About Town

December 6, 2013
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RBR Students Take Top Vocal Honors in State Festival


LITTLE SILVER – Red Bank Regional (RBR) Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VPA) voice majors took top honors last month at the Doris Lenz Festival of Singing.

Red Bank Regional High School students, Shurmila Dhar of Little Silver and Katie Robinson of Shrewsbury, are this year’s second and third place winners, respectively, of the Doris Lenz Festival of Singing.

Red Bank Regional High School students, Shurmila Dhar of Little Silver and Katie Robinson of Shrewsbury, are this year’s second and third place winners, respectively, of the Doris Lenz Festival of Singing.


Shurmila Dhar of Little Silver and Katie Robinson of Shrewsbury took second and third place, respectively, in the upper level classical voice category, which includes 15 to 17 year olds.

The festival was held on Nov. 2 at The College of New Jersey and was sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NJ NATS).

More than 90 students competed in the festival, which is named in honor of a longtime member of the NJ NATS. Students were invited by teachers, who are members of NJ NATS, to perform. RBR VPA teacher Kristopher Zook recommended and accompanied Dhar and Robinson to the festival.

The students, both seniors, have received multiple accolades for their vocal ability throughout their high school singing careers. Robinson made the All-Shore and All-State Honor chorus three times. Dhara also made the All-State chorus. Both students were selected for the All-State Opera Festival.

Dhar and Robinson have aspirations of becoming opera singers and performed three classical pieces in the NJ NATS festival.

The students were thrilled with their placement in the festival.

“It was so awesome to have that opportunity to participate in this major event as it gives us invaluable experience as we audition to attend major performing art colleges in the United States,” Robinson said.

NATS is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with over 7 million members in more than 30 countries.

Additional information about NATS is available by visiting its website at www.nats.org.


Rack Named Pastor at Atlantic Highlands Church


ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – The Rev. Paul F. Rack has been named pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Atlantic Highlands.

His services will be shared with the Hope Presbyterian Church of Tinton Falls.

Rack will began his tenure in Atlantic Highlands on Sunday, Dec. 1 and gave his first sermon during the 11 a.m. worship service, which is a change from the long-standing 10 a.m. service start. The Hope Church service will now begin its services at 9 a.m.

Rack succeeds the Rev. Michael Riley, who was pastor at the Atlantic Highlands Presbyterian Church for the last three years.

The new pastor, a resident of Martinsville, has been an ordained minister for 32 years and has been interim pastor at the Hope church since 2011. He is also the stated clerk of the Presbytery of Elizabeth.

Previously, he has been a pastor in upstate New York and Massachusetts and at New Jersey churches in Martinsville, Woodbridge, Fanwood and Pittstown.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Albany (SUNY) and a master’s of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.


Volunteers Needed for Tax Preparation


AARP Tax Aide, part of AARP Foundation, the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service, is seeking volunteers in Monmouth County to help taxpayers looking for help in preparing and filing their 2013 tax returns.  Volunteers are especially needed for Keyport, Matawan, Middletown and Shrewsbury.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide helps low- to moderate-income taxpayers have more discretionary income for everyday essentials, such as food and housing, by assisting with tax services and ensuring they receive applicable tax credits and deductions.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is available free to taxpayers with low and moderate income, with special attention to those 60 and older. Through a cadre of trained volunteers, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has helped individuals for more than 40 years in every state and the District of Columbia.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in cooperation with the IRS.

For more information, visit www.aarp.org/taxaide.

Beacon Hill Country Club Earns Eco-Friendly Badge


Ashley Lauren Foundation’s 3rd ‘Butterfly Ball’ to Honor Stillwell, Larkin


COLTS NECK – Guests will gather to honor Carol Stillwell and Mary Ann Larkin at The Ashley Lauren Foundation’s 3rd Annual Butterfly Ball at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch.

The ball committee is headed by Victoria Ali.

The event provides an opportunity for attendees to enjoy an evening of food, drink and entertainment while raising funds and increasing awareness of The Ashley Lauren Foundation’s mission of providing ”hope and help for children with cancer in New Jersey.”

Showstopper Stormin’ Norman Seldin will present “Dueling Pianos” during the cocktail hour.

In addition to an evening of dinner and dancing with music by Total Soul, guests will be able to bid on many unique auction items donated by supporters of The Ashley Lauren Foundation.

“This is an evening not to be missed,” said Monica Vermeulen, founder and executive director. “We have many exciting things planned for the ball. Victoria and her stellar committee are working hard at making this a very memorable evening.”

Funds raised by the Butterfly Ball will support the programs of The Ashley Lauren Foundation including direct family assistance with household bills, bills and medications not paid through medical insurance, traveling expenses to and from hospitals, funeral expenses; material assistance, such as food, clothing, household items; emotional support through support groups, parties for children, advocacy, outings, birthday and holiday gifts for children; the “Making Dreams Come True” program, and anything else that is needed to make the lives of these families easier and to let each child know that they are important.

The Ashley Lauren Foundation does not fund research but rather are in the trenches with these families as they cope with the daily battle of pediatric cancer.

For Butterfly Ball tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.ashleylaurenfoundation.org or call 732-414-1625.



The Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad (AHFAS) will once again be assisting Santa in his rounds through the borough as part of the organization’s annual Santa Runs during the second week of December.

The Santa Runs get under way Dec. 9 and will run through Dec. 12, with Dec. 13 set aside as a makeup for inclement weather. Each night, starting at 6 p.m., Santa and his team of elves from the Atlantic Highlands First Aid Squad will visit one part of town until 9 p.m.

This year the squad will continue its tradition of building a food drive into these nights. Since starting the food drive, the organization has collected thousands of nonperishable food items, which are then donated to the Atlantic Highlands Food Pantry.

For more than a decade, the AHFAS has been helping bring holiday cheer to area residents by helping Santa visit them at their homes through the Santa Runs. During that week, Santa travels in a special sled pulled behind an ambulance. Holiday music and sirens signal Santa is on his way.

Residents can track Santa’s plans each night by visiting the squad’s website at www.ahfirstaid.org or by following the squad on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ahfirstaid or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ahfirstaid. Santa and his team will post updates, photos and be live tweeting throughout.




Larry Niles, Ph.D., will present his program, “Life Along the Delaware Bay – Cape May Gateway to a Million Shorebirds,” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Monmouth County Audubon Society meeting at the Church of the Nativity on Ridge Road. The public is welcome; admission is free.

The Delaware Bay is the second largest and most diverse bay on the East Coast. It has a rich cultural history, has played an important role in the region’s commerce and tourism, and has spectacular and vital natural resources. Birdwatchers gather along its shores to watch the spectacle of thousands of spawning horseshoe crabs, the dense flocks of migrant shorebirds, the fall hawk migration, and the huge migration of monarch butterflies.

New Zealand Farmers Visit Sickles Market

The Monmouth County Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon Society, is dedicated to the enjoyment and study of nature, wildlife conservation, habitat protection, and education. Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month September through May at the Church of the Nativity.

Further information can be obtained by visiting the organization’s website at www.monmouthaudubon.org, or emailing to info@monmouthaudubon.org.



The Jewish Heritage Mus­eum of Monmouth County and the Cecilian Music Club welcome international piano sensation Gil Sullivan at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, as he makes his triumphant return to the Hayloft Stage.

Admission to the special event is $20 for museum and Cecilian Club members, $25 for nonmembers and $25 for students. The concert will be followed by a meet-the-artist reception.

Australian-born piano virtuoso Gil Sullivan tours extensively in Australia and throughout Asia, Europe, the U.K. and the United States. He has given concerts in Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Centre for Inter­national Per­for­­mance and Exhibit, and New Hampshire’s Claremont Opera House and has been recognized in Germany as “the finest interpreter of Mozart in the world.”

Further information and tickets are available by calling the museum at 732-252-6990 or online at www.jhmomc.org.

The museum is located at 310 Mounts Corner Drive, Freehold Township.

It is handicapped accessible and is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.



The cold season is upon us and many people will be needing warm clothing. Once again the Randy Foye Foundation will be joining with its partners and area residents to help with a coat and warm winter clothing drive.

Residents are asked to drop off coats and winter clothing anytime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the foundation office at 97 E. River Road.

A box will be in the lobby.


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Judaism and Confucian­ism and what they have in common will be discussed by Middle­town resident and associate professor of history at Brook­lyn College, Andrew Meyer, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI).

Meyer is currently investigating the parallels between Chinese and Jewish beliefs and practices and his research includes a comparison of the teachings of Confucius with those of the Rabbinic Sages.

“We are honored to have Dr. Meyer as a lecturer,” said Yona Shulman, chairperson of the adult education program at CBI. “This is a unique topic and one that we don’t often get to hear much about. It will be fascinating to learn about the similarities and differences between these two major religions. I hope people of all faiths join us for this discussion,” said Shulman.

Meyer received his B.A. in East Asian studies from Brown University and his Ph.D. in East Asian languages and civilization from Harvard Uni­versity. He spent five years in Asia, four in China and one in Japan. His research and writing focuses on the intellectual history of ancient and medieval China. His publications include “The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Gov­ernment in Early Han China” (co-translator) and “The Dao of the Military: Liu An’s Art of War.”

In honor of the two cultures being discussed, kosher Chinese refreshments will be served. The program is free for members and $5 for nonmembers. To reserve a spot, register at www.cbirumson.org or contact director Emilie Kovit-Meyer at 732-842-1800, ext. 203 or Emilie.Kovit-Meyer@ cbirumson.org.

CBI is located at 171 Ridge Road.



Monmouth Reform Temple (MRT) will welcome at 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, Congress­woman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who is also chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.

Schultz will discuss “Being a Jewish Woman on the American Political Stage.”

The congresswoman is the author of the recently published book, “For the Next Generation: A Wake-up Call to Solving Our Nation’s Problems.” She will be available to sign books after her presentation.

The public is invited and there is no charge for the event.

MRT is located at 332 Hance Ave.


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