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Let the games begin … again!

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Money generally means power. And so it is with the American financial system.

Just take a look at what’s happened since we experienced our national financial meltdown in 2008.

Through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the government spent billions of taxpayer dollars to bail out Ford, Chrysler and GM, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the banking industry and American International Group (AIG). Read more »

around town

Belleville 

Belleville Public Library, 221 Washington Ave., is offering Storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers every Wednesday at 11 a.m., beginning March 11, and has scheduled a St. Patrick’s Day program for Saturday, March 14, at 2 p.m. For more information, call the library at 973-450-3434.

Belleville Elks Lodge 1123, 254 Washington Ave., announces the following:

  • A corned beef and cabbage dinner will be held Saturday, March 14, 5 to 8 p.m. Admission is $15; $10 for children under age 12.
  • The monthly breakfast is set for Sunday, March 15, 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for children under age 10; and free for children under age 3. In case of inclement weather, the breakfast will be cancelled. Call the lodge at 973-759-9623 to check if the event is still on.

Bloomfield 

Bloomfield Public Library’s Book Club, 90 Broad St., has released its program schedule for March:

  • An adult craft program is held the second Wednesday of each month, beginning March 11, at 6 p.m. Materials needed: discarded books, magazines, newspapers, paper, scissors, various scissors, various beads, decoupage glue. If you have extra supplies, bring them for the other crafters.
  • Actress Maggie Worsdale portrays Martha Washington March 14 at 2 p.m.
  • Book Club meets Monday, April 6, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m., to discuss “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair. For more information or for help locating a copy of the month’s selection, call the reference desk at 974- 566-6200, ext. 219 or 220.

Through March 14, the library is accepting donations of new or lightly used prom dresses which will be distributed to young women who may otherwise not be able to afford a prom gown. Dresses can be dropped off in the main library. All sizes and styles are welcome.

Harrison 

Holy Cross Church sponsors a trip to Las Vegas, April 29 to May 5. The group departs from Newark Airport Wednesday, April 29, at 7:15 a.m., for a non-stop flight via United Airlines and returns Thursday, May 5, at 6:15 a.m. The group will stay at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino. The $771 per-person cost covers air, hotel and taxes. A $250 per-person deposit is required to guarantee reservations. Call Gina at European Travel, 973-484-4023, or Joan at 973- 481-2434.

Harrison Recreation Department holds Little League, Minor League and Tee-Ball registrations at the Community Center, 401 Warren St., through March 20. All children who are age 5 and will not turn 13 before May 1 are eligible. Children must be age 9 or older to be placed on a Little League team. All returning Little League players must also register. A registration fee is required when the child picks up his or her uniform. For more information, contact the Recreation Department at 973-268-2469.

Harrison’s fifth annual Volleyball Tournament to benefit Project Graduation is set for Thursday, March 19, at 6 p.m., in the gym at Harrison High School. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for ages 5 through 18. Alumni of all ages and teams of teachers, police and firemen, from Harrison and East Newark will play for the grand trophy and for the ultimate goal of raising money for Project Graduation. Now in its 24th year, Project Graduation will provide an allnight, safe and substance-free extravaganza for the Class of 2015. Call Joan McNichol at 973- 482-5050 ext. 1519, for more information.

Kearny 

St. Stephen’s Church, 141 Washington Ave., is selling tickets for a raffle set for Friday, March 20. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $15. For tickets, email cyndie1522@verizon. net or call St. Stephen’s rectory at 201-998-3314.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., announces:

  • “Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” (PG-13 / 123 minutes) will be screened at 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, on the lower level of the Main Library.
  • Celebrate “Cinderella” with screenings of Disney’s classic animated version of the film (G / 74 minutes) Friday, March 20, at 4 p.m., and “Ever After,” (PG-13 / 121 minutes) starring Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston, Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m.

For more information on any of the library’s programs, call the library at 201-998- 2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

Grace United Methodist Church, 380 Kearny Ave., presents a corned beef and cabbage dinner Friday, March 13, 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and under. Take-out orders will be available. Irish Tammie hats with pom-poms will be sold. Visit the church’s Easter and spring fling. For more information, call the church office at 201-991-1132.

Woman’s Club of Arlington meets Tuesday, March 17, at 1 p.m., at the Girl Scout House, 635 Kearny Ave., for an Irishthemed program and members are asked to wear green. Participants are asked to bring the front of holiday and other greeting cards for delivery to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Participants are also asked to bring cookies or candy, which will be distributed to local seniors. Members may also bring a new bra and/or feminine products for “Mardi Bras”, an event inspired by “Distributing Dignity” where volunteers donated business clothes for homeless women going to job interviews. In conjunction with the Arlington EMD, the new bras and/or feminine products will be donated to the women’s shelter, WomenRising, in Jersey City.

Lyndhurst 

A benefit dinner for Jennie Gossweiler-Renna, now in her fifth year with ovarian cancer, will be held March 28, 5 to 9 p.m., at the Amvets post hall, 323 New York Ave. The $45 admission includes dinner, dancing and support for a wonderful person. For tickets, more information, or to make a donation, call Melissa Alfano at 201-736-1584 or visit www.jenniebenefit.myevent.com.

N.J. Meadowlands Commission announces the following programs:

  • “Textural Expression: Letting your Inner Artist Bloom” for teens and adults is set for Saturday, March, 14, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 De- Korte Park Plaza. Participants learn how to use chalk pastels and explore texture and color to create a fantasy inspired landscape. Each participant will walk away with a finished piece. No experience necessary. Pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov and click “Events”. Admission is $15; $12 for MEC members (includes supplies).
  • “The Buzz About Bees” takes place Saturday, March 14, 2 to 3 p.m., at the Environment Center. Join Meadowlands beekeeper Erik Swanson for a family-friendly talk about honeybees, and learn why they are so important and why they are in trouble and check out live bees upclose in an observation hive. Swanson will be selling his Meadowlands honey. Admission is $6; $5 for MEC members. Registration is recommended and appreciated; walk-ins are welcome. To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov and click on “Events”.
  • Third-Tuesday-of-the- Month Nature Walk with the NJMC and Bergen County Audubon Society is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, 10 a.m. to noon, at Harrier Meadow, on Disposal Road, North Arlington. Visitors are asked to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/ BCAS events throughout the year. To register, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greakauk4@gmail.com or call 201-230-4983.

Lyndhurst Girls’ Association hosts a pancake breakfast Sunday, March 22, 8 a.m. to noon, at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. Proceeds go towards maintaining and operating Libbie Lindsay House, a meeting place for Girl Scouts and scout leaders in Lyndhurst. Admission is $5 and tickets may be purchased at the door.

Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst sponsors a children’s Tricky Tray for grades pre-k to 5 Saturday, March 28, at the Senior Citizens building on Cleveland Ave. Admission is $5. Doors open at noon and the raffle begins at 1 p.m. Lunch items will be sold. No outside food is permitted. For tickets or more information, call Janet at 201-935-1208.

The Lyndhurst Health Department holds its biannual Women’s Health Clinic Wednesday, April 1, at 9 a.m. This free event, made possible through a partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center, includes education on breast self-examination, a PAP test and a pelvic exam. The Lyndhurst Women’s Health Clinic is open to all female Lyndhurst residents age 18 and over. Call 201-804-2500 for an appointment.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a St. Patrick’s Day craft program, open to grades 1 to 4, Monday, March 16, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Registration is required. To register, call the library at 201-804-2478.

The library offers a museum pass for World of Wings Butterfly Museum and Children’s Play Land. The pass can be used for free general admission for up to four people (two adults and two children or one adult and three children). The pass is available in the library’s children’s room to patrons with a valid Lyndhurst Library card. For more information, call the library at 201-804-2478, ext. 7, or email romeo@lyndhurst.bccls.org.

VFW Post 3549, 527 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a karaoke party Friday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. The hall is available for rental for all occasions. Call the post for more information at 201-939-3080.

Mary Lou Mullins monthly bus trip to Atlantic City to Resorts Casino is set for Sunday, March 29. Cost is $30. Cash return is $30. For reservations and more information, call Mary Lou at 201-939-2186.

Kingsland Lyndhurst AARP Chapter 4866 sponsors its annual entertainment night, Tricky Tray and raffles Thursday, April 16. Doors open at 6 p.m. The show features music of the ‘50s and ‘60s. No alcohol is permitted. Admission is $20. For tickets and more information, call Jo Oleske at 201-438-2118 or Kay Roberts at 201-438- 3611.

North Arlington 

North Arlington Elks Lodge 1992, 129 Ridge Road, hosts a St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinner Tuesday, March 17, 4 to 7 p.m. Cost is $12 for a dinner and $8 for a sandwich. Eat-in or to-go orders will be available.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, announces the following:

  • Basics of Computing  Class meets Mondays, March 16, 23, 30 and April 6, at 6 p.m. each day.
  • A screening of the  documentary “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” is set for Friday, March 20, at 11 a.m. For more information, call the library at 201-955- 5640.

North Arlington Senior Activity Center, 11 York Road, hosts a St. Patrick’s Day celebration Friday, March 13, starting at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast, followed by bingo at 10 a.m., lunch at noon and dancing at 1 p.m. For more information and reservations, call 201-998-5636.

Nutley 

Shelter Love Events hosts a comedy night fundraiser March 14 at The Old Canal Inn, 2 E. Passaic Ave., with proceeds going to help purchase items for Happily Efur After, a not-for-profit, nokill, all-volunteer cat rescue and adoption group. The event features a prize raffle, 50/50 raffle, and the comedic stylings of emcee Jeff Howard, Ken Perlstein, Joe Messina, Paul Goldenberg, Mike Celona and Steve Schwarz. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Food orders and raffle ticket purchases will not be available once the show starts. Tickets are $25, which includes a $5 food voucher. Tickets can be purchased at http://slecomedynight.brownpapertickets.com.

Devils’ first Stanley Cup champs return to ice

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Brodeur plays forward in 20th anniversary game

By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer 

NEWARK – 

The New Jersey Devils celebrated the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s first of three Stanley Cup champions in grand fashion last weekend, first with a reunion game at the AmeriHealth Pavilion on Saturday, then with a pre-game ceremony before the current Devils faced the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.

In the reunion game, all the buzz was about the return of legendary goalkeeper Martin Brodeur, who came back to his old stomping grounds for the first time since the end of last season, when the franchise parted ways with their franchise net minder.

However, there was an air of disappointment Saturday when the starting lineups were announced and former standout defenseman Bruce Driver, the current president of the team’s alumni association that organized the event, came out wearing the goaltending uniform.

All 3,000 or so in attendance for the reunion game wondered where Brodeur was. But in an interesting twist, Brodeur played the first two periods of the reunion game as a center, only to take his familiar place between the pipes for the third period – a period where the NHL’s all-time leader in victories and shutouts surrendered five goals.

As a center, Brodeur did manage to tally a goal and add an assist, but the White team that he played on dropped a 10-6 decision.

As the game began, Brodeur donned his regular No. 30 sweater, but it looked as if this sweater was so oversized that it was intended for Brodeur’s much older and bigger brother, and donned a helmet and a regular-sized stick.

“I know Bruce wanted to play a little in net,” Brodeur said. “I’m sure that they all expected to see me in goal.”

Driver said that the decision was made earlier in the week, but kept a secret right up until game time.

“I talked to Marty about a week ago or so and he said that he was looking forward to coming in,” said Driver, who helps to organize a host of charity fundraising events involving former Devils players throughout the course of the hockey season. “We kept it quiet on our end. At first, we sort of laughed about it, but then I realized he was serious. I knew that he likes to play out from time to time. I told him that we would do whatever he wanted to do. We all know how important Marty is to this organization.”

Most of the members of that Stanley Cup championship team – as well as coaches Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson (the head coach of the Devils’ second Stanley Cup title in 2000), and Jacques Caron – were in attendance.

Hall of Famers Scott Stevens (a current Devils assistant) and Scott Niedermayer (an assistant with the Anaheim Ducks) were on the ice. The 41-year-old Niedermayer looked as if he could still play in the NHL today, the way he was skating up and down the ice.

Brodeur didn’t retire right away, managing to sign a contract with the St. Louis Blues in January, but he then retired after only nine games, winning three, and remained on with the club as a senior adviser.

Photo by Jim Hague Legendary goalkeeper Martin Brodeur played center in the reunion game Saturday, maneuvering his way through former teammates Scott Niedermayer (l.) and Randy McKay (r.).

Photo by Jim Hague
Legendary goalkeeper Martin Brodeur played center in the reunion game Saturday, maneuvering his way through former teammates Scott Niedermayer (l.)
and Randy McKay (r.).

 

Brodeur said that he’s comfortable now with being a retired player and with his role as part of the Blues’ organization.

“I’m enjoying myself more now as a member of the Blues organization than I was when I was playing,” Brodeur said. “I tested it and made the decision to retire easier. I get to travel, get to watch practice and observe. It’s all good. I’m having a blast doing what I do. It’s really exciting right now to be part of the Blues’ organization. It’s a great setting for me to learn right now.”

Brodeur retired with 1,266 games played, 691 career victories and 125 shutouts, all of which are NHL records. He was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in the NHL four times and a nine-time NHL All-Star.

Brodeur said that he was looking forward to returning to New Jersey and seeing all of his old teammates.

“It was a great experience,” Brodeur said. “I have been skating since November. Some of these guys hadn’t skated in a very long time. I think I liked playing forward today more than I did being in goal. I didn’t expect anything differently coming back here. It’s always neat.”

Driver said that it was great to get most of that 1995 Stanley Cup championship team together for the weekend. After the game, they were being treated to a dinner together.

“It was a lot of fun and it was everything I thought it would be,” Driver said. “It was a great day.”

Defenseman Ken Daneyko, who spent the longest tenure with the franchise and currently serves as a television analyst, agreed.

“Once everyone got their gear on and got back out there, everything comes right back,” said Daneyko, one of three members of that first Stanley Cup champion to have his number retired (Stevens and Niedermayer are the others). “You could see how special the day was to the guys who were out there. You don’t expect those things until you get out there. There’s always going to be a special bond with this team. There were a lot of characters on and off the ice. We were a crazy crew who got away with a few things.”

Lou Lamoriello, the current team president and general manager who is also serving as the interim head coach, said that he will always cherish the 1995 Stanley Cup champs.

“You have to understand the amount of time we spent together, ate together, stayed in the same hotels together,” Lamoriello said. “The greatest memory I have is when the clock ticked down to the last few seconds, the expression on the faces of the players, the coaches, the fans. I just took it all in. And the building (at that time, the Continental Airlines Arena) shook. I mean, it literally shook. That’s the joy you have and it’s something you never forget. No one gave us a chance to beat Detroit and we came home and no one could beat us. That was a great feeling.”

“On the ice and off the ice, we were like a real family,” Lemaire said. “They jelled together and became a championship team.”

And they were all together once again, standing the test of time some two decades later, still that close-knit bunch, having fun and watching the best goalkeeper in the history of the sport act like Wayne Gretzky.

QP’s Velez 3rd, Nutley’s Ferinde 8th at NJSIAA wrestling

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By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

Two local wrestlers ended their respective seasons standing on the podium in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Sunday, earning a medal for ranking among the top eight finishers in their respective weight classes in New Jersey.

But for both Jeff Velez of Queen of Peace and Joe Ferinde of Nutley, there had to be a sense of disappointment, knowing that the long-awaited dream of becoming a state champion was not going to come to fruition.

Velez defeated Danny DiLorenzi of Bergen Catholic, 6-4, in overtime to take the third place consolation bout at 195 pounds. The win in the third place bout came a day after he lost a heartbreaker in the semifinals by a 4-2 decision to Tyree Sutton of Keansburg.

Still, Velez helped to put the Golden Griffins back into wrestling respectability, a year after the program had disbanded.

For that, Velez, a transfer from Brearley Regional in Kenilworth, will be forever remembered.

For Ferinde, he was looking for the chance to improve on his standing of a year ago at the state tournament, when he finished eighth.

There wasn’t improvement this year, but Ferinde didn’t fare worse than last year either, as he finished eighth once again, falling in the seventh place consolation round bout to Pete Lipari of Bergen Catholic, 4-0, at 126 pounds.

Ferinde suffered a brutally tough, emotional setback to Patrick D’Arcy of Holy Spirit by a 1-0 decision in the quarterfinals.

As it turned out, D’Arcy would go on to capture the state title at that weight class.

Still, there was a sense of disappointment once Ferinde suffered the setback and had to make his way through the consolation wrestlebacks.

“I was pretty upset for a little bit,” Ferinde said. “But then I had to get my head straight and get back out there. I knew I had to win one more time to get a medal.”

It was Ferinde’s third trip to the state championships in Atlantic City, so he was an old pro.

“This year, it felt like no one else was there,” Ferinde said. “It was just me out there. I let it all go and wrestled.”

Ferinde finished this season with a 36-5 record. He was the Region 4 champion for the first time and ended his career with more than 110 wins to go along with two state tournament medals. Not a bad resume to take to college.

“I’m definitely proud of myself,” Ferinde said. “My freshman year, I wasn’t even on the varsity. I was on JV (junior varsity). But I made to the states my sophomore year and junior and senior year, I placed eighth in the state. I really want to keep working, because I wasn’t satisfied with way I finished in the state tournament. I want to get better.”

Ferinde said that he plans on wrestling in a national tournament in Pennsylvania in April.

For now, he will head to Hershey, Pa. this weekend to cheer on his older brother, Michael, as he competes in the NCAA Division III national tournament. Michael Ferinde is a senior at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I.

Michael Ferinde was on hand at Boardwalk Hall to encourage his little brother.

“He actually made it down to the mat and helped me out a little bit,” Joe Ferinde said. “It’s definitely awesome that I’ll get a chance to see him. It’s his final year of wrestling. It was great that he came to see me.”

Michael Ferinde is not the only local product on the Johnson and Wales wrestling roster. Former Belleville great Justin Colon is also at 141 pounds, like Michael Ferinde, so it’s Nutley vs. Belleville every day in the JWU wrestling room.

The younger Ferinde is considering going to wrestle at JWU or perhaps Rider. But he knows his wrestling days are far from over.

“That’s where I’m at right now,” Joe Ferinde said. “I definitely had a great run in high school and I’m going to miss being on the team and being with my coaches. It hasn’t sunk in yet that it’s over. When it does, it’s probably going to hit me hard. That’s why I want to stay active. I really want to keep wrestling.”

Blue Tide surge with sophomore Rutherford

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By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

A little more than a year ago, Noel Colon heard through the grapevine that he was getting an excellent basketball player by the name of Quincy Rutherford.

So the Harrison High School boys’ basketball coach was excited. He was taking over the Blue Tide program and was getting a newcomer with all the talent in the world.

There was only one problem. The new found would-be star was gone before he could take a jump shot for the Blue Tide. “He grew up in Harrison, but then left before the season began,” Colon said of Rutherford. Instead on enrolling at Harrison High, Rutherford and his sister, Marla, were attending Passaic County Tech.

“My mother wanted us to stay close to her,” Rutherford said. “It didn’t matter to me, as long as I was playing basketball.”

However, Rutherford’s fate changed when his parents decided that the best thing would be to move back to Harrison so he could attend school there.

“Midway through his freshman year, he came back,” Colon said. “There was like a week left in the basketball season, so he didn’t play with us. But he played in the gym and the kids would talk about him a lot.”

Last summer, when the Blue Tide played in a summer league in Kearny, Colon got to see Rutherford’s talents on a regular basis.

“My assistant coach Dana John (the former New Jersey City University standout) called me and said, ‘Coach, we have ourselves a player. The kid can play.’ I then saw him and could see that he could shoot the ball, put the ball on the floor, drive. He was skilled. We knew we had something to work with.”

Rutherford, who admittedly loves the sport of basketball, was readied for his sophomore year at Harrison by drilling with his father, Marlon.

“My dad knows a lot about the game,” Rutherford said. “He helped me a lot. We worked on my ball handling and explosiveness.”

Needless to say, the 6-foot-3 Rutherford was definitely prepared to make a big splash with the Blue Tide.

“I was excited to have him,” Colon said. “You can do all the coaching in the world, but at the end of the day, you need talent. There are not many kids like Quincy walking around in Harrison. I can play him anywhere on the floor. He walks into the gym and with his size, you assume he’s the center. The opponents have no idea that he can put the ball on the floor and is able to go by people.

He also makes plays for other people.” Rutherford had a solid debut against Queen of Peace, but then turned his ankle. Everyone thought that the future superstar was finished before he actually began.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Rutherford said. “I knew I could come back. I was a little shaky, but I was okay. I was able to play right away.”

And play he did. Rutherford went on to register in double figures in 23 of the Blue Tide’s 25 games, including an amazing streak of 18 consecutive games.

“I didn’t even know that,” Rutherford said. “I wasn’t worried about scoring. I knew that I just wanted to help the team out however I could and help the team win. It just happened that way. I didn’t know it was happening.”

Rutherford ended up scoring a total of 374 points, a great total for a sophomore. He averaged 15.4 points per game, seven rebounds and four assists.

Over the last week of the season, Rutherford scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a win over Dwight- Englewood, had 19 points and nine rebounds in a win over Ridgefield and tallied 20 points in a loss to North Bergen in the Hudson County Tournament quarterfinals.

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

Colon said that Rutherford continued to improve during the course of the season as he led the Blue Tide to an impressive 17-8 record.

“We know that he’s going to play at the next level, be it (NCAA) Division II or Division III,” Colon said. “And he’s going to have to be a guard. He brought the ball up for us a lot this year. He’s only a sophomore and has the opportunity to grow a little, but he’s a guard on the next level. He’s really a special player. He’s a very good shooter. He’s also a strong kid. I didn’t realize how strong he is, especially going to the basket.”

Colon knows that Rutherford is destined to become the next 1,000-point scorer in Harrison history.

“He’s going to get his 1,000,” Colon said. “He’s well on his way. He’s a very nice kid, very coachable. He’s very dedicated, working out with his father, so he’s definitely going to get better. He’s also usually the first one to practice and wants to take 15-to-20 minutes after practice to work on his shooting. He takes the game very seriously.”

Colon also pointed out that Rutherford was selected to First Team All-New Jersey Interscholastic Conference-Liberty Division, so he received the respect of opposing coaches.

“The one thing that stands out to me is his consistency,” Colon said. “It’s good to have the kind of consistency Quincy gave us. He would make the big shots, knock down a couple shots in a row and get us going. It’s good to have that. Because of his work ethic and how he approaches the game, I know his future is bright. I’m expecting some pretty big things from him.”

Rutherford said that he hasn’t thought about colleges just yet. After all, he’s only a sophomore.

“I don’t know about playing in college, but as the years go on, I guess I’ll start to think that way,” Rutherford said. “I know I’m going to become way better. Playing college basketball has always been a dream for me, so I’m going to continue to work hard and try to get better.”

Rutherford said that he might play AAU basketball during the summer months and, if he does, hopes that someone takes notice of his talents.

“I’m pretty happy with the way the season went,” said Rutherford, whose season ended with a loss to Newark Tech in the opening round of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group II tournament last week. “I wish we could have made a better statement in the states. But it was a good year.”

And with better years to come, hopefully in Harrison, for the budding superstar with the memorable name of Quincy Rutherford.

There’s no holding back the Blair Train

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By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

As the girls’ high school basketball season was drawing to a close, Nutley High School had a non-descript 9-13 record. The Maroon Raiders weren’t exactly lighting the world on fire.

But Nutley head coach Larry Mitschow thought that his team could be competitive in the state tournament for a few reasons, despite having the No. 13 seed in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group III playoffs.

“We played a tough schedule in Essex County (in the Super Essex Conference),” Mitschow said. “So I thought we could hang around in the state tournament. Plus, we had Blair.”

The secret weapon is junior forward Blair Watson, who has been brilliant all season, but even better in the state playoffs.

In fact, Watson has been the big reason why the Maroon Raiders haven’t called it a season just yet.

“Blair has definitely carried us, no question,” Mitschow said. “She’s scoring 80% of our points.”

Watson scored 31 points in the opening round win over West Morris, tallied 21 in the second round win over Orange and last Saturday, Watson had 34 of her team’s 43 points in a 43-38 win over Mendham to advance to the sectional finals against Voorhees, the No. 2 seed.

The North 2, Group III title game was slated to be played Monday night after press time.

Watson drained an incredible eight 3-point field goals in the win over Mendham, a perennial state power.

“No one player could stop her,” Mitschow said. “At the end of the game, they had two and three people on her. She was amazing. She hit some tough shots with kids in her face. She was definitely on.”

The 6-foot-1 Watson has proven that she’s deserving of the scholarship she has already received and accepted from the University of Maryland.

“She’s hitting the 3-pointer regularly now,” Mitschow said. “But she’s also going to the basket more, taking the dribble drive to the rim. We told each one of our players what they needed to do. Blair was very receptive to us telling her what we thought her weakness was and she’s doing that, going to the basket and the free throw line.”

The Maroon Raiders have now won seven straight, including the three wins on the road in the state tournament.

“If someone told me at the beginning of the year that we would be playing for a state sectional title, I would have said, ‘No way,’” Mitschow said. “I knew we could make a run, but to make the finals, probably not. I never would have believed this.”

While Watson has been doing the bulk of the work offensively, Mitschow credited the work of Jen Callaghan and Sara Grueter on defense.

“Those two have definitely stepped up defensively,” Mitschow said. “They were non-stop, working all game. They have been tremendous on the defensive side of things.”

Mitschow also credited the team’s camaraderie. After all, the Maroon Raiders have spent a lot of time on buses lately, especially two long journeys to western Morris County to face West Morris and then Mendham. Ironically, those two are sister schools and they both got in the way of the Blair Train.

“She’s carrying us,” Mitschow said. “You can see it in her face. Without her doing what she’s doing, averaging close to 30 per game, there’s no way we’re here or anywhere close to it. But Blair is relishing the role.”

Mitschow knows that his team is the underdog, despite having one of the best players in the state.

“I don’t know many 13th seeds that advance this far,” Mitschow said. “You look at each Group and there is a bunch of No. 1 seeds and No. 2 seeds. We’re the only dark horse out there. But a lot of it is because of Blair.”

Mitschow was asked if he thought Watson was an All- State player.

“Well, if she’s not All- State, I don’t know who is,” Mitschow said. “In my opinion, she’s the best girl in Essex County and Essex County basketball is great.”

There might be only one thing to slow down the Blair Train – and that’s traffic. Saturday, the Maroon Raiders’ team bus had a tough time getting out of Nutley because of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “It took us a half hour to get out of Nutley,” Mitschow said. There should have been no traffic difficulties Monday night on the way along Rt. 78 west toward Glen Gardner and Voorhees.

“I know that a lot of people plan on coming,” Mitschow said. “I hope the gym can hold everyone.”

It might not be able to hold back Blair Watson, that’s for sure.

Obituaries

Mavis Kathleen DelTosto 

Mavis Kathleen DelTosto (nee Nickerson), formerly of North Arlington, died on March 5 of natural causes at the age of 103 at Brighton Gardens Assisted Living facility in West Orange. Mavis was born Nov.21, 1911, Clarks Harbor, Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, to Ethel (nee Kenny) Nickerson and William Oscar Nickerson, a Nova Scotia lobsterman. She attended Horton Academy of Acadia University where she earned her varsity letter in basketball, graduating in 1929. Mavis immigrated to the US and took a job as a governess with a diplomat’s family, living in Washington D.C., New York City, Katonah, and Glen Cove in the years leading up to and during World War II.

In 1948 Mavis married Enrico (Henry) DelTosto, and the couple moved to a home in North Arlington—a home where Mavis would live until she was 97. Mavis was a full-time mom, and a steady and unflappable force, who devoted herself to her children, her husband and her community.

Mavis was a member of the North Arlington school PTA throughout her children’s time in the schools, and served as President of the Washington School PTA. Mavis was also active in the North Arlington Woman’s Club through the late 50s’ and 60s’. She attended North Arlington First Presbyterian Church and taught Sunday school, Vacation Bible School and was a choir mother over the years.

Mavis was a vocal supporter of North Arlington’s public schools, eloquently defending them against campaigns to cut funding by offering characteristic no-nonsense reasoning: “My children were the beneficiaries of a wonderful education in the public schools. I think the children of the next generations should have that opportunity, too. Besides, I want the nurse who is dispensing my meds to be good at math!”

Mavis walked everywhere, recognizable by the battered wire cart she used (“my Cadillac”) to bring home groceries. She relished living in a small town where she knew her neighbors, her children’s teachers, the mayor and the shopkeepers.

An avid Yankees fan, Mavis knew the players, the coaches and their stats. Though her loss of hearing and dimming eyesight make it impossible for her to continue to watch the games on TV, she still followed the team religiously in the newspaper. She read voraciously, and did crossword puzzles every day—all this keeping her mind nimble.

Mavis’ gentle spirit, quiet strength and cheerful way touched many lives; she will be missed.

Mavis is survived by her son, Henry Paul DelTosto and his wife Lynne Park DelTosto, of Kearny; her daughter Doris DelTosto Brogan and her husband James Brogan of St. Davids, Pa., and her beloved grandchildren, Daniel Nickerson Brogan, (Rosemont, Pa.) Elizabeth Sullivan Brogan (Kansas City, Kan.) and Mairead Siobhan Brogan (St. Davids, Pa.), she was the sister of the late Ethan Nickerson and his wife Amy and Mervin Nickerson and his wife Gertrude.

Arrangements were by the Parow Funeral Home, 185 Ridge Road, North Arlington. A funeral service celebrating Mavis’ life was held Monday, March 9, followed by a private cremation. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Summit Animal Rescue Association, P. O. Box 124, Berkeley Heights, N.J. 07922 in Mavis’ honor.

Robert P. Huntley 

Robert P. Huntley, of Kearny, died Feb. 19. He was 57.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny.

Bob is survived by his sister Linda Boni and brother Kevin Huntley. He is also the uncle of Bobby Boni and his wife Silvia and Kevin Huntley and his wife Jenna. Also surviving are his great nieces Paige, Sophia and McKenna.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Rev. Robert Pachana 

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Rev. Robert Pachana entered into eternal life on March 3. He was 45. Prior to enterting the priesthood Father Rob worked as a florist at Lee’s Florist in Kearny. He is survived by his mother Elizabeth, his brother Kenneth, sister Debra Golda and her husband Richard, along with his nephew and nieces. To view the entire obituary please visit www.armitagewiggins.com.

Marvin Sandler 

A Lyndhurst High School Math Teacher, World War II Veteran and member of Sanford L. Kahn Post #538 Jewish War Veteran, Congregation B’Nai Israel G’bai, Marvin Sandler, 87, of Kearny, and a former Jersey City resident, passed away on Thursday, March 5. Sandler, an avid Mets baseball fan, was a kind man devoted to his family and a lifetime passion for teaching and learning and the love of music and reading.

Born and raised in Jersey City, Marvin graduated from Snyder High School in 1947. After high school, Marvin served in the United States Army during World War II where he was trained to be an interpreter for the Army. Marvin served overseas and during his service received a World War II Service Medal along with the Good Conduct Medal along with other honors.

After his military service, Marvin worked at his family’s clothing store Sandler’s Department Store in Jersey City. During this time he worked in real estate at CB Snyder in Hoboken. Marvin, graduated from NYU and then from Columbia University with a Master’s degree in Mathematics. Marvin began teaching math at Lyndhurst High School in 1955 and taught for the next 37 years, retiring in 1991 as supervisor of the Lyndhurst Math department. Marvin loved teaching. It was his passion and has taught his entire lifetime.

In 1957, Marvin married the late Marilyn Epstein from Brooklyn, N.Y. Marvin and Marylyn were married for 19 years until her passing in 1976. Marvin was the devoted father of Michael Alan, and Barbara Leah Brooks and her husband Chris whom he loved dearly. Marvin was also the cherished brother of Estelle Model and her late husband Murray and the late Morris (Maisha) Sandler. Marvin cherished his brother-in-law Morton Epstein and his wife Harriet as well as former wife Carol. Marvin loved his grandchildren Meredith and Jonathan dearly and they were the joy of his life.

Marvin also leaves behind the dearest of friends Agnes and Ian Smith who held a special place in Marvin’s heart.

Marvin was devoted to his late brother Morris (Maisha) his entire life. Marvin is survived by many nieces and nephews, and his Congregation B’Nai Israel family.

Marvin also leaves his faithful companion Lucky.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Marvin’s name to: Association for Hunterdon Developmental Center (AHDC), c/o Gloria Dupre-Wynn, 39 West Spring St., Somerville, N.J. 08876

Rose Villano 

Rose Villano (D’Angelo), 96, of Normandy Beach passed away on Thursday, March 5.

She was born on May 18, 1918, and raised in Newark and resided in Newark, Fort Lee and Montvale prior to settling in Normandy Beach two years ago. She was a member of St. Gabriel Parish, Ho- Ho-Kus. Rose loved and cherished her family and she was happiest when surrounded by her many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, especially during the many wonderful summers she spent in Normandy Beach. She also enjoyed many happy times traveling with her family and visits to Atlantic City. Rose will be remembered by all who loved her for the special touch she brought to holiday meals with her favorite traditional dishes, many of which still live on as family treasures, and for her generous spirit and sharing of family history.

Prior to retiring, she was employed by United Foodtown and was a member of UFCW Local 464A.

She was the beloved wife of the late Peter Villano, Sr., loving and devoted mother of Margaret Vishia (Tom), Antoinette Villano, Peter Villano (Janet), Georgianna Grieco (Ted) and George Villano (Mary). Cherished grandmother of 13. Dear great-grandmother of 12. Rose is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at St. John’s R.C. Church, Mulberry St., Newark. Her interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information, or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to St. John’s Soup Kitchen, P.O. Box 200147, Newark, N.J. 07102 in loving memory of Rose.

Bernard P. Wozniak 

Bernard P. Wozniak, of East Newark, entered into eternal rest on Thursday, March 5. He was 88.

Funeral services were handled by the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral service was held at the funeral home on Monday, March 9. His Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington. For information, or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Branford, Conn., Bernard lived in Harrison before moving to East Newark 64 years ago. Bernard worked for Tiffany & Co.; prior to that he worked for RCA, Harrison. Prior to that, Bernard served his Roman Catholic faith, becoming a Brother with the Graymoor Monastery (Franciscan Friars of the Atonement), Lake Placid, N.Y. and spent two years at the Vatican in Rome Italy.

Predeceased by his wife, Mary Rose (nee Ferriero) (1998), Bernard is survived by his nephews David and Kenneth Wilk, as well as many other nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was predeceased by his siblings Alfreda Wilk, Victoria Nelson, Wanda Vogt, Grace Stone, Martha Wozniak, Stella Wozniak, Anna Kryspin, Joseph Wozniak, Walter Wozniak, Alfred Wozniak, Todd Wozniak, Butch Wozniak, Peter Wozniak and Thomas Wozniak.

N.A. hiring ex-NJMC boss

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By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

NORTH ARLINGTON —

Robert Ceberio, former New Jersey Meadowlands Commission executive director, is poised to find redevelopment opportunities for his former hometown North Arlington.

Since he left his meadows job in December 2010, Ceberio has set himself up as a development consultant under the name RCM Ceberio LLC, with his wife Carol as executive vice president and former longtime North Arlington Mayor Len Kaiser as director of business development.

The RCM website describes the company as a “strategic planning and management consulting firm assisting public and private clients … in terms of projects, plans and policies. We develop strategies to meet changed circumstances, new technology, new competitors, a new economic trend, or a new social, financial or political environment.” Read more »

Brothers exit, United Water enters

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


KEARNY – 

Now that Kearny has lost its top two administrators of its water utility, town officials concluded they had no choice but to tender day-to-day responsibilities for now to United Water.

Last Tuesday, after hearing a presentation by Chris Riat, senior director of environmental services for the Harrington Park firm, the Town Council voted to award an emergency contract.

The resolution says the contract is “to operate and manage the town’s water system for a minimum of 90 days until a permanent operations and management services agreement can be solicited and awarded.” Read more »

Teen bound for Far East

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BELLEVILLE –

A Belleville High School freshman will be spending part of the summer in Japan.

Andrea Romero is one of 10 American high school students from the around the U.S. to be accepted into the TOMODACHI Japan Society Junior Fellows Leadership Program, a cultural immersion and learning project.

The students will stay with host families in the Tokyo metropolitan area and learn the basics of the Japanese language while attending local high schools and join in afterschool sports and activities. Read more »