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M’TOWN: TEACHER DUMPED OVER TRUMP VIDEO

In the February 28 edition of his cable show,“Last Week Tonight,” comedian John Oliver urged viewers to “make Donald Drumpf again.” 

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02A Middletown High School South history teacher has been forced to resign for showing students a video of comedian John Oliver skewering Republican presidential candidate Donald Drumpf… er, Trump.

According to various news reports, including the New York Post and NJ.com, the forced resignation of Joe Ventre drew protests from supportive students and parents at the school’s board of trustees meeting Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM PLANS NO-TIES PARTY

burnham 1 010114Council President Cindy Burnham, seen here at her 2014 swearing-in with state Senator Jen Beck at left, plans an independent run for a second term. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainYou might call it the “no-party-ties party” when Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham launches her independent run for re-election next month with a bash that she says is open to all borough residents.

After licking her wounds about being dumped from the 2016 Republican ticket on Sunday, Burnham confirmed Thursday that she’ll mount a solo run, one based on her record as an activist and “the voice of reason” on the governing body.

And she’s kicking it off with a party at her home that will feature a live band — Kül d’Sack — and free food, by Greek Eats.

“If there’s on thing I know how to do, it’s throw a party,” she told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: DI SOMMA TO STAY AS GOP CHAIR

disomma 1103152Sean Di Somma on election night 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Sean Di Somma, whose first two years as Red Bank Republican chairman have been marked by both the party’s resurgence and bitter infighting, will stay on in the post, he tells redbankgreen.

Though he said he had told party loyalists on Sunday that he would forego a second term in order to devote more time to his wife and infant daughter, Di Somma said Wednesday that calls by “internet trolls” and “local Democrats” for his resignation convinced him to stay for a second term, which begins in June, and through the November election.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM “STILL MULLING”

burnham colmorgen 010116Council President Cindy Burnham, seen here in January with fire police volunteer Carl Colmorgen, says she’ll announce her plans later this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainContrary to a published report, Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham says she still hasn’t made up her mind whether to seek a second term as an independent.

One day after she was left off the 2016 Republican ticket, Burnham told redbankgreen that she’ll announce on Thursday whether she’s running and will fly solo in her quest.

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RED BANK: GOP DUMPS BURNHAM

cindy burnham 021016Council President Cindy Burnham said she’s undecided whether she’ll seek re-election. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainShe may have broken the Democrats’ lock on Red Bank government, but that wasn’t enough for the party she rode in with.

Heading into her first re-election campaign, Councilwoman Cindy Burnham was dropped from the 2016 Republican ticket Sunday.

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RED BANK: SANDERS BACKERS BERN TRACKS

rb sanders march 040216 1rb sanders march 040216 5Chanting “feel the Bern” and “this is what democracy looks like,” about 300 Bernie Sanders supporters marched in a drizzling ran through downtown Red Bank at noontime Saturday. Among several petitions circulated was one to get the presidential candidate on the New Jersey primary ballot, for which voting is to be held on June 7. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

rb sanders march 040216 2

RED BANK: SANDERS BACKERS PLAN MARCH

Sanders march route 033116The march is slated to proceed on sidewalks from the train station to Riverside Gardens Park via Monmouth and Broad streets.  (Map courtesy of Google Maps. Click to enlarge)

Election_2016_PlainRed Bank merchants, visitors and residents should be prepared for possible traffic delays as hundreds of supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are expected to march through the downtown enroute to a rally at lunchtime Saturday.

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RED BANK: MARINE SANCTUARY BLASTED

rb nms 031616 1With the basement meeting room already full, an overflow crowd gathered on the library’s main floor hoping to be allowed in Wednesday night. Below, the sanctuary would include Sandy Hook Bay, the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers and their tributaries. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD 

Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary 2The main proponent of a “marine sanctuary” that would include some 12,500 acres of northeastern Monmouth County waters found himself pounded by wave after wave of criticism Wednesday night.

With 75 or so commercial and recreational fishermen, clammers, hunters and others packed into a basement meeting room at the Red Bank Public Library, and a comparable number turned away due to crowding, maritime historian Rik Van Hemmen got a cold reception for his proposal for a Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which he hopes will win federal approval.

“We’ve got enough layers of bureaucracy,” Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, told Van Hemmen. “This is going down. We’re going to fight it.”

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RED BANK: DEMS TAP HORGAN AND YNGSTROM

horgan burnham 022614 2Incumbents Kathy Horgan and Cindy Burnham, above, and newcomer Erik Yngstrom, below, will vie for two open council seats in November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

erik yngstromLess than three months into a new Republican era and eight months before the next election, Red Bank’s Democrats have chosen their candidates for council.

Incumbent Kathy Horgan and newcomer Erik Yngstrom, a member of the zoning board, have been nominated to run in the Democratic primary election to be held June 7, party chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich announced Friday night.

Separately, Republican Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, who broke the Democrats’ seven-year lock on the council with her victory in 2013, told redbankgreen that she will seek re-election.

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ON THE GREEN: MARINE SANCTUARY PROPOSED

Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary 2An effort to create a “water-based equivalent of a National Park” covering Sandy Hook Bay, the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers and their tributaries is the subject of upcoming informational sessions, one of which is scheduled for Monday night.

If enacted by federal authorities, the Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary would  add more than 12,500 acres of public-use parkland to eastern Monmouth County, according to proponents. Among them are the Navesink Marine Heritage Association, whose website has extensive information on the proposal.

Tonight’s presentation is slated for 7 p.m. at Crawford House at Tinton Falls. The Red Bank Public Library plans to host another on March 16 at 7 p.m. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: BECK TO CHRISTIE: NJ OR TRUMP

jen beck 012216 3State Senator Jen Beck says the governorship “is more than a full-time job.” Below, Christie in Sea Bright in 2013. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

SB christie 6 082813State Senator Jen Beck of Red Bank says it’s time for Governor Chris Christie to choose between Donald Trump and New Jersey.

Adding to the chorus of criticism over Christie’s recent endorsement of Trump, Beck said Christie “cannot continue serving as our governor” if he’s going to be on the campaign trail with him, according to a report by app.com Wednesday afternoon.

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CHRISTIE: BECK-BACKED GUN BILL ‘DOPEY’

sb christie 3 102913Governor Chris Christie in Sea Bright in October, 2013, above, and state Senator Jen Beck in Red Bank last May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

jen beck 050115Three days after he vetoed a bill that would have prevented convicted carjackers, gang members and other felons from legally obtaining guns, Governor Chris Christie has said why: it’s “dopey,” he claimed, according to a report by the Record, of Bergen County.

The bill, co-sponsored by Red Bank resident and state Senator Jen Beck, is evidence of “stupid stuff” elected officials do to impress their constituents, Christie said at a campaign event Thursday in New Hampshire, where he’s competing in the Republican presidential primary.

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FAIR HAVEN: HALFACRE JOINS BEER DEALERS

mike halfacre 2007Former Fair Haven mayor Mike Halfacre, who left his job of three years as head of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division to join a law firm last May, is changing jobs again. He’s just been hired as executive director of the Beer Wholesalers Association of New Jersey. He’ll continue as “of counsel” to the Newark law firm of Genova Burns, working on select matters, he tells redbankgreen. (Archive photo from 2007. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: DEMOCRATS CLOSE OUT ERA

mike dupont 121615 2Councilman Mike DuPont at his final council meeting Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A 25-year run of Democratic rule in Red Bank entered its final phase at a low-key borough council meeting Wednesday night.

Councilman Mike DuPont delivered his swan song after three terms, having been defeated by a Republican, Mike Whelan, who wasn’t yet born when the Democrats attained their current majority in 1990.

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RED BANK: RECOUNT GIVES WHELAN WIN

taylor whelan disomma 112015Mike Whelan, flanked by Councilman-elect Mark Taylor and GOP Chairman Sean DiSomma, celebrates at the county Board of Elections office Friday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[See update on DuPont concession below.]

Election 2015 graphicRepublican political newcomer Mike Whelan claimed victory, again, after a recount of votes in this month’s Red Bank council election Friday.

The new tally, ordered last week by a Superior Court judge at the request of incumbent Democratic Councilman Mike DuPont, showed that Whelan beat DuPont by three votes — one more than his apparent margin of victory going into the recount.

“I’m happy this process has worked out,” Whelan told redbankgreen, minutes after Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon declared him the winner. “Now, it’s time to get to work.”

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