RED BANK: CARRYING THE FLAG TO REMEMBER

red bank mark otto 091119Red Bank resident Mark Otto nears the end of an 11-mile hike from Mount Mitchill in Atlantic Highlands Wednesday morning while carrying an American flag bearing the names of all those who died in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

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RED BANK: VETERANS’ ART TO GET SPOTLIGHT

Korean war vet George Weiss of Sea Bright at Ani Art Academy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njReturning home after a year’s service in Vietnam, Jim Black remembers landing on American soil after midnight. There was no welcoming committee, no formal expression of gratitude. U.S. authorities made sure the repatriations took place under cover of darkness, in part to shield soldiers from war protesters, he said.

It left Black and others other veterans feeling slighted, he said. It wasn’t that he and  his fellow soldiers wanted a parade, but “just don’t hate me,” he said, choking up a bit.

That’s why a free art school for military veterans in Red Bank means so much to him: it makes him and other vets feel “welcomed” at last, he told redbankgreen Friday.

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RED BANK & FAIR HAVEN: SOLDIER HONORED

fair haven, nj, jamie rileyHundreds of students and teachers from Red Bank Catholic High and St. James School stood in silent honor as a funeral procession for a 2015 RBC graduate passed their campus Monday morning.

Pfc. Jamie R. Riley, 21, of Fair Haven, right, was one of two Army soldiers soldiers who died in a crash involving two military vehicles during a training exercise in New Mexico January 22.

Fair Haven residents also paid tribute, gathering on Harding Road as the cortege headed to Tower Hill Presbyterian Church, where services were held. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery was to follow.

Last week, Governor Phil Murphy ordered flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of Riley, who joined the Army a year ago and served as a cavalry scout. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: CENTENARY OF ARMISTICE MARKED

red bank war monument At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Red Bank area residents gathered Sunday to observe Veterans Day and the centenary of the Armistice that ended World War I in 1918.

Mayor Pasquale Menna and a National Guard officer laid a small memorial at the Veterans Monument at Monmouth Street and Drummond Place to honor the 10 borough “boys” who lost their lives in WWI. 

See redbankgreen’s photos from the event below. . (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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ON THE GREEN: MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES

The Veterans Monument on Monmouth Street is the setting for Red Bank’s annual Memorial Day observance, Monday morning at 11 a.m.

Memorial Day weekend represents the start of the summertime season and, for many longtime residents of our coastal communities, a time to readjust those daily routines and recalculate those normal routes in anticipation of the visiting throngs.

It’s also, of course, a time to remember those who gave their lives in service to our nation, and wherever you happen to make your home here on the Greater Red Bank Green, Monday presents a chance to join the people of your community in honoring their sacrifice.

Following is a roundup of Memorial Day observances scheduled for May 28, with rainy-day alternate arrangements listed where available.

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RED BANK: ADMINISTRATOR ‘Z,’ ON NEW JOB

Ziad Andrew Shehady in his Springfield office with his dog, Sheeba, in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Ziad Andrew Shehady. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Ziad Andrew Shehady, the incoming borough administrator of Red Bank, has a vision: local government done right, so that it’s viewed as “head and shoulders above” the norm, “like Amazon and Microsoft.

“New York is a great city to go to, and Red Bank is a great town to go to, but nobody looks at the municipal government and says, ‘wow, that is a municipality that is really doing government well,'” Shehady said in a telephone interview with redbankgreen Tuesday afternoon.

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RED BANK: BASIE #GIVING BACK TO VETS

The domed ceiling of the Count Basie Theatre. Below, Linda and Jay Grunin. 

“Giving Tuesday,” founded in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd St. YMCA and the United Nations Foundation, was originally a “response to commercialism and consumerism” during the holiday season. It has since turned into an international day of giving.

Next Tuesday, Nov. 28, the nonprofit Count Basie Theatre will join forces with 94.3 The Point and The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation for a day-long, live broadcast from the Basie to raise funds for the Veterans Tickets Foundation, or Vet Tix.

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ON THE GREEN: OBSERVING VETERANS DAY

Saturday is Veteran’s Day, and a number of towns on the Greater Red Bank Green plan to hold their customary commemoration services then. Click “read more” for details.

Meantime, most local and state government offices will be closed both Friday and Saturday. Post Offices will be open Friday and closed Saturday. (Click photos to enlarge)

RED BANK: COUNCIL PROMOTES FIVE OFFICERS

Newly sworn Red Bank police Captain Mike Frazee receives congratulations from Administrator Stanley Sickels Wednesday night, when the borough council promoted five officers and hired a new patrolman.

Click ‘read more’ for photos from the packed-room swearing-in ceremonies.

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FAIR HAVEN SCHOOL HONORS MARINE

L-R: Former Marines Fred Dispensiere and Joe Perrotto welcome Matthew (Matt) Valko to the Wall of Honor at Knollwood School.   

Press release from Fair Haven School District

Recently, Matthew (“Matt”) Valko completed his U.S. Marine Corps boot camp training and headed to the Combat Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. But before that, the native of Fair Haven had another important milestone to address, at the middle school from which he graduated in 2010.

Matt’s photo has now been added to the Knollwood School “Wall of Honor,” featuring graduates who are proudly serving their country in the armed forces. Located prominently in the main hallway of the school, the Wall of Honor was commissioned in 2011 by co-chairs Betsy Koch, an eighth grade science teacher at the school, and Joe Perrotto, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

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ON THE GREEN: MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES

The Veterans Monument on Monmouth Street is the setting for Red Bank’s annual Memorial Day observance, Monday morning at 11 a.m.

[UPDATE: These listings will be updated information is received about changes due to rain forecast for Monday.]

Memorial Day weekend represents the start of the summertime season and, for many longtime residents of our coastal communities, a time to readjust those daily routines and recalculate those normal routes in anticipation of the visiting throngs.

It’s also, of course, a time to remember those who gave their lives in service to our nation, and wherever you happen to make your home here on the Greater Red Bank Green, Monday presents a chance to join the people of your community in honoring their sacrifice. Following is a roundup of Memorial Day observances scheduled for May 29, with rainy-day alternate arrangements listed where available.

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RED BANK: TWO NEW TO BOROUGH BLUE


Red Bank Police Chief Darren McConnell holds the Bible as his son, Darren M. McConnell, swears an oath of duty on his promotion to probationary patrolman Wednesday. Also elevated to the position was Michael Baron, at right.

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RED BANK: A ‘VET FEST’ ON THE RIVER

“Medicated” Pete McHeffey is one of the Downtown All-Stars of Red Bank teaming up to raise funds for veterans in a special Wednesday evening event on Front Street.

They’re called the Downtown All-Stars of Red Bank LLC — “a collective of local musicians and performing artists bound together to raise both funds and awareness.” You know them as the folks who entertain regularly at venues that range from your favorite neighborhood watering hole to the summertime sidewalks of Street Life, and in some instances they’re “the people that you meet when you’re walkin’ down the street.”

But every so often these artists convene like some jukebox Justice League, to address a cause dear to their hearts and musician’s souls — and this Wednesday evening, the occasion is a concert and CD release party for those who’ve served in the United States military.

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LINCROFT: CBA, TRINITY HALL RAISE $7,500+

cba-sadd-food-drive-2016Students from Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft) and Trinity Hall (Tinton Falls) teamed up to prepare and serve dinner to more than 240 attendees last Tuesday, raising over $7,500 in the process. 

Press release from Christian Brothers Academy

On December 6, the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapters of Christian Brothers Academy and Tinton Falls-based Trinity Hall teamed up once again for their 10th annual “Dinner for the Troops.”

Convening in the CBA cafeteria, students handled all the preparations and cooking for 240 guests, while raising over $7,500 in the process. All funds raised will go towards supporting servicemen and servicewomen stationed overseas. The evening also featured guest speaker Sgt. Melissa Leist, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, who shared her thoughts on military service.

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FAIR HAVEN KIDS INSPIRED BY ‘LEAD U’ VETS

knollwood-lead-uKnollwood School students learned about leadership and the sacrifices made by U.S. veterans at the Lead U assembly featuring (left to right) Bill Gaskins, JD Wilson, and Dan Effenberger.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

Recently, grade 4-8 students at Knollwood School in Fair Haven got a first-person perspective on life as a member of the U.S. armed forces, during a “Lead U” assembly in the school auditorium.

Created earlier this year by JD Wilson — an Air Force veteran and former classroom teacher — the “Lead U” program is designed to empower students to embrace their leadership potential. The assembly at Knollwood featured Wilson and fellow Air Force veteran Bill Gaskins, as well as Lead U co- founder Dan Effenberger. Held a few days in advance of the Veteran’s Day holiday, the presentation focused on qualities of leadership, respect for veterans, and the many sacrifices associated with deployment.

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VETERANS DAY CEREMONIES 2016

vets day 2015 111115 1Servicemen and women will be among the local resident who gather at the monument to war veterans at Monmouth Street and Drummond Place in Red Bank for a Veterans Day commemoration Friday. Click “read more” for town-by-town events on the Green. (Click photos to enlarge)

MIDDLETOWN: PLANTING SEEDS OF PRAISE

flagswestminsterThe annual Field of Flags tribute returns to the Westminster Presbyterian Church beginning this Saturday, October 15.

Press release from Westminster Presbyterian Church

For the fifth year, the annual Field of Flags memorial tribute will take root once again at Westminster Presbyterian Church (WPC) on Saturday, October 15.  The moving tribute to honor the fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan will return to the Great Lawn at WPC on Tindall Road in Middletown beginning at 9 a.m., when  members of the congregation and the community will gather to place 6,860 flags (compared to 6,841 placed in 2015) to honor every military person who has sacrificed their life in those conflicts.

Area residents, scout groups, and civic organizations are all encouraged to stop by between 9:00 and noon, and set down a flag in memory of a family member or friend who has lost their life in service to the country. The month-long tribute will remain on display and be disassembled after Veteran’s Day, on Saturday, November 19.

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RED BANK: A BOATLOAD OF WOOD & HISTORY

ruffini-boat-100616-7Joe Ruffini in the salon of the Naval War College, where a photo of onetime visitor John F. Kennedy hangs. The”admiral’s barge,” below, will be among the wooden boats on display at the Monmouth Boat Club Saturday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ruffini-boat-100616-2A year later, Joe Ruffini is still in the “pinch me” phase, not quite able to believe his good luck.

After a brief online bidding war, the Red Bank roofer ended up owning a well-maintained, 50-foot wooden yacht, built for Navy admirals, that has hosted at least two American presidents.

On Saturday, the public will get a chance to step aboard, when Ruffini’s prize goes on display as part of a wooden and classic boat show in Red Bank.

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RED BANK: FREE SHOW BY ARMY FIELD BAND

jazz-ambassadors-us-armyThe US Army Field Band’s “Jazz Ambassadors” unit deploys to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre for a free concert next Wednesday.

In its assembled glory, it’s a formidable force — and its many crack commando units and surgical-strike teams allow it to perform missions that range from a Dixieland septet and harp-flute duo to a Son Tropical big band.

When the uniformed members of the Jazz Ambassadors of the US Army Field Band take the Basie stage next Wednesday, they’ll be carrying on a tradition that’s seen various iterations of the USAFB treat the Red Bank audience to a free display by the most formidable musical force in the free world.

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RED BANK: STEWART GOODYEAR AT THE BASIE

stewart-goodyearPianist Stewart Goodyear helps usher in a new season of New Jersey Symphony concerts at the Count Basie Saturday evening. 

Continuing a decades-long and beautiful relationship with the Count Basie Theatre, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to Red Bank Saturday night for the first in a new season of concerts — and to sound the keynote in the company of a performer who’s been branded a “phenomenon” by music critics and fans alike.

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FAIR HAVEN MARINE MAKES WALL OF HONOR

joe-mcgovern-familyKnollwood School graduate Joseph McGovern Jr.,USMC is pictured with his parents Joseph Sr. and Theresa, after the ceremonial unveiling of his photo on the school’s “Wall of Honor.”

Press release from Fair Haven School District

joe_mcgovernA ceremony was held on September 26 to honor Joseph (Joe) McGovern Jr., who graduated eighth grade at Knollwood School in Fair Haven in 2012. Joe’s photo has been added to the school’s “Wall of Honor” display featuring graduates who are proudly serving their country in the armed forces.

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MEMORIAL DAY 2016 COMMEMORATIONS

rumson memorial 052614 2Rumson, above, and Red Bank, below, are among the towns on the Green with traditional Memorial Day events scheduled for Monday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[UPDATE: With possibly heave rain forecast for Memorial Day, several towns have changed their Memorial Day plans. Scroll down to see which ones.

RED BANK

rb memorial 1 052614Memorial Day Commemoration, Monday, 11 a.m., Veterans’ Monument, 51 Monmouth Street, corner of Drummond Place. The featured speaker is U.S. Navy Lieutenant Sean Geary, Command Judge Advocate for Naval Weapons Station Earle and Naval Support Activity Lakehurst.

The event follows a 10 a.m. ceremony hosted by the volunteer fire and first aid squads at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.

[Update: This event has been relocated to the Elks Lodge #233, at 40 West Front Street.  Same time and lineup.]

FAIR HAVEN

Fair Haven’’s Memorial Day Parade will take place on Monday at 9 a.m., beginning at Knollwood School, up Hance Road to River Road, and ending at Memorial Park, River Road.

A ceremony featuring guest speakers and musical selections is to follow.

[UPDATE: The parade has been canceled, and the Memorial Day observances will now take place at the Knollwood School’s all-purpose room at 9 a.m.]

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SWEET WISHES TO THE TROOPS, FROM RBR

StockingStuffingOfficialForty members of the National Spanish Honor Society at Red Bank Regional High School spent their afternoon stuffing stockings filled with sweet treats for American troops stationed in the Middle East. Accompanying the stockings will be home-made cards by the students expressing their sentiments to the soldiers. “It is so difficult for our troops to spend their holiday away from family and loved ones,” explained Society Advisor Lisa Boyle, who was inspired to put together the project when she recently met the girlfriend of a soldier in the 32nd Infantry, currently stationed in Afghanistan. “The students wanted to send them a special treat so they know we are thinking of them and ever appreciative of their sacrifice for us at home.”