By John Burton
Domenic DiPiero III is a hometown guy who grew up in The Two River area and not only loves the community but believes in giving back to it.
That’s why he bought The Two River Times.
“It may not have the financial upside,” of other for-profit endeavors, Domenic noted, but added, “it has real benefit for the community.”
Another driving factor for Domenic is that he wanted to emulate his father, remaining in the area and running much of his investment firm as well as the Two River Times operations out of their respective Red Bank offices.
“It was that balance that I was always trying to achieve,” he said.
“The truth of the matter,” he explained, “is I liked the life my dad had.”
The elder Domenic DiPiero and his family lived in Middletown, where he and his wife raised the young Domenic and his siblings. The senior DiPiero established his business offices in the late 1970s in what is now the headquarters of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, on the corner of Bodman Place and Riverside Avenue.
Domenic remembered being able to walk from school – having attended St. James Elementary School and then Red Bank Catholic high school – to his father’s offices of Delphi Petroleum and spend time with him.
“To see his ability to be around his kids and to be able to work there after school,” Domenic said, “was something what I wanted to do.”
And he does, noting just recently, “Today I’ll walk to the JV football game,” at his alma mater, RBC, to catch his son, Domenic IV, playing.
A year ago Domenic bought The Two River Times from then owner, Michael “Mickey” Gooch,” at the time a fellow Rumson resident and friend, who had owned the Red Bank- based weekly newspaper for 10 years. “I was always a fan of the paper,” he said, having read it for local and sports news as well as news about the various charitable and not-for-profit organizations, many of which he is involved with.
Domenic had served on the Riverview Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees, having been elected the board’s chair; the Meridian Health System Foundation board, also for a time as its chair and on its strategic planning committee; and has been a board member for the Two River Theater, Count Basie Theatre’s foundation and on the finance committee for the Two River Film Festival. He and his brother, David, have been active with the Asbury Park Pop Warner youth football program, helping to make the program more accessible to underprivileged youth.
And in a sense Domenic saw his taking ownership of the TRT and continuing its work as akin to the efforts that those other organizations have been accomplishing.
“More than any other publication we are really part of the community,” he emphasized, pointing out that almost all of the paper’s staff live in the coverage area and it has always been owned and operated by those who lived in the area and had heartfelt attachments to it.
“It’s rare these days to have an independent newspaper run by local people,” in the contemporary media environment. He acknowledged another reason he decided to acquire the paper. “I was afraid it would fall into the hands of a big company or in the hands of someone with an agenda,” he said.
And in the last year, “Everything I’ve heard has been positive,” about the publication. He admitted that “there are people who would let me know if there is something wrong with it.”
Many have stepped forth to offer their expertise, wishing to contribute columns and suggestions for the publication because they believed in the area.
The Two River Times continues to be a positive reflection of this community, he said. “I really believe – and I’m fortunate enough to have traveled around the country and around the world – I believe this is the best place to live. And being involved with the paper only solidified that.”
So far, “It’s a lot of fun,” being involved in the newspaper, learning about the publishing world and what this all entails, he said. “And it’s a great way to showcase all these nonprofits and small businesses we have around here and the people who work for them.”
“Growing up here, The Two River Times is something that we can gather around and support,” he said. “And as long as the community is interested and supports The Two River Times, I am happy to do my part in keeping it ‘our’ paper.”
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