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Relief for commuters

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

Convicted in mortgage swindle

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

Walmart is keeping cops busy

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

2011 layoffs affirmed

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

Go pink at St. Michael’s

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




To the Editor: As was recently reported in The Observer, a pedestrian was struck and killed at the intersection of Passaic Ave. and Belleville Turnpike in North Arlington. Earlier this morning (Saturday, May 16), I witnessed a second near-miss accident involving a pedestrian at this same location.

A group representing a North Arlington sports league was panhandling at the intersection. The intersection was extremely congested, and a young girl darted between traffic to donate to one of the individuals collecting. This girl was nearly hit by a car. Traffic at this intersection is bad enough on weekends; I am not sure why the municipality allows these panhandlers during these weekend periods, which only exacerbate the traffic conditions and in consideration of the recent fatality.

I call on the Borough of North Arlington to prohibit the practice of street collections at this location.

Dan McNamara 



Read more »

From Kearny to Hollywood: How Thomas Schnauz made it big on the small screen


By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent

If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad” — and let’s face it, you really should be — you’ve probably seen his name in the opening credits countless times. He’s a producer and writer for the series that in just a few short seasons, became one of the most popular TV shows in American history — and one of the most watched ever on cable TV.

His name is Thomas Schnauz, and until he was age 10, he called Kearny home. In the time since he lived here — Ann and Drew Taylor are his aunt and uncle and still live in Kearny — he’s gone on to be one of the most prolific TV writers of a generation. And yet, he still fondly recalls, to this day, many great memories of growing up in West Hudson.

“I spent a lot of time in Kearny when I was younger. I was born there and grew up on Highland Ave., and went to school through the fourth grade at Garfield Elementary,” Schnauz told The Observer exclusively. “Even after my mom, dad, sister and I moved to South Jersey when I was 10, I’d come back at Christmas and the summer to visit grandparents and friends. I don’t get back as much as I’d like (now). When my grandmother, Dorothy Yobs, moved down to South Jersey, that’s when my visits started to tail off. When I can take a detour between South Jersey and New York City, I try to get fish and chips on Kearny Ave.” Read more »

KPD blotter: Station robbery, MV thefts


Kearny police are working with their counterparts in Belleville to apprehend a man who assaulted and robbed an attendant at the Jersey Oil gas station on Passaic Ave.

KPD Officers Angelo Palagano and Tim Castle responded to the station at 10:30 p.m., May 18, and found the attendant bleeding profusely from a head wound. Gathering information from the victim and a witness, they learned that a white car occupied by two individuals had been serviced at the pumps and, as the attendant was in the process of giving the driver change, the passenger exited the vehicle, struck the attendant several times in the head with a metal object and demanded money. After the victim turned over $70 to $80 in cash, the car fled north on Passaic, Chief John Dowie said.

The KPD sent out an alert on the State Police Emergency Network, and a Belleville PD unit arrived at the crime scene to report that a similar vehicle was involved in a May 14 gas station robbery in that town.

Kearny Dets. Scott Traynor and John Telle are working on the case with Belleville investigators.

The injured attendant was treated by the Kearny EMS. Read more »

For nearly 95 years, Bogle Agency Insurance has been there for the community


By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent


These days, when a new business opens up — it really doesn’t matter what kind of business it is — the chances of seeing it still open a year later are slim. And yet there’s one local business that has bucked that trend for almost a century — and for nearly 95 years, it has served Lyndhurst and surrounding towns in ways few others have been able to.

Bogle Agency Insurance first opened its doors in 1919, under the direction of Horace R. Bogle. And now, four generations later. it continues to offer top-notch insurance services — but in ways modern insurance companies simply can’t.

Erica Patrk, the office manager of Bogle’s Lyndhurst office, says it’s the human contact — and one-on-one service — that sets Bogle apart from the others. Read more »

Around Town


Belleville Irish American Association sponsors a trip to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston and Mohegan Sun Casino, June 2-6. Cost is $485. For an itinerary or more information, call Pat at 973-751-5308 or email patn139@aol.com.

East Newark 

East Newark Health and Social Services Day is set for May 29, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Senior Center, 37 President St. Staff from the North Hudson Community Action health van will do screenings and outline benefit programs.

West Hudson Brave Women Fighting Breast Cancer meets the last Friday of every month from 7 to 9 p.m. at the East Newark Senior Center, 37 President St. The group provides an atmosphere of warmth and comfort for patients and family. For more information, call Emma at 201-998-6828, Rosa at 201-246-7750, Fatima at 973-485-4236 or email emidura2yahoo.com.


Centro Romeu Cascaes announces the following events for Portugal Day:

• Saturday, May 31 – Festival at Washington Middle School Playground, Harrison Ave. and Patterson St., noon to 11 p.m., with Zumba at 6 p.m., Michael Jackson tribute at 7 p.m. and performance by “Os Rouxinois” Casa do Minho Dance Group at 8 p.m.

• Sunday June 1 – Mass at Holy Cross Church at 9 a.m.; flag raising at Town Hall featuring a performance by “Rancho Infantil Camponeses do Minho” Children’s Dance Group at 10 a.m.; Breakfast reception at Centro Romeu Cascaes, 308 William St., featuring an exhibit of works by Harrison Portuguese language school students at 10:30 a.m.; festival at Washington Middle School playground, noon to 7 p.m., featuring a performance by “Camponeses do Minho” dance group at 5 p.m.


The Presbyterian Boys- Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., hosts a Tricky Tray Saturday, May 31. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $15, which includes a sheet of prize tickets and dessert. Buy tickets in advance. For tickets, call Vanessa Vieira at 201-335-8336 or Tom Fraser at 201-991-6734 or email v_ vieira28@yahoo.com.

New Jersey Blood Services will conduct a blood drive at Domingo’s Bakery, 160 Passaic Ave., June 4, 2 to 8 p.m. St. Stephen’s Church, 676 Kearny Ave., hosts a tour of the church June 1, 1:30 to 4 p.m., to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the completion of the church building. Register by calling the rectory office at 201-998- 3314.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., will hold a painting party with art teacher Desiree Mills Friday, May 30, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Participants will go home with their own acrylic painting on a 16- by 20-inch canvas. This class is open to ages 14 and up. A $5 registration fee helps cover the cost of paints and canvases. Class size is limited. Call the library at 201-998-2666 to reserve a slot.

The Salvation Army, 443 Chestnut St., offers computer classes in the following areas: basic computer skills (mouse, keyboard, Internet), email and Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel and Powerpoint). Classes are Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The class fee is $30 per 12 hours of instruction.

Contact Pete at 201-889- 1352 for more information.


The N.J. Meadowlands Commission hosts the First- Sunday-of-the-Month Bird Walk and gallery reception Sunday, June 1, at 10 a.m. The walk starts outside the Meadowlands Environment Center. This free, twohour guided nature walk in DeKorte Park is run by the NJMC and the Bergen County Audubon Society. After the walk, there will be a noon reception in the park’s Meadowlands Environment Center for the Flyway Gallery show, “The Nature of the Meadowlands,” featuring artwork photography and archival images from the coffee-table book of the same name.

Check meadowblog.net for last-minute weather updates. Guests are asked to sign a standard liability release good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year. To R.S.V.P., contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4aol.com or call 201-230-4983.

Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., hosts:

• A blood screening Friday, June 6. Appointments begin at 8 a.m. Staff will screen for chemistry profile, cholesterol level, blood count, and thyroid level. This service is available to Lyndhurst residents ages 18 and older for a $20 fee. To pre-register for an appointment, call the Health Department at 201-804-2500. Payments can be submitted in cash or checks made payable to Medical Laboratory Diagnostics.

• Senior forum Friday, May 30, at 10 a.m., in cooperation with Clara Maass Medical Center, Senior Helpers, and Park Financial Group. Guests receive a free breakfast. Experts will discuss aging with dignity, financial and estate planning, and osteoporosis. Call the Health Department to reserve a seat. Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., offers the following children’s activities for which registration is required:

• Father’s Day Craft, for pre-k to grade 3, Thursday, June 12, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

• Summer Mobile Craft, for grades 1 to 4, Wednesday, June 18, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

• Summer Reading Registration, for pre-K to grade 6, for “Fizz, Boom, Read,” the library’s summer reading program. Registration concludes June 14. Activities may include science experiments, robot building, Grossology fun, nature explorations, plus programs, prizes drawing, contests, and more. For more information, call the library at 201-804-2480, ext. 3, or visit http://www. lyndhurstlibrary.org/.

North Arlington

The Angry Coffee Bean, 80 Ridge Road, hosts these upcoming events:

• An art show for Kearny’s Schuyler School is set for Thursday, May 29, 5 to 7:30 p.m., to benefit the Schuyler Art Club.

• Greyhound Angels, an organization dedicated to the placement of retired racing greyhounds into loving adoptive forever homes, will conduct a “meet and greet” Saturday, May 31, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information on these events, call 201-772- 5554.

Join the North Arlington Library, 210 Ridge Rd., for these events:

• Jazz at the Angry Coffee Bean: Visit the Angry Coffee Bean, 89 Ridge Road, Thursday, June 12, at 6 p.m., to learn about Newark and the importance of jazz to the city’s culture.

• Registration is open for the Summer Reading kick-off event. Youth Stages will present a play shop for ages 3 to 9, Wednesday, June 25, at 4 p.m. To register, call 201-955- 5640, ext. 126.

Arlington Youth Center, 1 Legion Place, (behind Borough Hall) conducts registration for its 2014 summer program through Wednesday, June 11. Sign up Monday to Friday, 2 to 5 p.m. This seven-week program is for borough residents only between ages 5 and 10, costs $40 per week and runs Monday to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Fridays, 9 to 11:30 a.m. Space is limited and registrants can pick and choose their weeks of enrollment. For more information, call 201-997-7709.

American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37 meets Monday, June 2, at 8 p.m., at NAFD Engine Co. 2, 550 Schuyler Ave. All veterans are invited.

North Arlington Fire Department Eagle Truck Co. 3 Ladies Auxiliary is hosting an art auction fundraiser on Saturday, June 7, at 7 p.m. at Eagle Truck Co. 3 Legion Pl. The event features art in all media and price ranges, door prize, wine & cheese, light hors d’oeuvres, dessert & coffee. Admission is $15 per person/$25 per couple. For tickets or information, contact Kelly King at 201- 889-9052.


Nutley Recreation Department is accepting applications through June 30 for the 2014 Recreation Cheerleading Program at the Recreation Department, 44 Park Ave. Or, register online at www.Nutleynj.org. This program is open to Nutley youngsters who will be in grades 3 through 8 as of September. The fee is $35. For more information, call 973-284-4966 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Nutley’s 49th annual Recreation Golf Tournament — including golfing, lunch, dinner and prizes — will be Monday, June 23, at Hendrick’s Field Golf Course in Belleville. Shotgun start is at 1 p.m. The fee is $125 per player. Participants will have dinner, which costs $65, after golf at The Chandelier. For more information, or to sponsor a hole, contact Frank DeMaio at 973-284- 4900, ext. 2512, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The Women’s Auxiliary of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 120 Prospect St., sponsors a craft clearance and rummage sale Saturday, May 31, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the parish hall (lower level of church). The sale will include handmade crafts, household items, accessories and more. Rain will not cancel the sale.

Belleville’s volleyball team advances to NJSIAA state sectional semifinals




By Jim Hague

 Observer Sports Writer 

John Spina knew that his Belleville High School boys’ volleyball team would be very competitive this season.

Spina just didn’t know how competitive.

The Buccaneers advanced to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group IV semifinals last Thursday with a straight set 25- 16, 25-16 victory over Lakeland Regional.

The Buccaneers, now 21-6, will face Wayne Valley in the semifinals Wednesday afternoon.

Needless to say, it’s been a fun run for the Buccaneers.

“I expected that we would have a good team,” said Spina, who doubles as the girls’ volleyball coach at Belleville in the fall. “But we did have to fill two big spots from last year.”

One of those spots came when junior Edward Edghill moved from outside hitter to middle hitter. Spina was taking a little bit of a gamble, putting Edghill inside, but it turned out to be a blessing.

“Edghill is a very versatile player,” Spina said of Edghill, who has collected 59 kills and 40 blocks this season. “He’s made us very hard to stop.” The other move was to find a temporary replacement for junior Marlon Rodriguez, who was suffering from a handful of injuries. Rodriguez is also a fine soccer player at the school.

So Spina looked to junior Raymond Cortez to replace Rodriguez.

“He’s our jack of all trades,” Spina said of Cortez. “His main position was defensive specialist, but we moved him to outside hitter.”

The two moves turned out to solidify the Buccaneers, as did the healthy return of Rodriguez, who has 80 kills, 102 digs and 65 service points, albeit in limited duty.

Junior Ammar Rahim is the team’s setter.

“He’s probably our most underrated kid,” Spina said. “He has springs in his legs. He can really stuff the ball.”

To go along with his incredible 555 assists and 33 kills, Rahim also has 30 blocks, 99 service points and 19 service aces.

“In the past, I used to have to call every play,” Spina said. “This year, Ammar runs it all by himself. He makes the calls. He also spreads the ball around and keeps everyone happy. I would rank him right up there with the best setters in the state.”

Senior Brandon Ojeda is one of the Bucs’ top reserves.

“We bring him in off the bench, because he does whatever we need him to do,” Spina said. “He was playing defensive specialist for us, but we moved him up. If Brandon was on another team, he would probably start. He’s that talented.”

Cortez earns the distinction of being “the most improved player,” according to Spina.

“He’s become so much of a better player.” Spina said. “He’s such a positive influence on the floor.”

Cortez has accrued 131 digs for the season, along with 126 service points and 19 service aces.

Junior Douglas Fonseca is another rapidly improving player.

“He’s improved dramatically,” Spina said. “We brought him in as a blocker, but now he’s hitting the ball hard, so we use him as a hitter. He’s progressed very nicely and I like what he brings to the table.”

Fonseca has 14 blocks, 23 kills and 54 service points this season.

The key to the Buccaneers’ success is junior outside hitter P.J. Gencarelli, who plays every single position on the floor.

“In my opinion, I think he’s the best hitter in the state,” Spina said. “His vertical leap has improved and he hits from any place on the court. He blocks just as good as anyone and he’s a force at the net. His jump serve is the best I’ve ever seen. It’s unstoppable.”

Gencarelli has 319 kills and eclipsed the 500 kill mark for his career earlier this year. He has 139 digs, 137 service points and 63 service aces. He also has 29 blocks.

“He really does it all,” Spina said.

Senior Edward Peralta is the team’s middle blocker. He has 83 blocks on the season, as well as 112 kills and 104 service points.

“He’s a very hard worker,” Spina said of Peralta.

Kevin Vicente is the team’s libero. He has been playing competitive volleyball for only two seasons.

“He is the guy who sets the pace for us,” Spina said of Vicente, who has 224 digs.

The Buccaneers have their sights on another upset in the state tournament. A year ago, the Bucs upset Wayne Valley. Now, they get to see Wayne Valley again.

“It will be a battle,” Spina said. “We scrimmaged them early in the season. We hope to go in and upset them again.”

Nothing will deter the Buccaneers if their work ethic is any indication. A state sectional championship is now just two wins away.

QP’s Negroni heads to state sectionals on high note




By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

Natalie Negroni has established herself as one of the most diversified track and field athletes in the area.

The Queen of Peace junior competes in four events – the high jump, the 200-meter dash, the 100-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles.

Two weeks ago, at the Bergen County Division D championships, Negroni won the 400-meter hurdles, finished second in the 100-meter hurdles, placed third in the high jump and seventh in the 200-meter dash.

A week later, Negroni was sixth at the Bergen County Meet of Champions in the 400-meter hurdles and 12th in the 100-meter hurdles.

“I’ve been trying to focus more on the high jump,” said Negroni, a resident of Kearny. “I think I’m getting there with the 200. I love track more than anything. I’ve played soccer since I was a little girl, but once I did track, I fell in love with it.”

Queen of Peace head track and field coach Ron Mazzolla has been around the block a few times, having spent nearly 20 years as the coach at North Arlington.

Mazzolla cannot stop singing the praises of Negroni.

“She really is a pleasure to work with,” Mazzolla said. “I made her a captain this year and she’s really embraced this leadership role. I might be late getting to the school, but all I have to do is call her to get things set up. She’s out there setting up the hurdles. She gets everyone together so when I get there, everyone’s ready to go. She’s just a pleasure to coach and be with.”

Mazzolla believes that Negroni is just scratching the surface of her ability.

“The key to her success, other than staying healthy, is to work a little more with her upper body,” Mazzolla said. “She needs to get just a little physically stronger. We’re working on her technique and her times, but I really think next year, she’s going to be at the top of her game. I think she has the potential to be either No.1 or No. 2 in Bergen County in both (hurdles) events.”

Negroni said that she matured greatly between her sophomore and junior years.

“I take it real seri ously,” Negroni said. “I wanted to be a captain this year. I love the sport and I like having an organized team.”

So there’s no problem rounding up the rest of her teammates for practice?

“I’m just an organized person,” Negroni said. “Ever since I was younger, I was organized. I color organized everything. It’s just the way I am.”

Negroni knows that the hurdles races are her bread and butter.

“If I focus on the hurdles, I can still do other things,” Negroni said. “I enjoy doing all of them. It definitely helps me get ready for college.”

It’s not too soon for Negroni to prepare a little for college. After all, she is a junior. College will be here soon enough.

“I have been getting a lot of letters from colleges,” Negroni said.

More will certainly come if Negroni fares well at the NJSIAA Non-Public B North state sectionals in Toms River over the weekend.

“I’m trying not to think about it too much,” Negroni said of the state sectionals. “I just hope I can continue to do well. I think it’s all just working toward the goal, which is to be on top for my senior year.”

“When she’s running with the best, you can definitely see the improvement,” Mazzolla said. “I still think she needs to improve her body. That’s one of the major objectives we plan on working on. We’ll see next year how much we’ve been able to help her.”

Negroni’s teammate and fellow Kearny resident Kas Rozalski won the Bergen County Meet of Champions in the pole vault, having cleared 12-1 1/2., so she is an athlete to watch over the next two weeks.

But Negroni leads the way for the Golden Griffins, no question. With her versatility, she’s an inspiration for everyone involved in the Queen of Peace track and field program.

Nutley’s Mercadante belts 3-run homer, lifting Maroon Raiders to sectional semis


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer 

All Nico Mercadante wanted to do was make a name for himself.

But the versatile Nutley High School senior was having a tough time achieving that goal.

How tough?

Well, when the time came for Mercadante to receive his warm-up hoodie for the baseball team this spring, his last name was misspelled as “Mercandante.”

“I didn’t even notice it at first,” said Mercadante, who has played the outfield, third base and now first base over the last three years for the Maroon Raiders. “You don’t know how many times I’ve had my name misspelled over the years. I’ve almost become used to it.”

Nutley head baseball coach Bob Harbison has no problem spelling Mercadante’s last name – and putting that name in the Maroon Raiders’ lineup every game.

“I can always find a spot for him,” Harbison said. “He’s been a three-year starter for us. He started as an outfielder, but last year, we needed a third baseman, so we just put him there. This year, we needed a first baseman, so we moved him there. He’s become a very good first baseman and he also has the best arm on the team.”

Mercadante likes having the ability to play multiple positions on the field.

“I really love the game and I understand the different points of it,” Mercadante said. “I can play all over the place and I try to do that. I play for the New Jersey Athletics during the summer and I have played every position for that team. I’ve even played catcher. I love it. I love playing every position. It gives me a better look from the different positions.”

Mercadante is the quintessential team player.

“I want to do whatever it takes to help my team win,” Mercadante said.

Last Wednesday, the Maroon Raiders traveled to Governor Livingston in Berkeley Heights for the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group III quarterfinals. The Maroon Raiders faced a Governor Livingston squad that began the 2014 season ranked among the state’s top 20 teams and were seeded second in the state sectionals.

Mercadante was in the Nutley lineup, batting seventh and playing first base.

“To be honest, I was batting fourth or fifth in the beginning of the year, but I like the seven slot better,” Mercadante said. “It takes a lot of stress off me, because pitchers don’t expect anything coming out of the No. 7 hitter.”

Harbison does expect things from Mercadante.

“He’s very dangerous,” Harbison said. “When he puts his bat to the ball, generally good things happen.”

In Mercadante’s second at-bat, he struck out, but not without a fight.

“He must have fouled off seven pitches,” Harbison said. “It was a good at-bat. He was fighting it, facing a very good pitcher. Afterwards, I told Nico that it was a great at-bat and told him to keep his head up. He did a good job remaining positive.”

“The first two previous atbats, the pitcher was pitching me outside,” Mercadante said. “So the next time, I was set up looking outside. I fouled off one pitch, but then he went outside again and I caught one.”

With runners on first and second in the top of the sixth inning, Mercadante went with the outside pitch and belted it over the fence for a threerun homer, helping to give the Maroon Raiders the 6-2 upset victory and the right to advance to the state sectional semifinals this week against the winner of West Essex and Morristown.

It was clearly the biggest single hit that Nutley baseball has enjoyed in a few years.

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

Mercadante certainly felt good helping to contribute to such a huge victory.

“It felt amazing,” Mercadante said. “The ball came off the bat great and just kept going. I’m pretty proud of myself. I’m just glad to help out.”

Harbison was a little surprised with the way Mercadante’s drive carried.

“He hit the ball to right center and it was pretty deep, so we had the runners tagging up,” Harbison said. “But I could see that the centerfielder wasn’t going to make a play on it and it just left the park. He is a power hitter and a strong kid. It was a huge hit.”

Haribson said that Mercadante is more of a “streaky hitter.” Mercadante is batting .306 with two doubles, two triples and now two home runs – none better than the shot that lifted the Maroon Raiders to the sectional semifinals.

“We needed everyone against that good team,” Harbison said. “We needed our No. 7 hitter to come up big and he did.”

Harbison likes Mercadante’s approach to the game.

“He’s a good kid,” Harbison said. “He’s pretty quiet, but he works very hard. He’s serious about baseball and plays all the time. I’ll always find a spot for a kid like him, because he’s that dangerous. He has that kind of talent.”

But Mercadante knows his baseball career will be coming to an end shortly. He plans on attending William Paterson University, but will not play baseball there.

“I am going to try to get into their dental program,” Mercadante said. “I want to go to dental school and become a dentist, so I have to dedicate myself to my education and getting into a good dental school.”

So Mercadante made a name for himself before he moved on – and will be forever remembered in Nutley baseball folklore.

“It means a lot to me,” Mercadante said. “It’s been building up to this. In the beginning of the season, I was doing pretty well, but honestly, I got too comfortable and I went 0-for-3 in a couple of games. I just had to get my head on straight and focus. Maybe this home run will start me back up again.”

If it does, then Nico Mercadante picked the right time to make that name for himself, with or without the extra n in his last name.

W.H.A.T. closes season with ‘The Fantasticks’

A charming love story, magical illusions and memorable music will bring the West Hudson Arts and Theater Company’s 2013-14 season to a close with a production of the world’s longest-running Tony-award winning musical, “The Fantasticks,” with book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt.

In the cast are: Dennis Oliveria, Kylie Marie Gonzalez, Michael Antonelli, Geoffrey Waumans, Jonathan Brandao, Dann Pryce, Jay Blau and Nick Ardito.

Robert Strauch directs. Performances are Friday, June 6, 7:30 p.m., Saturday June 7, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 13, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 14, 7:30 p.m. at the W.H.A.T. Theater, 131 Midland Ave., Kearny. Tickets are $18 for general admission; $15 for seniors and students.

A special dinner and show performance, in conjunction with the Hudson County Community College Foundation to benefit of its West Hudson Scholarship Committee, will be held on June 11, at 7:30 p.m., at San Carlos Fine Catering, Lyndhurst. Tickets are $75 per person and includes hospitality hour with hors d’ oeuvres and entertainment (cash bar), four-course dinner and the show.

Tickets for all performances are available online at www.whatco.org or by calling 201-467- 8624. Tickets are also available at the Angry Coffee Bean Café, 89 Ridge Road, North Arlington. Some tickets will also be available at the theater 30 minutes before each performance (cash or check only).

A classic coming-of- age story, “The Fantasticks” features two meddling, matchmaking fathers who scheme to get their children together. Once the couple is united, the real drama begins. Featuring the timeless songs “Try to Remember” and “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” this is a celebration of love – first love, lost love, and ultimately, true love.

Inserra marks 60 years in business




Inserra Supermarkets recently marked its 60th anniversary by honoring 179 of its ShopRite associates who embody the family-owned company’s commitment to customer service, quality excellence and community. The honorees, who are employed at the Mahwah-based company’s 22 stores throughout New Jersey and New York, were recently recognized for their milestone anniversaries, ranging from five to 50 years of service.

Local honorees include:

• Kearny residents Nina  S. Allaire (15 years); and Lori A. Happel and Gary J. O’Rourke (both 10 years).

• Lyndhurst residents Jean  Garofolo (50 years); Julio Barrios, Kathleen Cella, Cira M. Elias, David J. Pawlikowski, Danny M. Vo dung (all 10 years); and Lisa R. Kostiner (5 years).

• North Arlington residents Thomas M. Panepinto and Vincente Saul Godo (both 10 years); and Jorge Andujar (5 years).

“Combined, our honored associates have logged 2,870 years of distinguished service on behalf of our customers and the community at large. Their role, from the stock rooms and the registers to working the floor, is invaluable to fulfilling our mission. We appreciate what they do each and every day and the lengths they go to in order to serve others and work as a team,” said Lawrence Inserra Jr., president and CEO. “These outstanding men and women have been – and continue to be – the foundation for our success.”

Established in 1954 by Patsy Inserra as a privately held business, Inserra Supermarkets remains true to its roots as a family-owned grocery chain committed to serving the communities in which its stores are located.

“I have been fortunate enough to work for Inserra Supermarkets for five decades – who can say that today?” said Jean Garafolo, who began working part-time at age 17 in the former Hasbrouck Heights store to pay off her car. Now a part-timer in the Lodi store, Garafolo said, “I really look forward to seeing my customers, many of whom I have gotten to know through the years. I’m not only happy to be a part of the Inserra family, I also feel like I am a part of my customers’ extended families too.”

Thanks to this sense of family and customer commitment, Inserra Supermarkets has been able to grow well beyond the company’s flagship Lyndhurst store without losing its personal touch. In 1980, under the entrepreneurial guidance of the late Lawrence Inserra Sr., the company expanded to eight stores and then, in 1981, to 14 stores. Today, the company owns and operates ShopRite supermarkets in Bayonne, Columbia Park, Emerson, Fair Lawn, Hackensack, Hillsdale, Hoboken, Jersey City, Lodi, Lyndhurst, New Milford, Northvale, Palisades Park, Passaic, Ramsey, Wayne and West Milford in New Jersey and in Rockland County, N.Y., in Garnerville, New City, Stony Point, Tallman and West Nyack.

As one of the region’s largest employers, Inserra Supermarkets provides full-and part-time positions to more than 4,000 employees who live throughout the bistate region. The company also is widely acknowledged as a good corporate citizen dedicated to making life better for local residents. One recent activity includes ShopRite Partners in Caring, which challenges employees to band together as part of National Hunger Action Month to raise awareness and funds to alleviate hunger in their local communities. The company also supports the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, based in Hillside, and Table to Table, the first food rescue program serving Northern New Jersey.