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Neptune Man Dies on Train Tracks

  By JOSEPH SAPIA A Neptune man died when struck by an NJ Transit train Tues., Dec. 3 in Asbury Park. The dead man is Abdul Clackley, 51, of Neptune, said Asbury Park Police Capt. Marshawn Love. The train struck the man in the area of the 6th Avenue train crossing and the Deal Lake railroad bridge, according to city police and NJ Transit. Police received a report of the incident at 4:11 p.m., apparently from the train crew, Love said. An initial investigation shows the man appeared to come from behind the bridge’s structure onto the tracks, Love said. The…

Recalling the Day the President Was Shot

  By JOSEPH SAPIA (Above – President John F. Kennedy with daughter Caroline. John F. Kennedy Library photo.) Noel Kirchner was in his office at a children’s wear manufacturer in New York’s Fashion District when a co-worker got a telephone call. “She broke into tears, I remember that,” Kirchner said. “She kept saying, ‘The president’s been shot, the president’s been shot.’” Eventually, the word came on that Friday, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. At Seabrook Village in Tinton Falls this week, members of the community of 1,400 residents 62-years-old and older recalled that…

Dredging Begins in Sylvan Lake

  By JOSEPH SAPIA Working with a federal grant of more than $300,000, Avon and Bradley Beach officials have been dredging Sylvan Lake, along with removing debris from it. An estimated 10,000 cubic yards of spoils would be removed, opening water drainage to east end outflow gates that are clogged, along with adding lake depth to retain more water, said Steve Kegelman, Avon’s deputy emergency management coordinator. Workers also cleared stormwater drains entering the lake, which runs between Ocean Avenue and Main Street/Route 71, Kegleman said. The lake has needed to be dredged for years, said Kegelman, adding the lake’s…

The Summer of 2013 – A Season to Remember

By JOE SAPIA For the Shore, it was a summer season to remember. The Summer of 2013 – post-Superstorm Sandy which flooded houses and businesses, ripped up boardwalks and set off a massive recovery effort. An effort that extended into the traditional summer season of Memorial Day to Labor Day. “I think we did all right, considering,” said Thomas A. Arnone, director of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders and a Neptune City resident. “A lot of things came into play.” Of course, there was the recovery from October’s Supertorm Sandy. But Arnone also mentioned the longer school year, because…

A Gnome Now Gone from Home

  By JOSEPH SAPIA Gerome is a gnome, Now, he is gone from his home, From a trove, In Ocean Grove, At 116 Avenue Cookman, At the home of the family Mileham, Taken from his wicker chair, No clues left behind, nary a hair, He liked to hang out there, With his friend, Cate, a rainbow-colored caterpillar, “Please,” Cate said, “bring back my gnome: purple hat, yellow pants, long white beard, “Put him back ‘neath the tree and no scolding there’ll be, shouts of joy on the street will be heard,” Bring him back soon, So, poems such this no…

Ocean High Graduate is an Ironman, First-Timer

  By JOSEPH SAPIA Joe Villapiano liked the idea of being called an iron man. So, the 1999 graduate of Ocean Township High School, where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball, entered the Ironman Lake Placid. Held July 28 in New York’s Adirondacks region, it involved a 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles bicycling and a marathon run of 26.2 miles, held July 28. “If I was going to do one, I would do the big one,” said Villapiano, 32, who now lives in Boston and is an assistant football coach at Harvard University. “I just love the title, Iron Man.…

Former City Resident Known as Dr. Angel in Foreign Countries

  By JOSEPH SAPIA Since leaving Asbury Park years ago, Dr. Joseph Agris has led an accomplished life: successful domestic plastic surgeon and “Dr. Angel” to many in foreign countries as a humanitarian. Agris, 72, has been a plastic surgeon for 40 years. About 30 years ago, Agris, who has lived in the Houston area since the mid-1970s, began doing humanitarian work. A “combination of things” led to this, including getting connected to Houston television personality Marvin Zindler. Zindler, who promoted charity work, and Agris, “over the years, we kind of hit it off,” the doctor said. About 30 years…

City AIDS Survivor Featured in Documentary

  By JOSEPH SAPIA In 1986, Asbury Park’s Scott Smith was diagnosed with AIDS. Twenty-seven years later, he is going strong. “I don’t want to give up that Social Security check,” he joked. Seriously, Smith, 56, attributes his longevity with the immune system disease to having good medical care, living a healthy lifestyle and having a “good personal relationship with God.” Those in the health-care field say the vibrant Smith is a survivor, said Katie Rotondi, who is putting together a documentary film on Smith and six other over-50 AIDS victims. “It’s predominantly people who are aging with AIDS,” said…

Hope Academy Charter School Receives $16,000 in Grants

  By JOSEPH SAPIA ASBURY PARK – Over the last several weeks, Asbury Park’s Hope Academy Charter School has received $16,000 in grants. A $10,000 grant from the Rumson-based Mary Owen Borden Foundation will be used to buy a new server for the Grand Avenue school’s computer system. “Getting funding for equipment” — versus curriculum — “is very challenging,” said Denise Rodriguez, the school’s grants administrator. The Borden Foundation’s grant was the school’s third from the foundation in the last few years. The TD Bank Charitable Foundation provided $5,000 for implementing a new social studies curriculum for 6th to 8th…

Waiting for Obama

  By JOSEPH SAPIA ASBURY PARK – Elizabeth Burns stood on Asbury Park’s Fifth Avenue, between the railroad tracks and Main Street, an umbrella protecting her from Tuesday’s drizzle. But that was OK. “It’s not often you get the president coming,” said Burns, 56, a city resident. “This is a good thing.” A good thing President Barack Obama was visiting the boardwalk area with Gov. Chris Christie, showing the Shore is open for business for the summer season. But some criticized the visit for various reasons: a waste of public money, an inconvenience to people stuck in the secure area…

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