FAIR HAVEN MAN TURNS FEARS INTO STORIES

Drazin with young fans at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library earlier this month. (Photo by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

Justin Drazin did not originally plan to add the title “children’s author” to his résumé, but what started out as a short piece to show family and friends has evolved into a trilogy of whimsical tales. And along the way, the Fair Haven-raised environmental policy student  turned one of his childhood fears into a captivating bedtime story for kids.

Drazin, 24, recalls being terrified of the dark when he was younger.  “I had a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of going back and forth to my parents’ room,” he said, removing his brown thick-framed glasses during a recent interview.  “It’s an age-long fear. Everyone goes through it at some point.”

Written from the point of view of a little boy afraid of the dark, “Albert and the Amazing Pillow Monsters” is the first installment of the dreamland-centered series.

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M’TOWN: BOATER IN FATAL CRASH INDICTED

George Harrington being placed under arrest for drunken driving of a boat shortly after the 2011 crash. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[Editor’s note: See update below]

The pilot of a boat that smashed into another on the Navesink River almost two years ago has been indicted on vehicular homicide charge, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office announced Tuesday.

George Harrington, 41, of Browns Dock Road in Middletown, is alleged in a grand jury indictment handed up Monday to have been under the influence of liquor or drugs when a Boston Whaler he was piloting plowed into a vessel near buoy 20, between Middletown and Fair Haven, on July 23, 2011.

Christopher Plante, 50, of Keansburg, was killed in the crash.

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FAIR HAVEN: DWI, HIT & RUN CHARGED

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Fair Haven Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• 3/1/13 Det. Schneider took a report for Check Fraud reported from a Grange Walk resident.

• 3/9/13 Sgt. Lambert and Ptl. Koetzner arrested two Juveniles that were found to be intoxicated and one of which was also trespassingat a Harvard Rd. residence.

• 3/10/13 Ptl. Patton and Ptl. Hostrup took a report for Burglary, to a Schwenker’s Place residence.  Det. Schneider also responded and is continuing the investigation.  It has been determined that nothing has been taken at this time, all items thought missing have been located at the residence.

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SORRY MAN RETURNS, HAT AND BOOK IN HAND

Dave Bry, below, makes an appearance on the Green to read from his new collection of essays, ‘Public Apology,’ at River Road Books in Fair Haven on Thursday. (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

Have you ever wanted to say “sorry” for all of the dumb, mean, embarrassing, or negligent things you’ve done that keep you up at night, cringing with regret?

Well, a Little Silver native has done just that, and he wants everyone to know about it.

Dave Bry recently released a book titled Public Apology: In Which a Man Grapples With a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time, in which he says sorry to his friends and family for as many mistakes as he can muster. Nothing is off limits: he apologizes for everything from selling a classmate fake drugs to throwing beer cans onto Bon Jovi’s lawn to renting the wrong DVD for his cancer-ridden father.

Bry, 42, often posts at The AWL, a pop culture website. Some of the essays from his book are posted on the website, along with his thoughts on Tyler the Creator, Lana Del Rey, Leonard Cohen, and a plethora of other entertainers. Tonight, Bry will be read excerpts from his book at River Road Books in Fair Haven.

redbankgreen spoke to Bry by phone earlier this week.

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FAIR HAVEN: 69-YEAR-OLD COPS TO ROBBERY

Blue Stove Antiques was robbed at gunpoint last June 2, with some $200,000 in jewelry and other valuables taken. (Click to enlarge)

A 69-year-old man admitted robbing Blue Stove Antiques in Fair Haven at gunpoint last June, federal law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Robert A. Fiolka, of Staten Island, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton to an Information charging him with Hobbs Act robbery and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

He faces up to life in prison at sentencing, scheduled for July 11.

As reported by redbankgreen, Fiolka was also linked to three other robberies dating back to 2007, according to the FBI. Those cases were not mentioned, however, in the announcement of Fiolka’s plea by U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman.

Nor were Fiolka’s priors, which included a 1967 armed robbery of a bank in Matawan in which a bank employee was taken hostage, redbankgreen has confirmed.

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R-FH BUDGET: R TAX UP, FH, DOWN

Rumson resident Joe Kopel raises a few questions with the R-FH board Tuesday night. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

With six residents in the audience, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High board of education ok’d a $16.9 million spending plan for 2013-’14 that increases taxes on Rumson property owners and reduces them for Fair Havenites.

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FAIR HAVEN: CLEMENTINE CYCLING TAKES OFF

Just three days after opening, Clementine’s early morning classes, like the 10:15 above, were nearly full. (Photo by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge.)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Effie Drossman was a Wall Street trader when she fell in love with stationary cycling.

“It was 20 years ago,” she said. “I took my first spin class and I was hooked. Trading was stressful and it became the one thing that could get me focused and in the zone. It was my time.”

Two decades later, Drossman’s passion for cycling became the basis of a new business venture with the opening last week of Clementine Cycling Studio at 611 River Road in Fair Haven.

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FAIR HAVEN: PARK MAY GET WALKING TRAIL

Sickles School students often return from recess in the park covered in dust, teachers have complained. (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Fair Haven is working on a $180,000 plan for McCarter Park upgrades that could include a walking trail, a relocated and improved ball field and more parking.

At Monday night’s bimonthly council meeting, borough Engineer Richard Gardella said the park “lacks an identity’’ and suggested that a walking trail like the one at Fair Haven Field would help “create some type of circulation’’ through the five-acre facility.

The walking trail could be equipped with benches and simple fitness stations along the route, Gardella said.

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FAIR HAVEN POLICE BLOTTER

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Fair Haven Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• 2/5/13 Ptl. Koetzner took a Theft report from a River Rd. Business. The Business reported a total of $190.00 in merchandise taken.

• 2/6/13 Ptl. Lagrotteria took a Theft report from a River Rd. Business. The Business reported a total of $39.80 in merchandise taken.

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FAIR HAVEN: MEATBALL MAN ROLLS AGAIN

Angelo DePonti, above and below, oversees the cooking for the Fair Haven Fire Department’s annual spaghetti dinner, scheduled for Saturday night. (Photos by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

There’s a special ingredient the Fair Haven Fire Department rolls out to ensure success at its annual spaghetti dinner fund raiser. It’s not in the meat. It’s not in the sauce. And it’s not in the bread.

It is Angelo DePonti – and his way with meatballs.

“I learned to make meatballs from my mother and father,” said DePonti, 83, a lifelong Red Bank resident. “As a kid, I used to watch them cook every Sunday. I was born to cook. I love to watch people eat my food. I haven’t got a recipe for my meatballs, I just know how much to put in… by the smell, by the feel”

DePonti, a retired Garden State Parkway maintenance worker, is a social member of the Fair Haven Fire Department. For the past 60 years, he’s also volunteered with Red Bank’s Union Hose Company where his son, Steve, and his two grandchildren, Steve Jr. and Matt, also serve.

In preparation for this year’s spaghetti dinner, scheduled for Saturday, DePonti was in the Fair Haven firehouse kitchen Thursday night preparing the meatballs with a crew of helpers.

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FAIR HAVEN: STARS IN ONE’S EARS

Celluloid earrings featuring James Dean are among the items included in the going-out-of-business sale at Nature’s Emporium. (Photo by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Welcome to Window Shopping the Green, a new regular feature for redbankgreen.

The idea here is simply to call out interesting items that catch our eye as we wander the stores of the Green.

We kick off with an ending, though. Fair Haven’s Nature’s Emporium will close its doors March 2 after 40 years of business, but not before hosting a blowout sale.

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FAIR HAVEN FACING REASSESSMENT

A townwide reassessment will be the first in 10 years. (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Fair Haven residents can expect a visit later this year from an examiner who will help determine the value of their home and land for property tax bills.

“Field work and analysis will take place this year,” said borough Tax Assessor Steve Walters. “It calls for an interior-exterior inspection of all properties,’’ as well as an analysis of recent home sales, he said.

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FAIR HAVEN DOCK REPAIRS SET

Part of the dock was washed up onto a neighboring yard in the hurricane. (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Fair Haven’s municipal dock, washed away by Hurricane Sandy, is expected to reopen by Memorial Day weekend, borough officials said Monday night.

The repair job is expected to cost $90,000, borough Engineer Richard Gardella reported to the borough council.

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FAIR HAVEN: A COP WHO’S RIGHT AT HOME

By JOE FISHER

“Being a cop in the town you grew up in can be complicated sometimes,’’ says Fair Haven Patrolman William Lagrotteria. “But it’s the best feeling in the world.’’

The seven-year department veteran and juvenile officer was honored Monday night as Patrolman of the Year by the borough council.

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FAIR HAVEN STORE BURGLARIZED

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Fair Haven Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• 01/05/13 Cpl. Waltz and S.O. Albert arrested Vincent P. Delisa, 50, of Long Branch for D.W.I. and Obtaining CDS not prescribed by a Practitioner or under valid prescription. This arrest came subsequent to a motor vehicle accident. Mr. Delisa was released pending court.

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RETURN TO WINTER

A woman and her dog enjoyed the warm temperatures on Grange Avenue overlooking the Navesink in Fair Haven Wednesday.

After a day in which temperatures rose into the 60s, and blustery winds blew overnight, temps are expected to drop to about 40 degrees by sunset Thursday. Meantime, a wind advisory is in effect through most of the morning. (Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: CLOSINGS ROCK RIVER ROAD

Nature’s Emporoium is closing after 40 years in the same location, and will be replaced by a women’s clothing boutique displaced from Sea Bright. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

As though hit by an economic hurricane, Fair Haven’s historic downtown is reeling from the abrupt loss of four well-established River Road retailers.

• Eclectic gift and clothing shop Nature’s Emporium is closing after 40 years. A women’s clothing boutique is expected to take over its space by early spring.

• Gourmet Picnic closed on Monday after a sale, according to a notice posted on the 10-year-old bakery’s front door.

• Eight-year-old Java Stop closed two weeks ago, and its cozy space will be taken over by two-year-old coffee roaster Booskerdoo, in its first expansion from Monmouth Beach.

• Write Impressions, a custom stationery and wedding invitation shop, packed it in after 32 years this weekend and downsized to a corner of a florist shop in Middletown.

Owners of three of the outgoing businesses cited the effects of a seven-month closing of the Oceanic Bridge, ending last May, among the reasons for shutting out the lights.

“There’s just no traffic,” said Write Impressions owner Christine Ancona.

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WEEKEND: ELIVII, DANCE, QUILTS, MOSAICS…

Dance majors in RBR’s Visual and Performing Arts program present ‘A Blast from the Past,’ 23 dances choreographed to the music of the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Queen, Madonna and more. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, January 18

FAIR HAVEN: Fair Haven’s Raven and the Peach is the setting for a special fundraiser dedicated to the animal adoption charity Project Animal Worldwide (PAW), with light fare, desserts, gift basket auctions, jewelry bar and a tasting presented in the restaurant’s wine cellar from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $30, with the wine tasting for an additional $15. Call 732-979-6499 to reserve. 740 River Road.

RED BANK: The Elvii return, for the ninth annual edition of what’s become an unshakably shakin’ Basie tradition, Elvis’ Birthday Bash. Soaps actor Scot Bruce (as the younger Elvis) and award winning Mike Albert (as the Vegassy jumpsuit Elvis) team up once again for a Count Basie two-fer at 8 p.m. Tickets are $19.50, $29.50, and $39.50. Call 732-842-9000 to reserve. 99 Monmouth Street.

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FAIR HAVEN TEENS ARRESTED FOR DRUG SALES

Recent activity reports, unedited, for the month of December, 2012, as provided by the Fair Haven Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• 12/9/12 Ptl. Hostrup arrested Emily Garrison, 18, of Fair Haven and a 17 year old Juvenile, from Fair Haven subsequent to a traffic stop both were charged with Distribution of CDS, Distribution of CDS within a School Zone, Possession of CDS and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.    Ms. Garrison was released pending Court and the Juvenile was released to a parent.

• 12/9/12 Sgt. Dykstra arrested Shane Callahan, 19, of Rumson for Possession of Marijuana under 50 Grams subsequent to a traffic stop.  Mr. Callahan was released pending court.

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WEEKENDER: HOME SHOW, RECOVERY, SATIRE

The Daily Show political correspondent John Oliver brings his mordant wit to the Basie, and former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand is at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional to to discuss his book, below. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, January 11

LINCROFT: The Robert J. Collins Arena at Brookdale Community College hosts the 23rd annual expo of home improvement contractors, vendors and manufacturers, a three-day event showcasing everything from spas to sponges, and every helpful/healthful thing between. Hours are from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 to 8 Saturday, 11 to 5 Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 kids 12-17, under 12 are free. Newman Springs Road/Route 520.

RUMSON: Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, paralyzed in a game, talks about his effort to recover, as described in his book, ‘Believe: My Faith and the Tackle That Changed My Life’ (available at River Road Books). 7 to 10 p.m. 74 Ridge Hill Road.

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FAIR HAVEN STARTS SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH

Community and school board members assembled at Knollwood School Thursday night regarding the search for a new superintendent to replace Kathi Cronin, below. (Photo above by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Fair Haven residents gathered Thursday night to kick around ideas about filling the shoes of school district Superintendent Kathleen Cronin, who is set to retire on June 30.

Much of the discussion, however, turned on the question of whether the two-school district should be consolidated with a neighboring district or two.

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RUMSON HONORS R-FH RUNNERS, COACHES

Coaches Tim McLoone, in gray cap, and Henry Mercer, at center, mingle with supporters at Meadowridge Park before Friday’s dedication of a plaque, below, honoring the 2011 Rumson-Fair Haven girls’ cross-country team. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

On chilly afternoon in January – a month when many runners head for the nearest indoor treadmill – Meadowridge Park in Rumson honored some hardy cross-country runners and their coaches.

A bronze plaque was dedicated Friday to memorialize the 2011 NJSIAA Meet of Champions win by the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional girls’ cross-country team and its coaches, Tim McLoone and Henry Mercer.

McLoone, a well-known local business owner and philanthropist, called the occasion a celebration of the sport itself.

“Cross-country is such a tough, demanding sport,” he said. “And it’s really still under the radar. We really don’t get a lot of press for what we do. So it’s nice to have this monument up for everyone to see. And personally, it’s a little overwhelming.”

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HERE’S A JOB: ‘POLICE MATRON’

Kim Ambrose, center, shares a laugh at the Fair Haven Firehouse Tuesday, shortly after she was re-appointed a police matron in Fair Haven and Rumson. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Kim Ambrose has a lot of titles, but only one she gets teased about.

Mother of three, EMT at Monmouth Park Racetrack, volunteer with the Little Silver and Fair Haven First Aid squads, founder of the Little Silver EMS Cadets program (featured in a redbankgreen story last July), part-time police dispatcher in Rumson, class 1 special police officer in Rumson, police matron in Fair Haven and Rumson: guess which one of those makes her cringe a little.

“It sounds old and stodgy, right?” she says of the ‘matron’ moniker. “It sounds like Helga’s going to come after you.”

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BUY LOCAL: GIFTS AND STOCKING-STUFFERS

For the home décor lover, a vase in the hottest color of the season, tangerine, for $32 at the Store from River Road in Shrewsbury. (Photos by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

Still have last-minute gifts to buy for the holidays? Look no further than the merchants of Red Bank, Little Silver, Fair Haven, Rumson and Shrewsbury.

There are so many great shops on the Green that it can be hard to know where to start, especially with the countdown to the holidays upon us. So redbankgreen has been scouring the streets and window-shopping for you to make life a easier for harried shoppers. Our latest excursion turned up the following items, priced from under $10 to $20,000 (gulp).

For example, check out “In My Tree,” above, a children’s book by Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich at Kidegories in Shrewsbury. The book comes complete with its own-finger puppet for $8.99.

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