jukeJointJonny2Above: Juke Joint Jonny brings the real-deal folk blues to a season-ending Steamy Night at the Woman’s Club…while below, the real live author Dave Cicirelli brings his FAKEBOOK saga home to the M’town Library.  (click to enlarge)

Friday, November 29:

RED BANK: Black Friday is many things to many folks — but here in the area’s capital of Christmas and holiday hootenannies, it’s all about the Friday Night Lights, as the wondrous Wall of Sound that is Holiday Express flips the switch on a new season of events, activities and jinglebell commerce in downtown Red Bank. The annual free outdoor concert commences at 7 pm at Broad and Canal streets; take it here for our feature story with the details on tonight’s festivities (including the return run of the Santa Express train).DaveCicirelli-500x323

RED BANK: If the Town Lighting crowds aren’t your scene, habitual stay-at-homes can be both housebound and social — during the final installment of 2013 for Reckless Steamy Nights, the monthly series of intimate house party concerts presented by the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation inside the Woman’s Club of Red Bank (a.k.a. the old Anthony Reckless estate, Broad Street between Reckless and Leroy Place). Tonight between the hours of 8:30 and 11 pm, the JSJBF sends you out into the bracing chill of the holiday season, with warm fuzzy feelings kindled by Juke Joint Jonny, the Newark-native specialist in acoustic folk blues whose whiskey-stinging/ whiskey-smooth style can make an inviting roadhouse out of the most stately old manor. It’s a special “Dennis’ 60th Birthday Party,” and it’s BYOB, with a $10 donation requested at the door (proceeds benefit the JSJBF scholarship programs); call (732)933-1984 for more info.

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ParkerHouseCommittee member Keith Wells is pictured at an 18th century fireplace, recently rediscovered inside Little Silver’s historic Parker Homestead.

By KAREN J. IRVINE, Press contact for Parker Homestead

It has survived the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the countless storms that have battered the Jersey Shore for centuries. It has avoided fire and flood and miraculously escaped the developers’ wrecking ball.

And now the Parker Homestead — with its simple, lovely farmhouse that has stood in a quiet corner of Little Silver since 1665 — is being rewarded for its centuries of perseverance with badly needed restoration.

With seed money from grants provided by Monmouth County, a dedicated band of Little Silver residents has overseen the stabilization of the white farmhouse — one of the oldest structures in New Jersey, and one of the oldest in the United States to be continually occupied by a single family for eight generations — are now forming a 501c(3) not-for-profit corporation to begin raising funds for the ultimate complete restoration of the home and out buildings.

The interior restoration began in early October, and has already uncovered two long-neglected features of the house — a circa 1721 bricked-over fireplace, and large wooden ceiling beams that support the gorgeous wide board floors of the second story.

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Press release from Red Bank Charter School

In November, the students and faculty of the Red Bank Charter School (RBCS) participated in a clothing fundraiser to support the nonprofit One Simple Wish. The New Jersey-based organization, dedicated to providing help and support to foster children, made news recently when its founder and Executive Director Danielle Gletow was named one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of the Year, for her efforts in granting “simple wishes” to these children.

“Education is more than just academics,” said RBCS Second Grade teacher Brenda Conni, who organized the collection of used clothing items at the school. “If we are to guide students towards global learning and productive citizenship we need to provide enriching learning experiences while incorporating lifelong values.”

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IMG_5404The Girls Cross Country Team at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School finished third in the state the Meet of Champions on November 23…while the RFH Girls’ Soccer squad clinched the NJSIAA Group II Championship that same day.

From press materials furnished  by Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS and Gottuso Communications
The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School Girls’ Soccer players put the “team” in “teamwork” to clinch the NJSIAA Group II Championship on Saturday, November 23.

The girls bested Bernards High School at The College of New Jersey with a score of 2-1 to win the second Group II Title in the program’s history. RFH earned its first Group crown in 2008, with the varsity girls ended their season with a record of 16-7-1.

The RFH girls’ varsity soccer players are Schuyler DeBree, Allie Cuje, Janie DeVito, Anna Finn, Caitlin Griffith, Kaitlyn Hess, Meagan McGurl, Lindsay McKean, Olivia Rosenberg, Michaela Borneo, Lindsey Corydon, Allie Geiger, Emma Gill, Caroline Kostecky, Jacqueline Littleson, Morgan Mulligan, Samantha Beaudreault, Catie Clark, Grace Forsyth, and Hanna LoSavio.

Donna Dini and Jeff Herkimer serve as Assistant Coaches for the RFH Girls Soccer team.

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meg porter 2 111113Megan Porter at her Shrewsbury home earlier this month. Her husband, Cole, below, on the morning of his fatal accident. (Click to enlarge)


cole porter 091513He was going to win this one, his widow says.

Six years into a personal gut job, Cole Porter had transformed himself from a heavy-smoking, overweight electrician and handyman into… well, as his wife, Megan, put it, in a comically theatrical voice, “Cole Porter, you are ironman!

Ironman as in triathlete: swimmer, biker, runner. He’d gone all-in, and with such infectious energy that she followed his lead, as their two young daughters later did, too. It was something they all did together now. Even Faye, at age 10, had already completed an adult sprint tri.

At age 38, though, Porter had decided he would focus on cycling for the coming year. And onlookers that sunny September morning in Fair Haven should not have been fooled by all his laughing and chatting at the starting line – so much in fact that a race official asked him, please, sir, can we have your attention? That was just Porter being his irrepressible self. Inside, he carried a determination to win.

And, as if right on script, as the pack of whirring racers completed the first lap of the first race, Porter was in the lead when he spotted his three “girls” standing on the sidewalk.

Megan raised her camera and snapped a photo as he approached. He was smiling that smile that had captivated her from the day they met.

Seconds later, there was a crash.

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crowd 112709The Christmas-capital crossroads of Broad and Canal streets is the place to be on Friday night, when Holiday Express presides over the annual concert and town lighting ceremony. (File photos. Click to enlarge)


stage 2 112709As Tim McLoone tells it, he’s “just the keyboard player” in Holiday Express, the winter-wonderland Wall of Sound and Brilliant Light that he founded and has fronted since 1993. But if the big band is merely the part of the all-volunteer humanitarian train that “makes the most noise,” then there’s more to the Express seasonal journey than meets the eye or ear.

The 21st season of performances by Holiday Express — a schedule that takes two regional touring and support units to 60-plus stops in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — actually got underway more than two weeks ago. By December 24, the Express team will have logged some 10,000 miles visiting, playing for and distributing gifts to more than 15,000 people in area homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, children’s wards and other places well off the beaten path — places whose residents are often without any family or friends.

For most of us, however, the keynote to the holiday season on the greater Red Bank Green happens on the evening of Black Friday, when the Express makes a rare public-invited pitstop to the downtown nexus of Broad and Canal streets. It’s there, on November 29, that McLoone and company will be flipping the switch on a wintry interlude of special activities and events in the borough — a Town Lighting made all the more special, with the welcome return of some much-missed local traditions.

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thanksgiving barber 3Art’s Barbershop. Chair: Jim Murphy, Barber: Rick Memmola. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)morsels medium

To get a sense of how folks around the greater Red Bank Green will be celebrating Thanksgiving, PieHole checked in with a few area barbers and hair stylists. In this, the fifth and final in the series, we pop in on three barbers.

Art’s Barbershop, Monmouth Street.

Jim Murphy, Monmouth Beach: Go over my mother in law’s, and she just cooks like a madwoman. Three different kinds of meats for about 15 to 20 people. She’ll make a ham, turkey and lamb. And she’ll make meatballs, too.

Barber, Rick Memmola: Going to a friend’s house in Long Branch, and we’ll probably have pasta or a lasagna. I’m not a big fan of turkey. I just plan on eating a lot.

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cups and cakes (3)Denise Kelleher, owner of Cups and Cakes. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoTime for a little Rumson Churn, as the latest iteration of Rumson Market packs it in – killed by taxes, the owner says – and Cups and Cakes prepares to move in from just a few doors away, broadening its menu.

Read all about the East River Road shuffle today in PieHole, redbankgreen‘s buttery-good food page.


cups and cakes (1)Breakfast, homemade baked goods and a juice bar will fill the space vacated by Rumson Market when Cups and Cakes moves in from its current location two doors down. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)


After three years on East River Road in Rumson, Denise Kelleher is ready to expand her bakery, Cups and Cakes.

She plans to take over the space two doors down left vacant when Rumson Market abruptly closed its doors in September.

Bad news for the market, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Kelleher.

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61 so ward rumson 101413“Not the best mix” of residents formed the initial population at the Oxford House when it opened in Rumson in August, a facility official told neighbors Tuesday night. One of the residents died of a drug overdose. (Click to enlarge)


HOT-TOPIC_02The addiction-recovery residence that popped up unannounced in a quiet Rumson neighborhood this summer “did not get off to a good start,” an official with the organization that sponsors the facility told residents Tuesday night.

“We haven’t been good neighbors,” said George Kent, a regional manager with Oxford House, “and I take full responsibility for that.”

Standing at a lectern in the nave of St. George’s by the River Episcopal Church just a block from the Oxford House on South Ward Avenue, Kent fielded sometimes hostile questions from about 40 residents of the West Park neighborhood, hoping to establish a dialogue in the aftermath of a drug overdose death at the house.

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thanksgiving barber 1Rocky’s Barbershop. Barber: Michelle Rago. Chair: Anonymous (she played hooky). (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

morsels smallTo get a sense of how folks around the greater Red Bank Green will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week, PieHole checked in with a few area barbers and hair stylists. Here’s number four in the series.

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hobbymasters 112413-1A team of Radio Control race car drivers from Hobbymasters of Red Bank ruled the roost during the 2013 Turkey Race, held November 24 at South Jersey RC Raceway in Landisville, NJ. Pictured left to right are Venom Racing / Team Hobbymasters drivers George Tsakiris, Jerry Frazee, and Connor Placer, who combined for six AMain finishes during the annual event. They’ll be donating two whole Thanksgiving turkeys to the nonprofit Lunch Break of Red Bank, on behalf of the team and track.


Linda Wang PhotoBrookdale Community College math professor Linda Wang (right) has been named 2013 NJ Professor of the Year, in an awards luncheon held recently in Washington, DC.

Press release from Brookdale Community College

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education have named Linda Wang, professor of mathematics at Brookdale County College, Lincroft,  the 2013 New Jersey Professor of the Year. Wang was selected from more than 350 top professors in the United States.  She was honored at an awards luncheon held Nov. 14 in Washington, D.C.

“I feel very honored to receive this award because I love teaching,” Wang said. “I love to be with the students and see how they grow, become successful and move on. They give me energy.”


Press release from Brookdale Community College

In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the event known as Kindertransport, survivor Manny Lindenbaum, his daughter, and granddaughter will share the generational impact of the rescue mission that saved thousands of Jewish children, by transporting them to safety in Great Britain in the years prior to World War II.

The event will take place from 7 to 9 pm on Monday, Dec. 2, in the Navesink I Room of the Warner Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College. Admission is $5 for the public, and free for students and members of the Center For Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education (chhange).  For information or to register, visit www.chhange.org. For additional information about Kindertransport, visit www.kindertransport.org.


dbfromagerieDavid Burke Fromagerie manager Alexander Loehing walks us through the limited-time fixed price lunch menu at the Rumson dining institution. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoWhen he isn’t talking about cooking a turkey in a dishwasher, star chef David Burke runs a number of high-end restaurants, including one in Rumson, that are out of reach financially for some food lovers. But for diners with champagne tastes and beer budgets, there’s a tried-and-true way to eat as the swells do: the prix-fix lunch special.

PieHole popped in at David Burke Fromagerie to see what $29 will get you at midday – and to make sure it doesn’t come out of the dishwasher. Now serving here.


dbfromagerieDavid Burke Fromagerie manager Alexander Loehing walks us through the limited-time fixed-price lunch menu at the Rumson dining institution. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)


Among eaters with champagne tastes but beer-bottle pockets, lunch has always been the secret to experiencing good restaurants without blowing the budget. The lunch menu at a top-notch restaurant is generally similar to the dinner menu, only with lower prices.

That’s certainly the case at Rumson’s David Burke Fromagerie. And the time to give it a try is right, too, since the iconic restaurant only offers a prix fixe lunch seating during the holiday season. From now through January 3, Fromagerie has a three-course, fixed-price menu for $29, Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Owner David Burke – now appearing in People magazine offering tips on “how to cook a turkey in a dishwasher” – hails from Hazlet, but his name and cooking have spread well beyond Monmouth County, especially with his recent appearance on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. That kind of reputation finds more than a few in-the-know area eaters waiting with anticipation for Burke’s “lunch season” to begin.

Piehole checked in with Fromagerie manager Alexander Loehing to get the details and his suggestions.

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thanksgiving barber 5Dequanne Gibson waits for an open chair at Rigo’s Barbershop on Shrewsbury Ave. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)


morsels smallTo get a sense of how folks around the greater Red Bank Green will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week, PieHole checked in with a few area barbers and hair stylists. Here’s number three in the series.

Rigo’s Barbershop, Shrewsbury Ave.

Dequanne Gibson, Red Bank. “I’m working on Thanksgiving, but when I’m done, I’ll go home and eat with my family. We eat turkey. My mom’s a pretty good cook. We’ll have turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing – a lot of stuffing. We’ll have apple pie for dessert and some ice cream.”

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Sky SSOA Award 007From press materials furnished by Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS

The Shore Soccer Officials Association announced that Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS senior Schuyler DeBree (pictured) has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the John Cobb Girls Senior Excellence Award.

Presented each year since 1993 to one female and one male soccer player from Monmouth County, the awards are based on nominations from the honorees’ coaches, and are bestowed upon students who are “proven to embody the finest qualities of a scholar/athlete including demonstrated sportsmanship, playing ability, and scholastic achievement.”

Schuyler received the award plaque at a ceremony held on Thursday, November 14 at Hemingway’s Cafe in Seaside Heights.

RFH Girls Soccer Coach and Physical Education Instructor Mary Beth Coleman, who nominated Schuyler for the award, lauded her leadership qualities and commitment to community service.

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RBR VocalRBR VPA seniors Shurmila Dhar, Little Silver, and Katie Robinson, Shrewsbury, took second and third place, respectively, in the upper level classical voice category at the NJ NATS Doris Lenz Festival of Singing

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

On November 2, Red Bank Regional Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VPA) voice majors took top honors at the Doris Lenz Festival of Singing, held at The College of New Jersey and sponsored by the NJ NATS (the New Jersey chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing). Seniors Shurmila Dhar of Little Silver, and Katie Robinson of Shrewsbury, took second and third place respectively, in the upper level classical voice category which includes 15 to 17 year olds.

Over 90 students competed in the festival, which is named in honor of a longtime member of the NJ NATS. Students are invited to perform by their teachers who are members of NJ NATS.  RBR teacher Kristopher Zook recommended and accompanied Shurmila and Katie to the festival.

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lucky break 102913James Hertler, below, shut down Lucky Break Billiards in September, a month after police cracked down over BYOB issues. (Click to enlarge)


james hertler 101813How’s this for an auspicious start for a business?

• In early 2011, in an effort to spice up nightlife, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna spearheads a zoning law change to allow billiards parlors and other entertainment-based businesses to operate downtown.

• Several months later, former Mayor Ed McKenna, as lawyer on a lease for a planned billiards parlor, calls now-deceased police Chief Steve McCarthy to confirm that it could operate as a bring-your-own-beer and wine establishment. McKenna gets an OK, he tells his client, James Hertler, who was in McKenna’s office during the call.

• That October, Hertler goes before the zoning board and wins quick, unanimous approval of his plan for Lucky Break Billiards. Throughout its lengthy resolution of approval, the board notes that Lucky Break will be a BYOB that serves coffee and microwavable snacks and will allow its customers to bring in food from nearby restaurants.

• The following March, Hertler and partner Jeff Regen open Lucky Break at 14 West Front Street, in a space that had been vacant for four years.

• Lucky Break toughs it out for the next 18 months, building a repeat clientele largely based on private parties and edging toward profitability.

• Though it’s located amid a busy cluster of bars, there’s not a single incident requiring a police response at Lucky Break. “We worked hard to be a good neighbor,” said Hertler, a borough resident.

Yet without any change in the pattern described above, guess who abruptly finds himself accused of violating liquor laws – and out of business?

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cake boss 112513 1Cake Boss Buddy Valastro emerges to a forest of fans and cellphone cameras at the opening of Carlo’s Bake Shop in Red Bank Monday. (Click to enlarge)


Rcsm2_010508Starved for a glimpse of the star, fans of TVs’s Cake Boss packed newly opened Carlo’s Bake Shop in Red Bank Monday afternoon.

Standing four deep along a Broad Street sidewalk, they greeted the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro, with girlish shrieks when he emerged to open the shop.

Two questions:


And how did he get the place open so fast?

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It was nippy outside Sunday evening, but at Red Bank’s Red lounge, it was a place to Go Naked. Dozens came out to the third annual Go Naked and Check Yourself fundraiser and (ahem) educational event held to raise awareness about skin cancer, breast cancer, testicular cancer and other detectable ailments. Once again, Red Bank’s Sugarush cupcakes and Sweetest Sin lingerie shops put the bounce in the event, which had previously raised more than $20,000 for health-related charities. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)


just_in1The owner of an investment firm based in Fair Haven was arrested Monday on charges he ran an $18 million Ponzi scheme, federal authorities said.

Louis J. Spina, 56, formerly of Colts Neck, is alleged to have lost $8 million of that amount on stock trades and burned through the rest to pay his clients phony ‘returns,’ as well as for personal expenses, “including car purchases/payments, luxury apartment rental payments, and a $400,000 donation to a private university,” the office of United States Attorney Paul Fishman said in a prepared announcement.

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