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Beachwood | Island Heights | Ocean Gate | Pine Beach | South Toms River | Toms River

FREE • Early Summer 2012 • Beachwood, N.J.

Truth • Heritage • Environment

Beachwood • Island Heights • Ocean Gate • Pine Beach • South Toms River • Toms River

Waking Nightmare

Toms River Family Caught in Mortgage Meat Grinder Eric San Juan

TOMS RIVER—The Racanellis have not had a good 18 months. A series of health and financial crises have battered their spirit and left them struggling to make ends meet. Looming largest has been an ongoing struggle with foreclosure on their Toms River home. The family believes their bank, Wells Fargo, not only foreclosed on them incorrectly, but has not worked with them in good faith to resolve their dispute. Their story is a long and winding one. Sometimes confusing and often a web of dates and numbers, it illustrates how difficult navigating the minefield of mortgages and foreclosures can be for many Americans - often with dire long-term consequences for those caught up in the process. It began as a familiar enough story: in 2005, the family borrowed $180,000 from Pinnacle Mortgage to purchase their family home, a single story bungalow on the wetland shore

Jim and Belencita Racinelli stand with their children on the front lawn of the Gilford Park home they are fighting to save, despite the quixotic efforts of the multinational bank that took over their mortgage. Erik Weber/Riverside Signal of Dillon’s Creek, standing at A police officer for 10 years, paid the past due amount on the edge of Gilford Park across most recently with the Passaic their home, but Wells Fargo from Island Heights. The first County Sherriff’s Office, Mr. sent the checks back and started few years things went well. Racinelli was laid off in 2009 proceedings to put the home in James Racanelli, 46, worked with some 1,000 other officers foreclosure instead. Working in law enforcement and with in the State of New Jersey. with an attorney, the family his wife, Belencita, raised their Things quickly went south. got the matter resolved. They family of three children in their By late 2010, the Racinellis were thought it was just another new home. In June 2008, as the past due on their mortgage, a bump in the road. financial world began to spin off problem further exacerbated Four months later, the former its axis, Wells Fargo purchased when they had to shoulder the police officer was hit by a bus the mortgage from Pinnacle. cost of burying Jim’s father and while on the job as a truck The financial crisis came and suffering a house fire in January driver delivering cars to try many watched, wondering 2011. Then Wells Fargo called and keep his family sheltered what it meant for them. Then, for the money owed. and fed, resulting in a rotator something changed. One month later, the Racanellis continued on page 36

Beachwood Youth is Junior Olympic Gold Medalist Karate Champ Shae Papa Also Brings Home Silver Erik Weber

Beachwood resident Shae Papa won gold and silver medals in the 2012 Karate Junior Olympics plus three more at the 2012 USA Karate Open with her school, Rising Sun Karate Academy of Toms River, earlier this year. Erik Weber/Riverside Signal

B E AC H WO OD — Re s i d e n t s here should rest a little easier knowing there’s now an internationally medaled karate champion in their midst. Earlier this year, 11-year-old Shae Papa attended the United States Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics in Las Vegas with her school, Rising Sun Karate Academy (RSKA) of Toms River, a mere two years after winning a contest and taking an initial two week trial at the school. In the days that followed, she earned two medals, a gold and a silver. This summer she was honored

by the Beachwood mayor and council, and given an opportunity to speak briefly about her experience starting and competing in the sport. “There was a circus kind of thing over by the [Ocean County Mall] and they had [Rising Sun Karate Academy] do a performance,” she said. At the performance, the school held a contest to give away two free weeks of karate lessons at their academy, which both she and her younger brother won. “It so happened that we won, and I tried it and I really liked doing it—it was really fun for me, it clicked.” Rick Herbster, owner and one of the instructors at RSKA, said continued on page 42

Last Chance for Peto House’s “Art of the Sail” Erik Weber ISLAND HEIGHTS—On a fireplace mantle, a dark 19th century trawler pushes across a smoky sea under an orange sun. Two children of the 1890s play in the water of a shoreline against white sails and a salt and pepper sky against a nearby wall. A wooden rumrunner sits at rest on a wide table in the master’s studio. Upstairs, heroic America’s Cup yachts race between curious Barnegat Bay catboat excursion parties, while sandbaggers float atop Long Island Sound at half-light. In two weeks, all of these sights, scenes and stories will dissolve into their original, singular elements as the John F. Peto Studio Museum’s immensely popular Art of the Sail exhibit cruises into the sunset following an initial run and extension to August 19th, three months to the day after it opened. Sailing, and by virtue of proximity, its depiction in paintings and other works by area artists, helped shape the identity, culture and history of virtually all communities on the Toms River and Barnegat Bay since the earliest days of the region’s settlement by European immigrants. So too was shaped the personal identity of John F. Peto, evidenced by his decision to move his home from Philadelphia to Island Heights in 1889 in a location just up the street from the quiet and protected Holly Cove, a childhood sketch depicting a sailboat containing his initials, various watercolors created as a young man of sailboats on the water and some family photographs that show the Peto family standing near a sailboat. “When he did a self-portrait continued on page 14


Riverside Signal - Early Summer Edition  

The Riverside Signal's Early Summer Recap edition.

Riverside Signal - Early Summer Edition  

The Riverside Signal's Early Summer Recap edition.