In Winter 2018, I was invited to cover the Monmouth University Peace Corps Program by friend and MU professor, Frank Cipriani.
The Jersey Shore is going to Mongolia!
No, not the group of infamous orange television “Bennies” whose reign of fame many locals can’t wait to fade like a winter tan, but a care package of tangible local “artifacts” collected by Monmouth University Peace Corps Prep Program students that will open the cultural doors and, they hope, minds to what we live, love and do for fun here.
“You can’t send a bagel, you can’t really send a pork roll; you have to find something that represents it,” said MU Peace Corps Volunteer Preparatory Program Prof. Frank D. Cipriani, whose daughter, Emma, is currently serving as a teacher in the federal program where the package will be sent. “Things that people at a school in Mongolia, kids would want to play with or want to touch.”
The following photo essay, originally headlined “In Photos: Seaside Park Lifeguard Tournament 2015” when published in July 2015, captured the elements of speed and grace in lifeguarding training when posted for the widespread public to enjoy.
The following is a fun, season-long essay of photos I took throughout the Riverside Signal coverage region during autumn 2014, highlighting myriad day-to-day subjects I captured on a regular basis there. Enjoy!
In June 2014, the Ocean County Parks Department hosted their annual campfire at Barnegat Light. Approximately 200 people, including friends, families and couples, brought blankets, chairs and the proper marshmallow roasting materials to take in the view, enjoy the heat of the fire and listen to the Basement Musicians’ Guild play hits of the 20th century. I was there with my camera and really liked what I captured, presented below.
The feature below, headlined “Downtown Beachwood Block Demolished for CVS Pharmacy” when published in August 2015, covered the past, present and future of the historic downtown Beachwood following years of dilapidation at the hands of lazy property owners, resulting in the taking of most of the main corner away for a franchise, which by then was almost a welcome change from the eyesore it had become.
The following article, headlined “New Seaside Park Funtown Pier Plans Revealed” when published in February 2015, highlighted an oceanfront amusement pier owners plans to recover from Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent fire that destroyed all that stood on the site, in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The details and depth of the piece provided the only insight in the new plans, which were widely shared due to its regional name recognition and associated interest.
The following article, originally headlined “Tom Miserendino, Beachwood Fire Chief & Councilman, 1944 – 2015” when published in June 2015, pulled together archival elements from the fire company and Riverside Signal, plus area leaders’ comments, to honor the passing of a local luminary.
The feature below, headlined “FIRST LOOK: 775-Acre County Open Land Buy at Berkeley/Beachwood Border” when published in September 2015, took readers on the first tour of a unique tract of land purchased for open space preservation after decades of worried uncertainty by local residents on its fate. It also had the opportunity to take advantage of an early 2009 tour I had taken with planners for the site, using its photos, plus the submitted images of ATV riders, by an adjacent resident, who had been causing him concern on the site. Area historian Steven J. Baeli also submitted archival articles from the early 20th century that were used to piece together its past, forming a full picture to readers.
Beginning in 2016, I was responsible for content creation in various formats for Jersey Shore Hurricane News, both its website and social media properties. Some samples of these can be found below (above photo from JSHN Contributor, Jennifer Khordi, a personal favorite):
The following feature, headlined “Playground Built, Dedicated in Memory of Ptl. Jay Marles” when it was published in August 2015, combined photo coverage of the all-volunteer effort to build and name a new Ocean Gate Borough playground after a borough officer who was killed nearly five years earlier. Then as now, it was the sole coverage for the fantastic event and helped boost readership toward the 150k+ per week numbers in subsequent weeks.