Monday, March 31, 2008

Last Season For Shea, Yankee Stadium

March Madness is the expression we use to describe the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament but on this final day of March most sports fans find themselves thinking more about the game of baseball. That’s because today is the real opening day of the season and the three teams we tend to follow all are optimistic that this could be a championship year.

The Yankees open their final season in what we’ll be calling the old Yankee Stadium this afternoon with a 1:05 game against Toronto. After 84 years they leave “The House that Ruth Built” for a new 51,000 seat stadium in Macomb’s Dam Park that’s being build adjacent to the north. It will have all the modern luxuries (and you’ll pay for them) and while many are welcoming the new ballpark there are those not quite thrilled. There will be less seats and higher ticket prices and it simply won’t be the same place where the Babe, Joe D, Mickey, Reggie and Derek provided so many magical moments. This final season will include hosting the All-Star game in July and Yankee fans hope it lasts into late October and ends with a 27th World Championship banner. The Yankees everyday lineup is frightening
and if the pitching holds true than they’re as good as anybody.

New York’s other team….the Mets, are also getting ready to move into a new stadium (Citi Field) in 2009 but not too many will miss Shea Stadium, which opened in 1964 and seemed old and outdated just a few years later. But it was where I saw my first major league game and I’ll never forget how much in awe I felt when I first entered the stadium. I didn’t know that grass could be so green and Shea seemed like the biggest place in the world. It certainly hasn’t been the site of nearly as many special moments as Yankee Stadium but the Amazing Mets of 1969 and the final two games of the 1986 World Series are among the best baseball moments in New York history. Plus it was where the Beatles first played in America which in itself is pretty special. This could be a special season in Flushing as the Mets look to erase the bitter memories of last September but they’ll have to get past their new division rivals from Philadelphia. The Mets open in Florida this afternoon.

The Phillies won the NL East last year and with Howard, Rollins & Utley boast a very strong offense. For them it will come down to pitching and if they get enough of it then watch out because they will score plenty of runs.
They’re home to play Washington this afternoon.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Men & Women Are Not The Same

Why is it that so many are trying to make men and women the same when it truth we are so very different? Equality in the work place is one thing but this constant attempt to merge the two into one is simply ridiculous. You’re probably saying that I feel this way because its men who have drawn the wrath of many for their exclusivity and you would be correct. What’s wrong with a men’s club and why the heck would women want to be part of it anyway?

The truth is that we have different interests and there are times when it’s more comfortable for us to be separate. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve walked into the middle of a conversation between several women in the office and as soon as I arrive the talk stops. I understand that and am perfectly fine with being excluded because I don’t want to talk about babies, shoes, what’s on sale and good looking men. Just like when I’m with a bunch of buddies talking sports, politics, beer and good looking women…it’s all guy talk.

Even the happiest couples need to have their own space and spend time with friends of the same gender. They can relate to each other because in truth most of us are thinking and going through a lot of similar experiences. This constant attempt by some to make us all the same for everything is like only have a choice of vanilla ice cream. Men and women have been and always will be different and there’s nothing wrong with that. Regardless of how you feel about our creation the fact is we are not the same…just take a good look. Somebody knew that the only way this could work would be to have two sexes so let’s leave it that way. Equality is not the issue as I want my daughter to have every opportunity afforded my son and vice versa. But let’s use some common sense here and recognize that our differences are not just about how we look and what clothes we wear but rather how we often think.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

End Of An Era

Since 1949 drivers on Route 166 in Toms River have viewed one of the great business signs of all time. Sitting on top of the Dover Diner are the words “Eat Here or We’ll Both Starve” and no matter how many times I’ve passed that sign I’ve chuckled. However the popular diner will close after Sunday to make way for an office building as part of the future expansion of the Dover Mall. Joella Nicastro knew this day was coming but you can excuse her for having a hard time accepting the end because she’s spent some 21 years serving breakfast to hungry patrons. An Ocean County native, Joella started working at the diner as a waitress, moved up to manager and eventually took over the operation from the Jamison Family who opened the eatery in 1949.

The structure is a Silk City Diner, built by the Paterson Vehicle Company who operated from 1927-64. The stainless steel structure is a complete unit which Ms. Nicastro is going to keep and try to re-locate. For now she’ll store the diner while she searches for a location as many customers have vowed to follow her not only for great food and bottomless cups of coffee but the loud, bustling atmosphere that comes with the territory. Seats may be a premium at times but conversation is endless and loyal customers can usually solve all the problems of the world by the time they get to their third cup of coffee.

Joella praised the Donofrio Family, owners of the property because from day one she knew that eventually the site would be needed for other construction. She is cautiously optimistic that one day in the future the Dover Diner will re-open and again we’ll be greeted by the words “Eat here or we’ll both starve.” However you have until Sunday to be guaranteed a chance to enjoy one of their great omelets, crispy home fries and even sausage gravy. Take a picture because an era is coming to an end.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

OCC Tuition Increase

Certainly nobody is happy that Ocean County College has to raise its tuition again but the $2 per credit increase in the wake of state aid loss is not nearly as painful as some are making it. That increase amounts to about $60 a year for most full-time students and for someone taking 30 credits a year it means tuition and fees next school year would cost $3,660. Granted that’s a long way from the couple of hundred dollars it used to be when the school first opened its doors but compared to any four-year college OCC is still an amazing bargain.

Of course many students chose the school because it’s affordable and any increase would be unwelcome and somewhat difficult to accept. While education costs are spiraling there are many sources of help for students who need financial assistance. Scholarships, grants and loans are available and if students want an education officials can usually find a way for them to pay for it. Ocean County College has long been held in high regard when it comes to two-year colleges and you couldn’t even guess as to how many men and women are successes today because of the education and opportunity they received at the school.

I’m not surprised that some 1,000 students reportedly signed a petition opposed to the tuition hike….after all they weren’t going to sign one in agreement with the increase. However I would imagine most of them…if they were honest would tell you that the school is still quite affordable.
While comparing any two-year college to a four-year school is not necessarily apples to apples Ocean County College still provides a quality education and opportunities for students to grow and expand while allowing them to live at home.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Driving: Some People Just Don't Get It

There has certainly been a lot of disturbing local stories in the news lately but the one that really makes me scratch my head centers around a fatal car accident involving a drunken driver who was on the suspended list at the time of the accident. If that’s not enough his license has been suspended some two dozen times over the years, including three convictions for drunken driving.

The question I and many others have are not only why was he behind the wheel of a car but rather why had he not served any jail time for all the previous offenses. Obviously he was not driving legally although you can be sure he was probably violating the suspension on a regular basis and others knew it. Throw in that he was intoxicated again and you have a person with no regard for the law and the value of a human life he took.

It seems pretty obvious that laws need to be stricter when it comes to those who drive on the suspended list and also chose to drink and drive. There should be no free passes and repeaters must serve mandatory jail time as anything less is just an open invitation for them to return to their habits. I’m not saying jail is the answer but one thing is for sure…if they’re locked away they can’t drink, drive and in this case kill. That it itself is a step in the right direction.

Having a driver’s license is a privilege, not a birthright and when necessary the harshest penalties should be given to those who just don’t get it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Welcome Spring

So spring has arrived and we can officially say goodbye to a winter that was indeed very forgettable. Snow and school closings were few and far between and there weren’t too many mornings in which you needed to scrape your car’s windshield before getting started. I’m pretty sure there were more afternoons which saw me wearing shorts rather than needing gloves and it was a good winter for those who insist global warming is fact not fiction. However it was not a good winter for sales of rock salt, snow shovels and snow blowers and certainly for those who earn a living by plowing the white stuff that rarely appeared.

But that is now all part of the past because spring brings optimism and a bounce in your step. Many are not very happy about having such an early Easter along with a spring break from school but to be honest in recent years
it hasn’t really warmed up until May anyway. However the calendar clearly tells us that warmer days are around the corner and another sign of spring is
the start of the baseball season. The major leagues actually open next week. at least for the Red Sox and Athletics who are playing in Japan. The Yankees, Mets and Phillies begin on March 31st and the BlueClaws opener is just three days later at FirstEnergy Park with the local high school teams to follow.

Each day brings a later sunset and no longer do you need to hibernate at night with kids playing outside after dinner. Before you know it temperatures will be in the 60’s, then 70’s and you won’t have any excuses for not getting daily exercise with a walk or a bike ride on the boardwalk an inviting way to start or finish your day. Gas prices may be soaring, the stock market dropping, there’s still a war in Iraq and plenty of bad news and tragedy. However spring marks an ending and beginning we can only hope better days lay ahead. At the very least they’ll be warmer and longer.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

March Madness Brackets 101

For the past couple of days some of you have taking time out of your day to fill out what is a strange looking piece of paper. It contains a lot of lines and names not familiar to many…..Winthrop, Maryland-Baltimore County, and Belmont to name a few. Belmont, isn’t that a race track? Yes it is but for the purpose of today’s discussion what I’m talking about is called a bracket sheet and you are now about to enter the world of “March Madness.”

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament opens today with 16 games being played at six sites around the country and another 16 games will be played tomorrow. Much like the Super Bowl part of the interest and excitement surrounding the tournament centers around office pools. Some of those pools will give you teams in a random selection while others are more complicated and require some work and a lot of luck. This is where I’m here to help you at the last moment as you need to turn in your bracket sheet before noon today and pick 63 winners, including a national champion.

The key to doing well in these pools is picking the right upsets because there will certainly be a few of them, especially during the first two rounds of the tournament when we get down to 16 teams. If you look at the name of the schools on your bracket sheet you’ll see a number next to them between 1-16. That’s their seed or rank in the region they are playing in and there are four of those….East, Midwest, South and West. The lower the number the more highly-regarded the team and you would not be alone if you picked up all the #1 seeds….North Carolina, Kansas, Memphis and UCLA to reach the national semifinals in San Antonio.

If you are looking at me as an expert I’m flattered but frankly my track record in picking the tournament is not very impressive although I did have Florida beating UCLA in the finals last year. I’m in a bunch of pools (for entertainment purposes only) and I like UCLA to win the whole thing with North Carolina, Wisconsin and Memphis also advancing to the Final Four.
However I also like Kansas, Louisville, Texas and Duke to do some damage.
As for first-round upsets how about Temple over Michigan State and possibly Villanova over Clemson or maybe even St. Joe’s to upset Oklahoma. Actually the biggest upset would be if I won a pool.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sex And The Office Of Governor

As we get a new sex-related story each day involving some high-ranking official I’m really starting to wonder what is normal. Just think about what’s come out in the last week or so. We have the now former Governor of New York…the poster child for ethics in government, linked to a high price call girl (who of course just happens to be from this area). He is forced to resign in shame and worst yet has to face his wife and three teen-ager daughters, who I assume idolized him.

Then comes reports of this wild tryst featuring the former first couple of our wonderful state, Jim McGreevey and his soon-to-be ex-wife Dina Matos McGreevey. Depending on who and what you believe they were involved in a sexual threesome with a former campaign aid for about two years which ended just before McGreevey was elected governor. Keep in mind the couple is engaged in a bitter divorce battle and are due in court again later this week so you have to take everything with a grain of salt.

Just as you swallowed all of this comes news that New York’s new governor
has come out and disclosed that both he and his wife had affairs during a rocky period in their marriage. David Paterson obviously figured it was better to come clean now so just hours after taking office he admitted that he and his wife Michelle strayed from one another before seeking counseling and patching up their marriage.

What couples do is pretty much their own business and frankly I and most of you probably don’t care what goes on behind closed doors. It’s just that I wonder what is a normal marriage today. If nearly half of all marriages end in divorce what percentage can we assume finds one or both parties cheating on the other at some point? The real number may be shocking.

One other thought before putting this subject to bed. If former Governor Spitzer was “client 9” of the call girl service wouldn’t you like to know who numbers 1-8 are? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Being Irish Means...

(from Monday, March 17)Today of course is St. Patrick’s Day and in previous years this would have meant a toast or two to the patron saint of Ireland. However I won’t be able to do that today but since more than 20% of shore area residents have a wee bit of Irish in them I did want to pass along this little ditty on what being Irish means. There’s probably more truth than blarney in this.


· You’ll never play pro basketball.
· Your swear very well.
· At least one of your cousins holds political office.
· You think you sing very well.
· You have no idea how to make a long story short.
· You are very good at playing al lot of very bad golf.
· There isn’t a huge difference between losing your temper and killing someone.
· Much of your food was boiled.
· You spent a good portion of your childhood kneeling.
· You become quite a poet after a few beers.
· You will be punched for no good reason…a lot.
· Some of those punches are legacies from past generations.
· Many of your sisters are Mary, Catherine or Elizabeth….one might be Mary Catherine Elizabeth.
· You don’t know the words but that doesn’t stop you from singing.
· You can’t wait for the other guy to stop talking so you can start.
· “Irish Stew” is a euphemism for “boiled leftovers from the fridge.”
· You’re not nearly as funny as you think you are, but what you lack in talent you make up for in frequency.
· There wasn’t a huge difference between your last wake and your last key party.
· You are, or know someone named “Murph.”
· If you don’t know “Murph” then you know “Mac”…if you don’t know “Murph” or “Mac” then you certainly know “Sully.”
· You are genetically incapable of keeping a secret.
· Your parents were on a first-name basis with everyone at the local hospital emergency room.

Friday, March 14, 2008

St. Pat's In Seaside

Among the best times I’ve had in my life were days at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Seaside Heights. I remember wearing a kilt one year and marching in the parade with what I thought were sweet little old ladies constantly lifting up my kilt…fortunately I was warned in advance and wearing shorts underneath. It is a truly festive occasion, enjoyed by Irish and non-Irish, young and old. It’s also a day which marks the end of winter as regardless of the weather you know that spring and summer are on the horizon.

To me Klee’s Bar & Grill is the place to be on parade day. Sure it’s crowded and crazy whether you’re inside or outside but it’s just a fun place with a lot of friendly people. You’ll see some wild outfits as well and there will be no shortage of green although frankly I always thought green beer was for rank amateurs.

The 24th edition of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off at noon and begins in Seaside Park and heads north on the boulevard through Seaside Heights.
Sure it will be chilly but if you dress warm you’ll be able to watch all the marchers, bands and floats. Seaside Heights wakes up on parade day and there are plenty of places to eat either before or after and you can be sure that many people will take their first stroll of the season on the boardwalk which comes alive this weekend with the Palm Sunday egg hunt the following day.

Of course Saturday is really the start of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration for many with big day being Monday. While Klee’s is at the top of my list this time of year there are plenty of places in which you will be with a lot of friends if “you’re wearin’ the green” like the Crab’s Claw Inn in Lavallette, Caffrey’s Tavern in Forked River and Mulligan’s Bar & Grill in Toms River. Wherever you do go be smart, plan ahead and have a grand time.
“Erin Go Bragh.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Adjusting To A New Schedule

Most of you probably know by now that starting next Monday I will be hosting a daily sports show which will air from 3-6pm on our Shore Sports Network made up of 1160 WOBM AM and Fox Sports Radio 1310AM. “The Locker Room” with Kevin Williams will be a show featuring high school, college and pro sports and allow listeners to call in and talk sports while also featuring guests. Our opening lineup for Monday will include
three-time state wrestling champion Scott Winston and University of Denver basketball coach Joe Scott.

As I told you in a “Hometown View” segment last week this change means I know longer get up at 2:22 in the morning and for the first time ever have been living what most would assume is a normal life. I’ve been staying up late watching college basketball, sleeping until 5:30 and yesterday went to the gym before work. I have to tell you that it’s nice to do a work-out first thing in the morning when you have plenty of energy and I’m planning on making this a regular part of my routine. Of course this also means you can’t make the excuse that you’re too tired which I’ve used on plenty of occasions over the years.

The real impact of my new schedule will be felt next week when I won’t get home until 6:30 or so. This means not being able to pick my daughter up after practice and worse yet is the thought of missing her lacrosse and field hockey games. But as well all know everything in life is a trade off and you can’t have everything. So I can’t go to the beach late on a summer day…I can start my morning there from time to time.

Just to reiterate that despite my new schedule the Hometown View…thanks to the magic of technology will remain so even through I’ve left the building…I’m still with you each morning.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No Tux For Kevin

I’ve been involved with the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce for quite a while and have served on the Board of Directors for the last few years. Beginning in May I take over as Chairman and try to fill the very large shoes left by Jim DeAngelis of the Lakewood BlueClaws, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the chamber for the last 12 months.
To be honest until you really get involved you don’t have an appreciation of an organization like this chamber, which is constantly working and fighting on behalf of its 800 members and looking to improve the business and economic climate of not only Toms River but Ocean County as well. Longtime President Lucy Greene and her staff remain the heart and soul of the organization which is among the largest and most active chambers in New Jersey.

On Thursday, April 24th at Eagle Ridge Golf Club we’ll hold our 45th Gala Reception and Dinner Dance in which I will take over the gavel as chairman and more importantly we honor individuals and organizations for their contributions to make this area a better place to live, work and play. This year’s “Distinguished Citizens of the Year” are Senators Andrew Ciesla and Robert Singer and recently-retired Senator Leonard Connors, Jr. In addition former Toms River Mayor Paul Brush will receive the first “Community Service Award” and the Salvation Army Ocean County Citadel will be honored as the “Organization of the Year.” Domenick Servodio of Commerce Bank will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the dinner in the View Restaurant at Eagle Ridge.

This event is the single biggest fundraiser the chamber does each year with much of the income generated by an ad journal in addition to tickets. For information you can contact the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce at (732) 349-0220.

By the way don’t expect me to wear a tuxedo on April 24th but I will be wearing socks.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday This & That

A little of this and a little of that heading into “spring forward” weekend. Don’t forget to set those clocks ahead an hour before you go to bed Saturday night and it will be great Sunday when it’s light out until about 7pm.

The spring sports season officially begins today with high school baseball, softball and lacrosse teams among those holding their first official practices.
Meanwhile the NJSIAA Wrestling Championships get underway at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City tonight and some are predicting this will be the greatest weekend in shore wrestling history. Five from Ocean and Monmouth County won state titles last year and that number is expected to be topped this weekend when a star-studded group heads to A.C.
Leading the contingent are returning state champions Scott Winston of Jackson Memorial and Nick Menditto of Ocean with Winston the chalk favorite to finish a perfect career Sunday afternoon when his hand is raised as the 160-pound champion.

Among the others who could make this a most memorable weekend are Winston’s Jaguar teammates….Tyler Biscaha and Sean Byrnes, Southern’s Glenn Carson, Vinnie DelleFave of Toms River East and Howell’s Joey Langel and Harry Turner. Also keep an eye on Toms River North’s John Morano, who was outstanding at last weekend’s regional’s but is in a very tough 125-pound weight class.

For basketball fans the Ritacco Center is the place to be this weekend with four boys and girls state championship games each day beginning at noon.

I have certainly noticed an increase in the number of people using hands-free devices while driving and talking on their cell phones since new state regulations went into effect last weekend. However many don’t believe that police are going to enforce the new law which carries a $100 fine for first-time offenders. Sadly they will learn the hard way.

Community Medical Center is holding a Colorectal Cancer Awareness Fair next Tuesday from 8am-4pm in the Outpatient Lobby of the hospital. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States with about 57,000 people dying each year. Under the direction of Dr. Paul DeMartino next Tuesday’s event will provide all the information you need with physicians and nurses available to answer questions.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Kevin Gets To Sleep In

For most of my tenure at WOBM I’ve been the first one in the building each morning, usually arriving around 3:15 and getting to work right away on morning sports reports which I’ve delivered for nearly 29 years. I’ve followed a strict ritual of waking up at 2:22 (when I have to shave), jumping right in the shower, getting dressed, stopping for coffee and making a very short commute to the office. It’s been pretty much all I’ve known and what I’ve grown accustomed too but after tomorrow that all ends.

No longer will I be the guy to turn on the lights, start the computers and open locked offices….nor will I tell you about the fortunes of the Mets, Yankees, Giants, Mariners, Green Dragons or Griffins. Before you say “thank goodness we’ve finally gotten rid of him” let me make something perfectly clear…I’m not going anywhere but my routine will change dramatically.

Beginning Monday, March 17th I will host a daily sports show that will air weekday afternoons from 3-6pm as part of our Shore Sports Network. “The Locker Room” with Kevin Williams will be broadcast on 1160 WOBM AM and Fox Sports Radio 1310AM and will be the first radio sports show of it’s kind ever broadcast in Ocean and Monmouth counties. If and when you tune in to “The Locker Room” you’re just as likely to hear me talk about high school baseball as major league baseball. Actually the subject matter will be often left up to those who call in and want to talk sports and offer their opinions because many think they’re experts.

Sure after all these years I’m a bit nervous about trying something different so late in my career but I’m also excited by the challenge. There’s also the matter of sleeping past 2:22AM and handling a dramatic change of routine.
I’ll still be in the office each morning but maybe after going to the gym and leisurely strolling in with my cup of coffee.

Finally for those of you who enjoy “The Hometown View”….like me it will remain and still air weekday mornings. As for those afternoons…well I’m not telling you to leave 92.7FM but if you’re a sports fan they’ll always be a place for you in “The Locker Room.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Presidential Primary: Now It Gets Interesting

I never would have imagined a few months ago that I’d be staying up late to watch Presidential primary election results but that’s exactly what I did last night in what is turning out to be a fascinating race for the White House. Seemingly dead and buried in the fall John McCain clinched the Republican nomination but the big story was Hilary Clinton’s primary wins in Ohio, Texas & Rhode Island in what is turning out to be a riveting Democratic race between the former First Lady and Barack Obama.

McCain surpassed the delegates needed to win the GOP nomination as his last remaining major rival Mike Huckabee conceded defeat and then promised to help the 71-year old Arizona senator capture the presidency. McCain showed amazing resiliency during the primary as he was pretty much counted out and considered a non-factor. However he pulled things together and then starting in New Hampshire just eight weeks ago began piling up wins and delegates and dispatched contenders like Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney. With the nomination secure McCain can think ahead to November and today he’ll have lunch at the White House and get the endorsement of President Bush.

However the battle for the Democratic nomination looks like it will go well into the spring and maybe even longer. It was pretty much assumed going into last night that Clinton had to win both Ohio & Texas which were considered toss-up states. She took both along with Rhode Island while Obama, who had claimed the last 11 primaries, had to settle for a victory in Vermont. He says the delegate count is not all that much different then when Tuesday started but the truth is Clinton has halted his momentum and has given her own effort a major shot in the arm. There are still ten state primaries remaining with the big prize being Pennsylvania on April 22nd where Clinton is the favorite. What’s more she has shown the ability to win all the big states which many Democrats believe will be a necessity come November. Don’t be surprised if the Clinton-Obama fight heads to the convention this summer while McCain sits back and saves his money and energy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Toms River Student Loan Fund

For parents of high school seniors this can be a very exciting and challenging time. Their children have or are making decisions on what college to attend in the fall and sometimes that’s the easy part. The real challenge is how to pay for a 4-year education that could cost anywhere
from $80,000-$160,000. Even when you think you have tuition, room and board covered there are expenses that seem to pop-up all the time and that’s where the Toms River Student Loan Fund can help. Established by a group of business leaders more than 70 years ago the Fund assists graduates of the three Toms River High Schools by supplementing a portion of their undergraduate and or graduate school tuition and costs.

As a member of the Board of Trustees for several years I know that thousands of students have been helped by this all-volunteer organization. While we are always seeking donations and financial assistance it is only once a year we really reach out to the public to support what is our major fundraiser. On Friday, May 2nd we are holding our 6th Annual Recognition Cocktail Reception at the Holiday Inn of Toms River in which we will honor
Former First Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Terrence Farley, Toms River Elks Lodge #1875 and the 2007 Teachers of the Year from the eighteen schools in the Toms River Regional School District.

I will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the reception which begins at 6pm
and tickets are on sale for $75 per person. In addition much of the money raised from the evening comes from an ad journal in which we’re now seeking support from the business community as well as the public. For information on tickets or the ad journal you can call Carmen Memoli at (732) 240-3366.

The Toms River Student Loan Fund had been a well-kept secret for many years but as education costs continue to rise the secret is out. The only way we can continue to assist students is to raise additional funds so your support of this very worthwhile cause will be greatly appreciated.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Region 6 Wrestling Championships

My friends and colleagues who follow high school wrestling like to kid me when I show up at an event because they know I’m a bit more comfortable watching and covering basketball. However I know enough to pick up on greatness and after witnessing Scott Winston again during the Region 6 Championships at the Ritacco Center there’s little doubt the Jackson Memorial senior belongs in the “great” category. Saturday was a coronation for Winston, who was named the tournaments “Outstanding Wrestler” and improved to 133-0 for his career after claiming the 160 pound title. The win in the final saw him break the school record for career wins which had been held by his current coach Doug Withstandley, who presented him with a plaque to commemorate the occasion. Among those in the crowd giving Winston a standing ovation was his former high school and soon to be college coach Scott Goodale, who saw three of his other Rutgers recruits win region titles…Zac Coulas & Nick Menditto of Ocean Township and Howell’s Joey Langel.

Back to Winston for a moment. Not only is he an incredible wrestler but he’s an incredible physical specimen, packing more muscle than one can imagine on his 160 pound frame. He will go down as among the greatest wrestlers in Shore Conference history, joining the likes to Damian Hahn, Jeff Parker and Glenn Pritzlaff.

How good is wrestling in this area? Six of the top ten teams in the final New Jersey Coaches Association state rankings are from the shore. High Point finished #1 followed by Long Branch & Brick Memorial. Howell, Jackson Memorial, Southern and Toms River North were all ranked in the top ten.

The Ocean County College men’s basketball team fell just short of claiming the Region 19, Division 3 Tournament as the Vikings fell to powerful Middlesex 74-55 in Sunday’s final. OCC actually led by a point with nine minutes left before the Colts went on a 20-0 run to claim the tournament title and a spot in the nationals. Despite the loss it was a terrific season for OCC under head coach Ryan O’Rourke. Players like Anthony LaBruno and Toms River East graduate James Stockton helped the Vikings go 23-6.