Fair Havenites on a Handmade Business Mission

By Elaine Van Develde

“We give hugs here.”

That’s what you’d get as a send-off from Melanie Stewart if you visited her and her husband David’s Fair Haven store, Handmade Haven, when it first opened last December. And she meant it. The hugs were and still are Melanie’s sincere expression of appreciation for your patronage of all area artisans and their unique wares.

That’s what Handmade Haven was created to do — “connect the community with local and unique handmade creations that have artisan heart and soul,” as its mission statement says. And the two have a special love of all things local, as they are Fair Havenites.

It was right around the Christmas holiday season that the couple opened their store in the borough’s business district on River Road. Since then, the economy has gotten the better of their budget and means to operate their business out of a stationery local store. However, economics have not hampered the couple’s passionate mission to make the most of local artisans’ talent.

Call it a craft shop gone creative caravan, or “beyond the brick and mortar” as a “mobile force for handmade and local.” The two, since moving from the store, have been scouting area markets, fairs, shows and other per diem venues to set up tent, so to speak, and get area artisan’s work shown and sold.

“We just found that we were spending more money on the actual space than we were making or investing in all of this unique work crafted by these talented local people,” Melanie said. “It’s been fun and it’s working well this way. There’s so much talent in the area and it’s so important to support local businesses and artisans.”

The value of buying local is unsurpassed, she added, as it boosts the local economy while putting food on neighbors’ plates and passing the word about their work. Handmade Haven is, in that respect, an artists’ cooperative of sorts.

And there’s quite a variety of unique pieces for sale at the Haven: jewelry, much of which is made by Melanie herself (Your Karma is Rockin’), peace wreaths, decoys by a Rumson police officer, furniture, allergen-free handmade soap, scented candles in old Coke and beer bottles, votives in tree limbs, ceramics, paintings, vintage fabric purses by Stag + Laurel, leather and charm wrap bracelets by Cold Garage Creations, and more.

You can catch Melanie and David at their Handmade Haven tent on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Red Bank Farmers Market in the Galleria parking lot.

In the meantime, take a look at some of the goods from the original store location.

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Melanie and David Stewart of Handmade Haven
Melanie and David Stewart of Handmade Haven

 

RFH Tower Players & Their ‘Miracle on 34th Street’

 

Miracle on 34th St. poster, courtesy of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School
Miracle on 34th St. poster, courtesy of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

Yes, Rumson-Fair Haven area theatergoers, there is a fall high school show.

The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Tower Players is aiming to make audiences believe in Santa Claus with its Dec. 12, 13 and 14 stage production of Miracle on 34th Street, The Play, a release from RFH said.

Based on the classic 1947 movie and novel by Valentine Davies, the Tower Players’ version of the story of a white-haired bearded man named Kris Kringle and his embattled, tradition-inspired journey as a 34th Street Macy’s Santa, has been dubbed “part nostalgic throwback and part cutting-edge entertainment,” by staff.

The show, according to the release, will feature 38 cast members bringing to life the original storyline of Kringle’s holiday trials and tribulations as he insists he is the real Santa.

The contemporary component of the RFH production manifests itself in large-scale dance numbers choreographed to a rock-based soundtrack, the release said.

The popular plot, the release said, unfolds like this:  A kind white-haired man is asked by Macy’s bigwig Doris Walker to portray Santa in the famous flagship store on 34th Street in New York City.

Trouble starts to brew when the man, who says his name is Kris Kringle, claims that he is the actual Santa Claus. His claims are seriously doubted by Doris Walker and her daughter Susan, both of whom don’t believe in the existence of Santa Claus.

As Kris’ sanity comes into question, his danger of being committed to a psychiatric institution grows. Doris, concerned for Kris, enlists her friend and neighbor Fred Gailey to defend Kris in court. The highly practical Susan befriends Kris as well and, in doing so, end up with the most precious gift of all – something to believe in.

In the RFH production, Kris Kringle is played by senior Laurence Morales. Doris Walker is played by senior Emily Mangiavillano, with senior EIise Roncace as Susan Walker. Senior Andrew Maris plays Fred Gailey.

Also featured, in a ballet performance of toys coming to life, are sophomores Sara Safarian and Rachel Makstein.

The Tower Players’ Miracle on 34th Street, The Play is directed by Suzanne Sweeney, with choreography by Patty McCarron and costumes and props under the direction of Carole Malik.

Tower Players alumna Kasi Ann Sweeney is assistant director and Stefania Flecca is production coordinator. Sets, sounds and lighting are provided by Matthew Leddin and his 30-student crew, with set design contributions from the RFH Stagecraft class as well.

Tickets — $10 general admission and $6 for senior citizens, children and students — may be purchased by visiting the RFH website (rumsonfairhaven.org) or by contacting Play Production Coordinator Stefania Flecca at 732-842-1597, extension 826.

Tickets will also be sold at the theater box office in the auditorium lobby from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 and 4. Tickets will be sold an hour before each performance as well, based on availability.

Curtain time for the production’s Friday opening  night on Dec. 12 is 7:30 p.m., followed by a show on Saturday at the same time and a closing matinee on Sunday at 1 p.m.

 

 

 

Arresting News in Fair Haven

The following arrest and report information was obtained from Fair Haven police records. Arrests do not indicate convictions:

• Douglas Denoia, 25, of Ocean, was arrested on Sept. 28 by Sgt. Jesse Dykstra following a traffic stop. He was charged with unlawful possession of two knives along with several traffic citations.

Denoia was processed and released after posting $3,000 bail pending a court appearance.

• Paul Ashbridge, 24, of Hazlet, was arrested by Patrolman Dwayne Reevey on Sept. 24 and charged with possession of under 50 grams of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia following a traffic stop.

Ashbridge was processed and released pending a court appearance in Fair Haven Court.

• John Frank, 53, of Fair Haven, was arrested by Sgt. Jesse Dykstra on Sept. 22 and charged with driving while intoxicated following two separate motor vehicle accidents in the borough.

Frank was processed and released pending a court appearance in Fair Haven Court.

• A Haggers Lane resident reported on Sept. 19 that more than $600 was removed from his bank account by an unknown subject(s).

Detective Stephen Schneider is investigating.

• A Brookside Ave resident reported on Sept. 13 the theft of a beach cruiser from the Knollwood School bike rack.

Cpl. Jeff Jarvis took the report.

• Greg Russo, 47, of Rumson, was arrested on Sept. 9 on the charge of having an active warrant out of Bloomfield Township. Russo posted full cash bail before his release.

S/O Brooks Robinson was the arresting officer.

• Pierro M. Coccurellocafolla, 52, of Long Branch was arrested on Sept. 5, by Patrolman Dwayne Reevey, and charged with driving on a suspended license, which was revoked from a previous DWI.

• William Hartigan, 36, of Red Bank, was arrested on the charge of having an active warrant out of Secaucus. Hartigan was released after posting full cash bail. S/O Brooks Robinson was the arresting Officer.

• Zackary Slootsky, 20, of Fair Haven was arrested on Sept. 4 on the charge of having an outstanding warrant out of Fair Haven Borough.

Slootsky posted full cash bail before his release pending a court appearance. S/O Brooks Robinson was the arresting officer.

• Rudolph Kastner, 50, of Fair Haven, was arrested on Sept. 3 on the charge of having two active warrants out of Sea Bright.

Kastner was released R.O.R pending a new court appearance in Sea Bright Borough. S/O Robert Henne was the arresting officer.

 

 

Halloween Haven: Spooky Fair Haven Sightings

By Elaine Van Develde

They’re creepy and kooky, maybe a little mysterious and spooky, and, perhaps, altogether ooooky, as the classic Addams Family theme music says. Maybe all of the above. But there’s one thing Halloween decorations in Fair Haven definitely are —  part of a longstanding local celebration of the season.

Yes, fall is in the air and the Halloween spirit is adorning lawns in this 1.4-square-mile suburb. Have you seen them sprouting up all over? We have.

Here’s a sampling of a few in the light of day. Let us know (at evd@rfhretro.com) where we can find more of the most creative, creepy sights and we’ll get over there to grab a photo.

We’ll be adding to the collection; and, Rumson will have its own gallery as well.

In the end, a special Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect prize may be awarded to the winner. Don’t forget to email us your favorites; and Happy Haunting!

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Seasonal Beach Sights in Sea Bright

By Elaine Van Develde

Rumson-Fair Haven area people have been clinging onto summer days by the sea, celebrating locals’ summer into the fall.

The crowds are gone. The temperature is tepid. And the sun gently kisses the the sand and surf. Serenity and solace prevail in a Sea Bright that is still steadily recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

See for yourself.

A fall day at the beach in Sea Bright
A fall day at the beach in Sea Bright

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A Rockin’ Oktoberfest 2014

By Elaine Van Develde

Call it a fall fest fit for loyal Fair Havenites.

Hosted by the non-profit Foundation of Fair Haven on Oct. 4, Oktoberfest 2014 drew hundreds to the grounds of Smart Start Preschool on River Road.

There was plenty of authentic German food, provided by Fairwinds Deli, music by Late4Lunch, beer, sangria, 50/50s and aptly costumed partygoers — yes, lederhosen and all.

Proceeds from the now annual event, in its third year, fund future Fair Haven Days.

Glimpse into our gallery to get a taste of what it was all about.

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A Retro RFH Basketball Cheer

 

The boys of RFH's cheerleading squad for the Student-Faculty Basketball Game in 1976. Photo/RFH yearbook screenshot
The boys of RFH’s cheerleading squad for the Student-Faculty Basketball Game in 1976.
Photo/RFH yearbook screenshot

Have you ever seen a lovelier bunch of cheerleaders from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH)?

OK, you just may have — like the guys who cheered for that 1977 RFH Powder Puff Football game.

Well, this Retro Pic of the Day features a different bunch from a different class and for a different game — the RFH Student-Faculty Basketball Game. But do you know exactly what year it was?

Here’s a clue: It looks like John Kirman is the tallest one in the photo above of the “girls” getting set and standing for a new routine.

— Elaine Van Develde