Jaycees fete 5 for ‘distinguished service’










Photos courtesy Walter Smith
Clockwise from top l: Alphonse Petracco, John Maiello, Mike Nisivoccia, Steven Picciano, Michele Fleitel

The Nutley Jaycees will present their 2015 Distinguished Service Awards at the 44th annual community awards banquet Thursday, April 9, at the Valley Regency, 1149 Valley Road, Clifton.

The event starts with a cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 and can be reserved by calling Dr. Steven Clarke at 973-235-1515.

This year’s honorees are: Steven Picciano Jr.,Outstanding Young Man of the Year; Michael Nisivoccia, Public Health & Public Safety awardee; John J. Maiello, Educator of the Year; Michele Fleitell, Civic Affairs awardee; and Mayor Alphonse Petracco, Businessman of the Year. Picciano Jr. is being feted for his role as a leader in the Holy Family Knights of Columbus and devoting many hours of service to the less fortunate. He founded and coordinated the annual Chef’s Night at Holy Family Church and runs a Bingo Night that raises money for special needs youth in Nutley. He has also organized trips to food kitchens in Newark and run blood drives in Nutley. Picciano Jr. is director of business and development for the Church of St. Catherine of Siena & Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York.

Nisivoccia is a recently retired Nutley fire lieutenant who has served as the local FMBA president for the past 18 years. In 2001, he led the Nutley Fire Department’s Boot Drive that raised $5,000 for the New York City firefighters who perished in the 9/11 attack. He and colleagues served at Liberty State Park, decontaminating members of the public who fled New York after the attack. For two decades, Nisivoccia served as head coach/manager of the Nutley National/East Little League and started Little League trips to Cooperstown. In 2009, the team he coached was rated among the top four nationally. He also coached the Nutley Junior Raiders and was head coach and president of the league. And he supported the Nutley High School theater program by selling auditorium seat sponsors during the renovations.

Maiello is band director for Nutley High School. His teaching responsibilities include concert and marching bands and multiple jazz ensembles. He’s completing his 24th year as a teacher. This past fall, the Nutley Raider Marching Band was crowned USSBA Northern States Champions for best music, percussion and effect honors and was grand champion at the 2015 Gator Bowl, Tournament of Champions, which brought $10,000 in prize money to the high school. In 2009, the Nutley High music program was honored with a gala at Carnegie Hall and in 2008, the NHS Wind Ensemble gave a world premiere performance of Frank Ticheli’s “Angels in the Architecture” in the Sydney Opera House in Australia. The Wind Ensemble has won first place awards at festivals in Toronto (2005), Anaheim (2006), New York City (2007) and Jackson (2009). Maiello, selected as Teacher of the Year in 2009, performs as a trumpeter with the Ridgewood Concert Band and New Sussex Symphony.

Fleitell is a former two-term member of the Nutley Board of Education who served as guidance director and supervisor in the local district until her retirement in 2008. She is past president of the Radcliffe School PTA. She is a board member of the Nutley Family Service Bureau and is a past president of the NFS Women’s Auxiliary and chaired the Charity Ball. She is a founder and president of Nutley Thriving Survivors, a support program for women who live or work in Nutley who have battled breast cancer. The group organizes an annual walk/brunch, provide food for those undergoing treatment and companionship to women in need.

Petracco is the owner of Petracco and Sons, a local deli and catering facility. Petracco started in business many years ago when he began leasing and running the meat department at Foodrama on Washington Ave. Eventually, he opened his own business on Union Ave., eventually outgrowing that space and relocating to the site of the former Radcliffe Deli on Bloomfield Ave. For many years, Petracco has donated to a variety of causes and has supplied food and beverages to local senior citizens and athletic programs and community organizations. Petracco has coached baseball, basketball and other youth sports and sponsored Little League teams. He has helped provide residents with transportation to doctors’ offices and has donated food and supplies to the needy. In 2010, Petracco was elected mayor and serves as director of public safety.

This year’s honorees were selected by a panel consisting of chairman former Township Commissioner Walter Smith, Dr. Clarke, businessman John Brown, Schools Superintendent Russell Lazovick, community volunteer Anne Lynne Eisenfelder, former NJ Hometown and Nutley Sun editor Phil White and former Assemblyman Fred Scalera.

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