A DOGGONE GOOD MONTH

jax1“Jax” the Rescue Dog is on tour to local schools this month in a series of speaking/barking engagements for the Purr’n Pooch Foundation. (Photo by Maryann Small)

donegoodlogoThe causes range from humanitarian aid for the countless lives affected by the recent disasters in Japan — to the rescue of a single dog or cat in need of a home. The funds raised can support the good works of our area’s charitable, cultural and educational entities — and the means of “Done Good” support can be as simple as a trip to the library, store or hair salon.

When last we looked in on Small Factory Productions in the paperless pages of redbankgreen, the kid-centric animation studio in Fair Haven (located, in a bit of kartoon-land kismet, at the Acme shopping plaza) had just received an Emmy nomination for its Brooklyn-based public access TV show. This month, Chris Dudick and company have teamed with Monmouth County’s own  Purr’n Pooch Foundation in an endeavor designed to teach young children about the humane treatment of animals.

From now through April 14, Monmouth County kids ages 5 to 10 are invited to submit their “creative, original stories and/or drawings” about their favorite animal friend to the Tails of Love Contest — and on April 15th, a panel of judges will select eight contest winners, each of whom will receive the chance to create an original animated short film based on their entry. Each winner will also get a DVD copy of the film and appear as special guests during a special movie premiere event at the Purr’n Pooch Foundation’s upcoming “Paws for a Cause Day” at Pier Village in Long Branch (date to be announced).

Take it here for details on how to enter the Tails of Love contest — and read more for an April’s worth of Done Good doings.

anniesandyAnnie and Sandy are the guests of honor (along with legendary animal acting coach Bill Berloni), when Phoenix Productions and Wag On Inn Rescue join forces for a special animal adoption event on April 9.

TUESDAY, April 5: Community YMCA Wine Tasting at Salt Creek Grille. While some folks think of good ideas as merely something to “run up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it,” Steve Bidgood of Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille has always backed up those ideas with positive action, in the form of an annual Wine and Martini Tasting fundraiser event to mark the anniversary of the river-vista restaurant at the foot of the Oceanic Bridge. Each year a different locally based nonprofit is selected as beneficiary of the fundraiser, with that organization’s flag flown outside the Salt Creek year-round — and here in 2011, the Navesink breezes ripple the insignia of The Community YMCA. Tuesday’s 13th annual event (for which tickets, $125 per person, may still be available) assembles a selection of premium potables and  palate-pleasing foodstuffs from such volunteer vendors as Bob Sickles (who donates a cheese table from his family business Sickles Market) and Doug Douty (who brings a raw bar seafood selection from his Lusty Lobster). Jersey 101.5 deejay Big Joe Henry returns as emcee and auctioneer  for the 7 to 10p event — and 100 percent of proceeds go to the Community Y (where Bidgood’s a long-time board member) and its Strong Kids campaign for healthy lifestyle awareness. and  2011 from 7-10 p.m. to benefit The Community YMCA. Take it here for more info.

WEDNESDAY, April 6: Basket Auction Fundraiser with Stan Kasten at BCC. You might not find his stats in the sports record books, but in 1999 Stan Kasten pulled off an unprecedented hat trick when he served simultaneously as president of baseball’s Atlanta Braves, basketball’s Atlanta Hawks and hockey’s Atlanta Thrashers. The Jersey Shore native (who also did time in the front office of MLB’s Washington Nationals) is furthermore the son of Holocaust survivors — and on April 6, he visits the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College for a fundraiser event hosted by the Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Education Center at BCC. The 6:45p Basket Auction brings up for bid a collection of premium prizes that include dinners, sporting events, jewelry, getaways, theater tix and more — with proceeds going to the HGHREC and its educational programs, speakers bureau, film series and community resources. Kasten, who’s been active as a TBS exec and arena chairman, will speak on the impact of his family history on the development of successful leadership and life skills. Admission is $10, and additional information can be had by calling (732) 224- 2074.

SATURDAY, April 9: Animal Adoptions and ANNIE in Red Bank. When Red Bank’s own Phoenix Productions takes to the boards of the Count Basie Theatre this weekend with a new production of the yesterday/ today/ “Tomorrow” favorite Annie, the world-class community theater troupe will boast at least one cast member who can trace his pedigree back to Broadway. The part of Little Orphan Annie’s canine sidekick “Sandy” will be essayed by a “real life rescue success story” named Oliver — and on the afternoon of April 9, Oliver and his acting coach (William Berloni, the legendary trainer for the original Broadway “Sandy”) will be on hand as Phoenix partners with the volunteers at Ocean Township-based Wag On Inn Rescue for an animal adoption event designed to match a group of lovable, socialized cats and dogs with a new “forever home.” Annie will be there, too (in the person of young star Carly Nelson), and Berloni will sign copies of his book Broadway Tails at the event, which takes place at the Phoenix Rehearsal Center (right next to the Basie at 111 Monmouth Street) from 1 to 3p. Anyone who adopts an animal that day will receive a goodie bag of treats and coupons plus two tickets to a performance of Annie, which plays two weekends from April 8 to April 17 (and about which more to come here on the ‘green).

SUNDAY, April 10: Teddy Bear Tea at Navesink Country Club. The breathtaking ballroom of Middletown’s Navesink Country Club is the setting for a gourmet tea, musical entertainment and “a lesson on manners, etiquette and polite conversation,” all designed for children 3 to 8 years of age (who are invited to bring along their favorite stuffed animals) and capped by a Teddy Bear Parade “led by a famous bear.” A fundraiser hosted by The Friends of the Monmouth Museum, the April 10 event boasts age-appropriate activities, gourmet treats, favors, gift basket raffle and a singalong conducted by the always elegant Maureen McCrink. Tickets for the 2 to 4p event are $40 for non-member adults and $30 for children (club member families receive a $5 discount), with proceeds dedicated to the Museum’s educational programs and additional info available by calling Mary Suszkowski at (732)747-2266.

MONDAY, APRIL 11: Food for Fines at the County Library. Time to unburden your guilty conscience, and do a double-decent in the process, when the Monmouth County Library offers “amnesty” for overdue fines during National Library Week, from April 11 to April 16. All branches of the library (including the Eastern Branch on Route 35 in Shrewsbury) will accept donations of non-perishable food items throughout those six days — and, as an added incentive, for each food donation, the library will take $2 off any current outstanding fees. Collected items will be donated to a local food bank — and of course, donations are welcomed even from all those who make a habit of returning their books in a timely fashion.

MONDAY, APRIL 11: Red Bank Rotary’s Two Rivers Food & Wine Tasting. For the 11th annual fundraiser, the Rotary Club of Red Bank honors the borough-based nonprofit Monmouth County Arts Council in its 40th anniversary year, with a Food & Wine Tasting that brings together the best from more than two dozen favorite area restaurants, caterers and purveyors of food and drink. Branches of West Long Branch is the host venue for this “fun and prestigious networking event,” from which all net proceeds will be dedicated to the MCAC and its ongoing support of visual art, music, film, theater, dance and educational programs right here in our big back yard. It all happens between 6 and 9p; reservations are $65 per person and can be made by calling (732)933-9111 or at the Rotary weblink above.

SUNDAY, APRIL 17: American Red Cross benefit at Salon Concrete. Having seen the devastation brought on by a massive earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear crisis, the impulse to help the displaced victims of Japan can often run up against the question of where and how to begin. Donating to the highly organized relief teams of the American Red Cross is an excellent place to start — and between the hours of  10a to 5p on April 17, Red Bank’s Salon Concrete will offer complimentary haircuts, blowouts, and styling to all patrons who make a donation of $50 to the Red Cross. Donations will go directly toward providing medical care, shelter and food to those affected by the historic disasters, and you can schedule your time in the chair right here.

TUESDAY, APRIL 26: Lunch Break Benefit at Primas Home. It’s the latest in an ongoing series of fundraisers hosted by the Red Bank-based Navesink Business Group (in conjunction with Eatontown Industrial Park Association) — and between the hours of 6 to 9p on April 26, Primas Home is the setting once again for an event supporting borough-based nonprofit Lunch Break’s efforts to feed and clothe needy families and individuals in the community. Local restaurants, retailers and other businesses will donate refreshments and prizes, with all proceeds (including a $10 admission charge) going to Lunch Break and its range of free programs and services. For more information, contact Courtney Perez at (732)345-1400 x1810 or Jill Goldbach at (908)461-4146.

SATURDAY, APRIL 30: Clean Ocean Action Spring Beach Sweeps. The piping plovers aren’t the only things tweeting the arrival of April here on the Jersey Shore. On the morning of April 30, the nonprofit environmental coalition Clean Ocean Action invites citizens and organizations to help clean NJ’s coastline — and to tweet about “our Sweeping finds” in the process — when the 26th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps commence at some 69 sites along the Shore. Beginning (rain or shine) at 9a and continuing until 12:30p, the all-volunteer cleanup program (characterized as a “a sweeping success”)  affords area residents a chance to make this coastal place we live in — your home, in other words — a place that’s clean and comfortable and something to be proud of. Individuals of all ages (as well as families, businesses and orgs) are encouraged to pre-register at the COA weblink or by calling (732)872-0111 — with volunteers advised to “bring gloves, dress for the weather, apply sunscreen, and wear closed-toed, hard-soled shoes.” Data on types and volume of debris collected will be recorded in real time via Twitter (COA has set up #2011sweeps as the Twitter hashtag to follow); you can also follow the ongoing dialogue on Facebook.