Search Results for: "Sea Bright Rising"


Ilene Winters and Chris Wood reviewing requests for  from Sea Bright Rising in January, 2013, three months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the town. On Friday, Winters and Woods announced that the nonprofit organization was dissolved, having completed its mission after giving out $1.6 million in donated funds to 300 families, 20 businesses and the borough itself.

From the announcement: Read More »


sb elevations 4 060513Sea Bright homes being elevated last June. Officials estimate 80 percent of the town’s homes are still vacant. Below, Chris Wood, flanked by Pete Forlenza and Zack Rosenburg, addresses a gathering in Rumson Tuesday night. (Click to enlarge)


sb rising 022514Sixteen months after the churning Atlantic Ocean and the Shrewsbury River met on Sea Bright’s streets in the fury of a hurricane, the borough is still something of a ghost town, said Chris Wood.

Yes, the business district has seen a welcome comeback. “But 80 percent of the homes on the side streets of Sea Bright are still vacant,” said Wood, a co-founder of Sea Bright Rising, a nonprofit that has raised and distributed close to $1.3 million in donated funds to some 300 families and 17 businesses in town since Hurricane Sandy hit.

Now, though, Sea Bright Rising is partnering with another nonprofit born in the aftermath of a hurricane, with the goal of rebuilding as many as 100 homes in Sea Bright, Rumson and Highlands – at no charge to those homeowners.

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Ilene Winters and Chris Wood reviewing requests for help from Sea Bright Rising in Wood’s office Thursday. Below, a mudline shows the height of the water that inundated homes and businesses in town during Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


Nearly 70 days after Hurricane Sandy washed the Atlantic Ocean into his Sea Bright restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood hunkered down with Ilene Winters in his loft office, sifting through aid requests from residents whose homes were flooded or destroyed in the storm.

The two executives of Sea Bright Rising were prioritizing applications for help with repair and replacement expenses from their neighbors as part of an effort to dole out nearly $500,000 in donations collected in the aftermath of the October 29 storm.

“We need two things from those reaching out to us: specificity and priority,” Wood said. “We don’t give out direct personal checks, cash or Visa cards, but we are more than happy to write checks to contractors, landlords or electricians for a portion –usually around 25 percent, of their bill, for example. We can’t write a check for ‘help’.”

Among the charitable organizations that arose in the wake of Sandy, the one Sea Bright residents have been able to lean on perhaps more than any other is a home-grown effort dedicated to the town’s return from the wreckage.

In terms of community outreach, involvement, and most importantly, results, it’s doing the job, its founders say. And in a period in which many Sandy-related charities are losing steam, Wood and Winters insist theirs is just getting started.

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THE BROADWAY DOLLS PRESS PIC 1The Broadway Dolls, featuring Hollie Howard (center), bring the musical excitement to the Molly for A Taste of Broadway, a Monday night fundraising gala benefitting a group of Shore-based nonprofits.

It’s like something straight out of a Busby Berkeley musical: farm girl comes to the big city; goes from unknown to Broadway lead, and back to struggling trouper. Takes her career into her own hands by calling up her fellow under-employed ladies of the stage and crafting “an all-female revue with a sexy rock n’ roll twist” — one that becomes an international touring sensation, from here to such faraway whistle-stops as China and Dubai. Call it The Broadway Dolls and you’ve got a surefire hit.

Created by and co-starring former Hairspray lead Hollie Howard, the project known as Broadway’s Original Girl Group brings its mix of vintage showtunes, 60s girl group oldies and 21st century radio pop to Red Bank’s historic Molly Pitcher Inn on Monday, September 22 for  “A Taste of Broadway on the Promenade,” a gala dedicated to the benefit of an array of locally based charities — and spotlighting the wares of several star-quality staples of the Monmouth County culinary landscape.

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THE BROADWAY DOLLS PRESS PIC 1The Broadway Dolls, featuring Hollie Howard (center), bring the excitement for Waves of Support, a September fundraising gala to benefit a group of ten Shore communities and locally based nonprofits.

Press release from Navesink Business Group

The officers of Navesink Business Group have announced that tickets are on sale for the organization’s annual Waves of Support fundraising gala benefitting locally based charities.

Presented under the theme “A Taste of Broadway on the Promenade,” this year’s event will take place on Monday, September 22, 2014, at the historic Molly Pitcher Inn. The evening begins with cocktails at 6 pm, and includes a silent auction, spectacular entertainment, and a five-course dinner featuring selections from some stars of Monmouth County’s culinary landscape.

Headlining the evening’s entertainment will be a performance by The Broadway Dolls, the dynamic “girl group” founded by Hollie Howard, and featuring cast members from such Broadway hits as Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages and Jersey Boys.

Dinner will include hors d’oeuvres and several courses prepared by some of Monmouth County’s top dining spots, among them Ama Ristorante, Danny’s Steak House, David Burke Fromagerie, Soul Kitchen, Teak, The Bistro, The Cheese Cave and Zoe, in addition the executive chefs from The Molly Pitcher Inn and The Oyster Point Hotel.

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KnollwoodCaption: Diane Keaveny prepares to distribute tee shirts to the Knollwood fifth graders, while Kim Slate displays a copy of the book the students created to elicit donations for Sandy-related charities.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

The fifth-grade students gathered in their former fourth-grade classroom in late April 2014, the same way they had at around the same time last year.

Last year, the students were in Knollwood School Classroom 101 discussing poems they planned to write and publish to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. This year, they reunited in the same place to receive accolades and a gift from one of the organizations that had benefitted from their hard work.

The student’s fourth grade teachers, Kate Mills and Tara Barnett, had encouraged them to express their feelings in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which hit the area on October 29, 2012. Through the efforts of MaryAnne Kanacki Strulowitz, whose son Michael was in the class at the time, the poems were published in the fall of 2013 in a book titled Hurricane Sandy: A View from Room 101.

All proceeds from purchases of the book, available for a donation of $20, are slated for the Sandy-related charities Hope for Highlands and Sea Bright Rising.

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sb st bernard 1 032614Americorps volunteers painting the framework of Desiree Pierce’s home Wednesday to encapsulate any lingering mold. Below, Pierce and daughter, Gigi Burke, have been displaced from their home since Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


sb gigi desiree 032614People who’ve never been through something like Hurricane Sandy don’t understand, says Gigi Burke.

“They don’t understand losing everything,” the 23-year-old Sea Bright resident said. “And then, they don’t understand the process and steps it takes to get back into your home.”

In the 500-plus days since Burke, her two siblings and their mother lost use of their New Street home to the surging Shrewsbury River and Atlantic Ocean, she’s heard “the question” from people who’ve temporarily put her up more than once.

“It was basically, ‘when are you leaving?’ but in a nice way,” she said Wednesday, amid of a flurry of rebuilding activity finally getting underway at her home.

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LurieKirkKimballBandleader Brian Kirk (center) brings his Jirks back to the Basie stage on December 23, in a Santa for Lunch Break benefit that boasts the chart-topping voices of Elliot Lurie from Looking Glass (left), and Bobby Kimball from Toto (right).


Over the course of some two decades working favorite watering holes up and down the Jersey Shore — and building a solid following as a go-to group for weddings and corporate events — Brian Kirk & the Jirks have kept the party percolating by specializing in one thing: that attention compelling, wildly eclectic genre known as Other People’s Hit Songs.

This coming Monday, when the guys best known for their long tenure at Sea Bright’s much-missed Donovan’s Reef leave the bars behind for the grand proscenium of the Count Basie Theatre, they’ll be calling in reinforcements on the hitmen front — The Nerds, whose entertaining shtick and awesome chops have broken them out into the big world beyond Jersey. They’ll also welcome a couple of guys from out of town — the sort of men whose names and faces might not be known to all, but whose professional lives are all about The Hits. Who own The Hits.

The occasion is Santa for Lunch Break, a benefit for the borough-based nonprofit Lunch Break of Red Bank, and a sequel to last December’s sold-out Santa for Sea Bright event that raised crucial funds for the seagrass-roots organization Sea Bright Rising. Billed as a “variety show format” with “energetic music, bad jokes, and a little bit of ‘Bruce’ for a great cause,” the 8 pm concert follows in the spirit of Dunesday, the summertime series of beach-bash benefits that the enterprising Kirk maintained even after Superstorm Sandy dispatched Donovan’s to Davy Jones’ Locker — and that drew many thousands of faithful (including an enthusiastic Mr. Springsteen) to its open-air funraisers for neighbor families and community causes.

For the December 23 show in Red Bank, Kirk and his crew will share the stage with a couple of classic voices who are sure to strike a chord with anyone who never left home without a transistor radio or Walkman. Bobby Kimball is the vocalist whose time in Toto resulted in such Top Five hits as “Hold The Line,” “Africa,” and the Grammy winning “Rosanna” — while Jersey guy Elliot Lurie is none other than the singer and songwriter behind Looking Glass, and one of the most recognizable lite-rock bar anthems in all of human history, the 1972 Number One smash “Brandy.”

The Party Committee at redbankgreen spoke to busy bandleader (and owner of Red Bank-based Key Telecom Inc.) Brian Kirk as he made continued preparations for Santa’s wild ride.

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Former Sea Bright restaurateur Joanne Garelli leads a food truck in a cross-country reality TV race that plays out this season on the Food Network, starting Sunday.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Wednesday’s Star-Ledger has a feature story about Joanne Garelli, the former co-owner of a Sea Bright luncheonette who’s turned the misfortune of Hurricane Sandy into opportunity.

Having lost Steve’s Breakfast & Lunch to the October 29, 2012 storm, Garelli recently headed up a three-person food truck that made its way across the United States as part of “The Great Food Truck Race,” a reality television series that starts its third season on the Food Network this Sunday night.

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Two charities – Sea Bright Rising and Ama Ristorante’s Building Permit Relief Fund – with the common mission of helping Sea Bright victims of Hurricane Sandy rebuild their homes and businesses were the beneficiaries of festivities at Driftwood Cabana Club Monday that culminated in a spectacular fireworks show.

Daylong downpours halted, a rainbow appeared, and a pyrotechnics show billed as New Jersey’s largest this Independence Day week lit up the sky above the Atlantic Ocean and Sea Bright as thousands looked on. redbankgreen was at Driftwood to capture the spectacle. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click the embiggen symbolto enlarge)



Greg Russo records an interview with Sea Bright resident Joey, who declined to give his last name, for a video blog. Below, cubicles set up for private consultations in the borough community center. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


Six months removed from Hurricane Sandy, Sea Bright residents are still grappling with recovery and rebuilding challenges.

According to the borough’s volunteer coordinator, Frank Lawrence, many residents continue to face an uphill battle with insurance and construction issues, financial woes and severe emotional strain.

To help its residents deal with these overwhelming problems, the borough has partnered with several local and national charities to put together the Sea Bright Resource Center, a place where case managers, counseling services and more are readily available free of charge.

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A piece of the painted rug, above, is all that remains of the trompe l’oeil cozy cottage that Megan Heath Gilhool created in the bus shelter in October, 2011, below. (Click to enlarge)


Before Hurricane Sandy, Sea Bright’s downtown bus shelter, elaborately painted to resemble a typical beach-front bungalow, was one of the little things that gave the shore community an indelible sense of character and charm.

Post-Sandy, however, all that remains of the decorated stop is a bit of faux flooring on a slab of broken concrete, with the rest of the structure washed away into oblivion.

Fortunately for Sea Bright straphangers, that’s about to change.

Sea Bright Rising, a charity group that arose in the storm’s aftermath to aid the ailing community, is planning to rebuild the Ocean Avenue shelter and restore it to visual glory with help from artist Megan Heath Gilhool.

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A Sea Bright home as seen from the sea wall five days after Hurricane Sandy. Borough officials contend the number of severely damaged homes is being underestimated by a state agency. (Click to enlarge)


Six months after Hurricane Sandy walloped the region, Sea Bright officials find themselves in a disagreement with a state agency over the financial impact of the storm.

The dispute, centered on newly released New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA)’s data on the extent of storm destruction in town, was one of a handful of post-Sandy issues that dominated Tuesday night’s council meeting.

“The DCA released some numbers that gave statistics from Sea Bright,” Mayor Dina Long told the audience, “and they said there were 574 homes with damage. Of those homes, 32 had major damage – damage between $8,000 and $28,000; and 63 homes suffered severe damage – over $28,000 worth of damage.

“Based on where I live, and what it cost to fix even my own house, I really feel like these numbers are not reflecting an on-the-ground truth,” she said.

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Runners charging through Sea Bright, above, and gathered for an postrace party, below. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


Hurricane-ravaged Sea Bright got a breath of life Saturday morning, when the scarcely occupied downtown area played host to hundreds of runners and onlookers taking part in the Keith D. Mcheffey Memorial Fun Run.

Ocean Avenue served as the track, while Woody’s Ocean Grille sponsored an expansive food and beer tent to keep the celebration going long after even the slowest runner crossed the finish line.

It was all in an effort to pick up the pieces in the rebuilding town – and to celebrate one man’s cherished but tragically short life.

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Grace and the Nocturnals bring a bit of ooh-la-la to the Basie tonight. Bar Bounce bops into Red Bank for Hurricane Sandy relief Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, February 22

RED BANK: Two River Theater continues its presentation of August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running,” with performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $24 to $42 and are available online. 21 Bridge Avenue.

RED BANK: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, whose songs have been featured in popular television shows over the years such as Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill, bring their blues, folk, and alternative rock sounds to the Count Basie Theatre at 8 p.m. for a set of tunes off their new album, The Lion The Beast The Beat. Tickets are $29.50, $34.50, and $39.50. 99 Monmouth Street.

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The Dublin House Pub is one of a dozen Red Bank stops on Saturday’s crawl for post-Sandy charities. (Click to enlarge)


With a cold, drab and possibly wet February weekend in the forecast, isn’t time to break out the beach wear?

It is, say the folks at Red Bank RiverCenter, organizers of Saturday’s Red Bank Bar Bounce, a pub crawl that encourages patrons to wear their favorite beach duds as part of a fundraiser for three charities helping to rebuild Hurricane Sandy-shattered Shore towns.

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Kelly Ryan at her storm-damaged Red Bank restaurant on Tuesday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


“When people think of Sandy’s impact on Red Bank, most will say that the town didn’t get it so bad,” says Kelly Ryan, owner of the Boondocks Fishery, a summer-only, open-air eatery that’s been serving lobsters and scallops adjacent to the Navesink River and Marine Park for the past four years. “But I guess they haven’t seen this place.”

“We came back here the day after the storm, and my first reaction was ‘Oh my God, the building is still standing,'” she said. “But once we looked inside, we understood that even though the structure was still up, the insides were completely devastated.”

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Forget the wet tee-shirt contests and beer-soaked bacchanals of spring break in Florida. Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long has another offer for college students:

Come to the real Jersey Shore to get your hands dirty and your shirt soaked in your own sweat, for a good cause.

Frustrated by Congressional foot-dragging on post-Hurricane Sandy funding, and looking at the prospect of another six months before the town sees a dime of the $60 billion package lawmakers finalized this week, Long said it’s up to the town to rebuild itself. And to do so, she hopes to tap into the good will of people who are aching to help and don’t mind smacking their own thumbs on occasion with a hammer.

“We’re trying organize a volunteer effort that mirrors what happened here two months ago, when thousands of volunteers organized to clean out” storm-wracked homes and stores, Long told a packed town hall meeting Wednesday night. “We want to bring in groups of skilled volunteers that will hang Sheetrock, do subflooring, and do light carpentry.”

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Little Silver – Many of Red Bank Regional High School’s students come from beach towns and were faced with tragedy when their homes were struck by Hurricane Sandy. Some lost everything they owned, including crucial technology needed for their studies.

To help remedy this unforeseen loss, the RBR Education Foundation recently established the RBR Education Foundation Disaster Relief Fund in the amount of $10,000 to provide loaner educational technology such as laptops and calculators to students who lost those important tools in Hurricane Sandy.

Laptops have already been purchased and distributed to those identified with the most urgent need. According to RBR Principal Risa Clay, the technology will remain with the students until they graduate high school and then recycled for other RBR students in need of the technology.

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RebuildRecover co-founder Mike Hernandez surrounded by donated materiel in the organization’s initial home: his Sounds to Go DJ office on East Front Street in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)


Eight weeks after the hurricane, a grassroots effort to provide necessities to residents of neighborhoods damaged by Sandy is still going strong, and plans to morph into a permanent relief operation, its founders say.

Created by six twentysomething friends who wanted to provide aid on their own terms, Red Bank-based RebuildRecover quickly became one of the Shore area’s most visible and influential nonprofit charities, attracting the attention of The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who lives in town, and hundreds of lesser-known donors.

“After three days of working with another, really well-known charity organization that will not be named, my co-founders and I decided to take matters in our own hands,” said vice president David Cruse. The idea, he said, was to “create an organization that would provide those in need with direct, immediate help.”

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Chris Wood, as seen in a video, above, and Mayor Dina Long, below, at Saturday night’s event, which raised $130,000 for Sea Bright Rising. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


A hotel in Long Branch was transformed into a showcase of the area’s best culinary talents Saturday night, courtesy of the charity organization Sea Bright Rising and the generosity of local vendors and restaurant owners.

Complete with a live band, charity auction and a video showcasing the relief effort, the sold-out gala, dubbed “The Big Beach Bash,” raised almost $130,000 for Sea Bright’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy, according to the charity group’s Facebook page.

But the real story of the event was perhaps best told by the restaurateurs and merchants whose tables lined the walls of the ballroom of the Ocean Place Resort and Spa. Many were Sea Bright business owners trying to help rebuild their broken beach community joined by owners from neighboring towns looking to lend a hand to friends in need.

Over the lively the noise and, redbankgreen spoke with some of these participating businesses, and here’s what they had to say:

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Jersey Shore barband legend Brian Kirk (above, at the 2001 Oysterfest in Red Bank) and his band of partystarting Jirks come to the Count Basie on December 20 for a sold-out Sea Bright Rising benefit. Below, actress-musician Jill Hennessey is also slated to appear. (Click to enlarge)


The way Brian Kirk tells it, the slender “city” of Sea Bright has been his home in more ways than one. “It’s where I met my wife, where I spent my youth and is the home base for my cover band, Brian Kirk & the Jirks,” he says.

While the long-running combo continues to gig regularly around the region’s wedding halls, outdoor stages and nitespots, the Red Bank resident’s legacy as an entertainer is entwined with Donovan’s Reef, the landmark beach bar  where the Jirks held down a Sunday night stand that outlived nearly all the original anchors of 60 Minutes.

With Hurricane Sandy having (at least temporarily) consigned Donovan’s Reef to Davy Jones’ Locker, Kirk looks homeward on Thursday, December 20, when he and the Jirks team up with the seagrass-roots organization Sea Bright Rising for a benefit show from which all proceeds will go directly to Sea Bright “residents, businesses and the community as a whole.”

Occurring in the wake of the December 5 concert that brought San Francisco-based band Train to the edge of the battered borough’s tent city, the special Santa for Sea Bright extravaganza – officially sold out as of this posting – takes place at the Count Basie Theatre, the elegant setting for one of the displaced town’s council meetings in recent weeks. Kirk & the Jirks will be joined for the 7:30 p.m. show by a fellow stalwart of the Shore barscape, championship bluesmaster Matt O’Ree, as well as a promised set of “special guests” that includes TV series star (Crossing Jordan, Law & Order) turned singer and songwriter Jill Hennessy.

redbankgreen caught up with a beyond-busy Kirk for a conversation about good times, hard choices, and the big challenges facing the little town that so many of us feel a connection to.

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Sea Bright’s tent city was largely dismantled by Friday afternoon. Below, Governor Chris Christie speaking with National Guardsmen at the site on November 9. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


After six weeks of assisting displaced residents and first responders with everything from hot meals to extra clothes, Sea Bright’s tent city – created by the US National Guard – is leaving town.

Following a final community meal on Thursday,  National Guardsmen made their move out of the municipal parking lot around 10:30 a.m. Friday, according to Onofrio Moscato, head chef at neighboring restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille, Emotions were running high for the Guard as well as volunteers and residents, he said.

“The National Guard was escorted out by the Sea Bright firemen,” Moscato told redbankgreen. “They were hanging out of the windows and waving. It was a special send-off for them. Before they left, they all stood in line and made a final salute, kind of a sign that their mission here was over.”

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Hundreds of residents and volunteers crowded in front of the firehouse for Train’s show Wednesday night. Below, Rumson’s Charlotte Nagy with lead singer Pat Monahan earlier in the day. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Nagy never thought the short video documentary she made of Hurricane Sandy walloping Sea Bright and Rumson would draw much attention, let alone that of her favorite rock band.

“I thought it would get maybe a thousand views, and even that was wishful thinking,” she told redbankgreen.

Instead, Charlotte’s 33-minute video has gotten almost 34,000 clicks from views all over the country and beyond. But just as satisfying to the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional junior is that it inspired San Francisco-based band Train to take the the stage on a chilly December night in front of Sea Bright’s makeshift tent city for an “intimate performance” for several hundred residents, first-responders and armed forces personnel.

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Locally connected guys Brian Williams and Jon Stewart — pictured during one of the NBC news anchor’s frequent appearances on THE DAILY SHOW — team up on December 16 for a Hurricane Sandy Relief fundraiser at the Count Basie, with tickets going on sale at noon today.


Ask anyone who’s ever wound up in line with him at Welsh Farms or Super Foodtown. Scroll through those tweets and Facebook posts from your sister-in-law who was seated at the very next table from him at Blue Water Seafood. Remind yourself that of all the refuges in this great land, the most recognized political satirist of our time chose to make his double-wide domicile on the Red Bank side of the Navesink (a scoop first reported right here on redbankgreen). No two ways about it — Jon Stewart is a Local Guy.

Then consider the case of the internationally renowned newsman, whose first job in media was delivery boy for the old Courier weekly in Middletown. A major figure on the national scene, whose interviews are frequently peppered with references to Brookdale Community College, or the former Perkins Pancake House on Route 35. From his days at Mater Dei High School to his time as a volunteer firefighter, Brian Williams remains at heart a Local Guy.

Although the host of The Daily Show and the anchor of NBC Nightly News have sometimes blurred the discussion of “which one’s the journalist, and which one’s the jokester,” the two titans of television have forged a fast friendship over the years — guesting on each other’s shows (with Williams tallying more than 20 shots on Stewart’s cablecast), and joining forces for the occasional tandem appearance. That is, when they’re not variously hosting the Oscars, reporting from war zones, interviewing heads of state, or drawing over 200,000 people to a rally at the National Mall.

On Sunday, December 16, the two locals team up once again for a one-time, one-of-a-kind live appearance — this time on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre, where they’re scheduled to sit down with moderator (and New York Times media reporter) Bill Carter in a free-form event from which all proceeds go to benefit Monmouth and Ocean Counties for Hurricane Sandy Relief, and for which tickets go on sale at noon today, December 5.

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