SEA BRIGHT RISING SAYS ‘MISSION COMPLETE’

Ilene Winters and Chris Wood reviewing requests for  from Sea Bright Rising in January, 2013, three months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the town. On Friday, Winters and Woods announced that the nonprofit organization was dissolved, having completed its mission after giving out $1.6 million in donated funds to 300 families, 20 businesses and the borough itself.

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RED BANK: BROADWAY BABIES CATCH A WAVE

THE BROADWAY DOLLS PRESS PIC 1The Broadway Dolls, featuring Hollie Howard (center), bring the musical excitement to the Molly for A Taste of Broadway, a Monday night fundraising gala benefitting a group of Shore-based nonprofits.

It’s like something straight out of a Busby Berkeley musical: farm girl comes to the big city; goes from unknown to Broadway lead, and back to struggling trouper. Takes her career into her own hands by calling up her fellow under-employed ladies of the stage and crafting “an all-female revue with a sexy rock n’ roll twist” — one that becomes an international touring sensation, from here to such faraway whistle-stops as China and Dubai. Call it The Broadway Dolls and you’ve got a surefire hit.

Created by and co-starring former Hairspray lead Hollie Howard, the project known as Broadway’s Original Girl Group brings its mix of vintage showtunes, 60s girl group oldies and 21st century radio pop to Red Bank’s historic Molly Pitcher Inn on Monday, September 22 for  “A Taste of Broadway on the Promenade,” a gala dedicated to the benefit of an array of locally based charities — and spotlighting the wares of several star-quality staples of the Monmouth County culinary landscape.

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BROADWAY ON THE NAVESINK, AT MOLLY GALA

THE BROADWAY DOLLS PRESS PIC 1The Broadway Dolls, featuring Hollie Howard (center), bring the excitement for Waves of Support, a September fundraising gala to benefit a group of ten Shore communities and locally based nonprofits.

Press release from Navesink Business Group

The officers of Navesink Business Group have announced that tickets are on sale for the organization’s annual Waves of Support fundraising gala benefitting locally based charities.

Presented under the theme “A Taste of Broadway on the Promenade,” this year’s event will take place on Monday, September 22, 2014, at the historic Molly Pitcher Inn. The evening begins with cocktails at 6 pm, and includes a silent auction, spectacular entertainment, and a five-course dinner featuring selections from some stars of Monmouth County’s culinary landscape.

Headlining the evening’s entertainment will be a performance by The Broadway Dolls, the dynamic “girl group” founded by Hollie Howard, and featuring cast members from such Broadway hits as Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages and Jersey Boys.

Dinner will include hors d’oeuvres and several courses prepared by some of Monmouth County’s top dining spots, among them Ama Ristorante, Danny’s Steak House, David Burke Fromagerie, Soul Kitchen, Teak, The Bistro, The Cheese Cave and Zoe, in addition the executive chefs from The Molly Pitcher Inn and The Oyster Point Hotel.

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FH KIDS WAX POETIC FOR SANDY VICTIMS

KnollwoodCaption: Diane Keaveny prepares to distribute tee shirts to the Knollwood fifth graders, while Kim Slate displays a copy of the book the students created to elicit donations for Sandy-related charities.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

The fifth-grade students gathered in their former fourth-grade classroom in late April 2014, the same way they had at around the same time last year.

Last year, the students were in Knollwood School Classroom 101 discussing poems they planned to write and publish to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. This year, they reunited in the same place to receive accolades and a gift from one of the organizations that had benefitted from their hard work.

The student’s fourth grade teachers, Kate Mills and Tara Barnett, had encouraged them to express their feelings in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which hit the area on October 29, 2012. Through the efforts of MaryAnne Kanacki Strulowitz, whose son Michael was in the class at the time, the poems were published in the fall of 2013 in a book titled Hurricane Sandy: A View from Room 101.

All proceeds from purchases of the book, available for a donation of $20, are slated for the Sandy-related charities Hope for Highlands and Sea Bright Rising.

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RED BANK: BAR BOUNCE BOUNCES INTO TOWN

The Dublin House Pub is one of a dozen Red Bank stops on Saturday’s crawl for post-Sandy charities. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

With a cold, drab and possibly wet February weekend in the forecast, isn’t time to break out the beach wear?

It is, say the folks at Red Bank RiverCenter, organizers of Saturday’s Red Bank Bar Bounce, a pub crawl that encourages patrons to wear their favorite beach duds as part of a fundraiser for three charities helping to rebuild Hurricane Sandy-shattered Shore towns.

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SEA BRIGHT RISING, ONE GIFT CARD AT A TIME

Ilene Winters and Chris Wood reviewing requests for help from Sea Bright Rising in Wood’s office Thursday. Below, a mudline shows the height of the water that inundated homes and businesses in town during Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Nearly 70 days after Hurricane Sandy washed the Atlantic Ocean into his Sea Bright restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood hunkered down with Ilene Winters in his loft office, sifting through aid requests from residents whose homes were flooded or destroyed in the storm.

The two executives of Sea Bright Rising were prioritizing applications for help with repair and replacement expenses from their neighbors as part of an effort to dole out nearly $500,000 in donations collected in the aftermath of the October 29 storm.

“We need two things from those reaching out to us: specificity and priority,” Wood said. “We don’t give out direct personal checks, cash or Visa cards, but we are more than happy to write checks to contractors, landlords or electricians for a portion –usually around 25 percent, of their bill, for example. We can’t write a check for ‘help’.”

Among the charitable organizations that arose in the wake of Sandy, the one Sea Bright residents have been able to lean on perhaps more than any other is a home-grown effort dedicated to the town’s return from the wreckage.

In terms of community outreach, involvement, and most importantly, results, it’s doing the job, its founders say. And in a period in which many Sandy-related charities are losing steam, Wood and Winters insist theirs is just getting started.

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FOR SEA BRIGHT, A NOT-SO-SECRET SANTA

Jersey Shore barband legend Brian Kirk (above, at the 2001 Oysterfest in Red Bank) and his band of partystarting Jirks come to the Count Basie on December 20 for a sold-out Sea Bright Rising benefit. Below, actress-musician Jill Hennessey is also slated to appear. (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

The way Brian Kirk tells it, the slender “city” of Sea Bright has been his home in more ways than one. “It’s where I met my wife, where I spent my youth and is the home base for my cover band, Brian Kirk & the Jirks,” he says.

While the long-running combo continues to gig regularly around the region’s wedding halls, outdoor stages and nitespots, the Red Bank resident’s legacy as an entertainer is entwined with Donovan’s Reef, the landmark beach bar  where the Jirks held down a Sunday night stand that outlived nearly all the original anchors of 60 Minutes.

With Hurricane Sandy having (at least temporarily) consigned Donovan’s Reef to Davy Jones’ Locker, Kirk looks homeward on Thursday, December 20, when he and the Jirks team up with the seagrass-roots organization Sea Bright Rising for a benefit show from which all proceeds will go directly to Sea Bright “residents, businesses and the community as a whole.”

Occurring in the wake of the December 5 concert that brought San Francisco-based band Train to the edge of the battered borough’s tent city, the special Santa for Sea Bright extravaganza – officially sold out as of this posting – takes place at the Count Basie Theatre, the elegant setting for one of the displaced town’s council meetings in recent weeks. Kirk & the Jirks will be joined for the 7:30 p.m. show by a fellow stalwart of the Shore barscape, championship bluesmaster Matt O’Ree, as well as a promised set of “special guests” that includes TV series star (Crossing Jordan, Law & Order) turned singer and songwriter Jill Hennessy.

redbankgreen caught up with a beyond-busy Kirk for a conversation about good times, hard choices, and the big challenges facing the little town that so many of us feel a connection to.

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STEWART, WILLIAMS TAKE IT TO THE COUNT

Locally connected guys Brian Williams and Jon Stewart — pictured during one of the NBC news anchor’s frequent appearances on THE DAILY SHOW — team up on December 16 for a Hurricane Sandy Relief fundraiser at the Count Basie, with tickets going on sale at noon today.

By TOM CHESEK

Ask anyone who’s ever wound up in line with him at Welsh Farms or Super Foodtown. Scroll through those tweets and Facebook posts from your sister-in-law who was seated at the very next table from him at Blue Water Seafood. Remind yourself that of all the refuges in this great land, the most recognized political satirist of our time chose to make his double-wide domicile on the Red Bank side of the Navesink (a scoop first reported right here on redbankgreen). No two ways about it — Jon Stewart is a Local Guy.

Then consider the case of the internationally renowned newsman, whose first job in media was delivery boy for the old Courier weekly in Middletown. A major figure on the national scene, whose interviews are frequently peppered with references to Brookdale Community College, or the former Perkins Pancake House on Route 35. From his days at Mater Dei High School to his time as a volunteer firefighter, Brian Williams remains at heart a Local Guy.

Although the host of The Daily Show and the anchor of NBC Nightly News have sometimes blurred the discussion of “which one’s the journalist, and which one’s the jokester,” the two titans of television have forged a fast friendship over the years — guesting on each other’s shows (with Williams tallying more than 20 shots on Stewart’s cablecast), and joining forces for the occasional tandem appearance. That is, when they’re not variously hosting the Oscars, reporting from war zones, interviewing heads of state, or drawing over 200,000 people to a rally at the National Mall.

On Sunday, December 16, the two locals team up once again for a one-time, one-of-a-kind live appearance — this time on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre, where they’re scheduled to sit down with moderator (and New York Times media reporter) Bill Carter in a free-form event from which all proceeds go to benefit Monmouth and Ocean Counties for Hurricane Sandy Relief, and for which tickets go on sale at noon today, December 5.

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