Holiday celebration at City Hall Saturday

Long Branch — Mayor John Pallone and the City Council invite all of Long Branch to come together for a Holiday Celebration, Saturday December 1.

This event is coordinated in conjunction with the Greater Long Branch of Commerce, Long Branch Free Public Library, and the Long Branch Board of Education.

The Holiday Celebration will include a tree lighting and menorah lighting between City Hall and the Library (328 Broadway) from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served while the Long Branch Middle School Honors Choir sings holiday tunes.

This event is free and all are invited to attend to join in the festivities. Santa Claus will also be there to help spread holiday cheer.

Pallone says the City of Long Branch is very excited to bring back the tradition of having a tree lighting and menorah lighting at City Hall and hopes all members of the community will attend. The city extends a special thank you to Sodexo Food Services for providing hot chocolate and cookies for the community to enjoy for free.

For more information, please contact Danna Kawut at 732-571-5447.

 

 

Eatontown and Long Branch man busted in child porn sweep

Freehold – A five month operation focused on online consumers of child sexual exploitation materials recently resulted in the arrest of 14 individuals during “Operation Trading Post.” The operation was carried out by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force between June of 2018 and October 2018. Among those arrested is a former member of the Environmental Commission in Atlantic Highlands, an employee of Princeton University, a VP of Operations for ING Financial Markets, and a laborer at Love Inc., a religious non-profit company, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Operation Trading Post was designed to reduce online threats to Monmouth County children and to decrease the market for child sexual exploitation by focusing on those individuals seeking out and trafficking in child pornographic materials.

“It is incumbent on everyone, particularly those of us in law enforcement, to protect children from harm and exploitation. To that end, Operation Trading Post caught individuals who shamelessly viewed and shared depraved images of children being sexually abused,” Gramiccioni said. “Our successful operation demonstrates the value of our partnerships with the local law enforcement agencies that help our ICAC Task Force continue to have a vigilant and watchful eye for this extremely damaging criminal activity.”

Assisting in Operation Trading Post were members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Asbury Park, Freehold Borough, Hazlet Township, Holmdel Township, Howell Township, Keansburg, Keyport, Manalapan Township, Marlboro Township, Middletown Township, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Sea Bright, Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, and Wall Township police departments.

The following individuals were arrested as a result of Operation Trading Post:

1. Joshua Valerio, 37, of White Street in Eatontown, a laborer at Love, Inc., was arrested on September 20, 2018, after an investigation of a Cybertip forwarded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which revealed he uploaded child pornography to Gmail. Valerio is charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Pornography) and one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Valerio is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq.

2. Thiago Thebald-Simas, 24, of Oakhill Avenue, in Long Branch, who is unemployed, was arrested on August 24, 2018, following an investigation which revealed that he used Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing software to make child pornography images and videos available to others online. Thebald-Simas is charged with one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, second degree (Distribution of Child Pornography) and one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Thebald-Simas is represented by Claudio Stanziola, Esq.

3. Jonathan Henry, 22, of Octavia Place in Keyport, who was employed as a dishwasher at The Turning Point, was arrested on June 19, 2018 after an investigation of a Cybertip forwarded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which revealed he uploaded child pornography to Twitter and Dropbox. Henry is charged with one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Pornography) and one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Henry is represented by Christopher Aiello, Esq.

4. Michael Balbosa, 34, Fifth Avenue in Neptune City, a courier with Federal Express, was arrested on June 29, 2018, following an investigation which revealed that he used Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing software to make child pornography images and videos available to others online. Balbosa is charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Pornography) and one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Balbosa is represented by Jonathan F. Marshall, Esq.
Anthony Johnson, 38, of Ninth Avenue in Neptune Township, who is unemployed, was arrested on July 10, 2018 after an investigation of a Cybertip forwarded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which revealed he uploaded child pornography to Dropbox. Johnson is charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Johnson is represented by Patricia Colligan, Esq.

5. Rene Torres, 48, of Gettysburg Drive in Howell Township, who works in Operations for ING Financial Markets, was arrested on July 18, 2018 after an investigation of a Cybertip forwarded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which revealed he uploaded child pornography to Flikr. Torres is charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Torres is represented by Jonathan F. Marshall, Esq.

6. A Juvenile, of Holmdel, was arrested on July 25, 2018, following an investigation which revealed that he used Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing software to make child pornography images and videos available to others online. The juvenile is charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Pornography) and one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). The juvenile is represented by Robert A. Honecker, Esq.

7. Brian Foley, 60, of Asbury Avenue in Atlantic Highlands, an Information Technology Specialist with Cerner Corporation and former member of the Environmental Commission in Atlantic Highlands, was arrested on July 26, 2018, after an investigation of a Cybertip forwarded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which revealed he uploaded child pornography to the website, Motherless. Foley is charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Pornography) and one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Foley is represented by Edward Washburne, Esq.

8. Alexander Ecock, 22, of Grenoble Court in Freehold, was arrested on July 31, 2018, following an investigation which revealed that he used Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing software to make child pornography images and videos available to others online. Ecock is charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Ecock is represented by Richard Incremona, Esq.

9. William McMahon, 64, of Brookside Avenue in Keansburg, a deli worker at Acme Markets, was arrested on August 3, 2018 following an investigation involving an undercover chat on Doublelist.com. McMahon believed he was chatting with, and made plans to meet, a 14 year old boy. As a result, McMahon was charged with one count of Luring, a second degree crime, one count of Attempted Sexual Assault, a second degree crime, and one count of Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a third degree crime. McMahon is represented by Brian Goldenfarb, Esq.

10. David Wu, 32, of Skyline Drive in Hazlet, a logistics specialist with Vanguard, was arrested on August 29, 2018 following an investigation which revealed that he used Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing software to make child pornography images and videos available to others online. Wu is charged with one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, second degree (Distribution of Child Pornography) and one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Wu is represented by Jonathan F. Marshall, Esq.

11. Fady Elghazaly, 33, of Ravenswood Road in Marlboro, a mechanic with United Airlines, was arrested on September 26, 2018 following an investigation which revealed that he used Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing software to make child pornography images and videos available to others online. Elghazaly is charged with one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, second degree (Distribution of Child Pornography) and one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Elghazaly is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq.

12. Ronald Paul, 56, of Haverford Court in Freehold, was arrested on October 18, 2018, after an investigation of a Cybertip forwarded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which revealed he uploaded child pornography to Tumblr. Paul is charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Pornography) and one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Paul is represented by Michael Grasso, Esq.

13. Ryan Marques, 18, of Dorado Beach Court in Howell, a student, was arrested on November 19, 2018 and was the subject of an investigation of a Cybertip forwarded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which revealed he uploaded child pornography to Dropbox. A warrant was issued for Marques’s arrest on October 25, 2018 charging him with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Marques is represented by Raymond Santiago, Esq.

14. Gregory Cantrell, 61, of Mariners Cove in Freehold, an employee of Princeton University, was arrested on November 5, 2018, after an investigation of a Cybertip forwarded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which revealed he uploaded child pornography to Bing Image. Cantrell is charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography). Cantrell is represented by Kevin Clark, Esq.

All the defendants were released on the conditions that they have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18 and not use the internet. McMahon remains incarcerated pending trial.

If convicted of the second degree Endangering, Attempted Sexual Assault or Luring charges, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of 10 years in New Jersey state prison, Megan’s Law, and parole supervision for life. If convicted of the third degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and parole supervision for life.

All the cases are assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Martha Nye and Stephanie Dugan.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

Long Branch Council Briefs City looks at beach badges app; high Best Practices score

By Neil Schulman

Long Branch — People who want to purchase daily beach badges next summer will likely have the opportunity to do so with their smart phones.

At the Nov. 15 Long Branch Council meeting, a resolution was passed to prepare a request for proposals for electronic beach badges.

“We’ve researched the possibility of having an app,” said City Administrator George Jackson. He said that one company had shown a demonstration, and that it could be made at no cost to the city.

Not only would it be a convenience to beachgoers, but it would also cut down on handling cash, Jackson said.

“Cash is a dangerous thing to have lying around.” He said it makes the beach entrances a tempting target for robbery, putting employees at risk.

There would not be much equipment involved, just a piece of plastic with a QR Code, placed by the ticket booths, Jackson said.

 

Best Practices at 97%

Long Branch had another very good year on the state’s annual Best Practices questionaire, earning a 97 percent.

Each year, the NJ Department of Community Affairs issues a form for municipalities to fill out to see if they are following what the state considers the best financial practices.

Long Branch CFO Michael Martin said that this year the city earned a 97 out of 100, which means that it will receive its full state aid.

This doesn’t mean that the city is following all the advice at the moment. “There’s a lot of ‘prospective’ [answers to] questions this year,” Martin said. That means Long Branch is looking at items recommended by the state, but has not implemented them. In these cases, ‘prospective’ does not penalize any points.

 

Gas prices up

Due to the way that municipal budgets work, at this time of year the city has to begin transferring funds from one department to another to cover certain expenses.

Councilwoman Anita Voogt was surprised a how much was being moved to pay for gasoline.

“It just kind of catches your attention when you’re making an $80,000 transfer,” she said.

Martin said that work on the 2018 budget began more than a year ago, and it is “difficult to speculate… 15 months ahead of time” on the cost of gas.

While the city purchases its own gasoline, prices have risen recently. According to AAA, a year ago the average price for diesel in Monmouth and Ocean County was $2.83 a gallon. As of Nov. 15, it had risen to more than $3.30. It was more expensive a month ago at $3.41.

 

Book on spirit of the holidays supports Toys For Tots

By Neil Schulman

The holiday season has a message. And a new book by area resident Larry Campanella can teach children that message and benefit Toys For Tots at the same time.

The book can be purchased on the page, or by calling Campanella at 732-501-4226.

 Campanella, a retired special education teacher and a singer, routinely uses his works to benefit the needy, especially around the holidays.

Sales from his CDs have gone to hurricane victims, the Salvation Army and other causes. His last book, “Larry’s Healthy 21-Day Food Guide,” raised money for Elijah’s Promise, a soup kitchen in New Brunswick.

His latest work, “Gavin’s Christmas Surprise,” is aimed at children in second or third grades.

The book tells the story of Gavin, a 7-year-old who goes to school in Burlington, Vermont. Normally Christmas is a major celebration in his house, but his father, Mr. Simon, lost his job, and times are tough. Mr. Simon can’t get gifts for his family and seems to have no holiday spirit.

“This year, he didn’t want to join his family in doing anything,” Campanella said.

When Gavin’s best friend Derrick hears this, he asks his family to help out, and share the message of the holiday season with the Simons.

Campanella says that the book has been getting attention. The principal in Champlain Elementary School, Vermont, where the fictional Gavin and Derrick go, has expressed interest in using the book in school.

Proceeds from the book benefit Toys For Tots. The Marine Corps Toys For Tots program collects new unwrapped toys and distributes them to families in need around the holidays. It has been in existence since 1947.

Clerk honors winners of the Archives and History Day photo contest

At the County Clerk’s 23rd Annual Archives and History Day, Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon honored the First, Second, and Third Place Winners of the 2nd Annual High School Archives and History Day Photography Contest.

All high school students who reside or attend school in Monmouth County were encouraged to enter the contest by submitting a photograph of a historic building in the County.

“I was impressed by the creativity and attention to detail displayed in this year’s photography contest entries,” said Clerk Hanlon. “Each student was able to spotlight a different historic building and celebrate our County’s rich past.” “The committee had a difficult time choosing winners from so many wonderful submissions.”

The first place winner, Claire Dodge, is a sophomore at Henry Hudson Regional School who received a $150 gift card for her entry. Claire’s photograph depicted the Strauss Mansion, which was constructed atop East Mount Avenue in Atlantic Highlands in 1893 by New York City merchant Adolph Strauss. The home is now a local history museum and the headquarters of the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society.

The second place winner, Tiffany Lee, is a freshman at Marlboro High School who received a $100 gift card prize. Tiffany’s photograph displayed the Craig House at Monmouth Battlefield, which served as a temporary field hospital for the British during the Battle of Monmouth.

The third place winner is Jordyn Pfeffer, a freshman at Manalapan High School who received a $50 gift card prize. Jordyn photographed the Old Tennent Presbyterian Church in Manalapan, which also served as a hospital for wounded soldiers during the Battle of Monmouth.

The 2nd Annual Archives and History Photography Contest hosted by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office ran from Sept. 10 to Oct. 3.

The First, Second, and Third Place Winning Photographs, along with all of the contest entries from high school students across the County, are currently being displayed in the lobby of the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office at 33 Mechanic Street in Freehold Borough throughout the month of November.

 

‘Eat, Drink, Be Caring’ raises more than $17k for LADACIN Network

Wanamassa — The Turning Point Restaurants, known for upscale breakfast, brunch and lunch eateries, creative offerings and friendly staff, hosted a weekend fundraiser on November 3 and 4 to benefit LADACIN Network.

Turning Point Restaurants presents a check from their recent fundraiser, “Eat, Drink and Be Caring,” to LADACIN Network staff and students. Pictured (rear, l-r) Pam Ruoff, Turning Point owner, Patricia Carlesimo, LADACIN Executive Director, Amy Cerulo, Schroth School Principal and Kirk Ruoff, Turning Point owner.

The Turning Point locations in Long Branch, Little Silver, Holmdel, Manalapan, Brick and Sea Girt hosted “Eat, Drink and Be Caring… Serving the Mission of LADACIN Network.” It was the 13th annual event hosted by the Turning Point, and $17,516 was raised over the weekend to support LADACIN Network’s educational, therapeutic, social, residential and support services. An overall total of $181,501 has been raised since the event began in 2007.

Owners Kirk and Pam Ruoff and their staff members are the reason behind the success of this fundraiser. With a history of philanthropy and fundraising for various causes, they raise awareness and rally support for LADACIN by promoting the fundraiser to restaurant patrons. In return for a donation of $25 or more to LADACIN, the Turning Point offered guests gift cards for free entrees on a future visit.

LADACIN Network serves over 3,500 infants, children and adults with complex physical and developmental disabilities or delays in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

For more information, call Cathy Claps, Coordinator of Development and Community Relations at 732-493-5900, ext 263 or visit www.ladacin.org. For more information on the Turning Point Restaurants, go to www.theturningpoint.biz.

 

 

 

2018 GOTCC Golf Outing a tremendous success!

Ocean Township — The Greater Ocean Township Chamber of Commerce (GOTCC) recently hosted their Annual Golf Outing – The Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC Classic. The much anticipated event was once again held at the beautiful, prestigious Hollywood Golf Club located in Deal.

Master of Ceremonies, Martin Arbus and Golf Outing Chairman, Daniel White, CPA

Although the autumnal weather was cool, the dedicated golfers enjoyed a great day on the greens, including chair massages provided by Soul Focus of Eatontown, a buffet brunch, as well as access to the driving range and putting greens prior to the start of event. The Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC Classic provided all of the participants with opportunities to win great prizes from Gold Coast Cadillac of Oakhurst, Dixon Golf, and Golf Cave of Eatontown.

Golfers enjoyed an amazing Cocktail Reception and Raw Bar followed by a lively awards dinner. Past GOTCC President and former Golf Outing Chairman, Martin Arbus, of Arbus, Maybruch & Goode LLC – Attorneys at Law, served as the Master of Ceremonies.

Arbus’ engaging humor and dynamic presentation of awards made the event an evening to remember. This year’s Golf Outing Chairman, Dan White, CPA, extended his sincere appreciation to all of the golfers for coming out to show their support and to all of the volunteers who worked so hard to make the event a success.

White commented, “It was a fantastic day and I want to thank all of our golfers for participating in the GOTCC’s Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC Classic. Our generous Corporate Sponsors helped make the event a tremendous success and we would like to thank Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC, Kearny Bank, Manasquan Bank, Health South, Monmouth Medical Center, Family First Urgent Care. Remember to mark your calendars for September of 2019 for the next GOTCC Golf Outing!”

As the GOTCC looks forward, many fun, exciting events have been planned for the upcoming year, so mark your calendars and get ready to network. Visit their website, www.gotcc.org, for more information and to register for:

• December 6 – Holiday Get Together at Max’s Bar and Grill (6:30-8:30 p.m.)

• January 16 – Annual Awards, Scholarship, and Installation Luncheon at The English Manor

• January 22 – Learn & Earn Monthly Breakfast and Networking at Bacon Beach Grille (7:30-8:30 a.m.)

• February 6 – Evening Networking Event at Southpaw Gym

• February 20 – Wine, Chocolate and More Tasting Benefit at The English Manor

• May 24 – Annual Comedy Scholarship Night at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church – Buona Sera

• October 16 – EXPO at Jumping Brook Country Club

The Greater Ocean Township Chamber of Commerce is a member based non-profit organization that represents and promotes the business community in the Township of Ocean and surrounding area. The GOTCC is devoted to providing networking, educational and promotional opportunities aimed at increasing business for our members; and giving back to our community by sponsoring and participating in social and outreach programs and events, including annual scholarships for deserving community-minded high school seniors and support of the Community Hope Fund.

Reminder: GOTCC Scholarship Application Deadline is December 5. The GOTCC serves as a liaison between the local business community, local government, and nearby business organizations and chambers. For more information about becoming a member, please contact the GOTCC at 732-660-1888 or email gotcc@gotcc.org.

 

 

St. Jerome School is named Blue Ribbon winner

West Long Branch — Monday, October 1st began as a normal school day for the students at Saint Jerome School, West Long Branch. However before the day ended, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, made an announcement — Saint Jerome had been designated one of only 49 private/parochial schools in the United States to receive the coveted National Blue Ribbon School award.

Students at St. Jerome celebrate the announcement the school has won a National Blue Ribbon School award.

On November 7 and 8, the Secretary and the Department of Education celebrated the honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington D.C.

In announcing the award via a video message, Secretary DeVos stated, “We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives. Congratulations on your students’ accomplishments and for your extraordinary commitment to meeting unique needs.”

Saint Jerome has been designated an exemplary high performing school as measured by nationally normed tests.

Saint Jerome School was founded in 1955 and has a long history of academic excellence and moral development. Graduates have excelled in secondary education and college, and have experienced great success in their chosen professions.

Since its founding, Saint Jerome School has been fortunate to have the leadership of the Religious Teachers Filippini. Sister Angelina Pelliccia has been the school principal for over 30 years. In recognizing the work of Sister Angelina, JoAnn Tier, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Trenton, said concerning the award, “Achieving this recognition involves a community of learners and leaders.”

Tier pointed out that education is a partnership among pastors, principals, teachers, parents and students. The students accepted the challenge toward personal growth with diligence and persistence.

Saint Jerome has a strong academic program emphasizing critical thinking and creative expression. The development of these skills plays a significant role in helping students make meaningful life choices. But the school’s philosophy goes beyond academics. It emphasizes the love of God, neighbor and country, brought about by self-respect and respect for others, and understanding personal responsibility.

More information about Saint Jerome School is available on their website, www.saintjeromeschool.­org, or you can visit them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Bon Jovi and his JBJ Soul Foundation open a warming station

Many members of the Red Bank community came together today to help those less fortunate. A ribbon cutting was held introducing a Warming Station at the Pilgrim Baptist Church on Shrewsbury Ave.

Jon Bon Jovi and his JBL Soul Foundation open a Warming Station in Red Bank at the Pilgrim Baptist Church

It was a combined effort between JBJ Soul Foundation, the church and others to make it possible. The warming station is a place where men can shower, eat, wash their clothes and sleep for the night. All made possible through the generosity of Jon and Dorothea Bon Jovi in conjunction with the Soul Kitchen. Read the full story in the Link News on Thursday.

City celebrates Veteran’s Day with tolling of the bells

By Patty Booth O’Neill

Long Branch – It was a special Veteran’s Day this year. The ceremony began at City Hall on Sunday with the ringing of the bell 21 times at 11am signifying the 116,516 men and women who died in World War I.

Introduced by Veteran David Brown, and a after few remarks by Mayor John Pallone, Jewish War Veteran Jerry Levine rang the bell which marked the 100th year anniversary of the end of WWI.

“The armistice to end all hostilities was signed the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918,” Mayor Pallone said. “That was 100 years ago.” He noted that the tolling of bells 21 times is a traditional expression of honor and remembrance.

The group then walked to the Veteran’s monument on the lawn of City Hall where the Mayor thanked everyone for coming and mentioned City Council members Rose Widdis, Korean Veteran Dr. Mary Jane Celli, Dr. Anita Voogt and Mario Vieira who were there to celebrate the occasion.

David Brown proudly introduced New Jersey Superintendent of the Year Michael Salvatore who spoke about Veteran’s Day before introducing essay winners from Long Branch. He talked about how out of almost 6,000 students in the school district, three essays were selected to be read.

From grammar school, Alex Gonzalez-Vasquez, middle school, Malica Feratovic, and high school student Anayatzi Lucas-Franco read about how they thought about Veterans and other heros.

On behalf of the city each student was presented with a $100 check by City Administrator George Jackson.

The first flowers were set on the monument by Gold Star Mother Arnise Knox. Other organizations represented were, Catholic War Veterans, American Legion, Avery Grant, VFW Post 2140, VFW Auxiliary, Long Branch Elks, and LB Police Dept.