2 p.m. The program will be presented by Melissa Jaipal
For more information on this event or upcoming programs please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 4, the Centro Romeu Cascaes Portuguese American Community Center, 308 William St., in Harrison, will resume regular Zumba classes on Mondays and Thursdays and Zumba Toning class on Wednesdays.  The one-hour class starts at 7:30 p.m.  For more info or to register, please call Maria Marieiro at 973-482-0631 or 201-401-0826 or email harrisonzumba@yahoo.com.

The Kearny Public Library will host a children’s book signing by local author Anna Prokos at the Branch Library, 759 Kearny Ave., Kearny, on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 11 a.m.  Prokos’s book, “The Lucky Cake,” was inspired by the Greek tradition of baking a cake with a coin inside for the beginning of the New Year.  The person who finds the coin is said to have a lucky year.
Attendees at this special, free event will get the chance to taste a piece of Vasilopita, the traditional Greek cake, and search for the lucky 2012 coin themselves.  Other activities will include a reading of “The Lucky Cake” by its author, coloring, crafts and even an opportunity to take your picture with Billy, the main character of the story.  Copies of the book will be on hand for sale and signing.  Call the Main Library at 201-998-2666 or check the library’s website <www.kearnylibrary.org> for more program information.
Cecilian Seniors announces a trip to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City on Jan. 11. The bus will leave at 9:30 a.m. in front of St. Cecilia’s Church. If interested, call Johnnie B. at 201-997-9552, after 6 to 9 p.m.
Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos will be the guest speaker at the regular meeting the Evening Membership Department of the Woman’s Club of Arlington on Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Henrietta Benstead Center, 60 Columbia Ave., Kearny.  The board meeting will immediately precede the regular meeting at 6:15 p.m.
Kearny UNICO has changed its meeting date to the second Thursday of the month.  The January membership meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m.  Anyone interested in attending the meeting and/or learning more about Kearny UNICO should contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409.  New members are welcome.

The Celiac Support Group will hold its next meeting on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Lyndhurst Health Department.  Please call 201-804-2500 for more information.

North Arlington
Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus, North Arlington, will celebrate D.J. Teen Angel’s farewell performance. If you’re familiar with Teen Angel, you know you’re in for a night to remember while rocking to your favorite oldies. The event will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m., at the Council Hall, 194 River Road, North Arlington. Tickets are $35, which includes a catered buffet, beer, wine and soda. For tickets, call Nick at 201-230-3428 or email nicholascerchio@yahoo.com.
A blood pressure/health risk assessment is held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the North Arlington Health Department, 10 Beaver Ave., from 1 to 2:45 p.m. No appointment necessary.
A child health conference, free immunization and Well Baby Care, for infants and pre-school children, are available at the Health Department by appointment on Thursday, Jan. 19. Required school-aged immunizations are available for those without health insurance coverage.
The flu vaccine is still available at the Health Department. The vaccine is offered free of charge for those covered by traditional Medicare Part B.  Medicare card must be presented at the time of immunization.  There will be a $20 fee for those not covered by Medicare.  By appointment only, call 201-955-5695.
The Health Department is encouraging residents with impairments or disabilities to register with the New Jersey Special Needs Registry for Disasters.  This free program is designed to help emergency responders identify and assist individuals who may find it difficult to help themselves in the event of an emergency.
You may register online with the state at www.registerready.nj.gov and with the Borough of North Arlington by calling the Health Department at 201-955-5695.  All information will be kept confidential.
For more information and appointments, please call the Health Department at 201-955-5695.

Films are shown every Friday at 2 p.m. at Nutley Public Library. Please check the monthly calendar, flyer or Facebook for the titles of the films.
The library’s Manga and Anime Club will meet on Monday, Jan. 9 and Jan. 23, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The group will watch anime, read Manga and advise the library on its Manga collection.

Kearny boys’ basketball team looks for improvement

Photo by Jim Hague/ Kearny head boys’ basketball coach Bill Mullins gives his team instructions during the Kardinals’ loss to Bergen Tech in the Kearny Holiday Tournament last week.


By Jim Hague

The Kearny High School boys’ basketball team is definitely a work in progress.
“They’re definitely going to get better, no doubt about it,” said Kearny head coach Bill Mullins, who is in his second year of his second tenure of leading the Kardinals. “We can’t even begin to compare ourselves to other teams. We still haven’t found our regular rotation. We’re still battling for a lot of our positions. We’re worrying about who to play. It hasn’t been easy. It’s very difficult, because every year, we basically start from scratch. Every year, we’re teaching them new stuff because we are very inexperienced.”
The Kardinals lost their first four games of the season, before finally defeating neighboring rival Harrison, 63-45, in the consolation round of the Kearny Holiday Tournament Thursday afternoon.
“We have a very small team,” Mullins said. “We have to be the smallest team in Hudson County. But we’ve been very competitive so far. We come to battle every single game. If any team we play thinks we’re going to be easy to face, then they’re in trouble, because we’re not going to back off. We’re going to keep on battling back. We’ve already had games this season where we could have gone the other way, where we could have easily lost. But we battle every single game, even against teams that are bigger and stronger than we are.”

Photo by Jim Hague/ The hopes of the Kearny boys’ basketballs season ride with key players Evan Piwowarski (left) and Dylan Hoch (right).

Leading the way for the Kardinals has been 6-foot-2 senior forward Evan Piwowarski, who scored a game-high 16 points in the win over Harrison.
“He just needs to be more consistent,” Mullins said of Piwowarski, who has the ability to be the Kardinals’ leading scorer this season. “For him to be considered a solid player, he needs to do it every single game. But he’s a good shooter and should be our leading scorer if he’s able to become more consistent.”
The other top Kardinal player is junior Dylan Hoch, who is also a solid contributor. The 5-foot-11 Hoch is what Mullins calls “our best all-around player.”
“He can bring the ball up and breaks the press,” Mullins said. “He can score off the press. He really can do a little bit of everything.”
Senior point guard Thiago Cruz is back for his third varsity season with the Kardinals. The 5-foot-7 Cruz brings a ton of energy to the Kardinals’ rotation.
Senior Zachary Negron is another 5-foot-7 guard who collected a lot of time off the Kardinals’ bench last year.
Junior Christian Kot is another undersized guard. At 5-foot-7, Kot is a player who has to play bigger than his size.
Junior Aneudi Martinez is a 5-foot-11 center who is a strong physical presence.
“He’s like a power forward who can do a lot of different things for us,” Mullins said. “We use him all over the floor.”
Junior Eric Silva is a 5-foot-10 guard who also serves a host of responsibilities. Fellow junior John Horvath is a 6-foot-2 forward who has spent a lot of time over the summer working on his game, trying to become a more consistent player.
Sophomore Wellington DaSilva is a 5-foot-11 guard who has a lot of speed and can cause a lot of different problems defensively.
“I like his quickness,” Mullins said.
Sophomore Joe Rodriguez is the team’s premier post presence. The 6-foot-3 Rodriguez can rebound and cause problems down low.
Hassan Muwakkil is a 5-10 sophomore guard, as is Edison Camacho, who had some quality moments during the win over Harrison.
The Kardinals also receive quality time from seniors like Marc Rezabola, a forward, Eric Cruz, an undersized center and guard Sammy Mejia, off the bench.
Mullins knows that the Kardinals will have to improve as the season progresses. It will help having a veteran coach like Artie Rubin on the Kardinals’ bench. Rubin was a highly successful coach at Snyder in Jersey City, guiding his team to the overall Group III state championship.
“I was looking for a good assistant coach and Artie and I have been good friends for a long time,” Mullins said. “He’s an experienced guy and knows a lot about basketball. When he said that he would join us, it’s a huge boost bringing his experience. His resume and record speaks for itself.”
Mullins knows that the Kardinals will be in tough waters for the entire season.
“It’s going to be tough, because Hudson County basketball is very good,” Mullins said. “We’re going to see so many good teams. Our biggest problem right now is putting the ball in the basket. We have to do a better job of that as we move on.”
The Kardinals need to score to become competitive and that’s the goal that the Kardinals will face for the rest of the season.

Lyndhurst girls’ hoop squad rolls out to 5-0 start

Photos by Jim Hague/ Lyndhurst junior point guard Dana Halligan has been the glue to the Golden Bears thus far, averaging almost 10 points and six assists per game.


Photos by Jim Hague/ Lyndhurst sophomore guard Grace Tomko has been rounding into form after pre-season finger surgery.


By Jim Hague

With several key players returning from a 14-13 squad a year ago, Lyndhurst High School’s second-year girls’ basketball coach Perrin Mosca knew that the Golden Bears would be improved this season.
But could Mosca have ever envisioned his team starting off to a blistering 5-0 record?
“I can’t say that I’m surprised,” Mosca said. “But I am pleased. We still haven’t played our best basketball yet, so that’s a good sign. We are getting it done. We lost five seniors from last year’s team, but the girls we had coming back played a lot, so that has helped. We have more experienced players than we had last year.”
The Golden Bears traveled to Wildwood last week to participate in the Boardwalk Basketball Challenge and came away with tight victories over Cape May Tech in overtime and the host Wildwood.
“It was a nice trip,” said Mosca, who was able to take the girls overnight and they had a BBQ dinner at the summer home of Lyndhurst athletic director Butch Servideo. “We had a lot of fun. The girls got to see Butch’s house and we had dinner together with him.”
It also didn’t hurt that the Golden Bears won their two games down the shore.
Mosca is very pleased with the balanced scoring his team has enjoyed thus far. There is no real go-to player among the Golden Bears’ roster. They spread the wealth well.
“I really like the balance we have,” Mosca said. “It’s been a big help.”
Leading the way is junior Camila Alonso. The 5-foot-10 forward is averaging a team-best 12.8 points and eight rebounds per game.
“She gives us a nice post-up presence down low and we really didn’t have that last year,” Mosca said.
Junior Dana Halligan is the team’s point guard. The 5-foot-4 Halligan is averaging 9.4 points per game and nearly six assists per contest.
“Dana is a good floor leader who sees the floor well and gets the ball where it has to go,” Mosca said. “She’s doing a great job for us right now.”
Junior guard Brittany Levario has also been doing a solid job for the Golden Bears. The 5-foot-2 Levario is averaging 9.6 points and five steals per game.
“She’s doing a great job defensively with all those steals,” Mosca said. “She makes our press defense go.”
Senior Nicole Baratta is one of the top returning players from a year ago. The versatile Baratta, who is also a fine soccer and softball player at the school, is a 5-foot-7 forward.
“She does all the little things you don’t see in the box score,” Mosca said of Baratta. “She hustles, goes after the ball, goes hard all the time. She does everything we need of her.”
Senior Shege Haxhaj is a 5-foot-11 center who provides a solid inside presence. Haxhaj is averaging seven points and nearly 7.5 rebounds per contest.
“The seniors were the reason why we won the game against Wildwood,” Mosca said. “They led us to the win.”
Sophomore Grace Tomko is a 5-foot-7 guard who missed the beginning of the season due to finger surgery.
“She’s just coming back to form,” Mosca said of Tomko, who was the Golden Bears’ leading scorer last year and is averaging nine points and four rebounds in the two games since she’s returned. “Right now, she’s coming off the bench for us.”
Another key returnee is junior Lexus Lopez, who has the unique distinction of playing two varsity sports in the winter, basketball and bowling, where she really excels.
“I don’t know how she does it,” Mosca said. “She’s always on the go. For us, she’s very athletic and hustles all the time. She’s very good defensively.”
The remainder of the team consists of sophomore forward Bianca Fata, sophomore guard Joelle Voza, sophomore guard Kristie Zembryski and freshman forward Giana DiTonto.
Mosca said that he was glad to see his team handle being tested in Wildwood and respond well.
“We had two close games and came out on top,” Mosca said. “It’s good to get into close games.”
The Golden Bears will face Becton and North Arlington before a showdown with another undefeated team in Secaucus Jan. 10.
“I’m definitely pleased where we are,” Mosca said. “We’re on course to where I thought we would be. We’re not playing nearly as well as I’d like them to play, but we’re getting the wins and that’s what matters.”

Tough early going for Blue Tide boys’ basketball squad

Photo by Jim Hague/ Harrison boys’ basketball coach Nick Landy (center) is looking for good things out of seniors Anthony Ferriero (left), who just returned to basketball, and Andreas Economou, who has been a mainstay with the program for the last two seasons.


By Jim Hague

Nick Landy knows that it’s only a matter of time before his Harrison High School boys’ basketball team puts it all together and gets a hard-earned victory.
It didn’t happen much last year, when the Blue Tide struggled to a 1-22 record. And it hasn’t happened yet in the new season, as the Blue Tide has dropped all five of its early season contests.
But the wins are coming. Landy can feel it.
“I think a win is what will put this team in the right direction,” Landy said. “We just need a win to get off the schneid. If we can get one or two, it would make a big difference. We need a little confidence. If we get that one, it will help us jell together and we’ll be alright.”
There was one positive aspect about all the losing a year ago.
“We had a very young team last year and we were able to gain a lot of experience for this year,” Landy said. “We also have two new key additions.”
One is a familiar face. Senior Anthony Ferriero has decided to return to play basketball. Ferriero, the ace pitcher for the Harrison baseball team in the spring, did not play basketball the last two seasons, but the 6-foot-2 forward has returned this year and has already made a positive impact. Ferriero had 15 points in a loss to Kearny last week.
“He’s a good athlete,” Landy said of Ferriero. “He hasn’t played much basketball, so he has to get his basketball legs back. But he’s going to play a lot for us.”
The other newcomer is 6-foor-4 junior Varinder Singh, who arrived in Harrison from New York. Singh is the Blue Tide’s starting center.
“We have about nine guys over six feet,” Landy said. “We have some size. We just need them to be able to jell together.”
Senior Andreas Economou is a 6-foot-3 senior forward and the lone returning member of the Harrison roster who has two full years of experience. Economou averaged nine points per game last year and Landy needs him to step up a little this year.
“He’s been getting rebounds for us and he’s also a very good defensive player,” Landy said. “He’s also keeping everyone in check.”
Senior Willie Aguilar is the team’s point guard. The 5-foot-9 Aguilar, a standout on the Harrison soccer team, is a fiery spark of energy.
“He’s the one who gets us going,” Landy said. “Like everyone else, he just seems to need a little confidence.”
Junior Carlos Gutierrez, another member of the soccer team, is a 6-foot jack-of-all-trades.
“I use him wherever I need him,” Landy said. “He’s our utility guy, but he was hurt early on and he’s just getting back into shape.”
Junior Justin Aponte is a 5-foot-8 guard who has a lot of speed.
“He’s pretty quick,” Landy said of Aponte, who had 13 points in the loss to Kearny. “He’s finding his way and getting around.”
Junior Sammy Rodriguez is a 6-foot-2 forward who is tenacious off the glass.
“He’s also developing a pretty good shot from the perimeter,” Landy said of Rodriguez.
Sophomore Federico Oliviera is a 6-foot-3 forward with a ton of potential.
“He has a lot of promise,” Landy said of Oliviera. “He just needs to get a little tougher. He loves the sport and played all summer, so he’s improved a lot. I’d just like to see him get some toughness and he could be a good one.”
Junior David Marinho is a 5-foot-8 guard who adds depth off the bench.
“He’s pretty fast as well and a good defensive player,” Landy said of Marinho. “We have a lot of soccer players on this team and hopefully, the success they’ve had in soccer will rub off.”
Now all the Blue Tide needs is a win or two.
“I think that would help in a lot of ways,” Landy said. “They really haven’t played a lot together with the new guys. But when they do get used to each other, I think we’ll see a change.”

Stretch – because it’s good for you


Most of us are aware that stretching plays a vital role in our exercise regimen, but
how many of us actually practice what we preach?
How many of us actually do it at all?
Think about the last time you exercised, did you take the time to loosen your muscles
up before you ran those two miles or kicked a soccer ball around? Or did you
simply jump right into the activity? If you did, you were putting yourself at risk for a
serious injury.Stretching, in its most basic form, activates the muscles. The first thing
many people do when they wake up, outside of hitting the snooze button, is stretch.
It essentially serves as the alarm clock, telling your muscles to wake up.
Why should you take five minutes to warm up your muscles before any physical
activity? Because, when muscles are rarely used, the flow of blood is reduced.
Therefore putting stress on them without stretching properly is like trying to drive a car without motor oil.
Stretching pumps fresh oxygen-enriched-blood into your muscles, increasing the
blood flow and improving circulation. It also lowers blood pressure and improves
artery function.
Whether or not you are performing a physical activity, there are a number of
benefits to be derived from taking a few minutes to stretch each day. The older
you get, the more the range of motion in your joints become limited. Stretching not
only lubricates the muscle, but also lengthens it, thus increasing your flexibility.
A number of people come into my office complaining of back pain. In addition
to chiropractic care, our physical therapists provide a comprehensive stretching
program to all of our patients. It is an essential part of their recovery, because
back pain is generally caused by stiff muscles that are in turn caused by –you
guessed it –lack of stretching.
The biggest benefit of stretching is that anyone can do it. It comes naturally to
all of us. It’s the first thing we do when we wake up, and it feels good. Your body
will thank you for it because if you stretch regularly, the healthier you’ll be. It isn’t
time consuming and you can do it pretty much anywhere.
So go ahead, try it out. The positive results will last a lifetime.

Dr. Diege Ruiz

A graduate of Life University’s School of Chiropractic, Dr. Ruiz is the founder and
rehabilitation director of Options Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Center. An
active member of the local community, Dr. Ruiz is fluent in Spanish, and, with his wife
Rosalie, founded AUTISM ANGELS, which is a charity that supports economically challenged parents of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is certified in Manipulation Under Anesthesia, Diagnostic Nerve Conduction Testing, and Active Release Technique. Dr. Ruiz is also a contributing health columnist for various publications.


A New Year’s wish list of employee retirement plans


By Randy Neumann

Here we are at the beginning of the New Year, a time when wishes are often granted.  What follows is a wish list of employer-sponsored retirement plans.  If you are an employer, you may want to give an appropriate gift to your employees.  If you are an employee, you may want to talk to your boss about one of the following employer-sponsored retirement plans. We’ll begin with the smallest plan and move up to the largest.
The SIMPLE plan – a loose fitting acronym for the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers – is a recent creation that is based on the Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  The requirements for the employer are minimal.  To be eligible for a SIMPLE, the company must have 100 or fewer employees, and not have another retirement plan in place.
A SIMPLE plan is easy to create; it has very low administrative costs and no annual IRS reporting requirements (for which there is a fee).  Traditional IRA’s are set up for each eligible employee who can contribute to the IRA on a tax-deferred basis via payroll deductions.  Employers can either fully match the contributions of plan participants up to 3% of a participant’s annual compensation or… contribute a 2% fixed percentage of all eligible employees’ pay.  The maximum employee contribution to a SIMPLE is $11,500 and, if you are over age 50, you can make a catch-up contribution of $2,500.
The next plan to discuss is a SEP–Simplified Employee Pension plan.  This plan allows you to put a lot more money away than you can with a SIMPLE.  You can have a SEP along with another type of retirement plan at your business simultaneously.  A SEP allows business owners and employees annual tax-deductible contributions equal to 25% of compensation (if you have a corporation) or 20% of self-employment income (for a sole proprietor).
Now, percentages are one thing, dollars are quite another.  You can sock away the above percentages into a SEP to a dollar maximum of $49,000.
Next comes the solo 401(k).  Yes, you can have a 401(k) when you are self-employed.  A business owner may establish one and include their spouse in the plan, provided the spouse is an employee of the business, and there are no other employees.
A solo 401(k) throws in a profit-sharing twist on the standard 401(k).  Solo 401(ks may be funded by the employee (deferred compensation) and the business (a percentage of profit).  As an employee of your business, you can contribute an amount up to the standard yearly 401(k) contribution limit plus catch-up contributions if you are 50 or older.  Additionally, solo 401(k) plans allow you to make tax-deductible profit-sharing contributions equal to 25% of your compensation (corporate entity) or 20% of self-employment income (sole proprietor).  Again, you are subject to the $49,000 annual max.  It is even possible to have a solo Roth 401(k).  These plans require a TPA (third-party administrator).
Profit-sharing plans.  Here’s one way to compete with larger companies for prime employees.  Contributions are usually deductible at both the federal and state level, with contribution limits equivalent to a SEP.  However, contributions aren’t mandatory as they are for most other plans.  If your business has a bad year, you don’t have to make any contributions.  The assets placed within the plan grow tax-deferred.  Again, annual tax-deductible contributions may be made according to the 25/20% rule depending on your business entity and will have the $49,000 max.
The newest kid on the street is the “new comparability plan.”  This is a hybrid plan that skews the benefits of the plan to senior or key employees more than others.  The classic situation for this plan is when you have a small business whose multiple owners take home similar earnings, but are of different ages.  The plan must be tested annually to meet Internal Revenue Code nondiscrimination requirements.  It allows different levels of compensation to different groups within a small business.
Which plan is right for you?  It depends.  There is a lot of variability available in qualified retirement plans, so you don’t have to buy one “off the rack”; instead you can have one custom made.  And, like a suit, down the road you can have it let out or taken in when necessary.

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 securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial.  Member FINRA/SIPC.  He can be reached at 12 Route 17N, Suite 115, Paramus, 201-291-9000.