Town Events

What's happening in Monmouth Beach?

By Patty Booth O’Neill

It was postponed from the Saturday before, but that didn’t stop the crowds and the pooches from coming out October 29 to the Long Branch Fall Festival & Pooch Parade at Pier Village, sponsored by the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce and Pier Village.
“We weren’t sure how the weather would be today, but it turned out to be beautiful,” said Nancy Kleiberg, Executive Director of the Chamber.

There was plenty to do, with bouncy rides, K9 demonstration, build a scarecrow (sponsored by Kearny Bank), and costumed characters such as Elmo, Mickey Mouse and Spiderman roaming around interacting with delighted children.

There was a DJ set up on the boardwalk, and a demo by the Long Branch High School dance team performing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Build-your-own scarecrow was a big hit, with loads of donated clothing and plenty of decorations to make faces, hair and much more.

“We had more scarecrows than we thought we would,” Carol Feldman from Kearny Bank said as kids and adults delighted in  decorating pillowcases then stuffing them with hay. “We couldn’t have done it without help from  Johathan, Rocky and Kelly from the Long Branch Fire Department.”

Dogs dressed in Halloween costumes were a big hit. One dog, owned by Don Wheeler, decked out in a red wig dressed as Donald Trump, took third place. Second was a cute little white dog with a green mohawk owned by Donna Shawn of Long Branch. Taking third was Sophie as Thing One with owners Kristi Topp and Tim Fawcett of West Long Branch. The judges were the dynamic duo of Superman and his sidekick Pauline Poyner.

Patty Booth O’Neill

Monmouth University students did an amazing job of organizing a Halloween extravaganza on Sunday afternoon for local kids and families.

Sororities, fraternities and school clubs pulled their decorated cars into a parking lot, the trunks open and filled with candy for trick or treaters. Student used their imaginations to decorate their autos as haunted houses or some decorated with the theme of their clubs, such as the ski club. Kids went from one display after another not wanting to miss one piece of candy.

Hundreds showed up for the free goodies from over 50 cars parked around the perimeter.

There was music and pumpkin painting and plenty of entertainment. Even “Chris Christie” was there, asking for votes on whether  the proper term for the famous Jersey sandwich is pork roll or Taylor ham. Of course, a real Jerseyite would not need to ask. Pork roll, of course.

An impressive job done by students for the kids. Kudos.Patty Booth O’Neill

Monmouth University students did an amazing job of organizing a Halloween extravaganza on Sunday afternoon for local kids and families.

Sororities, fraternities and school clubs pulled their decorated cars into a parking lot, the trunks open and filled with candy for trick or treaters. Student used their imaginations to decorate their autos as haunted houses or some decorated with the theme of their clubs, such as the ski club. Kids went from one display after another not wanting to miss one piece of candy.

Hundreds showed up for the free goodies from over 50 cars parked around the perimeter.

There was music and pumpkin painting and plenty of entertainment. Even “Chris Christie” was there, asking for votes on whether  the proper term for the famous Jersey sandwich is pork roll or Taylor ham. Of course, a real Jerseyite would not need to ask. Pork roll, of course.

An impressive job done by students for the kids. Kudos.

Oceanport First Aid Awards Dinner a big hit

It was a festive occasion Sunday night at the Chanel Club in Monmouth Beach. Oceanport citizens gathered to honor First Aid members, past and present, for all they do for the community.
Former mayors Tom Cavanagh,  Gordon Gemma, and Clem Sommers and Mayor Jay Coffey were present.

Also attending were Council members Joe Irace, Stu Briskey, Richard Gallo, Patty Cooper, Ellyn Kahle and John Patti.

Other invited guests were Boro Attorney Scott Arnett, Business Administrator Ray Poerio, Fire Chief Mike Patterson, Asst. Fire Chief Tom Gallo, Greg Malinowski, WLB FA, Krista Killens, Eatontown FA, Kevin Keeshan, Monmouth Beach FA, Michael Welsh, Little Silver FA and Sam Tomaine, Long Branch FA.

The dinner committee was Joe Lombardo, Paula Lombardo, Doris Agaman, Doris Agaman, Chrissy McSorles, Kathy Kenny and John Connor.

Being honored for
their years of service

60 Years: Clem Sommers

55 Years: Ralph Marra, Ed Ryan &  Dick Hauter

50 Years: Ray Schmidt, Carl Christansen, Mike Caffyn, Gerard McGee &  Tom Mion
45 Years: Bobby Joyce & John Connor*

40 Years: Kevin Arban*, Ted Caffyn, Victor Twilliger, Peg Caffyn, Donnie Ross, Paul DePree, Curt Christansen, Frank VanBrunt, Linda Johnson & Carol Connor*

35 Years: EJ. Wright, Sue Richards, Mike Betancourt** & Diane Cook

30 Years: Edie Ryan, Fred Filippone*, MaryAnn Hussey, Joan Williams, Flo Christansen**, Marge Napolitano*, Karine Budinski**, Joe Lombardo*, Kip Bebout, Doris Agaman*, Bill McStudy, Jr., Ann Jordan** & Kathy Maida*

25 Years: Buzz Baldanza, Bob Shaw, Kerin Slattery & Jed Murphy

20 Years: Steve Tagerty, Paula Lombardo**, Don Cook**, Ray Ciani, Jill Crawford, Laura Hornung, Wes Sherman*, Laura Tagerty & Jane Ciani

15 Years: John Flynn, Christine McSorley*, Alan Johnson & Steve Briskey
10 Years: Jerry Bertekap*, Carl Ceralde*, Chris Petrillo*, Kenny Carroll*, Kim Carroll*, Kathy Kenny*, Judy Seymour*, Larry Seymour*, E.J. Wright, Jr., Richard Alt*, Harold Sutton, Richard Gallo*, Frank Lippolis*, Maggie Lippolis* & Frank Lippolis, Jr. *

5 Years: Jim Gallo, Sr., Richard Eng*, John Gallo*, Kenny Carroll, Jr.,* Jeremy Dalton*, Philip Gallo*, Chrissy Dobson, Adam Sickles*, Victoria LaPorta, Michael Lippolis* &  Colleen Brady*



Patty Booth O’Neill

Saturday, October 15 was one of the most beautiful days of the year, gratefully so, stuck between a week of Hurricane Matthew and upcoming plummeting temperatures.

Held at Wolcott Park, the event ran smoothly thanks to countless volunteers.

It seems like the whole town turned out, but the highlights were the children who enjoyed pumpkin painting, pony rides, petting zoo, many blow up rides, crafts, face painting, hay rides and much more.

There were many booths set up handing out candy, free giveaways and you could even get your cholesterol tested by Monmouth Medical Center.
Always a great day in Eatontown!

Ocean Township Board of Adjustments has scheduled a special meeting for the Yeshiva Gedola Na’os Yaakov, Inc. use of 1515 Logan Road.

The meeting will take place on September 30, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. and held in the Gymnasium of the Ocean Township High School. Overflow crowds will be directed into the cafeteria.

Application for the property is seeking to turn the site into a religious school for males only with living quarters.

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Long Branch – For the past four years the Long Branch Public Schools and PBA Local 10 of Long Branch have partnered together to help make the holidays for those less fortunate in the city look brighter and provide smiles for those in need.

Long Branch Public Schools Student Services Program Supervisor Tara Puleio and Long Branch Police Detective Michael Decker, who is also the President of PBA Local 10, stand with some of the items that will be given away on Saturday at the 2014 Community Holiday Celebration at Gregory School.

Saturday, December 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. a Community Holiday Celebration will be held at the Gregory Elementary School located at 201 Monmouth Avenue in Long Branch. “We will have family style meals, pictures with Santa, and fun activities for the children and much more,” said Tara Puleio, Student Services Program Supervisor for the LBPS. “Our biggest supporter over the past four years have been PBA Local 10 of Long Branch. The officers have donated coats, shoes, boots, toys and Christmas trees with decorations. At a time when communities around the country are upset with law enforcement, we get to show the positive side of what these brave men and women do for our community.”

All Long Branch residents are welcome to attend the celebration on Saturday. Puleio stated that they will even have a gift shop set up for students to get those last minute gifts for family members.

The Long Branch Public Schools will hold their 4th Annual Community Holiday Celebration on Saturday, December 20th from 11:30am to 2:00pm at the Gregory Elementary School.

Ocean Township High School will hold a Breakfast with Santa on December 13th from 9-11 am.

Oceanport PTO Fall Festival, Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 12pm to 4pm at Maple Place School

Help us raise money for Team Sweet JAW and Autism Speaks by joining us for this event as we try to find the missing link to Autism one piece at a time.

Food and Dining

By Patty Booth O’Neill

Thirty five turkeys, eight turkey breasts, four hams and a ton of help from the community. “It really was a blessing,” said Marcus Phillips.

This is the first time St. Luke’s has not had chef Jerome overseeing the kitchen for  their annual Thanksgiving dinner.

“He’s very ill and the doctor said he shouldn’t even come to the dinner,” Avery Grant said. Over the years Chef Jerome had cooked all the turkeys at Fort Monmouth. “We didn’t think we would have Thanksgiving this year.”
But parishioners and volunteers stepped up and said, “we can do it,” and so they did.

Starting days before Thanksgiving food preparation began in  St. Luke’s kitchen. The dining area was decorated, tables set up and on Thanksgiving day volunteers made sure everything was ready.

The kitchen was crowded with cooks,
and volunteers. Buffet-style tables were filled with turkey, ham and all the side dishes with eager volunteers ready to serve the line of people happy for the blessing.  There was also plenty of beverages and dessert.

For the people who have come to depend on  the annual free dinner, some for the camaraderie, others to spend time with family and friends  and some who have no other place to go, had no idea it was almost not to be.

Ocean Township High School will hold a Breakfast with Santa on December 13th from 9-11 am.

John Bongiovi recently held a second successful charity event supporting the JBL Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, a charity started by his son, rock star Jon Bon Jovi.

Bongiovi did this in a dinner which showcased the Bongiovi Brand of sauces, the company founded by him (dad) and his two other sons, Matt and Anthony Bongiovi.

Proud dad Bongiovi was on hand preparing a great dinner for about 70 guests that night. The menu was designed to showcase his three varieties of sauce.

John Bongiovi with his rock star son Jon Bon Jovi and Long Branch Chef Lou Morreale, at a fundraiser for the JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank.

On hand were Long Branch chef Lou Morreale and his wife Jamie, longtime friends of the Bonjiovi family, and several volunteers, who all pitched in to help the cause.

Brookdale Community College Culinary School, Mulberry Street Catering, and Arbor Terrace of Middletown also lent their chefs and staff for the evening. Bongiovi said Ken Scaggs and Laura and Richard Saker of the Saker ShopRite’s also supported the Soul Kitchen event.

Bongiovi Brand sauces use only fresh ingredients, and are based on family recipes. After years of being told by many people, including celebrities he served, that he should jar his recipe, John did, determined to preserve the fresh homemade taste.

“In reality, it’s a fresh made sauce with quality ingredients, preserved in a jar for everyone to enjoy. Don’t let the jar fool you,” said Bongiovi.

JBL Soul Kitchen was founded by Jon Bon Jovi, who changed the spelling of his family name when he went into the music business. His vision of the Soul Kitchen is to have a restaurant to serve all people, no matter their financial situation, good healthy meals.

“Our vision here at Soul Kitchen is to serve healthy, delicious, and when possible organic meals. At the Soul Kitchen you will notice there are no prices on the menu and you might have been seated with someone you don’t know,” states the website. “Customers pay the minimum donation or volunteer in some way to earn a voucher for a meal.”

For more information on the sauce please visit

To support the Soul Kitchen please visit

Matt, Jon, John and Anthony Bongiovi

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.

Every ethnic group has its traditions and for Italians it’s all about the sauce. Generation after generation pass down secret family recipes that reflect the region of their ancestry.

Sciacca, Sicily is where the Bongiovi family recipe originated. It has been passed down for three generations and the most recent keeper of the secret is John Bongiovi. He is the father of three sons, Matt, Anthony and the oldest, rock star Jon Bon Jovi.

During his illustrious career, Jon has been surrounded himself with his family. And cooking his famous meatballs and pasta sauce was his father. “Over the years celebrities and world leaders have tasted my dad’s sauce and said that he should bottle it,” said Anthony, the middle son. For the past 25 years he has been on tour with his brother as the video producer.

“This year I decided that I was not going to go out on tour with Jon,” said Anthony. So he and younger brother Matt along with dad started Jambco Inc., and started bottling the sauce that Great Grandma Bongiovi created in the late 1800’s.

Even though friends and celebrities told the Bongiovi’s that the sauce should be bottled nobody actually thought it would ever get done. “I have been living in California for the past 20 years and I had to learn how to make the sauce, but taking a family recipe and converting it into mass production was a bit challenging at first,” said Anthony.

There is something magical about the aroma of the sautéed garlic and onions simmering in a large pot. And when that sauce was spread over the pasta and the entire family would gather to eat and converse. Those are the memories that Jambco is hoping customers will experience when they open a jar of Bongiovi Sauce.

“My family name is on each bottle and it has to have the highest grade ingredients,” said Anthony. So they use restaurant grade tomatoes and all natural “Italians cook their sauce for hours to get the water out of it. Most bottled sauce adds water, but not ours.” And that is one of the secrets that make the bottled sauce taste like it was cooking on your stove for hours.

It took the Anthony and Matt a few attempts to get the recipe just right for dad’s approval. “I have not made sauce in a year,” said John. “It is so easy now to open a jar and have that fresh homemade flavor without the hours of preparation and cooking. Now when I cook fish and I want sauce I just open a jar.”

Richard Saker, Chief Executive Officer and President of Saker ShopRites Inc., which has over thirty supermarkets was one of those early supporters of the sauce. “Rich told us once we bottled it he would sell it in his stores and that is exactly where we are right now,” said Anthony. So far only Saker ShopRites are selling the Bongiovi Sauce, but the family has plans on expanding sales.

Anthony has taken his personal RV and had it wrapped with the Bongiovi Sauce logo and is traveling the area conducting tasting of the family sauce. “People are really surprised by the freshness and taste of our bottled sauce. They like the thickness and it’s all about the sauce,” added Anthony.

Currently Jambco has three different flavors on the market. Traditional marinara, garden style and the one with a little kick arrabbiata. “It not only had to get my dad’s approval, but my 95-year old aunt said she loves it and it passed her standards to have the Bongiovi name on it,” said Anthony.

Catherine Elizabeth Cosentino “Cat” of Oceanport will have the 2012 Album Release Party of her latest CD “Box of Chocolates” on January 5th, at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park. Doors open at 6:30pm and Show starts at 8pm, No Cover! Dinner Reservations 732-774-1155.

By Neil Schulman
Long Branch —As the eating contest was drawing to an end, a spectator asked a question to the commissioner, Ralph Mara.

“How many minutes, Ralph?”
Contestant Vic Accera was not happy with that question. “Don’t say ‘ralph,’ he joked.
It’s understandable he wanted to avoid hearing that word, as he was in the middle of trying to get through five pounds of linguine, sausages and meatballs the size of a fist, part of Pasta Bowl 2011, held at Caputo’s Pastry Shoppe in Ursula Plaza.
Accera, the winner of the lighthearted contest, didn’t finish, but he did eat more than 2.97 pounds of food in an hour. He gets to take home the Ralph Zambrano Cup, and gets “uncontested bragging rights” for a year. Like the Stanley Cup, this can be kept for a year, and must then be relinquished to next year’s champion.
Joseph Caputo said the idea for the contest came from the bakery’s weekly lunches, prepared for employees and friends by his father and former owner of the bakery, Jack Caputo. With all the food served, Mara began joking about having an eating contest. They also decided it would be a fine way to remember their friend Ralph Zambrano, who passed away last year.
“He was one of our favorites here on Friday,” Mara said. “If you knew Ralph, and he was in the contest, it would be Ralph hands down.”
Accera was challenged by Mark DeSantis.
During the contest, The Link asked each contestant about their strategy.
‘Pace — don’t push. Pace,” Accera said.
DeSantis said his plan was to mix the food up, having meat and pasta together.
“We’re not professionals at this,” he said. “I like to enjoy my meal.”
The contest was as much psychological as it was about stomach capacity. At one point, to show how confident he was, DeStantis grabbed some cheese that was being passed around to the spectators and ate it, showing how confident he was.
Accera upped the ante, also taking some food not in his bowl. “We see your cheese and we raise you a meatball!” he responded.
After his victory, Accera shared his training technique with the crowd. “I had a slice of pizza before I came,” he joked.
During the contest, the spectators, who included a few Long Branch notables, enjoyed dishes prepared by Jack Caputo, including different types of pasta, an Italian frittatta, sardines, meatballs, and more.
The event was not just for fun, but for a good cause. A 50/50 was also held, raising more than $800 for the Epilepsy Foundation. Joseph Caputo’s father-in-law won the drawing, but chose to give the money back to the charity.

Joseph said that he hopes to hold another contest in the spring.

By Patty Booth O’Neill

A retired teacher and a retired nurse. Ready to relax, fish, putz around the yard and travel the world. “Christine, I think I would like to open a restaurant, Nick Guido said to his wife of 37 years.

“A restaurant? Why would you want to open a restaurant now? You know nothing about running a restaurant.”

“It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” Bob replied. Christine told her husband that if he decide he really wanted to open a restaurant, he would have to offer a quality menu. “Everything has to be fresh. Nothing out of cans,” she said, and figured that was the end of that conversation.

The next day Bob called her to come and look at a location he was renting on Front Street in Red Bank. After a lot of time and money in renovations and equipment, they held their grand opening of The River’s Edge Cafe. That was twenty years ago. It is a breakfast and lunch cafe open every day until 3pm. It’s an easier commute for Bob and Christine who live in West Long Branch. Their son Matthew is a police officer in Ocean Township.

“I knew nothing about the restaurant business,” Bob admitted. “I learned as I went along.” His customers couldn’t tell Bob was a novice. He developed signature dishes such as lemon chiffon pancakes. He offered them as a special only on weekends, but there was such a demand, he finally added them to the permanent menu.

Bob had one regular who came in a couple of times a week. One day the man told him he worked for Bruce Springsteen and would he like to cater a dinner party. “The party was two days later on Christmas Eve for ten people,” Bob said. “I’ve done it for him twice so far.”

When the housing bubble happened, the rent in Red Bank didn’t match the economy, so Bob’s rise in rent at the end of his lease was cost prohibitive. He and his wife didn’t want to close their business. They had built up a loyal customer base, and they loved the restaurant business. “I searched around and found this location in the Town Center Shopping Plaza in Ocean,” he said. “It’s just the right size for me.”

The new location for the River’s Edge Cafe seats around 50 people, with booths, tables and a counter. There is plenty of parking, something that was lacking in Red Bank. Bob said he didn’t want a bigger place than that. He said he’s not a Perkins or an I-HOP. He wants to know his customers. “I want to know what each person likes to order and how they want it cooked.” He is passionate about his menu, even if it’s something as basic as a preparing eggs. “There is no such thing as just a fried egg,” Bob insisted. “Some people like them loose, some like them hard, over easy, sunnyside up. I want to get it right the first time.”

While in college Bob had worked as a butcher and brought that knowledge with him. Knowing that quality is important, he grinds his own hamburger meat, even though it’s a lot more work. Everything on the menu is fresh and homemade, including soups and salad dressings. “Nothing,” he said, “comes out of a can.” And he refuses to skimp on anything saying that quality is what makes his food taste good. “If you don’t use it at home, we don’t use it here,” he said. Even the meat in his dishes is roasted on the premises.

Many customers followed Bob from Red Bank and many new customers are getting to know Bob’s quality dishes. “When I see a customer from Red Bank it brings tears to my eyes,” Christine said. “We love to see our old customers and new faces.”

Bob will come into the dining area from the kitchen to greet his guests. He feels that when people go out to eat they should know who is cooking their food, and he wants to know who his customers are. “If somebody has a special order, I’ll make it. If somebody doesn’t like a dish they can send it back and I’ll make them something else,” Bob said, but admitted that rarely happens. “I want my customers to be happy. I want them to come back,” he said. “I want a waiting line on Sundays.”

Through April 2
MONMOUTH BEACH— Monmouth Beach Cultural Center
Now through through April 2, the photography of George Roos, Bob Wille’s paintings, and art work from Eric Barich and Judy deCamp Riggenbach. There is an artist’s reception March 19 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Monmouth Beach Cultural Center on Ocean Avenue is open 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays. More information can be obtained by calling 732- 229-4527.


The Long Branch Public Schools will hold their 4th Annual Community Holiday Celebration on Saturday, December 20th from 11:30am to 2:00pm at the Gregory Elementary School.

Broadcast Music, Inc. is proud to announce that international superstar Taylor Swift has re-signed with BMI for representation of the public performances of her legendary music catalog. One of the most successful and influential singer-songwriters in the world, the seven-time GRAMMY winner is also the best-selling digital music artist of all time.

Taylor Swift re-signs with Michael O'Neill and BMI

“Beyond her stellar career achievements, Taylor has a unique and extraordinary connection with her fans. Through her songwriting and artistry, she has become a universal friend and has redefined the modern pop star,” said BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill. “We are honored that Taylor has chosen to continue her relationship and partnership with BMI, and we are excited to continue to represent her diverse and groundbreaking catalog of music.”

Known for drawing on personal experience to create narrative songs, Swift broke onto the music scene in 2006, when at the age of 16 she released her eponymous first album. It certified five times platinum and launched her meteoric rise. She is the youngest recipient in history of the GRAMMY for Album of the Year, for Fearless, and has had an extraordinary 60 entries (more than any other female artist since her debut) on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including worldwide smashes “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “You Belong With Me.” Her recently released critically acclaimed fifth album, 1989, featuring the hit single, “Shake It Off,” is the first platinum record of the year, and is the first album to open with one million first-week sales since her own RED in 2012 (2010’s Speak Now also achieved this distinction). With this latest record-breaking success, Swift becomes the only artist in music history to have three albums hit one million sales in a single week.

BMI Vice President of Writer/Publisher Relations Jody Williams said, “Taylor’s passion and innate ability for songwriting is remarkable. A true storyteller with wisdom and heart, the immense appeal of her music crosses genres and spans the globe. BMI is incredibly proud to have supported Taylor since the early days of her career. We look forward to working with her exceptional team, SONY/ATV and Troy Tomlinson, CEO and President of SONY/ATV Publishing Nashville.”

Swift joined the BMI family in 2004 at the age of 14. She has received 21 BMI Country Awards and 9 BMI Pop Awards, including winning Songwriter of the Year in 2010, as well as receiving the BMI President’s Award for her outstanding achievement in songwriting with profound global influence on culture and the entertainment industry. Shortly after joining BMI, the rising star signed a publishing deal with SONY/ATV Tree Music Publishing.

Operating on a non-profit-making basis, BMI is committed to nurturing and developing emerging songwriters and connecting promising talent to industry decision-makers. With a 75-year tradition of service to songwriters, composers, music publishers and businesses, BMI continues its role as the trusted broker in the digital age.

The Long Branch Elks Antler Lodge #21 will be hosting their 2nd Halloween Bash.
Date: October 26th, 2014
Time: 1:00pm to 4:00pm
$7.00 each for Children 12 and over.
Place: 150 Garfield Ave. Long Branch, N.J.

All Moms and Dads! Dress your little ones in their costumes.
(Prizes for the scariest and the prettiest).
Games face painting, and a delicious lunch of Chicken and fries included.

Any questions, please call the Lodge weekdays after 3:00pm at (732) 222-9742

"Mob Wives" star Renee Graziano will be at Monmouth Mall on May 1

“Mob Wives” the VH1 reality show of women who were or are married to reputed mobsters will have one of the shows biggest stars, Renne Graziano, making a stop at Monmouth Mall on May 1, at 7:00 p.m.

Graziano is the daughter is Anthony “The Little Guy” Graziano, a consigliere in the Bonanno crime family, who is currently out of jail, and the ex-wife of another gangster, Hector Pagan Jr, who was convicted of running a huge marijuana distribution ring.

The reality show was created by her sister, Jenn, and follows several women whose fathers or husbands are “connected” or “convicted” mob men. One of those ladies is Karen; her father was Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. The others are Drita D’avanzo and Carla Facciolo.

Renee Graziano has just written a book, “Playing With Fire” and will be at Barnes & Noble at Monmouth Mall on Thursday, May 1, to sign copies. Graziano stated that she loves coming to New Jersey as her other sister, Lana, lives in Wall Township.

This weekend, March 15 and 16, the Long Branch Public Schools will be busy with activity! Check out the Future Chef competition at the Long Branch Middle School on Saturday morning and The Westwood Players Ensemble presents Into The Woods at the Vincent J. Borelli Auditorium at the Long Branch High School on Saturday and Sunday.


The Sounds of Asbury Park and other Shore points are celebrated when a pair of musically minded Jersey Joes — Joe D’Urso and Joe Rapolla — bring their Songwriters by the Sea series of intimate, relaxed, and inspired round-robins to the Pollak Theatre stage. What started out as a coffee shop show for area songwriters to casually perform with other writers in Asbury Park has quickly evolved into a national series featuring some of the top songwriters in music today. Artists to perform include Marshall Crenshaw, David Johansen and Allison Moorer. Opening the show will be Monmouth University students Natalie Zeller, Bryan Haring and Erin Holmes.

Show: March 29, 2014
Time: 8pm
Ticket Price: $25; $35

Friday, March 14th at 7:00pm

Saturday, March 15th at 2:00pm & 7:00pm

Sunday, March 16th at 2:00pm

In the
Vincent J. Borelli
of the
Long Branch High School
404 Indiana Avenue,
Long Branch, New Jersey 07740

Into The Woods

By Madeline Schulman
You cannot be admitted to prestigious Giddings University, because it is imaginary, but you can be admitted to NJ Rep and have a wonderful time at Wendy Yondorf’s hilarious comedy, Admit One.

Ames Anderson and Catherine Lefrere in Admit One at NJ Rep.

The set by Jessica Parks shows a suite at the Waldorf Astoria, where Mary Sue (Catherine Lefrere), admissions officer (or admission officer, as she insists) from Giddings University has come to meet with rich alumnus Howard Everett (Ames Anderson).
Knowing this set-up, I anticipated a comedy about the difficulties of buying admission to college. I thought Howard would insist that his donations to Giddings insured his son’s admission and that Mary Sue would refuse on moral grounds, but I was pleasantly surprised by a much funnier and more original plot.
Dirk Everett will certainly enroll in Giddings. As the father says, “Sometimes you make accommodations for benefactors.” This meeting with Mary Sue has been engineered to persuade her to fast track the application of Ellen Mackerel, who is blackmailing Dirk with an accusation of date rape – an accusation Ellen will drop as soon as she is admitted to Giddings.
Mary Sue does not want to acquiesce. Although an excellent student, Ellen does not fit the Giddings profile!
Lots of humor blossoms from this situation. There is physical slapstick, nimbly acted under Karen Carpenter’s lively direction. There is character humor, as Catherine Lefrere showcases all the sides of Mary Sue’s character – pedantic, obsessive, and simultaneously bossy and insecure. Her smile is amazing, seemingly showing more teeth than humanly possible. She constantly corrects Howard’s grammar and vocabulary, and displays a compulsive neatness to rival Phil Hartman’s Anal-Retentive Chef.
Ames Anderson gives a brilliantly nuanced performance as reclusive billionaire Howard Everett.
To top it off, there is New Jersey humor, including a timely reference to the “bridge-closing Governor”, and Mary Sue’s dismissal of students applying from New Jersey. “They’re Princeton’s problem!”
The play also features a shout out to Robert Pinsky, the Poet Laureate from Long Branch.
All in all, Admit One is a wonderfully funny and entertaining play, which the audience members leave feeling happy. Maybe they will even gather tips on writing an impressive college application essay!
Admit One will be shown through Feb. 16 at NJ Rep, 179 Broadway, Long Branch. Performances are Thurs. and Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 3 and 8 p.m., and Sun., 2 p.m. For tickets and information, call 732-229-3166 or visit

The Spartan Booster Club is holding a Pancake Breakfast on February 8, 2014 in the Ocean Township High School cafeteria from 8-11:30 a.m. Cost is $8.00 for adults/students and seniors.

Spartan Booster Club Pancake Breakfast 02-08-14 8-11:30 a.m.