Snowmen Before the Slush

Yes, there was snowfall in the late evening into early morning hours in the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

And, as is status quo when snow falls, snowmen are built by enthused children.

There were a few built in the area. They’re still standing, but that rain is falling as night sets in and it’s only a matter of time until they, let’s say, shrink a little, to put it delicately.

Do you have a snowman to show off before he meets his untimely demise? Send your photos to

Retreating Back to Another Sunny Day Down by the River

Hanging down by the river in Fair Haven circa 2013. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Hanging down by the river in Fair Haven circa 2013.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

In light of the impending nor’easter, our Retro Pic of the Day, once again, brings back memories of fun in the sun on the banks of the Navesink River.

This crew had a great time one day in 2013. The photo encapsulates a typical day for kids enjoying life down by the river.

Enjoy! It won’t be long before these sunny days return.

RFH Grad, Jeff Buckley, Dies at 55

Former longtime Rumson resident Jeffrey David Buckley, 55, of Rutledge, PA, passed away at his home on Tuesday, Jan. 20, of complications from the flu.

Born in Teaneck, he grew up in Rumson, moved to Rye, NY, and Dorset, VT, before finally moving to Rutledge.

A 1977 graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, he attended Saint Lawrence University and began his career at Kidder Peabody, moving onto Salomon Brothers and UBS as an equity block trader.

After a successful 20 year career on Wall Street, he shifted his focus to an alternative passion as a gardener at Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia’s Our Lady of Angels Convent.

He was a member of Monmouth Beach Bath and Tennis Club and served as Vice Commodore of Rumson Country Club where he helped revive the youth sailing program.

Jeff was predeceased by his brother, Matthew Buckley.

He is survived by: his fiancée, Angela Kidder; his parents, David and Mary Buckley; his brother, Jonathan Buckley; sister, Katherine and husband Mark Hughes, and sister Sarah and husband Joe Richter; his children, Jeffrey David Jr. and wife Mary Pat, Grace, Peter, and Henry; and their mother Sara Henderson Buckley.

“Above all, Jeff sought an authentic life. He was charismatic, intelligent, and always curious,” his obituary from Thompson Memorial Home said. “A life-long intellect, he could recite a Wall Street stock symbol as quickly as he could identify a species of tree. He was a kind, gentle, and humble man.

“He often found solace on his sailboat on the Navesink River or hiking mountains in Vermont, but more than anything he loved spending time with his children. He had a boundless love for his family, and his contagious passion for life will be sorely missed.”

Visitation will take place from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday Jan. 23 at Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad Street, Red Bank.

A funeral mass will follow at noon on Saturday, Jan. 24 at the Church of the Nativity, 180 Ridge Road, Fair Haven.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to an educational fund for Jeff’s children. Please direct contributions to the Buckley Family Education Fund, P.O. Box 8097, Red Bank, NJ.

— Obituary, courtesy of Thompson Memorial Home.

Catching Up with New and Old Fair Haven Board of Ed Members

Former Fair Haven Board of Education members Katy Frissora and Cathy Alescio with Viola L. Sickles School Principal Cheryl Cuddihy (center). Photo/courtesy of Fair Haven School District
Former Fair Haven Board of Education members Katy Frissora and Cathy Alescio with Viola L. Sickles School Principal Cheryl Cuddihy (center).
Photo/courtesy of Fair Haven School District

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

Since Jan. 7, three new Fair Haven Board of Education members have been seated at the dais. They and their predecessors are offering a glimpse into their goals for the district and looking back at what brought then to the board.

Jennifer Halcrow, Bruce Padula, and Karen Saad have been sworn in to three-year terms on the nine-member board at the 2015 reorganization.

The three new members will serve on the board with Michael Bernstein, Claudia Brasch (vice president), Mark Mancuso (president), Tracy Rehder, Jeffrey Spector, and Randi Walker.

Jennifer Halcrow’s family has lived in Fair Haven for eight years. She has three children attending Viola L. Sickles and Knollwood schools.

Halcrow, who was drawn to Fair Haven by the excellent educational opportunities and strong sense of community, has a master’s degree in business administration and hopes to apply her skills toward achieving educational goals.

“My focus is on student achievement and academic excellence in the classroom as well as fiscal responsibility while budgeting to the needs of our children,” Halcrow said. “I also have an interest in improving communication among our parents, administration, and school board.”

Bruce Padula has been a Fair Haven resident since 2010. He moved to New Jersey to attend Seton Hall University Law School after graduating from Villanova.

A  partner Cleary, Giacobbe, Alfieri & Jacobs law firm, Matawan, Padula has a son in kindergarten and a daughter who will start school next year.

“Fair Haven is a truly special and unique community with dedicated and caring parents, volunteers, professionals, and neighbors,” said Padula. “My goal is to make Fair Haven schools the best they can be; and I hope to lend my professional experience as a school board attorney to the board in order to help achieve this goal.”

I am grateful for the support and trust this community has placed in me.”

Karen Saad discovered the borough of Fair Haven during a lunch stop at an eatery on River Road.

She “fell in love” with the town and is now a resident with three children who are currently students in the school system. Born and raised in New Jersey, she graduated from The College of William and Mary with a degree in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant.

She worked for the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm based in Washington, D.C. prior to moving back to New Jersey to raise her family.

“As an active volunteer in our schools and community, I love connecting with friends and neighbors and using my professional skills in finance, consulting, and accounting to enrich these organizations,” said Saad. “I am so excited to be a part of the board and will work to ensure that our children have the best possible educational experience.”

The oath of office was administered by Board of Education Attorney Anthony P. Scarrillo.

Katy Frissora and Cathy Alescio look back at their board time

Among those in attendance at the swearing-in was former board member Katy Frissora, who was thanked by Mancuso for her eight years of dedicated service.

Frissora and Cathy Alescio, who served one term of three years, did not seek re-election this year when their terms expired.

A former PTA president, Alescio attended many board meetings — something she considers an important prerequisite — before making the commitment to run.

“I sometimes hear parents discuss a concern; and I encourage them to get to know their board members on an informal level as well as during a meeting,” said Alescio.

Alescio’s commitment to understanding parents’ concerns translated into making certain that decisions about administrators and curriculum were considered from every angle during meetings of the committees to which she was assigned — Negotiations and Personnel. She expressed pride in how effectively she and her fellow committee addressed some very tough decisions.

“At the end of the day, I knew that I wasn’t elected just to represent the interests of my children,” said Alescio. “I was elected to represent the over 700 families who send children to our schools.”

Frissora focused on curriculum and community relations during her time as a board member. She worked with administrators to help parents visualize and understand how curriculum was being implemented in the classroom.

“Starting when I was a parent of a first grader, and then as a board member, I realized that parents are hungry for information about how their children are learning,” said Frissora. “I was emphatic about how we must use every possible tool — whether it’s social media, newsletters, photos, a teacher’s written communication, or a phone call — to share what is happening in classrooms with parents.”

Frissora was pleased to be known as the Board of Education’s “onion peeler,” examining each layer of every issue to come up with the best possible outcome.

“My mantra to parents has always been ‘for every question you have, your board members are asking the exact same question and discussing pros and cons’,” said Frissora. “I am so proud of how deeply the board on which I served probed into every question surrounding every decision, and I am confident that the present board will do the same with new onion peelers.”

Both Alescio and Frissora expressed a desire to see Fair Haven schools continue to be unique, as well as maintain their focus on developing confident learners.

“Cathy Alescio and Katy Frissora will be greatly missed by the Board and district,” said Mancuso. “The amount of time and energy they poured into their terms on the Board are a testament to their strong work ethic and absolute devotion to our schools and children.”

They helped invigorate and strengthen every committee on which they served, and are model board members worthy of emulation. I look forward to their continued interest and participation as stakeholders of our community.”

A Look Back at Snow Angels

RFH teens get to work clearing sidewalks and driveways of snow in 2012. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
RFH teens get to work clearing sidewalks and driveways of snow in 2012.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

With the threat of snow looming, the Retro Pic of the Day is dedicated to memories of Fair Haven’s snow angels circa 2012.

The angels are a group of kids who help dig seniors and those who are disabled in any way out of the snow.

These two were headed to an elderly neighbor’s house after they helped out this asthmatic editor.

Do you know them?

Young Life on McCarter Pond

Yes, today was a day of skating and a little ice hockey on Fair Haven’s McCarter Pond.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect caught up with the kid we like to refer to as the junior Fair Haven mayor — sorry, Lucarelli — Carson Kirman.

Carson loves a photo opp. He’s always skating around town in one way or another.

Take a look at what the kids were up to today on the pond.

Down by the River Before Snowfall

It’s no secret that the Navesink River is a spot of solace for people who grew up in the Rumson-Fair Haven area or just have a sentimental spot for it.

No one knows that unsurpassed value better than this editor.

It was a nippy day along the river today, yet, somehow, a couple of spots still provided that usual dose of serenity.

Take a look at the photo gallery above for a glimpse into life on the Navesink. Just click on one photo and scroll. Enjoy!

Cops Ask for Aid in Finding $1.7K Shoplifter


Call it a case of cutting to somewhat of a chase.

Over the Navesink River in Middletown, police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a woman who they say stole close to $2,000 in razors, over-the-counter medications and hygiene products from the ShopRite on Route 35.

Police posted video still photos of the woman allegedly stealing the merchandise from the store on Jan. 17 and 19, a post on the Middletown Township Police Facebook page said.

On Jan. 17, she allegedly stole roughly $725 in medication and hygiene products; and on Jan. 19 she allegedly lifted $1,000 worth of razors.

Anyone who may be able to identify the woman or offer information is asked to contact Detective Laurence Schachtel at 732-615-2062.

Photo/screenshot from Middletown Township Police Department Facebook page.

Going Retro with Balderose Fine Foods


John Rego, painter, puts finishing touches on the walls of Balderose Fine Foods in Fair Haven days before its initial opening.  Photo/Elaine Van Develde
John Rego, painter, puts finishing touches on the walls of Balderose Fine Foods in Fair Haven days before its initial opening.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

It was a year ago, almost to the day, that Balderose Fine Foods had its final opening.

We say final, because the eatery had a short-lived initial opening in 2013. Now, a year later, it’s our Retro Pic of the Day.

The story? After a partnership re-routing and some fiscal house cleaning, the gourmet specialty shop at the corner of Fair Haven and River roads took root with a second grand opening on Jan. 17, 2014.

It has since flourished as a local mainstay stop for breakfast goods, soups, sandwiches, salads, desserts, some organic packaged goodies and unique prepared take-home fine food dishes ever since.

The eatery’s namesake is Anthony Balderose, who operates the business and cooks. Once Balderose Fine Foods, LLC, the business was sold to Quirk, LLC on Jan. 7, 2014.

Balderose, a former executive chef at Balducci’s in Manhattan and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), had a vision to bring a New York-style gourmet shop to the area. His dream came true.

What’s your favorite Balderose food?

By George! Going Retro with an RFH Photographer

RFH 1978 yearbook photography editor George Day in his yearbook profile shot.  Photo/RFH yearbook screenshot
RFH 1978 yearbook photography editor George Day in his yearbook profile shot.
Photo/RFH yearbook screenshot

Our Retro Pic of the Day is in honor of George Day, 1978 Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) photography editor.

George did some excellent work, not only at RFH, but all over the area in the 1970s, and before and after that.

He got in touch with Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect; and, we are thrilled to say, he will be collaborating with us on some fabulous Retro Pic of the Day posts. We just may call them Retro Pic of the George Day posts.

Thanks, George! Great to know that you’re out there and will be contributing to this site! Your talent is and always has been appreciated.

Oceanic Bridge Revamp Study Granted Funds; Precursor to Revamp

On the heels of what was a major, albeit bandaid, fix to a portion of the corroding Oceanic Bridge, Monmouth County officials have gotten a boost via state funding to undertake the appropriate studies to rehabilitate or replace the entire structure.

The 2016 $600,000 “concept development study” of the county-owned 2,712 foot Oceanic span between Rumson and Middletown over the Navesink River was one of five approved last week by the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA).

The drawbridge, built in 1939, has been targeted as one in need of replacement and/or major revamp for several years now. In 2012, major repairs to the 98-foot bascule span, or moveable drawbridge part, of the bridge was refurbished.

But, even then, officials said that that was only a temporary fix. A permanent solution, they had said, was the only answer.

Options for rehab and/or replacement have been bandied about. But, for years now, there has been a large contingent of people adamantly opposed to replacement with a fixed, higher structure. The opposition to that slightly cheaper plan have felt it would be an injustice to bridge’s historic integrity and make it more difficult to be used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

The bridge’s capacity to carry its maximum load of vehicles, too, has consistently diminished with its age and consequential deterioration from wear and tear and salt water submersion.

So, the need for a permanent plan has become more imminent and potentially costly, county officials have said.

As a result of the fiscal year 2016 NJTPA program grant, the door will be open for construction costs to be covered by federal funds.