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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…

Social Media Helps Ocean Police Keep Residents Informed

    By RICHARD VIRGILIO Due to the past few weeks of severe weather, Ocean Township residents are relying on social media platforms more than ever thanks to the police department’s email, text and tweet communication services. The department has been leveraging two online platforms to alert residents about impending storms – Nixle, a subscription-based email and text service, and Twitter. “We use both platforms to provide information to residents about emergencies, weather, traffic and crime,” said Ocean Township Police Chief Steve Peters. “Between Nixle and Twitter, residents can receive important information quickly in the way they prefer, on the…

The B Plot: At Sundance with The ShowRoom

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Hours off a plane from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Michael Sodano and Nancy Sabino, owners of The ShowRoom art house cinema in Asbury Park sat down with me to talk about some of the best and most creative filmmaking of 2014. Last year, they spot-on predicted “20 Feet from Stardom” would be one of the biggest indie hits. In 2012, they were all over “Searching for Sugar Man.” What’s in store for this year? Read on. TBP: There are more and more film festivals every year, why go to Sundance? Sabino: Sundance…

Parking Issue in Asbury Park

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Images taken in December and January and obtained by The Coaster show Asbury Park’s Mayor Myra Campbell, while conducting city business, parked on the pedestrian walkway, near a standpipe (fire hydrant) and in front of an emergency exit for the Paramount Theater, Grand Arcade and Convention Hall. “I was given a parking placard by the city as a perk of my role as mayor to use when on official city business that permits me to park in out-of-the-ordinary places,” Campbell said. “Have I passed by open parking spaces to park (on the sidewalk)? Yes. This is…

Shark River Hills Family Returns Home After Sandy

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO Coastal Habitat for Humanity, along with local community leaders and partner organizations, came together recently to celebrate a Shark River Family’s return home after more than a year’s displacement due to Superstorm Sandy. “After Sandy, our home looked like someone took a dollhouse and shook it,” said Tracy Antman, Coastal Habitat’s partner homeowner. “We are just your average, middle class family that was used to doing for other people. But when it came time for us to ask for help to make our home livable again, we heard ‘declined’ from every place imaginable – until Coastal…

The B Plot: ‘Sandye’ beach day in Allenhurst

  By RICHARD VIRGILIO More than 1500 people came out on an overcast beach Sunday to watch the 70-year-long tradition of dying the ocean water neon green at the Allenhurst Beach Club. The “Sandye” commemorates the end of the official summer season. “In 1943, the owner of BubbleLand in Asbury Park celebrated the one year birthday of his daughter by pouring green water into Wesley Lake,” said Rutledge Varley, assistant manager, Allenhurst Beach Club. “And so the tradition was born.” Ultimately, the tradition moved to Allenhurst under the passionate guidance of resident Freddie Lehmann. Today, his son Jack continues to…

The BPlot: She’s on a roll

  By RICHARD VIRGILLIO After seven years, the nation is finally learning what Asbury Park has known for years: Second Life Bikes, the non-profit that repairs and sells bikes and keeps lives on track, is making a tangible impact on Monmouth County. During the past 10 days, Second Life Bikes on Main Street and the organization’s founder Kerri Martin have been featured on two national news programs, “CBS Evening News” and NBC’s “Today.” I spoke with Martin and one of her student volunteers, Noah Swanson, from Wall about their newfound spotlight, which is a case study for any local business…

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