Mayor Don Burden and co-author Rick Geffken at the Shrewsbury Municipal Complex. The Bonanno Farm on Sycamore Avenue, preserved under an easement, is visible in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The 350-year history of Shrewsbury Borough, a vestige of a vast township that once extended from Raritan Bay to Little Egg Harbor, has a new chapter.
With the tiny borough getting ready to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its incorporation in 2016, two avid amateur historians — Rick Geffken and Mayor Don Burden — last month debuted a new edition to the definitive history of the town, adding in information on the past half-century of rapid transformation.
With emergency lights on because of a power outage, parent Siobhan Fallon Hogan urged parental choice in the books read by teens. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
[UPDATE: See a statement from playwright Ariel Dorfman about this controversy appended to the bottom of this article.]
It was a dimly lit and slightly damp night as about 150 members of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School community politely debated a stormy issue Tuesday: the place of two works of fiction in the curriculum.
Taking turns at a non-working microphone in an auditorium lit by emergency lights because of a power outage, a number of parents challenged the inclusion of two books on reading lists for juniors and seniors because of their adult themes and coarse language.
Led by former Saturday Night Live cast member Siobhan Fallon Hogan, the objectors insisted they were not out to ban or censor the books, but instead to call for a policy that would allow parents to choose substitute reading material they consider “age appropriate” for their children.
Roberta Van Anda in her Rumson study, above, and her newly published book, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Roberta Van Anda is moving out of Rumson soon, capping more than 60 years of borough residence in which she was a longtime school board member, a wife, a mother and writer of a town newsletter.
She’s leaving as a newly published book author. Her “Legendary Locals of Rumson,” one in a nationwide series focused on particular locales, debuted this month. And it fulfills Van Anda’s long-held desire to tell her contemporaries, and perhaps future borough residents, about the contributions made to the community by predecessors whose names may have vanished over the years.
“I’m just so excited to bring some of these people out of the shadows of history,” she told redbankgreen recently.
Eileen Moon at the Red Bank Public Library, built in the former home of ‘legendary’ industrialist Sigmund Eisner. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
In Eileen Moon’s eyes, “personality drives progress.” And as the author of “Legendary Locals of Red Bank,” a newly published book of historical and contemporary profiles, Moon encountered personality galore.
People like Sigmund Eisner, for example, an immigrant who, starting with a single sewing machine, not only built the nation’s largest uniform factory, but helped his employees buy homes, cementing a sense of community.
“It takes a strong personality, and a vision, and a risk-taker sometimes, to change what is into some new evolution of that,” says Moon.
Judi Pack’s ‘Little Free Library, decorated for Halloween. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)
By SARAH KLEPNER
Judi Pack wants kids to love books so much that she has installed a permanent, weather-proof bookshelf, known as a Little Free Library, in the front yard of her Red Bank home.
It is indeed a little, free library: passersby and neighbors of all ages can take a book or leave one for others. Even better, there is no obligation to return a book once taken.
It’s a logical step for a woman who has dedicated 40 years to early childhood education, including seven years in Middletown. Pack has taught pre-kindergarten and early primary school, and instructed the teachers of these age groups as well.
“We’ve made a fetish of learning to read, instead of encouraging kids to love books,” Pack said in a recent interview at her home, at 170 Hudson Avenue.
Local farmers and craftspeople fill the parking lot at the Galleria every Sunday morning this time of year. Steven Jacobson, the 17-year-old author of “One Last Season,” below, reads from his novel Saturday. (Click to enlarge)
Friday, July 12:
LINCROFT: Royalty graces Lincroft when Shakespeares witty early comedy, Loves Labors Lost, comes to the Great Lawn at Brookdale Community College. Bring blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic baskets (rain site: Performing Arts Center). The performance begins at 7 p.m. Park in lot 2. Lawn outside PAC building/Newman Springs Road/Route 520.
RED BANK: The Summer Jazz Café returns to Two River Theatres black box performance space Friday and Saturday nights. Joe Muccioli and the Jazz Arts Project present jazz innovator, trombonist and seashellist Steve Turre. The night promises a big city club vibe with coffee and refreshments served throughout the performance. Tickets are $22 and the show begins at 8 p.m. 21 Bridge Avenue.
Ashley DuPre near her Red Bank boutique last summer. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank lingerie merchant Ashley Dupré may have moved on, but a book publisher is clearly hoping her notoriety as the prostitute who abruptly ended Eliot Spitzer’s run as governor of New York has legs.
HarperCollins has just published an e-book titled ‘Tricks of the Trade,’ a collection of sex-and-relationship advice columns Dupré wrote for the New York Post until last year, when she opened Femme By Ashley, an underwear and swimwear shop on Broad Street.
What does it take to become a published author of fiction? Will power, says Aryn Kyle, author of the national best-selling young-adult novel The God of Animals.
Kyle served up sometimes harsh truths on what it takes when she appeared at Brookdale Community College last Wednesday as the first author in this year’s visiting writer series.
The amount of time where writing is fun is a small percentage,” she told an audience of more than 100 students, faculty members, fans, and aspiring writers. “Its fun to start something. Its awesome to finish something. The middle is hard.”
“Yeah, and parle Italiano perfecto,” Victor Rallo jokes.
The owner of Basil T’s and Undici Taverna Rustica in Rumson, Rallo travels to Italy up to eight times a year, surfs in Puerto Rico, skis in the west, enjoys what he calls “absent-minded photography,” and now, has written his first book.
That’s saying a lot for the ruddy and avuncular 61-year-old, who’s often fueled up on equal amounts of No Joe’s coffee and zest for speaking with schoolkids all over the country.
Earning a star in the Kirkus Book Review and an order for a second edition of your book, which hasn’t even hit bookstore shelves yet, can do that.
“I’m bullish on John Grandits this week,” he said.
After 10 years working on his second children’s book (he’s also published two children’s poetry books), Grandits is ready to hit the self-promotion circuit in advance of the July 4 release of Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want To Survive The School Bus.