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RED BANK RIVERFEST: SO COOL, SO FAR

IMG_5453IMG_5463JoBonanno and the Godsons of Soul kicked off the fifth annual edition of Red Bank Riverfest under cool, clear skies in Marine Park Friday night.

The weekend-long festival resumes Saturday at 11 a.m., running until 10 p.m., with more ideal weather forecast to accompany the full slate of food, music, crafts and river excursions. Sunday? Well, we’ll see if the rain holds off.

Take it here for the full event details. (Photos by Trish Russoniello)

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RED BANK: A ‘SPUNKY, PASSIONATE’ CONCERTO

Elizabeth-Violin-Pic-2Violinist (and 2014 Young Artist Concerto Competition winner) Elizabeth Hendy helps Roy Gussman and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra close out their season with “driving percussion rhythms and a dazzling display of violin technique.” 

It happens every spring, and all too soon it seems — but here at the close of their 67th season, principal conductor Roy D. Gussman and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra return to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on Sunday, May 31 for the now-traditional Season Finale event. And, as tradition also dictates, they’ll be joined for the occasion by the musician who was selected as the winner of the annual Young Artist Concerto Competition, sponsored by the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra.

That talented musical prodigy is 16 year old violinist Elizabeth Hendy, a Juilliard School student who, it’s said, “will steal the audience’s heart with her spunky and passionate performance of Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2.” It’s but one highlight of a program that switches gears for an exploration of the “driving percussion rhythms” of two 20th century South American masters.

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RED BANK: TRTC TAKES A ‘CHILL’ PILL

Joe Iconis and Will Connolly offered a taste of ‘Be More Chill’ at TEDx Navesink in April. The musical opens at the Two River Theater next week.

While tickets have just started going on sale for the next (2015-2016) season of mainstage entertainments from Two River Theater Company, the creative team under the artistic direction of John Dias has one more ace up its sleeve here in spring 2015 – the world premiere of an all new musical by the name of Be More Chill.

With previews beginning Saturday (and opening officially on June 5), the show represents the third consecutive world premiere in what’s truly been a TRTC season to remember. It also represents a play for a more youthful breed of theatergoer, based as it is upon a popular young-adult novel by the late wunderkind author Ned Vizzini – and packed as it is with a dynamic cast of twentysomething Broadway veterans.

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RED BANK: TENNIS COURT IDEAS VOLLEYED

jetsun 2 052815  An exhibit showed the layout of the Jetsun proposal superimposed an aerial view of the park. Below, MPAC principals Phil Flego, Gayle Horvath and Sandy Talarico make their pitch. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

mpac 1 052815What should be done with the hurricane-damaged red clay tennis courts at Red Bank’s riverfront Marine Park?

For almost three hours Thursday night, area residents offered opinions and teased out details of three formal proposals: one that calls for restoring the courts with a $500,000 donation by a Locust resident, and two that envision real estate development of river-oriented activity centers.

Each had its advocates and opponents, and none appeared to have won the hearts of all 120 people in attendance.

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MIDDLETOWN COPS TO TEST BODY CAMERAS

The Middletown police department is one of three in Monmouth County that will test the feasibility of video cameras worn on the uniforms of patrol officers, county Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni announced Thursday.

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2The test, coming amid rising public attention to cases of actual and alleged police abuse, may lead to countywide deployment of body cameras, Gramiccioni said in a prepared statement.

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RED BANK: GOP KICKS OFF EARLY CAMPAIGN

whelan taylor 052715Mark Taylor, right, and running mate Mike Whelan were joined by GOP bigwigs for a campaign kickoff on Monmouth Street Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a quarter-century in the minority, will Red Bank Republicans be able to harness their momentum of the last two elections to take control of the borough government?

Getting an early jump on this year’s race for two council seats, the local GOP trotted out some big local names for a kickoff event Wednesday night.

And they held it out on Monmouth Street, just feet away from both borough hall and new parking kiosks they believe symbolize the “arrogance” of Democrats, who now hold a 4-2 majority on the council as well as the mayoralty.

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RED BANK: FOUR MEN FOR ALL SEASONS

midtownmenThe Midtown Men return to the Basie stage Saturday for a stylish salute to the music of Frankie Valli and his 1960s jet-set contemporaries. 

The sleek-suited Mad Men of TV may have linked their last cuff – but we’ll always have The Midtown Men, that quartet of actor-singers whose 60s sharkskins and smooth retro style has taken the music of Frankie Valli and his contemporaries to all new audiences (and heights).

As group member (and Tony winner) Christian Hoff observed during one of their previous forays to the local stage, “You know it’s hot up there when the color of your suit changes from light blue to deep purple…but something about wearing those clothes keeps you focused, keeps you in the period…like wearing the uniform of a great ball team.”

Being former cast members from the Tony-winning Broadway smash Jersey Boys — and co-producers of their own internationally touring and recording act — the Midtown Men (Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard, J. Robert Spencer) continue to sweat the details of a project that pays particular tribute to the soaring sound and catalog of the Four Seasons, as “home team” an act as the Garden State’s ever produced. And when the guys take it to the Count Basie Theatre stage this Saturday, May 30, they’ll more than just follow in Frankie’s footsteps — they’ll be on the turf of Steven Van Zandt and the E Street Band, with whom they collaborated on the single “All Alone on Christmas.”

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RED BANK: BACK IN THE ARMS OF SAMARITANS

bucky moran 052615Bucky Moran at home earlier this week. Below, Moran gets a hug from one of his saviors, Paramedic Lori Corson. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

bucky moran 052715The last thing Richard ‘Bucky’ Moran remembers prior to his heart attack  last month was asking a motorist to move his car from the City Centre Shopping Center in Red Bank, where he works part-time.

So he knew nothing of the Edison Township fireman who, while driving by, saw Moran crash to the pavement and pulled over to start doing CPR. He didn’t know about the Red Bank policeman who happened to be coming out of a store at the mall, and had a defibrillator in his patrol car. He was unaware of the deputy fire chief who also pulled over and contributed the CPR effort, during which Moran was revived but “coded” again at least three times. And he’s a complete blank about the EMTs and paramedics who intubated him and blasted him with twice the standard amount of juice to get his ticker working again.

But on Wednesday night, the retired mail carrier and current school crossing guard got to meet, and hug, many of his Good Samaritans, at a packed-room meeting of the borough council.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN GETS HOSED AGAIN

Bellhaven Wetland Map 1Critics contend the Bellhaven sprayground has little popular support.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03It wasn’t on the agenda, but a proposed water playground on Red Bank’s West Side spewed back to the fore Wednesday night.

At issue: whether to keep spending money on prep work for the controversial four-year-old project, which has been temporarily derailed by the discovery of heating oil in the soil.

Counting at least three prospective “no” votes on the six-member council, Republican Cindy Burnham asked: “Why do we continue to use taxpayer money to pay [engineering consultant] T&M Associates for soil testing and permits?”

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RED BANK: METERS AND MORATORIUM TABLED

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Two hot topics were removed from the Red Bank council agenda Wednesday night:

• a proposed $2 million bond to pay for replacing every residential and business water meter in town

• and possible end to a moratorium on parking fees paid in the past by downtown developers.

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RED BANK: REC DIRECTOR QUITS

memone-kidsMemone Crystian with Red Bank Little Leaguers in 2010. Tamila Bumback, below, will head the department on an interim basis. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By JOHN T. WARD

tamila bumback 052614 1Red Bank’s parks and rec director resigned without advance notice last week.

Memone Crystian, who’d been in the post for five years, cited time away from her three children as driving her decision.

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RED BANK: WHAT TO EXPECT AT RIVERFEST

KevinJohnAllen JustinAlinaAmericana troubador Kevin John Allen and sibling act Justin & Alina are among the live and local performers entertaining at Riverfest 2015 beginning Friday evening.

rb rivfest 053114 4More than anything else, it’s about the music; a sonic smorgasbord of local-organic talent that’s every bit as much a source of Jersey pride as the plump and juicy product of our Garden State farms.

When the fifth annual edition of Red Bank Riverfest pitches its tents and stages at Marine Park for another three-day stay starting Friday night, it’ll once again stake the borough’s claim to one of the major keynote events of the season, a tradition with roots in the modestly scaled Red Bank Food Festivals of yesteryear, and the big-league Jazz and Blues events at the century’s switch.

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FAIR HAVEN: THEME FROM A SUMMER PLACE

Mary Kay AndrewsBest-selling author (and summer romance specialist) Mary Kay Andrews returns to Fair Haven on Thursday evening for a reading and signing event at Raven and the Peach, sponsored by River Road Books.

It’s got all the hallmarks of the work that’s made her one of the most popular “beach-read” novelists in the English language — the Southern coastal small-town setting; the strong protagonist whose focus has been on matters of career rather than affairs of the heart; the suspense. Not just the kind of suspense found in her earlier mystery novels, but the sexy tension that occurs when a pair of supercharged opposites set off undeniable sparks.

If it’s the start of summer, it must be time for a new novel by Mary Kay Andrews, the Georgia-based author (of Savannah Blues, Summer Rental and Save the Date) whose book tours in recent seasons have always made sure to include a whistle-stop in one of her favorite pockets of fandom: Fair Haven. This Friday, May 29, borough-based River Road Books once again welcomes back the best-selling scribe for a special appearance keyed to the latest Andrews opus, Beach Town.

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RED BANK: FLEEING MAN PULLED FROM RIVER

AUTHORITIES_RB3A motorcyclist was forcibly pulled from the Swimming River in Red Bank after he sped off from a traffic stop in Little Silver Saturday night, authorities said.

According to Little Silver police Chief Dan Shaffery, a patrol attempted to pull over Armando Cruz, 27, of Red Bank, for a traffic violation on Branch Avenue at 10:36 p.m. when he took off.

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SHREWSBURY: POLICE BLOTTER

Crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of May 16 to May 22, 2015.

AUTHORITIES_SBURY3Crimes

Report of Burglary in the area of Birch Drive on 5/17/15. Victim reports unknown subject(s) entered residence and removed property. Ptl. Derek Myers investigating.

Report of Shoplifting in the area of Victoria Secret, Broad Street on 5/17/15. Victim reports unknown subject(s) removed merchandise. Damages totaling $1200.00. Ptl. Derek Myers investigating.

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