RED BANK: GIVING PLAY-BY-PLAY A TRY

Would-be sports announcers listen to Monmouth U Eddy Occhipinti, below, in a Parks & Rec class at the borough library last week.

[Red Bank Parks & Rec press release]

Thirteen Red Bank youngsters with dreams of a future in sports broadcasting participated last week in ‘Sports Broadcasting,’ the first part of a two-week workshop produced by the Red Bank Department of Parks and Recreation.

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FAIR HAVEN: SELDIN STORMS BACK AT 70

Shore music legend Stormin’ Norman Seldin returns to the scene of a legendary months-long stand when he observes his 70th birthday Saturday night in Fair Haven.

With all due props to Count Basie, he’s the “other” Kid from Red Bank, even if he’s long since earned a senior discount at IHOP.

To aficionados of the Shore music scene, Stormin’ Norman Seldin is still the same ginger-haired, piano-pounding prodigy (at age 13, the youngest person to become a member of the American Federation of Musicians) who’d staked out a career as a singer, bandleader, promoter and record label owner by his teens — and who, through his old combo the Joyful Noyze, introduced audiences to a bigger-than-life talent by the name of Clarence Clemons.

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RUMSON 8TH GRADER TAKES A STAND

Press release from Rumson School District

In a recent event hosted at Monmouth University, eighth grade student Sarah MacGillis of Forrestdale School, competed in the regional level of National History Day, a non-profit education organization that engages over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world annually in conducting original research on historical topics of their choice.

The theme for this year’s competition was “Taking a Stand in History” — and Sarah’s entry, titled “Britain’s Failed Stands For Nationalism,” was a colorful and engaging display that highlighted Great Britain’s involvement in the Treaty of Versailles and its impact on the Middle East today – an ambitious and impressive project. Congratulations on a great job to Sarah, who will also be presenting her project at Forrestdale School’s “Enrichment Showcase.”

FAIR HAVEN 7TH GRADER SPELLS VICTORY

Knollwood School Spelling Bee winner PJ Rawlins is pictured with Superintendent Sean McNeil and Principal Amy Romano.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

PJ Rawlins has been announced as winner of the Annual Spelling Bee held at Knollwood School in Fair Haven on January 31. The seventh grader correctly spelled the word “feckless” to claim first place in the school-wide competition for students in fourth through eighth grade.

Competing along with PJ were eighth grader Alex Fratto, sixth grader Will Ross, fifth grader Michael DeFazio, and fourth grader Kate Cusick.

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LITTLE SILVER: MU PROF JOINS PARKER BOARD

Parker_HomesteadThe nonprofit organization governing the ongiong restoration of the historic Parker Homestead (above) has named Monmouth University faculty member and historian Melissa Ziobro (below) to its Board of Trustees.

Press release from Parker Homestead-1665

ziobroThe Parker Homestead-1665 has named Melissa Ziobro to its Board of Trustees. A Specialist Professor of Public History at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, Ziobro currently teaches courses in Public History, Oral History, and Museums and Archives Management.

Her service to the University includes administration of the Monmouth Memories Oral History Program. Earlier this year Ziobro began recording the oral history of Parker Homestead by interviewing Robert Sickles Sr. — nephew of Julia Parker, who deeded the property to Little Silver — about his memories of Julia and life on the Homestead.

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M’TOWN: CALLING KID CONSERVATIONISTS

Press release from Monmouth Conservation Foundation

It is a melancholy thought to imagine a world without butterflies, hummingbirds, or the flowers and plants that we depend on them to pollinate. Two of our most vital pollinator species, honeybees and butterflies, are in decline — a decline fueled by the development of our natural lands.

In response, Monmouth Conservation Foundation has created an awareness campaign to take action on the issues facing these critical species through the launch of Kids for Conservation/Project Pollinator. The project, which launched with a county-wide art student art contest, continues with two public-invited events, the first of which will take place on Friday, April 22 at Sickles Market in Little Silver.

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RED BANK: A LAST CALL FOR ‘REASON’

Lives of Reason TRTC 1-16 063 Lives of Reason, by Robert Rechnitz and Kenneth Stunkel, directed by Jonathan Fox at Two River Theatre Company 1/7/16 Costume Design: Karen Perry Lighting Design: Gina Scherr Set Design: Charlie Corcoran © T Charles Erickson Photography tcepix@comcast.net

Ilona (Mairin Lee) is the center of attention, as the Two River Theater original LIVES OF REASON (above) enters its final round of performances…while Monmouth U’s Frank P. Fury (below) inaugurates a new series of Conversation + Play events at Two River. (Top photo by T. Charles Erickson)

FuryAlthough its authors — longtime Monmouth University English professor Robert Rechnitz, and veteran Dean/ History prof Kenneth Stunkel — have waved away any direct connection to their former place of employment or co-workers, the unmistakable flavor of a life spent in academia permeates Lives of Reason, the original ensemble drama that represents the maiden collaboration for its two octogenarian playwrights.

Even as Lives enters into the final eight performances (today through Sunday, February 7) of its limited engagement at Two River Theater, the venue re-establishes that Monmouth U connection with the help of the organization known as The Navesink, whose TEDxNavesink events used the Bridge Avenue arts center for its sold-out 2014 session (and who since relocated to, you guessed it, the Monmouth campus). Thursday, February 4 marks the first in a three-part series of Conversation + Play “salons” that pair an 8 pm performance of Two River’s current mainstage production with a special pre-show lecture — in this case the young MU faculty member and literature specialist Frank P. Fury, Ph.D.

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RED BANK: NEW ‘REASON’ FOR OLD FRIENDS

rechnitz stunkel 010616 2Ken Stunkel, left, and Two River Theater founder Bob Rechnitz are first-time, eighty-something playwrights getting the big-time treatment. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)  

By TOM CHESEK

hot-topicWhen the 2015-2016 season resumes at the Two River Theater in Red Bank this weekend, it will find the celebrated company once again departing from familiar Broadway-tested properties like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Seven Guitars to the latest in an ongoing slate of world premiere dramas by relatively “new” playwrights.

This time out, the play is called Lives of Reason, and the rookie playwrights are a couple of eighty-something colleagues named Bob Rechnitz and Ken Stunkel.

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RED BANK: MU STUDENTS CO-STAR WITH TRTC

TwoRiverMU1As part of a partnership program between Monmouth University and Two River Theater Company, Student Ambassadors Nick Zaccario, Sheri Anderson, Samantha Myers and Molly Huber are pictured outside the box office with TRTC staffers Courtney Perez, Cassie Galasetti and Angela White.

Press release from Two River Theater Company

In a partnership designed to deepen relationships between Two River Theater and the Music and Theater Arts Department at Monmouth University, the Red Bank performing arts center and the West Long Branch-based university have announced a new Student Ambassador Program, facilitated by Department Chair Joe Rapolla and Professor Sheri Anderson.

Three “Student Ambassadors” — sophomore Molly Huber, senior Samantha Myers, and junior Nick Zaccario — have been selected to lead the program for this inaugural season. The students will work closely with Two River’s marketing team to help create special programs and opportunities for their campus peers, starting with the theater’s upcoming production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which hosts its first preview on Saturday, November 14. Opportunities being explored include access to backstage tours and technical rehearsals; workshop/Q&A sessions with actors and/or designers, and more.

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RED BANK “FUTURE BUCS” BIG ON MU CAMPUS

Future BucsPress release from Red Bank Charter School

This past week, the Monmouth University Womensʼ Basketball team hosted a group of 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls from Red Bank Charter School and Red Bank Middle School, for a special tour of the Monmouth campus.

The “Future Bucs” from Red Bank were the guests of the basketball team members, for a guided tour of the dining hall, library, dorm area, academic area and, of course, the athletic area. Lamiyah, Laniyah, Tania, Ariel, Winnie, Mandy, Makayla, Joann, Mitzi, Jennifer and Joselin all took advantage of this wonderful opportunity. The event was chaperoned by Future Buc founders Enrico Ciabattoni and David Prown.

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RUMSON: SOCCER STAR INSPIRES RFH PLAYERS

christie ramponePress release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Christie Rampone recently provided an unforgettable experience for local soccer players with dreams of their own.

Rampone made an appearance at a scheduled practice for the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girl’s soccer team at Meadowridge Field East in Rumson on September 28. During an informal motivational session, Rampone described participation in high school soccer as a “privilege.”

“There are a lot of things I wish I would have known when I was in high school, and one of them

is that roles are constantly changing and you need to keep an open mind,” said the 40-year old Rampone, who plays for the Piscataway-based Sky Blue FC Club team, and is the only “99-er” – referring to a player on the highly regarded U.S Women’s National Soccer team that won the 1999 World Cup – still on the field.

“Always give 100% even if you are not playing the position you thought you would, and remember that confidence comes from within…you can’t rely on your coaches to give it to you.”

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RBR’s DIXON TO COMPETE FOR MONMOUTH U

Sarena DixonSarena Dixon of Red Bank was named Red Bank Regional High School’s Outstanding Female Athlete for her record of accomplishment in track and field. The honor student and star athlete will be attending Monmouth University in the fall, and will play for the Monmouth Hawks. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

After graduating from Red Bank Regional High School on June 19, track and field star, discus and shot put thrower Sarena Dixon continued to represent her school in the New Balance Outdoor National Track and Field Championship that weekend — and beginning with the new academic year, the Red Bank resident will be attending Monmouth University on scholarship; competing in track and field for the Monmouth U Hawks.

Sarena was honored as RBR’s Outstanding Female Athlete for her track and field accomplishments, which included setting the record for Shot Put Throw (at 43 feet, 6.5 inches) in the Monmouth County Championship Meet.

Her other accolades include being named to 1st Team in All-County Outdoor Track; 1st Team for Shot Put in the Central Jersey Group 3 Championship, and Third Central Jersey Group 3 Championship in Discus. She also made 2nd Team Group II, and qualified for the Meet of Champions in addition to the aforementioned New Balance National Championship.

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RED BANK: BASIE ‘FX’ THE FUTURE OF FILM

Lambert-StampThe Sony Pictures Classics rockumentary LAMBERT AND STAMP is screened as part of statewide student film competition Project FX, with finalists in the High School and College categories showcased at the Count Basie this Sunday, April 19.

They hail from places like Middletown High School South, Christian Brothers Academy and Brookdale Community College — and for a few minutes at least, they’re peers on a par with such Jersey-bred filmmakers, movers and shakers as Kevin Smith, John Sayles, Danny De Vito — even Tom Edison and his Black Maria studio.

The revolution that placed pro-grade videography and editing tech into the hands of aspiring filmmakers everywhere — and the social media mechanism that allows neighborhood auteurs to have their work be viewed by mass audiences — is at the heart of Project FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide film competition for students of New Jersey high schools and colleges.

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BIG HONOR FOR LITTLE SILVER COUNSELOR

Jillmaline_(2)Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Middletown resident and Red Bank Regional High School guidance counselor Jill Maline was recently recognized as the Monmouth County Counselor of the year by the Monmouth County School Counselors’ Association.

Now in her fifth school year at RBR, the Middletown resident will be honored at a luncheon in June by her peers in the association. She was praised in a statement by the RBR Guidance Director as “a compassionate, empathetic and fearless leader…she is a credit to Red Bank Regional and the Bucs she loves so much!”

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RED BANK MARATHONER RUNS FOR THE ROSE

Brendan KirchnerPress release from Salt Creek Grille

Since his days at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, Brendan Kirchner has nurtured an ongoing passion for running. From cross-country, to local 5k races to marathons, the 26 year old has steadily improved his times, focused his training regimen, and even managed to place first in a few races.

During the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon on April 26, the 10-year employee of Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille will be racing for something other than his best time — he will be running to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research.

Inspired by the charitable work done by his boss, Steve Bidgood, Kirchner ran a marathon last year to raise funds for the popular restaurant’s 2014 charity Hope For Children — and this year he’ll be running on behalf of Salt Creek’s designated charity for 2015,  the Kortney Rose Foundation. The locally based nonprofit is the beneficiary of the restaurant’s annual Wine and Martini Tasting fundraiser, scheduled for April 16.

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FAIR HAVEN: JOCULARITY SPELLS SUCCESS

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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ANATHEMA SPELLS VICTORY FOR RUMSON TEEN

SageEighth-grader Sage Basri of Rumson spelled the word “anathema” correctly to claim victory in the Forrestdale School Spelling Bee.

Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

Sage Basri, an eighth-grader at Forrestdale School in Rumson, has been announced as the winner of the annual School Spelling Bee. The 13 year old daughter of Nancy and Bill Basri will move on to the Regional Spelldown competition, to be held March 16 and 17 at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

The Spelling Bee took place in the school’s gymnasium on Friday, January 30, with students and teachers as well as the families of participants in attendance. Approximately 30 students in fourth through eighth grade were selected to take part in the Spelling Bee, based on the results of grade-level competitions held prior to the school-wide event.

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MIDDLETOWN: THESE MAGIC MOMENTS

billy brownBllly Brown joins the Duprees for an afternoon of classic doowop and soul at the Middletown Arts Center. (Photo by Marian Cicarele, courtesy of ClassicUrbanHarmony.net)

Valentine’s Day isn’t until next Saturday, but February 8 might be declared “Valentine’s Sunday” by virtue of it being the date for a special matinee concert at the Middletown Arts Center, one that puts an intriguingly local spin on some of the most romantic records of the 1960s and 70s.

Running from 2 to 4 pm, the concert stars a set of Garden State favorites with a multi-generational fanbase: Jersey City’s own Duprees (“My Own True Love,” “Have You Heard” and the sublime “You Belong to Me”) paired with a Jersey Shore guy whose smooth brand of vocal soul took him to the top of the pops, years before the Boss ever set his hungry heart on the Billboard charts.

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RED BANK: GOLD STAR FOR TEACHERS

BCC ArtFor the latest in the new season of monthly exhibitions at their Monmouth Street gallery space, the members of The Art Alliance of Monmouth County have issued a challenge to art teachers and other educators from the area’s places of higher learning — by inviting them to put their own works forward for public scrutiny.

Beginning with an opening reception on Saturday, January 10, a total of 40 faculty and staff members from both Brookdale Community College and Monmouth University will take part in a special Invitational Show, curated by BCC professor and painter Colleen Lineberry. The group show spotlights pieces in a variety of media — among them “Blue Furry Cacti on Pink and White Marbled Mountain” (pictured), a gouache painting by Brookdale’s Shaden Mousa.

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LITTLE SILVER: TEACHING THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

saravanessPress release from Red Bank Regional High School

Sara Van Ness, an English teacher at Red Bank Regional High School, is a very accomplished young woman. She acquired her masters in English from Monmouth University and is currently enrolled in doctoral program at Rowan University for Educational Leadership. She spends her summers as a therapeutic horseback riding instructor for children with special needs. And, she is about to have her third scholarly work published on the graphic novel — a love she nourishes at RBR where she teaches a rare high school course on the subject.

Van Ness describes the graphic novel, a genre that really gained mainstream popularity in the mid 1980s, as an interactive medium that combines visual images and words in a form that resembles a long comic book. Some popular graphic novels include Watchmen by Alan Moore and David Gibbons, Maus by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman, and The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller.

This has evolved to become a very popular English elective at RBR (a course established four years ago from Ms. Van Ness’s proposal to administration). Sara continues, “It has been wonderful to see students, who may not be avid readers outside of school, taking an interest in reading and even checking the graphic novels out of the library. These books are terrific, especially for visual learners.”

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RED BANK: FRAMING INVISIBLE HISTORY

AugmentedAsburyLimited-edition poster prints of attractions on the Augmented Asbury Park tour are on display at Red Bank Frameworks, beginning with a reception on Saturday, October 18.

Visit the boardwalk at Asbury Park, point your smart phone at any of several specific locations, and watch as the present-day panorama is overlaid with spectral images of long-gone landmarks: the iconic Palace Amusements and the space-age Sky Ride; the grand Natatorium and the majestic Monterey Hotel; the boardwalk Carousel and the Casino (both the original that burned in 1928, and the replacement that was demolished a decade ago). The charred wreck of the SS Morro Castle, the luxury liner that caught fire and beached itself just yards from Convention Hall in 1934.

Through the use of augmented reality technology, these historical elements are brought back to life in Augmented Asbury Park, a project developed by Monmouth University professors Mike Richison and Marina Vujnovic, and Kean University professor Ed Johnston. Beginning with a reception this Saturday evening, these vanished marvels of a bygone era are highlighted in a series of posters on display at Red Bank Frameworks.

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RUMSON: SHORED UP, BATTENED DOWN

The collision between coastal development and severe weather in New Jersey and elsewhere is the subject of the documentary “Shored Up,” screening for free this Saturday at Holy Cross School.

As filmmaker Ben Kalina tells it, “I made Shored Up to explore what it means to live beside the beauty of the ocean — where, as we saw with Hurricane Sandy, we are always just one storm away from catastrophe.”

Filmed in late 2012 and 2013 on locations along the Jersey Shore and the North Carolina coast, the documentary feature hits close to home — and with a Category 5 wallop — for local residents who experienced firsthand the unprecedented and still-lingering effects of the superstorm that marks its second anniversary next month.

This Saturday evening, September 20, Holy Cross School in Rumson hosts a free screening of the film, a public-welcome event that includes a discussion with the director and panel of local coastal and environmental scientists.

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SHORING UP SUPPORT FOR COAST’S FUTURE

Shored UpThe documentary film SHORED UP, which examines the collision between coastal development and severe weather in New Jersey and North Carolina, will be shown September 20 at a special screening in Rumson.

Press release from New Jersey Future

On the evening of Saturday, September 20, New Jersey Future — a nonprofit organization which is working with Sea Bright and Highlands on long-term recovery planning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy — will sponsor a free public screening of the documentary feature Shored Up in Rumson.

Doors open at 6:30 pm for the screening, scheduled for 7 pm at Holy Cross School, 40 Rumson Road. At the conclusion of the film there will be a panel discussion and question-and-answer session, featuring the film’s director Ben Kalina, as well as several local coastal and environmental scientists.

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RBC GRAD SHARES SPECIAL DAY FROM K-HOV

Neptune RBC gradRed Bank Catholic senior Marianna Williams is shown taking part in the Class of 2014 graduation ceremony via Skype, from her room at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune. 

Press release from Red Bank Catholic High School

Marianna Williams, a bright 18 year old from Neptune who dreams of a career in finance, had an extraordinary couple of weeks by celebrating two teenage milestones while recuperating from a serious illness. On June 4, Marianna, dressed in cap and gown, participated in Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School Class of 2014’s graduation ceremony, direct from her room inside the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

Joined by family, friends, physicians, nurses, and caregivers, Marianna Skyped from her room in the children’s pediatric intensive care unit to the RBC commencement ceremony, which took place at Monmouth University. Supported by the Child Life department at the children’s hospital. the graduating senior remotely joined the ceremony, and received a thundering applause from cheering classmates and supporters when her name was called.

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SEAFOOD STARS IN SANDY HOOK CELEBRATION

SandyHookCelebrationMonmouth University and Tim McLoone are among the people and institutions to be honored at the Jersey Shore Partnership Summer Celebration, scheduled for June 9 on Sandy Hook.

Press release from Jersey Shore Partnership

The Jersey Shore Partnership will host its annual friend raising/fundraising Summer Celebration on Monday evening, June 9, in a huge open tent at Fort Hancock, Sandy Hook overlooking Sandy Hook Bay.

Jersey Central Power & Light president Jim Fakult will be the dinner chair, and state Senator Joe Kyrillos and his wife Susan Doctorian are honorary co-chairs of the prestigious event.

Local restaurateur Tim McLoone will be honored with the Tom Gagliano Leadership Award for his commitment to the Jersey Shore. Monmouth University will receive the Outstanding Partnership Award for the University’s collaborative relationship with the Partnership in working toward a more sustainable and resilient coastline. New Jersey American Water will receive the Outstanding Industry Award for the company’s commitment to working with community partners to develop solutions to local environmental issues. The Marine Trades Association of New Jersey will be recognized with the Outstanding Non-profit Industry Award for its ongoing support of its membership in the post-Sandy recovery.

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