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RUMSON’S SWARTZ RE-ELECTED LIBRARY CHAIR

Press release from Monmouth County Library

Renee Swartz Lillian BurryDuring its reorganization meeting held recently at the Eastern Branch Library in Shrewsbury, Renee Swartz of Rumson was unanimously re-elected chair of the Monmouth County Library Commission, a position that the popular long time member has held since 1976.

A graduate of Barnard College, Swartz (left in picture, with Freeholder Lillian Burry) dates her interest in the role of libraries back to the early years of her marriage, when she was asked to volunteer as a survey taker for the American Association of University Women, as a way of determining what educational resources would be offered to the growing population of Monmouth County.

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SHREWSBURY: VISITORS COUNT AT LIBRARY

deer-libraryA deer grazing outside the library in June, 2011. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge.)

Press release from Monmouth County Library

More than half a million books circulated. Close to a quarter of a million visitors. An additional 2400 patrons registered. All part of a very busy 2016 at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library during 2016, as Branch Manager Kim Avagliano reported to the Monmouth County Library Commission at its recent end of the year meeting.

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RED BANK: MENNA WANTS BOLD, GREEN DECK

menna-whelan-110216Mayor Pasquale Menna, left with Councilman Mike Whelan at the opening of the new cancer treatment wing at Riverview Medical Center in October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Parking issues once again dominated as the Red Bank council wrapped up its 2016 meeting schedule Wednesday night.

• Mayor Pasquale Menna sketched out a vision for a environmentally and architecturally bold parking garage on the site of the borough’s White Street parking lot.

• A downtown property owner laid out a plan for erecting a prefab garage that he said would be fast and economical.

• The council extended yet again a moratorium on fees charged to developers of new businesses that win variances for parking shortfalls.

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BUILDING SUPPORT FOR RED BANK LIBRARY

rb library 1 040913Press release from Red Bank Public Library

This week, Red Bank residents will be finding an envelope from their library amongst all the holiday cards in their mailbox. The Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library has recently sent out its third annual appeal in order to build financial support for the Red Bank Public Library’s many programs and collections. During this season of giving, the Foundation hopes to continue the strong tradition of support shown by the Red Bank community.

While the Red Bank Library receives mandated funding, it relies on the generosity of library supporters to strengthen its financial position, allowing the Library to expand its offerings and better serve the community.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKs PARKING PLAN

mike-simpson-121416-3Architect Mike Simpson discusses a schematic he created to illustrate that a 650-car garage atop four stories of stores and apartments, with nearby green space, could easily be created in the White Street lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1After nearly three hours of public comments Wednesday night, the Red Bank council approved a zoning change that could result in a parking garage in the heart of downtown.

Now, answers to long-deferred questions on what such a facility might look like, and who will pay for it, can begin to take shape, said business and government officials who endorsed the measure.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLAN MAY GROW

rb-parking-white-st-111316-2The council could solicit formal development proposals for the White Street lot if a measure on Wednesday’s agenda is passed. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01The hottest of hot topics in downtown Red Bank faces a key hurdle this week when a redevelopment plan that could lead to the construction of a massive parking garage in the heart of downtown faces a key vote.

But first, the minimum number of new parking spaces to be created on the present site of the White Street municipal lot could be significantly increased.

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RED BANK: TURF HOLDING UP, SAYS SICKELS

rb-basie-turf-120516-5Rubber-crumb exposure at midfield and the sidelines, below, of the football field at Count Basie Fields is not indicative of the type of turf failure reported elsewhere, says the borough administrator. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb-basie-turf-120516-6Failing artificial-turf playing fields made by an industry-leading manufacturer are not an issue in Red Bank, according to borough Administrator Stanley Sickels.

three-day investigative exposé by NJ.com earlier this week reported that hundreds of turf fields across the United States were beginning to deteriorate long before the eight-to-ten-year life expectancy touted by the Canadian manufacturer, FieldTurf. The company knew about the failures but hid them as it continued to sell the fields, at prices often exceeding $500,000, the report alleged.

But the fields installed by the company at Count Basie Fields here are holding up well, Sickels told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: UPDATES ON WATER

rb-meter-swap-110216-1An installer with National Metering Services installing a new wireless meter in a Red Bank home earlier this month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Some quick updates on Red Bank water…

The stinky, dirty water that affected some customers earlier this month has been corrected, borough officials tell redbankgreen. But they’re being cautious about turning on the tap too quickly.

And with the townwide water-meter replacement project underway, users should be alert to a change in their billing.

Details on both below.

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RED BANK: LOT OWNERS CAN NOW TRY AGAIN

55 w front 062016The vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by Google. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Eight months after they were rejected by the Red Bank zoning board, the owners of a vacant lot in downtown Red Bank can now try again to win approval for a 35-unit apartment building on the site.

That’s the upshot of an ordinance adopted by the borough council Monday night after yet another tiebreaker vote by Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK: BASIE PARKING DEAL YIELDS GAIN

mike-whelan-110416Councilman Mike Whelan outside borough hall earlier this month.(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1It may not seem like much, stacked up against a $22.4 million budget. Still, it’s like finding money on the ground, says first-year Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan.

A deal Whelan initiated that gives the Count Basie Theatre access to the borough hall parking lot across Monmouth Street has netted the borough nearly $14,000 since it went into effect earlier this year, he says.

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SANDY HOOK: BACKERS RALLY TO SAVE HOUSE

sandlass-house-renderingThe Sandlass House, reimagined as a museum, above, and as seen in July, 2015, below. (Rendering by Anderson Campanella Archictects. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See update below]

By JOHN T. WARD
sandlass house 070415 4

A group of preservationists trying to save the last remnants of a long-forgotten Sandy Hook beach resort from the wrecking ball.

Dubbed the Jersey Coast Heritage Museum at Sandlass House, the group has begun circulating a petition calling on the National Park Service, which owns the house as part of Gateway National Recreation Area, not to knock it down, and allow them to turn it into a museum.

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ON THE GREEN: AUTHOR! AUTHOR! AUTHOR!

amy-ellis-nutt-julie-otsukaPulitzer winner Amy Ellis Nutt (above left), National Book Award finalist Julie Otsuka (right), and historical novelist James L. Haley (below) are among the celebrated wordsmiths appearing in the coming days at events in Shrewsbury, Fair Haven and Lincroft.

james-l-haleyThere’s a Pulitzer Prize winner who trained in the trenches of Jersey journalism. A novelist whose credits include a PEN/Faulkner Award and a National Book Award nomination. And a celebrated historian turned master purveyor of “ripping yarn” page-turners.

Apparently the Greater Red Bank Green hasn’t gotten the memo that books are dead, because the joy of reading, and the highly anticipated appearances of some high-profile authors, are alive and well in the coming days and nights.

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RED BANK: STINKY WATER PROMPTS CHANGE

water faucet dripRed Bank reversed its seasonal water supply arrangement after complaints about taste and odor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

After a burst of complaints about stinky, foul-tasting water, Red Bank officials reverted to the municipal water supply earlier this week, redbankgreen has learned.

Now, those officials are waiting for New Jersey American Water Company, which supplies the borough’s water for six months of the year, to clear up an algae problem at the Swimming River Reservoir before resuming the flow, they said.

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RED BANK: CLINTON COATTAILS HELPED DEMS

rb voting districts 2014Hillary Clinton won every district in Red Bank but the fifth, lifting the party’s entire ticket. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_Plain

She lost at the national level, but Hillary Clinton won Red Bank, and her coattails helped Democrats pull even with Republicans on the borough council Tuesday night, election returns tallied by the Monmouth County Clerk show.

Clinton captured all but one of the but one of Red Bank’s nine voting districts — the fifth — topping president-elect Donald Trump townwide, 2,633 to 1,510. (The figures don’t include mail-in ballots, said borough clerk Pam Borghi.)

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RED BANK: GARAGE DEBATE PREVIEWED

white-st-lot-110816A public hearing on a key measure in the push for a possible garage at the White Street lot, above, is slated for December 14. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Argument over a potential parking garage for downtown Red Bank dominated the first post-election meeting of the borough council Wednesday night.

No action related to the gradually advancing proposal was on the agenda. But the brief debate may have been an early taste of what’s to come next month, when the council holds a public hearing on a key step in the process.

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RED BANK: DEMS WIN, GAIN COUNCIL PARITY

yngstrom-110816Erik Yngstrom at Democratic headquarters as the party’s local victory became clear. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_Plain

Knocked from their perch a year ago, Red Bank Democrats gained parity with Republicans on the borough council Tuesday night, as incumbent Kathy Horgan and newcomer Erik Yngstrom routed three other candidates, according to preliminary results.

The clearest loser in the race was incumbent Cindy Burnham, who ran a distant fifth three years after she broke a seven-year Democratic lock on the governing body.

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RED BANK: PARKING GARAGE CLEARS HURDLE

rb white st 070915 3A redevelopment plan for the White Street parking now goes back to the council for possible adoption, followed by a request for proposals from builders. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1A concept zoning plan for a parking garage that could double the capacity of Red Bank’s White Street parking lot cleared its latest hurdle Monday night, when the borough planning board found it compliant with the town’s Master Plan.

But in returning the document to the borough council for further action, the board asked for reconsideration of some of its particulars. Among them: making sure that any stores and restaurants in the new structure not be exempt from — wait for it — parking requirements.

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RED BANK: CANDIDATES AGREE, MINUS TWO

horgan-burnham-110216Incumbents Kathy Horgan, a Democrat, and Cindy Burnham, running as an independent, at Wednesday night’s event at the Pilgrim Baptist Church. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainThe Republican candidates for Red Bank council sent emissaries who watched from the sidelines at a community event Wednesday night.

First-time GOP candidates Brian Hanlon and Kellie O’Bosky Colwell disputed the circumstances under which the event, billed as a “community conversation,” came together, leaving them unable to attend, they told redbankgreen. Their expected absence had been termed an “insult” by one of the event’s organizers.

But the event itself turned out not to be as partisan as GOP chairman Mike Clancy had feared, he said afterward.

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RED BANK: PORTER TEES UP GOP FOR ‘INSULT’

porter 071016Reverend Terrence Porter said Wednesday’s event is intended as a nonpartisan opportunity for voters to see the candidates as individuals. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainThe pastor of Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Church lashed out Monday at borough Republicans, who he said had “insulted” African-American voters in avoiding a candidates’ event planned for Wednesday night at the church.

Reverend Terrence Porter teed up both the current and former GOP chairmen Sean DiSomma for what Porter said was groundless politicizing of an event that was envisioned as nonpartisan from the get-go.

“I’ve never been so disappointed in my experience in Red Bank,” Porter told redbankgreen. Read More »

RED BANK: CANDIDATES TO FACE OFF AGAIN

[UPDATE: GOP Chairman Mike Clancy says Hanlon and O’Bosky Colwell did NOT agree to participate, citing prior engagements.]
 With the race entering its final week, the five candidates for Red Bank council in next week’s election have agreed to square off a second time.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLAN INTRODUCED

rb parking 041416 1A redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot now goes to the planning board for review. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Merchants, and at least one elected official, were jubilant after the Red Bank council’s latest move toward possible construction of a downtown parking deck Wednesday night.

By a 6-0 vote, the governing body agreed to introduce an ordinance that could result in the adoption of a redevelopment plan for the White Street municipal lot.

What’s in the 10-page plan? Only insiders knew, but to advocates for a large-scale solution to the parking shortage downtown, that didn’t matter. Read More »

RED BANK: GOP PAIR SETS “ACTION PLAN”

obosky-colwell-hanlon-101816Republican council candidates Kellie O’Bosky Colwell and Brian Hanlon listen as Councilwoman Cindy Burnham speaks at Candidate’s Night on October 18. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Election_2016_Plain

By JOHN T. WARD

“Tired of hearing politicians make vague promises at election time” only to ignore them afterward, the two Republican candidates for Red Bank council unveiled a “six-month action plan” Monday that calls for a freeze on department heads’ salaries and a study of the water utility.

In their plan, first-time candidates Brian Hanlon and Kellie O’Bosky Colwell pledge they won’t seek re-election if they “do not deliver on their promises.”

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MONMOUTH CANDIDATES FORUM SET FOR 10/26

monmouth-county-library-manalapanPress release from The League of Women Voters of Monmouth County

On Wednesday, October 26, The League of Women Voters of Monmouth County will sponsor a Candidates Forum for Monmouth County Freeholder, Sheriff, and Surrogate at 7 p.m. The event will take place at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters located at 125 Symmes Drive in Manalapan. The public is welcome to learn about the candidates and will have an opportunity to ask them questions. Light refreshments will be served.

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