RED BANK: A 24TH NIGHT OF HOLIDAY DAZZLE

rb-town-lighting-112516-4rb-town-lighting-112516-7For the 24th straight year, the feel-jolly sounds of Holiday Express served as the soundtrack to a Town Lighting ceremony that drew thousands of visitors to downtown Red Bank Friday night. Were you among those who braved the drizzle for the dazzle? Check out our photos to see who you might recognize. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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LITTLE SILVER: RBR TEEN HONORED BY NJ YMCA

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

nicholasofficialIn a ceremony last month, the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance honored Red Bank Regional High School senior Nicholas Villalobos-Best at the organization’s 16th Annual Recognition Celebration.

The Union Beach resident (pictured at center) was among the more than 20 students recognized at the ceremony; a group of teens and pre-teens who, in the words of NJ YMCA State Alliance President Diane Mann, “have demonstrated their character values by volunteering in a variety of ways to serve others through the Y.”

Nicholas was nominated for this accolade by YMCA Community Outreach Director Joann Rountree, who supervised him in the Teen Achievers Initiative, a college readiness club. She explained that Nicholas mentored his peers and always volunteered for activities, including speaking at aYMCA Board Meeting and fundraiser events.

Nicholas was first introduced to the YMCA as a grateful recipient of their Family Success Center.  Four years ago, Nicholas and his family lost everything in Super Storm Sandy. The YMCA’s Family Success Center, along with other charities, helped his family find the resources and networks to assist in their recovery effort.

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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)

ON THE GREEN: SEVEN GIRLS, OFF TO HELP

2015-ilac-mission-1Seen here on their 2015 trip, seven Red Bank Regional and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional girls plan to return to the Dominican Republic Wednesday. They are, from left, Hannah Horan, Caroline Healey, Paige Borden, Mara Campolattaro, Olivia Turi, Annabel Morris and Maddie Orr. (Photo by Tim Orr Photography. Click to enlarge.)

donegoodlogoA year after helping to build a water line to a remote village in the Dominican Republic, seven seven sophomore girls from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional and Red Bank Regional high schools plan to travel to the Caribbean nation again Wednesday.

The girls, who travel with their fathers and pay their own way, raise all of the funds for their humanitarian missions themselves, according to Mara Campolattaro, one of the participants. All the money raised goes directly to funding projects for things like supplies, local expertise and transportation on the island, she said.

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TINTON FALLS: EXPRESS SEEKS HOLIDAY ELVES

townlightingThe Holiday Express band performs at one of its annual Town Lighting public concerts in downtown Red Bank.The humanitarian organization behind the big traveling band is putting out the call for volunteer “warehouse elves” at their Tinton Falls facility.

Every year for the past several decades, Holiday Express founder and co-frontman Tim McLoone leads his big traveling band in a special keynote to the most festive of seasons, as the assembled musicians and singers preside over Red Bank’s annual Town Lighting ceremony with a free open-air, public-welcome concert.

The “Black Friday” tradition is merely one of the more visible manifestations of the musical humanitarian organization that performs dozens of concerts at places that exist well below most people’s radar — the nursing homes, rehab centers, homeless shelters, psychiatric facilities and other locales whose audiences are made up of what McLoone calls the “adult orphans” among us.

While the veteran musician, businessman and entrepreneur observes that the Holiday Express orchestra is the aspect of the organization that “makes the most noise,” he’s quick to point out that the energizing engine is backed up by a formidable freight-train of volunteer support personnel, drivers, techies, and donation/gift processing workers at the nonprofit’s Tinton Falls warehouse facility (938 Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls). And, effective immediately, the Express is putting out a call for just such a crew of “warehouse elves” — a call that includes, for the first time, an online sign-up.

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RED BANK UMC BAGS BIG ROLE IN KIT PROJECT

umcommunities_at_the_wesleyan_housing_mission_teamUnited Methodist Communities President / CEO Larry Carlson and Vice President of Housing Cindy Jacques (rightmost and second from right), join Housing Mission Team Leader Gertrude Kehleay (third from left) and associate team members (left to right) Deede Bolger, Monique Degivenchy, Tanya Sweet Preston, Kerileigh Sherman, Jeanette Edghill, Dee Carmichael, and India Santos.

Press release from United Methodist Communities

New Jersey managed to escape Hurricane Hermine earlier this season, and now Hurricane Matthew. Imagine for a moment that you’ve had to flee you home due to a natural disaster, like Superstorm Sandy, or because of crisis, war, and conflict. Now imagine you’ve received a Health Kit containing basic necessities: a hand towel, washcloth, comb, nail file or clippers, soap, toothbrush, adhesive bandages, plastic bag and toothpaste.

Knowing these nine items can change the outlooks and lives of vulnerable people all over the world, all five of United Methodist Communities’ affordable housing campuses (The Wesleyan, Red Bank; Wesley by the Bay, Ocean City; Covenant Place, Plainfield; Bishop Taylor, East Orange; and PineRidge of Montclair) chose United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Health Kits for a mission project. The team also felt motivated to show compassion and affirm human worth and dignity.

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RED BANK: LUNCH BREAK NAMES NEW TRUSTEES

rick-brandtPress release from Lunch Break Inc.

In a recent announcement, Red Bank-based nonprofit Lunch Break named Rick Brandt (pictured) to the nonprofit’s Board of Trustees. At  27 years of age, the lifelong resident of Little Silver is both the newest and the youngest member of the board, and will be involved with several of their committees.

Other new members joining the Lunch Break Board are Trudy Parton (Little Silver), Stuart Sendell (Rumson) and Juanita Lewis (Red Bank).

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FAIR HAVEN: STARVING DRAC, FOR A CAUSE

Press release from Fair Haven Business Association

The Halloween season may be a feast for Dracula and his pals that go bump in the night — but on Saturday, October 22, local residents are being urged to “Starve a Vampire, Feed Your Neighbor,” during a Blood Drive hosted at the Knights of Columbus – Red Bank Council 3187, and presented in partnership with the Fair Haven Business Association.

Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., donors are invited to come to the KofC’s facility at 200 Fair Haven Road, in an effort to help Central Jersey Blood Center meet the needs of our community.

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LINCROFT: A DAY OF FREE DENTAL CARE

Dr Mitchel FriedmanPress release from Newman Springs Dental Care

The tenth annual edition of Dentistry From The Heart, Newman Springs Dental Care’s gift of a free day of dentistry, will be held on Thursday, October 13. During the day-long event, dental volunteers will provide examinations, digital x-rays, blood pressure and Velscope (advanced oral cancer) screenings. A choice of an extraction, filling or cleaning will be provided to those 18 years and older who arrive at the Lincroft practice.

Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. and is first come, first served. The first 120 adults are guaranteed to be seen.

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SEA BRIGHT: CLEAN UP VOLUNTEERS WANTED

sea-bright-beach-1Press release from United Donations Organization

Hurricane Hermine brought pollution in lieu of disaster — and in honor of International Coastal Cleanup Day, United Donations Organization (uDo) is hosting a beach cleanup in Sea Bright this Saturday, September 17.

The uDo organization is working with the nationally recognized, Sandy Hook-based ocean  advocacy nonprofit Clean Ocean Action. COA has led one of the nation’s longest running beach cleanup efforts, the Beach Sweeps, which are hosted semi­annually and which allow the volunteers to become “citizen scientists” as they record the debris removed.

This effort serves as a leading example for how local businesses and charities can work with local government. The Borough of Sea Bright is showing great support by helping to facilitate the community initiative. By the end of the day on September 17, the beaches of Sea Bright will be cleaned and its dunes repaired.

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RED BANK: HOT PAN FILLS HOUSE WITH SMOKE

rb fire 090716A pan left on a hot stove filled a home at 207 East Bergen Place in Red Bank with smoke shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday. A contingent of volunteer firefighters and other emergency personnel responded to the alarm. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

LINCROFT: CLEARWATER FLOWS AGAIN

Dawg Whistle Paul Whistler Vini LopezShore music legends Paul Whistler and Vini Lopez team up as Dawg Whistle, while fellow famed musicmakers Glen Burtnik and Bob Burger (below) suit up for the Weeklings, when the 41st annual Clearwater Festival returns to the Brookdale campus this weekend.

Burtnik BurgerIt’s all about the message, when you get right down to it, one of care and respect and vision for this coastal place where we make our home. But when the Clearwater Festival returns to Lincroft for a frankly amazing 41st annual edition this weekend, attendees might be forgiven for thinking that it’s equally about the music — an attraction that’s drawn the participation of some pretty awesome figures over the years.

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SANDY HOOK: JOIN THE 100TH BIRTHDAY BLITZ

sandy hook 070415 1Amateur naturalists, “citizen scientists” and other volunteers are invited to participate in a “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, September 23 and 24.

This year, the National Parks Service observes the 100th anniversary of its founding — and as part of the year-long celebration, the federal agency will coordinate more than 100 “BioBlitz” initiatives at parks and other protected lands across the nation.

Out on the Sandy Hook peninsula, administered by the NPS as a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the past several Septembers have seen a local BioBlitz effort coordinated with the Hook-based nonprofit American Littoral Society — and for 24 hours beginning Friday, September 23, “citizen scientists” from all walks of life are invited to be a part of this important annual wildlife census.

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RED BANK: CHORUS SEEKING NEW VOICES

Press release from Monmouth Civic Chorus

Experienced singers are invited to audition for the award-winning Monmouth Civic Chorus by appointment on Wednesday evenings beginning September 7. Auditions are opened to all members of the community ages 16 and up.  All voice parts are welcome to audition; however, the chorus is especially seeking tenors, baritones and basses to add to its impressive ensemble.

Interested singers are encouraged to attend a rehearsal of the award-winning MCC, a fun community of like-minded singers who are dedicated to the highest standards of artistic excellence. Auditions and rehearsals are held at Red Bank Charter School, 58 Oakland Street.

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RED BANK: A TASTY TAKE FOR HABITAT FUNDER

Habitat for Humanity awardsMore than $50,000 was raised for Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County on May 16, when the Oyster Point Hotel hosted the nonprofit’s first-ever “Taste for Homes” food and wine tasting event.

More than two dozen Red Bank area restaurants and vendors offered samplings of their wares, while attendees enjoyed prize raffles, auctions, and the opportunity to help congratulate special honorees T&M Associates of Middletown (Corporate Citizen Award), radio station WRAT 95.9 (Community partner Award) and Beverly Lawrence of Fair Haven (Outstanding Volunteer Award), in addition to celebrating “the many women volunteers that have what it takes to pound nails, frame walls, raise a roof and create HOPE!” (Photo by Mario Marcal Studios. Click to enlarge.)

MIDDLETOWN: THE POWER OF ARTS ED

GuildThe co-chairs of The Guild of Creative Art in Shrewsbury are among the individuals and organizations recognized by the Monmouth County Arts Council for their contributions to arts education, during a May 9 ceremony.

Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council

Each May, as the school year comes to a close, The Monmouth County Arts Council recognizes outstanding arts educators, arts organizations and arts advocates who support our mission of enriching the community by inspiring and fostering the arts in Monmouth County.

Sponsored by OceanFirst Foundation, the annual Arts Education Awards and Showcase will be held on Monday, May 9, and will be hosted at the award-winning, state-of-the-art facility of the Middletown Arts Center.

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RED BANK: A TASTE FOR VOLUNTEERING

The Oyster Point Hotel 3Press release from Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County

On the evening of Monday, May 16, The Oyster Point Hotel will be the host venue as Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County hosts its inaugural food and wine tasting event, A Taste for Homes. Scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., the event celebrates the impact and difference that volunteers and companies can make to providing people in the community with a decent place to live.

Over two dozen local vendors and restaurants are slated to participate in the tasting event, with all proceeds going to support the organization’s efforts this year throughout their service territory that covers 83 percent of Monmouth County.

During the event the nonprofit organization will pay tribute to a set of individual and corporate honorees, in addition to celebrating “the many women volunteers that have what it takes to pound nails, frame walls, raise a roof and create HOPE!”

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RUMSON: CALLING ALL SPILL SPOTTERS

American Littoral SocietyPress release from American Littoral Society

Just this past February, a spill occurred in the Arthur Kill area, during which a rail car leaked approximately 1,500 gallons of crude oil into the regional waterways. To the people of the American Littoral Society, the incident served as a perfect example of why we need trained eyes on the water.

On Saturday, May 7, the Oceanic Free Library in Rumson will be the setting for a free free Spill Spotters Network workshop, in which attendees  will learn how to help protect coastal wildlife and habitat when an oil spill or other pollution event hits our waters.

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FAIR HAVEN: A BIG IMPACT ON PHILANTHROPY

Impact_photo_April_4_2016Press release from Impact 100 Jersey Coast (Photo by Cady Metzger)

The bar was set high. The final numbers are in. The goal: 100 local women each give $1,000. The result: 145 women step up to provide a $145,000 transformational grant to one Monmouth County nonprofit.

“Never underestimate the power of women,” said Deidre O’Brien Spiropoulos, President and Cofounder of Impact 100 Jersey Coast. “Not only did we meet our goal of 100 women by March 31st, but we exceeded it with 145 women each contributing $1,000.” One hundred percent of membership funds go directly to the grant which will benefit a local nonprofit.

Impact 100 Jersey Coast was founded by Spiropoulos of Fair Haven and Heather Burke of Middletown. Together they reached out to other local women who made up the founding member team: Kate McMahon of Ocean Township, Bonnie Torcivia of Fair Haven, Rowena Crawford-Phillips of Navesink, Maggie LaRocca of Rumson, Aimee Remey of Locust, Paige Metzger of Little Silver, Paulette Roberts of Little Silver, Bridget Riepl of Oakhurst and Jenny Turner Clarke of Rumson.

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FAIR HAVEN: FIREFIGHTER HELD FOR ARSON

just_inA Fair Haven volunteer firefighter was arrested and charged with arson Saturday, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced Sunday evening.

Nicholas Joyce, 19, was alleged to have set a fire to a storage shed behind a church Friday afternoon. He then went to the borough firehouse, where he responded to the fire with other volunteers, according to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

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RFH IS IN THE (SOUL) KITCHEN, IN RED BANK

RFH Soul KitchenRumson-Fair Haven students who volunteered at JBJ Soul Kitchen on March 16 are (front row, left to right) Linda Wien Murray, Cassie Fallon, and Tori Hyduke, and (back row, left to right) Lauren Grumbach, Becky Unsinn, Michaela Lake, Katie Kane, Christy Jadevaia, Julia Marascio, and Jenna Sandoli.

Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

Members of the Cooking Club at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School served as volunteers at the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation’s JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank on Wednesday, March 16.

Working with the nonprofit community restaurant’s Front-of-House Manager Dolly Bonilla, the RFH students cleaned off and set tables, as well as organized menus for that evening’s crowd. They were also given a tour of the facility’s garden, which provides fresh organic ingredients for meals, by gardener Robin Grossman. Perhaps most importantly, the students learned more about what the Soul Kitchen really means to the local community.

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MIDDLETOWN: GARDEN AMBASSADORS WANTED

Press release from Monmouth County Park System

Deep Cut rose gardenDo you enjoy interacting with visitors and spending time in a beautiful setting? Then become a Garden Ambassador at Deep Cut Gardens. Located at 152 Red Hill Road in Middletown, Deep Cut Gardens is the Monmouth County Park System’s picturesque site dedicated to the home gardener, with 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses, highlighted by the distinctive pergola and featuring a visitor center as well as walking trails.

As a Garden Ambassador, volunteers will serve as a welcoming, informative presence on the grounds; guiding visitors to the many things to see on premises — and highlighting the year-round slate of activities for children and adults at Deep Cut, including drop-in storytimes, flower shows, seasonal plant swaps and composting workshops.

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RBR STUDENTS EARN SCOUTING’S TOP HONOR

zack forest michael maier jrRed Bank Regional students and Red Bank Troop 67 scouts Zackary Forest and Michael Maier Jr., were recently conferred with the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement in Boys Scouts.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Michael Maier, Jr., and Zackary Forest, both of Red Bank and both seniors at Red Bank Regional High Schoo, have grown up together in Boy Scouts. So it is fitting that the two recently earned scouting’s highest achievement of Eagle Scout in their Troop 67. Both young men are enrolled in RBR Academy of Pre-Engineering and are active in their school and community.

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RED BANK: A PLUG FOR KEEPING PLUGS CLEAR

rb hydrant 012516In the aftermath of this weekend’s blizzard, Red Bank volunteer firefighters dug out a fire hydrant on Maple Avenue at Waverly Place Monday afternoon.

The fire department asks that residents help keep hydrants clear of snow to aid quick access in emergencies.  (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: T&M SERVES UP SERVICE

t&M_Lunch_BreakAs part of a “50 Ways of Giving” community service campaign in observance of its 50th anniversary, executives from Middletown-based engineering firm T&M Associates (including President/CEO Gary Dahms ) joined the staff of Lunch Break in Red Bank on January 20. T&M employees were on site at the Red Bank facility to provide food and clothing to Monmouth County families who need help and supplies during this winter season. The “50 Ways of Giving” initiative continues throughout 2016, with employees encouraged to participate in 50 acts of volunteerism during the firm’s milestone year.