Business group to partner with Byram

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    BYRAM-A kid, probably about 10, came flying down a driveway on his bicycle and turned a corner with reckless abandon toward the Lake Lackawanna Country Club. The young boy, wearing a silver protective helmet, plaid short-sleeve shirt and black pants n something no one had any business wearing on a stifling hot afternoon unless they were headed to a funeral n dropped his bike at the bottom of the steps and hurried inside this past Sunday. People remembered Michael Weinberg riding his bike with that same enthusiasm while growing up in the Lake Lackawanna section of Byram, where residents boast about discovering their little piece of heaven on earth. Some 30 years later, Weinberg, a lifelong member of this close-knit community, got on his motorcycle and never came back. People around the lake were still shaking their heads the other day in disbelief, most admitting the young man "who loved everybody" took a little bit of their paradise with him. Weinberg, 31, was killed a week ago Wednesday night when his motorcycle struck a loose tire, forcing him to lose control and fall to the pavement along Route 80 near Fairfield. He was taken to Saint Clare's Hospital in Denville, where he was pronounced dead. Weinberg leaves behind his father, Marc; his mother, Donna; his brother, Douglas; and sister, Sharon. Friends spoke fondly of Weinberg, the way most do when someone close dies so unexpectedly. But those sitting outside the Lackawanna Country Club knew Weinberg was altogether different. Sure, he stood out. He was a black kid in an all-white neighborhood. But no one could see that despite the dreadlocks. And he was adopted. His brother, Douglas, for a long time, couldn't see that either. "He was a neat kid, as in really nice," said David Comue, one of the many men who watched Mike grow up in the neighborhood. "I saw Mike and I didn't see anything else." Weinberg started skiing about the time he learned to walk. Mike Ashton, who accompanied him on many ski trips to Colorado, to Utah, and California, recalled how Weinberg could talk to anyone -- any age, any time. "Mike could talk a mother's ear off," he said. "He was comfortable with everyone. And you could see at the service, there were guys you would expect to see in a biker bar near frail old ladies who were talking to guys in polo shirts. That's the kind of person Mike was." Weinberg, they said, was colorful, creative. He loved fireworks, his calling, they said. Weinberg even formed a pseudo-company with his friend, Eric Burt, which they called "Weinburt n Aerial Destruction and Pretty Colour Company." They would put on enormous displays for everyone along the banks of the lake to see. The other night, "Weinburt" put on another show, this one for their late partner to see. "They had it down to a science," said his friend, J.V. "Mike was the most charismatic guy I knew. He was ‘Sir Mike of the Lake." And Weinberg served as CEO as well to the mostly 20-something crowd that either had never left the lake area or had now found their way back for his service. Today, they said, would have been a Michael Weinberg "sanctioned" event, much like the camping and ski trips, or lazy floats along the calm waters of Lake Lackawanna that their friend would organize. "Mike was the fairest person I've ever met," said A.V. "He never judged anyone." Weinberg graduated from Lenape Valley and attended Rutgers-Newark. He never finished college, but instead became a senior partner in the family business, Bevinco Corp., which manages liquor inventories for restaurants and lounges. "You didn't see anything different in Mike, other than he was special," said Ed Klingener, a retired policeman from the neighborhood. "He drew other people around him." Weinberg was also a bass player, lead singer and manager of, the Flying Fish Sandwich. After all, he was a friend of Sizzlelean, "his Cadillac of breakfast meals." Three years ago, Weinberg bought the Suzuki 1000R sport bike that he fell off of last week. He had begun riding dirt bikes at the age of 6. Andy Kmec, 30, lived across the lake from Weinberg. They rode bikes together the way all kids are supposed to when they are growing up, just like all kids do in Lake Lackawanna. "You can't stop living the way you live because something happens," said Kmec. "Mike would be pretty upset if we did."