The R-FH Area Weekend: Tiki, St. Patrick, Soul Food & Ducks

The weekend event plate in the Rumson-Fair Haven area is overflowing with Tiki, soul and Irish food and fundraising festivities — and ducks. Yes, ducks.


• Friday night, tonight, marks the second fundraiser for the Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The evening kicks off at Molly Maguire’s pub on River Road at 8 p.m. For a $10 cover, there will be a buffet of Irish food, bagpipers and music by the Bloody Callan Band.


• On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rumson Police Chief Scott Paterson is serving as honorary chair of the Second Annual Two River Exhibition of Sporting Collectible Art at Rumson’s Forrestdale School.

Admission is $5; and children under 12 are admitted free.

The exhibit will feature artisans from the mid-Atlantic region, such as Jamie Hand, their duck decoys and demonstrations on how they are crafted.

Pottery and other art, such as oil, acrylic and watercolor nature paintings will also be featured.

• The Fisk Chapel AME Church in Fair Haven is hosting its Soul Food Dinner at 38 Fisk St. from noon “until the food runs out” on Saturday.

Admission is $15 for a chicken, fish or pig feet dinner and all the fixings, such as collard greens, cabbage, corn bread, rolls, green beans, candied yams, potato and macaroni salads, mac and cheese, sweet potato pie and cake.

Folks are invited to either eat in or take out. Call 732-737-4951 for place orders for pick-up.

• On Saturday evening from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Fair Haven, The Foundation of Fair Haven is hosting its first luau dubbed Tiki Haven.

Touted as a tropical fun night full of warmth-inspired festivities, a $50 admission price will get you luau-type food, roasted pig, beer and wine, music and dancing.

Organizers invite all to come in tropical attire and possibly win a prize. Tiki Haven is a fundraiser for future Fair Haven Days.


• The tradition continues with the countdown to the Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade with a tree lighting in Victory Park from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The event kicks off the new tradition of “lighting the town green” when the laser switch on the large evergreen in the park is flipped.

The event will also feature refreshments, music and storytelling.

Crime Close By: Criminal Sexual Contact, Disorderly & Marijuana Possession

The following recent arrests were reported by Red Bank police. An arrest does not constitute a conviction.

•  A 17-year-old male juvenile, of Red Bank, was arrested by Patrolman Nicholas Maletto on Feb. 22 and charged with possession of a CDS (controlled dangerous substance), under 50 grams of marijuana.

• Vincent Oliva, 22, of Tinton Falls, was arrested on Feb. 21 by Patrolman Stan Balmer in the area of W. Front Street and charged with disorderly conduct.

• Marcus Mandeville, 23, of Matawan, was arrested on Feb. 21 in the area of W. Front Street by Patrolman Nicholas Maletto and charged with disorderly conduct.

• Eduardo Aparicio-Peno, 22, of Red Bank, was arrested on Feb. 21 in the area of Cedar Street by Inv. Paul Perez and charged with criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child and contempt of court.

‘Lunch with a Loved One’ at Deane Porter

The following is a press release from the Rumson School District:

Students in Kindergarten through third grade at Deane Porter School in Rumson enjoyed “Lunch with a Loved One” on Feb. 16.

The students invited a special person of their choice to the luncheon celebration, a long-standing tradition at Deane Porter. The school’s entry-way, gymnasium and cafeteria were festooned with pink, white, and red hearts in keeping with a Valentine’s Day theme.

“The Parent-Teacher Organization works their magic every year to create special memories for all involved, and no detail is missed,” Deane Porter Principal Shari Feeney said. “Lunch with a Loved One lets both the students and the special guests know that they are loved and cared for, and the smiles and laughter from lunch last the whole day.”

RFH Retro Show Time

Rehearsal for Plaza Suite circa 1975. Photo/RFH yearbook
Rehearsal for Plaza Suite circa 1975.
Photo/RFH yearbook

Our Retro Pic of the Day honors, in a small way, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) shows.

This shot is a yearbook picture of yours truly, your editor, in rehearsal for Plaza Suite circa 1976.

The co-star was a very nice guy, who dropped five pages worth of lines.

No problem. It was a wonderful experience. Thanks to Dan Olshansky for dropping those lines. It made this editor a better actor.

Cheers to the cast of Young Frankenstein!

Police: Major Drug Bust, $59K Bail

The following recent arrests were reported by the Middletown police. Arrests do not constitute convictions. 

• Michael Olski, 49, of Atlantic Avenue in Middletown, was arrested on Feb. 12 by Patrolman Kent Thornton and charged with simple assault.

He was released pending a court date.

• Dennis Knapp, 44, of Highland Avenue in the Leonardo section of Middletown was arrested on Feb. 11 by Police Officer Stephanie Geisel and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, terroristic threats, possession of under 50 grams of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was held on $67,500 bail, set by Judge Richard Thompson.

Continue reading Police: Major Drug Bust, $59K Bail

Ace RFH Archer on ‘Dream Team’

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) sophomore Avery Pagano shot for a dream and it came true.

The teen archer is one of 30 who has been chosen to be part of the Junior Dream Team (JDT) which comprises the most promising junior and cadet Olympic-style archers in the county, according to a release from RFH.

Pagano has been shooting competitively for a few years.

The JDT program was developed to “fast-track” archers between the ages of 12 and 18 who show early potential and bring them together for training camps, coaching, and competition, the release said. “Athletes are selected based on a number of criteria, including their participation and performance in the annual Team Selection Camp, and will experience training camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Continue reading Ace RFH Archer on ‘Dream Team’

Knollwood Teacher Back in the Classroom

By Elaine Van Develde

Fair Haven School District’s sixth grade Spanish teacher Basil Henning is officially off administrative leave and headed back to the classroom.

Without mentioning his name or discussing why Henning was placed on leave from his job at Knollwood School, effective Feb. 15, Superintendent Nelson Ribon addressed the capacity crowd at the onset of Wednesday night’s Board of Education meeting with the news.

“While the situation continues to be investigated, we are satisfied up to this point that a resolution is on tonight’s agenda to end this administrative leave,” Ribon said at the beginning of his superintendent’s report.

Concerning the decision to place this “staff member” on leave, Ribon said that “based on the information obtained up to that point in reference to the rights of that employee and the health and safety of the children, appropriate action was taken on one of our staff members, which was to place that person on administrative leave.”

Ribon thanked parents for their numerous correspondences as well as “patience and understanding to allow the process to run its course” in the 10 days Henning was on leave.

While Ribon did not mention Henning’s name, nor did audience members, it was included in a *correspondence that was sent out to parents on the Sunday evening of Feb. 15 when the leave decision was made.

The 10 days of correspondences he mentioned coincide with Henning’s leave — starting on Feb. 15 and ending after the resolution passed to end the leave at the Feb. 25 board meeting. More specific information will be shared in the future when and if it can be; but, right now, “because this is a personnel matter, we cannot discuss at this meeting or in public.”

Rumson parent Andrea Clurfeld spoke in the stead of several people there seeking more information about the leave. She asked that the board speak to procedure only and if the passing of the specific resolution on the matter to end the administrative leave meant that this teacher would be back in the classroom immediately.

“Yes,” Ribon and board members answered.

And just to clarify, Ribon said, “This was administrative leave, with salary and benefits (intact) … This was not a suspension. That is entirely different.”

Henning’s salary was listed in the April 18, 2013 Fair Haven Board of Education agenda as $49,787. Hired for the  2011-12 school year, Henning was one of 18 non-tenured staff members offered tenure for the 2013-14 year, the agenda item said.

*The letter sent out to parents on Feb. 15 read as follows:

On Sunday, February 15, 2015, Ribon, Nelson < [email protected]> wrote:

Dear Parents & Guardians,

I am writing to inform you that Mr. Basil Henning, a Knollwood School staff member, has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately. We are taking the proper steps to ensure that appropriate coverage is put into place.

Since this is a personnel matter, information regarding this cannot be discussed or shared with the public by our administration or BOE members, nor will it be a part of the public portion of our upcoming Board of Education meeting. If and when it is legally permissible and appropriate, information would be disseminated.

Thank you for your time.

Nelson Ribon

Cravin Haven: Business for Sale

The sign says Cravin Haven is for sale. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
The sign says Cravin Haven is for sale.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

It was a little more than a year ago that Cravin Haven opened its specialty comfort food doors in the Acme shopping center in Fair Haven.

Now, shortly after the owners announced on Facebook that the eatery would close for the month of February for renovations, the business that brought several deep fryer-meets-barbecue goodies together on one heaping sandwich is for sale.

A chalkboard sign on the storefront says so. And a search of businesses for sale confirms that a $1,500-a-month lease of the space that houses the business comes with it. A price for the business (brand) itself was not listed.

The 1,200-square-foot place that made its short-lived mark satisfying some unique and large food cravings is, according to commercial real estate website LoopNet, for sale as a “turn key restaurant,” with more than 40 seats and equipment that is “less than 12 months old.”

When it opened in January of 2014, Fair Havenites Anthony Mazzucca, Matt and Elaine Jones and Michael Mazzucca were partners.

Anthony Mazzucca is the former chef of Val’s Tavern. Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect reached out to him for a comment. As of press time, he was not available.

The other Cravin partners have restaurant backgrounds as well: Michael Mazzucca is the owner of Five Guys franchises, Elaine Jones is the former manager of Playwright Tavern in New York, NY, and her husband, Matt, is managing director of Food Services Ireland, a Cravin Haven opening release said.

According to the sign in the window, those interested in purchasing the business can call 732-809-8034.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

‘Young Frankenstein’ Coming to RFH

The following is an edited press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School:

Young Frankenstein is coming to the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) stage.

The Tower Players will present the what was officially known as The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein on March 20, 21, and 22. Based on the classic 1974 comedy film, the stage version features music and lyrics by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan.

Young Frankenstein tells the story of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (played by Laurence Morales), a professor at a medical school who leaves behind his fiancée Elizabeth (Eli Rallo) and travels to Transylvania to claim the estate of his grandfather – the creator of the famous Frankenstein monster.

After years spent rejecting his family name, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is visited by the ghosts of his ancestors who convince him to stay and repeat his grandfather’s experiments.

The castle’s current residents — Frau Blucher (Julia Mosby), Igor (Bailie Stypa), and Inga (Jen Andreacchi) — do their best to help Frederick bring his own monster (Michael Shaw) to life. Then the comedy ensues.

The RFH production features a cast of 42 students in singing, dancing and acting roles.

It is directed by RFH English teacher Suzanne Sweeney, who tailored the script for the high school-age actors and audience. Kasi Ann Sweeney is assistant director, and RFH Tower Players alum Patricia McCarron is the production’s choreographer along with Valerie Herman of Forrestdale School.

Costumes and props are under the direction of Carole Malik. RFH Social Studies teacher Matthew Leddin is overseeing the tech crew of 40 students. The set construction is being supplemented with contributions from the students in RFH Industrial Technology teacher Dino Pagano’s Stagecraft class.

The pit orchestra, comprised of RFH students as well as professional musicians, will be conducted by Music Director Vincent Mottern who is acting as coach for vocal performances as well.

Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase at the café in the RFH gymnasium during intermissions and after each performance. Also offered for sale in the café will be CDs featuring music performed by RFH student-musicians.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, and $6 for students and seniors. Admission is free for RFH students with SGA cards.

To purchase tickets online, visit and click on Young Frankenstein under Featured News.

For more information about purchasing tickets, please contact Play Production Coordinator Stefania Flecca at [email protected].

The box office will be open for ticket purchases an hour before each performance. Friday and Saturday evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinee will be at 1:00 p.m., in the RFH Auditorium.

Man Indicted on Rumson Sandy Theft Charge

A man who took a $6,200 payment from a Rumson resident in the post-Hurricane Sandy era and failed to deliver and install a generator, as contracted, has been indicted on a theft charge and is facing, if convicted, a three- to five-year sentence in state prison, a release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said.

A Monmouth County grand jury on Monday charged Mark E. Herrneckar, 51, of Riverwood Drive, Toms River, with one count of third-degree theft by failure to make required disposition of property.

Herrneckar, the indictment said, took the $6,200 payment from the Rumson resident in December of 2013 for a generator that was never delivered and installed. Herrneckar never returned the money to the homeowner, either, according to the indictment.

Herrneckar was arrested in December by members of the Monmouth County Superstorm Sandy Fraud Task Force. He is currently free on $5,000 bail, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley, J.S.C.

The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Andrew S. Fried of the office’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau. Fried serves as coordinator of the Superstorm Sandy Fraud Task Force.

The task force processes and investigates all complaints related to the storm. Homeowners or citizens are urged to report complaints via the following:

  • The task force webpage at
  • Call the task force hotline at (855) SANDY 39.

Knollwood Fifth Grader a Spelling Champ

Can you spell champion?

Knollwood School fifth grader Addie Cope probably can. The 10-year-old Fair Haven resident has just been declared the winner of the school’s second annual spelling bee, according to a Fair Haven School District press release.

Cope won the final round and title on Feb. 2 by spelling the word jocularity correctly, the release said.

The win qualified her to go on to participate in the 31st annual Asbury Park Press/Home News Tribune Spelldown to be held at Monmouth University in West Long Branch on March 16 and 17.

Spelldown will feature 8- through 14-year-olds declared champions at their school levels in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties. The winner will move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

“We are so proud of Addie and all of the students who participated in the grade level spelling bees at Knollwood,” Knollwood School Principal Kevin Davis said in the release. “We wish Addie the best of luck at the Spelldown and we hope to see her at the National Spelling Bee.”

Preliminary spelling bees were held in all Knollwood grades (fourth through eighth) to determine grade-level participants prior to the school-wide event.

Competing along with Addie in the Knollwood School Spelling Bee were: fourth grader Annie Kersten, sixth grader Abby Tuorto, seventh grader Aaron Bernstein and eighth grader Bridgette Simpson.

Arresting News: Marijuana Possession, DWI, Contempt of Court

The following recent arrests were reported by Red Bank police. Arrests do not constitute convictions.

• Jeannie Spinelli, 20, of Red Bank, was arrested on Feb. 15 in the area of E. Front Street and charged with possession of a CDS, under 50 grams of marijuana, by Sgt. Juan Sardo.

• James Gorman, 46, of Asbury Park, was arrested on Feb. 14 in the area of Broad Street and charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated) by Lt. Errico Vescio.

• Lori Costello, 43, of Red Bank, was arrested on a contempt of court charge on Feb. 18 by Patrolman Benjamin Springer in the area of Spring Street.

• Maximo Sanchez-Gonzalez, 19, of Red Bank, was arrested on a contempt of court charge on Feb. 18 by Patrolman Shane Dengel in the area of Leonard Street.

• Felicito Bautista-Barrios, 36, of Long Branch, was arrested on a contempt of court charge by Patrolman Thomas Doreumus on Feb. 17 in the area of Mechanic Street.

• Gregorio Rojas-Tlapanco, 35, of Red Bank, was arrested in the area of Monmouth Street on Feb. 17 and charged with hindering apprehension and contempt of court by Patrolman Jhonatan Quispe.

Contempt of Court 

• Timothy Johnson, 29, of Red Bank, was arrested on a contempt of court charge on Feb. 14 by Patrolman Shane Dengel in the area of Monmouth Street.

• Genaro Escalante-Castillo, 23, of Red Bank, was arrested on a contempt of court charge on Feb. 13 by Patrolman Jorge Torres.

• Thomas Bouldin, 30, of Middletown, was arrested on a contempt of court charge on Feb. 12 in the area of Throckmorton Avenue by Patrolman David Smith.