Second man jumps from Long Branch radio tower

By Patty Booth O’Neill
A second male jumped to his death around 3:00 on Monday afternoon off of the Y107 Radio tower The cororner's office places the body in a station wagon located off Memorial Parkway on Belmont Avenue.

Police had received a call that someone was climbing the tower. Christopher Zweidinger, an unemployed 38-year-old man from Whiting, NJ sat on the east side of the tower about half way up. Fire and police responded and tried to make contact with Zweidinger, who took off his coat, threw it to the ground and jumped onto the roof of an abandoned building below the tower. He went through the roof onto the second floor.

Witnesses say Zweidinger wasn’t there very long. “I came out here and there were a lot of police cars and everyone was looking up,” said one bystander. “Then I saw him jump. It was awful, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The sound of him hitting was worse.”

Zweidinger’s body was eventually located and removed from the building, he appeared to have died on impact. The building is in a state of disrepair and was deemed unsafe for entry, hampering the efforts of the fire fighters. Search and rescue operations were implemented by the Long Branch Fire Department, who were assisted by the Asbury Park Fire Department.

Blocks surrounding the tower were taped off by Long Branch Police, allowing no one to leave or enter the corded off area.

In April a man from Elizabeth, who had worked on the tower jumped to his death from the top at 400 feet.

Those observing the incident felt there should be something done to keep people from having access to the tower. Some said it needed barbed wire, a second fence or electric fence.

Zweidinger’s car, which contained a suicide note, was towed from Belmont Ave at around 5:30pm.

Woman attacks security at 540 Broadway

Long Branch – On Wednesday morning around 7:30 a.m. as preschool students were arriving at 540 Broadway, security officers heard a woman yelling for help on Broadway near the intersection of Branchport Avenue.

Walter J. O'Neill, Jr., District Public Safety Liaison for Long Branch Public Schools had to subdue a woman on Wednesday morning after she ran towards preschool children.

The woman, said to be in her early 20’s, was running towards 540 Broadway screaming that someone was trying to kill her, but no one could be seen following her. A car with what appeared to be an off duty policeman or fireman was in traffic on Broadway yelling to school security officers not to let the woman near the children.

Two of the school security officers stopped the woman at the driveway entrance of 540 Broadway. Witnesses said that security appeared to be trying to talk with the woman and calm her down.

According to witnesses, the woman then ran out into traffic on Broadway and bounced off the hood of a car that was traveling west, apparently unharmed. The woman than ran towards a school bus that was unloading children.

Walter J. O’Neill, Jr., the District Public Safety Liaison, was one of the two security officers who were outside 540 Broadway. He grabbed the woman using a bear hug and carried her out of traffic and away from the school bus and children. The woman was screaming and resisting the entire time. One witness said there were a lot of children and parents there at that time and the security officers were not only protecting the students and staff, but preventing the woman from harming herself as she kept running in and out of traffic.

“She was yelling that someone was trying to kill her and that he gave her something,” said O’Neill. Protocol for a situation like this calls for an immediate lockout. O’Neill stated that he instructed Raphael Silva, the other security officer, to get the students and staff secured and then call the Long Branch Police Department. “The poor girl was screaming six things. He is trying to kill me. I need a cop. He gave me something. I can’t breathe. I need an ambulance, and children. I made sure that I stayed between her and the children while Raphael, teachers and the paraprofessionals secured everyone.”

O’Neill added that when she said children and started running towards the bus he decided it was time to stop her. “She was completely incoherent. I was trying to tell her that I was a retired police officer and I could call and get her help. But when she started towards the bus I had to restrain her,” said O’Neill.

Witnesses said that O’Neill carried her out of traffic and over to the curb in front of Snow White Laundry, but she was fighting the entire time. She head butted O’Neill and attempted to bite him. “When you’re dealing with someone in that state they have no idea what they are doing. My job was to make sure she didn’t get onto our property or harm our students or staff. Once that was accomplished I wanted to make sure she didn’t harm herself or any bystander at that time in the morning as the area is very busy,” said O’Neill.

“The girl was just overcome with fear, you could see it in her eyes and her screaming would not stop. After she head butted me she attempted to bite my left arm. She did manage to get one hand free for a second and scratch my face, but I quickly regained control and took her to the ground and held her there until the Long Branch Police arrived.”

Jason Roebuck, Long Branch Public Safety Director, said that officers Brian Boryszewski, Mike McGowan, Kevin King and Fire Marshall Greg Papailiu all responded and helped subdue the woman. She was struggling even with all those officers trying to handcuff her. “The Long Branch Police Department are great partners with the school district. They respond quickly and are extreme professionals,” added O’Neill.

The woman was taken into police custody and transported to Monmouth Medical Center for evaluation. Long Branch First Aid Squad responded to check out the cuts and abrasions O’Neill suffered in the scuffle. “The only person who suffered any injuries was me. I had a few scrapes and scratches, but the students and staff were never in danger and that’s all that matters,” said O’Neill. Even the woman who attacked him was unharmed in the incident. “That’s why we train. The object is that nobody should be harmed.”

Police asked O’Neill if he wanted to sign complaints for assault. He refused saying the woman needed help, not criminal charges.

“This is an indication of what society is today,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Salvatore. “Student safety is our highest priority and the investment made by the Board of Education has been tremendous,” he added, referring to the extra training now available for school safety officers.

He said that Long Branch schools have safety personnel at each site who are dedicated to ensuring a positive learning environment for the children.

“The training and development of our personnel has added urgency to each of their respective positions,” Salvatore said. “We appreciate the sacrifices our staff makes routinely to protect our children.”

LB BOE Candidates will hold a forum

Here we go Long Branch, here we go!

Its election time for the Long Branch Board of Education. The three (3) incumbents are seeking reelection; James Parnell, Allan Menkin and Armand R. Zambrano Jr.

They are being challenged this year by two people, Rose Marie Widdis, who was a board member for many years under the previous administration, and David Allan Brown.

A forum for candidates to express their positions and platforms for the citizens of Long Branch moderated by the Red Bank Area League of Women Voters will be held on October 30, 2014 (Thursday) at 7:00 p.m. in the Long Branch Middle School, 350 Indiana Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740.

The forum is being held in the George Beaver Auditorium and is hosted by the Long Branch School Employees Association. Following the event a coffee and dessert reception will be held.

DiPasquale named city’s Poet Laureate

By Neil Schulman
Long Branch — Emmanuel di Pasquale is now officially the Poet Laureate of Long Branch.

Emmanuel di Pasquale, left, is congratulated on being named City Poet Laureate by Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider.

At the Tuesday, Sept. 23, City Council meeting, Mayor Adam Schneider read a proclamation honoring the award winning poet and long-time Long Branch resident.

Di Pasquale was born in Sicily in 1943, and emigrated to this country as a teenager in 1957. Less than 10 years later, he was teaching English in college, having earned a Bachelor’s from Adelphi University and Masters from New York University.

He currently serves as a Professor of English and Poet in Residence at Middlesex County College.

DiPasquale has published 16 books of poetry, and also helped translate numerous works from Italian poets, from Dante to contemporary works. His translations have been recognized with numerous awards, including Academy of American Poets’ Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship.
Schneider said that di Pasquale moved to Long Branch in 1989, “and immediately found inspiration in the motion of the waves outside the window.”

This summer, di Pasquale was asked to write a new composition for the swearing-in ceremony for the newly re-elected mayor and council.

That poem received recognition from another well known Long Branch poet, Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States.

Pinsky offered di Pasquale his congratulations on the poem, which included the image “the boardwalk awakening to life,” an image always appropriate for the city, but with special meaning as it works to rebuild.


A poem by Emmanuel di Pasquale

Death of a Robin Redbreast in Long Branch, NJ
In death, we all turn into robins,
Right after having hit, beak first,
The glass wall of Michelangelo’s Pizzeria—
There, our heads sideways, our arms closed wings,
Our eyes flat,
Our bellies up
Our feet and toes curled.
What child will bury us
A foot deep
By the breaking waves
To mingle our essence
With elemental sand and water?

“The poem deals with the ‘link’ between life and death, how death is really a continuation of life (as Walt Whitman tried to point out)…” notes DiPasquale. “The redbreast buried by the lapping waves of our ocean dissolves (links) into the original elements. It could be a metaphor for the Sandy disaster…nothing ends…all is reborn.”

Originally published Sept. 25. 2014

Church Street School under contract

The Long Branch Board of Education using Max Spann Real Estate and Auction Company has a tentative contract on the Historic Church Street School in North Long Branch.

Located at 465 Church Street, the school was built in 1891 and was known as School District No. 85 Primary No. 3 and sits on 1.45 acres and is 16,634 square feet. Long Branch Board of Education attempted to sell the property several times without any bidders.

Church Street School closed many years ago and was being used as a storage facility by the district. The building was deteriorating and needs a tremendous amount of upkeep. According to Dr. Michael Salvatore, Superintendent of Schools, the board of education was not in a position to repair that building and was not looking to hold onto closed facilities any longer.

After putting the school out for bid three times without any offers it was decided that they would try going to auction. Two open site visits were held and Max Spann held the auction on Wednesday, October 8, at the South River Municipal Building.

According to Salvatore one offer was accepted for $500,000 and is under contract. No information at this time on the buyer or what the plans are for the property located three blocks from the ocean.

Catrambone first school building finished on Christie’s watch

By Patty Booth O’Neill
Long Branch — According to W.C. Fields, one should never act in a movie with dogs or children; you will always get upstaged.

That was the case on Thursday when elementary students at the grand opening of the George L. Catrambone School (GLC) welcomed Governor Chris Christie in a way that impressed and warmed the hearts of even those grinches who may agree with Fields.

Students lined the hallway and welcomed visitors as they entered the school.

“It was so impressive,” said Mary George, member of the Long Branch Board of Ed. “I choked up at how amazing the children were.”

As the Governor made his way  through the hundreds of children, the school band played the theme from Rocky. Instead of feeling upstaged, the Governor embraced the kids, shaking hands, giving hugs and even signing autographs.

Christie made his way to a crowded auditorium where he still didn’t get a chance to speak, because as the city school’s slogan says, “Children Matter Most.”

Students, teachers and music director did an amazing job preparing songs to entertain the Governor and visitors.

Board President Lucy Perez  handed out praise and introduced various people, then finally Superintendent of Schools Michael Salvatore introduced Christie.

“That was about as good a welcome I get anywhere,” Christie said. He added that when he goes into the State House he was going to have someone play the Rocky theme for him.

The Catrambone School, which  replaced the old Elberon School on Park Ave., is a 109,000-square-foot building that teaches from preschool through the fifth grade, costing $27.5 million to constuct, although from inception to opening the final cost was $40 million.

It is named after 38-year, retired educator George L. Catrambone.

“I wish every taxpayer in the state could come and see this school for themselves,” Christie said. He said it was the first school that started and finished on his watch and he was proud.

CEO of the NJ Schools Development Authority Charles Mc­Kenna said he was confident about handing the school over to the district.

“We couldn’t have gotten this done without the help of Mike Salvatore,” McKenna said. “I know the school will be well taken care of.”

He said it was a beautiful, high functioning school. “It’s a school of the future,” he said.

The school houses 41 classrooms, four special education classrooms, a cafetorium with stage, computer room, gymnasium, media center/library, art room and music room, and currently has 852 students in attendance.
“During construction we went through Sandy and the worst winter in our history,” Salvatore said. “This school was still done on time.”

He spoke about how well the school system is doing with three free-standing preschools and 90 percent of the graduates going on to college.

The celebration ended with the ribbon cutting and the GLC was officially handed over to the district.




TV, Broadway star enjoys premiere in Long Branch

By Coleen Burnett
Dan Lauria is enjoying his time at the Jersey Shore.

The actor is perhaps best known for his role as the crusty-but-loving dad Jack Arnold on the hit ABC-TV series “The Wonder Years” from 1988 to 1993. He’s also won raves on Broadway, portraying the great NFL coach Vince Lombardi in the hit play of the same name, and also as the late humorist Jean Shepard in “A Christmas Story: The Musical.” Or maybe you’ve seen him on the big screen, with roles in such popular movies such as “Independence Day.”

And, he just finished his third season on the TBS sitcom, ”Sullivan and Son.”

Versatility is the mark of any good actor, for sure. But did you know he can write?

That’s what has brought him to the Long Branch. A play he penned (and stars in), “Dinner With The Boys” is had its world premiere at the New Jersey Repertory Theatre on Broadway in Long Branch. The production has been so popular that it has been extended through October 12.

Actually, the idea that he can write a play — and get it mounted into an actual production — is not that far out of reach. Lauria has an MFA in playwriting from Southern Connecticut State University, and loves to put pen to paper when the mood strikes him.

He’s well aware of the fact that thousands of plays get written in one form or another every year, and he considers himself lucky to actually get this one produced. He gives a lot of credit to Gabe and SuzAnne Barabas, the executive producers and co-founders of the theatre.

“Our culture is in these new writers, and Gabe and Sue understand”, he told The Link. “There’s very few theatres that will do new plays.”

“Television is filling an editing machine. Theatre you have to create a character.”

The production has been about ten years in the making. Originally penned as a vehicle for himself and his actor friends Charles Durning, Peter Falk, Jack Klugman and Dom DeLuise, Lauria plays an aging mobster in the comedy, which now stars Ray Abruzzo (who played “Little Carmine Lupertazzi” in the” Sopranos”), Morris “Moe” Rosenbaum, and Richard Zavaglia.

The actor has been extremely busy with the production — “We haven’t been able to get around,” he says — but has spent a bit of time enjoying what the area has to offer. He’s made stops at McLoone’s in Asbury Park, Amy’s Omelette House on Ocean Avenue in Long Branch, and raves about the pizza served at Attillio’s in West Long Branch.

He also loves the architecture he sees in the old buildings along Broadway. “It’s almost like a Hollywood set,” he marveled.

TV may pay the bills (“It pays for my theatre habit”), but his true love is pounding the boards.

“The stage is — no matter what is going on in your life — for two hours it all disappears,” he said.
In the end, it’s all about creativity and giving yourself a new challenge. The actor saw an area west of Pier Village where he says he would love to build a small venue to put on new plays. He figures 300 seats would be the right size.     “Imagine the stars that would come out here,” said the veteran actor with a big smile.
For tickets you can call the box office at 732-229-3166 or go to the theatre’s website at www.

MRHS senior seeks to raise 100,000 pennies

In honor of the fact that October is Blindness Awareness Month, Monmouth Regional High School Senior Christian DuBois is attempting to raise awareness — and 100,000 pennies in funding to donate to the NJBCA (New Jersey Blind Citizen’s Association).
“Our high school motto is ‘Together We Are Monmouth’ and I know that together we can make a difference, one child at a time, one penny at a time,” DuBois said.

He encourages everyone to please bring yourself and your children to deposit their pennies in the jar located at The New Jersey Blind Citizen’s Association (NJBCA) Camp Happiness, 18 Burlington Avenue, Leonardo, NJ 07737 (Phone: 732-291-0878; Hours: Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Checks, for any amount, are also accepted and can be sent to the same address with “100,000 Pennies” noted in the memo box.

The NJBCA’s Mission Statement is “To improve the lives of the blind and visually impaired educationally and socially.” Through their programs and services, they unlock opportunities and open doors to growth, happiness and new experiences. Their participants gain independence and confidence to lead healthy, self-sufficient and productive lives.

Monmouth Regional High School Senior Christian DuBois

“Graduating in 2015, knowing that these are the same life skills that have been instilled in me, I can’t think of a more worthy organization to fundraise for,” DuBois said. “Please help me reach my goal.”
The New Jersey Blind Citizen’s Association is a publically supported, tax exempt nonprofit organization recognized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.

Rotary Club to host Seton Hall basketball coach

Long Branch — The Rotary Club of Long Branch and the Members of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity of Seton Hall University will host a luncheon featuring Kevin Willard, Head Basketball Coach of Seton Hall Men’s Team, on Friday, October 17, at noon. The event will be held at Rooney’s Crab House in Long Branch.

The luncheon is open to all guests. The cost is $20 and Willard will discuss the basketball team’s prospects and Seton Hall’s 2014-2015 new team members.

Willard was named head coach of the Seton Hall men’s basketball program on March 29, 2010. He became the 19th head coach in Seton Hall history joining the Pirates after three years leading the Iona College men’s basketball program.    In 2013-14, Willard ushered the Pirates into a new era in the Big East Conference in a year that was filled with milestones. Fuquan Edwin, a four-year-player under Willard, rose to first on the program’s all-time steals list and became the second Seton Hall player to take home the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award and the first since Jerry Walker in 1992-93.

Edwin was also named a Second Team All-Big East performer, while Jaren Sina added all-conference honors of his own, becoming the first Pirate selected to the All-Big East Rookie Team since 2007-08.

On the court, Willard guided The Hall to its first Big East Tournament semifinal appearance since 2001. Along the way, he orchestrated the program’s first victory over a nationally ranked opponent in the top-3 of the

Associated Press Poll, upending #3 Villanova in the quarterfinals on March 13.
Willard also mentored The Hall’s first Big East All-Tournament Team selection in over a decade with Eugene Teague receiving the prestigious accolade. ·

During the regular-season, Willard tallied the 100th victory of his head coaching career with a win over NJIT on December 10, 2013 and guided The Hall to season sweeps over Xavier and Georgetown. It was the Pirates’ first sweep of the Hoyas since the
2002-03 campaign.

In his four seasons at Seton Hall, Willard has reenergized the program with the Pirates enjoying success both on the court and in the classroom. Willard has mentored six All Big East selections, 12 Big East Academic All-Stars, and has boasted a perfect single-year academic progress rate in the three NCAA reports since becoming the Pirates’ head coach.

On the recruiting trail, Willard has built a solid foundation inking a consensus top-15 class in the nation for 2014. The class was rated as high as seventh among major online recruiting services and features the program’s first McDonald’s All-American since 2000 in Isaiah Whitehead, only the fifth all-time.

Willard quickly restored the Pirates to prominence by his second season in 2011-12. Seton Hall won 21 games, the most since the 2003-04 campaign, and earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) for the 17th time in program history. As a #1 seed of the NIT, the Pirates scored a first round win over America East regular season champion Stony Brook, marking their first post-season victory in eight years.

Willard also vaulted The Hall back into the national rankings (#24) for the first time in nearly 12 years winning 15 of the first 17 games of 2011-12. It was the program’s best start since 1992-93. The Pirates earned victories over a pair of top-10 teams, with wins over the #8 Connecticut (Jan. 3) and #9 Georgetown (Feb. 21).

Seton Hall got off to a strong start again in 2012-13 in what proved to be an injury-plagued campaign. The Pirates opened with a 12-2 mark, a spurt that included a seven game win-streak.
Despite being limited to only seven healthy scholarship players at times during the second half of the season, the Pirates pulled together down the stretch. Seton Hall defeated NCAA Tournament bound Villanova (Feb. 25) with a thrilling last second comeback at the Prudential Center. The undermanned Pirates also picked up a Big East Tournament victory over South Florida (March 12), the third postseason triumph for Willard at Seton Hall.
n Willard’s first year in South Orange, the Pirates played one of the most difficult schedules in the nation, which included 10 games against ranked teams and 18 games against teams that made it to the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Despite the daunting gauntlet, the Pirates registered victories over eventual Metro Atlantic Athletic

Conference (MAAG) Champion Saint Peter’s, Marquette, #15 St. John’s and #9 Syracuse.
The 90-68 upset over the Orange was only Seton Hall’s fifth win in 27 games at the Carrier Dome.
Before Seton Hall, Willard took over the Iona head coaching job in 2007. He inherited a Gael’s team that had won just two games the prior season. Only three seasons later,

Willard guided Iona to a 21-10 overall record and was named MAAG Coach of the Year. During his first year as a head coach, the 2007-08 season, the Gaels finished with 10 more victories than the previous year, one of the top turnarounds in NCAA Div. I.

Prior to the start of his career as a head coach, Willard served the previous six seasons as an assistant and associate head coach at the University of Louisville, where he was mentored by college coaching legend Rick Pitino. Willard also credits h!s father, Ralph, as one of his coaching influences. Ralph Willard enjoyed a successful 19-year run as the head coach at Western Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Holy Cross.

At Louisville, Kevin Willard was responsible for assisting with the Cardinals’ game preparations, scouting and preparing game plans. He also served as chief recruiting coordinator.

During his tenure, Louisville was ranked in the Top 25 for five seasons and reached the post season in each of his six years. The squad reached the NCAA Tournament on four occasions including a visit to the 2005 Final Four, the first time in 19 years that the Cardinals had advanced that deep into the post season.

In his six seasons at Louisville, the Cardinals posted a phenomenal 142-58 record averaging nearly 24 wins per season.

Prior to Louisville, Willard worked with Pitino as a coaching associate with the Boston Celtics for four years. His duties with the Celtics included game and practice preparation, scouting and assisting the coaching staff in all facets of basketball operations. He also provided advance scouting, video tape breakdowns and assisted with individual workouts prior to games.

A basketball lifer, Willard played point guard on the Division I level for four years; the last three coming at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned Big East All-Academic honors while appearing in 75 games for the Panthers. He spent his freshman season at Western Kentucky, where he played in the Hilltoppers’ backcourt and sank over 40 percent of his three-point goals.

Willard hails from New York, but played his high school basketball at Bowling Green High School (Ky.) while his father was the head coach at Western Kentucky. He earned Second Team All-State honors as a senior and helped his team to a combined 76-15 record in his final three prep seasons.
He is married to the former Julie Wagner and they have two sons, Colin, who was born in August, 2006 and Chase born in June, 2008.

Pooch Parade a big hit in West End

The weather was perfect on Saturday for the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce Pooch Parade.
The event drew doggies big and small, some in homemade costumes, others just looking adorable all dressed up.Taking first place was Rosie and Ceasar dressed as a princess and prince. Second place went to Francisco, dressed as a shark, and third went to Zara, in a Hawaiian Hula girl costume.

There was plenty to do all day for the whole family as Brighton Avenue was closed for foot traffic only. Booths lined the street, with food, crafts and activities.

Kids loved the Touch the Truck, sponsored by the City of Long Branch, the bouncy ride and slide, and they all got the chance to show their creativity by painting their own pumpkin.

A big draw was build your own scarecrow, sponsored by Central Jersey Bank. Straw stuffing, old clothes and hats were shaped by fertile imaginations and hung on wooden sticks in the ground to later be judged.