Thanksgiving miracle at St. Michael’s

Long Branch – The parishioners of St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in West End found out early Tuesday morning that pastor Father Daniel Gowen had left the parish.

Alter in St. Michael's Church, Long Branch

When the staff at the church reported to work on November 24, they found that Father Gowen had moved out of the church residence during the night. One parishioner told The Link News that when they checked his private residence everything was gone, including the pastor.

A majority of the parishioners became upset with Gowen after he started making drastic changes and terminating five long time employees. As the new pastor of the church Gowen had conducted an audit and discovered that the parish was paying those five employees while a majority of other churches consider those functions of volunteers.

The community of St. Michael’s were outraged and asked the pastor to reconsider. He stuck by his decision and would not pay. As a result an online petition was generated with over 640 supporters asking the Diocese of Trenton to transfer Gowen to another parish.

Church leaders received a letter today from the Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., J.C.D., Bishop of Trenton, which was published on the church webpage. Following is the letter;

November 24, 2015

My Dear Parishioners of St. Michael Church,

As Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I write to inform you that your pastor, Father Daniel Gowen, has offered his resignation as pastor to me and I have accepted it. I thank Father Dan for his service here in West End. Please pray for him as he transitions to a new chapter in his life as a priest.

To provide for the pastoral care of the parish, I have appointed Father John Butler, JD, as “temporary administrator,” effective immediately. Father Butler is 55 years of age and has been the parochial vicar (assistant pastor) at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in Trenton. Father Butler is also an attorney who has worked in his own law firm in Princeton, NJ, before becoming a priest. He has accepted this transfer with characteristic generosity and eagerness to serve the people of St. Michael Church. Please welcome him warmly and give him your support.

It is becoming harder and harder to assign pastors, given the shortage of priests. We all have to be prepared to make sacrifices necessary so that we can continue to practice our Catholic faith even when changes need to made.

You all have been very much in my mind and heart, especially recently. I enjoyed my recent visit to the parish to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. As the Holy Season of Advent comes along and with it, the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, may all of us who need God’s mercy seek it and share it generously with one another.

My God bless you and your loved ones!

Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., J.C.D.
Bishop of Trenton

Monmouth Beach LAMB Vendor Night

By Teja Anderson – With both rooms at the MB Cultural Center filled with 22 vendors and crafts people selling their wares last Thursday night as a fundraiser for the Ladies’ Auxiliary of MB, shoppers turned out in droves to buy early Christmas presents for their loved ones – or themselves if the mood struck them.

There was plenty to choose from with beach items, jewelry of all types, gourmet jams, decorations for the home and the holidays, pottery, Pampered Chef and Tupperware, cosmetics and essential oils.

Mayor Sue Howard was there to sell the Monmouth Beach: A Century of Memories book at a discounted price of $20 and the LAMB members provided lots of free appetizers, desserts and coffee for those who were hungry.

No one seemed to mind that Halloween was barely behind them as they purchased poinsettias from the LAMB table and placed orders for Christmas skis while listening to Holiday music.

President Robin Howell and Vice-President Michele Milbrodt worked diligently for months to accommodate vendors’ and crafters’ needs — from electric to corner space requests. There was a month-long waiting list and, with a couple of last minute cancellations, they were able to fill spots quickly.

Many LAMB members really stepped up to be on committees, such as advertising and promotions. The welcome table where MB residents and guests interested in joining LAMB could sign a guest list for future events, set-up and breakdown committees and refreshments. If you’re interested in joining this great group of gals and help fund-raise for the MB Fire Company, contact Robin Howell (President) 732-735-8493 or Sue Juncosa (Membership Chair) 732-546-4289

You can always contact me with story questions or ideas at 917-797-1324 or email me at


Veteran’s Day in MB

By Teja Anderson – Although the ground was a little damp from the night before, the sun shone down on our veterans as they gathered by the Honor Roll in front of the Wells Fargo bank on Beach Road early Wednesday morning to place the commemorative wreath.

From there they either walked or drove to the MB School for the special and highly anticipated presentation.

Although many students throughout the country have Veterans Day off, Superintendent Michael Ettore and Mayor Sue Howard have agreed over the years that by keeping the kids in school and holding an assembly with a guest speaker, the color guard and town veterans in attendance, students will learn more about this important day, and take away something other than just getting a day off from school.

After Mr. Ettore introduced the mayor, she welcomed the honored guests seated beside her in the front of the room. The school’s chorus and band were on the stage behind her, and the entire school was seated before her on the gymnasium floor.

The MB School Chorus and Band, directed by music teacher Emily Steeber, performed the Star-Spangled Banner. The NCOIC Color Guard presented the flags, led by Sgt. Jamel Smith.

Every year the middle school students take part in an essay contest about why Veterans Day is important and should continue to be celebrated in this country. This year’s winners were Sydney Riepl and Pari Walter, who took turns reading their essays aloud to the attentive audience.

Both young women did an excellent job and hammered home the importance of thanking any and all veterans from all wars for their service and for protecting our freedom and rights. Then the band played Michael Story’s Patriotic Bits & Pieces and the chorus sang The Brave by John Riggio.

Mayor Sue Howard introduced the highlight of the event, guest speaker Sgt. Major Lance Harrell a US Marine, Inspector Instructor of Combat Logistics for Battalion 25. Sgt. Maj. Harrell, a father of two (his wife Felicia was in attendance), is originally from California and enlisted in the Marines in the 1990s. During his 24 years in service to our great country, he has been deployed to Kuwait, Iraq (twice), Korea, and has been stationed in Japan, earning an impressive number of gold stars and medals.

In his speech, Sgt. Maj. Harrell told his captivated audience that it was not just the veterans themselves that sacrificed their lives for our country, but their families as well. He averred that not only the parents and spouses of those who serve are affected, but most especially their children, who are forced to move countless times, changing schools, having to make new friends and readjust their lives because of their parent’s choice of career.

Whether speaking from his own experience or others he allowed that, “having your teenager say ‘I hate the Marines because they always take you away’ is a tough thing for a parent to hear.”

This really hit home for a lot of the kids listening intently, because most of them love living here in MB and couldn’t imagine being dragged away and having to create a new life somewhere else leaving their friends, teachers, sports teams and grandparents behind.
When he was finished speaking, seventh grader Steve Ostrom played Taps on his trumpet — never easy but he mastered it — and the Mayor and Mr. Ettore thanked the kids for being such a well-behaved and respectful audience.

After almost ten minutes of technical difficulties, the short film “I Fought for You” was shown to the students. If you haven’t seen this four-minute tear jerker you need to. You can watch it on YouTube, just search “Veterans Day, I fought for you.”

Needless to say the message is clear; we all owe these men and women who sacrificed so much for our country our utmost respect. At the end of the film most of the older kids were standing and saluting the veterans in front of them and soon the younger kids, with a little prompting from Mr. Ettore and their teachers, did as well.

After the children went back to their classrooms the veterans were all invited with their spouses to Michael Angelo’s in town for lunch as guests of the Borough.

WLB Lions Club poster contest winner named

West Long Branch — Alyssa Reis, an eighth grader at the Frank Antonides School in West long Branch has won first place in this year’s annual peace poster contest. Second place was awarded to Keiran O’Connell, a sixth grader.

John Aria, Chairman for the Lions Club Poster Contest; Alyssa Reis, winner; Frank Antonides School art teacher Christina Andreasi; Keiran O’Connel, second place; and WLB Lions Club president Tom DeBruin.

Sponsored by the West long Branch Lions Club, the international competition emphasizes the importance of world peace.


The poster was selected by Christina Andreasi, the art teacher at FAS, Frank Mainieri, an art teacher at Long Branch High School, and John Aria, contest chairman for the WLB Lions Club.

“Obviously these young students are passionate about the importance of world peace and it is reflected in their posters,” Club president Tom DeBruin said, “I am proud that we were able to provide them with the opportunity to express their visions.”

DeBruin said that Alyssa’s poster will face stiff competition through the district, multiple district and international rounds of competition if she is to be declared the grand prize winner.

Alyssa’s poster will be among the more than 400 entries submitted worldwide. One grand prize winner and 23 merit award winners will be selected. The grand prize includes a $5,000 cash award plus a trip to the United Nations for the artist and two family members to attend the awards ceremony at the Lion’s Day held there.

The 23 merit award winners will receive a certificate and a cash award for $500.

“Our club is cheering for Alyssa as her poster advances in the competition” Aria said.
Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.35 million members in more than 207 countries. Their mission is to conquer blindness.
International grand prize and merit award winners can be viewed at

Too much to do? Call Errand Girl

While running around doing her own errands, Danielle Travis realized that there must be many people out there who could use help. “I’m out here already,” Danielle said. “Why not do other people’s  chores while I am.”

Errand Girl Danielle Travis

Errand Girl, based in Ocean Township, provides friendly, professional, and personal errand services throughout Monmouth County. Whether you are a busy parent, a business professional, or retired and just need some extra help, Errand Girl can assist you with your day-to-day tasks while you can start enjoying your life again.

The idea for Errand Girl was created because Travis thought everyone deserved to have some of their time back in their lives. “Our lives are filled with running errands on weekends or being so busy during the week that we forgot to enjoy our time.”

Danielle is the mother of two boys and has a husband who works unconventional hours. She realized that some help with daily tasks would be priceless; whether it was dropping off dry-cleaning or picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy.
She realized that she was always at the store, so why not help other people while she was there.

“The more I thought about it, the more I thought that this should be done. People could use my help. Everyone deserves a little time back in their lives,” she said.
Some of her services include: Grocery Shopping • Pick-up/Drop-off dry cleaning • Post Office drop-off/ pick-up • Prescription drop-off/pick-up • Holiday/Special Event Shopping Seasonal items • Exchanges and returns.
“I’m enthusiastic about your to-do list so if you do not see something listed just give me a call or email and I can see if I can help you out.”
You can call Danielle at 732-740-376 or email:

Attic Treasures and Bake Sale helps ministries

West Long Branch — The Food Pantry & Community Clothes Closet of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation will host an Attic Treasures & Bake Sale at 992 Broadway with all proceeds going toward the building expansion fund for the these ministries.

The sale takes place Saturday, Dec. 5, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sunday Dec. 6, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Items offered are slightly used treasures to ‘rummage’ through, and some new items too.  There will be a table of Fair Trade items for sale, and some independent sellers as well.  In addition there will be some new handmade craft items and baked goods.

A special section will be set up where “Kids CAN Shop.”

Items at the Kids Shop will be specially priced — by the can. Things will cost between 1 and 5 cans of food, which will help to stock the Food Pantry.
Kids will get the excitement of “shopping” for things they like or would like to give as a gift, without having to carry cash, just cans of food. They will also get the satisfaction that they are helping to feed those who are hungry.

Vegetables, fruit, soup, beans – any kind will do, but please make sure it is not expired.  Only kids will be permitted to shop in the “CAN” section.

A Toast to Children’s Health

Long Branch — More than 225 supporters recently joined The Unterberg Children’s Hospital Leadership Council and Monmouth Medical Center Foundation to celebrate the second annual “A Toast to Children’s Health” wine-tasting event, benefiting nearly 22,000 pediatric patients from the community who are treated at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center.

PHOTO 1: Frank J. Vozos, M.D., FACS, President and Chief Executive Officer, Monmouth Medical Center; Tara Kelly, Vice President, Monmouth Medical Center Foundation; Michael Fux, Founder, Michael Fux Family Center at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center

The event, held at the Rumson Country Club Riverhouse, supports The Unterberg Children’s Hospital Leadership Council’s mission by raising funds to ensure the hospital’s continual success in delivering extraordinary care that changes children’s lives, restores hope and fosters dreams for tomorrow.

The night also included speakers and patient testimonials, showcased artwork from the Child Life Program and featured the debut of “Paintings for Hope,” a compilation of photographs and artwork by pediatric patients who have been treated at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, including Mya Lin Terry, a 10-year-old Ocean Township girl who passed away in 2013 after battling cancer for more than five years. Donors had the opportunity to sponsor a patient, allowing the patient to be featured in the book and receive a copy of the completed piece.

“Having spent half of Mya’s life in the hospital, it is our hope that we help ensure that all children like Maya are able to enjoy their childhood, despite health battles they may be facing,” said Kelly L. Terry, Mya’s mom and president of The Mya Lin Terry Foundation, a charitable, non-profit organization created to honor the memory of Mya Lin.

The Leadership Council, led by a group of individuals who serve as ambassadors for the hospital through education and local events, supports Monmouth Medical Center’s commitment to pediatric excellence. Their mission is to educate the community about services available at the hospital, develop philanthropic relationships and promote the health and wellness of children in the community.

(left to right) Event chairs Robert and Dianne Butters wearing t-shirts painted by pediatric patients pictured with committee members Brendan and Tiffini Haley, Rob and Kathryn Patton, Michael and Jennifer Jamin, Dimitrios and Kristie Corodemus, Lisa and Josh Mendelson.

Run remembers Lt. killed in action 10 years ago

The 10th Annual  Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial 3.5 Mile Run/2 Mile Walk was held on Nov. 8 at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, shortly before the anniversary of Zilinski’s death.

Lt. Zilinski was killed in action in Bayji, Iraq on November 19, 2005 at the age of 23.
Sponsors who kept Zilinkski’s memory alive included: Timothy 6:17 Foundation; PricewaterHouse Coopers; The Dardin Fund; Ancient Order of Hibernians in Middletown; Red Bank Title Agency. Special groups involved included the United States Military Academy Diving and Swim Team, Monmouth County Police Academy, NJ State Police, SADD from CBA (Students Against Destructive Decisions).

This year, there were approximately 350 runners and walkers participating in the run/walk with over 100 additional spectators. The race raised $24,000.

Winners of the race were: men’s: Jim Guerrieri, Belford, 1st Place; Vincent Ferrer, Belford, 2nd Place; George Christopher, Hazlet, 3rd Place; women’s: Elizabeth Shaw, Middletown, 1st Place; Erin Regan, Fort Washington, Penn., 2nd Place; Keeley McNeary, Highland Falls, NY,  3rd Place.

Marion Zilinski says, “This is the first year that the run/walk was hosted by Christian Brothers Academy and we hope that the event will continue to grow in the future. It was good to bring this run ‘home’ to our son Dennis’ Alma Mater CBA.”
The event was previously held at PNC Arts Center in Holmdel.

The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II, Memorial Fund’s mission is to honor his life and memory. They provide support to improve the morale and welfare of members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. Additionally, by providing scholarships, the Fund invests in the future of high school students who embody the leadership qualities and community spirit of Lt. Zilinski.

Spartan Gindi captures state sectional cross country title

By Skip Pierce
Ocean’s Elliot Gindi claimed his second individual crown of the cross country season, besting all runners at the NJSIAA CJ Group 3 State Sectional Championship held at Thompson Park in Jamesburg.

PIERCEBROSPHOTO.SMUGMUG.COM Spartan runner Elliot Gindi has won two individual championships this season.

The recently crowned Monmouth County champion easily outpaced the field with a 16:00.07 clocking, 20 seconds ahead of Jordan Brannan of Colts Neck, who finished second timed at 16:20.90.

Brannan had also finished second to Gindi at the Monmouth County Championship and the pair proved they could continue to succeed when facing runners outside of the county.  Following the duo across the finish line were Jordan Laprise, Toms River East (16:35.38); Kevin Knoetig, Toms River South (16:44.80) and Beepul Bharti, Northern Burlington Regional (16:47.66).

Ocean fell short of the team championship, settling for second place with 84 points.  Colts Neck took top honors with a low score of 52 points.  Scoring for the Spartans were Matt D’Auria (11th), Ben Miller (15th), Tom D’Auria (28th) and Dan Dombrowiecki (29th).  The good news for Ocean is that not a single runner in the top five is a senior.  Gindi and Miller are juniors and the balance of the scoring runners hail from the sophomore class.
Following Colts Neck and Ocean in team scoring were Toms River South (100),

Moorestown (119), Toms River East (155), Allentown (171), Hamilton East, Steinert (196), Freehold Boro (200), Northern Burlington Regional (226) and Burlington Township (246).

Frankie McDonough leads Shore over Haddon

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
Frankie McDonough is one of the “Fab Five” on the Blue Devils varsity soccer team. Those five players are all freshman with bright futures for Shore Regional High School.

Shore Regional High School junior midfielder Devon McDonough (27) dribbles past a Haddon defender during the 8-1 quarterfinal victory of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 playoffs.

Last week Shore Regional, ranked first in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 bracket, hosted eight seed Haddon Township in the quarterfinals. During that game McDonough scored four goals and had one assist as the Devils easily won 8-1 and advanced to the semifinals.


Hannah Birdsall, another freshman, had two goals and two assists, while sophomore Sophie Hauritz and junior Katie Stephens each had a goal. Stephens also had two assists as did junior Kelly Bolsch. The Blue Devils had two goalkeepers in the game, Katie Colaguori and Julia Valinoti, who each had one save.

Shore started the tournament with an 11-1 win over 16 seed Maple Shade. In the game Stephens had three goals and one assist. Frankie McDonough had two goals and two assists. Birdsall, Shannon Bonner, and Hauritz each had one goal and two assists. The other three goals were scored by Jessica Egan, Devon McDonough a junior, and Kendall Rich.

After beating Haddon, the Blue Devils advanced to the semifinals were they faced fourth seed Riverside on November 9, in West Long Branch. Shore easily won 7-1 and advances to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 finals.

During the 15th minute of the game against Riverside, Birdsall scored the first goal of the game. Three minutes later Frankie McDonough gave the Blue Devils a 2-0 advantage. At the 29th minute off a corner Bonner drilled home a goal putting the Devils up 3-0.  Going into the halftime break Shore Regional was up 5-0 over Riverside.

In the 35th minute Shore took a 6-1 lead on a Stephens goal. The final goal occurred at the 53rd minute on a Bonner goal.

In the finals Shore will face number two seed Metuchen on November 12.

Making a leaping block on a Haddon shot is Shore goalkeeper Katie Colaguori.