By Karen Zautyk Observer Correspondent KEARNY– The three young men, pictured above in their Kearny High School yearbook photos, had their whole lives ahead of them. Who knew where the future would take them? No one would have guessed that, a bit more than a decade later, it […]
TRENTON – An accused serial robber has admitted to playing a role in 11 robberies, primarily of drug stores, in Harrison, Newark and Jersey City over a period of eight months, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. On July 21, Christopher Mojica, 23, pleaded guilty to […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent LYNDHURST – Talk about parallel life paths: Joseph White and Matthew Giunta went to pre-school (St. Michael’s) together, then to Franklin Elementary School, then Lyndhurst High. And, last Friday, they entered the Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah to begin […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent BELLEVILLE – It’s been a year and two months since Gov. Chris Christie presided at a ballyhooed groundbreaking for Franklin Manor, an age-restricted 137-unit apartment complex for those 55 and over – the first such senior development for Belleville in more than three decades. […]
By Ron Leir Observer Correspondent HARRISON – A property dispute between a longtime Harrison business and some neighbors that has been simmering for a few years now appears to be coming to a boil. Smack in the middle of the controversy are Bergen St. homeowners Victor and Eleanor Villalta […]
The third generation of the McCarthy clan is carrying on a noble tradition.
Firefighter James McCarthy, who will mark 24 years with the Bloomfield Fire Department this fall, is celebrating that benchmark a bit early after having been promoted to captain recently along with four other colleagues.
McCarthy, together with Firefighters John Gray, Steven Zurlo, Kevin Nelson and James McMann, were all appointed to their new rank by the township governing body on Aug. 8 and sworn in on Aug. 19, the actual effective date.
At the same time, Fire Capt. Cliff McCulloch was elevated to the rank of deputy fire chief.
McCarthy, 45, a 1984 Bloomfield High School alumnus, is following in the footsteps of several family members: His grandfather, Joseph M. McCarthy, got things rolling when he joined the East Orange Fire Department in 1943, advancing, eventually, to the rank of deputy chief.
“My uncle Vinnie was a captain with East Orange and my dad, Joseph H. McCarthy, is a retired East Orange deputy chief,” James said.
After the family relocated to Bloomfield, it was only natural that the next generation of McCarthys would continue to serve with the Bravest in that community.
And so, James’ oldest brother, also named Joseph, became a member of the Bloomfield Fire Department, outdoing his predecessor McCarthys by attaining his current rank of chief of the department.
Now it’s James’ turn to start moving up the ladder.
“I’m looking at this as the start of a whole new chapter,” he said.
A member of the Emerald Society’s Essex County chapter, James McCarthy was part of a large Bloomfield Fire Department mutual aid contingent – including new Dep. Chief Cliff McCulloch – that stood by at New York Fire Department firehouses in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge, Park Slope and Coney Island sections during the 9/11 attacks.
McCulloch, who graduated from Bloomfield High in 1975, is the newest of the department’s four deputy chiefs. About 14 years ago, he was made lieutenant – a rank that no longer exists – and four years after that, he made captain.
The father of seven children, ranging in age from 3 to 30, McCulloch, who’ll be 54 next month, also has six grandchildren. He’s a member of the Elks and St. Valentine’s Athletic League.
He didn’t begin his firefighting career until age 30. “I worked for an oil company and a couple of the guys who were part-timers there were also on the Bloomfield Fire Department,” McCulloch said. “They kept telling me I should join up and then, one day, they sat me down with an application and I filled it out.”
McCulloch is a past president of the FMBA Officers Local 219, having served two terms.
He’s also earned two commendations: the first in 1989 for rescuing a boy from a burning building on Ampere Ave. and the second – which he shared with two colleagues – a few years later for extricating a man from a fire at a Berkeley Place residence.
Recalling the 1989 incident, McCulloch said: “I had to go through a closet to get to the
third floor where the boy was. When I got to the top of the stairs, I yelled to him to come to me, which he did. Mike Zurlo (whose son Steven is among the new captains) was on the nozzle when I got the kid out. How we got down so fast I have no idea – it’s just a blur.”
Capt. Steven Zurlo, 37, is also one of Bloomfield’s own, having graduated from Bloomfield High in 1992. His dad, Michael Zurlo, retired from the department in 1998 and his brother, Michael Jr., has been a Bloomfield firefighter since 1996.
A former volunteer with the Bloomfield Emergency Squad, Zurlo is an EMT with a nursing degree from Bloomfield College who works part-time in the emergency room at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville.
Zurlo, who was a trumpeter in the Bloomfield High marching band, applies his musical talents with the Fire Department: he plays taps at funerals and memorial
services. And, the onetime Eagle Scout is an assistant scoutmaster. He and his wife, Tara, have a son, Alexander, 2, and a daughter, Isabella, 4.
Capt. Kevin Nelson, 37, is in his 15th year with the Fire Department. The Bloomfield resident says he “grew up around a firehouse – I’ve always wanted to do it as a kid.” Nelson is so much into it he got a master’s degree in fire science at Fairleigh Dickinson
University and he has taught the subject for the past six years at New Jersey City University.
He and his wife, Brooke, have two children, Sloane, 7, and Bree, 4.
Capt. James McMann had been serving in the Military Police with the Air Force
when he decided to try a different type of uniform so he followed the lead of his first cousin, Frank Maglione, a captain in the Bloomfield Fire Department.
“He left (retired) and I came on,” McMann said. That was in December 1994.
McMann is EMT-certified and a state-certified fire inspector who served in the department’s fire prevention bureau two and a half years.
Originally from Paterson, McMann now lives in Lincoln Park with his wife Maria, who hails from Bloomfield; son, Michael, 14; and daughter, Gia, 10.
Capt. John Gray, who will mark 17 years with the Fire Department in December, is another local lad who graduated from Bloomfield High in 1982.
Four years later, at age 19, he got a B.S. degree in microbiology from Rutgers University but he said he didn’t really know what he wanted to do after that.
“I’d been working as a sales rep for a local lumberyard during summers and Christmas season and they offered me a job on the road,” Gray recalled.
But, after a lot of firefighter buddies pushed him to join up, he warmed to the idea and put in his application. He continued his sales work – but only on the side – while the Fire Department became his regular job.
In his firefighter role, Gray is a past treasurer and vice president FMBA Local 19.
He’s also a member of the Nutley Elks and a 17-year veteran of area high school football officiating. And, for the past five years, he’s been a Division 3 college gridiron official.
Gray, 46, has a daughter, Kelly, 19, and son, Jack, 17.
A captain’s base pay is $114,000 and a deputy chief earns $123,000 a year.
“We’re at full strength for all supervisory ranks,” Chief McCarthy said. “We’re short six firefighters.”
McCarthy said the Township Council has authorizing hiring to fill the positions, pending the state Civil Service Commission promulgating a hiring list.
By Karen Zautyk
If you were passing by the Harrison Public Library last Wednesday afternoon, you might have noticed the fierce competition underway on the front lawn.
No, for once, even though this was Harrison, the game wasn’t soccer.
It was Quidditch.
Since many of the players were Muggles (and we do not use that in a prejorative sense), this particular game was ground-based. Although we think we just might have seen a Chaser or two on flying broomsticks up above the treetops. Perhaps.
We couldn’t stay for the entire match, but we did find out that Gryffindor trounced Slytherin.
The friendly combatants were all members of the library’s Young Adult Reading Club, which, this summer focused on the inaugural Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” in which the world at large first encountered Quidditch.
The 25 or so young readers, age 8 and up, were guided through their literary adventure by the Hudson County CMP (Creative Motion Players), a nascent community theater group that turned the weekly club meetings into the stuff of magic.
CMP was launched just last November by five alumni of Hudson County’s High Tech High School, all of whom had gone on to college but who kept in touch – of course – via the Internet.
At the Quidditch patch, we met three: Cindy Yin of Harrison, now a junior majoring in music education at Montclair State University; Lauren Biscaldi of Bayonne, also a junior, studying writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College in Boston; and Julia Eisler of Secaucus, an “undecided” sophomore at New York University.
The other two founders are Nicholas Gonzalez of West New York and Ariane Ryan of Bayonne, attending, respectively, Stephens Institute and Wagner College.
Working in cooperation with Mary Anne Dunphy, children’s program director, and library director Nelba Meijas, CMP partnered with the Young Adult Reading Club at its seasonal start in early July through to the end of August, teaching hourlong Wednesday afternoon “classes” linked to the Potter book.
And, their program proposal noted, “each class (required) students to participate in hands-on activities, work together with their peers and develop leadership skills.” But in a totally fun way.
Such as the class in Herbology, with students planting and caring for their own basil “as they learn about healthy lifestyle, such as exercising well and eating healthily.” The little pots of basil are now thriving in the library Children’s Room.
Then there was Defense Against the Dark Arts, which focused on combating those “dark arts” encountered by 21st century kids. This was an exercise in building self-esteem and self-confidence as the children were taught “to identify bullies and stand up to bullies.”
They also studied “spells,” learning how to turn Diet Coke and Mentos into Mount Vesuvius.
So how did what started out to be a community theater group get so involved with young Harrison readers?
“We were originally planning a summer theater program, but then the opportunity to work with Ms. Dunphy presented itself,” said Biscaldi, noting, “We wanted to be involved in community outreach, and if we wanted the community to support us, we needed to support the community.”
“It was amazing,” she continued. “I’ve never worked with kids before. It was fantastic.”
And, Eisler added, “They’re all so smart!”
As for the CMP’s future, Eisler noted that the group needs to concentrate on some fund-raising now in order to put on shows next summer.
“We’re trying to set up some sort of an Open Mic night,” Yin said.
You can find out more about CMP at www.creativemotionplayers.com and on Facebook.
New members welcome!
Thirty-four years after Stephen Boehringer left Lyndhurst for California with his mother, he continues to grow as a comedian. But it was not easy.
After spending time on the West Coast, Boehringer experienced something that all comedians fear, getting booed off stage.
“They wanted a drunken Santa routine,” explained Boehringer. “When you’re booed and stuff, if you love the business and art of performing, that won’t get in your way.”
Indeed, he managed to take this negative situation and turn it into a learning experience.
“I didn’t let it get in my way,” said Boehringer. “That sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore.”
Boehringer got into comedy after he moved to California. After talking to a girl who said he could perform, Boehringer went to an open mic night at a local stage to impress her. She never showed up at the event, but the young comedian’s rising career had begun.
One of the challenges that Boehringer faced while being in California was his New Jersey personality.
“I really learned how to cater my act to California,” he explained. “My basic personality and pace of my speech weren’t readily accepted in California. They didn’t quite get it, but it works very well now.”
Another part of Boehringer’s delivery that had to be changed was his strong opinions about his religion. These needed to be pulled back for audiences who would not understand or appreciate the jokes.
His strong opinions have forced him to lengthen the amount of time it has taken to produce newest effort … a sort of “how to” guide for fellow comics.
“I really have to edit myself on being too preachy,” Boehringer said. “It’s taking much longer than I’ve expected.”
The book, which Boehringer hopes will be completed and published by early 2012, will attempt to help other comedians by telling them about his own experiences and how to learn from them.
“This book is really about entertainment and comedy from the prospective of a non-secular audience and the challenges you face performing for them,” Boehringer explained.
Boehringer has been in California ever since he and his mother made the trek in 1977. Since then, he has been unable to return and perform in the town where he was raised.
“Never had the opportunity to return (to Lyndhurst),” said Boehringer. “I think it’d be fun to see how my act plays there.”
Many people in the business attempt to define their success based on monetary value. Boehringer’s success is defined in other ways.
“Some people classify success is by the fame and the money,” Boehringer said. “Mine was completely different. It’s being confident in yourself and knowing what was on the paper and being confident. After six years, I got it. It’s when the hecklers don’t bother you and the jokes that don’t work don’t bother you. That’s success on the comedy stage.
After a successful 34-year career that even his role models, Bill Cosby and George Carlin, would be proud of, Boehringer realizes that there are further plateaus for his career to reach.
“What I want to do is have my stand-up act be more than just a stand-up act,” Boehringer explained, saying that he wants to include more music, presentations, and video displays.
When asked if he has future plans to move back to the East Coast, Boehringer said, “I’ve been married 23 years and have three kids. It doesn’t look like I’ll be back.”
However, it is this culture and atmosphere that he misses most.
“When you have a friend in New Jersey, you have a friend for life,” Boehringer explained. “The people are different. They may be more abrasive, but they’re just different.”
Boehringer will continue to perform on the West Coast and write his book, which is currently untitled, to be published next year.
By Karen Zautyk
You can see them on the lawns and in the parks and just about anywhere the grass grows: Wild mushrooms, springing up in abundance.
“With all the recent rain, there has been a tremendous bloom of mushrooms,” noted Dr. Steven Marcus, executive and medical director of the N.J. Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES).
NJPIES is concerned because, although most folks just leave the mushrooms alone, some people – for whatever reason – are tempted to pick them and eat them. And eating them can make you very sick. Or dead.
Last week, following the reports of nine mushroom-related poisonings in New Jersey within 36 hours – at least two cases in Hudson County – NJPIES issued a warning against eating any wild mushrooms, since even those thought to be edible can be dangerous.
Luckily, none of last week’s cases proved to be fatal. One of the Hudson victims was admitted to Meadowlands Hospital in Secaucus; the other, to Hoboken University Medical Center.
“They were lucky,” Marcus told The Observer. “The type of mushrooms they ate caused just vomiting and diarrhea.”
Why would anyone would pick and eat wild mushrooms in the first place? Aside from culinary curiosity, it could be a cultural thing. Marcus noted that in some countries, particularly in Eastern Europe and Asia, wild-mushroom hunts are common. But the mushrooms around here, though they may resemble the types found abroad, are not the same.
“There are a lot of look-alike mushrooms here that are toxic,” Marcus said. “They look like the ones in the old country, but they are poisonous. You really have to be a mushroom expert to be absolutely certain which is which.”
This was emphasized in the warning NJPIES issued: “There is no easy way to tell the difference between poisonous and harmless mushrooms. In addition, poisonous and nonpoisonous mushrooms can grow side by side. Even experienced mushroom pickers can be fooled at times, so this warning needs to be given and taken seriously.”
The agency noted that eating “even a few bites of certain mushrooms can cause severe illness.”
It also asks that children be taught never to put wild plants, berries, nuts, or mushrooms into their mouths.
Some symptoms of mushroom poisoning include intense vomiting and diarrhea. There can also be damage to vital organs like the liver. And mushroom poisoning can also be fatal.
What to do if someone eats a wild mushroom? NJPIES advises: “If an exposure should occur; remove any remaining parts of the mushroom from the victim’s mouth and place those fragments and all mushrooms that are in the immediate vicinity of the incident into one or more paper (NOT plastic!) bags.
“Immediately call the NJ poison center at 1-800-222-1222. It will arrange for an expert to identify the mushroom, and the center can then provide advice on management depending on the mushroom’s identification.
“A digital photograph should be taken of the mushroom(s) in question. It helps to take a picture of the mushroom next to other objects such as a coin, ruler, etc., to provide a sense of scale.”
If exposure is even suspected, NJPIES advises not waiting until symptoms appear. For any type of suspected poisoning, call that 800 number cited previously. It is staffed 24/7, 365 days a year, by doctors, registered nurses and pharmacists, and translation services are available in more than 100 languages.
The hearing impaired may call (973) 926-8008. For more information, visit www.njpies.org or call (973) 972-9280.
Belleville Public Library cardholders can go to the library’s website at www.bellepl.org to download a wide selection of eBooks for library cardholders.
Donations are now being accepted for a giant library book sale at the Just a Party township event scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 15. Bring your gently used adult, teen and children’s books to the library. All sales will benefit the Friends of the Library.
Call Librarian Karyn Gost at 973-450-3434 to make an appointment to learn how to surf the Internet and set up an email account. Tutoring is for library cardholders only.
Need help with your resume and other career information? Call the library’s circulation desk at 973-450-3434 to reserve your time with library staff member Angela Digoino. This service is for Belleville Public Library cardholders only.
The Essex County Passport Outreach is available every second Thursday of the month at the Belleville Public Library and Information Center. The following services will be available: application and renewal of passports, notary public oaths, veteran’s peddler licenses and physician license filing.
The library has added the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum at Pier 86 in New York City to its museum membership collection. Library members may make reservations for free passes at the library’s circulation desk.
Tickets are also available for the American Museum of Natural History at a cost of $7 per person. Call the library at 973-450-3434 to make your reservations.
Take advantage of the biggest bargain in town and join the Friends of the Belleville Public Library and Information Center. Individual membership is just $5, family membership $7, student membership $1, business $25, organization $25 and for just $50 you can be a member for life. All proceeds from Friends programs benefit the library.
Bloomfield Public Library announces its Thursday Movie schedule: Sept. 1 – “The Lady from Shanghai” (NR) (Orson Welles), Sept. 8 – “Tangled” (PG) (Mandy Moore), Sept. 15 – “Gunga Din” (NR) (Cary Grant), Sept. 22 – “Barney’s Version” (R) (Paul Giamatti) and Sept. 29 – “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (NR) (John Huston). All films start at 12:15 p.m. in the library theater. Admission is free.
The library’s Monday Afternoon Movie will be: Sept. 5 – Library closed, Sept. 12 – “The Shop Around the Corner” (NR) (James Stewart), Sept. 19 – “Goldfinger” (NR) (Sean Connery) and Sept. 26 – “Time After Time,” (PG) (Malcolm McDowell). All films start at 12:15 p.m. in the library theater. Admission is free.
The library will present a free workshop for people who are interested in starting and managing a small business on Sept.13 at 6:30 p.m., presented by the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).
SCORE will return on Oct. 18 with a seminar on financing a small business, on Nov. 2 with information on marketing a small business and on Dec. 14 to discuss social media and the Internet. These programs begin at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on this event or upcoming programs, please call (973) 566-6200, ext. 502.
Ty Lowman’s comedy “For the Love of Money,” about members of a faithful God-fearing family whose lives change after winning the lottery, will be presented at the Westminster Art Center at Bloomfield College, 445 Franklin St., on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Adults can purchase tickets for $25 in advance or $28 at the door. Seniors and students tickets are $20. Group rates are available as well. For more ticket information, visit www.tylowman.com or call 848-448-9582 or 732-239-9183.
A Sept. 11 memorial service, “A Day of Remembrance” is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11, from 12 to 3 p.m., at Harrison Library Park, Harrison Avenue. The event is sponsored by Harrison Mayor Raymond J. McDonough, Town Council, Harrison East Newark Elks Lodge #2326, Harrison Police Department, Harrison Fire Department and Harrison American Legion Post 282. Refreshments will be served at the Elks Lodge (across the street from the park). All are welcome to attend.
Starting Monday, Sept. 12, the Centro Romeu Cascaes Portuguese American Community Center, 308 William St., in Harrison, will resume its Zumba classes on Mondays and Thursdays and will be offering a new Zumba Toning class on Wednesdays. The one-hour class will start at 7:30 p.m. For more information or to register, please call Maria Marieiro at 973-482-0631 or 201-401-0826 or email email@example.com.
On Sept. 8, the Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows, 136 Davis Ave., in Kearny, will hold its first meeting of the 2011-2012 season. Guest speaker will be Len Mackesy, who will recount his experiences as deputy chief of the Port Authority Police on Sept. 11, 2001.
Registration for the fall 2011 semester of Kearny Adult School will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 12-14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the main office of Kearny High School, 336 Devon St., Kearny. Brochures indicating course schedules are currently in the mail. If you did not receive one, you may pick up a copy at The Observer, Kearny Library or the Kearny Board of Education Office, 100 Davis Ave. For additional information, you may call Kearny Adult School at 201-955-1392.
Kearny High School Class of 1976 is planning a 35th class reunion on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Scots Club, 40 Patterson St., Kearny. All graduates and guests of the Class of ’76 are invited to attend. For more details, contact the Reunion Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or check the Facebook Wall. If anyone knows of any class member’s location/email address, they are asked to forward it to the above email address.
Knox Church, 36 Kearny Ave., will have yoga classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. No experience is necessary; just wear loose clothes and bring a yoga mat. Fee for classes is $10, which will benefit the church. For more information, call Edna Davie at 201-658-4355.
First-Sunday-of-the-Month Nature Walk – a free, two-hour outing with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society – will be held Sept. 4 starting at 10 a.m. outside the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. Check meadowblog.net for last-minute updates and weather advisories. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino at email@example.com or call 201-230-4983.
On Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 5 p.m., explore the Meadowlands up close with a two-hour NJMC guided pontoon boat cruise of the Hackensack River and its surrounding marshes. For ages 10 and up. Suggested donation: $15 per person. Registration required: 201-460-4640 or www.njmeadowlands.gov/environment/tours.html.
Come try a free dance class at the Lyndhurst Public Library on Wednesday, Sep. 14, from 4 to 4:45 p.m. This Creative Movement dance class, for children ages 2-6, will incorporate the basic elements of dance, while encouraging self-expression. Children will be introduced to dance steps and will have the opportunity to express their creativity through movement. Space is limited and registration is necessary. To register, call Director Donna Romeo at 201-804-2478, ext. 7 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lyndhurst Library will be collecting shoes on behalf of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) for Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that provides shoes to the world’s less fortunate men, women and children. A drop-off box will be located inside of the library’s main entrance on 355 Valley Brook Ave. until mid-September. For more information, please contact Sherri Boxer at 201-803-6006 or email email@example.com.
St. Michael’s Leisure Club will have a bus ride to Sands Casino in Pennsylvania, leaving St. Michael’s parking lot on Page Avenue in Lyndhurst, on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 10 a.m. For more info and reservation, please call Georgianna at 201-438-7847.
The Lyndhurst Health Department will offer assistance with food stamp applications on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m.-noon. A representative from Bergen County Board of Social Services will offer individual support with completing the food stamp applications. For further information about Bergen County social services, please call 201-368-4200.
Nutley Public Library will have Adult Scrabble Night on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Sept. 3, at 10 a.m. the library will have Saturday Story Time and crafts for children of all ages. Registration is not required.
Patrons may stop by the library to play bridge on Tuesdays in September at 1 p.m. Experienced and non-experienced players are welcome. No registration is required.
Tuesday Evening Knitting Club will meet at the library on Sept. 6 from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Come share your love of knitting and crocheting with both beginning and experienced knitters. Meet fellow knitters, brush-up on your skills, and learn some new techniques. Please bring your own supplies. This group meets the first Tuesday of every month.
The Wednesday Afternoon Knitting Club will meet at the library every week from 1 to 3 p.m. Come share your love of knitting and crocheting with both beginning and experienced knitters. Meet fellow knitters, brush-up on your skills, and learn some new techniques. Please bring your own supplies.
The library will show the following films on Fridays this month: Sept. 2 – “Life As We Know It,” Sept. 9 – “Inside Job,” Sept. 16 – “The King’s Speech,” Sept. 23 – “The Tourist” and Sept. 30 – “The Dilemma.” All films start at 2 p.m.
The first annual Golf For a Cure outing by the Nutley Football Alumni will be held on Monday, Oct. 3, at Hendricks Field Golf Course in Belleville. October is National Prostate Cancer month, so the proceeds of this golf outing will be donated to benefit prostate cancer research. In addition, the occasion will honor the memory of Nutley High School Head Football Coach Sandy Phillips (1955 to 1964), who led the school football team to a State Championship in 1960.
The event will have an 8 a.m. shotgun start and will be followed by a luncheon, with details to be announced. Anyone who wishes to participate is welcome. Any business or individual wishing to be “hole sponsor” or make a contribution to this cause, is encouraged to do so. For details and reservations, call Mario Cocchiola at 973-634-1240.
Nutley hopes for positive carryover from last year’s state title game appearance
By Jim Hague
The 2010 high school football season was one to remember for the Maroon Raiders of Nutley High School.
The Maroon Raiders tied a school record for wins in a season with eight and went all the way to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group III championship game at the New Meadowlands Stadium, before falling to Morristown. It was the school’s first appearance in a state title game since 1995.
But it’s a new year and the Maroon Raiders graduated 20 seniors from that stellar team.
“Last year was last year,” said veteran head coach Steve DiGregorio, entering his eighth season as the head coach at his alma mater. “Every team is different. We can use what happened last year as a fact. It was a good thing. It happened. You want to experience it again. But that’s it. This is a new team.”
It’s a new team with a very familiar, very talented backfield.
Returning for the Maroon Raiders is a pair of fine running backs in seniors Matt DelMauro (5-9, 175) and Lou Meggiolaro (5-11, 175).
Del Mauro and Meggiolaro, a former quarterback converted to running back last year, give the Maroon Raiders their best 1-2 rushing attack since Essex County scoring record holder Ray Cetrulo and Antonio Sibilia two years ago.
“Lou is a fast kid who does a lot of things for us,” DiGregorio said. “He’s the punter, the punt returner, a staple on defense. But with the ball, he can make a lot of big plays. We have scored a lot of points and made a lot of big plays over the last few years. Lou definitely can help us move the ball.
Meggiolaro rushed for 550 yards and four touchdowns last season, a year when he battled some injuries. He enters the 2011 season healthy and scored two touchdowns in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage last week.
DelMauro emerged as the Maroon Raiders’ leading rusher last year, collecting more than 1,200 yards and scoring 22 touchdowns. In the Maroon Raiders’ state playoff win over Colonia, DelMauro had 255 yard and six touchdowns. He also had 155 yards and two touchdowns in the state playoff win over Rahway, so he’s a proven winner.
“Matt is coming off a tremendous season for us,” DiGregorio said. “He runs hard and tough and now knows our system well. He’s already difficult to bring down, but he’s gotten much stronger. He’s so powerful. It’s a nice combination back there to have and a heck of a place to start.”
Both players will get their share of college attention and are already listed among the best running backs in the state.
The quarterback is senior Jordan Yuppa (6-1, 190), who has bided his time as the backup for the last two seasons to Billy McMillan and Nick Tedesco.
“Jordan learned a lot from two pretty good quarterbacks and now it’s his turn,” DiGregorio said. “He picked up a lot from those two guys and is doing a fine job. He throws the ball well.”
The fullback duties will be shared by senior Mike Hovan (5-10, 180) and junior Nick Scherer (5-11, 190).
“They shared the position last year and will do it again,” DiGregorio said.
The Maroon Raiders have a plethora of wide receivers that will all see playing time this season.
Leading the way is senior Pete Carissimo (6-0, 180), who had 30 receptions last season. Seniors Joe Drago (5-9, 195), a three-year varsity player, Nick Rodriguez (6-3, 200), Anthony Montanari (5-10, 175) and Matt Kelly (5-10, 165) will all fit nicely into the Nutley high-powered offensive attack.
“We will use all of them and we try to stress that to the kids,” DiGregorio said. “We don’t have a starting 11. It’s more like a starting 16 or 17. They all play. We change our personnel quite a lot.”
The tight end is senior Phil Condito (5-10, 185), who will also serve as the Nutley placekicker.
The offensive line features three returning starters in senior tackle Greg Palma (6-3, 245), senior guard Andre Hamlin (5-9, 225) and senior center Tyler Pugliese (6-0, 220). Junior Kevin Merkle (6-2, 215), from the long line of talented Merkle football players in Nutley, is at tackle, with senior Michael Goudie (6-1, 215) at guard.
Defensively, the Maroon Raiders will go with Palma, Rodriguez and senior Carlos Rosa (6-2, 220) at defensive end, with Pugliese and Hamlin at defensive tackle.
Hovan, Condito and Scherer will be the linebackers, with Drago, DelMauro and Montanari at cornerback and Carissimo, Meggiolaro and Kelly at safety.
The Maroon Raiders open the 2011 season Sept. 9 against Millburn at the Nutley Oval.
DiGregorio wants to get off to a solid start.
“For me, there’s never a more important game than the opener,” DiGregorio said. “You want to get off to a good start. All the work you put in through the summer, through June, July and August comes together for that first game. We want to make it a successful opener. That’s where our focus is right now, on Millburn.”
DiGregorio has high hopes for the season.
“I certainly hope we can get back to the playoffs,” DiGregorio said. “We certainly have guys who can make plays. Right now, we’re not clicking on all cylinders but we’re playing on our experience.”
And if that happens again, then the Maroon Raiders could once again be playing come December.
By Jim Hague
Anthony Marck hadn’t seen the damage himself Sunday night, but he certainly received the news. The North Arlington High School head football coach got a call telling him that Rip Collins Field was totally under water after the Passaic River overflowed its banks during Hurricane Irene, flooding the entire complex in the process.
Hurricane Irene left the field on River Road under a half-foot of water, going all the way up to the street. Marck had no idea how much damage was done to the field house, to his offices and locker rooms, to the Vikings’ equipment.
“I don’t know where we go from here,” Marck said. “I guess we have to wait and see and assess the damage. Hopefully, we’ll get it rectified soon.”
But practices for the Vikings have been suspended for the time being, because no one can determine the lasting damage that was done to the Vikings’ home base.
“We may have to get an equipment conditioning company in and see if they can take care of us right away,” Marck said. “We’ll know more in the next couple of days.”
In the meantime, the affable head coach enters his seventh season as the head coach of his alma mater with an upbeat approach, considering that the Vikings had a fine 2010 season, posting a 7-3 record and winning their last four games of the campaign.
“Certainly, there’s a positive feeling, a good carryover,” Marck said. “The kids watched and learned and understood what it takes to win.”
However, there is a bit of a downside. The Vikings lost 20 seniors to graduation, a staggering total for a school with a Group I enrollment.
“There’s an old saying that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” Marck said. “We’re going to find out soon enough. We had such a good group. It was enjoyable to watch them go through what they did. But we’re now basically starting over. I’m still learning to get to know them better as young men, as well as what they can do on a football field.”
It means that Marck has done a lot of teaching once again in the preseason.
“Last year, we got together in June and we had 11 players who knew where to go,” Marck said. “We don’t have that now. We’re spending a lot of time mixing and matching. It’s still a little difficult, but I love the teaching aspect. I love working on the fundamentals. When you see a 14-or-15-year-old kid’s eyes fly wide open because they finally get something, it’s a thrill.”
If there’s one position that Marck doesn’t have to worry about, it’s quarterback, where junior A.J. Nocciolo (6-3, 220) returns. Nocciolo is a proven commodity, having been calling the shots for the last two years and doing it well. He’s a big-time player.
“He’s a proven winner and we expect so much from him, in terms of leadership more than anything else,” Marck said. “When A.J. walks into a room, he has that persona that commands attention and respect. You know he’s there. He’s the complete physical package.”
Nocciolo has all the potential to be the best North Arlington quarterback since Eddie Campbell left for UMass in 1996.
“Eddie was a great player and A.J. has a chance to be a great player,” Marck said. “We’re expecting that.”
Nocciolo will also play linebacker this season.
“When you lost 20 seniors, you have to play everyone,” Marck said. “I’m expecting big things from A.J. at linebacker as well. He’s the whole package.”
The fullback will be senior Jonathan Bueno (5-10, 215), a transfer from Queen of Peace, where he played as a freshman, but struggled through two injury-plagued years.
“He had two shoulder surgeries, but he’s back at it and looks great,” Marck said.
The halfback duties will be shared by juniors Dennis Song (5-11, 170) and Jeremy Melendez (5-8, 160). Neither saw much varsity time last season.
The wide receivers are senior Travis Orovio (5-9, 155), who could very well be the most athletic member of the team, along with senior Mike Clifford (6-0, 170) and junior Anthony Paparelli (5-8, 160).
The tight end is sophomore Nick Martin (6-1, 215), whose brother Glenn was a standout center for the Vikings a few years ago.
“He’s a pass catching machine,” Marck said of Martin. “He doesn’t drop a ball. He has a lot of potential.”
The tackles are senior Ian Cameon (5-10, 210) and junior Mike Baloga (5-9, 175). Junior Brandon Navarro (5-10, 190) and a pair of sophomores in DeShawn Wright (6-0, 230) and Anthony Muriale (5-10, 180) are sharing the guard duties. Senior Jesse Groom (6-0, 280) is the lone returning starter up front at center.
“Jesse is a three-year starter and I expect big things from him anchoring the line,” Marck said.
The Vikings will use a 4-3 defensive set, with Baloga and Bueno at defensive end and Groom and sophomore Gerry Galvan (6-0, 240) at defensive tackle.
Martin, Nocciolo and senior Joe Ford (5-9, 170) comprise a promising linebacker corps, while Papparelli and Clifford are at cornerback and Orovio and sophomore Kenny Kuzmuc (5-8, 160) are at safety.
The Vikings open their season Sept. 9 against Lyndhurst, a team that is hell bent on revenge after last year’s 32-15 North Arlington victory.
“We know that they’ve been waiting for us,” Marck said of Lyndhurst. “That’s Group I football. They’re in the same position this year that we were in last year.”
Marck can’t predict what lies ahead. He doesn’t have a home field right now. It’s not known when he will.
“It’s a little difficult right now,” Marck said. “We have to see what happens with this team. It all depends on how fast we grow up. Hopefully, we’re still playing for something four or five weeks into the season.”
Lyndhurst ready to make statement with veteran grid squad
By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer Scott Rubinetti knew that his Lyndhurst High School football team was much better than the 4-6 record the Golden Bears produced a year ago.
“We had a chance to be at least 6-4,” said Rubinetti, who is in his third season as the
head coach at his alma mater. “We were a much better team at the end of the year. The kids bought into everything we had to say and knew that they were building for the future.”
Rubinetti watched 10 seniors from last year’s team graduate last June.
“When a Group I program loses 10 seniors, you would think it would be devastating,”
Rubinetti said. “We had every one of those seniors in the mix last year. But we were also able to get most of our returning kids a chance to play and I think that’s really paid big dividends now. Just the little details are easier when kids understand what you’re doing and why.”
Rubinetti is fortunate to have junior quarterback Danny Kesack (6-2, 195) returning. The talented Kusack learned on the fly a year ago as the Golden Bears’ starting signal caller and worked on getting better in the off-season with a very famous tutor, namely former Giants Super Bowl MVP and current CBS broadcaster Phil Simms.
“I knew Phil from my days of coaching at Ramapo, where I coached his son (Chris),” Rubinetti said. “I called Phil and told him that we had a special quarterback. So Danny spent the whole offseason working with Phil three days a week. Phil was gracious to give of his time to work with Danny and they worked on all the passing routes together, the deep ball, the out route. Danny became more disciplined with his game.
It was really a blessing, because he’s now very sharp.”
The Golden Bears return all of their starters in the backfield as well, in senior Danny
Nahra (5-11, 195), who has fully recovered from knee surgery last year, senior Marc Carrier (5-9, 170), who emerged out of nowhere last year to become a go-to back, and junior Bobby DeMarco (5-10, 180), who is a product of the famed DeMarco football family in Lyndhurst.
“We’re lucky to have good depth in the backfield,” Rubinetti said. “It’s turned out that
we now have three very good running backs.”
Rubinetti said that he’s devised plays to have all three in the backfield at the same time.
“They can also rotate and it’s good that they can also catch the ball,” Rubinetti said.
The fullback is sophomore Ian Cairns (5-7, 180), whom Rubinetti described as a “tough kid.”
The wide receiver duties are being shared by seniors Jeremy Schaefer (6-0, 170) and Bes Hoti (6-2, 190) and junior Kyle Pollio (6-1, 175), the basketball standout who came out for football for the first time this season.
Senior Thomas Hayes (6-2,210) returns to his starting position at tight end.
The offensive line features four returning starters in senior tackles Joe Catena (6-0, 240) and Mike Martin (6-3, 250), junior guard Nick Galvez (6-0, 260) and senior center Juma Saleh (5-11, 215). The only newcomer to the mix is junior guard Nick Coviello (6-2, 295).
“We’re really happy with the experience we have in our line,” Rubinetti said. “We have
good skilled people back, but we’re really happy to have the line back. The backs have
the speed, but the linemen create the space.”
Defensively, many of the same personnel turn around and go after the football.
Hayes is a standout at defensive end and he’s joined by junior Dominic Rega (6-4,
245). Galvez, who was a defensive dynamo last year, is back at defensive tackle, joined by senior Mike Cuccareese (6-0, 280).
Catena, Cairnsm, Nahra and DeMarco are all linebackers, with Hoti and senior Sebastian Perez (5-8, 160) at cornerback.
Carrier, who was a cornerback last year, has been moved to safety this season, joined by junior Marcus Brandon (6-1, 180).
Needless to say, the hopes are very high in the land of the Golden Bears. The hopes are
so high that Lyndhurst could actually be shooting for an NJSIAA state playoff appearance, the program’s first since 1997.
“There is no room for error if we want to play in the state playoffs,” Rubinetti said. “We know our league (the NJIL Meadowlands A Division) is very tough with teams like Becton, North Arlington and Secaucus. We have to fight for our wins. But I think
we’re in the hunt for the playoffs. We have to play better down the stretch of games and we know that. But the chance is there. We’re going to be so much better this year and we’re setting our goals for the state playoffs.”
The Golden Bears open their 2011 season with a trip to North Arlington to face the
neighboring Vikings on Friday night, Sept. 9. The Vikings won last year’s showdown,
32-15. Chances are that the Golden Bears don’t exactly forget that setback.
By Randy Neumann
The recent economic turmoil has forced many of our favorite charities to cut back on the valuable services they provide.
In many cases, they receive subsidies from the state or federal government and, if you
don’t live under a rock, you know what’s happening there. Simply stated, they need our help. Now!
Fortunately, private donations can make up the difference. Donors are coming to
the rescue of these organizations with life income gifts and gifts of life insurance – financial moves that have perks for the giver as well as the receiver.
Let’s begin with gift annuities. A life income gift, also known as a gift annuity, offers
the charitable donor some substantial benefits. A gift annuity is a simple agreement with a charitable organization by which you make an irrevocable gift of cash, appreciated securities or real estate. In return, you and/or one other person you select receive a fixed annual income the charitable organization is obligated to pay you.
Usually, some of this income is tax-free. If you make a cash gift, part of the fixed income payments will be taxed as ordinary income and the remainder will be untaxed. If you contribute securities or real estate you have owned for a year or more, percentages of the income you receive may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains, while some of it may not be taxed.
You may also claim an income tax deduction in the year you establish the gift annuity, and if you fund your gift with an appreciated asset, you may eliminate a portion of
your capital gains tax.
As a gift annuity can be immediate or deferred (i.e., income payments to you can
start this year or in a future year), you have potential for enhanced annual income later in life if it is funded today with low-yielding assets.
Life insurance is another way of gifting to a charity. Many people have insurance
policies that they took out in the past for which there is no longer a need. A gift of life insurance will be welcomed by a charity, as it is self-completing – the funding objective linked to the gift is fulfilled when the donor passes away.
If you make yearly planned gifts to a non-profit, you can assign a percentage of your
annual donation to a life insurance policy, therefore guaranteeing the perpetuation of
Actually, life insurance gifts can be given in several different ways. Here are just a few
of the options:
You can gift a life insurance policy you now own to a charity. You can donate a new policy you buy, or have the charitable organization purchase a policy on your life and pay the annual premiums. You may claim an income tax deduction in the year you do
You can name a charity as the primary beneficiary of your policy. While that move
won’t bring you an income tax deduction this year, it will bring you a federal estate tax deduction for the full amount of the proceeds payable to the 501(c) (3) – the IRS’ name for a charitable organization.
You can assign policy dividends to a charity. This creates a deduction as dividends
are paid. You can also amplify the magnitude of your contribution: The dividends can be used to purchase a new policy, with the charity as irrevocable owner and beneficiary.
Have you accumulated a great deal of assets in a deferred compensation plan or a supplemental retirement plan (SERP)? If so, you face the chance that your heirs might
receive only about a quarter of that wealth after income and estate taxes. Some executives and business owners in this situation have exchanged a SERP, or deferred comp plan for a split-dollar life insurance policy, which allows them legally to avoid the above mentioned income and estate taxes while directing substantial wealth to charities. (Split dollar means that there are multiple beneficiaries).
There are four things to remember with life insurance gifts:
1) If you want to receive an income tax deduction in the year you make the gift, the
gift has to be irrevocable – you must surrender ownership of the policy.
2) If you make an irrevocable life insurance gift within three years of your death, the amount of the gift will be included in your gross estate.
3) There is a ceiling on the annual charitable deduction you can take. It is 30% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for gifts to private nonprofit organizations and 50% if the non-profit is a public organization.
4) Remember, you can carry excess deductions on charitable gifts forward for up to five tax years.
With summer and fall being ideal times to revisit your tax strategy, you might want to
look into these useful ways of gifting to your favorite charity(ies).
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, 115, Paramus, 201-291-9000.
Aldona Bagniewski, “Mitzie” (nee Mileskay) of Harrison, beloved wife of the late Edward, entered into eternal rest on Tuesday, Aug. 23, surrounded by her loving family.
Arrangements were by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Our Lady Of Czestochowa Church, Harrison. Interment was at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington.
For information, directions or to send condolences please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org.
Born in Forest City, Pa., Aldona resided in Harrison for over 60 years.
Aldona was a Navy veteran of World War II and upon her discharge in 1946 began a career with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Newark, retiring in 1982. She was a member of Holy Cross Seniors, Harrison Seniors, East Newark Seniors, Our Lady Of Czestochowa Rosary Altar Society, American Legion Albert Ettlin Post 36 East Newark and Knights of Columbus Women’s Auxiliary.
She is survived by her devoted children Ed and his wife Christine and Mary Ann Gibki and her husband Stephen; her cherished grandchildren Kari, Mark, Stephanie and Stephen; also survived by her devoted sisters Ceil Barechio, Veronica Kuchinsky and Marion Sellitto and aunt to many nieces, nephews and their families. She was predeceased by her brother Joseph Miles and sister Jeanne Shalna.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Legion in care of the funeral home in memory of “Mitzie.”
Thomas Bellmer died on April 15, 2011, at home. He was 67.
Born in Germany, he lived in Kearny for many years. He was a retired machinist.
Private cremation and service conducted through the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, Kearny.
Elsie Gogal (Cisco), 85, passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 17, in the Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville.
Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. Interment was at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.
Elsie was born in Newark and had lived in Kearny for the past 62 years.
Elsie was survived by her husband Frank; one daughter Susan DiIorio (Rich); one son Frank Gogal Jr.; her siblings Alexander Cisco and Lillian Duffy and two grandchildren Alexandra and Jonathan DiIorio.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142 Memphis, TN 38148-0142 or at www.stjude.org/donate.
Vitorino P. Luis
Vitorino P. Luis, 68, died at home on Aug. 23.
Born in Sao Domingos, Portugal, Vitorino immigrated to Kearny 47 years ago. He was a machinist for the Wilson Corporation in South Plainfield for 35 years, retiring two years ago.
He is survived by his loving wife Aurora (nee Dos Santos), and cherished siblings Andre, Maria Herminia, Lurdes, and Jose Luis.
Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. Interment will take place in Bunheiro, Murtosa, Portugal.
Mr. Hugh Durning, 78, passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 24, in the Hospice Unit at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Arrangements were by the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral liturgy was offered in St. Cecilia Church, Kearny. Cremation was private. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.thiele-reid.com.
Mr. Durning was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He immigrated to this country and settled in Kearny in 1968. While in Scotland, he served in the British Royal Air Force as an air mechanic.
Hugh was a sheet metal worker for Bonland Industries in Wayne for many years. He retired 16 years ago. As an avid outdoorsman, he loved hunting, fishing and cycling. Hugh was an avid Glasgow Celtic Supporter.
He leaves behind his children Ann Marie Durning, Kim Carey (Steve), Andrew Durning (Michelle), Paul Durning (Theresa), Gerry Durning and Julia Durning; siblings, Catherine Duffy, Annie McGowan, Margaret Alessi, James Durning and grandchildren Paul, Christopher, Stephanie, Laura, Stephen, Noah, Liam and Elizabeth.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Parkinson Foundation or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Grace Marie Pannullo (nee Pelleck-Garrubbo)
Grace Pannullo, of Belleville, died at home on Aug. 27 with her loving family at her side.
Grace was born in Parsippany on June 14, 1940, and was raised in Nutley. She is predeceased by her beloved daughter, Denise Marie Shon of Harrison.
Grace is survived by her adoring husband Angelo Pannullo; Lisa Shon Felise and her husband Greg; Victoria Shon and Christopher Lowther, Debra McCarthy and her husband Brian; Joseph and Neal Pannullo and his fiancé Sonia Sousa, her grandchildren Dana and Lauren Kelly; Brian Jr. and Nicole McCarthy; Michayla Pannullo and Connor Lowther; also survived by her sister Gloria Hinke and her niece Mary Devris and her husband Yanni and many dear family and friends.
Arrangements were by Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral service was held at the funeral home, followed by a private cremation. For information, directions or to send condolences, please visit mulliganfuneralhome.org. In lieu of flowers, please make donations c/o the funeral home in memory of Grace.