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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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RED BANK: A SAVE, AND THEN A SWEARING-IN

CHRIS SODEN 010116Chris Soden gives his oath as Red Bank fire chief at the Union Hose Company. Behind Soden are deputies Pete DeFazio, left, and Stu Jensen, partly obscured. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

donegoodlogoChris Soden’s term as Red Bank’s new fire chief got off to a smoky start Friday.

Eight hours before he was sworn into office, Soden and other volunteer firefighters worked their way up six flights of stairs to save a 79-year-old man who’d set his mattress ablaze when he fell asleep with a lit cigarette.

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LINCROFT: ROCKER BRINGS EARLY XMAS TO CBA

FallonCBAAs a last minute surprise before winter break, The Gaslight Anthem’s lead singer Brian Fallon (holding CBA shirt) came to Christian Brothers Academy to speak with over 100 students.

Press release from Christian Brothers Academy

Christmas came early for the creative writing students at Christian Brothers Academy when Brian Fallon, lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem, held a special guest lecture. The Red Bank-born songwriter, on the cusp of beginning a national tour, took some time to speak with students after a truly impressive ask on social media.

Fallon coming to CBA started as a conversation between students in Mr. Cusick’s creative writing class about who would make for a great guest speaker. Fallon’s name came up as many students were fans of the local rocker’s band. With the idea of asking nicely through social media, the students took to Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #FallonToCBA and inspiring fellow students, alumni, and even several media outlets to draw a spotlight to the cause. Several days and several hundred Twitter interactions later, Fallon (@thebrianfallon on Twitter) made his acceptance known, tweeting: “Dear @CBALincroft – get ready!!!!!!!!!!!!! The people have spoken!”

On Thursday, December 17, the dream became a reality, with Fallon arriving at the Lincroft campus to speak to over 100 students.

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RUMSON MAN LANDS RHODES SCHOLARSHIP

By JOHN T. WARD

Evan Soltas 112315 2A 22-year-old Rumson resident was among 32 Americans chosen Saturday for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England.

A senior economics major at Princeton— and former redbankgreen summer intern — Evan Soltas (seen at right) said he plans to use the two-year opportunity, worth $100,000, to refine his pursuit of economic truths and falsehoods underlying government policies.

“I’m still in shock, like, 48 hours later,” he told redbankgreen on Monday. “I’m totally thrilled, but in the moment, there was something of a panic attack. You don’t really believe it.”

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RUMSON: RALLO TO OPEN ‘SURF BBQ’ HERE

molly maguire's 102011Restaurateur Victor Rallo plans to transform the former Molly Maguire’s Gastropub into a smoked barbecue joint. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Surf-BBQ-LogoThe Greater Red Bank Green, teeming with culinary variety but short on ribs, is about to get some finger-lickin’ fare.

The former Molly Maguire’s Gastropub in Rumson, which closed Tuesday, will reopen in January as Surf BBQ, buyer Victor Rallo tells redbankgreen.

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RUMSON: MOLLY MAGUIRE’S CLOSING

molly maguire's 100615Molly Maguire’s, above, and Kathy Maguire on her first day as owner in 2011, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

kathy-maguire-1Just three weeks shy of their fourth anniversary in the business, Kathy and Mike Maguire are closing their Rumson restaurant, Molly Maguire’s Gastropub.

The Tuesday night finale is in preparation for sale of the East River Road establishment to restaurateur Victor Rallo, owner of the nearby Undici, on West River Road, and Birravino, in Red Bank, Kathy Maguire said Monday.

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RED BANK: CANDIDATES’ FORUM SET

From left at top: Democrats Michael Ballard and Michael DuPont square off against Republicans Mark Taylor and Michael Whelan at the annual Candidates’ Night on October 1. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election 2015 graphicWith the balance of power at stake, election season for two open seats on the Red Bank council kicks into high gear on October 1.

That’s when the West Side Community Group is scheduled to host its 19th annual Candidates’ Night.

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RED BANK: WITH LEE’S RETURN, WOMEN RULE

sharon lee 090915Sharon Lee, flanked by Mayor Pasquale Menna and former Councilwoman Juanita Lewis, gets ready to swear the oath of office while Councilman Mike DuPont takes a photo. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03For the first time in Red Bank’s 107-year history, women now outnumber men on the borough council.

Former Councilwoman Sharon Lee returned to the dais Wednesday night, following unanimous approval by the governing body to complete the three-plus months remaining in the term of former Council President Art Murphy, who resigned last month.

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