Monday, June 28, 2010

Hot Enough For Ya?

Just wondering how many of you were shoveling snow this past winter and vowed not to complain about heat and humidity and now five months later have broken that vow. Yes we are experiencing an early summer heat wave and there’s no escaping it outside…even at the beach, although the water was beautiful over the weekend. However this is the kind of start to summer that businesses really needed because last June it rained nearly every day for the entire month.

Speaking of the beach, I spent Friday and Saturday on 2nd Avenue in Seaside Park. Several weeks ago I did a segment on the borough’s installation of pay stations for parking along the beach and boardwalk in the south end which previously had been free. You now have to pay $1.50 per hour to park near the ocean with enforcement 24 hours a day. It does lead to an interesting scenario as regular beach-goers fill side streets first and leave the pay spots for those who arrive much later which is the exact opposite of how it had been for years. When I left Friday there were only a couple of the paid spots occupied even though the beach was packed.

Went to the movies for the first time in at least a couple of months over and weekend and caught “Knight and Day” which stars Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz. No Academy Awards for this one but it’s full of action and is a decent summer movie. Cruise & Diaz are good to look at and the movie is pretty fast-paced so again it’s good if not great entertainment.

Many of New Jersey’s top senior football players will take part in tonight’s 32nd Annual North-South Classic at Kean University. A dozen recently-graduated players from the shore area are expected to suit up for the South stars including Howell quarterback Jimmy Ryan, lineman Jimmy Lawson (Manchester), Rob Cassidy (TR North), Alex Pangaro (Donovan), Mike Stuppiello (Lacey) and Matt Betz (Pt Boro) and Kyle Barnes of Point Beach.
Many of the same players will also participate in the U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic at Matawan High School on July 16th.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

If you don’t know who Steve Jobs is you certainly are aware of Apple, the company he co-founded. He serves as CEO of Apple and is on the Board of the Walt Disney Company which now owns another company he ran….Pixar Animation Studios, the brains behind the Toy Story movies.
Anyway today’s segment is not as much about him but the advice he gave five years ago when he was the commencement speaker at Stanford University.

We know of him as this ultra-successful computer and technical genius and business magnate. However he’s truly an example of someone who overcame numerous obstacles in his life starting with the fact he was adopted. Jobs would attend Reed College in Oregon but dropped out after one semester. While not officially a student he started attending classes that interested him, including calligraphy. He didn’t even have a dorm room and pretty much slept on the floor in friends’ rooms and bummed a meal wherever he could get one. He still insists that calligraphy class had a lot to do with the design of the fist Macintosh computer. Anyway Apple started pretty much in his parent’s garage but by the time he was 30 they were a $2 billion company with more than 4,000 employees. However shortly after that he got into a much publicized dispute which led to the Board of Directors firing him even though he started Apple. Jobs told the Stanford grads that firing was the single best thing that’s happened to him because it led him to starting Pixar and not only that paved the way for his return to Apple years later. His message, “sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick but don’t lose faith.”

What Jobs really believes and I do too is that we really need to find what we love and that’s true for your work and your personal life. What young people sometimes fail to realize is that your work does fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work AND the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it so keep looking until you do. I close with a few quotes from that speech. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition…they somehow already know want you truly want to become.” Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saying Goodbye To Toms River High School South

Six years ago when my son graduated high school it was certainly a special occasion but the impact was softened by the fact I had a younger daughter.

Tomorrow she and nearly 400 of her classmates at Toms River High School South will receive their diplomas and I have to tell you this graduation is quite a bit different because she is my youngest. I have thoroughly enjoyed going through the senior year experience with her although there have been plenty of stress-filled moments…most of which were mother-daughter events. The last couple of months have featured traditions that make High School South special, including last night’s Senior Night which was moved into the cafetorium for weather reasons. The evening is really the last chance for seniors to get together as parents donated, prepared and cooked hamburgers, hot dogs and more as students posed for pictures and signed yearbooks. There was also a slide show and a tremendous performance by a hypnotist who had everyone laughing and amazed at the same time.

While my wife and I publically talk about how great it will to be empty-nesters come late August I privately am going to miss much of what comes with being the parent of a high school child. Part of this is because both my children had such great experiences at Toms River South, a school rich in tradition in which many things have been passed on by one generation to another. Only at the home of the Indians could you find students in line seeking to have their yearbooks signed by Dave Correll, a retired history teacher who still supervises some activities at the school. He is a unique person and is largely responsible for the spirit that has filled the hallways of Toms River’s old school for decades.

So consider this my thank you to Principal Len Stanziano, the faculty and staff and everyone associated with High School South. My children are better because of your time and efforts and I now truly understand and appreciate the mystique that surrounds the school. It is a special place because of the people who like wearing maroon and white.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

10 Beach Commandments

Since summer has arrived it’s time to bring out an oldie but a goodie….the real rules of the beach. When I say “real rules” these are the ones that are not posted anywhere but probably should me. Much of this is common sense but we know there’s a genuine lack of that everywhere and the white sands are no exception. While the 2nd Avenue Beach in Seaside Park is sacred ground to me to others it’s just the place they end up and it holds no special significance. However they should live by my 10 beach commandments:

1. This is not Coney Island or Jones Beach so seek space between yourself and those nearby. It’s one thing to “love thy
neighbor”…its another to sit right on top of him.
2. Your music should be for your listening pleasure…not mine.
3. I’m an expert on the tides and plan accordingly. This does not mean
you should sit right in front of me so I can view your back up close
for six hours. Plus, the chances are you’ll get wiped out by a wave
sooner or later because you have no idea what you’re doing.
4. The beach is a family place but when your children walk over my
blanket and knock down my cup of coffee can you do more than
just smile?
5. Wear the bathing suit that fits your body. This is for both men and
women….some of you obviously don’t have mirrors in your home
or summer rental. There is a reason why half your body is hanging
out so wear a bathing suit in which you can tuck it in.
6. Don’t argue with the lifeguards…they probably know the water
conditions just a bit better than you. Plus when they do jump in and rescue you don’t tell them you’re really a good swimmer and just wanted to get a better look at the shoreline from far away.
7. That long lounge chair that looks great in your backyard really looks
lame and stupid on the beach.
8. I’ve never been able to figure out the digging thing, especially with
fathers and sons. However if you want to spend hours digging holes can you at least fill them in when you leave?
9. Place disposable diapers in a bag and then throw them in the garbage.
10. If these rules don’t meet with your approval then please spend your
next beach day at Coney Island or Jones Beach…you’ll be right at home.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Friday, June 18 & Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Summer Solstice arrives this morning which means today is the longest day of the year in terms of daylight. It’s also the start of what is the final week of school for most and considering the expected temperatures and the fact that many schools don’t have air conditioning the final day can’t come soon enough.

Of course if not for the snow-filled winter we had schools would have finished up last week and summer vacation would have already started. It looks like those schools with outside graduations this week will be dealing with plenty of heat and the possibility of thunderstorms which sort of comes with the territory.

Those attending Central Regional High School’s graduation on Friday night will notice something new when they step onto Joseph J. Boyd Memorial Field.

After more than 40 years the original bleachers have finally been replaced and the graduation ceremony will mark their official unveiling. The old ones were worn, weathered and frankly in sad shape and after several years school officials were finally able to replace them. It’s not easy to do things in these tough financial times but this was something that needed to be done and Superintendent Tommy Parliapanedes should be congratulated for leading the effort.

Well at least I went to the game the Mets won. The latest edition of the Subway Series saw the Yankees win 2-of-3 this weekend but I was in the Bronx Friday when the Mets prevailed. It was actually the first Mets-Yankees game I’ve watched in person and I was surprised to find that rooting for the visiting team
was not all that intimidating. The Subway Series is not nearly as hostile now as it was when the teams first started playing because so many of the visiting fans make their way into the ballpark. As a Mets fan its much worse rooting for them in Philadelphia where you can expect to be hazed and hated.

For the first time in franchise history the Lakewood BlueClaws have qualified for the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. The defending South Atlantic League Champions are the Northern Division first-half champions after beating Kannapolis Sunday at FirstEnergy Park. 18-year old Jonathan Singleton belted two home runs and drove in five runs as the BlueClaws end the first half with a 42-28 record.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Southern Regional High School will have to replace its longtime athletic director while the Shore Conference is losing one of its most respected leaders and the individual responsible for putting together the football schedule for the state’s largest conference. Those are not three people but one as Kim DeGraw-Cole reportedly was hired this week as an assistant director at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

DeGraw-Cole’s resignation as the Southern AD was accepted on Tuesday and she’ll begin her new job with the NJSIAA in early August as the replacement for Carol Parson, who retires later this summer. DeGraw-Cole has been at Southern since 1976 and became the school’s athletic director in 1984. She told me earlier this month that the position with the NJSIAA is one she felt was perfect for her at this time in her career. She is expected to spend much of her time working on women’s sports, including soccer, field hockey and tennis.

Southern has also named a new boys basketball coach to replace Jeff Reilly, who stepped down last month. Eric Fierro, who has been the freshman coach, was named head coach of the Rams. Fierro takes over a team that won the Class A South title this past winter.

Many of the shore’s top senior baseball players will be in action Monday night at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood. The Monmouth-Ocean Senior All Star Game is scheduled for 7pm at the home of the BlueClaws.

Speaking of the BlueClaws they are closing in on clinching a playoff spot as the first half of the South Atlantic League schedule comes to an end. Lakewood has a one-game lead on Hickory in the Northern Division standings with the first half of the season to end Sunday. If the BlueClaws maintain that advantage then they secure a playoff spot in September which is the route they took last year when they won the SAL Championship.

It appears the final official weekend of spring is going to be very summer-like and I’m really looking forward to spending the day at the beach tomorrow. Tonight I’m going to make my first trip to the new Yankee Stadium to see the Mets and Yankees with my son, daughter and brother.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday, June 16 & Thursday, June 17

Thursday, June 17

There ability for people to fight the aging process has become an obsession and a billion dollar industry today and includes everything from vitamins and supplements to elective surgery. Much of that is designed to make you look but not necessarily feel any younger then what you actually are.
Experts tell you that there are many sensible and healthy ways to deal with getting older including picking up a new hobby, going back to school and taking a class or two, connecting with old friends and many others.
I think Wednesday I discovered another way…hang out from time to time with younger people.

We had a luxury suite for last night’s BlueClaws game at FirstEnergy Park and because of late developments the make up of who would be attending the game changed. I was sort of in charge and ordered the food and drink for the evening and ended up as the official host when our boss could not attend. There were a few people at least in my ballpark when it came to age but as the night and game wore on it was those in their 20’s who stayed and kind of dominated the conversation. What struck me was that their focus on life in general is very much different from what happens when a group of contemporaries get together. Being in my 50’s when I’m with people my age the talk is usually about children, careers, health, money, retirement for some and the issues of the day. Well hang with those half your age and it’s quite a bit different. They are still children, their careers are just starting, they have little or no health concerns, as long as they have enough money for that night then things are cool, retirement is a lifetime away and the issues of the day are more gossip then reality.

They are also much more comfortable around their elders then my generation was when we were in our 20’s. They still respect them but its different then thirty or so years ago. Most importantly though I’ve noticed that younger people laugh a lot….and make you laugh as well. Experts tell us that laughing is a good thing but it’s often difficult to find things to laugh about. Hang with younger people for a while and they’ll make you feel good…at least for a while. Then you wake up the next day and realize you’re still old…that’s when you try the methods that cost money.

Wednesday, June 16

When people pass along information about the achievements of others I try and pass them on to you and that’s what I’m doing this morning:

This past weekend more than 2,300 athletes participated in the Special Olympics New Jersey 2010 Summer Games at The College of New Jersey and about 300 of them were from Ocean County. Toms River’s Jimmy Kelly won three gold medals and one silver in swimming while Colleen Kroeper of Beachwood claimed three silver medals in the pool. In track and field, Aaron Cassidy won a gold in the 1500 and took home silver medals in the 800 and relay. Meanwhile the Toms River Softball Team won a silver medal with big contributions from Cole Bendian, Amy Clayton, Chris Syrsdale and Tyler Leahman. Those four all play for the Challenger Division in the Toms River East Little League.

The New Jersey State Amateur Golf Championships were held last week at the Montclair Country Club and Stephen Ellis of the Toms River Country Club finished 7th. Ellis shot a four-round total of 292, which was eight shots behind the winner. Ironically the 1989 Toms River High School South graduate did not play golf in high school but was a standout tennis player. He took up golf after that and last year tied the Toms River Country Club course record with a round of 65…reportedly the last player to shoot such a low round was Sam Snead.

Toms River’s Jeff Frazier is certainly giving the Detroit Tigers reason to bring him up from the minor leagues sooner than later. Frazier might be the hottest player in the International League and is now batting .289 for the Tigers Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. The 27-year old former Toms River South and Rutgers standout is hitting .366 over his last ten games and for the season has 22 doubles, 13 home runs and 41 RBI’s. Younger brother Todd, after a terrible start, is starting to heat up for the Triple-A Louisville Bats.
The Reds prospect is batting .306 over his last ten games to boost his season average to .214.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy Graduation X 5000

The first of Ocean County’s 18 high school graduation ceremonies took place last night as Monsignor Donovan’s 228 members of the Class of 2010 received their diplomas. Over the next two weeks more than 5000 young men and women from all over the county will join them as high school graduates, a significant milestone which marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. More than just “pomp and circumstance” this is a time that should be enjoyed and celebrated by the graduates and their families. With the exception of final exams these last days of school for most seniors are filled with activities and traditions from yearbook signings to graduation practices in preparation for the big day. I’ll have more to say on the subject in days ahead as my daughter is in that group of more than
5000 so we’re experiencing the same feelings many of you are.

Most of the time I talk about the Lakewood BlueClaws it’s about the impact they make in the community. However this morning let me mention that the defending South Atlantic League Champions are close to securing a playoff spot at the end of the season. The league is broken down into two 70-game seasons and the BlueClaws have a one-game lead on Hickory in the Northern Division standings with just six games left in the first half. Lakewood opened a home stand last night by rallying for a dramatic victory over Lexington. Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the 9th, Anthony Hewitt tied the game with a leadoff home run and then later in the inning Jiwan James sent Claws fans home happy with a game-winning two-run blast. The BlueClaws are home all this with the first half of the season ending on Fathers Day.

It certainly has been a great spring for Toms River South senior Andrew McGee, who won all 12 of his decisions and pitched the Indians to the Class A South, Ocean County Tournament and Shore Conference Tournament Championships. The Monmouth University-bound lefty capped his season by being named the Asbury Park Press Player-of-the-Year but he’s not done yet. McGee allowed just one hit over three innings and combined with three others to pitch Jersey Shore to a 7-1 victory over Delaware North in the first game of the prestigious Carpenter Cup Tournament at FDR Park in Philadelphia.

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup Fever

Count me as one person who has not yet caught World Cup fever. I tried…I really did to get excited about Saturday’s game between the United States and England. I was not home for the first ten minutes but actually listened to the game on radio in my car…now that shows I’m making the effort. When I got home I put the game on and watched it in it’s entirety, except for the brief spells in which I would fall asleep because let’s admit it…the game is boring. Sure the crowd is great…they are dressed-up in the colors of their country, chant and sing and often provide more excitement then what’s on the field.

Even back here in the states the World Cup is a really big deal to a lot of people. Bars and restaurants are promoting the event and my son told me it was like New Year’s Eve in New York City on Saturday with streets closed and people running around after the U.S. scored a goal on their way to a 1-1 tie with the favored English. Again I want to be fair because the World Cup is a major event worldwide…its soccer’s version of the Olympics as it’s held every four years. I love the fact that people are really passionate and because we here are from many different countries there are many of us who care about the fortunes of Mexico, Italy and the 32 countries who make up this spectacular.

But again with all of this said much of the game is simply boring. I know many refer to soccer as a beautiful game but anything that ends in a 0-0 tie is not pretty to me. I greatly appreciate the talent but the problem with the sport for most of us Americans is there is simply not enough scoring and too often not even real scoring chances. Jump out to a 1-0 lead in soccer it’s like being up 14-0 in football….get a 2-0 lead and you can pretty much turn your TV off. But with this all said I will closely follow what takes place in South Africa over the next three-plus weeks and maybe before its over I will come down with World Cup fever….for now I’m reading 98.6

On a somewhat related note…the Beachwood Soccer Club holds its final regular registration for the fall season today from 4-6pm at the soccer complex on Berkeley Avenue. For more visit

Thursday, June 10, 2010

WOBM Students Of The Week 2009-2010

Ask many soon to be high school graduates and their families what’s their biggest concern heading into college and you’re likely to find that paying for the next four years is atop that list. One of 38 eligible Ocean County high school seniors will get a little boost this morning when we conduct a live on-air random drawing for a $1000 scholarship as part of the WOBM/Gateway Toyota-Scion Student of the Week program. The program recognizes outstanding high school seniors and each Monday during the school year we tell you a little something about their contributions to their schools and communities. The honored students during this school year have been:

Barnegat Michaela LaPatin Catherine Keough
Brick Memorial Liam Tivenan Nick Ciaston
Brick Twp. Chelsea Barreto Chelsey Garkowski
Central Reg. Sarah Bailey Peter Imperiale
Jackson Liberty Victoria Nuccio Brendan Vega
Jackson Mem. Gabriella Justin Shannon Burke
Lacey Alex Monoski Elizabeth Lawler
Lakewood Rodrigo Sanchez Yasonia Yankannah
Manchester Cara Parliament Matthew Layton
MATES Nick Villa Ryan Taglang
Msgr. Donovan Angeliki Bardis Kirby Costello
New Egypt Brian Hamilton Stephanie Potter
Pinelands Sarah Walsh Elizabeth Middleton
Point Beach Kyle Meredith Brian Dominianni
Point Boro Erica Thieleman David Piccolella
Southern Avery Hodgson David Troutman
TR East Sharleen Phillips Bryan Sternlieb
TR North Jacquelyn Kemmer Tyler Higgins
TR South Maria Cavallo Alexandra Williams

Gateway Toyota’s Ed Sunday will do the drawing at 8:20 this morning with the winner to receive $500 from both the Toms River auto dealership at 92.7 WOBM.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Little Of This...

A little of this and a little of that this morning:

For the past 38 weeks we have been honoring an Ocean County High School senior each Monday as the WOBM Student of the Week. This Thursday at
8:20am we’ll conduct a live random drawing of those weekly honorees for a $1000 college scholarship which is provided by WOBM and Gateway Toyota-Scion, the sponsor of the program since its inception. Gateway Vice President and General Manager Ed Sunday will do the honors in our studio on Thursday.

Anthony Ranaudo was both a baseball and basketball standout during his high school career at St. Rose. I remember him best from playing in the WOBM Christmas Classic but clearly baseball was his best sport and last night he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox with the 39th overall pick in Major League Baseball’s draft. Ranaudo, a resident of Jackson, helped pitch LSU to College Baseball’s World Series title in 2009 but he’s coming off an injury-plagued season with the Tigers, who were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament this past weekend. The draft continues for the next couple of days and among the Ocean County players whose names could be called are Toms River’s Casey Gaynor and Point Pleasant’s Pat Biserta, who both played for Rutgers. It’s also possible that Jackson Memorial’s Bryan Solomon, the Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year could be taken with a late pick although he’s expected to attend Eastern Kentucky on a scholarship.

If you’re a long time reader of the Asbury Park Press you are probably aware of Bill Handleman. He was a talented and award-winning sportswriter for many years, best known for his columns on horse racing and the local sports scene. Bill switched to the news side several years ago and I always looked forward to reading his columns, which were often touching and always well-written. Bill is quite ill and not doing very well so this Saturday many of his colleagues will gather at Mister C’s Beach Bistro in Allenhurst from 9:30am-noon. A Tribute to Bill Handelman will feature a brunch and I’m sure plenty of reminiscing. For information you can contact
Tom Luicci at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ocean County Sportsmanship Awards Breakfast

(No Hometown View on Friday, June 4)

In the spring of 1993 I received a call from a local athletic director about a new program they were starting to promote good sportsmanship. The idea was to honor a male and female from each of the Ocean County High Schools who best demonstrated the ideals of fair play, citizenship, ethics and respect. The honored athletes and their families would be brought together for a breakfast at the end of the school year and I was asked to serve as Master of Ceremonies, which I gladly accepted. Well every year since I’ve received a phone call about reserving the first Sunday in June for breakfast at the Quality Inn of Toms River and I’ve only missed one. The 18th Annual Ocean County Sportsmanship Awards Breakfast yesterday saw 34 student-athletes saluted as representatives of their schools and as always it was a well-run and meaningful program. What I truly like most about this is that the honored athletes are not always those who have been headliners during their careers. Most have had success but this award is not based on being the best on the field but rather understanding that while the final score is important there is more to sports than just winning and losing. I congratulate the Ocean County Directors of Athletics for continuing to promote sportsmanship in such a positive fashion. Yesterday’s breakfast also saw Brick Township High School’s Rick Handchen honored as Athletic Director of the Year and each of the 34 award recipients received a $100 college scholarship.

In watching Toms River East’s Nico Steriti on the football field last fall I felt that many colleges were missing the boat in not going after the talented running back and defensive back. Steriti, after considering the Naval Academy finally decided on the University of New Hampshire and yesterday he got to match talents with many players going to bigger college programs. The soon-to-be Raider graduate ran for 82 yards and a touchdown on just 7 carries and was the offensive MVP as New Jersey beat the Northeast 13-7 in the annual All-Star game at Rutgers. Steriti only played a little more than half the game as he suffered a cut on his shin and sat out the rest of the game but despite that made a huge impact. Barnegat was represented in the game by Boston College-bound Jarrett Darmstatter.
Many of the shore’s best players will be participating in the U.S. Army All Shore Gridiron Classic on July 16th at Matawan High School.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jumping Subjects

A few different items to mention this morning:

For 21 summers locals and visitors have flocked to the beach in Point Pleasant Beach on Wednesday evenings to listen to The Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea. Known as The Festival of the Atlantic the concert series has been incredibly popular with 9 weekly shows from late June through Labor Day. The driving force behind the concerts has been its conductor, best known as Father Alphonse, a beloved and popular figure both musically and spiritually. However The Rev. Alphonse Stephenson, an Air Force chaplain has left this area to take on a full-time position at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia. That means The Festival of the Atlantic is officially on hiatus although the orchestra itself will continue on a very limited basis without its leader. It was less than two weeks ago that Father Alphonse received a Doctor of Music from Monmouth University
and he and his music will be greatly missed.

For the last couple of weeks there has been talk that many of New Jersey’s premier high school sporting events would be discontinued as part of drastic budget cuts by the NJSIAA. However the governing body of high school sports in the state did approve a budget yesterday that keeps events like the State Wrestling Championships and Basketball’s Tournament of Champions in place for the next school year. Don’t be surprised though if this is an issue that will be re-visited about this time next year.

Jackson Memorial is a win away from the second overall group baseball championship in school history. The Jaguars rallied for four runs in the 6th inning to top Washington Township 8-6 Wednesday and will now play Randolph in the Group 4 Final Saturday afternoon at Toms River East. Jackson won their only other title in 1972 when they were the Group 3 champions. Frank Malta’s Jags will face Toms River South tonight at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood as they seek their second straight Shore Conference Tournament title.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cleaning Out Memory Lane

There’s a good chance you have heard that we’re doing a major renovation on the inside of our office building and broadcast center in Bayville. Yesterday I had to empty a closet I’ve been using to store “stuff” I’ve acquired over my near 31-year tenure here…I figured it would take a couple of hours…it ended up being an almost all-day job.

While I am not one of those “hoarders” you see on TV I have held on to a lot of personal effects and cleaning out the closet was like a stroll down memory lane. There were a lot of plaques and awards which never made it to the walls and many I had to toss because there was simply no place to keep them. But it was the pictures….hundreds of them which brought smiles, laughter and sadness and reminded me of days and people who are long gone.

Among my favorite pictures is a black and white with a then 18-year old Al Leiter. It was 1984 and he was selected as WOBM’s Athlete of the Year as a Central Regional High School senior. The picture shows me awarding Leiter a trophy outside our building…he of course was an All-State pitcher and also a pretty decent football player. Leiter would go on to have a long and distinguished major league baseball career. Another favorite also happens to be a black-and-white and it’s me with boxing great Sugar Ray Robinson. Believe it or not he was appearing at a supermarket in Toms River…it must have been around 1985 or so. Here’s a guy who many consider the greatest fighter of all time and hardly anyone showed up to see him or even knew who he was but I’ll always treasure that photo. There were plenty of others with pro athletes and other well-known people but the ones that made me smile the most were those with people I have worked with over the years. The other thing that strikes you is the change in clothing and appearance….I brought the pictures home yesterday and my 18-year old daughter could not believe some of the outfits and how I looked with a beard or mustache.

Well the closet is empty and I probably threw away half the “stuff” that I had in there. Now I have to find somewhere to put the other half.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Terrific Holiday Weekend

Just a spectular holiday weekend for most and hopefully a preview of things to come. Plenty of sunshine on Sunday and Monday brought huge crowds to beach towns and finding parking spots at times was nearly impossible, especially along the ocean. I hit the beach for the first time on Sunday, arriving at 2nd Avenue in Seaside Park before 9am and leaving by noon when the crowds became just too much. I started off in the morning with lots of real estate but before long was surrounded by those who think 5 feet is plenty of distance…that’s when I knew it was time to call it a day.
When the weather is good Memorial Day weekend is often the biggest of the entire summer season and it’s hard to imagine you can get much busier then many places were, especially on Sunday. It was a badly-needed shot in the arm for many merchants and they hope the nice weather will continue into June which you might remember last year featured more than 20 days of rain.

Having already won the Central Jersey Group 4 title, Jackson Memorial is just two wins away from the overall state Group 4 championship. This afternoon the Jaguars face South Jersey champion Washington Township in the group semifinals at Rider University. Jackson is 24-5 and led by Eastern Kentucky-bound Bryan Soloman, who will be today’s starting pitcher and is batting .475 with 12 homers and 37 RBI’s. There are plenty of other potent bats in the lineup, including sophomore third baseman Joe Ogren, junior catcher Alex Herceg and junior centerfielder Matt Meleo. The Jags are also scheduled to face Toms River South tomorrow night in the championship game of the Shore Conference Tournament at FirstEnergy Park.

The Community Medical Center Foundation is holding its 5th Annual Wine Tasting Event tomorrow at the Toms River Country Club from 5:30-8:30pm.
Red, White & Brew will feature a wide variety of wine and specialty beer tastings as well as area chefs and proceeds from the event will benefit the J. Phillip Citta Regional Cancer Center. Tickets will be sold at the door tomorrow or you can call (732) 557-8131 for more information.