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2011 TO BLOW OUT ON CLOUDS

Canada geese flying over the white-capped Navesink between Fair Haven and Middletown Wednesday. (Click to enlarge)

The wind that whipped the Green over the past two days has blown through, leaving mostly cloudy skies as 2011 winds down.

Here’s the forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: A slight chance of snow showers after 4pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 39. West wind between 10 and 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35. Southwest wind around 7 mph.

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A ‘NATIVITY’ REBORN AS A LOCAL TRADITION

The Dunbar Repertory production of BLACK NATIVITY returns to the Count Basie Theatre on Friday.

In an interview that appeared here a little over a year ago, Brookdale Community College faculty member Darrell Lawrence Willis Sr. told the redbankgreen Drama Desk that “no matter what I’ve been working on, whether it was the works of August Wilson or the Juneteenth festival, the number one thing that people ask me about is Black Nativity.”

“They’d tell me ‘the show has been such a blessing to us,’ and they all want to know when we’re doing it again.”

On December 30, 2010 — following a hiatus of some six years — the stage director and founder of Monmouth County based Dunbar Repertory Company revived his popular production of the theatrical presentation that combines the Gospel of St. Luke with the poetry of the late Langston Hughes and a custom-collected set of folk spirituals and hymns, bringing it to the boards of the Count Basie Theatre for the first time.

It’s a holiday offering that was designed to take its place among the scores of concerts, plays, ballets and benefits that have staked a traditional spot on the Count’s schedule each December — even if, for a moment there, it looked to be a Christmas miracle that was in danger of not coming to pass.

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RED BANK: DINER BREAK-IN REPORTED

The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of December 16 to December 22, 2011. This information is unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 12-16-11 at Drummond Place. Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke out rear window of parked vehicle. Ptl. David Smith.

Burglary occurring on 12-16-11 at Broad Street, Diner. Owner reported that unknown person(s) cut wire to alarm and damaged rear door enabling entry. Stolen from inside was money. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

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MIDDLETOWN MAN BUSTED FOR PHONY CASH

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

call-in-the-authorities• Detective Daniel Sullivan arrested Brian Miller, age 21, from Walnut Avenue in Red Bank, NJ [EDITOR'S NOTE: This address, while in the 07701 Red Bank zip code, is actually in Middletown], for numerous counts of Theft by Deception as a result of a two month joint investigation conducted by the Middletown Police Department and the Trenton Office of the United States Secret Service into counterfeit twenty dollar bills that had been passed to numerous businesses throughout the area.

Police say Miller had passed the phony bills to businesses in Middletown, Holmdel, Atlantic Highlands, Fair Haven and Keansburg and had been charged by the police departments in those towns as well. He was released pending a court date.

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MAN INJURED UNDER TRUCK IN LITTLE SILVER

A Shrewsbury man was taken to a hospital early Friday afternoon after a mason’s dumptruck fell on him while he was working underneath it, Little Silver police Chief Dan Shaffery tells redbankgreen.

Glenn Weisman, was apparently working on the truck in the yard of his landscaping business at 62 Birch Avenue in Little Silver when a wood block that was used in jacking up the vehicle slipped at around 12:12 p.m., causing the truck to pin him, Shaffery said.

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TIDINGS OF COMFORT AND JOYSTICKS

Here’s a video that tracks a couple of Red Bank kids as they explore Yestercades, the retro gaming emporium that’s been the buzz of Broad Street since even before it opened in October.

Niko Porter, a fourth-grader at the Red Bank Middle School, and Patricio Vera, a senior at Red Bank Regional, took a whirlwind tour of the arcade, which features such classics as Pac Man, Frogger, Space Invaders and Tetris.

Niko, by the way, no longer sports that awesome mop of hair. He recently donated it to be made into a wig for a cancer patient.

redbankgreen‘s picture person Trish Russoniello did the edit.

PREFAB MANSION SNAKES ITS WAY HOME

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna, above, checks that his property isn’t being damaged as a section of the house enters Caro Court from River Road on Thursday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It was the kind of Christmas delivery you won’t see coming via UPS or FedEx.

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BUT WILL THE SIGN BE HAND-SCRAWLED?

Jj_07By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials are mulling a ceremonial renaming of a portion of Shrewsbury Avenue in honor of grocer Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Gatta, who died last Saturday at age 74.

Gatta, a lifelong Red Banker, died at Barnabas Health Hospice at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. He was buried Wednesday at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Middletown.

A butcher who infused bebop, played loud, into his every working hour over nearly five decades behind the counter at Johnny’s Jazz Market, Gatta served as a living encyclopedia of jazz arcana among the boxes of cereal and detergent in his store.

He was also, he was fond of telling visitors, a front-row witness to the West Side’s transition from a neighborhood dominated by African-Americans and immigrant Italians to one with a Spanish accent – changes he heartily embraced.

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TWO CITED FOR HEROISM IN FATAL FIRE

Kristopher Parker and Robert Womble at borough hall Wednesday night. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Kristopher Parker was dropping off his grandmother at the Evergreen Terrace apartments in Red Bank when he saw the smoke from the tiny house set way back off the street and ran toward it.

Robert Womble had just finished an early supper with his grandmother at the same complex when neighbors began screaming that there was a fire next door. Out the door and over a tall chainlink fence he went.

Both men, who did not know each other, converged on the back porch of the burning house, alerted to the possibility – the awful near certainty, in fact  – that an elderly woman was inside.

“These men never hesitated, they just reacted,” said Red Bank borough Administrator and Fire Marshal Stanley Sickels. “They did what trained people hesitate to do, and they did it without helmets, without protective gear.”

What they did on September 18 was to kick in the back door, which was blocked by piles of junk, and make their way through black smoke toward to the desperate voice of Phyllis Rudrow, crawling part of the way, even as Parker communicated with a 911 dispatcher via a Bluetooth cellphone device in one ear.

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RED BANK PICKS NEW PAY-TO-PARK SYSTEM

A video explaining the multi-space pay technology that will replace single-head meters, like the one below, in the English Plaza lot.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s “time expired” for racing to beat a $38 parking ticket in downtown Red Bank, officials said Wednesday night.

Say hello to “multi-space, revenue controlled” parking technology, complete with cellphone interactivity.

Fulfilling a pledge made by Mayor Pasquale Menna two years back, the borough council awarded a contract for a yet-to-be-determined number of pay stations that will, among other wonders, send visitors texts when they’re in danger of being ticketed and allow them to extend their stays from the comfort of a restaurant.

Oh, and for the town? A sweet spike in parking revenue, with an accompanying drop in enforcement and maintenance costs, says an executive at vendor Integrated Technical Systems of Wallingford, Connecticut.

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RED BANK’S BEST-DRESSED HOUSES NAMED

Winners of the fourth annual Red Bank Holiday Home Decoration contest were named at the borough council’s bimonthly meeting Wednesday.

They are: above, first prize, 80 West Westside Avenue, the home of Imogene Malloy; below, second prize, 60 Leighton Avenue, home of Chris and Jane Hussey; and, at right, third prize, 70 Peters Place, home of Darren Midura.

Winners received gift certificates to SuperFoodtown, free tax work from H&R Block, and maple syrup from Prown’s Home Improvements. (Click to enlarge)

MIDDLETOWN BLOTTER: CONTEMPTIBLE

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

call-in-the-authorities• Michael Dahlquist, age 38, from David Terrace in Red Bank, NJ, arrested on December 13, 2011 by Patrolman Charles Higgins for Criminal Mischief. He was released pending a court date.

• Kimberly Rieger, age 20, from Prospect Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested by Corporal Keith MacDonald on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. She was held on $2,500.00 bail.

 

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