After 50 years of service, officials say the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge is in need of repair or replacement.By John BurtonRUMSON — State, county and local officials gathered at Borough Hall on Wednesday for the first of what is expected to be a series of meetings on the repair or replacement of the Rumson-Sea Bright bridge.County bridge S-32 extends from Rumson Road on this side of the Shrewsbury River to state Highway 36/Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright. The current structure is about 50 years old, said Martine Culbertson, a community involvement facilitator and consultant, who presided over the meeting.There had been discussions about five or six years about rehabilitating the bridge, but “That project had to be terminated,” said Jon Moran, Monmouth County bridge engineer, but he did not elaborate on the reason why.“It either needs to be rehabilitated or replaced,” Moran said on Wednesday.“The purpose of this meeting is to get input from the stakeholders,” he continued. “What you’d like to see.”“With a 50-year-old bridge we’re starting to see deterioration,” Moran said, noting it would need roughly $10 million worth of work to allow the existing bridge to continue operating.The fact-finding portion of the project, which is federally funded, is expected to take about 18 months, which Culbertson said was an ‘ambitious timeframe’ in which to evaluate public input and make recommendations as to how the project should proceed.But, added Bruce Riegel, the project manager for Hardesty and Hanover, LLC, “This bridge is in serious condition.”To completely build a new bridge could take as much as three years, Riegel said. Another option would be to conduct a maintenance overhaul, which would take approximately 18 months.The Oceanic Bridge, county bridge S-31, connecting Rumson and Middletown, is currently undergoing extensive repairs designed to extend its life for another ten years, at which point the Oceanic bridge would be replaced.County officials would like to wait until that project has been accomplished before moving forward with this, Moran said.Those present at the meeting included local elected officials, administrators and law enforcement personnel.Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl and Sea Bright Borough Councilman C. Read Murphy agreed that one issue to be addressed as the project moves forward is traffic flow.Vehicles traveling in to Sea Bright are currenty prohibited from making a right on red at Highway 36 South.The officials believe that slows traffic down unnecessarily and should be changed, if not during the heavily traveled summer months, then at least during the off-season.Another point, raised by Murphy concerned to bridge’s opening for boat traffic. He said the bridge opens on the half-hour on summer weekends and on request during the week; that can snarl traffic for miles, he said.“One thing,” Culbertson countered. “Boats don’t have breaks,” and the U.S. Coast Guard dictates the current schedule.Other topics concerned the impact on pedestrian safety and on mass transit in the area.Stephen Cutler, a Rumson resident and owner of Channel Club beach club, Monmouth Beach, wanted to know “How can anyone come to the conclusion that closing this bridge for 18 months makes any economic sense?”“There is no easy answer here or we wouldn’t be sitting here,” Culbertson said. “But there is a reality.”The current bridge is the fourth one to connect Sea Bright and Rumson across the Shrewsbury River. “It can be done and it has been done,” Culbertson said of the bridge replacement.The first public input session on the Sea Bright-Rumson bridge will take place Monday Feb. 27, from 1-4 p.m. in Sea Bright, and 6-9 p.m. in Rumson.Another stakeholder gathering will be held in April.
By Jenna O’Donnell |OCEANPORT – A growing effort to combat opioid addiction in the local community began when the epidemic hit close to home.Betsy Schuff, one of the Oceanport moms who founded the Drug Education Initiative (DEI) action committee, recalled the shock of losing a dear friend’s son to a drug overdose three years ago.“I knew there was an epidemic,” Schuff said. “But I never really believed that it was right here in our town or that it could happen to someone I loved. I soon learned that other parents were much like me and didn’t understand how severe the issue really is and how present it is in our community.”Schuff and other like-minded parents, hoping to bring more education and awareness to the community and to their schools, created DEI and, on Aug. 10, hosted their first forum to discuss the opioid epidemic and learn how addiction can take hold. Representatives from Monmouth Medical Center and the Tigger House Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to reducing death from heroin and opiate addiction, attended the event to share stories, statistics and tips for the community.Christian Peter, a board member at the Tigger House Foundation and an NFL veteran of the New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears, described his own battle with drug and alcohol addiction, his road to recovery, and his efforts to help others follow a similar path through his work with Tigger House.“What we do is very simple,” Peter said. “We help kids – and people – who are struggling with addiction.”That addiction can start right at home with a bottle of leftover Vicodin or Percocet in the parent’s medicine cabinet, said Victor Almeida, D.O., chairman of Emergency Medicine at Monmouth Medical Center. Once the prescription bottles run out, he noted, kids might look to get cheaper drugs – like heroin – on the streets.“If you are opiate naïve, in a period of a few days you can become addicted,” Almeida said, noting that the potency of local heroin makes it especially dangerous. “The heroin that we have in New Jersey is some of the purest in the world.”A partnership between Monmouth Medical Center and Tigger House seeks to treat patients with addiction problems in the emergency room and move them into recovery programs with recovery specialists who have experienced addiction for themselves and are able to “walk the walk” and better relate to the struggle of addiction.“It helps if you can say ‘I know where you are. I’ve been there, too,’” Peter said.Eric Carney (left), COO of Monmouth Medical Center; Victor Almeida, D.O., chairman of emer- gency medicine at Monmouth Medical Center; Janet W. Tucci, mayor of West Long Branch; Serena DiMaso, Monmouth County Freeholder; and Christian Peter, board member of The Tigger House Foundation attended the Drug Education Initiative forum in Oceanport, which focused on opioid addiction and abuse.As drug and opioid-related deaths continue to rise across the country, in New Jersey, and in Monmouth County, parents were urged to talk frankly to their kids about drug addiction and take notice of any sudden changes in their social circles, sleep, grades or cleanliness.“This disease does not discriminate,” Peter said. “It’s out there in our communities affecting our children and we’ve got to do something about it.”This article was first published in the Aug. 17-24, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
By Chris Rotolo |SEA BRIGHT – A contract has been awarded for the construction of the long-awaited municipal complex.General contractor UniMak LLC of Saddle Brook came in with the lowest bid of nearly $7.1 million for the project, which the council accepted at its March 6 meeting.“This was a project long in the making and we are all extremely excited to know that Sea Bright will finally be getting the municipal complex,” Borough Council president Marc Leckstein said. “The construction will include a new firehouse and police station, which the community has long needed and deserves.”In September 2016, Sea Bright residents voting in a bond referendum approved borrowing up to $5.76 million to replace buildings damaged nearly four years earlier in Super Storm Sandy in a project projected to cost $12.7 million in total.One of them was a 14,187-square-foot municipal complex, which taxpayers, insurance proceeds and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would help fund, said Leckstein.This was the second time the complex was put out to bid. The Council had hoped to award the contract at a special meeting on Jan. 30, but all 14 bids were deemed too high and consequently denied. The lowest bidder in the initial round was Hassert Construction of Marlton, who came in at $7.6 million.According to Leckstein, construction on the building “will begin as soon as possible” in 2018. Borough officials are hoping to unveil the complex on Memorial Day 2019 and move workers into the new building the following month.The finished complex will be located in the municipal parking lot at the site of the former Sea Bright firehouse and police station.The first floor of the new municipal building will have six bays for fire rescue and first aid and one bay for equipment. The police department will have a secure entranceway, interview rooms, evidence and record storage, a holding cell, locker rooms and office space. Parking for cruisers and other police department vehicles will be provided to the east of the building.On the second floor will be borough administration, conference rooms and police and fire department storage space.The venture was recognized in December, as part of four major municipal projects that included the reconstruction of the sea wall, the construction of a new beach pavilion and borough library, and plans to erect an 80-foot cell tower.Borough officials, including Joe Verruni, the borough administrator, has billed the projects as the final pieces of Sea Bright’s rebuilding efforts following the devastation of Super Storm Sandy in 2012.But Leckstein has a longer view of Sea Bright’s recovery.“This municipal complex was something our community needed long before Sandy occurred,” Leckstein said. “And even with its completion, we are still not going to be fully recovered.”Leckstein stressed that Sea Bright’s complete recovery won’t take hold until the bulkheads located along the Navesink River are repaired.“We won’t be recovered from Sandy until the bulkheads are in place and the subsequent flooding has been brought under control. And this is a continuing project.”Leckstein was unable to put a timeline to the process, as the restoration “necessitates private landowners improving their own bulkheads.”This article was first published in the March 29-April 5, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
The happy Locke family would not be complete if sister Robyn didn’t participate too.The younger sibling has not disappointed the rest of the family at most of the same events Peter and Julien competed at — except for Junior Nationals.“Last year my biggest race was going to Terrace for B.C. Winter Games,” said 14-year-old Robyn Locke. “I finished eighth and 12th in my category (midget girls). These were probably of my two best races of the year.”Some results for Robyn Locke has the Nelsonite 18th and 16th at Canmore to start the season, and 12th and 15th at a B.C. Cup race in Prince George.Robyn Locke plans on joining older brothers at the Westerns and Nationals.firstname.lastname@example.org By Bruce FuhrThe Nelson Daily SportsLong time ago in a far away place, humans realized by attaching two shaped pieces of wood to their feet they could travel faster when hunting in snow-covered fields and woods. You won’t see Peter or Julien Locke breezing through the forests around the Heritage City with rifle strapped on back looking for dinner.They shop at the Co-op.However, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see the two Nelsonites leading the pack during a provincial or national cross-country race.The two Nelson skiers have quietly turned more than a few heads at the elite level and are looking for more success in the coming months.“The season is going very well,” Peter Locke told The Nelson Daily on the eve of the Western Canadians this weekend in Kelowna. “I’ve had some very good results this year, however, they were as good as I hoped for at (junior) nationals.”“My sprinting this year has been very good,” added Julien Locke. “One of my best races was the Thunder Bay sprint (January 6-9).”Not that long ago the two Locke boys, twins you know, were being towed around the Nelson Nordic Ski Trails in a sled by their parents.It wasn’t that long before the two were up on skis, competing in the Jackrabbit program, passing up on the traditional team sports like soccer and hockey.“It’s not like don’t like team sports, I just prefer individual sports like cross-country,” Peter Locke said.“Nothing against team sports at all . . . I used to swim when I was younger,” added Julien Locke. “I just never did any.”After a few years in the Nelson Nordic Ski Club system, the two decided to join the more competitive Blackjack club in Rossland.“There wasn’t much happing in Nelson and Rossland ran a higher caliber team so we thought there was more opportunity for us,” Julien Locke explained.The Blackjack coach is none other than Dave Wood, formerly of the Canadian national team for the past 16 years. Wood wrapped up his career in 2010 helping Canadian athletes at the Vancouver/Whistler Olympics. The Locke boys, who home school but find time to put in 500 hours per year or eight to 24 per week of training, have already logged more miles than Greyhound this season competing on the cross country circuit.There were races in Canmore, the Alberta Cup; at Vernon’s Silver Star Resort for the Haywood NorAm; and at the home Blackjack Club for the Haywood NorAm Senior World Championship trials. The two then traveled to Thunder Bay, Ont., for the World Junior Trails.Peter Locke, at 6’3”, 175 pounds, finished 26th in the 20-kilometer continuous pursuit, 31st in the 1600m classic sprint and 19th in 15km skate.Julien Locke, at 6’1”, 180-pounds, finished 34th, eighth and 25th.“I was hoping to land one of the spots for Canada at World Juniors but I came up just a little short,” said Julien Locke.“I had a fast heat, with the eventual first, second and fourth-place guys in it and unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay with them up the hill. I did everything I could but they were all a year or two older than me and with the long course, they had the advantage.”“My best race was the Thunder Bay . . . the 15 km,” Peter Locke admitted. “So far this year we have mostly raced up in Junior Men’s category, which has been quite a change from last year as the distances have increased from 10 km to 20km. I really like the longer races and have been having a really good season so far.”The two 17-year-old skiers, Julien is part of the B.C. Team and Peter the B.C. Development squad, have been racing most of this season in Junior Men’s category against many older skiers.This weekend another major test comes in Kelowna at Westerns.The Westerns is going to be a “tour” race. The first stage is a skate sprint. The next day is a prologue race, which will be one of the first times this type of race being been held in Canada. It’s a 3.5 km classic individual start. The race is so short, competitor need to ski at a sprint pace for the duration. The final day is the 15 km pursuit. For this race skiers are seeded according to times and bonus seconds from the first two days of racing. The start is staggered accordingly. The first person to the finish wins the overall three days of racing. The whole idea of tour races has been around for a long time in other sports but it’s quite new to cross country skiing.The field won’t be as strong as World Junior Trials, a field that included many of the top skiers in Canada, but most of the top skiers from the west will be competing.“Last year we did not attend Westerns but at Nationals I won the skate sprint and got fourth in the aggregate, just a few points out of third,” said Julien Locke, whose goal is to ski for Canada on the World Cup circuit. “So I expect westerns should be good again.”Next month in Canmore, March 12-19 promises to be the ultimate test for the two Locke boys.“I am looking forward to all of the races but I’m especially exited for the sprint,” said Julien Locke. “The classic (my favourite), the course is perfect and I am going into it as last years winner. It’s not going to be easy to hang on to the title but I am looking forward to the challenge.”Then again, if it doesn’t work out on the cross-country circuit for the two Blackjack skiers, there’s always the chance of putting those skills on boards to good use trying to find dinner.Sister Robyn keeps up with older brothers
In both games Nelson’s previous rock-solid defence surrendered a lead.Saturday, two goals in a span of three minutes early in the third period — Sean Collins on a power play and Adam Shaner — erased a 3-1 deficit for Spokane, forcing overtime.Nelson had built a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes as Linden Horswill, with a pair, and Travis Wellman scored.Hayden Boring had given Spokane a brief 1-0 lead in the first before Horswill tied the game 31 seconds later.Nelson out shot the Braves 38-32 as Leaf goalie Brad Rebagliati suffered his first loss of the season since coming to the Heritage City franchise from Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL.Friday, Nelson and Princeton played a seasaw affair with each team holding leads a different times of the game.However, once again it was the Leafs not being able to play with the lead as, holding a 5-4 advantage and on the power play, Nelson goalie Tyler Moffat served up a gift Destin Robinson of the Posse kindly desposited in the home net for the game-tying marker.Suidy then quickly ended the contest with his seeing-eye shot past Moffat 43 seconds into the extra period.The Leafs have little time to rest their wounded ego as the Green and White travel to Creston for a Sunday afternoon tilt against the Eddie Mountain leading Thunder Cats.LEAF NOTES: Nelson Minor Hockey grad Linden Horswill is doing his best to erase the memory of Jamie Vlanich leaving the Leafs for Langley of the BCHL as the new-first-line center has eight points — including five in the two weekend losses — in four games. . . . Leaf winger Travis Wellman continues to burn up the league, finishing the two home game with six points, including his league-leading 28 goals. . . . Nelson added 18-year-old Nick Landry from the Kamloops Storm to the lineup for the weekend. Landry, 6’2″ 220 pound winger was released by the Storm after playing 11 games. . . . Nelson called up Austin Tambellini and Trevor Van Steinburg from the Kootenay Ice of the BC Major Midget Hockey League for Friday’s game. Can you spell “Trap Weekend”?I knew you could.The Nelson Leafs saw it coming, talked about it in practice during meeting day earlier int the week but could do nothing about it as two lower seeded teams in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League stole a pair of overtime wins over the top team in the entire league.Kyle Davis scored with 24 seconds remaining in the second overtime period to power the Spokane Braves to a 4-3 victory over the Leafs Saturday at the NDCC Arena.Friday, a picture-perfect shot to the top corner of the net by Princeton Posse forward Devan Suidy shocked the Leafs 6-5.Despite the two losses, Nelson has yet to lose in regulation time this season.
The Nelson Leafs look to snap out of a five-game losing streak Thursday night in the Sunflower City when the Green and White plays the Castlegar Rebels in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action.The skid comes as the Leafs struggle with injuries as well as a host of suspensions following an October 26 line brawl against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.“You never want to get into a situation like this, but I think it’s good that everything is happening at this stage of the season,” said Leaf captain Sawyer Hunt.“Because it gives some of the guys who are working their way into the lineup a chance to show the coaches what they can do.”“We’ve got a good hockey team here,” Hunt added, “and it’s still early enough in the season where we can turn this around.” Nelson enters the weekend in third spot in the Murdoch Division, two points behind Grand Forks Border Bruins but only two in front of the Rebels.Beaver Valley leads the division but eight points over Grand Forks after putting together a 10-game winning streak.“We’ve got a real good team here,” said Hunt, second in Leafs scoring to teammate Dale Howell. “I just think we need everybody to just play their roles, and if we do that, you’re going to start to see a very improved team.”Castlegar has won three straight games to climb back into the running in the Murdoch Division.The Rebels have turned the season around scoring 21 times in the past three games. Leading the onslaught is forward Logan Styler who rang up eight points during the stretch to move into second overall in KIJHL scoring with 31 points.Sunday, Nelson concludes the weekend with an afternoon tilt in Spokane against the Braves.ICE CHIPS: Leaf center Ryan Piva saw his first action at the Junior A level when the Trail native suited up for West Kelowna Warriors Sunday in BC Hockey League action against Prince George. . . . The Leafs traded forward Kolten Nelson to Comox of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League for future considerations. Nelson joins teammate Cleary Ambrose, who was moved to the Island squad earlier this season.