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KHS chums are ‘The Cartwheelers’

Photos courtesy Facebook Kevin McSorley (l.) and Stephan Dias performing at a recent gig.

Photos courtesy Facebook
Kevin McSorley (l.) and Stephan Dias performing at a recent gig.


By Anthony J. Machcinski

Observer Correspondent

Looking to follow in the success of other two-piece bands such as The White Stripes, Kearny’s own duo The Cartwheelers is looking to take on the local music scene by storm.

Comprised of fellow Kearny High School classmates Kevin McSorley on guitar and Stephan Dias on the drums, The Cartwheelers formed two years ago, hoping to create a larger band.

“We were looking for a bassist, but it was hard to get people to come in,” McSorley said. “It just didn’t work out.”

More than up for the challenge, McSorley and Dias formed The Cartwheelers and began working on the band’s first LP, “Hot Socks! It’s The Cartwheelers.”

McSorley said that the lack of a bassist made writing songs for the LP tough, with many original cuts of the song not deep enough.

“We were going for a raw sound,” McSorley said. “You have to try a little harder to make it sound fuller. Without a bass, it’s tough writing songs.”

McSorley said the band made up for it with a clearer sound with “a lot of reverb and delay.”

Friends told Mc- Sorley that the band sounded like, “surfing through dirty water,” explained later as being clean, but with a rough edge to it.

The duo’s closest popular comparison would be the once-married husband and wife duo of Jack and Megan White of the White Stripes.

While none of The Cartwheeler’s songs on the “Hot Socks” album is as hard hitting as The White Stripes hit “Seven Nation Army,” several of the Stripes’ songs, including “Fell in Love With a Girl,” are similar to The Cartwheelers.

On “I’ll Never Never Never Never See You Again,” McSorley’s guitar playing makes up for a lack of a bass guitarist. With a quick tempo and a clear, but crunchy guitar rhythm, the song provides an adrenaline rush from start to finish.

In other songs, such as “Latina Bus” and “Birds,” the band reverts to a more “California” style, with a relaxed rhythm similar to that found in a Sublime song. Dias’s drum play and McSorley’s simple guitar rhythm combine to make a track that is impossible not to bob your head to.

McSorley said that while performing without a bass player is certainly a challenge, it also creates its own set of advantages.

“It’s definitely a lot easier because we don’t have to worry about what the bass player is doing,” Mc- Sorley said. “I can just show (the songs) to Stephan and we can perform it.”

McSorley started playing guitar after he received the instrument for Christmas. After a short period, McSorley picked the instrument back up and self-taught himself.

“I was just kind of fiddling with it,” McSorley said. “I kind of taught myself, just only some brief lessons. No real formal schooling, just reading books and searching online.”

While the band has only played local smaller venues such as Donegal Saloon in Kearny and the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, they have taken crowds by surprise.

“People are shocked to see us two little guys up there,” McSorley said. “It’s nice to know that people like our music.”

The duo’s next goal is to work on a fulllength album, all the while having loftier goals in mind.

“We’re shooting to perform in Madison Square Garden, but that’ll probably take a while,” McSorley quipped. “Right now we have six unrecorded songs, but we’re shooting for like 10 to 12. It’d be cool to be playing festivals and stuff too.”

To listen to The Cartwheelers, visit their website at thecartwheelers.bandcamp. com. For more information, including future show dates, visit facebook.com/ TheCartwheelers.

KPD: He ran, but couldn’t hide

Just before midnight on March 11, security at Walmart reported to Kearny police that they were hunting for a shoplifter in the store’s parking lot. KPD headquarters notified patrol units. First to arrive at the scene was Sgt. Michael O’Neill, who saw a man attempting to conceal himself underneath a parked vehicle, police said.

After being ordered from his hiding place, the suspect stood up and, right in front of the officer, tried to discard a clear plastic bag containing suspected marijuana, Chief John Dowie reported.

Issack Perez, 32, of Newark, was subsequently charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia — and also with shoplifting. According to security, he had tried to steal two television sets and some coffee, worth a total of $745.

Other recent reports from the KPD blotter included the following:

March 8

At 3:45 a.m., Officer Chris Medina came upon a car, its engine running, stopped in the middle of Beech St. near Midland Ave. The driver, police said, was sound asleep behind the wheel. After field sobriety tests, and an Alcotest at HQ , 42-year-old Jorge Nobre of Kearny was charged with DWI, DWI in a school zone, and obstructing other vehicles.

March 9

Officer Ben Wuelfing was on patrol on Bergen Ave. near Kearny Ave. at 5:30 a.m. when an eastbound car with Illinois plates reportedly passed him at a high rate of speed, with its headlights off. When Wuelfing stopped the vehicle, the driver produced a New Jersey license that turned out to be suspended, police said, and was allegedly found to be in possession of a small plastic bag of suspected cocaine. Pedro Carmenate, 21, of Hillside was charged criminally with possession of coke and drug paraphernalia and with being under the influence of a CDS. He was also given motor vehicle summonses for: careless driving; DWI; possession of a CDS in a motor vehicle; driving while suspended; driving an unregistered vehicle, and having fictitious plates.

March 10

At 10:20 p.m., Vice Unit detectives were at Kearny and Johnston Aves. when they spotted Frank Sullivan, 38, of Harrison, whom they confirmed to be the subject of an outstanding warrant from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, police said. Sullivan was also reportedly in possession of a small bottle of liquid that proved to be ketamine. He was charged on the warrant and with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia.

March 11

At 2:40 p.m, Officer Brian Wisely was on the 500 block of Elm St. when he saw Michael Boguszewski, 21, of Kearny, whom he confirmed to be the subject of an outstanding Kearny warrant, police said. Boguszewski was also allegedly found to be in possession of a pen apparently altered for the ingestion of a CDS. He was charged on the warrant and with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Vice detectives, on the 100 block of Tappan St. at 6:15 p.m., observed a pedestrian, Luis Vargas, 28, of Kearny, with whom they were familiar and who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police said. After they approached him, he allegedly gave them a fictitious name, but they knew it to be false, and a check revealed he was wanted by Orange on a $50,000 warrant for terroristic threats, police said. Vargas was charged on that warrant and with hindering apprehension.

March 12

At 5:40 p.m., a merchant on the 700 block of Kearny Ave. reported that a man had entered her establishment and asked to use the restroom, and when told it was not for public use, walked outside and smashed the front window. Officer Brian Wisely and Sgt. Anthony Limite searched the area and found 35-yearold Newark resident Sterling Crawford, who was police said was identified as the culprit. Crawford was charged with criminal mischief.

–Karen Zautyk

Business Review: Semiao: a lifetime of real estate experience

Photo courtesy Fernando Semiao Fernando Semiao speaks at Century 21 Iberian Conference in Portugal.

Photo courtesy Fernando Semiao
Fernando Semiao speaks at Century 21 Iberian Conference in Portugal.


By Anthony J. Machcinski

Observer Correspondent

For some, the real estate business is a way to make some quick money, or a hobby turned career. For Fernando Semiao, the real estate industry was something into which he was born and raised.

“When I was a teenager, my dad bought a couple homes and had them as rentals, so I learned from him,” Semiao said. “In 1988, my dad bought a property in Florida and made each of (us children) buy a lot and I thought it was pretty cool.”

Originally an engineer, Semiao found the job boring and turned to real estate, which soon became a passion.

“I had been stuck in the same job,” Semiao said. “When this came up, I took the real estate license test and I was able to have more fun.”

Semiao, now the owner and broker of Century 21 Semiao Associates, said that his attitude toward life has made him into one of the top real estate salesman in the area.

“I’ve always been a gogetter,” Semiao said. “That’s what made me successful in sales. I wanted to start building and selling houses and to have a good team of agents that would follow the standards that I set.”

For Semiao, the real estate business was never about the sales; rather, it was about helping families reach their goals.

“When I started in real estate, I never thought about selling real estate,” Semiao explained. “I was trying to help families achieve their dreams, and it’s still the same thing today.”

He continued, “I’m not trying to sell them anything. I’m just trying to get them where they want to be.”

With 19 years in the real estate industry, Semiao has built himself a stable business that survived one of the toughest housing markets in recent history.

“At the height of the market, we had five offices,” Semiao explained. “We downsized to two just to make sure we survived strong.”

Semiao believes that the business got through the tough times due to leadership and high standards.

“I like to consider myself having high standards,” Semiao said. “I’ve always been a leader, and I’ve been able to lead a team that can help others achieve their goals.”

That leadership has been recognized on several occasions, as, for example, when Semiao was named the 2013 Realtor of the Year by the Meadowlands Board of Realtors.

Semiao was additionally afforded the opportunity of speaking in Portugal at the Century 21 Iberian Conference, where he was the keynote speaker.

“That was an honor,” Semiao said of the experience. “I put in some good preparation to present the best practices I used in the states, both in taking care of clients and teaching agents to be professional.”

Semiao said the location of the conference added to the milestone.

“My dad emigrated from Portugal in 1965, and to be able to speak over there, it was an honor,” Semiao said.

A resident of Kearny for much of his life, Semiao, a Franklin School and Kearny High School alum, said that his experience in the area has also helped him.

Photo courtesy Fernando Semiao Semiao accepts 2013 Realtor of the Year award from Meadowlands Board of Realtors President Nancy Lastra.

Photo courtesy Fernando Semiao
Semiao accepts 2013 Realtor of the Year award from Meadowlands Board of Realtors President Nancy Lastra.


“Our offices definitely represent the towns that we service,” Semiao said. “We speak dozens of different languages and all the people live in the neighborhoods that they sell to. They know those neighborhoods.”

Semiao believes what separates him from other realtors in the area is his standards and his morality.

“What separates me is being honest, having integrity and keeping my word,” Semiao said. “It’s all more important than making a dollar. I won’t cross that line for anything. I believe I’ve built a reputation in the area and it keeps our repeat customers coming back.”

Century 21 Semiao Associates has two locations: in Kearny at 213 Kearny Ave. and in Lyndhurst at 761 Ridge Road. For more information, call the Kearny office at 201-991-1300 or the Lyndhurst office at 201-460- 8000.

Then & Now


Photo courtesy Kearny Public Library

Photo courtesy Kearny Public Library


Photo by Karen Zautyk

Photo by Karen Zautyk



What you’re looking at on the left is the Kearny Fire Department’s Truck No. 1, a 1920 American LaFrance model. Although the photo apparently was taken near the South Kearny firehouse, Truck 1 in the ‘20s, as now, was stationed at the KFD’s Midland Ave. house.

Unfortunately, we do not know the identity of the driver, but we have learned a lot about the vehicle. That large semicircular thing on the side is a life net. It unfolds into a full circle, 10 to 12 feet in diameter. Someone trapped on the upper floor of a burning building would jump into it, trusting in the strength of the 8 to 10 firemen who would be holding it far below.

The truck also is equipped with hoses, fire extinguishers, axes, ladders of varying heights, life belts to be secured to the ladders, a battering ram, a sledgehammer, and long metal hooks that were used to pull down plaster ceilings (hence the term “hook-and-ladder” truck). Behind the driver is the bell that would be rung when returning from an alarm and below it is a row of leather helmets. And where would the crew sit?

They wouldn’t. They’d stand on the side platforms and hang on as the truck raced to a fire. At right, is the current aerial ladder Truck 1 at its Midland Ave. home. It was made by a company called E-1. American LaFrance, launched in the mid-19th century, was for generations the premier manufacturer of fire apparatus in the U.S., but, like other businesses, it eventually fell on hard times. On Jan. 20, 2014, it announced it was ending operations.

– Karen Zautyk

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 double occupancy and includes transportation, sightseeing, four dinners, four breakfasts and one lunch. For an itinerary or additional information, call Pat at 973- 751-5308 or email patn139@aol. com.


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., announces the following: Children’s programs:

• Bedtime Storytime, for ages 2 and up, on March 24 at 6:30 p.m.

• Toddler Time, for ages 19 to 36 months, at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays

• PreK Story & Craft, for ages 3 to 5, at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays

• Baby & Me, for ages 0-18 months, at 11 a.m. on Thursdays

• Science Friday, for ages 5 and up, on March 21 at 4 p.m.

• The library has added 16 new foreign language courses to its Mango online learning course including Armenian, Scottish Gaelic and Yiddish and English as a Second Language for speakers of modern Arabic and Armenian.


Registration is open until March 28 for Harrison Recreation T-Ball, 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.

Holy Cross Church sponsors a fundraising bus trip to the Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, plus outlet shopping, set for Sunday, March 23, leaving Holy Cross School, 15 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd., at 10 a.m. Refreshments will be served in the school basement starting at 9:15 a.m. A donation of $30 is requested (return of $25 in slot play). For reservations, call Joan at 973-481-2434 or Marie (Spanish) at 973-481-1799. Leave name, phone number and number attending.


Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts two free screenings of the Disney film “Frozen” (PG) on March 21 and 28 at 4 p.m. on both dates. Popcorn and light refreshments will be served.

Good Shepherd Church, 780 Kearny Ave., launches an English-speaking service on March 22 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 201-997-4369.

Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., is conducting a canned food drive this month on behalf of the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington. Children are invited to donate two canned foods as their admission to the club. Club hours: 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

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 and the drawing is 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.


Join the Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., for the following:

• Free arthritis and joint pain management forum hosted by Clara Maass Medical Center on Friday, March 21, at 10 a.m. A light breakfast will be served. Call the Lyndhurst Health Department at 201-804- 2500 to reserve a seat.

Mary Lou Mullins’ monthly bus trip to Atlantic City is set for Sunday, March 30, to Resorts Casino. Cost is $25 (with $30 cash return). Reserve early. Call Mary Lou at 201-933-2186 for information.

Lyndhurst Emblem Club 72 offers a $1,000 scholarship to a township resident graduating in June and planning to enter the medical or educational field. Deadline to apply is April 1. For an application, contact Pat McPherson at 201- 355-8582 or email trdmome@ aol.com.

New Jersey Meadowlands Commission hosts “Watercolor Pencils for Kids: Signs of Spring” for ages 5 to 12 (accompanied by an adult) on Saturday, March 22, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza. Children will learn how to create a colorful seasonal drawing and then turn it into a painting, all with the same pencil. Supplies provided for the session. Admission is $12 per child; $10/MEC members (no fee for adults). Registration is recommended and appreciated. To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.

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 allowed. Numbers will be called starting at 1 p.m. For tickets, call Janet at 201-935-1208.

North Arlington

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Rd., offers the following programs:

For children and teens:

• Comics Club, for grades 6 and up, meets on Wednesday, March 26, at 3:30 p.m.

• Origami, for grades 4 and up, is offered on Friday, March 28, at 3:30 p.m. For adults:

• Historical Fact and Fiction Book Club meets on Thursday, March 27, at 10 a.m.

• Friends of the Library Book Club meets Friday, March 28, at 10 a.m.

In celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, Garden State Rollergirls welcomes Bergen County United Way residents to enjoy its home opening bout on April 12 at the Inline Skating Club of America (ISCA), 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 first 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).


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Dr., announces: • The Jane Stuart Jazz Quartet performs on Saturday, March 22, at 2 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

• A Women’s history panel discussion is set for Thursday, March 27, at 7 p.m. A panel of notable Nutley women will reflect on gender issues and discuss topics relevant to women in the 21st century.

• “Library Catalog 101” explains the latest tips and strategies to effectively search for and request items, how to share what you are reading on Facebook and manage your online library account on Friday, March 28, at 10 a.m. Call the library at 973-667-0405, ext. 2604, to register no later than one week before presentation.

Nutley Elks Lodge, 242 Chestnut St., presents The Cameos on April 26 at the lodge, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. The $45 admission includes a hot buffet and open bar. Proceeds benefit veterans’ programs. For tickets, call Frank Zatorski at 201-207-2743. R.S.V.P. by April 15.

The Women’s Auxiliary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church sponsors a bus trip to Hunterdon Hills Playhouse on Wednesday, May 7 to see the comedy-mystery play “Busybody.” The $60 cost includes transportation, lunch and play. The bus will leave from the church, 120 Prospect St. at 9:45 a.m. and return approximately at 4:45 p.m. For more information or reservations, contact Linda at 973-661-0090.

Is it the end for Kearny’s Adamek?

Heavyweight contender suffers lopsided loss to Glazkov

Photo courtesy Rich Graessle of Main Events Kearny native Tomasz Adamek (l.) takes a vicious straight jab from Vlacheslav “Czar” Glazkov during their nationally televised heavyweight elimination fight Saturday, a card that was held at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pa., and aired on NBC Sports Network. Glazkov won via a unanimous decision.

Photo courtesy Rich Graessle of Main Events
Kearny native Tomasz Adamek (l.) takes a vicious straight jab from Vlacheslav “Czar” Glazkov during their nationally televised heavyweight elimination fight Saturday, a card that was held at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pa., and aired on NBC Sports Network. Glazkov won via a unanimous decision.


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

Before he took to the ring for the first time in almost a year, Tomasz Adamek shook off questions about what would happen if he happened to lose to undefeated challenger and former sparring partner Vlacheslav “Czar” Glazkov.

“I never think about losing, because I’m a winner,” Adamek said in a pre-fight conference call last week. “I’m ready for a war. If God keeps me healthy, then I’ll keep going. I’ll keep fighting.”

A few days later, maybe Adamek is thinking about taking back those words.

In a fight televised nationally by the NBC Sports Network, Glazkov dominated Adamek from the start and won the 12-round fight by unanimous decision. Two judges scored the fight 117-111 and the other had it 117-112 in favor of the upand- coming challenger.

Glazkov improved his record to 17-0-1, while Adamek lost for the first time since facing Vitaly Kitschko for the World Heavyweight Boxing championship in 2011. Adamek, who is now 37, saw his professional record drop to 49-3.

There were many boxing experts who believed Glazkov had the upper hand against Adamek because of the damage he caused while acting as a sparring partner for Adamek.

“As everyone knows, sparring is sparring,” Adamek said pre-fight, trying to stay away from controversy. “The fight is a different story. I know I’m going to be the best.”

Adamek won the first round on several cards, but started to see the fight slip away in rounds 2 through 6, when Glazkov used a stiff left jab and a powerful right corner to hurt Adamek on a few occasions.

“We had a nine-week camp,” Adamek trainer Roger Bloodworth said. “We did what we normally do to prepare for a fight. When a fighter reaches Tomasz’ age, he needs rest.”

The Polish native who has called Kearny his home for the last four years had to pull out of the originally scheduled bout between himself and Glazkov last November, because Adamek was sick with the flu.

“I take every fight very seriously,” Adamek said. “I didn’t just stay home because I was sick. I got back into camp for nine weeks. I feel very sharp and very good.”

Adamek was neither on Saturday. Although some late round jabs scored like they did in his previous wins, there wasn’t a constant assault of scoring punches and that cost Adamek dearly.

Photo courtesy Rich Graessle of Main Events Tomasz Adamek

Photo courtesy Rich Graessle of Main Events
Tomasz Adamek


As for being very good, Adamek looked over-matched – and began to really show it in the middle rounds, when he offered very little resistance. At one point, the CompuBox computer service that scores fights for television viewers, said that Adamek had scored with only 17% of his punches while Glazkov had 45% of his punches score. That’s a big differential.

“I’ve been in the business a long time,” Bloodworth said. “You have a fighter here with a lot of experience and knowledge going up against a young fighter. Well, experience will tell the story.”

Unfortunately, it did not. Glazkov won the fight, fair and square. There were no controversies, no complaints. There were only 6,000 or so avid Adamek fans who made the trek to the new Sands Casino and Race Track to see the fight. The fans let out their famous cries and chants of “Adamek, Adamek,” but to no avail. The local hero was a beaten warrior.

Adamek won’t get another shot at the heavyweight championship. That ship has sailed.

So who knows if Adamek still wants to do it, doing it for the love of the game while collecting smaller, non-TV generated revenues?

Meanwhile, the rising star in the heavyweight division is the 27-year-old from the Ukraine.

“I would like to thank Main Events and Kathy Duva for giving me this opportunity and taking me to this road,” Glazkov said.

Kathy Duva of Main Events sponsors both boxers.

“I also want to thank Tomasz Adamek for taking this bout and giving me this opportunity,” Glazkov said. “He was risking more than I did. Tomasz was not a guy who was backing up, he was coming forward. It was a very good bout.”

It could very well mean the end of the road for Adamek. We will have to see the next few weeks, whether he’s up to training full-time once again. It will be a tough decision for Adamek, but one that can be made easier if he sees all the old-time fighters who are struggling with Puncher’s Dementia (or punch drunk syndrome) or even worse.

Duva hinted that Glazkov is the rising star of her stable now – and not the Polish wonder who took the area by storm, the boxer who calls himself “Mountain Boy.”

“This is a passing of the torch. Glazkov did everything he absolutely had to do to win this fight against a very tough and very accomplished opponent. Tonight, he announced his arrival to everyone that he belongs among the top five heavyweights. Adamek is someone who has been a top ten heavyweight for the last 6-to-10 years. I am really at a loss to say who amazed me more.”

Nutley girls’ hoops squad enjoys great season

Photo by Jim Hague Sophomore Blair Watson has emerged as one of the top all-around players in New Jersey. She averaged 20 points per game over the season and ended with 39 points against West Morris in the state sectional title game.

Photo by Jim Hague
Sophomore Blair Watson has emerged as one of the top all-around
players in New Jersey. She averaged 20 points per game over the season and ended with 39 points against West Morris in the state sectional title game.


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

Larry Mitschow knew the talent of the Nutley High School girls’ basketball team, having coached the Maroon Raiders to a 15-7 record, after having coached the freshman boys’ squad at the school for 14 years.

“I love coaching basketball,” Mitschow said. “I knew that the girls had a chance to play for something at the end of the season, meaning the league and county playoffs. I finally got the opportunity to coach a varsity team. Playing for something worthwhile at the end of the season really makes it much more exciting.”

Mitschow, a Nutley native who graduated from Nutley High, had a sense that the Maroon Raiders would be improved this year.

“I knew we had a couple of kids back,” Mitschow said. “Last year, there was an adjustment period, me getting used to the girls and the girls getting used to me. But coming into this year, the pieces were all in place.”

The Maroon Raiders held their own during the Paterson Kennedy summer league, one of the most competitive girls’ basketball leagues in the state.

“I wanted to challenge the kids and learn from what they did over the summer,” Mitschow said.

The Maroon Raiders were more than competitive this season, posting a brilliant 23-4 record and advancing to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group III championship game last week, before falling to West Morris in the sectional final.

Mitschow liked his team’s chances going into the title game.

“We were very loose on the bus,” Mitschow said. “The kids were singing songs and laughing the whole way.”

The Wolfpack fell behind early, trailing by 10 in the second quarter.

“But to our girls’ credit, they handled everything really well,” Mitschow said.

Led by sophomore center Blair Watson, the Maroon Raiders got hot in the third quarter. Watson had a season-high 39 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and collected 10 blocked shots. Watson also had six steals.

The 6-foot-1 Watson is already drawing looks from major colleges.

“She’s the real deal,” Mitschow said. “She has a ton of Division I offers. She averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game. Blair really improved and matured as a person. She’s just awesome. She definitely saved her best game for the right time. She put us on her shoulders and carried us.”

The Montgomery twins, Grace and Meghan, were both key players for the Maroon Raiders.

“Grace handles the ball more and she’s more in control with the ball,” Mitschow said. “Meghan is more of a spot-up shooter.”

Between the two, Mitschow received approximately 17 points per game. That’s good complimentary numbers to Watson.

Junior Carly Anderson is an athletic player who can play any position.

“She contributes a lot to our offense,” Mitschow said.

Anderson will contribute a lot more in a few weeks, as the top returning starting pitcher for the Maroon Raiders’ softball team.

Senior forward Julia Seremba has improved tremendously down the stretch, scoring big points and collecting big rebounds.

Cara Michaels is a 5-foot-5 senior who also plays a multitude of roles for the Maroon Raiders.

“Cara knows her role and comes in at practically every position. She’s a quiet leader off the court.”

And that’s it. Mitschow only used six players on a regular basis.

“It really doesn’t affect us,” Mitschow said. “If you think of it, we outscored our opponents in the second half when we should be tired. We’re in great shape with our conditioning. We have high intensity practices. There isn’t much standing around. We don’t have a lot of down time. They all worked very hard.”

The Raiders dropped the state sectional title game last week, ending their season with an impressive 23-4 record. The four losses came to West Morris, Weequahic and Newark Academy, all teams that went on to win their state sectional. We played some solid teams. We took care of business when we had to.”

A lot of people might be shocked with Nutley’s impressive 23-4 record. One who is not surprised at all is the head coach.

“I really expected this team to compete for the county, the league and the states,” Mitschow said. “We were right there.”

Nutley enjoys solid hockey season

Photo courtesy Nutley hockey The senior members of the Nutley High School ice hockey team get together after one last practice together. From l. are Timothy Render, Justin Souza, Brian Parigi, Eric Fisher, Jake Giordano, Michael Conca and Richie LaFiura. Matt Apito and Matt Basile are pictured here, but did not finish the season with the team.

Photo courtesy Nutley hockey
The senior members of the Nutley High School ice hockey team get together after one last practice together. From l. are Timothy Render, Justin Souza, Brian Parigi, Eric Fisher, Jake Giordano, Michael Conca and Richie LaFiura. Matt Apito and Matt Basile are pictured here, but did not finish the season with the team.


By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

After losing nine seniors to graduation and a handful of other returning letter winners to junior hockey, Nutley head hockey coach Eric Puzio didn’t know how his team would fare in the 2013-14 season.

“I figured we could come back and at least be competitive,” Puzio said. “Obviously, losing the guys we did put a tremendous amount of pressure on the kids coming back. It was a big challenge for us. We had to try to fill in people to find some offense.”

With better than 65% of their scoring from a year ago gone – and the standout goalie Alec Astorga off to play junior hockey at Centenary, Puzio asked his returning players to increase their offensive workload.

“We had some big question marks, especially offensively,” Puzio said. “It was going to be tough replacing all that scoring.”

The Maroon Raiders got fortunate in finding a replacement for Astorga between the pipes.

Sophomore Joe Hoarle was spectacular in goal, collecting almost 500 saves on the season while logging a save percentage of 94%.

“He stepped up and did a great job,” Puzio said of Hoarle, who had a miniscule 0.90 goals against average inside the league. “He had a streak this season of 288 minutes without surrendering a goal. He was a pleasant surprise. We had big hopes for Joe, but he went far and beyond our expectations.”

Hoarle helped Nutley post a 13-9-2 record, finishing second in the North Division once again to Montclair Kimberley Academy.

The Maroon Raiders were blessed by a solid senior contingent in 2013-14, including defenseman Justin Souza.

“He was named captain of the team by his peers and he took to the role, both on and off the ice,” Puzio said of Souza.

Souza tied the school record by amassing six assists in one game against West Orange.

“He did a great job in leading this team this year,” Puzio said. “He really came into his own thuis year. He was a huge asset to the club.”

Another key defenseman is senior Tim Render.

“He’s a four-year letter winner,” Puzio said. “He logged in for a ton of minutes and made very few mistakes out there.”

Junior Angelo Gaeta was the team’s most improved player.

“He was a big surprise,” Puzio said. “I was thrilled to see him play the way he did this year.”

Greg O’Connell and Joe Fontanals are two sophomore defensemen who will only get better with more playing time in the future.

Senior Rich LaFuira was the team’s leading point scorer.

“He would simply take over some games,” Puzio said.

“When he did, he was hard to stop. He has a constant motor that just keeps on going.”

Senior Mike Conca is another center and another team captain.

Senior winger Mike Parigi is the Raiders’ workhorse, the grunt guy you throw into the corner and you know he’s coming away with the puck.

“He did a lot of the things that don’t show up on a stat sheet,” Puzio said. “He was a big target in front of the net.”

Junior Mike Frade is the lone underclassman who was a captain this season.

“He’s next in line to be a 100-point scorer for us,” Puzio said.

Others up front include sophomores Danny Render, Zach Vaughan, Brendan McCormick and freshman Gerard LaFuira (Rich’s younger brother).

“Because of the depth we had, we were able to throw three lines at teams,” Puzio said. “We never had that before.”

Puzio credited the hard work of seniors Eric Fisher and Jake Giordano for keeping the Maroon Raiders in check.

“Eric was on a line that could get up and down the ice,” Puzio said. “Jake was a four-year player for us who was like our little bulldogs, getting some big hits for us.”

Junior Milo Spagnola quickly became a crowd favorite. Freshman Tim Spitalnik was the back-up goalie to Hoarle.

All in all, it was a solid season for Nutley, a team that survived its share of trials and tribulations and still made a playoff run.

“We were picked to finish fifth in our league in the preseason and we finished second (to MKA once again) with 11 wins,” Puzio said. “I’d say it was a pretty rewarding season. I’m proud of their effort.”

News from the Nutley Police blotter

March 10

Police received a report of theft of services from a Centre St. gas station at 4:06 p.m. Police said the attendant told them a customer received $82 worth of fuel for their vehicle and their credit card was declined. The customer then left their license with the attendant and promised to return with the money but never did so. Police said they went to the address listed on the license and were told by the customer they would satisfy the debt before the end of the day.

After being asked for help, at 11:39 p.m., in finding a stolen i-Pad, police obliged. Police said the victim, who had flown into Newark Airport, was missing their i-Pad from their luggage but was able to pinpoint its location in the area of River Road and Grant Ave. Police said they could detect a beeping sound on the west side of River Road, about 150 feet south of Grant Ave., coming from inside a sewer, from which they managed to retrieve the i-Pad, which was found in two blue bags.

March 12

At 9:07 p.m., police responded to an E. Centre St. location on a noise complaint which resulted in the arrest of Arthur Karapetyan, 35, of Nutley, on a charge of possession of drugs, which, police said, tested positive for methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia. Police said Karapetyan was released, pending a court date, after posting bail, which was set at $5,000 with a 10% cash option.

March 14

Police received a report of fraud from a victim who told them they’d been contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS who told them they’d be contacted by an IRS investigator to avoid a criminal procedure for violating tax law. A man identifying himself as “Mr. Crouz” told the victim that the IRS would be freezing their bank accounts, credit cards and passports if the victim didn’t resolve the issue in the next half hour. The victim was told to go to a Clifton CVS and buy eight Green Point money pack cards, with seven in the denomination of $500 and the eighth for $186. After complying with this request, the victim was then advised to scratch off the cards and read the account numbers over the phone. After doing so, the victim was called back and told that a supervisor identified as “John Brooks” had refused to accept the money and wanted an additional $6,292.73. At this point, police said, the victim became suspicious and refused to send more money.

– Ron Leir

Highlights from the Harrison Police blotter

March 13

At 7 p.m., a couple came into headquarters to file a theft report. The husband told police that they’d parked their 2001 Ford Explorer in the Bergen St. mall parking lot and entered the Radio Shack to shop. When they returned to the lot, about 25 minutes later, they discovered that someone had gotten inside their vehicle and removed some prescription medication, one Garmin GPS and an I-pad tablet from the glove compartment, the husband told police. They found the empty medication bottles on the seat of the car, he said.

Three Wabash trailers were reported stolen from a business on Cape May St., police said.

March 14

At about 3 a.m., police responded to a location in the 400 block of Cleveland Ave. on a report of an individual who was described as standing in front of a residence and yelling and throwing garbage. When they got there, police said they observed a man acting in the manner described by the caller. Police said the man, identified as Luciano Yuelling, 30, of East Newark, continued his disruptive behavior and ignored the officers’ order to stop. He was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

– Ron Leir