All posts by Elaine Van Develde

Crime Close By: Home Invasion Robbery, Theft, Criminal Mischief

The following incident reports were obtained directly from recent police records in the neighboring borough of Red Bank:

• A theft on Bridge Avenue was reported on Dec. 18. The victim reported that he left his bags, containing a new Android phone, a gold bracelet and medication, on the sidewalk outside of a store, and when he returned, a minute later, they were gone.

PatrolmanTanner Shea took the report.

• An incident of criminal mischief at a Basset Place residence was reported to have occurred on Dec. 23. The victim reported that someone damaged her driveway and front steps by throwing orange paint on them.

Patrolman Kristin Altimari took the report.

• A theft was reported to have occurred on Dec. 28 at a West Front Street restaurant/bar. The victim reported that her purse, containing credit cards and an iPhone, was stolen from the back of a chair.

Sgt. Joey Fields took the report.

• A Dec. 29 incident of criminal mischief at Montgomery Terrace was reported. The victim reported that someone smashed the passenger side of a parked vehicle.

Patrolman Patrick Kennedy took the report.

• The alleged Dec. 15 theft of diamond earrings from a locker at a Maple Avenue day spa was reported on Jan. 3.  Inv. Jorge Torres.

• A theft was reported to have occurred on Jan. 3 at a Catherine Street residence. The victim reported that a shopping cart was stolen from the hallway of a residence.

• A home invasion robbery was reported to have occurred at a Pearl Street multi-residence at 7:43 p.m. on Jan. 3.

The victim reported that two unknown black males, wearing ski masks and holding semi-automatic handguns, broke into his bedroom, assaulted him and demanded money. The victim reported that he did not have any cash and the alleged robbers fled.

Patrolman Cevin Albert took the report.

• The theft of a jacket from a West Front Street restaurant/bar was reported to have occurred on Jan. 4.

• An incident of criminal mischief on East Westside Avenue was reported to have occurred on Jan. 6 and 7.  The victim reported that car tires were slashed and the windshield was cracked.

Patrolman Shane Dengel took the report.

Fair Haven Set to Spruce Up Waterfront Spots

By Elaine Van Develde

It wasn’t long after Fair Haven acquired the long-sought-after Robards/Williams waterfront estate for passive recreation that the borough got another grant to keep upgrade more pocket spots along the Navesink River.

The 2014 Monmouth County Open Space Grant of up to $250,000 in matching funds was awarded only a few weeks ago.

What it’s been designated to do is to “polish the diamond” that is the Fair Haven open space on the waterfront, Mayor Ben Lucarelli said.

“Now that we’ve acquired DeNormandie, cleaning up and maintaining the rest of the open waterfront spaces we have is the next logical step. If we don’t do it now, we’ll have real headaches down the road.”

The “polishing” the mayor referred to is, more specifically, “resloping  of two riverbank pocket parks at the end of Hance Road and Grange Avenue, so that people can access them easier and enjoy them more” and the refurbishment of bulkheads and passive recreation enhancements, such as benches.

Similar work, without resloping, is planned for the swath of land known as the home of the River Rats at the foot of Battin Road.

“It will make all those areas more user friendly,” he added. “The focus on these areas, I think, is a good use of this grant money. People I’ve spoken with who live on the west side of town have felt as if they haven’t gotten the total benefit of these projects. Now they’ll have it and the feedback I’ve gotten is that they’re very happy about that.”

The process for implementation of the county open space grant will soon begin.

Lucarelli said that the design drawings will first be completed. Then the project will be put out to bid; and “we’ll see where the cost comes in.”

Up to $250,000 will or can be funded by the matching grant money. In other words, if the cost of the project comes in at $300,000, then the county will pay $150,000 and the borough will pay the other half, and so on.

Sometimes bonding is necessary, or as a show of good faith to the funding entity, to fund such a matching grant project and set it in motion and pay contractors while waiting for the funded portion of the money to come in. In those instances, with such grants, the town bonds for the entire projected cost of the project and is then reimbursed by the county, or whichever agency is allocating the funding.

However, the mayor doesn’t think this project will require bonding. More likely, he said, “we’ll just bid and, if there’s enough (allocated) in the (capital improvements section of the) budget, pay as we go.”

All 53 municipalities in the county are eligible for the annual open space grant, which is designed to encourage open space acquisition and preservation as well as park enhancements and facilities by offsetting costs of such purchases.

 

Looking Back at a Snowy Sea Bright

In light of the cold snap and dusting of snow this week, our Retro Pic (or Pics today) of the Day gives a glance back at some warm sunset hues over a stark, cold, snow-peppered Sea Bright beach a couple of years ago.

Some of the photos, never before seen, also depict a post-Hurricane Sandy Donovan’s Reef.

Stay warm, friends and fans!

RFH Students Help to Empower Women Globally Via Fundraising

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

The recent fundraising efforts of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s (RFH) Global Women Empowerment organization will facilitate the education of two girls in Uganda and empower others around the world in different ways.

The more than $2,000 raised will be funneled to Change A Life Uganda’s Tuition for Tots-to-Teens to help the girls, Daisy and Patricia, finish high school and Global Women Empowerment, a student organization at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, recently completed a highly successful fundraiser in support of Change A Life Uganda’s Tuition for Tots-to-Teens.

Continue reading RFH Students Help to Empower Women Globally Via Fundraising

Remembering Some R-FH Area People

By Elaine Van Develde

It seemed to happen an awful lot in 2014  — the death of people whose faces and lives we’ve grown accustomed to being woven into the fabric of Rumson-Fair Haven area life.

There were times it seemed that the fine people manning the Fair Haven Firehouse marquee couldn’t even keep up. It’s the place in the area where the news of loss is often spread.

In 2014 it seemed that there were all too frequent tiny gasps and self-mutterings of “Oh, no!” as a ride by the firehouse revealed yet another passing. It all seemed to echo as yet another familiar face flashed and a memory was evoked.

We said it in the memorial tribute to Mimi Hughes. We, at Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect,  are dedicated to remembering those who have passed.

Why? Because, as the line in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical Carousel put it, “As long as one person on Earth remembers you, it’s not over.”

Well, it’s not over for them or us. These people, in one way or another, contributed to life in the area and were part of our lives.

We honor them with a photo and a token of remembrance.

Take the journey with us …

George Giffin, 85, longtime RFH science teacher and dance instructor extraordinaire, May 15

This true area icon could get Attila the Hun to crack a smile.

The man, known for his true appreciation of dance, would pretty much break into a routine wherever he was.

This editor ran into him a couple of times in the recent past — at the Fair Haven centennial and Fairwinds Deli in Fair Haven.

He never forgot a face, either. He knew who I was from 30-something years past in high school when he taught me ballroom dance and I was abysmal.

I asked him then what advice he had for the many teens he taught to dance. He told me he still made appearances at RFH grads’ and their kids’ weddings to get them through the festivities with his special blend of dance instruction.

His motto, he said at the time: “When you get that beat, you gotta move your feet.”

Keep dancing, Mr. Giffin, and rest in peace when and if you take a break.

Pat Topfer, 77, Fair Haven, Oct. 26

Pat, also known in the past as Mrs. Cook, was a 52-year resident of Fair Haven and an 50-year Fair Haven Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary member.

She always had a great smile and zest for life. Her daughters, all RFH grads, inherited her beautiful face and smile.

She shared many a crumb cake and cup of coffee with this editor’s mom. Many years past my teens, she saw me at Marine Park in Red Bank. I was pregnant with my son. She gushed with joy and support and insisted upon snapping a picture of my friend and me. She made sure she got it to me. I still have it — that any many good memories of her friendly demeanor and smile.

Last I saw Pat, she was at the Fair Haven centennial celebration, gussied up in festive red, white and blue sparkles for the occasion.

She was more than happy to pose for my photo of her as a longtime, proud Fair Havenite.

Rest in Peace, Pat.

Lois Brett, formerly of Fair Haven, longtime teacher, Oct. 29

Lois Brett was a teacher in the Fair Haven School District for many years.

The daughter of Lester and Esther England, she graduated from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. “She refused to limit her teaching to the classroom, but rather passed on her knowledge, wisdom, and joy of life, learning, love, and knitting to all those she knew however briefly,” according to her obituary.

Mrs. Brett was a friend of my mom’s. She was known for her kind nature and knack for making those Christmas cookies. There was nary a Christmas in our house without some of Lois Brett’s cookies.

Rest in peace, Lois Brett.

Mary Welling Hunnewell, 54, RFH graduate, Class of 1978, Oct. 17

Mary was a gymnast, equestrian, skier,  and just all-around  nice girl.

She grew up in Fair Haven and graduated from RFH. She had a soft voice, tiny stature and gentle demeanor.

As high school friend Devon Martin put it, “We shared many great times between Gillespie and DeNormandie…on my dad’s little sunfish…having to be rescued! Through middle school and high school. Gymnastics. She was a sweet, kind, generous and beautiful person. I am glad to have been her friend. She will truly be missed on this earth.”

Rest in peace, Mary.

Nina DeSesa, 88, formerly of Fair Haven, Nov. 23

Nina and her husband Michael raised their family, children Blaise and Stephanie, in Fair Haven.

Both were Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduates. Stephanie died unexpectedly in 2011 at 50. In the interest of full disclosure, she was this editor’s best friend.

Nina, known lovingly as “the bull” to friends, was a force to be reckoned with when it came to her family and convictions. She was also pretty darn funny and astute.

She loved the opera, her husband and children more than anything in life.

Many saw Nina as quite a stern character, nonetheless fabulous cook, with a mission to play Bridge and MaJong. But, she was much more than that.

She had a great heart. This is my chance to say thank you to a woman who, though many times criticized me mercilessly, was always there for her daughter and me — front and center at both my parents’ funerals.

I have a few things to say to Nina:

Thank you for that artichoke pie, the best baby shower ever, the beautiful blanket you knitted for Cole, all the fabulous dinners and trips into the city to cool out-of-the-way restaurants, the scoldings, that Gilbert O’Sullivan sweater you knitted for Steph (that we fought over).

And, most of all, thank you, Nina, for moving to Fair Haven in 1967 and bringing Steph into my life. I hope you are together again. Oh, and … Step away from the stuffed stork!

Rest in peace, Nina DeSesa.

Silvio Fabbri, 59, owner of Fair Haven’s Umberto’s and friend to many, Nov. 26

This icon, known for his incredible memory and own brand of love for each and every one of his customers, could be seen tossing pizza dough, chatting with the kids, chiding them with a wink, and telling people to “hanga loose.”

Fabbri died very suddenly; and his death saddened a community very accustomed to hearing his anecdotes and knowing that he knew who they were, what was going on in their lives and what they liked to eat.

It could be months that Silvio didn’t see you, yet he’d remember everything about you when you walked in the door.

I got yelled at for not coming around enough, but he remembered my favorite special sub.

Rest in peace, Silvio, and “hanga loose.”

Fair Haven Councilman Jerome Koch, 63, Nov. 30

Jerome Koch died as the result of a tragic Nov. 29 bicycle accident on River Road in Fair Haven.

Koch was known for his sardonic wit and keen sense of humor while sitting on the dais of the Fair Haven Borough Council for nine years.

On Nov. 29, the councilman took what was described by Mayor Ben Lucarelli as his characteristic bike ride around town. The mayor, an avid cyclist, was out for a ride that day as well. He said that when he had passed Koch, he was doing his customary scouting for errant garbage and tidying up.

Not much longer after that, the councilman was hit by a car not too far from his home on River Road and flown to Jersey Shore Medical Center Trauma Unit. He remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit and, sadly, died the next day.

Rest in peace, Councilman Koch.

Mimi Hughes, 83,  Rumson resident and 26-year RFH English teacher

Mimi Hughes, who taught English at RFH for 26 years and acted and sang in many a production in the area, died on Dec. 20 surrounded by her loving family.

This is a tough one for this editor. Mrs. Hughes and her family were like family.

Take a look at our tribute to Mrs. Hughes by clicking here.

John Kondrup, 93, 67-year Rumson resident, Rumson First Aid, Oceanic Fire Company and borough mechanic, Sept. 18

A World War II U.S. Army vet, Kondrup made Rumson his home  for 67 years.

In addition to all of his volunteer service to Rumson, he was known for his bright smile, bike riding around town, and his prideful vegetable gardening.

Rest in peace, John.

Craig Bahrs, 45, deputy police chief in Middletown, K-9 officer, Dec. 1

Craig Bahrs did not live in Rumson or Fair Haven. He, however, was well known and respected in his role as a policeman and K-9 officer in Middletown.

He had a sincere smile and gentle demeanor.

Click here for our tribute to him. 

Rest in peace, Craig.

If there’s anyone we have somehow forgotten, please feel free to send us a message and photo at evd@rfhretro.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Sea Bright in Sandy’s Wake

Hurricane Sandy damage in Sea Bright. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Hurricane Sandy damage in Sea Bright.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Our Retro Pic of the Day features a glimpse of what downtown Sea Bright looked like a couple of years ago about this time of the year.

Storefronts were torn and boarded up. Debris was knee-deep. Damage was being assessed.

And, among those assessing the damage was a Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduate.

Do you know which grad at work in the featured (never seen before) photo?

Hint: He’s in the party photo gallery above.

A New Year Gathering of RFH Grads

By Elaine Van Develde

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) grads and friends gathered once again on Saturday for the annual Grady party.

The Gradys, Mike and Kathleen, both RFH grads from Rumson and Fair Haven, respectively, have been hosting the annual reunion-like event for many years now. In addition to the touching base with the extended Grady family itself, it’s pretty much an annual guarantee that this is the place and time to catch up with RFH alumni, their spouses and friends.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect caught up with RFH friends there, some dating back to kindergarten.

Take a look at the gallery above. Just click on any photo and scroll. Know anyone?

And many thanks to the Gradys for their generosity and a fabulously festive evening!

 

Going Retro with Rumson’s Barn Theater

A production of Bye Bye Birdie at The Barn Theater, Rumson, circa 1977.  Photo/Sally Van Develde
A production of Bye Bye Birdie at The Barn Theater, Rumson, circa 1977.
Photo/Sally Van Develde

Our Retro Pic of the Day brings us back to shows at The Barn Theater, formerly on Avenue of Two Rivers in Rumson,  in the late 1970s.

Pictured are a bunch of area high school students, from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional and other area high schools, performing a scene in Bye Bye Birdie.

It’s a bit blurry, due to the lack of focus, and perhaps unsteady hand, on the instamatic camera with the rotating flash cube, but it was one of many moments at the popular theater.

Do you know anyone in this picture? Check it out.

 

In with the New at Fair Haven’s New Year’s Day Reorganization

 

By Elaine Van Develde

Reorganization 2015 in Fair Haven brought a new council member to the dais — a lone Democrat — and new fire and first aid line officers.

In addition to Mayor Ben Lucarelli being sworn in to his first full four-year term, incumbent Susan Sorensen took the oath for her second council term. The newcomer to the governing body, Aimee Humphreys was sworn in to her first three-year and then took a seat at the dais for her first council meeting..

Fair Haven Fire Department and First Aid Squad members were sworn in as follows:

Fair Haven Fire Department line officers

• Chief, Scott Eskwitt

• Deputy Chief, Mike Weihl

• First Assistant Chief, Tim Morrissey

• Second Assistant Chief, Matt DePonti

Fair Haven First Aid Squad officers

• Captain, Joe Truex

• First Lieutenant, Kim Ambrose

• Second Lieutenant, Amanda Lynn

Fair Haven Fire Police Officers

• Captain, Lew Davison

• First Lieutenant, Frank Scalzo

• Second Lieutenant, Dan Chernavsky

Water Rescue/Dive Team

• Co-Captain/Sr. Administrator, John Felsmann

• Operations, James Cerruti and Robert Frank

• Training Officer, William Heath

Fair Haven Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary

• President, Trudy Wojciehowski

• Vice President, Amanda Lynn

Rumson Reorganizes on New Year’s Day

 

By Elaine Van Develde

Rumson’s 2015 reorganization ceremony was a simple, reflective one.

There were no new Borough Council members to be sworn in. Re-elected incumbents Broderick and Ben Day took oaths for another term.

However, the coming year’s fire and first aid officers received their badges; and Mayor John Ekdahl gave his customary end-of-the-year speech.

The new fire and first aid officers are as follows:

• EMS Captain, Mary Nichols, who was also captain in 2014, took the oath for 2015;

• 2014 Fire Chief Robert Halligan was thanked for his service to the borough and 2015 Chief Kevin McCarthy was given his badge as was 2015 Assistant Chief Ronald Immesberger.

In his speech, the mayor called attention to:

• the deaths of three longtime firemen;

• the diligence and dedication of the officers in borough’s police department;

• the success of the Rumson Regatta;

• a nice Veterans Day ceremony in Victory Park;

• the success of the borough’s annual Christmas tree lighting;

• the annual DPW Toy Drive bringing in 520 toys for children in need;

• and DPW Director Mark Wellner’s recognition by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Public Works Association (NJ APWA) with a 2014 Superintendent/Director Award for his 28-year career with the borough.

The benediction was offered by Rev. Manning of Holy Cross Church.

Photos by Elaine Van Develde

W. Front Street Bridge to Close After New Year

By Elaine Van Develde

It was not that long ago when Monmouth County officials told people to brace themselves for a four-month West Front Street Bridge closing starting Jan. 2. Now, they’re saying it the closing will happen “on or about Jan. 5,” but they’re still promising it will reopen before Memorial Day.

In fact, the target reopening date has been set for May 17; and, the last phase of the bridge replacement project “is on schedule to open before Memorial Day weekend,” Freeholder Thomas Arnone, liaison to the county Department of Public Works and Engineering, said in a release.

While, according to the release, pedestrian access, including dismounted walking bicyclists, will be open throughout the closure, drivers will need to plan alternate routes.

Detours will funneling traffic from Red Bank “north on Rector Place to Route 35 and across Cooper’s Bridge and then onto Navesink River Road to Hubbard Avenue,” the release said.

Toward Red Bank, traveling east, detours will guide traffic “from West Front Street in Middletown will be directed north on Hubbard Avenue to Navesink River Road to Route 35 and across Coopers Bridge to Rector Place,” it added.

Traffic congestion and travel delays are anticipated.

What to expect with the new bridge …

• The new span over the Swimming River between Red Bank and Middletown will be 480 feet long and 44 feet wide with two 12-foot travel lanes, six-foot sidewalks on both sides and four-foot shoulders;

• There will be nine feet of vertical clearance above mean high water elevation and roughly 72 feet of horizontal clearance within the navigable channel of the Swimming River;

• Architectural enhancements include ornamental lights and a decorative recessed brick panel parapet with a decorative ball and cap railing, similar to Coopers Bridge;

• Additional improvements will include roadway widening at the bridge entrances, improved storm water drainage, ADA accessible route, highway lighting and new guide rail treatments.

The West Front Street Bridge, or Hubbard’s Bridge, was built in 1921. It was constructed as a six span, stringer structure with a steel open grid deck.

 

New Year’s Day with Nature on Sandy Hook

As the American Littoral Society sees it, New Year’s Day is the time to take a walk on the natural side.

That walk is a unique way to ring in the New Year, honor the memory of a local environmentalist, get some exercise and soak in some nature in a national park. It’s the Jan. 1 American Littoral Society’s 39th Annuual Dery Bennett Memorial Walk on Sandy Hook.

The longstanding traditional walk starts at 11 a.m. at the Littoral Society’s headquarters, 18 Hartshorne Drive, on the north end of Sandy Hook, or Fort Hancock.

Walkers, asked to bundle up and bring binoculars, will proceed to the end of the Hook where they will try to meet up, across the bay, with a group doing the same thing.

Upon completion of the walk, hot chocolate and lunch will be served at the Littoral Society’s office. Participants are also invited to bring a dessert. There will also be a rain barrel project presentation by a Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) student.

Derry Bennett, whom the walk has been named after since his death in 2009, was a Fair Haven resident and longtime director of the American Littoral Society (1968 to 2003).

The Littoral Society, founded in 1961 by scientists, fishermen and scuba divers, is a champion of marine environmental education and conservation.