Giving Back

Alan Gets New Bike: The Heart of Berkeley Heights Comes Through Once Again

Alan takes his new bike for a spin. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Pictured: Cindy and John Lepore, Alan, Mike Delia and Cathy Balsamo. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Two thumbs up to the Berkeley Heights community. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Credits: Bobbie Peer
Helmet on, Alan's ready to ride. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Credits: Bobbie Peer
Credits: Bobbie Peer
Alan learns about his new equipment that will tell him how far he has ridden and his heart rate. The bike is equipped with a light and bag that he can easily clip on and off. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Credits: Bobbie Peer
Dennis Grosch from High Gear Cyclery customized the settings of the bike for Alan. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Alan with High Gear Cyclery owner Rone Lewis Credits: Bobbie Peer
Gear included with the bike. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Mike Delia reached out to help Alan pick out the bike at High Gear Cyclery. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Alan said this is the best day of his life. With Cathy Balsamo. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Alan hugs Cindy Lepore, who facilitated this community outreach to help. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Credits: Bobbie Peer
Credits: Bobbie Peer
Alan with John Lepore checking out the new bike. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Alan with Hilary Boothby and Cathy Balsamo in front of Anything Floral's "Window of Love" stories.

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The heart of Berkeley Heights comes through once again. This time, the Berkeley Heights community rallied to get Alan, a long-time Stop and Shop employee, a new bike. With the magic of social media, the sum of approximately $3,000 was raised in about a week's time to get Alan back on two wheels.

Alan is known around town for riding his bike. He works four days a week at Stop and Shop and relies on his bike to get him from his home in Stirling to Berkeley Heights. In early January, his bike "bit the dust."

When Cindy and John Lepore, of Berkeley Heights, saw Alan walking down Valley Road on one of those dangerously cold sub zero January nights, they stopped without hesitation to give Alan a ride.  

Sign Up for E-News

"When we stopped, he got right in and he told us his bike was broken," said Cindy Lepore. Alan typically doesn't accept rides from people because he doesn't want to bother anyone. However, on this particular night, he said that he was shivering so badly and hopped right into the car.  

Cindy and John knew they had to help Alan. They told Cindy's sister, Cathy Balsamo - "The Mouth [of Berkeley Heights]," as Cindy referred to her sister -- and, she immediately got into action. "Let's go, we have to help this kid," said Balsamo.

Balsamo placed an "ISO bicycle for 'Alan'" post on the Berkeley Heights Community Forum. She included a picture of his old bike and said a donation of like kind would be terrific. The post went viral, and over 200 donations were collected by Balsamo and Hilary Boothby, of Anything Floral.

When Alan found out about this generous gesture from the community, he was emotional and ecstatic at the same time. This heartfelt kindness from the community brought emotions to the employees at Stop and Shop, as well -- and many contributed to the fund.

The story hit so many "heartstrings," including those of retired Berkeley Heights detective Mike Delia, who is an avid rider himself and helped Alan to pick out his new bike.

Alan picked out his new Trek bike from High Gear Cyclery in Stirling. He has a long standing relationship with the shop, who has generously discounted the bike and gear. They have been servicing his bikes over the years, and Alan has ridden in the "pace setter" car with shop owner Rone Lewis, to lead the big annual Stirling bike race year after year.  

"Nice to have the opportunity to do something [for Alan]," said Lewis. "That is really fantastic of you folks for doing this."

Due to the overwhelming response to help Alan, gift cards to the local Shop Rite have been purchased and a fund has been set up to help with Alan's expenses [including future bike repairs at High Gear Cyclery]. In addition, a gift card was given to Stephen, a fellow Stop and Shop employee, for a new pair of sneakers.

Alan can't wait to thank the community and tell them how happy he is and how much he loves everyone in Berkeley Heights.

And remember, when you pay it forward and share kindness, you will not only make someone's day -- but your gesture of kindness may be the best day of someone's life. Just ask Alan the next time you see him.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future in North Plainfield

February 23, 2018

Councilwoman Keiona R. Miller will host the 2nd Annual North Plainfield Community Black History Month Event: ‘A Celebration of Black History.’

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  The Honorable Ronald L.  Rice, New Jersey State Senator and Chair of the New Jersey State Legislative Black Caucus.


Parkland Moms Club Seeks Cards for Teachers and First Responders

In less then 24 hours, the Parkland Moms Club put a card making event together at the park next to the amphitheater which has turned into a massive memorial. Kids from infants to 5th graders helped create cards for teachers, first responders, and hospital workers.  Paulina Splechta donated her amazing photography skills and sent us tons and tons of pictures. No matter your age, there is a ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House


Sun, February 25, 4:00 PM

North Plainfield

A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the ...


Mon, March 5, 7:00 PM

BRHS Auditorium, Bridgewater

Dangers of Fentanyl

Education Health & Wellness


South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

Parkland Strong and Proud

February 22, 2018

I want to share some thoughts with you.

I have not been posting on social media, although I have been constantly reading your posts so that I can represent you through this sad time. What our community has been saying is inspirational and has helped me cope through these “more than” trying times.

Special thanks to my fellow Parkland, Coral Springs, Broward Commissioners and ...

Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

February 12, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

WHRHS Boys Basketball: Watchung Hills Routs Somerville, 82-54

WARREN, NJ -  Six Warriors scored in the double digits to lead the Watchung Hills boys basketball game over Somerville on Saturday, 82-54.

Mike Hopwood led Watchung Hills with 17 points, Dan Pilsbury added 14 points and eight rebounds, Steven Bressler sunk 15 points, Gavin DeFuria added 13 points, Micheal Bressler got 11 points and 10 assists and Chad Martini chipped in 10 points and ...

Workshop Examines Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

February 22, 2018

BEDMINSTER, NJ – The Somerset County Business Partnership and The Center for Contemporary Art will host a “Business Builders Breakfast” and workshop focused on sexual harassment in the workplace on Tuesday, Feb. 27 beginning at 8 a.m. at The Center for Contemporary Art, 2020 Burnt Mills Road.

The 90-minute event, “Sexual Harassment & Rules of the Modern ...

Watchung Appoints New Council Member

WATCHUNG, NJ - The Watchung Borough Town Council appointed Maria Alberto to fill the unexpired portion of Debra Joren’s term at the last meeting. The term expires at the end of 2018.

Joren retired earlier this year and due to the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) was required to resign from any public office within six ...

Somerville Merchants Endorse Plan to Reduce Parking Lot Fees

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough’s controversial parking fees are set to undergo another revision, with hourly parking reduced from 75 to 50 cents in municipal lots 1,2,4 and 6, according to a merchant-driven plan endorsed by Mayor Ellen Brain.

The $1 hourly rate for parking on Main Street will remain the same, according to the mayor.

The hours of enforcement will also be changed to ...

Somerset County Preparing for Construction of Finderne Avenue Bridge, Beginning Feb. 20

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Finderne Avenue bridge, between Union Avenue and Foothill Road, will be under construction from Feb. 20 for about nine months, according to a release from Somerset County.

The bridge will be constructed in three separate stages, with one lane northbound and one lane southbound being maintained, aside from intermittent single-day closures as required. In addition, ...

EarthCam Shares Live Webcam Views of Seaside Heights Polar Bear Plunge

February 23, 2018

If you saw our article, you know about the Polar Bear Plunge this Saturday to support the Special Olympics.  If you cannot be there, but want to see the festivities, this press release tells you how you can.

WHAT: February 24 from 9am-1pm ET, thousands of people will make a mad dash into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Seaside Heights, NJ…and ...

Travels Idea - You Feel Like Freezing Your Beachballs Off this Saturday? - It’s a Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting the Special Olympics New Jersey

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ - On Saturday, Feb 24, an anticipated 7,000 people will brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, all to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey. This Plunge is especially noteworthy because it is the 25th anniversary.

Two ...

From the New York Toy Fair - Travels Reveals the Toys That Will Make You the Star of Your Child’s Life - the Oscars of the Toy World - the TOTY Awards

 As you know, we are here to encourage you to travel.  Unfortunately, the New York Toy Fair is one place virtually none of you can go.  So, unless you have been tirelessly been searching the internet, you are not up to date on what toys your children will be wanting soon.

Fortunately, with Press Correspondent credentials, we were able to go in your place.

Our ...

Travels Idea - You Feel Like Freezing Your Beachballs Off this Saturday? - It’s a Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting the Special Olympics New Jersey

February 22, 2018

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ - On Saturday, Feb 24, an anticipated 7,000 people will brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, all to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey. This Plunge is especially noteworthy because it is the 25th anniversary.

Two ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...