Veterans Day in Rumson, Fair Haven

By Elaine Van Develde

Both the boroughs of Rumson and Fair Haven will commemorate Veterans Day on the same day, same time — Nov. 11 at 11 a.m..

“The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli said.

In Rumson, the ceremony will take place in the usual spot by the war memorial in Victory Park. It will feature members of the armed forces and veterans of various wars as highlighted speakers and participants.

In Fair Haven, the service will take place at Memorial Park. Remaining World War II vets from the borough will be in attendance, the town’s oldest living World War II and Korean War vet, Ray Taylor, 93, will be a featured speaker.

“He’s (Taylor) is a very special man,” Lucarelli said. “It’s always an honor to hear him speak.”

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect will feature photo galleries of both events.


A Little Toilet Paper Mischief


Mischief Night results on Fair Haven Road. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Mischief Night results on Fair Haven Road. Photo/Elaine Van Develde


Maypole? Well, it’s either block-long try at one or a prime example of good ol’ Mischief Night toilet papering.

The guess is the latter. Fair Haven Road really looked like a giant maypole on Halloween day.

The police had issued a warning against using such “materials” to wreak a little traditional, yet, illegal havoc. But, in this case, the culprits eluded them.

Take a look at the close-up portion of the TP in the photo. One ply or two?

A Look Back at Sandy Charity

Clothing drive at Bicentennial Hall in Hurricane Sandy's aftermath. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Clothing drive at Bicentennial Hall in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

Generosity was overwhelming in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

When the call for help was sent out by the newly-created Sea Bright Rising, surrounding community organizations and just plain nice people, supply and clothing bins’ contents were almost spilling into the streets.

At one stop in Fair Haven, organizers had to ask people to stop giving.

Remember this?

A Little Sea Bright Patriotism Post-Sandy


A little patriotism stands tall after Sandy flattened everything around it. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
A little patriotism stands tall after Sandy flattened everything around it. Photo/Elaine Van Develde


By Elaine Van Develde

When the Atlantic Ocean met the Shrewsbury River two years ago and obliterated Sea Bright, remnants of the superstorm named Sandy included everything from cars and torn up homes to furniture and jewelry.

On a side street in Sea Bright, among the debris, a flag was anchored in front of a devastated home, truck still in the driveway.


Girl Scout Project Earmarks Sandy, Storm Surge Education


An informational sign/map of Sandy and other storm surges' history and protection guidelines was conceived and crafted as a Gold Star Girl Scout project by Fair Haven's Caroline Peters. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
An informational sign/map of Sandy and other storm surges’ history and protection guidelines was conceived and crafted as a Gold Star Girl Scout project by Fair Haven’s Caroline Peters. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

Fair Haven Girl Scout Caroline Peters made it through Hurricane Sandy unscathed.

But the teen, daughter of Councilman Jonathan Peters, saw what the storm did to the property of people she knew well and cared about. She watched as it ripped up the iconic Fair Haven Dock, a traditional spot for all those who grow up Fair Haven style.

Continue reading Girl Scout Project Earmarks Sandy, Storm Surge Education

Flash Mob a Halloween Treat at Sickles School


Those at the Halloween Parade at Viola L. Sickles School in Fair Haven this year got a spooky musical treat when the kids launched into a flash mob of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Zombie Style.

The concept, a first in the school district, was conceived by parent Bennett Coleman and choreographed by Vanessa Berry, owner/director of Kick Dance Studios in Fair Haven and Rumson, a release from the school district said. The performance involved students in first through third grades dancing up a diabolical storm.

“We had just three rehearsals, and all of the students worked really hard,” said Berry in the release. “This was a great opportunity for the children currently taking dance lessons to show off their moves, as well as for all of the students to enjoy demonstrating what they learned.”

“I thought all of the students were utterly charming,” said parent Susan Culbert in the release. “I was impressed by them.”

The Sickles Halloween parade has been a longstanding tradition. Officials welcomed the new addition.

“I am so grateful to Vanessa Berry for the donation of her time, and to Monmouth Stereo for the donated use of their equipment,” Sickles School Principal Cheryl Cuddihy, costumed as candy Dots, said. “I also want to express my thanks to Bennett Coleman, who was instrumental in organizing this wonderful activity.”

Be sure to check out the video on the Fair Haven PTA Facebook page. Click here.

A Post-Sandy Sunset in Rumson

Sunset in Rumson's West Park after Sandy. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Sunset in Rumson’s West Park after Sandy. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

Hurricane Sandy’s waters rushed into Rumson’s West Park section, pushing residents out and leaving lots of devastation behind.

The U.S. Army National Guard’s soldiers were posted at its entrances. There was no passing through for some time.

When the downed wires and felled trees were fixed enough and the floodwaters had subsided, there was a sense of calm, yet eerie stillness in the neighborhood.

This is what it looked like at sunset at the foot of Washington Avenue by the Shrewsbury River’s inlet.


Rumson Book Fair a Success

The following is an edited release from the Rumson School District … 

“I like books,” said Clara Winters, a first grader at Deane Porter School, when asked why she was excited to attend this year’s Rumson School District Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) Book Fair.

Judging by the number of excited youngsters clutching brand new books in anticipation of taking them home to enjoy, Clara was in good company.

The 2014 Rumson PTO Book Fair, held in the gymnasium of Deane Porter School from Oct. 15 to 22, featured a large number of compelling titles to pique the interests of Pre-Kindergarteners through eighth graders at Deane Porter and Forrestdale schools.

Thousands of books and related items were available for immediate purchase, including a selection of titles for adults and young adults.

This year’s attendees were urged to make way for their new purchases by donating gently used titles to the Bridge of Books Foundation.

Bridge of Books provides an ongoing source of books to underprivileged children throughout New Jersey in order to support literacy skills and foster a love of reading.

The Rumson school community donated of 20 cartons of books.

Kicked off with a conch shell concert by Forrestdale School Band Music Teacher John Lebitsch, the book fair’s Family Fun Night was held on Oct. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. and featured activities such as face painting, crafts, and King and Queen for a Day photos as well as a gift basket raffle.

Parent volunteers assisted with book sales throughout the event, while eighth graders from Forrestdale School helped out with activities.

“We are so fortunate to live in a district with a wonderful Book Fair and terrific community and PTO support year after year,” said Abby Daly, this year’s PTO book fair chairperson. “The money that is earned through book fair is invested in new titles for our school libraries to help keep our collections fresh.

“It’s truly an investment in the future.”

For those wishing to purchase new books for use in specific classrooms, teacher wish lists were made available as well.

Forrestdale fourth graders Kira and Lisa Hunt. “The Book Fair is always great,” said Forrestdale fourth grader Kira Hunt. Her sister, Lisa, agreed, adding that “picking out books is a lot of fun.”

What the ‘Yes’ to the Open Space Ballot Question Means


By Elaine Van Develde

Voters said “yes” to the state open space funding question on the 2014 ballot.

But what does that really mean?

It’s one of those questions on the ballot that many don’t understand oftentimes bypass for that reason or another — more often than not because it seems too convoluted to process while voting.

This election what was Question #2 did not elude voters. The majority, 79,605, or an overwhelming 62 percent, said “yes” to a measure will put in place a mechanism to permanently fund open space acquisitions.

In years past, voters have been asked to OK local taxes of anywhere from a penny to a few cents per $100 of assessed property value to put funds in a trust dedicated to the acquisition and preservation of swaths of land seen as prime for forever passive or active recreation.

But, such land has become more and more expensive, as a valued diminishing asset. And, as many municipalities rely on state and county grant funds to supplement their acquisitions — taking a percentage of the purchase burden off taxpayers — funds have been exhausted while towns’ acquisition “wish lists” have dwindled due to economics.

So, the state came up with a way to take a percentage of a tax already brought in and dedicate it to open space.

It’s a permanent mechanism. And, in accordance with the regulations that accompany any grant for such space preservation, once the land is preserved, it can never again be used for any commercial or private development purpose  — only passive and/or active recreation.

By the same token, environmentalists and preservationists have touted for years, once land is lost to development, it’s lost forever.

In this case, now 4 percent of corporate business tax revenue will be automatically put in the open space piggy bank from 2016 to 2019. Then, from 2019 on, 6 percent will go into the preservation coffers.

While this money has already been helping with the proliferation of environmental programs, it will now also cover land preservation in several ways: open space/passive and active recreation land acquisition, agricultural (farmland) help, and flood buyout assistance.

On the Friday before the election, now re-elected Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry was on hand to congratulate Fair Haven officials on the acquisition of the historic Williams/Robards property at the foot of DeNormandie Avenue.

Burry called the closing on the property a prime example of how the “yes” to the #2 ballot question would benefit the public and future generations.

Saying that she had been supporting the question on the campaign trail, she called attention to the fact that the long-time-coming acquisition of the DeNormandie property involved state funds that would get a big boost from the new measure that the question proposed, such as the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Blue Acres and Green Acres programs.

“It’s exciting to be part of such a wonderful occasion and to think about how wonderful it is that all these entities working together were able to come to this wonderful conclusion and that is to save this piece of property,” Burry said. “You can’t do better than this. I’ve been on projects that take longer than 10 years. I always say, ‘In my lifetime, please.’ This was well worth waiting for.”

Yet another portion, or $100,000, of the funding for DeNormandie came from the non-profit Monmouth Conservation Foundation.

The organization’s executive director, Bill Kastning, also a major proponent of Question #2, called DeNormandie an example of a quality acquisition, more of which he’d like to see come to fruition.

“The Monmouth Conservation Foundation saw a need here to assist Fair Haven with the acquisition of this all important piece of property,” Kastning said.  “In it’s 37 years, the foundation has helped with the preservation of about 6,500 acres. Quantity counts and  quality counts. While we’re talking here of only 6.9 acres, it’s 6.9 acres of waterfront property, a portion of the waterfront, a fantastic view, and a walkable park for a community that certainly needs access to the waterfront. Saving this property … You can’t do better than this.”


GOP Keeps its Hold Streak in Rumson

By Elaine Van Develde

Historically, officials in Rumson can’t remember a time when a Democrat or independent sat on the governing body.

There has, however, been one consistent candidate for Borough Council for many years now — Michael Steinhorn.

This election was no exception. With two seats up for grabs — those of Republican incumbents Benjamin Day Jr. and Shaun P. Broderick — Steinhorn again threw his hat into the status quo ring, attempting to mix it up on the dais.

Garnering 512 votes, or 16.5 percent of the votes this time around, he failed. His campaign was characteristically low profile.

The top vote-getter in the Rumson council race was Day, with 1,313 votes, or roughly 42 percent of the votes. Broderick won 1,265 votes, or about 41 percent.

There were nine write-ins.