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AHH 24-Hr. News

Sermon: Deliverance
Monday, 01 September 2014
ATLANTIC  HIGHLANDS ---The Rev. Paul F. Rack will begin a series of sermons looking at the Apostle Paul's letter to the Galatians... Read More...
IMAGE Perfect-Weather Day as Saturday in the Park Women’s 5K Turns 21
Monday, 01 September 2014
PHOTO: 21st annual Saturday in the Park Women’s 5K start. Photos by Bob Both, Jersey Shore Running Club HOLMDEL, NJ - A sorority of 245... Read More...
Snyder Drive Garage Fire is Extinquished in Middletown
Saturday, 30 August 2014
MIDDLETOWN, NJ - At 5:10 AM on Saturday August 30th, 2014, the Middletown Township Fire Department was dispatched to a “possible structure fire in... Read More...
IMAGE Freeholders Promote 2014 Hunger Action Month
Saturday, 30 August 2014
Urge residents to help and “wear orange” Sept. 4 FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders is promoting Hunger Action... Read More...
IMAGE Four Gallery Exhibitions Opening in September at Monmouth University
Saturday, 30 August 2014
IMAGE: Mavis Smith, Lowlands, 2013, egg tempera on panel, 37" x 24" WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts is... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Review - Frank
by David Prown
Monday, 01 September 2014
So as I nestled into my seat in The Showroom movie theatre, I was thinking about how lucky I am to live in an area with both the Red Bank independent... Read More...
IMAGE Slapping Myself Silly!
by Anne Mikolay
Sunday, 31 August 2014
Summer is winding down. I can't say I'm sorry to see it go. It hasn't been a very good season for me. I didn't visit half the places I intended to,... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - August 30, 2014
by Tom Brennan
Saturday, 30 August 2014
Want to watch your friends eye roll with useless facts you know?  "Like" Fact Jack on Facebook: http://bit.ly/FactJackFb I want a bathroom made... Read More...
IMAGE People with Autism Especially Vulnerable
by Daniel J. Vance
Friday, 29 August 2014
Perhaps like you, recently I read of an incident in Okeechobee, Florida, in which an 18-year-old man was recorded on video beating, choking, kicking,... Read More...
IMAGE Aging Rockers
by Woody Zimmerman
Friday, 29 August 2014
A curious phenomenon of our time is the aging rocker. This is not an old piece of furniture but a person frozen in a musical time-warp. Often it is a... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Tue Sep 02 @ 8:00PM -
Middletown Township Committee Workshop
Thu Sep 04 @ 4:00PM -
Special Preschool Storytime - AH Library
Mon Sep 08 @10:00AM -
Monday Mix - AH
Mon Sep 08 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
PFLAG Meets
Thu Sep 11 @ 3:15PM -
iBuild LEGO® Storytime League - AH Library

 

ImageIt is January 1, New Year’s Day! The new year begins just as the old year ended: cold and windy. At first light it was 17°F with icy north winds gusting up to 25 knots. The wind chill is a brutal -5°F. Although the sun will be shining brightly today, it will not be generating much heat. High temperatures are still expected to be well below freezing.

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(At the stroke of 1pm on New Year’s Day, hundreds of people took the plunge into the Atlantic Ocean at Asbury Park)

 

Mother Nature is being aloof today. No sense looking for lots of wildlife down by the bay. It is too unpleasantly cold. Most critters I am sure will be out of sight waiting for the unfriendly winds to die down.  Normally active Gray Squirrels in my backyard have taken the cue. They have gone into dormancy for the day.

 

On average, January is the coldest month of the winter, with average temperatures around 31 degrees.  The cold, however, does not scare away polar bears along the Jersey Shore.

 

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(Historic Convention Hall in Asbury Park played host to the annual Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge this year.)

 

As winter tightens its grip, the Jersey Shore takes on a robust, rugged, and wicked nature that only polar bears can handle. Let’s face it, spending winter along a Jersey Shore beach is not for the delicate and soft. This is why many critters migrate south. If a creature can survive winter along the Jersey Shore, then it can live on and endure.

 

So, on a bright, sunny, yet cold late morning day I headed down to Asbury Park for a unique winter attraction, only to be experienced along a winter beach. At 1pm, next to the legendary Asbury Park Convention Hall, will be the 6th annual Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge.

 

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(Bagpipes and flags flying were leading polar bears to the plunge)

 

Now, I have to be honest. While I enjoy winters along the Jersey Shore, I am not that resilient. Plunging into chilly oceans waters that are 42 degrees in just a bathing suit is not a test I am keen on. Yet, I certainly give credit to those polar bear people that can endure the icy Atlantic Ocean waters.  They certainly believe in the old saying that every day is a beach day!

 

More to the point, the plunge is for a good cause. The event will raise hundreds of dollars for several important local non-profit organizations: the Special Olympics of New Jersey, Campership of Monmouth County, which raises funds to send disabled and underprivileged children to summer camp; and Clean Ocean Action, a leading regional environmental organization based at Sandy Hook. The annual Polar Bear Plunge event it is great celebration of winter and the start of a new calendar year.

 

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(For a brief moment, it seemed like a small part of the Atlantic Ocean was filled with polar bears)

 

Nearly five minutes before the big plunge, there are approximately 1,000 people on-hand for the event, with about 250 brave and hardy people getting ready for the plunge of their life. The procession of potential hardy polar bears to the beach was evident with bagpipers and the display of U.S. and Ireland flags from the Sons of Ireland. The polar bears trudged onto the chilly sand wrapped in towels, bathrobes, blankets and sweat suits, anything to stay warm.

 

Then came the big moment for everyone at the stroke of one, the polar bears casted off their warm layers and charged whooping and screaming into the frigid ocean. The brave swimmers marked the beginning of 2009 by taking a dip in the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean at Asbury Park. I am sure there were those people that thought about chickening out, but then saw the many children and grandmothers getting wet. It's just kind of a crazy thing to do, warmth be damned

 

Brrrrr! Then it was over. About 30 seconds later, it was all over for most folks. They had proven something this day while dripping wet and with a slight blue tinge to their skin. Actions quickly turned to finding something warm to wear and something hot to drink as their legs felt as if they were on fire.

 

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(Then it is over and there is quick dash to get out and find something to warm your body)

 

The Polar Bear Plunge along the northern Jersey Shore is quickly becoming a beloved New Year's Day tradition in Monmouth County.  It has become one of the most popular ways to start the new year.  The uniqueness of this event, unlike many others, is that it involves being outdoors, in clean water, with many people of all genders, age groups, income levels, and every demographic area of the region all coming together, with one goal in mind, - a craving for cold-water swimming and a chance to find people just as crazy as you are.