FREE H1N1 flu Shots in Red Bank

It’s not too late to get your H1N1 vaccination and be protected against H1N1 flu

RED BANK, NJ – Monmouth County Regional Health Commission No. 1 and Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey (VNACJ) are providing FREE H1N1 flu shots on Saturday, March 6 from 10am – 12pm at the VNA of Central Jersey headquarters location, 176 Riverside Avenue in Red Bank.  The Saturday H1N1 flu clinic is open to individuals of all ages.  There is no pre-registration.

QUESTIONS? Call 732-493-9520 to speak to your Health Dept. Representative. Visit MCRHC.ORG under HEALTH ADVISORIES for consent forms and vaccine information.

Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, now in its 98th year of service, is a nonprofit provider of in-home health care and hospice services.  The organization also offers extensive community-based health and wellness services throughout New Jersey.




Falling in Love

george_hancockstefanWhen I was courting my wife, we would joke about her dreaming of marrying a foreigner from distant lands.  My wife grew up in a well-settled American community where most of the people could talk about their grandparents living there in the 19th century.  I was the first person her church hired who did not have a New Jersey accent. Our relationship was not love at first sight.  We became co-workers, friends, we dated, we broke up, I moved away and then we became engaged and got married.

One day I visited a friend whose granddaughter is the age of my grandson. On my way home I thought, “This could be a perfect match!” No sooner did I think of this then I started to laugh and I was glad that I was by myself in the car.  It was a ridiculous idea.  I would never tell my grandson who he should marry as I did not tell my married daughter who to marry.

Yet, I am aware that there are cultures in which matchmaking is common – royal matchmakings, Jewish matchmakings, Indian matchmakings.  I read stories that report that arranged weddings have the same percentage of lasting a long time as those in the Western world where we choose our spouses.

I know that some pastors have made matches within their churches. The pastor of my church in Detroit was very good at it. He worked his magic by bringing people from Eastern Europe to marry people in the United States. He always had pictures to show of relatives and friends still in Europe. There are some people in Detroit who he has paired that are happily married even today. There were some people who he matched but upon landing in the USA, they have changed their minds and found other people.

When it comes to matchmaking, I stay away from it because I think that I will be as effective as my unannounced visits.  The minister who served here two pastors before me was called God’s angel by some people because he appeared when you needed help.  So I tried to imitate him and had three disastrous, unannounced visitations.  The people in the church know that I will not appear unannounced because I am not in the angelic visitation brigade and I also do not do matchmakings because I am not gifted with that magic of bringing people together.

Although I am not a matchmaker, I am fascinated by how people come together.  I have done premarital counseling for people who told me that they knew that they will get married to one another since elementary school.  I also have known couples who came together because they were dating someone else on a double date.  I know a couple where the wife was engaged to someone else until this man came and told her that she will marry him instead.  She protested and sent him away, but six months later they were married.  Some people feel that there is only one person in the whole world with whom they will be blissfully happy, and there are others who believe that they could be happy with one of many people and that God will bless their covenanted marriage.

The only thing that I know as a pastor is that God in the Old Testament and in the New Testament spoke explicitly against being yoked together with people that not honor Him.  God will bless marriages with natives and foreigners, God will bless marriages across racial distinctives – God will bless all the marriages that set out to honor Him.

Happy Anniversary, Dogpawfile!, the popular online social networking site for pets, celebrated its first anniversary on February 19th. Within the first 48 hours of its 2009 debut, Dogpawfile, which promotes itself as an online community where dogs do the talking, welcomed more than one hundred new members. Today, the site boasts 4,000 to 5,000 visitors per month from as many as 34 different countries, and 1,000 canine members from around the world.

Founded by animal lovers Paul and Jo Alexander, Dogpawfile’s success is due in large part to its unique  means of communication, the “pawfile,” a photograph and accompanying narrative about a pet. Members upload snapshots, or “pawfiles,” of their animal along with a brief descriptive story, and other members post responses. By assuming “personalities” via the “pawfile,” pets “talk” to one another, and forge strong bonds of friendship between their owners. It is this friendship, coupled with a love of animals, that truly drives the site.

“We wanted Dogpawfile to be a little slice of doggy heaven, and it is,” Alexander, owner of four dogs, said. “So in that respect, it has matched our expectations. We could not have wished for a better community of members.”

There is more to, however, than the “pawfile.” Each day, the site highlights certain “pawfiles” in its top ten, and bestows “Dog of the Day” honors to the most original/cute “pawfile.” There are voluntary holiday gift exchanges among members; “pee-mail,” which is Dogpawfile’s version of email; contests to win prizes, such as doggy bandannas, t-shirts, tote bags, or a place in the Dogpawfile annual calendar. Paul Alexander repeatedly reminds Dogpawfile members that the site is for their enjoyment; they have responded enthusiastically to his invitation to become involved in the site’s day-to-day activities. Members submit articles, poetry, recipes, and fiction to Dogpawfile Magazine, which routinely profiles members and their related professions/businesses, as well as topics of interest to pet lovers. A member from Wisconsin initiated the “Dogpawfile traveling stocking,” which circulates among the site’s roster. When a member receives the stocking, he/she keeps the treat or gift inside, replaces it with something new, and sends the stocking off to its next destination. A member from Georgia arranged a fund-raising doggy “garage sale,” and sold doggy fashions to raise money for the site’s monthly operating fees. Similarly, a “Christmas in July” fund-raiser offered ornaments hand-crafted by a member in New Jersey.

Paul Alexander

While Dogpawfile membership is primarily canine, the site is open to all pets. Several cats and birds are among the ranks. Whether kitty, pup, or feathered friend, the animals’ personalities emerge through their “pawfiles.” PecoDee, for example, a black and white chihuahua from Minnesota, has emerged the site’s resident comedian, while Hamish, an adventurous shitzu from Canada, has assumed an Indiana Jones persona. Miss Millie LaRue, a yorkie from Georgia, and Twinkle Starr, a shorkie from Mississippi, are resident southern belles, while Saje, an American Staffordshire pit bull terrier in Maryland, and Mr. Khan, a German Shepherd in Spain, are two of the site’s gentle giants.

Paul Alexander hopes the site will expand.

“Our original expectation was to have around twice as many members as we have today,” he said. “So as you can see, we still have some way to go. We want to spread the Dogpawfile love to as many dogs and owners as possible. We love having new friends to share all our doggy related pictures and stories with!”

To join the pet-loving fun, log onto It’s a charming place to visit, and once there, you might just want to stay!

Tara Kelly of Planet Hair Sharpens Skills at The Redken Exchange

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – Tara Kelly sharpened their professional edge and took their hair styling/coloring talent to the next level at the award-winning Redken Exchange in New York City. Tara Kelly was one of the dedicated salon professionals, who attended classes at The Redken Exchange, the hair industry’s leading resource for higher learning, and now brings you fresh and exciting salon services. Along with stylists from around the globe, Tara Kelly learned advanced techniques in hair design and haircolor from leading experts in the salon industry, bringing you the latest in wearable, fashion hair trends.

The Redken Exchange is the award-winning, leading resource for higher learning in the professional salon industry, and allowed Tara Kelly to experience interactive, hands-on attention. With classes ranging from color basics to editorial photoshoots, and dressing the bride among others, it’s no wonder that thousands of salon professionals attend The Redken Exchange from all corners of the globe making it a great venue for exchanging tips, ideas, and techniques with other stylists-as well as for getting the latest information on Redken haircare, haircolor, and styling products.

Consumers interested in fresh, modern, innovative style or color can call Tara Kelly at (732) 708-0600 to make an appointment. Salon professionals can visit or call 1-800-545-8157 for more information regarding classes at The Redken Exchange.

Highlands 8th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

HIGHLANDS, NJ  – The Highlands Business Partnership will paint the town green on Saturday, March 20, 2:00 PM, when more than 100 marching units, including bagpipers, marching bands and floats, line up to march in the Eighth Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration.

Mrs. Dorothy Kovic will lead the parade as the 2010 Grand Marshal. Mrs. Kovic’s mother settled in Hoboken, New Jeresy in the late 1902 from Goresbridge, County Kilkenny, Ireland. Her mother’s maiden name was May who married a Grogan and raised 9 children. Dorothy’s two Aunts married into the Bolger and Britton families of Highlands. Her Uncle, Jack May worked with the Hartshorne family to purchase land for the Bolgers and Britton families to build homes at South Peak & Chestnut Streets. Mr. & Mrs. Kovic raised seven children in Highlands in which five still reside. The Kovics have 10 grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. Kovic have been instrumental in the community in many capacities. They have both served on various commissions and civic groups such as the Housing Authority, Planning and Zoning Boards, Ladies Auxiliary, VFW, OLPH, and also ran many successful businesses. The Highlands Business Partnership is proud to have Mrs. Dorothy Kovic and her family lead the 2010 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Continue reading Highlands 8th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Sounds of the Highlands Jr. Concert on Sunday, March

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – See the stars of the future live in Atlantic Highlands, as performers aged 18 and younger take the stage on Sunday, March 7 in a spirited, entertaining and eclectic concert.  After successfully auditioning, these talented young entertainers have polished their performances with the aid of professional music, movement, and acting coaches.

Instrumentalists offer original piano and guitar compositions as well as favorite songs.  R & B, pop, show tune, soul, and jazz singers will be backed by the SOH Jr. house band –  Dave Crowton on bass, Jim Mizell on drums, Rich Young on guitar, and Laura DuBois on piano, with a guest appearance by Sergio DuBois.

Eleven-year-old singer Isabella Rosales at the Sounds of the Highlands Jr. concert on Sunday, March 7 at 2:00 pm in Atlantic Highlands

Laura DuBois and the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council organized this unique concert; an afternoon of family fun and a special opportunity for young performers to rehearse and perform with professional musicians in an enriching environment.  According to Laura DuBois “the kids are so amazing, full of inspiration, and they put so much heart into what they’re doing.  You can’t help but love the experience!” Continue reading Sounds of the Highlands Jr. Concert on Sunday, March

Potholes: Collateral Damage of Winter Storms

Hamilton, NJ – They are big, bad, bowl-shaped, ugly and costly when your car hits one, which is easier to do these days. They are gaping potholes of the car-swallowing kind. Although they normally crop up when springtime approaches, potholes are already the bane of existence for New Jersey motorists.

The early proliferation of potholes can be blamed on the historic, record-breaking snowstorms, which have recently plagued the region. And here we go again…

“Potholes are not only vexing and nerve-rattling to motorists, they are also a significant threat to the safety of motorists and pedestrians,” said Tracy E. Noble, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson.  “Hitting a pothole can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles possibly resulting in a crash and swerving to avoid a pothole can be just as dangerous.”

Potholes cause a litany of woes for motorists, ranging from lost hubcaps, warped wheel alignment, damaged tires, fractured undercarriages, bent axles, smashed mufflers, out of shape shocks, and rattled nerves. Hitting a pothole at high speed increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels, shocks, struts or spring, warns AAA Mid-Atlantic.

AAA provides motorists with the following safety tips for encountering a pothole:

  • Keep an eye on traffic patterns. Cars that slow down or move quickly to other lanes may be a sign of major potholes or road damage ahead.
  • Beware of snow, ice or water that may be concealing a deep pothole.
  • Report major potholes or road damage to your state, or local transportation department
  • Avoid swerving. Swerving can cause a loss of vehicle control
  • Slow down. Carefully avoid sharp impact with potholes.
  • Roll through. Rolling through the pothole is better than braking rapidly. 
  • Inflate tires properly. Over inflated and under inflated tires increase risk of tire and wheel damage.

Potholes also drain the pocketbooks and wallets of the vehicle owner, the auto club notes. Costs for repairing damage caused by potholes can range from $50 for a simple wheel alignment to $500 or more for replacing a top-of-the-line alloy wheel.

What causes potholes?  Normally, potholes are spawned in the aftermath of winter’s freeze-thaw cycles, which includes rain and snow. As spring approaches, they seem to pop up overnight like gremlins.   Potholes stem from road salt seeping into cracks in the surface of the road. When that’s combined with the vibration of car tires over the cracks, it causes the asphalt to weaken.

Once there is a weak spot, every vehicle that travels over it makes the problem worse.  Higher temperatures warm the cold pavement, melting and evaporating any frozen water in the weakened, cracked road.  That process creates air pockets under the roadway’s surface, which, in turn, can cause the pavement to fail completely.



Long Branch Half-Marathon to Raise Money for Thyroid Cancer Research

Jackson, NJ Resident Danielle Hamarich Will Run May 2nd

During an annual GYN exam, Danielle’s doctor found a lump in her neck and instructed her to follow up with an endocrinologist. After a whirlwind of tests her initial biopsy results came back negative. She was told that everything was fine, and not to worry.

danielle_hamarichHowever, two short weeks later, that would all change when she received a call from her doctor asking her to come into the office that day. A working mother of two pre-school age children, Danielle juggled her schedule and arrived with her husband at her doctor’s office that afternoon to be told she had thyroid cancer. As she was otherwise in good health, she was told that her prognosis was excellent, and that she should schedule an appointment to see head and neck surgeon, Dr. Mark Urken at Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC.

Shortly after her visit to Dr. Urken, Danielle scheduled a few days off from work, and underwent surgery to have her thyroid removed. During surgery, Dr. Urken found that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in her neck, and more shockingly to her trachea. Danielle’s anticipated three hour operation turned into a much more invasive eight hour surgical procedure.

Danielle’s expected few day recovery took over two months. Throughout her recovery Danielle received an outpouring of support from her family and friends. Knowing she still had a family to care for, they all chipped in to lend a hand. Many coordinated days to drop off home cooked meals, do grocery shopping and even watch her two children. It was during this time where Danielle began to reflect upon what had actually occurred since her diagnosis of thyroid cancer. She realized that Dr. Urken saved her life and had given her a second chance, so she wanted to find some way to give back to him.

Danielle was an avid runner prior to surgery, and while unable to participate in her usual activities, she found out about the Long Branch New Jersey Marathon. She decided to form a team of friends and family to run in order to raise money to support the important work of Dr. Urken and his foundation the THANC (Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer) Foundation.

Since her initial surgery, Danielle learned that her cancer has spread to her lungs. Even though she is currently undergoing treatment, she will run the Long Branch New Jersey Half Marathon. You can help Danielle and her THANC team in their efforts to raise funds to support research and education in the fight against the fastest growing cancer, Thyroid cancer.

You can be a part of Danielle’s team to fight thyroid cancer by running, donating, pledging an amount per mile, per runner, or for the combined miles run by the team, or just standing on the sidelines cheerleading…we need you on the team – to battle this cancer that knows no boundaries.

Thyroid cancer affects people of all ages. Women are diagnosed with thyroid cancer three times as often as men. Thyroid cancer diagnoses are increasing at the highest rate of all cancers in the United States. Be a part of the race to beat thyroid cancer to the finish line.


The Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer (THANC) Foundation is committed to supporting research and education in the early detection and treatment of thyroid and head and neck cancer; advancing new therapeutic approaches; and alleviating the suffering and functional impairment of patients who undergo treatment.