Drone grounded at Oceanfest

Some people thought it was a novelty, but it made others nervous. A drone was flying over the beach and Promenade at Oceanfest taking pictures different  events. It didn’t take Long Branch Police, who had been checking backpacks and cars all day for anything suspicious,  long to locate the pilot while he was trying to take a picture of the sand sculptures.  The pilot was told it wasn’t allowed and asked to land it.

People noticed a drone flying over Oceanfest.

Police located the pilot by the sand sculptures and made him land the drone.

Theater Review: Open your schedule to see ‘Closure’

By Madeline Schulman

Long Branch — Opening night of the world premiere of Closure, by Richard Dresser, at New Jersey Rep was a dreary, rainy evening at the Jersey Shore, but inside the theater the audience was transported to various locations on a sunny, pretty Caribbean island (design by Jessica Parks), including a cafe, a hotel room, and (more ominously) the police station.

( SuzAnne Barabas photo) Victor Verhaerghe, Biniam Tekola, Wendie Malick and Gary Cole in “Closure.”

Jane (Wendie Malick) and Detective Ray Hadley (Gary Cole) open the play drinking at a cafe table. Jane has a week off from her job as a fifth grade teacher, but she is not here for pleasure. Three months ago, her teenage daughter vanished while on a school trip (reminiscent of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba 10 years ago), and she is on her fifth visit since the disappearance to find out what progress the policeman has made in solving the case.

He is evasive; he has a “person of interest” but he will not say who it is, although he hints it may even be their waiter, Ken (Biniam Tekola). Ken, with his youthful attractiveness and charming British accent, seems an unlikely suspect, but there are only four characters to deal with.

The fourth is Jane’s businessman husband, Peter (Victor Verhaege), who seems less committed to the investigation than Jane. Perhaps he is more ready to give up searching and try to go on with their lives. He sets up an office in the hotel room with his computer and phone and fills the uncomfortable silence with chatter about his hateful boss.

Their daughter’s disappearance has put a strain on their marriage, and the situation is not improved by the perceived attraction between Jane and Ray. Why has she made so many trips to the island? Why does Ray seem to be dragging out the investigation? Is it in order to spend more time with Jane?

With such powerfully charismatic and good-looking actors as Wendie Malick (whose TV work includes Hot In Cleveland) and Gary Cole (star of HBO’s VEEP), the mutual magnetism is evident.

Another intriguing duo is Ray and Ken, where the older, White policeman has all the power over a young Black waiter living on tips.

That is all that can be written without giving away the many plot turns, as the spotlight of doubt shines on one man after another and more and more secrets and lies are revealed. Jane longs for closure, but will finding her daughter’s fate heal the hurt in her heart or make it permanent? Closure is an intriguing mystery, with a core story to touch any parent.

Closure is playing at NJ Rep, 179 Broadway, Long Branch, through July 19, with regular performances Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m.

Tickets can be obtained at 732-229-3166 or www.njrep.org.

House History talk at library

Long Branch — If These Walls Could Talk: Researching Your House History, will be presented Wed., July 15, 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Long Branch Main Library, 328 Broadway.

photo from www.continuingeducationnj.com Author and historian Joseph Grabas will talk at the Long Branch library on July 15.

Have you ever been curious about the history of your house or property? How old is it? Who built it? Who might have lived there before you? Maybe you would like to know how your neighborhood was developed. Exploring your house history can be fun, fascinating and fulfilling. Every home stands witness to the lives of its former owners and can provide insight into previous residents, the neighborhood and the community at large.

Getting started may seem daunting, but if these questions really intrigue you, it is possible to learn how to research the history of your house. You can become a “history detective” and discover the stories your house can tell. Join nationally renowned land title historian and author Joseph A. Grabas at the Long Branch Public Library to learn how to unlock the unexpected history of your home and land.

Land records can unlock the hidden history of your home, but to construct a complete house history, a variety of sources should be consulted. There are many resources that can provide information about your house, ranging from city directories to architectural styles.

If it seems too difficult or time-consuming to get started, this free library program may be just the impetus you need to get started.    Grabas will conduct a hands-on workshop in land records research, along with the additional research necessary to discover the story of your home.

Grabas, a Monmouth County Historical Commissioner, is a Certified Title Professional of the NJ Land Title Association and the American Land Title Association, as well as a founding Trustee of the New Jersey Land Title Institute. He has taught at Rutgers University, Drew University and Bloomfield College and lectured widely to professional organizations on topics related to historical land records and colonial slavery and emancipation.
A book signing for Mr. Grabas’ newest book, “Owning New Jersey: Historic Tales of War, Property Disputes and the Pursuit of Happiness,” will follow the workshop.

In 1664, the Wild West began at the Jersey shoreline. What followed was a determined and complex cacophony of land transfers, settlements, property disputes, land riots, border wars and the extrication of the Native Americans and their rights in and to New Jersey.
Grabas will discuss the history of the settlement and development of the State, as found during his 36-year exploration within the millions of documents recorded in the various County Clerk’s offices.

The Long Branch Free Public Library has a number of resources that can assist with your quest for clues and answers to your house’s history, including local city directories and historic photographs.

Please call or visit our Local History Room for more information.  More information may be found at www.longbranchlib.org.

Jattrude Fogarty Trust donates to Rutgers Cancer Institute

Alexis Tucci, Esquire and Suzana Hot, Esquire, Co-Trustees of the Jattrude Fogarty Trust presented a check to Dr. Edward C. Lattime and Joan E. Russo, Chief Development Officer for Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. The Co-Trustees announced that the Trust contributions have totaled over $700,000 to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey for Breast Cancer Research.

Tucci Donation L-R Joan Russo, CINJ Deputy Director Dr. Edmund Lattime, Suzana Hot, Esq. and Alexis Tucci, Esq

Dr. Lattime was a recent speaker at The Rotary Club of Long Branch with regard to the use of various viruses in studies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer and brain cancer.
Dr. Lattime is well known for his work in tumor immunology. His laboratory studies the interaction between the tumor and immune response with the ultimate goal of developing effective cancer treatments that stimulate the body’s immune response’s recognition of cancer, thereby seeking to destroy the cancer.

His collaborative research with teams at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Thomas Jefferson University led to the development of a genetically engineered version of the smallpox vaccine virus (vaccinia) containing the gene for GMCSF – a substance naturally produced by the body’s immune system that stimulates immune recognition.

At the Cancer Institute, Dr. Lattime and his colleagues have completed a first-in-human Phase I clinical trial which focused on the treatment of advanced bladder cancer tumors with a humanengineered fowlpox virus producing GMCSF. Most recently, Dr. Littime’s laboratory has identified the effectiveness of immunizing with a related vaccinia-based tumor vaccine.

Teaming with the Cancer lnstitute’s Gastrointestinal Tumor Study Group, they have translated these latest findings to an innovative Phase I study where patients are immunized directly into the pancreas using an engineered poxvirus containing tumor markers expressed on pancreatic cancer. Notably, there was no distant cancer progression in patients who entered treatment without metastatic tumor.

The group is currently using state-of-the-art laboratory methods to assess the basis of this response. The next generation trial is in the planning stage. While research is a main component of his work, in his role as Deputy Director at the Cancer Institute, Dr. Lattime also is responsible for the education and training programs at the Center.

Renovations keep Natural Healthcare Center at forefront in healthcare

Long Branch — Natural Healthcare Center has announced the completion of phase I of its yearlong building renovation project, giving the physical therapy and clinical nutrition teams a brand-new, more sophisticated space to practice in.

Improvements include new offices for physical therapy and clinical nutrition, new flooring and two new pieces of equipment for physical therapy, and a new reception area. The building is also going green with LED lighting throughout the facility and a new, more efficient HVAC system.

“Healing is a process that begins the moment you walk into the center,” said Dr. James Proodian, founder and president of NHC. “My vision has always been to provide exceptional care in a beautiful environment, and the recent renovations are helping that dream become a reality.”

For the physical therapy team, the renovated space, which includes a private consultation/exam room and functional flooring for rehabilitative exercises, allows for even more focused patient care.

“[The renovations] have greatly improved the atmosphere of the center,” said Dr. Claudia Tamas, director of physical therapy. “Patient feedback is that they are in an environment that is professional, comfortable, and motivating.”

(l-r) James Proodian DC, Oscar Coetzee Ph.D., Claudia Tamas, DPT

Nutrition patients now have a dedicated space for consultations and appointments. “The new renovations have solidified our department with a designated and specialized identity,” said Dr. Oscar Coetzee, the center’s clinical nutritionist.

Since 2003, Natural Healthcare Center has offered integrative health and wellness services, including chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, fitness programs, and clinical nutrition. Advocating functional medicine, NHC incorporates science-based methods with natural healing techniques.

The building underwent minor renovations in 2006, but these more extensive renovations advance NHC’s mission to provide the best care possible while keeping pace with a changing healthcare industry.

Phase II, which focuses on the outside of the building, is already under way and includes new outside LED lighting, signs, a handicap ramp, a concrete sidewalk, stone and tile flooring, a new entranceway, and a fresh coat of paint. The last phase of the project will begin in the fall and includes renovating the third floor with new offices and treatment rooms.

“After 21 years as a sports chiropractor and public speaker, with 12 spent here in Long Branch, this project has such deep meaning to me,” said Dr. Proodian. “I take great responsibility for the type of center that has my name on it. I promise I will do what I can to keep NHC a leader in healthcare services that allow access and results through commitment, consistency, and proven results.”

Suit against West End zone

By Neil Schulman
Long Branch — A West End attorney has filed a suit against the city for its recently passed zoning ordinance in the neighborhood, calling the plan “arbitrary and capricious.”

This lot where the West End fire destroyed shops and apartments is among parecels under dispute.

The city is currently asking the court to dismiss the case as a frivolous suit.
Officials have also said that, despite signs up calling to expand West End Park, plans to buy the old movie theater are a non-starter for several reasons, including the expense.

Mayor Adam Schneider has also said that many of the complaints about the new zoning have been based on rumor, misinformation or misunderstanding.

Last week, Scott Kelly, an attorney with offices in West End, filed a suit against the city opposing the plan, approved by council in April.

“I think it’s going to be a disaster for the village of West End,” Kelly told The Link.

While the new ordinance, known as the West End

While signs have sprouted up around Long Branch calling for West End Park to be expanded, city officials say they don’t have the millions of dollars, or a party interested in selling it.District Overlay zone, applies to several properties in the district, the two most contentious have been the empty lot on Brighton Ave. across the street from the West End Park, and the old movie theater, closed for about 20 years. The now empty lot had contained several businesses and apartments which burned down in a 2012 fire.The previous ordinance only allowed for commercial businesses in these sites. The new overlay would allow for different uses — a combination of business with housing overhead for the Brighton Avenue lot, and an “institutional” use on the second flood of the theater and adjacent property.

In this case, that refers to a synagogue that Chabad of the Shore wants to build. A couple of years ago, under the old zoning ordinance, the city denied a request to simply convert those buildings into a synagogue.

The new plan would allow a religious institution on the second floor if there are commercial businesses on the ground floor.
Kelly claims that in the past, the city has been unwilling to change its zoning to accommodate religious uses.

“There was a guy (Kevin Brown) who tried to open a church… and he was flatly denied,” Kelly said. “Now some other religious organization is trying to come in.

“This is not what I would consider the best use for what could be some valuable real estate,” he said.

He also worries that West End, which already has a few empty stores, does not need more business development. This plan increases the business density in an area which has not shown a need for that.

Kelly called the ordinance an example of “spot zoning.”

Kelly is not alone in his feelings. A Facebook Group called Save West End has been putting signs up around the city calling for the movie theater property to be purchased and added to the park.

Long Branch officials have strongly defended the ideas behind the zoning, and say that objectors overlook important details of the plan.

They also say the ordinance allows for greater diversity.

The city has responded to Kelly’s suit by sending him a letter calling it frivolous, and saying he has 28 days to dismiss it, or they will ask the courts to make him responsible for their legal fees to fight the case.

Since the ordinance has been passed, a few people who objected to it have spoken at most council meetings. The one this week was no exception.

Mayor Adam Schneider told a resident who had just found out about the change that the ordinance does more than permit a synagogue.

“There’s other conditions, such as parking,” he said.

The parking lot used by the theater is technically private property, though the public uses it extensively. Any development on the property must preserve or increase the number of parking spaces.

The planning board has already told owners of the Brighton Avenue lot their initial proposal would be rejected due to lack of parking spaces unless it is modified.

The ordinance also has provisions to keep institutional uses limited. Once an institutional use is put up on a second floor, no similar use is permitted within at least 1,000 feet

As for purchasing the old theater and lot, Schneider said that it’s completely unfeasible.

“The proposal’s nonsense. The city’s not interested,” he said.

While the Save West End group has claimed Monmouth County is considering helping with the purchase, Schneider said he’s talked to County officials, and they have no plans to do so either.

Part of the reason is the expense. “You’re looking at probably close to $5 million,” just to purchase the land, he said. Developing it would be even more expensive.

It would also require that the owner be interested in selling to the city.

While a couple of residents have asked if the city could use eminent domain to take the land, the mayor said the area is not in a redevelopment zone, making that legally impossible.

Schneider also said there is no clear way that purchasing potential businesses and turning them into park land “would improve the business district.”

According to the ordinance, the purpose of the changes is to “recognize the unique architectural and cultural character of the West End District as more of a village in the city of Long Branch.”

Schneider has told The Link he’s heard a lot of misinformation about what could happen there. One rumor going around, which he dismissed as “totally false,” is that West End Park would be forced to close on Saturday, the Jewish sabbath, if the synagogue was built.

Schneider said that in April, Kelly attended a meeting, and agreed with a speaker who was worried that the neighborhood would be “Manhattanized.”

“I asked them what that meant,” Adam said. “They didn’t have an answer. I don’t know what that means. Really, what does that even mean? Manhattanized?”

The ordinance affects several other properties, including allowing the closed West End School to be converted into a theater by NJ Repertory Company.

In addition to describing permitted uses, the ordinance also sets out extensive guidelines for parking, permitted types of facades, planting, requirements for sidewalks, and other details.

When the ordinance was passed, officials pointed to the fact that several parts of the neighborhood had been vacant for years and decades, and making these changes would make them more desirable to developers.

They also noted that many of the changes were designed to reflect what already existed. For example, most of the businesses have housing above them, as they are older properties and had that use grandfathered into to the zone when the rules changed.

American Pharoah leads 35 invited to William Hill Haskell

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah tops a list of 35 3-year-olds who were extended invitations to Monmouth Park’s signature event, the $1 million, Grade 1 William Hill Haskell Invitational to be renewed for the 48th time on Sunday, Aug. 2.

In the light blue and yellow colors of Zayat Stables LLC, American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years when he captured the Belmont Stakes earlier this month.  The homebred colt by Pioneerof the Nile, who also raced for Zayat, has won his last seven starts, dating back to his maiden score in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3, 2014.

Zayat Stables previously tasted Haskell success when Paynter drew off to a nearly four length score in 2012.
The mile and an eighth Haskell, which has seen 26 champions and eight Hall of Fame members make the starting gate, will be televised live on NBC from 5 to 6 p.m.

With several 3-year-old events still on the racing calendar prior to the Haskell, the number of invitees is likely to grow as New Jersey’s most anticipated horse race draws nearer.  In addition to American Pharoah, the list of initial invites includes Grade 1 winners Carpe Diem, Dortmund, Frosted, Materiality and Texas Red.  The full list is:

American Pharoah, Firing Line , Mr .Z, Blofeld, Frammento, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Carpe Diem , Frosted, Prospect Park, Classy Class, Gimme Da Lute, Souper Colossal, Competitive Edge, Island Town, Stanford, Conquest,  Curlinate, Japan, Tale of Verve,
Danish Dynaformer, Keen Ice ,  Tekton, Diving Rod, Kentuckian, Tencendur, Donworth, Madefromlucky, Texas Red, Dortmund, March,  Upstart, Fame and Power, Materiality, War Story, Far Right,  Mr. Jordan.

Police stress safety, on road and not using fireworks

Ocean Township — With the summer here, police are taking extra steps to make sure residents are safe in the heavy traffic, and avoid setting off dangerous, and illegal, fireworks.

Beginning July 1 and continuing throughout the month of July, the Township of Ocean Police Department will be conducting a Summer Traffic Safety Initiative. The goal of this initiative will be to target vehicle operations and actions which are unsafe.
During the summer months the area sees increases in traffic volume, aggressive driving, and crashes, police say. Many of the crashes can be attributed to unsafe vehicle operations.

Enforcement will be conducted by Patrol Bureau and Traffic Bureau Officers. They will be targeting all motor vehicle violations, with particular attention to hazardous moving violations. This initiative is to include zero tolerance for distracted driving related offenses, by operators of a moving vehicles using cell phones or similar electronic devices.

Don’t set off fireworks
The Township of Ocean Police Department will be strictly enforcing fireworks violations during the Independence Day holiday week. The goal is to create a safe environment for the citizens of the township, as they enjoy this holiday week.

Police say it is important that everyone understands the hazards of fireworks, and that it is illegal to possess, use or sell them.
According to New Jersey law, sparklers and novelty items such as cigarette loads, trick matches, smoke grenades, toy propellants, snaps, pops, poppers, champagne poppers as well as firecrackers, roman candles and bottle rockets, etc. are all illegal in the state.
Last year, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported that 14 persons were treated in hospital emergency rooms from injuries resulting from the use of fireworks, and nationally that number rises to 1200 reported injuries.

Many others may have been treated by their own physician or hospitals out of state, or were not reported.

Ocean police encourage people to attend professionally organized public fireworks shows that take place in the area and not to use or attempt to use fireworks in any public or private location.

Teen Time at the Library

Long Branch — Teens, stop by the Long Branch Public Library for teen time this summer. Teen time is held Monday-Thursday from 4pm-6:30 p.m.

Jessica Bragen photo Teens and Tweens recently held a cupcake decorating competition in the Teen Zone.

Activities include a Teen Yoga time, teen & “tween” book club, scavenger hunts, t-shirt tie-dying and many other exciting programs.
The teen program schedule can be found on the library’s monthly calendar.

You can register for the library’s annual “Staff vs. Teens” kickball game to be held on June 28.

The Summer Reading Program will kick-off on Monday, July 6, with a variety of extra-special activities in the Teen Zone at the Main Library, 328 Broadway.

Contact Nekesha Marshall, Teen Services Manager, at 732-222-3900, Ext. 231 or send an email to NMarshall.lbpl@gmail.com with questions about teen programs and events.

Memorial Swim could come back; shorter sea wall

By Neil Schulman
Sea Bright — After a several year absence, the Andrew Manning Memorial Swim may be returning to the borough this year.
At the June 11 Borough Council workshop, Councilman Charles Rooney III said his father, the late mayor Charles Rooney Jr., founded the swim in the late 1980s, naming it in honor of a former mayor of the borough.
It was one of the first one-mile swims on the shore.

“My dad and his buddies were the original Sandy Hookers,” a triathalon club, Rooney said.

But in the mid-2000s, the tradition died out. At the time, the organizers handed off the management to another group, which let it fade away.

Now people are trying to bring it back.

In fact, Doug Rice, Sandy Hooker Founder, said the race could be renamed the Manning/ Rooney swim.
Rice said that unlike many ocean swims, this one would be going with the tide instead of against it.
He believes the race would attract about 150 people.

He hopes to find about four merchants to help sponsor t-shirts, the biggest expense for these events. Their sponsorship, and the entry fees, will also help pay for lifeguards needed.

Remaining proceeds, if any, would be donated to the borough’s recreation program.
He also said that businesses sometimes like to form special offers as part of these events, such as giving a free coffee to anyone who comes in with a swim cap from the race.

Temp sea wall shrinks
Due to the rising costs of a project, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection wants to make an interim sea wall shorter than originally proposed.

Eventually, the whole sea wall here and in Monmouth Beach will be repaired and strengthened with funds from FEMA, due to damage sustained in Superstorm Sandy. But that will be a few years away. And there’s a section of the borough without a sea wall.
If a major storm broke out, the water would all flow through this section.

Borough Engineer Jacklyn Flor said that orignally the NJ DEP was going to build an interim steel wall along the entire gap. Now they want to cover only part of it with a wall, and put up a sand berm in the other area.

“What’s being defined as a gap to FEMA, I understand it’s different,” she said.

Mayor Dina Long wanted to know why the DEP wanted to change the plans, since any stopgap work should be reimbursed by FEMA. Flor said that she believes it is because getting approval from the federal agency is time-consuming, and time matters.
The project’s budget has increased, and sand is much cheaper than steel.

No to sales on sand
If sponsors to the Sea Bright Skim Bash want to give out free samples on the beach, that’s fine, but selling goods will probably not be permitted.

Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni said that one of the sponsors for the event, who makes ices, requested permission to sell them during the event.

Officials say that in the past, they’ve gotten a lot of criticism from local businesses when out-of-towners are allowed to sell on the beach.

Long said several years ago a hot dog place wanted to sell at the Skim Bash “and that was a big problem.” Instead, they were permitted to give free hot dogs away.