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Annual Festival Celebrates Diversity

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO A celebration of diversity was found at the end of all the rainbows on Sun., June 4 at the 26th Annual GLBTQ Pride Parade and Festival in Asbury Park. “More than ever, this is an all-inclusive event, GLBT A to Z,” said George Geier of Toms River. “We are here for the rights of women, trans, minorities, gays, everyone who needs a voice or may feel forgotten, lonely or left out.” Cheering crowds waving rainbow flags and wearing big smiles lined Cookman Avenue, Grand Avenue and Sunset Avenue as the hour-long parade made its way to…

The B Plot: Moments and Memories of 2016

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO   For the ninth year, locals share their favorite memories and moments of 2016. Going with my daughter, Emilyclare, the day after Thanksgiving to pick out her wedding gown was the best time. She had quite the entourage (seven guests) and found the most perfect dress. Great day that I will remember forever! – Janet Manni   Planting a memorial garden in Library Square Park for the 49 Orlando Pulse nightclub victims with the wonderful community and Sunshine Girls Charity.  Our goal was to share a message of kindness and diversity to help teach our children…

The B Plot: Bright Christmas

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO    You can’t help but travel through Timber Drive in Ocean Township and be pleasantly shocked by the holiday spirit.  Ever since the 25 year-old Shane MacCary was a child he loved Christmas lights.  The decorated Grizwald home in the film “Christmas Vacation” would literally make him light up.  Then,10 years ago he began decorating his family home.   Inspired by the film, and even moreso the joyful childhood memories of driving around with his parents looking at holiday light displays, every December MacCary spends weeks turning their property into a holiday light show wonderland.  “I started…

The B Plot: Surgeons grapple to benefit Children’s Hospital

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO And the winner is… the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune. After months of “smack-talking” two local surgeons let their bodies do the communicating in a Brazilian-style, Jiu Jitsu submission match for charity on Saturday at the Stone Pony. It began innocently enough a year ago when Drs. Sean Houston and Josef Shargorodsky of Coastal Ear Nose and Throat in Neptune began discussing their new hobbies of Jiu Jitsu training at different academies. “During lunch, we talked about our bruises, training and the different techniques of the sport,” said…

The Ocean in Allenhurst Will Turn Green

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO It’s one of the many overlooked special things about New Jersey that help us forget the Housewives and Snooki. For the 73rd year on Sun., Sept. 4 at 2 p.m., following a brief bagpiper procession on the boardwalk, more than 10 pounds of vegetable-based dye will be released into the ocean in Allenhurst temporarily turning the water bright emerald green and permanently creating great memories for all attendees. Over the last few years, the ocean dye has seen record attendance, become the ceremonial end to the “official” summer season and received national attention from media outlets…

‘We Are With You Orlando’

  By RICH VIRGILIO “Asbury Park is with you Orlando,” Asbury Park Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn said outside Georgie’s Bar. “Our hearts break for the victims, their family and friends. People came to that club as a safe-haven with a promise to see friends, celebrate life and acceptance. This is a somber time for our community; we carry the pain of Orlando with us.” And so it went Sunday night as area residents gathered to mourn and remember the Orlando mass shooting victims, their families, friends and the community. “It was a flash vigil we organized in hours because we…

Community Organizer Will Be Honored with Carousel Award

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Asbury Park resident Sonja O’Brien has spent a lifetime unconditionally giving back. She’s a doer and a giver. After 14 years of tangible local impact – much of it behind the scenes – the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce is recognizing O’Brien with the 2016 Carousel Humanitarian Award. The award is one of five given annually and celebrates “outstanding dedication” to Asbury Park. “Sonja is great at bringing people together and beyond that, she does it all with heart,” said Jackie Pappas, executive director of the Asbury Park Chamber. “She is the kind of person who…

The Angel of Salvage in Asbury Park

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO What began in 2002 as a personal desire to restore a home to its original glory has evolved into Central New Jersey’s largest architectural salvage showroom, Salvage Angel, located in Asbury Park. “Salvage Angel grew from a personal need but I knew there were other people like me trying to truly restore their homes in a pure way,” said Carolyn Curtin, founder. “I started getting wish lists from friends and neighbors and my hobby grew from collecting architectural items to include vintage furniture and home decor.” The 20,000-square-foot warehouse in the former Canada Dry building on…

The B Plot: Eat Clean

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Eating great and healthier is easier than ever thanks to Eat Clean Delivery in Neptune City. A few years ago, Mike Hollemans, was a successful event management expert. After a month-long work trip, he should have returned home to Belmar jazzed about all his achievements. Instead, he felt overweight at 300 pounds, tired and generally unfulfilled. “After that trip everything clicked for me,” Hollemans said. “That was the beginning of the new beginning. I started making small changes like cooking better meals and taking care of myself and, slowly, my friends started noticing. It didn’t happen…

The B Plot: Trail of Terror at Camp Evans

By RICHARD VIRGILIO Creepy clowns, awkward aliens and ghoulish ghosts have returned with a few of their possessed friends for Season 10 of Camp Evans’ Base of Terror haunted walk in Wall Township. “Our volunteers have done a fantastic job of making the trail extra frightening and special for its tenth anniversary,” said Fred Carl, chief operating officer of the Info Age Science History Center and Ocean Grove resident. “This is way beyond a Halloween attraction. People say it’s more along the lines of walk-through art installation or performance art because of the spectacular creativity and energy that goes into…