The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on June 17, 2005 · L1
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The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey · L1

Hackensack, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Friday, June 17, 2005
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T he Mewxb Local SECTION Green Magazine, Emiko Kamoda among honorees. Authorities say Teaneck man catered to Filipinos. FRIDAY JUNE 17, 2005 JEFFREY PAGE Our towns challenge our tongues The D.C. Metro just finished giving elocution lessons to its employees who deal with the public. Apparently, some staff were saying len-FANT when referring to the L'Enfant Square station and - Heavens! - it's lahn-FAHN. (In 1791, Pierre Charles L'Enfant was hired to design the District of Columbia; he was sacked after a dispute with President Washington.) The Metro also was chagrined to learn that some employees were butchering the name of the Grosvenor-Strath-more station. Grosvenor, of course, is not pronounced GRAHZ-ven- er, but GROVE-ner. Who? The Metro wasn't sure, but the street and station could have been named in honor of Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor, who edited the National Geographic Magazine for 50 years. We have other problems. Up here in Jersey, traffic is eternally monstrous and "pay-to-play" has nothing to do with the price of a ticket to Great Adventure. But we also hack our place pronunciations. You can always tell newcomers to Secaucus. Because most words are pronounced with emphasis on the next-to-last syllable, they say they live in see-KAW-cus - although the ones who fear their friends might recall that Secaucus used to be pig-farming country might say they live in South Carlstadt, which doesn't exist. "If I said 'see-KAW-cus' to someone local, they'd think I didn't know what I was talking about," said Dan McDonough, the municipal historian. "Of course it's SEE-kaw-cus. Everybody knows that." Ever go to Closter? That's "Clo" as in "slow." But Loretta Castano, the borough clerk, is surprised at the number of people who call and ask if they've reached CLAUS-ter. "Some even ask if this is 'Cloister.' " Some strangers add a syllable to Haledon. "HAL-a-don," they say. When they're told that the place is HALE-don, they ask the inevitable question. Was that for Nathan Hale? It fact it was not, said Bunny Kuiken - that's CUE-ken - the borough historian. It was named for the town of Hale in northern England. Some people also add an extra syllable to Passaic. They say pa-SAY-ik, which renders them incomprehensible when speaking with residents, especially old-timers. "The correct pronunciation is puh-SAKE," said Mark Auer-bach, the city historian. Very authoritative, but he himself says pa-SAY-ik. What is that all about? "Yes, it's wrong," he said, "but I'm from Brooklyn and I'm too old to change habits now." The reason Bogota is called buh-GO-ta - and not the South American sounding bo-go-TA -is that the word has nothing to do with Colombia or its capital, Bogota. The "Bog" recalls the Bogarts and the "ta" is for the Bantas, two families that used to own all of what is now Bogota. "Or so the story goes," Henry Komorowski, the borough historian, said dryly. In any case, the story explains the first syllable and the last. But what about that "O" in the middle? It might have come about as a means of making pronunciation easier, Komorowski said. Then there's Moonachie, possibly named for a 17th century native chief, Monaghie. It is moon-AK-ie as in moon-hockey. It is not moon-ACH-ee, as in moon-WATCH-ee. "I've heard it called that a lot," said Jean Finch, the borough clerk. "I've heard it called a lot of other things, too." E-mail: Bergenfield hit-run victim dies By BRIAN ABERBACK STAFF WRITER Sigfrido Villarba never missed a shift in 13 years at the Bergen-field Pathmark, and he always rode his bicycle to work. The hardworking Filipino immigrant was too proud to ask for a lift, even if it were snowing or raining. Villarba, a 72-year-old father, grandfather and great-grandfa- Grieving family hopes to find driver ther, died Tuesday from injuries suffered in a hit-and-run accident while bicycling home from work two days earlier. He was struck at 12:13 a.m. Sunday, shortly after beginning the nearly two-mile ride home from the supermarket, where he was a maintenance worker. The Bergenfield resident's grieving family is determined to find the driver, and relatives have begun hanging fliers that read "Justice for Sigfrido" in storefronts around town. "We don't know what this will bring us, but we hope that someone saw something," said Cheely Ann Sy, Villarba's granddaughter, also of Bergenfield. "He doesn't deserve this kind of death." Villarba was hit while pedaling north on Washington Avenue, just north of New Bridge Road, A gift from the Babe Ball recalls boyhood valor, meeting with Ruth John Murdock and five other boys in a 1933 photo taken along Erie Railroad tracks behind a Passaic orphanage where they alerted a train engineer to washed-out dirt, averting a crash. Murdock, then 11, is second from the right. Babe Ruth autographed the photo. By RICHARD COWEN STAFF WRITER The newspaper clippings are now faded and torn, the typeface dimmed by the passage of time. The baseball that John Murdock keeps among his most prized possessions is no longer white, having yellowed with age. Yet the signature on that baseball is unmistakably that of Babe Ruth -a souvenir from the day more than 72 years ago that The Bambino came to the city of Passaic to pay tribute to six orphan boys who had saved a commuter train from almost certain disaster. The air was heavy with potential for trouble on May 3, 1933. A torrential rain had washed out a section of the Erie Railroad trades in back of the Passaic Home and Orphan Asylum on River Drive - now the site of the Passaic High School football stadium. Murdock, now of Wayne, was 11 years old and living at the orphanage. Early in the evening and with the rain still pouring, Murdock and five other boys went outside to check the condition of their baseball field, which had become a sea of 1 i:.')f DON SMITHSTAFF PHOTOGRAPHER John Murdock in his Wayne home, where he proudly displays the baseball given to him by Babe Ruth. mud. Then they jumped the fence to check out the damage on the Erie trades. What they saw frightened them immediately. "A transformer with live wires had come down on the trades, and the rain had washed away some of the dirt," Murdock recalls. "There was a ditch about 10 feet deep underneath the trades where the dirt had been." Suddenly, the boys heard the clang as a commuter train out of Jersey City approached. There was no time to think. The boys lined up across the trades and pulled off their rain slickers and waved them at the engineer, who brought the train and its 400 startled commuters to a screeching halt. "At first the engineer got out and was yelling and screaming at us," Murdock said. "But when he saw the big ditch underneath the trades, he got down on his knees and thanked us." Word of the boys' heroic action traveled fast. The local Herald-News and The New York Times picked up the story and made it front-page news the next day. Just as suddenly, Murdock and the five other lads - Rudy Borsche, 15; Jake Merlnizele, 15; Doug Fleming, 14; Michael Mazzola, 13, and Frank Mazzola, 11 - were on their way to becoming national heroes. Passaic Mayor John R. Johnson gave the boys a heroes' welcome and awarded them all medals. The Erie Railroad would later take the boys on a train ride to the World's Fair in Chicago. But what the boys really wanted was one thing: that America's biggest hero, Babe Ruth, should know their story - because he himself See BASEBALL Page L-2 authorities said. His family said he suffered major head injuries. Authorities said they have reason to believe the vehicle that struck Villarba may be a Nissan Pathfinder or pickup truck from the model years 1985-95. There may be front-end damage to the vehicle, said John Hig-gins, chief of the fatal accident investigation unit of the Bergen See BERGENFIELD Page L-8 State says FDU ban on scarf broke law Muslim student filed a complaint By BRIAN KLADKO STAFF WRITER The state attorney general has accused Fairleigh Dickinson University of discriminating against a Muslim nursing student because it ordered her to remove a religious head scarf while working at a hospital last summer. School officials said the scarf would not be allowed by St. Mary's Hospital in Passaic during her three-day clinical rotation for a course called Foundations of Nursing, according to the student, Debra Mason of Jersey City. But hospital officials told Mason - and later, state investigators - that they didn't forbid the scarves and noted that an employee in the radiology department wears one. During Mason's three days at St. Mary's, she removed the scarf. But she told her nursing professor that she felt "completely uncomfortable and naked." When Mason asked FDU's director of nursing, Minerva Guttman, to be allowed to wear the scarf during future rotations, Guttman refused. Mason dropped out of FDU shortly afterward. Then she filed a complaint with the state's Division of Civil Rights. The division, after conducting its own investigation, concluded that FDU violated the state's Law Against Discrimination because it didn't try to accommodate her religious beliefs. "There was no genuine attempt by the nursing faculty and administration at Fairleigh Dickinson to work with Ms. Mason," J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo, the division director, said in a prepared statement. FDU spokeswoman Joan Harvey said university officials would not discuss the allegations. Mason could not be reached for comment. Such disputes usually end when the employer is informed of the law, said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It usually doesn't go this far without a resolution, unless somebody is saying, 'No, we're not going to change,' " Hooper said. If found guilty by an administrative law judge, and this is the school's only violation within the past five years, FDU faces a fine of up to $10,000. A game of dog, dog, goose By S0NI SANGHA STAFF WRITER TENAFLY - In the borough two things are inevitable: taxes and geese. At least that's what Betsy Densen said as her 75-pound black Labrador, Mazie, sniffed her way along the two blocks separating the Duck Pond at Roosevelt Commons from the high school. Densen was looking for the geese. Mazie wasn't. When they arrived at the baseball diamonds, Densen hit pay dirt: about 40 waterfowl lounging on neatly manicured grass. Volunteers scare pesky fowl away in Tenafly fields "Go get the geese, Mazie!" Densen encouraged. Mazie looked skeptical. So did the geese. Densen is one of 30 residents who volunteer to walk their dogs along fields littered with comma-shaped, camouflage-green droppings. Signs tell residents they can't feed the waterfowl, that pesticides have been used to make the grass inedible, and that a professional border collie was hired to chase the birds. None of these tactics worked, and the collie was getting costly, officials said. So the town turned to its two-and four-legged residents and asked for volunteers to do the job. "The dogs enjoy it," said Mayor Peter Rustin. "And so do their owners." The do-it-yourself option saves the borough, the Board of Education and community sports teams a combined $1,800 a month, he said. See TENAFLY Page L-8 i CARMINE GALASS0STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Betsy Densen and Mazie patrolling the pond at Roosevelt Common in Tenafly. Residents walk their dogs there to keep the geese away.

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