As part of a special Columbia Bank community service project, Team Columbia volunteers recently served 70 hot meals to homeless residents through the Reformed Church of Keyport’s Lunch Program. “We are extremely pleased to assist the Reformed Church of Keyport with their mission to help feed members of our communities,” said Thomas Kemly, Columbia

Bank’s president and CEO. “As a true community bank, Team Columbia remains committed to supporting local charitable organizations that make a difference in people’s lives.” Columbia Bank is a regular supporter of local feed-the-hungry programs. To learn more about Columbia Bank, visit


Hal Maxwell, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y., announces that Hazlet resident Maria M. Dewaik has affiliated with the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Holmdel/Colts Neck as a sales associate. Dewaik will provide residential real estate services in Hazlet as well as the surrounding communities of Monmouth County. “I am extremely pleased to welcome Maria to the Holmdel office. She has an outstanding reputation for sales excellence and will continue to provide exceptional service through Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage,” said Jonathan Keates, branch vice president of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Holmdel. “Because we have been able to attract talented individuals such as Maria, we have remained a leader in our local industry.” Dewaik has 20 years of experience serving home buyers and sellers, offering extensive local knowledge of both Monmouth County as well as Hudson County. She was the broker/ owner of a small firm in Hudson County that decided to become part of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “I affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage for their cutting-edge technology, comprehensive educational programs, and reputation for providing sales associates and clients with the support and resources necessary to succeed in today’s real estate environment. I am confident that I made the right choice to grow my business,” said Dewaik. Dewaik is a member of Monmouth/Ocean Multiple Listing Service, New Jersey Realtors, the National Association of Realtors, and the Monmouth County Association of Realtors. For more information about buying or selling a home, contact Maria M. Dewaik at 732-946-9600 or directly on her cell phone at 908-902-0163. The office is located at 988 Holmdel Road, Holmdel. Listings can be viewed online at www.ColdwellBanker-

RE/MAX Imperial announces the addition of seasoned broker Vincent J. Aquilino to the Hazlet office. As a 28-year veteran of the real estate industry, Aquilino specializes in resale, new construction, land acquisition and investment properties. He services clients throughout Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean County. He is a Multi-Million Dollar Club winner and is well versed in all areas of the transaction process. Having previously worked for Better Homes Realty, Aquilino is excited to now be a part of “a true brand name.” To work with Aquilino, call 732- 208-4968 or visit his website at Contact him by email at

RE/MAX Imperial, Hazlet, announces the addition of experienced sales associate, Joanne Schiffres to the office. Schiffres joins RE/MAX with 17 years of real estate experience under her belt. Through the years, she has mastered the skills needed to successfully guide clients through residential re-sales, new construction, foreclosures, single family and condo property transactions. She previously worked for Better Homes Realty and is ready to start the next chapter of her career with RE/MAX. “I am very excited to join this company and share my expertise with past, current and future clients in the new year!” To work with Joanne Schiffres, call 732-757-5013 or visit

Hopeful buyers’ big question: Help?

 Many potential buyers seek help with down payment. But asking for it can be difficult Many potential buyers seek help with down payment. But asking for it can be difficult How do you ask a question when no one wants to talk about the subject? Often, it’s quite clumsily, without much effort at sparking an honest exchange.

That’s what Dave Hardin, of Hardin Financial Group in Troy, Mich., has observed after working with parents whose adult children have asked for money to assist with a down payment for a home purchase.

“It is so important to be careful when thinking about asking your parents for help,” Hardin says. “Many parents are unable to be honest with their children about their own financial situation … We often see parents spending down their retirement funds.”

Money may be a sensitive topic, but necessity has driven many to ask, with first-time buyers since the recession began circa 2008 twice as likely to receive down payment help from family and friends than those who bought before, according to a report from Zillow’s Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist for the real estate company.

What’s more, high rents, still-tight credit availability and student debt have combined to make down-payment assistance key to struggling buyers, notes Terrazas. Before asking, hopeful buyers should investigate options, says David Reiss, a real estate professor at The Brooklyn Law School.

“You would want to press your lenders to identify all first-time homebuyer programs you might be eligible for,” Reiss suggests. The Federal Housing Administration offers loans with low down payments, and many state housing finance agencies offer low or no-down loans to eligible buyers, he notes. In any case, says Reiss, “It would be helpful to know your options when speaking with family members about a gift.

“They might be willing to give a smaller gift for an FHA mortgage, or they might be willing to make a larger gift if they see that it would result in lower monthly payments for you,” Reiss says

“And, the mere fact you did this type of research is evidence that you are a financially responsible adult,” he concludes.

— Marilyn Kennedy Melia

© CTW Features

Coldwell Banker hosts regional CBRB Evolution business, technology event

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage welcomed approximately 1,500 affiliated real estate agents from New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y. to the recent CBRB Evolution business and technology event, which encompassed the entire 16-screen AMC movie theater at Clifton Commons in Clifton. The excitement attendees felt about the educational event made an impact on social media, trending on Twitter with the hashtag #CBEVOLVE.

CBRB Evolution brought together real estate agents from across the region and gave them an opportunity to network with each other on a larger scale. Approximately 60 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage sales associates and other real estate experts presented topics designed to help agents raise their business to the next level, enhance their skills, and provide expanded services to clients in today’s online and technology-driven marketplace.

Over the course of 40 sessions held throughout the day in individual theaters, agents learned about subjects such as how to enhance listings with photos and video, strengthen personal marketing, capitalize on networking and leads, build an effective social media presence, serve the luxury housing market through Coldwell Banker Previews International, and use the array of technological resources offered through Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

“Real estate is constantly changing and we are dedicated to offering affiliated agents every available resource to stay ahead in the industry. At CBRB Evolution, experts directly shared new strategies that have helped them succeed in the current marketplace, as well as best practices that have served real estate agents and their clients well in every market. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is always on the move, always evolving,” said Hal Maxwell, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y.

Visit for more information.

Stop and start

Q&A with Sharon Peters

Q: I read or heard there’s a mid-size American car (the U.S. part is important to us) — not a hybrid — that has an automatic cut-off/cut-on function for when you’re at stoplights. I haven’t been able to learn what car that is. Can you help?

A: The 2014 Chevy Malibu got a lot of attention for being the first mainstream midsize sold in the U.S. with what’s termed “stop-start technology” as a standard feature. Fact is, this feature is increasingly available, sometimes standard and sometimes for extra cash.

Here’s how it works: The engine shuts off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop (as when you’re stopped at a stoplight or in a traffic jam). The car turns back on in a fraction of a second once the pressure on the brake pedal is released.

It’s regarded as a fuel-saver (though, of course, that depends on the kind of driving you do — how many stoplights you regularly hit; how much stop-and-go traffic you encounter). Chevrolet reported that its first-year Malibu provided a 14 percent gain in city fuel economy. Most manufacturers say the savings is 5 percent to 10 percent or so.

It’s available from many carmakers, including some models of Chevrolets, Chryslers, Fords, Hondas and BMWs. It’s safe to say it will be offered on an even greater proportion of the 2016 crop of vehicles that’ll be at dealerships soon. Ford, for one, said last year its stop-start technology would be on about half of its models by 2017.

Some who have purchased vehicles with the feature have loved it; others have said it has taken much getting used to (especially when parking). Worse, some hapless buyers have reported that they wound up with this feature without realizing it (poor sales people?) and believed the car was acting up or breaking down within minutes of driving away from the lot.

So, note to all soon-to-be buyers: ask whether this is on the car you’re buying, on the chance that your salesperson might not think to mention it. (The function can be switched off — at least in the vehicles that have offered so far — but you’ve got to be aware of its existence to know it’s possible to make it disappear.)

© 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

Patrick Ewing selling New Jersey home for more than $6.9 million

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y. announces that Michele Kolsky-Assatly, an award-winning affiliated sales associate, has been selected to market and sell a private manor owned by retired Hall of Fame basketball player and NBA coach Patrick Ewing. The luxurious property is situated on 1.8 acres in Cresskill.

Located in exclusive Tamcrest Estates, the magnificent all-brick manor home is being offered at $6,998,000. Among the features are a residence offering seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms, outdoor recreation areas including a basketball court, swimming pool with spa and luxury amenities.

Classic and contemporary best describe the manor, which combines traditional design with contemporary architectural details. The home features an open floor plan with hardwood flooring throughout, a grand foyer, and two-story great room with double-sided fireplace, and floor-toceiling windows. Other amenities include a library, sitting room and private deck overlooking professionally landscaped grounds.

The spacious kitchen features custom marble counter-tops, high-end stainless steel appliances, a dining area, sunroom and butler pantry.

The second floor, which can be reached by elevator, offers a private sitting area and balcony overlooking the great room. The master bedroom suite features a gas fireplace, ample closets and private deck. The luxury master bath offers a steam shower, soaking tub, and his and hers vanities. In addition, there are four sizable bedrooms all with their own private bath. Numerous entertainment facilities include a sizable bar and movie theatre.

“I am honored to represent this spectacular, custom home,” said Kolsky-Assatly, who is affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Fort Lee. “This is truly a premier residence that offers the discerning buyer immense privacy only minutes away from New York City.”

With more than $1 billion in sales during her storied career, Kolsky-Assatly is one of the leading Coldwell Banker residential real estate brokers internationally. She has been ranked as the No. 1 real estate agent in New Jersey, achieving the honor for 18 years, and has been the No. 1 agent in Bergen County for 21 years. She has earned every meritorious award offered by Coldwell Banker including the prestigious International President’s Premier, the highest honor presented to the top one percent of the company’s more than 82,000 sales professionals worldwide.

She has established one of the most effective teams in the real estate industry, which includes her son Michael Kolsky. Their commitment to their clients is renowned and their expertise is highly sought after. Together, they serve all of Bergen County specializing in luxury hirises, town homes, land and estates, and representing custom builders, developers, celebrities and designers. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y., a leading residential real estate brokerage company, operates 55 offices with more than 3,100 affiliated sales associates serving all communities from Rockland County, N.Y. to Monmouth County. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey and Rockland County, N.Y. is part of NRT LLC, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company. Visit ri-states for more information.

Where motorists spend the most time in traffic

By Jim Gorzelany
CTW Features

 With more cars and trucks on the road, commuters are paying the price with increased travel times. Here’s where to find (or avoid) the worst gridlock while driving. With more cars and trucks on the road, commuters are paying the price with increased travel times. Here’s where to find (or avoid) the worst gridlock while driving. It should come as no surprise to commuters that traffic on our nation’s highways is worse than its ever been, due largely to the increase in cars and trucks on the road spurred by a healthy economy. Unfortunately, what’s good for the nation’s financial fortunes can be bad for both car- and truck-drivers alike, and it’s shocking to see the actual impact — both personal and financial — of the country’s growing gridlock.

According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard compiled by traffic information and driver services provider INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, motorists wasted a collective 7 billion extra hours last year sitting in traffic — that’s 42 hours per rush-hour commuter. What’s more, all those vehicles burned more than 3 billion gallons of fuel crawling their way to and from the office.

For many motorists, that amounts to a week’s vacation time and income down drain each year, and that’s not counting the potential productivity wasted just sitting in a car. Add up the numbers and the total value of time and fuel wasted amounts to an annual $160 billion, or $960 per commuter.

Findings from the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard are based on traffic speed data collected by INRIX on 1.3 million miles of urban streets and highways, along with highway performance data provided by the Federal Highway Administration.

By comparison, INRIX reports that back in 1982, when there were fewer vehicles sharing the road, the average traffic delay per consumer was just 18 hours per year with 0.5 billion gallons of fuel burned at a total cost of $42 billion. Though extreme gridlock affected only one out of every in nine commutes in 1982, it caused delays in an average of 25 percent of automotive excursions during 2014.

What’s more, the study found that traffic is getting so onerous in big cities that drivers find they have to allow more than twice as much travel time as they would otherwise require just to account for the unforeseen effects of bad weather, collisions, and construction zones. Drivers traversing America’s most congested roads typically waste 84 hours — that’s 3.5 days a year — sitting in traffic, which is twice the national average.

And the report’s findings indicate that the nation’s clogged arteries are spreading beyond the most populated areas. Though the average travel delay per vehicle is more than double what it was in 1982, it’s gotten four times worse in cities having populations with fewer than 500,000 people. And INRIX predicts commuters will be spending more time behind the wheel in the years ahead. Assuming the nation’s economic fortunes remain strong, by 2020, the annual rush-hour delay per U.S. motorist will swell to 47 hours, with a shared nationwide delay of 8.3 billion hours at a cost of $192 billion.

According to INRIX data, Washington, D.C. is the nation’s most traffic clogged city, where commuters suffered an average of 82 hours of delay last year, with Los Angeles coming in a close second at 80 hours, followed by San Francisco at 78 hours, New York City at 74 hours, San Jose, Calif. at 67 hours, Boston at 64 hours, Seattle at 63 hours and Chicago and Houston tied at 61 hours.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way for the nation to simply build its way out of its traffic woes. “Our growing traffic problem is too massive for any one entity to handle — state and local agencies can’t do it alone,” says Tim Lomax, a report co-author and Regents Fellow at TTI. “Businesses can give their employees more flexibility in where, when and how they work, individual workers can adjust their commuting patterns, and we can have better thinking when it comes to longterm land use planning.”

© CTW Features

Weichert of Brick collecting items for local organizations and animal shelters

Frances Graffeo, manager of Weichert, Realtors’ Brick office, has announced that her office will be joining forces with several local organizations and animal shelters to make a difference within the community this holiday season.

The local community is invited to participate by bringing their donations for the following drives to Weichert’s Brick office, located at 740 Brick Blvd., between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily:

 As part of the 37th Annual Weichert Toy Drive, the local community is invited to donate new, unwrapped toys through Dec. 18, to benefit the Brick HeadStart Program.

 The office will be also collecting nonperishable food items through Dec. 15, to benefit the Destiny Community Food Pantry.  Blankets, sheets, towels and comforters, as well as dog food and cat food, are being collected through Dec. 14, and will be donated to a number of local animal shelters.

“This is our way of giving back to the community that has given us so much,” said Graffeo. “The holidays mark a time of year when charitable organizations receive their greatest demand for assistance, and it is our hope that through these drives we will be able to bring joy to many deserving families and animals.”

For more information or to make a donation, contact Weichert’s Brick office at 740 Brick Blvd., or by phone at 732-920- 7900.

Carriage Gate at Little Silver now offering premium wooded homesites

Carriage Gate at Little Silver, a new community of elegant townhomes located just minutes from Red Bank, is now more than 60 percent sold. Following the successful sell-out of its first two buildings, Carriage Gate is now offering some of the best homesites in the community. Located in the final two buildings, these premium homesites are privately set among trees in the back of the neighborhood. Many buyers are purchasing homes in this phase for spring occupancy, with one quick-delivery home still available.

Carriage Gate at Little Silver has attracted a lot of attention since opening just a year ago. Located in one of Monmouth County’s most desirable settings, it’s the first community to offer newly constructed luxury townhomes in Little Silver in over two decades. This fall, esteemed builder, Kalian Companies, updated and improved upon the already-well-received floorplans at Carriage Gate, for the remaining homes in the community. These newly redesigned floorplans are more open and offer gourmet kitchens that are now standard, with more features such as stainless steel cooktops and wall ovens. Master suites have been expanded, with impressive foyers and entry areas and raised ceilings providing a dramatic effect. To showcase these new floorplans, Carriage Gate recently opened two brand-new models, which are now available to tour.

Carriage Gate offers a rare level of luxury and convenience that is appealing to a variety of buyers, according to Mazin Kalian, president of Kalian Companies. “These homes here are ideal for movedown buyers who are ready for something new, luxurious, and maintenance free,” Kalian said, “but they are equally appealing to young couples who are ready for more space, for a more suburban lifestyle, and to finally stop renting and purchase their own home. And with a location that’s so close to Red Bank, the shore, and just across from a NJ Transit train station, you couldn’t ask for a more convenient setting.”

Designed in a charming Shore Colonial architectural style, with stone and shake siding, the two-story homes at Carriage Gate range in size from 2,378 to 2,960 square feet of living space, plus full basements and two-car garages. Homes feature three bedrooms, including expansive master suites and master baths, two-and-a-half bathrooms, gourmet granite kitchens, wood flooring, private outdoor living spaces, and paver courtyard driveways. The community itself is distinguished by beautiful landscaping with Belgian block curbing, sidewalks and decorative lighting, with paver courtyards to welcome homeowners and visitors. Homeowners will enjoy the ease of townhome living, with its low-maintenance lifestyle. Pricing begins in the low-$600s, surprisingly reasonable for this kind of luxury in Little Silver.

Carriage Gate is located directly across from the Little Silver train station, which allows for an easy commute into Manhattan or anywhere in New Jersey. The area is known for its beautiful, large homes and proximity to so many recreational, cultural, shopping and entertainment destinations, including downtown Red Bank, with its appealing mix of fine dining, cafes, boutiques, stores, shops and entertainment venues. The community is very close to Rumson and some of New Jersey’s finest beaches and popular Monmouth County parks are less than five miles away. The Grove at Shrewsbury, a popular upscale shopping center, is less than three miles from the community.

Visit Carriage Gate at Little Silver any day between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to tour the new models and to see the new floorplans. Ask about opportunities that are available in the community’s final two buildings for spring delivery — and the one remaining home available for quick delivery. For directions or more information, call 732- 268-8910. Learn more online, at

Heritage House SIR’s president honored at Cabaret for Life gala

Mary Burke Graham, president, owner and broker of record, Heritage House Sotheby’s International Realty, Shrewsbury, and her husband David Graham, retired international captain for American Airlines, were honored for their personal and financial support to Cabaret for Life on Nov. 14 at the 20-year anniversary gala celebration, held at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park.

Cabaret for Life is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for service organizations that help people coping with life-threatening illnesses, through the production of musical theater. Since its inception, the original founders and hundreds of volunteers have help support more than 20 healthrelated charities in New Jersey and beyond.

The Grahams, residents of Rumson, are lifelong supporters of numerous local and national charities supporting those in need of financial assistance during difficult times. “It was a very easy decision for us to give our support to Cabaret for Life,” said the Grahams. “We don’t understand many things about the process of producing and directing musical theater, but what we do understand is that there are qualities here so necessary to achieve the successful events this organization accomplishes flawlessly time after time — leadership, teamwork, volunteerism, creativity, goal setting, instruction, youth development, encouragement and charity. We are honored to support this wonderful organization.”

Filling the 250+ seat ballroom to almost standing room only, families, friends, co-workers, volunteers and supporters applauded the honorees for their generous support and dedication to Cabaret for Life. Throughout the evening attendees participated in a silent auction funded with generous donations from businesses throughout New Jersey. The evening was topped off with a series of live-performance musical clips from Cabaret for Life’s numerous productions.

Also honored that evening were Jose de la Cuesta, Father Bob Keating, Tim McLoone and Barbara Owens, all of whom work closely with and support Cabaret for Life, as well as numerous charities throughout New Jersey.

To learn more about supporting Cabaret for Life, visit www.CabaretFor-

Heritage House Sotheby’s International Realty is an independently owned and operated full-service brokerage serving Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean counties, with sales offices in Holmdel, Middletown, Rumson and Shrewsbury. For additional information, including office locations and phone numbers, visit www.Heritage-