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Easing the way over

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent LYNDHURST – State officials are still pondering what to do about the century-old DeJessa Bridge which links Lyndhurst and Nutley across the Passaic River but, in the meantime, Bergen County has done its part to try and relieve congestion there. At the urging […]

Last chance to sound off on dog park

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent KEARNY –  The town is preparing to let the dogs out but first it wants the owners in. For a public meeting, that is, on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m., in the second floor Town Council chambers at Town Hall […]

Ice storm took its toll on local roads

By Karen Zautyk  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  By the time you read this, we all may be trapped inside by a blizzard — if the current weather forecasts are correct. But it doesn’t necessarily take heavy snow to create havoc. Sometimes, a coating of ice is sufficient. […]

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Bracing for funding shift

By Ron Leir  Observer Correspondent  KEARNY –  For the past 37 years, the Kearny nonprofit Pathways to Independence Inc. has helped those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live independently in their communities. Currently, from its 3-level, 18,000 square foot headquarters at Kingsland and Bergen Aves., it offers on-site […]

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A new ‘acquisition’

Tim Bixler, of The Bixler Group Real Estate and Insurance and his wife, Charissa Bixler, welcomed their daughter, Addison Paige Bixler, on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 1:20 p.m. Big brother Brayden is beyond excited. Only a few more years until […]

 
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Business Review: A century of taking care of people

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Photos courtesy Mark Wiggins Exterior and interior of Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home.

Photos courtesy Mark Wiggins
Exterior and interior of Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home.

 

By Anthony J. Machcinski

Observer Correspondent

The death of a loved one is never something easy for those left behind; however, the staff at Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home in Kearny take pride in being able to ease that pain as much as possible.

“The most rewarding part (of my job) is when I hear people come up and thank me for any of the little part that we’ve done,” said Mark Wiggins, the owner and manager of Armitage and Wiggins. “I couldn’t imagine, if I was in a bereaved state, me thanking people during that time. So when people come up and give me a hug or shake my hand and say thank you, I know I’ve done something positive for them.”

In its 100th year of service, Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home has provided comfort and care for generations of the area’s grieving families.

“I made a conscious decision to stay (in Kearny),” said Wiggins, who has been a part of the funeral home for 31 years. “I did that specifically because I need to be in touch with people’s everyday lives. When you’re bereaved, you need somebody who has a handle on who you are and what your family is like.”

Wiggins said the funeral home got its start at a storefront on Kearny Ave. next to Town Hall before moving to the corner of Liberty St. and Kearny Ave. In 1929, the funeral home relocated to 596 Belgrove Drive, where it remains today.

Wiggins got his start in the funeral home business while in high school, when he was asked to volunteer his time.

“I had a religion class where I had to volunteer time in a service-oriented business and my father suggested this,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins said that volunteering at the funeral home soon grew into a passion for the business.

“I stayed on and off in college and I evolved into staying with it when I saw what a special business it was,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins said that what makes the business special is the ability to help people out in a time of need.

“When you deal with a family that’s very emotionally sad … you realize how you can really touch somebody and help them when not many people can help at that time,” Wiggins said. “When they walk away and say, ‘this was much nicer than I expected,’ you know you left them on a positive note.”

Wiggins said that the funeral home takes the family through the entire process, from preparing the body to organizing the funeral.

“An important part of our job is to recreate that person’s image in a very lifelike and natural state, which gives people a great amount of comfort,” Wiggins said. “It’s calming for them to see their loved one looking peaceful and calm.”

Wiggins said the hardest part of his job is balancing the line between being sympathetic to the family while remaining detached.

“I know so many of the families that it becomes difficult not to become attached,” Wiggins said. “You have to stay separate but compassionate at the same time.”

Wiggins said that the funeral home business is a “24-7” business.

“There’s no such thing as a holiday or a weekend,” Wiggins said. “If they need you, that’s when they need you. I’m very hands-on. When you call (the funeral home) you get me.”

Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home is located at 596 Belgrove Drive. The home can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 201-991-0657. For additional information, visit the funeral home’s website at www.armitagewiggins.com.

Then & Now

Photo courtesy George Rogers Collection

Photo courtesy George Rogers Collection

 

Photo by Karen Zautyk

Photo by Karen Zautyk

 

 

Here, on the left, is another one of those delightful local-scene postcards from the early 20th century, this one postmarked 1914 and showing St. Cecilia’s Grammar School at Chestnut and Hoyt Sts., Kearny.

Unfortunately, they cannot be seen clearly in the reproduction, but standing on the corner are three adorable children, two little boys in Buster Brown suits and a girl wearing a white, ruffled dress and picture hat — clothing that was standard daily garb for youngsters back then.

Regarding the school, it was built in 1908 and offered Catholic education to Kearny youngsters through Grade 8 until it was closed a decade or so ago.

The brick structure housed 15 classrooms. We don›t know what was originally behind that front door, but by the 1960s, it opened into a gymnasium/assembly hall/theater/basketball court (talk about mutli-tasking) that served the adjacent high school, which was constructed in 1920. In the basement was the cafeteria.

In case you›re interested, the school building is (or was) available for lease. You can fi nd a listing/description on the webpage of the Archdiocese of Newark’s Office of Property Management at www.rcan.org. It’s not dated, though, so we don’t know the current real estate status.

– Karen Zautyk

Around Town

Bloomfield

St. Valentine Church, 125 N. Spring St., offers a Spanish Mass on Sunday, April 6, at 3 p.m. Starting in May, Spanish Mass will be offered the second Saturday of each month at 3 p.m. The church offers an evening of reflection and Stations of the Cross in Spanish on Friday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Belleville

Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., offers the following children’s programs:

• Teddy Bear Tea Party – Registration is open April 1-28. The event is set for Saturday, May 3, at 2 p.m.

• Story Time and Craft – Saturdays: March 29, April 12 and May 17, all at 11 a.m.

East Newark

West Hudson Brave Women Fighting Breast Cancer meets on 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 201-246-7750, Fatima 973-485-4236 or email emidura2@yahoo.com.

Harrison

Registration closes March 28 for Harrison Recreation TBall, Minor and Little League at the Community Center, 401 Warren St. Ages: T-Ball, 5 to 6; Minors, 7 to 8; and Little League, 9 to 12 (cannot turn 13 before May 1). For more information, contact the center at 973-268-2469.

The Harrison High School Drama Club will be performing “Sweeney Todd” on April 3 to 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the school auditorium, 800 Hamilton St. Admission is $10 for Adults and $5 for students, children and seniors.

Kearny

A pancake breakfast fundraiser to benefit the American Diabetes Association will be held at Applebees, 175 Passaic Ave., on Sunday, April 6, from 8 to 10 a.m. Admission for adults is $10 and $5 for children age 2 to 9. Door prizes will be included. For tickets, contact Janice at 201-362-2958 or by email at shnanny@aol.com.

Kearny High School’s annual Project Graduation Volleyball Tournament will be Friday, April 25 in the school’s gymnasium, 336 Devon St. Contact Melissa Dyl for information at 201-978-8257.

Tickets are being sold for Project Graduation’s 50/50 raffle, scheduled for Friday, June 20, following graduation ceremonies. The winner need not be present. Tickets are $10 each. To purchase or sell tickets, contact Sandy Hyde at 551-265-8969.

Project Graduation meets the last Thursday of each month in the school’s faculty lounge and next meets March 27 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact President Steve Dyl at 201-991-7467.

The Book Discussion Group at Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., meets on Wednesday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m. Copies of each book are available at the front desk while supplies last. For more information, call the library at 201-998-2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

The library is seeking local authors interested in doing book talks. Contact the library for more information.

Kearny High School PTA presents Rocking with Rod Stewart, a performance by Jay Gates, on April 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Irish American Club, 95 Kearny Ave. Cost is $25 with refreshments, cash bar and a small raffle. Call Denise at 201- 428-8572 for more information or to purchase tickets.

Ladies of the Irish presents “Murder Mystery” on March 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Irish American Club. Cost is $35 with refreshments and cash bar. Call Mary 201-450-5210 for more information or to purchase tickets.

The Woman’s Club of Arlington presents “Cherry Blossom Mystery Evening” with author Brad Parks on April 6, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Arlington Players Club, 12 Washington Pl. Proceeds benefit Family Promises and other charities. The event includes tea buffet, gift basket raffles and 50/50. Tickets are $25. Send checks to: Woman’s Club of Arlington, c/o Julie McCarthy, 25 Columbia Ave., Kearny, N.J. 07032.

Kearny UNICO announces:

• Membership meeting on Thursday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-24009.

• Fund-raising bus trip to the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City on Sunday, April 27, leaving from the parking lot of Kearny Federal Savings Bank at 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $30 per person and can be obtained by contacting Lou Pandolfi.

• Super 50-50 Raffle to be drawn of May 15. Tickets are $5 each or 3 tickets for $10. To purchase a ticket, contact any member of Kearny UNICO or Lou Pandolfi.

Lyndhurst

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst hosts a children’s Tricky Tray on Saturday, March 29, at the Senior Center on Cleveland Ave. Doors open at noon. Admission is $5. Lunch is available at a nominal cost. No outside food is allowed. Numbers will be called starting at 1 p.m. For tickets, call Janet at 201-935-1208.

Join special needs teens and adults from Special Angels Recreation, the Lyndhurst Police Department and the SPARK cheer dance squad for a game of basketball and half-time performance fundraiser on Saturday, March 29, at the Lyndhurst High School gym, 400 Weart Ave. Tickets are $5. For tickets or more information, call Debbie or Tara at 201-966-8738. Tickets are also available at the door. Special Angels does all of their own fundraising; they get no public funding and no one takes a salary. All donations go directly to Special Angels programs. For more information, visit www.puttingthepiecestogether.org.

Sacred Heart Home School hosts its annual Calendar Party Tricky Tray fundraiser on Friday, May 2, at the school, 620 Valley Brook Ave. Tickets are $20 and non-refundable. Admission includes sandwich, potato salad, beverage and dessert. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket deadline is April 12. No one under 18 will be admitted and no alcoholic beverages are permitted. For tickets, call Patty at 201-803-9580 or the school at 201-939-4277.

Lyndhurst Fire Department, 299 Delafield Ave., will collect blood/platelets in honor of John Barnas, a Wallington resident with lymphoma, on Sunday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit communitybloodservices.org for details and parental consent form for 16-year-olds. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are available by calling 201- 251-3703.

Lyndhurst Library Children’s Room, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following events:

• Walk-In Story time is held every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for grades pre-k to 2. The program includes coloring time. No registration is required. Registration is required for the following programs. Call the library at 201-804-2478.

• Easter Basket Craft – Children in grades pre-k to 4 make and fill an Easter basket with treats on Wednesday, April 9, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

• “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown” – Children in grades pre-k to 4 can hop on in for this exciting Easter movie on Monday, April 14, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

• Ladybug Craft – Children in grades 1 to 4 are welcome on Monday, April 28, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Avenue, Suite 1, offers a free Women’s Health Clinic, in partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center. Open to female township residents age 18 and over, the clinic includes education on breast self-examination and a pap smear. Call 201-804-2500 to make an appointment on a first-come, first-served basis.

North Arlington

The Borough of North Arlington requires that any one who wishes to have a ‘garage sale’ must first secure a permit with the town before doing so. Permits are $6 each and can be obtained at Borough Hall, 214 Ridge Rd., or on-line at www.northarlington.org.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Rd., announces the following programs: For children and teens:

• Story Time, for ages 2 to 5, every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m.

• Evening Story Time for ages 4 to 6 on Tuesdays, March 4, and 25, at 6:30 p.m.

• Fifth Annual George Miller Art Show on Thursday, April 3, at 6 p.m. Note the library will be closed until the beginning of the show for preparations.

In celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, Garden State Rollergirls welcomes Bergen County United Way residents to its home opening bout on April 12 at the Inline Skating Club of America, 170 Schuyler Ave. The event includes a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Bergen County United Way. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and the whistle blows at 8 p.m. This event is open to all ages. Tickets can be purchased at the door ($15 for adults, $10 for kids under 12) or online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/ event/601006 ($10 for adults, $5 for kids under 12).

Queen of Peace High School, 191 Rutherford Pl., along with Make Wine With Us of Wallington, are sponsoring a red carpet event to support the school’s spring musical, “The Sound of Music” on Saturday, March 29, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the high school. Tickets are $40 and include appetizers, wine tasting, raffles and music. Call 201-998-8227, ext. 28, to reserve tickets. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

Senior Harmony Club announces the following trips:

• Sands Casino on Thursday, April 24. For reservations or information, call Florence at 201-991-3173.

• Westchester Broadway Theater to see the musical “Ragtime” on Thursday, May 1. Reservations must be made ASAP. Call Anna at 201-939- 2960.

American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37 meets on Tuesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. at NAFD Engine Co. No. 2, 550 Schuyler Ave. All veterans are invited. For more information, call 201-214-8253.

Kardinals prepare for improved baseball campaign

 

Photo by Jim Hague The Kearny baseball team will count on its starting pitching and catching this season. From l. are pitcher Corey Sawyer, Josue Rodriguez, head coach Frank Bifulco, T.J. Witt and Brian Rowe.

Photo by Jim Hague
The Kearny baseball team will count on its starting pitching and catching this season. From l. are pitcher Corey Sawyer, Josue Rodriguez, head coach Frank Bifulco, T.J. Witt and Brian Rowe.

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

The Kearny High School baseball team suffered through a tough 2013 season, posting a 5-18 record. “I don’t only want to turn the page on last year,” said third-year head coach Frank Bifulco. “I want to write a whole new book. We had some tough losses last year. It was brutal. We played all the big teams tough and lost. It was just a bad year. We don’t even want to talk about it anymore.”

Bifulco believes he has the right team to make 2013 a distant memory.

“I think we have the right group of kids,” Bifulco said. “We have the kind of youth we’ve been looking for and a solid group of seniors to lead us in the right direction. Every day, there’s a great amount of energy and they look to get better every day. If we have a bad day, we just chalk it up and move on.”

Bifulco said that the Kardinals have been improving.

“They’ve been on fire since the first day,” Bifulco said. “If they don’t get it right the first time, they do it again. They were ready for four hours the first day, five hours the next. The energy is incredible.”

Bifulco is counting on senior Brian Rowe to be one of the leaders. Rowe has been the starting second baseman the last two years and will be one of the Kards’ top pitchers this season.

“Brian was our No. 2 pitcher last year and may be able to step up this year,” Bifulco said. “We have three guys who I can hand the ball and we can expect to win. That’s a positive that we haven’t had in a while. Brian is a three-year starter for us. He’s a grinder. He goes out there and fights every day. He gets the ball and says, “I’ll keep the game close.” He pounds the strike zone and keeps the ball down. He has a four-or-five pitch arsenal. He’s not overpowering, but he’s going to get outs.”

Junior right-hander Josue Rodriguez is another pitcher with experience.

“Josue pitched a lot for us last year,” Bifulco said. “He’s been grabbing the bull by the horns this year. He wants to be the ace of the staff. He wants the ball and he’s going to get it. The team knows when he’s on the mound, we’re going to expect wins. He’s going to be the guy we hope to ride.”

Sophomore Corey Sawyer is a promising lefty.

“He’s a transfer from St. Joseph (of Montvale),” Bifulco said. “He throws it well. He threw three shutout innings in his first scrimmage. He has to be a complete player for us. He knows the situation. We see what he has. He can throw the ball hard and mixes up his pitches well. He throws his pitches at different speeds. I’ll say he’s a crafty lefty with some zip. It’s a matter of taking it all to the mound, but he has a bulldog mentality.”

Junior Michael Hyde is a right-hander with promise.

“He should see some starts,” Bifulco said.

Senior Steven Dyl, sophomore Connor McClelland, junior Louis Sandomenico, senior Adonis colon and junior Kyle Gerwood will all get chances to throw for the Kardinals this season. That’s incredible pitching depth.

“Especially with the top three starters, I like the depth,” Bifulco said. “It just has to pan out. I’m very happy with the depth. I don’t know if many teams have the pitching depth and starting pitching that we do.”

The one handling all the pitching will be veteran catcher T.J. Witt.

“Now he knows he’s the main man on the team,” Bifulco said. “When he speaks, people listen. He knows that priority number one is to get the pitching on board. Number two is to lead the team. He’s ready to take over. He’s the one guy we need. I expect him to be our leader in all aspects.”

Dyl is the starter at first base. He’s another three-year starter.

“He’s very solid defensively,” Bifulco said. “We just need his bat. But he’s starting to show it.”

Rowe is the second baseman when he’s not on the mound. When Rowe pitches, junior Adam French plays second.

Sophomore Joseph Baez is the shortstop.

“He’s been going through the growing pains,” Bifulco said. “I tell him every day that he’s in a position that a lot of people want to be in. I’m willing to let his ability take over. He has a lot of talent. He handles the bat pretty well.” Rodriguez is the third baseman when he’s not pitching. When Rodriguez is on the mound, French slides over to third base.

“Rodriguez is a good hitter,” Bifulco said. “We need him to contribute with his bat.”

Hyde is the starter in left field, with sophomore John O’Neill earning the nod in centerfield.

“He can catch anything,” Bifulco said of O’Neill. “He carries himself well. You would never know he was a sophomore. He also puts the ball in play. He’s very fast.”

Sawyer is the starting right fielder when he’s not pitching. If he’s on the mound, then McClelland is in right.

Junior Aaron Gonzalez will see time at designated hitter.

The Kardinals are slated to open April 1 against Hoboken. The next games are April 3 against Memorial of West New York and then April 4 against neighboring rival Harrison, now coached by Bifulco’s former Kearny teammate Jairo Mendez.

The Kardinals have a home-and- home schedule with Harrison this season, adding to some local excitement.

More importantly, the Kardinals’ first three games are at home. That gives the team a good head start.

“Being that we have a young team, it’s good to have the games at home,” Bifulco said. “But we can’t get comfortable. Starting off at home is great, but after those games, the season gets going and everything is for real. Being at home will help us get that first win and we can go from there.”

And easily improve on last year’s disaster.

Locals lead St. Peter’s Prep to solid hockey season

Photo courtesy of the Fearon family From l., Augie Burkhardt, Robbie Mahon, Ryan Pezzolla, J.T. Fearon and Sam Burkhardt are all local residents who have helped the St. Peter’s Prep hockey program become one of the best high school programs in New Jersey. Mike Zdanowicz, not pictured, but another local member of the Marauders.

Photo courtesy of the Fearon family
From l., Augie Burkhardt, Robbie Mahon, Ryan Pezzolla, J.T. Fearon and Sam Burkhardt are all local residents who have helped the St. Peter’s Prep hockey program become one of the best high school programs in New Jersey. Mike Zdanowicz, not pictured, but another local member of the Marauders.

 

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

The St. Peter’s Prep hockey team experienced great success in the past season, including a chance to play at Yankee Stadium while the rink was laid down at the world’s most famous baseball park.

Several of the members of that team hail from the area, giving head coach Mike Goodrich reason to be proud of the performances of the local players.

“There are so many towns locally that you wouldn’t think of getting hockey players,” Goodrich said. “The hockey world is so different than any other. It’s nice to be able to give kids who play hockey a program that they could continue to play. Not only are they good players, but they’re good people as well.”

Goodrich said that the local players who are members of the Marauders’ roster have to be experienced and talented.

“To play at our level, they have to be already good players, because there are so many others who want to be part of our program,” Goodrich said. “We have 65 kids in our program (freshman and junior varsity teams as well). So to be on our varsity, you better be a good player, because we play at such a high level.”

Added Goodrich, “Hockey is a different sport than say football or soccer. It’s very hard to develop kids when they get to the ninth grade. It’s tough to advance them if they hadn’t been playing. We introduce them to a new line of training, so they have to get on the ice at an early age.”

The Marauders finished 2014 with an 11-9-3 record, facing some of the toughest teams in New Jersey.

“We remained in the top 10 in the state with one of the toughest schedules around,” Goodrich said.

Leading the way for the locals on the Marauders is senior Ryan Pezzolla from North Arlington.

“Ryan is a great kid,” Goodrich said. “He has great hands and a knack for scoring. He was a very good offensive player for us.”

Sam Burkhardt is another senior who hails from Lyndhurst.

“He had the knack of scoring very big goals for us, especially early in the season,” Goodrich said. “He’s a hard working kid who worked very hard last summer to get better and make an impact for us.”

J.T. Fearon is a junior from Kearny.

“Fearon is a big, physical kid who played a big role for us,” Goodrich said. “We needed him to be a physical presence on the ice. He was also strong on the defensive end.”

Robbie Fearon is another junior from Kearny.

“He’s a beast,” Goodrich said. “He’s a physically tough kid to play against. He comes hard all the time. We use him with different situations on defense and offense. He’s a great kid to have.”

Augie Burkhardt is a sophomore and the younger brother of Augie. He has an extremely bright future.

“There are some NCAA Division I schools that are already showing interest,” Goodrich said. “Schools like Yale and Union are already looking at him. He’s a legitimate player. He’s going to play at the next level. He has a lot of potential.”

Freshman Mike Zdanowicz is another player with a bright future. Zdanowicz is from Lyndhurst, like the Burkhardt brothers.

“Mike is a good, up-andcoming player,” Goodrich said. “I like his potential.”

All of the locals began their hockey development playing street hockey and then getting to play with various ice hockey travel programs.

“We graduate eight seniors,” Goodrich said. “We have a great freshman class and another group of good players coming in. Our program is really starting to build and we’re starting to get some recognition.”

Goodrich applauds the efforts of the local players to become part of the Prep program.

“I think the location of St. Peter’s in Jersey City is convenient to those players,” Goodrich said. “It’s a good academic institution with a quality hockey program. The kids want to challenge themselves and play the best competition in the state. I think we were lucky to get these kids. They are all good kids and quality individuals.”

And the locals give the Prep hockey program a lot of hope and promise for the future.

Maroon Raiders look to be one of best local baseball squads

 

Photo by Jim Hague The Nutley baseball team hopes to have an excellent season, thanks to a deep pitching staff. From l. are Nick Lianci, head coach Bob Harbison, Kyle Cresci and Michael Meechan.

Photo by Jim Hague
The Nutley baseball team hopes to have an excellent season, thanks to a deep pitching staff. From l. are Nick Lianci, head coach Bob Harbison, Kyle Cresci and Michael Meechan.

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

Ask veteran Nutley High School head baseball coach Bob Harbison about the character of his Maroon Raiders and the coach doesn’t miss a beat.

“I like the makeup of this team,” Harbison said. “We’re doing pretty well.”

Despite the loss of returning starting shortstop Anthony Rossi to an illness, the Maroon Raiders should be improved on last year’s 15-14 record. There’s no timetable for Rossi’s return to action.

“I’m happy and excited about the team,” Harbison said. “We have a talented pitching rotation. We have some good arms.”

One of the Maroon Raiders’ best pitchers is senior lefthander Nick Lianci. “He’s a three-year varsity player and our starting centerfielder,” Harbison said of Lianci.

“He’s also our lead-off hitter. He’s always been a good player for us, because he gets on base. But he’s also very good as a pitcher. He’s a tough guy to hit. He throws off-speed stuff and is not afraid to throw a 2-0 change-up without a problem. He gives us the best chance to win games and beat the big teams.”

Senior left-hander Michael Meechan is another talented pitcher.

“He pitched a lot for us last year,” Harbison said. “He has had a little trouble with his control in the past, but he’s focused on throwing strikes this year. When his control is on, he’s a very good pitcher. I expect big things from him this year.”

Senior right-hander Kyle Cresci is also a key part to the Maroon Raiders’ rotation.

“He pitched some for us last year, but he was our top hitter,” Harbison said. “He’s a talented player. He runs well.”

Cresci will attend Ramapo College in the fall and play baseball there.

Vinnie Petracco is a junior left-hander. Petracco pitched three scoreless innings in a scrimmage against Kearny last Saturday afternoon.

“He throws very well,” Harbison said. “He throws a lot of strikes and gets a lot of outs.”

Sean Rodriguez is another junior lefty.

“He played a lot last year as a sophomore,” Harbison said. “If he can throw strikes, he could be very good.”

Dillon Rubin is a senior left-hander.

“He’s had a very good preseason,” Harbison said. “He has good stuff.”

Needless to say, that’s a ton of pitching depth.

The person handling all that pitching is veteran backstop Austin Kunz, who has been the starter at catcher for the Maroon Raiders since he was a freshman. Kunz has already declared his intention to attend Alvernia College in the fall. Kunz was also a standout for Harbison on the Nutley basketball team.

“He’s a very good defensive catcher,” Harbison said. “I think declaring for Alvernia will settle him down and make him a better hitter. He can hit. He has great hands.”

Sophomore Anthony Condito, who started at right field last year as a freshman, moves in to play first base, along with senior Nico Mercandante, who played outfield and third base last year.

Junior Pete DeCillia is the second baseman.

“He has a chance to be one of the most effective players for us offensively,” Harbison said.

Junior Angelo Gaeta is the shortstop right now.

“He’s been playing very well for us,” Harbison said. “We put him at short and he’s been able to handle it.”

Junior Isaak Lindenbaum is the starter at third base.

The outfield picture is still a little clouded. Cresci is in the mix in left field, along with Rodriguez and sophomore Andrew Connor, who has a lot of promise.

“He can run, hit, throw,” Harbison said. “He’s forcing himself into the lineup.”

Centerfield duties will go to Lianci when he’s not on the mound and Rodriguez and possibly Connor.

Right field sees a combination of Condito, Rodriguez and Mercandante.

Sophomore Andrew Santos will see a lot of time as the designated hitter.

“He can also play the infield, but we’ll see him a lot as the DH,” Harbison said.

The Maroon Raiders begin their season against Seton Hall Prep on April 1. That’s no April Fool’s joke. It’s a big challenge right away for the Maroon Raiders.

“Let’s get going,” Harbison said. “We’ll see how good we are right away. I think we can be very good. We just need someone to step out and lead us on the mound. We definitely have talent. It’s going to be interesting to see how this team does against the better teams.” The Maroon Raiders hope to be playing meaningful games into late May and possibly June.

Toddler ‘rescued’ by tenant

Photo courtesy Harrison Housing Authority Karina Robredo accepts certifi cate of appreciation from Harrison Housing Authority Chairman Larry Bennett.

Photo courtesy Harrison Housing Authority
Karina Robredo accepts certificate of appreciation from Harrison Housing Authority Chairman Larry Bennett.

 

HARRISON –

A scantily dressed 4-year-old boy wandered out of his Kearny home into the cold but, fortunately, was intercepted by an adult who kept the lad safe until authorities could be contacted, officials said.

Police said the child was returned, without harm, to his family.

The Harrison Housing Authority has credited tenant Karina Robredo, a resident of Harrison Gardens, for befriending the boy.

In a press release, the HHA said Robredo encountered the child, attired only in a T-shirt and short pants, wandering around the Harrison Gardens property on a freezing day on Feb. 24.

Robredo asked the boy his name and where he lived but he would say only that his mother was in the hospital and that he was cold, the release said.

The release said that Robredo brought the boy a sweatshirt and blanket from her apartment and then escorted him to the HHA management office where a call was placed to the Harrison Police Department.

HPD responded and learned that the boy had walked out of his home on Sanford Ave. and crossed Schuyler Ave., a heavily-traveled county road, to get to the Harrison Gardens.

The HPD took care of the boy until he was picked up by Kearny Police who then took him home.

– Ron Leir

News from the Nutley Police blotter

March 15

At 11:17 a.m., police responded to a Park Ave. location on a report of illegal dumping. Police were advised by residents that someone had left an old end table on the sidewalk in front of their home, blocking the front door and that, previously, someone had deposited an old chair cushion in the same spot. Both incidents happened in the late evening or early morning, the residents said.

March 16

Officers on patrol on Hillside Ave., at 2:23 p.m., stopped a Plymouth minivan with its rear passenger window missing. Police said they learned that the driver, Ralph Adubato, 50, of North Arlington, had an outstanding warrant from Nutley. He was arrested on the warrant and then released with a new court date.

March 17

At 1:10 p.m., police and firefighters were dispatched to a house on Burnett Place on a report of water flowing from the building. Upon arrival, police said they observed an open hose spigot with water streaming from it. They shut it off. Police said the side door was unsecured and the house was empty. Police learned that the house is owned by a bank and that a contractor for the bank was at the location.

March 20

Police executed a motor vehicle stop at a Centre St. location, at 1:44 a.m., and arrested the driver, Marvin Torres, 19, and his passenger, Brian Rosas, 19, both of Belleville. Torres was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia (a crack pipe), ticketed on a charge of failing to signal a turn and released pending a court appearance. Rosas was charged with possession of suspected cocaine (several small white, rock-like substances which, police said, were found in a small plastic bag in his sock), possession of heroin (five glassine envelopes labeled “Brown Magic” containing brown powder that, police said, tested positive for heroin) and possession of suspected marijuana under 50 grams (the remainder of a marijuana cigar). Both were released pending court dates.

At 5:25 a.m., police went to a Hickory Road location on a report of property damage. There, a resident told police they heard a loud noise in their backyard and, looking outside, noticed that the neighbor’s retaining wall and fence had fallen into their property causing damage to the lawn and part of the rear chain link fence. A Faber Place homeowner told police they also heard a loud noise, and, looking out their window, saw that their entire rear fence and wall were gone.

At 10:05 a.m., police responded to a Bloomfield Ave. location on a report of a theft. Police were told that someone had stolen a stainless steel double sink, valued at $300, from a parking lot. Detectives are reviewing video surveillance.

A fraud victim came to headquarters to report they found three unauthorized charges totaling more than $500 on their bank card, from various locations in New York. Their financial institution has closed the account and is investigating, police said.

March 21

At 11:24 a.m., police received a report of a theft. The victim told police that while shopping at a Franklin Ave. grocery, someone took their wallet from their purse. The wallet contained cash, credit cards and personal items, the victim told police. Security personnel are reviewing surveillance tape for possible clues.

At 11:55 a.m., the manager of a Centre St. business reported criminal mischief to the front door of the property. Police said it appears that someone put something like Crazy Glue in the front door lock. The manager told police that the front door lock to the entrance of the closed restaurant, which is attached to the business, was also “glued.” Police said that surveillance video will be screened for potential clues.

– Ron Leir

Obituaries

Robert Thomas Bubenas

Robert Thomas Bubenas (“The Duke”) died suddenly on March 12 in Kearny. He was 62.

Born in Kearny, he was a lifelong resident.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, followed by entombment in Holy Cross Cemetery. Online condolences may be left at www.armitagewiggins com.

Bubenas was a motorcycle police officer in both Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Kearny.

He was a member of the VFW and The Schuyler Tuna Club.

He served in the Airforce in Vietnam and was in the military police.

Son of the late John and Pauline (nee Benkes) Bubenas, he is survived by his brothers and their wives, John Paul and Joan Bubenas and Richard Francis and Ana Bubenas, and his sister, Dorothy Jane Graham, along with their loving families.

In lieu of flowers, kindly make a donation to the Kearny Police Department DARE Program.

Gloria A. Eckhardt

Gloria A. Eckhardt (nee Locorriere) died March 21. She was 74.

Born in Jersey City, she lived in North Bergen and Brick.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, March 23, at 11 a.m. at Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington. Entombment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave an online condolence, please visit www. armitagewiggins.com.

Gloria was the beloved wife of Joseph E. Eckhardt. She leaves her loving sons and their wives Joseph E. III and Rosa, James R. and Colleen and Robert A. and Judith Eckhardt. She was the devoted sister of Leonard Locorriere, Laura Mott, Helen Bostwick and the late Guy Locorriere, Mary Fortunato and Rita Reilly. Also surviving are her cherished grandchildren Julia, Stephanie, Bianca, James, Andrew and Emily.

Elizabeth Farrell

Elizabeth Farrell died on March 13. She was 83.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, she lived in Kearny since 1962.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Cecilia Church, Kearny, followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Mrs. Farrell was a member of the St. Cecilia Seniors, the Salvation Army Home League, and the Friendship and Harmony Clubs. She worked in the actuary department at Mutual Benefit Life.

She is survived by her sons, Ralph, John and his wife, Susan, and Alex Farrell and her grandchildren, Shannon, Breanne and Michael, and her great-grandson, Jayden. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Special Olympics.

Anthony Jankiewicz

Anthony Jankiewicz, 79, entered into eternal rest on March 15.

The funeral service was held at the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison, with the Rev. Pawel Milewski of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church officiating. Interment followed in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For more information, please visit www.mulliganfuneralhome. org.

Born in Choromce, Poland, Anthony came to the U.S. and Harrison in 1951. He worked as a machinist for Kleer Kast Plastic Company in Kearny for many years.

Anthony is survived by his brother Zenon and his wife Brigitte from Kearny, his sister Mrs. Irene Oeckel and her husband Michael from Phillipsburg, and his brother-in -law John Sessa. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents Apolinary and Bronislawa Jankiewicz, his brother Henryk, and sisters Rozalia Zambrzyski and Genevieve Sessa. For those desiring, contributions may be made to E.I.E.S. for the Blind, or Cancer Research, in care of the funeral home in loving memory of Anthony.

Alice Majkowski

Alice Majkowski (nee Cichowski) died March 18. She was 91.

Born in Newark, she lived many years in Kearny.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Sorrows, Kearny, followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. To leave online condolences please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Alice was a retired administrator from Public Service and was active with the Benstead Senior Center in Kearny.

Wife of the late John J. Majkowski, she is survived by her son, John, and his wife, Donna Majkowski; her daughter, Rosalie Majkowski, and daughter-in-law, Judith Majkowski. She was predeceased by her son,Vincent. Also surviving are her grandchildren, Vivian, Derek, Thad, Allyson, Deven, Jason, and Billy, and her great-grandchildren, Michael John, Kelsey, Kylee, Reese, Tyler, Rowan, Brett, Simon, Brady and Elliot. Alice also leaves behind her dear friend and “partner in crime,” Ethel Tolen.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Henrietta Benstead Senior Center.

Frank V. Pellittere

Frank V. Pellittere died March 18. He was 68.

Born in Paterson, he lived in Skyland Lakes and the past 40 years in Kearny.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral service was held from the funeral home, followed by a private cremation.

To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com

Frank owned Star Mortgage Company in Bloomfield and was active with The Boys Club of America.

He is survived by his wife Jo-Ann (nee Lallo), his sons Frank J. Pellittere and Brian Sherry and his stepchildren Anthony Giudice, Justina Mann, Frank Smith, Gordon Smith, Gail Hernandez and Tracey Gallacher. He was the stepbrother of Frank Zampese. He is also survived by 19 grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to The American cancer Society.

Thomas R. Russo

Thomas R. Russo died March 11 in Florida. He was 59.

Born in Newark, he was a lifelong Kearny resident.

Arrangements were by the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A prayer service was held at the funeral home, followed by a private cremation. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Tom had been a truck driver and a member of Teamsters Local 560. He was a board member at Hickory Hills, his Pennsylvania home association, and enjoyed coaching youth sports.

Formally married to Karen (nee Robinson), he was the son of Fay and the late Thomas. He leaves behind his children and their spouses Kimberly and Dwayne Kulish and Thomas D. and Christine Russo. He is also survived by his grandchildren Dwayne, Emma, Lindsey and Mia «on the way».

Dorothy A. Slater

Dorothy A. Slater, a Kearny resident, passed away at home on March 23, after a brief illness.

Visiting will be on Wednesday, March 26, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, March 27, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Church. Private cremation will follow. To leave online condolences, please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Dorothy was born in Scranton, Pa., the daughter of John and Lottie Shuba. She graduated from West Scranton High School and earned her nursing degree at Newark City Hospital, Newark. She worked as a registered nurse for more than 31 years at West Hudson Hospital in Kearny, where she had many lifelong friends.

Dorothy is survived by her beloved husband of 57 years, Robert F. Slater, and their three children: Robert J. (Michelle) of Stafford, Janet Slater Bayer of Kearny and Maria Slater of Harrison. She is also survived by her grandchildren Michael Bayer (Alyssa), Kelly Bayer, Jessica, Robert G. (Tatiana), Nicholas, Breanna and Mason Slater, and her great grandson Robert Eli. Dorothy was predeceased by her brother Leo Shuba and is survived by her brother Joseph Shuba (Bonnie) and sister MaryAnn O›Neill. Dorothy also leaves behind a wonderful extended family of nieces, nephews and cousins.

Get Skyway-closure info Tuesday at St. Peter’s Uni.

skyway

The state Department of Transportation (NJDOT) will host a Public Information Center (PIC) to promote travel alternatives available when the northbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway are closed on April 12. NJDOT’s project team will be available to discuss the project and answer questions.

The PIC will take place noon to 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 25 at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City.

In February, NJDOT announced the Pulaski Skyway northbound will close on Saturday, April 12 for approximately two years. The existing deck of the 3.5-mile long structure that carries Route 1&9 traffic will be replaced during this phase of the rehabilitation project.   Southbound travel on the Skyway will be maintained during construction.  Route 139, which is just east of the Skyway, will maintain one lower level travel lane east toward New York and two travel lanes west toward Newark at all times (except nights and weekends) while the Pulaski Skyway northbound is closed.

NJDOT created a project-specific website, www.pulaskiskyway.com, which contains a wealth of information about the Skyway project, including construction updates and information specifically about the Hoboken and Conrail Viaduct rehabilitation in Contract 2.

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