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RFH: BRIGGS WINS TOP SSZ SCHOLAR-ATHLETE

Rumson-Fair Haven’s Tucker Briggs had 102 tackles in his senior season, finishing his career with 212 and a role in back-to-back state championships. Even more impressive: his grade point average (4.7) and SAT score (2380, which puts him in the 99.95 percentile of the test’s takers). Those numbers and more earned Briggs the Shore Sports Zone trophy for Scholar-Athlete of the Year at a banquet dinner at IPlay America in Freehold Tuesday night.

Shore Sports Zone has all the video highlights from the season-capping event, including Nick Cella’s touchdown run of the year for Red Bank Catholic and RFH’s championship game defensive player of the year, Sam Eisenstadt. (Video courtesy of Shore Sports Zone.)

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RED BANK: SANTA BASIE, HURRY DOWN

Tim Kirk Love BobClockwise from top left: Jinglebell fundraiser concerts featuring Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express (December 18), Brian Kirk and the Jirks (December 20), Darlene Love (December 21) and Bobby Bandiera (December 22) provide the driving soundtrack to the holiday homestretch in the nights ahead.

The countdown to Christmas 2015 represents anything but a wind-down at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, where a fast-moving flurry of high-profile benefit concerts promises to keep the place buzzing like Santa’s workshop-slash-fulfillment center during the holiday homestretch.

From the most big-hearted of local music mainstays, to the vintage hitmakers whose records landed on many a Boomer-era wish list — and on into the next generation of Shore scene stalwarts — the Basie boards will resound with a Wall of seasonal Sound, every note of it dedicated to a great cause and an all-’round generosity of spirit.

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PROSECUTOR: NO WRONGDOING IN ARREST

Video of Jeffrey Michel’s arrest on the Brookdale campus last month. (Video by Vincent Cordero)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The viral-video pepper-spray arrest of a Brookdale Community College student last month was done in “full compliance” with law enforcement guidelines, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office has concluded.

In fact, the officers involved might have been more aggressive in their arrest of Jeffrey Michel without overstepping guidelines established by the state Attorney General, an official in the professional responsibility unit of the prosecutor’s office wrote in a December 8 letter to Brookdale’s dean.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM, RAPCAVAGE ON AGENDA

rb rapcavage 081614A proposed market and 20 homes at Red Bank’s five corners, above, returns to the zoning board Thursday night. Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, below, also has an application on the agenda. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

burnham 3 010114A proposed greenmarket and 20 homes on the edge of downtown Red Bank returns to the zoning board this week, four months after it was pulled back by the developer for revisions.

Also on Thursday night’s agenda: a request by borough Councilwoman Cindy Burnham to build a garage behind her home on Wallace Street.

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LINCROFT: BOSS BOOK PARDNER @BROOKDALE

Outlaw Pete Caruso“Outlaw Pete” illustrator Frank Caruso, at right with Bruce Springsteen in a recent “Daily Show” appearance, brings their book to the Brookdale Community College campus Thursday.

Its author flat-out declares that it’s not technically a child’s bedtime story, even if its many inspirations include the “Brave Cowboy Bill” tales he used to hear as a young child. He’s also forthcoming about the notion that he “didn’t have much to do with it,” although he’s dutifully promoted the project in venues that range from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show to the Times Book Review.

Still, the fact remains that the new book Outlaw Pete takes its title and its text from Bruce Springsteen’s song of that name, a gunslinger epic that opened his 2009 long-player Working on a Dream. As illuminated by artist Frank Caruso, the eight-minute song becomes an illustrated fable of what Springsteen describes as “a man trying to outlive and outlast his sins.” And on Thursday, December 18, the artist comes to the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College for a signing event at the school’s Student Life Center building.

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LITTLE SILVER COP CHARGED WITH ASSAULT

just_in1A Little Silver police officer was charged with simple assault Friday following an alleged domestic violence incident in Sea Bright a day earlier, authorities tell redbankgreen.

Joseph Glynn, Jr., 26, was issued a summons in his hometown of Middletown for a disorderly persons violation after the purported victim reported the matter to police there, according to Charlie Webster, spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.

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RED BANK: HUMBUGS RULE!

Scrooge John WatersScrooge scowls again, as Nebraska Theater Caravan rolls into Red Bank for its annual staging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL — but not before filmmaker and Bad Tastemaker John Waters X-plains why he LOVES Christmas. (Waters photo by Greg Gorman)

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear here, to all who fear that the Count Basie Theatre has momentarily joined the perceived War on all that jingles and jollifies: John Waters absolutely LOVES Christmas — the “compulsive desire to give and receive perverted gifts;” his “religious fanaticism for Santa Claus, and an unhealthy love of true crime holiday horror stories.”

With a track record of forty-plus years as an author, lecturer, sometime actor, Bad Tastemaker authority and director of game-changing underground/ indie films (from Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble to the happy crossover of the original Hairspray) — and fresh off a modern-day odyssey that spawned the book Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America — the man in the pencil mustache makes his Basie debut on the night of Tuesday, December 16.

Succinctly entitled A John Waters Christmas, the 8 pm show finds the Baltimore-born raconteur riding into Red Bank “on his sleigh full of smut” with a one-man show that “puts the X in Xmas” — and for which tickets ($29 – $129) can be reserved right here. It so happens that Waters’ Bad-Santa sleigh will be sliding in fast on the ice-tracks of Junie B in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells — a playfully titled but family-friendly touring stage show (adapted by Allison Gregory from the children’s book series by Barbara Park) in which “sassy first-grader Junie B. Jones and her classmates embark on a hilarious adventure that packs a message about the joy of giving.” Take it here for tickets ($20 – $25) to that 4 pm performance — and around the corner for more holiday humbug.

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RED BANK: FOUR-MONTH CLOSURE NEARS

hubbard 2 041812The path of the new Hubbards Bridge between Middletown, on the left, and Red Bank is marked in yellow. (Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_03Commuters who use the bridge connecting Red Bank and Middletown via West Front Street may want to come up with alternate plans.

Starting today, Monday, Monmouth County plans to subject Hubbard Avenue “and other roads on the Middletown side” of the span to intermittent lane closures between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the county said in an announcement Monday morning.

The closures are part of the prep work for a four-month closure of the bridge that begins on January 2.

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RED BANK: RESTAURANT TIPS STOLEN

AUTHORITIES_RB2-2014The crime and arrest reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of December 4 to December 11, 2014. This information is unedited.

CRIMES

Burglary, Theft occurring on 12-5-14 at Drummond Avenue residence. Victim reported that unknown person(s) gained entry into house through window, ransacked contents. Stolen was a Samsung TV and two pair of sneakers. Ptl. Gary Watson.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 12-6-14 at Chapin Avenue. Taxi cab driver reported that after dropping off three unknown males at above location, discovered the back of driver’s seat had been cut with what appeared to be a knife. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

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SHREWSBURY POLICE BLOTTER

Crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of December 6 to December 12, 2014.

AUTHORITIES_SBURY2-2014Crimes

Report of Burglary in the area of White Street on 12/11/14. Victim reports unknown subject(s) forcefully entered residence and removed property. Damages totaling $10,000.00. Ptl. Joseph Barnicle investigating.

Report of Theft by Deception in the area of 457 Broad Street on 12/12/14. Victim reports unknown subject(s) Attempted to deprive business of money by posing as electric company. Ptl. Angel Marrero investigating.

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RED BANK: A PROCESSION, A MASS & A FEAST

121214 St Anthony19121214 St Anthony15Hundreds of Saint Anthony’s Church parishioners held their annual procession on Red Bank’s West Side Friday night, carrying statues of Our Lady Of Guadalupe and the Virgin Mary, baskets containing the baby Jesus, and flags representing Mexico, the United States and Central and South American countries. At Saint Anthony’s, on Bridge Avenue, hundreds more waited for a mass to begin followed by a Mexican feast. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: VOICES & VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS

Vienna Boys CODAThe touring company of the venerable Vienna Boys Choir takes the Count Basie stage on Monday, December 15 — following a weekend of NUTCRACKER performances presented by Company of Dance Arts, and choreographed by Peter Anastos. 

The notion of Red Bank as the area’s unofficial Capital of Christmas Entertainment — and the landmark Count Basie Theatre as a veritable Santa’s Workshop of seasonal diversions that range from the sacred to the silly (and, in one upcoming instance, even the playfully profane) — is reinforced big-time over the course of the next week-and-change. Keep it tuned to redbankgreen for the details as they unfold — and keep it glued to the Basie seats for a ten-day sleighride that begins this very afternoon, December 13.

Like the Monmouth Civic Chorus presentation of Handel’s Messiah that preceded it on the Basie boards, the annual staging of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker by the borough-based Company of Dance Arts is one of those hometown traditions without which it simply “wouldn’t be Chrismas” —  a staple signifier of the holiday season in Red Bank for 29 years and counting, and an institution that’s employed the talents of generations of performers (in addition to drawing multi-generational audiences to its performances). Choreographed by the nationally renowned Peter Anastos — and mixing guest soloists from New York dance companies with local professionals and the young students of the CoDA company — the colorfully costumed production inaugurated its 2014 schedule with a special Friday morning school show on December 12, and returns for four public performances (1 pm and 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday). Despite ever-changing casts — and the often significant ways in which both the Count Basie Theatre and Red Bank have changed over the past 30 years — the ballet remains a direct link to a simpler “small town” era of community life, and a great generator of memories, regardless of whether you’re seeing it for the first time or the 29th.

Tickets to any of the four performances of The Nutcracker ($20 – $40) can be reserved here.

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RED BANK: WATER METER FAQ POSTED

rb water meter 120414 1The project would replace more than 3,800 residential water meters by the end of 2015, officials have said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials have responded to a demand for transparency into a proposed $2.2 million water meter replacement program by posting a list of frequently-asked-questions on the borough website.

At the December 3 meeting of the council, Mayor Pasquale Menna instructed Administrator Stanley Sickels to post “whatever information” he had on the topic by noon Friday after complaints that the borough was rushing the matter through to a vote.

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LINCROFT: ‘NIGHT VISITORS’ WELCOME

UUCMC Amahl and the Night VisitorsIt starts with the appearance of an unusually large star in the desert night sky — and for a young boy named Amahl, it heralds the appearance of three kings at his family’s humble home, seeking shelter for the night as they make their way to a place called Bethlehem.

First performed as a live TV special in 1951, Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors quickly took its rightful place among the Yuletide season’s best-loved musical masterworks — and continuing a local tradition, the contemporary opera will be staged at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street this Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14.

Presented at 7 pm on Saturday, and encoring at 6 pm Sunday, the family-friendly favorite is the second in a four-part Performing Arts Series at UUCMC; directed by Elaine Held (with co-musical direction by Louise Chernosky), and starring not one but two young local actresses as Amahl: Tara Lieneck of Middletown (at right in photo) featured on December 13, and Clara Randel of Aberdeen (left) taking over the role on December 14.

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RED BANK: PARK TO HONOR JOHNNY JAZZ

ralph johnny jazz gatta 2006

By JOHN T. WARD

rb jazz 082214 1 He presided over what had to qualify as one of the quirkiest neighborhood grocery stores in the history of retailing, let alone Red Bank.

Now, four years after his death, the beloved jazz-enthralled butcher known to all as “Johnny Jazz” is to about to get a neverending solo.

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