Tag Archives: Fair Haven

Scene Around: A Fair Havenite’s Beautiful Morning & Forecast

Sunrise view from Manhattan
Photo/Bill Heath

It’s not the musical Oklahoma, but the song “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” certainly came to mind when seeing this snapshot from Fair Havenite Bill Heath, retired borough police officer and now a captain with SeaStreak Ferries.

Continue reading Scene Around: A Fair Havenite’s Beautiful Morning & Forecast

Memorial Set for Longtime Fair Havenite & Volunteer, Nancy Drake

A memorial has been set for longtime Fair Havenite Nancy Badt Drake on what would have been her 89th birthday, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday at John E. Day Funeral Home, Red Bank. A service will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Nancy passed away on Nov. 7 at Brandywine Assisted Living in Shrewsbury.

Continue reading Memorial Set for Longtime Fair Havenite & Volunteer, Nancy Drake

A Retro Happy Thanksgiving from the Kids’ Table

Thanksgiving at the kids' table in the 1960s with Kate and Ben Hamilton Photo/Hamilton family
Thanksgiving at the kids’ table in the 1960s with Kate and Ben Hamilton
Photo/Hamilton family

It’s Thanksgiving, and, yes, it’s all about giving thanks.

So, the Retro Pic of the Day is an ode to just that.

It’s a snapshot back in time to the 1960s with a sibling duo from Fair Haven — Ben and Kate Hamilton. Ben passed away and Kate had posted this picture on Facebook giving thanks for him. RIP, Ben.

The photo brings back memories of the era the kids’ holiday table. Remember that one?

Continue reading A Retro Happy Thanksgiving from the Kids’ Table

In Memorium: Former Rumson & Fair Haven Resident, Mary Jane Barron

Former Rumson and Fair Haven resident Mary Jane Barron died of natural causes on Nov. 6.

A longtime member of St. George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church in Rumson, she was the first woman to have been elected warden of the church, her obituary said. In addition to being very active in the church, she was known to love spending time on the beach in Sea Bright, playing bridge and tennis and gardening.

Continue reading In Memorium: Former Rumson & Fair Haven Resident, Mary Jane Barron

An R-FH Area Veterans’ Homage

« 1 of 2 »

Their faces are the faces at the core of a close-knit community. Some have passed. Some are still with us. They are cherished. They are veterans.

They were and are neighbors, dads, and just plain friendly faces around the Rumson-Fair Haven area towns.

They served. They fought for freedom in World War II and the Korean War.

They lived and still do live their lives with hometown pride, honor and respect. They were, they are founding fathers, friends. They were, they are cornerstones of the sense of community that is the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

The gift of their legacies bears no upscale real estate market value. They passed along a love of country and community that is priceless.

Thank you, on Veterans Day, to the veterans of the area who have passed and are still with us. You are cherished, honored.

Take a look at some of their faces and remember the legacy they carry.

— Elaine Van Develde

— Photos, courtesy of families of the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

Fair Haven Police Report: Vandalism, Stolen Vehicle, DWI, Marijuana

The following October criminal incidents and arrests were reported by Fair Haven police. An arrest does not constitute a conviction.

Criminal Incidents

• There was a report on Oct. 18 of vandalism at the Fair Haven Community Center Park. Vulgar graffiti was scrolled on the playground. Juvenile officers Michael Volker and William Lagrotteria investigated and found the juvenile responsible.

• There was a report on Oct. 10 of a stolen vehicle. The vehicle was later recovered in Newark. Patrolman Eric Patton took the report.

Arrests

• Ernest Calabrese, 46, of Fair Haven, was arrested on Oct. 28 and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) by Patrolman Eric Patton following a motor vehicle accident. Calabrese was also issued associated motor vehicle summonses.

• Symone Dade, 29, of Highlands, was arrested on Oct. 3 and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in a motor vehicle by Patrolman Michael Volker.

Retro Flirty Fair Haven Council Team

Fair Haven’s newly-elected council members as Knollwood Class Flirts
Photo/Knollwood School Yearbook, screenshot from council candidates’ Facebook page

From class flirts to council members. That’s the path on which life has taken Fair Haven’s newly-elected Borough Council members Meg Chrisner-Keefe and Mike McCue.

Continue reading Retro Flirty Fair Haven Council Team

Elections: How The Governing Body Works in Fair Haven

As people go to the polls to vote in Fair Haven today, there are some facts about the borough governing body and its function and history that may have eluded many.

So, the notion in mind that an informed voter is a better voter, here are some facts that may enlighten and inspire at the polls:

Continue reading Elections: How The Governing Body Works in Fair Haven

Fair Haven Council Candidate’s Q&A: Meg Chrisner-Keefe

In Fair Haven’s Borough Council elections on Nov. 5, four are vying for two three-year seats on the six-seat dais: two incumbent Republicans and two Democrat challengers. Meghan Chrisner-Keefe is making her first run for public office as a Democrat candidate. Below is R-FH Retro’s Q&A with Chrisner-Keefe …

Democrat Fair Haven Borough Council candidate Meghan Chrisner-Keefe

Name, age, street address 

Meghan Chrisner-Keefe, 36 years old, 25 Beechwood Pl, Fair Haven.

Where did you grow up? What about your hometown do you think ultimately shaped your desire to serve the town in which you live? Any specific incident or experience? 

When I think about growing up in Fair Haven, I think about my lifelong friends and the places around town where we spent time together, our shared experiences and how it made me feel.

I want to serve the community that raised me and fostered my dearest memories and relationships which are the result of Fair Haven’s strong traditions and sense of community. I am grateful to raise my own children here and hope my grandchildren have the opportunity as well. 

What did you admire most about your hometown? Its greatest attribute?

Fair Haven has an incredible sense of community. It values its residents, both new and old, supports its children and fosters strong relationships. I am grateful that we can call our neighbors and friends an extension of our family and part of our village. 

How long have you been a Fair Haven resident? If there were periods in which you relocated, please explain why and where you lived? What prompted you to move to Fair Haven or come back, if that’s the case? 

My family moved to Fair Haven when I was 8 years old. After graduating from RFH, I spent four years at Syracuse University, followed by several years working in New York City. I lived in downtown Newark during my 1L year of law school and then moved to Red Bank. When my husband James and I were expecting our first child, we began looking for our first home in the area.

Moving to Fair Haven was the only option in my mind – I wanted my children to have the same experiences I had growing up. I met my lifelong friends in second grade at Knollwood when I moved here as a kid and we can now tell each other’s life stories.  

What do you consider the single most important issue facing Fair Haven residents? Please choose one issue only on which to focus. How do you propose it be remedied? Please be specific.

Taxes are on everyone’s mind. Every single decision of the governing body has a tax impact and component. While municipal taxes only account for 20 percent of everyone’s tax bill, it is critical that every cent in and every cent out reflects the collective desires of our residents.

Opening the budget and finance committee meetings to the public will engage more residents in the process and allow more collaboration on our town’s spending, particularly as it relates to bigger ticket expenses, as well as fixed and variable expenses. When we increase awareness of Fair Haven’s finances by making the public part of the process, there is an opportunity for improved understanding and appreciation of our property taxes. 

What is your professional career? What do you think is the most misunderstood perception of your line of work? How will your professional skills and make you a more effective public official? How does the particular misperception of your career that you cited make you better equipped to serve the public? 

I am a practicing attorney at Smith Eibeler in Holmdel. We primarily represent employees in both litigated and negotiated matters including unlawful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination and whistleblower cases.

If elected, my skillset will be particularly effective in advocating for our residents, analyzing complex legal issues, drafting ordinances and communicating with Fair Haven’s residents — things I do on a daily basis in my professional life. This skillset and perspective are not represented on the current council.

There’s a misperception that attorneys like to argue when in reality we’re simply advocating for our clients’ positions and trying to reach a resolution of the conflict. My ability to advocate, negotiate and craft settlements and solutions will be an asset to both representing residents’ needs and managing Fair Haven’s current litigations.

What do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of local municipal officials’ work and/or character? Why do you think that is? How would you propose changing that perception?

I believe the amount of time our municipal officials, both elected and appointed, spend taking care of Fair Haven is not well understood.

When borough business takes place behind closed doors or happens over calls, citizens cannot appreciate how much time they spend away from their jobs and families to do Fair Haven’s work.

If elected I will urge the council to engage in more public conversation on all agenda items, advocate for public meetings of boards, commissions and committees and commit to instituting streaming of borough meetings. 

Do you have any past experience on any governing body, local board or commission or committee? If not in Fair Haven, then where, in what capacity and for how long?

In law school I was part of a research team and served as a senior member of the team during my 3L year. Last year I worked with a small group of community members to raise funds for the new toddler playground at Fair Haven Fields. I am a current member of the Natural Area Committee, for which I served in a volunteer capacity for one year and have been a member of for the past year.

Cite a specific accomplishment in your life that has made you most proud — anything, from having an effect on one person or thing to initiating some sort of worldwide change. Why? How do you think this equipped you for public service? 

Attending and graduating law school has been an accomplishment that I return to daily as the reason many things have happened in my life. I never expected law school to be along my life path and I am proud of the not-for-profit clinics I participated in as a student, the research team I was a part of and that I am now a litigator advocating for my clients’ rights every day against small and large employers alike. If elected, my legal training and advocacy skills will be an asset to our council. 

Fair Haven Borough Council members are volunteer public servants. There is no pay or health benefits involved. It is also a very time-consuming job that requires transparency and accessibility to the public. What benefit is there for you, specifically, besides the obvious serving the town in which you live? 

I have a strong appreciation for democracy and believe there is opportunity for improved representation in Fair Haven. I’ve been speaking up at council meetings for some time now and decided it’s time to step up.

Time after time, despite attending meetings and asking questions, I was not afforded the information I sought. In the absence of transparency and accountability, democracy cannot function.

Enabling Fair Haven’s residents to have access to information, participate in the process and receive answers to questions are all goals of mine. If elected, the benefit for me is the benefit for all — restoring the trust of the governing body to one that is approachable, inclusive and communicative. 

In response to the contentious outcry from residents over a new business coming to town, a new business committee has been formed. The committee is designed to serve ONLY in an advisory capacity with respect to the community’s wishes involving incoming businesses. Do you think it will be effective? Why or why not? 

The governing body has appointed the Restaurant Committee to explore possible land use and zoning ordinances to replace the ones that resulted in the extensive hearings on the Dunkin’ application.

I believe the committee itself has already been and will continue to be effective in engaging in open and honest discussions and hearing Fair Haven’s citizens. I am hopeful that the governing body will honor its duty to embrace our representative form of government and strongly consider the committee’s recommendations once issued.

Affordable housing is another hot button issue in Fair Haven. The borough has not met its obligation. From a PURELY HYPOTHETICAL vantage, if you were given the ultimate power to satisfy the original need of 371 units deemed by the Fair Share Housing Committee, what sort of units would you propose bringing into the borough and where would you put them if the sufficient land were yours for the taking? 

Hypothetically, I would propose a variety of housing solutions to satisfy the need, including some typical units such as houses, condos and apartments, as well as creative housing solutions such as small scale housing solutions (think tiny houses), co-housing concepts and accessory structures (as was recommended in the 2016 Master Plan).

Again, hypothetically, a healthy mix of housing styles woven throughout our community would be an interesting approach to meet the varying needs and income levels of our community.

Which local municipal governing body member, in Fair Haven or the surrounding area (any town), do you admire most and why? Past or present. 

I’ve spent a lot of time attending borough meetings in the past few years. I am particularly impressed with Councilwoman Betsy Koch. I knew her from my days attending Knollwood and always felt she was an encouraging teacher and mentor for all students.

Now in her role as councilwoman, I see her advocacy for residents and appreciate her approach and effort to address needs and concerns. Councilwoman Koch’s energy and involvement is admirable and I am grateful for her continued commitment and work in Fair Haven.

All candidates expressed at the debate a desire to keep seniors in Fair Haven. It is a dwindling population, due to the high cost to live in the borough. If you won the lottery and became a billionaire, what would you do, personally, to help your senior neighbors live their lives out in Fair Haven? 

There are many tools and programs already available to reduce, limit or freeze eligible seniors’ taxes and Fair Haven should examine programs that would help our seniors remain in Fair Haven — we can do this and help our senior neighbors NOW.

If I became a billionaire, I would use the funds to establish a sustainable, well-researched program to support Fair Haven’s senior residents. 

Is there anything you would like to add that you feel is critical to your platform/candidacy? Please explain why. 

I’d like to thank all of our elected and appointed officials who work hard and generously volunteer their time and skills to our amazing town. I hope to earn your vote TOMORROW and have the opportunity to serve the Fair Haven community as an elected official.

Fair Haven Council Candidate’s Q&A: Jonathan Peters

In Fair Haven’s Borough Council elections on Nov. 5, four are vying for two three-year seats on the six-seat dais: two incumbent Republicans and two Democrat challengers. Jonathan Peters is a Republican incumbent candidate. He is currently Fair Haven Borough Council president. He has served on council for 15 years and is seeking a sixth three-year term. Below is R-FH Retro’s Q&A with Peters …

Republican incumbent Fair Haven Borough Council candidate Jonathan Peters

Name, age, street address 

Jonathan Peters, 56, 100 Park Avenue

Where did you grow up? What about your hometown do you think ultimately shaped your desire to serve the town in which you live? Any specific incident or experience? 

I grew up on the South Shore of Staten Island.  I was involved with recreational sailing and fishing from a very young age.  These experiences gave me a strong connection to the natural environment and the ocean.  That probably drew me to this community.  My desire to serve came from my father — who volunteered in our community — and who was a role model as to how one should help your community. 

What did you admire most about your hometown? Its greatest attribute?

A strong sense of community and family. Growing up on an island is much like living on the Rumson Peninsula, where we have strong geographic boundaries to our community and that helps us bond over common challenges.

How long have you been a Fair Haven resident? If there were periods in which you relocated, please explain why and where you lived? What prompted you to move to Fair Haven or come back, if that’s the case? 

My wife and I moved to Fair Haven in 1999 from Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  Being a waterman since I was a kid, I wanted to get back near the ocean and bays. The great schools, proximity to the water and my wife’s new job in Freehold motivated us look around the area. The walkable aspects and nice downtown attracted us to Fair Haven.

What do you consider the single most important issue facing Fair Haven residents? Please choose one issue only on which to focus. How do you propose it be remedied? Please be specific.

A continued focus on evolving the community to meet the needs of our residents.  The onslaught of online shopping options is changing the nature of downtown business districts.  As a community, we need to explore options as to how we can maintain a walkable and useful downtown commercial district for the benefit of our residents and businesses. As the government, we need to “set the table” — we need to manage the public infrastructure and business rules so that we encourage responsible private investment — an then we need to let the business owners do what they do best — provide goods and services.  

What is your professional career? What do you think is the most misunderstood perception of your line of work? How will your professional skills and make you a more effective public official? How does the particular misperception of your career that you cited make you better equipped to serve the public? 

I am a professor of economics and public finance at The City University of New York.  I think there is a perception that professors are somewhat detached from society.  I have not found that to be broadly the case, but I do think that it is unfortunate that more professors do not serve in public office.  

I believe that would help the professors understand society better as well as bring more cutting edge ideas to the public sector.  My training in economics and public policy have greatly aided my efforts in Fair Haven.  

My knowledge of public finance I believe has been very useful in helping the borough design the funding methods for our public facilities, be it fire engines, roads, parks, sports fields or open space.   Professors are very good a focusing on the long term — we do it all the time as we work on our research projects — which may take years or decades. I am very good at maintaining focus on the long game here in the Borough, and that is very helpful in solving major problems.

What do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of local municipal officials’ work and/or character? Why do you think that is? How would you propose changing that perception?

I think some members of the general public think that municipal officials can solve every problem that arises to their personal satisfaction. In many cases, problems may not have a consensus solution — where most townspeople agree on what is the right solution. That presents a challenge to an elected official, as we generally want to represent the views of our constituents. But it is not possible to represent all views if there is not complete consensus on an issue; and most issues do not have complete consensus from the residents.  

Talking about issues in an open way I think is the best way to help residents develop a sense of engagement and compromise as well as get the best ideas on the table.

Do you have any past experience on any governing body, local board or commission or committee? If not in Fair Haven, then where, in what capacity and for how long?

 Yes, I have served on Borough Council for the last 15 years. I am currently the Borough Council President.  My service on Borough Council has taken up most of my volunteering time over the last decade or so.

Cite a specific accomplishment in your life that has made you most proud — anything, from having an effect on one person or thing to initiating some sort of worldwide change. Why? How do you think this equipped you for public service? 

I have spent the bulk of my professional life as a university professor with a specialty in economics and public finance. I hope that I have been a role model for my students and that I have inspired them to be engaged members of their home communities.

I have had the great pleasure to see a good number of my students become productive business leaders, good citizens and parents, and that has been a great joy.

Serving on Borough Council here in Fair Haven offers me an opportunity to use my academic skills in a practical way, and to continue to learn and change based upon my service. Serving as an elected official has taught me a great deal about practical politics and working with people that has contributed to my research and teaching.

Fair Haven Borough Council members are volunteer public servants. There is no pay or health benefits involved. It is also a very time-consuming job that requires transparency and accessibility to the public. What benefit is there for you, specifically, besides the obvious serving the town in which you live? 

For me, I have a strong sense of duty and I believe that if I want to have the right to critique our systems, I have to be willing to serve in a policy role in our community.  I also think that this is the best way that I can serve.

As a professor of public finance, I like to put my professional training and theories into practice.  So far, the financial community has liked the performance of our financial controls, awarding Fair Haven a AA+ bond rating that we have maintained over the last 10 years —five rankings above the State of New Jersey that is ranked A-.

In response to the contentious outcry from residents over a new business coming to town, a new business committee has been formed. The committee is designed to serve ONLY in an advisory capacity with respect to the community’s wishes involving incoming businesses. Do you think it will be effective? Why or why not? 

I think it is key to have a good discussion of the issues that face the borough. The committee seems to me to be the best mechanism to gather opinions and ideas about this issue. 

The results will be shared with the Borough Council and the land use boards.  At that point, we need to see if any changes need to be made to the land use rules for Fair Haven. It is very important to understand that municipal land use ordinances can and do provide guidance to land owners, but they have limited scope as to what the private sector can do with the property that they own.

Affordable housing is another hot button issue in Fair Haven. The borough has not met its obligation. From a PURELY HYPOTHETICAL vantage, if you were given the ultimate power to satisfy the original need of 371 units deemed by the Fair Share Housing Committee, what sort of units would you propose bringing into the borough and where would you put them if the sufficient land were yours for the taking? 

Our current obligation looks to be two units — based upon our existing vacant land — so 371 units is a very big leap from a plan that reflects on the fully built out nature of our community. That being said, it has been hard to develop a plan in Fair Haven, as we have had a number of targets over the years set by the state agencies and the number of units needed varied widely. That made it hard to develop a firm plan that we could execute, as the scope of the units would impact how the plan should develop.

Best practices in this area (and I teach Urban Planning) generally tend to favor both mixed use facilities and transit accessible development, where you have housing over stores in a downtown and lower income housing along transit routes. This would make the River Road corridor our best potential site for low and moderate income housing. 

A second issue to consider is inclusive zoning, where the town gives a certain bonus in terms of housing units, typically 20 percent additional units, that are provided by a developer of a property and are mixed in with other market rate units. Those two solutions seem to me to be the most helpful in solving your hypothetical question.  

Which local municipal governing body member, in Fair Haven or the surrounding area (any town), do you admire most and why? Past or present. 

I have had the opportunity to work with a number of great people who served on Borough Council in Fair Haven. I value what each one has contributed to my understanding of politics, public policy and personalities.  

Some of my best lessons came from people who I did not admire – but they still taught me important lessons. It would be unfair for me to pick a favorite — I have served with so many.  I would say that one event that stands out is when Mayor Joe Szostak and the council members came together to lead a bipartisan group in building a better community after a very turbulent election. 

I was impressed by the bipartisan behavior on both sides during that time, and I continue to work to foster a sense of collegiality on the council between our members from both parties.  

All candidates expressed at the debate a desire to keep seniors in Fair Haven. It is a dwindling population, due to the high cost to live in the borough. If you won the lottery and became a billionaire, what would you do, personally, to help your senior neighbors live their lives out in Fair Haven? 

The key thing is to try to control costs and limit the increases in the tax bill for seniors. It is also critical to maintain support for critical services such as the Fair Haven Rescue Squad who provide important services for senior residents.   

A billion dollars would offer an individual a significant amount of money to donate annually to the community.  I would suggest that if we could provide a partial subsidy to property taxes for low and moderate income residents who have paid taxes in the town for 25+ years that might help a lot, and that is what I would probably do.

Is there anything you would like to add that you feel is critical to your platform/candidacy? Please explain why. 

I want to continue to serve the community. I think I still have a bunch of good ideas to move forward. I also am pretty good now at balancing our community goals with the financial realities of a town where 95 percent of the local government expenditures come from our local taxes and only 5 percent comes from the state.   

I have been a leader on shared services and privatization of public services in our community over the last decade. Fair Haven was recently ranked #21 in New Jersey Monthly’s Best Town’s report, and I hope that I have contributed along with many others to make our town one of the best in the state. I hope to continue to provide calm and thoughtful guidance to the community and borough staff that helps the borough continue to be a leading community in our region.