Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sports & Referendums

We saw again on Tuesday that when it comes to local elections every vote does indeed count. A special referendum in the Central Regional School District passed by just 18 votes with 1,582 voters in favor of the project and 1.564 against. The
$5.2 million referendum will allow the district to make roof repairs, install new windows, hook up to the municipal water system and do some badly-needed paving. Only 9% of the registered voters in Berkeley, Island Heights, Ocean Gate, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park cast ballots Tuesday.

Some sports notes worth mentioning:

Congratulations to Manchester Township High School Girls basketball coach Sweeney McKennan who collected his 300th coaching victory at the school when his Hawks beat Barnegat last night. McKennan is about as nice a person as you’ll meet plus he taught both my children how to drive.

Central’s girls’ basketball team is closing in on the school’s first division title in more than 20 years. The Golden Eagles topped Pinelands last night as Tiffany Williams scored 16 points and they are a perfect 7-0 in Class B South. A win over rival Lacey on Friday would give Central the division championship.

It has been a rough season for the Toms River East Boys basketball team but the Raiders won their second game of the season in dramatic fashion Tuesday when Vinnie Arminio hit a 3-point shot with two seconds left to give them a one point win over Southern.

I certainly don’t mention college track and field much but what Vincent Elardo has been doing at Monmouth University is worth noting. The former Lacey High School Track & Football standout was named Northeast Conference Field Athlete of the Week for the third time this winter. Elardo has won both the shot put and weight throw in his last six meets and his shot put toss of just over 60 feet is 10th in the nation among Division 1 athletes as he has qualified for the US Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico next month.

The Shore Conference Wrestling Tournament gets underway tonight with the top four seeds…..Jackson Memorial, Southern, Howell and Raritan the host sites for the 16-team event. In recent years those four were just about automatic choices to then advance to the semifinals but expect some upsets on the mat tonight.

Tuesday, January 25 2011

In these difficult financial times when voters have an opportunity to decide the fate of something that will cost them a few bucks they tend to vote “no” without even giving the matter a second thought. That would be a shame if registered voters in the Central Regional School District head to the polls today with that attitude when it comes to a special $5.2 million referendum which contains no frills and is about as bare bones as it gets.

The four main components of today’s special referendum deal with roof repairs, the installation of new energy-efficient windows, paving and connection to the municipal water system. As a 1973 Central graduate I can tell you first-hand that some of the infrastructure not only remains the same from when I was in school but when the doors first opened in 1956. The original single-pane windows probably cost the district money in the long run and the roof has been in terrible condition for years.

There is no smoke and mirrors when it comes to this referendum because it would only take 10 minutes for an open-minded person to realize everything here is a necessity, not a luxury. It was so obvious that Superintendent Tommy Parlapanides offered tours to voters in the school district so they could see for themselves what he has known for years….the physical condition of the school is deteriorating, not safe in some cases and certainly not efficient.

While the total referendum is for just over $5.2 million, if it passes the district will receive a state grant for $1.1 million so the total local share is really $4.1 million.
As far as what that means to the taxpayer….well it will cost the average home owner in Berkeley less than $10 a year. In Ocean Gate and Seaside Heights it would be less than $12 a year, $15 in Island Heights and $25 in Seaside Park.
Again nobody wants to pay more than they do know but we all have some responsibility when it comes to education.

I wish I had the opportunity to vote today but I don’t live in the district. However as an alumnus I strongly encourage the support of today’s Central Regional Referendum for the children who go their today and the ones who will in the future. Polls will be open from 2-9pm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Holiday Party, Lombardi & Jets

Despite the cold weather it was a hot weekend as I had the Millennium Radio Holiday Party in Atlantic City Friday and then headed to New York on Saturday.

Great party at Resorts with many of our company workers and guests…some we only see once a year. It was so good I ended up on the dance floor at Boogie Nights where of course they play the great disco stuff of the 70’s which truly was my decade. It’s good to know that when I have to I can go back in time and hold my own with the youngsters….difference is I need plenty of time in between.

My wife and I were in New York on Saturday to enjoy a Christmas present from our children…the Broadway show titled “Lombardi” about the legendary football coach. Dan Lauria, best known for playing the father on “The Wonder Years” TV show was tremendous as Vince Lombardi and Judith Light was terrific as his wife Marie. You do not have to be a football fan or even know that much to enjoy the play, which was supposed to have a very short run but has been extended due to success and demand. Really interesting 95-minute play with no intermission and a total of just six characters and yes there were quite a few Packer fans in the house. We enjoyed dinner at Carmine’s afterwards and then capped the weekend by meeting my son for brunch in Hoboken on Sunday where Jets fans were-a-plenty.

Speaking of which…for the second straight year the Jets fall a game short of the Super Bowl as falling behind 24-0 was just too much of a deficit to overcome and
they lost to the Steelers in Pittsburgh 24-19. Give the Jets credit for making a game of it in the second half but the lesson for them to learn is they need to win their division and get home playoff games because winning three straight on the road is just too much to ask. Of course that’s what the Packers did in the NFC to set up a glamorous Super Bowl matchup between Green Bay and Pittsburgh.
The Packers have opened up as 2 ½ point favorites.

Anthony Cusmano won the 100 butterfly and was part of a winning relay team that sparked Toms River South to its third Ocean County Boys Swimming Title in the last four years Sunday at the Ocean County YMCA. The Indians beat out Toms River North for the team title. Central Regional’s Evan Mahoney won the 50 & 100 freestyle and anchored a winning relay team and was voted Swimmer of the Meet.

Friday, January 21, 2011

With a few exceptions the Jets have always taken a back seat to the Giants and sometimes even the Eagles when it comes to football fans in the shore area. The Giants go back to the 1920’s and are one of the NFL’s storied franchises. Of course winning 7 championships, including three Super Bowls has helped and there are many families with three generations of fans who have cheered, attended
and given their heart and soul to the “big blue.”

The Jets weren’t even the Jets when they were born in the old American Football League in 1960. Originally they were the Titans and played their first couple of seasons in the old Polo Grounds. After just three years the team was on the verge of bankruptcy before Sonny Werblin came along and purchased the club, renamed them and a year later moved them into brand-new Shea Stadium. Things really started getting better after they drafted a young quarterback by the name of Joe Namath out of Alabama in 1965 and in December of 1968 they beat the Oakland Raiders to win their first AFL Championship. It earned them a date in Super Bowl III where they shocked the Baltimore Colts in a game that more than any other forced the merger between the two leagues. With a young Namath there were many who expected the Jets to thrive but after losing in the playoffs the following year they would not have a winning season and get back to the playoffs again until 1981. Ironically the Giants were also pretty bad during this stretch which resulted in year after year of frustration for local football fans….it was during this time when teams like the Cowboys & Steelers became so popular.

Anyway since winning the Super Bowl in 1969 the Jets have three times come one game short of getting back to the big game. They lost the AFC Championship to
the Dolphins in 1983, the Broncos in 1999 and the Colts just last season. Like in those other three games they are road underdogs as they prepare to battle the Steelers in Pittsburgh Sunday Night but their bandwagon of followers and believers is growing. While I personally find them a tough team to root for you can’t take away from what they have done the last two weeks and longtime fans
of the green and white believe this is their time to shine. I certainly wouldn’t bet against them but I think we’re headed to a Steelers-Packers Super Bowl. Of course I also picked against the Jets when they played the Colts & Patriots so that’s a good omen for Rex Ryan and company.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It is really hard to believe that today is the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of John F. Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States. While flipping through channels last night I came across “JFK: In His Own Words” on HBO and became captivated by it. The one-hour show was actually produced in 1988 and featured news footage and private home videos that went covered his childhood through his funeral in November of 1963. What it did was just magnify what so many of my generation and those older believe….that Kennedy brought a spirit, energy, charisma and accessibility to the White House never seen before or since. The pictures and movies and comments of JFK and his wife Jackie were at times riveting and there were things I was not really aware of, like the disdain he and Richard Nixon had for one another during their 1960 campaign. For those interested tonight at 9:30 HBO will air another documentary titled “A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy.” The 90-minute program narrated by Alec Baldwin is actually a compilation of four documentaries made in the early 60’s combined with other footage. Kennedy’s place in history as a President can be debated but his impact on us even 50 years later cannot.

Jackson Memorial showed again last night why they are the top wrestling program in the shore and a perennial state power. Come off a heartbreaking loss to South Plainfield over the weekend the Jaguars crushed rival Southern 39-9 on the Rams home mat in Manahawkin. The dominating performance pretty much secures the Class A South title for Jackson, who won the first ten bouts last night to open a 36-0 lead.

Speaking of wrestling…if you want to purchase tickets for the NJSIAA Championships in Atlantic City in March then you’ll probably have to take a car ride to do so. Tickets will be sold only at the Boardwalk Hall Box Office or Ticketmaster but only if you go in person can you purchase discounted student or senior citizen tickets. All-session tickets go on sale Friday with tickets for individual sessions to be available starting February 9th.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Announcements From The School Board

Among the announcements made at last night’s Toms River Regional Board of Education meeting were the hiring of a new Superintendent for the district and a new head football coach at Toms River High School South. In both cases the names and faces are quite familiar.

The Board of Education removed the interim title and named Frank Roselli the 9th superintendent in the history of the school district. He was given the interim tag in October following the sudden retirement of Michael Ritacco, who earlier in that same day was arrested and charged in a well publicized insurance fraud case.
Roselli, who started in the district 30 years ago as a school psychologist, had spent the past 9 years as an assistant superintendent before taking over the day-to-day operations in the fall. At that time the Board of Education announced they would begin a national search for their next leader and it produced more than a dozen candidates from the original list with three finalists who were interviewed. Last night the school board announced that the search committee’s choice was Roselli,
a well-respected and well-liked person known for the calm demeanor he displays
even in tough times. He will need that and more to handle what will certainly be difficult times in the days and months ahead but I for one applaud the decision.
Sure there are some who wanted a person to come from outside the district and I can understand that. However when the best choice is right in front of you that’s the right choice.

Also last night the board named Ron Signorino Jr. the new head football coach at High School South and again I think this was the right call. He of course is the son of Ron Signorino, the man who put the Indians program on the football map in the 60’s and 70’s and later came back for a second stint in the late 90’s. The younger Signorino was his father’s offensive coordinator during that period before taking over the same position at Toms River East and most recently Monsignor Donovan. Having grown up with the Indians tradition instilled in him, Signorino Jr. has the best chance of turning around the football fortunes of what is truly one of the shore’s most storied programs. Coming off a winless 2010 season, it won’t be easy and won’t happen overnight but expect the better days ahead for the maroon and white.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little Of This & That

A little of this and a little of that following what was for many a three-day weekend:

Here’s my two cents on whether or not Ricky Gervais went too far with his comments and introductions during Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards. The answer is clearly “yes” and you can be sure he won’t be invited back. However the Hollywood Foreign Press has to take some of the blame because they hired the Brit with the knowledge that he would not submit his material in advance. One thing is for sure…Gervais and Bruce Willis won’t be having dinner together any time soon.

It was a good movie weekend for us as we caught “The King’s Speech” and “The Dilemma” on the big screen and finally got to see “The Social Network” which is now out on video. For those who need fast-paced action don’t see The King’s Speech but it is a tremendous film about King George VI and the speech therapist that helped him overcome a life-long problem. As good as Colin Firth is as the King, Geoffrey Rush really makes the movie as the therapist…both give brilliant performances. The Social Network is at the other end of the spectrum as it moves much quicker and of course is about the origins of Facebook. A very good film with outstanding performances and one I’m glad I finally caught. As for The Dilemma which just came out over the weekend. Well it’s good because Vince Vaughn and Kevin James are always funny but truthfully I was a bit disappointed.
It has some really good moments, including one where Vaughn is making a toast at an anniversary party, but fell a bit short of my expectations. Did bump into one of my favorite politicians, who was coming out of an earlier showing of the movie.
State Senator Chris Connors and his wife Deborah both liked it but probably felt like I did.

I don’t know if it will ever be shown again but for those of you who missed the NFL Films feature on Lakewood High School and football coach Warren Wolf…well you missed something very special. The half-hour show was part of a special USA Football series and it chronicled the 2010 season as the Piners tried the break a long losing streak under a legendary coach in his first season at the school. As one who questioned Wolf’s motives for taking the Lakewood job, it’s easy to see he had a major impact on a school, community and team who needed him just as much as he needed to be on the field. In this case it was a perfect match.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Visit From Snooki

It always bothers me when adults, especially older ones make negative general statements about young people like they all fall into the same category. There has always been a disconnect between generations and there always will be. Go back to the 50’s when parents could not understand and accept their teen-agers love to Rock N Roll music and a decade later when The Beatles arrived on the scene some thought it was the beginning of the end. Regardless whether its music, clothes, hair styles, tattoos, piercings or whatever there will always be gap between young and old…it’s just the way it is. I do think my generation is probably much more understanding and accepting of this fact and there is little a teenager could say or do today that would surprise me.

However with all of that said even I find it a bit disturbing that hundreds of people, mostly teen-agers, waited in line yesterday at Barnes & Noble in Brick to see “Snooki.” One of the stars of the hit MTV Show “Jersey Shore,” she was on hand to sign copies of her book “A Shore Thing” which undoubtedly will become a best seller for no really good reason. Today’s Asbury Park Press estimates that about 700 people were on hand to greet “Snooki” and many of them dressed and looked like her, which frankly should not make their parents very happy. The author, who probably never read a book before her own, was 30 minutes late but it probably did not bother her adoring fans who gladly paid $24 to get their autographed copy and get close to the trampy-looking TV star. By the way the book is not an autobiography but a novel that according to the publisher includes “big hair, dark tans, and fights galore.” In other words it probably is pretty much a story of her life.

Seriously you can’t make too much of this because being a teen-ager allows you act stupid at times…it’s a rite of passage. Quoting a 16-year old who was among the first in line, “We love Snooki. We do everything like she does and we dress like her.” Another said “we want to be just like her.” Odds are pretty good by the time they get out of college “Snooki” and her crew will be yesterday’s news.

On an unrelated note, high school basketball fans can see some great action this week at The Hoop Group’s Boardwalk Showcase, which will be held at Monmouth University. There will be five boys’ games tomorrow, starting at noon when Jackson faces New Egypt. The Shore Sports Network will broadcast the 3:20 meeting between Monsignor Donovan and Point Beach on WOBM AM 1160/1310. The girls take the court on Sunday with Jackson facing Point Boro in the first of five games. More information you can visit

Thursday, January 13, 2011

By all accounts we fared quite well in the wake of the most recent snowstorm which dumped anywhere from 3-9 inches in most shore area towns. Work crews did a great job of getting most major roads plowed and cleared just hours after the snow stopped. The one thing you want to watch out for today is ice, especially on roads and sidewalks that were not completely cleared. All in all kudos to those that got the job done so we could get out and get on with our day.

The Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce will honor attorney Robert Shea and Ocean of Love with their 2011 Pinnacle Leadership Philanthropic Awards during a luncheon next Wednesday (January 19) at Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood. Shea of R.C. Shea & Associates and Ocean of Love were previously honored as Distinguished Citizen and Organization of the Year which is the criteria to receive the Pinnacle Awards, along with continued involvement in the community. Executive Director Linda Gillick will be saluted on behalf of Ocean of Love, a support group for children and their families with cancer in Ocean County. Next Wednesday’s luncheon is sponsored by New Jersey Natural Gas and for ticket information you can call the Chamber office at (732) 349-0220. WOBM received a Pinnacle Award last year.

Two of the shore’s top high school football programs have head coaching vacancies with one expected to be filled as early as next week. Neptune is now searching for a head coach as Don Sofikanich has left after just one season to take over at Bishop Ahr in Edison which is closer to his home in Middlesex County.
Sofikanich was 6-4 at Neptune in 2010 after leading Asbury Park to three consecutive state championships. Among those who might be interested in the position is former Point Boro coach Calvin Thompson and the key might be whether Neptune thinks it’s important that their coach teach in the school, which Sofikanich did not. Thompson is not a teacher.

The other opening many are watching is at Toms River South as Bill Hill will not return after three seasons. It appears likely the choice will come from within the district which might bode well for Ron Signorino Jr, one of several candidates who have applied for the job. The School Board could make a decision at its meeting next Tuesday.

Special birthday wishes to my wife Jane today….a marvelous wife and incredible mother!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kevin's Special Day

For each of us there are dates on the calendar that are meaningful for reasons that
are very personal. They could be joyful events like birthdays or anniversaries or ones that are marked by sadness and reflection. In some cases the dates are really quite trivial but yet each year when it comes to that day it takes you back in time.
Such is the case for yours truly when it comes to January 12th.

The year was 1969 and I was just three weeks away from my 13th birthday and an 8th grader at Central Regional. I was a very passionate sports fan and my favorite team was the Baltimore Colts, who that season were a powerhouse and without question the best team in the NFL. On January 12th they were to play the New York Jets in Super Bowl III and most experts thought the game was a pure mismatch with the Colts installed as huge 18 point favorites. As probably the only Colts fan in my school I was cocky and confident they would crush the Jets, who had a lot of young fans because of their brash quarterback, Joe Namath. For a couple of weeks leading up to the game I started making bets with kids in school.

They were all for a buck or two but they started adding up and as the big game approached I had wagered well over $100 with fellow students and even a couple of teachers. At that time that was the kind of money that could buy a lot of cokes and hamburgers at the Sweet Shoppe in Seaside Heights and I had visions of such
when the game kicked off from the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Of course you know this story did not end well. The Jets shocked the world by upsetting my beloved Colts 16-7 and I never really had a chance because I was giving 18 points. As the outcome and my fate became apparent I sank into a deep depression and could not figure out how to face everyone on Monday morning.

Bad enough the Colts had lost the game….I had to pay off all these bets with of course no resources. I first tried to tell my mother I was sick and could not go to school but she wasn’t buying it. So I climbed on the bus that morning and immediately started eating crow. Of course I had to put everyone off and over time would pay those dollar or two losses…some let me off the hook and I don’t believe any of the teachers wanted the money. What they did want was the opportunity to shut me up and they got it. Every year when January 12th rolls around I think back to that football game and at least now I can laugh about it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

For me the best part about Christmas week was having both my children home but like all good things that has come to an end. My son took some vacation time from his job working for a Public Relations firm in New York but was back in his Hoboken apartment by New Year’s Eve. My daughter’s three-week winter recess ended this past weekend when we took her back to Penn State as the spring semester officially begins today. We spent a good portion of Saturday getting her new room ready as she moved into a different dorm to be on a floor with other girls in her sorority. The job was made a bit more difficult because her roommate was not returning until Sunday but managed to make a lot of progress. I kept shaking my head over the amount of clothes that had to be put away as I hung on a seemingly endless supply of shirts, dresses, sweaters, jackets and more. What a difference from my son who could fit a semester’s worth of clothes in a bin or two. Anyway all went well and we returned home yesterday to a home that will now be very quiet….at least until spring break in early March.

We are not even four weeks into winter and it feels like a season that will never end. We’ve had a blizzard and then this past weekend’s snowfall and now there is more on the way and worst of all to me is it’s been cold just about every day. We have not even reached the point in which we usually get the most severe weather so one can only hope it’s a case of getting it out of the way early. However if this is what we can expect through January and February….well that’s a terrible thought.

This past Friday Night we broadcast the Manasquan and Monsignor Donovan basketball game on the Shore Sports Network and our Player of the Game was Donovan senior Anthony Duszczak. He scored 16 points and grabbed a bunch of rebounds to help the Griffins win an important divisional contest. What made his performance stand out was it came just ten days after his mother died from cancer. Anthony handled the post-game interview with incredible poise and went out of his way to thank the Mon Don community for their support. Donations were collected for the American Cancer Society in Joann Duszczak’s memory and students in the “pit” wore green to bring awareness to liver cancer. The Griffins host Lakewood tomorrow night in a very important game for both teams.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Commissioner Of Decorations

While I understand that many like to continue the spirit of Christmas after December 25th we need some guidelines and restrictions when it comes to outside decorations for not only this….but all holidays. While I’m not looking for “Big Brother” to intervene there is a time when you need to move on and we’ve just about reached that date for icicle lights, inflatable Santa Clauses and Rudolph and his fellow Reindeers. We’ve past Little Christmas, Feast of the Epiphany and other Christmas-related observances so what are you waiting for? I understand
that Christmas is a somewhat magical time but by prolonging the holiday you’re only making it tougher to except this rather depressing period which most of us must suffer through. So with all of that said I would like to appoint myself the Commissioner of the newly-created Department of Outside Holiday Decorations…what you do inside and out of my view is your business.

• Christmas- Thanksgiving to January 15th with some flexibility if a snowstorm makes it difficult to take decorations and lights down.
No inflatable to rise under any circumstances after January
• Valentine’s Day- January 15th to February 15th. It’s bad enough some
without a love in their life have to endure this horrible day, why should
they have to be reminded after it’s over. Take them down immediately.
• St. Patrick’s Day- February 22-March 19th. Nothing should go up before
President’s Day and I would allow an extra day to take down because if
you’re Irish you might have a headache on the 18th.
• Easter- This is somewhat tricky because the date can vary tremendously.
This year Easter is not until April 24th so what I would do in this case is
allow for a March 21st start because that’s the first day of spring. Everything
must be removed a week after Easter Sunday.
• Memorial Day and July 4th are marked by patriotic displays and flags so there will be no restrictions at all.
• Halloween- October 1st to November 1st…no exceptions.
• Thanksgiving- Anytime after Halloween to before Christmas decorations are displayed.

As for the penalty for violations. First I would issue a warning with a 7-day extension to take decorations down. If that didn’t do the trick then the local Public Works Department would remove them at the homeowners cost. It’s time to get serious folks about this and as your Commissioner I will do just that.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year

It’s good to get back into the swing of things as I’ve been away…at least from this segment for nearly two weeks. I was not on vacation, although I did take the first three days of this week off so I could attend to a bunch of “stuff.” Prior to that I was tied up with the WOBM Christmas Classic, which like just about everything else was impacted by the snowstorm the day after Christmas. However with the help of many, especially Athletic Director Joe Arminio and the Toms River Regional School District we managed to complete our 27th annual tournament three days late. Special thanks to all the coaches and school administrators for working with us under some difficult circumstances and congratulations to the Saint Rose boy’s and Rumson girl’s for winning championships. For pictures of this year’s tournament you can visit and click on basketball and then Christmas Classic.

The Shore Sports Network’s weekly schedule of high school basketball broadcasts begins tomorrow night when we carry the Manasquan at Monsignor Donovan game on WOBM AM 1160 & 1310. The Mon Don community will be collecting donations for the American Cancer Society at the game in memory of Joann Duszczak, whose son Anthony is a standout player for the Griffins. Mrs. Duszczak
a longtime Seaside Heights Councilwoman passed away on December 28th at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York at the age of 57. She was very active in the school and community and Monsignor Donovan will collect donations tomorrow night in honor of her and Anthony. Tipoff is 6:30pm from Gepp Gym.

I don’t know what’s worse….the fear of snowstorms or rising gasoline prices.
At least you know the snow will eventually go away but it looks like we’re headed to near record gas prices by springtime.

However here’s a reminder from Crab’s Claw Inn owner Sam Hammer that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are headed in the right direction…sunset today is 4:43pm and by the end of the month it will be 5:12. Now that’s something that should make you feel a bit better.