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Arthritis exercise

Job Haines Home, 250 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield, invites the community to join its Arthritis Foundation Exercise program Wednesday, April 15, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. This free program runs seven consecutive weeks and uses gentle activities to help those who have joint, and/or muscle problems achieve improved joint mobility, muscle strength and increase overall stamina.

The program is designed to heighten participants’ awareness of arthritis exercise principles, joint protection principles and relaxation techniques and to provide methods for incorporating these self-care skills into the home environment.

The class will be taught by a certified instructor and conducted in accordance with the guidelines established by the National Arthritis Foundation.

To R.S.V.P., call Danyette Randolph at 973-743-0792, ext. 119. For more information, www.job-haines.org.

around town

Belleville 

Sons of the American Legion host an “all you can eat” breakfast on the second Sunday of each month at American Legion Post 105, 621 Washington Ave., 8 a.m. to noon. A $7 donation is requested. Proceeds will be used for building improvements at the post hall.

Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., holds a “Let’s Make Music” program, open to grade 5 and under, Saturday, April 18, at 3 p.m.

Bloomfield 

Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., hosts these events:

  • Union City Chamber Players perform Saturday, April 18, at 2 p.m. The program includes Beethoven’s “Spring Sonata,” Romantic French and Italian songs by Massenet, Faure and more.
  • Book Club meets Monday,  May 4, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m., to discuss “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. For more information or for help in locating a copy of the selection, call the reference desk at 973- 566-6200, ext. 219 or 220.
  • During National Library  Week, April 13-18, borrowers can clear fines on overdue books by helping the local food bank. For every dollar in overdue fines, donate a non-perishable boxed or canned food item whose expiration date is still valid. Delinquent borrowers  cannot use food to satisfy lost materials or to pay for fines from other libraries. Food will be donated to the Church on the Green’s food pantry.

Harrison 

American Legion Post 282, 8 Patterson St., hosts these events:

  • Police and Firemen awards  will be presented Saturday, April 25, at 4 p.m.
  • Karaoke is every first Friday of the month at 7 p.m.

Kearny 

The Salvation Army, 443 Chestnut St., offers computer classes Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to noon. Cost is $30 per 12 hours of instruction. For more information, call the office at 201-991-1115 or Pete at 201-889-1352.

Kearny Lions Club hosts  a brotherhood luncheon Wednesday, April 22, at noon, at the Salvation Army, 443 Chestnut St. For more information, call Joann at 201-998-3018.

Friends of the Kearny Public  Library host “A Night of Magic” fundraiser Friday, April 24, 7 to 11 p.m., at Michael’s Riverside Italian Restaurant, 528 River Road, Lyndhurst. Proceeds benefit the library.

The $50 admission includes appetizers, a full buffet dinner, and dessert.

To secure a seat or to make a donation to the Friends of the Kearny Public Library, mail a check to Friends of the Kearny Public Library, 759 Kearny Ave., Kearny, N.J. 07032. For more in formation, call Jennifer Cullen at 201-991-6612 by April 20.

The library invites beginning and challenged readers, ages 5 to 12, to spend some time reading to Fosse, a registered therapy dog, Wednesday, April 22, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Each session will last 10 minutes and will only be open to a limited number of children. Call the library at 201-998-2666 to reserve a spot.

Kearny UNICO sponsors a  Flapjack Fundraiser Saturday, May 2, 8 to 10 a.m., at Applebee’s, 175 Passaic Ave. Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and a beverage. Tickets are $10. To purchase tickets, contact Judy at 201-991-5812. Proceeds benefit the chapter’s scholarship fund and other charities.

First Baptist Church of Arlington, 650 Kearny Ave., holds  a free clothing give away Saturday, April 25, 9 a.m. to noon. (Raindate is May 9).

The Woman’s Club of Arlington hosts a spring tea luncheon with award-winning mystery author Eleanor Kuhns Sunday,  April 19, 1 to 4 p.m., at Courtyard Marriott, 1 Polito Ave., Lyndhurst. Autographed books will be available for sale. The event includes a 50/50 drawing and gift basket raffles. Part of the proceeds will go to local organizations for scholarships and the rest to NAMI NJ, a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

To attend, send a check for $35, payable to the Woman’s Club of Arlington, to: Julie McCarthy, 25 Columbia Ave., Kearny, N.J. 07032.

Lyndhurst 

The Lyndhurst Health De partment, 601 Riverside Ave., hosts these programs:

  • A Clara Maass Breakfast  Seminar, “Forget Me Not: an Alzheimer’s Discussion,” will  be held Friday, May 8, at 10:30 a.m.
  • A free skin cancer screening is set for Monday, May 11, at 9:30 a.m. This screening is open to all Lyndhurst residents aged 18 and over.

Call 201-804-2500 to register for these programs.

Lyndhurst Knights of  Columbus host “A Taste of Poland” Saturday, April 18, at 2 p.m., at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. Admission is $15. For tickets, call Steve Cortes at 201-657-0800 or Nick Garafalo at 201-893-2849.

Lyndhurst Girl Scouts, Lyndhurst Girls Association and the Township will honor Libbie Lindsay for her 88 years of service and leadership in the Lyndhurst Girl Scouts Saturday, April 25, at 11 a.m. (rain or shine), at the Girl Scout meeting house, 238 Livingston Ave. For more information, email teresa.casadonte@ gmail.com.

Area residents are invited to check out the dusty trunks in their attics and bring their treasures to be appraised at the Lyndhurst Historical Society’s Antiques Roadshow-Style Appraisal Fair Saturday, May 2, noon to 5 p.m., at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave.

Advance registration is required by April 22. The $15 admission includes the appraisal of two items only. For more information and/or reservations, call Lois Hussey at 201-935-7575 or email info lyndhursthistoricalsociety.org. Checks, payable to Lyndhurst Historical Society, P.O. Box 135,  Lyndhurst, N.J. 07071, must be received no later than May 1.

N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority (which recently absorbed the N.J. Meadowlands Commission) sponsors these events:

  • The Art Safari: An Interactive Exploration of the World Around Us, open  to teens and adults, is set for these Saturdays: April 18 and 25, and May 2, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Meadowlands Environment Center, DeKorte Park.  Participants will learn how to use the traditional mediums of graphite and charcoal in an interactive way. Pre-registration is required. To register, visit www.njmeadowlands.gov and click on “Events.”

The $35 cost ($30 for MEC members) includes all three sessions and supplies.

  • Free Birding for Beginners  class is set for Sunday, April 19, 1 to 3 p.m., at the MEC, De – Korte Park.
  • Free Third-Tuesday-of-the-  Month Nature Walk, co-sponsored by the Bergen County Audubon Society, takes place Tuesday, April 21, 10 a.m. to noon, at Harrier Meadow bird walk in North Arlington. The group meets outside the MEC and carpools to the site.
  • An Earth Day Walk is set  for Wednesday, April 22, 10 a.m. to noon, in DeKorte Park. The  walk starts outside the MEC.

To register for the birding class and nature walks, contact Don Torino of the BCAS  at 201-230-4983 or go to www.njmeadowlands.gov and click on “Events.”

Mary Lou Mullins’ monthly bus trip to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City is set for Sunday, April 26. Cost is $30 and cash return is $30. For reservations and more information, call Mary Lou at 201-933-2186. The

Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Ave., will elect officers at its annual general meeting April 28 at 7 p.m. The public may attend. The society will also present its annual report and show the animals it shelters. Refreshments will be served. For more information, stop by or call 201-896-9300.

North Arlington 

The Senior Harmony Club sponsors a trip to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City Tuesday, May 12. Cost is $25. Non-members are welcome. Call Florence at 201-991-3173 for reservations or more information.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, offers these activities:

  • Celebrate the library’s 75th  anniversary Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event includes music, giveaways, refreshments and activities for children.
  • A craft program, sponsored by the Woman’s Club, is set for Tuesday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. This program is open to grades K to 5. Registration  is required. To register, visit http://northarlington.bccls. org/children.html.
  • The Origami Club, open  to grades 4 and up, meets on Friday, April 24, at 3:30 p.m.
  • National Poetry Month  Celebration, open to all ages, is set for Saturday, April 25, at 11 a.m. Read your own work, listen and appreciate poetry.

For more information on library programs, call 201-955- 5640.

Nutley 

Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, presents these  programs:

  • Twinkle Star Dance Class,  open to children from 15 months old to 6, takes place Monday, April 20, at 10:30 a.m. Registration is required.
  • Friends of the Library hold  a book sale, April 23 to 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come out and stock up on hardcover books, paperbacks, CDs and DVDs at this semi-annual sale. Donations are welcome April 20 to 22.
  • Cook with a Book, open  to grades 4 to 6, meets Friday, April 24, at 3:30 p.m. Each month the group discusses a selected book and “cooks-up” something fun to eat. Selected books can be picked up and borrowed at the circulation desk. Read the book prior to the meeting. Registration is required.
  • Paw Day, story times,  crafts and reading to dogs is set for Saturday, April 25, at 1:30 p.m.

For more information or to register for programs, call the library at 973-667-0405.

The Women’s Auxiliary of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel  Church, sponsors a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in  Middletown, N.Y., Thursday, May 14, leaving by bus from the church, 120 Prospect St., at 9:30 a.m. The day includes Mass, a hot lunch, a tour of the shrine, free time to visit the gift shop, private meditation, visiting outdoor shrines or relaxing. The $40 cost includes lunch and transportation. The group departs from the shrine at about 3:30 p.m. For more information or for reservations, call Linda at 973-661-0090.

Take me to the river, Passaic River that is

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Four local crew programs compete in Metropolitan Youth Speed Regatta

By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

The sun had just barely been spotted near the banks of the Passaic River last Saturday morning, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a bevy of activity going on already.

The Metropolitan Youth Speed Order Regatta was taking place on the Passaic River with four local programs – Kearny, Belleville, Nutley and North Arlington – all participating in the event, which basically kicked off the spring crew season for the local schools.

The Kearny girls were in full force, ready for action.

“I was looking forward to it a lot,” said senior Gabriella Baptista, who earned a spot on the United States Rowing Junior National Development team last summer. “We get a chance to compete with our rivals, racing on our own river.”

“It’s more comforting for us,” said senior Cynthia Luz, who has earned a crew scholarship to Fordham University. “We already know the course and already know the river. It’s a plus for us.”

It was especially exciting for the locals, especially after the long and wicked winter everyone had to endure. It was excruciating for the crew members, who could not get on the water because the Passaic River was frozen for so long and the temperatures weren’t exactly conducive to outdoor activity of any kind.

“It was extremely difficult,” said veteran Kearny girls’ coach David Paszkiewicz. “Most of our training was done indoors. The kids would rather be on the water than being indoors. Normally, we’re able to get out during the last week of February. This year, we didn’t get out until the second week of March. The ice took a while to break up and go out. We didn’t get to go out every day until the weather settled.”

Paszkiewicz said that it’s hard to determine what girls go in what boat simply by using the ERG or ergometer, the machine that simulates rowing.

Photos by Jim Hague LEFT: The Belleville crew team gets together before the races Saturday. Front row, from l., are Natasha Rosa, Edward Greco, Aum Parekh and Patrick Marriot. Back row, from l., are Mustafa Asali, Tom McNulty, Matthew Mucha and Jonathan Russo. RIGHT: Belleville’s notice four girls fi nished third in their race at the Metropolitan Regatta Saturday.

Photos by Jim Hague
LEFT: The Belleville crew team gets together before the races Saturday. Front row, from l., are Natasha Rosa, Edward Greco, Aum Parekh and Patrick Marriot. Back row, from l., are Mustafa Asali, Tom McNulty, Matthew Mucha and Jonathan Russo. RIGHT: Belleville’s notice four girls fi nished third in their race at the Metropolitan Regatta Saturday.

 

“You have to look at them on the water,” Paszkiewicz said. “You can look at the ERG first, but then you have to go by performance on the water.”

So the winter weather certainly limited those opportunities.

But some of the competitors don’t mind the ERG, which to most rowers is a very dirty word.

“I love ERG,” said Belleville sophomore Edward Greco, on the Belleville junior varsity four. “It’s fun. It really is. It helps to make us stronger on the water. For me, it’s a good showing.”

While Mother Nature wasn’t kind to the rowers all winter, she certainly was helpful Saturday, as there were bright, sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s.

“It’s awesome,” Paszkiewicz said. “You couldn’t ask for a better day. We’re all excited to be home, excited to be here with Belleville, Nutley and North Arlington. It’s a fun day for everybody.”

It was also a fun day for the Kearny Crew Booster Club, which organized a host of fundraisers, perhaps the best being the rubber duck race.

According to Kearny Crew Booster Club president Vicki Grimm, the club put 200 numbered ducks on the water and watched them float with the tide for about 200 yards. Each person purchased a duck for $5 and the winning duck received half of the pot.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Grimm, who has two sons, Cameron (a sophomore) and Patrick (a freshman) on the current team and sent eldest son Jack to Drexel to compete in crew. “Everyone wants to watch their duck win. It’s a tradition we do.”

Grimm said that there are many times that she has to get up at 3 a.m. to get ready for events far away from home.

Photos by Jim Hague TOP: The Nutley crew team was also ready for action Saturday. Front row, from l., are Vienna Pinheiro, Lauren Modica, Sarah Roselli and Marissa Daly. Back row, from left, are Emily Varga, Kaitlyn Quinn, Erin McGrath and JiannaMarie Padilla. CENTER: From l., Wally Szymanski and John Paskiewicz wore their Kearny colors with pride Saturday at the Metropolitan Regatta. BOTTOM: The Nutley novice four are rowing away during the Metropolitan Youth Speed Order Regatta on the Passaic River Saturday.

Photos by Jim Hague
TOP: The Nutley crew team was also ready for action Saturday.
Front row, from l., are Vienna Pinheiro, Lauren Modica, Sarah
Roselli and Marissa Daly. Back row, from left, are Emily Varga,
Kaitlyn Quinn, Erin McGrath and JiannaMarie Padilla. CENTER:
From l., Wally Szymanski and John Paskiewicz wore their
Kearny colors with pride Saturday at the Metropolitan Regatta.
BOTTOM: The Nutley novice four are rowing away during the
Metropolitan Youth Speed Order Regatta on the Passaic River
Saturday.

 

“So today we were here at 6 a.m.,” Grimm said. “This is good to be home. And we were lucky to get a beautiful day.”

What inspires a youngster to want to join crew? It takes a special breed of athlete and competitor.

“It does take a lot of dedication and it’s very draining,” Luz said. “It’s such a tough sport, both mentally and physically, because when the mind gives up, it’s not easy to get it back. You also have to go with your heart. I never thought it would lead to a college scholarship for me.”

Chelsea Dantas is a coxswain, the one who is basically the vocal coach on the boat, telling the teammates how to stroke and when.

“I was in seventh grade and my math teacher (former boys’ crew coach Scott Fuchs) said that I had a projecting voice,” Dantas said. “He suggested it to me and I was intrigued by it. It’s been a crazy experience. I never thought I’d like it this much. I’ve seen a lot of girls come and go. There are some who can take it and those who can’t. You can’t come here and not want it.”

Baptista remembered being a little girl and watching other teams race on the river.

“I was like in fifth grade and was on the bridge and seeing them, thinking that it was so cool,” Baptista said. “It was different. I didn’t know if I’d like it, but I tried out and I loved it.”

Luz, Baptista and Dantas were joined on the varsity four by Sabrina Magee and Jessica Cavalier.

The Kearny boys were also excited to be on the river for the Metropolitan Regatta.

“It was very frustrating this winter, wanting so many times to come down to the river, then having to end up in the weight room or the school gym,” said senior captain Wally Szymanski, a member of the lightweight four. “We just couldn’t get on the water. It was so cold with snow on the ground for so long. This is honestly our first beautiful race day. It’s so nice to have this after such a tough winter. I’ve been doing this for four years and this is my last year. So I want to give it my all and try to have no regrets. It all comes down to this. This is what we train for.”

John Paszkiewicz is the son of girls’ coach David and brother of assistant coach David Jr., so it’s all in the family.

“I’ve been involved in crew for as long as I can remember,” John Paszkiewicz said. “They were big influences on me. Once I got to high school, I knew that this is where I wanted to be. I knew that it was going to eventually be me. It’s very exciting to be here today, especially with the weather we had. It was always so windy and cold. We have a nice day today.”

Belleville junior Patrick Marriot was excited to be on the Passaic River.

“It’s very motivational, being here with family and friends cheering us on,” Marriot said. “It makes us row harder and we’re representing our school and hometown. All the eyes are upon you. This is why we do this sport. It’s the sport we all love.”

“Our parents can’t drive for two hours to see us race for five minutes,” Greco said. “So they’re here and that makes us strive even harder.”

“I have a lot of my friends here,” said sophomore Aum Parekh. “I had to explain to my parents what crew was. It’s much more intense than some paddle boat thing. I woke up at 4 a.m. today and woke my parents up to get me here. It’s great fun, great fun.”

Nutley also had a lot of fun in the sun on the river Saturday.

“When I was in sixth grade, a coach came up to me during a tug-of- war and said that I should do crew,” said JiannaMarie Padilla. “I remembered it and thought it would be a good team sport. It’s not easy to do, like most people think. But I’m glad I got involved in it.”

Padilla is headed to Richard Stockton College to study special education.

Kaitlyn Quinn basically had no choice but to participate in crew. “Both of my parents and all of my siblings were crew members,” Quinn said. “So I really didn’t have a choice. I wasn’t one for softball or track, because I was so bad at those. I loved joining crew. I might not have liked it at first, but I love it now.”

And racing on the river?

“It’s so great, because so many people come,” Quinn said. “Friends come, family comes. It’s so nice.”

Just like the weather. Most of the locals will return in three weeks to compete in the Passaic River Sprints.

For the results of Saturday, log on to www.herenow.com.

Harrison volleyball coach Landy earns 100th victory

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By Jim Hague

Observer Sports Writer

When Nick Landy began his coaching career years ago, he never would have imagined he would attain a milestone coaching volleyball.

“No, not at all,” said Landy, who has coached baseball, basketball and football during his career in Harrison.

But while Landy was a student at Bergen County Community College, he took a course on volleyball.

“I actually enjoyed it,” Landy said. “I wanted to get involved in the sport.”

Landy later became an assistant coach with the Harrison High School volleyball program and after two years, he was elevated to head coach.

During the first year that Landy ran the program, the Blue Tide won all of three matches.

“We were 3-20,” Landy said. “It was a rough season.”

Landy also coached the varsity and the junior varsity squads.

“I coached both teams by myself,” Landy said.

After a while, Landy was able to get a dutiful assistant in Anthony Sabia.

“We work well together,” Landy said. “It helps to have a knowledgeable assistant. The kids all bought into the program. The (Harrison) Recreation department helped us out by giving us some gym time in the off-season. The open gyms helped the younger kids to want to get involved. We also got help at the (Harrison) community center. The people that work there became big fans and got behind our program. They really enjoy it.”

Soon, Harrison became a volleyball town, much like it is a soccer community.

“The South American kids and Polish kids love soccer, but they also love volleyball,” Landy said. “It helps that the kids play both sports. We’ve put a lot of work into making the volleyball team more competitive.”

The interested kids also put the time into the sport.

“They put a lot of work into it, practicing, watching videos,” Landy said. “They realized it’s an exciting sport. Kids in the schools are coming to see it because they know it’s exciting as well.”

It helps that the Blue Tide program became proficient and has done a complete 360-degree spin since that first year of three wins.

The Blue Tide defeated Garfield last Thursday to give Landy the 100th win of his coaching career in just six years. It says a lot about a program that won just three times during that fateful first season.

“The kids came in with just a little more bit of knowledge of the sport,” Landy said. “I think it helps that there is now a volleyball program in the middle school program.”

And there is a program now at Harrison. It’s not a fly-by-night operation. The Blue Tide won 17 matches a year ago and advanced to the second round of the Hudson County tournament and state NJSIAA North 1, Group II.

And so far this season, the Blue Tide has won all five of its matches.

There is a bit of a change, as the Blue Tide has joined a league in western New Jersey, of all places, facing perennial power Vernon (whom the Blue Tide has already defeated this year), as well as Jefferson, Dover and Pope John.

“We’ve taken some long rides,” Landy admitted.

Lyndhurst is now also a part of the west Jersey league.

Landy said that the Blue Tide has independent matches scheduled against local teams like Bayonne, McNair Academic of Jersey City and state power St. Peter’s Prep, as well as local rival Kearny, but since Harrison is a member of the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference for all other sports, they cannot join the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League for volleyball.

“We would fit in perfectly there,” Landy said. “But we don’t want to leave the league we’re in just for volleyball.”

Landy likes the makeup of his team.

“We really have high hopes for this season,” Landy said. “We only lost three seniors from last year’s team and we have a strong junior class.”

The Blue Tide will head this weekend to the Hackensack Invitational, a tournament that they won twice in the last three years.

“We’re looking forward to that again,” Landy said. “It’s one of our early goals.”

Landy said that he wasn’t too shocked with the Blue Tide’s early season success.

“I wasn’t totally surprised,” Landy said. “I knew we had a tough match against Hunterdon Central, because they had just defeated two state-ranked teams. But we won that one. If we play to our abilities, we should be fine. The kids all get along pretty well and that helps.”

Junior Gerson Pachas is the team’s outside hitter.

“He’s pretty solid,” Landy said of Pachas. “He’s played club volleyball, so that helped him improve tremendously in one year. He’s strong and has the ability to put the ball down the line.”

Junior Piotr Namiotko is the team’s middle hitter.

“He’s one of the fiercest hitters around,” Landy said. “He has collected double-digit kills almost every match. He’s a major factor around the net. It’s almost like he levitates in Senior David Penaherrera is the Blue Tide’s outside hitter. Penaherrera, also a member of the Harrison state championship soccer team, is a four-year starter for the Blue Tide in volleyball. “He came in as a freshman, earned a spot and he’s never come off,” Landy said. “I have used him in practically every position.”

Sophomore Maciej Gaus is the Blue Tide’s opposite hitter.

“He’s been a pleasant surprise,” Landy said. “He’s grown into hitting the ball well and gets it to spots.”

Junior Jimmy Vega is the team’s setter.

“Not only has Jimmy done a great job in setting the ball, but he leads the team in service points,” Landy said.

Vega also comes from good stock, as his cousin, Victor Narvaez, was another standout setter for the Blue Tide a few seasons ago.

The libero is junior Frank Contreras.

“He’s been there for three years and it’s his second year as the libero,” Landy said. “He’s our best guy in the back defending and passing.”

Senior Jimmy Chen offers assistance along the back line and senior Tony Almeida is another middle hitter “who is coming into his own,” according to Landy.

The Blue Tide faces Lyndhurst, St. Peter’s Prep and Dover this week, with the Dover match at home on Friday.

“I’m very excited with what’s going on,” Landy said.

“The 100-win thing is all behind me. I like this team’s intensity. They want to win. I’m looking forward to what this team is going to do.”

As for the next milestone of 200?

“I don’t know if I’ll make it to 200,” Landy laughed.

Honestly, he never dreamed he’d get to 100, but he’s done that now, which was quite an accomplishment in itself.

Mother-daughter combo coaching NA girls’ softball

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By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

After having a successful softball career that ended at North Arlington High School in 1982, Carol Dorazio always wanted to return to her alma mater as head coach.

When the position opened up last year, Dorazio was a bit reluctant at first, considering her old high school coach, John Galante, had the head coaching slot, until the Board of Education decided last July not to re-hire Galante.

“He was one of the first people I called,” Dorazio said of Galante. “I wanted to make sure he was fine with it. We definitely have some big shoes to fill, because John was here for 35 years. But it was a dream come true for me to coach my alma mater.”

It also helped that Dorazio was bringing along a personal assistant coach – namely her daughter, Samantha Veneziano, who was a standout hurler for the Vikings, graduating in 2007.

“She went through the whole hiring process like me,” Dorazio said of her daughter, who graduated from William Paterson and is now a teaching assistant in North Arlington. “What’s better than having a motherdaughter combo?”

Both Dorazio and her daughter were great pitchers during their days at NA, so it’s only natural that both should work with the Vikings’ hurlers.

“We both handle the pitchers,” Dorazio said.

But it helps when you have a senior pitcher who is already accustomed to the grind, namely senior do-everything Taylor Barth.

“Taylor needs very little handling,” Dorazio said. “She is definitely a seasoned pitcher.”

Dorazio said that she has enjoyed the dichotomy she has had with her daughter.

“We come home now and talk softball all the time,” Dorazio said. “We constantly talk strategies and how to pitch to certain batters. It’s constantly softball. It’s been fun. I respect my daughter so much, because she knows so much about the game. I respect her opinion. In fact, she doesn’t even call me ‘Mom’ at the field anymore. She calls me, ‘Coach.’”

The Vikings have another assistant coach in Samantha Cain.

Barth is the key to the team’s success, both on the mound and at the plate.

“She does a lot of everything,” Dorazio said of Barth, who is the team’s No. 2 hitter and is already getting on base at a .455 clip to begin the season. “She’s very fast and when she gets on base, she does a lot of things. She’s also doing great as a pitcher. She has unbelievable control, yet throws hard.”

The team’s catcher is junior Marissa Piscal, who is off to a sizzling start. Piscal had a homer and six RBI in one win last week and is hitting .600 with three homers and 16 RBI in just four games.

“I’m not surprised at all with what she’s done,” Dorazio said of Piscal, who had two doubles in the Vikings’ 9-3 loss to Kearny last Saturday morning. “I’ve seen this kid play her whole life. I knew this was coming. She’s an amazing hitter and she’s so coachable. She loves the game and loves to play.”

The first baseman is junior Meghan Beyer, who is a great fielder.

“I called her a Hoover the other day, because she’s like a vacuum, scooping up everything,” Dorazio said. “But she didn’t know what a Hoover was. I felt very old. But she catches everything over at first. She’s also a good hitter.”

Sophomore Arielle Castellanos is the team’s second baseman.

“She has a lot of speed,” Dorazio said. “She can bunt and hit, so we look for her to get on base. As a fielder, she has the ability to turn and get the double play, because she gets to the ball quick.”

Sophomore Danica Krawczyk is the team’s shortstop.

“She can handle the responsibilities at short,” Dorazio said. “She’s tough and knows the game. She also pitches, so she’ll get her chances out there.”

Junior Samantha Veloso is the Vikings’ third baseman.

“She’s a good fielder with a strong arm,” Dorazio said. Junior Tiziana Cristiano is the team’s left fielder.

“She’s very flexible and agile,” Dorazio said.

Senior Ashley Meyers is the team’s centerfielder.

“She’s having a great start to the season,” Dorazio said. “She has a .500 on-base percentage and a .455 batting average. She’s also a very good defender in center.” Dorazio has been using a host of sophomores in right field in Alexandria Zaros, Megan Arb and Missy Torres, who has already been the Vikings’ resident jackof- all-trades.

“I can put Missy anywhere,” Dorazio said.

The Vikings are off to a 2-2 start for the season, which takes a tougher road this week with games against Saddle Brook, Hasbrouck Heights and Wood- Ridge.

“We have a lot of talent,” Dorazio said. “The future looks very bright. We have some girls who can hit the ball. I think we opened some eyes with our offense. I don’t want these girls to be afraid to fail, because that’s when they will.”

Dorazio said that she had no problem facing a Group IV program like Kearny.

“I don’t want to be afraid to take risks,” Dorazio said. “I like taking risks.”

So when the season began, did Dorazio think she would actually be coaching with her daughter?

“No, I never thought that would happen,” Dorazio said. “It’s been a lot of fun, but there’s a lot of pressure involved. Everyone is watching now, because I have big shoes to fill. I’m confident these girls will come around and be a strong team.”

Obituaries

Joyce Lodato Angelo 

Joyce Lodato Angelo, of Newark, entered into eternal rest after a short illness on Friday, April 10. She was 52.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. Friends may call on Wednesday, April 15, from 2 to 8 p.m. A funeral service will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday from the funeral home. For information, directions or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Newark, Joyce was raised and lived in Harrison for most of her life. She was the owner and manager of J &J Tire of Brooklyn, N.Y., for many years. She was a parishioner of St. Peter’s Church in Belleville.

Joyce is survived by her loving daughter Jeannette Lodato, her grandchildren Jasmine, Eli, and Omarion, her brother John Lodato, and her mother Jeannette Lodato. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She was predeceased by her siblings Jerry Lodato, and Janice Nogueria and by her father Alfred “John” Lodato.

Maureen ‘Mo’ Demnicki

Maureen “Mo” Demnicki (nee Breen), of Harrison, entered into eternal rest surrounded by her loving family on Tuesday, April 7. She was 80.

The funeral will be conducted from the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison, on Tuesday, April 14, at 9:15 a.m. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at Holy Cross Church, Harrison. Her entombment will follow in Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington. For information, or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Kearny, Maureen was a lifelong resident of Harrison. She worked as a chef for Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, for many years, retiring in 1997. Maureen was a parishioner of Holy Cross Church, Harrison.

Maureen is survived by her beloved husband Paul Demnicki, married for 52 years; her loving children Paul and his wife Jeannette, Tommy and his wife Mary, Theresa and her husband Pat and Patty and her husband Ken; and her cherished grandchildren Jessica, Patrick, Paul, Steven, T.J., Jason, Deanna, Monica, Kevin, Megan and Kara. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her siblings Ed and Tommy Breen and Katie Climes.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to American Heart Association, 1 Union St., Suite 301, Robbinsville, N.J. 08691 in loving memory of Maureen.

Eleanor Hubold 

Eleanor Hubold (nee Graham), of Harrison, entered into eternal rest on Sunday, April 5. She was 92.

Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Mulligan Funeral Home, 331 Cleveland Ave., Harrison. A funeral Mass was held at Holy Cross Church, Harrison. Her interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery.

For information or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.mulliganfh.com.

Born in Newark, she was a lifelong resident of Harrison. She worked at the Study Hall, Harrison, as a bookkeeper for more than 15 years, retiring in 2008.

Eleanor is survived by her loving granddaughter Jillian and her husband Jorge, her dear son-in-law Louis Wagner and her cherished great-grandchildren Sophia and Madison.

She was predeceased by her children Elaine Wagner and James Hubold, and her brother George Graham.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 332 Eighth Ave., 7th floor, N.Y., N.Y. 10001 in loving memory of Eleanor.

Donald Vincent Kelly 

Donald Vincent Kelly passed away on April 5. He was 75.

Born in Jersey City, he was a lifelong Kearny resident.

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

Donnie was a retired employee of the Town of Kearny. He also enjoyed many years bartending at Doyle’s Pub and Matson’s Tavern. He was very active with VFW Post 1302 and was a member of the Norman A. Doyle and John F. Cali Associations.

Donnie was predeceased by his parents John “Jack” and Mary Ellen (nee McLaughlin) Kelly; his siblings John, Patrick, Eileen, Ann (Kelly) Braun, Dolores (Kelly) Cali and a twin sister; his nephews Patrick, Dennis and Harry. He is survived by his nieces Doreen, Ellen, Patty, Maureen, Eileen, Theresa, Cathy and his nephews John, Gary, Tim, Jack and extended family.

Michael Robert McInerney 

Michael Robert McInerney, of Kearny, died April 7 at Hackensack Medical Center. He was 37.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral service was held from the funeral home, followed by burial in Restland Memorial Park. www.armitagewiggins.com

Michael enjoyed baseball and fishing. He especially and fishing. He especially enjoyed building and racing remote control racecars. He was currently employed as an ironworker for Local 580 in New York City.

Michael is survived by his girlfriend Alyson Tobin, his parents Kevin and Deborah (MacMillan) McInerney, his sister Kelly and his grandparents Robert MacMillan and Margaret McInerney. Michael’s grandmother Hazel (Rowlands) MacMillan and grandfather Patrick McInerney both predeceased him.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to Teen Challenge, Rehresburg, Pa.

Rose A. McLafferty 

Rose A. McLafferty (nee Cruickshanks) passed away April 7. She was 102.

Born in Greenock, Scotland, she lived in Pennsylvania before moving to Kearny in 1977.

Arrangements were by the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny. A funeral Mass was held at St. Stephen’s Church followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. www.armitagewiggins.com

Rose was a member of the Henrietta Benstead Seniors.

Wife of the late Anthony, she is survived by her daughter Maureen Gaydos, grandsons Mark and Albert Gaydos and her great-grandchildren Matthew and Sofia. She was predeceased by her daughter Sarah and her son Anthony.

Pet Valu opens in Lyndhurst

Pet Valu opened its doors Saturday in Lyndhurst. Here are images from the store’s Grand Opening.

Eagle Scout eyes new mission

Photo courtesy Stephen Koziel
Stephen Koziel at Eagle Scout Award ceremony, fl anked (at l.) by Joel Lieberman, Northern N.J. Council
training director; and Steve’s dad Keith Koziel.

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

In June, senior Steve Koziel will graduate from Kearny High School and, like most of his peers, move on to college – in his case, the University of Illinois.

But Koziel – with four AP courses (in biology, statistics, Spanish and English) and ranked seventh in a class of 400 – is focused on an even bigger goal.

As a wheelchair athlete, he’s got his sights set on training for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where – if he qualifies – he’ll compete with the best in the world.

In a potential run-up to the main event, Koziel will be participating this summer as a member of the national Paralympic Junior Team USA July 1-8 in Stadskanaal, Netherlands.

Faced with the dual pressures of athletics and academics, you’d think the 12th-grader would have enough on his plate.

Guess again.

Aside from participating in indoor and outdoor cross-country events as a member of the KHS track-and-field team, every Thursday he travels to Westfield to practice with the Children’s Lightning Wheels Sports Club, based at the Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside.

“I didn’t learn about the Lightning Wheels until I joined scouting (Boy Scouts Troop 2, sponsored by the Lincoln School Booster Club) seven years ago,” Koziel said. “I’ve been a member of the club since 2009.”

Koziel said the club, which provides athletic opportunities for individuals with disabilities, has about a dozen active members ranging in age from 5 to 22, mostly from New Jersey with some from eastern Pennsylvania, and competes in regional meets held mostly in Union County and South Brunswick.

Over the years, five club members have gone on to participate in Paralympics events overseas: Sydney in 2000; Athens in 2004; Bejing in 2008; and London in 2012. Koziel himself has competed in London and Puerto Rico.

In 2012, the club’s coaches pitched an application, with a promotional video about the club, to the U.S. Olympic Committee for a grant to help offset the cost of training equipment and travel expenses but didn’t get it.

The next year, Koziel decided to take on the grant challenge as a project to attain his Eagle Scout rank, the highest distinction in scouting.

“I noticed that we didn’t have that many athletes in our club,” he said, and that struck him as worrisome, given that in the northeast region alone, from the Boston area to Virginia, “there are maybe 300 people, including coaches and judges,” participating in competitions for the disabled.

 

Photo courtesy Stephen Koziel Stephen Koziel (c.) and Troop 2 Scoutmaster Paul Lopes (standing, in dark suit) with fellow scouts, scoutleaders and well-wishers at Eagle ceremony.

Above: Photo courtesy Stephen Koziel Stephen Koziel (c.) and Troop 2 Scoutmaster Paul Lopes (standing, in dark suit) with fellow scouts, scoutleaders and well-wishers at Eagle ceremony. Top Photo: Photo courtesy Stephen Koziel Stephen Koziel at Eagle Scout Award ceremony, flanked (at l.) by Joel Lieberman, Northern N.J. Council training director; and Steve’s dad Keith Koziel.

 

 

“Our club will be hosting the Nationals Junior Disabilities Championships July 18-24 in Union County parks with events in swimming, archery, power lifting, track and field, pentathlon and road racing and we’re expecting 350 athletes from all over the U.S., of which the northeast region accounts for one quarter to one half that number,” he said.

So, Koziel resolved to put together a new video that would be designed “like a P.A. announcement to show what opportunities are out there” for disabled athletes.

He enlisted the aid of a professional voice-over artist to narrate the video and filmed the club’s athletes in competition, along with several supportive friends swimming and doing other activities.

It wasn’t easy. Since the club’s season ran from February to July and its members practiced only once a week, filming proceeded slowly. It took a year and a half to wrap.

“We wound up with a 6-minute video and we sent copies to the doctors in the Children’s Specialized Hospital network which has 13 locations around the state and one to each special needs child,” Koziel said.

The club’s new bid for the Olympic Committee aid was, unfortunately, unsuccessful, he said, but the club did manage to get five new recruits. And he became an Eagle Scout.

“Through scouting,” Koziel said, “I’ve bettered myself as a person and athlete. Together, they’ve made me well-rounded.” He has learned to accept the premise that, “I’ve got to do the thing I really love.”

At the same time, the soon-to-be KHS alum draws on the “comradery” from his school teammates. “It’s part of the legacy I’m leaving here – Kearny is definitely a success story. The coaches and I have a mutual respect for each other. We each give something to the other: we can work together.”

What’s more, he said, “There’s a misconception people have about disability that the focus is on what you can’t do but we’re trying to break down that barrier and show what we can do. But parathletes have to work 120% to prove it. That shouldn’t have to happen and that hasn’t happened here in Kearny, either in athletics or in scouts. They both accept me as I am.

“And I don’t think I’d be here today without the help of my friends and family,” he added.

Warring districts end feud

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

EAST NEWARK – 

Threats by East Newark to send its high school-age students to Kearny instead of Harrison have been swept aside now that the two warring school districts have made nice.

For “at least the next seven years,” the “sending-receiving relationship” between the two communities will continue – as it has for more than 100 years of co-existence – under a settlement reached between the East Newark and Harrison school districts.

“In addition, Harrison and East Newark voted to end all litigation regarding East Newark’s attempt to sever the decades old relationship,” it was announced in a joint press release issued last week.

“It’s a win-win for both districts,” said Harrison Board of Education President Maria Vila. “East Newark has been with us for over a century and the new agreement keeps us together for many years to come.”

Patrick Martin, superintendent/ principal of the East Newark Public School, which handles pre-k to grade 8, said the pact would ensure financial security for the district into the foreseeable future.

Both Martin and James Doran, director of personnel for the Harrison district, said they anticipated enhanced cooperation between Harrison and East Newark schools.

Doran also credited the Hudson County Executive Schools Superintendent’s office for helping mediate the districts’ differences.

Although a copy of the agreement was not readily available by press time, Martin and Doran, in separate interviews, confirmed these key elements of the deal:

* It sets the annual tuition fee for each of East Newark’s general education students in grades 9 to 12, beginning at $13,000 for this school year, and increasing at the rate of 2% for each of the next six school years.

* It caps tuition for each of the borough’s special education students at $6,000 a year.

* Harrison school district agrees to pick up the first $18,000 for annual shared transportation costs for special education students.

With the new tuition rate in place, Doran said, “I think we’re more in line with what East Newark is able to pay.”

Martin agreed that, “It all boils down to finances. We were having trouble paying [Harrison’s] tuition. But this agreement puts East Newark on the road to stability for seven years.”

With the two districts initially at loggerheads over the issue, Harrison Board of Education had anticipated receiving about $16,000 a year per child as the cost of educating East Newark students at Harrison High School but the East Newark school board was holding fast to paying only up to $13,000.

Those conflicting figures were reflected in each district’s 2015-2016 budget, “which couldn’t be approved by the Hudson County executive school superintendent in that form,” Martin said.

“And we were both facing a March 31 deadline for getting our budgets approved by the county superintendent,” Martin said, “so we were all under the gun.”

At the same time, a Morristown law firm retained by the East Newark district in December 2013 to prepare a feasibility study in defense of its proposal to end the longstanding sending-receiving relationship with Harrison had submitted its report to the state Department of Education in anticipation of a March hearing before a state administrative law judge.

About a year ago, the Kearny Board of Education voted to authorize accepting East Newark students at Kearny High School if the borough district was successful in getting the state’s okay to set up a new sending-receiving relationship with Kearny.

And last November, in a non-binding referendum, borough voters said they preferred sending their children to Kearny High instead of Harrison. School officials in Harrison went to court to block the vote but were unsuccessful.

Yet, despite the drama of everything happening in the public eye, at the same time, representatives of the East Newark and Harrison districts continued to talk behind the scenes and those discussions, with the aid of Acting County Executive Schools Superintendent Monica Tone, were credited by school officials as being key to solving the dilemma.

“Those talks were very productive,” Martin said, “and, in the end, the administration of Harrison schools was very understanding and levelheaded.”

On March 31, the East Newark Board of Education voted to approve the settlement.

Currently, Martin said, the borough has 110 students attending Harrison High so he anticipates a savings this year of about $300,000 in tuition, based on the $13,000-perstudent rate vs. the proposed $16,000 fee.

Now that this crisis is over, Martin said he’ll be looking to keep the lines of communication with Harrison open to explore a possible shared-service arrangement involving the mutual use of the East Newark’s two school buses and possibly getting the use of Harrison High’s gym and track for the borough school’s newly formed track team.

Fighting scams targeting elderly

scams_web

Fed up with fraud? With scams? With identity theft?

So is the State of New Jersey, which has just launched an initiative called “Fighting Fraud,” a series of consumer education seminars that will be held in each of N.J.’s 21 counties during the coming year.

The aim is to help New Jerseyans recognize and prevent fraud before falling victim.

From the IRS phone scam, to lottery and sweepstakes frauds and the so-called “grandparent scam,” the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs reports that criminal scamsters appear to be more active than ever, preying on potential victims in our state through phone calls, emails and other means.

“Today’s con artists combine new technologies with the same old psychological tricks, to get otherwise alert victims to lower their defenses and fall prey to a bogus story,” N.J. Attorney General John J. Hoffman said in a press release announcing the initiative last week. “Unfortunately, too many people learn that they were conned the hard way — after losing thousands of dollars or becoming victims of identity theft,” Hoffman added.

Steve C. Lee, director of Consumer Affairs, noted, “New Jerseyans can protect themselves simply by being aware that these frauds are out there, and by refusing to send money or personal information to anyone without taking time to stop, think, and verify whether the person contacting them is legitimate.”

The “Fighting Fraud” presentations will include law enforcement footage of an overseas “boiler room” that was the heart of a multimillion- dollar lottery and telemarketing scam. The footage shows now-convicted fraudsters speaking by phone with an undercover FBI agent and an actual victim, seeking to coerce them into sending a money order to claim their “winnings” from a nonexistent sweepstakes.

The seminars also will touch on the various techniques that scammers use to trick their victims into sending money or providing personal information; the proliferation of phone-based scams as well as phishing scams that seek personal info via email or other electronic messages; and the basic steps you should take to protect yourself.

Some advice from the state:

• Never send money,  give away personal or financial information, or click on a link or attachment, without first independently verifying the information. Use another source to find a separate phone number for the person or entity that supposedly sent the communication, in order to ensure it was genuine.

• Never act without  thinking. This is true especially when dealing with a sales pitch or a threat that says, “You must act right away.” And even more so if the consumer is told, “Keep this confidential and don’t tell anyone about this deal.”

Just as with the “grandparent scam” — in which callers target senior citizens claiming that a grandchild or other relative is in trouble and needs cash immediately — con artists try to create a false sense of urgency and a need for secrecy. They know consumers are much more likely to become victims if their emotions are higher and if they are prevented from discussing the scam with a friend or relative. The seminars will be held through 2015. The full seminar calendar, with sites, dates and times, can be found at: www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/outreach.

Additional information about fraud prevention can be found on the division’s website, where you can access the FedUp Handbook, Consumer Briefs and Cyber Safe NJ.

 – Karen Zautyk