New models now open daily at two in-demand 55+ communities from K. Hovnanian

It’s been a busy fall for New Jersey’s largest homebuilder, K. Hovnanian Homes. The renowned builder has opened model homes at several new communities this fall, including two of the Garden State’s most popular new active-adult neighborhoods: K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monroe in Middlesex County’s Monroe Township; and K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monmouth Woods in Monmouth County’s Howell Township.

Both communities had tremendous turnouts at their Model Grand Opening events this fall, and the new models are now open for touring every day between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monroe, located off Prospect Plains Road in Monroe Township, offers a collection of single-family homes, along with a desirable low-maintenance lifestyle and a variety of resort-like amenities. One of the community’s distinguishing features is its selection of completely new home designs — the first time any of these floorplans have been offered at a community in New Jersey. The floorplans are more current and offer the open-concept design that is so popular among buyers today, as guests can see when they walk through the Killarney II Loft and Ibiza model homes. Pricing for the homes, which is subject to change, begins in the low-$400s.

Another distinguishing feature of K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monroe is the community’s lack of restrictions on adult (19++) children living at home with their parents. This “family-friendly” policy is unique among active-adult communities in the area. K. Hovnanian’s policy is reflective of today’s “boomerang generation,” with more and more adult children returning home to live with parents after briefly living on their own, either temporarily or for an indefinite period of time. At K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monroe, homeowners will enjoy a variety of recreational and social opportunities to provide a true “resort-at-home” lifestyle. The community will feature an impressive clubhouse featuring approximately 5,500 square feet of amenities including an outdoor pool, a kiddie pool, bocce courts, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, and a gazebo. Homeowners will also be able to participate in a number of clubs and social activities. Homeowners will also enjoy easy access to major roadways such as the NJ Turnpike, Routes 1, 18, 33 and 130, as well as a nearby Park-and-Ride and an NJ Transit station at Princeton Junction.

Located just off of Route 9 in Howell Township, K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monmouth Woods also offers a variety of attractive single-family homes for adults 55++, along with a low-maintenance lifestyle and a wealth of resort-like amenities. Buyers have an impressive choice of 12 different floorplans, including four loft-style and eight ranch-style single-family homes. Homes will feature up to 3,664 square feet of living space, with two or three bedrooms, with pricing from $379,990 (subject to change). The selection of home designs will include some brand-new floorplans previously unavailable at any of K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons communities in New Jersey.

K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monmouth Woods will feature a 6,900-squarefoot clubhouse with an outdoor pool, a kiddie pool for the grandchildren, a putting green, tennis courts, pickle ball, bocce ball courts and more. Homeowners will also be able to participate in a number of clubs, social activities and events. The new community will offer easy access to Routes 9, 33 and I-195, as well as the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. Homeowners will also enjoy the convenience of a nearby NJ Transit Park and Ride Howell bus terminal, with direct service into New York City.

Demand for both of these new communities has been high, according to the builder. Plan to visit K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monroe and/or K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monmouth Woods soon this fall, to tour the brand-new model homes and learn more about current opportunities at these exciting new activeadult neighborhoods. The model homes are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For directions to the Monroe community or for more information, call 800-873-0902; or visit For the Howell community, call 888-422-9488; or visit All homes within the communities are subject to an age restriction whereby the homes are restricted to use and occupancy by at least one person of age 55 years or over, and with no permanent resident being under the age of 19.

Only one quick move-in home remains at The Grande at Howell

Quick move-in homes are an increasingly popular choice and a very attractive option for homebuyers today. These homes are complete, providing a unique opportunity to close rapidly. Quick move-in homes are an ideal opportunity for first-time buyers, for buyers who don’t have an existing home to sell, and for those who have recently sold their old home.

D.R. Horton’s Northeast division currently has a number of quick move-in homes available throughout the Garden State, including one at The Grande at Howell in Monmouth County. Set on a quiet cul-de-sac in Howell Township, this popular new community features an intimate, limited-edition collection of 18 luxurious single-family detached homes. Homebuyers can choose from five floorplans, with elegant homes that range in size from 2,557 to 3,313 square feet of living space.

Like all homes in the community, this final quick move-in home features four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and two-car garages. This particular quick move-in home also includes a gourmet kitchen, full basement, and designer features such as hardwood flooring, granite kitchen countertops with island, wood kitchen cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and a fireplace. The home is priced at $529,990.

In addition to featuring large, luxurious homes, The Grande at Howell offers homeowners a prime Monmouth County location that is ideal for families. Howell Township is known for its excellent schools, with the district receiving a GreatSchools rating of 7 out of 10. (For more information, visit

Recreational opportunities abound in and around Howell Township, adding to its family-friendly appeal. It’s an easy trip from the community to the Jersey Shore, with great beaches only about 20 minutes away. Freehold Raceway and Monmouth Park are nearby, as is Six Flags Great Adventure. The Manasquan Reservoir Park provides a variety of nature and exerciserelated activities including fishing, bird watching, jogging, biking and dog walking. The township also offers plenty of biking options, including the Edgar Felix Bikeway, which connects to Manasquan, the beach, and other points of interest. Great shopping options are available in the area, including the Freehold Raceway Mall and Jackson Outlet Village. The area also offers a wide selection of restaurants, golf courses, and places of historic interest, such as Monmouth Battlefield Park.

Commuters will appreciate how accessible The Grande at Howell is to several major roadways, including Routes 9 and 33, the Garden State Parkway, and I-195, assuring direct access to the NJ Turnpike and the Parkway. Also nearby is a New Jersey Transit bus terminal, which provides transportation to the Port Authority in Manhattan.

Visit The Grande at Howell soon, while there is still one quick move-in home available. Take a tour through the community’s beautiful model home to experience the unique design and exquisite features and finishes — and see why this new community has proven to be one of 2015’s most desirable and successful neighborhoods. The Grande at Howell is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday from noon to 5 p.m. (closed Thursday). The model home and sales center are located at 23 Christopher Drive, at Aldrich Road and Spruce Road in Howell. For directions or more information, call 732-901-6316, or learn more about the community at

America’s ‘hottest’ cars

By Jim Gorzelany
CTW Features

 And by ‘hot’ we mean stolen. Here’s where motorists face the highest car-theft rates and how to best protect your ride no matter where you reside. And by ‘hot’ we mean stolen. Here’s where motorists face the highest car-theft rates and how to best protect your ride no matter where you reside. It seems the Golden State is indeed golden — for auto thieves. Seven out of the 10 U.S. cities suffering the most stolen cars are situated in California, according to the latest “Hot Spots” report issues by the National Insurance Crime Bureau in Des Plaines, Ill.

San Francisco leads all metro areas in the nation in per-capita car thefts, with more than 29,000 vehicles purloined during 2014. The only non-California cities on the NICB’s top-10 list were Odessa, Texas, and the Spokane and Seattle, Wash. regions (see the accompanying box for the full list).

On the plus side, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says car thefts are steadily on the decline, with a 5.7 percent reduction in motor vehicle thefts reported during 2013 and 2014; they’re down by a whopping 42.8 percent since 2003. The National Highway Safety Administration attributes the decrease to a variety of factors including the increased use of standard antitheft devices (especially coded keys, engine immobilizers and vehicle locating systems), parts marking, increased and improved prosecution efforts by law enforcement organizations and heightened public awareness.

As before, older cars are most often valued for the sum of their parts; they’re usually driven away and quickly disassembled at so-called chop shops and sold off piecemeal to shady auto supply stores and mechanics. Meanwhile, newer and flashier stolen cars are more typically sold overseas or offered domestically with altered titles, or are simply taken for what amounts to a joyride.

The latest trend in auto theft involves models being quickly and efficiently dismantled on the spot for top-dollar components, with flashy alloy wheels being increasingly targeted by crooks. “Because it’s harder to steal an entire vehicle these days, thieves are stealing the parts,” says Terri Miller, executive director of the organization Help Eliminate Auto Thefts in Livonia, Mich. “Tires and rims are not marked (for identification) and they are very, very marketable.”

No matter where you live or what you drive, it’s important to take every precaution to protect what is one of a family’s largest expenditures. Aside from the surprisingly often ignored common sense tips like closing the windows and locking the doors, parking in a well-lit area and never leaving the keys in the ignition while the vehicle is unattended, the NICB advises motorists make their vehicles as theftproof as possible.

This includes using an antitheft device, which will often also warrant a discount on your car insurance. Having a simple ignition “kill switch” installed in a hidden location makes it more difficult for a crook to start a car or truck and drive it away.

It’s also a good idea to have your car or truck’s vehicle identification number etched on the windshield and major components to make them more difficult for chop shops to sell as replacement parts.

And especially if you’re driving a costly luxury sedan or sports car, go the extra mile and use a subscription based telematics system like General Motors’ OnStar or similar technology offered by other automakers. Such systems use GPS technology and can help police departments locate cars and trucks if they are stolen. Some cars can even notify their owners if they’re broken into or moved via a connected smartphone app.

© CTW Features

Hot spots’ for stolen cars

1. San Francisco- Oakland-Hayward, Calif.

2. Bakersfield, Calif.

3. Stockton-Lodi, Calif.

4. Odessa, Texas

5. Modesto, Calif.

6. Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash.

7. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.

8. Seattle-Tacoma- Bellevue, Wash.

9. Fresno, Calif.

10. San Jose-Sunnyvale- Santa Clara, Calif.

Note: Ranking is relative to population size. Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Big Brothers Big Sisters partners with Freehold Subaru for ‘Share the Love’ event

Purchase a new Subaru by Jan. 2 and help make a big difference in a child’s life! Freehold Subaru has chosen Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties (BBBSMMC) for a second year as their hometown charity for the Annual “Share the Love” Event. For each car that is purchased, Freehold Subaru will donate $250 to BBBSMMC or one of four other national organizations selected by the purchaser. Last year, Subaru raised an astounding $15,000 to support and expand the 1:1 mentoring programs offered by BBBSMMC.

“Freehold Subaru chose Big Brothers Big Sisters as our hometown charity because we know how important mentoring is for children to be successful in school and in life. The agency depends on the local community to help spread the word about their programs and the need for more people to step up and become role models. We are happy to provide the opportunity to spread awareness and raise funds for this worthy organization,” stated General Manager Steve Boyce.

The public is invited to join Big Brothers Big Sisters’ staff and Bigs and Littles at the dealership located at 299 South St. in Freehold on Dec. 5 between 11a.m. and 1pm.. Visitors will enjoy free lunch, giveaways, and the opportunity to learn more about the mentoring organization. “We are grateful to Freehold Subaru for their support of our agency through the “Share the Love” event for a second year. This is a great opportunity to raise needed funds and awareness about our quality 1:1 mentoring programs for children facing challenges in their lives,” commented William Salcedo, executive director of BBBSMMC.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties is a donor-supported, volunteer agency that is currently serving more than 650 children by providing them with caring mentors. The agency is funded by the community through individual gifts, grants and special events.

For more information, visit or call 732-544-2224.

Coin collecting attracts hobbyists and investors


Staff Writer

FREEHOLD — For those who are curious about coins and collectibles, a Freehold Borough store may be a place worth visiting. Superior Rare Coinage and Collectibles, 41 E. Main St., has been in business at this location for 16 years.

Owner Elliott Durann said coin collecting runs in his family.

“My grandfather and uncles collected coins. I had money for coin collecting through a paper route,” Durann said.

He appreciates the history and antique appeal of his business and said it is an “expensive hobby.”

“Coin collecting is popular for investors and hobbyists, and customers range in age from 7 to 90,” Durann said.

He offered some advice to individuals who are newcomers to coin collecting: when looking to buy, find someone to trust.

“When you buy on the Internet, you don’t see it until you buy it. When you walk in the shop, you see what you are getting,” Durann said.

He said for newcomers, three things matter the most.

According to Durann, one needs the pricing guide for United States coins. A Guide Book of United States Coins or “red book”; a magnifier; and proper lighting.

“All coin values are based on date, mint mark and condition,” he explained.

In addition to visiting a coin shop, hobbyists and investors might also be interested in joining a club filled with coin enthusiasts.

Since its founding in May 1970, the Ocean County Coin Club has promoted coin collecting and the study of numismatics — the study or collection of coins, paper currency and medals.

Jim Majoros, who was president of the club for 15 years until 2013, said there are about 170 members.

“Half of the members are oldtimers and half of the members are newcomers. We also have an excellent juniors program,” Majoros said.

About 10 junior members in their early teens participate in the club, Majoros said. The coin club welcomes beginners and young collectors to its meetings and coin shows.

In addition, the club’s newsletter, the Sand Dollar, provides articles and club news. Ocean County Coin Club members are encouraged to write articles for the publication.

The Ocean County Coin Club meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month at the Ocean Fire Company No. 1 firehouse, 400 Arnold Ave., Point Pleasant Beach. The meeting for junior members is from 6:45- 7:30 p.m. and the meeting for adult members is from 7:30-9 p.m. Juniors are welcome to stay for both meetings.

At each meeting there are show and tell events, junior programs and announcements. An auction is held once every month at the meetings and educational programs are held when there is no auction, according to the club’s website.

“It’s an interesting hobby. I get a lot of questions about when family members pass away (and leave coins behind),” said Majoros, who may be contacted for additional information by sending an email to


Honor Yoga will expand its programming to include “Wellness and Recovery,” a program designed to use the many aspects of yoga, including meditation and psychology, to increase the overall mental, physical and emotional well-being of individuals who may be living with stress, anxiety, depression, trauma and/or addiction. The newest division, led by Dr. Nathalie Edmond, will include specialized workshops, individual consultations and small group classes to help individuals build skills and enhance well-being. Honor Yoga has locations throughout New Jersey, including one at 490 Route 33, Building 2, Suite 6, Millstone Township.

Items for the Business Briefs may be sent via email to

Fuelish behavior

By Jim Gorzelany
CTW Features

 Many motorists think their cars’ MPG ratings are inaccurate, but they may only have themselves to blame Many motorists think their cars’ MPG ratings are inaccurate, but they may only have themselves to blame Most every new-car ad that notes a vehicle’s estimated fuel economy bears a variation of the phrase, “your mileage may vary,” which has become a modern-day catchall expression for verbal waffling. Indeed, according to a recent survey conducted by AAA in Orlando, Fla., one-third of all Americans believe their vehicles’ fuel economy ratings are inaccurate as far as “real world” driving is concerned.

But who’s to blame for the discrepancies? Are the automakers at fault for over-expressing their models’ mileage (as has been the case in recent years with some Hyundai/Kia and Ford vehicles), or does the problem lie with the motorists themselves?

“For years, we’ve heard that drivers question whether the fuel economy rating for their vehicle is accurate,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director for automotive engineering and repair. “In the interest of our members, AAA aimed to address this issue with a multi-phase testing series designed to uncover the real reasons behind fuel economy variations.”

To that end, the AAA conducted an analysis of 37,000 vehicle records collected on the EPA’s FuelEconomy. gov website, including models that were often reported as failing to achieve the stated mileage ratings. Among them, AAA selected three models, a 2014 full-size pickup truck, a 2014 large sedan and a 2012 medium sedan — for further testing. Perhaps surprisingly, the research found that all three models’ measured fuel economy was dead-on with the EPA’s estimates, and that drivers’ behaviors and environmental conditions, rather than any inherent vehicle shortcomings, were likely responsible for the reported variances.

“If you drive aggressively, with heavy acceleration, hard braking and driving at higher speeds, your fuel economy is going to suffer,” Nielsen says. “Driving just 5 miles per hour above 50 is like paying an additional 19 cents per gallon for gasoline.”

The bottom line, then, is the same as it ever was — drive prudently in order to maximize the mileage your car or truck was engineered to obtain. Sudden stops, jackrabbit starts and driving at excessive speeds can drain your car’s fuel tank at an excessive rate.

According to a report issued by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, aggressive driving combined with improper auto maintenance and poor route selection can reduce a car’s fuel economy by as much as 45 percent. By that measure, a compact sedan that’s EPA-rated at 30 mpg could wind up getting a full-size SUV-like 17 mpg.

Thus, be sure to keep your vehicle in tune and in good working order, with the proper air pressure in each tire to help maximize your car’s mileage. And try to consolidate multiple errands into one trip; several short trips taken on different days, each from a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is already warmed up.

Otherwise, engage the cruise control on the highway to maintain a constant speed and, in turn, help save gas. Switch off your car’s engine while waiting at a curb or sitting at a train crossing; this can conserve more than half a gallon of fuel for every hour that would have been spent idling, when a vehicle effectively gets zero mpg.

Removing a car or truck’s roof rack will improve its aerodynamics and, in turn, its fuel economy by about five percent. At highway speeds, more than half of the engine power goes to overcoming drag, so keep a vehicle’s windows closed to maintain optimal aerodynamics and prevent a 10 percent loss in fuel economy; open the vents to bring in outside air, but use the air conditioning sparingly as it consumes more gas. And don’t treat a car as a rolling storage locker; carrying an additional 100 pounds of weight increases a vehicle’s energy consumption by one to two percent.

© CTW Features

Big or small?

Q&A with Sharon Peters

Q: Bigger tires or smaller tires for a new SUV I’m buying? It can go either way. I won’t be off-roading or anything like that. What’s your preference?

A: Smaller. They’re better from a fuel-economy perspective, and they’re almost always quieter. They cost less, too.

Q: My brakes feel a lot “less firm” than they used to. My husband says that’s normal because the car is three years old. Should I worry?

A: Please check to make sure your brake fluid level is OK. If it’s low, that’s an easy fix. If that’s not the issue, get it checked for a brake line obstruction.

© CTW Features

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email

Circle BMW accepting holiday food donations for FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties

Circle BMW in Eatontown, the region’s premier BMW dealership, announces they are accepting donations of nonperishable food items throughout November and December to support The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. This is the seventh year that Circle BMW has opened its doors to the community in support of the FoodBank.

Donations of nonperishable food items will be collected at Circle BMW and delivered to the FoodBank throughout the holiday season. Donations may be dropped off at Circle BMW between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Circle BMW is located at 500 Route 36 East, Eatontown (across from the N.J. Motor Vehicle Agency).

Circle BMW is accepting the following non-perishable items for the FoodBank: stuffing and gravy, ready-to-eat canned meals, canned sweet potatoes or yams, canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned cranberry sauce, tuna, peanut butter and jelly, instant potatoes, pasta/rice, macaroni and cheese, canned juices and sip-sized juices, canned and dry soup.

For more information about The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, call 732-918-2600 or visit

Car buyers deeper in debt

New-vehicle sales are up, but so are transaction prices, loan terms and monthly payments

By Jim Gorzelany
CTW Features

While new-car sales continue to skyrocket — the National Automobile Dealers Association in McLean, Va., predicts that close to 17 million units will be delivered to customers this year, which is the highest number recorded since 2005 — their prices likewise are heading upward. According to Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, Calif., the average cost of a new vehicle is now $33,340; that’s about $1,000 higher than it was a year ago.

And it seems Americans are going deeper into debt and for longer periods to accommodate the higher sticker prices. According to Experian Automotive in Schaumburg, Ill., longer-term new-car loans that last as long as 84 months (that’s seven years, or about four years longer than the typical new-car warranty period) now account for a record-setting 29.5 percent of all new vehicles financed.

What’s more, both the amount financed and consumers’ monthly car payments are reaching stratospheric heights as well. The average new-car loan is now up to $28,711 (likewise up by about $1,000 compared to 2014), with a payment of $488. The average interest rate for new-car loans vehicles is now at 4.71 percent, versus 4.54 percent in 2014. On top of that, Experian data indicates the average credit score required to qualify for a new vehicle loan dropped slightly over the past year, to a FICO score of 713.

Experian says this is nothing but good news as far as the car business is concerned, with increases in financing being taken as a sign of a strong automotive market, though consumers need to be careful they’re not over extending themselves in the process.

“Longer-term loans help consumers keep monthly payments manageable, while allowing them to purchase the vehicles they need without having to break the bank,” says Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s senior director of automotive finance. “However, it’s critical for consumers to understand that if they take a long-term loan, they could face negative equity should they choose to trade it in after only a few years.”

At the other end of the automotive marketplace, Experian notes that used-car financing debt is likewise continuing its upward trend — it stands at an average $18,213 per vehicle, which is up from $17,927 in 2014. Interest rates are likewise ticking upward, with the average used-car loan being financed at 9.17 percent.

If there is any good news for cashstrapped consumers it involves new-car leasing. Leasing isn’t for everyone, but with interest rates remaining low and resale values still relatively healthy, the deals are plentiful and affordable. For those who may still be new to the game, vehicle leases are largely based on the difference between a car’s transaction price and what it’s predicted to be worth at the end of the term — called its residual value — financed at a given rate of interest (though automakers will sometimes offer cheap financing, a cash rebate or other incentive to lower the monthly payment for a given model).

Lease payments have dropped over the past 12 months from an average $412/month to $405. At that, we found many popular midsize cars leasing for a monthly charge of $200 or less with a down payment in the $2,000 range; compact sedans often lease for around $150/month. If you can settle for the diminutive two-seat Smart ForTwo coupe, we found monthly payments as low as $99/month, which is less than the cost of a daily cup of cappuccino at Starbucks.

Not surprisingly, the popularity of leasing among new-car shoppers continues to grow. Experian notes that new car leasing now accounts for a record high 31.40 percent of all new models financed, compared to a still robust 30.22 percent last year.

© CTW Features