Valerie Fund holds 25th annual sports dinner

The Valerie Fund, Maplewood, recently held its 25th annual Celebrity Sports Dinner at the Sheraton Meadowlands. Local sports figures attended to support the nonprofit organization, and helped raise more than $200,000. The Valerie Fund treats more than 4,000 children with cancer and blood disorders. The local fund center is The Children’s Center at Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch.

Bayshore Republican Conference formed

Nine local Republican organizations have come together to form the Bayshore Republican Conference (BRC) to share political information and resources, increase membership among local clubs, and create a unified voice in discussing needs unique to the region.

The municipal chairman and club presidents from Aberdeen, Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Matawan, Middletown and Union Beach comprise the voting membership of the Bayshore Conference.

Bob Hyer, Keyport’s Republican Club president, will serve as BRC president.

Mary Foley, Keansburg Republican municipal chairwoman, will serve as vice president and treasurer; and Adam Puharic, Aberdeen GOP municipal chairman, will serve as secretary.

"The mission of the Bayshore Republican Conference is to raise the voice, increase the reach and build the strength of the bayshore communities for the common purpose of electing qualified Republican leaders," said Hyer.

The Bayshore Conference will meet on the third Monday of each month at rotating sites among the nine bayshore towns.

For more information, contact Bob Hyer at (732) 264-8628.

Donlon leaves West Long Branch zoning post

WEST LONG BRANCH — A decision made last month to remove Monmouth Park Corporate Center from Zoning Officer Jerome Donlon’s jurisdiction turns out to be unnecessary.

As Donlon phrased it on Tuesday morning, "I’m just leaving. I don’t like saying that I resigned. I don’t like saying that I quit. Both have such negative connotations. And I’m not a quitter."

On Tuesday right before he turned in his keys, Donlon said that leaving was not meant as a slight to the members of the governing body who supported his efforts, namely Councilman Joseph Woolley. "He has been an upstanding, forthright representative of the people and a great help and source of support to me," he said.

"There are also other council people who have been wonderful. They know who they are. The work environment here just became hostile. My hands became tied, and there were too many roadblocks placed in my way. I just couldn’t get the job done the thorough way I wanted to — the right way."

Zoning officer since 1996, Donlon reiterated that the hostility he referred to was, he believed, the result of his involvement and relentless pursuit of what he knew to be the right thing in the controversial Corporate Center helipad trial. Complaints that ensued two summers ago surrounding the site manifested themselves in 14 zoning summonses issued for improper use of the site. Specifically, the owner of the property, GB Limited, was cited for expanding — without permits — use of the pad as an accessory for tenants of the facility to use as a commuter helipad with multiple daily flights to and from New York City.

In a previous interview Mayor Paul Zambrano referred to the site and situation as "a ratable worth keeping through compromise."

The compromise was a resolution passed in December 2000 restricting flights and flight patterns in an effort to appease neighboring Oceanport residents who complained the helicopters were creating a hazardous situation and ruining their quality of life.

Before that resolution though, Donlon had issued the summons to GB for having a commuter parking lot to allow those taking the flights into New York to have a place to park.

Donlon said he thinks that summons is what probably prompted the latest edict at a June council meeting removing him from all activity concerning the Corporate Center and assigning a special officer to the site.

Now that the helipad issue is resolved, Donlon says, "My work here is finished. I will continue with any litigation pending, but one excuse after another to keep me from protecting John Q. Public is just reason enough to go. I must say, though, that it feels good to hear from the residents affected by the helipad for so long that my efforts were appreciated. Little things like that make me know I’ve done the right thing and will continue to."

Donlon remains zoning officer in Shrewsbury Borough and Ocean Township. He will continue his work in those communities. He also sits on the Borough Council and the Planning Board of Tinton Falls.

— Elaine Van Develde

Beach replenishment still a federal project President’s plan to reduce funding overturned in the House of Representatives

Staff Writer

By nicole c. vaccaro

Beach replenishment still a federal project
President’s plan to reduce funding overturned in the House of Representatives

President George W. Bush may not like it, but the federal government will still pay nearly twice as much as local governments for beach replenishment.

The projects have pumped tons of sand onto beaches up and down the East Coast and are handled by the Army Corps of Engineers. The federal government pays 65 percent of the cost of each project, with state and local governments picking up the tab for the remaining 35 percent.

In New Jersey, 75 percent of that 35 percent is customarily paid for by the state, according to Dery Bennett of the American Littoral Society.

"This formula (federal government pays more) is favored by the corps because it gives them more money to play with," Bennett said. "But it is also extremely popular among local officials. After all, they wouldn’t get elected to office by being opposed to (virtually) free sand."

The president had proposed flipping that formula, saying, "This money can be better used elsewhere." But the House of Representatives chose to ignore Bush’s recommendations and instead approved a measure that would almost double the budget for corps projects. The House’s action set aside about $150 million for pumping sand back onto beaches, the largest sum to date.

The measure also calls for restoration of this year’s financing for dozens of programs the White House wanted cut, with any additional money going to pay for such things as flood control programs and sewer projects.

While such programs are popular with local officials who get improvements without spending local revenue, Bennett said he understands the president’s point. "I agree that a reversal in the formula is warranted," he said. "It just doesn’t make any sense for (the federal government) to worry about sand conditions in Long Branch this year."

And the work isn’t popular with everybody because it can mean "destroyed surf and fishing conditions for many area enthusiasts," Bennett said. "We have faced many problems (over the years) with regard to beach replenishment in Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach and Asbury."

The latest sand pumping target to come under scrutiny is Sandy Hook’s "Big Cove" — a mecca for local surfers. "Sandy Hook has been less of a problem because it is considered a recreation area first and foremost. Therefore, some replenishment can be justified. When pumping really becomes an issue is when we are fighting to preserve an area for it’s historic value," Bennett said.

"We need to come up with a more moderate approach for using sand to reduce flooding in the critical zone," he said.

The critical zone is the area where the sea wall ends and erosion typically occurs.

"We all want to keep flooding at bay, but should not pump so much sand that there’s a straight beach for a long stretch," he added.

"Rather than feast or famine, the park system needs to devise a piping system that allows more frequent, but modest replenishment. And I think they are striving to reach some type of solution."

Members of the Surfers Environmental Alliance, SEA, and the Surfrider Foundation met with Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) in Long Branch on Saturday to discuss the issues surrounding Big Cove. "It was a productive session. We believe we made our point well," Brian Unger, regional director of SEA, said.

"From Sandy Hook to Manasquan, seven major (surf) areas are gone," Unger said. "Manasquan Inlet is the only one that comes close to Sandy Hook."

Sandy Hook park officials have said they would like to install a 3-mile long underground pipeline along the beach at "Big Cove" to help ward off flooding by pumping sand northward. This has generated a great deal of controversy among surfers, all of which, park officials said, they are taking into account.

"We have surfers on our own staff and know that ‘Big Cove’ is tremendously valuable," Sandy Hook Superintendent Russel J. Wilson said in a recent statement. "But if the park service doesn’t do something to protect the critical zone, the Hook will become an island and its recreational and cultural facilities to the north may well be lost."

Center for Hospice Care in need of volunteers

The Center for Hospice Care at Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, will offer a Hospice Volunteer Training Course beginning July 14. The 18-hour program will run for four weeks on July 14, 21, 28 and Aug. 4, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; and July 23 and Aug. 6 from 7-9 p.m.

The center is currently in need of volunteers to visit patients, read, assist with feeding, and to be a caring presence during the patients’ stay. Individuals are also needed to assist families in their homes.

Weekend-reception volunteers are also needed to answer the unit’s phone. Driver-volunteers are needed during the week to bring supplies to families and take forms to doctors’ offices.

For more information, call Spiro at (973) 322-0166 or the In-Patient Unit at Monmouth at (732) 923-6226.