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Atlantic Highlands Weather

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Clear

40 °F
SSW 5 mph

Friday
Partly Cloudy (41 ↔ 52 °F)

Saturday
Partly Cloudy (43 ↔ 68 °F)

Sunday
Clear (43 ↔ 61 °F)

Monday
Partly Cloudy (45 ↔ 73 °F)

AHH 24-Hr. News

IMAGE Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück at Monmouth U April 24
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ  – The 2013-2014 Visiting Writers Series closes with a very special reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück... Read More...
Freeholders Proclaim 2014 ‘Library Week’ in Monmouth County
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders recognizes the importance of the library system and has declared the week of April... Read More...
IMAGE Union Beach Church Recipient of Make a Difference Day Award
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Elijah Rodriguez (second from left) at Make a Difference Day National Award Ceremony  UNION BEACH, NJ - Gateway Church of Christ is the... Read More...
How Most of America’s Food is Controlled by a Few Corporations
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
LINCROFT, NJ – How 80 per cent of America’s food production has become dominated by a few corporate food processors will be explored by Patty... Read More...
Local Students Win Awards at Heritage National Music Festival
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
TINTON FALLS, N.J. –  The Upper School Chorus, Show Choir and Orchestra at Ranney School,  under the direction of instructors Tess... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE COMMON CORE Can Deliver Rigor to US Schools If It's not an Iron-Clad Mandate
by wjoreilly
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
  Make way for the Common Core, coming soon to a public school near you. Some are thrilled, others bored, and still others terrified of the... Read More...
IMAGE April Love – and April Fool
by Woody Zimmerman
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
(Edited from an article of April 2004) At our house April 1st is a favorite date for more than the usual silly reasons of practical jokes and... Read More...
IMAGE Ospreys Return this Spring To Raise A Family
by Joe Reynolds
Monday, 14 April 2014
For the past dozen years or more, during the first full week of April, I have celebrated the return of spring to Sandy Hook Bay and Raritan Bay with... Read More...
IMAGE Getting Into That "Highly Selective American College": Get Involved in Your World...NOW!
by wjoreilly
Monday, 14 April 2014
These are the schools your parents want you to get into, your friends want to get into--you may even want to get into one of them yourself. They run... Read More...
IMAGE Mayoral Candidate Avery Grant’s Pioneering Vision for Long Branch: “A Community.”
by Dennis
Sunday, 13 April 2014
When retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Avery Grant, a veteran of the Vietnam War, first moved to Long Branch, he was taken not only by its natural... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Mon Apr 21 @ 3:00PM -
Middletown 350 Genealogy Poster Project
Mon Apr 21 @ 8:00PM -
Middletown Township Committee Meeting
Wed Apr 23 @ 9:30AM - 10:50AM
Story Time
Thu Apr 24 @ 9:00AM - 11:00AM
Middletown Mayor Open Office Hours
Thu Apr 24 @ 3:15PM - 04:30PM
Children's Programs

 

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.