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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…

The Greening of the Ocean in Allenhurst

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO What began 72 years ago as a spontaneous birthday celebration continues in Allenhurst as the most popular beach day of the season – the annual dyeing of the ocean green. “My grandfather, Bob Fountain who owned the Bubble Land amusement ride in Asbury Park started the ocean dyeing in 1943 to celebrate my mom’s birthday,” said Gail Matarazzo, co-organizer of the current-day ocean dye with her sister Joan Desmarais. “He would be so happy to see how excited everyone still gets. Some people say it’s their favorite day of the summer.” The 72nd ocean dye will…

Ocean Police Offer First Tweetalong in Monmouth County Law Enforcement

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Ever wonder what it is like to be an area police officer? On Wed., Nov. 26 the Ocean Township Police Department will offer an unprecedented look at a day in the life of an officer thanks to the area’s first-ever law enforcement Tweetalong. “We are committed to giving our community the best service possible and our social media communications program is a part of that,” said Chief Steven Peters. “This, our first Tweetalong, will help educate the community about what we do every day.” For eight hours Wednesday, Social Media Officer Lieutenant Timothy Torchia will shadow…

Mary’s Place Breaks Ground in Ocean Grove

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Mary’s Place volunteers, guests and supporters gathered Wed., Nov. 5, along with its founders, to celebrate the groundbreaking for the organization’s new larger facility on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove. “Everyone who has embraced Mary’s Place should feel proud today,” said Michele Gannon, co-founder. “Our mission has officially grown its wings. What began as a dream five years ago has become a movement of hope and encouragement for women fighting cancer.” Mary’s Place will pour the foundation for its new 10 bedroom Victorian-style retreat at 22 Main Avenue within the next few weeks. The hope is…

One Woman’s Story 2 Years After Superstorm Sandy

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO On October 21, 2012, Neptune resident Pam Callender was managing everyday life with her two teenage foster children, in the modest dream home she purchased seven years earlier in the Shark River Hills section overlooking Shark River. “At that point, my life was no different than any other middle class, single parent household,” Callender said. “There was never enough time after taking care of the kid’s with their schedules and activities. When the economy took a dive, it was tough but we survived. We always had a good time and I was glad to have a…

The BPlot: Meet Artist “Julio C.R.”

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Some believe dedicating 10,000 hours to something makes you an expert. Other times, you have a gift, like artist Julio Reynaga. A year ago Reynaga, whose professional moniker is “Julio C.R.” picked up a paintbrush for the first time and today he is picking up fans with his energetic acrylic on canvas pieces depicting iconic and overlooked Abury Park-area scenes. One of his paintings sold for upwards of $1,000 last week to a very excited collector. Reynaga’s first solo exhibition is at the end of the month and you are invited to see his talent up…

The B Plot: 40th anniversary of historic Little League curve ball

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO As Little League season begins, there is one woman to thank for ensuring girls everywhere get their turn at bat. In 1974, a 10-year-old Janine Cinseruli told her mother that because of her gender she was not allowed to play in her Peabody, Massachusetts Little League. What ensued was months of legal curve balls with the help of the ACLU and a landmark decision by the State Supreme Court that affirmed a girl’s right to play baseball on the same team as the boys. And Cinseruli made history by becoming the first girl welcomed into any…

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