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. 

RBR TEEN SPURS PEERS TO ‘DO SOMETHING’

Sam LaRocca Emma Craven Moragn GrantRed Bank Regional students Samantha LaRocca, Emma Craven and Morgan Grant display some of the more than 650 cigarette butts they collected around town for the “Get the Filter Out” initiative, one of a number of dosomething.org campaigns aimed at making a difference in their communities.  

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School 

According to Red Bank Regional High School senior Emma Craven, “My Generation has a bad rap for being lazy and not so motivated or engaged to change things…this website (dosomething.org) is trying to encourage people our age to get out there and help.”

As the Red Bank resident explains, the website “lists all types of campaigns you can do, depending on any cause you might be interested in and the blueprint to do it.” Since the summer, Emma and her friends have made maximum use of this unique platform for volunteering — collecting over 600 pieces of clothing for the poor; sending 100 pounds of candy to our troops overseas; donating funds from a retro-board game party to a family shelter. They also collected over 650 cigarette butts — in this case, to keep the non-biodegradable materials from choking local landfills.

All of the above activities were based on ideas found on the dosomething.org website. The campaigns can be as incredibly simple as using reusable water bottles versus plastic ones, and collecting aluminum cans — or as involved as teaching a senior citizen how to use a computer.

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RED BANK: A SAVE, AND THEN A SWEARING-IN

CHRIS SODEN 010116Chris Soden gives his oath as Red Bank fire chief at the Union Hose Company. Behind Soden are deputies Pete DeFazio, left, and Stu Jensen, partly obscured. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

donegoodlogoChris Soden’s term as Red Bank’s new fire chief got off to a smoky start Friday.

Eight hours before he was sworn into office, Soden and other volunteer firefighters worked their way up six flights of stairs to save a 79-year-old man who’d set his mattress ablaze when he fell asleep with a lit cigarette.

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RED BANK: GO TELL IT ON MONMOUTH

Black Nativity 2010A cast of some 45 actors, singers, dancers and community members brings the theatrical gospel celebration BLACK NATIVITY back to the Count Basie Theatre this Sunday, December 27, in the return of a local tradition from Dunbar Repertory Company. (Photo courtesy Richard Krauss)  

When it was first presented to Broadway audiences back in 1961, the theatrical experience known as Black Nativity was little more than a 40-page outline of a script on paper; an adaptation of the Gospel of St. Luke that was infused with the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes. In their fully fleshed form, however, the words came to life through a mix of traditional spirituals like “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” African American dance forms, colorful costumes, and an improvisatory element that encourages local clergy, schoolchildren and public officials to get into the act everywhere that Nativity has become the stuff of tradition, from Savannah, GA to Seattle, WA and numerous points between.

Beginning about the turn of the new millennium, Black Nativity became the stuff of Monmouth County tradition, when Darrell Lawrence Willis Sr. first presented its “powerful message of joy, hope, victory and liberation” at Manasquan’s landmark Algonquin Theatre, in a staging by Dunbar Repertory Company, the producer-director’s grassroots troupe dedicated to presenting the works of African American playwrights. Re-emerging at the Count Basie Theatre in 2010 (where Willis, a now-retired faculty member at Brookdale Community College, has served as a board member for ten years), the production quickly staked out a place as a year-end centerpiece of community life for performing artists and church congregations from all around Monmouth. Following a one-year hiatus, Black Nativity returns to the Basie stage this Sunday afternoon, December 27, for its fifth Red Bank appearance — a re-energized and highly anticipated extension of the Yueltide season, about which Willis found time to chat with redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: IT GROWS ON TREES, AT ATRIUM

Atrium_Res_Bill_Wheatley_&_AmberBill Wheatley (left), a resident of The Atrium at Navesink Harbor who’s known as one of Santa’s favorite helpers, displays a Santa-sized haul of hats and mittens with Amber Graves (right) of the Riverside Avenue senior community. Inspired by Candace Christianson’s story The Mitten Tree, Bill and fellow resident Barbara Withers coordinated a Mitten Drive that has so far collected over 50 hats and pairs of mittens for Red Bank Primary School kids. As Atrium communications specialist Mary Kelly reports, “Bill spreads the joy of the holidays throughout the year. Bringing cheer, he shares his musical talents on the harmonica performing at holiday parties, birthdays and happy hours. Pitch perfect, he’s a hit with our residents and just a treat to be around.” 

RUMSON GARDENERS SPREAD HOLLYDAY CHEER

Christmas_Greens_ChairsRumson Garden Club president Diane Guidone (center) is pictured with Christmas Greens co-chairs Liz Dusko (left) and Angela Bennink (right), during the club’s annual initiative to supply “Holly Day” cheer to hard-working area nonprofits.

Press release from Rumson Garden Club

For over 80 years, the Rumson Garden Club, a member club of Garden Club of America, has held its annual Christmas Green Workshop on the first Saturday in December; a project designed to spread holiday cheer and help local non-for-profits deck their halls.

Since its inception in 1930, the Workshop’s boughs of holly, boxwood, magnolia, pine and spruce have been clipped from members’ properties, and brought to Bingham Hall. There the members gather to create evergreen centerpieces, embellish wreaths, stuff candy into bags and to herald the start of the holiday season. The wreaths, table pieces and candy bags are then delivered to local care facilities, libraries, museums, community centers, and other not-for-profit establishments.

This year, the RGC helped spread “Holly Day” cheer to the following community organizations: Parker Family Clinic, Love Inc., Monmouth Historical Society, John Montgomery House, History House, King James Care Center, Meridian Health Care Center, Rumson Borough Hall, Oceanic Public Library, Lunch Break, St. Marks Keansburg Center for Community Renewal, and the Boys & Girls Clubs in Asbury Park and Red Bank.

“It’s my favorite RGC activity,” said 50-year member Nancy Dickson of the project that also serves as a great opportunity for several generations of participants to work side-by-side and share stories. “It’s so worthwhile, and a wonderful way for members to get together and give back to the community.”

In addition to their annual creation of dozens of  wreaths, dozens of centerpieces and hundreds of bags of candy,  this year the Christmas Greens volunteers created 100 small arrangements for the meal trays for Red Bank Area Meals on Wheels clients. Little is wasted, as left-over greens are ferried to the Oceanic Public Library to fill their window boxes with seasonal greenery.

Serving as co-chairs for the 2015 Workshop were Liz Dusko and Angela Bennink, who commented that  “There is so much creativity, talent, camaraderie and good spirits to go around…it’s great fun to be a part of Christmas Green Workshop and know that everything you do will bring a smile to someone’s face.”

GREETINGS FROM RBR, TO KIDS OF ST. JUDE’S

StJudecardsofficialPictured during the St. Jude Cards for Kids event at Red Bank Regional High School are (standing, left to right) Mike Hanlon, Jack McMahon; (sitting) Sophie Morris, Megan Zabarsky, Madison Ciccone, and Isabella Ramos. The students were among the more than 75 participants who created 125 fanciful holiday cards filled with best wishes for the children at St. Jude’s Hospital in Chicago. RBR teachers Jennifer Casaine and Cassandra Dorn act as coordinators for the activity, which expanded this year to two extra days, and which drew the participation of everyone from athletes to International Baccalaureate students.

RED BANK: CHRISTMAS BASIE, C’MON HOME

Tim mcloone 2011Tim McLoone and Holiday Express (above) make their annual fundraising whistle-stop on the Count Basie stage this Thursday, followed on Friday by the “Souled Out” (but still very much on sale) return of Christmas Baby Darlene Love (below).  

darlene-loveNo matter how many times Darlene Love appeared on David Letterman’s show to deliver her soaring signature “Christmas (Baby please come home),” it somehow stayed fresh across four decades, five presidential administrations and countless hairstyles.

Likewise, Holiday Express manages to keep it fresh despite spending most of the year in a crisper, only to be taken out for a blizzard of seasonal performances.

And somehow, the Count Basie Theatre does it up in style every December with crowd-pleasing sets by both acts, which roll into Red Bank in the nights ahead.

Read on for details…

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RUMSON DADS, DAUGHTERS ARE THERE TO HELP

fatheranddaughtermissionLast month, Red Bank Regional freshman Mara Campolattaro and her father helped organize a humanitarian mission, during which a group of seven Rumson daughters and dads brought fresh water to an impoverished village in the Dominican Republic. (photos by Tim Orr)

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

For years, Mara Campolattaro of Rumson had asked her dad, eye surgeon Dr. Brian Campolattaro, to take her on one of his trips to Latin America, where he performed mission surgery as a pediatric ophthalmologist with the ILAC (Institute for Latin American Concern) organization. When Mara — a freshman at the Red Bank Regional High School Visual and Performing Arts Academy — turned 14, he acquiesced, inviting her on a humanitarian mission to the Dominican Republic.

The Campolattaros soon got inspired to invite six of Mara’s Rumson friends — Paige Borden, Caroline Healey, Hannah Horan, Annabel Morris, Maddie Orr and Olivia Turi, all freshmen at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School — as well as their dads. The girls named themselves and the mission “HereToHelp,” and with the assistance of the ILAC, the team set about identifying a village that was in need of their energies.

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LINCROFT: CBA FOOD DRIVE TOPS 20K ITEMS

CBAThrough the generous efforts of students, faculty, staff and their families, the 2015 Christian Brothers Academy Thanksgiving Food Drive amassed a tally of 20,191 items to help benefit those in need. Campus Ministry director Tim Sewing noted that many food pantries and benefit organizations find their stocks significantly depleted following the holiday rush, and the annual CBA effort has helped fill that gap. As has been custom, the student body was awarded an extra day off for the holiday weekend, with the announcement made during the Academy’s Thanksgiving Prayer Service, a completely student-run service in which the entire school participates.