AHH 24-Hr. News

MOAM To Host "Come To Your Senses" Benefit
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
MONMOUTH BEACH, NJ - Musicians on a Mission will host the "Come To Your Senses" benefit this Sunday at the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center. The event will treat visitors to art that will stimulate all five senses and benefit the Media Center @... Read More...
Help Your Community Exercise Their Right to Vote in 2015
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
Become a Monmouth County election poll worker FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Elections is seeking poll workers for upcoming elections. “Voting is one of the greatest privileges that we have as Americans,” said Monmouth County... Read More...
County Gears Up for Consumer Protection Week 2015
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Division of Consumer Affairs is joining with federal, state, and local government agencies and national organizations to celebrate National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) from March 1 through March 7. “People... Read More...
IMAGE March 2015 Youth Programs at Middletown Library
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
The following programs are scheduled at Middletown Township Public Library, 55 New Monmouth Road, Middletown: Programs @ the library March 8th – 14th LEGO Free Play Mon, March 9th @3:45pm (Grades K&Up/Tween)The newest addition to our drop in... Read More...
County Seeking Employers for March 27 Job Fair
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
Companies must register to participate; jobseekers do not need to register LINCROFT, NJ – Monmouth County will again offer employers and jobseekers the opportunity to connect at the Monmouth County Spring Job Fair scheduled for Friday, March 27 at... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Winter of Discontent
by Woody Zimmerman
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
Just four months ago, angry and energized voters swarmed to the polls to give Republicans control of the Senate and increase their House of... Read More...
IMAGE Bay Birds Attempt to Avoid Bay Ice
by Joe Reynolds
Monday, 02 March 2015
Brrrrrrrr. No doubt this was a cold winter season. Just how cold? February officially made it into the record books as the coldest February in... Read More...
IMAGE Bullers Went from Journalist to Advocate
by Daniel J. Vance
Sunday, 01 March 2015
Last week, I featured long-time journalist and disability advocate Finn Bullers of Kansas City, Kansas. I'm now featuring him again because of the... Read More...
IMAGE Monmouth Republicans Have a Bright Future
by Jack Archibald
Sunday, 01 March 2015
If last weekend was any indication, the Monmouth County Republican Party is in very good shape. In the dead of winter, the Monmouth GOP held two... Read More...
IMAGE Poetical License and Truth
by George Hancock-Stefan
Friday, 27 February 2015
Our Monmouth County neighbor Mr. Brian Williams from NBC was suspended for telling a story about his time in Iraq that was not completely... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Fri Mar 06 @ 2:00PM - 07:00PM
Income Tax Help - Union Beach
Fri Mar 06 @ 7:00PM -
'Night at the Races' - AHES
Mon Mar 09 @ 7:00PM -
AH - American Legion Meeting
Wed Mar 11 @ 1:00PM -
NARFE Meets
Wed Mar 11 @ 7:00PM -
AH Council Meeting

 

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.