Patterson man arrested, $180,000 cash bais set

On August 24th, 2015 the Street Crimes Unit, consisting of Detectives Joseph Spitale, Richard O’Brien and Nick Romano, conducted a motor vehicle stop in conjunction with an ongoing narcotics investigation.

Christopher “Choice” Schwartz 43 years old, from Paterson, NJ 07501 was arrested and charged with:

Possession of heroin
Possession of cocaine
Distribution of heroin 3rd degree
Distribution of heroin within 500ft of a park
Distribution within 500ft of federal housing
Distribution within 1000ft of a school

His bail was set at $180,000 cash only, bail source hearing. Set by Judge Reisner.

Additionally, a search warrant was sought for his vehicle, a 2014 Kia Optima.  It was granted, and on August 26th,  his vehicle was searched. He was then additionally charged with:

Possession of heroin
Possession of cocaine
Distribution of heroin 1st degree
Distribution of heroin within 500 ft of a park
Distribution within 500 ft of federal housing
Distribution within 1000 ft of a school

His bail for those charges was then set at $280,000, cash only, by Judge Oxley.

Brian Kirk & The Jirks At Pier Village

Thursday night was a big hit being the last summer show in Pier Village. About two thousand people showed up to watch the antics and musical talents of Brian Kirk and the Jerks.

Festival Plaza was crowded with lawn chairs and some serious adults dancing along and not so serious kids having the time of their lives hopping, dancing and jumping to the beat.

Don’t forget Sunday night Blues and Jazz in West End Park. Always great entertainment. This Sunday, August 30, the VooDudes will be playing the last show of the Summer Concert Series. The VooDudes are described as a mixture of New Orleans funk, blues, boogie-woogie, honky-tonk,  Zydeco, Southern soul and Caribbean party music and let it simmer ’til it’s real thick.

Tomorrow, August 29 the Long Branch Jazz and Blues Festival will be held from 12 to 10 pm  There will be Live Music, Food, Fireworks and Fun for All Ages on Saturday on The Great Lawn.

Something new coming up in West End — The West End Funk Fest featuring the music of Eastbourne and Line Drive. The date is Saturday, Sept. 19, 5-9 PM.


Theater review: Everybody wants a part of Nobody’s Girl

By Neil Schulman

Long Branch — Nobody’s Girl, the latest offering by NJ Rep, is simultaneously intense and intensely funny. It opens in a fancy hotel room, where a man in a suit, Anthony (played by Jacob Ware), appears nervous as there’s a knock on the door. He checks his teeth in the mirror – and then his zipper.

Anthony (Jacob A. Ware) is pressured to sign a contract to on behalf of Curra (right, Layla Khoshnoudi) by agent Ronnie (Judith Hawking, seated) and her assistant Tyrelle (Gregory Haney). (SuzAnne Barabas photo)

For a minute or two, it seems that the scantily-clad woman who opens the door might be a prostitute, especially when Anthony (who keeps insisting his friends call him Ant) gives her cash, and asks if she’s read the things he’s sent her on what he’d like her to be like.

But she’s not there for sex. He wants this woman, played by Layla Khoshnoudi, to pretend to be an Iranian girl who he’s written a novel about, but wants to pass off as a memoir. He wants her to pretend to be a refugee who’s had a horrific life for the agent he’s meeting with.

Things quickly get out of control for Ant as he leaves her alone for a few minutes to take a shower, and, while he’s away, agent Ronnie (Judith Hawking) and her assistant Tyrelle (Gregory Haney) show up, and begin talking to “Currah” about how much they love her story, which they describe as “like an Elizabeth Smart, a Muslim Elizabeth Smart.”

They mistake her confusion and uncertainty at what they’re talking about as a vulnerable girl who’s had a horrible life, and want to turn her into a star. By the time Anthony returns (claiming he was the social worker who found her), they’ve fallen in love with the version of Currah she’s portrayed — somewhat naughtier than Anthony imagined — and want that included in the memoir, to be titled “Nobody’s Girl.”

And, of course, things slowly spiral out of control from there.

Can the characters hold on to their dreams? Can they keep this false story going as it sweeps the nation by storm? Can Anthony keep any control over his work?

The classic comedy elements of a false identity and desires for fortune and fame gets a very contemporary – and at times disturbing – look in Nobody’s Girl.

Each of the four characters in the play initially appears straightforward, but their depths become evident. Ronnie may seem like an over-the-top agent, insisting that only French champagne, properly chilled, is acceptable — but she’s also not the success story she once was, seeing this memoir as her chance to get away from representing authors talking about the paleo diet.

Tyrelle initially appears confidently flamboyant and campy “as a biracial homosexual from a working class background,” as he introduces himself, but breaks down a bit too easily for us to believe he’s comfortable in those high heeled boots.

Why does Currah want to be someone else, to take over the role that Anthony invented for her, and why did he choose her? As for Anthony, anyone who’s willing to make up a person to get a book published can’t be happy with their life, can they?

These issues are all explored in Nobody’s Girl as the story unfolds.

This is the U.S. premier of Rick Viede’s play, which was originally put on in his native Australia. Adaptations have made the story feel thoroughly American. I doubt Ronnie went on NPR to plug the book to Brian Lehrer in the original.

The story of a fake memoir also feels quintessentially American. The Education of Little Tree — a touching story of a young Cherokee — was actually written by a man who participated in the Ku Klux Klan. James Frey’s “A Million Pieces,” a story about recovering from alcohol and drug abuse, made Oprah’s Book Club before people learned it was imaginary. The Gay Girl In Damascus blog, that had people around the world fearing for a brave girl with a forbidden lifestyle speaking out in a war-torn nation, was written by an American man.

“The difference between fact and fiction is the way you fetishize it,” says Ronnie at one point in the play. If a story sounds good, we want it to be true.

Viede has also filled the play with tons of subtle details that flesh out the characters. For example, in Anthony’s stories, Currah learned to read English in the shmaltziest way possible (which everyone thinks is inspirational) — by listening to “Interview With The Vampire” on tape and matching the sounds with what she saw in a print book. When Anthony says he and his parents have nothing in common, he mentions that the only thing his mother reads are Anne Rice novels.

And, as is always the case with a NJ Rep production, the details — set design, lighting, costumes — are also exceptional. As is Erica Gould’s direction.

Nobody’s Girl runs through Sept. 20 at NJ Repertory Company, 179 Broadway, with performances on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets and more info, call the theater, 732-229-3166 or visit

West End Car Show and concerts wow fans

By Patty Booth O’Neill

Long Branch — West End Cruise Night is a big event in the city and eagerly anticipated by young and old from near and far.

Mayor Adam Schneider greets Lou Christie

Even though Saturday’s event didn’t start until 6 p.m., cars started showing up early in the day, as did people who set up their chairs marking their territory as early as 2 in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day to do so.

As afternoon turned to evening, the crowd continued to grow, people walked up and down Brighton Ave, which was closed off to traffic, inspecting and admiring antique cars, hotrods, sedans, convertible.

Everywhere you turned there was music playing, aromas wafting over the crowded streets, one didn’t want to go too fast for fear of missing somenting.

In the park Familiar Faces played in the bandshell performing everyone favorites.

The main stage was set up in the parking lot of Family Pharmacy where Rave On entertained the crowd. There was a sea of chairs as far as the eye could see filled with people waiting patiently for Lou Christie to appear

Long Branch’s own Reanna Runge wowed the crowd with her beautiful rendition of Over the Rainbow, belting it out flawlessly along with a couple of other songs.

Some fans were lucky to be able to hang out in the VIP sections behind the stage, where volunteers were cooking up hotdogs donated by Steven Levine of the Windmill.

It seemed the perfect spot to be while waiting for the famous Lou Christie to exit his his trailer on his way to the stage. And as he came out he was very gracious, taking photos, posing with fans, putting up with the paparazzi.

Then Christie appeared on stage and the crowd went wild as he went right into his first song, dancing, moving, gyrating and singing with that signature voice.


City honors champion life guards

For the second year in a row, the Long Branch Women’s Lifeguard team took the National Park Service Division II championships, held recently at Sandy Hook. The lifeguards won four of the ten events outright, and earned a total of 99 points, 36 more than their closest competitor. On Tuesday, Mayor Adam Schneider and the City Council presented a proclamation to the team, honoring them for their accomplishment. “As someone who was pulled out of the water by a lifeguard recently… I want to say thank you,” said Schneider.

Mayor Adam Schneider presents a proclamation to the Long Branch Women's Lifeguard team on their second year in a row of taking the prize in competition as Council President Kathleen Billings looks on. The lifeguards, in turn, presented the mayor with a team t-shirt.

Art Alliance, JBJ Soul Kitchen team up to end hunger

Red Bank — Every bowl feeds a soul. A joint fundraiser will be held in the garden of Soul Kitchen on Sunday, August 30, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 207 Monmouth Street, to raise awareness in the fight to end hunger and support the missions of Soul Kitchen and The Art Alliance in building community partnerships.

The Empty Bowl Project was coordinated by Mil Wexler Kobrinski in collaboration with Monmouth Arts.
Wexler Kobrinski serves as a Board Member of The Art Alliance and is a ceramic artist and painter. Her MFA thesis project focused on Empty Bowls, which is a project of Imagine/RENDER, a 501(c) 3 organization consisting of an international grassroots effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger.

The mission is to create positive and lasting change through the arts, education, and projects that build community.

Monmouth Arts produces the annual Teen Arts Festival, inviting students to exhibit their art work, perform, and participate in arts workshops during a two-day festival held on the Brookdale Community College campus. This year, the Empty Bowls Workshop invited teens to create 200 bowls which were donated to this project and glazed by members of the Art Alliance.

Monmouth Arts is the official county arts agency, with a mission to “enrich the community by inspiring and fostering the arts.” The programs of Monmouth Arts are made possible in part through funding from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Horizon Foundation of New Jersey.

“I am proud that members of the Art Alliance are working in the community to feed those in need,” said Wexler Kobrinski. “As artists we have an obligation toward social action.”

The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen is a community restaurant featuring fresh, healthy ingredients. Soul Kitchen serves meals to in-need customers through volunteer work or to paying customers through a minimum donation. The Art Alliance of Monmouth County is a non-profit; member owned and operated gallery and studio in Red Bank. The mission is to promote the advancement of the visual arts and provide exhibition, studio and classroom space.

Soul Kitchen was invited to participate in the public awareness and fundraising campaign to strengthen community engagement. “Part of the Soul Kitchen mission is to raise awareness of food insecurity in one’s own community; a project like this is a great way to shed light on community interests and needs,” said Marylou Caputo, JBJ Soul Kitchen, Community Coordinator.

On the day of the fundraiser at Soul Kitchen, the bowls will be on display in the garden. For a $20 donation, a handmade bowl may be selected with a “paid forward” card which helps feed someone in need at Soul Kitchen. Light refreshments will be served.

A second event will be held at the Art Alliance, 33 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, during the season’s opening art exhibit and reception on September 12 from 6-8 p.m. A sampling of the bowls may be viewed in the gallery windows at the Art Alliance through the month of August.

For more information about the Art Alliance, please visit: for Soul Kitchen visit: www.jbjsoul

Groups call to double Shore Protection Fund to $50M

By Neil Schulman
Sea Bright — New Jersey’s beachfronts face many environmental threats in the coming years and decades, from erosion to rising sea levels to major storms like Hurricane Sandy — and advocates fear the state isn’t putting enough money aside in its Shore Protection Fund to cover the costs.

Jersey Shore Partnership Executive Director Margot Walsh talks about the need for more funding to protect the shore. Behind her, l-r, are Freeholder Tom Arnone, Assm. David Wolfe, Mayor Dina Long, Sen. Joe Kyrillos, Assm. Mary Pat Angelini, and JSP President Bob Mainberger.

On Tuesday, the Jersey Shore Partnership held a press conference on the Sea Bright beachfront to advocate for increasing the Shore Protection Fund from $25 million a year in the state’s budget to $50 million. They were joined by Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long, Freeholder Tom Arnone, Assembly members Mary Pat Angelini and David Wolfe, and State Senator Joe Kyrillos.

The state representatives there are sponsors of bills to double the amount put aside in this fund each year.
“We’re here to highlight how the Jersey Shore is important to so many,” Long said.

The beach has always served as a buffer during major storms, keeping the ocean from damaging oceanfront property. Long said that longtime Sea Bright residents will tell you how waves used to come over the seawall during heavy storms. And that seawall was built to hold the waves at bay.

“Our infamous sea wall was once built as a buffer for train tracks,” Long said. More attempts to keep the borough safe followed.

And tools like the beach replenishment provided critical protection to Sea Bright, Long said. “Superstorm Sandy showed just how critical.”

While Sea Bright is attempting other forms of mitigation – elevating homes and other ways to reduce flood risk – “all of this is for naught without sand,” Long said.

While protecting lives and property is a major reason to maintain our shore, it’s not the only one. According to the Jersey Shore Partnership, every year, visitors to the shore bring over $19 billion in revenue.

Arnone said that when Sandy hit, tourism revenue hit a snag last year. Healthy beaches have helped it recover, as can be seen from the crowds on Monmouth County’s shores.

“It’s gratifying to see, from Sandy Hook to Brielle, every bridge and every road” filled with people going to the beach, Arnone said.

But those beaches require maintenance, and it’s often more than a small community can afford. When the federal government works on shore projects, it typically requires a 35 percent contribution of the costs from the town.

And while the federal government paid for almost all of the costs of rebuilding for Sandy, those projects need to be maintained, at local’s expense.

New Jersey steps in to cover much of municipalities’ 35 percent share, in part from the $25 million it puts aside in the budget each year for the Shore Protection Fund.

The fund comes from the a realty transfer fee, the money charged for recording a property deed in New Jersey.
Assemblyman Wolfe and Senator Kyrillos said that the Shore Protection Fund had been started in the early 1990s, as a way to see beaches protected.

“Every year, we had to fight,” Kyrillos said.

Wolfe said a series of storms in the early 1990s, which did serious damage to shore towns, inspired the legislation to see if there was a solution. They discovered this was a long term problem.

“There was a drowsy state committee called the Beach Erosion Committee, established in the 1940s” to deal with this problem, Wolfe said. Trenton woke that committee up, and helped get funding for the Shore Protection Fund in place through the current system.

Versions of the bill are still before their respective committees in the senate and assembly, which must approve it before the whole legislative bodies can vote on it.

The bill has support from politicians in both parties, though as is the case with everything in the New Jersey, allocating money is always a problem.

Assemblywoman Angelini said the funding is worth it.

“God has given us this natural resource. It’s up to us to protect this,” she said. “We are in a budget crunch, but we have to prioritize.

Margot Walsh, Executive Director of the Jersey Shore Partnership, said that the groups mission is to ensure state and federal funding for New Jersey’s shoreline.

“Today, our advocacy role is more important… than ever,” Walsh said. “The reality of sea level rise and the frequent Sandy-like storms are a warning to be proactive, not reactive.”

Links for people who want to urge legislators to support this proposal can be found on the Jersey Shore Partnership’s website,

Golf Outing to Raise Money for College Scholarships

Community members and local businesses are invited to tee off in support of local students at the 36th annual Education Open Golf Tournament, held Thursday, Sept. 24 at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Farmingdale.

The event, hosted by the Brookdale Community College Foundation, will help provide college scholarships to hundreds of local working-class students who do not quality for financial aid.

Tournament participants will have early access to the Eagle Oaks driving range beginning at 9:30 a.m., followed by a “mega” buffet brunch. The full scramble tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 11:30 a.m. Golf carts and special gifts will be provided.

Following the tournament, golfers are invited to a cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres and a gourmet awards dinner in the Eagle Oaks clubhouse beginning at 5 p.m.

Special prizes will be awarded for individual and team achievements, including longest drive and “closest to the pin.” Blind skins games, a 50/50 cash raffle, and silent and live auctions will be offered as well.

A wide range of golf packages and sponsorship opportunities are available. The rain date for the tournament is Sept. 28.

The tournament will benefit the Brookdale Foundation’s “Building Minds, Building Futures” scholarship fund, which has provided nearly $4 million in scholarships to more than 6,500 students over the past 15 years.

“Many of these students are balancing full-time jobs, family obligations and college in an effort to improve their lives,” said Timothy Zeiss, executive director of the foundation. “The Education Open is a rare opportunity to play on a championship golf course, have some fun and support some truly deserving members of our community.”

To register for the tournament or for more information call Tani Ortore at 732-224-2260 or visit

Brookdale Foundation Education Open committee member George Werner drives a ball during last year’s tournament, held at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Farmingdale on Sept. 18

A team of golfers participated in last year's annual Educational Open Golf Tournament, held at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Farmingdale

Brookdale Foundation scholarship recipient Alexandra Cardaio (center) stands with Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy and foundation executive director Timothy Zeiss during the Education Open Golf Tournament.

Historical Assn. names new Director of Development and Communications

Lisa Maher has been named Director of Development and Communications for the Monmouth County Historical Association. In announcing the appointment, Director Dr. Evelyn C. Murphy said, “We are delighted to welcome Lisa to the Association team. She brings a wealth of knowledge of fundraising practice, public relations skills, and a wonderful enthusiasm for our programs and mission.”
At the Historical Association, Maher will be responsible for fundraising from events, corporate, foundation, individual and government sources in addition to promoting strong public awareness for the Association through traditional media and social networking opportunities. Maher has held a number of development positions at Columbia University and was most recently associate director of individual giving. She is a graduate of George Washington University, Washington, D.C., where she earned a BA in international affairs, and New York University where she earned an MPA in nonprofit management.

Established in 1898 and headquartered in Freehold, Monmouth County Historical Association operates a Museum, a Library and Archives and five Historic Houses in Monmouth County. Its museum collection holds more than 30,000 artifacts; its library and archives hold over 10,000 primary and secondary resource materials related to the history and genealogy of the area dating from the 17th century to the present; its historic houses give visitors a unique glimpse of the past. The Association has an active education program sharing history with school children and with the general public.

Lisa Maher

“Dr. Murphy and the Association have spearheaded excellent ideas and programs to meet the Association’s goals over the years,” Maher said. “They have set a high standard for me to follow. Given the enthusiasm of the staff, the importance of Monmouth County in the history and formation of the country, and the vitality of this section of the nation, I am confident my fund raising involvement will be well received by a public so proud and aware of the history of this area.”

Monmouth County Historical Association is a private non-profit organization that has been working to preserve history and provide educational opportunities since its founding in 1898. The Historical Association’s Museum and Library is located at 70 Court Street, Freehold, New Jersey. For membership or admission fees and further information, please call 732- 462-1466 or visit our web site at ;

High speed chase through Long Branch

By Patty Booth O’Neill

There was a high speed chase through the streets of Long Branch on Friday afternoon as police were in pursuit of a black convertible Sebring driven by 35-year-old Brian Cofer of Asbury Park.

“He was driving on a suspended license and there were warrants out for him,” said Long Branch Public Safety Director Jason Roebuck. He said that when Detectives Charles Simonelli and Todd Coleman tried to stop Cofer for an investigation, he sped off leading police through numerous Long Branch streets.

“I happened to be taking photos on Broadway when we heard all the police sirens. My mom (Patty Booth O’Neill) yelled at me to point the camera at the street and take a stream of photos as the cars sped by,” said Rachel Ross of West Allenhurst. “A black car flew by being chased by a fleet of police cars. Then we jumped in my car and followed them.”

The car headed north past Chelsea and turned onto Bath Avenue not slowing down. “He threw something out his window,” said Roebuck. “Detectives suspected CDS (controlled dangerous substance) but nothing was found.”

Cofer struck several police cars and rammed Juan Vasquez’s patrol car several times during the pursuit, Roebuck said.

On North Bath Cofer attempted to run two civilian cars off the road, passing them on the right. He struck both cars, one a sedan driven by a woman from New York, the other an SUV driven by Edward F. Thomas of Long Branch.

“I saw the car coming up and I slammed on my breaks,” said Ed Thomas. “He hit my bumper and tore it half off, but he really banged up his own car by doing that.”

“It was the craziest thing,” said one bystander on Bath Avenue. “The guy drove by here three time, and didn’t seem at all concerned. Driving as fast as he was he was lighting a cigarette and talking on the phone.”

The Sebring headed toward Broadway when police finally stopped the car on the lawn of a home on the corner of Morrell St. and Bath Ave. Cofer’s car was surrounded and the suspect was placed under arrest.

The only evidence that he was ever there a large white sneaker sitting on the roof of his very banged up car.