Category Archives: Local Life

A look, in photos, of latest area events, local everyday people and places.

Retro RFH Baseball with Coach Hal Lorme

RFH coach and teacher Hal Lorme circa 1970s. Photo/George Day
RFH coach and teacher Hal Lorme circa 1970s.
Photo/George Day

How could we have a Retro Pic of the (George) Day during baseball season without a photo of the unforgettable RFH coach, Hal Lorme?

Mr. Lorme passed away not long ago. So, in honor of him and the season, we are bringing back this 1970s photo that was featured in a memorial slideshow of the well-liked gym teacher, coach, RFH Ski Club director and RFH Athletic and Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

Take a look back at the slideshow and remember Mr. Lorme, RFH grads! Just click.

Thanks so much, once again, to George Day for the wonderful photo of Hal Lorme!

A View of the Oceanic Bridge Revamp

It’s a pictorial view from the underside of the Oceanic Bridge, which has been undergoing unforeseen structural repairs before the summer season starts.

“As the construction work has progressed, additional areas of critical structural steel and concrete deterioration were found,” Monmouth County Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the Department of Public Works and Engineering, said in a release about the progress of the repairs to the bridge.

The bridge, that spans the Navesink River from Rumson to Middletown, is in need of concrete and steel deck repairs that are slated to be finished on or about April 30.

“The limits of the additional deterioration were unknown when the project began and have become evident during the cleaning and preparation process for the repairs as originally planned,” Monmouth County Engineer Joseph Ettore said in the release. “The additional steel and concrete deck deterioration must be repaired immediately to maintain public safety and the use of the Oceanic Bridge.”

The bridge, being revamped by Howell-based George Harms Construction Company Inc., is closed overnight, from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., with intermittent daytime one-lane closures.

For more information on the bridge, check out the following stories:

 — Photos and story/Elaine Van Develde

Spring Sunning Around the Fair Haven Dock

For a Fair Havenite, there’s nothing quite like the sand between your toes down by the Navesink River at the Fair Haven Dock.

Call it an embrace of spring magic. Once the sun shines, the temperature rises, and that sea-faring scent wafts in, it’s river beach and dock time. And you know you’re home.

Catch that familiar spring fever in Fair Haven. Get a glimpse of one of the first sunny days in this little slice of utopia in our slideshow above. Be sure to click on the lower right corner to enlarge! 

— By Elaine Van Develde

Retro Williams-Robards Estate

With the Monday demolition of the more than century-and-a-half-old Williams-Robards home on the Navesink River in Fair Haven, Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect is featuring  the home in its Retro Pic of the Day.

The colonial was the last remaining one of its kind on the river in the borough and the surrounding area.

The home was demolished as part of an agreement with the state to procure grants to purchase the property.

It will be preserved as a passive recreation park.

A Heap of Fair Haven History

By noon on Monday, all that was left of the historic Williams-Robard estate in Fair Haven was an old television, a couple of mattresses, a laundry basket, and a chunk of foundation on a heap of scrap.

The 160-year-old waterfront DeNormandie Avenue home that freed slave Charles Williams built — and made home to his immediate family and Robards family descendants — was demolished to make way for a passive park was  on the banks of the Navesink River in Fair Haven.

The acquisition of the property has been in the works, via several funding avenues, for the better part of a decade.

The borough finally acquired the 6.9-acre property in the fall to preserve a rare swath of waterfront open space for future generations to enjoy, rather than letting it be sold to a private developer and closed off from public access.

The house, officials have said, was in too much disrepair to preserve. Also, as part of the deal for procurement of funding for the $1.2 million acquisition, borough officials had to agree to demolish the home.

The most recent owners, the Robards descendants, had lived in the house since 1855.

“Winifred Robards (who lived there since 1855, when she was 3) was known to invite kids onto the property to play and enjoy it all the time,” Lucarelli said.

It was her wish to pay that forward, Lucarelli had said. A plaque commemorating the Williams-Robards families will be erected on the site with a recounting of its history, Lucarelli said at the announcement of the acquisition in the fall.

Click here for the story of the acquisition.

— Photos and story by Elaine Van Develde 

Donovan’s, Dunes & Diehards

— Photos by Elaine Van Develde

Sunday was true to its namesake. The sun was out … and bright.

So, people hit the beach in Sea Bright — a sign that spring had finally sprung.

While the sun was like a siren calling all beach bums back, upon hitting the beach, there was a chill in the blustery air.

So, some stuck it out, bundled up and taking advantage of the wind with kites, others abandoned the beach-going idea.

However, there were a few things to take notice of — like the bit of progress being made to bring Donovan’s Reef back, and the dunes sprouting up all over.

Donovan’s, the longtime Sea Bright summer classic for Rumson-Fair Haven area people and beyond, was flattened by Hurricane Sandy.

There were all sorts of rumors circulating that it had been sold, then the ownership announced that it would be rebuilt with a target date of last Memorial Day.

There’s a Tiki hut and accompanying thatch umbrella at the base of new staircases and it looks like there may be some hope for some sort of resurrection this summer. We’ll see.

And the dunes that were planted across the beach — some by the Fair Haven Garden Club — to stave off erosion are really taking hold.

Check out our photo gallery above for a glimpse into the day and the progress. Click on any photo to enlarge. 

Finishing Up Fair Haven Streetscape

By Elaine Van Develde

The uncharacteristic March cold staved off progress for a bit, but with the spring warmth come the finishing touches of the Fair Haven Streetscape project.

And with the final phase of work, that will continue for about another three weeks, comes a minor traffic delay, with one lane closed, during daylight hours on River Road.

“We’re executing the rest of the Streetscape East program,” Mayor Ben Lucarelli said. “We started last fall at around Buena Vista Avenue on the north side, just to get that last part of the project started, then winter kicked in.”

As with the rest of the Streetscape project that spans from the business section by the Acme and now through to the Rumson border, sidewalks are being replaced on both sides of River Road and the consistent historic-looking lighting is being installed.

The last part of the east portion of the project is under construction on the south side of River Road, from Buena Vista to Oak Place, or roughly 911 River Road where the Shrewsbury Yacht Club sits, Lucarelli said.

Next, the project will be competed on the north side of River Road in the same area.

Don’t Forget: Dog Days at Church

It’s that time again — time for church at St. George’s-by-the-River to go to the dogs … and all other four-legged critters.

Today, Saturday, will be the second Bring You Pet to Church service at 5 p.m. at the Rumson Episcopal house of worship.

The pet-friendly services are being held once a month, on the second Saturday.

Check out our slideshow of the first event by clicking here. Oh, and don’t forget to click on the icon in the lower right corner to enlarge.

Retro RFH Skateboarding


Mike Grady and A.J. Bruder skateboarding into spring circa 1970s Photo/George Day
Mike Grady and A.J. Bruder skateboarding into spring circa 1970s
Photo/George Day

Yes, the weather is getting less frightful.

While the sun has been hidden beneath the rain clouds for the past few days, we’re turning to some warm memories of, once again, carefree moments with a couple of RFH guys.

So, the Retro Pic of the (George) Day today honors the memory of RFH Class of 1978 grad A.J. Bruder, who passed away around this time in 1996. Bruder was a fun-loving guy who was known to love life and it shows in this pic.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect will feature a memorial tribute to Bruder on the April 15 anniversary of his untimely death at 36.

The other RFHer is a familiar face to this day in the area — Mike Grady.

What can we say? This duo represents what spring fever is all about — even though this photo was likely taken in the fall.

Can you caption this one?

Many thanks, again, to the fabulous George Day for this gem of a photo!


Retro Dance with George Giffin

The time is drawing near for all Rumson-Fair Haven area people to remember, honor and dance in the name of RFH’s ever-famous George Giffin, science and dance teacher extraordinaire who died last year.

The George Giffin Memorial Dance-a-thon is set for next week — Saturday, April 18 from 5 to 10 p.m. in the RFH gym.

With proceeds benefitting the Monmouth Day Care Center, people, in the name of Mr. Giffin, are invited to dance or just be a spectator at the event, which is being sponsored by the RFH Dance Troupe.

So, in preparation of the event and to remember the magic that was George Giffin, the Retro Pic(s) of the Day gives a glimpse into the last day this editor saw Mr. Giffin dance.

It was 2012 and he was at Fairwinds Deli in Fair Haven. It didn’t take much for Mr. Giffin, or Giff, as he was called, to launch into a routine no matter where it was.

He talked about how he loved to still show up at RFH grads’ weddings and teach them a few steps. He also said he was not too fond of the way in which the English language has been slaughtered “these days.” We agree.

Brown paper sandwich bag in hand, Giff then rhythmically chanted, “When you get that beat, you’ve got to move your feet!” as he did his own little dance right in the deli line.

What a treat.

There were popular teachers at RFH, all cherished, but George Giffin just had what theater professionals call “it” — personality, stage presence, that special something that makes people’s eyes twinkle when they’re around.

Always equipped with a passel of jokes, a smile and a “five, six, five six, seven, eight and one, two, cha, cha, cha” it’s a sure bet that he’d love to marathon dance at this event.

Though we’re not sure if he would be out teaching some classic ballroom dance moves, try a few of the newer moves or both, but we know he’d at least give it a “cha, cha, cha, dip, twirl” and maybe a cartwheel … just to throw people off — or not.

Dancers for the event must be 12 and up. Cost to dance is $50, while admission is $10 for spectators, and $5 for spectators age 12 and under.

Click here for more information. 

What was your favorite George Giffin dance?

Retro RFH Spring Fever

Spring fever time at RFH circa 1970s Photo/George Day
Spring fever time at RFH circa 1970s
Photo/George Day

It’s springtime. And with spring comes spring fever.

So, the Retro Pic of the (George) Day reflects on a sunny day on the Borden Stadium at RFH when it looks like these RFHers were soaking up the mood of the season.

Looks like they’re from the RFH Class of 1979. Remember these guys? What do you think they were up to?

Go ahead, caption this one!

Thanks again, George Day for another great contribution!

RFH Rowing Sprouts with Spring

With advent of spring, RFH Rowing and RFH Varsity Crew activity has sprouted.

The “competitive scholastic high school” crew program, sponsored by Rumson and Fair Haven boroughs, launched some of its seasonal start-up at its Victory Park home base in Rumson on Tuesday.

Continue reading RFH Rowing Sprouts with Spring