HELP A KID UNDERSTAND YOUR JOB

RiverCenter is looking for some working men and women.

Not for the usual squads of volunteers to help promote the business district, but to share some insights about jobs and the skills needed to do them with students at the Red Bank Middle School.

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The school’s fourth annual Career Day, scheduled for the morning of Friday, May 4, is expected to attract local professionals from a variety of areas, including architecture, culinary arts, nursing and home-building.

But more participants are needed, says RiverCenter Executive Director Tricia Rumola, to help expose the kids to as diverse an array of jobs and careers as possible in a three hours.

We at redbankgreen have participated in recent years, talking about journalism and graphic design while sharing table space with a wedding photographer, a marketing executive, a fine artist, a chiropractor and others.

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MARQUEE MAN

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Andrew Malecki is kind of a hard case for high school guidance counselors and anathema to parents struggling to convince their kids of the value of a college education.

Smart enough to do well in most of the subjects thrown his way, Malecki’s someone who badmouthed high school as an obstacle to his real education and says, in categorical terms, that college is an utter waste of time and money. For himself, he emphasizes — though his critique is broad-brush.

He’s verbally and artistically gifted, unshakably confident, and — less than a year after graduating from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School — doing exactly the kind of cool stuff he dreamed he’d be doing ever since he decided, mid-sophomore year, that no way was college in the cards for him.

Circumstance may someday prove, to others, that Malecki made the right choice in deciding to pursue a career in filmmaking right out of high school. It could even turn out that the teachers who knew him best at R-FH and tried to dynamite him off his chosen path grudgingly agree.

For now, though, his alma mater is more likely to hold a “Bong Hits for Jesus” rally than point to Malecki as a role model.

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McKENNA’S NEXT ACT?

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After a continuous, 18-year slog of borough council meetings, planning board sessions and rubber-chicken dinners from here to Trenton, departing Mayor Ed McKenna is about to find some gaping holes in his schedule.

More fundamentally, at age 56, he may also find himself pondering the question, ‘What do I really want to do now?’

Sure, he can golf from LaJolla to Lahinch until he’s red in the face. But really, is that a meaningful way for a man at the peak of his strengths to spend his time?

Yes, he’s got a successful law practice, but he’s been grinding on that wheel, too, for many years. Besides, would the credit union industry really miss one drop-out attorney?

This is the era of self-reinvention, and the possibilities for a person of McKenna’s skills and experience are almost limitless. Radio call-in host. Lobbyist. No Joe’s barista.

There’s almost too much to choose from. But fortunately for McKenna, the readers of redbankgreen are standing by, ready to offer guidance on his next move.

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IT HELPS IF THE LANDLORD’S AN ‘UNCLE’

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Ten questions for John and Rachel Decker, owners of Graman’s Vacuum & Appliance Parts Co. on Monmouth Street, at the corner of West Street. They live in Tinton Falls.

How long have you owned this business, and who had it before you?
John: We’ve been here for four years. I bought it from Gene Graman—“Uncle Gene,” though he’s no blood relation whatsoever. When I was growing up in River Plaza, Gene was the older guy in the neighborhood who never got married and had all the toys and all the fun: boats, motorcycles, Jet skis, snowmobiles, wave runners. My parents knew him before I was even born.

His shop was in Red Bank for 47 years, and in this location since 1964. He was previously closer to Broad on Monmouth Street. And surprisingly, there was a parking problem then, too.

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A PRIMA FACIE CASE OF HAVING A BLAST

We stumbled upon a terrific event Wednesday at The Woman’s Club of Red Bank. It was the kind of gathering that sharply underscores the borough’s appeal as a cultural hub, one that can compete with the best of them.

Reed Smith, a law firm in Princeton, put together a networking day for its female attorneys and the women at their corporate clients. Fifty women participated. The idea was to give them a chance to get out of their routines, relax and connect on a personal level, says Judy Cristella, an office administrator for the firm.

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Now of course, this big-bucks, high-powered crowd could have headed off to Philly, New York or a hundred other places, but “We decided to do a mini-retreat here in Red Bank,” says Cristella.

Why? Well, just look at Exhibit A—their itinerary.

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UNDOCUMENTED, BUT NOT WITHOUT RIGHTS

Kudos to Michele Sahn of the Asbury Park Press for giving some attention today to the kind of story that often stays below the radar of dailies of that size. In the process, she shines some light on the difficulty that undocumented workers can have in getting paid.

Mexican immigrants Benito Guendulain, 37, and his 19-year-old nephew, Salomon Zavaleta, were in small claims court in Freehold yesterday hoping to be heard on their claim that landscaper Michael Curialle stiffed them for a combined 234 hours of work they’d done for him last month.

From Sahn’s report:

During the morning roll call of small claims cases, [Superior Court Judge Mark A.] Sullivan told the workers that Curialle had not yet been served with the paperwork for their case, but then they recognized him in the courtroom.

Turns out Curialle was there being sued by another party, a landscape supply company.

Sullivan ordered Curialle, Guendulain and Zavaleta to arbitration, which is the usual process for small-claims. But when they couldn’t agree on a settlement, the judge held a hearing.

Guendulain testified that he told Curialle he didn’t have papers to work in the the U.S., and that Curialle hired him on the condition that he try to obtain the papers. Guendulain said he worked two 78-hour weeks for Curialle without any payment, and Zavaleta testified he worked one 78-hour week, also unpaid. Curialle told the judge that the pair did not work for more than four days. He said he paid one $50 and another $200, and when their paperwork came back as fake, he told them they couldn’t work anymore.

Sullivan said he found the worker’s testimony more believable, and ordered Curialle to pay $1,940 to Guendulain and $970 to Zavaleta. That works out to $12.43 an hour.

Guendulain and Zavaleta came to the United States from their native Mexico 10 months ago and have been living in Freehold, Sahn reports. They were accompanied to court by a representative from Casa Freehold, an immigrant-rights advocacy group.

Curialle had argued that he needed more time to bring in witnesses because he hadn’t been served with papers in the case. Sullivan told him that if he has newly discovered evidence, he will be allowed to apply for the judgment to be set aside.

Curialle also lost the other case. He was ordered to pay $2,873.45 to Triple C Nurseries in Marlboro, which claimed Curialle had paid for goods with a check and then stopped payment before the check cleared.