Bucs are back

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
Friday night the Bucs of Red Bank Regional demonstrated that the football team of years past is back. With new uniforms that reflect old school traditions RBR visited the Spartans of Ocean Township in a Class B North match-up.

Making a diving tackle and getting a sack for Red Bank Regional is Sean Naiman (9) a senior. Kenny Pickett (2) is the junior quarterback at Ocean trying to escape the reach of Naiman.

Both schools entered the game undefeated at 2-0, and for the Bucs that was the best start they have had in ten years. Red Bank Regional went into the game with a tough defense while the host Spartans had one of the hottest offensive units in the Shore Conference.

Two years ago Red Bank Regional had a 1-9 season and last year finished at .500 with a 5-5 record. Head coach Nick Giglio said this this summer was the best training camp he has had in seven years at the high school.

Ocean had a 5-6 record last season but finished strong knocking off the top seed in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III playoffs in the opening round. They lost in the semifinals. However, this year starting quarterback Kenny Pickett has more confidence and strength while future NFL prospect Tyler Thompson has returned after suffering a broken leg last year.

Red Bank Regional scored the first of their game-high 16 points with 1:50 left in the first quarter. It was a 32-yard field goal by Jack O’Connor, senior. The entire second quarter was a defensive war waged by both teams. The game was played between the 30-yard lines and neither squad was able to score. RBR took a 3-0 lead with the field goal going into the halftime break.

In the third quarter with only 10 seconds left to play the Bucs were deep in their own end of the field facing a second and seven at their own 12-yard line. Jack Navitsky, senior quarterback for Red Bank Regional, dropped back in the pocket and fired a perfect pass to fellow senior Matt Reardon, who ran 88 yards along the Ocean sideline for the touchdown. Ocean blocked the extra point attempt, but the Bucs were up 9-0 going into the fourth quarter.

With 10:11 left to play the Spartans fumbled and RBR jumior Chris Outerbridge picked up the ball and returned it 28 yards for the touchdown. The extra point by O’Connor was perfect and the Bucs had a 16-0 lead on the shocked Spartans.

Ocean finally crossed the goal line late in the fourth quarter with a seven-yard pass from Pickett to senior Quadratullah Oadiri. The Spartans attempted a two-point conversion but the pass attempt failed.

The stats were very close for both teams, except the Bucs finished with a 16-6 victory. Red Bank Regional had 68-rushing yards with Alim Godsey getting 24. Passing, Navistsky completed seven of nine for 188 yards with senior  Sadiq Palmer getting 85 of those yards.With the victory the Bucs of Red Bank Regional are 3-0 and showing the division that they are back.

Ocean finished with 73-rushing yards on 29 touches. Thompson had 17 carries for 64 yards, the first time in three games he has not rushed for 200 yards. Pickett completed 19 of 28 attempts with no interceptions for 184 yards. Greyson Stoothoff, senior, had 38 yards on five catches. Ruquan Dean had two receptions for 21 yards and Oadiri had three catches for 30 yards and one touchdown.

Brian Olesen (72) and Chris Vivian (53) of Ocean Township combine to stop Red Bank Regional quarterback Jack Navitsky.

Devils dominate Titans 46-6

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
The Shore Regional High School football team continued with its dominance as they steamrolled 46-6 over their latest opponents, the Titans of Keansburg.
The Blue Devils traveled to Keansburg on Saturday afternoon for a Shore Conference Class B Central match-up. Mark Russo, a junior running back, took the opening kickoff 80 yards for the first Blue Devil touchdown.

Shore was so overwhelming they had a 40-0 halftime lead. “We didn’t play the varsity during the second half,” said Mark Costantino, head coach of the Blue Devils. NJSIAA rules say that when a team has a 35 point or better advantage over an opponent the clock shall run during the second half. Costantino played his junior varsity squad during the third and fourth quarters.

Running and pounding is what the Devils are known for. Offensively Shore ran 28 plays gaining 288 yards. “We played a great game. Doug Goldsmith made a one-handed catch of a Matt Pennell pass and ran 43 yards for a touchdown,” Costantino said.  Pennell had a 44-yard touchdown run on a waggle play and Connor Rempel recovered a Keansburg fumble and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.

The pounding part of the Blue Devils game has been on defense. Last year they led the state in least amount of points given up per-game, they also had the top-ranked defense in the Shore Conference. Shore ended last season with an 11-1 record, divisional and state sectional champions.

“This year our varsity defense has not allowed a single point scored,” said Costantino. He noted that the points the Blue Devils have given up were by junior varsity players.
“Erik Graham, captain and offensive and defensive lineman has just been dominating this year,”

Steamrolling over a Keansburg defender is Shore Regional High School senior running back Doug Goldsmith.

said. He also pointed out running back and defensive back Tyreek McCain is out for the season with a knee injury.

Shore improves to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in divisional action. Keansburg drops to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in Class B Central games.

Alexis and Estrella lead Spartans over Fliers

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
Ocean Township High School hosted the boys’ soccer team from Neptune High School on Saturday morning for a Shore Conference Class B North game. Wadneson Alexis and Braylin Estrella, both seniors, led the Spartans in the 6-2 victory over the Scarlet Fliers.

Sliding in and attempting to kick the ball past the Neptune goalkeeper is Ocean Township senior Luis Araya.

Alexis one of the most highly recruited players in the Shore Conference had two goals in the victory. Next season Alexis will be playing NCAA Division 1 soccer for the Hawks of Monmouth University. Estrella had one goal and assisted on three other goals for Ocean.
“It has been a real team effort this year as 15 players on our roster have scored or assisted so far this season,” said Thomas Reilly, head coach at Ocean. With the win on Saturday the Spartans have improved to 6-1 overall and are currently in second position in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3.

Also getting goals in the victory over Neptune were Kevin Astudillo a senior forward, Steven Carton a sophomore midfielder, and Jordan Ornowski a junior midfielder. Ryan Wells a senior defender had two assists and Brandon Holland a junior defender had one assist for Ocean.

Ocean had a 22-4 shot on goal advantage over Neptune. In the goal for the Spartans was Thomas Gleason, sophomore, who had one save.

“Obviously, we are very happy with our efforts so far. The Neptune game on Saturday was a great display by the team as we had five different goal scorers and now have 12 players who scored at least one goal this season,” said Reilly.  He added that they passed the ball very well and defended smartly and converted on chances.

“The team has shared the workload all season; we haven’t had to rely on any one player to be successful. The players are really starting to jell and I hope the best is yet to come for this group,” added Reilly. The coach pointed out that his senior leaders; Wells, Wadneson, Estrella, Luis Araya, Marlhens Nasanes have all led by example. “It’s been fun to watch and be a part of, and I think the ceiling is extremely high for this group is we hold our focus.”

Pooch parade a blast in West End

It was a blast in West End on Saturday as doggies, and some owners dressed up for the 7th annual Pooch Parade, sponsored by the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce and the City of Long Branch.


The parade went off without a hitch or nips, but there were a few yips. Dogs

of all sizes strutted down Brighton Avenue. Before and after they did their

thing there was plenty to keep everyone occupied.

Brighton Ave was closed to traffic and was lined with booths filled with crafts, a stand for pumpkin painting, face painting, fire truck rides, touch a truck, all the shops were open and of course there were all the makings in case someone wanted to make a scarecrow. Plenty of original and clever hay-stuffed figures in the park waiting to be judged as to who was the best. It was to be a hard choice. Although The LINK’s favorite was Auntie in her housecoat having a cup of morning Joe and, of course, reading the latest copy of The LINK News.

After the dapper doggies were judged the band Golden Seal set up in the band shell and kept everyone entertained the rest of the afternoon.

1st – Pug Bella with owner Michelle Fugett were both in adorable matching pirate costumes. Bella ended up taking first place for best costume.

2nd – Taking second place was Benjie dressed in a grass skirt, with Lia Parameritis from Bridgewater.

1st – The first place summersaulting scarecrow was made by Donald DeVingo.

2nd – Second place scarecrow was everyone’s favorite aunt who likes to have a hot cup of coffee and read The LINK News in the morning by Colette with Grandma Lisa Milani of Long Branch.

3rd – Brenna Machado took third place with Jessie Shopper


NASA to Announce Mars Mystery Solved

NASA will detail a major science finding from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars during a news briefing at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, Sept. 28 at the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

News conference participants will be:
· Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters
· Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters
· Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
· Mary Beth Wilhelm of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and the Georgia Institute of Technology
· Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) at the University of Arizona in Tucson

A brief question-and-answer session will take place during the event with reporters on site and by phone. Members of the public also can ask questions during the briefing using #AskNASA.

To participate in the briefing by phone, reporters must email their name, media affiliation and telephone number to Steve Cole at stephen.e.cole@nasa.govby 9 a.m. EDT on Monday.

For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and to view the news briefing, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For more information about NASA’s journey to Mars: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/journeytomars

Oceanport Business Celebrates 20 Years

Oceanport – Ann Marie Preston CPE, owner of AMP Electrolysis, celebrates 20 years in business in the Oceanport Village Plaza, 265 East Main Street.

Ann Marie Preston, LE, CPE (center), owner of AMP Electrolysis celebrates her 20th anniversary with the Mayor of Oceanport and members of the borough council. Pictured (left-right) are: Councilman Irace, Mayor Mahon, Councilwoman Kahle, Councilman Paglia

“I’m grateful for the support of my loyal clients and the community of Oceanport for their support,” says Preston. “Oceanport is a great place to live and work and I’m happy to be a resident and business owner in the borough for two decades.”

Mayor Mahon joined Councilman Irace , Councilwoman Kahle and Councilman Paglia to celebrate AMP’s anniversary. To mark the 20th anniversary, the AMP office has undergone a complete makeover, with an inviting and comfortable waiting area.

“Electrolysis is the only true permanent hair removal method and the only permanent treatment recognized by the FDA,” says Preston. “It is safe and effective for all types of hair and all skin types.”
For more information about AMP Electrolysis, visit www.ampelectrolysis.com or call (732) 389-9141.

The office is updated, clean and a friendly environment.


Ann Marie Preston CPE, owner of AMP Electrolysis works on a patient.

Apartments proposed for Ocean Boulevard

By Neil Schulman
Long Branch — Proposals for the beachfront redevelopment zones continue to come in. The latest one is for a 40-unit, six-story apartment building at 345 Ocean Boulevard.

Architect Jim Monteforte reviews plans for 60 apartment units proposed for 345 Ocean Boulevard.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, officials saw a presentation by architect Jim Monteforte describing the proposal for the building, to go on currently vacant land between Ocean Boulevard and Ocean Avenue.

All apartments would be two- or three-bedroom units, and all would have an oceanfront view, Monteforte said. They would range in size from 1,300 to 2,400 square feet. The building would be terraced.

The effect, Monteforte said, would be like an “Italianesque mountainside, where you see all the houses come out of the mountain.”

There would also be trellises around the building, to provide some privacy from neighbors, and to focus the views to the ocean.

The building would have 81 parking spaces — the city’s redevelopment plans require two paces per unit. Ten would be in the courtyard; the rest would be located under the building.

Because the property is in a redevelopment zone, City Attorney James Aaron said the next step will be to get a developer’s agreement created for council to approve. After that, the project can be presented to the Planning Board.

City Administrator Howard Woolley said he hoped to be able to give the group at least conditional designation as developer quickly, because it’s moving rapidly.

“They’ve gotten further, faster, than any (other) developer,” he said.

Shuttles still not breaking even

The EZ Ride Shuttles used in Long Branch still are not making money, which might be an issue when the federal subsidies expire in a year.

Council has renewed the contract for year-round service.

Jake Jones, Director of Community and Economic Development, said that the most frequent users of the shuttle are Monmouth University students, who get on free with student ID.

The university will be reimbursing Long Branch $3,000 for the service, but that still isn’t enough to make it profitable, Jones said.

The shuttle route includes the dorms located in West End and Monmouth University. It also stops at several locations along the oceanfront, the railroad train station, and other areas, set by where the ridership is.

Jones said that last year the city tried to get local companies to buy advertising on the shuttle to offset the costs, with little success. Only one business was willing to sponsor it.

City Administrator Howard Woolley said that if at all possible, they don’t want to see the shuttle go away when federal funds dry up.

“We want to put our heads together and see if we can find something to support it,” he said.

Bretzger joins E’town council race

Eatontown — Judy Bretzger , longtime activist and volunteer, is filling the final spot on the Democratic ticket for Eatontown Council. Bretzger is joining running mate, Tiffany Miller.

The Eatontown political race has seen a lot of activity, with a three-way race for two council seats, and some changes to the Democrats’ ticket since the primaries.

On the Republican side, Ed Fitterer and Doug Ronan will be seeking those seats. Their campaign is underway. Two independents, Anthony Talerico and Virginia East, announced this spring they would run as the Eatontown First party. Talerico was elected to council as a Democrat.

In the June Primary, Bretzger and Miller’s names were not on the ballot. But the two candidates named left the race, and were replaced.

“I am running because I want to do my part to clean up the town,” said Bretzger in a statement released by Eatontown Democrats. “I want to replace illicit, unlicensed businesses with clean enterprises. Why would a legitimate, family-oriented business want to locate here? The sidewalks are unkempt, the parking lots are unsightly, and code enforcement is lax. We need to attract strong ratables in order to stabilize property taxes, which increased  a whopping 15 percent for many homeowners in 2015.”

Bretzger has served on the Pride in Eatontown Committee  for 15 years, the last four as chair. She is a long-time member of the Board of Health and the Multiple Dwelling Emergency Committee and has also served on the Planning Board and the Sewerage Authority.

Under her leadership, the Pride in Eatontown Committee has increased the turnout for the Annual Spring Cleanup from a few dozen in 2011 to more than 180 volunteers last year, and flower gardens in public spaces in town have blossomed and expanded.

Bretzger is retired from 22 years in the New Jersey Department of Human Services, where her most recent title was Children’s Services Coordinator for the Division of Mental Health’s seven-county Central Region. During her years in state government, she was an active member and strong supporter of
employees’ unions.

She is a past president and current newsletter editor of the 300-member Monmouth County Genealogy Society, president of the Eatontown Democratic Club and vice chair of the Democratic Municipal Committee.
Bretzger has bachelor’s degrees in journalism from Temple University and in social work from Monmouth University (where husband Don retired as professor and chair of the Chemistry Department).
As 50-year residents of Eatontown, the Bretzgers were among the first homeowners in the Woodmere section of town. They were attracted by the builder’s pledge to leave up as many trees as possible.  Their four children were all born here, and while they attended Eatontown elementary schools and Monmouth Regional High School, Bretzger was an active member of the parent-teacher organizations.

40+ year battle over school taxes still continues

By Neil Schulman

Last week, Sea Bright held a town hall meeting to discuss the high amount it pays in school taxes. Due to the length of topics covered, the meeting will be covered in two parts. The first examines the history of how taxes got so high, and the attempts to change it before 2012.Sea Bright — How did Sea Bright wind up paying upwards of $100,000 per student per year to Shore Regional High School? The answer dates back at least 40 years, and possibly longer.

At a special Town Hall meeting held Sept. 2, borough officials reviewed the steps over the decades that have led to the extremely high school taxes, the many failed attempts to change the formula, and options being pursued for the future. (Officials say that it’s the formula they object to, not the quality of education Shore provides.)

At the root of the problem is a 1975 court ruling which caused the state legislature to enact the “thorough and efficient” — T&E as it is often called — tax formula in place today. However, by the time that formula was put in place, Sea Bright had already made decisions which would prove surprisingly troublesome years later.

A history of SB and schools

Councilman William Keeler said that in the 1950s, Sea Bright had its own school for elementary students, and sent its high school students to Long Branch.

Sea Bright paid Long Branch on a “per student” basis. That means that the school figured out its total budget, divided it by the number of students, and charged Sea Bright that amount for each student sent.

Then, for a variety of reasons, including the baby boom and a better highway system making the suburbs and commuting more attractive, Monmouth County saw a tremendous population growth.

“One of the consequences, the boom overwhelmed the school systems in the county,” Keeler said.

Long Branch could no longer accommodate all the sending districts, and new school systems were built. Sea Bright joined West Long Branch, Oceanport, and Monmouth Beach in the new Shore Regional High School district in 1962, again at a per student cost.
At the time Sea Bright had a choice of being a member district or a sending district. Since the main difference then was whether or not you were represented on the board, they chose to be a member district.

Then, in 1975, lawsuits in New Jersey argued that the per student formula was unfair to poorer municipalities. In response, the state legislators imposed the new T&E formula.
Keeler said that while some people think the rise of expensive housing in Sea Bright hurt, the problems started almost immediately, “long before our condominium units were built.”
In 1977, Sea Bright lost more control over its school system when the county superintendent declared the Sea Bright schools inadequate. The next year, the school building closed, and students began going to the Oceanport schools (on a per student basis).

Keeler said that in 1978 a rumor was going around town that the borough council wanted the school to close, so they could use it as a new borough hall. As a result, when the Sea Bright Board of Education offered to sell the building to Sea Bright for $1, council — which at the time shared space with the old police department and courts — turned them down, and it was put on the market instead.

The lack of its own elementary school and several other factors have made Sea Bright home to relatively few school-age children— only 23 will be attending Shore Regional this year, though Sea Bright will be paying more than $2.3 million in taxes to the high school.
The T&E formula breaks down when one part of a regional district has very few students enrolled. Mayor Dina Long noted that Sea Bright isn’t the only New Jersey town that’s really hurt by it. Seaside Park in Ocean County has paid $5 million a year in school taxes for its 25 high school students.

Failed solutions

Sea Bright officials have tried many times to get the law changed, through the courts, through legislation, and other methods. All have failed.

Keeler said that in the early 1980s — when the borough was paying $12,000 a year per student and other towns less than $6,000 — Sea Bright went to court to try to get the T&E formula overturned as unfair. The borough lost the case. It also lost the appeal, and the state Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Following that, in the 1990s, Sea Bright tried the legislative route. With the help of then-Assemblyman Steve Corodemus, they got a bill through the state Assembly. Sea Bright officials — including then-Councilman Bill Gelfound and his wife, Shore Board member Ina — got an agreement with Governor Christine Whitman that if a bill to change the funding formula for Sea Bright hit her desk, she would sign it.

All that remained was the State Senate. The bill cleared the committee, and was slated to go to be voted on the last day of the senate’s term. On that day, all votes were pro forma; if it was introduced, it would be passed.
Sea Bright representatives waited in the gallery with “a bottle of champagne,” ready to celebrate, Keeler recalled.

The bill was never called for a vote.

It turned out the late Senator Joe Palaia had it killed, exercising “Senatorial Courtesy,” the option to stop a bill that might negatively affect a district. Presumably lowering Sea Bright’s tax burden would have raised it in districts with more voters.

A few years later, then-Mayor Gregory Harquail tried a legislative route, meeting with the state Commissioner of Education. The commissioner said he sympathized, but had no power to change it, that it had to be done through the legislation.

Keeler noted that all the people who worked on these three attempts to change the funding formula have since left Sea Bright. “I’m not saying it was the only reason, but it certainly played a role.”

Efforts didn’t stop there. In 2008 — when Sea Bright was being asked to pay $81,000 per student — the late Mayor Maria Fernandes attempted to get a referendum on the ballot to withdraw Sea Bright from Shore or change the funding formula. That’s the legal procedure to change it.

The Shore Board of Education — in charge of determining when the public votes on school issues — refused to put it on the ballot. When Fernandes tried to have a non-binding referendum for Sea Bright voters, to express their opinion, the county clerk at the time refused to allow it, saying that only the schools could legally put questions about the school on the ballot.

Long said Fernandes also considered refusing to pay Sea Bright’s share of taxes, knowing it was illegal. She thought the image of a woman in poor health being jailed would draw attention to the plight. But Long said the Borough’s CFO refused. Sea Bright has a legal obligation to pay its share of school taxes, and he feared he could lose his license if he went along with that plan.

Next week, The Link will look at what Sea Bright has been doing since Superstorm Sandy to try to address high taxes.

Schools to ask for $29M to replace Wolf Hill and more

By Neil Schulman
Oceanport — Later this year, the Board of Education plans to ask voters to approve a $29 million project to completely rebuild the Wolf Hill School and make major upgrades to Maple Place.

“Wolf Hill School needs $12 million in repairs right now. I can’t think it’s a fair investment,” McVitty said. “The Band-Aids have to stop on that building; it’s bad.”

Wolf Hill School, which opened in 1911, needs an estimated $12 million in repairs. School officials say that may not be worth spending.

The board believes that the current Wolf Hill school could be torn down, and a new facility, better designed to handle education in the 21st century, could be built.

The total cost of this would be around $24 million. However, the state of New Jersey would reimburse Oceanport for some of the construction expenses.

McVitty said that at the same time, the Board would like to see approximately $5 million worth of upgrades made to the Maple Place School.

Because Maple Place is a single level building, which is considered good for elementary school age students, when the two buildings reopened, kindergarten through fifth grade would be housed at Maple Place. Grades six to eight, which could take better advantage of the higher technology available in the all new school, would be moved to Wolf Hill.

The names of the schools would not change, McVitty said.

A referendum is planned for December, and McVitty said there would be presentations to council and the public before then. He was at the meeting as a member of the public, not to give a formal presentation.

When asked if the Board of Education had considered moving the school, permanently or temporarily, onto theFort Monmouth land, McVitty replied “absolutely not.”

When the fort closed, the Board had requested from FMERA, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, that property tentatively designated for a new school be given to them as a “public benefit conveyance.”

The board was told it would have to buy the land, and the price would be expensive — $2,000 an acre more than CommVault was paying for its land in Tinton Falls.

McVitty added that what’s opened, or is planning to open, on the fort near where the school was planned has also hurt interest.

“I’d be booed out of town if I put an elementary school next to a rehab program, let alone a homeless shelter,” McVitty said.

Mayor Michael Mahon said that if voters approve the new school, balancing the borough’s financing might be complicated. There is a limit to how much the borough can borrow through bonds, and Oceanport also needs to build a new Borough Hall to replace the one badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy.