Submitted by Allison Barker for Fisher Jones Family DentistryJoann Bell spoke at the auction about the impact that Big Brothers Big Sisters has had with her three sons.When the news was delivered, I was thrilled and overjoyed. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington had raised over $225,000, more than $100,000 more than last year!On Saturday, October 5, 2013 nearly 400 people attended the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington Auction at Great Wolf Lodge. It was a fun-filled and inspiring evening that helped showcase the local non-profit organization. The black-tie fundraiser raised money to fund matches between Bigs (adults) and Littles (kids) right here in our community.Many of us are blessed to have a family that we spend quality time with. We enjoy our weekends together, sit down to family dinners, visit local attractions, and cheer at sporting events. These are some of life’s little blessings, all of which are often taken for granted.Many children, in our community, are missing these valuable experiences. Some families have been split and some children do not have parents that can be with them all the time. These children are without a positive role model, and there are many of these children right here in our community.A positive role model is someone who a child can rely on for guidance, a person they can look up to and will serve as a vital part of a child’s growth into an adult.My husband, Garrett Barker, and I were pleased to be part of raising funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington.Enter Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington. Our Olympia office provides an amazing service of matching children with a positive mentor. It costs Big Brothers Big Sisters about $1,500 per year to facilitate and support each match.After a comprehensive background check and application process, a match is made based on common interests and personalities. Once a Big and Little are matched, they receive continuous professional support, which includes contact between each Big, Little and the parent/guardian and professional staff. Big Brothers Big Sisters ensures that the relationship is growing into a positive, healthy, safe environment. This organization strongly believes that children have the right to succeed in life, no matter what their situation may be.I donate my time every year to be a part of this growing organization. I do it because I believe every child should be surrounded by loving, positive people that help teach, encourage and uplift them. I am extremely blessed to have grown up with so many wonderful influences, and I truly believe that Big Brothers Big Sisters can help do that for so many youth in our community. The staff and volunteers are making a difference in people’s lives, and that fills me with such joy and gratitude.What can you do to help make an impact on children’s lives in our community? Volunteer, donate, become a Big! Our local dental office, Fisher Jones Family Dentistry, proudly supports the growth of our youth in the community and has become a financial supporter of the organization. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington has four major fundraising events throughout the year: the BIG Breakfast, Bowl for Kids Sake, the BIG Swing Golf Tournament, and the BIG Auction. Get involved, attend one of these fabulous events – they are fun, and they help to raise the much-needed funds to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters office of Southwest Washington.Think outside the box, and be aware of other’s lives and stories. Help your community to be the best it can be.To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington visit www.swwabigs.org or call 360-943-0409 Facebook63Tweet0Pin0
Submitted by Thurston CountyThurston County Auditor’s licensing division first to offer same-day title service in South Sound Starting Monday, May 5, residents in Thurston County will be able to get same-day vehicle and vessel title service at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office in Olympia.“We’re always looking for ways to improve our customer service, and adding Quick Title to the services we offer was an obvious choice for us,” said Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall. “This same-day title service will help anyone who is trying to complete a private sale and needs the title to do it. We’re really pleased to offer this new convenient option for our residents.”With a typical title transaction, customers must wait four to six weeks for the title to arrive in the mail from the state Department of Licensing after they have filed the paperwork and paid all of the necessary fees. The new Quick Title service will now allow customers to walk in to the Auditor’s Office and walk out the same day with the title for a $50 fee in addition to all other necessary fees.Since each vehicle and vessel title transaction is unique, the county’s licensing staff members encourage customers to bring all of their relevant documents with them to the Auditor’s Office. Quick Title service is not available online.For more information, including “Quick Title Q&A,” go to the Thurston County Auditor’s Licensing Division webpages at www.co.thurston.wa.us/auditor and click on the “Licensing” tab. For Quick Title transactions and other vehicle and vessel licensing transactions, visit the Thurston County Auditor’s Office in Building One at the County Courthouse complex at 2000 Lakeridge Drive in Olympia. Facebook0Tweet0Pin0
Facebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Saint Martin’s UniversityThe Saint Martin’s University Chorale will join the Olympia Chamber Orchestra for their eighth, collaborative Major Works Concert on Saturday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m., in Marcus Pavilion, located on the Lacey campus. The two groups will perform Franz Joseph Haydn’s epic piece, The Creation.“This is a gorgeous and famous classical major work,” says Chorale Director Darrell Born, associate professor of music and chair of the Saint Martin’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Claudia Simpson-Jones is the chamber orchestra conductor.Considered by many as a masterpiece of the 18th century, Austrian composer, The Creation (written in 1797-1798) is an oratorio that depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the biblical Book of Genesis and in Paradise Lost. It is scored for soprano, tenor, bass soloist and a chorus, and is structured in three parts.Born will sing the role of Adam during the performance. The other soloists and their roles in the oratorio are as follows:James Walters, tenor, in the role of Uriel – Walters recently made his musical theatre debut in the leading role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse. His recent opera credits include singing as Tonio in previews of La Fille du Regiment for the Seattle Opera Guild; The Barber of Seville (Count Almaviva) and The Magic Flute (Tamino), both with Northwest Opera.Ellaina Lewis, soprano, as Gabriel – Lewis’ principal roles include Amina in Bellini’s La Sonnambula; Monica in Menotti’s The Medium; Treemonisha in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha; Erzulie in Flaherty’s Once on this Island; Pamina in The Magic Flute; Gertrude in Hansel and Gretel, and Sally Hemmings in Garett Fisher’s Sally Hemmings. In the summer of 2009, she debuted the role of Simona in Night Flight, the operatic adaptation of the Saint-Exupéry novel, with Book-It Repertory.Thomas Freet, bass/baritone, as Raphael – Freet performed leading roles with Tacoma Opera, Seattle Civic Light Opera, University of Washington School of Music, South Kitsap Opera, Skagit Opera, Puget Sound Opera and Opera Pacifica. Roles he has performed include Mephistopheles in Faust; Sarastro in The Magic Flute; Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni; Gugliemo in Cosi Fan Tutte; Count Almaviva in Marriage of Figaro, and Escamillo in Carmen. Freet’s previous oratorio soloist performances include Messiah, The Creation and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.Denise Daverso, soprano, as Eve — Daverso has been soloist with the Federal Way Chorale, Olympia Chamber Orchestra, Illinois Opera Theater, Chamber Music Chicago, and Chicago Opera Theater. A strong advocate of vocal chamber music, Daverso was soprano and founding member of The Rookwood Trio (soprano, tenor and keyboard), which undertook the commissioning of new music resulting in four world premieres. Daverso has sung as a professional choral singer and soloist for the Robert Shaw Carnegie Hall Choir, The Rockefeller Chapel Choir, and Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago. She sang with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus under the baton of Bruno Bartoletti and Marek Janowski.The event is free to Saint Martin’s University faculty, staff and students with ID. The event is $5 at the door for the public.Because of a private event taking place that same evening in the Norman Worthington Conference Center, guests are requested to enter the concert through the Northeast doors of Marcus Pavilion instead of through the main lobby. Volunteers and signage will be available to assist with directions.
Submitted by Thurston CountyThe Habitat for Humanity Store is moving to a new location in West Olympia.If you have usable building materials and household goods, donating them for a good cause just got easier. A South Sound Habitat for Humanity drop-off station is now open at the county’s Waste and Recovery Center.“The idea was to create one-stop service for reuse, recycling and trash at our transfer station,” said Loni Hanka, Education and Outreach Specialist with Thurston County Solid Waste. “Contractors and residents can drop off recyclable or reusable items before they go through the tollhouse, so that saves them money while conserving resources.”The recycling facility at the WARC houses Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill donation stations, plus facilities for recycling plastic, glass, paper, cardboard and Styrofoam. Thurston County Solid Waste funded the start-up costs for the new Habitat for Humanity station through a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.The Habitat for Humanity donation station accepts the same items as the South Sound Habitat for Humanity store locations in Olympia and Yelm. This includes working appliances, cabinets, doors, flooring, furniture, light fixtures, hardware, lumber, plumbing, roofing, and non-aluminum windows. Donating these usable materials gives you a tax deduction and allows you to skip the cost of disposal. Habitat resells the items at their store locations and uses the proceeds to build housing for low-income families.Construction and demolition debris is a big portion of the waste stream. Fortunately, much of it is reusable or recyclable, and keeping it out of the trash can save you money. Many construction and household items and materials can be reused or recycled instead of trashing them. Thurston County Solid Waste maintains a database at www.WhereDoITakeMy.org that contains locations to take many types of reusable and recyclable materials.For more information, visit www.ThurstonSolidWaste.org/GreenBuilding or contact Loni Hanka at HankaL@co.thurston.wa.us or (360) 867-2282.For more information about other materials that are accepted at the county’s Waste and Recovery Center, visit www.ThurstonSolidWaste.org and click on the “Waste and Recovery Center” icon. Facebook1Tweet0Pin0
Facebook0Tweet0Pin0Submitted by The Port of Olympia Investments in Port-owned real estate in Tumwater and Olympia are among the major projects in the 2016 budget approved by the Commission on Nov. 23rd. Also included in the budget are funds for the construction of a fuel dock at Swantown Marina.The master planning process for the Port’s Tumwater properties began in early 2015 and is expected to be completed in first quarter 2016. At that time, the Port will have the information necessary to guide future growth of New Market Industrial Campus and Tumwater Town Center. These areas comprise over 500 acres and may be developed for commercial, industrial or other uses.Key partners on this project include City of Tumwater and contractors Shea Carr Jewel (SCJ) Alliance and Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC). SCJ has studied the land’s physical and environmental characteristics related to development and TRPC has been leading a public process to learn community preferences for the area.The repurposing of Tumwater Town Center aligns with the work citizens did at the public meetings for the master planning process. Work will begin in 2016 to bring these buildings up to date and create an attractive campus for businesses, customers and employees.The master planning process for the remaining Port Peninsula properties begins in 2016. This will include primarily undeveloped real estate in the East Bay, Swantown and NorthPoint districts. It will also include a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Port Peninsula.The proposed fuel dock at Swantown Marina is currently in the environmental review and permitting processes which could be concluded in spring 2016. Once all permits have been granted, staff will ask the Commission for permission to bid construction of the project. This is the decision point for the Commission.Commission President George Barner said that the budget itself is a plan and is not the final say on the larger projects.“For example,” said Barner, the budget includes funds to construct the fuel dock. But the Commission must first approve the Port’s going out for a construction bid. That is the point where the Commission decides whether or not to go forward with the project.”The Commission approved the Port’s 2016 tax levy which increased to include new construction. To the average Thurston County property owner, this will result in an annual increase in Port tax of 52 cents.
Facebook18Tweet0Pin0Submitted by ComcastOn Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 Comcast will open a new XFINITYT Store in Olympia. The Olympia store is the latest store opening as part of a larger effort to improve the customer experience. The new XFINITY Store is in the Target Place Shopping Center, 2915 Harrison Ave. NW, Ste. 200, directly next to Target.More than double the size of its predecessor, the new store is 4,600 square feet and will include five new positions for a total of 12 staff.The new Comcast Xfinity Store is located in West Olympia, next door to Target. Photo courtesy: Comcast.Customers can come to the Olympia Xfinity Store to get help, pay their bills, ask questions, return equipment, resolve issues and experience the latest products and technologies. This store is the latest opening as part of a larger effort to redesign all XFINITY stores to improve the customer experience. More than double the size of its predecessor, the new store is 4,600 square feet and will include five new positions for a total of 12 staff. The XFINITY Customer Service Center will be open 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays.The previous location at 440 Yauger Way SW, closes on Sunday, Jan. 8. Customers have been notified of the move through posters and leaflets at the current location and PSAs on television in the area.“We’re proud to provide our customers with a welcoming environment where they can experience our XFINITY products and services firsthand and check out our latest technology in an interactive environment,” said Vicky Oxley, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Comcast in Washington.”Five flat screen HD televisions are available for Comcast customers to learn about products. Photo courtesy: Comcast.The new, interactive center features five flat screen HD TVs, a comfortable seating area and informational demo centers where customers can learn about Comcast’s products and services, such as the signature X1 Entertainment Operating System, which provides a one-of-a-kind interactive TV experience with advanced Voice search, personalized recommendations and instant access to the latest shows and movies anytime on any screen.Additionally, customers will receive personalized service from knowledgeable Xfinity employees and time-saving offerings, including self-service kiosks for quick bill payment and a new queuing system that allows customers to explore and be entertained instead of waiting in line. Customers can check out the latest Xfinity products and services, such as our Xfinity Home, while using recharging stations and the interactive iPad bar.The new store will also sell a variety of products and accessories, offering more convenience to Comcast customers. These will include HDMI cables, wireless speakers, wireless extenders, phones and Minion plush dolls. The store will also sell equipment such as door locks that are compatible with XFINITY Home smarthome and security offerings.The new Comcast Xfinity Olympia store opens to customers on Monday, January 9, 2017. Photo courtesy: Comcast.The Olympia store is a great place for customers to learn about all Comcast’s free mobile apps, like Xfinity TV Go, which enables customers to watch live TV or On Demand on mobile devices or the My Account app, which simplifies account changes and bill payments.The Olympia store is part of Comcast’s larger transformation to ensure customers have an exceptional experience from the moment they order a new service, to installation, to the way we interact with them, whether it’s in person, online or over the phone. To accomplish this Comcast made incremental investments of $300 million in 2016, focusing efforts on opening new customer support centers, hiring more customer service employees, redesigning stores and being on time for every tech appointment.
Facebook4Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Commencement BankCommencement Bank (OTCQX:CBWA) is pleased to announce that long-time, Olympia resident Daniel Howard is joining the Thurston First Olympia branch as Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer. His expected start date is June 15, 2017. Howard brings over 20 years’ experience in banking, with his most recent position at South Sound Bank, specializing in lending and deposit solutions for local businesses.Daniel Howard joins the Thurston First Bank as a Commercial Loan Officer. Photo courtesy: Commencement Bank“I am excited for the opportunity to join the Thurston First banking team and continue as a commercial lender in the community that I have served for many years. This partnership will allow me to offer the relationship-focused, customized banking solutions you expect from a local bank with the added benefit of new products and services, more locations, and an increased lending capacity,” said Howard.Thurston First Bank, now operating as a division of Commencement Bank, remains deeply committed to Thurston County. The Bank will continue to build its reputation in the community with their local team and innovative banking solutions.About Thurston First BankThurston First Bank, a division of Commencement Bank, is located in Olympia, Washington, and provides businesses and professionals with resources and innovative banking solutions in Thurston County. It has earned an excellent reputation for integrity, personalized service, technology-based solutions, and exceptional clients and partners. As a local bank, it is committed to promoting social and cultural growth by reinvesting in the community. To learn more about Thurston First Bank, please visit the Thurston First Bank’s webiste.About Commencement BankCommencement Bank, headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, was formed in 2006 to provide traditional, reliable, and sustainable banking in Pierce County, South King County and the surrounding areas. The team of experienced banking experts focuses on personal attention, flexible service, and building strong relationships with customers through state of the art technology as well as traditional delivery systems. As a local bank, Commencement Bank is deeply committed to the community. For more information, please visit the Commencement Bank’s website. For information related to the trading of CBWA, please visit the OTC Market’s website.
By Gretchen C. Van BenthuysenLike a lot of college students, Richard M. Maser worked various jobs to earn money to help pay the bills.He didn’t realize it then, but he was laying the groundwork for becoming an entrepreneur who today is the founder, president and CEO of Maser Consulting, a Red Bank-based engineering firm with more than 600 employees and 21 offices along the east coast from New York to Florida, plus New Mexico.His firm specializes in private and public site development; and municipal, traffic and land surveying.As he grew his business he also specialized in keeping his people happy and productive so they stayed – as many do – for 20 or 30 years.“You have to understand people’s personalities and I credit the many jobs I’ve had for that,” he said during a recent interview at his headquarters on Newman Springs Road. “In college I worked for UPS loading trucks, I managed a pool hall, I delivered oil to houses and apartment buildings, I picked up flowers at Newark Airport.“So I dealt with a lot of people and had a lot of different bosses,” he said. “That taught me how to interact with people.“We do that here. We do motivational value training with staff,” he explained. “You can’t have the same approach to talking to everybody. You have to adjust your style depending on the other person. One size doesn’t fit everybody.”Growing up in Newark as the second oldest of five children also helped him learn how to play well with others. It certainly taught him a strong work ethic, Maser said.“My father was a fire captain in Newark, a hard-working blue collar man who always had a part-time job,” he said. “My Mom had a part- time job at S. Klein (on the Square) in Newark, but mostly she was a stay-at-home mom and we were a handful.”He spent his summers at his grandparents’ bungalow in the Leonardo section of Middletown and one of his high school jobs was clerking at the local Foodtown.So it seemed fitting that Philip J. Scaduto, vice president of Food Circus Super Markets which owns area Foodtowns, nominated Maser for the 43rd Joshua Huddy Distinguished Citizen Award that he accepted Nov. 5 at a dinner attended by 270 people at Trump National Golf Club in Colts Neck.“I always looked on this award as the greatest award any individual can get in Monmouth County,” said Scaduto, who received the award last year. “It’s very desirable and you’re lucky to receive it.“Richard is an all-around great guy who’s a community advocate and does a lot for a lot of charities. He’s an all-around great guy, and very deserving.”The event raised at least $295,000, which will be used by the Boy Scouts for programming and maintaining local camps, said William P. Montanaro, director of development and marketing.Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth), who has known Maser for about 30 years, presented the award to his friend. Kyrillos also is a previous award winner. He said their children grew up together. (Maser, twice divorced, is the father of Elizabeth, 24, Emily, 21, and Richard 19.)“Although he wasn’t a Boy Scout, he exemplifies all the attributes of a great Boy Scout,” Kyrillos said. “He’s a very impressive businessman who owns one of the largest engineering companies in the state that he started from scratch.”Maser graduated in 1973 from the Newark College of Engineering, now a part of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, he said. During summer breaks, he worked at T&M Associates, Middletown, first as a surveyor then an inspector. After graduation he was offered a job and he took it. Four years later he moved to Shoor DePalma, another local firm.He learned a lot at both firms, he said but was frustrated and decided to start his own company in 1984 with $84,000 he had left after his divorce. He opened an office in a small house on Main Street in Marlboro and lived on the second floor. Friends referred clients to him, former colleagues worked part-time for him.“One of the things I always wanted, philosophy-wise, was to balance private sector land development (parking lots, grading, drainage) and public sector municipal work (roads, parks, water towers for towns),” Maser explained, so that when one of those areas took a downturn – such as the residential market in the late ‘80s – he had government work to keep him afloat.His next milestone was in 1998 when he fired his No. 2 man over philosophical differences just in time to take advantage of the boom in his industry in the early 2000s, he said.And here’s where that ability to read people became a really important advantage.“Since then I’ve attracted a lot of positive people from different geographic locations, different skill sets, and built my business around a lot of strategic hires,” Maser said.That’s how he ended up with an office in Albuquerque. As part of the firm’s business plan, a decision was made to invest $1.5 million in geospatial survey technology, including Mobile LiDAR laser scanning equipment. This cutting-edge technology can be mounted on a vehicle or train and scan everything in its path to produce a high definition map that is stored in the cloud.The scanned data contains millions of points of highly accurate information used for mapping roadway and railway features and assets such as tunnel clearances, lighting fixtures, manholes, and intersections.“We wanted to know who was the best person who does this type of work. And that person happened to live in Albuquerque,” Maser said. “We bought the equipment, but first made sure he was on board.”Maser said he didn’t even ask the guy to move for the job.“One thing you learn is anyone who moves out West never moves back East,” he said with a laugh.“We now use the equipment all over the country,” he said.Maser is sincere when he credits his success to the people he hired.“It’s not anywhere near all about me. It’s really the team I’ve developed,” he said. “We have 60-plus shareholders that come from diverse backgrounds – women, surveyors, scientists, engineers – it’s a diversified group and that allows for a lot of input from different viewpoints and that makes us successful.”Maser also donates to and sits on the board of local charities and nonprofit groups, but never more than two at a time so he can give them the attention they need.Take Lunch Break of Red Bank, which provides food, clothing and services to community members in need.“I passed their building every day on my way to work and saw regular people walking in who needed help. It just looked like a worthy cause to me.”He couldn’t join their board, but his company is doing pro bono survey work for a new building in Shrewsbury.However, Maser recently joined the board at The Arc of Monmouth, for people with mental and physical disabilities. At the suggestion of his fiancé Debbie Parker, he hired an Arc client to do office scanning. It worked out so well, he said, he plans to expand the program to other offices.Maser, now 66, said he keeps promising his fiancé he will slow down from 55 to 40 hours a week.“That’s like retirement to me,” he jokes, adding his only hobby is boating. “I enjoy what I do. Maybe we’ll just take more vacations.”
By Deirdre Higgins |FAIR HAVEN – “I feel good about myself, because we play a lot of games and I get a lot faster at running,” said Catalina Frank, 11, about the benefits of participating in her local Girls On the Run (GOTR) program.The program, part of a nationwide organization, encourages girls to lead a healthy and confident life, while integrating running as exercise. The national nonprofit focuses primarily on the wellness and happiness of adolescent girls and has spread to over 200 councils in 50 states.Girls on the Run participants at Fair Haven Fields. Photo by Deirdre HigginsMother and fellow runner, Sue Flynn, coaches the third- through eighth-grade girls from Fair Haven, Rumson and Little Silver in more than just running. “The girls learn about bullying, choosing their friends and core values, what you value in your friends and what you should value in yourself,” Flynn said. She empowers them to be the best person they can be and love themselves for who they are.The group spent the fall improving their running skills at Fair Haven Fields in preparation for a 5k race in Somerville on Nov. 19. “The running portion is fun for the girls and provides an outlet they may not have had before,” said Flynn. The race provided a tangible goal for the girls and helped them gain confidence through their accomplishments.“The 5K was really fun, it got me really pumped up,” said Catalina.With each practice, the girls had an opportunity to unite as a team and share words of encouragement and enthusiasm. Small compliments were happily accepted and beaming smiles graced their faces by the end of each practice, accompanied by a rousing group chant: “Girls on the run, girls on the run, girls on the run is so much fun!” Despite the obstacles the girls may have faced throughout the day, GOTR provided a concrete time for the girls to gain confidence and support each other.“We work on confidence and what we should and shouldn’t do in life,” said Catalina.While mainly focusing on lighthearted topics during the non-running portion of the practices, the group will sometimes broach a serious subject. After a recent run, Flynn asked the team how they feel when they see models and women in magazines, if the way they dress or look had an impact on the girls. The group members expressed mixed thoughts and feelings on the subject, ultimately concluding that each person is beautiful in their own way. One team member loudly proclaimed, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”With another successful season behind them, the runners are now equipped with a positive outlook and a personal confidence they may have not carried before. “I just really believe in the Girls On the Run program, how it can impact these girls and the message within it,” said Flynn.This article was first published in the Nov. 30-Dec. 7, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.
By Chris Rotolo |MIDDLETOWN – For 11 years straight, Bob Kennelly has been the fastest mountain bike rider to cross the open fields, trails and woodlands of Tatum Park, finishing first at the annual Woods Hollow Mountain Bike Race. But on Saturday, his winning streak was broken.This past year had been a hard one, Kennelly explained, straining him both physically and mentally, and regular riding had to take a back seat. He finished the race in 21st place, between by his two sons who also biked in the race, Andrew, 26, and Matt, 31.“My fitness isn’t where it should be right now and I just didn’t have the motor I usually do out there,” said the 61-year old Lincroft resident.The Woods Hollow Mountain Bike Race at Tatum Park in Middletown has become a family tradition for Andrew, left, Matt and Bob Kennelly, and the Nov. 3 outing was one that will hold a special place in their hearts. Photo by Chris RotoloAccording to his sons, the opening gun is normally the last moment the boys would see of their father in competitive races like the Woods Hollow event.“Usually he just blasts past us and he’s gone,” said Andrew. “He’s usually so far ahead that by the time we finish, he’ll be on the sideline taking photos and video of us as we come across the finish line.”Bob Kennelly said having his boys riding by his side through Tatum’s meadows and hills helped provide the energy and focus he needed to get to the finish.It’s key to get into the zone, Matt agreed. “As well as competitive racers, we’re also skateboarders. And when we’re out riding or doing tricks, everything you have going on outside that moment just melts away,” he said.“You’re so focused on pedaling and battling through the wind gusts and getting blasted in the face by mud, and then something crazy like your chain falls off at one point or another,” Andrew said. “And you have to battle through all of this. There isn’t time to dwell on anything else. Riding has been helpful to us and I think it’s been helpful to him, too.”Kennelly has been riding competitively since 1989 and his sons both began trail riding at 3 years old. It wasn’t long before their collective interest in cruising local bike paths forged this competitive family tradition at Tatum Park.“He’s had better finishes and we’ve done better, but being able to share this with him was special,” Andrew said. “It’s a historic race for our family and one we’ll always remember.”RESULTSThe 22nd Annual Woods Hollow Mountain Bike Race, organized by the Monmouth County Parks System, drew more than 100 participants to Tatum Park on Nov. 3. The top finishers were:SPORTS RACE, Men: Rumson resident Donald Ritger, 31, was the overall winner (52:53.6), and was followed by David Taylor, 38, of Hazlet (53:55.2) and Michael Fennell, 40, of Middletown (54:43.4).SPORTS RACE, Women: Keira Sciance, 33, of Middletown (1:06.31) finished atop the women’s field, while Lara Henrichs, 21, of Point Pleasant (1:23.40) placed second and Donna Ventura, 35, of Long Branch (1:27.39) finished third.KIDS RACE: Middletown’s Caroline Dodds, 9, was the gold medal winner in the kids race with a time of 7:35.1, while Conor DeSarno, 9, of Wall Township (8:02.8) finished second and Ella Drach, 12, of West Long Branch (8:56.1) rounded out the top three.This article was first published in the Nov. 8-14, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.