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Funds Being Raised for Monmouth Beach Fire Victim

On principal, all the cash that was asked for was $1. Now, only a few days after a devastating fire that destroyed longtime Monmouth Beach resident and former CFO/Tax collector Jim Fuller’s home, roughly $14,000 has been raised on a Go Fund Me page.

Knowing her uncle — a 53-year borough resident who is paraplegic — would be pridefully resistant to charity or anything that evoked pity, Fuller’s niece Laurie Escalante-Hernandez decided to set the funding goal at a symbolic $1, according to her narrative on the Go Fund Me page.

Why? Because she felt, knowing her uncle, that the cause is far from being one about about material possession. It’s about paying it forward — plain and simple, as she explained it.

“He has no idea I am writing this and when he finds out he is going to be very upset with me,” Escalante-Hernandez said on the Go Fund Me page. “The last thing he wants is anyone to pity him.”

And when Fuller found out about the page his niece set up, his reaction was as she had anticipated — “initially embarrassed and a bit upset.”

But, he explained in his own post, he was so overwhelmed with gratitude that “after a long cry, I realize(d) that it would be an insult to turn away any of the incredibly generous contributions or offers of help that I have received in person or seen on this site. I am humbled and honored beyond my ability to articulate it. Indeed, as I type this, I am weeping with gratitude and am just overwhelmed by all the love and support I am feeling.”

In keeping with her original intent to honor her uncle and abide by his modest wish to hang on to his pride, Escalante-Hernandes made it clear that the decision of how and what to give is priceless in itself.

“… Whether you donate money, clothes, your time and or services, a shoulder to cry on or simply an ear to listen, believe me it appreciated more than I can begin to explain,” Escalante-Hernandez said on the Go Fund Me page. “The sad fact is my uncle had no homeowners (stet) insurance and the house is a total loss. I would love for him to be able to rebuild his home but even if that’s not in the cards, I want you all to know that my family and especially my uncle will be forever grateful for everything that every one of you have done.”

She went on to explain what her uncle means to her and the community in which he has lived and served most of his life.

Fuller, she said, is 56 and has lived at 13 River Ave. in Monmouth Beach since the age of 3.

He is a 1974 graduate of Shore Regional High School; and, in his freshman year at Rutgers University, he was in a serious accident that ended up rendering him quadriplegic, Escalante-Hernandez’s post said.

After teaching himself to drive again, in 1979, Fuller began to work for the borough of Monmouth Beach, she added. He eventually became the borough’s tax collector and CFO.

He retired in 2012 after 33 years.

Fuller was rescued from the third floor during the early morning Jan. 28 fire, which was ruled accidental.

“I will be thanking everyone individually as I have the time, but I just wanted to express a public and deeply heartfelt thank you, to all who have reached out during this difficult time,” Fuller said on the Go Fund Me page. “You have turned despair into something beautiful. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. Bless you all.”

Click here for a direct link to the page where you may donate.

Slowed Travel: Oceanic Bridge Repairs to Begin

The following is an edited  press release from Monmouth County:

Oceanic Bridge repairs are scheduled  to start on Monday morning with an estimated completion date of mid-April; and, with them traffic delays are anticipated with scheduled lane and overnight full bridge closures,

The drawbridge, which spans the Navesink River between Rumson and Middletown, will undergo repair work to its structural steel and concrete deck beginning about 9 a.m..

To complete the work and keep the bridge open to traffic during peak traffic hours, the county has developed a staggered schedule to coordinate repairs with corresponding lane closures and fully operational and closed times.

Single lane closures during the mid-day and early evening hours will facilitate vehicular and pedestrian traffic. A full overnight closure will also be in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The schedule for fully operational times, lane closures and full closure is as follows:
• 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., both bridge lanes open to all traffic;
• 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. , single lane closure with alternating lanes of vehicular traffic;
• 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., both bridge lanes open to all traffic;
• 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., single lane closure with alternating lanes of vehicular traffic;
• and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. , bridge closed to pedestrian and vehicular traffic

For marine traffic, seasonal rules and scheduling will be in effect.

“This work must be done to keep the Oceanic Bridge in working condition during its regular operating season,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering in the release. “We appreciate the patience of the travelling public while we work to keep the bridge operational and get the necessary work completed.”

The staggered times will allow contractor George Harms Construction Co., Inc,. of Howell, to perform the required work above and below the bridge deck.

Motorists may want to plan an alternate route.

Motor vehicle traffic on Bingham Avenue between Rumson and Middletown should travel east and north through Sea Bright and Highlands to Middletown.

Motor vehicle traffic on Navesink River Road and Locust Point Road in Middletown should travel east and south through Middletown, Highlands and Sea Bright to Rumson.

Services for Fair Haven’s Barbara Bennett Set for Saturday

Fair Haven has lost a woman who many have referred to as a treasure of an environmentalist, neighbor and friend whom will be memorialized on Saturday.

A memorial service for longtime, well-known and liked Fair Havenite Barbara Bennett, who passed away after a brief illness on Jan. 24, will be held at Thompson Memorial Home, Red Bank, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 31.

Barbara, who was predeceased by husband Derry Bennett, the former head of the American Littoral Society, was known as an avid environmentalist and Clean Ocean Action volunteer. She is also remembered fondly as a birder, gardener, painter of nature, reader, New York Times crossword puzzle  , cook and jam-maker extraordonnaire, movie watcher, theatergoer, social worker, friend, neighbor, mom and grandma.

The Bennetts’ front lawn, uniquely flush with colorful perennials, sans the standard grass, was always a view this editor thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, many times a drive to Red Bank involved taking a detour past it just to brighten up the day. It always did the trick. Thanks for that!

” … our neighborhood and the Fair Haven community lost a feisty, energetic and profoundly caring woman,” Barbara and Derry’s neighbor Katy Badt Frissora said in a Facebook post the the Fair Haven page. “RIP Barbara Bennett.”

Born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1935, Barbara graduated from the Shipley School and attended the University of Pennsylvania and then went on to get her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and MSW from Rutgers University, her obituary said.

She married Derry, Derickson W. Bennett, in 1958. The couple had two children, Melanie and Rebecca, who they raised in upstate New York and in Fair Haven.

Barbara “worked as a dialysis social worker at Monmouth Medical Center in the early 1980s and volunteered with at-risk youth in a literacy program in the late 1980s.

She, in later years, became “a tireless volunteer with Clean Ocean Action and spent many years coordinating the annual Beach Sweeps events and editing the newsletter. She also was involved with the stewardship of Fair Haven Fields and volunteered with the Two River Theater,” her obituary said.

“One of her greatest joys was her beloved dog Jersey Girl. Barbara was a terrific cook and put up many a jar of Beach Plum and Spicy Peach jam to our delight.”

Barbara survived by: daughters Melanie Bennett, of Olympia, WA, and Rebecca Bennett, of Seattle, WA, and grandchildren Eric, Adrienne, and Galen.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Clean Ocean Action, P.O. Box 505, Highlands, NJ 07732, the American Littoral Society, 18 Hartshorne Drive, Suite #1, Highlands, NJ 07732, and Lunch Break, P.O. Box 2215, Red Bank, NJ 07701.

RFH Hot Topic: ‘Art, Censorship & Violence’

In light of the recent massacre of 12 staffers at the Paris headquarters of magazine Charlie Hebdo over a cartoon satirizing the Muslim prophet Muhammad, staff at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) held a seminar dubbed Art, Censorship and Violence for students to examine this and other similar global issues from both philosophical and historical perspectives.

The Jan. 13 study hall seminar, organized and hosted by RFH English teachers Erin Burke and Dana Maulshagen, social studies teachers Tom Highton and Mike Emmich, and art teacher Kate Okeson, 25 students opted to participate, a release from RFH said.

“Sometimes certain events occur and they really make you think about what you are doing at school and in your daily life,” Okeson told the students, according to the release. “We are hoping that this is just the start of a series of conversations we can have about what ‘plays out’ as a result of current events.”

Okeson sparked discussion by reading aloud from an Art, Censorship and Violence packet that was given to participants containing informational articles, links, and questions on the topic.

Among the issues addressed were those involving the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, or “freedom of speech,” the release added. Students and staff discussed the ways in which laws of certain cultures and religions can be misconstrued; and, whether anyone has the right to prevent any type of artist from displaying complete creative expression.

Questions the students grappled with: everything from “Does censorship promote ignorance?” to “Is freedom of expression always a good thing?”

“It is always a good idea to put yourself in the mindset of the people creating art, and to have an open mind toward other peoples’ perspectives as well as your own,” said sophomore Rachel Makstein in the release. “That might be a way to more fully understand creativity and censorship and other peoples’ motives.”

The teachers, according to the release, were pleased by the turnout as well as the results of the seminar and hope to plan similar events.

“I think that events like the one in Paris regarding censorship and violence can cause us to question ourselves,” Burke told the students. “But they also spark discussions like these, in which we are asking difficult questions such as ‘What is truly important for us to experience and be aware of?’

“I think we have all learned a lot from one another today, and I hope we can have more discussions like this in the future.”

Snowfall Scene at Nightfall

By Elaine Van Develde

All was calm in the Rumson-Fair Haven area after the blizzard hysteria settled into nightfall after a manageable snow storm.

People shoveled, walked dogs, sledded down streets and a colorful sunset set in down by the Navesink River.

Life is good and all is well in the R-FH area.

See for yourself.

Click on the arrow in the center of the slideshow above and click on the bottom right corner for a glimpse into the scene set to music. Enjoy!

Blizzard Goes Bust: Snow Angel Sabbatical?

 

Snow angels in training take time to chat and play. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Snow angels in training take time to chat and play.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

The snow must go on!

That’s what was continuously predicted for the Rumson-Fair Haven area from Sunday through Tuesday morning by the National Weather Service and climatologists all over. And the preparations — in the name of the boy scout credo and post traumatic stress disorder from Hurricane Sandy — took hold.

An epic blizzard was headed down the shore, according to the experts, and people needed to protect themselves. And they did.

The Rumson-Fair Haven area snow angels and unofficial junior apprentices were poised to help in the dig-out. Store shelves emptied, flashlights were loaded with batteries, fireplaces were stocked with wood, a state of emergency was declared, roads were emptied, local emergency responders were ready and people scurried into their homes at nightfall prepared to be stuck there for days. New Jersey was, essentially, closed. Until now.

In case you haven’t heard, the blizzard threat is no more and hasn’t been since this morning. The state of things outdoors shows it, too. It’s been downgraded to a snow storm. In fact, a winter storm warning is in effect until 3 p.m. today for the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

The National Weather Service, at the height of the threat, predicted up to 33 inches of snowfall over a two-day period and wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour. The forecast now calls for a possible accumulation of 1 to 2 inches today and a northwest wind of 20 to 22 miles per hour. And then the rain may fall before midnight.

But, school’s out today and a delayed opening is scheduled for all districts in the R-FH area. And the snow angels have been busy.

Those in training took a bit of a sabbatical to play, but they’re ready.

Thanks to the angels! Any seniors or people with disabilities who need help with removal should call the police department in Fair Haven and an angel will be sent your way.

The Next Generation of Snow Angels in Fair Haven

 

By Elaine Van Develde

No sooner did the snow start to steadily fall in Fair Haven than some neighbor kids hit the sidewalks in front of their houses equipped with colorful shovels great attitudes.

The gaggle of good little guys and girls got some quality romping and “work” in before it all got too tough to handle.

Between the snowmen, snow piles and festive shovels and grins, it was evident they were next in line for snow angel duty.

Referred to by many residents as snow angels, there is a group of teens in the area who sign up to clear driveways, sidewalks and steps for senior citizens and those with disabilities in town.

Watch out for this group!

Click on any image to enlarge to full size and hit next or previous image for the rest. 

Here Comes the Snow!

By Elaine Van Develde

As the weather outside in the Rumson-Fair Haven area started getting frightful, the view from the banks of the Navesink River was one filled with choppy waters and a blustery dusting of snow.

It all started Monday morning. As forecasts continue to promise piles of the white stuff, it was still stable enough to get out and capture a bit of the clam before the blizzard in the afternoon.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect hit the docks in Fair Haven and Rumson so people could get the picture.

Take a look at the photos above to get a glimpse into the beginning of the 2015 blizzard. Just click on any image to enlarge, and scroll.

Rumson on Blizzard Prep

 

With the predicted blizzard headed the Rumson way, officials are offering advisories on the borough’s website:

• Borough parks will close at dusk;

• There will be no Tuesday garbage collection;

• and Forrestdale, Deane Porter and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School will be closed on Tuesday.

Residents are also advised, according to a post by Councilman Ben Day, that there will be “NO overnight parking on Borough streets or Borough Parking Lots to allow for DPW Crews to clear. Cars left there will be towed.”

Mayor: Fair Haven is Blizzard-Ready

By Elaine Van Develde

“Fair Haven is ready,” Mayor Ben Lucarelli said of the impending blizzard on Monday afternoon.

There was a meeting of all major departments (police, emergency management and public works) at noon, he said, and all equipment is fueled up and ready to go, staff is on alert and well-rested, and supplies have been loaded.

Aside from the postponement of tonight’s Borough Council meeting to Thursday at 7 p.m., the mayor asked that “people please keep sidewalks clear and hydrants free of snow (3 feet in each direction with a path out to the street.”

Fair Haven’s two schools, Knollwood and Sickles, are both closed on Tuesday, according to the district website. There will be a delayed opening on Wednesday, Superintendent Nelson Ribon said in a post on the site.

The bulletin that was emailed to residents who have signed up for borough alerts and posted on the Fair Haven Facebook page is as follows:

“Tonight’s Council meeting is cancelled and has been rescheduled for Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

“Historic Commission meeting has been cancelled for Tuesday, January 27, 2015. Historic Commission will meet again at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

“Zones 3 & 4 trash service for Tuesday has been suspended. Trash pickup for Zones 3 & 4 will resume Friday, January 30, 2015.
Recycling for all zones has been suspended for Wednesday, January 28, 2015. Recycling will resume next Wednesday, February 4, 2015.
Borough Hall most likely will be closed Tuesday, January 27, 2015 and will reopen as soon as practical on Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

“Please remember to report all power outages directly to JCP&L.
Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the “Report Outage” link on www.firstenergycorp.com. In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility or their local police or fire department.

“Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity. Extra caution should be used in areas where downed lines are tangled in trees or other debris. Motorists are cautioned to treat intersections with inoperable traffic signals as four-way stops.

“FirstEnergy customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive billing reminders, weather alerts in advance of major storms, and updates on scheduled or extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts.

“More information about these communications tools is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect.

Borough Code 14-6.2 states that no person shall sweep, throw or deposit any snow or ice in that part of the street which has been or is being plowed, swept or cleared by the municipality for the passage of traffic.

“Property owners, tenants or occupants must clear the sidewalk in front of their property of all snow and/or ice within 24 hours after the end of the snowfall or the formation of ice. The path cleared must be a minimum of two feet in width (Ord. 14-6.1).

“If there is a fire hydrant in front of your home or business, please clear the snow around the hydrant. Borough Code 7-10.1 states whenever snow has fallen and the accumulation is such that it covers the streets and highways, an emergency shall exist and no vehicle shall be parked on the streets or highways or portions thereof indicated.

“The parking prohibitions shall remain in effect after the snow has ceased until the streets have been plowed sufficiently and to the extent that parking will not interfere with the normal flow of traffic.”

Communication Tools
Return to top Our customer app and mobile website provide on-the-go access to important information and services related to your electric account at WWW.FIRSTENERGYCORP.COM.

 

Crime Close By: Criminal Mischief, Theft

The following recent reports of criminal incidents next door in Red Bank were obtained from police records:

• An incident of criminal mischief — the entire length of a parked vehicle was keyed on both sides — was reported to have occurred sometime between Jan. 15 and 16 on Locust Avenue.

Patrolman Michael Zadlock took the report.

• The victim of an alleged incident of criminal mischief reported that on Jan. 18 an unknown person shattered both the far rear and driver’s side rear windows on a vehicle parked on Union Street.

Patrolman Patrick Kennedy took the report.

• The theft on Jan. 9 of a handicapped placard from a car on Maple Avenue was reported on Jan. 21.

Patrolman Cevin Albert took the report.

R-FH Schools Blizzard Prep: Early Dismissals

The impending blizzard brings with it closings and cancelled/postponed meetings and events within the next few days.

So far, in Rumson:

• There will be a 1 p.m. dismissal on Monday at Forrestdale and Deane Porter schools, according to the district website.

All activities are cancelled.

• The school district’s PARCC Parent Workshop set for Monday at 7 p.m. will be rescheduled. Check the district website for updates.

So far, in Fair Haven:

• There will be early dismissals on Monday at both Sickles and Knollwood schools, according to the latest post on the Fair Haven Schools website.

Sickles will dismiss at 12:10 p.m. and Knollwood at 12:30.

“For the safety and well-being of our students and staff, FH schools we will have an early dismissal today,” Superintendent Nelson Ribon post on the district website. “Overnight forecast models show a potential for extremely windy conditions (blizzard warnings) during the early afternoon along with snow.”night:

So far, for Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School:

• There will be an early dismissal at 11:45 a.m. on Monday.

All after-school activities have been cancelled.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect will update this article as information becomes available. Please check back for updates.