Sunrise StormPrize-winning entries in the categories of photography (“Sunrise Storm” by Michael Menendez, above) and sculpture (“Love Story” by Mitsu Walters, below) are on display at the Guild of Creative Art, as the annual Open Juried Show enters its final week.

walters_mitsu_sculpture_love_storyJust a friendly reminder that, long before our neck of Monmouth County boasted its own wine-and-cheese gallery scene or paint-and-sip studio, there was the Guild of Creative Art, the creative collective that’s watched the contemporary landscape of the greater Red Bank area take shape over the past 55 years from the window of its ever-fascinating house on Shrewsbury’s Broad Street/Route 35 main drag.

A further reminder, that beginning today the Guild’s 24th Annual Open Juried Show enters its final week on display, with an installation of works by artists hailing from all over the Shore area and beyond, highlighted by Best in Show winners representing such categories as painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media.

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100514 beast blessing11Reverend Ophelia Laughlin blesses a dog, during a past St. Francis Day event at St. George’s-by-the-River in Rumson. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

It began several years back as a simple observance of St. Francis Day; a “pet blessing” ceremony conducted in the spirit of the patron saint of those furry, finned, feathered and variously phylum’d creatures with whom we share this planet and, often, our lunches.

But such was the response to the annual Blessing of the Animals at St. George’s-by-the-River, that the Episcopal church in Rumson soon found itself  accommodating some 200 dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, birds, goldfish and numerous other species; up from “30 to 40” at the event’s onset — even flirting for a time with a monthly pets-welcome service in the church’s Parish Hall.

On Sunday, October 2, the historic house of worship on Waterman Avenue again welcomes pets of all shapes, sizes and breeds to be blessed individually by the clergy — with dog owners requested to keep their pets leashed, and even those without an animal companion welcome to attend the service that commences at 2 p.m. Call St. George’s at (732)888-1194 for additional information — and read on for more about another St. Francis observance here on the greater Green; one that’s grown this year to encompass a separate satellite event.

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quon-lollipop-clockDowntown Red Bank’s signature “Lollipop Clock” is among the local landmarks vividly envisioned by Mike Quon, below, in an exhibit currently on display at the Art Alliance.

quon1One of our favorite hometurf painters and a Latino artist collective with Jersey roots bring both well established and cutting-edge art to the Greater Red Bank Green as summer winds down.

Keynoting a new schedule of exhibition events at the Art Alliance of Monmouth County — and simultaneously looking wistfully back on the vibrantly colored experiences of the peak-season interlude — Fair Haven-based painter and illustrator Mike Quon marks “The End of Summer” with a solo show that opened this past weekend at the Monmouth Street studio space, and continues through September’s transitional journey into autumn.

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MHA golf classicPress release from Mental Health Association of Monmouth County

On Monday, August 29, the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHA) will present its Annual Golf Classic and Cocktail Party, as part of MHA’s continued efforts to raise awareness and necessary funds for the free mental health services that MHA offers to members of the military and all families in Monmouth County.

Hosted at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown, the event highlights MHA’s mission of promoting mental health and wellness and improving the care and treatment of persons affected by mental illness. This mission is accomplished through MHA’s strength-based innovated program, education, advocacy community partnerships, and the shaping of public policy.

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Ben TorciviaPress release from The Community YMCA

In the spirit of an old-fashioned barn raising, friends and supporters of The Community YMCA will gather at Stillwell Stables in Colts Neck on Saturday, October 15 to raise support for the nonprofit’s charitable mission.

Long-time YMCA Foundation Board Trustee Benedict J. Torcivia, Jr., Co-President of Torcon, Inc., will be honored at the Y Cares Annual Benefit with the Distinguished Citizen Service Award for his outstanding community service.

Proceeds from the event will benefit The Community YMCA’s YCares financial assistance program for kids and families in need of free and reduced membership and program fees, as well as such community initiatives as water safety for at-risk youth, and childhood obesity prevention.

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rb paddle day 091414 2Navesink River Rowing and the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association will be among the organizations speaking about recreational activities on our local waters, during a “Sun, Sea and Surf Expo” at the Eastern Branch Library on July 21.

Press release from Monmouth County Library

Surf’s up at the library this month, as the Monmouth County Library‘s Eastern Branch features a Sun, Sea and Surf Expo on Thursday, July 21. Beginning at 4 p.m., the library on Broad Street/ Route 35 will offer film screenings, guest speakers, informational displays and other programs on the many recreational options available on our local shores and waters — from surfing to rowing, canoeing and more.

The  July 21 event will be preceded by two free screenings of “Chasing Mavericks,” a 2012 feature film (starring Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler and Elizabeth Shue) about the surfers who seek out and conquer the biggest waves on the planet. The movie shows in the library’s Meeting Room at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, with an encore 2 p.m. showing on Monday, July 18.

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shrews independence 070416 12shrews independence 070416 11Shrewsbury residents and other visitors to the historic Allen House, a circa-1710 tavern at Broad Street and Sycamore Avenue, took turns reading passages from the Declaration of Independence during an Independence Day event that drew several hundred onlookers Monday. Volunteers in Colonial-era clothing added to an air of another time, even if one or two did whip out their cellphones.

We’ve got more photos after the “read more,” below.

An 1880 reprint of the declaration that was on display for the event will now be on permanent display at either the Eastern Branch Library on Route 35 in Shrewsbury, or the county’s Headquarters Library at 125 Symmes Drive in Manalapan. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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Press release from The Community YMCA

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24 — and here in Monmouth County, The Community YMCA is taking the lead in a coalition aimed at preventing youth suicide.

The Traumatic Loss Coalition for Youth is a year-round statewide program created to provide support for schools and communities who have experienced suicide or other traumatic loss, and to work together to prevent suicide. The Monmouth County coalition is made up of over 140 members, including school personnel, medical personnel, law enforcement officials and mental health providers.

The Shrewsbury-based Community YMCA was selected in November 2015 to lead the local arm of the statewide network. The program is operated by the Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, and funded by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families, Division of Children’s System of Care.

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Press release from Monmouth County Historical Association

allenhouseThe first formal showing of an 1880 reprint of the Declaration of Independence will be on display at The Monmouth County Historical Association’s Allen House, during the reading of the Declaration on Monday, July 4 at 10 a.m.

The Monmouth County Library Commission, chaired by Renee Swartz, has partnered with the Historical Association the Shrewsbury Boy Scout Troop, Christ Church, and Mayor Donald Barden in presenting a Fourth of July celebration at Shrewsbury’s  “Four Corners,” the Historic District of buildings at the intersection of Broad Street (Route 35) and Sycamore Avenue. The special observance celebrates the 240th anniversary of the signing the Declaration at Philadelphia.

Swartz said County Library Director Judi Tolchin will bring the unique document to the Allen House prior to the reading of the Declaration, hosted by the Historical Association. The document will be on display outside, weather permitting, near the entrance to the Allen House at 400 Sycamore Avenue.

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Erica Todd miniature horsesHorse owner Erica Todd, at center right, returns to Shrewsbury with some miniature friends from the equine kingdom.

Did you know that June is the Month of the Horse here in New Jersey — a designation made official back in 2000 by Garden State Governor (and daughter of Hunterdon County’s “horse country”) Christie Whitman?

Look closely at the Great Seal of the State of New Jersey and you’ll note that our equine friends have been getting top billing as far back as 1777 — a position of honor that speaks to “not only horse racing and breeding, but also for show competitions, trail riding, and providing the state with revenue, jobs, and open space, all necessary for maintaining the quality of life in the Garden State,” in the words of Monmouth County Library Commission chair Renee Swartz.

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Women's Heart FundPress release from The Women’s Heart Fund

On Thursday, June 2, the Shadowbrook in Shrewsbury will be the setting, as the Women’s Heart Fund hosts its 10th Annual Spring Luncheon. All members of the community are invited to attend the fundraising event scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and learn more about important women’s health topics through a newly introduced interactive panel discussion.

The luncheon, chaired by Francine Acquaviva and Alyssa McKenna, will also feature a networking hour, an array of assorted hors d’oeuvres, a plated lunch, a 50/50 raffle and an advertising journal. The panel discussion will feature executive leadership from Meridian Health and influential members of the community who will address women’s health issues, work and family life balance and simple steps we can take to be happier, healthier and more relaxed.

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Press release from Monmouth County Library

Registration for the Summer Reading Program at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library begins this month for the sessions which run from June 1 through August, with a special accent on exciting programs and incentives for young readers.

Separate programs for pre-readers and school age children are offered, with age appropriate selections and reading goals for each age. The Read-to-Me program, geared to non-readers and preschoolers, encourages children to listen to stories.  Children who “read” or listen to twenty or more stories which are logged onto a reading record are rewarded with fun prizes. There are additional prize incentives for those who exceed this goal. Children are invited to bring their relatives and friends to sit with them and enjoy the reading program.

The On Your Mark, Get Set…Read program is geared to independent readers through grade 5, and focuses on sports-themed messages and incentives during the program feature unique prizes from splat balls to paperback books. The Get in the Game program is for readers in grades 6 through 12, and encourages reading goals for the summer. Readers are invited to record the number of pages they have read each time they come to the library, with a goal of reading 800 pages during the summer months. All the recording of time, pages, and books is electronic, with readers setting up a log-in and keeping track on everything online.

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Troy Lewis copyIt’s a journey that begins in a little place called Saluda, Virginia (population 300), a road trip through physical and spiritual territory that’s limited only by our own storytelling abilities and available Gas Money.

In his book of that title, first-time author Troy Lewis delivers what his promo material calls “a heartwarming, honest narrative that shows how everyday people with whom we come in contact on a daily or occasional basis shape our lives forever.”

And on Saturday, Lewis makes his next stop on that journey with a visit to the the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury. Read More »


Press release from Monmouth County Library

A new tech tool, Playaway Launchpad, has been introduced in the Children’s Department of the Monmouth County Library.

Available in all 13 library branches — including the Eastern Branch on Broad Street/ Route 35 in Shrewsbury — these child-friendly tablets are pre-loaded with ten high-quality, ad-free learning apps grouped by age and grade level. Each simple-to-use bright orange tablet has a 7-inch high-definition touch screen, and is durable enough to withstand heavy use by little hands. Each has a unique theme, which may include princesses, animals, dinosaurs, transportation, art and more, in subject areas that help build English language arts, math, and science skills.

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Purr'n Pooch boxer PatPaulPhotoNew Life Boxer Rescue of Kenilworth is among 10 regional animal rescue and rehab nonprofits to be recently awarded grants by the locally based Purr’n Pooch Foundation. (Photo by PatPaulPhoto)

Press release from The Purr’n Pooch Foundation

Since its founding in 2010, the Shrewsbury-based, volunteer-run Purr’n Pooch Foundation for Animals has awarded more than $100,000 to non-profit animal rescue and welfare organizations, ensuring that organizations helping animals in need are getting proper funding and help from outside sources.

Recently, the Foundation announced the awarding of grants to 10 non-profit organizations — including three based in Monmouth County: All Fur Love Animal Rescue of Freehold, Cat Assistance Network, Inc. of Allenhurst, and Mid-Atlantic Bulldog Rescue of Belmar. Donations are used for day-to-day operations, emergency relief, spay/neuter efforts, veterinary care, equipment, construction, vehicle purchases, educational programs and special projects.

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Jersey Shore CookbookFrom guided tours of the great restaurants, landmark buildings and vivid VIPs in our local communities, to the resting places of the most storied European monarchs, the month of April is a Book Fair of opportunity for anyone interested in a cracking-good nonfiction read — and the days and nights ahead offer readers numerous opportunities to meet and chat with the people who bring you the books, at locations all around the greater Green.

It’s a slate of events that kicks off this Thursday, April 7, in the surprising setting of Sea Bright’s Ama Ristorante — a venue that comes into sharper focus with the revelation that the 6 p.m. event is a cocktail-hour reception for The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond. Author (and founder of Deborah Smith will be on hand to sign preview copies of the soon-to-be-released volume, a collection of recipes from some of the Shore’s most popular restaurants and eateries (Ama included). Also featured is an insider’s guide to navigating the local foodscape, as well as “the effects of Superstorm Sandy on nearly every establishment in the book and what it took to come back after the devastation.” Attendees at the two-hour reception will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary beverage, a demo by Ama Executive Chef Charles Lesbirel, plus a $15 gift card — and tickets ($50 per person; $75 per couple) can be reserved at (732)530-9760.

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YMCA swim teamThe Community YMCA’s Aquarockets swim team celebrates its NJ state championship at last week’s competition in Lancaster, PA.

Press release from The Community YMCA

For the first time, the Aquarockets swimmers of The Community YMCA won the New Jersey YMCA State Championships, an annual competition comprised of two meets. The swim team for ages 13 and up represents the membership of the Shrewsbury-based CYMCA organization and its Monmouth County facilities, which include the Family Health and Wellness Center on Maple Avenue in Red Bank.

A total of 139 swimmers from the Aquarockets team competed in the state championship meets. The competition for ages 13 and over took place March 10 through 13 at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, while the 12 and under meet took place February 26 through 28 at the Ocean County YMCA in Toms River.

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RBR VPA Shrews HomesteadersIn January, the Shrewsbury Homesteaders invited students from Red Bank Regional’s VPA to serenade them at their monthly meeting. Pictured are (back row, left to right) Jalen Willis, Ricci Bigelow, piano teacher Camille Thompson, Pieter Lootsma, Joe Ferguson, Griffin Perry, and (front row, left to right): Shrewsbury Homesteader President Carolyn Alt, Victoria White, Jenna Smith, Danielle Wolf, Homesteaders Program Chairperson Jerry Viracola.

 Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Every month, the senior citizen group known as the Shrewsbury Homesteaders meets at the borough’s historic Presbyterian Church to conduct their business. Sometimes they mix a little pleasure with business — and following a speech by Shrewsbury Mayor Don Burden at their most recent meeting in January, the Homesteaders were treated to the instrumental talents and beautiful voices of Red Bank Regional High School and its Visual and Performing Arts Academy.

The classically trained piano and voice major students performed a variety of their repertoire for the Homesteaders. Griffin Perry performed “The Tempest” by Beethoven; Peter Lootsma played “Sonata N. 14 in C Minor” by Mozart, while Joseph Ferguson offered “Prelude and Fugue N. 17 in Aᵇ Major” by J.S. Bach (all three students are from Little Silver). Pianist Jalen Willis of Neptune City showcased the Jazz genre with “Joes’ Fun Mood Blues” by Joe Utterback.

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Press release from The Community YMCA

Barry MartinThe Shrewsbury-based Community YMCA, one of the area’s leading nonprofit organizations, is pleased to announce the appointment of Barry Martin as the new Vice President of Health, Wellness and Camping.

In his leadership role at the CYMCA, the Little Silver resident will direct operations of the Y’s flagship Health and Wellness facility in Red Bank and Camp Zehnder, a 140-acre outdoor day camp in Wall Township. Working with a team of about 300 employees and volunteers, he will focus on increasing membership and program participation, maintaining service excellence and building community relationships to support the Y’s cause.

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