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2008 ENDS WITH RAIN, SNOW, WIND & COLD

Wind111308A pedestrian on Broad Street in Red Bank contending with a wet wind in November.

Mother Nature must be trying to meet year-end quotas today.

The National Weather Service forecasts that this morning’s mild temperatures in the high 40s will plummet to the high teens by tonight.

In the process, we’ll see rain, possibly some snow, and winds with potentially dangerous gusts of as much as 55 miles per hour.

Today: Rain before 1pm, then snow. High near 39. Windy, with a south wind 16 to 19 mph becoming northwest between 28 and 31 mph. Winds could gust as high as 48 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 19. Windy, with a northwest wind between 23 and 31 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph.

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TOKEN TURN-IN ENDS TODAY

Tokens

Today’s the last chance for motorists to cash in their Garden State Parkway tokens.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that token holders have brought 180,000 tokens into the New Jersey Turnpike Authority offices in Woodbridge to redeem them, at 33 cents apiece, since the program began. They’ve come in rolls, baggies, envelopes and even a little purple basket, according to reporter Larry Higgs.

By today’s deadline of 1:30p, another 20,000 tokens are expected to be cashed in.

That number pales by estimates of several million tokens still in circulation — tokens [authority spokesman Joe] Orlando figures probably went to the junkyard in the ashtrays and between the seats of cars traveling on that highway in the sky.

“The vast majority of tokens are never to be seen again,” he said.

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RED BANK MAN WANTED IN SEXUAL ASSAULT

Middletown police are looking for a Red Bank man in connection with an attempted sexual assault on a woman as she lay asleep next to her husband on Christmas morning.

The Asbury Park Press reports that the assailant was known to the victim’s husband as ‘Rodrigo,’ a 22-year-old man he had previously hired to do work around their home.

From the Press:

Around 2 a.m. on Christmas morning, the intruder broke into the house through a second floor bedroom window after he climbed onto a barbecue grill, then onto a roof outside that window, said Detective Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti.

The husband fought with the attacker, who fled from the house through a back door, police said.

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WE APPROVED WHAT?

RumsonsbbridgeThe Route 520 bridge as seen from the Chapel Beach Club on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright.

By SUE MORGAN

It’s not too much holiday sugar that has Sea Bright and Rumson officials and residents hopped up about a proposed new Route 520 bridge over the Shrewsbury River.

Rather, it’s a statement contained in a Monmouth County Department of Engineering slide show that indicates officials in both towns have endorsed one of five proposals previously presented to replace the nearly 60-year-old drawbridge at an estimated $30 million to $40 million cost.

No official in Sea Bright has ever sanctioned any of five alternatives first presented at a public forum in town in October, 2006, according to both current Mayor Maria Fernandes and her predecessor, Jo-Anne Kalaka-Adams.

Ditto in Rumson, says Mayor John Ekdahl.

“Absolutely not,” Ekdahl tells redbankgreen. “The county has never asked us for our input.”

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RUMSON GETS $250K FOR PARK EXPANSION

Victorypark2The house at 38 West River Road, visible from the Victory Park gazebo, has been acquired by Rumson for a park expansion.

Monmouth County has awarded Rumson $250,000 toward its $875,000 purchase of land adjoining Victory Park for a westward expansion of the riverfront facility.

The funding will help advance a burgeoning crew program at the site, Mayor John Ekdahl tells redbankgreen. A rowing club was established at the site last year and this year will host a team from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High, he says.

“I know some of the dreamers would hope to build a Schuykill River-style boathouse” on the property, which now features a boarded-up house, Ekdahl says. “I don’t see borough funds going for that,” he adds, but with a private fundraising effort, “it’s not out of the question.”

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REPORT: DEAD DOLPHIN WAS PREGNANT

Dolphins_rumson_oceanicDolphins near the Oceanic Bridge in mid-July. (Photo courtesy of Mary Fenton)

The dolphin found dead on a bank of the Shrewsbury River in Sea Bright on Christmas was a pregnant female whose stomach was empty of food, according to a report from MSNBC.com.

Those were early findings of a necropsy conducted on the carcass of the animal at the University of Pennsylvania, according to reporter Brian Williams.

The female is the third known member of a pod of 16 to have died. The pod moved into the Shrewsbury in June and later took up residence in the Navesink River, several miles farther inland.

From the report:

Advocates have been worried since cold weather set in that there would not be enough fish in the two coastal rivers for the large pod to eat.

While initial necropsies on two other dead members of the pod discovered so far have found obvious signs of pneumonia, that was not the case with this Christmas Day female.

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LOOKS LIKE A DAMP WEEKEND AHEAD

BoatwrapBoats ready for rain at Oceanic Marina, Rumson.

Here’s the weekend forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: Increasing clouds, with a high near 43. North wind around 6 mph becoming south.

Tonight: Rain likely, mainly after 11pm. Cloudy, with a low around 38. South wind between 3 and 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

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SIGNING OFF

SunsetThursday’s sunset, as seen from River Road, Fair Haven.

Speaking of Fair Haven, today’s Asbury Park Press has an article taking a look at the efforts of the Fair Haven Business Association to spark interest in the town’s commercial district.

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DEAD DOLPHIN WAS FROM LOCAL POD

DeaddolphinA dolphin found dead on the eastern bank of the Shrewsbury River at the foot of the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge Thursday morning was a member of the original pod of 16. (Photo courtesy of Robin Dowd)

One of the original 16 dolphins to take up residence in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers early last summer was found dead yesterday just yards from the gateway to Sandy Hook Bay.

The Associated Press says the nonprofit Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine collected the carcass of an adult Atlantic bottlenose dolphin eight feet long and weighing between 400 and 500 pounds. A necropsy is planned.

According to a Highlands resident, the dolphin was on a small beach on the Sea Bright side of the Shrewsbury adjoining a construction site where the anchorage of the new Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge is now being built.

Its death comes on the heels of the deaths of two dolphins in Sandy Hook and Raritan bays earlier this week. Those animals were not part of the pod that’s been in the rivers since at least June, marine experts said.

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HOLIDAY LIGHTS & RAVIOLE CROUSTILLANTE

53southFirst place: The Ferreri residence at 53 South Street.

Mayor Pasquale Menna announced the winners of Red Bank’s first (in recent memory, at least) holiday home decoration contest Monday night.

Only nine homeowners nominated themselves or were nominated by others, but Menna said all were “absolutely fabulous.” He added he expects a tenfold increase in nominations next year.

First through third honors came with gift cards from Prown’s Home Improvements and SuperFoodtown; both the first- and second-place winners said they would donate their Foodtown cards to Norma Todd’s Lunch Break.

In addition, Menna — a gastronome who has his own chef’s smock with his first name embroidered on it — said he will prepare a five-course lunch taken from the menu of L’Auberge du Pere Bise in Geneva for the Ferreri family of South Street, whose home took first prize. Councilman Mike DuPont will be a server.

redbankgreen has the house pix; click to enlarge.

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COUNCIL TIES UP BAGS, HOSPITAL DEAL

RiverviewrubbleThe site of the former Worden-Hoidal Funeral Home on East Front Street, owned by Riverview Medical Center, is not covered by the deal.

After a year trying to knit together a consensus, Councilman Mike DuPont finally got a watered-down version of his plastic bag ordinance passed by the Red Bank governing body Monday night.

Also in the ‘done’ box following the council’s final session of 2008: an agreement under which Riverview Medical Center will up its annual payment in lieu of taxes to the borough.

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CANGEMI BLASTS CLOSED-DOOR DECISIONS

CangemiGrace Cangemi at her final appearance as a council member last night.

Republican Grace Cangemi closed out her 21-month tenure on the Red Bank Council last night with pointed attacks on Democratics for “behind the curtain” decision-making.

In her final appearance before the council goes all-Democrat on January 1, Cangemi criticized the majority for pulling from the December 8 agenda an ordinance she wanted to introduce. The measure — which she did not describe in detail but said might have saved the town $36,000 — was yanked, she says she was told, because it had not been discussed in the “workshop” portion of any prior meeting.

The requirement that a bill be workshopped, or discussed informally, “apparently was not the case when our water rates were raised 10 percent” last March, she said. She added that an ordinance to increase the number of taxi licenses in the borough was also introduced without a word of mention in any workshop sessions.

In fact, no member of the governing body has publicly taken responsibility for sponsoring the taxi bill, which was withdrawn after an outcry by taxi owners. Officials claimed the bill had been drafted by borough Attorney Tom Hall at the request of borough Clerk Carol Vivona.

“I am greatly disturbed when an elected council person” can’t get a bill posted for vote “because they’re in the wrong party,” yet an unelected official can, Cangemi said.

“I’m sorry — it’s my last meeting — that I have anything negative to say here,” she said.

But her wrath was redoubled a short while later when Councilwoman Kathleen Horgan reported that the council’s education and technology committee was recommending a vendor to build the borough’s new website. Cangemi, a member of the committee, said she had neither been consulted about the choice nor told the of any committee meetings on the topic for the past year.

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BRUCE, BOJO & MORE ROCK THE BASIE

Bruce Springsteen returned to the Count Basie Theatre last night for an unbilled appearance at the venue he helped refurbish last year.

That presumably multiplied the local-boy-makes-superstardom megawattage already on the stage in the t-shirted form of Jon Bon Jovi, the top name on the storied Red Bank stage for Hope Concert IV.

The holiday season fundraiser — which also featured Southside Johnny Lyon, Bobby Bandiera, Nicole Atkins and Gary U.S. Bonds — raised more than $250,000 for Red Bank’s Parker Family Health Center, the free clinic that BoJo has long championed. Concertgoers also brought more than 10,000 pounds of food donations for the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, according to the Asbury Park Press.

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CAR BROUGHT POWER LINE DOWN ON TRUCK

Img_573372A curtain of smoke drifts past Red Bank volunteer firefighters Sunday night. Below, while the trailer burned, at left, onlookers gathered to watch the fire. (Click to enlarge)

Last night’s smoky fire on Newman Springs Road was caused by a minor car accident in which a vehicle struck a guy wire to a utility pole at the Spirits Unlimited liquor store, knocking loose a live electrical wire, police and fire officials said.

The live wire came down on parked tractor trailer, a moving company vehicle that was filled with household goods, setting it on fire, Red Bank Fire Marshal Stanley Sickels tells redbankgreen. The fire in turn set off a series of loud pops and explosions as the truck’s gasoline tank, tires and a motorcycle in the trailer burned, he said.

The driver of the truck was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident, which was first reported as a power outage notification from the Community YMCA at 3:47p. The truck fire was reported two minutes later.

Fire

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