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112414 tree2holiday tree 112314Donated by the Clay family of Holmdel, Red Bank’s 2014 Christmas tree arrived at Riverside Gardens Park overlooking the Navesink River on Sunday. Becker’s Tree Service and Powerhouse Signs did the installation. The lights and trimming will go on this week courtesy of Investors Savings. Red Bank RiverCenter, which organized the display, says the tree will be lit and decorated in time for the annual Holiday Express concert and townwide light-up Friday night.  (Photo above by Susan Ericson; right photo courtesy of Red Bank RiverCenter. Click to enlarge)


JuliaAlvarezPeteSmithIN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES author Julia Alvarez visits Brookdale Community College on Tuesday, in the culmination of The Big Read 2014 slate of events. (Photo by Pete Smith)

Inspired by the 1960 murders of sisters Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal — founders of the Dominican underground movement that opposed the rule of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo — the novel In the Time of the Butterflies marked the 20th anniversary of its original publication this year, by being selected as the subject of the second annual Big Read initiative for Monmouth County.

While the setting for the book by Julia Alvarez is specific to the Dominican Republic in the 1950s, the themes — freedom, equality, human rights — are universal. Beginning early last month, the slate of Big Read events organized by The Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education (Chhange) at Brookdale Community College went well beyond the printed page, encompassing art exhibits, musical performances, screenings of the 2001 Butterflies feature film, and a program of dramatic readings at Red Bank’s Two River Theater.

This Tuesday, November 25, The Big Read 2014 comes to a head with a visit by Julia Alvarez herself, as the author travels to BCC’s Lincroft campus for a pair of personal appearances.

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United WE SingIt’s an event that traces its origins to the aftermath of September 11, 2001 — an event of which the organizers observe, “the healing effect of the evening led us to repeat the event with presentations over the last thirteen years from the Muslim, Jain, Christian, Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Native American, and UU communities.”

On Sunday, November 23 at 4 pm, the annual “United We Sing” Celebration once again invites people of all faiths to lend their voice and join in an intercultural service of music, word and dance at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street. Subtitled “Music of Gratitude” — and sponsored by the  Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought (MCWRET) and the Social Action Committee of the UUCMC, the “intercultural service of music, word and dance presents voices of different faiths raised in joy and gratitude.”

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ls detour 112414Motorists who travel Branch Avenue between Rumson and White roads in Little Silver should try to avoid doing so between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, police advise. Repair work on a water main will require north- and southbound traffic flows to be alternated, resulting in possible major delays, said Chief Dan Shaffery. Detours will also be in place, but police advise drivers to use other routes if possible. (Click to enlarge)


rbc hahn 112114HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank Catholic QB Eddie Hahn racks up some running yards as the Caseys trampled  St. Joe’s of Montvale, 44-14, at Count Basie Fields Friday night. Rich Chrampanis of Shore Sports Zone has complete video highlights on our Sports page.

The Caseys will play for the non-public Group 3 state  title in two weeks at Met Life Stadium against the winner of Saturday’s St. John Vianney – Delbarton game. (Video courtesy of Shore Sports Zone)


rb design ctr 110914 3Plans for an art gallery are out, but the Red Bank Design Cnter is in, opening next month at the corner of Broad Street and Harding Road. (Click to enlarge)


Rcsm2_010508Five months ago, a giant image of a cannabis leaf in the papered-over windows at the corner of Broad Street and Harding Road led some passersby to wonder if Red Bank was getting a medical marijuana dispensary.

Nope to dope: that was just artist David Benegas being provocatively playful about his plans to occupy the long-vacant Lamplighter space with an art gallery.

Well, those plans have now gone up in smoke. Fortunately for the landlord, however, so did Amy Manor‘s plan to create a design mecca for interior decorators over on West Front Street.

This edition of Retail Churn has the details…

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go nakedExpect lots of bared shoulders and flexed pecs when the annual Go Naked and Check Yourself fundraiser comes to the Downtown Sunday. (Photo above by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

go naked 1 2011It’s an event that has at its heart a life-and-death mission — although there’s plenty of wiggle-and-jiggle room for a healthy dose of fun and flirty.

It’s the fundraiser known as Go Naked and Check Yourself — the fourth annual edition of which takes to the  Downtown on Sunday, the latest in a series that’s collected over $35,000 toward raising awareness of detectable forms of cancer and promoting simple self-examination procedures.

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AUTHORITIES_RB2-2014Red Bank police charged a Tinton Falls man Tuesday for a violent street robbery last month.

Kaire Hatcher, 22, of 53 Steven Avenue, was charged with robbery and assault in the alleged attack, which occurred on West Street on October 15, according to a police report.

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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)