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Recent arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2-2014Pedro Santiago, age 19, from Park Avenue in Perth Amboy, NJ, arrested on October 25, 2014 by Patrolman Thomas Foster on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $500.00 bail.

Edward Young, age 24, from Cherry Tree Farm Road in Middletown, NJ, arrested on October 25, 2014 by Patrolman James Beirne on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $500.00 bail.

Gregory Kempson, age 54, from Hopping Road in Belford, NJ, arrested on October 25, 2014 by Patrolman Thomas Foster for Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Weapon. He was released pending a court date.

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guy johnson 071713 2antiques 2Born in the final year of the Baby Boom, the Antique Center of Red Bank, said to be the oldest continually operating antiques cooperative in America, turns 50 this month.

The late Nan Johnson, an antiques lover who found herself with too much stuff after redecorating her Lincroft home, launched the venture with 12 dealers in an old Red Bank clothing factory in 1964, and it eventually grew to comprise three massive buildings anchoring the borough’s Antiques District.

Now scaled back to two spaces run by her son, Guy Johnson, above, the center plans a celebration this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with refreshments and bargains at 195 and 226 West Front Street.  Dozens more photos can be seen at redbankgreen‘s Flickr page. (Click to enlarge)


Santo pezzutti 070411Italian-born painter (and award-winning sailboat racer) Santo Pezzutti  visits Canvas Studio Art this weekend for a retrospective of his work in oils, acrylics and watercolors.

It’s a method of painting that the artist calls “stream of consciousness,” an approach to portraits and nautical-themed seascapes that skirts strict photorealism in favor of a more impressionistic — some might say “fluid” — style.

When he’s not working in oils, acrylics, or watercolors, Santo Pezzutti can be found navigating the Navesink — where, as a longtime member of Red Bank’s Monmouth Boat Club, he’s been a serial champion sailboat racer whose unprecedented 10-year run of top honors (in the Sanderling class, from 2000-2009) has not only remained unmatched, but resulted in his well-engraved trophy being retired from further duty.

Back on dry land this weekend, the Italian-born Pezzutti is the center of attention and the guest of honor as Canvas Studio Art in Rumson presents a solo-show exhibit that showcases the 92-year-old artist’s waterworld of light and local color.

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Caroline Peters 103114Caroline Peters on the Fair Haven Dock with her informational plaque describing storm surges. Below, an enlargeable view of her project. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


FH plaque 103114Next summer, when Fair Haven residents return to the placid town dock on the Navesink River for some fishing or light entertainment, they’ll find a new informational display reminding them that the beautiful waterway just underneath them can become an instrument of destruction.

Caroline Peters, a 17-year-old senior at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, created the display in pursuit of her Girl Scouts Gold Award – the equivalent of the Boy Scouts’ Eagle designation, she tells redbankgreen. And the project came about because she sensed that many people had grown complacent about hurricane warnings by the time Hurricane Sandy unleashed its wrath on the Jersey Shore and beyond two years ago.

“I lived through it, I have friends who lost their homes in it,” Peters said following a dedication ceremony last month. “So it’s all about storm surges, and how you can prepare for them.”

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MHSS playElias Kotsis and Jessica Fisher (center) are featured in the cast of Middletown High School South’s THE DIAMOND AS BIG AS THE RITZ, director Alexis Kozak’s own adaptation of the story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

If comedy is as hard as they say it is, then satire (which the conventional wisdom says “is what closes on Saturday night”) is even harder — and a diamond, whether in the rough or on the résumé, is the hardest thing known to mankind.

When Middletown High School South theater arts teacher Alexis Kozak got down to selecting the school’s fall dramatic production for the 2014-2015 academic year, he bypassed the tried-and-true tropes of the community-stage canon — gambling in favor of a never-before-presented script, by a largely unknown scribe: Alexis Kozak.

With a Masters degree in playwriting — and a portfolio of original work that includes the full-length Zero Days Since the Last Miracle (produced last year by The Black Box, the Asbury Park-based arts collective on whose board he sits) — Kozak is hardly a dilettante dabbler. And his script, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, comes backed by the full faith and credit of one of the great American authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in 1920s Montana, this adaptation of Fitzgerald’s “Jazz Age” novella follows innocent prep-school boy John T. Unger (Elias Kotsis) as he accompanies his ultra-rich friend Percy Washington home for the summer to his family chateau — where he discovers that the source of the family’s wealth is a secret worth dying for.

“I did see this as an opportunity to beat Broadway to the punch,” says Kozak about Diamond, which has just come into the public domain, (and is also being adapted as a Broadway musical, purportedly scheduled for opening later this year). “I have always loved Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby…so, in some ways, this is a love letter to him and his work.”

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riverside-blockrb temp 111914Ok, so it didn’t snow – we just wanted to have some fun. But it was 21 degrees Fahrenheit in Red Bank at 6 a.m. Wednesday, and 13 degrees with wind-chill factored in. The Green is in for a sunny but chilly day, with temperatures barely climbing above freezing, according to Weather Underground. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)



rb traffic 111814rb traffic 111814 2Repair work on a leaking natural gas line on Riverside Avenue in Red Bank had northbound traffic on Route 35 backed up nearly to Waverly Place early Tuesday afternoon as vehicles encountered a one-lane bottleneck just past West Front Street. Both southbound lanes were closed for the length of Riverside, though Middletown police report no significant backups from detours. Red Bank police say they’ve been told the work should be completed by about 4 p.m.

Update, 2:45 p.m.: as seen in the photo at right, traffic is backing up onto Cooper Bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


The Time Jumpers 1Everybody in the truck: Vince Gill joins the Time Jumpers for a tour that rolls into the Count Basie Theatre Wednesday.

A member in good standing of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Vince Gill has apparently been having the time of his life, playing fast and loose with the hat-bound strictures of the Nashville template in the years since he racked up 20 Grammy awards and peddled platters in excess of 24 million copies.

Always pushing that envelope in collaborations that have paired him with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, Dire Straits and Alice Cooper, the former frontman of Pure Prairie League revisited his band-member roots upon parting ways with the Music Row record biz in 2012. When the serial CMA Entertainer of the Year takes to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre this Wednesday, November 19, he’ll be one of the guys (and gal) in a gloriously democratic organization known as thee Time Jumpers.

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declan o'scanlon 111714 1 Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon in his Red Bank office Monday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


declan o'scanlon 111714 4After five years of pedal-to-the-floor critiques, Red Bank-area state legislator Declan O’Scanlon appears about to beat a ticket.

Or, to be more precise, the 13th-District Assembly member from Little Silver is on the verge of killing automated red-light ticketing of motorists, a system for which he holds back almost nothing in the way of condemnation.

“Sanctioned theft” he calls the system. “Robbery.” “Injustice.” And no, he’s never gotten one of the tickets, he tells redbankgreen.

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ls council 111714Residents packed Monday night’s borough council meeting, many in support of a referendum on the license question.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


HOT-TOPIC_03Little Silver voters may face a non-binding referendum next year on whether the town should issue its first-ever license for on-premise consumption of alcohol.

That possibility appeared to gel into likelihood Monday night on the heels of a builder’s request, backed by a 500-signature petition, asking the borough council to make allowance for a family-style restaurant that serves alcohol.

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Ghost BrosT Bone Burnett, John Mellencamp and Stephen King are the creative crew — and Gina Gershon co-stars — as GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY takes its cross-country tour to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on Tuesday, November 18.

It’s the most curious collaboration since the Wilburys rode the range — a three-for-all that pools the talents of a working class rocker turned Americana exponent (John “Cougar” Mellencamp), an Oscar winning music director/ record producer (T Bone Burnett), and the Springsteen of supernatural fiction (Stephen King). While they’ve had their misfires at the multiplex (Falling from Grace, Maximum Overdrive), there remained but one arena for these Kings of Most Media to conquer: the legitimate “theatah.”

Tomorrow night, November 18, the Count Basie Theatre is the (allegedly haunted) host venue, as the national touring production of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County commandeers the stage for an 8 pm one-nighter. Featuring a book by King, songs by Mellencamp, and “eerie blues ‘n’ roots” music direction by Burnett, the “Southern Gothic supernatural musical” is but the most visible manifestation of a cross-platform phenomenon that also includes a hardcover book, e-book, album download and “deluxe” edition of the aforementioned. And, even if none of the Ghost partners are promised to be in attendance at the Basie (Mellencamp will be there for an April 2015 concert that sold out in a flash), the production boasts some star wattage of its own.

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


HOT-TOPIC_03Video of the arrest of a Freehold man on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College last Friday has gone viral, with numerous commenters claiming it shows overly aggressive policing.

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rb dedication 111414Descendants of Katharine Elkus White and local officials at Friday’s dedication of the roadway in Marine Park to the late mayor and ambassador. White, seen below in 1948. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


katherine-elkus-white-1948Amid reminiscences of a “strong-willed” woman countering the casual sexism of the day, Red Bank’s first and only female mayor, Katharine Elkus White, was honored Friday when the road in Marine Park was named for her.

In a brief ceremony on a cold, blustery afternoon, some of White’s descendants joined local officials in unveiling a wooden sign designating the loop road as “Ambassador Katharine Elkus White Circle.”


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Gordon_Turk_4_x_6_res72dpiHe’s toured across three continents, appeared at Carnegie Hall, and performed live concert broadcasts for NPR, in addition to many other professional accomplishments and accolades. That said, Monmouth County music lovers are instantly familiar with Gordon Turk as artist in residence and “house organist” at Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium, where his summertime series of free recitals have introduced generations to that local landmark’s spectacular (11,000 pipes strong) Hope-Jones Organ.

This Sunday evening, November 16, Gordon Turk journeys from The Grove to The Hill — Tower Hill Church, aka First Presbyterian Church of Red Bank — to perform on the church’s pipe organ. The first in a new season of Tower Hill Concert Series events, the 7 pm program finds the virtuoso exploring the possibilities of the 3-manual, 52-rank Reuter instrument via selections both sacred and secular.

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David Lee HRHFRASIER co-creator David Lee (left) returns to Red Bank to direct a young cast of pros (including Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, right) in the Two River Theater Company production of CAMELOT. 

Even as Red Bank’s own Phoenix Productions offers up a supremely silly take on the legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table — courtesy of Monty Python’s Spamalot — the professionals at Two River Theater are getting serious about “The Once and Future King,”   beginning with Saturday’s first preview performance of Camelot.

The 1960 golden-age musical from the songwriting team of Lerner and Loewe — a Broadway costume classic that originally starred Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, Roddy McDowall and Robert Goulet — is already an unorthodox choice for the Two River team led by John Dias and Michael Hurst. But a closer look reveals a production that loses the brooding middle-aged actors in favor of a dynamic young ensemble of just eight players — even as it preserves the award winning score that gave the world “How to Handle a Woman” and “If Ever I Would Leave You.”

Directing the show that opens on Friday, November 21 and runs through December 14 is David Lee, the Emmy winning sitcom impresario (Frasier, Wings) whose previous Two River outing was the celebrated Present Laughter from two seasons back (he also re-teamed with some of the original Frasier cast for a fundraiser presentation on the Red Bank stage). He’s working with an awesomely experienced cast that includes Oliver Thornton, a young veteran of London’s West End (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Rent) who’s making his American stage debut as Arthur — plus Nicholas Rodriguez (Disney’s Tarzan) as Lancelot, and (as the man-you-love-to-hate Mordred) Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, who shared the Broadway stage with Angela Lansbury and Elaine Stritch in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Tony nominee Steve Orich (Jersey Boys) directs a live ensemble of seven musicians.

The Drama Desk at redbankgreen spoke to David Lee about the pros and cons of parades, pageantry and pointy hats. Read on…

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