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RED BANK: MENNA GRIPES HE WAS DISSED

pasquale menna 082416Mayor Pasquale Menna at Wednesday’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Things got snippy Wednesday night when Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna claimed he was being dissed by two council members.

A routine discussion over a scheduling question briefly turned into the latest in a recent series of episodes in which the mayor squared off against fellow Democrats Kathy Horgan and Ed Zipprich, and they aligned themselves with the council’s lone independent.

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RED BANK: BASIE TO STAY BASIE FOR CENTURY

basie awards 051816 1Originally called the Carlton Theater, the Count Basie Theatre will get to keep the Count’s name for at least another century. Below, a bust of the late jazz great outside the Red Bank train station. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Correction: the original version of this post misreported the year of Count Basie’s birth, which was 1904.]

By JOHN T. WARD

basie-bust2The Basie will get to be the Basie for at least another hundred years.

In conjunction with the anniversary of the birth, in Red Bank, of jazz great William ‘Count’ Basie, the town’s premiere entertainment venue has inked a deal with the trust that controls his estate to enable it to call itself the Count Basie Theatre for 50 more years, with five 10-year extensions, the two entities announced Monday.

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RED BANK: CHUCK LAMBERT HITS A MILESTONE

chuck lambert bandChuck Lambert, seen above performing at Riverfest in Marine Park in 2012, turns 65 years old Saturday, when he and his band are scheduled to play Jamian’s Food and Drink. Below, Lambert in downtown Red Bank in 2006. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Chuck LambertIn a way, it’s just another gig for a hardworking musician, one of maybe 250 he does each year in bars, clubs and on sidewalks on the Greater Red Bank Green, as well as in New York, Philly and Atlantic City.

But when Chuck Lambert plugs in at Jamian’s Food and Drink in Red Bank Saturday night, this one will be special for the local guitar legend, and not just because it’s occurring on his 65th birthday.

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RED BANK: BON JOVI THANKS BIZ OWNERS

jovi martino fadell 062216donegoodlogoRock star Jon Bon Jovi chats with Red Bank merchants Linda Martino, center, of Lux Beauty Store, and Dorothy Ferlanti, of Pinot’s Palette, at the JBJ Soul Kitchen Wednesday evening.

Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea Bongiovi, part-time Middletown residents, hosted a reception for business owners who donated a portion of their receipts on June 16 to a fundraiser for the nonprofit restaurant, which the couple opened in 2011 to fight food insecurity.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: SUGARUSH ADDING CAFFEINE RUSH

amanda porter sugarush 062016Taking over the business from her brother and brother-in-law, Amanda Porter plans to add a café to Sugarush next week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIt’s not so much that the block on which her business resides is undercaffeinated, by urban standards, that compelled new Sugarush owner Amanda Porter to open a café at the Red Bank desserts shop.

But add to that the fact that she’s got available storefront space; a bakery out back with the capacity to create a whole new, non-dessert treats menu; and is a self-style “coffee snob,” and well, how could she not?

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ON THE GREEN: GETTING A JUMP ON SUMMER

summer jump 062016 16How happy are you that the summer of 2016 has arrived? redbankgreen photographer Trish Russoniello wandered the Greater Red Bank Green Monday morning, hours before the solstice, asking strangers to express their feelings in a jump. Not only did almost everyone she approached agree, but all — including Gabrielle and Bryan, seen above in Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank  — literally leapt at the opportunity.

Click to see 16 more airborne odes to joy. (Photos by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge. Jump to feel young.)

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RBR: MEET THE NEW SUPERINTENDENT

louis moore 1The Red Bank Regional Board of Education is inviting community members to meet the school district’s new superintendent, Louis Moore, at a meet-and-greet event scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, from 7 to 8 p.m. in the school commons. 

Moore, who starts his new job July 1, has served as the principal of Ramapo High School in Bergen County since 2007.  He was hired by RBR in April to replace Thomas Pagano, who has served as interim superintendent since the June, 2014 departure of Jim Stefankiewicz,

MIDDLETOWN: EX-FINANCIER EYES TRENTON

phil murphy 051616 3Phil Murphy in a campaign photo, apparently taken at Edie’s Luncheonette in Little Silver. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Middletown resident and former Democratic national finance chairman Phil Murphy has declared his run for New Jersey’s governorship, even though voters won’t cast their ballots for another 18 months.

Murphy declared his expected candidacy in a video released Monday on YouTube.

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RBR STUDENTS PROTEST RESPONSE TO PRAYER

rbr protest 050916 2According to one account, hall monitor Joel Gray, below, was placed on administrative leave after engaging Jazmin Graham, center above, in prayer. She said she had sought Gray’s counsel. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Joel Gray 3For the second school day in a row, Red Bank Regional students staged a demonstration Monday afternoon to protest the school’s purported suspension of an aide for engaging students in prayer.

To date, there’s been no official confirmation of any type of action against 32-year-old hall monitor Joel Gray. Tom Pagano, the interim superintendent at the Little Silver school, declined to discuss Gray’s status with redbankgreen late Friday, citing the privacy of personnel matters. Gray himself has not returned phone messages.

But as they had on Friday, more than a dozen students, placards in hand, stood at the corner of Harding Road and Ridge Road Monday shortly after dismissal, chanting their support for a school employee they say has been mistreated by the administration. Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: McGOVERN TO TAKE LEAD AT PD

FHPD Mcgovern 042016 3Joe McGovern, who’s to be sworn in as chief Monday night, has spent his entire career with the borough police department. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

AUTHORITIES_FH-2016-v3

It’s a cliché, but in terms of police activity, Fair Haven cries out for comparison to Mayberry. Crime is almost nil, and the top two categories of calls involve traffic and residential construction: blocked driveways, dumpster placements and the like.

Still, this bedroom community has undergone a rapid growth spurt. There are hundreds of kids — more than at any time in the town’s 104-year history — and more traffic.

“We’re also one of the only towns left where most of the kids ride bikes to school,” said acting police Chief Joe McGovern, who is scheduled to become chief next week.

Which makes pedestrian safety the number-one issue for police, he said. “It’s our job to make sure they’re safe.”

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RED BANK REGIONAL HIRES NEW SUPER

RBR_HIGH_SCHOOLLouis Moore, below, comes to RBR from Bergen County, where he’s been a high school principal since 2007. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

louis moore 1After a two-year interval under caretaker leadership, Red Bank Regional High has hired a new superintendent.

The one-school district’s board last week approved a three-year contract with Louis Moore, the principal of Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, in Bergen County.

Moore, who starts the new job on July 1, replaces Thomas Pagano, an Interlaken resident who has served as interim superintendent since the June, 2014 departure of Jim Stefankiewicz, who became superintendent in his hometown of Ocean Township.

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RUMSON: BBQ, BOURBON & RECYCLED AMERICA

vic rallo 032816 2Restaurateur Victor Rallo has transformed the former Molly Maguire’s Gastropub into a barbecue joint. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

surf bbq 032816 3With two Italian restaurants and a television show about the food and wine of Italy in his portfolio, Victor Rallo‘s latest venture might strike some as a sharp departure from his obsession with his ancestral homeland.

But Surf BBQ, which opened last week in Rumson, is simply the latest turn in a continuing quest for culinary “authenticity,” Rallo told redbankgreen in a recent interview.

“This is about the only true, historical American cuisine,” he said. “I wanted to open something great, but I wanted it to be true to its origins.”

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RED BANK: COPS HONORED AS LIFESAVERS

shea doremus albert 012716donegoodlogoThe Red Bank borough council honored three police officers — from left, Tanner Shea, TD Doremus and Cevin Albert — as lifesavers Wednesday night for their roles in the rescue of a senior citizen from smoke-filled apartment at the Wesleyan Arms apartments on January 1.

Seventy-nine-year-old Michael Malloy was asleep when a lighted cigarette set his mattress on fire, authorities said. The officers, responding to a medical call, heard his cries for help and then crawled through the smoke-filled unit to rescue him and ensure no other victims were present, said Councilman and Police Commissioner Mike Whelan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.) 

RED BANK: MEET THE NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

cliff keen 122315Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

charlie hoffmann 122115Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.

In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.

Here’s a quick intro to the new directors.

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