Heading to School on Two Wheels

first_imgBy John BurtonIn Fair Haven, riding bikes is a preferred mode of travel FAIR HAVEN – The borough is a biking town.All the kids are doing it. Well, maybe not all the kids, but a considerably large number of the borough’s younger population who attend borough schools regularly ride their bikes there and home.Gabby and Joseph Gotch ride their bikes to school most days, like many Fair Haven children.“It’s hundreds of kids,” estimated Police Corporal John Waltz, who oversees the bicycle safety program the police department sponsors in conjunction with the schools. “It’s only a handful that don’t.”Bennett Coleman, president of the district’s PTA, estimated that about half of the nearly 700 students attend­ing the district’s Viola L. Sickles and Knollwood schools ride their bikes to school, depending on the weather.Coleman, who ­has kids in grades 1, 2 and 6, said she is comfortable letting them ride to and from school because of the role educators, police, crossing guards and fellow parents have played in keeping the children safe.“Everyone is so supportive,” she said.Along with that input, Coleman says, “We practice, practice, practice,” to make sure the kids are aware of what they should and shouldn’t be doing on their bikes.Allowing their children to easily get around Fair Haven, a suburban community of approximately 6,121 residents and roughly 2 square miles, is what residents like about living in a bike-friendly town, many said.“I’m kind of a helicopter mom,” Coleman said, but “I don’t have any reservations.”“This is a regular part of Fair Haven,” said Jeff White, a parent of two daughters, fifth- and sixth-graders who also ride bikes to school.Knollwood School students head home at the corner of Hance Road and Third Street after school in Fair Haven.“You get to the Knollwood School and look at the parking lot by the school, no lie, they must have 150 bikes there,” he said.Like other parents, he feels very comfortable about letting his children go back and forth on bikes.“The No. 1 reason that I think everyone is OK with it is that drivers around here are accustomed to it,” he said.The Whites’ home is on River Road, a busy thoroughfare running east-west through the community, which is used by commercial vehicles. White acknowledged there are times when traffic is heavy and one or both of his daughters need to wait quite a while before being able to cross the street. But the key is proper and regular education on what to look out for, he said. “I always let them know, they can’t make any assumptions. When in doubt, stop.“We have the best crossing guards. The kids love ’em and the parents love ’em,” said White, adding that the crossing guards seem to know all the kids by name.“I have to say, it’s one thing I really don’t worry about,” said Laura Nolan, a Highland Avenue mother of four, ages 7 to 11.“My kids bike every day, rain or shine. It’s easier than driving them there.“I think it’s good for them. It’s a social thing,” as the children regularly go in groups of friends, Nolan said.“My concern is the afterschool, when traffic picks up,” especially on some of the busier streets, like River, Ridge and Fair Haven roads, said Jennie Lucci, another River Road resident.“They need to learn safety – and they’re learning it,” said Lucci, who has three children, ages 6, 9 and 13.The school district has taken appropriate steps to address safety considerations, Coleman and Waltz each said.Both schools conduct two days of bike safety instruction at the beginning of each school year. The extensive training shows students the proper way to wear helmets – and stresses they must always wear them – what to watch out for and when it’s safe and not to proceed, and all stay to the right, Waltz said.Bikes fill the racks at Knollwood School in Fair Haven.The district also staggers its dismissal times, allowing students with bikes to leave first, followed by those students who walk. Students who are picked up by parents in cars leave the building last. Closing Third Street to all but local residents in the morning and afternoon on school days also helps contribute to a safe environment for those on two wheels, Waltz and others said.There have been no serious injuries involving children on bikes here, as far as Waltz could remember. “Maybe a couple of scraped knees,” but nothing worse than that, he said.Last Saturday, the PTA conducted its first bike rodeo in conjunction with the police and with the support of Meridian Health System, which operates Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank.The goal of the event, held on Willow Street, across from Sickles school, “is to promote bicycle safety for families,” Coleman said.Children were instructed about how to cross streets, be cautious of driveways and always be alert – as should drivers, Coleman said. “It’s about knowing where you’re going.”“I try to remind them to look both ways,” said Erin Gotch of Fair Haven Road. “They’re going to want to continue to ride their bikes, so they’ll listen to the rules.”Gotch’s children, Joseph, 9, who attends Knollwood, and Gabby, 8, a Sickles student, both said they want to continue riding.“It makes me feel happy,” Joseph said.“I like being outside. I like riding my bike,” Gabby added.Joseph regularly rides with his five friends while his sister usually rides to and from school alone.One of the best parts about it for Joseph is “You don’t have to wait for your parents to get ready,” to take you.The most important thing about it for Gabby? “It let’s you be free,” she said.Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli, who is a bicycling enthusiast in his own right, said, “It’s great. It keeps the kids active.”To help encourage everyone to take bikes, instead of immediately hopping in the car, plans are in the works to establish bike lanes through some of the borough’s main streets, Lucarelli said.last_img read more

Ship Aurora: A Treasure For Sandy Hook Wreck Divers

first_imgDan Lieb, president of the New Jersey Historical Diver’s Association, was the man for the job.Teacups that were found after the discovery of Ship Aurora.“It’s amazing that in only 22 feet of water, something as fragile as china, packed in with hardware and coal and asphalt, actually managed to survive over a hundred years of hurricanes and nor’easters,” he said.The organization, which is an assembly of amateur historians and archaeologists, has aided in the discovery of unidentified wrecks off the Jersey coast since 1992.Lieb conducted all the behind-the-scenes work, such as framing and measuring the vessel, while using his background in historical research to track the ship’s roots all the way back to Maine, where it was built in 1824.Some of the artifacts were sold off to keep the recovery expedition afloat, yet Filippone had one ultimate goal in mind throughout the process.“I had the policy when we were working it that I wanted it to go to a museum,” he said. “Anything that was unique would go to the museum, anything two or more we’d split up; this way, I wanted to keep it intact.”For Harber, he believes that it was a perfect storm that brought the trio together.“We were very lucky to be available, and the weather was right for the initial work on it,” he said. “We had a clear stretch of weather, the visibility wasn’t bad, and we got a lot of work done in a short amount of time.” Transporting the china back to port presented its own set of challenges.“We had all of this china on the boat, and no way to really secure it on our boat,” Anthony said, grinning to Filippone. “And the ride home, you had to be careful or you’d break half of it, because he doesn’t know how to drive.”While the china surely peaked their interest, other meaningful and historical pieces from the wreckage were recovered, ranging from construction tools to pre-Civil War surgical equipment.After a late night of diving, Kenny Harber shows off some blue and green china excavated from the hull of the Ship Aurora.Each man had his own favorite find. Harber’s was a fully intact brass octant, a nautical tool used to measure distances on the sea. Anthony laid claim to a brass chronometer, which he claimed could work to this day if given to the right clockmaker.For Filippone, he recovered the medallion of Stephen Thomas, one of the ship’s passengers, which was made to commemorate his service in the Battle of Trafalgar.The three-man crew received help from locals who accompanied them on expedition dives. Of those who helped, one was crucial in the identification of the ship. After the divers went public with their discovery in 2007, they were connected with Debbie Whitcraft, who was in the process of finalizing the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History.Along with family and friends receiving some of the china, and the guys keeping a few pieces for themselves as well, nearly all of the recovered tableware now rests in that museum in Beach Haven on Long Beach Island.The book, which Filippone has titled “Tattered Rails,” in reference to a newspaper article’s description of the site the morning after the ship sank, is paddling on to the next phase.“Joe and I wrote the script, but I sent it down to Beach Haven and they’re going to put it together,” he said, during a Sunday morning coffee hour with his partners. “Right now, I don’t know how big this book is going to be, because we have 447 pictures, but I want it to be intact; everything possible about the ship into one.”“I think it’s a wonderful idea to do the book, I think it’s a really, really good idea,” said Lieb. “It’s a wreck that nobody had ever heard of certainly in recent memory, or certainly over the past 150 years.”center_img By Jay CookHIGHLANDS – That old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” for the most part, rings true. Yet for three local scuba divers, that adage could instead read “one man’s wreck is another man’s treasure.”Gary Filippone, Joe Anthony and Kenny Harber are turning their diving expedition between 2002 and 2007 into a book, in which they’ll talk about how they took hundreds of boat rides and retrieved thousands of artifacts from a Sandy Hook shipwreck.A Highlands resident and veteran wreck diver with 43 years of scuba experience under his weight belt, Filippone claims he has never seen anything like what he first came upon on July 1, 2002: a shipwreck 1,200 feet off the shores of Sandy Hook, in only 19 feet of water during low tide.What he encountered was Ship Aurora, a 106-foot shipping vessel, bound for New York City from Liverpool, England. The ship sank on Nov. 27, 1827, after a storm threw the three-mast ship off course. Of the roughly 40 voyagers on board that night, six crew members perished as they went down with the ship.Immediately after passing through the tolls into Sandy Hook, Filippone used Area A, which has a fenced-in parking lot, on the barrier peninsula as a reference for finding the wreck each trip out.What was left in the high-dynamic area, which has a high rate of ground swells and rough waters, were the remains of the ship sans a mast and sails, most likely cut loose during the storm.“I believe this is one of the top 10 American wrecks in the country, talking historically,” Filippone said over an early morning cup of coffee at Water Witch Coffee in Highlands, where the trio met each morning before their dives.Using Filippone’s 23-foot center console boat named “Sea Monkey,” he and Anthony, a resident of Atlantic Highlands, began to further investigate the ship only a week later. Filippone brought his spear gun down, and after missing a shot and it clanking off of Ship Aurora’s hull, they noticed something shining in the sand.The recovery of artifacts from Ship Aurora.“Picture a sand mound in your head,” Anthony said. “And then you just take a big fan and blow the top of that off; and all you see is blue and green edges stacked for feet.”Those edges turned out to be roughly 2,200 total pieces of Staffordshire and shell edge china, surrounded by mounds of roofing slate manufactured for New York City rooftops.“You wouldn’t have thought that there was much of anything in there, except the ship was a deep hull,” said Harber, who also lives in Atlantic Highlands and is the coffee shop’s property owner.He was surprised by how much was waiting to be found inside.From May through October for the next five years, the three divers worked Ship Aurora, excavating and removing thousands of teacups, pitchers, plates, platters and bowls; and it was no piece of cake.Using milk crates with rope and lift bags, the china was hoisted from the sea where it had rested in nearly perfect condition for 175 years.last_img read more


first_imgARROGATE TO WORK FOR PEGASUS SUNDAY OR MONDAYSONGBIRD DUE JAN. 24; LAS VIRGENES FOR UNIQUE BELLAMANDELLA HOPES TO PULL SOME STRINGS IN LA CANADA SADLER ON A ROLL AT SANTA ANITA, WEATHER OR NOT Doug O’Neill4063715%40%$258,548 TrainerMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Norberto Arroyo, Jr.3872018%24%$303,780 Richard Baltas3044513%43%$273,463 FINISH LINES: When Mike Machowsky sends out Southern Keys in Saturday’s seventh race, it will be the first horse he’s run for the late Donald J. Blahut since his long-time owner died last June 20 at the age of 87. “He was a great man; everybody loved him,” said Machowsky, who trained 22 years for Blahut, part owner of 2004 Santa Anita Handicap winner Southern Image and stakes-winning turf star Caracortado. “Southern Keys’ mother (Dixie Image) is a full sister to Southern Image,” pointed out Machowsky. A resident of Newhall, Blahut was born in Emporia, Kansas, and had horses with the late Leonard Dorfman prior to joining up with Machowsky . . . The Voice of Santa Anita, Michael Wrona, and horse player Sebastian Piscuskas will be Tom Quigley‘s guests, Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in the East Paddock Gardens at 11:20 a.m. . . . Santa Anita presents holiday racing on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It will also be Dollar Day, with beer, sodas and hot dogs on sale for a buck apiece. First post time is 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. Jerry Hollendorfer2747515%59%$514,489 (Current Through Sunday, Jan. 9) ARROGATE COULD WORK ‘SUNDAY OR MONDAY’ FOR PEGASUSBreeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate, a leading contender for Horse of the Year along with arch-rival California Chrome, likely will work on Santa Anita’s main track “Sunday or Monday” as he prepares for a widely anticipated rematch with the popular California-bred in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28.“The horse is doing good,” said Bob Baffert, who trains Arrogate for Juddmonte Farms. “Everything looks positive.”Arrogate had been entered in the San Pasqual Stakes on Jan. 1 as a prep for the Pegasus, but a wet track caused Baffert to scratch the four-year-old gray son of Unbridled’s Song. Arrogate’s most recent workout came before last Sunday’s first race, when he went six furlongs in 1:11.80 under Martin Garcia.California Chrome, the 2014 Horse of the Year who was overtaken in deep stretch to fall a half-length short in the Classic, has been in Florida since Jan. 6 to prepare for the inaugural running of the Pegasus at 1 1/8 miles.Trainer Art Sherman plans to work California Chrome five furlongs at Gulfstream tomorrow.The Horse of the Year will be announced Jan. 21 at Gulfstream Park, along with other Eclipse Award winners. Rafael Bejarano3843911%42%$375,663 Flavien Prat4494820%48%$618,043 HOLLENDORFER FEASTING ON ‘FILLY MIGNON’Jerry Hollendorfer is sitting pretty with his fillies.Songbird, champion two-year-old female of 2015 and a lock to be named champion three-year-old filly of 2016, is due back at Santa Anita Jan. 24 from a 10-week respite at WinStar Farm in Kentucky, while the just-turned-three Unique Bella, a dominating 7 ½-length winner of the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes last Sunday, is ticketed for the Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile on Feb. 5.“Songbird is getting on a plane on the 24th (of January) and coming to Santa Anita,” saidher Hall of Fame trainer. “She’ll dictate to us when she’s ready to run.“We’ll go cautiously and carefully with her, and when she’s ready to run, we’ll get her running. Everything is good. WinStar has been in contact with me quite a bit and I with them, so she’s getting ready to come back.”As to Unique Bella, if all goes well the imposing three-year-old daughter of Tapit will take the logical steps, starting with the Las Virgenes, followed by the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks at 1 1/16 miles April 8 and the Grade I Kentucky Oaks May 5.“I think we have a nice program right here at Santa Anita,” said Hollendorfer, who captured the Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks with Songbird last year en route to an unbeaten string of triumphs that reached 11 before her crushing nose defeat by Beholder in an unforgettable edition of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 4. SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Corey Nakatani1532020%33%$167,690 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Peter Miller2365326%61%$317,780 ‘SHOW’ ME THE MONEY SADLER DQ AWAY FROM PERFECTIONJohn Sadler would be batting 1.000 in the money at Santa Anita through nine racing days, had it not been for a disqualification.The 60-year-old trainer, soon embarking on his fourth decade as a successful mainstay in California, has sent out 13 runners, winning with five, with four seconds and three thirds, a 92 percent in the money average.When St. Reno was disqualified from third to fifth in the second race on Dec. 29, it ruined what would have been a perfect in the money mark for Sadler.“Even with the rainy weather, we’ve been very selective with what we run on off tracks,” Sadler said in explaining his consistency. “That’s probably why the percentage is so good.“We’ve been lucky we’ve had a few horses that have handled it well (foremost was the Argentine-bred Infobedad, who won by 26 ½ lengths on a wet/fast track Jan. 1, believed to be the largest winning margin ever at Santa Anita).“Like everybody else, the big picture is it’s good for the state (which has long been drought-stricken). The rain brings a lot of water, but this being California, it won’t last that long.”Meanwhile, Stellar Wind, champion three-year-old filly of 2015, continues to prepare for her 2107 debut despite minor bumps in the road due to the inclement weather.“She’s on the track every day,” Sadler said. “She’s had a little setback in that she should be galloping more instead of jogging, which is what she’s been doing, but when we get good weather, we’ll be fine.” Luis Contreras2333613%52%$159,834 Victor Espinoza2044420%60%$236,130 Tyler Baze4896419%40%$363,082 Mario Gutierrez2232414%41%$151,116 MANDELLA SEEKS LA CANADA UPSET WITH WILD AT HEARTBarring something short of a Beholder-like performance, Richard Mandella realizes he’ll need some luck if Wild At Heart is to turn the tables on Vale Dori in Saturday’s Grade II La Canada Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at 1 1/16 miles.Vale Dori, trained by Bob Baffert, defeated Wild At Heart by three lengths last out in the Grade II Bayakoa at Del Mar, spotting her rival five pounds in the process.“Vale Dori won easy,” Mandella said. “We have to hope her shoelace comes untied or something.”The field for the La Canada, race five of nine: Vale Dori, Mike Smith, 1-5; Show Stealer, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Wild At Heart, Flavien Prat, 9-2; Enduring Erin, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; and Autumn Flower, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1. Brice Blanc1433121%50%$125,125 John Sadler1354338%92%$237,104 Drayden Van Dyke3746011%27%$234,060 Martin Pedroza2955317%45%$185,520 William Spawr940244%67%$134,541 Kent Desormeaux3363518%42%$537,173 Philip D’Amato1533420%67%$356,325last_img read more