Fair Haven Baseball: A Sign of Contention

By Elaine Van Develde

It’s a sign of baseball times in Fair Haven and something that officials think is a foul ball thrown onto the borough’s fields.

Officials discussed at Monday night’s Borough Council meeting what amounted to the latest microcosm in a longstanding quandary over donations to the baseball program in the borough with corporate sponsorship strings attached — most recently, a donated scoreboard that comes with a large corporate sponsorship plaque.

“We were told about it when it was en route,” Mayor Ben Lucarelli said. “Now it’s at the DPW (Department of Public Works). The kids want the scoreboard. It’s a nice donation. But it should be just that — a donation. It’s not proper to have what amounts to a commercial ad sitting on public fields. There should be no strings attached. They should be coming to us on things like this and asking our permission. I don’t vote, but, I move that we allow the sign to be erected without the sponsorship plaque.”

Council members agreed. But the agreement didn’t end without a  recount of what they called an uncooperative history of Fair Haven Baseball, a separate non-profit (501c3) entity, taking corporate sponsorships and advertising on banners in the public fields without any communication with borough officials.

The fact that “Fair Haven Baseball just threw up sponsorship signs against our will is just bad behavior,” Councilman Rowland Wilhelm said. “These fields rely on borough resources to maintain.”

It’s a matter of public versus private interests, Council President Jonathan Peters said.

“It’s been a bone of contention,” the mayor said. “Back in the day, things were simple. There were no sponsorships, no separate organization, just volunteers.”

The teams organized and played ball wherever they could. Then came a non-profit baseball organization and Fair Haven Fields. The fields are maintained and improved by the borough — to the tune of about $.5 million most recently.

They are public property, by virtue of not only the fact that the fields are owned and maintained by the borough, but that they were purchased with NJ Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres funds. As such, in accordance with Green Acres parameters, they must be kept open to the public and preserved as recreational open space.

Herein lies the dilemma. Since the old days, Fair Haven has decentralized its Recreation Department. So, Fair Haven Baseball has become the separate organization that it now is — a non-profit.

Commercial sponsorship donations are garnered to support the organization via various advertising methods like the banners. A large chunk of the funds that that they do receive, officials noted, do go toward Fair Haven Fields’ maintenance.

But, there is a conflict of interest when commercial entities advertise on a public property. Yes, officials said, you see it all the time on major league baseball fields. But the ownership of those fields is a different story. There’s a corporate investment from the onset.

“In the end, the goal is to have a good season and get the kids to Cooperstown,” Lucarelli said. “These are good volunteers. But, they forget that they’re in Fair Haven and the ballfields are owned by the borough.”

And, the Fair Haven Baseball gets exclusive use of the fields. No one else can play when they are scheduled.

“At the end of the day, the scoreboard is here,” Lucarelli said.

Council voted to erect it without the sponsorship plaque.

As for the future, “Can we give them a scathing letter that says, ‘If you do this again, the answer will be no?’ ” Councilwoman Susan Sorensen, liaison to the Recreation Department said. “Enough is enough.”

The board will take about three days to install, officials estimated. When, exactly, it will be erected has not yet been determined.

 

 

A Little Knollwood Chamber Music

The following is an edited press release from the Fair Haven School District:

Did you make it to the Knollwood School Chamber Music Recital?

If not, here’s a look back at the March 23 evening:

The performances were based on the definition of the original 18th century chamber music — music played by a small ensemble, with one player to a part.

Continue reading A Little Knollwood Chamber Music

Arresting News: Contempt, Non-Support

The following arrests on contempt of court charges were reported by the Middletown police.

• Daniel Hayes, 32, of Johnson Avenue in Matawan, was arrested on April 19 by Patrolman Charles Higgins on a contempt of court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court and on a non-support warrant issued by the Monmouth County Superior Court.

He was held pending a court date.

• Jesse Ballard, 24, of Birchwood Lane in Middletown, was arrested on April 20 by Patrolman Jason Andrews on a contempt of court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court.

He was held on $258.00 bail.

• Kevin Finnegan, 54, of Walter Street in Keansburg, was arrested on April 19 by Patrolman Jason Andrews on a contempt of court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court.

He was held on $1,000 bail.

• Robert Difortuna, 35, of Normandy Court in Middletown, was arrested on April 20 by Patrolman John Soltysik on a contempt of court warrant issued by the West Long Branch Municipal Court.

He was released after posting $500 bail.

Stacy Milanes, 27, of South Hope Chapel Road in Jackson, was arrested on April 20 by Patrolman Ricardo Cruz on a contempt of court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court.

She was released after posting $250 bail.

• Jose Padro, 18, of 7th Avenue in Long Branch, was arrested on April 22 by Patrolman Joshua Midose on a contempt of court warrant issued by the Eatontown Municipal Court.

He was released after posting $200 bail.

Rewind: FH Chief Breckenridge’s Police Unity Tour Ride

Fair Haven Police Chief Darryl Breckenridge and daughter Witney at the Police Unity Tour 2013 Photo/courtesy of Chief Breckenridge
Fair Haven Police Chief Darryl Breckenridge and daughter Witney at the Police Unity Tour 2013
Photo/courtesy of Chief Breckenridge

It’s the time of year for police officers to “ride for those who died” in the Police Unity Tour.

And at Monday night’s Fair Haven Borough Council meeting, Mayor Ben Lucarelli took a moment to recognize that Chief Darryl Breckenridge would be embarking, once again, on the tour set to depart for Washington D.C. on May 9 and arrive on May 12.

“Good luck Chief,” the mayor said at the meeting. “And thank you for all you do.”

So, the Retro Pic of the Day offers a glimpse back to 2013 and the chief’s ride, his daughter Witney by his side then.

The chief said she would not be joining him this year, but he’s set for the roughly 350-mile ride on his bicycle.

In addition to creating awareness, the ride raises funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.

The event, which started in 1997 with 18 riders was designed to bring “public awareness of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and (to) honor their sacrifices,” according to the Unity Tour’s website. It garnered $18,000 then.

The Unity Tour, as of last year, had raised $16 million. About 20,000 officers who died in the line of duty are memorialized at the Washington memorial.

Good luck to the chief and all other area police officers riding in this year’s tour!

Author Offers Writer’s Insight to Fair Haven Students, Parents

The following is an edited press release from the Fair Haven School District:

“Nothing in the creative process comes out absolutely beautiful the first time around,” children’s books author Lester Laminack recently told a group of Fair Haven parents. “If you focus on what your child did well – rather than what went wrong — then he or she will be encouraged to add more good things to the piece.”

Continue reading Author Offers Writer’s Insight to Fair Haven Students, Parents

Police Report: Marijuana Possession, DWIs & More

The following arrests were made between April 17 and 27 and reported by the Middletown police. An arrest does not constitute a conviction.

• Richard Torres, 24, of Brook Forest Drive in South Toms River, was arrested on April 19 by Patrolman Richard Belmonte and charged with possession of under 50 grams of marijuana.

He was released pending a court date.

• Ronald Ahlholm, 51, of Second Avenue in Atlantic Highlands, was arrested on April 21 by Patrolman Scott Davis and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI).

He was released pending a court date.

Continue reading Police Report: Marijuana Possession, DWIs & More

Flavour Festival Fun

The sun was out on Sunday and so were plenty of people — at Red Bank’s International Flavour Festival.

There were craft and food booths galore and plenty of music.

Take a look at the above slideshow for a glimpse into the day. Enjoy!

RFH Athletes, Scholars Honored

RFH seniors Nick Hawke and Andrew Maris were among the Future Business Leaders of America members honored for their achievements in this year's Regional Competition.  Photo/courtesy of RFH
RFH seniors Nick Hawke and Andrew Maris were among the Future Business Leaders of America members honored for their achievements in this year’s Regional Competition.
Photo/courtesy of RFH

The following is an edited press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School:

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) students were recently recognized by the Board of Education for their academic and athletic achievements.

“It is becoming increasingly commonplace for us to begin our meetings here in the auditorium to accommodate all of the students who are accomplishing amazing things,” RFH Superintendent Peter Righi told the assembled students, parents, coaches, and club advisors at the April 14 Board of Education meeting. “The certificates awarded tonight are not just another piece of paper – they have a much deeper meaning as the ‘end game’ result of a lot of hard work.”

Students honored were:

Continue reading RFH Athletes, Scholars Honored

Police Rescue Cat, Search for Owner

Cat rescued from highway median by Middletown police Photo/Middletown Police Facebook page screenshot
Cat rescued from highway median by Middletown police
Photo/Middletown Police Facebook page screenshot

A statement released by Middletown police on Saturday:

On the afternoon of Saturday April 25, a motorist reported observing that a cat had been straddling the concrete median divider in the middle of State Highway 36 for some period of time, and appeared to be clinging on for its life.

Officer Nicholas Fenezia responded to the area and located a very frightened gray tiger striped cat perched on top of the concrete barrier with cars speeding past in both directions.

Continue reading Police Rescue Cat, Search for Owner

Rewind: Ode to Fair Haven Police

A look back at Fair Haven police Photo/Fair Haven Police Department
A look back at Fair Haven police
Photo/Fair Haven Police Department

In keeping with our Retro Pic of the Day homage to first responders, today we honor Fair Haven Police for their service to the community.

The above photo is a look back at the officers in the department not long ago.

Patrolman Robert J. Henne, included in this photo, passed away on March 23. He was loved by his community and colleagues and is sorely missed by both. RIP, Patrolman Henne.

And thanks to the Fair Haven police for protecting and serving the residents of Fair Haven and beyond!

Have you thanked an officer today?

R-FH Area Weekend: Kites, Beach Sweeps, Flavour Fest & More

The National Weather Service is telling us that the weekend weather forecast calls for brighter skies and higher temps.

So, what better time to take advantage of the events planned for the area this weekend. And there’s lots to do …

Friday

• Everyone’s hangin’ loose in memory of Silvio Fabbri in the back room of Umberto’s in Fair Haven on Fridays, starting at 7 p.m.

It’s a great way to remember Silvio, the iconic Fair Haven pizza maker and friend to all, and hang with friends and neighbors in the community.

“Hanga loose,” reminisce and enjoy!

• Coastal Decor in Fair Haven is hosting at 7:30 p.m. a Green Beachy Living event billed as a “fun night of shopping and nutrition” at it’s River Road store.

Click here for more information.

• Noel Coward’s Present Laughter is playing at the Navesink Library Theater tonight and tomorrow night, April 24, 25, with an 8:15 p.m. curtain.

A matinee is set for Sunday, April  26 at 2 p.m.

For more information, click here.

Saturday

• It should be a great day to fly a kite, and just in time for Sea Bright’s Come Fly With Us Kite Festival at Sea Bright Public Beach.

People of all ages are invited to gather at the beach at 11 a.m. and, well, go fly a kite!

There will be prizes and giveaways.

• Don’t forget that Saturday is Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps Day.

In the immediate area, the twice annual beach clean-up is being held at Sea Bright Public Beach, the beach in back of Borough Hall and Gaiter’s Restaurant in the northern section of Sea Bright from 9 to 12:30 p.m..

Here’s a list of other locations close by:

• Monmouth Beach Bathing Pavilion, 29 Ocean Avenue, Monmouth Beach;

• Leonardo Public Beach South, 1 Concord Avenue and the beach, north side of Leonardo State Marine Launch ramp, Leonardo section of Middletown;

• Ideal Beach at Ocean and Bayside, Middletown;

• Bayshore Waterfront Park, 719 Port Monmouth Rd., Port Monmouth section of Middletown;

For more locations and information, click here.

• Rumson’s First Presbyterian Church is hosting a healthy earth, body and mind slate of events showcasing healthy cooking, gardening, exercise and aromatherapy starting at 1 p.m. at the church on River Road.

• Monmouth Players’ Present Laughter at 8:15 p.m. (See the above entry.)

Sunday

• The annual Red Bank International Flavour Festival comes to the borough’s White Street parking lot from noon to 7 p.m.

The festival features the usual tastes and toasts of area food and craft booths and music by several area bands.

Proceeds for the event are donated to Monmouth Day Care Center, Red Bank RiverCenter and Parker Family Health Clinic.

• Matinee of Monmouth Players’ Present Laughter. (See Friday’s entry above).