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Week in News: Student's Death Stuns, School Districts Swindled, Unexplained Explosions

Find the headlines you may have missed around Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Belmar Woman's Death Stuns Community

Gabrielle Hillman, a 21-year-old Belmar resident and St. Rose High School graduate found dead in her Pennsylvania college dorm room Monday, had a bright future ahead of her, according to those who knew her. 

Read more on Manasquan-Belmar Patch.

Ex-Hazlet Transportation Manager Charged With Stealing $229K From School District

Hazlet - A former employee of the Hazlet Township and Piscataway School Districts was arrested by the state police, and charged with stealing approximately $565,772 from both districts. 

According to police, former Transportation Manager/Supervisor Michelle Pumilia, 39, of Union Beach authorized payments to fictitious bus companies for transportation services that were never provided to the districts, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. 

Read more in the Holmdel-Hazlet Patch. 

Police Investigating Reported Explosions In Pine Lake Park

Manchester police continue to investigate reports of explosions felt within the township's Pine Lake Park section over the past nearly two months. 

"We know that they're occurring," said Capt. Lisa Parker. The cause, though, is still under investigation by detectives.

Read more on Manchester Patch.

Barge Delivering Shells for Bay Reef Site

Brick- A barge carrying tens of thousands of clam shells was located just south of Atlantic City Monday night, on its way to Barnegat Bay.

Its final destination will be a one-acre site in the central portion of the bay that scientists have identified as a historic site for oyster growth.

Read more on Brick Patch.

Barnacle Bill's Tradition: Is it 'Peanuts'?

Rumson- For decades, the comforting crunch of peanut shells underfoot, a table with a riverfront view and a standing appetizer of mindless shelling, munching and good company is what many people in the Rumson-Fair Haven area have counted on from Barnacle Bill’s.

Going through those auto-pilot motions of walking in to a place where old friends meet, scooping up those peanuts, cracking and catching up is something that has been known to soothe the local soul like hot chicken soup on a cold day.

Read more on Rumson-Fair Haven Patch.

Hulafrog: By Moms, for Moms

Red Bank- In an unassuming office space above a newsstand advertising tobacco and lottery tickets, an internet empire takes form.

The concept was formed when Kerry Bowbliss and Sherry Lombardi, both mothers to two young children and neighbors living just three blocks away from each other, separately envisioned an online space for women like them. What they needed, and what they couldn’t find, they said, was a place for parents to find local events, activities, listings and reviews.

Read more on Red Bank-Shrewsbury Patch.

Second-Place Finish On Jeopardy! For Wall Resident

He beat out thousands of hopefuls to secure a spot on the nationally televised game show Jeopardy!, but Wall resident Craig Chern could not topple the champion on Wednesday night’s show. .

Read more on Wall Patch.

Little Silver Artist Loses Job and Thrives

Little Silver- For Carol Bruno of Little Silver, everything happens for a reason.

For 30 years, she worked alongside a dentist focusing on the patient in the chair until "out-of-the-blue," she was told that her services as a dental assistant were no longer needed 18 months ago.

"That was very traumatic," Bruno recalled, perched on a stool around her tiled kitchen island on a recent afternoon. "It took a long time to get over it," she said, adding that ultimately she made the decision to move on for good.

Read more on Little Silver-Oceanport Patch.

Anti-Obama Store Owner Says He's Not a Racist

Spring Lake- The Skuby & Co. clothing store in Spring Lake Wednesday morning was humming. 

Bill Skuby, the store's owner who made regional fame Tuesday for a controversial window display featuring President Barack Obama portrayed as a witch doctor, was answering the phone, which rang every minute or two, with a warning to callers that he'd be happy to talk so long as they were friendly. 

Skuby said he opened shop that morning with dozens of messages — some supportive, others somewhat profane — on the store's answering machine because of a politically-charged Halloween display some have accused of being racist. 

Read more on Manasquan-Belmar Patch.

Weary Residents Want Solutions for Disorderly Behavior at Sunrise Beach

Martin O’Donnell is a concerned parent simply making sure that his 7-year-old daughter does not have to ride her bike in and out of used condoms and beer cans.

At the Sunrise Beach Club on Capstan Drive, the beach is technically closed from dusk to dawn but people tend to congregate there at all hours of the night, O’Donnell and other residents of the area said. From lewd behavior, drinking and supposed drug deals to thefts, property damage and illegal parking, something has to be done, said O’Donnell, who often phones the police and takes matters into his own hands by “politely” asking the trespassers to leave.

Read more on Lacey Patch.

Trinity Hall All-Girls School Is Considering Middletown Site

At its first public event in Lincroft, the founders of the all-girls school Trinity Hall announced they are engaged in discussions with Middletown officials about potentially opening their school on a site within the township in fall 2013.

The founders made the announcement before 150 people at an International Day of the Girl event held Thursday night at Christian Brothers Academy.

On the advice of the school's attorney, Gmelich said she could not reveal the exact location of the Middletown site, because negotiations are ongoing.

Read more in the Middletown-NJ Patch

Somerset Development Signs Contract for Alcatel-Lucent Property in Holmdel

Somerset Development has entered into a contract with Alcatel-Lucent to purchase the 473-acre Crawfords Corner Road property in Holmdel for an undisclosed price, Mayor Patrick Impreveduto said Wednesday night. The closing date is Dec. 31.

Somerset will develop the property in accordance with the township's Redevelopment Plan adopted in May if the deal is sealed. 

Read more in the Holmdel-Hazlet Patch

Issue With Political Emails Sent to School District Employees Considered Resolved

Toms River Regional School Board called a special meeting to discuss the consequences of 64 district email addresses being sent school board political messages, and then adjourned after candidates confirmed no district email addresses would be recipients in the future.

At Friday's meeting, the possible misuse of the district email server to send a message from the "Clean Slate" team of candidates seeking election to several thousand addresses included sending the political message to 64 school employees' district email.

Read more on Toms River Patch.

NJNG Ordered to Stop Work Downtown

Mayor Pat Menna has ordered Red Bank police to stop New Jersey Natural Gas crews from continuing to work without a permit immediately in their effort to replace 88 underground gas regulators throughout the borough's downtown with above ground ones.

Read more on Red Bank-Shrewsbury Patch.

Boardwalk Businesses Will Look at Mayor's Offer if He Puts it in Writing

An attorney for Jenkinson's and Martell's said he is willing to look at the mayor's proposal for dropping the local midnight bar closing law - but he wants to see it in writing.

"He should have his attorney send me his proposal in writing," said attorney Ronald Gasiorowski on Thursday, when asked to respond to Mayor Vincent Barrella's comments at the Tuesday night Point Beach Council meeting. Barrella said at the meeting that he would not mind repealing the midnight bar closing ordinance if the boardwalk businesses would first withdraw lawsuits against that and the District 4 parking plan.

Read more on Point Pleasant Patch.

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