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Crime Close By: Theft, Criminal Mischief & Burglary

The following recent criminal incidents were reported by Red Bank police:

• There was a report of a burglary at a White Street business on March 16. An unknown person gained entry by prying a door open and reportedly stole approximately $200 in cash. Several coins and the cash register drawer were on the floor at the scene.

Patrolman Thomas Doremus took the report.

• There was a report of criminal mischief March 15 on Newman Springs Road. The victim reported that someone keyed his parked vehicle.

Patrolman Michael Zadlock took the report.

• There was a report of criminal mischief March 15 on Newman Springs Road. The victim reported that someone keyed his parked vehicle.

Patrolman Michael Zadlock took the report.

Continue reading Crime Close By: Theft, Criminal Mischief & Burglary

Editor’s Notes & the R-FH Area Week Ahead

Happy Monday, Rumson-Fair Haven area friends and fans!

OK, so spring has not exactly sprung as we would have liked quite yet, but it looks like there’s hope of some sort, soggy as it may be, for a rise in temps as the week progresses. Please!

In the meantime, it’s a chilly start to the week today.

There are Borough Council meetings in both Rumson and Fair Haven this week. Fair Haven’s meeting is Monday night at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall. Click here for the agenda. Rumson’s meeting is Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Borough Hall. Click here for that agenda.

Taking a look back at last week, here are some tidbits from the notebook the likes of which your editor is going to start sharing on a weekly basis:

Continue reading Editor’s Notes & the R-FH Area Week Ahead

Police: Shots Fired in Rumson Deemed Target Practice

By Elaine Van Develde

When it was reported to police that shots were fired in a Rumson home on Sunday evening, where they were called to an unrelated incident the night before, it turned out that friends of the homeowner were engaged in a makeshift target practice in the basement.

“Yes, they were shooting a .38 handgun into the wall of the basement — using a plywood target — of an Auldwood Lane home,” Rumson Police Detective Christopher Isherwood said on Monday morning. “The nanny heard the (numerous) shots and called police around 6:30 p.m. Police from the surrounding area — Fair Haven, Little Silver and Red Bank — and the (Monmouth County) Sheriff’s Office responded. Rumson police had responded to an incident at the same home the night before.”

Upon further investigation, police determined that there was no connection between the two incidents and that there was no violent use (or intent) of the gun. “No injuries,” Isherwood said.

They also discovered that one of the men involved in the target practice had a warrant out for his arrest.

Robert Toros, 36, of Philadelphia, PA, was charged with contempt of court and transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in lieu of $2500 bail, set by Judge Richard B. Thompson, Isherwood said.

Further charges may be lodged against those involved in the practice, Isherwood added, because, among other things, such a use in a residential area is prohibited by borough ordinance.


Services for Fair Haven’s Jeanetter Crowell Set


“Fair Haven has lost one of it’s pillars,” Fair Havenite Chris Brenner said on the borough’s Facebook page when the March 14 death of Jeanetter Crowell was announced.

Remembered as a top-notch seamstress, designer, gracious lady, friend, neighbor, wife and mom, comments flooded the page in remembrance of the 60-year Fair Haven resident who will be honored at a 10 a.m. Saturday viewing at Child’s Funeral Home in Red Bank followed by a noon service at the Fisk Chapel A.M.E. Church, 38 Fisk St., Fair Haven.

“She was the first friendly face to welcome us to Fair Haven many years ago, and I can’t imagine our neighborhood without her,” said Jeanetter Crowell’s neighbor Kevin Ryan in a memorial post of his own. “When I started working as the NJ child advocate, she came to my swearing-in, gave me a big hug and whispered in my ear, ‘stay close to Jesus.’ I’d like to think that’s her walk now, and one so richly deserved. Rest in peace sweet lady — we will miss you.”

And there were many more posts recounting her kindness and gentle, welcoming nature.

“Another piece of Fair Haven history gone,” John Olexa Sr. said. “RIP.”

“… So loved her, she was always so sweet when she came in to pay her taxes, borough tax collector Dale A Connor said. “She will missed.”

“She always opened her home to me whenever I came to town,” Nerphrita Norris said. “Had many good conversations with her. She was a part of my village.”

“Another passing of a good soul,” Carolynn Bruce Sickerman said.

Jeanetter Crowell was born on April 9, 1924 in Sumter, SC. The child of Reverend Jake Glisson and Lila Samuels Glisson, she graduated from St. Michael’s High School and attended Morris College in South Carolina.

Retired from Standard Awning Company, she “worked tirelessly on behalf of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union,” her obituary said.

Always seen around town ready to lend a hand wherever she could, Jeanetter is remembered as an avid volunteer in the church as a Sunday school teacher and as a pastor’s steward for the Steward board of Asbury Park’s Allen Chapel and Fisk A.M.E. Church Chapel.

In the community, she was involved in the PTA, Eastern Star, Democratic Party and was founder of the Ventures Club, a group that offered mentor and scholarship programs.

Once married to Powell Robinson, she was the mother of deceased Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School teacher Powell D. Robinson III, known as Dewey Robinson. She is survived by her daughter Rochelle Robinson Hendricks, according to her obituary on legacy.com.

Other than her son, Jeanetter was also predeceased by: her parents; her brothers, Abe, Luther, Jake, Jessie, Cliff, Joseph, Frank, James and Thomas; husbands, Powell Robinson and Curtis Crowell.

Besides her daughter, she is survived by: her sister, Leola Martin; daughter-in-law, Erika Robinson; grandchildren, Gioia and Matt Hermann, Talia and Sean Coles, Samson Hearn, Nygia Hearn, and Kiana Robinson; great-grandchildren, Alexandra and Josephine Hermann, Landon and Ronan Coles; special sister-in-law, Evelyn Cruz, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

Jeanetter Crowell will be laid to rest at Monmouth Memorial Park, Tinton Falls.

The R-FH Area Weekend: RFH ‘Young Frankenstein,’ ‘Godspell’ & a Wedding Walk


This weekend in the Rumson-Fair Haven area is all about theater and brides.


For tonight, Friday, take note that Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Tower Players’ production of Young Frankenstein has been postponed to Sunday night at 7 p.m.

• Curtain time for the Monmouth Players’ production of Godspell is 8:15 p.m.

Continue reading The R-FH Area Weekend: RFH ‘Young Frankenstein,’ ‘Godspell’ & a Wedding Walk

Fair Haven Mayor: ‘I’m Up to the Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets’

Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli and native Fair Havenite Dickson Mercer, speech writer for U.S. DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx Photo/courtesy of Ben Lucarelli
Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli and native Fair Havenite Dickson Mercer, speech writer for U.S. DOT Secretary Foxx
Photo/courtesy of Ben Lucarelli

By Elaine Van Develde

To know Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli is to know that he is an avid bicyclist and troubadour for safe bike and pedestrian travels. It’s also to know that the cycling he loves has taken two of his friends, people he cared for and admired, in the past two years, and walks across the street took two other members of the community before them.

So, the issue of bicycle and pedestrian safety on the streets where he lives hits home in more ways than one for Mayor Lucarelli.

Councilman Jerome Koch succumbed to injuries he sustained in a tragic accident with a motor vehicle while riding his bicycle last year. And triathlete Cole Porter died in 2013 after a mishap in the Tour de Fair Haven race when he collided with a race officiator on a closed borough-wide course.

Besides Lucarelli’s friends falling victim to fatal bike accidents, in the early 2000s a man was killed when hit by a car crossing River Road.  A woman was killed in 2009 crossing the same main street in the same area of the 1.6-square-mile borough.

So, when the mayor was offered the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, he eagerly accepted and headed to a summit “to identify and remove barriers to improving non-motorized safety” last week in Washington D.C..

The mayor is passionate about the idea of safely integrating pedestrian and bicycle traffic with motor vehicles. For him, that passion emanates from those focal home-base tragedies to encompass a community, even worldwide spectrum.

“We have people utilizing the roads right now and bad things are happening,” Lucarelli said on Wednesday. “It’s been very difficult (trying to come to terms with Porter and Koch’s deaths). To a certain extent, the effort I am putting forth with everything I’ve got is to honor both Cole and Jerome.”

While the mayor pointed out that there was a distinct difference in the cyclist tragedies — Porter’s being on a closed, motor vehicle traffic-free course — the legacies of the two are a persistent source of motivation. He was in the race Porter was in, yards away; and he had passed Koch on the road not long before before his accident.

“Jerome was just a regular guy — a father, a grandfather — out riding his bike around,” Lucarelli said. “It was an accident, an extremely tragic one that hit me hard. Unfortunately, it was also an example of how society is not yet acclimated to the integration of bikes in the flow of motor vehicle traffic — a growing, natural trend that’s becoming more and more necessary.”

For Lucarelli, it’s all about the general populace growing in accordance with a simple measure that keeps pace with ever-changing demographics, community revitalization, a healthier environment and pure economics.

And, for him, the mission begins at home, where his heart is.

Now after attending the Safer People, Safer Streets summit, Lucarelli says he’s even better prepared to be an ambassador for pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets his own town and promoting the innovation in the surrounding area. And he is equipped with what he sees as a trove of  information he’s anxious to share.

“While in American society the motor vehicle is the predominant mode of transportation, almost to a debilitating degree, there is now a greater demand to use roads for bicyclists and pedestrians, so that demand needs to be facilitated,” Lucarelli said. “Society’s changing in this direction and I think it’s for the better for everyone. We have to learn to use the roads in a more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly way. Suburbia needs to wake up and find these facilities.”

The mayor explained that statistics show that as the population increases, the demands on the infrastructure become more strained.

For instance, according to U.S. DOT estimates, the country’s population is slated to increase 25 percent in the next 30 years, or by about 80 million people, up from roughly 319 million.

In 2013, according to U.S. DOT statistics, there were about 4,300 vehicle-pedestrian accidents that resulted in death. The same year, there were 471 fatal vehicle-bicycle accidents.

Both the federal and state DOTs recognize that the shift becomes a more natural one with the statistic change and encourages nationwide involvement to the extent that, Lucarelli said, many of the grants available will be given more liberally to the municipalities that embrace the concept.

“It makes sense. There’s not enough money, or room, to widen roads to accommodate the coinciding increase in vehicular traffic,” he said. “So, we need to rely more on a combination of mass transit, pedestrian and bike traffic so that vehicular traffic is reduced. When bicycle and pedestrian lanes are added to roads, and people acclimate to knowing they are there, it’s for the better.”

In Europe, Lucarelli noted, the acclimation has been historically consistent. Europeans are less reliant on cars as a chief mode of transportation and more on bikes, so the roads are naturally more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

And it’s cheap to make the change, he said. It involves, in most cases, a bucket, or few, of paint. As part of the state DOT Complete Streets initiative, bike lanes are painted onto the existing main roadways with what’s dubbed sharrows, on-road signage to signal narrowing.

It’s also much more difficult to get a license to operate a motorized vehicle, including motorcycles, he noted. The licenses are graduated with the power of the vehicle. For instance, he said, it would take six years to get a license for a 100 horsepower motorcycle in France, whereas in the United States it’s more a matter of months, if that.

And in Europe, where cyclists outnumber drivers, there are no helmet laws, just by virtue of the fact that drivers are naturally more aware, Lucarelli said.

“Here, in the United States, you need a vehicle to survive,” he said. “So, the standards are different.”

And the U.S. DOT is busy fulfilling what officials there have said is a salient need to bring bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly travel to the states.

For the immediate area, including Sea Bright, Rumson, Fair Haven and Red Bank, the mayor said he’d like to see a marked main roadway paths for cyclists in stretches from one bordering town the other.

The roads are county roads, so that must come with county road improvements. Fair Haven has been implementing its own Streetscape program for the past several years. The NJ DOT Complete Streets end of it he said he hopes to see come to fruition by 2016.

And he’s been adamant about pushing it.

“The change is happening, the DOT is backing it and we’re going with it,” Lucarelli said.


Facts Behind the RFH Boys Basketball SCT Win

The following information was culled from a press release issued by Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.

News spread very quickly when the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Boys Basketball team made history with its first Shore Conference Tournament (SCT) victory, toppling Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) with a 50-24 score.

Since the Feb. 27 banner game, though, more milestones have been hit.

RFH point guard Brendan Barry has been named Player of the Year and Varsity Head Coach Chris Champeau has been named Coach of the Year by the Shore Coaches Association, according to a press release from RFH.

Here are some other facts about the game that you may or may not know:

Continue reading Facts Behind the RFH Boys Basketball SCT Win

Rumson’s Paul Shea Passes Away at 90


The following is the edited obituary of Paul J. Shea, courtesy of Thompson Memorial Home:

Lifetime Rumson resident Paul J. Shea Sr. passed away on March 13 at the NJ Fireman’s Home, Boonton. He was 90.

A member of the Rumson Fire Company for 69 years, Paul was a communicant of Holy Cross Church in Rumson, and, for 25 years, was the sexton for St. Georges-by-the-River Episcopal Church in Rumson.

He proudly served his country in World War II as a gunner in the U.S. Navy in all three theaters of war.

Paul was predeceased by: his wife Carole D. Lennen, who died in 2003; his twin brother, Thomas; and his brother Daniel.

He is survived by: his son, Paul J. Shea, Jr. and wife Elaine, of Lincroft; and his sister, Lillian Briskey, of Oceanport.

Visitation will be held on Friday, March 20, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad Street, Red Bank.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 21 at 9 a.m. at St. James RC Church, Red Bank.

Interment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Middletown.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial donations to the Monmouth County SPCA, 260 Wall Street, P.O. Box 93, Eatontown, NJ 07724, or online at www.monmouthcountyspca.org.

Anyone who would like to contribute memories/comments for a memorial tribute to Paul is welcome to send them to evd@rfhretro.com.

A Retro Ode to Briody Bunch on St. Paddy’s Day

‘Tis St. Patrick’s Day.

So, to honor the day with some local connection, our Retro Pic of the Day takes a look at Rumson’s Briody  family, fondly referred to as The Briody Bunch.

The crew with longtime Rumson roots always marches, and rides, in the Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Here they are!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Tell us about your favorite “bunch,” or family of Irish heritage in the area.

Rumson Teen Relays in Memory of RFH Grad, Grandma

By Elaine Van Develde

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) graduate and lifetime Rumsonite Brittany Hopkins is prepping to take long trek for life in remembrance of two people who made an indelible impact on her life through their fights with and deaths to cancer — former fellow RFH grad, Alyson Raywood, and her grandmother, former Aberdeen resident Mathilde Altinger.

Both died in the fall of 2014 — Raywood on Oct. 11, 2014.

Raywood, 18, a member of the RFH Class of 2014 who is now a freshman at Boston College (BC), will join roughly 1,500 fellow undergraduates in a 12-hour American Cancer Society Relay for Life walk-a-thon,  at the college this weekend. And she’ll be doing it in the name of Raywood and Altinger.

At Boston College, where there are 9,000 undergraduates, “it is the largest non-athletic event on campus,” Hopkins said. “On Feb. 22, BC officially hit the $1 million mark of fundraising over the past 8 years. We are the first university in Massachusetts to do this. Boston College is trying to raise $175,000 this year; and so far we have raised $102,000.”

Hopkins was motivated by the love of her grandmother and the perseverance of Raywood, a 2013 RFH grad. Though she said she wasn’t close with Raywood, she saw her grow sick and couldn’t help but admire her for her positive outlook and bright smile in the face of adversity.

Hopkins’ motivation catapulted her into the fundraiser walk. She felt it was the least she could do to help in the fight against the cancer that stole two people with pivotal, unassuming roles in her life and the lives of so many others.

“When Alyson passed away, it seemed like a part of Rumson passed with her,” Hopkins said. “You could see how distraught the community was. This was the same with my grandmother. My grandmother was the most genuine, kind, generous person that anyone could imagine. When I lost her, I lost a part of myself.

“My grandmother and Alyson were incredibly strong and could put a smile on anyone’s face. It was a shame to watch cancer take over them, but I know they’re still with us in a way. It’s sad that a disease can take such special people away. I hope that we can decrease the amount of people diagnosed and that one day we can find a cure.”

Hopkins is Corporate Sponsorship chair on the Relay for Life Committee.

She has set a personal goal to raise $3,000 and is $300 shy of it. She is appealing to the Rumson-Fair Haven community for a boost for the May 20 to 21 walk.

Check out Hopkins’ fundraising page for Relay for Life at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/brittanyhopkins
or contact Hopkins directly at brittany.1.hopkins@gmail.com.

A Fair Haven Farewell to Chum Chandler

By Elaine Van Develde

As was true-to-form for Chum Chandler, people are scratching their heads … itching to know where time went and why it must inevitably take someone like him away.

Mourned in a celebration of his life on Saturday, Chum Chandler, an iconic, lifelong Fair Havenite and 64-year fireman, was remembered as tall order of head-scratching, suspender-donning, side-splitting tough wrapped in a tender life embrace.

He called people by the wrong names just to mess with them. He loved to sneak in some sweets. His tell-it-like-it-is sayings spared no one. He was lovingly stingy with his show of emotion. He adorned his family and friends with a lot of anecdotal stories and strength. His eyes twinkled with mischief. He had no pretense.

He was, yes, a Fair Haven character — a big chunk of community foundation.

His family and friends told his story on Saturday at the Fair Haven firehouse — a place where Chum spent many years. But everyone knew him already.

They knew that guy. They knew his story. That’s because he was the kind of stuff Fair Haven is made of — a World War II U.S. Navy veteran, husband, father, brother, friend, neighbor, volunteer and just an unassuming, hard-working man trying to do the right thing, enjoy life to the fullest and pay it forward.

And, by all accounts, he did just that.

“It’s not what you take with you when you leave this world, it’s what you leave behind when you go,” his memorial card read.  “You left behind more than you could ever imagine …”

The family and friends of Chum still tried to account for it all, but what he left behind was more than they could possibly summon in a day’s worth of remembrance. Still, they made it through with enough Chum snippets and sound bites to celebrate him.

They talked about his ornery humor. It made them laugh between the tears. There was nothing blurred about their vision of Chum, though.

Daughter Lizzie scratched her head in imitation of her dad and his infernal noggin itch as, inevitably, some nugget of humor, wisdom or “one-of-a-kind” advice would drop out of his mouth like a candy in a Pez dispenser.

Carol, forever teased for talking too much, grappled to find the right words — words that she wished would prompt a familiar “Go pound salt!” from dad above.

He had lived with her for the past four years, she said. Fetching him some tea, feeding him something that his stomach wanted and just looking in on him to see if he was comfortably resting at bedtime was what she had grown accustomed to doing — “caring and worrying about you every day, even though you were independent,” like a parent.

The roles had reversed. And, she said, the nurturing became treasured time.

Grandson Michael (Chandler) West was grateful for having had a grandfather like Chum, with a special brand of gusto that caused him to insist that his girlfriend Dana’s name was Donna, because, when corrected, “Dana, Donna … same thing,” was the only answer he got. Until Dana turned the tables on him.

And, Michael said, Pop-Pop turned out to be one of the funniest people Dana ever met.

“Turn that s**t down!” he imitated, remembering Pop-Pop knocking on his brother Chandler’s wall when the video games started to sound like bad, newfangled rock music to him.

Ever so lively, Michael said he wasn’t used to seeing his grandfather so calm.

Before he died, he was sleeping. It was quiet and dark. Michael just wanted to spend some time with his grandfather, “even if you weren’t awake.

“But what did I see? As I turned around the corner and entered the dark room with the lights turned off, I see something I haven’t seen for a few weeks now. I see this white flash moving back and forth. It’s none other than you scratching that ‘damn itch’ on your damn head that you ‘almost damn near got’ for the past five or six years!”

He got it. His family got it. His friends got it. The community got it. There’s no more head-scratching for Warren “Chum” Chandler.

The 89-year-old father to seven, grandfather to 15 and great-grandpa to three, with one one the way, was laid to rest on Monday at B.G. William Doyle Veterans Cemetery, Arneytown, N.J.

But those he left behind will keep itching to fulfill a legacy like his.

RIP, Warren “Chum” Chandler. We’re scratching.

Fair Haven Police Beat: Fugitive from Justice Arrested, $100K Bail

Fair Haven police reported the following incidents and arrests for the month of February. An arrest does not constitute a conviction.


• Sheikh Bilal, 50, of Jersey City, was arrested on Feb. 10 following a motor vehicle stop when an active full extradition warrant out of Louisiana was found to be on file.

The Louisiana warrant was based on charges that included two felony counts of worthless checks. Bilal was charged with being a fugitive from justice.

The arrest was made by Special Officer Brooks Robinson. Bail was set at $100,000 with no 10 percent option.

Bilal was transported to Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold to await extradition to Louisiana to face his previous charges (according to the warrant).

• Garry Vandemark II, 32, of Atlantic Highlands was arrested following a motor vehicle stop on Feb. 6 and charged with driving while suspended, unlawful possession of a weapon and obstruction by Special Officer Brooks Robinson.

He was released pending a Fair Haven court appearance.

• Ryan Marchese, of Red Bank, was arrested on Feb. 28 following a traffic stop on an active warrant out of Middletown for his arrest.

He was released after posting bail. Special Officer Brooks Robinson made the arrest.


• A Linden Drive resident reported on Feb. 6 that someone had filed a fraudulent 2014 tax return in his name.

Patrolman John Koetzner is investigating.

• A River Road business reported on Feb. 9 that someone had broken a window in the front of her store.

Cpl. John Waltz took the criminal mischief report.

• A Gillespie Avenue resident reported on Feb. 11 that they had video surveillance of an unknown male trespassing on their property.

Detective Stephen Schneider investigated and identified the trespasser as a juvenile.

The case has been forwarded to Juvenile Officer Patrolman William Lagrotteria for review.

• A Highland Avenue resident reported on Feb. 16 that someone attempted to file a fraudulent tax return in her name.

Detective Stephen Schneider took the report and is investigating.

• An Oxford Avenue resident reported on Feb. 24 that there were fraudulent charges on her debit card.

Patrolman Dwayne Reevey took the report and is investigating.