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.

Retro Look at a ‘Fair’ Councilwoman and Friends

Fair Haven Councilwoman Susan Sorensen and husband Peter Maher enjoy the Fair Haven Firemen's Fair 2014 with friends.  Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Fair Haven Councilwoman Susan Sorensen and husband Peter Maher enjoy the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair 2014 with friends.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

On the cusp of reorganizations in Rumson and Fair Haven, we thought it might be appropriate to take a look back at warmer days of re-elected Fair Haven Councilwoman Susan Sorensen enjoying the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect had just started making the photo rounds when we ran into Sorensen, her husband, Peter Maher, and friends at the fair.

Congrats on soon being sworn in to your second term on New Year’s Day, Susan!

New Year’s Day R-FH Area Reorganizations

By Elaine Van Develde

Both Rumson and Fair Haven’s reorganizations are, as usual, slated for the same day, same time — New Year’s Day at noon.

Though they are, naturally, in different places — Rumson’s at Bingham Hall and Fair Haven’s at Borough Hall. And, the agendas are different.

In Fair Haven, Democrat Aimee Humphreys will be sworn in to her first term on Borough Council. Mayor Ben Lucarelli will be sworn in to his first full four-year term in office after filling the unexpired term of former Mayor Michael Halfacre. Susan Sorensen will be sworn in to her second term on the dais.

Humphreys unseated three-term incumbent Jerome Koch. Shortly after the elections, with one council meeting left to the year, Koch was tragically killed in a bicycle accident on River Road.

Fire Department and First Aid officers will also be inducted into their new annual roles.

There are no new council members in Rumson to be sworn in for this year’s reorganization. However, the usual municipal reappointments will take hold as well as those of fire and first aid officers.

In Rumson, however, Mayor John Ekdahl is known for his annual speech. Which, he tells Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect, will be delivered about half way through the ceremony.


The Year 2014 in Photos

While Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect has only been in soft launch mode for a few months, many moments have been captured in photos.

From the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair to the holidays, many stories’ scenes have been set in those images.

Take a look at our slide show set to music to get a glimpse into the  highlights of the past few months of 2014.

Get set for the New Year. We’ll be seeing an awful lot more of you around the towns!

In the meantime, enjoy! Just click on the arrow in the center of the video and then on the bottom right icon to enlarge.

Going Retro with RFH’s ‘Fiddler’

In light of our recent editorial tribute to 26-year Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) English teacher and her theatrical family, our Retro Pic of the Day brings us back to 1978 and RFH’s production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Nearly the entire Hughes family had a featured role in the show. Pictured in this shot are Paul and Nan Hughes rehearsing a scene as Hodel and Perchik.

Oddly enough, they played a madly-in-love couple in the show. Hodel defies tradition asking for a blessing rather than permission to marry Perchik, a radical who was sent to a prison in Siberia while working for the revolution in Kiev.

Paul’s children attend RFH and many have seen Matt on the same stage as his father.

We’re thinking Nan won’t be too fond about revisiting that hairdo. Sorry, Nan.


Lighting Up the Holidays in the R-FH Area

There’s something about Christmas lights in small towns that just soothes the hometown soul.

Here’s to yet another reason why the Rumson-Fair Haven area is so special.

Take a little holiday tour with us in our photo gallery above. Just click on any image to enlarge and click the arrows to scroll through.

Happy holidays to all from Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect!

Sports Success: RFH Places 2nd in ShopRite Cup

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

Based on an extremely successful fall sports season, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) has achieved a high ranking in the 12th Annual ShopRite Cup 2014-15 Fall Standings.

RFH is ranked second among all Group 2 schools, and stands at fourth place among all public schools in New Jersey.

The top five Group 2 high schools in the ShopRite Cup Fall Standings, in order, are: Haddonfield, 34 points; Rumson-Fair Haven 31 points; Collingswood,16 points; Madison, 16 points; and Kinnelon, 15 points.

The ShopRite Cup is presented jointly by ShopRite stores and the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). Winning schools earn ShopRite points for top finishes in competition as well as for sportsmanship.

RFH earned points for the Girls Cross Country Sectional Championship, Field Hockey Group Championship, and the Football Sectional Championship.