Wednesday, July 29, 2009

John Boyd Memorial Swim

I’ve always said that there’s a big difference when it comes to swimming in a pool and the ocean. Those who want to test their metal in the great Atlantic can do so this Sunday evening at the John Boyd Memorial Swim in Seaside Heights. Sponsored by the Lifeguard Association of Seaside Heights, the annual one-mile open swim will feature three divisions….Open, High School and Masters. Registration is $20 for the race and that includes a beach barbeque and party afterwards with food and drink as well as a race T-shirt. Registration begins at 4pm at Hiering Avenue and the boardwalk with the swim to start at 6:30.

The race is named after one of New Jersey’s true legends when it comes to lifeguarding and football. John Boyd spent nearly 60 years as a lifeguard in Seaside Heights, a good portion of it as Captain of the Beach Patrol where he worked alongside his brothers Joe and Hugh. Capt. Boyd was an All-American football player at Temple University where he was coached by Pop Warner and played in the first Sugar Bowl in 1935 where Temple lost to Tulane. He served in the US Navy during World War II where former President Gerard Ford was among his shipmates. Later he would begin a long tenure as head football coach and Athletic Director at Atlantic City High School and the football field and track where they played their games from 1949-94 was named John Boyd Stadium. Summers of course were spent running the beach in Seaside Heights with his brothers and nobody ever did it better. Joe Boyd was the head football coach and Athletic Director at Central Regional High School and the football field there is appropriately named after him. I had the honor of playing for him at Central, which I attended after graduating from the Seaside Heights Elementary School where my 6th grade teacher and Principal was Hugh, although everyone called him “Junie.” I attended the old school near the Casino Pier and when the current one opened by the bay front in 1967 it was named Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School. The three Boyd Brothers may be gone but their contributions will never be forgotten. By the way, “Junie’s” son Tommy is the current police chief in Seaside Heights.

As for Sunday’s ocean swim you can get additional information by contacting Lifeguard Association Sgt. Rob Connor at (732) 793-4646 or by visiting

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finding Deals

No question that the current economic situation has forced many people to search for the best deals so with that in mind Real Simple magazine has come out with a list of tips on how to find deals on everything from cell phone plans to school supplies. Here are some of them:

* Purchase oranges, onions and potatoes in bags rather than individually;
you’ll pay roughly half the price.
* Don’t buy non-grocery items at the supermarket. Health and beauty
goods are usually cheaper at places like Wal-Mart or Target and you’ll
get the best deals on paper products at warehouse clubs like BJ’s.
* Buy ground beef and chicken breasts in bulk….you’ll save 20% on
ground beef and 50% a pound on chicken.
* Find out an item’s cost per unit (CPU) which is listed on the shelf
sticker next to the price. It will tell you what something cost per ounce
or pound which can keep you from getting fooled by packaging.
* Attach a timer to the spigot. A sprinkler or a soaker host left running
wastes a lot of water.
* If you send or receive more than one text a day, sign up for a plan and
avoid the per-text charges that can drive up your phone bill. In you
have a teenager consider enrolling in an unlimited-messaging plan.
* If you talk for fewer than 200 minutes monthly, use a prepaid plan.
* For out-of-pocket repairs that could cost several hundred dollars shop
around and get three estimates. Tell each company you are comparing
prices and don’t be afraid to haggle a bit.
* Fix windshield chips immediately because a small one can lead to a full
crack. A repair can be done in your driveway for less than $100 with
cost of replacing a windshield anywhere between $500-$1200.
* Be careful of extended warranties on cars because standard ones often
are good enough.
* Request a three-month prescription from your doctor for medications
that treat chronic conditions as it could reduce costs by up to 33%
compared with paying monthly. Also consider generics as it could
save you money as well.
* To save on medical bills, ask for freebies or discount coupons. Your
doctor may distribute samples of everything from over-the-counter
cold medicines to asthma inhalers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reality Sets In

So has the bloom come off the Obama rose? There is no question there was a love affair between a rather large segment of the US population with the new President when he took office six months ago. Sure there were many on the other side of the fence but supporters of President Obama were hopeful to win them over in due time. However just a half-year into his first term I would say the gap is widening between those who support and don’t support the policies and ideals of our President and recent events have contributed to that gap.

I spent the weekend in Boston which is sort of “ground zero” in the case involving the arrest of a black Harvard professor by a white police officer over a reported breaking and entering. If you have not followed the story then I’ll be brief when I say that it probably came down to a failure to communicate and the charges were eventually dropped but not before President Obama stuck his foot in his mouth. Without having all the information he said “police acted stupidly” in arresting Henry Gates Jr. who he admitted was a friend of his. As more details became available the President realized he was not only premature in his comments but had created even more of a controversy by piping in where he did not belong. While he did not retract his statement he did try and mend fences especially with those in law enforcement who were not pleased by the way they were portrayed by the nation’s leader. At the end of the day you can be sure Mr. Obama wishes he would has simply said “no comment” from the start.

However this is nothing compared to the firestorm he is dealing with concerning the health care crisis in this country. The President wants s swift solution to a long-term problem and battle lines are being drawn. We all admit there is a problem but many feel President Obama’s suggestions will force a burden on individuals and businesses which is simply too great to ask
and could have devastating and long-lasting implications.

Remember when the topic of conversation coming out of the White House dealt with things like fashion and the selection of a dog? Sure seems like a long time ago doesn’t it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday's Thoughts

(Hometown View returns on Monday, July 27)

The good times continue to roll for Todd Frazier, who hit his 11th home run of the season last night for the Carolina Mudcats, the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Frazier, who played in the Southern League All-Star game recently, is batting .313 with a league-leading 32 doubles and 50 RBI’s. The former Toms River South and Rutgers University star is seeing action in leftfield on an every day basis and there is reason to believe the 23-year old will get his first taste of the major leagues before the season is over. Those who have followed Todd are not surprised by his success as it was 11 years ago that he led the Toms River East American All-Stars to the Little League World Series Championship in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The Mets won’t admit it but the season is over and they need to start thinking about next year and how they’re going to convince fans to shell out money and fill the seats at Citifield. Their off-season slogan should be “We’re healthy again and won’t suck.” By the way the Yankees and Phillies are playing terrific baseball…how about a Turnpike World Series come this fall?

It’s Lifeguard Tournament season at the Jersey Shore and last night the Lavallette Beach Patrol hosted their inaugural Female Championship which it appeared they would win. However a disqualification in the final event forced Lavallette to settle for a tie with Barnegat Light for the team title.

This Sunday eight teams will compete in the 2nd Annual Island Beach Motor Lodge Tournament on the 24th Avenue Beach in South Seaside Park and next Tuesday the Seaside Park Beach Patrol will host their annual event on the Stockton Avenue beach.

Congratulations to Shannon and Craig Korb on the birth of their second daughter. Lucy June Korb arrived on Monday afternoon, weighing in at 5 pounds and 10 ounces and mother, daughter and 3 ½ year old sister Marley are all doing fine. Craig is the head chef at the Crabs Claw Inn which is owned by Shannon’s parents Louise and Sam Hammer. I would expect Lucy June will be a future West Virginia Mountaineer and probably won’t have much choice in the matter.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend Sports

You might take the kid out of the shore but you can’t take the shore out of the kid which is why University of Denver basketball coach Joe Scott was among the many enjoying another tremendous beach weekend. Regardless of where he is coaching Scott manages to find time to return to Pelican Island in the summer along with his wife and two young sons and spend as much time as possible on the beach in Seaside Park. A former three-sport star at Toms River East, he is really excited about the progress he’s made going into his third year as coach of the Pioneers, who improved from 11 to 15 wins last season and did so with the youngest team in all of Division 1 basketball. He did not lose any players to graduation and with only one senior this coming season the future looks very bright for Scott, who previously was the head coach at Air Force and his alma mater Princeton.

It’s unfortunate but the 2009 British Open in Turnberry, Scotland will be remembered as the tournament Tom Watson lost rather than Stewart Cink won. With Tiger Woods missing the cut the weekend belonged to the 59-year old Watson, who was seeking to become the oldest player to win a golf major or any PGA Tour event for that matter. A 5-time British Open champion, Watson could not complete a storybook ending when he bogeyed the 72nd hole and then self-destructed in a 4-hole playoff against Cink who came out of nowhere to win his first major. Watson’s bid may have come up short but it was nice to turn back the clock for a few days which is exactly what he did.

The speed and skill of Monmouth County proved to be the difference as they dominated Ocean County and collected a 30-13 victory in Friday’s U.S. Army All Shore Gridiron Classic at Brick Township High School. Led by Freehold QB Nick Tyson and Manalapan running back James Gilburn, the Monmouth offense was sensational in the first half when they bolted out to a 23-0 lead. Ocean rallied a bit to get close before Tyson hit former high school teammate Brandon Brown with a clinching touchdown pass in the final minutes. In the loss Ocean got a superb effort on both sides of the ball from Monmouth University-bound Justin Pandorf of Lacey. You can listen to the radio broadcast of the game by visiting

Thursday, July 16, 2009

US Army All Shore Gridiron Classic

It’s either the last game of last season or the first game of the upcoming season…either way it’s been part of the summer schedule for the last 32 years. About 100 recently-graduated football players from Ocean and Monmouth County high schools will be in uniform tomorrow night at Brick Township’s Keller Memorial Field for the US Army All Shore Gridiron Classic. The name of the game might have changed but its significance has not. For some this will help them get a start on playing football in college while for others this is the final time they will put on a football uniform. Regardless they get to represent their high schools one more time and of course there is the matter of the bragging rights of the Shore Conference.

Monmouth County leads the overall series 16-14 with one tie but Ocean County takes a two-game winning streak into tomorrow nights contest.
Southern Regional’s Chuck Donohue, who guided the Rams to their best-ever season last fall, is the head coach of the Ocean squad. He has such offensive standouts as quarterbacks Shane O’Connor (Pt Boro) and Brian Staub (Brick Memorial) and running backs Tom Rickmers (Lacey) and Jon Daniels (TR North). Leading the defense will be Southern’s Steve Sibona, Brennan Candito of Brick, Justin Pandorf of Lacey, Point Boro’s Jeff Keffer and Brett Yajcaji of Toms River East to name just a few.

Freehold’s Mark Ciccotelli has the honor of leading the Monmouth County squad which features quarterback Nick Tyson, who led the Colonials to a state title last December. He has weapons like running backs Michael Peavey of Neptune and Uly Gibson of Middletown North along with receiver Brandon Brown, his Freehold teammate.

The game is presented by the Shore Football Coaches Foundation in partnership with All Shore Media with the US Army and ROTC on board as lead sponsors for the first time.

Millennium Radio’s Shore Sports Network will broadcast the game live on 105.7 The Hawk and Fox Sports 1310 and on their respective internet streams beginning at 6:45Gates open at Brick Township High School tomorrow night at 5:30 and kickoff is scheduled for 7pm.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

US Army All Shore Gridiron Classic

Preparations are well underway for Friday’s US Army All Shore Gridiron Classic at Brick Township High School. The Ocean County team is practicing at Toms River South and I caught a little of last night’s session which was interrupted by lightning. Maybe the biggest dilemma for head coach Chuck Donohue of Southern Regional and offensive coordinator Calvin Thompson is how to play all four of their quarterbacks. Thompson is running his Point Boro option attack and has his own multi-talented quarterback in Shane O’Connor and Brick Memorial’s Brian Staub and Monsignor Donovan’s Jon Curtin are also best known for their running abilities. The Ocean staff also likes the way strong-armed Kevin Gilmore of Toms River South has picked up the offense and he is clearly the best thrower of the quartet. The Monmouth County squad, under the direction of Freehold’s Mark Ciccotelli is practicing at Matawan High School.

Kickoff Friday is at 7pm and the All Star football game will be broadcast live on 105.7 The Hawk and Fox Sports 1310 through our Shore Sports Network.

The start of Glenn Carson’s college career at Penn State will be delayed a bit with the recent announcement that he will be a greyshirt. Carson a standout linebacker from Southern Regional had back surgery in the spring and is recuperating well from that injury. He is currently taking summer classes at Penn State, living with All-American linebacker Sean Lee and working out.

Being a greyshirt means Carson will attend Penn State in the fall on a part time basis and pay for his own tuition. There are some restrictions on his contact with the team but in January he will enroll at Penn State as a full time student on a full scholarship and join the football program. Glenn could then redshirt next fall and still have four more full years to play for the Nittany Lions.

Former Toms River South and Rutgers baseball standout Todd Frazier struck out in his only at-bat in last night’s Southern League All-Star Game in Birmingham, Alabama. Frazier is having a terrific season playing mostly left field for Carolina Mudcats, the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. He’s batting .314 with a league-leading 31 doubles, 9 home runs and 45 RBI’s.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Thoughts

June seems but a faint memory as the first two weeks of July have been about as nice as you could hope for. Warm days with low humidity, cool evenings in which you can open the windows and shut off the air conditioning. It’s been nearly perfect and one can only hope it will continue.

The Ocean County Fair takes place this week and it seems like usually it’s hot, humid and sticky with temperatures in the 90’s for the annual event at the Robert J. Miller Airpark. Alan Kasper’s forecast calls for ideal temperatures for humans and animals alike this week.

Movies come in all categories and we go to them for different reasons. If you’re looking for one that will not be nominated for any Academy Awards but will have you leaving the theatre with a smile on your face then let me suggest “The Hangover.” It’s sort of in the same category as “Wedding Crashers” in that it’s sort of juvenile…very juvenile actually but you’re not going expecting “Dr. Zhivago.” It’s certainly not for everyone and is very adult but if you need silly humor on a summer evening than “The Hangover” fills the bill.

Don Fioretti struck me as a no nonsense kind of person who was not interested in getting credit but rather getting the job done. He graduated from Point Pleasant Beach High School 51 years ago and returned for his alma mater where he would spend 35 years as a teacher, coach and athletic director. He spent many of those years coaching the Garnett Gulls football and baseball teams and also helped build the wrestling program at ‘The Beach.” 1983 was a special year for Fioretti’s teams. Bob MacDonald, who would later play in the majors, led the baseball team in the spring and he was WOBM’s Coach of the Year. Then in the fall Quarterback Paul Struncius led the pass-happy Gulls on the football field where they were a thrill a minute.

Don spent nearly four decades running the beach operations in Bay Head and continued in that role after after retiring from Point Beach High School.
He was a dedicated family man and all three of his sons married and stayed close to home to raise their own families, something he was very proud of.
As tough as Don was he lost his battle to colon cancer last week and this morning at 11am his life will be celebrated during a funeral mass at St. Peter Church in Point Pleasant Beach. So long “Coach Fio”…the Beach will never have another one like you.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beach Manners

Clearly the beach season is upon us and it would be a good time to review some of the basic rules of beach etiquette. Because you live here I would hope you are aware of these but you might have relatives or friends from out of town coming in for a visit some remind them of the do’s and don’ts.

• Do not wear socks with sandals because it’s like a neon billboard
announcing you’re a tourist.
• Do not bring your backyard lounge chair to the beach. It’s too
heavy to carry, makes you stand out for all the wrong reasons
and was made for your backyard only. Purchase a beach chair,
there are plenty to choose from.
• Do wear a bathing suit that matches your body. Gravity does
things to us as we get older so if you’re going to wear a Speedo
or bikini PLEASE take a good look in the mirror first. Also thongs might be nice for the French Riviera or your backyard pool but are not right for the Jersey Shore beaches.
• Do not set yourself up right next to another group especially if
there is plenty of room on the beach. This is not Coney Island
or Jones Beach so seek and respect space.
• Do learn how to properly operate a beach umbrella, especially
on a windy day. Make sure the base is dug in well, angle the
umbrella into the wind and keep it as low as possible. When
It does take off like as javelin and nearly kills someone don’t
laugh and put it back up the same way you did the first time.
• Do not bring a boom box so the entire beach can hear your music.
IPod’s are great on the beach.
• Do fill in any holes you dig. For some reason many people have
this obsession to dig when they come to the beach which is fine
for little kids with pails and shovels. However many fathers now
come with an assortment of shovels and supervise digging projects
which often lead to deep holes which if not filled could have negative results.
* Do not think the ocean is the same as swimming in a backyard pool
pool because it’s not and can be very dangerous. When you arrive
at the beach look for the designated swimming areas and pay
attention to the lifeguards as they know the water and you don’t.
* Do enjoy the beach…it’s the best part of being at the Jersey Shore!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Simple Steps To Make The World A More Perfect Place

Men’s Health magazine is one of my favorites and the most recent issue offers a list of simple steps to make the world a more perfect place. Here in a condensed form are their changes which could benefit all of us:

1. No more bathroom attendants.
2. Carpentry, plumbing and electrical courses should be mandatory for
all boys in middle school.
3. Scarlett Johansson would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
4. All base runners would score on a ground-rule double.
5. All of the following would be tax deductible: TV sports packages,
alcoholic beverages, mechanical timepieces and shoe shines.
6. Icing the kicker in football or free-throw shooter in basketball would be outlawed.
7. Caddies would be prohibited on the PGA Tour. No other athlete has a butler/shrink on the field with him. Players should be able to figure out distances and what clubs to use on their own.
8. Men would be able to admit uncertainty and women would find this
9. Movie reviewers would be forbidden to call a flick the funniest movie of the year until the following year.
10. Women would start with the climax of their stories and then go back to fill in the details if we ask.
11. If you set out to climb Mt. Hood wearing shorts and sandals but then have to be rescued by 12 men, two helicopters and a team of huskies you have to repay the cost of being an idiot.
12. All cable providers would carry a Selma Hayak channel.
13. Those little ketchup and mustard packets would be twice as big.
14. A 25-handicap golfer would not be allowed to pace off approach shot yardage…just put the ball in the air.
15. All gutters would self-clean.
16. Parents would strive to give their children self-reliance instead of self-esteem.
17. Singing “Happy Birthday” at the office would result in immediate termination.
18. Every fifth year would be free of federal income taxes.
19. Volunteering to put sunscreen on women would finally be seen for what it is….community service in cancer prevention
20. Parent-teacher nights would come with nachos and tequila shooters.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael, Manny & Oscar

Some days I sit here and wonder what it is I want to talk about and nothing jumps out…this is one of those days. Sure I could kill a minute or so commenting on Tuesday’s Michael Jackson Memorial, an outrageous example of excessiveness that probably best sums up what we have become.

I mean was it really necessary for a good portion of the free world to stop what they were doing and for every TV network to show you celebrity after celebrity fawning over a person who was a virtual recluse for a good portion of his life? Does anyone question the first real public appearance by his children coming on a stage in front of thousands of people including a tearful goodbye from his 11-year old daughter? I might even venture to say Michael himself would have been opposed to that. Sorry but count me among those who had a tough time dealing with the entire event although thank goodness it’s over….it is over isn’t it?

I could spend some time on the disgraceful way ESPN and others handled the return of baseball player Manny Ramirez. He of course just returned from a 50-game drug suspension but the way ESPN treated the story you would think the Dodgers slugger had fought his way back from cancer treatments. From his minor league warm-up games to his major league return it was like “all hail the king.” Ramirez, in his fourth game back last night was ejected by the home plate umpire after throwing his batting helmet and other gear following a called strikeout. Of course this will be laughed at as “Manny being Manny” and he can continue to go on being a great role model and shining example of what’s wrong with professional sports today.

I have a few more lines here so let me mention the death of Oscar G. Mayer at age 95. He did not die of a drug overdose or was not shot by a scorned girlfriend….rather he passed away of old age. He was the third in a line of Oscars…his grandfather Oscar F. Mayer founded the meat processing company maybe best known for their jingle “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener.” Too bad they didn’t have a memorial service for him…there are plenty of hot dogs who would have attended.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

R.I.P. Steve McNair

Millions of people appear devastated by the death of Michael Jackson and his memorial service today is being treated like a huge entertainment event with world-wide, non-stop coverage. While he was brilliant and talented his death should not come as any surprise and the hype surrounding it has gone way past the point of overkill….frankly it’s nauseating.

To me the death of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair is much more shocking than that of Jackson, a twisted and torn freak whose best days were two decades ago. McNair by all accounts was the quintessential success story of an athlete who came from a small town and made it big in professional sports. He was a former NFL Co-MVP who led the Tennessee Titans to a Super Bowl appearance but had to end his career following the 2007 season because of injuries at the age of 34. He was a popular teammate and active in the community and was well-known in the Nashville area where he had recently opened a restaurant. McNair was married for 12 years and his wife was the mother of two of his four sons. He was far from perfect… he had two children born out of wedlock and had been involved in a couple of DUI’S but appeared to be a solid person coping with life after football.

However like so many others McNair had a secret life…at least it seemed to be a secret from his own family. He had been dating a 20-year old waitress for about six months and had taken her on vacations and even gave her a car as a birthday present. Sahel Kazemi was under the impression that the former football player was in the midst of getting a divorce and pictured herself as the next Mrs. McNair. However something happened and in the early morning hours of July 4th McNair was shot four times in a condo he co-owned with a friend and Kazemi was nearby dead of a single gunshot from a weapon she purchased a couple of days earlier. While a final determination has not been made all roads lead to a murder-suicide but we may never know the true story of why these two young lives came to sudden end. McNair leaves a family, friends and fans stunned over the strange circumstances. Seems to me that this one is much more tragic than that of the “King of Pop.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

UNICO Helps Elizabeth Burns

(Hometown View returns on Monday, July 6)

7-year old Elizabeth Burns was born a healthy, happy baby and all seemed normal until she had her one-year old checkup. Doctors found her kidneys to be abnormal and were worried about her liver and instructed her parents to take Elizabeth to the hospital. It turned out they visited many hospitals and doctors, even going to Germany but could not get an accurate diagnosis and cause as her condition worsened. Eventually she required daily dialysis and her mother Lali had to become her nurse 24/7. In 2004 Elizabeth received her first kidney transplant and the surgery seemed successful but she requires 11 daily medications and monthly visits to the hospital. In the meantime doctors finally diagnosed her condition as Tubulo-Interstital Nephritis and Hepatic Fibrosis. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing it correctly but the bottom line is Elizabeth’s liver function continues to deteriorate and she will need a combined liver and kidney transplant in the very near future to save her life. She remains on the emergency waiting list for pediatric organ donations.

I tell you this because on Friday, July 10th UNICO will sponsor a dinner-dance to raise money to help the family with the staggering costs associated with Elizabeth’s illness. The event will be held at the East Dover Firehouse on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River beginning at 7pm. UNICO is an Italian-American service organization that raises money to help those in the community who need it the most.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $40 each and on sale at Trattoria Giovanni, the Four Seasons Diner and Joey’s Men’s Fine Fashions….all on Fischer Boulevard. In addition they can be purchased at Capone’s Restaurant in downtown Toms River and Honda of Toms River on Route 37 East.

100% of the proceeds from the dinner-dance will go directly to the Burns Family and if you cannot attend but would like to make a donation you can purchase a booster at any of the advance ticket locations I just mentioned. You can also call Tracey at (732) 814-0312 for more information.