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Bill Heine, County Spokesman and Howell Resident, Dies

Flags will fly at half-staff at the Monmouth County Hall of Records tomorrow, where he had an office.

Longtime Howell resident and Monmouth County Director of Public Information Bill Heine died on Sunday.

Heine, who worked as Monmouth County chief spokesman since 2005, overseeing the 10-member public information and tourism departments based in Freehold, died of a heart attack on Sunday morning, according to Freeholder Serena DiMaso. 

"He always had a camera around his neck and a smile on his face," said DiMaso.

DiMaso recalled how Heine gave "210 percent" to distributing important information during recent crises like the closing of the Monmouth County courthouse in mid-June after dozens of workers there reported feeling ill, and the failure of three water mains owned by NJ American Water on June 29, which disrupted water supply to the region. 

"He handled the situations with ease and professionalism," DiMaso said, adding that he impressed her with his knowledge of every facet of county operations.  

Freeholder Tom Arnone said, "It wasn't an '8 a.m. to 5 p.m.' job for Bill -- he was dedicated to his job, dedicated to getting the correct information out to the public." 

Heine, 54, lived in Howell, and was known as a soft-spoken gentle person who had a great love of jazz.

He had attended the Feast of San Gennaro at the Jersey Shore on Friday night, and a wedding for a dear friend on Saturday, DiMaso said. 

Heine recently  which was sponsored by the National Association of County Information Officers. The award came for a photo taken during the county's 9/11 10th anniversary service. 

Heine also served as the spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance and the State of New Jersey Public Defenders Office. Prior to that he worked as a reporter and editor for the Asbury Park Press from 1980-1987. 

Heine was an active volunteer with th Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County and the Howell Little Leagues. 

The funeral arrangements include a viewing on Wednesday, Sept. 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the O'Brien Funeral Home, 505 Burnt Tavern Road, Brick, NJ. Details regarding a memorial service will be announced at a later date, according to a press release from the county.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, 3300 Route 66, Neptune, NJ 07753. The phone number is 732-918-2600.

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