Sickles School 4Volunteer Risa Bertodatti assists third grade students with a hands-on activity during Understanding Differences Day at Sickles School.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

Each year, an innovative day-long program at Viola L. Sickles School in Fair Haven helps third-grade students explore and celebrate differences. Presented on May 15, Understanding Differences Day featured hands-on activities and presentations throughout the day, hosted by school staff members and volunteers.

Covered topics covered physical disabilities (including visual and hearing impairments), as well as developmental and learning disabilities. Students engaged in interactive learning activities that included the maneuvering of crutches and wheelchairs (supplied by Little Silver Pharmacy), the making of name tags using Braille, and a demonstration of how a visually impaired person might keep track of money and organize food.

Guest speakers included Lori Timney, who is hearing-impaired and who shared her life experiences with students. Volunteer Sarah Maris helped students to understand the challenges faced by individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Down’s syndrome, and cerebral palsy. Sickles School Social Worker Nicole Green and Sickles School Psychologist Ashley Goral hosted an information session about learning disabilities; this session included presentations by students from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School who discussed their personal experiences and ways in which they have learned to cope through the years. At the conclusion of the morning and afternoon sessions, all of the third grade students participated in reflective writing sessions based on what they had learned.

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Knollwood Stock MarketPress release from Fair Haven School District

Knollwood School students George Clough, Patrick Malpass, and Charles Newbury of Fair Haven achieved the First Place finish in the Southern Region of New Jersey Spring Stock Market Game.

The three fifth-graders, members of the Knollwood School Stock Market Club, competed against over 100 other teams in the Stock Market Game, which ran for 10 weeks ending in May. With a “virtual” $100,000 to invest, they made a profit of $6,977.56.

As winners of the top prize, they attended an awards ceremony on May 26 at Stockton College and presented a short speech about their experience.

“Each of us had different ideas for choosing companies to invest in,” said George. “I chose General Electric during the week that it was number one on the Dow Jones; Charles chose Ford because the price of the stock was low and it was a solid company that had performed well in the past, and Patrick chose Sony because he loves gaming PS4.”

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Robt Kurson Pirate HuntersAmerican Littoral Society president Tim Dillingham (left) speaks with Robert Kurson about the best-selling author’s new PIRATE HUNTERS, in a Nauvoo Grill Club event presented by River Road Books.

His previous nonfiction page-turner, Shadow Divers, became a best-selling sensation here on the Jersey Shore — in part because it detailed the real-life story of salvage divers who discovered the wreck of a Nazi U-boat in the too-close-for-comfort waters off Brielle. Most of all, though, the award-winning 2005 tale was told with a genuine storyteller’s gift – an ear for the sort of “ripping yarn” that’s as old as our fascination with the sea, and the secrets it harbors beneath its shimmering, beckoning surface.

When Robert Kurson visits Fair Haven’s Nauvoo Grill Club this Wednesday evening for his only scheduled New Jersey appearance, he’ll bring with him an all-new tale of high adventure in the dark depths of the ocean, Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship. And this time, Kurson’s got company.

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adam-sobelAdam Sobel, the Vendy Award-winning proprietor of food truck favorite the Cinnamon Snail, visits River Road Books on Saturday to sign copies of his new cookbook “Street Vegan.” And yes, There Will Be Donuts.

72115eb9-0f89-4da9-afbb-0df9e7d5b74eWith his wildly popular food truck, the Cinnamon Snail, temporarily limited to weekly appearances at the Red Bank Farmers Market after losing its curbside spots in New York City, vegan chef Adam Sobel is scheduled to park himself for a spell in Fair Haven on Saturday.

As recently reported here in a mouth-watering feature on redbankgreen‘s PieHole food page, the Red Bank resident has just become proud papa to a cookbook, which he’ll be touting at a signing event at River Road Books. And, as if you needed anything to sweeten the deal, there will be doughnuts — Sobel’s justifiably famous ‘donuts’ — free with purchase the book while supplies last.

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Photo1As part of a national initiative to raise awareness of gender stereotypes in media, students at Small Factory Productions were invited to create original characters for an animated cartoon short film. Among the contest winners in grades 1-5 were Quinn DeNunzio of Navesink (front row, far right), Paige Jaenicke of Fair Haven (back row, second from left), Stephen Makin of Rumson (front row, second from left), and Isabella Scott of Sea Bright (back row, far right).

Press release from Small Factory Productions 

“Children constantly amaze me…they see the world with a neutral eye,” explains Christopher Dudick. “Superheroes come in wheelchairs. Girls explore the universe in rocket ships. The shy boy stands up to the bully. These are the characters our young artists dream up.”

As the owner and founder of Small Factory Productions explains, it was only natural for the students of the local animation school to to submit their original drawings and stories into the “If You Can See It, You Can Be It!” contest — a project designed to bring awareness to gender stereotypes in children’s media and entertainment. Small Factory developed the contest in partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, sponsored by the Friendship Train Foundation.

Nine winners were selected to participate in a workshop that was held in March at the Small Factory studio in Fair Haven, where they drew and wrote their original animated cartoon short and song. The finished productions will be posted to the websites and social media platforms for Small Factory and for the Geena Davis Institute, the nonprofit founded by the Academy Award winning actor/ advocate (and Olympic semifinalist archer) best known for her roles in Thelma & Louise, Beetlejuice and A League of Their Own.

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Claire CiardielloPress release from Kick Dance Studios

Thirteen-year-old Claire Ciardiello of Fair Haven, New Jersey has been accepted into the prestigious Broadway Dance Center’s (BDC) Junior Training Program this summer. The program, which runs for three weeks, provides dancers ages 13 to 17 the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Center’s legendary training program in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district. During the training, dancers will work with experienced BDC instructors alongside professional dancers, training in ballet, jazz, lyrical jazz, contemporary jazz, musical theater, funk, hip-hop, breaking, tap, and more.

Claire has been dancing since she was young, developing her love for ballet at age three, and continuing to expand her dance repertoire throughout the years. She trains at Kick Dance, a dance studio with locations in Fair Haven and Rumson — and whose owner Vanessa Berry is herself an alumna of the Broadway Dance Center.


Mary Kay AndrewsBest-selling author (and summer romance specialist) Mary Kay Andrews returns to Fair Haven on Thursday evening for a reading and signing event at Raven and the Peach, sponsored by River Road Books.

It’s got all the hallmarks of the work that’s made her one of the most popular “beach-read” novelists in the English language — the Southern coastal small-town setting; the strong protagonist whose focus has been on matters of career rather than affairs of the heart; the suspense. Not just the kind of suspense found in her earlier mystery novels, but the sexy tension that occurs when a pair of supercharged opposites set off undeniable sparks.

If it’s the start of summer, it must be time for a new novel by Mary Kay Andrews, the Georgia-based author (of Savannah Blues, Summer Rental and Save the Date) whose book tours in recent seasons have always made sure to include a whistle-stop in one of her favorite pockets of fandom: Fair Haven. This Friday, May 29, borough-based River Road Books once again welcomes back the best-selling scribe for a special appearance keyed to the latest Andrews opus, Beach Town.

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FH artVisitors to the Fair Haven School District Art Show admire self-portraits created by eighth graders at Knollwood School.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

“Make Your Mark” was the theme of the Fair Haven School District Art Show, with more than 1,000 pieces of student-created original art displayed at Knollwood School on the evening of April 14.

This year’s edition of the annual show represented the District’s implementation of new standards in the visual arts.  The new standards focus on essential questions to help develop both critical thinking and problem-solving skills, with students are encouraged to create, present, respond, and connect their artwork to ideas that have personal meaning.

Kindergarten through third grade students at Viola L. Sickles School, and fourth through eighth grade students at Knollwood School each contributed at least one project for display.

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Father_Shecker_&_Rabbi_SultarFather Bob Shecker and Rabbi Jeff Sultar join for an interfaith discussion on “The Garden of Eden – Then and Now,” on the evening of May 20.

Press release from The Church of the Nativity, Fair Haven

On Wednesday, May 20, Father Robert Shecker of the Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven will team up with Rabbi Jeff Sultar of Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson for a special interfaith discussion on the topic of the Garden of Eden – Then and Now.

Hosted at Nativity Parish Hall (180 Ridge Road) and open to all members of the community, the 7:30 pm program is free to attend, with refreshments and a public talk session to follow.

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LesterAuthor Lester Laminack conducted workshops for young writers, and addressed parents and teachers on the topic of the writing process, during his recent visit to the Fair Haven School District.

Press releases from Fair Haven School District

An appearance by a talented special guest speaker — and some events that featured the talents of Fair Haven students — were among the highlights of the late winter and early spring at Viola L. Sickles and Knollwood Schools in Fair Haven.

On February 26, the  rousing musical No Strings Attached was presented by the 6th, 7th and 8th grade Performing Arts Troupe at Knollwood School. Inspired by the familiar tale of Pinocchio, the show tells the story of Carl, a young boy seeking to dodge all responsibility. He makes a deal to trade work for fun — and unwittingly ends up transforming into a puppet member of the Magical Mystery Marionettes. Carl learns that “no strings attached” is not all he had hoped for — but with the help of his loyal friends, he recovers his human powers in time to help save his beloved father from the mouth of a whale.

Directed by Social Studies teacher Alison Dooley and Literacy teacher Gabrielle Illiano, the production featured Lisa Sandoli as Carl/Pinocchio, and Jacob Gerbman as Gepetto. The 25-member cast also included Lucas Tucker as Cricket, Grace Gallagher as Blues Fairy, Isabella Mitterando as Professor, Giovanna Darcy as Madame Azure, Anna Phillips as Marionette/Dipstick, Nora Doonan as Marionette/Fox, Fiona Lenahan as Cat, Mikey Bogardus as the Driver, Lauryn Jones as Tina Tuna/Peg, and Blodwen Bindas as Mary Annette.

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FH & RBTYS 050314FH & RBTYS 050314 6Attention Fair Haven and Red Bank residents: You’ve got less than two weeks to get your, um, stuff together for the community-wide yard sales in your respective boroughs. Both are daylong events scheduled for Saturday, May 2.

The eighth annual Red Bank Townwide Yard will once again benefit the Friends of the Red Bank Public Library; details and registration forms, are available here. Information about the Fair Haven Town Wide Yard Sale is available here. (Photos by Susan Ericson.)  


Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

alexA Fair Haven teen is currently ranked as the number one male skier in New Jersey aged 16-17, by the national NASTAR race program. Seventeen year old Alex Perkins captured the first-place finish for his age group at the 2015 NASTAR Eastern Regional Championship, held at Okemo Mountain in Vermont on January 31 and February 1.

The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School junior attained his first place finish with a time of 20.96 — the fastest raw time of all skiers under the age of 21 — during the first day of competition. This win qualified him for the 2015 NASTAR National Championship, held at Aspen Mountain in Colorado. This is the third consecutive year that the son of Debbie and Bill perkins of Fair Haven has taken the podium at the NASTAR Regional Championship. He has qualified for competition in the NASTAR National Championship for six of the past seven years, and he stands at number 43 in the NASTAR national rankings.

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fh williams 041315fh-williams-backOld but not considered of historic value, Fair Haven’s Charles Williams house (seen at right in 2010), was reduced to splinters and dust Monday morning.

The house, built by a free African-American in 1855,  was acquired by the borough for $1.2 million last November, and the now-vacant lot at the foot of Denormandie Avenue is to become a park property overlooking the Navesink River. Here are some background articles. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


20150311_115509Press release from Fair Haven School District

“Lunch with a VIP,” a yearly event that is highly anticipated by students and their guests, was once again a rousing success at Viola L. Sickles school in Fair Haven.

Sponsored by the Fair Haven Parent Teacher Association, the event offers students the opportunity to enjoy lunch, treats, and fun activities with a special guest “Very Important Person” from their life. This year’s “Lunch with a VIP” was held from March 11-13 for first, second, and third graders respectively.

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seussStudents at Viola L. Sickles School in Fair Haven listen intently as they try to guess the identity of a “mystery reader” during the school’s birthday celebration for Dr. Seuss.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

Even a cranky “Grinch” would have been smiling at the Fair Haven School District’s birthday celebration for beloved author Theodor Seuss Geisel — the writer and cartoonist (1904-1991) best known under his pen name, Dr. Seuss.

The extravaganza at Sickles School kicked off on March 2 – Suess’s birthday and “Read Across America” day — with a “Birthday Celebration” assembly.  Kindergarten-through-third grade students, attired in red and white in honor of the Seuss character “The Cat in the Hat,” listened as faculty members, onstage but hidden by the curtain, acted as “mystery readers.” When challenged to guess the teachers’ identities, the students succeeded “one hundred percent.” The entire assembly then took part in a spirited rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”

The fun continued as Guest Readers from the community visited classrooms to share Dr. Seuss books. Guest Reader Kevin Davis, Principal of the fourth-through-eighth grade Knollwood School, read a few of his favorites to third graders. Another celebratory event at Sickles was the creation of a “Books Will Build You Up” music video (which can be viewed here), featuring students and staff celebrating the joys of reading.

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rumson dog mass 031415 1rumson dog mass 031415Mass celebrants weren’t all equally attentive to Reverend Ophelia Laughlin at a pets-welcome worship at St. George’s-by-the-River in Rumson Saturday. About two dozen dogs, and a hamster named Hamstie, at right, attended the new regular service, which the church plans to repeat  on the second Saturday of each month at 5 p.m. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)



TravisGaleAmyBeatriceNaturalist Travis Gale, pictured with friendly skunk in a recent NJ school appearance, visits Fair Haven’s Church of the Nativity on Wednesday for a program that demonstrates how Earth’s incredible creatures (including fennec fox Amy Beatrice, right) survive in the wild.  

A little over ten years ago, Travis Gale was a veteran environmental educator for the Monmouth County Parks System, with a sideline as a traveling specialist in edu-taining “Mad Science” presentations. As a field biologist, his claim to fame was in conducting the first radio tracking program of baby pine snakes in the New Jersey Pine Barrens — but in 2005, the naturalist shed his “Snakes ‘n Scales” gig to establish Wallaby Tales, a company dedicating to educating young audiences in the ways and wonders of our fellow mammals.

On Wednesday evening, March 11, the Monmouth County Audubon Society presents its annual “Family Night” presentation; hosting Travis Gale and his program “What Big Teeth You Have!” in a public-welcome program at The Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven. Scheduled for 7 pm and designed for elementary school age children and their families, the program focuses on some of the smaller mammals of the wild, and the ways in which they defend themselves and successfully make a living in a landscape of predators.

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addie copePress release from Fair Haven School District

Addie Cope, a fifth-grader at Knollwood School, is the winner of the school’s second annual Spelling Bee, held on February 2 — a competition that the ten year old student  won by correctly spelling the word “jocularity.”

The daughter of Fair Haven residents Carolyn and Jonathan Cope will now participate in the 31st annual Asbury Park Press/Home News Tribune Spelldown, to be held at Monmouth University in West Long Branch on March 16-17. Spelldown will feature spelling champions aged eight through fourteen from Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties. The winner will move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

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20150206_115816Student cheerleaders and basketball players are pictured with “local celebrities” from the Fair Haven Fire and Police Departments at the conclusion of the Hoops for Hearts event, held at Knollwood School on February 6.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

Sixth graders from Knollwood School cheered as their classmates took on local “celebrities” — law enforcement officers and firefighters — during a fast-paced “Hoops for Hearts” Championship Basketball Game on February 6. The “celebrities” achieved victory, but the real winner was the American Heart Association.

The first fundraiser of its kind at the school, Hoops for Hearts netted an astounding $7,560 — more than double the goal amount of $3,500 — to benefit the AHA. Approximately 119 Knollwood sixth-graders participated in the event, organized by first-year Physical Education and Health Teacher Kim Lagrotteria.

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Missing the sun? Yearning for some tropical fun? The Foundation of Fair Haven invites you to come to the first-ever Tiki Haven Luau event, a fundraiser to support future Fair Haven Days activities (in addition to an excellent way to shake off some of those winter blues and blahs).

Beginning at 6:30 pm on Saturday, February 28, the hall of the Knights of Columbus Council 3187 will be the setting for an evening of food, beer and wine, music, dancing, auctions and fun summer games, all with the admission ticket of $50 per person. There will also be specialty drinks for sale, plus a Grand 50/50 Cash Raffle — and while all attendees are welcome to come dressed in their finest Hawaiian wear, the only requirement is to have fun.

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KatieCoyleAuthor and Fair Haven native Katie Coyle makes a homecoming sojourn to River Road Books this Thursday for a reading and signing keyed to her novel ‘Vivian Apple at the End of the World.’

When the debut young-adult novel by Katie Coyle first saw print, it was in the United Kingdom under the title Vivian Versus the Apocalypse.

For its stateside publication, though, the young-adult adventure tale has been rebranded as Vivian Apple at the End of the World — a situation not unlike Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which the Fair Haven native cites as the book that supercharged her own literary ambitions into being.

The 2004 graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School — since transplanted to San Francisco — makes a homecoming appearance here on the Green Thursday night when she stops in at River Road Books for a 7 p.m. reading and signing session timed to the book’s appearance under the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint.

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100514 beast blessing11Reverend Ophelia Laughlin blesses a dog at St. George’s-by-the-River’s annual St. Francis Day event last October. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


StGeorgeThe Vatican may be fuzzy on whether animals get into heaven, but an Episcopal church in Rumson says they’re certainly welcome at services.

St. George’s-by-the-River will start offering a monthly worship next month at which all pets are welcome, associate pastor Reverend Jeff Roy tells redbankgreen.

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FH Board 1It’s official as (left to right) Bruce Padula, Jennifer Halcrow, and Karen Saad participate in the January 7 Fair Haven Board of Education meeting after being sworn in.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

At a reorganization meeting held on January 7, Fair Haven residents Jennifer Halcrow, Bruce Padula, and Karen Saad were sworn in as members of the borough’s Board of Education. The three new members, all of whom were duly elected to full three-year terms, will  serve on the board along with Michael Bernstein, Claudia Brasch (Vice President), Mark Mancuso (President), Tracy Rehder, Jeffrey Spector, and Randi Walker.

The oath of office was administered by Board of Education Attorney Anthony P. Scarrillo. Among those in attendance and offering congratulations and support was former Board member Katy Frissora, who was thanked for her eight years of dedicated service by Mancuso. Frissora and Cathy Alescio, who served one term of three years, both did not seek re-election this year when their terms expired.

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RFHHS_Foundation_Apres_SkiThe Rumson-Fair Haven High School Foundation is all geared up for their new “Apres Ski” event at Fair Haven’s Knights of Columbus on Saturday, January 24, from 7 to 10pm. The casual evening of music, food and fun will include a one-week vacation get-away raffle to raise funds for the High School’s education initiatives. Tickets are $75 per person and will be available at the door. More information at www.rumsonfairhaven.org.

From top left to right: Christine Sullivan, Star Burnett, Maria Oberlander, Mary Heins, Lisa Brown, Deane Hiles, Karen Rumage, Nancy Freeman, Lisa Attallah, Judi Tavill, Ray Eckhoff, Maura Beyer.