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Monmouth County News Briefs, July 6

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U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) announced he has secured $26 million for maintenance dredging of the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development spending bill for Fiscal Year 2023. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the underlying legislation in the upcoming months, according to a press release.

The Army Corps of Engineers will dredge the entrance of the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers at Sandy Hook as well as the Navesink River to Red Bank and the Shrewsbury River as far as the Branchport Avenue Bridge in Long Branch – a total of approximately 14 miles. This is the federal channel that covers most of the waterway boaters use, according to the press release.

“I am proud to announce New Jersey is slated to receive $26 million to dredge the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. New Jersey’s waterways are critical to our state’s recreation and fishing industries.

“I have heard from so many people in the communities along the rivers and the boaters who use the channels regularly about the importance of this project.

“The dredging will make the rivers safer and easier to use for them and everyone involved in fishing. I am looking forward to seeing this project move through the legislative process,” Pallone said.

Middletown Mayor Tony Perry said, “The economic and recreational impact of the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers cannot be underestimated for Middletown and the surrounding municipalities. Ensuring that these navigable channels are safe for boaters, fishermen and everyone who uses them is of the utmost importance.”


The Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce (MRCC) will present its annual Beacon of Excellence Awards to local individuals and organizations who inspire others and light up the communities in which they live and work, providing outstanding community enrichment through their service, leadership and achievement.

The awards will be presented at a gala celebration on July 27 at Jacques Reception Center, Middletown. A cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner and awards to follow, according to a press release.

Ticket prices from July 2-15 are $105 for chamber members and $125 for future members and guests. Those registering will be asked to make a meal choice for a sit-down dinner at the time of registration. Registration closes on July 15. Registration is non-refundable and cannot be applied to other events.

For more information, contact Kathleen Hoffmann via email at or call 732-462-3030.


The Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater’s 2022 Summer Dance Intensive will be held from July 18 through Aug. 19, Monday through Thursday from 1-6 p.m.

The Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater (AXCBT) is hosting a pre-professional dance intensive for ballet and contemporary dancers seeking artistic and technical growth. The intensive is offered to individuals age 11 and above, according to a press release.

Students have the option to enroll in one week, three-week or five-week classes. Students enrolled in three weeks or more have the opportunity to perform in AXCBT’s original work, “The Lost Princess of Oz.” Students will rehearse alongside professional dancers every Friday from 1-6 p.m.

“The Lost Princess of Oz” will premiere from Aug. 19-28 at the Pollak Theater, West Long Branch. For more information, visit


A federal investigation has found that a popular chain of sandwich shops allowed 14-year-old and 15-year-old employees to work beyond and outside hours permitted by child labor laws.

U.S. Department of Labor investigations at 10 Jersey Mike’s Subs locations by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems Inc. of Manasquan allowed 14-year-olds and 15-year-olds to work past 7 p.m. on school days, past 9 p.m. in the summer, and more than three hours on school days.

The employer also failed to maintain proof-of-age documents for minors, all violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions, according to a June 28 press release from the Department of Labor.

In total, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems Inc. paid $24,660 in civil money penalties. The division conducted investigations in Freehold Township, Long Branch, Neptune and Red Bank; in Radnor and Horsham, Pa.; in Jacksonville and Salisbury, N.C.; and in Bend, Ore.

Based in Manasquan, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems Inc. has approximately 2,000 franchise locations opened and under development, according to the press release.


The Master Gardeners of Monmouth County have awarded Howard Bodnar Memorial Scholarships to five Monmouth County high school graduates who will be pursuing careers in horticulture related fields.

According to a press release, the 2022 award recipients are:

• Yanela Frank, who graduated from Howell High School and the Monmouth County Career Center. Yanela will attend Mercer County Community College to study plant science and floral design;

• Annaliese Heidelberger, who graduated from Trinity Hall, Tinton Falls. Annaliese will attend Franklin and Marshall College to study environmental science;

• Ryan Kotch, who graduated from Wall High School and the Monmouth County Career Center. Ryan will attend Ocean County College to study botany and plant biology;

• Jonathan Lu, who graduated from Middletown South High School. Jonathan will attend Purdue University to study botany and plant biology;

• Cassandra Seeley, who graduated from Manasquan High School. Cassandra will attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to study environmental science.

The Monmouth County Master Gardeners hold several fundraising events during the year that are used to fund the scholarship program, according to the press release.

Applications for the next Monmouth County Master Gardener scholarship program will be available on Jan. 1 from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County. The deadline for submission of a complete application is April 15, 2023. For more information, call 732-431-7260 or email


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